House of Assembly: Vol114 - WEDNESDAY 23 MAY 1984
Mr Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
That with effect from Monday, 28 May 1984, the hours of sitting shall be as follows:
Mr Speaker, on behalf of the official Opposition I rise to oppose this motion proposed by the hon the Leader of the House and to express my disappointment that the proposed extended sitting-hours, which will affect Parliament, all its members, its staff and administration, is not the result of agreement between parties which is normally achieved through the Whips. I am disappointed further that the Government has seen fit to use the big stick in imposing these extended sitting-hours on us as a minority party. [Interjections.] Proposals for extended sitting hours were put to us last Wednesday. It was done with the purpose of negotiating with the parties and obtaining their agreement. We were told quite specifically that we would have the opportunity over a period of a week to discuss the matter and then come back to the hon the Leader of the House to tell him whether we agree or not. However, before we had the opportunity to do so and before the week had expired, the hon the Leader saw it fit to place the motion on the Order Paper today without waiting for further discussions, negotiations or further counter-proposals.
It has become customary at this time of the year for the Government to come with proposals to extend the sitting-hours. We have argued in the past that extended hours brings exhaustion and is unfair to hon members and the staff. We managed to extract promises from the previous Leader of the House and from the present Leader that we would try to keep to the normal sitting-hours as far as possible without any unnecessary extensions. A programme would be drawn up early in the session after notice has been taken of the legislative programme so that the business of Parliament could be conducted in a proper way. I submit that the proposed extended hours are exhausting and inconsiderate. Ministers Budget Votes, select committee meetings and group meetings will only be concluded on Friday this week. Monday mornings are needed so that hon members can get back to Parliament and we can only use Monday mornings, Tuesday mornings and Thursday mornings to conduct group meetings, to see people, have negotiations, discuss legislation and prepare ourselves for the work ahead. As far as Wednesdays are concerned, the routine of Parliament is well-known. From nine o’clock in the morning many of us are engaged in Whips’ or caucus meetings. Wednesday mornings have traditionally been set aside for that type or work. Friday mornings are taken up by sittings and so the afternoons.
I do not think it is any secret that something like 40, or even more, Bills still have to be introduced before the end of this session. We have not seen them so we do not know what their contents are. We do not know how contentious they are, but we will need all the time in the world to discuss the extra Bills. How much time is Parliament leaving us to discuss these extra Bills in the various groups? Monday and Thursday mornings after 11h00 are taken away from the groups. There is very little time on a Tuesday and very little time before 11h00 on a Thursday to do this work. I believe it is exhaustive and does not do justice to the legislative programme. I do not believe that in this manner we can best serve the interests of our constituencies and indeed the interests of the country. [Interjections.]
I also submit that it is inconsiderate, not only to hon members, but also to the staff and everybody else involved in the administration of Parliament. I want to ask the hon the Leader of the House: Why is this necessary? Perhaps he can tell us why it is necessary. Does he have a special target date by which the session must end? Is there any pressure on him to end the session by a certain date? Why can Parliament not continue to conduct its business in the usual way? The hon the Leader of the House can control the programme of work of Parliament by placing the legislation he wants to on the Order Paper and if he wants to shorten the session he can withdraw the legislation, especially contentious legislation which he thinks will take up a lot of Parliament’s time. There appears to be some contentious legislation in the offing. Perhaps the hon the Leader of the House can take us into his confidence.
Perhaps this should not be regarded as a normal session because this is the last session of the so-called White Parliament. With great respect, the Government should have foreseen this and should have arranged the programme in such a way that essential work could be done. Then there is of course still the Third Reading of the Appropriation Bill for which preparation is required and for which many hours must be set aside. Surely the Government must have anticipated this, but it did not. As I say, the Government needs to finish the session earlier, it can drop certain legislation, including contentious legislation.
I want to submit that it is not inconceivable that with the co-operation of the various parties agreed measures can be accorded a speedier passage. However, if we are going to be forced into certain situations, then this party will feel itself free to handle legislation as it sees fit. We do not want to be unco-operative, nor to be obstructive in any way, but I intend moving an amendment on behalf of this party to the effect that instead of Monday mornings, as proposed, we should sit on Monday nights, as we have been doing now for a number of weeks, and which has not presented any problems. Hon members have already made their arrangements in anticipation that we would sit on Monday nights. As far as Mondays are concerned all that will then be lost is 15 minutes. As far as Tuesdays are concerned, it is proposed by the Government that we sit till 6.30 pm. We have no objection to sitting till 6.30 pm. As far as Wednesdays are concerned, the proposed hours remain the same as they are now, and we have no objection to that. As far as Thursdays are concerned, it is proposed that we sit in the mornings. In this case we have strong objections, for the reasons which I have outlined, namely the fact that we need the time to prepare ourselves properly for conducting Parliaments work in an efficient manner. As far as Friday is concerned, it is suggested that we sit from 10h00 instead of from 10h30, and we are prepared to accept that too. Our proposal in short is therefore to sit on Monday nights instead of on Monday mornings and not to sit on Thursday mornings. Otherwise we agree to the rest of the programme. The end result will be that we will be extending our sitting hours from 26 to 28 hours and will therefore be losing only two hours as com-paved with the proposed programme. I appeal to the hon the Leader of the House and hon members to meet us in this regard.
Mr Speaker, I move as an amendment:
To omit all the words after “follows” and to substitute:
Mr Speaker, the CP wishes to thank the hon the Leader of the House and the Chief Whip of the governing party for having consulted us before the motion was introduced. As the Chief Whip requested, we submitted it to our caucus and we decided unanimously to support the motion. [Interjections.]
I have co-operated with various Leaders of the House for many years and I have the utmost appreciation of the conduct of the present hon Leader of the House. I must add—and, after all, we are in future going to have consensus politics—that as long as we have to co-operate with such a Chief Whip and such a party, we shall never achieve consensus in this Parliament. But we nevertheless support the motion of the hon the Leader of the House.
Mr Speaker, traditionally at this time of the year this subject arises and we have the well-known debate around the allegation of legislation by exhaustion. However, we believe that there is a new situation facing us. I think that within a few minutes we will be hearing an announcement from the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, an announcement regarding the forthcoming session of the new Parliament. There is certain work that we have to do between now and the time, whenever it is, when we rise, and we believe that with this new task that lies ahead, we would be somewhat churlish if we were not to agree to extend our sitting-hours. So here for the first time we break from our traditional opposition to extended sitting-hours.
Looking at these extended sitting hours, I am grateful to the hon the Leader of the House and the Government’s Chief Whip for giving us a foresight of what they had in mind. They have set down a programme whereby this House will sit for 30 hours in a week. We believe that that is possibly the limit this House should sit. As a matter of fact, we believe that 30 hours is stretching it. Let me in lighter vein say that the metal workers of Germany are going on strike because they say they only want to work 35 hours a week. In my view 30 hours’ sitting time for this House is more than enough. I think we work closer on to 45 hours a week taking into account that we sit two and a half hours on Wednesday nights and the fact that we also have to find time for our group meetings and other activities that are so necessary for the good working and smooth running of Parliament.
The difficulties encountered by longer sitting-hours are however proportional to the representation of a party in Parliament. The smaller the party the more difficullt it is. [Interjections.] I say in all humility and in sincerity that the greatest burden of extended sitting-hours falls on this small party. Having said that, I also want to say that we are, from this day forward, implacably opposed to extending the number of nights for sittings of the House. I must tell hon members that we do not even like sitting on a Wednesday night. We are opposed to sitting two nights a week because I believe that a second night sitting does more damage to the smooth running of this organization than any other single factor. [Interjections.]
It is very easy for us sitting at this level of the Chamber to talk about sitting-hours and ask: “What is an extra night sitting?” does not start and it certainly does not end there. When we sit at night we are involving ministerial staff; we are involving the secretariat of the ministries, the secretariat and staff of this Parliament, a catering staff, a security staff and we are involving a Hansard staff. It is the Hansard staff, I believe, that can never catch up with its work when we sit until 22h30 at night, and I have the utmost sympathy for them. Finally, we are also involving the Press. We are in fact involving a lot of people by sitting here until late at night. I do not think it is necessary. We have a programme before us which cuts out Monday nights and which gives us 30 hours per week, which is more than sufficient. I take issue with the hon Whip of the official Opposition who has made a plea particularly against Monday mornings. Apparently he believes Monday mornings to be the most inconvenient time for them. It is apparently the worst thing that can possibly happen to them, but he then quite happily suggests Monday nights sittings without any consideration whatsoever, in my opinion, for the virtually hundreds of people who are adversely affected thereby.
I make this appeal to the hon Leader of the House and his successors: Whatever you do, please never consider extending the workings of this House beyond 30 hours when you come to the end of a session. To do that would create an unacceptable and untenable situation. Thirty hours is the maximum that should be set as a maximum forever. I am not saying that we will always support the Government, and I am certainly not suggesting that we will always be here to oppose the Government, but I saying that under the circumstances we find ourselves, we support the motion put before us. My final plea is that we should avoid, in respect of thus and in respect of future Parliaments, additional nights sittings, and also to do away with the Wednesday night sittings.
Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon member for Kuruman and the hon member for Umhlanga for the truly positive and pleasant attitude they have adopted as regards this issue today. The hon member for Hillbrow, on the other hand, said that we wanted to use the big stick and they we had not even provided opportunities for negotiation. What happened, however? The Secretary to Parliament and I discussed the matter in order to determine what would be best for the staff and the Hansard personnel and what would be the best way of fitting in 30 hours per week. Everyone was of the opinion that an evening sitting would not be the solution. Subsequently I proposed a motion at a meeting of Whips and told the Whips that they should take it to their respective caucus meetings and that we should meet again today to reach consensus on the matter. However, the following day the Chief Whip of the NP received a letter from the Chief Whip of the PFP stating that the PFP would under no circumstances be prepared to sit in the mornings. I do not wish to fight with the PFP now, because it is always a pleasure to meet with the Chief Whips. Thus far we have always been able to achieve consensus. But they say that if one wants to sup with the devil, one must have a long spoon, and I shall have a long spoon if I want to eat with the hon member for Hillbrow. He left me in the lurch. We are merely trying to expedite the functioning of Parliament. I should like to quote to the hon member for Hillbrow what he said about evening sittings in 1981. He said (Vol 94, col 458):
That was every night; not merely one evening per week.
We can try to split hairs about this matter, but I just want to point out that I went so far as to inform the hon member about the number of Bills that are still to be submitted this session. This is information he did not have before. I am a person who wishes to co-operate and I trust the Opposition. But I think that the PFP is doing a stupid thing today by voting against this motion. To the hon member for Umhlanga I want to say that I cannot say today that 30 hours per week will be the maximum throughout. However, that is what we are aiming for.
†We will strive not to sit on more evenings, but it all depends on the circumstances. One cannot predict what is going to happen in Parliament. You never know beforehand which Bills are going to be fought tooth and nail. It is very difficult to work that out beforehand. We want to complete the session within a reasonable period of time.
Before the hunting season.
The hunting season is already over. The last Bill on the Order Paper is the Smoking Control Bill of the hon member for Hillbrow, but apparently he does not want to help me get to it. My whole aim was to get to it!
Question put: That all the words after “follows” stand part of the Question,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—100: Aronson, T; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Barnard, S P; Bartlett, G S; Blanché, J P I; Botha, P W; Botma, M C; Clase, P J; Coetsee, H J; Conradie, F D; Cronjé, P; Cunningham, J H; De Jager, A M v A; De Klerk, F W; Delport, W H; De Pontes, P; Durr, K D S; Du Toit, J P; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, A; Geldenhuys, B L; Grobler, J P; Hardingham, R W; Hartzenberg, F; Hayward, S A S; Heunis, J C; Heyns, J H; Hoon, J H; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Koornhof, P G J; Kotzé, S F; Landman, W J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Le Roux, F J; Le Roux, Z P; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, EvdM; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Meiring, J W H; Meyer, R P; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Niemann, J J; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Page, B W B; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Raw, W V; Rencken, CRE; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, W J; Scholtz, E. M; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Snyman, W J; Steyn, D W; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, G P D; Thompson, A G; Treurnicht, A P; Uys, C; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Merwe, C V; Van der Merwe, G J; Van der Merwe, H D K; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Rensburg, E M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, F A H; Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, L M J; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Vermeulen, J A J; Visagie, J H; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E.
Tellers: W J Cuyler, S J de Beer, W T Kritzinger, C J Ligthelm, H M J van Rensburg (Mossel Bay) and L van der Watt.
Noes—21: Boraine, A L; Cronjé, P C; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Gastrow, P H P; Hulley, R R; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Savage, A; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Slabbert, F v Z; Soal, P G; Suzman, H; Swart, RAF; Van der Merwe, S S; Van Rensburg, H E J.
Tellers: B B Goodall and A B Widman.
Question affirmed and amendment dropped.
Order! Before putting the next Vote, I wish to deal with the admissibility of the word “plagiarism”. In the course of the speech by the hon member for Schweizer-Reneke in the debate on the Defence Vote on Friday, 18 May 1984, an hon member contended in this House that another hon member had been guilty of plagiarism.
On that occasion I issued no ruling in regard to the admissibility or otherwise of the words in question because after an explanation by the hon member for Standerton I was under the impression that those words had not been said with reference to another hon member. On perusing Hansard, however, it is now evident that the hon member for Virginia did utter the following words with reference to the hon member for Rissik:
These words refer to the word “plagiarism”, and because it is unparliamentary it may not be used with reference to another hon member. If I had been aware of this at that stage, I should summarily have declared it out of order.
Mr Chairman, in the light of the ruling you have just issued with reference to the word “plagiarism” and the fact that it is an unparliamentary expression, I withdraw the words I uttered last Friday with reference to the hon member for Rissik.
Vote No 8—“Constitutional Development and Planning”.
Mr Chairman, I do not at this stage intend participating in this debate. I do, however, briefly want to issue a statement in connection with parliamentary proceedings later this year.
Preparations for the implementation of the Constitution Act, 1983, have now reached a stage at which it is possible to announce certain steps in this regard. In the first place, Monday, 3 September 1984, will be determined by proclamation as the date for the commencement of the new constitution. An Acting State President will be appointed on the same date, who will act as State President until the new State President has assumed office. On Tuesday, 4 September, the directly elected members of the three Houses of Parliament will assemble to elect the members of the electoral college for the election of the State President and the Speaker of Parliament. Indirectly elected members of the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates will also then be elected. On Wednesday, 5 September, at 10h00, the electoral college will assemble in the Chamber of the present House of Parliament for the election of the State President. The electoral college will not immediately proceed to elect a Speaker of Parliament since the nominated members of the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates will not have been appointed at that stage, and the Houses from among the members of which a Speaker will have to be elected will therefore not have been fully constituted. The electoral college will therefore adjourn until 17 September 1984.
The inauguration of the State President takes place on Friday, 14 September, in Cape Town. The State President will announce the appointment of Ministers to the Cabinet and to the three Ministers’ Councils, and of Deputy Ministers, as well as the portfolios they will hold in the new dispensation. The Ministers and Deputy Ministers will thereafter be sworn in.
Nominated members of the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates will be appointed on Monday, 17 September, and will be sworn in together with the indirectly elected members of these Houses.
On the same day the electoral college will reassemble for the election of the Speaker of Parliament. The official opening of the new tricameral Parliament will take place on Tuesday, 18 September. Each House will assemble at 08h30 for the election of its Chairman, and at 09h30 the Speaker and his entourage will call with traditional courtesy on the State President. The official opening of Parliament will then be performed by the State President at 11h00 on that day.
The Houses will attend to the composition of the President’s Council and the Standing Committees after 18 September. On Wednesday, 19 September, the Houses will designate a number of members of the President’s Council by majority vote, and on Thursday, 20 September, the Opposition parties in each House will nominate a number of persons for appointment to the President’s Council is scheduled for Wednesday, 26 September, on which occasion certain formalities, such as the election of a Chairman and Deputy Chairman, will be attended to.
*Mr Chairman, I now wish to make a brief statement with regard to a youth year and a youth strategy for our country.
The South African Government attachés very great importance to our youth, and in particular the 15 to 24-year age group, and it has been giving special attention to this group for a number of years. Since 1985 has been proclaimed an international youth year by the United Nations, the South African Government has decided also to place greater emphasis during 1985 on the development of young people and their share in the development of the country, in accordance with the South African requirements and norms, and to continue with some of the strategies and projects after 1985, by means of a long-term youth development strategy.
Full particulars in this connection will be released in a statement.
Mr Chairman, I request the privilege of the half-hour.
No doubt the public will note with interest the two statements just made by the hon the Minister. I wish to refer only to the first of these and to say that I think it is time the public had the date set for the initiation of this new system. I hope that the hon the Minister will be able to complete his announcement as soon as possible because I see that his final note states that it is not possible at this stage to discuss activities, prorogations or adjournments. I hope, therefore, that there will be an indication of activities at a very early stage.
The hon the Minister has given us an explanatory memorandum in English and Afrikaans but the “Program van inwerkingstelling van die grondwet” is only available in Afrikaans. I should like to know whether there is an English copy of this programme available and, if not, whether the hon the Minister will ensure that this programme is made available to the general public as soon as possible.
This debate is going to cover three days and I want at the outset to make a few introductory comments. In doing so I am not unaware of the growth of the scope and responsibility of the hon the Minister’s department. It has grown tremendously in responsibility and scope over the years. Neither am I unaware of the fact that transition from an established to a new system of government is not easy. It is an involved procedure. I am also not unaware of the fact that the officials of the department have been making a major effort within the parameters of their mandate to ensure that that transition is as smooth as possible. I make these comments as a background to certain observations that I wish to make.
Having said that, I hope the hon the Minister is going to use this debate to give the House and the people of this country more information on important matters of detail and of concept relating to the Government’s plans for current and future constitutional development. What the country has at the moment is a legislative framework for a constitutional plan for Coloureds, Indians and Whites at the central government level, but even in relation to this partial plan—I call it a partial plan—they have little or no knowledge of how the Government intends it to work in practice, in particular how it is going to be funded and how much it is going to cost.
In just a few months’ time, as the hon the Minister has announced, we will be entering this new era. I believe it is time that the people of this country were given the information to which they are entitled and that the Government stopped leading them in a sense blindfolded into a new constitutional era. They know that there is going to be a new constitutional era, but they do not know the detail around which or in which that is going to operate.
The hon the Minister has given us some information about dates. I shall leave a host of questions on the functioning of the new Parliament while it, for the first two years, meets in three separate Chambers in three separate buildings, two in these precincts and one down on the Foreshore. There are the problems of meeting and of transportation, of messages, of documentation, of rulings, of translations, of the library, of the staff, of the Press and of security, of where members may eat and of where they are going to live. I shall leave these questions for more detailed discussion when we get the reports of the Committees on Standing Rules and Orders and on Internal Arrangements.
We do not believe that the question of the cost and the financing and the budgeting should be left in the air, and hon members on this side of the Committee are going to probe that question. This should be dealt with here and now. We have a budget before us. We have asked time and time again what the additional cost of the new dispensation is going to be, but hon Minister after hon Minister has been shy. We believe that this hon Minister who is responsible for the introduction of the new system, at least should tell us.
The hon the Prime Minister spent much time the other day giving us the estimates of the cost which were established by his department for four theoretical scenarios of the CP. We should not waste time on their nonsense. We want to know from the hon the Prime Minister what his system is going to cost. We are entering not only a system of three chambers, but also a multi-departmental system of government, and we believe that we are entitled to know the cost, and we shall continue to probe that. We expect the hon the Minister to be less shy on this matter than the hon the Minister of Finance.
Leaving the matter of detail aside, I believe that there are three gaping holes, three major voids—I am talking conceptionally— in the whole constitutional future of South Africa. These holes, as we see them, are so large that unless they are plugged, the whole new system could collapse in due course.
The first of these three gaping holes is the whole question of second-tier and third-tier government, of provincial and regional government and local government. We have no inkling of what this is about and the House does not have any inkling either. The PFP does not consider local government incidental to any constitutional scheme. This party considers local government to be one of the cornerstones on which sound regional and national government structures should be built. That is the basis—it does not come down from above, but it comes up from down below.
It is at local government level that democracy is nurtured and future leaders are trained. It is at local government level where local communities have some say on how their people are going to live. The hon the Minister will tell us that his new Council for Co-ordination of Local Government Affairs has been hard at work, and we accept that, but that is not good enough. The fact is that with six weeks to go before the end of this session of Parliament and less than four months before the constitution is brought into effect, local government is no more than a gaping hole in the new constitutional plan. No one knows what form of local government there is going to be for Coloureds for Indians or for Whites. No one knows under what laws or ordinances they are going to operate. No one knows what the boundaries of local governments are going to be or what their authorities are going to be or how they are going to be staffed or, most important of all, how they are going to be financed. If this applies to local Government, what about our second-tier government, our traditional provincial system of government in the Republic? Are the provincial administrations going to disappear, or are they going to continue for Whites with nothing for Coloureds and Indians? Furthermore, when are the provincial councillors and the thousands of men and women who work in the various provincial administrations going to know what their future is going to be? When are they going to know for which department they are going to work? Sir, we believe it is time that the Minister should take this House and the public into his confidence, and tell us what the Government’s plans are for what we regard as a critical tier of government.
The second gaping hole in the whole Government’s concept is something which we have already mentioned before. It is not new and it is going to be mentioned again. That is the omission of Blacks outside the homelands from any say in second-tier government and the total omission of all South African Blacks from any say in the central government structure. We are approaching a new constitutional deal but for what is perhaps the most critically important area of government for the future the Government has no plans. It will not tell the public what it has in mind. Well, Sir, if this gap is not plugged, and plugged quickly, it could bring the whole system to a grinding halt. In a strange way the very inclusion of Coloureds and Indians and the simultaneously exclusion of Blacks is going to intensify the pressure for a solution to the question of Black political rights. It is not as if the Government does not realize that something should be done in this field. It has received the message, the message that something has to be done, and the hon the Minister will tell us how this has been recognized by the fact that the Government appointed a special Cabinet committee under his chairmanship in January last year. Well, we would like to know what progress has been made. Let me in this connection read from the department’s annual report. It says:
We would like to know with whom there have been negotiations and what progress have been made in the year and a half since the committee was appointed. The report says further:
Sir, take note of the words “… should be considered with an open mind and with a new vision”, because in the next sentence it says:
Does that suggest an open mind? Does that suggest a new vision? The Government has stated time and time again, and the Minister should come clean on it if there has been a change, that it is fundamental to its thinking that Blacks should not share in the same constitutional structures as Coloureds, Indians and Whites. That has been fundamental with every Nationalist Prime Minister and with the NP up till today. As against that we say that as long as this remains a principle of the Government, that Blacks cannot share the same constitutional structures as Coloureds, Indians and Whites, then our peace, our progress, our prosperity and the survival of our very constitution is at risk. Until the Government removes this fatal flaw from its thinking and find some way for us to discuss the way in which it should be done, of bringing Black South Africans into some form of shared constitutional system in South Africa, the Government will never resolve the constitutional dilemma of South Africa. If the Government continues on its present declared path of totally excluding Blacks from shared constitutional structures, it will not even be able to give effect to its own declared intentions.
The report says that everyone individually in a group context should have an effective say, but how can one have an effective say when you are excluded from the decision-making process? It makes nonsense of the Government’s intention. It further says that domination should be eliminated, but how can one protect oneself against domination when one has no political power? How can co-operation on common interests, another Government’s aim, be achieved if they deny one the forum to negotiate on matters of common interest? They talk of order and stability. But how can one have order and stability in the future South Africa if we have a constitutional system which is based on apartheid and discrimination? The exclusion of Blacks is apartheid and is discrimination, and we won’t have order and stability as long as that persists. They say further that we should have consultation and negotiation, but negotiation is only meaningful when it takes place between people of equal status and when they can look one another in the eye. But to talk about consultation while we have all the power and while the other people must come and listen to us, is not negotiation which is going to be of any value for South Africa. So I hope that the hon the Minister is going to use this debate and announce that the cabinet committee is not limited by these preconceived attitudes of the National Party but that it can indeed examine a shared political structure. If it can, we can all make a contribution, including the Blacks. If on the other hand it does not permit the concept of shared political structure, I am afraid the constitution will be the source of problems rather than the solution of problems in South Africa.
The third gaping hole to which I want to refer does not relate to a structure, but to the operation of the new system. This relates to the whole question of the new system and its ability to accommodate or promote change and reform as well as the reform process which can take place under the new system, the scope, pace and nature of the reform. Any new constitution will only survive to the extent in which it responds to the pressure within a society. Its survival depends on how it meets the needs of the people in the social, economic and political fields and how the constitution and its structures affect the standard of living and the quality of life of these people. The hon the Minister has, in his own way, come close to agreement with me on this. In the report of this department it is said:
Therefore, this mutilated constitutional structure that we are going to have, with all its gaps and its voids, should be seen against the process of urbanization, of the intention of including Coloureds and Indians in decision-making and the increased politicization of blacks because of their exclusion. It will not ease the pressure on the Government, the pressure on if for reform, but will in fact intensify the pressure on the people in power in South Africa to bring about reform.
Order and stability will be maintained in South Africa only if we can make social, economic and political changes much more fundamental than those which the Government appears to contemplate at this stage. Did the hon the Minister in charge of this Vote listen to the Budget Speech of the hon the Minister of Finance? Was that a Budget Speech on behalf of a Government that showed any real appreciation for the implications in socio-economic or political terms of the force which is being generated by the reform process in South Africa? No, Sir, it was almost a laissez-faire policy statement in economic terms of a Government which sees only the small problems today with no real planning for the future.
The yawning gap between the implications of the momentum, the pressures for reform which has been generated, and the limited thinking of the Government on what reforms are necessary and what changes it is willing to bring about, can not be illustrated more dramatically than in an article which appeared in Rapport of Last Sunday. Rapport does an in-depth and objective study from a newspaper point of view into the “knelpunte”, the problems, and what the key issues are regarding race discrimination. Apart from a general comment that although there was division amongst Coloureds all of them said that we should get rid of discrimination, it identified 8 points where it says: “Hier lê die knoop”, and I quote:
They are not referring to pressures of the future, but to “knelpunte” of today.
*What are these bottlenecks? The first is population registration. This is basic to the Government’s whole constitutional approach. The second is section 16 of the Immorality Act and also the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act. The Government wants this legislation changed, but it is still Government policy that this legislation should remain on the Statute Book. Another bottleneck is territorial separation. This is basic to the whole relations policy of the NP Government. A further bottleneck is influx control. Five years after the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Developement declared war on the “dompas”, and four years after he announced his new deal, we still do not have the necessary legislation. We are back where we were 10, 15 or 20 years ago. This is the record of the Government. A fifth bottleneck is political rights. Absolutely no action has been taken in this regard to grant meaningful political rights to Black South Africans. Another bottleneck is inequality in education. In this case the Government did accept the principle of the removal of inequality, provided there was apartheid, but what progress has been made with the elimination of inequality in education? A final bottleneck is separate amenities. This remains a thorny problem for the Government.
Each of the eight bottlenecks identified by Rapport is basic to the policy of the Government and many of them are fundamental to the constitutional dispensation the Government advocates.
†If the Government cannot even remove these obstacles—because they are nothing but obstacles—how in heaven’s name is it going to deal with the socio-economic demands of the future in terms of housing, job opportunities and a more equitable share of resources which are going to arise in South Africa when these “knelpunte” are removed? Whether the Government likes it or not the pressure of this society is going to demand that they go.
The Government has opened the door to constitutional reform, but it will have to be a darned sight more determined. It will have to much more imagination and courage and it will have to move much faster if, through the new instrument which is being created— despite its glaring defects which I have tried to identify— it is going to be able to contain the pressures and meet the expectations which are going to be generated by the gathering momentum for change in South Africa.
Mr Chairman, before reacting to a few of the standpoints adopted by the hon member for Sea Point, I should like to pay tribute to a few persons who have done an enormous amount to usher in this new dispensation, which is virtually a new era, in the constitutional development of South Africa.
In the first place, I want to pay tribute to the hon the Prime Minister. He was chairman of the Cabinet Committee which gave attention to the preparation of a broad concept in the mid-seventies. Subsequently, further refinements were introduced during his leadership. He played a crucial role in formulating this new direction. Since this new concept is due to be finally implemented in about 100 days from now, we should like to congratulate him wholeheartedly on the work he has done. We also wish him every success in the overseas trip which he is soon to undertake in order to promote South Africa’s interests in foreign countries as well.
Secondly, I should like to pay tribute to the hon the Minister of Constitutional Developement and Planning. He has performed an enormous task and has worked indefatigably to bring about this new dispensation. He also showed great diplomacy in his discussions and negotiations with Whites, Coloureds and Indians, and with many authorities as well. Many nights and many hours’ overtime were devoted to this task and an enormous amount of trouble was taken. He did not spare himself. We must record our sincere appreciation for what he did to enable this new dispensation to become a reality.
Furthermore, we cannot allow this occasion to pass without paying tribute to the officials who worked behind the scenes with great enthusiasm, energy and dedication in order to work out the practical details. I am referring, among other things, to Dr Du Plessis, who has now been appointed a member of the Commission for Administration, and I should like to congratulate him on his new appointment and also on the work which he did with Dr I G Rautenbach, Mr Rassie Malherbe and others. I cannot mention everyone by name, but I should like to pay tribute to the loyal officials of this department and also to those of all other departments who worked many long hours, days, weeks—one could almost say years— to prepare the final concept which will come into operation on 18 September.
†Mr Chairman, I should like to react briefly to the hon member for Sea Point. I must say that I am disappointed. [Interjections.] I am genuinely disappointed. For many people this new dispensation is the dawn of a new day while for some it may feel as though they are riding into the sunset. But however that may be, we are entering a momentous stage in our constitutional development. The hon member for Sea Point, however, cannot see the wood for the trees. He sees gaping holes. He is concerned about the eating facilities. He is concerned about lack of clarity as far as budget proposals are concerned. He is concerned about certain deficiencies in the system. Here we are entering a tremendous new challenge, and the hon member for Sea Point can only see gaping holes. I am tremendously disappointed.
I suppose one cannot see a hole when one is standing in it.
Mr Chairman, I shall resist the temptation to talk about the big hole opposite. [Interjections.]
In the new dispensation which we are now entering upon, we shall participate in decision-making on a basis of co-responsibility and accepting the consequences of co-responsibility. It will involve a broadening of participation in the democratic process; a broadening of the process of responsible decision-making. Now it is no longer a case of standing with outstretched hands and simply making demands and expecting everything to be done for you by others. The opportunity is now being created for greater participation in practical responsibility. This is probably the most important facet of the constitutional system which we are now adopting. It is the development of the politics of responsibility as against the politics of emotion. I do not want to talk about the politics of confrontation. Of course we shall continue to have confrontation in future, but the emphasis should now fall on the acceptance of responsibility; on involving people in responsible decision-making. There will be a transfer of responsibility across a much wider front, therefore. There will be administrative responsibility on a much broader basis.
The hon member for Sea Point referred to the position of local authorities. Naturally, local authorities have an important task to perform in this respect. As a first step, however, we have implemented the joint decision-making process, namely the parliamentary structure. The hon member for Sea Point knows very well that we have not failed to give attention to local authorities, but that there have been lengthy discussions with the United Municipal Executive and with many provincial bodies about adapting the methods of financing and funding local authorities and managerial responsibility. Provision must also be made for a broadening of responsibility at the local government level. An interim stage will have to be brought about in respect of metropolitan administrations.
At the third level, there are provincial governments or provincial or regional administrations which will naturally undergo a change. However, this takes time. Discussions have to be conducted, preparations have to be made and negotiations have to be entered into. We do not want to change everything overnight at this stage. Certain responsibilities are involved. The Government is approaching the matter in a responsible way.
Then there is the level which we are implementing now.
Order! I am afraid that the hon member’s time has expired.
Mr Chairman, I am simply rising to give the hon member an opportunity to complete his speech.
Mr Chairman, I thank the hon Whip for the opportunity he is giving me.
We are now dealing with the parliamentary structure which will take effect on 18 September. The system which will come into operation then will consist of the tricameral Parliament, the Government, ie the Cabinet, and the State President. From the nature of the case, effect will be given at the same time to multilateral co-operation, to multilateral liaison across our borders. We may expect that with this multilateral liaison across our borders, ie with independent Black States which used to form part of South Africa, namely Ciskei, Transkei, Bophuthatswana and Venda, as well as with other states, there will be a permanent secretariat which will be able to bring about co-ordination and liaison between the interests of the individual participating states.
†The hon member for Sea Point said that the Blacks are omitted. Blacks are being omitted from the tricameral parliamentary structure. Let me say quite categorically that I do not believe that we can make provision for a fourth Chamber for the Blacks in this dispensation. I do not believe it will be practical or that it will be possible. However, this does not mean that the Blacks are being omitted from responsible decision-taking. It does not mean that Blacks are being omitted from participation in governmental processes. It does mean that this question is being tackled on another level. In this country we cannot just develop in terms of a single parliamentary structure. We have seen the failure of single parliamentary structures throughout Africa. We cannot centralize power. We must have devolution of power. In Europe, after the first term of office of the European Parliament, even the most optimistic supporters of the idea of European unity would not seriously suggest that a European Parliament of these culturally and economically developed people of Europe could be established to exercise central power over the participating member states. If, then, in a culturally developed Europe, with an economically developed people, such a stage cannot be envisaged, how much less so in South Africa?
I appreciate that hon members of the official Opposition are keen to promote the idea of a single parliamentary structure. It may be federal, but nevertheless it will be a single parliamentary structure for all the people of Southern Africa. In that respect they are very much in line with what the international Western community wishes to impose on South Africa. But fortunately for the international Western community they do not have to face the consequences.
*They do not have to live with the circumstances which may arise. If things go wrong in Zimbabwe, Lord Carrington will not say that he has made a mistake and try to rectify it. He is 9 000 km away from where the problems are being experienced. The Western powers do not see the problems as they are experienced by the local people. How much sympathy does Lord Carrington have today with minority groups such as the Matabele, or with Joshua Nkomo, with the Ibos in Nigeria and with other minority groups in the rest of Africa? He does not care what happens to these people under their constitutional structures, because the people in his country do not personally experience the consequences of those structures. We have to live with the circumstances which may arise. Therefore we cannot, because of the circumstances of Africa, provide for the many different Black groups to be accommodated in a fourth Chamber of a Parliament consisting of four Chambers. However, the Blacks are being involved in a decision-making process by means of which those things which are of material importance to them can receive attention. They are being involved in the process of further development. Naturally, more and more structures have to be created for liaison, consultation and co-operation.
†Constitutional development programmes cannot solve all the problems of divergent ethnic societies because the success of human relations is also determined by economic, social and cultural circumstances and sometimes even by religious circumstances. What we have learnt in the multi-national society of Southern Africa is that greater understanding and harmony can be achieved when all the peoples of this society are given an opportunity to participate meaningfully in decision-making on matters affecting their lives. That does not mean that each group in a multi-faceted society must of necessity have the ultimate say over affairs affacting their lives. Neither Britain nor France nor Germany, neither Israel nor South Africa nor Zimbabwe nor Mozambique, is in a position to take ultimate decisions over all matters affecting its interests if such interests are intertwined with those of other societies. We live in a society in which there must be give and take, a society in which interdependence to a greater or lesser extent is a fact of life. As this is true in the rest of the world, so it is also true in the multi-national society of Southern Africa. In so far as the needs and interests of the Coloureds and Indians must be accommodated, as also those of the various Black communities in South Africa, it must be accepted that there can be no acceptable solution which does not also provide for security and for the interests, standards and norms of the White society in this country.
International experts might have hailed the Lancaster House model as an acceptable constitutional solution for a multiracial country with a developed White minority and a lesser developed Black majority. It has, however, not worked out. We have heard of numerous calls by overseas politicians who tried to impress others with their high sounding political moralizing; an apparent attempt to provide evidence of their rejection of racialism. These people, however, as I have indicated, do not have to live with the consequences; not only the consequences for the White minority but also the consequences for the so-called dissidents amongst the Black people.
We have political idealists in this country, who try to impress the international society with their so-called liberal policies. We also have those who seek refuge in a sort of isolation. I believe that the way in which the Government is tackling the question of constitutional reform offers the better chance of success. It is not a perfect solution. It is not a path of roses but it is a genuine effort to be fair and just. It is an effort that seeks to broaden the base of responsible decision-taking. At the same time, however, it seeks to retain stability, to maintain social, political, economic and traditional norms and values. It is not the end of the road but it is a step in the direction of greater consultation, of extending responsibilities, but clearly not on the basis of establishing a single structure government.
After experiments witnessed by us in other parts of the world we know that we cannot follow that path.
*Mr Chairman, I now wish to voice a few brief thoughts in connection with local authorities. Since attention is now being given to possible new structures in local authorities, I want to argue that local authorities should be involved in the political structure on a basis of greater responsibility; that party political participation should therefore be introduced in local authorities, not for the sake of emotional politics, but for the sake of the responsibility brought about by joint decision-making, which is linked to an ordered structure. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I request the privilege of the second half hour.
We stand on the threshold of the introduction of the new constitutional dispensation, and I contend here and now that it will not be the end of renewal. This new constitutional dispensation envisages the accomplishment of renewal in the constitutional dispensation in South Africa. It will not be the end of the renewal. The hon member for Klip River has just said that it is not perfect; that it has many defects. In that respect I agree with him. It certainly is not perfect, and it contains many defects. We have accordingly pointed out those defects, as they occurred in the draft constitution we had before us. It cannot be the last word with regard to the demand of self-determination, unless we are going to water down the whole concept of self-determination until it becomes virtually meaningless. Unless we do that we cannot claim that this new constitution is going to guarantee self-determination to the various groups.
To begin with I may point out that it deprives the Whites of the meaningful self-determination they have enjoyed thus far. The Whites had it in the structure of a sovereign Parliament. This is now being taken away. There is no one who can contend that this House of Assembly will retain the same sovereign power in the future. This is now being taken away in terms of the new constitution, while significant self-determination is not being given to the two other groups that are being brought in here.
I contend that as long as there is a Coloured community and even an Indian community, the striving towards full self-determination will continue because in this new dispensation full self-determination will not be obtained. In terms of a veto built into that new system the coloureds and the Indians are being forced into a permanent minority situation for as long as their numbers remain what they are at present.
Moreover, I contend that as long as there is a living White community which loves its freedom and its self-determination, this constitution will remain a thorn in its flesh. I want to add that as long as this constitutional dispensation continues there will also be a task for, and a reason for the existence of, a party like the CP. What I mean by that is that this party will not be reduced to irrelevance. Indeed, this party’s relevance will increase to the extent that the implications of the new constitutional dispensation as regards the self-determination of the Whites and of the non-White groups, become evident. [Interjections.]
True to the standpoint of the PFP, the hon member for Sea Point made a plea for the inclusion of the Blacks in one Parliament. There is a certain logic in that, and that is that if one includes Indians in one system together with Whites there is no reason why Blacks should be excluded. We should put it the other way round and say that if one excludes Blacks there is no reason to include Coloureds and Indians.
Not the Coloureds either?
No, we say that Coloureds must not be included in this way. They must have their own system.
Since the hon member for Klip River referred to confrontation politics I should like to draw attention to a few statements which I think this committee should take cognizance of, because I think that they have implications for the politics of the future, and even under the new dispensation. From what I have observed, I want to say that blackmail in the political debate is a really serious issue at the moment. I want to refer to the leader of the Volksparty who appeared on television last night, and to his reference to a term of three years within which certain things would have to happen. I also want to refer to various statements by the Rev Hendrickse. He has said on occasion—and he is on record as far as this is concerned—that he gives the system five years, and that if all discrimination—that is to say, all separate development—has not been abolished within that time then they will withdraw from the system. He is also on record as having said on a different occasion that if the President’s Council were to take a decision in the new dispensation which was in conflict with the standpoint of the Labour Party, they would destroy the President’s Council. This is fighting talk, and in my opinion it points to a form of confrontation politics that we can expect in future. [Interjections.]
I am on record as having asked whether these people who are so quick to speak about Black insurrection and Black extremism take into account the fact that one can also encounter White insurrection. I said in the same breath at Nylstroom that we reject and condemn it, and I say it again this afternoon. [Interjections.] We can speak about the Skilpad Hall if hon members wish, but I think that those hon members are jealous of the enthusiasm shown there. [Interjections.]
Order! Hon members must afford the hon member for Waterberg the opportunity to continue with his speech undisturbed.
Mr Chairman, it does not trouble me at all if hon members speak about the Skilpad Hall. It is such a fine emblem, and in any event the tortoise won the race. We, too, are winning.
As far as the threats of confrontation are concerned, I want to make the statement that any group can threaten confrontation if its demands are not complied with. It can do so, but what are the demands that are being set? Are they the right and the opportunity to run one’s own affairs, to exercise the maximum political self-determination in respect of oneself? I think that that is a universally acknowledged right. People have made great sacrifices for it and have even taken up arms for that right of people to govern themselves. Here, however, it is confrontation if the Whites do not capitulate and agree to forfeit every right they have. That makes a very big difference.
I want to refer to another case, viz a statement by Dr Motlana. He is quoted as having said at the University of the Witwatersrand:
He said this to 600 students:
To me it is very clear that Dr Motlana’s democracy—and I think we must take cognizance of such statements—entails a multiracial system for the entire Republic of South Africa with a Black majority government. I do not think there is any doubt in that regard. Secondly, I want to say that what he is putting across is not a democracy, but Black domination or Black imperialism, and we find it objectionable. Moreover I want to say that he has no appreciation whatsoever for Black political structures for the various ethnic groups, and what is more he does not accept White political rights separated from Black political rights. Against that background I just want to say that we find the statements by Dr Motlana unacceptable and objectionable.
I want to refer to a statement made by the Chief Minister of Lebowa a few days ago. I refer to a report in the Rand Daily Mail of 19 May:
It is not clear to me precisely whom he is threatening. Is he threatening the CP supporters, or is he threatening the supporters of the NP by saying: Just vote for the CP and I will show you? The report goes on:
I do not know whether I should count him as a supporter; I think he would like to give his support to the NP. The report goes on:
I do not know whether this was meant for audiences other than this one, but at first glance it seems as if Dr Phatudi wants the NP to be supported. If that is a friend, then preserve us from our friends, I must say.
Why does Dr Phatudi not accept independence? That is a question we could ask. Does he have his eye on the rest of South Africa apart from Lebowa? That is a question we want to put to him. If he does not get what he wishes in that regard, then the question is: Does the same threat apply to them, too? Today he is threatening the CP; tomorrow he will threaten the Government and the NP.
We say that Lebowa must be encouraged to take independence. We speak about their constitutional development. Lebowa must be encouraged to take independence and if that is the constant endeavour of the NP then we support them in that regard.
We also say that if a Black people does not wish to accept independence, it does not thereby acquire the right to rule over Whites together with Whites. That is our standpoint. I believe that that is also the standpoint of the Government, and if that is so then I think that Dr Phatudi must be informed accordingly, even if it be by way of repetition.
I should like to refer to another leader of the Black people. This also has to do with constitutional development. I want to refer to Chief Buthelezi who has, on various occasions, spoken out strongly. This statement dates from a few years ago when he said:
Another statement be made reads as follows:
That was written about 4 to 5 years ago in the book Power is ours. Another statement he made was:
What are you trying to prove?
I want to say to the hon member for Maitland that I think that these are statements that we must take cognizance of in our deliberations on our constitutional future. Here is a fellow player on the stage of the constitutional development of South Africa. This is a person who conducts dialogue with the Government. This is a person who makes certain claims and certain statements. In my opinion we are not going to take cognizance of them; I think it is also time for certain of the statements to be put into perspective and also rectified, if not contradicted or repudiated. That is why I mention it. What does this Black leader want? It is notable that he plays with the word “revolution”, and I contend that that is a dangerous game. There are even certain people of the church who use the word “revolution” in such a way that as to intimate that although they are not in favour of it, if certain things do not happen in South Africa people could not take it amiss of them if they were to advocate a revolution.
Secondly he thinks in terms of a unitary state. Initially according to a certain statement, to begin with he only wanted Natal. His claim is that Natal is for the Zulus. Later he said that he initially wanted a Zulu state as part of a federal multinational state of South Africa. He went on to say that this was only an interim measure and I quote:
I quote him because he is an influential Black leader on the South African constitutional stage.
There ought to be no doubt as to our standpoint. Firstly, we recognize Chief Buthelezi’s leadership of his own people. Secondly, we recognize his people’s rightful claim to govern themselves. Thirdly, we endorse his view that a Black people ought not to be divided and separated into homeland Zulus and urban Zulus, as if they are two Zulu peoples. Fourthly, we recognize the right of his people to a territory of their own, but we do not recognize his claim to the whole of Natal, still less the whole of South Africa. We reject any endeavour to achieve a multiracial unitary state with a Black majority government, such as he has in mind.
Another statement I want to make is that the citizens of national states living in the RSA must have a channel of political expression. There is no sense in contending that because those people live outside the Black states they have an inferior claim to political expression. However, such a channel cannot consist of the administrations and political structures of the Whites. The preservation of own structures and government for the Whites is not negotiable as far as we are concerned, and I believe that it is not negotiable as far as the Government is concerned either.
I now wish to refer to the political rights of Blacks outside the national states. There have been various statements, and the hon member for Klip River repeated one of them this afternoon, viz that there will be no fourth, ninth or tenth Black Chamber. Another statement is that the Blacks are not being excluded from the new constitution, but that they are simply not addressed by it! I am not so sure what that means. Another statement is that they will acquire a say in a confederal context.
There are a few inferences we can draw from this, and hon members can tell us whether our inferences are correct. The Black people outside the national states living in the RSA have not become part of the more specifically White social cultural circles. There are certain communal cultural activities—a culture is very broad—that involve both Black people and Whites, but there are also narrower cultural activities which are characteristic of specific ethnic, language and cultural communities. We say that the Black people outside the national states have not become part of the social, and narrower cultural, circles of the Whites.
Secondly, we infer that those Black people have not become part of the body politic of the Whites. Moreover they are deemed to be linked, politically and on a cultural-ethnic basis, to specific peoples who have their own territories and their own Governments. If, then, they gain a say in a confederal context—that is the expression used—the assumption is that they remain citizens of independent states. In other words, their say is not mediated by the political and government structure of the RSA, that is to say, of the Whites, but is linked to a national state of their own. A confederation—if we agree on the definition—is a loose association of independent states. Therefore, if he is to obtain a say in the confederal context then it must be via the channels of some independent state which confers at that level. That means that a say is exercised by way of representatives of foreign affairs—to mention an example—vis-à-vis their opposite numbers in the Republic of the sovereign RSA, but that there is no sovereign supreme confederal Parliament or supreme confederal Government in which the so-called urban Blacks will be represented as a separate political entity.
In conclusion, if we accept that, then there are certain statements which are confusing. The one is that the Whites can no longer govern the country alone. We say: Well and good, but what is meant thereby? The motivation for this statement is the following: There are certain commodities and services that have to be provided for everyone, and everyone who shares those commodities must speak together and decide together. If that is so then one very practical question is: What is the position of the Blacks in the Western Cape? What, then, is the position of the 229 000 Black people in the Cape Peninsula, plus the increase in Khayelitsha, who are going to use the same electricity, water, roads, means of transport etc? If those people are to be involved in joint decision-making because the Whites cannot govern the country alone, then that kind of statement opens the way to expectations which, in my opinion, cannot be satisfied.
Then, too, there is the acceptance of the permanence of Black people in White areas. What is the implication of that statement? It is that the Black people are here permanently. Does this imply the expansion of Black residential areas ad infinitum? Does this mean that 17 Soweto’s can be built in White areas by the year 2000? Does this mean an increase in the number of Black people, without further ado? How, then, does one answer the question relating to the political expression of those people? How does one politically accommodate, in terms of the policy of separate development, a growing number of Black people to whom permanence is granted within the White areas?
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Waterberg devoted a large part of his speech to a one-sided discussion with certain Black leaders. I suggest that he try to get himself a turn to speak in the various legislative assemblies of the relevant Black leaders so that he can conduct a more meaningful discussion there. [Interjections.]
This debate is taking place on the eve of a new constitutional dispensation in South Africa coming into effect. It therefore bears the stamp, as it were, of the new constitutional dispensation. I therefore want to confine myself to a few remarks about the new dispensation. The new constitution, Act 110 of 1983, contains the legal framework of the new dispensation. The people of South Africa, however, are the flesh and blood of the new dispensation. It is their attitudes, more than anything else, which are going to determine the success or failure of that dispensation. The constitutional objective of democracy is to allow all people to participate in the decision-making process involving those things affecting their lives and their living conditions. The only viable and workable way of achieving this objective, as far as the Whites, the Coloureds and the Indians in South Africa are concerned, is by way of the course we shall soon be adopting. There is no viable or workable alternative. As far as the viability of the new dispensation is concerned, on 2 November 1983 the White electorate unequivocally expressed its opinion, in spite of the hon member for Germiston District now saying that the people did not know what they were voting for.
What did the hon member for Soutpansberg say?
The hon member for Germiston District also said it. If her voters did not know what they were voting for, it could only be because she neglected her duty, which was to have had them properly informed.
The Coloureds and the Indians will undoubtedly, before very long, also be making a positive statement on their method of participation in the decision-making process involving matters affecting their lives and their living conditions. Years of investigations, consultations, consideration of alternatives and ordinary common sense have indicated that there is no workable alternative either. This is confirmed by the dire consequences of alternative methods adopted elsewhere. [Interjections.] If, however, in entering upon the new dispensation, our attitude were to be that we did not like it, but had to accept it simply because we did not have a viable or workable alternative, it would not succeed. We must enter upon the new dispensation with an awareness of the potential problems inherent in it; aware of the challenges it is going to present to each and every one of us and the responsibilities it is going to impose on us. We must, however, also enter upon the new dispensation with an awareness of, and enthusiasm for, the unparalleled opportunities this is going to present for structuring a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous South Africa, in the interests of all its people.
A prerequisite for the success of the new dispensation is that we all look for those things on which we agree with each other, those things which unite us—and truly there are enough of them—rather than those things on which we disagree, those things which divide us. The new dispensation does not, in any way, presuppose eradicating or wiping out the dividing lines between the various population groups, because if one destroys one’s power-base amongst one’s own people, one is surely also destroying one’s ability to negotiate with others. The new dispensation does, however, presuppose that in the fence-lines demarcating the various population groups gates will be set to facilitate contact and discussion with one another. [Interjections.]
As far as procedures are concerned, it goes without saying that in the new dispensation we cannot continue in the same fashion, adopting the same style we have been adopting at present. If the emphasis were continually to be placed on the number of votes obtained, with one everywhere seeking to maintain a built-in majority, there would repeatedly be the irresistible temptation simply to have one’s own interests or standpoints prevail with the aid of that built-in majority. What that would amount to, however, would be a negation of the premise of consensus, thus seriously endangering the success of the new dispensation. Unless we adopt a visionary approach and get the structure right, we shall for ever be coming up against incidents that we shall have to respond to. That would, of necessity, create a great deal of tension. The powers and authority of the various bodies of the three relevant population groups must be the same at all levels of government. It is specifically because this was not the case that the CRC could not succeed. If any of these Coloured or Indian bodies at any level of government were to have lesser powers or authority than those of the Whites, it goes without saying that they would endeavour to infiltrate White bodies, take them over or neutralize them, which would inevitably lead to tension again, with the new dispensation subjected to serious levels of tension.
Franchise at local government level cannot merely be based on residence within the area of jurisdiction of a specific local authority. Municipal franchise will therefore also have to be subject to requirements other than those of parliamentary franchise. When all is said and done, no constitutional dispensation in South Africa can be regarded as being lasting, successful or satisfactory if it does not, in some or other way, also make provision for the Black man’s reasonable political aspirations. This does not mean, however, that provision should not be made for the Black man’s reasonable political aspirations in exactly the same way, and within the same structure, as that for the Whites, the Coloureds and the Indians. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I want to react briefly to what the hon member for Mossel Bay said. To some extent I agree with him that Blacks need not necessarily have precisely the same systems as other race groups. This is part of a process, and I shall return to that later in my speech. This also fits in with what I want to say briefly to the hon member for Waterberg, the leader of the CP.
The hon member placed particular emphasis on remarks by some Black leaders. I can still remember the little rhyme from my childhood: “Sticks and stones will hurt my bones; words, they cannot harm me.” The hon member placed a great deal of emphasis on these remarks and it was clear that they had made an impression on him. Does he not realize that every politician speaks to his own constituency? I have heard remarks by members of various parties which are equally wild and unrealistic. I have heard such remarks too from platforms on which the hon member himself was sitting and which would really hurt people. There were remarks about digging up arms, about fighting … [Interjections.] If we regard everything we hear as characteristic of politics, we shall get nowhere. I want to ask the hon the leader of the CP whether he has personally spoken to the various leaders.
With some of them, yes.
The constitutional consultative committee of the NRP and myself have also held discussions with the sort of people to whom he referred over the past three years and the discussions we held, proved that the average Black leader was no revolutionary. They do not seek bloodshed. They do not seek confrontation. They are looking for solutions.
Order! The hon member for Greytown has made a great many interjections this afternoon. I request the hon member’s co-operation. He must afford the hon member for Durban Point the opportunity to make his speech.
We believe that the solutions can only be found by consultation, co-operation and agreement or consensus round a table. If we were to take cognizance of irresponsible remarks from public platforms, of the attitude of individuals or the exploitation of the emotions of the Black people by individuals, and made that our criterion whereby to determine our future, there would be no hope for us. We must get together around a table. And that is what I want to discuss with the hon the Minister. Around a table, solutions can be found. I urge the hon member for Waterberg to follow the example of the consultative committee of the NRP which, during this session, spoke to the representatives of five or six Black local authorities and heard their views. That is how one learns what people think, what their aspirations are and what the possibility of solutions is. I believe that solutions can indeed be found.
†I want to turn to the departmental budget itself, which is actually the issue before us. Looking at it, we see that in fact the largest amount of money is allocated under this Vote, namely R4,5 billion, which is more than is being allocated under Finance, including the Public Debt Commissioners and all the rest, and which is nearly R1 billion more than is being allocated for Defence. This Vote also covers a very wide diversity of responsibilities—constitutional, social, economic, scientific and statistical—with vital emphasis on planning. Because planning is so important, it is a matter for concern that there are such serious shortages in professional staff in his department. It is serious not only for planning but also because it places a tremendous burden on the key specialists who are doing the job. An example of this was the new constitution dealt with last year. A handful of officials worked day and night and worked themselves into the ground to deal with the issues that arose in the select committee and during the parliamentary debate. I believe the Government should give special attention to ensuring that it has the staff, and particularly the professional staff, necessary for the planning task for which it is responsible.
Vital as planning is, the ultimate test is, of course, its implementation and the results that are achieved. My first request to the hon the Minister is that this afternoon he must give us an outline or a report-back, if one wants to put it that way, not just of the planning that has been done—we can read about that in the report and we know about it—but also of the implementation of those plans, how they are being implemented, what progress has been made and whether any positive results are flowing from the plans yet. I am talking about the planning functions of the department. If we look at the constitutional objectives of the department the following is important to note, and I refer to page 1 of the department’s latest annual report. In connection with the new constitutional dispensation the following is stated in the Introduction to the report:
One of the responsibilities of this hon Minister is to act as chairman of the special Cabinet committee which is dealing with the constitutional future of non-homeland Blacks. During the discussion on the Vote of the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development, as well as that of the hon the Prime Minister, I tried to get the real picture. Therefore I ask this hon Minister, who is the chairman of that committee, to tell us now with whom they have consulted, what form of consultation has been conducted, and what method or mechanism has been used. I want to know this because I am convinced that the hon the Minister will still have to introduce some machinery by way of which the actual groundwork of talking with people can be done. I will be satisfied if the hon the Minister can tell me that that committee has been consulting with leaders. He should also tell us who those leaders are; preferably he should mention their names. We want to know who the Black leaders are with whom either the full committee or members of the committee have actually talked. I am not referring now merely to negotiations with officials in the day to day administration of the Department of Co-operation and Development but to consultation in the real sense of the word. How far has that consultation gone? How has it been conducted? With whom have they been talking? What groups and what leaders have been consulted, and what has been the initial response to the consultation on the ultimate provision of a constitutional future for the Blacks, and particularly the non-homeland Blacks?
Order! I regret to interrupt the hon member but his time is expired.
Mr Chairman, I rise merely to afford the hon member the opportunity to complete his speech.
Mr Chairman, I thank the hon Whip. Mr Chairman, I now come to a completely different type of criticism in a field of consultations. In respect of Blacks I said South Africa is not moving fast enough. I also questioned whether there has been proper consultation. In respect of this other field of inquiry, these other investigations, I feel just the opposite. That is in regard to the question of local government and regional government.
We know that the provincial councils are there for the rest of their present term. I should therefore like to know why the hon the Minister has set such early deadlines for the committees which are investigating local and regional government to report.
But in all fairness, I have been accused by the hon member for Sea Point that I do not announce the steps in connection with local government.
Mr Chairman, I would not take too much notice of what the Progs say. I am interested in seeing that whatever emerges is the best possible system, is an agreed system, is an acceptable system, accomplished by way of the maximum degree of consensus. I totally disagree with the hon member for Sea Point when he states that the Government now has to spell out what its plans are. The Government is committed to consult. Those consultations have been taking place, and I …
How do you want to consult without anything to put before the people?
Mr Chairman, has the hon member for Yeoville never read the relevant reports by the President’s Council? [Interjections.] There are a dozen things that have already been put before the people. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, be it as it may, I am not going to allow the hon member for Yeoville to divert me any further. My feeling is that the hon the Minister has set too hasty a deadline, because the discussions, I believe, were producing excellent results. However, as I understand the position, it has been too hurried. There are also ominous signs that precisely what the hon member for Sea Point is asking for has in fact happened and that the Government has in fact taken certain decisions. The Government knows what it wants and it is already acting in anticipation of certain of the recommendations that are going to be made to it in terms of other legislation along lines which the Government has already set out as part of its own solution.
Will the hon member give me some specific examples?
Yes. It seems clear that the Government is planning the elimination of provincial councils, something that has not yet been decided. There are also signs of this in local government. I want to ask the hon the minister to give us a report today so as to satisfy us that this whole matter is not in fact being rushed but that maximum consultation will take place.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Durban Point said quite a lot of things this afternoon with which we on this side of the House are in full agreement. We want to thank him for his exceptionally positive attitude in connection with the impending new dispensation.
After the announcement by the hon the Minister this afternoon of the date for the implementation of the new constitution, we now know that the new dispensation is just around the comer. We are on the threshold of an extremely interesting new political era in which the politics of conflict or confrontation, as we have known it up to now, will increasingly have to make way for the politics of consensus or unanimity. I paged through a few major reference books and came across the following significant interpretation of the Afrikaans word “konsensus”. Kotzé and Van Wyk, in their book Basiese Konsepte in die Politiek, have the following to say:
I also read the following definition of consensus in A Dictionary of the Social Sciences:
Both amount to the same thing. Consensus means unanimity. The key in the new dispensation is going to be consensus or unanimity. This is consensus which will flow from open-hearted communication, meaningful negotiations and responsible co-operation.
Do you think it is possible?
I want to tell the hon member for Kuruman that it is going to be possible for people like hon members on this side of the House, but not for people like those who are members of his party. [Interjections.] In a heterogeneous country like South Africa the conflict style is obsolete because it merely leads to escalating conflict. Therefore a different style is necessary for South Africa. We need a new approach for South Africa.
The model for a country like South Africa, a country which is multiracial and which has various groups, as South Africa does, is undoubtedly government by consensus. In our country the need exists to bridge the gulfs separating people and communities, and to eliminate the existing conflict by means of consultation and co-operation. This can only be achieved by means of consensus. [Interjections.] There are people in the CP like the hon member for Kuruman who say that consensus cannot work. [Interjections.] I want to tell the hon member that consensus can work, but there are certain requirements that have to be complied with. I want to tell the hon member what those requirements are. In the first place there must be an honest and objective approach. In the second place we must have a strong will to succeed. If we display a lack of faith, as the hon members in that party do, we cannot succeed; our efforts are then doomed to failure. In the third place we, as the parties participating in that consensus, will have to accept one another as we are.
If the participating parties do not accept one another’s human dignity, if we do not accept one another’s bona fides, we can discard this plan; then it cannot succeed. If we do not respect one another’s identities, language, religion and morals, for example if we quarrel continuously with the Indians for adhering to Hinduism, then we cannot succeed. That is in fact what the hon members of the CP are already doing.
The participating groups in the new dispensation will have to accept that they are dependent upon one another. The co-operation of all participating groups will be necessary in order to ensure that decisions are taken. They will have to display a willingness to arrive at a compromise on matters, even the most contentious of matters. To arrive at a compromise there will have to be effective communication between the participating parties. [Interjections.] There will have to be frank dialogue. Matters will have to be thrashed out.
There are critics who say that this kind of decision-making is too lengthy a process; it does not get to a point; one does not arrive at decisions. That was in fact what the hon member over there wanted to imply. It can be a long process, but it is a process resulting in well-discussed, firm decisions because everyone is happy and satisfied afterwards. Consequently, it is worth while adopting this process.
What is more: The politics of consensus is going to require a specific level of sophistication and responsibility. This will apply particularly in respect of the toning-down of claims and demands. The days of wild claims and demands are past, for it will always have to be borne in mind that the other person also has claims. In the new dispensation there is not going to be room for hotheads, of which there are many in the CP, nor for agitators. What we are going to need in the new dispensation is cool heads and warm hearts for one another.
The participating parties will have to display the following attitude: What is best for the community as a whole; what is in the best interests of our country? They will not be able to consider sectional interests only. The person who enters this dispensation only to seek his own interests or the interests of his group, kills consensus politics.
Initially the Whites will have to evince great understanding, patience and goodwill because the Coloureds and the Indians have a specific backlog in respect of the governing of a country. But we must not underestimate the Coloureds and Indians either. In the past we frequently underestimated the contribution these people were able to make.
They can even go and live in Bloemfontein now.
The hon member does not understand what I am saying.
Do you not want them in Bloemfontein?
My experience of the Coloured leaders of the Free State is that they are eager to learn, that they are responsible and that they display a well-balanced attitude, something which is of course characteristic of people from the Free state.
In conclusion I want to say that consensus politics in this country can and will work. This has already been proved in the President’s Council where Whites, Coloureds and Indians, for the first time in the history of our country, are discussing affairs of State around a conference table and arriving at full unanimity. I therefore foresee that once this process is under way, when the three Houses are operating, there will be unanimity.
And what about the Free State?
The hon member seems to have the Free State on the brain. [Interjections.]
Time is running out for the hon member for Rissik in the Free State. He would be well advised to get out.
The work which is being done in the President’s Council is pioneering work. There various groups arrived at consensus, and that augurs well for the new dispensation which we are entering.
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to speak after the hon member for Bloemfontein North.
The Promotion of Local Government Affairs Act was passed in 1983, and provided inter alia, for the establishment of a Council for the Co-ordination of Local Government Affairs; secondly, for the establishment of municipal development boards and, finally, for the promulgation of regulations for the improvement of communication in regard to Indian and Coloured consultative, local affairs and management committees.
While I am referring to this legislation, I should like to ascertain from the Conservative Party whether they are still opposed to this legislation today. I should like to know from the hon member for Pietersburg whether his party is still opposed to this legislation.
We are opposed to mixed government.
I therefore infer that he and his party are still opposed to this legislation.
The hon member for Barberton has confirmed this.
The hon member for Waterberg referred to the statements made by certain people, and I want to refer to two statements made by two hon members of the CP during the debate on the legislation to which I have referred. The first was a statement made by the hon member for Pietersburg, in which he referred, inter alia, to the TMA and to their opposition to integration. I now wish to quote from Hansard, col 10195, of 24 June 1983:
Yes, and what happened then?
The question is who the representative is who was elected in Middelburg.
I come now to what the hon member for Kuruman said in that debate. I want to quote from Hansard, col 9954, of 22 June 1983:
What happened then? The Government asked the White voters. Do the hon members not accept the referendum result?
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon member?
No, unfortunately I do not have time to reply to any questions.
Where are the hon members now? Do they not accept the result of the referendum? They are still opposed to this legislation. That is typical of them, however, they are a lot of boycotters. [Interjections.]
Order! There are too many interjections now.
The Council for the Co-ordination of Local Government Affairs, which began to function on 1 January 1984, does in fact represent a milestone in South African constitutional development. At the first meeting of the council, the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning pointed out that the council offered a direct line of communication in a vertical and a horizontal direction; vertically between central, provincial and local government institutions, and horizontally between the various population groups represented on the council. Engaged as we are in reform on the first level, it is equally obvious that the second and third tiers of government will follow accordingly. It is also the declared standpoint of the Government that the rights and privileges of every sector of the population should be developed, on the local level as well. From this arose the Government’s guidelines that were made known as long ago as 1982.
All facets of the new constitutional dispensation cannot be put into operation simultaneously. As far as local government is concerned, the greatest challenge will lie in the transitional phase, this phase in which authorities are afforded an opportunity of developing into independent and autonomous local governments. In my opinion, one of the greatest challenges facing local authorities has been the availability of community leaders who are prepared to serve as representatives, and also trained staff, since these are prerequisites for a viable local authority. Traditional training methods, such as study at university or technikon, would be too time-consuming; consequently, in-service training will have to be applied to a large extent. By bringing the training as close as possible to the work level it will also, in most cases, keep the costs as low as possible.
Community leaders, particularly those of the Coloureds and Indians, will have to come forward so that their representative bodies can be directly elected by the community. The art of governing will have to be learned by council members. Of fundamental importance in this connection is that every council member and official should realize that he is, in the first place, responsible to the public of his local authority. Self-interest must at all times be subordinated to the interests of the cause. The council member must realize that he must at all times be a maker and not an implementer of policy. This relationship between council member and official is of the utmost importance, the present provincial and municipal associations, as well as the UME, will have to become involved in these training programmes to a greater extent. They are pre-eminently suited to that purpose because they not only have the necessary expertise but, in my province, they also have the necessary short-terms funds.
We are living in exciting times, times in which we can all help build the future of our country. I am convinced that local governments, as in the past, will also play their part.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Newcastle will forgive me if I do not respond to his speech because I intend to deal with a different subject.
I want to start by saying that the announcement which the hon the Minister made right at the beginning of this debate has to some extent introduced the reality of the situation, namely that we are now going to start on a new constitution, be it for better or for worse. May I say to the hon the Minister that our job and our commitment is to make it for better. [Interjections.] That is our function. We have to try to do that. That is what we are obliged to do if we operate within the system, as we do.
I want to remind the hon the Minister that he actually owes me something, which I am going to claim today. I have his marker. He promised me in the Budget debate that he was going to deal with the Government’s economic policy and indicate how certain objectives were going to be reached, but he never got to that in his speech. Then during the hon the Prime Minister’s Vote he said he would deal with it during this Vote. I am calling on that marker. I want to get payment today.
Just see that you are here. I will do it.
I will be here. I will listen with great interest. I look forward with great expectations and I hope my expectations will be realized. I think other people are hoping the same in regard to the constitution.
The basic thing which I am after is the issue of the Government’s economic policy. The reality is that what is happening in South Africa is that phrases such as “capitalism”, “free enterprise” and “free markef” are used almost interchangeably without an appreciation of the actual meaning and without actually-pinning the flag to the mast and saying: That is my policy. I am suggesting to the hon the Minister that he should now state where he actually stands. He should state that we are a mixed economy and that we will remain a mixed economy and also put an end to the talk about reducing the social services which South Africa is presently enjoying. The only way in which the concept of a mixed economy can be put against communism or socialism, is to use the ability of a mixed economy to create wealth in order to provide the social services which communism promises but which it cannot provide because it does not generate the wealth to provide it. The only way we can fight the concept of communism, to fight it not as Russians imperialism but as an economic concept, is if we can actually provide the services.
I speak for myself, although I am sure many hon members in this House feel the same way as I do when I say that we are tremendously upset about the fact that when we talk about equality of education in South Africa we in the same breath hear that people in the Transvaal are saying that in 1986 free education for White children in South Africa is going to come to an end. I cannot accept that, because to me equality of education means bringing the education of the Black, the Indian and the Coloured child up to the level of that of the White child, and not the lowering of the standard of education of the White child in south Africa.
That comes to the crux of what in fact the economic policy in South Africa should be about, namely the generation of growth in order to deal with what I would like to call the instability index. The instability index is the gap between the reasonable aspirations of the people and what is actually achievable and is provided.
Within the means of the country.
That is right. That is why I said “what is achievable and what is provided”. We not only have to be able to achieve it, but we have to have the willingness to provide it. The rulers have to have the willingness to provide it.
A constitution is merely an instrument in order to achieve the happiness and the contentment of the people, their welfare, their belief in freedom and their economic safety. A constitution in itself is meaningless as an instrument if it does not achieve these things. That is why the economic policy issue is so important and that is why the instability index is really the difference between what people want and what they actually get and the stability of the country depends on that. It is the economic policy and the willingness of the people to get to grips with that which is the real issue. That is why I ask that this matter should be dealt with so that we can know where this Government stands.
The constitution is going to succeed or fail, not on the wording of it or on the detail of it as such. It is actually going to succeed or fail, as I see it, on the ability of the people who administer the country to deal with the financial aspects of this constitution. It will depend on their ability to deal with the economic cake of South Africa and how they are going to make that economic cake grow, how they share out the slices, who holds the knife that cuts the slices, who gets the slices and what the size of each slice is going to be. These are the real issues that we must discuss, Sir, and that is why the financial aspect of this constitution is so vital.
Let me ask the hon the Minister some questions which relate to this. Are we for instance going to have collective responsibility in the Cabinet, particularly in so far as the Budget is concerned? If we take people from different Houses and different political parties into the Cabinet, what is going to happen if one of the Cabinet Ministers representing a particular group or party says: “I do not go along with this Budget”? Does he then have to resign? Or can he go to his House and deal with it by saying: “I have an amount for own affairs which I think is utterly unacceptable to me”? Is there going to be collective responsibility? How are we going to deal with it?
Secondly, should we not look at the American system in regard to budgeting? Should we not in fact have a budget committee which considers the Budget before it is introduced in the House, not afterwards, in order to negotiate, to bargain and to deal with it on a true consensus basis between the President on the one hand and the elected representatives of the people on the other? In this way we could actually work out and bargain in a budget committee in the true sense over what is required for the various Houses. I raised the issue of the cake and who is going to cut it, but let me give an example of what could happen in the case of education. As I understand it, the Government is committed to equal quality of education for all. It has accepted that as a result of the De Lange Report. Are we going to give a lump sum to each of the Houses for own affairs so that they will decide how much money they are going to spend on education, pensions, water affairs, etc, or are we going to allocate a certain amount of money for education and tell them to spend it? Are we going to have a budget system where we treat the own affairs as if they are provinces by saying: Here is your money, do with it what you like, or are we actually going to ensure that money is spent for specific purposes and is allocated for those purposes? How is that going to be dealt with?
Are we going to have statutory allocations which are not open to debate each year, or are we every year going to have a debate about who gets what out of the Budget? Are we going to every year find ourselves in the situation where each one of the Houses will try to get as much as they can? Without a budget committee, that task will be an impossible one and we will in fact find the Budget being dealt with by the President’s Council in terms of its conflict resolution powers, unless you have that budget committee and unless you try to get consensus beforehand. These are the things which to my mind are fundamental in respect of the constitution. I would like to see that we deal with these issues and know where we stand before we get into trouble. Once we are in difficulty with relation to these things and further conflict is created, is not the time to solve them. The time to solve them, is before we get into difficulties and to have a formula which prevents conflict in respect of finance which will ensure an equal distribution.
Let me put another point to the hon the Minister. If we deal with the allocation of money for the own affairs of each House, is it going to be on a per capita basis per population, or on what basis is it going to be? How is it going to be negotiated and how will it be dealt with?
All these matters in regard to finance are vital for the success or otherwise of any new constitutional dispensation. When we say that we are in the constitution for better or for worse, if it is going to be for better, we are going to have to face the realities of this financial situation. The realities are than constitutions, politicians and members of Parliament in the various Houses are there to see to it that their constituents get the biggest share of the cake. No MP, of whatever House he belongs to, can go back to his constituents merely with crumbs. He has to go back with a slice of the cake, and a meaningful slice of the cake.
Mr Chairman, one welcomes the very positive response displayed by the hon member for Yeoville in his opening remarks. One knows that he is a person who always has a constructive contribution to make. When he applies himself, he often succeeds in making a positive contribution, and we welcome that.
I want to deal with some of the things he raised. He raised an important leg of this whole debate. I think the important thing about what is happening in this department, is that it has a broad overview of what is going on in our country and has to define adequately and realistically the complexity of the situation which exists in our country. It has a multi-disciplinary approach to what is a multifaceted problem. What we are seeing is something entirely new. It is the first time in the history of this country that the broadest possible overview is being taken, not only of constitutional planning, but of the basis on which constitutional planning must rest. The fact of the matter is that one cannot only change one thing at a time, one cannot only do one thing at a time. All of the facets of society which are affected by constitutional reform have to be dealt with simultaneously. That is demonstrated more than adequately particularly in the 1983 report of the department, which as a document is a milestone. It makes fascinating reading and it is the most important document in the constitutional evolution of our country. What has been achieved? We have the constitutional response. We have the economic and financial response, which I am sure the hon the Minister will deal with later. We have the regional development strategies. We have decentralization and deconcentration. We have the recognition of urbanization for the first time. We have the national physical development plan. We have the social strategies. We have, for example, the demographic development plans which will be implemented by the Department of Health and Welfare but in respect of which the political leadership is being given in large measure by this department. We have the community development strategies. Then we have the many instruments that have been created. We have the small business development strategy. We have the South African Regional Development Bank. We see things like deregulation and the recognition of the semi-formal and informal sectors of our society. We have acceptance of the many challenges which we know exist in our country. I want to say that I have never been prouder to be a South African than I have been over the last few months because South Africa is responsing most magnificently to the huge challenges of our times. Much of the credit for this must go to this hon Minister and his ministry, and we say thank you to them for the tremendous leadership and courage they are displaying at this time.
I have said that, if our society is to advance to higher standards of life that can stand the test of time and if our society is to rest on a broader base, it must advance on a broad front and in depth. Constitutional reform is an urgent imperative, but it will have to rest on something real and it is that “something real” which I believe this department is attempting to create with its various techniques and constitutional initiatives. However, stability is vital to this. In this kind of transitional situation constitutional reform cannot succeed if it is not underpinned by the necessary social and economic milieu within which that constitution has to function.
I think that in this regard the Opposition can be very helpful and that is why I welcome so much what the hon member for Yeoville said. I think we will have to take ideology out of the regional debate. No amount of ideology is going to replace the hard work and careful construction that is required. We have this opportunity, perhaps the last such opportunity, of being the one country in Africa which can show that it is able to find solutions to its problems. I do not agree with the hon member for Yeoville in one respect. He said he was not concerned with the detail but he wanted to look at the bigger things. It is true that we must look at the bigger things and at the larger picture, but if there has ever been a time when we should also pay attention to detail it is the present time. It is the mundane, the pedestrian, the colourless and apparently less interesting things which have to be undertaken at every interface of society which collectively are going to create the kind of civilized base on which this country can function. The small working groups, the small technical groups and the whole question of local government, which people often find unexciting, are the building blocks which will create a basis on which civilized society can function.
We will have to seek new solutions. I should like to quote no less a person than Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who said recently in an interview with the magazine Figaro:
That may not sound a very outstanding statement but it comes from sources and from capitals in Europe that formerly did not recognize that simple reality. The fact is that we are here hard up against the interface of the African reality and we must seek new solutions if democratic government in the broader sense is going to be possible in our country.
I say that we cannot only do one thing and I want to give an example to illustrate what I mean. When we look at the situation in subSaharan Africa, the Sahel, we saw from the fifties Western Governments pouring hundreds of millions of rand into that part of the world. We also found at a later stage that hundreds of thousands of people were starving. The answer to this was very simple. The major reason was that the Western aid tapped the giant eastern subterranean lake in the Sahel region. They poured money into drilling holes in the ground from 1 000 to 2 000 feet deep. In Senegal the numbers of livestock rose from two million to four million over a short period of time. In Mali the number of livestock increased by five million to 16 million in less than 10 years. The simplistic view was that this was a semidesert and these people were pastoralists. The subterranean water was there and if technology was used to bring it to the surface there would be a successful society in that part of the world. What happened? I should like to quote what Claire Sterling had to say about the tragedy that followed. She wrote:
The lesson from this is that we cannot only do one thing. We have a dichotomy in our country and in this department, and that dichotomy is that we have two goals, a goal of reform on the one hand and a goal of stability on the other. I do not say that these two are mutually exclusive but they are dichotomous. Both of these are the goals of this Government and both are a challenge because to combine them is a crucial challenge in the history of this country. There have been so many casualties on that road that they are frightening to contemplate. For this reason we must go carefully. We saw that the Shah of Iran allowed a pace of reform that only the elite could absorb. We saw the grandiose developments in Africa one after the other, the developments that litter Africa. Ethiopia was a classic example of this. We saw a business elite created in Nicaragua that distorted society because they grew away from society. They were power elite that grew away from the people. These are things that this department is looking at and in regard to which I believe they deserve so much credit.
We have to have regard to the capacity of people to absorb change. I do not believe the hon member for Sea Point is able to absorb change because he expressed so many fears. I happened to receive a book as a present from the hon member for Innesdal entitled In Search of Excellence. It is currently a best seller and was written by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman. On page 77 they say this:
They go on to say:
Mr Chairman, I just want to tell the hon the Minister that he should rather confine himself to the unsolved problems in his department instead of trying to dictate to the Voortrekkers in an arrogant way who their chief leader ought to be. [Interjections.] In his speech in Kimberley the hon the Minister said that it had become an untenable situation, and that testifies to absolute petty-mindedness. When an active politician of the ’thirties, in the person of the late Dr N J van der Merwe, was a member of the House of Assembly and leader of the party in the Free State, there was no fault to find with that. I just want to express the hope that the hon the Minister will refrain from this kind of pettiness.
Fortunately the Voortrekkers are no longer under the control of the Department of Constitutional Development and Planning.
Order! The Voortrekker movement is not under discussion now.
I am finished with that subject, Mr Chairman. Fortunately the Voortrekker movement is not a matter that is dealt with by the Department of Constitutional Development and Planning. [Interjections.]
Now I should prefer to deal with the annual report of the department. On page 22 of the report, in paragraph 145, we read the following words:
I therefore assume that what the hon the Minister means here is that the so-called urban Black people are to have an effective say in the area of jurisdiction of the new tricameral Parliament as well. If that is not the case, the hon the Minister can reply to me on this point later. I therefore want to know from the hon the Minister whether he agrees with the hon member for Innesdal, who said in this House earlier this session that it was not a question of whether they were going to get it, but of how they were going to get it. This consequently coincides with statements made by the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development who said in this year’s no-confidence debate in this House, and I quote (Hansard, 1984, col 138):
He repeated this statement almost verbatim when he opened the Legislative Assembly of Gazankulu on 30 March this year. On 8 March this year we read the following in Die Vaderland:
It is therefore very clear to me that the Government is heading for an equal co-partnership of the White, the Coloured and the Black people in this country. On the one hand we find the Whites, the Coloureds and Indians, who have to be amalgamated into one nation, in one Parliament, but on the other, at the same time, a kind of government partnership with the urban Black people at least; perhaps in an outside Chamber, because we have already heard this afternoon that there will not be a fourth Chamber.
For more than a year now the Cabinet Committee, under the chairmanship of the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, has been investigating this matter. Consequently I think it is time the hon the Minister began to submit definite guidelines to us in regard to how this is in fact going to happen. [Interjections.]
What a sharp contrast there is between this form of coalition government and the expressed and written wishes of a people who since the earliest times have been engaged in a struggle for their own freedom and their own self-realization! We need only read the letter written by Piet Retief and Gerrit Maritz to Sir Benjamin D’Urban in which they said inter alia that the Trekkers wanted to be recognized as a free and independent people. Furthermore there is the letter of the Volksraad of Lydenburg of 1860, in which we read inter alia the following:
Do hon members on the Government side think now that that desire for self-determination and a fatherland of their own has suddenly disappeared in 1984 among the Afrikaner people and other White groups who identify themselves with the Afrikaners? I think we should rather leave it to the sound judgment of the voters of Potgietersrus, when they go to the polls on 27 June. As I know them, they will not allow themselves to be misled by the Press, by the radio, the television or even by a colonel of the SA Airforce, who wants to come and tell them all kinds of things in Naboomspruit tonight in connection with the self-determination and sovereignty which is still possible for the White people. [Interjections.]
Talking about sovereignty, Mr Chairman, there is another matter I also want to point out. On 16 March this year I put a very simple question to the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs. I am quoting from column 3229 of Hansard, as follows:
Of course I cannot quote the reply that hon Minister have in full. His reply was not a brief “yes” or “no” but took up almost two columns of Hansard. I shall simply refer to it in summarized form. Firstly the hon the Minister said we were playing with words. We were, after all going to receive an absolute say over our own affairs. I may just tell you, Sir, that a few days ago I heard Sir Patrick Wall, that well-known British member of Parliament, say:
In the second place the hon the Minister said that the concept of “sovereignty” was a Westminster concept, and that it had become obsolete. Thirdly he said that if one laid claim to one’s own territory, then one renounced the remainder of South Africa.
That is precisely what the standpoint of those of us on this side is. Surely it is not an insurmountable problem if, according to the 1980 census, one takes into consideration that 85,2% of the Coloureds are resident in the Cape Province, in a few magisterial districts. As far as the Asians are concerned, 81% of them are living in Natal, and of that number 61,2% are living in four magisterial districts. It is therefore not a question of them being forced into a specific area; they are already there. It is a question of future planning and spatial ordering.
Fourthly, the hon the Minister said that he wanted to reserve the whole of South Africa for those who came after him. That is hilarious. Surely that is not possible with an integration policy.
Fifthly, the hon the Minister said that he was prepared to share everything with others in a fair way. The only problem the hon the Minister has here is who the person or body is going to be that is going to decide what is fair and what is not. Is it perhaps going to be Dr Motlana who was reported in Die Vaderland of 1 March as having said the following:
Do you think, Sir, that the voters of South Africa will be so gullible and naïve as to believe everything the wolf tells them, just like Little Red Riding Hood?
What naïvety we are listening to here in these words of the hon the Minister! How absurd this is to a people that places a high premium on its own freedom and rights? What a discordant note, what a false chord we are being forced to listen to here in the freedom song of a free people? It is in direct conflict with the realization and the fulfilment of the true nationalism of an Afrikaner people, of a White people here at the southernmost point of Africa.
We come now to the heart of the problem, which the hon member for Yeoville also touched upon: How is one going to make the financial arrangements among the consensusseeking parties in the new dispensation? The hon member for Benoni wrote a pamphlet for Soutpansberg and called it “Wenpad” (Road to Victory) which became a road to defeat:
What are the facts? The Whites pay R3 152 million in personal tax, and all the other groups put together pay R470 million. The personal tax paid by Whites is seven times greater, but the NP is now giving away the financial sovereignty of the White Parliament.
I want to conclude with a quote from a speech made by Advocate Vorster before the Rapportryers in Pietersburg on 16 October 1982, in which he said this:
I believe that that idea should take root in the minds of the Afrikaners, and in reality I hope that it will take root in the minds of all of us. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, since the hon member for Pietersburg concluded with what the late Mr Vorster said, I want to begin my speech with what Mr Vorster said. When he was addressing the ASB congress in Pretoria on 28 June 1971, he said:
I am quoting this passage because the hon member for Pietersburg concluded his speech with words spoken by the late Mr Vorster, and I wanted to begin mine with words spoken by Adv Vorster.
The hon member for Pietersburg raised the idea of a Black Coloured homeland again. He should read the speeches of Dr Verwoerd again. My time does not allow me to refer to them now. As long ago as 12 December 1961, Dr Verwoerd had already rejected the idea of a Coloured homeland. We must not move backwards to the past, but look forward and create peace and prosperity for all the people in the RSA.
The hon member for Waterberg and the leader of the CP made a speech this afternoon, and I really looked forward to it with great expectation. I was eager to hear where the CP stood in respect of future constitutional development. But what did we get? The hon member quoted what Mr Peter Marais said on television last night. He also quoted Dr Phatudi and Gatsha Buthelezi, and referred to the conduct of Dr Motlana. However, he did not get round to the problems with which the Republic was faced. [Interjections.] He quoted from speeches and said that we should take cognizance of them. I have no fault to find with our being required to take cognizance of them, but does the hon member not think that we should also take cognizance of the standpoints of certain other people?
I want to refer hon members to Rapport of 26 February 1984. It is a pity that I have to deviate from the speech that I wanted to make on constitutional development this afternoon, but one cannot disregard these things. The newspaper referred to the right-wing protest march which was to have occurred in May in Pretoria, and to what then actually happened. [Interjections.]
But what has happened now? The hon member for Waterberg referred to the conduct and statements of people of colour, but he also said that we should remember the Whites. This afternoon I want to refer to the statements of certain Whites in South Africa, and to something that we cannot afford. The hon member for Waterberg condones these standpoints. I want to refer to what was said about Mr Jaap Marais’ speech, and I quote:
The hon member for Waterberg and his supporters were sitting there, and they cannot deny it. I quote further:
Whereupon hon members of the CP applauded. We are dealing with constitutional development in South Africa and in Die Huisgenoot of 17 May 1984—hon members should take cognizance of this—one reads the following words: “Terre’Blanche: Man vir die Wit aarde”: I want to refer to what “Die man vir die Wit aarde” said, and I quote:
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, I do not like replying to a question from an hon member of the CP. [Interjections.] I want to quote further:
I should like to let this suffice as far as Mr Terre’Blanche is concerned.
Since the hon member for Waterberg quoted the standpoints of certain people, let us also look at the standpoint of Prof Boshoff. He said that all hell was going to break loose in this country and that we had to prepare ourselves for the worst bloodbath imaginable. This afternoon I want to tell hon members of the CP, and particularly the hon leader of that party, that if it had not been for Mr P W Botha’s 14 years of sustained, tireless zeal as Minister of Defence, who through Armscor and its subsidiaries had made the SA Defence Force and the security services of South Africa virtually unassailable in Africa, so that we are now able to negotiate from a position of strength, the right-wing, as well as the left-wing groups would not have been able to continue their hate campaigns in this country so easily and in such security. A spirit is systematically being created among our people which no longer has any respect for anything or anybody, not even the survival of the Afrikaner people as a cohesive unit. Sanctimoniously, right-wing leaders and their supporters give themselves out as being super-Afrikaners, but at the same time they are setting our churches at loggerheads, they are trampling with muddied boots upon our Afrikaner institutions and are taking delight in every misfortune that befalls us. The Government is being blamed for everything.
This afternoon I should like to address a friendly request to the Opposition parties. Are they not prepared to take off the black spectacles through which they mournfully discern a black future for South Africa? Are they not prepared to take off the dark glasses through which they mournfully discern a dark future for South Africa, and harness their energies instead to ensure that all of us in this country—all groups—are able to live in security and peace so that we can all share in the prosperity of our beautiful country?
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to speak after the hon member for Witbank. However, I am going to adopt a rather more moderate tone, and that is how I am going to try to speak to our political opponents, particularly the CP. What I want to say I should like to relate to a paragraph in the annual report of the department. I am quoting paragraph 151, on page 23:
I do not think that any hon member in this House can get away from the truth of this paragraph, and not the hon members of the NP either. We, too, are dependent on the co-operation of not only the PFP but also of the CP and the NRP. We are dependent on their co-operation if we are to give this system a chance to succeed. The respective parties, particularly the PFP through the hon member for Yeoville, again indicated their willingness today to co-operate and to give this system a chance. Judging from the tone of the hon member for Waterberg, it seemed to me as though the CP was also prepared to co-operate and to give the system a chance.
You are making a mistake.
Did the hon member say that I was making a mistake?
Very well, if I am making a mistake, I am sorry. But then it is not the CP that will pay for it, but the country. If this system is not going to work, it is the country and not the CP that will pay for it.
To be able to negotiate effectively in this new constitutional dispensation for the group we represent, it is essential that we take clear cognizance of the respective political standpoints. Earlier in the debate the hon member for Kuruman said that we would not be able to achieve consensus within this system. However, I should like to point out to him that his hon leader said on a previous occasion that he would in fact want to use this system in order to try to attain consensus in respect of a constitutional system, including consensus with the Coloureds. I do not think it is necessary to quote the relevant passage to the hon member for Kuruman, but he can look it up in Hansard, col 1227, Friday 17 February. On that occasion the hon the leader of the CP said that he would want to use the system itself to convince the Coloureds, inter alia—so I assume—of the merits of a Coloured Homeland. Is that correct? I should like to receive some indication from the hon the leader of the CP.
We shall work within the system.
They will utilize the system, it therefore means that they are going to co-operate. If all of us in this House are consequently willing to co-operate within the system, we must also have clarity in regard to one another’s political standpoints. I do, in fact, have absolute clarity in regard to the political standpoint of the PFP; in that regard there are no doubts whatsoever in my mind. The hon the leader of the PFP once said the following about the new constitutional dispensation: “That is why those who said ‘yes’ on 2 November, said ‘yes’ to separate development for Blacks, whether or not it was their intention to do so.” He also said: “We”—that is the PFP—“say ‘no’ because this constitution entrenches apartheid ’83”. The PFP leaves us in no doubt as to its political standpoint, which amounts to a standpoint based on a race federation, on a unitary state.
But let us go further. Does the NRP leave us in any doubt as to its standpoint? I must honestly admit that I am not very clear in my mind about the NRP standpoint, but I do believe that they have been adhering to their standpoint consistently over the years. Consequently I can conduct a debate with them, because I know that they, too, have consistently been adhering to their political standpoint. I can even say the same of the HNP. Mr Jaap Marais and his party have consistently been adhering to a policy of White domination. I cannot agree with it, because in my opinion it is fatal to the future of our country, but I am able to argue with Mr Jaap Marais. I can, in the idiom of today, try to seek consensus with him because I know what his standpoint is.
That is why I am asking the CP this question today: What is your standpoint? What is your real political standpoint? I knew what it was initially. Initially the CP said that their political standpoint was based on the 1977 proposals. [Interjections.] If they had still been adhering to that, I would have been able to make sense of it. [Interjections.]
What has their policy been during the second year, or was it perhaps the second month? Then it was the policy of a Coloured homeland. I think hon members should understand the new system and that they should understand that they should also take their political opponents into consideration. They must tell the NP clearly what they stand for. Do they at present stand for a Coloured homeland, yes or no? Perhaps they do, but I am not certain. All I do know is that the CP recently held a congress and I want to quote the following briefly from a newspaper report dealing with that congress:
The CP says it stands for separate development. [Interjections.] The CP says it stands for separate development, but that is the NP’s policy. This is what one of the main speakers of the CP said during the congress. He said it implied that peoples were accommodated in different structures in the same area. He said that partition was, however, the basis of CP policy, a separate area for each people. But that was not all. I want to quote a further passage, as follows:
Hon members of the CP must really treat us fairly. They must now get done with their shifts in emphasis. Formulate a policy that we can contrast with our policy, so that we can debate the issue. What is the CP’s standpoint in respect of the 4:2:1 ration which they now read in our constitutional proposals? What is their standpoint on this? Their standpoint was that it was the only fair way in which the new dispensation could be implemented. They said that the only morally justified way was to apply a 4:2:1 ratio. Is that the standpoint they are going to adhere to in the future dispensation?
Their principle is not to have any principle.
That is correct. They are not adopting any standpoint on this matter. They say that we should maintain that ration.
Do you insist on 4:2:1?
Not at all. We merely insist that when persons of colour are appointed to a statutory body, it should be done on merit and not necessarily in accordance with a 4:2:1 ration. The CP, however, believes that that is the only fair basis. We shall see what standpoint they adopt in this connection. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I am not going to react to what the hon member for Fauresmith said. I shall leave that to the CP.
We are engaged in a very important debate, but there is an obvious lack of interest in, and enthusiasm for, this debate among NP members. They are leaving the poor hon Minister in the lurch. They should enter the debate enthusiastically and create the impression that they support their Minister. The first speaker in the debate today, the hon member for Sea Point, raised important and pertinent points in a very intelligent, a very fine speech. What has struck me thus far is the total inability of speakers on that side to reply to the valid points raised by the hon member for Sea Point. The hon member for Sea Point pointed out the enormous deficiencies in the new constitutional dispensation and asked Government speakers to give replies on and to clarify matters pertaining to these deficiencies. Here, where a debate should be taking place, Opposition members should be given an opportunity to ask questions and an obligation rests on the Government to give clear and unequivocal replies to those questions, this is simply not happening. I think it is careless and irresponsible of the Government to leave these important questions unanswered.
One of the most important aspects involved the future of the Black population of South Africa, which constitutes the majority of the population of the country. In this connection there is utter confusion among the population of South Africa owing to the conflicting and contradictory remarks by speakers on the Government side. Allow me to illustrate this briefly. I shall refer to certain Ministers. Deputy Minister Wiley said: “There is no future for Blacks in the South African Parliament”. He said this in October last year. Minister Schoeman, the Minister of Transport Affairs, said: “The National Party will only go as far as the present constitutional proposals and no further”. [Interjections.] These are not unimportant Ministers, but important Ministers making these statements on behalf of the Government.
Then we have the statement of the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. He must now listen to me. I do not know whether he remembers these words. At the beginning of last year he adopted standpoints which, in my opinion, are important and informative. He said:
Hurrah! I agree—
Hurrah! We agree—
The discrepancy between what other hon Ministers said and what this hon Minister said with regard to the same situation is as great as the difference between myself and, for example, the Afrikanervolkswag. There is a vast difference in principle and approach, and it is absolutely essential for the hon the Minister to take this opportunity to clarify matters.
Let us consider what the hon the Prime Minister said the other day when the hon the Leader of the Opposition was speaking. The hon the Leader of the Opposition said, with reference to the hon the Prime Minister (Hansard, 27 April 1984, col 5302):
The hon the Leader of the Opposition then went on to ask the hon the Prime Minister a series of questions in order to gain absolute certainty. The hon the Prime Minister then endorsed his standpoint.
If one considers these conflicting standpoints, one realizes that the confusion existing in South Africa among White voters, Blacks, Coloureds and Indians, is understandable. A responsibility rests on the Government to dispel that confusion. This can only be done by means of clear statements from the hon the Minister and the hon the Prime Minister.
If what the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning said was true and represented the standpoint of the Government, and if the standpoint of the hon the Prime Minister represented the standpoint of the Government, namely that every person born in South Africa, irrespective of race or colour and the country of which his parents are citizens, is a South African citizen, then the Government must accept the full implications of that standpoint. What are the full implications of those standpoints? It means that in future there is going to be a large majority of Black people in South Africa whom the Government will have to accept as citizens of this country and who, according to the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, will have every right to participate in, and be represented on, all bodies in which decisions are taken on their future and their interests; therefore in Government bodies and, of course, also in the Parliament of South Africa. Surely no other interpretation can be given to those statements and standpoints. Do hon members on the Government side therefore accept what the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning said and what the hon the Prime Minister said? Do they accept that as NP policy? The hon member for Witbank is now chewing his nails. I can see he is extremely uneasy. I therefore want to ask him if that is the standpoint and the policy of the Government. If this is the case, it simply means, does it not, that every Black South African citizen has to enjoy full rights of citizenship and has to share full political rights with the other population groups in South Africa too. These are the full implications of that standpoint.
Whether or not this is the case is very important to us, because this ties in with the philosophy and approach of the PFP. If hon members on the Government side therefore clearly support that idea or those standpoints, it is very interesting, because we have then reached consensus here; then we have an opportunity for consensus between the Government and the official Opposition on the future of the Black people in South Africa. If the hon the Minister were therefore to declare today that this was really the standpoint and the approach of the NP, there would be an opportunity for consensus. Then we could make progress. The underlying principles set out by the hon the Minister and the underlying principles we support would then be exactly the same. Then we could begin discussing strategies for the further development of these ideas.
The hon the Minister is serving on a Cabinet Committee discussing the future of the Black people. We have already considered the future of the Black people in terms of the approach of the PFP. So the hon the Minister cannot now introduce a body for Blacks which is divorced from Parliament. He cannot want a representative body for Blacks, divorced from this Parliament, in which they elect their own representatives. They will have to become part of this Parliament, and the political rights they exercise will have to be of the same kind and quality as those of the Whites and the other groups. So these cannot be inferior political rights. They will fully have to share in this Parliament. As a matter of fact, I believe that the hon the Minister could fruitfully take the opportunity afforded by this discussion to tell us whether this is the direction in which the Government wants to move. After all, the Blacks in South Africa are getting rather impatient. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Bryanston presented us with very selective quotations of statements made by the hon the Minister and the hon the Deputy Minister. A short while ago I just happened to recollect that at a certain stage the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs referred to the hon member for Bryanston as looking like a mailbox. I want to state unequivocally today that I have no doubt about the fact that this evening the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning will really be stamping the hon member. This evening the hon member did not come to light with any new ideas. He merely criticized the fact that there had not yet been any replies to what the hon member for Sea Point had said. Those replies he will undoubtedly be receiving at a later stage. Each of us would, however, to a certain extent, prefer to make our own contributions rather than being embroiled in senseless arguments.
The so-called complete confusion to which the hon member for Bryanston referred, and the contradictory pronouncements made by him and by other hon members of his party, are even more strongly emphasized by the fact that throughout its term in office the NP Government has been able to rise above such confusion by way of a clear formulation of its policies, and that the South African electorate, time and time again, overwhelmingly decides in favour or those unequivocal declarations of policy by the Government. I therefore have no doubt either that in regard to this new dispensation, for which such tremendous support has been obtained from the South African electorate, by the grace of God, and with the co-operation of all reasonable people in this country, this Government will be very successful.
I should like to convey my thanks to the department for the hard work it has already done on this enormous task, and also for the very informative annual report. Nor do I think we can be grateful enough to the hon the Minister for his endless perseverance and patience and for the enormous contribution he has already made in regard to the course South Africa has adopted and the wonderful future that lies ahead for us in South Africa if we stick to that course. It is intended for all the people of the Republic of South Africa, and is also seen as such by hon members on this side.
We are aware that there are also extremists in this country, both right-wing and left-wing extremists, but in the first instance there must be no doubt about the positive attitude of this Government, nor about the fact that this Government will not hesitate to ensure the orderly implementation of this system. There are many people in the country, even in this Parliament, who do not seek what is constructive. They seek polarization. Nor do they seek peace, rather striving for short-term political interest. There are many of these people who would like final lines to be drawn by way of strong-arm tactics, as if we were a bunch of children playing a game and saying: Cross that line and I’ll show you what happens! We must accept that the lines to be drawn in this country should be drawn in a level-headed fashion. It is no use having them drawn in a reckless fashion. The lines to be drawn, as set out on page 22 of the report of the department, are drawn in a levelheaded fashion.
What about Rev Hendrickse’s line?
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Kuruman should do himself a favour and make his own speech. It is very clear from the pronouncements on page 22 of the report that liaison between White, Coloured and Indian groups is essential to us in the new dispensation, and that it is in the interests of South Africa for us to conduct that dialogue in a very responsible fashion.
I just want to raise one aspect that I think the Government has, quite probably, already considered. It would, however, be interesting to hear whether steps could possibly be taken in this connection. Every hon member coming to Parliament for the first time is an inexperienced novice, without any real feeling for, or knowledge of, the traditions and customs of this Parliament. Nor does he have any knowledge of the Standing Rules and Orders, and one sometimes wonders, particularly in the light of what lies ahead for us, whether it is not possible for all members in the new dispensation, regardless of what House they are elected to, to go through a brief period of orientation in regard to those aspects that are essential to a proper understanding of the traditions and practices of this Parliament, and also essential when it comes to co-operating with each other. I think we could profitably consider the fact that all parties can furnish inputs for the establishment of a brief course of orientation, if one can call it that. I am quite sure that if I had had an opportunity of participating in such a verbal exchange when I arrived here, I would have found my feet much more quickly and would quite probably have been able to furnish a much more positive contribution.
The object of the new dispensation is not integration, as some people wish to imply, but rather concensus and the achievement of a situation in which there can be an effective say in the group context, without any domination, and with self-determination on the one hand and on the other, consultation, negotiation and co-operation in many spheres. It is important for us to realize that if each party or group, by word or deed, adopts as its point of departure an attitude of “domination” in regard to this new dispensation, we can forget about any question of success. Order, co-operation and stability are the keystones to properly making a success of the system. Underlying all that there is a completely positive attitude.
With positive attitudes alone we, as people, will not get through to the other side, and that is why it is essential to help bridge human weaknesses and create instruments with which to make a success of the new dispensation, instruments such as those already created in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, instruments which are also to be created soon, I believe, in our electoral legislation, and instruments created in numerous pieces of legislation previously before the House.
One such previously created instrument is to be found in the Prohibition of Political Interference Act, Act No 51 of 1968. It is very interesting, at this stage, to look at the debate—conducted in 1968—illustrating how the various parties viewed the future of the relevant piece of legislation. At the time there was no clear picture of what we are busy doing today. The Government’s aim with that piece of legislation was the completion of a specific trilogy, the object being to eliminate specific friction that was possibly at hand, particularly with the advent of the erstwhile Coloured Persons Representative Council.
It has never been the Government’s aim to inhibit various population groups or to impede discussion or the exchange of ideas. If one looks at the relevant debate, contained in Volume 23 of the Hansard of 1968, the relevant clear and unequivocal statements by the then Minister are illuminating. In spite of the spectres conjured up by hon members, and those conjured up at the time by the hon member for Houghton, for example, who said that dialogue across the colour line would be absolutely impossible, the converse has been proved to be true. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, as far as the NP is concerned, in recent years the hon the Minister has been in the forefront of the effort to have this new constitution introduced and implemented. In that the hon the Minister has been successful on four counts—firstly, in having the Whites lose their sovereignty here in the Republic of South Africa. Secondly, the hon the Minister has succeeded in creating, in the new dispensation, a State President with extraordinary powers. He has also succeeded in so arranging matters that under this system a Coloured or an Indian can eventually become the State President of this country. Thirdly the hon the Minister has succeeded in not finding a solution for the population issues involving the Coloureds and the Indians. Fourthly, the hon the Minister has succeeded in encroaching upon the sovereignty of Parliament as an institution in Western social democracy.
When someone, who really cares about the future course of events, wants to move ahead into the future, he inevitably must have a very thorough knowledge of the course of events in this country, and elsewhere, up to the present time. Coming, as we are, to the second constitutional change in our lifetime, I find it both surprising and interesting to see what Dr Verwoerd, as Prime Minister, said in comparing the old and the new National Party with the United Party when he replied to the debate on the advent of a Republic:
It is interesting, and tragic in a certain sense, that under the name of the party that brought about the constitutional change in South Africa that gave the Whites their own sovereign Parliament, that sovereignty is today being destroyed, wiping out what the old National Party stood for. That is a tragic situation. Let me tell the hon the Minister— he will possibly be the President in the new dispensation, and I am saying this in all friendliness—that in this dispensation the new National Party …
Did you support Mr Vorster’s 1977 proposals?
Yes, I did.
The new National Party has rejected the principles underlying the old National Party. Secondly, it has also rejected the moral basis of the old National Party and, thirdly, deviated from the historic course adopted by the old National Party. The new National Party is creating a new people in South Africa. The hon member for Pinelands put the following question to the hon the Prime Minister:
The hon the Prime Minister then answered:
In other words, any person with a basic and elementary knowledge of what a people is, how it is constituted and how it grows, and what happens when peoples come together, will know that the hon the Minister’s, the Government’s, aim is to say, in the language of Adv D P de Villiers, that:
The hon the Minister is therefore setting a course that will finally lead to the destruction of his people and my people, and that is why the Conservative Party will, with all the strength at its command, which democracy in the finest sense of the word gives us, destroy this creation of the hon the Minister.
Rev Hendrickse said he gave the hon the Minister five years and Mr Peter Marais said he gave him three years, but the Conservative Party will be using this system in order to change it, and we shall take over control of this Chamber. The hon the Minister must realize who his future partners in this coalition party of his are going to be.
In all seriousness there is something else I want to put to the hon the Minister. The new constitutional dispensation must not be seen as something divorced from the struggle within the ranks of Afrikaner people for its survival and its view of life. Another historical fact is that in the beginning the Afrikaner people, with a small group including Gen Hertzog, rejected Louis Botha. At a certain stage it also rejected Gen Smuts. We are now moving towards a situation—the other parties and population groups in South Africa must take this into account—in which, as in recent weeks and in the months and years to come, there is going to be a very fierce struggle within the ranks of Afrikanerdom. The hon the Minister and those advising him employ a specific methodology in an effort to get Afrikaners out of the way today, Afrikaners waging a struggle for their survival. The Government’s methodology is the following: When someone, particularly a leader, says that he disagrees with the NP in regard to the integrationist course the NP is adopting, the Government says, with all the newspapers at its disposal, and by way of television and radio, that that person is a controversial figure. They make him a controversial figure, and as soon as he is thus a controversial figure, they say he must be got rid of, that he may no longer occupy the positions that he does occupy, whether he be chairman of a cultural organization, a professor at a university, or whatever. He is made a controversial figure by the Government and then removed from office.
The hon the Minister addressed a Voortrekker commando in Kimberley and, astoundingly, attacked Prof Carel Boshoff and said he should resign. I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether he knows who one of the patrons of the Voortrekker movement is. The hon the Prime Minister himself, not so? Just the other day the hon member for Gezina said that as long as one was a member of the NP one was not a controversial figure, but as soon as one left the NP or disagreed with the NP, one became a controversial figure. Who has done more in the past few decades—even eliciting praise from the Leader of the official Opposition as the most successful NP leader ever—than specifically the hon the Prime Minister? The praise accorded him by the hon the Leader of the Opposition relates specifically to the vehement present-day differences pervading all facets of Afrikanerdom. The very one who introduced the divisiveness into the ranks of Afrikanerdom is supposedly not a controversial figure. Is he not caricatured too? Where, in South African politics, does one have a more controversial figure than the hon the Prime Minister? Sir, just ask the hon member for Turffontein what he said about him? What did the hon member for Turffontein say? These days there is talk of meetings being broken up and of militant organizations, but surely the NP would not have come into power in 1948, blocking the course set by Mr Hofmeyr and General Smuts, if all the various groups in Afrikanerdom had not got together at that time. There was the Ossewabrandwag, the Grey Shirts, the Black Shirts and the Stormjaers. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Rissik made several statements that I just briefly want to respond to. In the course of my speech I shall be coming back to certain other statements he made. The hon member said it was a cut-and-dried case that the Whites would be losing their sovereignty in the new constitutional dispensation. I do not have the slightest doubt that that is untrue. In a moment I shall specifically be indicating why.
He also made a second statement, ie that this Parliament would be losing its sovereignty. Nowhere in the constitution is there a provision indicating that Parliament is going to lose its sovereignty, not the sovereignty it has at present either.
The hon member also said that the NP was creating a new people. The hon member, who is also an authority in the cultural sphere, ought to know that peoples are not created by political parties. Peoples are bigger than that.
In conclusion the hon member said that his party would oppose the constitution because it also threatened the survival of the Afrikaner. The survival of the Afrikaner, however, is not determined by constitutions. Here again the Afrikaner is bigger and stronger than that, because otherwise it would imply that at a time when the Afrikaners or the Whites did not have independence, they should have succumbed. What it actually did, however, was to act as a stimulus.
In some circles it is alleged that this new constitution, which is going to come into operation on 3 September, does not actually have any underlying principle or philosophy. I wish to aver, however, that this constitution does, in fact, have a philosophic basis, and more specifically an underlying principle. My contention is that this constitution’s underlying principle can, in point of fact, be traced back to Calvinist philosophy, specifically to the philosophy of legal concepts, on which the leader of the CP is an authority, because in part he obtained a doctorate on the strength of a dissertation on certain aspects of that philosophy. [Interjections.] Mr Chairman, time does not permit me to deal with the philosophy of legal concepts in detail. It is general knowledge, however, that this specific philosophy divides the reality of creation or society into spheres or circles in which distinctive laws apply. Underlying this philosophy of legal concepts there are, in particular, two important principles or points of departure. One is sovereignty in the individual sphere and the other is universality in the individual sphere.
In regard to sovereignty in the individual sphere, the point of departure is that within a particular circle or sphere only the laws pertaining to that circle or sphere apply. Every circle or sphere therefore has its own laws, its own norms, which do not apply to other circles or spheres. In practical terms this would mean that norms applying to the Church do not apply to the State and that norms that apply to the state do not apply to the Church. It would mean that as far as the State is concerned, the Church is autonomous and that as far as the Church is concerned, the State is autonomous.
This principle of sovereignty in the individual sphere also very clearly manifests itself in the constitution, particularly where provision is specifically made for self-determination in relation to the own affairs of the respective population groups. It is therefore true that this constitution, in accordance with the principle of sovereignty in the individual sphere, makes provision for own or separate voters’ rolls, for own or separate Houses of Parliament, for own or separate Ministers’ Councils and even for own or separate local authorities as well. [Interjections.] No one can deny that within the framework of these own voters’ rolls, own Houses of Parliament, own Ministers’ Councils and own local authorities the only norms and laws that apply are those unique to the individual groups. The concept of sovereignty in the individual sphere, which is thus a fundamental characteristic of Calvinist philosophy, manifests itself in, and is the underlying principle of the constitution.
There is, however, another important concept. Around this concept of sovereignty in the individual sphere there is another aspect that no one dares ignore, and that is that that sovereignty, which applies in regard to a specific circle or sphere, is not an absolute. That sovereignty is not transferable to other spheres. In regard to the reality of creation, the world in which we move about, in terms of this principle of sovereignty in the individual sphere, or in terms of the principle of the philosophy of legal concepts, sovereignty can never be an absolute. This sovereignty is specifically bounded or made relative by the confines of the circle or sphere. If this were therefore made applicable to the South African political situation, where Whites, Coloureds and Asians share the same fatherland, it would mean that this sovereignty, which applies in the case of a specific population group within its own circle or sphere, would not apply to another group. There is consequently no question of anyone relinquishing sovereignty when that sovereignty which applies within a specific sphere, no longer applies to the other circles or spheres. Very closely related to this is the fact that sovereignty in the individual sphere does not imply that the circles or spheres are self-contained. There are no unbridgeable chasms dividing these circles or spheres, but rather a cohesion of the respective spheres. This is where the other important principle underlying the philosophy of legal concepts is also applicable, ie universality in the individual sphere, which specifically means that in every sphere there is also some manifestation of something from another sphere. In other words, this principle of universality in the individual sphere makes provision for the cohesion of these spheres. Again, when applied to our political situation, it manifests itself in this constitution where provision is made for joint responsibility in regard to matters of common concern. Joint responsibility in regard to matters of common concern does not nullify sovereignty in regard to own affairs, in as much as universality in the individual sphere does not nullify sovereignty in the individual sphere. I think I have now given sufficient indication of the fact that this constitution, which is to come into operation on 3 September, does in fact have a underlying principle.
In the time remaining I should briefly like to refer to certain facets of local government. One welcomes the idea that in terms of the principle of the devolution of power, it would seem as if the third tier of Government is going to increase in importance and scope. It is a fact that the President’s Council also pointed out that in Western democracies local government is regarded as the corner-stone of the constitutional dispensation, because at that level the Government is more involved with the citizens and with matters pre-eminently affecting them. Now one also has to deduce that in terms of this principle of the devolution of power there are functions, at present dealt with by the first and second tiers of Government, which are going to be allowed to devolve to the third tier of government. I am aware that this specific matter is being investigated at present, but I would nevertheless like to hear from the hon the Minister if there is not, at this stage, some indication of specifically what functions, at present being dealt with by the first and second tiers of government, will in future be dealt with by the third tier. It is a fact that separate authorities can only function if they are financially viable. I have thus far gained the impression that in some circles it is simply accepted that many Coloured communities do not have the financial means to form individual local authorities. I gain the impression that in many circles that is accepted as being self-evident. I want to point out, however, that there are a few exceptions. One of the exceptions is in my own constituency, where the Coloured town Toekomsrus is one of the few Coloured towns in the Transvaal that is financially strong enough to be able to shoulder the immediate responsibility of a separate local authority. That is the result of a farsighted policy the Randfontein City Council adopted over the years in paying over specific amounts into a separate account that was opened for that town. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, at the very outset I should like to talk to the hon member for Rissik. He is on record as having said that when he was still a member of the NP I never proclaimed any standpoint other than the one I proclaimed after he left us. The hon member will confirm this, because he said so himself. At the time he was chairman of the caucus group on matters affecting my department. He confirmed that at that stage he never, on any occasion, adopted any standpoint about any statement I had made. Secondly the hon member—and I am not saying this in any spirit of hostility—it is on record as having been the author of an anonymous document in which he besmitched other hon members of the House. And that was the hon member who, with great arrogance, accuses certain individuals of wanting to get other people out of the way. Those are the moral codes and patterns of conduct of someone who now gets up and passes judgment on other people.
After the hon member for Rissik’s speech this afternoon, he is thirdly on record as having supported Mr Vorster’s 1977 proposals.
That is how he lies to one.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order …
I withdraw it, Sir.
The hon Minister may proceed.
Let us have a look at the statements the hon member lays at my door. He says I was at the forefront in successes achieved on four counts. Sir, I was not at the forefront. I was merely an instrument of the National Party and have, like any other member, carried on the work done by my predecessors; and it is my intention, for as long as I am here, to carry on with my work.
The hon member charged me with having made a constitution that makes it possible for a Coloured man to become President. I now want to refer him to the standpoint of the leader he says he supported. In 1978 that leader said that the legislation that would be introduced to give substance to the 1977 proposals, on which the late Mr Vorster held an election, would not contain a provision to indicate that the President would be White, Brown or Asian. Why does the hon member deal so recklessly with the facts? If he condemns me today for the very thing the late Mr Vorster had in his proposals, why did he not publicly rebel against Mr Vorster? There is only one inevitable conclusion: Even at that stage the hon member disagreed with Mr Vorster, and from that date until 1982 his life was a political lie and a fraud.
We can disagree with each other on standpoints, we can change our standpoints, but we cannot get away from our past.
Business suspended at 18h30 and resumed at 20h00.
Chairman directed to report progress and ask leave to sit again.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.
Clause 7 (contd):
When the Committee reported progress on 22 May, clause 7 had been put, upon which amendments had been moved.
Amendment 1 negatived (New Republic Party dissenting).
Amendment 2 negatived (New Republic Party dissenting).
Amendment 3 agreed to.
Amendment 4 negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause, as amended, put and the Committee divided:
Ayes—82: Andrew, K M; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Blanché, J P I; Botha, C J V R; Botma, M C; Clase, P J; Conradie, F D; Conrjé, P C; Cronjé, P; Cunningham, J H; Dalling, D J; De Jager, A M V A; De Klerk, F W; Delport, W H; Du Plessis, B J; Eglin, C W; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, A; Geldenhuys, B L; Goodall, B B; Grobler, J P; Hayward, S A S; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Landman, W J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, Z P; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Marais, P G; Maré; P L; McIntosh, G B D; Meiring, J W H; Meyer, R P; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Pretorius, P H; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, W J; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Sive, R; Soal, P G; Swanepoel, K D; Suzman, H; Tarr, M A; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, G P D; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Merwe, C V; Van der Merwe, G J; Van der Merwe, S S; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Rensburg, H E J; Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Vuuren, L M J; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Vermeulen, J A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Widman, A B.
Tellers; W J Cuyler, S J de Beer, W T Kritzinger, C J Ligthelm, J J Niemann and L van der Watt.
Noes—16: Barnard, S P; Hardingham, R W; Hartzenberg, F; Le Roux, F J; Raw, W V; Rogers, PRC; Scholtz, E M; Snyman, W J; Thompson, A G; Treumicht, A P; Uys, C; Van der Merwe, H D K; Van Staden, F A H; Visagie, J H.
Tellers: G S Bartlett and B W B Page.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 8 agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).
Clause 9 agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).
Mr Chairman, I move the amendment printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
- 1. On page 17, after line 36, to add:
- (3) If the State President is unable or unwilling to adopt, or rejects or varies, a recommendation of the Commission made in accordance with law, the Commission shall report the matter fully to Parliament either by means of a special report or in its annual report.
During the Second Reading debate when I raised this amendment, the hon the Minister said that the reason why he was not prepared to accept it was that it was deleted in 1976. I believe that the hon the Minister has no idea of the history of the deletion of this particular provision. I should like to read what the then Minister of the Interior said (Hansard, 1976, col 4508):
The Opposition opposed this on the basis that it served the purpose of giving in information to the public and that it also served the purpose of keeping the Public Service informed as to what was happening.
The interesting speech on this matter was made by the then member for Koedoespoort who said (Hansard, 1976, col 4518):
He then went on to say that at times there would be conflict between the commission and the Cabinet. He pointed out three reasons and he said:
He quoted the case where Dr Eiselen was appointed in 1950 as the Secretary of Native Affairs against the wishes of the commission. He then continued to say that the second possible reason could be that the Cabinet and the commission disagreed on the question of the formation of various sections and organizations. He said further on:
In column 4519 he said:
He then dealt with the question of disputes and the fact that members of the Civil Service had their names bandied in the newspapers.
The then Minister was Dr Connie Mulder and the persons who was involved, Dr Rhoodie. The then Minister wanted to get rid of this because he had appointed Dr Rhoodie over the heads of the Public Service Commission. I found his reply the most fatuous I have ever read as he said:
What makes the most interesting reading of the lot, now that the history of this appointment is known, is the fact that the Public Service Commission was absolutely correct in what it said. It was proved by the Information scandal and what they said about the appointment of Dr Eschel Rhoodie was quite correct. I want to refer to the report of the Public Service Commission at the time, and I quote:
I now want to refer to the cardinal matter in this case, and I quote:
History proved that the commission was absolutely correct. I quote further:
That was the basic reason why this clause was deleted, it was deleted for no other reason. As hon members know, Dr Rhoodie himself appointed certain other members of his family soon afterwards in his own department. I think this provision should be reintroduced as it was omitted by a Minister for a particular purpose. It suited him not to have it but I think it can do no harm because it had stood for 50 or 60 years. It can now be inserted again as it can serve a very useful purpose in so far as the Public Service, the Cabinet and the State President are concerned.
Mr Chairman, the hon member quite correctly quoted from the motivation given by the then Minister of the Interior, Dr Connie Mulder, but he omitted a very important sentence at the end of that quotation. It reads:
Although I find nowadays that I do not often agree with Dr Mulder, I think that was a sound argument. Nothing in the clause as it stands at the moment prohibits the Commission from reporting any occurrence of this nature. The clause reads:
- (1) The Commission shall as soon as possible after 31 December in each year frame a report on matters which have been dealt with by the Commission during the year that ended on that day, and also from time to time such special reports as may to the Commission seem desirable.
- (2) Every report framed by the Commission in pursuance of subsection (1), shall be transmitted to the State President and shall be laid by him upon the Table of Parliament within seven days after he has received it if Parliament is then in session, or if Parliament is not then in session, within seven days after the commencement of its next ensuing session.
In other words, the commission is free to report on a matter if it feels that it is of such importance that it should be brought to the notice of Parliament. However, as my predecessor quite correctly argued, obviously there are some cases where it will not be necessary and where it will actually harm the image of the Public Service by involving a particular individual without it really being necessary. The discretion to report or not to report is not taken away by the proposed clause and I think we can trust the commission that it will exercise this discretion wisely. For that reason I cannot agree with the hon member, and I therefore cannot accept his amendment.
Mr Chairman, under the old Act the Commission also had a discretion and also was compelled to do it. I believe too much of an onus is put on the commission to say that it may in its discretion present a case of conflict. The hon the Minister knows as well as I do the pressures that may arise in a case of conflict between the Cabinet and the commission. It is true that the chairman of the commission enjoys the same position as the Auditor-General, but the Auditor-General has to issue a report if something is found to be wrong by an audit. In this particular case he was compelled to report to the Select Committee on Public Accounts that he was unable to audit certain funds of the Department of Information. That is why I think this is a good principle to compel the commission rather than to give it the discretion, which it might exercise in order not to disclose what has happened in a conflict between the Cabinet and itself. This does not only apply to this particular matter. It also applies to organizations and other bodies. Furthermore, it is then this House that gets all the information because the commission and the Cabinet are then accountable to the House. The House can then discuss the matter and make a decision. In that way it will not be left entirely in the hands of the Cabinet.
Mr Chairman, to begin with I want to say that one could invert the argument advanced by the hon member for Bezuidenhout, so that the opposite applied. If one obliges the commission to frame a report, it may inhibit it as regards a recommendation it has to submit to the Cabinet, because it knows that if there is conflict it will have be reported. The commission may not feel so strongly about the matter that it wants to go so far as to allow it to develop into a public clash. For that very reason the fact that it has a discretion may remove inhibitions and place the commission in a position to make a recommendation more freely, despite the fact that it realizes that it may not be accepted by the Cabinet. Therefore there are definite advantages involved in allowing the commission flexibility.
As regards the hon member’s second argument, I just want to say that it is not true that every recommendation of the commission is submitted to Parliament. The hon member’s amendment would have held water if all recommendations came before Parliament. No, Sir, all he wants to do is stick his nose into an absolutely normal relationship between the Cabinet and the commission which is a normal working relationship. I repeat: The commission may, if, in its opinion, the Cabinet has dealt with an appointment or recommendation in an unwise fashion, inform Parliament if it regards the matter as being of sufficient importance. Clashes, if serious, will certainly be made known. Hon members will then still have the full right to ask questions about it and raise the matter in debates. The right of Parliament to debate Cabinet decisions which may differ from recommendations of the commission and to broach them here is not in any way being curbed by this provision.
Mr Chairman, when the hon the Prime Minister was elected Prime Minister, one of the things he promised the country was clean administration. I believe that the reintroduction of this clause will ensure clean administration and it will make absolutely certain that nothing will happened behind the scenes. I therefore think that the hon the Minister is making a mistake in not accepting this amendment.
Mr Chairman, if the hon member couples this with clean administration, I should like him to give me one instance of where since 1976 the absence of the clause that he now wants to reinstate, in any way whatsoever militated against clean administration.
Amendment 1 negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause agreed to (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause 11 agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).
Clause 12 agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).
Schedule agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).
Bill, as amended, reported.
Mr Speaker, I move, subject to Standing Order No 56:
Mr Speaker, we have now passed this Bill through Committee had have given the commission the powers to operate, as it did for the most part up to now. We on this side of the House can only wish the commission well in carrying out its particular duties. I should however like to express my sincere disappointment about the hon the Minister for not accepting the amendments which we on this side of the House though would benefit the commission and not necessarily ourselves. It is therefore difficult to understand why the hon the Minister was not prepared to accept these amendments. I only hope that in the case of clause 7, should the occasion arise the a Minister of Local Government is appointed and the Bill dealing with that is introduced, the hon the Minister in introducing it will make sure that the problems which we had in connection with that particular clause will be eliminated.
I regret most sincerely, in spite of what the hon the Minister said, that he did not accept my amendment in respect of compelling the commission to bring out a report. I can only hope and pray that we do not have another Information scandal or something similar to that in the near future.
Mr Speaker, the fact that the hon the Minister has now succeeded in piloting this Bill through to this stage and that it will probably eventually become law, does not detract in any way from the objections in principle that I personally, and this side of the House, have against the measure.
I want to make the final statement this evening that the importance of the Public Service and public servants is of such value to me that I am convinced that the commission that deals with matters relating to the officials should not be detached from the Public Service as such in this way. I am still convinced that this is a mistake. However, since it is to become a reality, I want to express the confidence that in its new capacity the commission will continue to strive to perform the one function which I believe it has now lost, viz that of a buffer between the Government and the officials, by means of the power that is now vested in it by way of this legislation. In terms of the new dispensation the commission becomes a State President’s commission, and we cannot get away from the fact that the State President alone will have the full say as regards the nomination of every member of that commission and that he will be able to deal with it in terms of clause 4 of this measure if he so pleases. Whether it is a matter of merit or not, whatever terminology we may use, it is still a fact that the commission is to be subjected to the authority of the State President. The period of office of every member of the commission is subject to a decision of the State President, to a large extent an arbitrary decision, because he need not report to Parliament in that regard or obtain the approval of Parliament. This is merely one of the powers that is to be vested in the executive State President, a power he can exercise arbitrarily. I am still convinced that this is wrong, because there is a possibility that if he does not like a member of that commission he can remove him from office. He can provide reasons for doing to Parliament, but Parliament cannot do anything about it and must merely take cognisance of it. This objection of mine in regard to principle has not been eliminated.
In conclusion, however, I wish to express the confidence that people will be appointed to the commission who will in any event not be prepared to be the marionettes of an executive State President but will be people who will perform their duties in a manner that will best serve the Public Service.
Mr Speaker, it is absolutely amazing to hear what the hon member for Koedoespoort has to say. He contends that in a dispensation like the one we are now going to enter, a State President will act in isolation, irrespective of the facts and in conflict with the interests of the country and its people. My conclusion is that the further the hon member and his party edge around to the left of the facts, the further right they claim to be. This does not surprise me in the slightest, because I am constantly encountering this contradiction.
In this Third Reading debate we on this side of the House would like to wish the commission which will in future operate in terms of this measure, everything of the best. We believe that this Bill is the result of co-operation between the Government and the officials. We believe, too, that the commission which will function on this basis in future, will do justice to a dynamic State administration, will do justice to the officials who do their share, and to the concept that we on this side of the House regard as important on the road ahead, viz that an increasing number of people in South Africa should become generators instead of people who merely consume. More and more people will then be able to help stimulate our country’s economy in a dramatic and dynamic fashion so that we may be able to rectify the problems involved. We on this side of the House have the utmost confidence in the officials of the Republic and we know that the officials will not allow themselves to be used for party-political purposes. Indeed, I think that the kind of official, however, few of them there may be, who run after the Conservative Party’s politicking with regard to the Public Service, can mean very little to the State, the country and progress in the new dispensation, past as under the existing dispensation.
With these few words we on this side of the House would like to thank the hon the Minister and the present commission and wish the future commission everything of the best for the road ahead. The task that the commission will perform on the road ahead extends far further than merely the Public Service as such. It covers the entire State administration. The new commission will have to advise the Government of the day on wage structures and related matters, and in respect of co-operatives and semi-State institutions. I believe that we must achieve a balance in South Africa between what is done in the State administration and what is done outside. Therefore we wish the new commission everything of the best for the road ahead.
Mr Speaker, acting in loco parentis for the hon member for Umbilo—our ages do not quite justify that terminology—who unfortunately is indisposed, I want to say that the NRP used the opportunity of the Second Reading of the Bill and the discussion of clause 7 during the Committee Stage to record its strong objection to any use of this legislation to bring local authorities within the orbit and under the control of the Commission for Administration. Whether or not technically or legally there is protection or new legislation is needed for that, the fact is that we wanted to put on record and emphasize our attitude that local government should fall under the second tier of government and that the officials of local government should not be controlled in respect of appointment, salaries or in any other way by a central government organization such as the Commission for Administration. I think we have made our point. We voted against the Second Reading and we voted against clause 7 in order that this stand and attitude of this party could be clearly recorded.
Having signalled our commitment to the retention of an elective system of second-tier government, which we believe contains the right bodies to deal with local government, having placed that on record and made our stand clear, we believe that nevertheless this legislation is administratively necessary and therefore we shall support the Third Reading.
Mr Speaker, I want to ask the hon the Minister whether he also heard the hon member for Innesdal, in the course of his short speech this evening, say that public servants who are members of the Conservative Party, will mean nothing in the new constitution. [Interjections.] Am I right?
The earphones we have in our benches are meant to be used for listening. [Interjections.]
We shall examine the hon member’s Hansard. [Interjections.] What, then, did the hon member say? [Interjections.] Sir, that hon member adopted the standpoint that officials who are members of the Conservative Party will mean nothing. But I shall examine the hon member’s Hansard.
Mr Speaker, did the hon member not hear that I was speaking about officials who concerned themselves with the party politics of the CP?
Mr Speaker, that confirms exactly what I contend that the hon member said. When the hon member speaks about people who concern themselves with the party politics of the CP, one can interpret that in various ways. However, in my belief the only correct interpretation is that a member of the Public Service who supports the CP will be of no significance whatsoever in the new dispensation. The hon member must tell us this evening what standpoint he is going to adopt in the new dispensation when members of the Public Service or of the new Commission for Administration are not members of the NP. What will their position then be in the new constitutional dispensation? [Interjections.] We argued about this aspect during the Second Reading. At the time I made the statement that experience in this country over the past two or three months had taught us that the moment a person differed with the Government, he immediately became a contentious figure and that as soon as someone became a contentious figure, he had to be summarily eliminated. That is what I said, Mr Speaker, and I shall be saying it often in the future. To us this is cause for grave concern, because in this particular piece of legislation, too, it is expressly provided that the members for the new Commission for Administration will be appointed by the State President. That is why we have said that it is no longer a Commission for Administration, but has now become a State President’s commission. It is becoming a commission in the hands of the State President.
Moreover, we have already indicated that in the new dispensation the State President will have extraordinary powers. That, too, we are opposed to. It is in this specific context, I believe, that we detect the veiled threat when the hon member for Innesdal refers to people who concern themselves with the party politics of the CP. The only kind of politics we concern ourselves with is that we adopt a fundamental standpoint on principle opposing the new constitutional dispensation that the Government is going to introduce.
In the light of the new constitutional dispensation, it is one of the consequences of this legislation that the majority functions are going to be of a communal nature. In the nature of the matter the new Public Service, because it will consist of members of the new people that the Government now wishes to create—a people consisting of Coloureds, Indians and Whites—will in the nature of the matter be a mixed Public Service. Therefore I put it to the hon the Minister once again this evening that if this mixing has caused so much tension within the ranks of the Whites, it is only logical to ask how much tension it will cause in future in the ranks of this important pillar of the State administration, viz the central Public Service.
Therefore I wish to address a warning to the hon the Minister this evening. He is pursuing a course which will mean that we shall not have political parties that come and go. He is building up a Public Service over which a State President will exercise control; a Public Service in which the State President will be able to discharge people at his own discretion. Moreover, the hon the Minister is establishing an integrated Public Service, and this could lead to enormous problems.
In reply to the Second Reading debate the hon the Minister said that this legislation was merely a repetition of the existing Public Service Act and that it merely confirmed and perpetuated the functions of the present Public Service. I want to put it clearly to the hon the Minister that as far as we are concerned, that argument simply does not hold water. As far as we are concerned, South Africa is entering a totally new dispensation. Accordingly I urge the hon the Minister to go and read all the debates conducted in this House during the discussion of the legislation in terms of which the Public Service Commission was established. He would also do well to read the debates, particularly the speeches by hon members on the Government side, which took place here in connection with the Public Service Act. At the time an entirely different dispensation was at stake. We believe that the hon the Minister is now changing that dispensation and therefore there is no point in his telling us or the public at large that this legislation is merely a repetition of the existing legislation. The consequences of this legislation are totally different to the consequences of the previous legislation.
During the Second Reading debate we opposed this legislation in principle. Therefore we shall record our protest against it at the Third Reading stage as well.
Mr Speaker, I want to begin at once with the hon member for Rissik. I did not hear exactly what the hon member for Innesdal said, or in what context he said it. However, he assured me that he was concerned with the question of party politics with regard to the Public Service, viz making politics out of Public Service matters, and that he certainly did not have in mind the political standpoints of public servants. I wish to state very clearly that it seems to me as if the hon member for Rissik is so bent on seeking venom that he is beginning to find it where there is none. [Interjections.] The right of every official to belong to a political party and also to serve in the management of a political party is incorporated in the Public Service Act, and that right will be incorporated, as it stands, in the new Act which is to be introduced. Therefore not a single official is being derpived of the right to participate in the democratic process, and even to devote his energies in his own time to furthering the interests of the party whose cause he seeks to support. It is true that there are restrictions on the role of an official in his capacity as employee of the State while he is in the service of the State. In this regard it is expected of every official to implement the policy of the Government of the day loyally and consistently and not to allow his own political views to interfere with his loyal and effective implementation of the policy of the Government of the day. That is a brief summary of the position and I am pleased to see that the hon member has no problems in that regard. He can rest assured in the knowledge that the hon member for Innesdal adopts precisely the same standpoint.
The Public Service in South Africa plays such a central role that I think we should rather canvass the support we want from our officials in their free time as well. We must not utilize their work situation in debates of this House to make political capital in that regard. That is what the hon member for Innesdal was objecting to in his speech.
There were also strong tendencies in the objections advanced by the CP in this debate in respect of an institution established for the sake of effective State administration— an institution that was established to look after the individual interests of every employee, whatever his political beliefs—to weave political controversy around that institution, something which would not be to the benefit of all or in the best interests of sound State administration. Therefore I take it amiss of them for having adopted this attitude.
As regards the second point advanced by the hon member for Rissik, he said that we were now, in terms of the new dispensation, introducing a mixed Public Service. I want to ask the hon member whether he would close the Coloured schools if his party were to take office tomorrow.
Of course not.
Would the hon member dismiss the Director of Coloured Education? [Interjections.] The Director of Coloured Education is an official of the Department of Internal Affairs. Would those hon members dismiss him? [Interjections.] Besides the teachers, would those hon members dismiss the thousands of Coloureds, Indians and also Blacks who are public servants in the various facets? Do they want a pure White Public Service without a single Black, Coloured or Indian official?
May I ask a question please?
No, I am speaking now. I do not wish to reply to questions now. [Interjections.] We have a Public Service in which we utilize the various population groups in the way I have already indicated in my reply to the Second Reading debate.
May I reply by way of a question?
Very well then.
In the new dispensation will the heads of departments of general matters be Coloureds, Indians or Whites?
There is no change in this regard. In the present dispensation a Coloured could also become a head of a department. [Interjections.] Yes, that is true. Within the framework of the policy that our people want to be served by their own people, a Coloured could have become head of the Department of Coloured Affairs. [Interjections.] The point I want to make is that merit and efficiency are the aspects incorporated in the legislation in respect of the Public Service, and nowhere in the Public Service Act will the hon members be able to show me a provision supporting what the hon members say. I have already drawn the distinction that the question of who can be promoted to what post on a basis of race is something that is not regulated by the Act, but is a facet regulated by the policy that is implemented from day to day. We could well have a debate on that when the Public Service Act is discussed. I do not flinch from conducting such a debate. Indeed, it is perhaps necessary that we should have a debate on that, and I believe that hon members would find it illuminating if we were to discuss the matter in depth.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon the Minister a question?
No, not now.
Why do you discriminate in that you allowed the hon member for Rissik to ask a question?
I afforded the hon member for Rissik the opportunity to ask a question because he participated in the debate. Nevertheless, Sir, I shall allow the hon member for Kuruman to ask me a question too.
Will a Coloured or Indian be able to become Director General of a general department in terms of the present policy, and if so, could he also be appointed from that post to the Commission for Administration?
Sir, efficiency and merit are the norms that are incorporated and will be implemented. Surely the hon members know that a Coloured or an Indian person can become the Minister of a general department. After all, there is no longer any question about that. In the same way a Coloured or Indian could undoubtedly progress on merit to the top post in a general department as well. [Interjections.] I really thought that the hon members of the CP had realized that for a long time and found it logical.
But then you still say that it is not a mixed Public Service?
The Public Service is no more mixed than it was before. There have always been people of colour in the service of the State. When the hon member for Waterberg was still Minister of State Administration there were Coloured people in senior position in the service of the State under whom White people worked. [Interjections.] People of colour were in such senior positions that there were White officials who worked under them.
Of course a moderate change has occurred in regard to the new dispensation, but that must be read together with the other facets I have spelt out. I said in the first instance that our philosophy was still that preference be given to allowing people to serve their own people.
You also said merit and merit alone.
No, it is not a case of merit and merit alone. The hon member must not twist my words. I added that it was our point of departure to have people serve people of their own population group. I went on to say that it was our point of departure to upgrade opportunities for people in that service to their own people, where this would not detract from efficiency. I added that this was our policy even in respect of general affairs, because general affairs also manifested themselves in service on a decentralized basis at specific places. Therefore, even in respect of general affairs we apply that principle. I mentioned the example that if we had the right man, we should like to see a Coloured as station commander of the police station in Mitchell’s Plain, and that the hon member need not be concerned that he will have anyone but a White person at Rissik Police Station. We apply this policy judiciously. The top posts will be reserved for people who comply in every respect with the highest standards of effectiveness and competence.
Let us proceed. The hon members are trying to argue that the President will exert absolute control over the commission. But they ignore the provision that if the President were to dismiss a member of the commission—it must be noted that the President acts on the advice of the Cabinet—he has to report it to the House of Assembly and provide his reasons. I want to put it to the hon member for Rissik and the hon member Dr Van Staden that there is no question of arbitrariness.
It is not stated in the legislation that he has to report it to the Cabinet and to Parliament.
The State President has to do so. It is specified in the constitution that except in those sections in respect of which such a reference means that the State President is acting on his own authority, in all other instances it is the State President acting on the advice of the Cabinet. I could prove that to the hon member on a technical legal basis, but I do not wish to waste too much time now. The hon member really need not hesitate to take my word for it. I have before me a submission consisting of two folios, which I did not think out myself. It was drawn up by legal experts who have assured me that that is the statutory position. The hon member for Koedoespoort spoke about disengagement. What is being disengaged from what? All that has happened is that the Commission for Administration is being disengaged from the Public Service Act and is now getting its own constituting Act. In the second place, it is obtaining additional limited powers regarding other institutions within the governmental set-up which are not State departments as such. Thirdly, a member is not appointed merely on the basis of his knowledge of the Public Service; a broader concept will be applied. He is appointed on the basis of his knowledge of public administration. He still has to be an expert on the activities of the State and the circumstances of officials in the wide sense. Therefore there is no question of disengagement. Nowhere in this legislation is a single power that was enjoyed by the commission under former legislation or under existing legislation, being abolished as far as the Public Service is concerned. It retains precisely the same powers, and on top of that it is obtaining a few powers in respect of other institutions.
In this regard I want to refer to the remarks of the hon member for Innesdal. It is necessary to be circumspect in the formulation of this. State corporations do not, as State departments do, fall entirely under the jurisdiction of the Commission for Administration. Nor do I think that that is what the hon member intended. The Commission for Administration is only acquiring powers in respect of institutions which are not departments if a Minister or the Cabinet requests the commission to do so, and then the powers of the commission in respect of such a body are not the same. For example, it does not have powers of inspection, and it cannot storm in there and behave as it could in respect of a department. However, it may obtain information and furnish the Government with advice. Therefore there is in this regard a moderate extension of the powers of the Commission for Administration, and not a total expansion of the spectrum of powers, in the same sense as they have powers over departments.
In the course of his speech the hon member for Koedoespoort appealed to the Commission for Administration to oppose the State President. It is a long time since I have heard anything that demonstrated the negativism of the Conservative Party as clearly that did. There was not a single positive word in his speech. It was a motion of no confidence in advance in the Commission for Administration, or a motion of no confidence in the President and in a Cabinet which will consist of National Party members. I can understand the hon member having no confidence in us. We have been debating the matter every year, and every year it comes to the same. Fortunately the country has confidence in us, and that is what counts, not the confidence or lack of confidence of the CP. The negativism of the CP in respect of this Bill is characterized by the fact that despite vehement objections and outspoken concern about the Public Service, they have not moved a single amendment. We have here legislation relating to an institution which has them rolling around with concern, and what do they do? Do they make an effort to improve the protective measures for the Public Service by coming forward with amendments? No, Sir, they vote against the short title of the legislation. Really, with such an Opposition …
… you only have difficulty.
No, with such an Opposition South Africa has an extra burden on its shoulders, whereas a constructive Opposition increases the Government’s ability to govern the country well.
I now turn to the hon member for Bezuidenhout. I am sorry I was unable to accept all this amendments but I should like to pay him the tribute of saying that he did prepare himself very thoroughly. He made a very thorough study of the Bill. I do not differ entirely with all the statements he made—that is why I did accept one amendment—but I think he sought to be a little regressive. Instead of going along with modem managerial techniques he wanted to revert to things that previous Parliaments had already decided should rather no longer apply. Whatever the case, I thank the hon member for his interesting contribution.
†In conclusion, I should like to put the hon member for Durban Point’s mind at rest, as I have done with his colleague the hon member for Umbilo. Nothing in this Bill grants any wider powers to the commission than the powers which it already enjoys under existing legislation. That also applies with regard to local government. Any additional function or power which might cross the way of the commission in the sense that it will exercise it in future will, in terms of clause 7, have to be the result of powers granted to a Minister by this Parliament.
We are just putting up an amber light.
No, Sir, they are not just putting up an amber light. They are trying to create a suspicion that in some devious way we have in mind to slip in something here to affect local and second-tier government. [Interjections.] I think we must reserve that debate for if and when proposals are laid upon the Table as to reforms of second and third-tier government. [Interjections.]
*I also thank the hon member for Innesdal for his support. We know that as chief spokesman of this study group and as an MP with many officials in his constituency, as a person who was himself an official for years and knows the officials well, who is also acquainted with the interfaces between the officials and politics—because he sat in the Private Secretary benches—he speaks of these matters with considerable authority. I take pleasure in thanking him for his contribution to the debate.
Question agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
This Bill is the fourth and final measure resulting from the reorganization of the activities of the former Public Debt Commissioners recommended by the Franzsen Committee of Inquiry into the Investments of the Public Debt Commissioners.
Of course, the Bill did not originate primarily from the activities of this committee, but arose out of the recommendations the Croeser Working Group presented to the Government on the finances of local authorities concerning the role of the Local Loans Fund could play in assisting local authorities, which would otherwise find it difficult to obtain loan funds in the capital market. Inter alia, the working group made the following main recommendations in this regard in its report laid upon the Table in March 1983, viz that: Firstly, the existing limits on the lending powers of the fund be doubled immediately, from a maximum loan of R1 million to R2 million when a council’s maximum outstanding debt does not exceed R5 million; secondly, suitable periodic adjustments of the loan limit can be made administratively with the approval of the Minister of Finance; thirdly, the fund no longer pay interest to the Treasury in respect of its capital or supplement to capital, but retain these amounts as part of its revolving fund; fourthly, the responsibility of the fund be transferred from the Office of the Public Debt Commissioners to the Directorate: Public Finance, and finally, that the Act be extended to be able to grant loans to Administration Boards and Community Councils.
These recommendations have been previously accepted by the Government, and the fourth recommendation concerning the transfer of the funds’s administration, as has already been mentioned, has been endorsed specifically by the Franzsen Committee of Inquiry.
Hon members will recall that lending powers were granted to the Local Loan Fund during the previous sitting so as to enable the fund to play a greater role in the loan financing strategy of local authorities in future.
To give further substance to the new stature of the fund, it was decided at the same time to alter its control structure suitably by establishing a board consisting of a maximum of eight persons who will be responsible for formulating its policy, as well as to establish an executive committee which will be responsible for the day-to-day activities of the fund.
In view of all these circumstances, it was therefore regarded as essential that instead of amending the original Act of 1926 extensively, rather to abolish the Act completely and to replace it with a new Act which is based largely on the provisions of the previous Act. I must therefore emphasize that in a certain sense the new Bill should be regarded largely as an attempt at consolidation.
†Mr Speaker, to sum up, the most important changes to the existing Act, are:
- (i) The transfer of the management of the fund from the Public Debt Commissioners, now the Public Investment Commissioners, to a board under the chairmanship of the Minister of Finance on which the local government sector will also have a maximum of four representatives. This change will help the Department of Finance in extending assistance to a wider range of new local authorities, building better relations with all the various communities who will in future be able to call on the fund for funding, and aid the department in its efforts to achieve a more effective macro control over expenditure by local authorities;
- (ii) the inclusion of Administration Boards, community councils and Black town and village councils in the definition of a local authority as well as any new municipal type body which may be created;
- (iii) removing from the Act the prescribed limitation on loans in order that these may be reviewed regularly to take cognizance of rapid price and cost increases, and also to allow for larger loans to be granted by the fund in special circumstances, and
- (iv) the creation of a true revolving fund from which it should be possible to finance capital projects of especially the smaller local authorities of all population groups.
In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasize that the proposed Local Authorities Loans Fund should be able to make a meaningful and significant contribution to the development and strengthening of local government in South Africa.
Mr Speaker, while the hon the Deputy Minister has indicated that this is largely a consolidation measure, I think it goes much further than being a consolidation measure. While the hon the Deputy Minister also said that it makes a significant contribution towards the development and strengthening of local government, I actually believe that it is an integral part of the new machinery of the new dispensation. It appears that in accordance with the new dispensation, local government is to have a fundamental role. I understand the attitude of the Government to be that there should be the maximum devolution of power, not only by way of the creation of new local authorities but also by the granting of wider powers. It is obvious that you cannot create more substantial local authorities with greater powers without them having the necessary financial resources to carry out their duties. The grounds for this particular measure are therefore economic. From a Government point of view, however, the fundamentals for the creation of local government are not purely economic but in fact also constitutional.
It is quite clear that government, whether it be local or otherwise, is not meaningful without financial resources. However, if the financial resources of local government are dependent upon the discretion of a central authority, it is not true local government but in a sense only the decentralization of authority, because you can use your power to grant or withhold funds, whether they are of a capital or revenue nature, in order to see to it that the central authority’s policies are in fact implemented. This is of course one of the characteristics of this piece of legislation. The final decision as to whether or not a loan is to be granted if it comes from this source, lies with this body. This body will operate under the chairmanship of the hon the Minister of Finance, and the majority of its members are appointed by him with representatives of local government. The decision as to whether a loan should or should not be granted, is therefore a decision of a centralized authority.
It is quite obvious that the financial viability of many existing local authorities as well as those which will be newly established is open to question. This applies not only with regard to the rating ability of those local authorities but also with regard their ability or inability to raise loans because of their creditworthiness or otherwise, in other words, many may not have the financial viability to run themselves or to raise the money they require to function as a properly viable local authority. It must also be said that part of this problem does not arise only from the fact that local authorities will be established which consist of a section of the community which is not that well off but also from Government policy that local authorities are divided not simply on purely local government grounds but on the grounds of race as well. That is one of the factors giving rise to problems in respect of the financial viability of local authorities.
When it comes to the question of financial viability on the capital side, this Bill will contribute in a large measure towards solving this particular problem. As regards the revenue side, we have heard from the Government that they have three things which they are presently busy with, namely employment tax, capital tax and turnover tax. These taxes will all, however, be centrally controlled. In other words, the reins of government are being kept very tight by the central authority in South Africa as to whether people will get money and whether people will have particular levies imposed on them in particular areas. It is quite clear that that power is going to be utilized to implement Government policy in regard to discouraging industry and employment or vice versa. All of these things to some extent create additional problems for local government in South Africa. They will create additional problems, because one of the issues we have to face is whether the country can in fact afford the development it wants and needs and, if it cannot afford it, whether it can place itself in a position to create more wealth so that it can afford that development. In truth, the resources in respect of capital funds are limited and what is happening is that there are continually new entrants into the capital market. Many of these new entrants—the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs is one of them—are all in fact the central government in disguise, because new bodies are created and on the face of it they enter the market as new entities while in fact they represent the government of the country operating in another form, whether as the Department of Transport, the Department of Posts and Telecommunications, a public corporation or even to some extent now this loans corporation. The question that must be asked is whether in this process the proportion of the gross national product—or the gross domestic product, because in these circumstances it does not matter which one we take—that is going to all forms of government, whether the central government, local government or public corporations, is not increasing at such a rate that we are affecting the remainder of the economy which has to create wealth. We must remember that, before one can spend money, someone actually has to earn it and, if nobody earns it, one cannot spend it. The issue is, therefore, whether we are not seeking to tap the markets to too great an extent with too many entities entering those markets. That is basically the problem we have to raise.
Then the question one has to ask is what we can really do to improve the quality of life in local authority areas which do not presently compare favourable with other local authorities. I would hope that this particular Bill will to some extent deal with that sort of problem, because that affects subjects I keep on talking about, namely those of stability and disparity between different people, different local authorities, different race groups and so on. We must in fact try to reduce that disparity as far as we possibly can. It is also clear that there must be limits to the rate of growth that can take place. The question of priorities arises. The question also arises whether this body will seek to raise money not only in the local capital market but also overseas. Where it is obvious that the funds are going to be used for the development of Black local authorities to provide services which presently do not exist, there seems to be no reason why we should not try to sell that concept overseas so that some of the people can put their money where they put their mouths in respect of Black development. Therefore, I ask the hon the Minister to react to the question whether we are in fact going to endeavour to raise money overseas in respect of the particular concept with which we are now dealing.
The Bill itself deals with the question of the issuing of stock, to which I have already referred. In that regard I want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister whether there are in fact plans afoot—we read about them, but are they going to be put into effect?—to create a market for the stock and not only in respect of large amounts of stock but also for the smaller investor. I can tell you, Sir, that if one wants to buy R20 000 worth of stock of a particular issue, in the first place one has difficulty buying it and, secondly, that difficulty is exceeded only by the difficulty one has in trying to sell it, because there is no market for small amounts of stock of this nature, even of Government stock. In fact, only when an institution like Escom, for instance, creates its own market can one market that stock. Let me give hon members a classic example. I am sure that the hon the Minister of Finance—I mean the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs, knows …
I wish I was Minister of Finance.
Maybe it is a Freudian slip. Who knows?
The hon the Minister of Transport Affairs will have in his possession R50 000 worth of stock because he knows that that is a saving in estate duty. When the executor of his estate, however, should try to sell that stock he will battle like mad to sell Government Stock to the value of R50 000. The necessity for a market in stock and the necessity too for people who will buy small quantities of stock, I believe, should be seen as imperative. It is in the interest, not only of the public but also in the interest of the Government because the Government should try to make its own stock more marketable. One of the reasons after all why one buys something is because one may want to sell it later, and when that happens there must be a ready buyer who will want it.
Harry, you are talking a lot of sense. I suggest you lecture your own caucus on this particular topic.
No. I am lecturing the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs this evening and I hope he is going to support me in what I am saying now. [Interjections.]
In connection with this specific matter there is a further point I should like to raise. That is that the board which is going to be established in terms of this particular measure will evidently have no representatives on it from the ranks of the private sector. The Bill makes no provision for such appointments. The Bill does not state, as the hon the Deputy Minister said in his Second Reading speech, that there must be representatives of local authorities on the board. The Bill also does not state that there should be representatives of all the types of local authorities on the board. That means that the board could perhaps have Coloured, Black or Indian people on it, representatives of local authorities as a whole. Is it not necessary then, when one deals with this type of finance, that one should also have on the board people with experience of finance and banking? We are not only dealing here with a local government matter. We are also dealing with the marketing of stock, with a financial position, with creditworthiness and a whole series of other matters. I should therefore want to see the scope of the provision widened in order to increase the number of people who may be appointed to the board; also not only to appoint officials and Government people but people with experience of finance and banking as well.
Furthermore I should like to refer to the question of the rates that can be imposed in terms of clause 14 of the Bill. One of the problems one has here is that the reason why one lends money to these local authorities is because they are unable to raise the loans themselves, and also because they do not really have the financial strength to raise the rates in order to finance those loans. What is done in terms of this provision, however, is that in the event of a default not only the property of the local authority in question can be seized in satisfaction of the amount owing; not only can one seize the ordinary rates but one can also impose a special rate on the people who own property in that local authority area in order to repay the loan. What the hon the Deputy Minister is doing therefore is to make each and every property owner in that local authority area responsible for guaranteeing the loan. Without knowing about it, without approving it, without having any part in it, individual property owners are actually guaranteeing the loans which are obtained in this way. I should therefore ask the hon the Deputy Minister that the provision in respect of special rates should be deleted from this Bill because this applies particularly to the circumstances in which the people are normally not that affluent that they can indeed finance themselves. I believe it is quite illogical that they should actually be the guarantors upon whom special rates can be imposed in order to pay for measures of this nature.
Furthermore I should also want to pay a compliment to the draftsmen of this Bill and to the hon the Deputy Minister because the Auditor-General has actually been included to do his job in terms of this measure. The provision stipulating that the Auditor-General should audit this is rather commendable. If this should be done in respect of all the other Bills to which we normally object for its not being done, the Government will find indeed that they will have a much more helpful Opposition.
As I have indicated therefore, Mr Speaker, there are provisions in this Bill which we should like to see changed. There is a minor one, for instance, where references is made to immovable goods. I do not know what immovable goods are. I know what immovable property is. I do think therefore this may only be the result of a drafting error.
Immovable goods are the NP. [Interjections.]
Be that as it may, Mr Speaker, I should like to put it to the hon the Deputy Minister that we will support the Second Reading of this Bill despite the fact that we have a few quibbles about some minor points. We do, however, welcome the help given to local authorities, and we also welcome the fact that the funds are to be subject to audit by the Auditor-General
Mr Speaker, it is a particular privilege for me to speak after the hon member for Yeoville this evening. I listened attentively to his speech and it is very clear to me that the hon member for Yeoville has made a thorough study of this Bill. I think he pointed to a particularly important matter here this evening.
I agree with the hon member that this legislation is not only a consolidation measure. It must also definitely be seen as an integral part of the new State machine.
The hon member for Yeoville also put a very important question with which I agree. He asked: “Can the country afford the development it wants and needs?” This is a particularly important question the hon member asked. I believe that we are attempting to find an answer to that very important question with the measure before this House.
The hon member for Yeoville also referred to the “quality of life in local government”. I also believe that we are trying to improve that “quality of life” with this Bill, since the hon the Deputy Minister referred to this specifically in his Second Reading speech. He told us that, inter alia what we were trying to achieve was the:
This Bill has also had a particularly long history, and an exceptionally thorough study was made before this legislation was introduced in this House. We could begin with the report of Croeser Working Group, a body which was put into operation in 1981 and which consisted of representatives from various departments, all four the provincial administrations and the United Municipal Executive to evaluate the recommendations of, and the reaction to, the report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Finances of Local Authorities, better known as the Browne Committee. These findings were laid upon the Table in 1983 and they contained a number of recommendations affecting the Local Loan Fund, which were approved by the Government.
I therefore believe that the most important changes for which provision is made in this legislation are as follows: Firstly, the transfer of the management of the fund from the Public Debt Commissioners to a board under the chairmanship of the Minister of Finance, in which local authorities will also have a maximum of four representatives. This change will assist the Department of Finance to extend its assistance to a wider range of new local authorities, to build up better relations with all the various communities who will in future be able to approach the fund or funds, and it will also be a further aid to the department in its effort to exercise more purposeful macro control over the expenditure of local authorities. There is also the inclusion of administration boards, community councils and Black city and town councils, as well as any new local authority bodies which may come into being as a result of the definition of local authority. There is also the abolition of the prescribed loan limits contained in the legislation so that regular reviews can take place in view of the sharp price and cost increases that occur, and so that provision can also be made for larger loans that can be granted by the fund in special circumstances.
I believe that this Bill will have far-reaching, positive results as regards a new financial dispensation in South Africa in order to run a better State machine in practice, thereby bringing about a new dispensation for local authorities and all the communities of local authorities.
I therefore take pleasure in supporting this Bill.
Mr Speaker, when one looks at the Bill before the House, one realizes that over the years many of the quasi-State bodies have caused a great deal of problems with their finances. The payments of the Administration Boards and the institutions where that money was invested have caused tremendous problems. The State has certainly had reason to act in prescribing how money should be invested when it is collected, and by whom it should be invested. Everyone should support this action by the State.
This Bill fits in with the new philosophy of the Government, the philosophy of transferring powers to a central point and removing the powers of the local authorities. In this way the man who owns land is allowing someone to sign for the debt the municipality incurs by way of this board without his permission.
That has always been the case.
The hon member is telling me that this has always been the case, if that is so, I ask him why the existing legislation is not being retained? The hon member must not come and talk to me about the Public Debt Commissions, and so on, now. We know about the Free State.
What do you know about the Free State?
Mr Speaker, may I put a question to the hon member?
Is the hon member for Langlaagte prepared to reply to the question?
No, Sir, the hon member must rather resume his seat. [Interjections.]
If one looks at the powers of local authorities, the question arises as to whether a local authority is an autonomous body if it cannot invest the tax it was collected whenever it wishes. I believe that in certain parts of the country local authorities are experiencing a problem in obtaining finances. That is certainly the case. The smaller local authorities in the more remote parts of our country have a problem. That is the reason for the appointment of the Browne Commission in an attempt to determine how those local authorities can be financed. The philosophy of the Government to extend its octopus arms centrally and to set itself a task with regard to taxation at every point, is a point of extreme concern. The Government is taking more from the man in the street by way of its Budget this year than at any stage in our history. The Government is creating a further problem, since over and above the tax a local authority can impose, the State can intervene and say: Look, your loan is not being repaid, and now we are imposing a further tax of 2% on everyone’s taxable property in your area. The biggest problem lies in the following: When one no longer has an income, one does not pay income tax, but one pays land tax till the day one dies, whether or not one has an income. That is the tax that should be relieved. Property tax must be relieved, but now, after the State imposes turnover tax, it taxes the dwelling or that piece of land which the person owns. I say that it is nothing but another source of inflation.
If one looks at the powers of this board and at the philosophy of the Government, one sees that the Government has a kind of intolerant attitude. It is an attitude of “You must not stand in my way; I am working and I want to continue”. In addition, it is an attitude of “If you cannot repay the loan I granted you, I can seize the buildings of this municipality and sell them”.
S P, you must just not stand in the way.
Really the hon member for Witbank reminds me of the sheik who had someone to embalm his mummies. The man came to the sheik every day to ask when he would receive his reward. However, all he got was the odour of the corpses.
The important point is that the State grants a loan and that these experts obtain a loan for these small local authorities. Then these local authorities cannot repay the loan from the taxes that are imposed. The loan is too large for these people to be able to repay it. A tax is then imposed on that land.
Firstly, it is wrong to grant loans to local authorities when voters do not have the right to vote them out in the next election.
This whole matter revolves around the financing of Black Administration Boards and other local authorities that cannot make ends meet. Many local authorities do not have the right to exist, and I am referring to areas of colour—and they will all be dealt with under this legislation as well. Once again, this is an approach by the Government which does not amount to true financial discipline.
One does not wish to vote against everything. This is difficult, particularly because there are certain benefits in this legislation for smaller local authorities which really have the will to continue and which will want to try to avail themselves of opportunities which present themselves in cases like this. However, I want to warn the Government and the hon the Minister this evening that they will have to act judiciously. One will have to look at what happened with the funds of Administration Boards in the past. In this regard one thinks of Rand Bank, and many hon members would know what I am speaking about.
What about Corlett Drive?
If one looks at how these investments are made and how they are administered by various boards, it will be noted that it is not easy to point a finger at other loans and investments that were made in the past. However, there were problems with their rights.
The Government’s history with regard to Administration Boards is poor. Has R700 million not been written off in respect of Bantu Administration over the past five years? How about that! [Interjections.] Let the hon member for Heilbron tell me. They serve on those committees and they do not even know about the millions of rands that have been written off at the expense of the taxpayer.
There are certain benefits for the smaller local authorities contained in this legislation. I am by no means saying that the board should not be appointed, or that those who are appointed to the board will not act within limits, but the powers they are obtaining encroach upon the normal democratic rights of voters. We cannot get away from the fact that if loans are greater than the local authorities can afford to repay, tremendous problems could arise. Just think of the Black municipalities. I would like to see whether the Government would take the buildings of a development board as security for a loan it has negotiated. The Government does not have the courage to do that. The Government is navigating in troubled waters with this legislation. However, because certain parts of the legislation afford the smaller local authorities certain benefits, we shall support it.
Mr Speaker, while I was listening to the hon member for Langlaagte, I wondered at one stage whether we were speaking about the same legislation. The hon member intimated that they would support the legislation, but he also pointed out that he felt as though he wanted to vote against everything. This gives one the impression that the hon member mistrusts everything in the future and that he first sees where he can vote against it. He came forward with the argument that the Government wants to remove all powers from local authorities with its new philosophy. If he had listened to the Second Reading speech of the hon the Deputy Minister, he would have heard that provision is in fact being made for local authorities to continue to maintain themselves. Clause 2 of the legislation makes provision for the establishment of loan funds for local authorities, and determines which moneys will be placed at the disposal of the fund and how surplus funds should be invested. The main source of funds will consist of the transfer of money which is to the credit of the present Local Loan Fund. The opportunity is therefore being created to make it possible for local authorities to continue to exist.
Clauses 4, 5, 6 and 7 make provision for the management of the fund by a board, the Local Authorities Loans Fund Board, on which local authorities will also sit and have a say. The Croeser Working Group specifically recommended that the maximum limits in the implementation of loans should be reviewed regularly and that these limits can be exceeded in deserving cases. Does this look like removing powers from local authorities, or are we in fact affording local authorities the opportunity to render their services? Loans to local authorities are of tremendous importantce to the development of services, which place heavy demands on the available funds of local authorities, particularly in areas where tremendous expansion is taking place. After all, it is not possible for local authorities to finance all service from tax funds, and these authorities are therefore obliged to make use of loans, as are other tiers of government.
The demand for funds in the economy remains at a very high level, whilst the supply has decreased due to the declining tendency to save. It is surprising that the demand for credit has not decreased during the recession, and that factor, together with the decreased supply of funds, are factors that contribute to keeping interest rates at a record level in real terms.
In view of the co-operation of local authorities in keeping the inflation rate as low as possible, they also tend to keep tax rates as low as possible. If the heavy demands for the provision of services in developing areas are taken into account, local authorities are obliged to make use of loan capital, at reasonable interest rates, so as to enable them to budget within their capacity for repayment and to provide services. The problem of local authorities is exacerbated because the infrastructure of the services usually has to be provided at a time when taxes cannot be imposed on the services as yet.
What is very important in this Bill, in my opinion, is that local authorities are very clearly defined. In accordance with the recommendations of the Croeser Working Group, this now gives the smaller local authorities who do not yet have such a high degree of creditworthiness, and opportunity to obtain loan funds as well.
Once we had had the opportunity to study this legislation, I discussed the matter with local authorities in my constituency, since it is important for us to obtain the opinions of people who are in practice and who deal with loan funds on a daily basis. I found that those local authorities received this Bill favourably and they endorse its aims wholeheartedly. I therefore feel free to support this Bill.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Middelburg has draw attention to some of the clauses which lay down the procedures which are required to ensure that local authorities in the future will borrow wisely and that after borrowing there should be adequate control over the repayment of their loans. He also referred to the definition of local authorities, and the NRP are pleased to see that Administration Boards and Community Councils are included under this definition. This now means that Black local authorities will have access to loan funds in order to develop their local towns and cities.
I believe it is common cause that the financing of especially the capital projects of local authorities should be restricted. The problem of finding adequate finance for local authorities has been a perennial one and is indeed a growing problem. Especially as South Africa develops and as our constitutional dispensation evolves, more and more people of other colour groups will start becoming involved in local government, and as their people start demanding better living standards, the problem of finding finance in order to build adequate towns and villages for them, will create a serious and a major problem. We in this party believe that this is a problem that requires close attention. As I say, it has been a perennial problem and goes back to the Browne Commission which investigated this matter. Indeed, it goes way back to before the new constitutional dispensation really started to take its present form. As we have heard from the hon the Deputy Minister and is also clearly shown in the explanatory memorandum, for which I want to thank him, the lengths to which those involved in this investigation have gone, must be taken into account. He talked about the Browne Committee and the Croeser working group which investigated this matter. I want to stress that this committee did not just look into this matter on its own but sought the advice of all four provincial administrations. It also went to the United Municipal Executive in order to evaluate the recommendations in the report of the committee of inquiry into this matter. Out of all this have come certain recommendations which have now been embodied in this Bill. We in the NRP will support this measure because it is long overdue. It is going to open the way for many local authorities to have access to funds in order to finance their operations.
I believe that the hon member for Yeoville has raised a very important point. He asked whether the country can afford the development it wants and it needs. I think the hon member for Overvaal mentioned that as well. I believe this is a very important question. While we know that people, and especially underprivileged people and people of other race groups, desire a higher standard of living and a better way of life, and we in this party at least understand their feelings in this regard, the question arises whether the nation can afford it. The question which we in this legislative body—and I sincerely hope in the other two Houses when they are formed later this year and especially next year when we get on to discussing budgets— as well as other legislative bodies like provincial bodies in so-called White South Africa or independent states or the self-governing homelands, must ask ourselves over and over again, is whether the nation can afford these things we all want. As the hon member for Yeoville said, there are limited resources, especially of capital funds. We know that and we know about the debt South Africa has built up in recent times. A greater emphasis has therefore to be placed on greater productivity and an increase in our gross domestic product so that we can in fact afford these things.
We welcome this measure. We have studied it in depth and believe that it contains quite a few controlling mechanisms. We do not have all the reservations about it that the hon member for Langlaagte has. I believe he was playing a little party politics here tonight. He supported the Bill but he also had to take the opportunity to have a go at the Government in this regard.
Do you want to extra taxes?
This is the very thing the hon member for Yeoville, the hon member for Overvaal and I have mentioned, namely that we always have to keep in mind whether we can afford it. When one looks at the Bill, one finds that there is a body that will be set up on which local authorities will be represented. Four of the members will be representing the affairs of local authorities. We sincerely hope that when these loans are granted, they will have looked into this thing in great depth to ensure that local authorities do not get themselves into difficulties.
Are they elected by the local authorities?
No, but the elected members of local authorities will make representations to the board for the borrowing of funds. The hon member for Langlaagte is stirring things up tonight. I can understand some of the reservations he has, and I am going to refer to some of them when I deal with clause 14. However, I believe he was playing petty party politics this evening instead of expressing just his reservations, as I intend to do now. I want to tell the hon the Deputy Minister that when it comes to clause 14, I want to issue a warning. The side-note to this clause is: “Failure by local authority to repay loan or to pay instalments thereon”. Clause 14 clearly lays down the steps which the board and the Minister will take in order to recover any loan from a local authority should it fail to meet its commitments to repay such a loan. I want to issue a warning to the hon the Deputy Minister and direct an appeal to him that, when this Bill becomes law and is implemented, those who are charged with the responsibility of implementing, applying and administering it must take cognizance of the powers they have in terms of it, because in terms of the relevant clause the authorities have the power to recover the funds. Clause 14(l)(a) reads as follows:
That refers to the loan—
Then, in paragraph (b) it goes on as follows:
Then in paragraph (b)(ii) it goes on to say that “in the case of a local authority not empowered to levy rates” this body will have the power to levy rates. Then in clause 14(l)(c) it goes on:
I want to say to the hon the Deputy Minister that, if ever the board should apply these powers, especially to some of the newer local authorities that are developing, whose members may not be as sophisticated in matters of high finance, this could cause a lot of unrest to the extent that it could cause the hon the Deputy Minister and his department a lot of grief. Therefore, I appeal to him to ensure that the lending authorities must be very, very careful indeed when lending money to local authorities.
But you are not playing politics!
No, I am not playing politics at all. I am issuing a warning. It could even involve one of the local authorities in my own constituency. A local authority in my own constituency could create problems for itself. I think that in this respect the hon member for Langlaagte has a point—I concede that in this instance—in that some of the councillors who have been elected may go overboard and apply for loans and put that local authority into great debt. They will get kicked out, but the local authority will be saddled with that debt.
That is a sound point.
Yes, that is a sound point, but that does not apply to other things the hon member said. If he cares to read his Hansard later, he will understand what I mean. Here, however, there is a problem. Some of the less sophisticated local authorities could, by having access to these funds, over-borrow, as so many ordinary people in South Africa have done in recent times, and that burden could then just be too much for such a local authority to carry. Therefore, I appeal to the hon the Deputy Minister that the lending authority, ie the board, should be very careful and go into any application in great detail to make sure that the local authority concerned is able to repay the loan. If it then fails to repay the loan, the powers in terms of clause 14 should be exercised with a tremendous amount of understanding and circumspection because that could cause problems. I make that appeal to the hon the Deputy Minister.
Having said that, I want to add that I believe that this will open the way for greater development. We know that many local authorities just do not have access to the type of funds that are required for purposes of development and for certain capital projects. We have found that to be the case in many instances in South Africa. That does not only apply to local authorities, but also in respect of decentralized industrial development, agricultural development and in respect of other areas. To get this development going often requires some form of organized assistance which the State, I believe, is in a position to give. For these reasons we welcome the Bill, but with the reservations and warnings which I have spelt out.
Mr Speaker, the NRP has dealt with various aspects of the Bill before us which repeals the Local Loans Act of 1926. The first aspect I want to mention is the transfer of the management of the Fund from the Public Debt Commissioner to a board under the chairmanship of the Minister or someone delegated by him and consisting of four members who will hopefully represent local government.
The second point to which I want to refer is the broadening of the definition of “local authority” in order to include community councils, Black town and village councils, and also Administration Boards. This legislation widens the concept to local authorities to be established. It also provides for the recognition of new local authorities to be established as part of the new constitutional dispensation in this country. Furthermore it also terminates the legally prescribed termination of loans. We do know of course that this is not specifically stipulated in the Bill but the hon the Deputy Minister did refer to it in his Second Reading speech when he spoke about the doubling of the maximum loans from R1 million to R2 million in the event of the maximum debt of the board in question not exceeding R5 million. This has previously been R2,5 million.
One foresees therefore a fund for the establishment of new local authorities. Such new local authorities will be able to obtain loans from that fund, particularly for the purposes of capital development. That is provided for very clearly in terms of clause 11 of the Bill. In terms of clause 11 loans can be granted to local authorities for the construction of roads, drains, sewers, waterworks, bridges, subways, and for a host of other projects involving capital expenditure. One must remember, however, that when money is borrowed by a local authority that money has to be repaid with interest. Furthermore such new local authorities will of course need staff in order to cope with all the new development projects that have to be undertaken. It goes without saying therefore that revenue is needed in order to provide the capital required in order to carry out all those necessary projects, and also of course to repay loans obtained by the new local authority. One can therefore not only provide for the capital needs of such new local authorities without also taking into account the revenue needed for the repayment of loans and the interest thereon.
Be that as it may, however, we do welcome the fact that such a loan fund for new local authorities will be established. I was associated with local government over a period of many years, and I have considerable experience of municipal affairs. Other hon members who have also been involved in municipal and other local authority affairs will agree with me when I state that one of the most important topics of discussion amongst all local authorities is the question of where additional revenue sources can be obtained in order to finance new projects embarked upon by those local authorities. At municipal congresses and other municipal meetings over many, many years the possibility of establishing a municipal bank has been a topic of lively discussion. To this day no so such municipal bank has been established, however. I do believe therefore that this system of a loan fund for local authorities is the nearest thing to such a municipal bank. That is of course one of the main reasons why we are delighted to see such a loan fund system established. This is even more important of course when one thinks of the many local authorities envisaged for the future. I remember that the hon member Prof Olivier asked a question in this connection here in the House earlier this session, to which he received the reply that 29 Black local authorities had already been established in South Africa. If I remember correctly the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development was quoted in a Press report as stating that a further 84 such local authorities were expected to be established in the foreseeable future. In addition to those there are of course many Coloured local authorities, as well as several Indian local authorities. I can for instance think of the Indian local authority of Lenasia, that has already intimated that it wants to become an independent local authority but that it is not yet sufficiently economically viable to take the final step. That is one specific local authority, which, I believe, can benefit tremendously by this new loan fund system that is to be established in terms of this measure.
With reference to Black local authorities—and here of course Soweto is a case in point—I should also like to point out that the ratepayers living in the area administered by any such Black local authority have always had to bear the brunt in relation to the provision of revenue needed to finance capital projects. While those Black communities were still under the jurisdiction of Administration Boards their sources of revenue were very, very limited indeed. One of their main sources of revenue was bottle-stores, but I am happy to know that the Government has permitted those local authorities to sell those bottlestores because morally I feel it is quite wrong for them to use bottlestores as a main source of revenue. I welcome the fact that they will now be able to obtain loans from the fund instead of relying on those bottlestores for their revenue. As far as Soweto is concerned, I think it is going to need those funds. If I read an article that appeared in Rapport correctly, when David Thebehali was Mayor of Soweto, he left a deficit of some R5 million which has to be obtained from some source or other. Now that Mr Ephraim Tshabalala is Mayor of Soweto, he is facing a deficit of some R8 million which put Soweto some R13 million in the red at the moment. They do not have ratepayers in Soweto because there is no freehold property there. Therefore, their means of raising revenue is very limited. I say therefore that we must not place local authorities in the position when they are established of providing them with capital but no means of servicing that capital. We must concomitantly make provision for sufficient revenue to be generated to enable them to carry out their functions.
This has been a very sore point over many years as far as my experience of local government is concerned. When we look at the history of this whole matter we find that there were various bodies appointed to investigate the very vexed question of the finances of local authorities. The first of these I want to mention is the Borckenhagen Commission which sat over a period of some 112 years and which took evidence from the United Municipal Executive, the Institute of Town Clerks, the Institute of Town Treasurers and the Institute of Engineers, but what happened after all that time? Notwithstanding the mountain of evidence that that body had accumulated and the many witnesses it had heard, that great elephant gave birth to a mouse—and then the mouse was stillborn!
The following body of this nature to be appointed was the Driessen Commission which investigated the financing and subsidization of local authorities. It also sat for some time and produced a report in 1975. In actual fact, the Government issued a White Paper on the report of the Driessen Commission. However, whereas the commission recommended, for example, a subsidy amounting to some R72 million in respect of roads and related works, this figure was cut by the Government to R36 million. Where the total amount of recommended subsidy was R92 million, the Government cut this figure to R52 million, and then did not even provide the R52 million or anything like it. I think at best it may have made provision for the ambulance services to be transferred to provincial administrations. Therefore, as far as the Driessen Commission too was concerned, this great fountain of funding was reduced to a frazzle as far as local authorities were concerned.
The next body to be appointed was the Browne Committee which also investigated the question of the funding of local authorities. This body came to the conclusion that no additional sources of revenue were necessary as far as local authorities were concerned. It accordingly recommended that there should be the direct transfer of funds to Black local authorities because the committee was of the opinion that increased objectivity and productivity would solve the problems of local authorities. This has, however, not materialized and it has also failed to solve the problems of the local authorities to which I have referred. In fairness to that committee, however, I must say that the provisions of the new constitution were not considered at that stage.
The next body to consider this matter was the President’s Council. With a knowledge of the new constitution it then investigated this whole matter and, for the first time, recommended that additional sources of revenue were essential as far as local authorities were concerned. After all these years we at last had a body that recommended that there should be additional sources of revenue. However, at about the same time—this was referred to by the hon the Deputy Minister and some other hon members on the Government side—the Croeser Working Group started investigating additional sources of revenue for local authorities. They evolved the system of what they called user-charging which was the consumer financing of local authorities. As the hon member for Yeoville mentioned earlier on, they recommended three main sources of revenue. They recommended an establishment levy to replace licensing fees. This levy is based on turnover in respect of trading, production and professional activities.
They also recommended a service levy to substitute transport levies. This new levy is to be based on the salaries and wages of employees. There is also a levy on productive assets, which is levied on machinery and equipment.
All these things are very nice to a certain degree, but we have certain reservations. I do not wish to deal with the merits of these recommendations save to say—there are lots of things which one can say about them, there are also aspects with hardly any merit and there are the problems which we on this side of the House have—in so far as the main recommendation is concerned that it is clear that a redistribution on a formula basis is sought for the participating local authorities.
A statutory body is envisaged which will have the authority firstly to determine the various tax levies, secondly to collect those taxes and thirdly to allocate the revenue itself. This function will rest on the national co-ordinating council who will consider these particular aspects.
I mention these points specifically because when it comes to the implementation of the Bill and particularly in so far as the clause concerned which deals with the repayment of these loans in cases where local authorities are in default, it is suggested in clauses 13 and 14 that there are three methods for the recovery of debts. Firstly they want to levy additional rates. This seems to be all right in so far as existing local authorities are concerned, but when one comes to a local authority which has no freehold title, one finds that there is no way in which they can levy rates. This suggestion would therefore fall away.
The second method is to sell in execution and to take possession of property. What can they then do in practice? All that they can do is to take possession of property which belongs to the local authority concerned. The question then arises who is going to buy it. This question I should like to put to the hon the Deputy Minister. If the urban Black council has a council chamber, that council chamber may be sold in execution, but who would want to buy it? Who would be able to use that council chamber which is located in the Black area? The third suggestion is that where there are no rates levied, a valuation roll should be created and on the strength of that valuation roll rates should be levied. There again, if there is no freehold title, one cannot do that either. Therefore that method too will fall away.
I am not at all trying to pour cold water over this; on the contrary, I am merely pointing out the difficulties which we foresee. Obviously the board will exercise caution in lending the money, but they will lend the money with the view to providing, in order of priority, the essential services required. The first rung on the local authority ladder is a health committee. That is where all local authorities start. Therefore the provision of health services, sanitation, sewerage, drainage, water reticulation and so forth is essential. There are in the Transvaal some local authorities which do not even provide these basic services. Therefore this does not apply only to Black, Coloured and Indian local authorities, but it applies also to White local authorities. One will therefore have to look at the priorities as such.
I think it is clear and common cause as far as we are concerned—I should like the hon the Deputy Minister to confirm this—that this is really aimed at the small local authorities or the newly established local authorities and not at the large local authorities. I should like him to give the assurance, for what it is worth, that the large local authorities may take it for granted that they may continue to borrow money on the local market and also on the overseas market, subject to the approval of the Minister of Finance in the usual way, and without any hindrance in the same way as they have been doing it in the past taking their turn in the queue with regard to national loans in South Africa. I therefore hope that the Bill will not affect this position. In fact, I read the Bill in that particular way.
In conclusion I should like to refer to a small point in relation to clause 5 which provides for the constitution of the board. I have an amendment on the Order Paper and I am now sounding out the hon the Deputy Minister on the amendment. Obviously it is common cause among all of us that the four members should relate to the local authorities of the four population groups respectively, the local authorities for Blacks, for Whites, for Coloureds and for Indians. The intention of my amendment is to cross the t and to dot the i in order to ensure that there will be a Black, a Coloured, an Indian and a White representative serving on the board. I think it is only fair that this should be done. The way I have worded my amendment is that they should represent these authorities. Whereas the United Municipal Executive has been recognized by the Government as the proper representative of all local authorities in South Africa, I am not sure that there is one for Coloureds, Indians and Blacks. My amendment is therefore worded rather loosely at this stage. It does not necessarily mean that a Coloured person needs to represent the Coloureds.
However, I am a generous man and I am prepared to accept an assurance from the hon the Deputy Minister that a proper representative of these four race groups will be appointed as soon as possible.
Mr Speaker, I think that this has been a very comprehensive debate on this matter. It was clear to me that all the hon members who took part studied the Bill exceptionally thoroughly and that they also ranged considerably wider than the proposed legislation, and therefore made good contributions.
†The hon member for Yeoville made his usual good contribution as regards financial matters. He mentioned the importance of local government in the new dispensation and I agree 100% with him on that. That is exactly why we are creating this new body to provide financing. As the hon member rightly said, one cannot develop local authorities without the necessary funds to do so.
As the hon member mentioned, it is important to ask whether we can afford to do this and whether we will have the funds to afford the necessary political measures which we are taking. Once that question has been answered, it is indeed important that we should have proper control over the available money. As the hon member will concede, this Bill makes provision for that.
The hon member also referred to the question of provision for other race groups as far as this Bill is concerned and I will refer to that later.
I can give the hon member the assurance that money can be raised overseas. Clause 10 deals with this subject.
Not only can, but will.
If necessary that will be done and that is why we empower the board to do that.
The hon member also referred to membership and was of the opinion that representatives of the private sector should be appointed to this board. That is of course possible as he will see if he reads clause 5. Clause 5(l)(b) and (c) read:
- (b) three officers in the public service appointed by the Minister, of whom at least one shall be an officer in the department; and
- (c) at least one and not more than four other persons appointed by the Minister on account of his or their special knowledge of local authority affairs.
This can include people from the private sector. A representative of the Reserve Bank may also be included.
However, I want to point out that it can create some difficulty if people from the private sector are appointed to this particular board. We are dealing with money here and we do not want any additional influence on a person in the granting of loans. One can have that sort of lobbying from the private sector.
If he is a retired banker?
Yes, but even then he might have private ties that can be detrimental to objective decision-making.
The hon member also raised other points. I will deal with them later when I reply to other hon members. I am glad that the hon member is satisfied that the Auditor-General is being brought into the picture.
*The hon member for Overvaal emphasized the importance of financial aid and also referred to macrocontrol, which in his opinion is important. I agree with him wholeheartedly. I take pleasure in thanking him for a very balanced contribution.
The hon member for Langlaagte is very much afraid that we are going to withdraw certain rights. No, we shall not withdraw rights. No local authority will be obliged to borrow from the loan fund. That will not be necessary. Access to that fund will be entirely voluntary. The hon member was also very concerned about rates that would be imposed and about the possibility that a person may suddenly find one day that he has to pay additional tax. I can assure the hon member that repayments will only be made in respect of loans negotiated to the benefit of those who have to help repay them. I want to reassure the hon member that the old Act specified precisely the same thing. I am not aware of any serious problems caused by that provision. The hon member will surely agree with me that it is also the taxpayer’s money that is being used in that respect, and therefore proper provision must be made for the money to be repaid.
The hon member for Middelburg made a meaningful and sound contribution. He has made an extensive study of the subject. I thank him in particular for having taken the trou ble to speak to local authorities about the matter himself so that he was able to come here and attest to the fact that they agree with this and support the legislation.
†The hon member for Amanzimtoti expressed some positive views. He also expressed the fear that local authorities or borrowers might not be able to repay their debts on account of too heavy loans. I can give him the assurance that we will be very careful indeed as far as that aspect is concerned.
The hon member also referred to clause 14 which deals with the levies that will be raised. I can assure the hon member that he will find a similar provision in the old Act. I once again want to give him the assurance that the board will of course be very careful in granting these loans because it will be dealing with the public’s money.
The hon member for Hillbrow has wide experience of local authority affairs. I want to give him the assurance that the financial potential of a particular local authority will be the criterion for determining whether or not a loan can be granted to it. That will of course also be a major factor in its ability to service the loan. We have wide experience in this regard, and we will of course only gain by that.
The hon member also referred to clause 5 and to the amendments to the clause. Clause 5(l)(c) reads as follows:
The board shall consist of—
I have no difficulties in regard to the principle that Black, Indian and Coloured local authorities can be represented on this board. In fact, the avenue is created here to make that possible although there are no representative bodies at this point in time.
Mr Speaker, I believe that I have replied to the most important points.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
The House adjourned at