House of Assembly: Vol115 - WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE 1984
as Chairman, presented the Second Report of the Select Committee on Public Accounts.
Report, proceedings and evidence to be printed and considered.
Mr Speaker, I move:
Mr Speaker, I move:
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research was originally established in terms of the Scientific Research Council Act, Act No 33 of 1945. This Act was substituted by Act No 32 of 1962. From time to time amendments to the principal Act were necessitated by developments. On this occasion I should have liked to have paid tribute to the contributions which the CSIR and its staff have made and are still making to the prosperity of the Republic, but owing to the nature of this legislation, that will not be possible.
†The Bill now before the House is merely a reenactment and a consolidation of the existing provisions of the 1962 principal Act and the seven amending Acts placed on the statute book since 1962. The required certificate has been submitted by the State law adviser.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Bill not committed.
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
Mr Speaker, during the Second Reading of this Bill and during the Committee Stage we stated our point of view and fully set out our objections to two specific clauses of the Bill, namely clause 1 and clause 12, which both relate to the issue of validation of certain proclamations. Apart from the fact that no amendments were accepted during the Committee Stage, we found the hon the Deputy Minister’s replies to our objections unconvincing, and therefore we must sustain our objections to the Bill at Third Reading.
As I have indicated, we objected specifically to clause 12 of the Bill. This clause seeks to validate certain proclamations which by law, namely the Black States Constitution Act of 1971, need to be preceded by consultation with the states concerned. The clause makes provision for consultation to be deemed to have taken place in respect of certain proclamations issued before 18 June 1982. We know that the provisions of this clause 12 are the direct result of the Ingwavuma case in which the Government were taken to court and the Appeal Court held that certain proclamations were invalid, ultra vires because they had not been preceded by consultation. Consultation is the vital issue. It was certainly deemed to be a vital matter under the 1971 Act where it is related to matters of this kind. We believe that it is an important issue which cannot be lightly disregarded.
The hon the Deputy Minister indicated on a number of occasions during the Second Reading and also during the Committee Stage that he did not want to get involved in any way with the Ingwavuma dispute. Of course, it is true that this measure does not affect the judgment given in regard to Ingwavuma, but on the other hand, quite clearly, this is the direct result of the Government’s experience in regard to the Ingwavuma débâcle. The hon the Deputy Minister yesterday even declined to comment at all on Ingwavuma and simply washed his hands of the whole affair. He said he was not going to get involved in the Ingwavuma issue. I can sympathise with him to the extent that he does not have the authority to do it, but I find it remarkable that at this stage, when I raised the issue yesterday regarding the whole question of the operation of the Rumpff Commission not a single comment has come from Government benches in regard to that. During the debate the Government members cited the appointment of the Rumpff Commission with approval. They said: “We have resisted the temptation to circumvent the Appeal Court Act.” They said further that there is a commission sitting to resolve the dispute over the Ingwavuma/ Kangwane/Swaziland issue, yesterday I specifically asked about very current disclosures emanating from Mr Justice Rumpff himself which indicate that his commission is not functioning properly and that he is awaiting replies to certain questions which he has raised with both the SA Government and the Government of Swaziland. He stated recently that he expects an announcement from the Prime Minister about the future operation of the Rumpff Commission and that in the meantime no further meetings of the commission will be held. I raised these questions specifically yesterday. The hon the Deputy Minister listened to them but he declined to reply. The hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development, the present acting Prime Minister, was in the House at the time, but there has been no response from him either in the House or in public. The Government must know that there is considerable disquiet about this issue around the country, particularly with regard to the recent disclosures emanating from the commission itself. I want to know what the secret is and what is happening. What is happening about the Rumpff Commission? Why do we get silence from the Government on an issue which is extremely sensitive, both for the people of Kangwane and for the people of kwaZulu? I ask that the hon the Deputy Minister in his reply to the Third Reading debate should, if nobody else is going to respond, deal with this issue specifically to try to indicate to us what the problem is in regard to the operation of the Rumpff Commission, because it is of vital interest to those concerned. This was the one disturbing feature, particularly in yesterday’s debate.
The other disturbing feature throughout the Second Reading debate and during the Committee Stage was the statements which came from various Government members including the hon the Deputy Minister with regard to future removals. We were told that we must expect future removals. Just now during question time an hon Minister said that this is a delicate issue and that it should not have been raised, when he referred to the question raised by the hon member for Johannesburg North and others. In the debate yesterday and the day before, Government member after Government member got up and said that we must expect further removals. The hon the Deputy Minister said that these population removals will not be for ideological reasons. Other hon members said that consolidation is going to be the cause of further population removals. When the Government talks about consolidation, that in itself is an ideological reason. They deny hat they are going to remove people in the name of ideology and say that it is going to happen because of consolidation. The province of Natal is the province most frequently cited on the question of the danger of future removals. One realizes that these removals have not been requested by the people themselves. It is the Government’s proposals which are still in limbo in regard to consolidation which will cause any future removal. This too is a highly sensitive issue. From an economic point of view population removals are very costly and cause South Africa enormous damage in the outside world. It also does this country enormous damage internally insofar as race relations are concerned.
These are disturbing aspects which have been raised throughout the debate on this Bill, and I believe these aspects are to be regretted. Returning to the Bill itself, let me say that our objections as stated at Second Reading and during the Committee Stage remain and we are going to vote also against it at Third Reading.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Berea returned to the issue of the removal of people. I want to tell him and the hon members of his party that if one wants to make a success of consolidation in this country, one has no other choice than to try to make as much of a unity as possible of the patchwork quilt of odds and ends of states, and if you try to do this, you must inevitably move people and exchange land in the process. When one exchanges land one moves people and when one moves people one moves not only Black people, but in the process one also moves Whites. In this country it is not possible to say that one can do away entirely with the removal of people, because removal is an important component of effecting an orderly arrangement. Establishing a White area means the removal of people, but establishing a Black area also means removal; it means the removal of thousands of Whites from their farms. Strangely enough I have never yet heard the hon member for Berea, the hon member for Houghton and all their fellow-travellers here and abroad say a word about the removal of Whites and the thousands of farms which in this process are becoming Black areas. They have never complained because White people have to be removed to make room for Black people. [Interjections.] As members of the commission we frequently had to witness the shock and heartache of White farmers when they learned that farms that had been in the possession of families for generations were being consolidated with a Black state. The hon member for Berea is not concerned about that. The PFP is not concerned about that. They are unconcerned when Whites have to make sacrifices, but when Black people are moved in their own interests, they kick up a great fuss about it.
I hope the freehold rights of the Blacks are going to cause you concern too.
Sir, the hon member will receive his answers. He must just keep quiet.
The legislation before us is of the utmost importance for the implementation of the Government’s ethnic policy. The CP speakers tried to create the false impression here that this Government was no longer in earnest about implementing its national states policy.
Of course not.
There the hon member for Lichtenburg is saying it again. He has already said that the Government’s homeland policy had fallen into ruins because it was not being implemented. [Interjections.] The hon member for Barberton said that the Government was dragging its feet on consolidation. [Interjections.] Sir, there we hear the chorus; they are all saying “yes”. I want to tell them that there is nothing further from the truth than these malicious statements of theirs. Step by step, the Government is leading the Black peoples of South Africa to independence. The huge task of consolidation is being carried through with the greatest seriousness and purposefulness, and the legislation before us today is part of this process. In their criticism the hon members of the CP lost sight of one thing: Consolidation is one of the greatest and most momentous tasks a Government ever undertook in this country. Indeed, consolidation amounts to the distribution and redistribution of the soil of South Africa among its ethnic groups. That the Government was prepared to take such a difficult task upon itself testifies to its determination to transform South Africa into a decent abode for all its people. If this Government is convinced that a thing must be done, then it does so and not in any weak-kneed way as those hon members are trying to imply. The CP members can say what they like, but the fact of the matter is that consolidation was accorded top priority by the hon the Prime Minister. The rate at which consolidation has since been approaching finality is undoubtedly becoming one of the greatest achievements of the Government.
Give us the facts.
I am going to give the hon member the facts. To draw the final boundaries of ten states is a comprehensive and gigantic task. Any civilized country in the world will concede that this is correct. The Government cannot proceed haphazardly with consolidation to satisfy the wild demands of the CP. Consolidation must be meaningful, and meaningful consolidation requires inter alia the exchange of land between states.
How much has been exchanged?
Various parties are involved in this process … [Interjections.] … which results in a great deal of negotiation. This process requires time, patience and persistence. [Interjections.] The precipitate approach of the CP will not help to promote consolidation.
Consolidation cannot be seen only from a geographic point of view either, because it entails far more than that. Consolidation also entails the consolidation of peoples, which means that people who belong together ethnically, have to be brought together. Surely one knows how difficult this is, because it entails a removal of people, which is a difficult, troublesome, time-consuming and expensive process.
Furthermore, consolidation also entails the economic consolidation of states. Where possible, states must be consolidated in such a way that they will be viable. Consequently we see that decisions on consolidation cannot be taken lightly. They cannot be taken over-hastily, as hon members of the CP want to do. Because it can drastically affect the future of South Africa, this matter must be dealt with in the right way. [Interjections.] Surely the hon member for Lichtenburg sat there for a long time. Why did he not, when he was sitting there, help to speed up this process? [Interjections.] I want to tell the hon member that all the delays originated in the time when he was there. [Interjections.]
Order! I do not welcome interjections, but if the hon member for Lichtenburg does want to make interjections, I want to hear them too.
The hon members of the CP are objecting because this legislation before us provides that the land quota may be exceeded. However, when one wants to consolidate meaningfully, one cannot say that one is going to use only so many hectares of land and not one hectare more or less. We are practical people, after all. Should we now make consolidation less meaningful by being oblivious to everything but pegged, inflexible, provincial land quotas for Black people?
It is not the policy of this Government to exceed the 1936 land quota unnecessarily, but it must be remembered that the 1936 quota was calculated on a provincial basis which, as such, does not in practice keep pace with the constitutional development process in the Republic. [Interjections.] If the hon members have finished their debate, I shall proceed.
To achieve the Government’s constitutional aims, viz to make the various Black peoples independent, it is inevitable that the 1936 land quota will be exceeded. There is, for example, the case of Qwaqwa in the Free State. Surely this state will never be able to become independent if we adhere to the 1936 land quota. It is obvious that more land will have to be given to these people in order to make them viable, otherwise they cannot become independent.
I also want to say this to the CP, so that they may know it: Although the provincial land quotas are unavoidably being exceeded, the Government is not being lavish with the land of South Africa. Land is not being wasted in the consolidation process. The Commission for Co-operation and Development is no Father Christmas, handing out land to all and sundry.
Where is that stated in the clause?
The commission is acting with the greatest circumspection with each hectare of land. The hon member for Brakpan has asked: Where is that stated in the clause?
Where are the guidelines stated in clause 4? Where are the guidelines stated which the hon the Prime Minister indicated?
The hon member will simply have to make his own speech. In the meantime he must listen, and he will get the answers. The members of the commission, as they are sitting here, can testify to the fact that land is not being lavishly handed out by the Commission for Co-operation and Development. The hon member for Barberton ought to know that, for he himself sat on that commission for a long time. That hon member is far more talkative in this House these days than he was on the commission.
Do I have your permission to disclose what was said on the commission?
The hon member must be careful. If he begins to ask such questions, he could perhaps receive a reply that will hurt him.
I want to come back to the allegation made by CP speakers that the Government was now dragging its feet with consolidation.
How far are you with your recommendations?
The answers are coming; all the hon member need do is listen. On 7 February 1979 the Commission for Co-operation and Development received instructions from the hon the Prime Minister to see how much more rapidly progress could be made with the consolidation of national states. That was an instruction. In the meantime the commission has not allowed the grass to grow under its feet. To date the commission has already submitted 27 interim reports to the Government on border adjustments between the Republic and the Black states. The commission has also submitted comprehensive proposals on consolidation to the Cabinet. There has been no dragging of feet. Hard work has been done, and a great deal has been accomplished. I am going to indicate to hon members briefly what has been achieved. Let us see what has been done in respect of the independent states. The following progress can be reported.
The consolidation of the Ciskei was completed with the proposals which were approved by Parliament in 1983. The commission has already submitted its final proposals in regard to the consolidation of the Transkei to the Government. These will be pubfished in due course.
Perhaps this year or next year. As far as Bophuthatswana is concerned, the additional proposals of the commission are at present being considered by the Government, after which the Government’s decisions in connection with a final consolidation plan will be announced. The proposals on Venda can be regarded as having been finalized, although small adjustments here and there will still be necessary.
Has the Government accepted the commission’s proposals on Venda?
That hon member will simply have to make his own speech just now. He has already made three speeches in the debate on this Bill.
Let us also consider what the position is in respect of the states that have not yet become independent. The investigation in respect of kwaNdebele has been finalized, after Parliament approved the plans submitted in 1983. Further consolidation proposals in respect of Qwaqwa were recently announced and will be submitted to Parliament soon. As far as Gazankulu and Lebowa are concerned, consolidation proposals have already been submitted to the Government. These proposals are being considered and may still be published this year. These will then serve as a basis for further discussion and negotiation, after which a final plan will be submitted. The commission still has to submit proposals on kwaZulu and Kangwane, and at present priority is being given to these proposals.
Hon members can therefore see what tremendous progress has been made. Is this progress not a testimonial to the Government? How can the hon members now say that the Government is dragging its feet in regard to consolidation?
If we consider the purchase of land for consolidation purposes, we see that between 1975 and 1983, a total of 1,4 million ha of land were purchased for this purpose. An amount of R685 million was spent on this. If more funds were available, if the economy had permitted, we would probably have spent double the amount on this matter.
How can the hon members of the CP now allege here that no progress is being made with consolidation? The hon member for Lichtenburg says that after five years and six months there is still no final plan? Why does the hon member not also tell the people, including the voters of Potgietersrus, that a task which could have lasted a lifetime, has been completed in almost five years? How many years did the hon member sit there without making any progress? Just look at what has now been accomplished in five years. [Interjections.] Why does the hon member omit to mention the facts of the tremendous progress that has been made with this superhuman task?
The hon members of the CP would do well to stop trying to make political capital out of this very important matter. They would do well to give recognition to a great task which is being performed untiringly in the interests of South Africa.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Bloemfontein North crossed swords with the official Opposition on a small scale at the beginning of his speech, but the rest of his speech he devoted to a dispute with the CP. I want to remind the hon member that in respect of consolidation, which he elaborated on, the official Opposition is in complete agreement with the Government about exceeding the 1936 quota. In fact, they applauded this enthusiastically. Believe it or not, the hon member is trying to make out that the NP still stands by its old policy, but he did not say a word about the position of the Black people outside the national states.
The mere fact that the NP has gained the enthusiastic support of the PFP for the acceptance of, for example, clause 2, which contemplates the substitution of the existing section 30 to make provision for the establishment of Black towns and freehold rights for Blacks in those towns, ought to fill every right-minded White in this country with alarm and suspicion. Firstly, a future Parliament in which the Whites will only have a third of the decision-making powers, will decide the freehold rights of Black people in any White area. White land anywhere in the Republic of South Africa is therefore subject to such a resolution of the future Parliament or, in the case of conflicting resolutions by the Chambers, to the resolution of the President’s Council.
That is not correct.
If the hon member for Winburg says that that is not correct, he must tell me what is correct.
I say you ought to know better. [Interjections.]
What is more, such towns need not be established only in released or scheduled areas or on Trust land, but with the passing of this Bill every square inch of the territory of the Republic of South Africa is potentially part of these areas. The additional fact that freehold rights, leasehold rights and business rights may be granted to Blacks in terms of the new section 30(2)(i), surely does not exclude the acquisition of these rights in areas such as Soweto and. Khayelitsha. How can it? It is now being stated here in black and white in the Bill.
Yesterday the attempt by the CP to bring this into line with the old policy of the NP by means of the amendment of the hon member for Lichtenburg, was negatived by the Government. In addition, the hon the Deputy Minister of Co-operation stated here repeatedly yesterday that there had been no change in the policy in respect of Black people outside the national states.
What we also saw in the debate was a new-model Nationalist like the hon member for Turffontein quoting from a book which appeared under the editorship of Prof Lubbe entitled Witman, waar is jou tuisland, in which the authors earnestly advocate that White people should have its own fatherland and its own freedom. Bear in mind now that this is the same White Republic which the hon member for Potgietersrus is at present extolling to the voters in the Bushveld, which must be kept intact with a vote for the NP.
The hon member for Turffontein scoffed at the ideals of a people, the ideals and aspirations—which are part of our people—to have their own fatherland, even if it has to consist of a smaller territory in South Africa. This was quite clear from the passages which the hon member for Turffontein quoted, yet hon members opposite scoffed at them. They are laughing at them now. Those ideals and aspirations have become a big joke to them. They will piobably laugh just as much when they reread the speech made by Dr Verwoerd on 20 May 1959, in which he spelt out the development of homelands to independence. At the time he said inter alia, and I am quoting from Verwoerd aan die Woord, page 266:
Here we have now reached the stage where it is the NP that wants to give the Bantu land rights within the White area. At the end of his speech Dr Verwoerd said the following (page 275):
That, Sir, was the standpoint of the NP at the time. Surely that is no longer the policy of the NP today, and hon members ought therefore to have laughed when I quoted from his speech. Is the policy which Dr Verwoerd spelt out here still the policy of the NP today, or is it the policy of the CP?
Let met quote another passage from what a certain professor said. [Interjections.] After that the hon members can laugh some more. I am quoting the following from a paper delivered by this professor:
I heard hon members opposite saying that it was Prof Boshoff. But it was not Prof Boshoff. Who was it? No less a person than Prof Gerrit Viljoen. Can you believe it, Sir? He said this in a paper delivered in Durban in 1972. Then he was still a fervent champion of a White homeland, the same homeland at which hon members opposite, particularly the hon member for Turffontein, are scoffing today. Surely I cannot believe that the honest and earnest convictions which Prof Gerrit Viljoen expressed here have since disappeared like mist in the morning sunlight. Or have they perhaps disappeared? Or does the hon the Minister still think in his heart of hearts today, as many other hon members on that side do, that they adopted the correct standpoint at the time. If it is still the policy of the NP today to really apply separate development, in respect of the Black people outside the national states as well, then the Minister of Cooperation and Development, for example, would surely not have said certain things in two successive no-confidence debates. In 1983, for example, the hon the Minister said:
Surely this is not the old policy of the National Party. In the no-confidence debate this year the hon the Minister said the following:
What does the hon the Minister mean by “national level”? It means that this is also going to happen in the new constitutional dispensation. Surely this is a radical change from the old National Party policy. This is the first step by the National Party along the road to integration in South African, and the road to integration in South Africa is the end of the road for White self-determination in their own fatherland.
Mr Speaker, we have now come to the Third Reading of this Bill, when the final decision has to be taken on whether or not it should be put into operation. I have no doubt in my own heart that this legislation should in fact be put into operation.
Up to now the argument has mainly centred around two matters. The PFP argued against clause 12, dealing with the Ingwavuma case, and also in respect of clause 1. They maintain that these clauses should not be put into operation. Reference was made here to the “Ingwavuma case”, but the full title of the court case is “The Government of South Africa versus The Government of kwa-Zulu 1983(1) 1964 AD”. I think the Appeal Court did us a great favour with its judgment in this case. Far from being an indictment against us, the judgment was tremendously beneficial to us. I should like to quote the following passage from the judgment.
The Appeal Court is therefore saying that we have brought these Black peoples to an advanced stage of development. This was done in terms of the national Party’s policy. The judgment states further:
In other words, it is being said that this case is unique in respect of the development of Black people, so much so that he has not encountered it in any other case mentioned to the court. Once again this is a compliment to the Government, implying that real progress is being made on the road of development under the policy of the National Party. Many voices are crying out that the National Party has allegedly deviated from its old policy. In this judgement, however, the judge said that the Government was forging ahead strongly with its policy. I quote further:
Here the Government is being complimented again on the real implementation of its policy. This court judgement, in other words, gives us certainty in law, and demonstrates that the National Party is continuing along its chosen path.
The hon member for Pietersburg referred to clause 2. He alleged that this clause meant a tremendous deviation from the policy of the National Party. I cannot think of a more radical deviation from the policy of the National Party than the policy of the Conservative Party. They stand for partition. They want to spend R80 000 million on the creation of a Coloured homeland. If one converts this on the basis of R10 000 per hectare, it works out to 8 million hectares, and that only for the Coloureds. Then there are still the Indians. The greatest deviation from the National Party’s policy is therefore the partition policy of that side of the House.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, I have very little time at my disposal.
Their policy of partition, which they have not yet denied, is the greatest deviation possible from the policy of the NP. The greatest problem is that they do not understand that clause 2 is in reality a confirmation of what was contained in section 25 of the old Act, Act 38 of 1927. [Interjections.] Sir, my throat is a little sore and I am finding it very difficult to talk. [Interjections.] Please give me some protection from all these interjections.
When we talk about deviation from the established policy of the NP, I want to point out that the 1979 proposals, which they accepted, were a temendous deviation. The greatest deviation, however, came when they rejected them. Then they also rejected the 1977 proposals. That hon member must not go and talk in Potgietersrus about the old NP policy, because among them there is nothing of the old NP left. [Interjections.] The hon member for Potgietersrus sees me often as chairman of the commission, in the interests of the voters and the people of Potgietersrus. I want to tell the people of Potgietersrus today that there is not one MP in the CP who does as much work for the people there as the hon member for Potgietersrus himself does. [Interjections.]
What is the problem with the quota? The problem does not lie with the quota, but with Block 24. According to my information the hon member for Waterberg said—he must correct me if I am wrong—that Block 24 was to have been moved in 1981. That is what he is now being charged with, because it was not moved. However, they must not blame us if it had not yet been moved. The matter is being considered at present. We are investigating all the aspects and holding discussions with the national state concerned.
When we look at the quota specified in section 10 of the 1936 Act, it is very clear that the quota was exceeded by the hon member for Lichtenburg. To tell the truth, he admitted it himself. He said that in order to be able to exceed the quota he had to purchase land which was not approved by Parhament in 1975. If he felt so strongly about the quota, why did he not resign? Why does he carry on and say that he was forced? The problem with that party is that they do not want to accept or acknowledge their own creations.
I want to sketch the situation briefly. When a person wants to move a black spot one has to purchase land for it. One has a choice: Either one purchases the land, or one does not purchase it. If one does not purchase it, one moves the Black people to deplorable conditions in which overpopulation and slum conditions will develop. The hon member for Lichtenburg could not do that. He went ahead and purchased land. Surely some time passes before one can move the people to the land which has been purchased. During that period one will surely have been exceeding the quota, not permanently, but de facto. I want to make it clear that this legislation does not give the Government a blank cheque to do whatever it likes with land. White land is sacred to us, too, very sacred. I come into contact with these people at meetings, and I know how sacred land is to them. We said that Parliament would have the final say as to the question of whether the quota should be exceeded at a specific place. [Interjections.] The argument about a Parliament consisting of three Houses was decided as long ago as November 1983 and the NP won. That argument was settled by the referendum, and therefore it will not avail the hon members to raise the same argument again.
In clause 5 certain rights are being granted to Black women enabling them to institute claims. Reference is made to the Dlikilili v Federated Insurance case, 1983(2), 272, and the following was said in the judgment:
In this clause the court judgment is therefore being complied with, and just as in the Ingwavuma case it is once again a demonstration that we respect and accept the administration of justice by our courts.
This Bill brings certainly in law and is a further development of the policy of the NP which we have been pursuing all these years. We are now establishing viable areas, occupied by people with an attitude—and this is the important difference between the CP and our party—of friendly nationalism and good neighbourliness, while still retaining what is our own.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Pretoria West has indicated that these amendments will, in fact, further NP policy, particularly in respect of additional land and related matters. We would, however, prefer to concentrate on the future aspects of this matter rather than on the past. I said in my Second Reading speech that the concern of this party, our main thrust is the use of land. If one looks at the progress that has been made in financial, field and of encouraging free enterprise, to the extent that we can do away with the corporations for economic development in favour of the Development Bank of South Africa, it is evident that great progress has been made. These changes are being made to meet the needs and to do away with the shortcomings of the system in the past in that field. However, we have tried to point out that that is not the situation as far as the use of land is concerned, and we stand by that point. Many of the utterances by members of the NP in this House really amaze one. One would think that there was not a problem in the world judging by the way in which the hon member for Bloemfontein North goes about suggesting that within five years the great ideal of final consolidation will have been completed. But at what price?
The hon member for Pretoria West yesterday, in reply to a point I made in the Committee Stage, read out a long list of noble aims that they would seek to achieve through the Development Trust. The hon member for Klip River spoke about the Trust being able to hold and develop that land and if it was not in the best interests of the Black people one of the possibilities—these are the words he used—was for the Trust not to hand it over. That is a very remote and almost impossible possibility because the very essence of getting more land under clause 4 is in fact to round off consolidation. Those members who think all is well in respect of the handling of land and that we can continue on the present basis and hope that by means of a slow process of development an improvement will come about or that the tribal system, as was mentioned by the hon member for Klip River, will disappear, are living in a fool’s paradise. This additional land which is going to be bought affords the opportunity to put into operation a scheme for the proper usage thereof. It defies logic to think that people can be so concerned about the industrial side of things and yet not have the same concern for the proper usage of that land. I would urge the hon the Deputy Minister once again to very seriously consider the same approach to the handling of these final pieces of land which will be handed over in the next few years as they are doing in respect of new development by channelling it through the Development Bank of Southern Africa. The past as far as the usage of land is concerned, and I am quite sure that the hon the Deputy Minister of Development and of Land Affairs will know what I am talking about, has been full of all sorts of flowery promises to border farmers. There are wads and wads of memoranda and inputs by organized agriculture in respect of concessions to border farmers. There has been plenty of talk about the erection of boundary fences. There has been talk about having White farmer next to Black farmer instead of a White farmer next to a settlement and the sort of co-operation that should flow from it. The odd few examples that do exist and where they have succeeded in Bophuthatswana have been quoted. We also have relations committees. All these fancy arrangements and words do not bring about the sort of situation which we must strive to bring about. The hon the Deputy Minister mentioned the formation of Trustcor. I am quite certain that it has been done with noble objectives in mind, but that is simply the formation of another corporation and not a change in attitude towards the usage of land, and this is going to make no difference whatsoever to the situation. New names and new organizations do not solve these problems. We feel strongly that apart from the bilateral agreements that the hon member for Pretoria West mentioned and the bilateral discussions between individual states, a far greater and more imaginative effort should be put into the whole question of the usage of land. By that we mean that the same type of multi-lateral agreements, if necessary preceded by works committees, should come about whereby the national states and the independent states concerned are made to realize the absolutely critical importance of the proper usage of land.
We believe that these problems will repeat themselves over and over again. What is happening in this country today, is that people are waiting until the crunch comes and that they will then have to go and pick up the pieces. I think that is the last thing which we should allow to happen and that we should in fact be taking positive action about it in the same way as we have done about economic development through negotiated agreement as to efficient land usage.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for King William’s Town will forgive me if I do not react to what he said, because the Whip dealing with this debate has told me that I have only five minutes at my disposal.
I find it strange that there are people in this House for whom it is difficult and sometimes even impossible to accept responsibility for matters on which they decided jointly in the past. This is, after all, legislation of this Parliament which, with the support of the majority in this House, gives Black people the right to live, work and enjoy their relaxation here among us under special circumstances and conditions. These are not statutory amendments that were forced upon us. Common sense led us to take this step. It was done because it was necessary and would meet specific needs, and over the years the relevant people have come to live and work here with the knowledge and approval of everyone here. As a matter of fact, their numbers have increased, partly as a result of new job opportunities that have been created and partly as a result of a natural growth process.
There is one thing we must have no illusions about. Black people will always live, work and enjoy their relaxation among us and, what is more, their numbers will increase. The hon member for Pietersburg knows that just as well as I do. So why he is so surprised and taken aback every time reference is made to the permanence of Black people in the RSA, simply astounds me. Or is it perhaps the Jaap heart pounding in his breast? It must be something of the sort, because a Jaap heart and common sense are incompatible and rejection is unavoidable. Let us tell each other today, once and for all, that a certain number of Black people are going to be living permanently in the RSA outside the independent and self-governing states and that that number is going to increase by the day. Let us tell each other, once and for all, that the most successful border industry development policy and deconcentration policy will not result in all Black people streaming back to their respective Black states. For obvious reasons they would not want to do so, and we would not want that to happen either. This means that with common sense and good judgement we shall have to plan and co-ordinate and make the best of the urbanization process that is underway. This means that we shall have to find a way out of the dilemma arising from the fact that the number of people is increasing but the amount of land is not, and also the fact that demands for land will increase.
It is not for nothing that the marginal note in fine print next to the proposed new section 30 reads: “Establishment of towns for Black persons on certain land”. This implies that there will be a need to establish towns. It also indicates that we shall have to be prepared for an increasing number of people wanting to become urbanized. It indicates, moreover, that most of those people are expected to be Black. The marginal note goes further than that, however. It relates to “certain land”. Surely that confirms the Government’s intention, where possible, to establish towns on certain land. What land will that be? Of course it will be land that is suitable for township development, will fit in with an overall co-ordinated plan and can possibly be incorporated eventually in an independent or a self-governing state.
We must, however, have no illusions. We shall have to find that land somewhere and it will probably be so-called White land. We must have no illusions about that, because where else would we get the land from? The hon member for Lichtenburg referred to the fact that when Mr Vorster was discussing the allocation of land to Black people, he had occasion to say that, “the book was now closed”. At that stage, with the facts at his disposal, he was quite right to come to that conclusion and to say that, but this does not detract from the fact that circumstances can change to such an extent that the next Prime Minister is forced to say that “the book must be opened again”. The hon member for Lichtenburg says it is a sigh of instability if first one decision is taken and then another. Did the Commission for Co-operation and Development never, in the hon member’s pre-Herstigte days, for example, reconsider an earlier recommendation and make another proposal? This can and did happen and will happen in future, specifically to make it possible to take the best, and apparently correct decision to bring about stability.
When the first words were said about consolidation, we should have known that reality would catch up with us. At that stage we did not talk about reality but said that “time would tell”, and that is what has happened. Reality has caught up with us and new we know that meaningful consolidation can only take place if the 1936 limits are exceeded. Everyone in this House knows that, including the hon members of the CP. It cannot be otherwise and those hon members of the CP also know precisely what it means when they refer in their programme of principles to “‘n billike geografiese ordening”.
The figure of 363 000 ha was mentioned here as being the figure by which the quota was being exceeded. Be that as it may. What does it mean? It means that we are consolidating because we would not have exceeded the quota if we had not been consolidating. So the point that is made about our not making any progress with consolidation is therefore absolutely absurd. This means that if the quota is being exceeded, we are going be exceeding it by virtually 5%. We were, surely, all prepared to relinquish White land. There is no doubt about that. This 5% is an additional price we must to prepared to pay. The question is therefore: If this were to mean the difference between meaningful and non-meaningful consolidation, if this were to mean the difference between a good and a bad plan, is the additional price we have to pay too high a price? The NP says no, and we are confirming this with this legislation before us today.
In the same way that this House of Assembly has a right to decide on the matters we are discussing here today, the Parliament of the future will have a right to decide. If the right to decide on land is involved, we have to accept that the Parliament of tomorrow will take that decision. We know what this will mean, because it involves land that is part of one geographic area. Surely the hon leader of the neo-Herstigtes knows what these words mean because he offered his signature to them in an NP manifesto. The electorate also knows what they mean, because that is what they voted for. It is time the hon members of the neo-Herstigtes stopped wasting their breath trying to out-blow a southeaster. Otherwise they must tell us whether they were dissatisfied with the 1977 proposals that would have lead to precisely what I have just said. Parliament will have to decide on this in the new dispensation, and I should like to refer those hon members to the reply of the hon the Minister of Internal Affairs to question 1 on today’s Order Paper, which referred to the expropriation of Coloured land for use by other people. It will therefore not only be White land that will eventually be at stake. This legislation is justifiable legislation and I therefore take pleasure in supporting the Third Reading.
Mr Speaker, it is striking how the language one uses reflects what is one’s heart. Recently I have found it striking how the language use of hon members of the NP has changed. There was a time when all of us in the NP of that time spoke about a White South Africa. Nowadays, if one speaks about that one is ridiculed. There was a time when we all spoke about White land, but this afternoon we hear from the hon member for Rustenburg that he no longer speaks about “White land” but about “so-called White land. [Interjections.] That reflects what is in his heart.
The amendment moved by the CP in the Committee Stage was not acceptable to the hon the Deputy Minster. It was interesting listening to the hon member for Pretoria West telling us that in the negotiations he, as chairman of the Commission for Co-operation and Development, had conducted with Whites about their land, he had been struck by the fact that the Whites regarded their land as sacred. However, that view of his does not reflect what the factual situation is going to be in future. Whereas today this White House of Assembly is the highest legislative authority of South Africa and has the right to take the final decision on what is to be done with that White land, this same White House of Assembly is today, under the leadership of the NP, going to deprive the Whites of that right of having a final say in respect of our heritage from our fathers and is giving it to tomorrow’s multiracial mixed Government. Then the NP contends that it has not changed its standpoint. In previous debates I asked the members of the commission: Whereas today the commission consists only of White members of the House of Assembly, is it going to remain as such in the new dispensation? I have not had a reply from any of them. Nor have I had a reply from the hon the Deputy Minister. After all, they are now going to report on their refusal to accept our amendment to the effect that only the White House of Assembly will have the final right of deciding on White land. Surely this implies only one thing and that is that from tomorrow they are going to make recommendations to a multiracial mixed Parliament and a multiracial mixed Cabinet. Does this mean—and I can draw no other inference—that in the so-called new dispensation the Government will also have to make provision in the Commission for Co-operation and Development, not only for Whites as they do today, but also I for the Coloureds and the Indians? I should like to have the answer now. Do hon members foresee that or do they not foresee it?
The answer is “yes”.
The NRP, who to an extent are the forerunners of the present NP, say “yes”. I think that at this stage the NP’s answer is yes-no. A great fuss has been made here about the tremendous progress made in the past 51/2 years. In my part of the world, the South Eastern Transvaal, the last consolidation that took place there, consolidation that one could call meaningful, was carried out at the time when the hon member for Lichtenburg was the Deputy Minister responsible for that Vote.
What did Connie do?
Since then, in spite of the fact that the land for Kangwane was purchased … The hon member for Ermelo is now making interjections. I should like to know from him what he has done to ensure that the poorly situated Black spots in his constituency are removed to Kangwane.
No, he has done nothing.
I have not noticed that he has done anything. Mention is now being made here of progress with consolidation, fantastic progress, so they say. But surely consolidation does not merely entail the purchase of more and more land. Surely it also entails removal programmes, the maximum removal of Black people to the Black land that has been purchased for them. During the discussion of his Vote I referred the hon the Minister to problems I was faced with in my constituency with regard to a certain Black chief who has for years now been squatting illegally on land belonging to a Government body, and nothing has yet been done to remove that Black chief.
That is a weak argument.
Does the hon member say that that is a weak argument?
I say that they are really weak …
No, go and ask your Ministers about the representations I have made in this regard. The hon members are making fools of us because recently the department, with great fanfare, moved into the area with camps and staff, the lot. Now those Blacks were to be moved from Badplaas, but what happened then? What happend was that we again had the answer: “Janee, we shall try again tomorrow.”
If the Government had come to this House with final proposals for the consolidation of the Black states we for our part would have given the matter practical and responsible consideration, but what have they come forward with now? They have merely come up with the simple proposal that they ask permission, without further ado, for the 1936 quota to be exceeded. There are no guidelines one can apply to determine to what extent that quota is to be exceeded.
In the course of the debate this afternoon it was argued that to achieve meaningful consolidation it is necessary for the 1936 quota to be exceeded. I want to ask the hon members who said that, to read the hon the Deputy Minister’s reply to the debate over the past number of days. He spoke about clear instances where the quota was exceeded. He spoke about the amount that, on the basis of previous proposals, had to be declared White. It is strange that they still use the term “declare White”; before long they will have to find another term for that as well. [Interjections.] However, the hon the Deputy Minister added that at this stage he was unable to tell us which of those areas would or would not still be declared White, and we may find at a later stage that once consolidation has been finalized, the quota may in fact not be exceeded at all.
My question, then, is this: Why be so over-hasty with clause 4? The hon members of the Commission for Co-operation and Development announced with great self-confidence that their work had been finalized or more or less finalized, but for some reason—this I have to infer—the Cabinet is dragging its feet. I do not know why, because from the little I know, the commission’s final plans must have been submitted to the Cabinet by June 1982, and that is almost two years ago.
In the final instance I want to touch on a matter which concerns me very closely. The main town in my constituency, Barberton, has been at issue for a very long time now. During the discussion of his Vote I asked the hon the Minister whether he had yet decided whether Barberton would remain White or not. He did not give me an answer. I told him that if he did not give me an answer, I should have no alternative but to tell the voters of Barberton that the Government intended handing them over to the Blacks. [Interjections.]
I subsequently received a meaningless reply by letter from the hon the Minister.
The Acting Prime Minister.
Yes, the Acting Prime Minister . I want to repeat that question to the hon the Deputy Minister this afternoon: Is the town of Barberton going to remain White or will it become part of Kangwane? We want that answer. I know that the hon members of the Commission for Co-operation and Development may not tell us what their recommendations are.
What makes you think that I may tell you?
I was, perhaps wrongly, under the impression that the hon the Deputy Minister may have a little authority.
I was a member of the commission, just as you were.
In terms of the Bill we as Whites are forfeiting final control of our own heritage.
You have said that three times now.
Yes, and I shall continue to say it. Our party refuses to be a party to that task. Therefore we refuse to vote for the Third Reading of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, the debate on this Bill thus far has chiefly revolved around the standpoints of the Government on the one hand and those of the CP on the other, and those of the Government on the one hand as against those of the PFP on the other. As far as the standpoints of the Government and the CP are concerned, they have chiefly revolved around clauses 2 and 4.
Clause 2 was in dispute because the CP saw it in the possibility of ownership rights for Blacks, and clause 4 because the issue was the expansion of the 1936 quota and everything that that involved. I am unwilling to enter the debate between the CP and the Government spokesmen. However, as a member of this House one has no alternative but to take cognizance of what is said in this House.
As far as speakers on the Government side are concerned, I simply cannot under stand why they display such extreme sensitivity to what the CP spokesmen have had to say. I do not know whether the Government fears that the CP is threatening their seats. [Interjections.] It may have to do with Potgietersrus. I want to state, in all honesty and humility, that I would not spend half of the time Government speakers devote of replies to arguments advanced by the CP. It impedes the course of the debate, and moreover I believe that the Government attaches far too much weight to the remarks and standpoints of the CP.
There is a basic lack of logic to the standpoints of the CP. I do not believe that the public at large are so stupid and absurd as to fail to perceive that lack of logic. Let us just dwell for a moment on the land issue with reference to clause 4. According to the CP they believe in separate development and the creation of national states. That is the cornerstone of their entire policy. At the same time they say that no additional land should be made available for Blacks by way of exceeding the 1936 quota. They go on to say that Blacks must not be given the right to purchase land outside the scheduled and released areas. At the same time they say that Blacks must leave the urban areas and possibly the rural areas as well. I now ask, with tears in my eyes, how one is too make sense of this. If the policy of the CP were to be adopted, it would mean that many millions of Blacks—taking into account the increase in the Black population—would be pumped into the existing Black areas. These areas are already totally over-populated and by no means capable of carrying that extra Black population. If hon members of the Government see any logic in that then I do not know, because I cannot. Therefore I repeat my question as to whether it is necessary to spend so much time answering the arguments of the CP.
The same applies to the question of freehold rights. Our standpoint is very clear. We believe that everyone in South Africa should be given freehold rights, everyone who wants to acquire freehold rights, not on the basis of ideological considerations, but because it is one of the very best ways—we all know it—to ensure stability, since when a person possesses property he will protect it. He will not burn it down or allow anyone else to destroy it. There is no other factor that could bring a greater degree of stability and political calm to this country than the right of people to obtain property in their own name.
Mr Speaker, can the hon member tell us whether he is in favour of Black people being able to obtain freehold rights at any place in South Africa?
Yes. I answered that question the other day. We believe that as far as the acquisition of property is concerned, there should be no discrimination on the basis of race or colour. We have stated this standpoint very clearly time and again. Whatever one’s ideological standpoint in respect of freehold rights, it cannot be denied that there is no stronger factor whereby to achieve contentment and stability among people. At one time or another the Government will have to cut that Gordian knot. Therefore the Government will have to decide that if we want true stability, if we want to contribute towards making the work of agitators difficult, we must give Black people the right to acquire property.
I listened to the arguments advanced by hon members of the CP. I honestly cannot understand why they have adopted the standpoint, with reference to clause 2, that it opens the way for the acquisition of property by Black people. In section 30(2)(e) of Act No 38 of 1927, which is being replaced in terms of clause 2 of the Bill, express provision is made for the making of regulations for the imposition of rates or other charges upon the owners of immovable property. That is already in the Act. Let us go further. In the Better Administration of Designated Areas Act, Act No 51 of 1963, in terms of which provision is made for designated areas, and not even in scheduled or released areas—in other words, these are areas in the so-called White area—provision is again expressly made for the possibility of freehold rights. I cannot understand why, when we discuss clause 2, so much attention should be given to the question of freehold rights.
Oom Nic, you are talking about us for too long.
No. One is in this House and one has no option but to take part in the discussion, even if one is in fact wasting one’s time by doing so.
In the debate between ourselves and hon spokesmen of the Government side a few matters came to the fore, as was also pointed out by the hon member for Berea. For example, there were the Rumpff Commission, the question of removals and the fact that with regard to clauses 1, 4 and 12 we have not been satisfied. In this connection I want to associate myself with what the hon member for Berea had to say. I want to put it very clearly to the Government, and specifically to the hon the Deputy Minister, that it is essential that a final answer be provided as soon as possible as regards the future of the Rumpff Commission. The hon the Deputy Minister and the Government ought to know about the rumours that are doing the rounds, about the statements made by the judge and by Chief Buthelezi. There is considerable uncertainty about the future of the Rumpff Commission. This affects the future of Ingwavuma and other matters as well. I cannot understand why, when the Government is aware of the sensitive nature of this matter, a final answer was not given long ago. If the Government does not wish to be a party to the proceedings of the Rumpff Commission—that is what one inferred from the action of the chairman of the commission—it is the duty of the Government to make that point clear. We cannot continue to live in this uncertainty. I want to associate myself with the hon member for Berea in saying that it is essential that we have clarity as soon as possible with regard to the activities and the future of the Rumpff Commission.
The other fundamental point touched on is the issue of removals. Once again I want to express my amazement and disappointment that so many hon members of the Government party have said that removals are essential. The hon member for Berea rightly pointed out that Black people were being removed with a view to the implementation of the ideological policy of the Government, namely consolidation and the so-called liberation of peoples. That is the reason.
I want to make a remark with reference to points raised inter alia by the hon member for Bloemfontein North. We cannot accept the forced removal of anyone—whether they be Blacks, Whites, Coloureds or Indians—as we have consistently intimated in the light of our standpoint with regard to the Group Areas Act and its implementation. We cannot fail to be aware of the disruption that is caused, also when Whites are removed. We see it very clearly. We are not in favour of the forced removal of anyone in this country. Here I am not referring to the removals referred to the other day by the hon member for Klip River, when it was essential for economic reasons. That is not at issue now. We are referring to the forced removals due to consolidation and the so-called liberation of peoples arising from ideological considerations.
To say in the same breath that we object to the removal of Blacks but not of Whites is not correct, because after all, the two things are not comparable. They are not comparable with regard to numbers. They are not comparable with regard to the compensation paid. Nor are they comparable with regard to the freedom a White person has to go where he wishes. If the farm of a White person is bought out, he can go to an urban area and invest his capital there. He can start a business undertaking or purchase a property there, or else, with the money he obtains for his farm, he can go and buy another farm. To compare these things and condemn us for saying that we do not speak about the forced removal of Whites is not only mistaken; it makes no sense. I merely wish to emphasize what the hon member for Berea has said in this regard and which we consistently maintain. There is nothing that hurts our cause, either domestically or abroad, or which has such a detrimental influence on relations within South Africa, than the forced removal of large numbers of Black people, Coloureds and Indians. Although I know that the Government will not give serious consideration to my appeal, I do wish to say that the time has come—and I say it in all earnest—that we must put a stop to forced removals of that kind.
Mr Speaker, the hon member Prof Olivier has just made another fundamental blunder. He did not follow the example I set him here yesterday afternoon. When we farmers fight amongst one another he must stay out of the fight. Yesterday afternoon, when the hon member for Durban Point made an attack on the PFP I kept out of it, because when the English fight then there is really a smash. Therefore the hon member had better learn that he should forget about these stories.
Both that hon member and the hon member for Berea once again came up with the same boring old story of forced removals. Will we never hear the end of certain arguments in this House? Must these things be explained time and again, so that certain people can understand them properly? Yesterday afternoon I took the trouble to quote to the hon member Prof Olivier what his own spokesman had to say about these matters. We agree that forced removals should not take place, but we cannot commit ourselves to the statement that no removals or no resettlements of people are to take place. Our whole objective as far as consolidation is concerned, is meaningful consolidation, and we do not only consolidate lands; we also consolidate peoples. I added that in the process it was inevitable that people would sometimes have to be resettled in their own interests. The accusation of forced removals is being exaggerated to such an extent, however, that it sometimes negates all truth.
We must not imagine that all the removals that are supposedly forced evoke spontaneous resistance to resettlement among the people. Yesterday I mentioned the names of the people and organizations we have to contend with, inter alia, the Black Sash and the UDF and their fellow travellers, people who make it very difficult for us to resettle people in an orderly fashion where it is in their interest to do so.
Unfortunately, in my reply to the Second Reading debate, I omitted to comment on certain pertinent questions put to me by the hon member for Albany. Accordingly I should like to react to each of his statements now. He asked me inter alia whether independence would be forced on kwaZulu. That is probably one of the most naïve questions I have ever heard. We are still following the policy followed in the days of Dr Verwoerd and Mr Vorster and under the regime of the present hon Prime Minister, viz that no state will be forced to accept independence. It is the right of any people to request independence, and if they do not want to be independent they will not obtain independence. We shall not force it on any state. Therefore we shall not force it on kwaZulu either. Nor have we forced it on any other national state or independent state. Nor do we intend doing so in future.
The member also put questions to me concerning the issue of the removal of Black spots and poorly situated areas, and asked whether this had been shelved. The answer is an unambiguous “no”. There are areas that will be removed but I am not prepared to furnish the hon member with details at this point, because there are specific reasons why I am unable to do so at this point. In the first place, many of these so-called resettlements are still under consideration. Accordingly I cannot anticipate the decision of the Cabinet and of various Cabinet Committees in this regard. What I can emphasize, however, is that with regard to those areas which will be resettled in the future the Government will consult with the governments and communities in question, as we have done in the past. We shall negotiate with them in an effort to obtain their full cooperation for the resettlement.
And if they do not give it?
We do get their co-operation, but I cannot see why I should cross bridges that we have not come to yet. The CP, particularly the hon member for Barberton, has a tendency to want to anticipate history. He casts his gaze back in history and wants to stick fast there, but at the same time he wants to know what we are going to do in 20 years’ time. However, he can not tell us what his position is going to be in 20 years’ time. After all, I have already said that the hon member for Barberton stalks the future. I am not prepared to stalk the future with him. We go to meet the future in a straightforward fashion.
The hon member contended that a Black owner could not puuchase land again. That is not true. Every Black landowner who has to be resettled and who possesses 20 morgen of land or more must, in terms of the provisions of Act No 18 of 1936, be offered compensatory land on the basis of at least equal agricultural or pastoral value, subject to the same conditions as those under which he possessed land under the title deed in question. In this regard I just wish to assure the hon member for Pietersburg that he cannot obtain that land in the White area, but only in the resettlement areas. I find an inability on that hon members’s part to understand certain things very clearly. I shall come back to him in due course.
His diagnosis is a sound one.
There has never been anything wrong with my diagnosis.
Your medicine is not good.
A great deal has already been said about the neglect of Trust land. I take it that the hon member was referring in particular to Trust farms in the Stockenström District in my constituency. I wish the hon member would stay out of there, because he only causes trouble. Unfortunately he stays there and he is a voter of mine and so, of course, I have to endure him there. If he does refer to it, it is clear that the hon member’s information is second-hand, since the farms in the Stockenström areas are being made available to the Transkeian authorities as they are purchased. Initially this was not the case because we had an agreement with those people that we would not hand over the land farm by farm—there are very good reasons for that—but en bloc. That was the policy adopted.
He also referred to the neglect of Trust property in the Braunschweig and Berlin areas. Is he aware that that part of Braunschweig that has already been bought out, already forms part to of the territory of Ciskei, and that the remaining parts of Braunschweig and Berlin, which were earmarked for inclusion in Ciskei in 1983, are still in White hands? Does he now want us to look after the land of individual White farmers as well? The Braunschweig and Berlin areas that were earmarked to be declared Black in 1983 are in the process of valuation and will be acquired in the course of 1984-85, but this year no property which could be neglected has been purchased in this areas. Certain Trust land which is earmarked as compensatory land and which, for specific reasons, cannot be handed over to Ciskei is indeed being leased to Whites as well as certain farms to the SA Development Trust.
The hon member also discussed the delay in the handing over of certain land to the Ciskeian Government. I take it that in this regard the hon member is once again relying on newspaper reports. I wish to conclude my answer to him by mentioning that the Republic and Ciskei serve jointly on a committee that meets monthly—it is an implementation committee—to discuss and find solutions for bottlenecks and problems that may exist. So much for the questions put to me by the hon member.
†The hon member for Berea stated that since last week when we started with the discussion of this Bill, nothing has been said that has convinced the PFP that they should change their attitude and hence they still object to clause 12 and consequently to the whole Bill. He said that my replies were unconvincing and that the issue of consultation was a vital one. Of course, we all acknowledge that. It is so. However, I still cannot understand why the hon member persists in wanting to discuss the whole Ingwavuma issue in this debate. Let me make the position very clear. The Ingwavuma issue is an issue involving an independent kingdom, Swaziland, a national state, Kangwane, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Co-operation and Development. In addition, there is the Rumpff Commission which is busy with the whole issue. Does the hon member then really expect me, as a responsible member of this Government, at my level to discuss the issue of Ingwavuma in this House? This is a matter that is being dealt with at a very high level and it would be most irresponsible of me …
Your Minister appointed the commission.
Yes, he did, but that does not mean that one must be on the commission oneself, does it?
Does your Minister not talk to you?
Of course he talks to me, but it would be most irresponsible of me everytime he spoke to me to go to the hon member and to tell him what was said. Sir, one must retain one’s perspective as regards these things. I am certainly not in a position to discuss the Ingwavuma issue, the Rumpff Commission and the latest developments in that regard because, as I have said, these matters are very sensitive. There are a number of consultations on the go at the moment with the Rumpff Commission and other parties involved, and it would be really irresponsible of me were I to discuss those issues in this House now. That is all I have to say about this matter. I shall not discuss the matter any further. I should just like to say, however, that the Ingwavuma issue as such has absolutely nothing to do with the Bill under discussion. The only relationship that there is between this Bill and the Ingwavuma issue is the judgment of the Supreme Court that certain discussions did not take place. That is all that is at issue at the moment, and I therefore have nothing further to say about the Ingwavuma matter.
The hon member for Berea also spoke about forced removals. As I have already said, I think that this is a subject that has already been discussed at length, and I do not think that I should discuss it any further.
*I want to thank the hon member for Bloemfontein North for the skilful way he discussed consolidation and the principles involved. He also referred to the considerable progress that had taken place.
I now turn to the hon member for Pietersburg. This hon member has an inability to listen to what is said to him. He came up once again with the story that clause 2 creates a new category of land. His own hon deputy leader agreed with me yesterday that there are four categories of land and that those four categories have always existed over the years. These categories are scheduled areas, released areas, Trust land and land which has been declared a Black area by Parliament. This has always been the case over the years. How does the hon member imagine much of the Trust land was established? Was it not by resolution of Parliament?
In terms of the 1936 Act.
But surely the proclamation had to be promulgated in terms of the 1936 Act. I do not wish to deal at length with this matter either, because I have repeatedly replied to the allegation that a fourth category of land is being created here and that the State President may so declare land at any place in this country.
The hon member for Pietersburg also referred to Dr Verwoerd who spoke about a permanent White South Africa. That is the second time that the hon member for Barberton has levelled the accusation that we ridicule those hon members when they speak about White South Africa. Surely that is totally untrue. [Interjections.] If the hon member is not prepared to accept what I say, then he is being wilful.
Speak to the hon members for Turffontein and Vryheid. They are the people who laugh.
I speak to whomever I wish in this House. I do not know why that hon member now thinks that I do not speak to him, because that is a privilege I do not even grant myself. [Interjections.] I challenge those hon members to sketch to me a situation in which South Africa will be without Black people in White South Africa for the future and for eternity.
Oh yes, in their White homeland.
In their White homeland at Orania, that little spot they want to call a homeland.
Are we now to take it that you are stating categorically that there is no longer such a thing as a White Republic?
Oh really, Sir, the hon member is putting words in my mouth. [Interjections.] The hon member’s slip is also showing! That is the argument he is going to use in Potgietersrus, viz that I supposedly said that there was no longer any such thing as a White South Africa. Surely the hon member is talking absolute rubbish. Let me take the argument further. Those hon members advocate Coloured national states, do they not?
In the White South Africa that you advocate, are there going to be no Coloureds among the Whites? Will they succeed in accommodating all the Coloureds in their own homelands?
Mr Speaker, will the hon the Deputy Minister tell us what distinction he draws between a non-White, a person of colour who lives in White South Africa without the right to own property, and another one who lives here and has the right to own property?
I shall reply to the hon member in that regard. But the hon member must first tell me whether or not the Coloureds who will remain in White South Africa will have the right to own property. What is the CP going to do with them?
Answer my question.
No, I am, after all, putting a question to the hon member. What is the answer to my question? The hon member quoted Dr Verwoerd speaking about a White South Africa, but when Dr Verwoerd spoke about that White South Africa he did not mean a country in which there would be no Blacks. Dr Verwoerd is the man who started Black slum clearance in this country. Soweto is the direct result of Dr Verwoerd’s interference. Do hon members really think that he would have established that large city and others if he had thought that the people were only here temporarily? Surely it is ridiculous to come and argue here that Blacks are only temporarily present in this country. Anyone who does not take that reality into account has no hope of governing this country with any degree of success. In the South Africa of the CP there will be no such thing as an exclusively White South Africa.
The Whites will be in control.
That is not what the hon member said. I now come to the hon member for King William’s Town.
†I just want to reiterate that the sentiments expressed by him we too feel very strongly about. We are trying to do what we can. He might think that the measures we take are inadequate; that might be his opinion, but we still strive for the ideal position of developing this land whilst it is still in our possession. The hon member also mentioned that we had established Trustcor to farm these farms. That shows that we are very anxious to develop the various Black states to their full potential and to improve them. It is also unfortunately true that quite a number of these farms were let to White farmers who absolutely exploit the soil. We are also trying to obviate that.
*The hon member for Rustenburg rightly pointed out that the urbanization process could not be averted. There is no Government in the world that can control or check it. As long as it takes place in an orderly fashion it is a phenomenon that we have to live with, and no policy in the world can change it.
I am grateful to the hon member for Pretoria West for his exposition of the matter that was at issue here and has been discussed.
I now come to the hon member for Barberton, and I am not going to spend much time on him. He discussed Barberton, and I think he should rather remain silent about Barberton. We and Barberton do not need him, and Barberton will indicate this shortly. I want to say to him that even with or without him Barberton will remain White. He need not trouble himself further about the matter. We shall keep Barberton White for him.
Thank you very much.
That is a fact, and he is only pretending that he does not know it. He is merely seeking arguments.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon the Deputy Minister a question?
Are you speaking with the authority of the Cabinet when you say that Barberton is going to remain White?
The hon member is a jurist. Yesterday afternoon I said very clearly to him that we could not accept the amendment of the hon member for Lichtenburg to insert “House of Assembly”, because it would have no effect whatsoever. The fight he put up this afternoon, he should rather have put up last year when the constitution was passed; he cannot fight that battle now because yesterday afternoon I quoted to him what is provided in section 97 of the constitution. [Interjections.] That section reads:
The hon member for Brakpan does not know it, but the hon member for Barberton surely knows that the Constitution has not yet come into operation because if it had we should in any event not have been able to accept that amendment either. The Constitution has not yet come into operation; it will only come into operation on 3 September. I hope the hon member now understands what I am trying to tell him. Perhaps I did not put it in such elegant legal language as he would have been able to do.
We understand full well that we can no longer decide about our own land.
The hon member may be right, but that is unfortunately his opinion. However, he did not show that he understood this when he spoke.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon the Deputy Minister a question?
Sir, the hon members are wasting time now, and we have no time to waste. We have spent many hours on the discussion of this Bill. I do not believe we ought to quibble about this further.
I want to convey my sincere thanks to the hon members who support the Bill. We have spent almost a full week on this Bill. Every last drop of poison has been extracted from the Bill, but fortunately there is more honey than poison in it, and accordingly we were at least able to present the honey as well. I am very grateful to the hon members who supported me. I believe that the amendments being effected here are to the benefit of the Black communities of the country, but I also believe that this contributes towards our peaceful co-existence with people whom the Almighty placed here and with whom we must live together in peace and love in the same territory. I hope that this legislation may contribute towards that. It has been a privilege to participate in its introduction.
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—90: Aronson, T; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Blanché, J P I; Botha, C J v R; Botma, M C; Coetsee, H J; Coetzer, H S; Cunnigham, J H; De Jager, A M v A; Delport, W H; De Pontes, P; Du Plessis, B J; Du Plessis, G C; Duur, K D S; Du Toit, J P; Fick, L H; Geldenhuys, A; Geldenhuys B L; Grobler, J P; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Landman, W J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Le Roux, Z P; Ligthelm, C J; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, M H; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, P G; Maree, M D; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Olivier, P J S; Page, B W B; Pieterse, J E; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Rencken, C R E; Rogers, PRC; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, W J; Schutte, DPA; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Steyn, D W; Streicher, D M; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, G P D; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Merwe, G J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Staden, J W; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Vermeulen, J A J; Vilonel, J J; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Watterson, D W; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wiley, J W E; Wilkens, B H.
Tellers: W J Cuyler, S J de Beer, W T Kritzinger, J J Niemann, L van der Watt and H M J van Rensburg (Mossel Bay).
Noes—34: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Barnard, M S; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Goodall, B B; Hartzenberg, F; Hoon, J H; Langley, T; Le Roux, F J; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Savage, A; Scholtz, E M; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Slabbert, F v Z; Snyman, W J; Soal, P G; Suzman, H; Swart, R A F; Tarr, M A; Treurnicht, A P; Uys, C; Van der Merwe, S S; Van Heerden, R F; Van Rensburg, H E J; Van Staden, F A H; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and A B Widman.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, when the debate was adjourned some two days ago I was tracing the somewhat apocryphal history of how and why matrimonial power over women had originally been granted to men. I quoted two reasons: Firstly, that based on biblical authority, and, secondly, the fact that it was felt in olden times that the weaker sex needed protection. I stated that it was the view of this side of the House that that was an obsolete provision.
The third historical reason put forward for the granting of marital power over women to men—I may say, with some approval by Hahlo—was that by partaking of the forbidden fruit it was Eve who caused the expulsion of mankind from paradise. Be that as it may, this legislation changes all that. It changes it for ever. The marital power derived from Roman times is abolished for all future marriages. A system of concurrent administration, tried and tested in Holland, Germany and several other Western countries is introduced. The legal disabilities of women contracting marriages from now on are behind us, and that is to be greatly welcomed.
Complete separation of property was the system of the late Roman law and it applies today as the norm, inter alia, in England and in over half of the states in America. It has been an option in South Africa since the 19th century. Each spouse retains the property which he or she brings into the marriage, or which accrues thereafter, and there is no diminution in the legal status of the wife.
While the community of property has been relevant to conditions in rural communities separation of property has developed under urban conditions, and it is intended to serve the case where both spouses have independent economic interests. The main advantage in this marital system is that both parties retain their independence and their separate properties. The shortcoming of the system is that however long the marriage may endure, neither spouse has a right nor a share in the property of the other. This could lead, and has led, to grossly inequitable results in our country. Take the case of a family where the husband is a businessman, his wife his counsellor and collaborator over the years but not the owner of the business. The man becomes rich and his family with him. As Lord Hodson in 1970 said: “The cock can feather the nest because he does not have to spend most of his time sitting on it”. Nothing, not the property, nor the shares are in the woman’s name. Upon a divorce after 20 years or more of marriage or upon the death of a husband and depending upon his testamentary disposition, the wife may in fact find herself a pauper. A system which can give rise to such results cannot be supported on any logical grounds in perpetuity. We therefore support wholeheartedly those important provisions of this Bill which establish, as the normal marriage out of community of property, the accrual system for future marriages, which system has already been adequately explained in this debate.
Just as the two systems of marital regime, community of property on the one side and out of community of property on the other, have inherent in them built-in advantages and also built-in disadvantages, so this Bill, heralding important changes and reform as it does, contains both advantages and disadvantages. Its advantages are that for all marriages contracted hereafter the new system will apply and women in particular will be freed of the legal disabilities of the past and will be entitled in the future as of right to share in the fruits of the partnership whether that partnership be in or out of community. The disadvantage of this Bill is that it fails to address fully the problems encountered in existing marriages.
The select committee which under the chairmanship of the hon member for Mossel Bay gave birth to this Bill did not ask that the marital power, for instance, be abolished with retrospective effect. That was not asked for by the committee. The committee recognized that vested interests applied and that third parties were involved. It asked merely—and it recommended this—that from the date of the commencement of this Act, once this Bill is enacted, that women presently married be freed from the archaic shackles of legal disability. I am truly sorry that this recommendation has not been acceded to by the Government. As a result, hundreds of thousands of South African women will not in their lifetimes experience the benefit of the very real reform brought about by this Bill. This is a tremendous pity. Similarly, the danger—and I mentioned this earlier—of unilateral disinheritance still pervades the lives of those women presently married out of community of property.
However, it is not in my heart to be negative or to be churlish in my criticism, for the hon the Minister has in his way attempted to address these problems. Clause 25 of the Bill grants the right to consenting married couples to adopt by way of, what appears to be, a simple procedure in their existing marriages, within a period of one year—I see there is an amendment on the Order Paper changing that to two years—the reforms contained in this Bill. This at least grants options to people which have hitherto not existed. Time will tell whether these opportunities created by these provisions will be taken by married couples in any numbers. Clause 36 of the Bill amends the Divorce Act and grants, as is the position in England today, to the Supreme Court the jurisdiction to award in deserving cases to a spouse presently married out of community of property, upon divorce, a share of the estate of the other.
While the danger of disinheritance still exists, I welcome the hon the Minister’s assurance that he has requested the Law Commission to investigate and to report upon the law of succession with a view to remedying the defect that we have been discussing. May the Law Commission apply itself with energy and celerity to this task.
Before leaving this topic, I should like to ask the hon the Minister to grant to the members of this House of all parties, his own included, his attentive ear during the Committee Stage of this Bill and not to reject out of hand extensions, limitations or improvements that may be proposed. This is not a political matter and thus not a matter which should arouse any political heat. Nor is it an ideological issue. We will speak to amendments, some already appearing on the Order paper, and also to changes which we believe will improve this Bill. We ask the hon the Minister for his indulgence and for his careful and mature consideration of the points put to him during the Committee Stage.
I would like for a moment to dwell upon the provisions of clause 22 of the Bill. In South African law donations between husbands and wives married out of community of property are prohibited. This prohibition has its origin in Roman law. Contrary to popular belief, the main purpose of the prohibition was not to protect the creditors of the spouses against fraudulent donations, but rather it was there to protect the spouses themselves against mutual cavilling into making donations. Hahlo told us some many long years ago, though I am not sure he was correct, that in every marriage there is one who is loved and one who allows him or herself to be loved. It was explained to us that the Romans thought that if donations between spouses were allowed the more infatuated spouse might well end up being the wiser but also very much impoverished person. South Africa is one of the few countries where this prohibition still exists or applies. Most modern countries confine themselves to rules which protect creditors against fraudulent donations. In South Africa today the interests of creditors are, I believe, sufficiently protected by the Insolvency Act, and so this provision no longer serves any useful purpose in modern times. Accordingly I welcome the abolition of this outmoded restriction.
There are several other aspects to the Bill which require debating, and we will no doubt come to these aspects during the Committee Stage. They concern matters both of principle and of detail. There are, however, a few things I would like to say before we reach that stage.
To be a member of Parliament is a unique privilege. To be a member of Parliament in the Opposition is also a privilege, but very often without any tangible reward. Law after law, year after year is passed or amended with the Opposition merely being the predictable voice of criticism and of negative comment. Therefore, on these rare occasions when an important measure comes before the House, which is the product of joint investigation and deliberation, where the issues cut across party lines and where the end result of the intensive labours of a select committee reflects a form of consensus, one sits back, takes stock and thinks that perhaps it has been worthwile after all. Without wishing to embarrass anyone I would like to thank a few people for the roles they have played in the writing of this legislation. My thanks are perhaps unfairly selective, though they are deserved at any level and on any basis.
First and foremost I would like to address myself to the hon member for Houghton Over the years I have learnt much from her, but in the context of this Bill there is no doubt in my mind that she is its father, if that were physically possible. [Interjections.] The women of South Africa should know, whether they be Nationalist supporters, whether they be Conservatists, supporters of the NRP or the PFP that Helen has fought indefatigably for their rights and that in this instance her efforts have borne fruit.
Secondly, I would like to express my appreciation to the hon member for Mossel Bay, Helgard van Rensburg, for the competence and the patience and the enlightened manner in which he conducted the deliberations of the select committee. I think he would worry at being dubbed the champion of women’s rights, but under his wise guidance this law has become a reality. I greatly respect his contribution to this advance and I should like him to know it.
Finally, while not wishing to exclude the hon the Minister himself, the Law Commission and the staff of the Law Commission, I should like to extend a word of thanks to all my colleagues who served with me on the select committee. They and I know who they are. The debates were sometimes heated though they were never personal or acrimonious. For me it was a stimulating experience to serve with them on the select committee to produce what we are debating today.
Much more will be said before this Bill becomes law, but for the moment suffice it to say that, in consort with my colleagues, I support its passage with enthusiasm.
Where is your black armband?
Sir, I thought that there was a difference of opinion in the caucus of the PFP.
The hon member or Sandton will understand if I do not react to him immediately, in view of the fact that a variety of matters were raised by hon members. In any case, for the most part his speech was a Committee Stage speech. I shall therefore not react to it any further, except just to ask him something in regard to a statement he made.
I think it is fitting that I refer to the hon members for Bloemfontein East and King William’s Town at this stage. They referred to the historical situation and, inter alia, pointed out that under the influence of the British the whole spectrum of the matrimonial property law, particularly as regards the choices exercised under the antenuptial contract, has become limited. Whilst a much wider choice was available and, in fact, exercised in the past under the influence of Roman-Dutch law, it became considerably restricted under the British influence. The gist of the standpoint of both members was that the notary public could have prevented this by fully advising his clients, for example, about the availability of the accrual system when they enter into an antenuptial contract. There is literature, too, which shows that as a result of a lack of information, we eventually had a standard antenuptial contract which perhaps merely amounted to the wife retaining gifts which accrued to her upon marriage.
Both members have now given me an opening to point out that considerable duties are being imposed on the notary public in this Bill to inform his clients correctly. There are a number of occasions on which the notary public will act, for example, in the abolition of the marital power and in the amendment of the system of matrimonial property when the parties who were married out of community of property want to change over to an accrual system within a period of one year—or two years, as we want to amend it. The notary public also has to act in similar cases. He also has to act in recording the commencement values in so far as the accrual system will be applicable in marriages out of community of property, etc. The bill therefore creates tremendous expectations on the part of the public as far as being served by the notary public is concerned. I have therefore deemed fit to place on record here why this House endorses these tremendous expectations the public has of the notary public. I have seen fit to bring to the attention of the House, with reference to Halsbury’s Laws, that from way back the notary public has been expected—and I quote—
To a large extent, that has fallen away now.
The quotation goes on to say:
Perhaps that is applicable in a figurative way today if one sees the ship as a marriage. The quotation goes on to say:
I want to emphasize that:
Practice also relies on certain textbooks, and I consulted one textbook about the role of the notary public. I want to quote from it in full so as to make it clear what this House expects of the notary public. The quotation reads as follows:
It goes on to say:
Furthermore, it is very clear that we have taken over this practice. We are familiar with the position and office of the notary public, and I want to state categorically now that after talks with the law societies I was told that they accept this challenge wholeheartedly, that they intend making the office of notary public particularly clear and that they will introduce in-service training, as it were, for their attorneys and notaries, if necessary. With this prospect, we will certainly monitor the situation—as the hon member for King William’s Town asked me to do. To a large extent, it is also in reply to the hon member for Bloemfontein East that I say that with that prospect we are looking to this office to see to it that parties are placed before informed choices and that they are properly informed in regard to the choices available to them in terms of this legislation.
It is obvious that it is not fitting for us to say that we will rectify the matter if this is not done and that it will then be rectified in the interests of the public. It is by no means necessary to say this in respect of a profession of the high status of attorneys and notaries, and it also attests to the fact that they will see to it that their people are fully informed.
I now come to the hon member Mr Schutte, who pointed out that there are indeed a large number of choices here. He also asked—that is how I understood him—whether information will be made available, and if so, by whom. I have already referred to the role we expect the law societies and notaries to fulfil. However, I also wish to make it known now that after talks, the department also acknowledges and recognizes its responsibility in this regard. The department will soon be putting up a notice at all magistrate’s offices and all public places where the Department of Justice has jurisdiction, in which the public will be properly informed about the new dispensation, the choices that are available and the periods that are applicable here. It is a pity that the hon the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications is not present; I would have asked him to make post offices available to us for this purpose as well. That, then, is the background to that matter, viz that we see it as a challenge to make known what the public ought to know. I hope hon members derive a great deal of comfort from the fact that their representations have, in fact, resulted in this decision.
The hon member for Mossel Bay referred to quite a number of matters and gave a thorough exposition of this legislation. He also referred to the fact that the whole question of the matrimonial property law for Blacks had been referred to the Law Commission. I shall come to that presently. However, the fact remains that I have to give the hon member, as well as the hon member for Houghton, a comprehensive reply in this regard. I find it odd that the hon member for Houghton has amendments on the Order Paper with regard to the matrimonial property law for Blacks, as well as the effect it might have on the marital power of the Black spouse. One of her amendments has the effect that it will be possible to abolish this, too, according to choice, or that it will summarily fall away. I now want to associate myself with the hon member for Mossel Bay in that I also find it odd that the hon member for Houghton has changed her mind so soon. She and I served together on a select committee which dealt with certain Black legislation in view of the new constitutional dispensation. On 24 May 1983 that select committee, the Select Committee on the Constitution, which, inter alia, dealt with the Black Communities Development Bill, took note that obtaining leasehold rights, and so on, would not be raised at that stage, but that cognizance was taken of the fact that the whole matter was in the hands of the Select Committee on the Matrimonial Property Law. I cannot recall that the hon member insisted then that we take other steps in this regard. She was satisfied.
†As far back as 17 January 1983 the hon member for Houghton was very happy indeed to leave the whole issue of Black matrimonial property to the Law Commission.
Not the contractual capacity.
Please give me a chance. I want to take this opportunity to address the hon member. On 15 October she again expressed her satisfaction with the recommendation of the select committee, of which she was a member, that the whole issue be referred to the SA Law Commission.
The history of my argument is not there.
That was as far back as October 1983. I find this to be completely contrary to the right that anyone has to change his or her mind and to precipitate the recommendation with the commission.
Mr Speaker, is the hon the Minister not aware that the hon member for Houghton only supported the proposal that the matter be referred to the SA Law Commission after she had lost on the select Committee the argument that the law be made applicable to Black marriages as well? So it was in that light that the hon member supported the proposal that it be sent to the SA Law Commission.
I accept that, but as a matter of fact eventually she did support it. During the discussion of my Vote I announced what progress had been made by the SA Law Commission on this issue and I also announced the appointment of two members to the commission with the special assignment of attending to the matrimonial property situation of Black people.
The hon member for Houghton did not raise her voice in protest. I thought it fit to consult the chairman of the Law Commission on this issue and to ask them what the effect would be if we should proceed to discuss the whole issue of the marrital powers of the Black male partner to a marriage.
*I received the following telex from the chairman:
I also announced that I had appointed Dr Dlamini as a member of the commission, with the special request that he give this project his attention.
†I also asked him to be consulted and I also received a telex from Dr Dlamini.
I thought you did.
Yes, of course I consulted him. His telex reads:
I cannot take it further than that. Let us approach this question from a different angle. In view of what I have now said to the hon member, will she not please reconsider her attitude?
I ask her this because neither she nor I can decide unless we have a proper investigation by people properly equipped for such an investigation.
There are two separate issues involved.
I think that when we discuss the instruction of the hon member for Houghton—I am expecting such an instruction—we will undoubtedly discuss the whole question of Black matrimonial property law once again. However, I hope that this can be avoided, since we are dealing with a complicated, complex matter for which a great deal of objectivity is necessary.
I want to give an indication of what we are speaking about. In 1981 there were 47 000 Black civil marriages; 50 000 in 1982; and 42 000 in 1983. I assume that these people were mostly married out of community of property, and possibly did not make a declaration to exclude marital power. I am of the opinion that we cannot deliberately make inroads here.
This brings me to another situation. Both the hon member for Houghton and the hon member for Sandton said that the major shortcoming in the Bill is that we are not summarily abolishing the marital power in the case of existing marriages. Those hon members can tell me later what the difference is between their recommendation and the abolition of the marital power with retrospective effect. I indicated in the memorandum that at present an average of 68% of all marriages in community of property are entered into with the retention of the marital power. Let us divide this into the different population groups in order to ascertain what we are speaking about. In 1981, 98,1% of Coloureds were married in community of property. It was 90% in the case of Asians. In 1980 it was 98% for Coloureds and 90% for Asians. In contrast, the figure for Whites was 49% and 51% in the respective years, and this caused the high average. The hon member has given notice that she would request an instruction to the effect that it will be possible to conduct the debate further than the principle contained in clause 7, and that she will therefore ultimately be able to effect an amendment to the main principle. I now ask the hon member in all fairness whether this House can interfere when 98% of all Coloured marriages were entered into in community of property? Can one interfere when 90,1% of Asian marriages were entered into in community of property? I agree with the hon member that the system of matrimonial property and the family system of Hindus and Moslems are extremely complicated. I appreciate her honesty in saying: “I only discovered the other day …”.
That is true, I did not know anything about Hindu and Moslem marriages. Nor do you.
Yes, I confess to that immediately, loudly and clearly.
The significance is that we are not properly equipped, either in status or by virtue of our knowledge, or the lack of it, to decide on this issue. I therefore suggest—I will not say implore as the hon member will consider that as lack of marital power—that the hon member reconsider the motion she intends moving.
*I do not wish to say much more about the marital power. However, I want to state a number of fundamental standpoints. What precisely is this House being asked to decide on? Is this House being asked to amend common law and to effect drastic changes that were unknown until now? The answer is “no”. What we are, in fact, doing is to place beyond any doubt that the accrual system existed in our common law. It is now being written in as part of our matrimonial property law, unless it is excluded, whereas it was the other way round previously. That is the dispensation for the future.
What is happening in respect of existing marriages now? We are not forcing existing partners in marriage to accept a new dispensation now. They are being given a choice. However, cognizance must be taken of the fact that the choice, if it is exercised, will only have financial and economic significance upon the dissolution of a marriage. I want to compliment the select committee on that, since it was a brave decision. In its wisdom, the committee accepted that there may be circumstances in which partners in marriage cannot persuade one another to enter into the accrual system. The court is now being afforded the opportunity to award an equitable share from the estate to the aggrieved party on condition that a direct or indirect contribution was made. This is still subject to the possibility that it could be declared forfeit in terms of section 9 of the Divorce Act. That is what we are doing. I think the select committee acted very prudently here. I am extremely grateful to the hon member for Sandton for not insisting that we leave it to the discretion of the court to deal with the question of the equitable or legitimate portion, or whatever, upon the death of a spouse. I am very grateful that he accepted that. However, I think there is an amendment to that effect on the Order Paper, which I will unfortunately not be able to accept. The hon member himself admits that there are a tremendous number of problems connected to this. In fact, I think it would be contrary to the principle of the Bill if this were to be discussed. I do not want to make things difficult, but if necessary, we can go into the matter and point out the tremendous problems involved here.
We accept that there could be inequity in the case of disinheritance. According to the Law Commission’s investigation it is a very small percentage, but we accept that this could in fact occur. Various solutions are possible, however. One possibility is that the legitimate portion he reinstated, the old quarta falcidia, or it can happen that we determine that an estate has a duty to maintain a survinving spouse. That is also a possibility. There are therefore different possibilities. We are not in a position to decide about that, however, I want to make the point that if we were to have subjected this to thorough investigation and research—that is what the select committee recommended in the time at its disposal—and we made it part of this Bill, we would not have been where we are today. I hope hon members accept that. I shall therefore not be able to accept that amendment during the Committee stage.
This brings me to the amendment concerning a family home. The hon member for Mossel Bay pointed out that he received a letter from a certain judge—I do not want to go into detail now—in which he pointed out that the definition of a family home was very vague. Inter alia, it could be asked whether a farmhouse would be a family home. Could a man be prohibited from selling his farm in a sound business transaction? The judiciary, as well as many academics, have pointed out that this is a problem area which we cannot cover with this legislation. If we had waited until proper research and investigation had been completed, we would not have been able to discuss this Bill today.
It is Government policy that the fate of children should be looked after and it has also already approved in principle the establishment of a family court. However, the Government does not yet know what final form it will take. The Government also accepts the recommendations that the divorce law and divorce legislation should be reconsidered. I have sent out draft legislation in this regard. The Government realizes that provision for families is an area to which every government must give continuous attention. We can have another look at that. However, whether it will be in the form of a family home is not clear at this stage. Hon members are aware that in terms of the rules of court a wife is not without remedy. In terms of section 43 she can obtain certain orders pendente lite, pending the verdict of the court, against a spouse who threatens to neglect or prejudice the estate or the family. This can be done.
There are other remedies available, for example, that of division of the joint estate. That was an old common law remedy which I think has only been reported twice during the past 60 years. I myself used it once as a young practitioner. However, I do not know whether that decision was reported. The fact is, however, that that remedy is also available. I therefore want to emphasize that as far as the family home is concerned, if it was meant to protect the wife, or the husband in a modern marriage, the male spouse or female spouse who may be prejudiced is not without remedy.
I have briefly set out precisely what we are, and what we are not doing. However, in respect of the marital power the question arises as to whether we still endorse the retention of an anachronism, as it was put, since there was widespread support for the abolition of the marital power. By deciding that we are indeed going to abolish the marital power in respect of future marriages, we are supporting the principle, after all. We say that there is only a very small percentage of contractual capacity that the woman does not yet have. [Interjections.] It is true; the Act of 1953 went very far. The principle is therefore being supported. What happens in the case of existing marriages, however? By giving the partners in marriage in an existing marriage the opportunity to abolish the marital power by way of agreement, we are acknowledging that the marital power can be abolished. In any case, merely by virtue of the fact that we will not live for ever, it will be phased out. According to our philosophy, however, we must make provision for the establishment of a system of matrimonial property, and not impose choices. In view of our approach to the abolition of the marital power, we have to establish a mechanism, and we must not impose it. In terms of that philosophy we cannot force the abolition of the marital power on parties either. When parties could decide about this, they perhaps decided to retain the marital power knowingly.
The hon member for King William’s Town said that he would have preferred a mechanism which determines that the marital power is being abolished, and that those who wish to retain the marital power should enter into a contract. However, the hon member did not tell us who is going to foot the bill. Who is going to foot the bill in the King William’s Town constituency? The status quo must therefore be maintained, and it offers a choice. If we should accept the proposal of the hon member, it would affect thousands of people, people who have been accustomed to it for 30 or 40 years. They would get a dreadful fright if the marital power suddenly had to be abolished, and many people would even think that it includes the choice of domicile or even of guardianship, and that is not the case. Consequently, my reply to the hon member—and I think he will accept it as such—is that unless he wants to foot the bill, we should keep things as they are at present.
To conclude: We are making a dispensation available to all partners in marriage in South Africa—and in that respect it is a magna charta for everyone; not only for the wife—as well as a choice mechanism, as regards the marital power. We are not interfering in their freedom and we still respect the freedom of choice of all partners in marriage in South Africa.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
This Bill arises from representations by the Clearing Bankers’ Association of South Africa for the amendment of section 26 of the Insolvency Act, 1936 (Act 24 of 1936), to make provision for claims instituted against an insolvent estate, on the grounds of suretyship without value by the insolvent, not to be excluded from competition with the creditors because of the disposition not having been completed. Because this proposal affects one of the basic principles of insolvency law and because, as matters stand, financial institutions run the risk of suffering substantial losses, on 9 March 1983 I requested the South African Law Commission to give urgent attention to the matter. In its report that was tabled in Parliament on 11 May 1984, the Law Commission recommended an urgent amendment to section 26(2) of the Insolvency Act, 1936. In terms of section 26 a disposition by an insolvent of property without value may, under specific circumstances, be set aside by the court, and such disposition that has thus been set aside, or that has not been completed, does not give the beneficiary the right to compete with the creditors of the insolvent’s estate. It now appears that section 26, which was aimed inter alia at preventing donations being made by insolvents to the detriment of creditors, has an undesirable effect in the case of suretyship. According to our present law suretyship constitutes a disposition for the purposes of section 26, under circumstances in which one is not always dealing with value or in which this is difficult to prove. According to our law such a disposition also remains incompleted until the guarantor pays the surety debt. Under these circumstances, upon the insolvency of the guarantor, a surety creditor will not be able to recover the amount of the suretyship from him. This means that suretyship, which fulfils an important function in business transactions, is of relatively little value as security and that financial institutions could suffer substantial losses. Advancing money under guarantee is an indispensable part of a bank’s credit facilities and the present legal position may undermine the effectiveness of existing guarantees.
†Mr Speaker, in paragraph 5.6 of its report the Law Commission expresses the opinion that because the contracting of a surety debt constitutes a disposition for purposes of section 26 of the Insolvency Act, 1936, the same principle which is applicable to dispositions in general, should apply to surety debts. The setting aside of a disposition under section 26(1) should, in other words, in appropriate cases also take place in respect of uncompleted dispositions. If a disposition is not set aside it should not be excluded from competition with the creditors of the insolvent’s estate. The commission also points out that essential differences exist between suretyship and dispositions by way of donation. The former has been an acknowledged legal institution since Roman times and today plays an important role in commerce. It can also not be disputed that in the present situation a surety is in the hand of fate notwithstanding the best preventive measures he may have taken. In paragraph 5.7 of the report it is stated that the application of the said principle might be hampered in the case of suretyships, guarantees or indemnities for indefinite amounts. It might be difficult to establish if at any time after the contracting of the debt the debtor’s assets exceeded his liabilities and, if so, to what extent. The Law Commission concluded that in such a case it would be fair to allow the beneficiary under such a disposition to compete with the creditors of the insolvent’s estate only to the amount by which the insolvent’s assets exceeded his liabilities immediately prior to the making of the disposition. A proposed measure in this regard is contained in clause 1 of the Bill now before the House.
In clause 2 provision is made for the rectification of an incorrect reference to section 16(4) in section 97(2)(c) of the Act.
Mr Speaker, we on this side of the House find no fault with the hon the Minister’s explanation of the Bill and will therefore support it.
Mr Speaker, I should like to thank the hon member for Sandton for his support. It is difficult for me to say less than he did, but suffice it to say that I take pleasure in supporting the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I shall not try to take part in a race at this stage. I just want to say that we have examined the report of the Law Commission in this connection and that we also support these amendments.
Mr Speaker, the NRP supports the Bill.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Bill not committed.
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
The South African Law Commission was established, in terms of section 2 of the South African Law Commission Act, to do research into all branches of the law of the Republic and to study and investigate them in order to make recommendations for their development, improvement, modernization or reform There is no doubt that thus far the Law Commission has served its purpose. In a developing country like South Africa it is of the utmost importance for the law constantly to be revised and, where necessary, adjusted in order to meet the demands of ever-changing circumstances. In view of the increase in the activities of the Law Commission certain adjustments have now become necessary. Proposals in this connection are contained in the Bill before this House.
At present the seven members of the Law Commission may only be appointed from the ranks of judicial officers, advocates, attorneys, professors of law and officers in the service of the Department of Justice. Owing to the Law Commission’s increasing importance it is essential for the best intellects possible to be acquired for the Commission—not that this is not already the case. Suitable knowledgeable individuals willing to devote themselves actively to legal reform are scarce and are not limited to the aforementioned legal professions. In clause 1(a), in the proposed section 3(l)(a), it is therefore proposed that the category of persons from which the State President may make appointments be enlarged. Owing to the special position the chairman holds, it is still being provided that he be a judge. The more flexible wording of the proposed section 3(l)(a) makes it possible, however, for the vice-chairman not necessarily having to be a judge as well.
In its latest annual report the Commission pointed out the problems caused by its constitution—it consists mainly of members serving on a part-time basis. There is no doubt that the Commission could perform its task far more efficiently if more members of the Commission could devote themselves to legal reform on a full-time basis. In this way it would be possible to entrust specific matters to committees of the Commission. Urgent matters could receive attention sonner and the pace of the Commission’s activities could be speeded up considerably. Although in practice it is difficult to relinquish the services of a judge and allow him to deal with the activities of the commission in a full-time capacity, another furture ideal is to have the chairman, who has to give direction to legal reform, available to give guidance on a day-to-day basis.
It is therefore proposed in clause 1(a) that not more than three of the seven members of the commission appointed by the State President will carry and out their activities in a full-time capacity.
In clause 1(c) it is proposed that additional members should not be appointed for the duration of a project, but for a fixed period, as in the case of the permanent members. Where necessary the appointment may be extended or revoked.
†Mr Speaker, the commission has from time to time found it necessary to appoint a committee to attend to a particular matter. At present such a committee has no status, is relatively powerless and is usually appointed only to finalize certain urgent or specific small tasks for the commission. Now and then attempts are also made to constitute other committees or working groups to render some form of assistance with the research for a project. These committees are equally devoid of status and power and the assistance of outsiders who serve on them must be obtained without compensation. There is at present a strong need for a working committee, consisting mainly of full-time members of the commission, which could attend to matters delegated to it by the Commission on a continuous basis and make binding decisions on behalf of the Commission.
There is, similarly, an urgent need for the creation of committees in the second category, in which those who desire to make a real contribution to law reform can do so while at the same time enjoying a certain status and being remunerated for their work. It is proposed in clause 4 that provision be made for the establishment of an appropriate committees system. Firstly, provision is made for the establishment of a working committee which shall consist of such members of the commission as the commission may designate and which could attend to matters delegated to it by the commission on a continuous and day-to-day basis and make binding decisions on behalf of the commission. Secondly, provision is also made for the establishment of other categories of committees which shall, in the first place, consist of such members of the commission as the commission may designate and, in the second place, consist of such members of the commission as the commission may designate and the other persons appointed by the Minister. Committees in this category will be able to conduct investigations with regard to specific projects and submit reports to the commission for consideration. Some of these committees will probably have to function as permanent committees of the commission, for instance, the Permanent Penal Reform Committee. I have already announced that once the legislation has been passed this committee will be incorporated into the Law Commission.
In view of the appointment of members in a full-time capacity it is also necessary to make further provision for the remuneration, allowances, benefits and privileges of members of the commission.
Mr Speaker, much has been said already during the session about the Law Commission and most recently during the debate on the Vote of the hon the Minister of Justice. The work of the commission, its achievements and his problems were also debated in a standing committee. Therefore, I do not intend to discuss in any depth at this stage the role of the commission in law reform in South Africa. I want to say, however, that we welcome this Bill and its provisions.
The majority of the proposed amendments in this Bill flow from the most recent report of the commission, namely Chapters I and XI of that report.
That is pretty fast work, don’t you think?
Yes, Sir. I think that is a fair comment from the hon the Minister.
Well then, thank my department.
He is showing much less timidity than he normally does in matters of reform. However, I do think the hon the Minister moved reasonably quickly. These amendments are, therefore, as a result of the most recent report of the Law Commission and also, no doubt, as a result of consultation with the chairman and members of the commission. I believe that these amendments and improvements are going to help the work of the Law Commission.
I want to mention just a few of the improvements. In the first instance, we now have a situation where three full-time appointments can be made to the commission. This is something that the chairman of the commission has been asking for the several years, and I believe that this innovation will give greater continuity and greater thrust to the work of the commission and will also assist it in speeding up its investigations.
In the second instance, I welcome the fact that the question of the committee system has now been formalized in legislation, and that committees can be established on an ongoing basis to handle various projects. As the hon the Minister has said, the commission has in the past made use of committees for certain of its work on an ad hoc basis but, because of the lack of formal status, these committees have merely operated that basis and have not been able to perform the functions the commission would have liked them to perform. It is also a welcome provision in the legislation that the decisions of the more formalized committees will in fact be deemed to be decisions of the commission itself.
Furthermore, outsiders who are not members of the commission as such may be included in these committees from time to time where they have specific expertise to offer. I believe that this innovation and this agreement that the Government finds with the view of the chairman of the commission will speed up reform and will ensure that experts can be used as and when needed.
I also welcome the firmer legislative form given to the commission in consultation with the hon the Minister to employ staff and experts generally. I think that this is going to mean a considerable amount in giving greater energy and thrust to research work done on behalf of the commission.
Finally, the question of remuneration had to come into it because if a more formalized structure is being set up then I think it is necessary to make changes in regard to the manner in which the people employed will be remunerated. We find all these things most useful in facilitating the work of the commission.
I would, however, like to put a new questions to the hon the Minister. In the commission’s report, it mentioned a few other matters that were worrying it. While we are on the subject of the South African Law Commission and its efficiency, I wonder if the hon the Minister could tell us what the position is with regard to, as he put it in his introductory speech, reaching the ideal of a full-time chairman. I should like to know what his thinking is on that and whether he is going to give effect to the recommendation of the South African Law Commission in this regard. Secondly, we would like to know whether the hon the Minister has made a decision on the recommendation of the South African Law Commission that it required a full-time financial officer to deal with the finances of the commission. I believe that the finances of the commission run into some R600 000 per annum, and I am sure that with the expanded work of the commission that budget is in fact going to be far larger in years to come. The commissioners of the South African Law Commission in their report also mentioned that they felt that the time was approaching, or had been reached, when the South African Law Commission should in fact have a budget of its own so that it could plan its activities. I wonder if the hon the Minister would let us know whether there has been any progress in that regard.
The other two matters that were mentioned and that I too should like to mention are, firstly, that the South African Law Commission made comments about its difficulties under the heading “the frustrations”, difficulties in regard to back-up administrative staff and back-up administrative facilities and, although this is not related to the legislation, I would welcome a statement by the hon the Minister on that aspect.
Back-up administrative staff and administrative facilities—machinery and all that sort of thing. Secondly, I should like to know whether the problems that were mentioned in the report relating to the library facilities of the South African Law Commission, the facilities of an up-to-date library to the South African Law Commission, have been overcome.
With these words I believe that we should all support this Bill and I thank the hon the Minister for introducing it.
Mr Speaker, I should like to thank the hon member for Sandton for his support of this Bill, as well as for the appreciation he expressed for the activities of the South African Law Commission. It is clear that the South African Law Commission has played a formidable role over the past few years—and is still doing so at present—in law reform in our country. I just want to refer to a few projects the commission has completed during the past year. For example, there are aspects of the Prescription Act, and they have already been embodied in legislation and piloted through this House. There was also an investigation into delictual liability in cases of misrepresentation. There was an evaluation of the effect of the Divorce Act. There was an investigation into the limits of criminal defamation. There was an investigation into the amendment of section 26 of the Insolvency Act, an amendment we passed only a moment ago. Then there was also an investigation with which we are all familiar, viz an investigation into the matrimonial property law. The commission is engaged in very important projects at present. Inter alia, they are engaged in the review of the law of evidence and in an investigation into the making available of common law sources in Afrikaans or English, the review of the law of trusts, the review of the law of succession and an investigation into risk as ground for liability in delict. Another very important investigation is an investigation into the courts’ powers of review of administrative acts. It is therefore abundantly clear that the South African Law Commission is making invaluable contributions.
The amendments before us will make it easier for the commission to continue with its important work. It is very clear that there is a great need for these amendments. I therefore take pleasure in supporting this Bill.
Mr Speaker, we on this side of the House also take pleasure in supporting the amendments contained in this amending Bill. It has been almost eleven years since the South African Law Commission was established by law, and took on a particular form. It has been emphasized recently—I think since the 1982 report of the SA Law Commission—and the 1982 report reads:
It is also stated in the annual report of the Department of Justice that the general feeling is that the time has come for more members of the commission to be appointed on a full-time basis.
I think a good case was made out for more full-time members on the SA Law Commission and I also think a good case was made out for the necessity for committee work to be done by members of the commission.
There is only one aspect about which one is sometimes concerned when it comes to full-time members, and that is that there is a greater danger of stagnation in respect of the inputs of knowledge, in the sense that the knowledge put in, is one-sided. I think that one of the most important aspects of the activities of the present SA Law Commission is the fact that there are so many members who, due to their position as judges or practitioners, or as academics, are continually in contact with the practice of the legal world. All members do not become permanent members at present, and consequently that danger does not exist. Nevertheless, I think that one must always be mindful of the fact that in the case of a commission such as the SA Law Commission continual contact with the living law as it can be seen in practice and in the academic world and from the bench, should be maintained.
Apart from that, I want to say that we take pleasure in supporting this Bill
Mr Speaker, it is a pleasure for us in these benches to support the Bill. We are very much aware of the excellent work done by the SA Law Commission. This was also a point which I made when we discussed the Vote of the hon the Minister. The hon the Minister and his department have reacted with tremendous alacrity and to such an extent that they are becoming record breakers in the speedy enactment of legislation. I must congratulate them on that. It is interesting to see that in the process of legal reform the commission has started to reform itself in order to keep pace with the demands on it and to maintain its production. I think for that reason alone it is critical in the time through which the country is going that we should be able to cope with that aspect of change in South Africa efficiently and without doing away with a very high standard. We therefore have much pleasure in supporting this measure.
Mr Speaker, I want to commence with the speech of the hon member for King William’s Town. He himself has indeed made a vast contribution to the activities of the commission by asking us to refer the whole issue of rape to the SA Law Commission. This eventually resulted in a much wider investigation. In a way he can take credit for the activity in that field. I only recently discovered that the hon member did not study law and he confessed to not having a legal background. I must say, however, that he could not have done better with a legal background; he has done fairly well without it.
*The hon member for Soutpansberg rightly pointed out the possibility of stagnation if all members were to be full-time members. This is why, as far as the members of the Commission are concerned, provision is being made for two concepts. In the first place there are seven members, of whom not more than three will be full-time members. I think that in the past all the members could be full-time members. It is now being provided that not more than three members may be full-time members, which means that there must be four external members. Additional members may be appointed by the State President, as the need arises, for specific projects and for a fixed period. They will obviously also have to be external members. I consequently accept the hon members train of thought as very useful. It is good to know that he supports the concept for that reason.
The hon member Mr Schutte referred to a fist of legislation and other consequential steps taken by the Government and Parliament after the Law Commission had undertaken certain investigations and compiled certain reports. He can add the Computer Evidence Act and the Admiralty Jurisdiction Regulation Act to that list. Pioneer work has been done in both these fields. I want to thank the hon member for his contribution.
†I want to put it to the hon member for Sandton that I will refer the very strange phenomenon to which he referred yesterday in the opening lines of his speech on the Matrimonial Property Bill, to the Law Commission. He posed the problem of a gentleman who had passed away without a will and whose wife should be entitled to either the accrual system or to a fair portion on account of there being no will.
Of course. I think it should be referred to the Law Commission because the hon member also dealt with another strange phenomenon. We have all been searching for an answer to that strange phenomenon, namely where the survivor is the predeceased. That is indeed a very strange phenomenon and I think it should be referred to the Law Commission. [Interjections. ]
I also want to refer to a passage from the book Miscellany at Law and which is relevant to the hon members problem. This text book has a very distinctive style of narrative prose which is well known in lawyers’ offices. I want to refer to an entry in the bill costs which reads as follows:
*The similar problems devised by the hon member for Sandton could possibly be referred to the Law Commission for light entertainment. He understands in what spirit I am referring to this, however.
The hon member is correct in saying that there is a need for a full-time chairman. We need the legislation to give momentum to certain negotiations and discussions already under way and to finalize them. I do not think that the hon member expects me to go further than that. He will understand why we need the legislation.
They are doing that.
That is precisely the point.
The hon member asked that a full-time financial control officer be appointed. Such control could be very usefully employed by the Law Commission. In any event, they always do have the services of the department at their disposal. In its turn the department is subject to audit by the Auditor-General. Consequently I do not think that more financial control points should be created when this is actually part of the department’s activities. If the purpose is to have a financial control officer to ensure that the amounts allocated to the Commission are properly spent, we cannot find any fault with that. I indicated, during the discussion of my Vote, that we did not intend to accede to the request that they be given a separate budget. The reason for this is that additional accountability and a larger infrastructure would have to be created. We have a shortage of staff as it is. Unless we have some fault to find with the present system, we shall not be able to do this. I am, however, able to tell the hon member that there is a need for the Commission to deal with donations and contributions from the public—we still have to work out how this can be done—the present position being that such moneys must be channelled through State coffers. Possibly this will have to go unchanged. We shall possibly have to consider machinery that can give a very clear definition to amounts thus allocated. I am looking into this.
As far as the matter of support staff is concerned, we always have a shortage of staff. As our work increases, the demand for staff will also increase. The demand for staff will never be satisfied because the work is increasing too rapidly. We are, however, doing our best. We have appointed a full-time typist in the interim, which should ease the situation considerably. The library facility is also being amply provided for, as our means permit. I do not want to pursue this matter further. The hon member is aware of our budgetary problems. We recognize the need, and provided the funds are available, we shall amply satisfy the need.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Bill not committed.
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
In terms of the Status of Ciskei Act 1981, Act 110 of 1981, the University of Fort Hare Act, 1969, Act 40 of 1969, became an Act of the Republic of Ciskei. At the request of the Ciskeian Government, an agreement was entered into between the Governments of Ciskei and the Republic in terms of which the Republic continued to control the University of Fort Hare until 31 December 1986. Current and capital expenditure of the university is borne by the Government of the Republic.
This agreement is subject to review and may also be terminated at any time, on six months’ notice and by complying with normal diplomatic arrangements. It is clear that such agreements may also be effected in future in respect of other universities; and now that there is experience of this, the handling of the implications of this unique arrangement should be placed beyond all doubt. This applies in particular in respect of staff on the permanent establishment of the university in question, excluding the citizens of the country in whose territory the university is situated. In fact, the Government of the Republic of South Africa has a specific responsibility as regards the pension matters and specific establishment matters of such persons.
When the Vista University Act of 1981, Act 106 of 1981, was passed, provision was made for Vista to act as agent for the temporary secondment of staff in cases where the control of a specific university was transferred to an independent state. Section 16 of the Vista University Act regulates the creation of posts additional to its establishment. Section 17 of the Vista Act regulates the temporary secondment of persons appointed to such posts. These provisions are aimed at making it possible for staff at the University of Fort Hare, for example, to carry on their activities under the control of an independent state without any change in their conditions of service.
However, it has now become evident that it is essential, apart from the implications of the relevant existing and possible future interstate agreements, to specify beyond all doubt, and regulate further by way of legislation, the pension and establishment matters of specific staff with permanent appointments at a university in an independent state in regard to whom the Minister exercises powers and performs functions in terms of an agreement. Therefore, as the long title indicates, this Bill in effect regulates these two matters.
†Clause 1 contains the definitions, and is self-explanatory.
Clause 2, 3 and 4 provide for certain pension matters. We can take the position at Fort Hare as an example. As the University of Fort Hare Act, 1969, became an Act of the Republic of Ciskei on independence, the pensions laws of the Republic no longer applied to staff members of the University of Fort Hare who were permanently appointed in terms of the said Act. This situation may repeat itself if similar agreements are entered into as far as other universities for Blacks are concerned. It is therefore first of all necessary to provide that South African citizens and staff members who are not citizens of the country where the university is situated, and who have permanent appointments, retain their rights in the pension fund to which they contributed before the independence of the state in which the university is situated.
Secondly, it is necessary to provide for the confirmation and continuation of payments of any annuity to retired staff members which were or are still being paid to them in terms of a Pensions Act and which became due to them since independence. It is also necessary to stipulate that any payment, contribution or benefit which has been made or received from the time of the coming into operation of the Status of Ciskei Act, 1981, to the date on which this Bill will come into operation, shall be deemed to have been made or received in terms of an applicable pension law.
Thirdly, it is necessary to provide that certain new appointments, that is persons with permanent appointments and those who are not citizens of the country where the university is situated may, after the introduction of this Bill, become members of a pension fund under an applicable pension law. In respect of such staff members provision is there for also made that the university where they are employed shall be deemed to be an associated institution.
Clauses 5 to 8 provide for certain establishment matters.
In clause 5(1) staff members as defined in the Bill, are given the opportunity to request the Minister of Education and Training to be appointed in another post in the case where—
- (a) the control of a university is taken over or is due to be taken over by an independent state; or
- (b) a person’s services terminate or are terminated for reasons beyond his control, prior to the date on which he normally would have been entitled to retire on pension.
Clause 5(2) stipulates that the Minister of Education and Training may offer a staff member referred to in clause 5(1) employment in the Public Service or any other Government institution, such as a university. The salary and conditions of service applicable to such a person in his new post must not be less favourable than those applicable to him previously. Such an offer must be made within a period of 90 days and a staff member is granted a period of 30 days within which to consider the offer and to confirm in writing whether he accepts the offer or not. Should such a staff member turn down the offer made to him, or not accept the offer within 30 days, provision is made that his services will be deemed to have ended on account of voluntary resignation. Persons who are deemed to have resigned voluntarily will in respect of pension benefits receive only the contributions made by them in terms of a Pension Act to a pension fund plus interest. These moneys are paid to such persons in a single amount.
*The aim of clause 5(3) is to arrange that in those cases where staff members have applied for appointments but, in the opinion of the Minister, would not be offered appropriate appointment within 90 days, or else, due to their age, it would in any event not be practicable to offer them appointments, such members of the staff be deemed to have retired on pension on reaching the age at which, in the normal course, they would be entitled to a pension, subject to the provisions of the relevant Act. In the cases where added pension benefits are applicable, the maximum period is five years depending on the age of the member of staff and the age at which he would normally have been able to retire on pension.
Clause 5(4) provides that staff who accept appointments offered them may remain members of the pension fund to which they are contributing until they assume service in the new posts to which they have been appointed. When a person accepts a post in the public service it can be expected of him to become a member of another appropriate pension fund, for example, the Government Service Pension Fund, on the date of his assumption of his new post. Clause 8, which will shortly be elucidated further, further regulates this matter. If he were to enter the employ of another university, no change would occur. It is further provided that such a person may retain his sick and vacation leave credit. This is an existing arrangement which applies in the Government sector.
Clause 5(5) provides that in the case where a post additional the establishment of a university has to be created in order to appoint a member of staff, that university may be reimbursed for the expenditure it incurs in respect of the establishment of such a post. Moneys for this purpose will have to be included in its budget in the normal way by the Department of Education and Training. Clauses 5(6) provides that where there may be differences in the conditions and salary of a person who, for example, is appointed to a post additional to the establishment of the university and other persons who are in the service of such a university, such differences will be handled by the Minister of Education and Training with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance. Therefore the intention with regard to clause 5 as a whole is to regulate the appointment to other Government bodies of staff who in specific circumstances have left the employ of certain universities. In essence, this is a provision relating to security of employment.
Clause 6 relates to clause 5 and seeks to regulate the situation in which the services of a member of staff ends or is terminated before he is able to apply to the Minister in terms of clause 5(2) or before his application is received by the Minister, and thus before the Minister of Education and Training can offer him an appointment. In such a case it is provided that the Department pays the salary and pension conditions of such a person. The continuation of the membership of an applicable pension fund of such a person is also regulated. It follows, of course, that this cannot be an indefinite arrangement and therefore it is linked to a period. Clause 7 vests in the Minister the final authority to decide on the favourable or other nature of the conditions and salary offered on the appointment of a member of staff. The Minister is also given the final authority to assess whether or not the services of a member of staff were terminated through his own fault. Clause 8 provides that a staff member who is a member of the Associated Institutions Pension Fund and who, on appointment to a post in terms of which he is obliged to become a member of the Government Service Pension Fund, will be able to choose whether to remain a member of the former fund or become a member of the latter fund. Clause 9 contains the short title.
Mr Speaker, the University of Fort Hare used to be a great and internationally respected institution. It played a major role in pioneering university education throughout Southern Africa. In fact, many leaders of African countries today and in the immediate past studied at Fort Hare. However, today it is but a shadow of its former self.
The demise of Fort Hare began in the late 1950’s when apartheid in education was forced down the throats of universities throughout South Africa. The traditions and standards of Fort Hare and the concept of Bantu education were irreconcilable. The result was an exodus from Fort Hare of many highly talented and motivated academics.
Fort Hare has never really recovered. If Bantu education was a body blow to Fort Hare’s reputation, it looks as though the independence of Ciskei and subsequent events may, sadly, be a knock-out blow from which it will take a long time to recover.
South Africa is supposed to administer and finance the University of Fort Hare, but we have no control over the activities of the Ciskei Government, which make the successful functioning of that university difficult if not impossible.
Order! I am sorry to interrupt, but is the hon member discussing the Bill?
Yes, Mr Speaker. The exact reasons that have given rise to the need for this Bill relate to the development of Fort Hare over the past couple of decades.
Mr Speaker, two years ago Ciskei police moved onto Fort Hare campus, severely aggravating problems that already existed. When called upon to do something about it, South Africa’s Minister of Education and Training weakly explained that he had no control, that the Ciskeian Government was responsible for law and order, that their police and army could therefore move onto the campus at will and that he could and would be doing nothing about it. The University was then temporarily closed and the students were sent home.
Clause 1 of this Bill provides for the definition; clauses 2, 3 and 4 essentially remove any legal uncertainty relating to no problem with those clauses in principle. However, subsequent clauses are most unusual and reflect badly on the situation that has developed at that university.
This Bill, as a whole, is a further sad chapter in the demise of Fort Hare as a great and proud institution. Let us just look at the background to this. As the hon the Minister has said, South Africa has an agreement until the end of December 1986 to administer and finance that university, but six months’ notice can be given by either party. The result of recent developments and the fact that this agreement is not indefinite, but that the period of notice can be applied, are factors that have made the staff there unsettled and insecure in their positions and have given rise to this Bill. One can see it, for example, in the recruitment difficulties the university is having in certain spheres. At present, or until very recently, the post of Registrar (Academic) was vacant and when the post of Assistant Registrar (Finance) was advertised, there were no applicants. The dean of one of the faculties at that university was declared persona non grata by Ciskei and so could no longer attend that university and do his work there. The people involved are some 289 permanent staff members, academic and administrative, of whom 264 are South African citizens while 22 are citizens of Transkei, 2 of Bophuthatswana and 1 of Venda. As the hon the Minister has pointed out, the Bill will of course apply to future staff members for as long as the Department of Education and Training administers the university in terms of the agreement. As the hon the Minister has also pointed out, this could apply to other universities in certain circumstances in the future.
The hon the Minister has outlined the effects of the various clauses and I shall not repeat them. The question arises whether South African taxpayers should be forced yet again to pay for the disasters resulting from this Government’s unworkable policies. There should be no doubt in people’s minds that, without Bantu education and without the Government’s independent-homelands policies, neither of which were or are wanted by the majority of Blacks, there would be no need for this Bill today. On the other hand, there are two considerations to be borne in mind. The first is the welfare and security of those staff members who have no motive other than to assist in providing education for those who desire it. The other is the need to prevent, wherever possible, the University of Fort Hare from being harmed further in the hope that it may one day recover and again play a valuable role in providing the university education that is so desperately needed in Southern Africa.
In the light of these two considerations, my party has decided to support the Second Reading of this Bill. I must say that it sticks in our gullets to feel obliged to do so, but we feel that neither Black education nor innocent staff members deserve to be punished more than they already have been as a result of the crazy policies of this Government. We will be moving amendments in the Committee Stage in connection with various details in the Bill with which we are not happy, for example the absolute ministerial discretion to decide on various matters.
At this stage let me just say that we fear that the University of Fort Hare is in serious trouble for a number of reasons. We hope that this Government and the Government of Ciskei will do everything in their power to improve the situation before it gets entirely out of hand. This Bill alone will not remedy the problems, but we hope that it will play some part in stopping the rot.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Cape Town Gardens once again saw fit to suck venom from this innocuous piece of legislation in order to demonstrate this aversion to apartheid. In the hon member’s condemnation of the situation which has arisen where the South African Government is responsible for the financing of the University of Fort Hare in an independent state, he loses sight of one important fact, and that is that the people of Ciskei decided in favour of independence by an overwhelming majority in a referendum. The University of Fort Hare is situated in a state which became independent because that was the decision taken by its people. The Government then saw fit to help finance this young state which had become independent of its own free will. This situation is now being exploited in order to rail at the policy of the Government.
Business suspended at 18h30 and resumed at 20h00.
Mr Speaker, I shall leave the hon member for Cape Town Gardens at that.
I should like to point out that nothing is more reassuring, especially to an employee, than to know that one has security of employment. There is nothing which gives such an employee greater security in life than knowing and accepting this. Another factor which serves to reassure the employee is the knowledge that when he eventually retires, he will enjoy the full benefit of the pension rights to which he contributed during his working life. Is it necessary to point out, furthermore, that this legislation is nothing more than an attempt to give the employees of the Department of Education and Training that reassurance and certainty that they will keep their jobs, and that if they lose those jobs for reasons beyond their control, they will then receive other appointments which will be equivalent to the first with regard to both remuneration and benefits; what is more, that they will always be able to rely on their pension rights? This is essentially what this legislation seeks to achieve.
Since the Black national states in South Africa can become independent if they choose, if there is a university within that Black state, the position is that when that Black state becomes independent, that university, together with its employees, is transferred to the Black state, or otherwise the Government continues to exercise control over it for a certain number of years, by way of agreement, as has happened at Fort Hare. In the South African circumstances, there may be people who feel that their positions are being threatened and that their pensions rights are being threatened because of the circumstances under which they now have to work. This legislation is an honest attempt to give these people the necessary peace of mind or to make it possible for them, if their employment at the university concerned were to be terminated, either to obtain new appointments or to apply for new appointments or to retire on pension if the Minister so decides. This is basically what this whole piece of legislation is concerned with, namely to give that assurance to these people who are rendering valuable services—we must have no illusions in this connection. People who are on the staff of these universities render wonderful services, services which cannot be estimated at their true value. The purpose of this legislation, therefore, is to give those people who are rendering these invaluable services the security of knowing that they will retain their jobs, and if they lose them for reasons beyond their control, they can be placed in other employment with benefits which are not less favourable, and they will also retain their pension rights.
This legislation provides for these circumstances, so I am able to support the legislation without any reservations, as a means of doing justice to these people in order to give them peace of mind and security of employment.
Mr Speaker, years ago I came across a description of mixed feelings: They are what you experience when your mother-in-law plunges down a precipice in your new Mercedes … I find myself in the position tonight where I actually should cross swords with the hon member for Kimberley North, and the Bill does not give me the opportunity to do so, with the result that I now have mixed feelings towards the hon member. On the other hand, I also have mixed feelings towards the hon the Minister, for in the past, when I supported a certain Bill, the hon the Minister took me to task for that. Tonight I find that I should like to support this Bill, and I am not sure whether the hon the Minister will accept it or whether he will take me to task again.
The fact of the matter is that we are dealing here with a very important and necessary Bill in respect of the teaching staff at the University of Fort Hare. I do not wish to repeat everything which the hon the Minister said in his Second Reading speech and which the hon member for Kimberley North has also said. The fact of the matter is that in his Second Reading speech, the hon the Minister gave us the background to this Bill and very clearly explained every clause of the Bill. It is also a fact that provision has to be made for the future of these people if it were to become necessary, as the hon the Minister put it in his Second Reading speech, to accommodate these people. We firmly believe that it is essential that the teaching staff at that university, who are the subject of this Bill, should not only be assured of continuity of employment and income, but of continuity of pension as well, whichever way it may cut.
On the basis of what we already know about this Bill and of the sensitivity of the matter, I want to conclude my speech by assuring the hon the Minister that we shall not only support the Second Reading of this Bill, but the Committee Stage and the Third Reading as well, because we are convinced that the sooner the provisions of this Bill can come into operation, the better it will be for the staff at that university and perhaps at other institutions too in future.
Mr Speaker, this Bill is intended to allow university staff who are members of the Pension Fund for Associated Institutions to retain their pension rights and to join another pension fund under certain circumstances. The Bill provides for retired staff members who receive an annuity to continue receiving the annuity, which may not be reduced, out of the pension fund out of which it was paid. Provision is being made in the Bill for university staff members to become members of a pension fund and to contribute to such a pension fund, with the approval of the Director-General of Health and Welfare. If a university is no longer under the control of the Government of the Republic a member of staff of such a university may in terms of this Bill request the Minister in writing to appoint him in the service of the State, which includes the provincial authorities, the SA Transport Services, the Department of Posts and Telecommunications, a university or any other educational institution. If the appointment of a member of staff at that university in the opinion of the Minister is terminated or is to be terminated not through his own fault, the member of staff may also request the Minister in writing to appoint him in the service of the State or of another specified institution. When he is appointed to such a post, the conditions of service and salary must not be less favourable, in the opinion of the Minister, than those appertaining to him in the past.
If the member of staff concerned does not accept the appointment offered to him within 30 days, he will be deemed to have volunatarily resigned from the service. If it is not possible to appoint a member of staff to any other post, the Minister may determine that the member of staff has reached the age at which he is entitled to retire on pension, and in order to calculate the pension, a period equal to one-third of his pensionable service is added to the date on which his service was terminated. Otherwise the Minister may determine that a period of five years should be added to the member’s pensionable service.
If a member of staff accepts the appointment which has been offered to him, he remains a member of the pension fund until he assumes service in his new post. He retains the sick and vacation leave to his credit. The Minister may, with the concurrence of the university involved, create an additional post or have an additional post created for the member of staff. The Minister is then responsible for reimbursing the university concerned for the expenditure incurred by such a university in connection with any such post.
If the service of a member of staff is terminated before he can be offered an appointment to another post, he will be remunerated from the date of his discharge out of money appropriated by Parliament for this purpose. The Minister will determine the member’s salary with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance. Under these circumstances, the member’s membership of the pension fund will continue without any interruption.
I take pleasure in supporting this Bill, which provides security with regard to the conditions of service of university staff and which entrenches their pension rights.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Maraisburg has given us a fine summary of the contents of this Bill, and on that score we can have no differences.
†I should like to say that one has to look at this Bill extremely carefully in order to establish whether there is a need for what the Bill proposes and if one agrees that there is a need, then one has to decide for oneself whether the need has been appropriately filled or whether there may be difficulties or excesses contained in the provisions of the Bill. The hon member for Maraisburg and other hon members have indicated this evening and earlier today—the hon the Minister has done the same—that the need arises from the fact that South Africa has its own system and the fact that the various national and independent states in Southern Africa have also established universities.
As the hon the Minister pointed out, Fort Hare in particular which now finds itself within the independent state of Ciskei, will still be administered by the South African Government until 1986 and then the agreement will either lapse and it will come under the administration of Ciskei entirely or it will be administered according to a new agreement with South Africa. During this process it is inevitable that certain members of staff who were employed at the time the university was part of South Africa may find themselves in certain difficulties and the South African Government may find itself in a situation of moral responsibility to those members of staff.
It appears that whenever a Southern African state becomes independent, it requires two institutions for a variety of reasons. In the first instance it requires a university and in the second instance it requires an international airport. These airports and universities may well be established either just as a status symbol or for functional reasons. In the long term the university obviously will pay greater dividends to that nation than possibly the airport. In many instances of course, such as Bophuthatswana and in particular in the case of Transkei, however, the airport itself has improved communications to such an extent that the potential economic development of that country can be facilitated. It is striking, however, that every independent state in Southern Africa has attempted to establish a university, and with that principle we have no complaint, provided the funds are invested judiciously. In this process one tries to attract staff to these universities in order to ensure that the best brains are available for the establishment and the maintenance of academic standards to such an extent that graduates of those institutions will find their degrees accepted not only in South Africa but internationally as well. Regrettably, as Africa finds its feet—this applies to the independent national states of South Africa as well—they go through a certain amount of political turmoil. One of the problems of political turmoil is that one finds that Governments tend to interfere politically with academic appointments. That is of course nothing new to South Africa either. We have our own history of political interference with academic appointments because, like a national airline, one also likes to have one’s own flagships at the helm of education and academic progress in one’s country.
The hon the Minister has the grace to smile.
Yes, some hon members even have the grace to smile, particularly the hon the Minister.
This is a history which one can trace throughout many developing countries. We therefore have a considerable amount of sympathy with the fact that certain academics may find themselves in difficulty which has nothing to do with, their own activities, and they may find themselves discharged from their positions for reasons beyond their own control which do not directly have anything to do with their activities.
In that sense we believe there is a need to have a Bill such as this which makes provision for those exceptions. However, having recognized the need, one must now ask oneself the question whether this Bill will in fact satisfy the need to the best maximum potential. When I say that, I mean that it should be a realistic satisfaction of that particular need. Having recognized this particular need, we now have certain difficulties with this Bill. I would like to tell the hon the Minister that we will be moving some amendments and recommending some improvements in the Committee Stage.
I want to point out to the hon the Minister where these difficulties lie. These are simple and pragmatic difficulties which I am sure the hon the Minister may have thought about but, if he has not, we will be very pleased to provide the hon the Minister with some insight into the anticipated difficulties.
In the first instance I want to point out to the hon the Minister that as the Bill stands at the moment, we have no difficulty with the provisions which protect the pensions of staff members. However, we do have a difficulty regarding staff members who are discharged and are then possibly re-employed in the Public Service of the Republic of South Africa. I want to point out to the hon the Minister that this Bill applies not only to South Africans but to members of any nationality other than the nationality of the state in which the university is to be found.
As we heard earlier today from the hon member for Cape Town Gardens, 92% of the staff members at the University of Fort Hare are in fact qualified in terms of this Bill because they are not citizens of Ciskei. That means that we will be dealing with a considerable number of people. It is very likely, based on the history of Fort Hare and its academic and political turmoil; that a large number of those people may become eligible for assistance in terms of this Bill, not as pensioners—there we have no difficulty—but as highly productive and relatively young members of staff.
Our difficulty is centred predominantly on clause 5 on page 5. I would like to point out to the hon the Minister that in terms of clause 5(l)(a) and (b) there are two conditions under which these staff members who may find themselves in difficulty, can apply to the Minister for reemployment somewhere else in South Africa, whether it be at a university, the South African Transport Services, the Department of Posts and Telecommunications or any State department. According to clause 5(l)(a) a first prerequisite is that the control of the university must have changed hands from the South African Government to the Government of an independent state. That is the first prerequisite before a member qualifies for assistance from the Government.
There is also a second prerequisite. They are not mutually interdependent but mutually exclusive which creates an either/or situation. In terms of clause 5(l)(b) the member should only not have been discharged due to his own fault. If in the opinion of the Minister he has been discharged for a reason other than his own fault he will be eligible for the benefits prescribed by the Bill. We have a certain amount of difficulty with those provisions. We agree with the first provision, as contained in clause 5(l)(a), that if the control of a university changes from the South African Government to the government of an independent homeland or national state, that should be a pre-condition. The alternative of course is that they are employed by the South African Government, in which case it does not really matter. It is really only when control changes from one Government to another.
The difference between paragraphs (a) and (b) is the fact that at the end of paragraph (a) the word “or” appears. That is the last word in that paragraph. Paragraph (b) reads:
This means in practice that the control of a university has to change from one independent country to another—that is a precondition—but that after that it is an open-ended facility. By including the word “or” between paragraphs (a) and (b) it means that at any time after a university has been transferred from the authority of the South African Government to the government of an independent state, a member who is discharged for a reason other than his own fault can claim benefits in terms of this Bill. That is a very wide open-ended facility. I believe we will have certain practical difficulties with that.
Irrespective of whether the position was held before the change of control.
Yes, as my hon leader says. The difficulty is that in perpetuity members of staff will qualify for assistance from South Africa provided only that they are not nationals or citizens of that particular state. That obviously is unacceptable to us. It is an extremely wide and open-ended condition. It is totally unacceptable to us because we believe it is totally unnecessary.
When an individual member of staff is seconded to work at a university under the control of South Africa one can understand that when those conditions change by virtue of the fact that the university then becomes controlled by an independent state, his contractual situation has changed. However, after the university has changed hands in terms of government, a new entrant should know the risks he runs. The South African Government should no longer be liable for compensation due to any termination of his contract, even if it is not through his own fault. We will therefore be moving an amendment to omit the word “or” and to substitute “and”.
The hon member for Koedoespoort must go back and read the Bill very carefully. He will then see that the inclusion of the word “or” in the English text and the word “of” in the Afrikaans text makes a very considerable difference. It is then a question of either/or, and not both.
“Or” can mean “before” instead of “after”.
Of course it can. Because “or” is “before” in this case it means that only on the basis of paragraph (b), when a member is discharged through no fault of his own, can he claim from the South African Government.
Not at that point, before, not after.
Of course it can be before but it can also be after. That is not the point. The point is that there is an open-ended liability on the South African Government.
The second difficulty we have relates to the conditions of his reemployment. If Professor A finds himself discharged from a university through no fault of his own after the university has been transferred to the authority of another government and he fulfills the provisions in terms of the 90-day clause and the 30-day clause for acceptance, he must then be re-employed on conditions not less favourable than those which he had at the time of his appointment at the university. There we have a certain amount of difficulty because we are aware of what happens in practice. These universities tend to offer benefits, directly and indirectly, greater than the benefits applicable to the academic and other staff in South African metropolitan areas for similar posts. In fact, it is well-known that there are housing and travel benefits.
They are not included.
They could well be included in terms of the Bill. It refers to benefits, and this Bill does not restrict those benefits to salary only. It in fact says benefits, and this again leaves the situation in an unsatisfactory position because it is a wide open interpretation. We should like to refine that in two respects. Firstly, it should be restricted to salaries and secondly, we should ensure that the person who is going to benefit from this does not receive a salary greater than would be commensurate with the conditions of service within the new organization in which he is going to be employed. It would be a recipe for disaster if for instance a lecturer at Fort Hare University should become re-employed at Natal University with a discrepancy in that particular grade of appointment of R3 000 or R4 000 a year. It is going to cause very considerable difficulties at the university concerned, despite the fact that the hon the Minister’s department very generously is prepared to pay the bill for an appointment which is not within the establishment of the university. However, I think we will have to look at this very carefully indeed to ensure that the individual is re-employed within conditions of service commensurate with those within the new institution where he is employed, otherwise we are going to create more difficulties than we are going to solve problems. Any professor or lecturer who finds himself discharged, for instance from the University of Fort Hare, would be extremely pleased to receive another job, let alone at the same benefit level. He would be delighted to receive a professorship, a senior tutorship or a lecturership rather than to become unemployed. I do not think it is a question of only re-employing him at the same level of benefits but the fact that he is employed at a university or another institution where he will receive a decent remuneration for his job. Here again I say to the hon the Minister that we will be proposing amendments to try to refine that position.
Other than that we find that this Bill is necessary. The circumstances will be such that there will be individuals who in all good faith are employed by the South African Government or by the institutions concerned whilst that university is under the control of South Africa and then, due to the fact that that country becomes independent, they find themselves in a new contractual situation. They may find that they are discharged for reasons other than their own fault, and we believe the Government then has a moral responsibility to see that those people do not suffer as a consequence of events beyond their control. However, we should like to make the conditions more realistic and we will be moving amendments at the Committee Stage. Today, however, the hon the Minister will be pleased to hear that we will be supporting the Second Reading.
Mr Speaker, it is regrettable in a sense that the University of Fort Hare has been involved in this matter. Arising from the question which you initially asked, Sir, while the hon member for Cape Town Gardens was speaking, it is unfortunately a fact that the hon the Minister referred specifically to Fort Hare in his introductory speech. Also, with regard to the agreements that were referred to, there is only one agreement at the moment, and it is in connection with the University of Fort Hare. Whether one feels unhappy about the matter or not, it is of course inevitable, in the light of these circumstances, that reference should be made to the University of Fort Hare. It is in this spirit that the hon member made that reference, and I am sorry that the hon member for Kimberley North reacted to the hon member’s remark with unnecessary aggression. [Interjections.] The hon member for Kimberley North may not be aware of this, but I have had a very close association with the University of Fort Hare myself, and in fact I served on the council of Fort Hare for several years before this university was taken over by the Government. I should prefer not to comment any further on this particular point, except for saying that it is regrettable that situations should arise where the authorities choose to interfere with universities, as happened in 1949 and 1959 and on other occasions, while universities should actually be allowed to manage their own affairs according to their rights. This is the problem with which one is faced in dealing with this Bill. I agree with the hon member for Kimberley North that peace of mind is important to the members of staff of a university. This applies in all walks of life, of course. It is important that people should know that there is security with regard to the continuation of their service and their pension benefits. In a lighter vein, I just want to say that unfortunately, we members of Parliament cannot have that peace of mind and that security ourselves, because politics is indeed a very hazardous game, as many members of this House will know.
If there are independent states, one would accept that those states would have to assume full responsibility for all their institutions. This includes full responsibility for the universities. In other words, the cord has to be cut sooner or later. Surely one must be able to tell an independent state sooner or later that certain matters are now its responsibility and that it will have to deal with them itself. If this is not the case, it would mean that we are talking about independence in name, but that we are in fact retaining that cord. This would cast a negative reflection on the concept of independence which we want to use in this connection. I know that the hon the Minister and the hon member for Kimberley North will agree with me that when we talk about a sovereign independent state, that sovereign independent state has to assume full responsibility for its own acts with regard to employees in that state. We are talking here of universities, but any of the four independent states created by Parliament may employ a South African citizen at any time. Let us forget about the universities for the moment. The state may appoint him in whatever capacity it wishes, for example, in the teaching profession, as a businessman, an official, or whatever the case may be. That South African would be taking up employment in that state while knowing full well that he would then fall under the authority of that state.
If those states had not become independent, would those services not have been required there in any case? Would White people not have been required to perform those services in any case?
With all due respect to the hon member, I do not think the question is relevant. Surely it is a fact that independent states such as Bophuthatswana and Transkei have White South Africans in their service. Let us forget about the universites. They are employed as town planners or whatever. Does the hon member for Kimberley North wish to tell me now that if that man is discharged by the Government of such an independent state, whether or not it was justified, the Republic of South Africa has to step into the breach every time? My standpoint is that the cord has to be cut sooner or later if one accepts the concept of full independence. Then the person who takes up employment in that state will do so in the full knowledge that as in any other state, he is subject to the decisions of that state with regard to discipline, discharge, taking up a position, etc. Where the problem arises for us, therefore, is where there is an agreement between the Republic of South Africa and such another state—it may be Ciskei, Bophuthatswana or any other state—an agreement in terms of which the Republic of South Africa has taken over certain duties, responsibilities and functions. That is actually what this measure is concerned with. It is not a question of a general acceptance of responsibility because these states employ people who are South African citizens. This does not impose a duty on us to look after those people under all circumstances. We have that responsibility because that agreement exists. Now the hon the Minister himself said in his introductory speech that we had gained experience—he did not elaborate on that statement—and in the light of that experience, one will be more careful with regard to further agreements. Let us examine for a moment the agreement that was entered into between the Governments involved. The relevant agreement is the only agreement of this kind which exists. I want to point out that everyone who was in this House when we debated the Status Acts will know that this House was never in a position to discuss the separate agreements in full. Very often the agreements were not available. Now we are being confronted with the accomplished fact that we must accept the implications of an agreement—good or bad—without having had the opportunity of discussing that agreement in detail in this House. I want to quote from section 14 of the agreement with Ciskei. I have it here in draft form. I assume that it was not amended. It says:
It goes on to say:
I should appreciate it if the hon the Minister could indicate to me whether the agreement to which he referred contains anything in addition to what I have just read.
One thing which is clear from this is that it is not sufficient for the Republic to undertake to exercise control over an institution—it does not matter whether it is a university or any other insitution—and to accept responsibility for its financing, etc, without certain responsibilities being imposed on the instruments of power, the instruments of state, of the other state, to prevent it from interfering with that institution.
How does one obtain that guarantee?
There could be other guarantees. It could be said, for example, that if the State interferes with the university which is under the control of the Republic of South Africa, it must do to through the Minister concerned or after consultation with the Minister concerned. [Interjections.] I am simply saying that this agreement does not provide for that.
Are you discussing the agreement or the Bill?
The hon the Minister referred in his introductory speech to the agreements and the experience which had been gained in this connection. I am sure the hon member for Kimberley North will agree with me that we would not like to be placed in the situation again where we are bound to an agreement, with its various consequences, without knowing exactly what the implications are and what the duties and obligations are, not only of the Republic of South Africa, but also of the other parties to the agreement.
When one looks at the definition of “university”, one sees that paragraph (b) reads as follows:
I want to say to the hon member for Kimberley North, therefore, that the Bill can only become operative in terms of an agreement in respect of the university in connection with which there is an agreement between the university and the Minister. These are the hard facts.
I also want to say that it subsequently became apparent that when such an agreement has to be entered into, provision should be made for other courses of action. This is very clear. If it is true that this Bill has a wide sphere of application and that it does not apply only to the problem of Fort Hare or whatever, it is essential that we should tell the hon the Minister now that he must protect the Government of the Republic and this House so that we may not be confronted, owing to the irresponsible conduct of other parties, with an accomplished fact with which we do not wish to be confronted. That is all. It is a friendly suggestion to the hon the Minister with regard to the drafting of further agreements, if the occasion were to arise.
I also want to say that the need to provide for the appointment of people who are transferred from one situation to another is not without precedent. We are aware of the secondment of officials and other people. The hon the Minister also indicated in his speech that the Visa University Act contained such a provision. I may perhaps remind the hon the Minister of one fact. Perhaps he did not have the time to look at it himself, but it has a bearing on the point made here by the hon member for Durban North. The original Fort Hare Act which regulated the transfer of the University College of Fort Hare in 1959, Act 64 of 1959, contains provisions in section 29 to which I wish to direct the hon the Minister’s attention. This section reads as follows:
I just want to put it to the hon the Minister for his consideration that in the light of the remark made by the hon member for Durban North, the question arises whether an attempt should not perhaps be made to find another formula with regard to the possibility of transfers. I say this because the problems raised by the hon member for Durban North are concrete problems. One can understand what an impossible situation could arise at a university if a man were appointed to a post such as that of lecturer or senior lecturer, for example, and if his salary were actually lower or higher than that of the other people normally employed by that university. It would create a total anomaly which would have a destructive effect. [Interjections.] Salary scales have maximum and minimum notches. [Interjections.] Surely one cannot appoint a person as a lecturer at a university on a salary scale which is lower than the starting salary of a lecturer employed at that university or which is higher than the maximum salary of such a lecturer. I do not know who the hon member for Maitland thinks he is arguing with on this point, in all modesty. However, I want to say to the hon the Minister that it would create an anomaly at such a university which would cause major problems and which could lead to friction. The hon the Minister should give serious consideration to the views expressed here by the hon member for Cape Town Gardens and the hon member for Durban North. We are asking these questions at this stage, but we shall ask further questions at the Committee Stage and we shall also move amendments, as my hon colleague indicated.
This is an important Bill, but if hon members want us to discuss the Bill in a frivolous way, we can do so. It is not a problem. In the case of a university which falls under the authority of another Minister, such as the Minister of National Education, the Minister who is responsible for Indian or Coloured education, an exception is now being made with regard to the financing of the post to which a person who has been transferred in this way is appointed. The contribution will come via the Minister of Education and Training. This is also going to create problems, and I want to say to the hon the Minister that that situation, too, seems untenable. There are several other questions and view which we could put in this connection.
In view of the situation in which we find ourselves at this stage, we shall naturally have to support the Bill, no matter how reluctantly, as the hon member for Cape Town Gardens indicated.
However, I want to make a serious appeal on this occasion—because this is what is at issue here—with regard to the members of staff of the University of Fort Hare. In view of this provision which is being made, they should dedicate themselves to the important task of educating young people at Fort Hare, with the same dedication as in the past, for as long as they possibly can.
Mr Speaker, I wish to convey my sincere thanks to all the hon members who participated in the debate for their support of this Bill on behalf of their respective parties. Several technically oriented questions have been asked here with regard to the Bill and what its real effect will be. I have no intention of replying in respect of the finer details this evening. There is a great deal we could say about it, but we can deal with these questions in the Committee Stage which will probably only be towards the end of next week. Therefore we shall also have sufficient time to study the proposed amendments carefully so as to be able to conduct a more meaningful debate in the Committee Stage than would have been possible now. However, there are a few comments I wish to make at this stage.
†As far as the hon member for Cape Town Gardens is concerned, I should like to say right at the outset that I do not intend to get drawn into a political debate as far as this particular Bill is concerned. I think between us and the Opposition there is no illusion as far as our different approaches to the solution of South Africa’s political problems are concerned. Our approaches differ radically, and the situation that we are dealing with at this present time in respect of Fort Hare, and which may repeat itself elsewhere, is indeed unique. We on this side of the House believe that we are dealing with a unique situation in South Africa, for example our population mix, our geographical spread, etc. We have designed what we believe is a unique solution to this problem, and in this respect we differ fundamentally from the official Opposition. If what we are dealing with tonight in this Bill is a consequence of our political solution to South Africa in the sense that we opted to offer independence to various Black nations, then we shall just have to live with it. There certainly is no perfect solution, and if they had the opportunity to implement their views and policies in South Africa, certainly there would also have been, in our opinion, many more and very much more difficult problems with which to deal than the problems with which we have to deal now.
I should like to say, as far as the other remarks of the hon member are concerned, that Ciskei is an independent country, and they are perfectly entitled, if they regard the security situation on the campus of Fort Hare as detrimental to the security of their country, to send their police or any of their law and order machinery on to that campus and to deal with the situation from a security point of view as they deem fit.
*The hon member Prof Olivier also referred to this, and I am sorry but I really cannot see how we can tell an independent country, in concluding an agreement such as this: “Look, you are a developing country and since you feel that we can provide you with a useful service, we shall run the university for you, but that piece of land on which that university stands is an island which has absolute immunity. Your police and your defence force may not enter it, nor do your instruments of law apply there.” Surely we cannot set any such condition. We are dealing here with a situation in which we have staff there who do not normally live under the protection enjoyed by a diplomat, for example, and thus far they have not enjoyed the benefits enjoyed by seconded staff either. The matter we are dealing with here is sui generis.
In reply to an argument put forward by the hon member Prof Olivier, I point out that this sui generis or distinctive nature of the matter has to date helped us to identify certain problems that could arise and, to a certain extent, have already arisen, but I really do not feel that I want to discuss the experience we have had across the floor of this House. I believe that the Government has an obligation, in the light of undertakings given to these staff more than 10 years ago, to make substantial provision in legislation to give those people the security of employment to which other hon members who have taken part in the discussion have referred.
†The hon member for Cape Town Gardens described our policy as crazy. Well, I think we on this side of the House may with reason call the PFP’s political solution for South Africa even more crazy. But to do that would not bring us any nearer to a solution in so far as security for the staff of Fort Hare is concerned.
*I am very grateful for the significant contribution of the hon member for Kimberley North. It is true, as he said, that one’s security, as far as one’s employment and one’s pension are concerned, contributes significantly towards one’s peace of mind and in addition, contribute towards one’s capacity to do good work and to do one’s best in the course of one’s daily work. The hon member for Maraisburg also associated himself with that, as did the hon member Prof Olivier towards the end of his speech. I, too, want to join in asking these people—there are many of them—please to carry on with their work undisturbed—and even more so after we have piloted this Bill through the House.
I am very grateful to the hon member for Koedoespoort. I have no desire to argue with him. I did not argue with him last time because he supported a specific Bill, but I did argue with him about why he no longer supported certain aspects of that Bill. Fortunately we have no need to cross swords with one another this evening. I am very grateful for the contribution he made. Like other hon members, he referred to the importance of continuity of labour and the continuity of one’s pension. This is indeed a very important matter which was meaningfully emphasized by the hon member for Maraisburg, who also gave a very sound exposition of the Bill.
I am convinced that the people who are affected by this will read this Hansard carefully. Therefore I am grateful to the hon members who gave explanations of the Bill that are in line with our interpretation of it.
†I want now to refer to the remarks made by the hon member for Durban North. As far as the need is concerned, we are completely ad idem, and I want to thank him for his analysis of the need for this particular Bill. I am in full agreement as far as his conclusions are concerned.
As regards his remarks as to whether this Bill in fact fills the need which he identified, I want to differ with him but I want to say immediately that since we now have time to discuss these remarks properly—there are some areas where there can be misunderstandings and different interpretations—I request them to submit their amendments at the earliest possible opportunity so as to enable us to clarify the position with the legal advisers. I just want to tell the hon member and other hon members who are interested in the various interpretations of this Bill, that the legal advisers certainly had some problems in formulating many of the clauses correctly.
I myself queried the question of the reemployment to which the hon member also referred. I queried the fact that in the event of a person being re-employed, whether his remuneration—the term used is “besoldiging”—included special allowances which had been payable to him prior to his services being terminated. I was given the assurance that those allowances were not included and that the terminology used in the Bill restricted it purely to his salary and something which was not incidental to the position which he held which in this particular case is a foreign country.
But surely conditions of service include housing etc?
That was my question as well. However, there is a similarity in the conditions of service among all the various universities. Some key salary scales are applicable which determine that there cannot be drastic deviations. I nevertheless take the hon member’s point and I will ask for reassurance myself because, as I have said, I also queried this.
The hon member for Durban North also referred to clause 5 and said that it was open-ended. Once the control of a university has passed to a particular country as the result of the termination of a specific international agreement or as a result of the country in which that university is situated becoming independent, one will have completed all the necessary procedures in order to terminate the Republic of South Africa’s responsibility at that point. Although it is possible to have a person lecturing there who is still a South African citizen and the responsibility of South Africa, it will be completely different from the open-end interpretation of that particular clause. This eventuality can occur when a person is actually on the staff establishment of a South African university and teaching on the basis of secondment at a university in a foreign country. That is still possible, and it is therefore not necessary for us to withdraw people. However, if they comply with the conditions of this Bill or the Vista Univertisy Act before that particular country becomes independent, it is still possible for us to make those staff members available to that university but on the basis of secondment. This is also the case with many other officials who work in these independent states.
As far as this is concerned, to make absolutely sure that this will not be open ended after the termination of a contract or after the country has become independent, we will seek further advice from our law advisers. It will also be interesting to study the hon member’s amendments in this regard.
*I now turn to the hon member Prof Olivier. He says that the cord must be cut at one time or another. That is certainly true. If one has the option of totally independent national states, we all know that at some stage the cord has to be cut. The truth about this specific agreement is that Ciskei asked for it. There are several precedents for this and there will be several in the future as well. If I remember correctly, our Reserve Bank provided central banking services to the BLS countries for a very long time. Therefore there are many circumstances that could give rise to a young independent country in our part of the world requesting us to supply it with specific services. The service we are supplying to the Ciskei in this regard, viz our running the university and providing assistance on that basis, is being done at the request of the Ciskei.
As I said to the hon member earlier, in negotiating that contract we surely cannot act as if we are dealing here with a situation of total control. Those people still have control of the territory. In the final instance it is their university, of which we are the managers. If the university really was an island, which the Ciskeian police, the security staff, intelligence staff or defence force could not enter because we were running the university for them, I can imagine that it could well be possible for a person with subversive aims to seek shelter there and perpetrate certain acts using that as a base. It seems to me as if the hon member does not agree. Then he must give us a better explanation.
You are using irrelevant examples.
No, I am certainly not using irrelevant examples. A colleague of his, the hon member for Cape Town Gardens, said the following in his Second Reading speech:
Surely that is the truth. Indeed he had no power because the Ciskei is an independent country. Therefore, if what the hon member had in mind was that we may in future, be able to conclude a better agreement in respect of something else if we were ever to have such a situation again, I should appreciate it if he would give us a specific example. However, when it is a matter of the kind of thing that his hon colleague objected to, viz the right of the Ciskeian police, etc, to carry out their task on the campus, then we on this side of the House—and I say this with all due respect—will not tolerate it.
As regards the hon member’s reference to section 29, I wish to say to him that I shall request the law advisers and the officials of my department to consider the matter. The lawyers were uncertain whether our pension laws still applied, despite the fact that the Act appears on our Statute Book and on that of the Ciskei and in spite of the fact that we have an international agreement in that regard. To place it beyond all doubt, therefore, we incorporated it in this Bill. However, I shall with the greatest pleasure have the specific matter to which he referred duly investigated, and will make further reference to it during the Committee Stage.
I want to refer very briefly to the point the hon member made about, say, a professor at the University of Fort Hare—or any other university which may at a later stage be in the same situation—who is appointed to a different post at a university in South Africa. If for example he has a very exceptional skill and at that stage we only have a post as lecturer available at one of our universities, we surely cannot let him go because we cannot offer him a professorship.
That is not the problem I sketched to you.
I am still coming to that. In those circumstances we also cannot expect of the university—however much they may need his services—to carry an extra employee, in view of the tight budget they have in terms of the formula. However, it is possible that a vacancy may arise for him within a certain time and in those circumstances we shall appoint him there at a professor’s salary and we shall have to reimburse the university accordingly. After all, we cannot expect of them, with their tight budget, to deal with this problem arising out of our constitutional development.
If that professor is more highly paid than a professor at Medunsa or wherever, then the hon member thinks—if I understand him correctly—that if we give that professor a professorial post at Medunsa and he then earns more than his colleague, it would be an anomaly and could cause a great deal of unhappiness. This may be so, but we are dealing here with an extremely difficult problem. I really cannot see how there could be long-term dissatisfaction in those circumstances. In the first place it is unlikely that a professor coming from a different university would receive such an exceptionally high salary that he would no longer be able to fit in in our circumstances. I do not believe that is possible. I do not have the salary structures and key scales in my head, but I am convinced that in the long term that will really not cause a problem.
Surely what we are discussing here is an exception; a case that is exceptional not only with regard to those skills, but also with regard to the circumstances surrounding that person’s appointment. In the process of having him appointed there, the Minister in question negotiates with the council of that university. If the university council regards it as an untenable situation to appoint the person in a similar post but at a higher salary, then it will simply be necessary to negotiate some other solution. Due to the exposure of the staff as a result of the Government’s constitutional development, the Minister of Education and Training has to accept responsibility for that together with the Government, and perhaps an extra professorial post or a special grading would have to be created on a personal-to-occupant basis.
However, I cannot see the Government escaping the moral responsibility—a moral responsibility which was rightly identified by one of the hon members; I think it was the hon member for Durban North—as a result of possible theoretical administrative problems relating to the payment of such a person via a different Minister or via a different Government department, or in respect of a person in a post that does not quite fit the structure of that specific post. I cannot see that those administrative problems should restrict us from resolving this extremely sensitive matter.
If there are other really major administrative problems that the hon member and his colleagues can identify, then we can discuss them on a later occasion.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
The Bill amends six Acts administered by the Office of Financial Institutions, ie the Insurance Act, the Stock Exchanges Control Act, the Pension Funds Act, the Friendly Societies Act, the Banks Act and the Building Societies Act, 1965.
Several of these Acts prescribe the fees payable for, amongst other things, the registration of the relevant institutions, inspection of documents submitted to the Registrar by the institutions and the provision of copies of such documents, and lay down the maximum penalties that may be imposed if the institutions neglect to submit statements or to comply with financial requirements. These tariffs of fees and maximum penalties have not been revised for a number of years now, and owing to cost increases in recent years it has become necessary to adapt them.
In order to eliminate periodic statutory amendments for that purpose, it is proposed that the Minister be empowered in the relevant Acts to widen the scope of the matter, mentioned in the respective Acts, in regard to which fees are payable. For the same reason it has also become necessary to adjust the maximum penalties that may be imposed in the case of institutions neglecting to submit statements or to comply with the financial requirements. Since these are not fixed penalties, but merely maximum ones, which will therefore need to be adjusted much less frequently, it is proposed that the maximum penalties in the relevant Acts be increased and not determined by way of regulation in future, as proposed in the case of the tariff of fees.
As members are aware, the Acts relating to the various kinds of financial institutions require that those institutions invest a prescribed portion of their funds in specific assets, the so-called prescribed assets or investments, which consists chiefly of public sector securities, and also that a specific portion of these prescribed assets or investments must be in the form of Government stock issued in terms of section 19 of the Exchequer and Audit Act, 1975. This latter requirement does, of course, give the Government an advantage over the rest of the public sector in competing for those funds of the financial institutions that must be invested in prescribed assets or investments. For this reason it is proposed to abolish the compulsory investment by financial institutions in Government stock as such and to do so with effect from 1 May 1984. The amendments of the various Acts to implement this proposal are contained in the Bill before the House.
Apart from the amendments I have just mentioned, in regard to the Insurance Act the maximum value of home service policies is being increased from R1 000 to R5 000. As a result of considerable increases, in recent years, in the cost of the administration of policies, the larger insurers are, in point of fact, no longer interested in the demand for smaller policies, and it has now become necessary to increase the maximum amount of home service policies with a view to enabling insurers who are registered to do home service business to provide for the needs of the people who need a moderate amount of life insurance, yet nevertheless exceeding an amount of R1 000. The proposed amendment also provides that insurers who are already registered to do home service business may not issue policies for amounts greater than R1 000 without the permission of the Registrar. This requirement is necessary to make certain that insurers have sufficient capital to accept the higher individual risks.
The Bill contains two amendments to the Stock Exchanges Control Act, 1947, and these are contained in clauses 12 and 13. The first of these adds to the Act a new section 7 which makes provision for new and existing stock exchanges to acquire legal personality and for the business of an existing stock exchange to be transferred to the legal person thus coming into existence, including the transfer of assets in the name of such a legal person without payment of tax or the customary fees for endorsement and entries in regard to property and rights registered in deeds offices.
Hon members will possibly recall that a similar provision is already contained in section 6 of the Financial Institutions amendment Act, 1982. That section, however, was only to come into effect on a date determined by the State President in the Gazette. The intention was for its commencement to coincide with the introduction of a new set of rules of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange—the only licensed stock exchange in the Republic—which the Stock Exchange was busy drawing up. It subsequently became evident, however, that the section could not be put into operation owing to an error that had crept into the wording, an error relating to the date on which an existing stock exchange could obtain its status as a legal person in terms of that section. To clear this matter up it is necessary to repeal the aforementioned section 6 and to restructure its provisions, with the necessary correction. Since the House accepted and approved the purport and implications of the provisions as far back as 1982, I do not intend to go into them again now.
The other amendment affects section 9A of the Stock Exchanges Control Act which provides that conditions imposed by a stock exchange in regard to taking up listed stock can also be applied, to stock already listed prior to those conditions having been imposed, by giving written notice to the person who issued that stock; but that the conditions in regard to that stock will not come into force before a period of two years has elapsed from the date of such notice. It became apparent that the period of two years was unreasonably long, and in terms of a request made by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange it is proposed that the period be decreased to three months. The amendment is also supported by the Listings Advisory Board of the Stock Exchange on which is represented, amongst others, bodies of which the members are listed companies.
†Mr Speaker, I now come to the proposed amendments to the Pension Funds Act. Over the years a practice has taken root in connection with the transmitting of monthly contributions by or on behalf of members of pension funds, namely the transmission of the contributions through intermediaries who, in many cases, do not pay the contributions over to the fund as soon as possible but only after these contributions have been applied to the advantage of the intermediary, sometimes for considerable periods. In other instances against, the employers hang on to the contributions unduly before transmitting them to the fund.
In order to end this practice, it is proposed that a new provision be inserted in the Act—this is done by clause 15—which will require that contributions be transmitted direct to the fund within seven days from the end of the period to which they relate, in order that the money can be applied to the benefit of the fund and its members as soon as possible.
The Pension Funds Act provides that every pension fund shall cause its financial condition to be investigated and reported upon by a valuator at least once in every five years, while in the case of insurers a valuation has to be done every three years. In order to strengthen the surveillance over the financial position of pension funds, it is proposed to bring their valuation period into line with that of insurers, ie to reduce the period from five to three years.
I shall now deal with certain amendments relating to the Banks Act.
When the limitations on the shareholdings in banking institutions and bank controlling companies were introduced in 1976, it was provided that, where in the case of a discount house the relative limit of 10% was exceeded at the date of commencement of the amendment Act, the shareholding was to be reduced to within the limit in accordance with a scheme which the discount house was to submit to the Registrar within a period acceptable to the Registrar.
It is now proposed that a provision be inserted in the Act requiring a similar action on the part of a discount house in the case of a shareholding which exceeds the respective limit as a result of the amalgamation of shareholders or the take-over of one shareholder by another subsequent to the coming into operation of the shareholding limits.
Under the present provisions of the Banks Act, a foreign shareholder, being a bank, and its associates, may not hold shares in a banking institution or bank controlling company constituting more than 50% of the nominal value of all the issued shares in the banking institution or bank controlling company. Such holdings which exceeded this limit at the time when the provision was introduced were to be reduced so as to comply with the limit within a period acceptable to the Minister.
The British banks, like Barclays and Standard, which have been operating in South Africa for many years—first through branches and later through subsidiaries—consolidate the accounts of their South African subsidiaries with the worldwide accounts of the group but in terms of British law such consolidation can only be done if the parent bank holds a majority of the shares in the subsidiary. With a view to enabling the British parent banks to continue the practice it is proposed, at the request of some of these banks, that the Minister be empowered to allow, in any particular case, a foreign bank to exceed the aforementioned limit of 50% by a narrow margin.
Finally, it is proposed that the maximum amount which a banking institution may accept from any one person on savings account be increased from R25 000 to R50 000. A similar increase is being proposed in the case of building societies.
Mr Speaker, I ask that the House support this Bill.
Mr Speaker, we will support the Second Reading of this measure.
It is very seldom that major disputes arise in regard to legislation dealing with our financial institutions. This is mainly because the element of control that is exercised over financial institutions in South Africa is very effective. Even though legislation in this regard has to be brought up to date virtually every year, it is in the main good, and therefore there is seldom any major dispute in regard to principles between the Government and the official Opposition. I want to tell the hon the Deputy Minister, however, that that does not mean that we do not make suggestions of a constructive nature to improve such legislation. In fact, I think history has shown over the past 10 years during which I have been involved in these debates—I hope to be involved for a few more years—that very often our ideas not only have substance but are eventually accepted.
I want, however, to issue a word of warning to the hon the deputy Minister. This state of affairs may not continue indefinitely in respect of all matters because there are some matters about which we are concerned. One of these is the teeth that need to be given to the Stock Exchange and legislation relating to it in order to afford the public greater protection in regard to its dealings. I want to indicate to the hon the Deputy Minister that this is a matter that should receive his attention and that of his department because we feel that greater protection should be provided and, in some cases, greater powers given to the Stock Exchange Committee to deal with this matter.
Secondly, while I do not think that this is the occasion for a major debate on the building society movement, I still want to tell the hon the Deputy Minister that we feel very strongly on this side of the House that the building society movement as an instrument for providing housing for the middle income group has stood the test of time over a very long period. If we subtract from the housing situation those people who receive subsidized housing from the State, those State employees who receive subsidies and those employees of institutions who also receive mortgage bonds from those institutions, we are left with a nucleus of people who make up the middle class in South Africa who need the building society movement, and so that movement needs to be nurtured. I serve notice on the hon the Deputy Minister, therefore, that we need and we will have a major debate on this matter because we believe that the Government is moving in an incorrect direction. When institutions have stood the test of time one must be careful before one tampers with them and moves into unchartered waters. We believe that the building society movement is one of which we can be proud in South Africa, and one that has served the people well in South Africa. Therefore at the appropriate moment we shall engage the Government in a debate on this issue.
To deal now specifically with the provisions in the Bill, those that deal with a whole variety of financial institutions and with the question of Government stock both in regard to prescribed assets and first schedule assets in the case of banking institutions, insurance companies and other financial institutions, we welcome those provisions and we shall support them. However, I have indicated to the hon the Deputy Minister before that there is a problem with regard to the marketability of Government stock, particularly in the lower denominations. I think he has now heard that from me on a number of occasions, and will continue to hear it until there is a proper market in Government stock. Marketability of Government stock affects the Government’s ability to persuade people to buy it and it also affects the rates at which the Government can market that stock. I regard this as a priority and therefore I shall continue to impress upon the Government that it should take steps to ensure that there is marketability in respect of Government stock, particularly in the lower denominations. May I give the hon the Deputy Minister an example of a local authority here in Cape Town? The Cape Town Municipality has a better market in respect of small denominations of its stock than the Government has. I think that is a terrible indictment as far as the Government is concerned even though it is a great compliment to the Cape Town Municipality. I think therefore that this matter needs attention and needs to be dealt with by the Government in a very, very short time.
I come now to the question of insurance. We support the proposal with regard to the increase in the amounts for home service policies, but I should like to indicate that as far as we are concerned we are not great enthusiasts in respect of home service policies, far from it. We believe that the costs not only of procuring the business but also maintaining the business are extremely high. Consequently the benefits to the insured in respect of those policies are therfore relatively lower than the benefits in respect of other insurance policies. In those circumstances what actually happens is that the poorer section of the community is inevitably the one that then has the insurance policy that gives it the least return, the least cover and the least reaction. That is wrong. In fact, if anything, it should be the other way around. For that reason I think that one should actually appeal to the insurance companies to allow other means or payments that should be encouraged so that one does not have to call on people to collect the instalment. Make arrangements with the building societies to pay in insurance premiums. Make arrangements with the banks. Let the Post Office act as a medium of paying into accounts on a sort of a gyro system that can be involved, but let us try to reduce the cost of maintaining these policies so that greater benefits can be given to people in this field. I appreciate the hon the Deputy Minister’s argument that by increasing the level to R5 000 one has a better opportunity of giving more reasonable cover because the cost element is the same for a R500 policy if one is going to call on a man’s house in order to collect the premium as it is for a R5 000 policy. In both cases the man has to call at the house and the physical cost to the insurance company is the same. With regard to the whole concept of a home service policy, however, even although the hon the Deputy Minister says that he would like to encourage it, I should like in my turn to discourage people from taking out home service policies and encourage them rather to take out ordinary insurance policies because they will get a far better return than they will from a home service policy.
Then comes the question of the penalty that is being imposed where there are breaches in respect of two sections of the Insurance Act, namely sections 17 and 18. I have amendments on the Order Paper in this regard because there is to my mind an illogicality about this matter. If there is a breach of the provisions in regard to first schedule assets whether for a domestic or a foreign insurer, then if one penalizes the insurance company, one is actually penalizing the policy holder because there are fewer assets there. The argument that it is out of shareholders’ funds that the penalty will be paid, does not follow because it does not prescribe that here. All it says is that one cannot pay a dividend and in any event, if it is a mutual insurer, there are no shareholders. Where the directors of the company are responsible for a breach of section 17 or 18 and a penalty is being imposed, the question is who should bear the penalty—the people responsible for not complying with the law or the policy holders who are the innocent victims of the situation so that there are fewer assets there and less money available for bonuses, and in those circumstances it is the policy holders who suffer. I should like to submit to the hon the Deputy Minister that the people who should pay the price for not having complied with the law are the people who breached it and not the innocent people who have the policies. I should like to appeal to the hon the Deputy Minister to accept an amendment to give effect to that principle.
In so far as the Stock Exchange is concerned, on the amendments contained in the Bill, I have no comment. We have, as the hon the Deputy Minister has pointed out, already agreed to provisions contained in clause 12 in a less perfect form than this one. I can only hope that this clause has been drafted more satisfactorily and that there is not another defect to hold it up. The amendments contained in clause 13 are in respect of other securities. It is already listed that three months’ notice should be adequate and I think that is a good amendment and we shall certainly support it.
Coming to the question of pension funds I do not intend repeating the issues related to Government stock because they are common to all of the institutions. We welcome the provisions contained in clause 15. I should like to draw attention to the difference between an intermediary holding premiums which are for say short-term business and holding the contributions which are owing to a pension fund. There is a fundamental difference because if one insures, one has cover for a fixed premium. The fact that the intermediary holds on to the money and earns interest on it, neither affects the cover nor the premium because it has been paid and it has been agreed upon. It is one of the forms of remuneration that the insurers allow to the intermediaries in that they earn that interest.
When it comes to the contributions of employees, those to a pension fund are to a large extent trust money in the true sense of the word. If they do not go into the pension fund at the earliest opportunity, it is the pension fund which is losing the interest and therefore it is the employee who is being penalized in those circumstances. I have seen examples where in a recent case for instance a company went insolvent. It did not pay over the amounts which had been deducted from the employees to their pension fund. It did not pay the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner. It did not pay the amounts which had to go to the industrial council. In fact, it kept a whole series of funds which really were money deducted from employees and workers.
When that happens, I believe that the directors should be brought before the criminal courts of South Africa and should be punished because they are depriving workers and employees of what is their right, and eventually one gets a situation where the workers say to themselves: Why should we pay these amounts? The result is that one ends up having industrial unrest, having mistrust in the system, because one has people who are dishonest and who abuse that system. We have enough trouble in regard to pension funds. We have enough trouble trying to persuade people in South Africa to provide for their old age. We have enough trouble trying to persuade the lower income groups in the community that they should also save for tomorrow through pension funds. We have all those problems, but if one is going to have unscrupulous people who withhold these funds, then they have to be dealt with and an example has to be made of them. I should like to ask the hon the Deputy Minister that he and his colleagues who are dealing with similar matters should not hesitate to instruct the heads of departments to see to it that the necessary criminal sanctions are imposed where appropriate.
As regards actuarial valuations and reports which should now cover three years instead of five, this does have an element of increasing costs but it offers greater protection. I believe the major institutions already do it on a three year basis and we will therefore also be supporting this provision.
As regards the Banks Act, I want firstly to refer to savings accounts. I believe—I will use the same argument as regards the building societies and I will elaborate on this when we discuss that legislation—that the figure of R50 000 should be increased to R100 000.
As regards foreign controlled banks, this is actually quite a fascinating matter. When this Act was introduced in 1976 we used the argument that it was in South Africa’s interests to have people investing money in South Africa, and that the more they invested in South Africa, the more would be the advantage to South Africa overseas. In so far as banks are concerned, we believed and we still believe that it is in South Africa’s interests to have international banks investing in South Africa. There can be no better example than what happened with the two banks which the hon the Deputy Minister mentioned. The fact that they are in South Africa and have investments here, is to our advantage. The question of trying to reduce the shareholding I believe is not in our interests at all. Monetary policy can be dealt with both by the registrar and the Reserve Bank, and adequate control can be maintained.
The argument that foreign banks could sabotage South Africa’s economy, is without substance. There is firstly no historical basis for this fear and secondly, there is adequate legislative protection to prevent this from happening. No doubt one of the reasons why the foreign banks want to consolidate their profits into their international accounts is because they are making profits in South Africa and because South Africa is a profitable investment for bankers the world over. I would like to take this opportunity to say that if one looks at the accounts of some of the banks, it seems that their South African subsidiaries are among their most profitable ones. If that is the case, we should encourage them to invest more in South Africa. It is interesting that after a period of eight years and having said that we intended to bring their interest below 50%, we are actually allowing them more than 50%. Therefore, after eight years the Opposition has again been proved correct. Whether or not one increases it by one hundredth of a percent, the reality is that if it goes above 50%, by whatever tiny margin, ones has control. It does not matter whether it is one hundreth of a percent or 1%. Control can actually be exercised even without having a 50% interest.
One of the problems that has arisen due to the concept that banks should now be subject to fewer controls is the fact that banks are becoming more exposed to foreign currency risks. I recently looked at accounts and read an article on this very subject, and I noticed that some of the biggest banks in the world with some of the most skilled persons in foreign currency have suffered tremendous losses. I am not insinuating that our bankers are not skilful but I would like to have an assurance from the hon the Deputy Minister that as far as the Ministry is concerned, they are watching the uncovered position of banks as regards their foreign currency activities. I do not want the situation to arise in which somebody says Bank X has lost hundreds of millions of rand due to its uncovered exposure in regard to foreign currency. It has not yet happened and hopefully it will not, but I believe that the hon the Minister and the hon the Deputy Minister, with their various authorities such as the Reserve Bank and the Registrar, have a duty in this regard, and I would like to see them discharge that particular duty.
Lastly, I want to refer to the question of building societies. I do not want to debate the whole future of the building society movement, but I want to indicate that I intend to move an amendment to increase the figure from R50 000 to R100 000. I will explain my reasons for that. Firstly, at the present moment there are very many people who do not want to invest their funds in long-term deposits in building societies. Some of them have the view that interest rates may rise further. They may be wrong. However, what is equally important is that building societies should not commit themselves to long-term deposits at high rates when rates may well be at historic heights at the present moment. In those circumstances money should be more in savings accounts than otherwise. I believe there is no point in saying to a man with a lot of money that he should invest R50 000 with one building society and R50 000 with another one and in that way spread his money among six or seven building societies. Why not allow a greater investment in each building society?
I know there is an argument that money deposited in savings accounts is not regarded as being short-term deposits, that they are in a different category and that therefore they should not be allowed to reach these levels. I think that with inflation and the present financial position there is every justification for increasing that figure to R100 000.
Are you going to move an amendment to that effect?
Yes. I have indicated to the Registrar that I intend doing so. The amendment was going to be on the Order Paper for tomorrow, but we are starting the debate a little earlier than everybody anticipated. I will, however, move the amendment to apply to both building societies and banks.
Those are the proposals which we have in regard to this measure. We give it our blessing and will support the Second Reading.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Yeoville made a few very constructive remarks with regard to the Bill before us. He addressed himself to the hon the Deputy Minister, and I shall consequently not attempt to reply to all his remarks. I do, however, want to say with regard to the home service policies to which the hon member initially referred, that it is true that a large number of people are, of necessity, compelled to make use of this service. One must not take steps that will make it impossible for them to do so, but rather strive to make it cheaper for them. In this connection I want to agree with the hon member. I would have liked the hon member to be more specific about his ideas as how to make them cheaper. He referred to this in fairly vague terms. For the rest the hon member was quite constructive in his contribution, and we are grateful for that. It is not always pleasant to speak after he has spoken, but this evening it really is.
In general the legislation is supported by both the private sector and the business sector, and we are grateful for that fact. I am particularly grateful about one amendment that is being introduced, and that is the amendment to the Insurance Act contained in clauses 2 and 3 of the Bill. The amendment simplifies the payment of registration fees by insurers, because in future the Minister will determine the fees by regulation and legislation will no longer be needed for every change in the fees.
There are also similar clauses in other relevant Acts. We would do well to seek to simplify and streamline our legislation more frequently in order to eliminate unnecessary administrative red tape. I also welcome the amendment to the Pension Funds Act contained in clause 15, which will prevent employees being exploited by employers or intermediaries when it comes to the transfer and payment of their pension contributions. In future, these will have to be paid within seven days. It is true that in the past abuses did occur. This is being remedied by means of this amendment. We are grateful for that.
Because there is so much unanimity in regard to the legislation, one need not say too much about it. Seen as a whole, I feel that this is a simplification and modernization of the legislation, something which has become essential in the course of time, and I therefore take pleasure in supporting it.
Mr Speaker, we support the Bill, but I should like to say a few words about it. I am not going to discuss every clause, however, because in my opinion the hon member for Yeoville went into every aspect thoroughly. I do not want to repeat some of the recommendations either, because I consider them to be good recommendations and I want to thank him for broaching them here so that we could also support them.
I am particularly glad about one thing, and that is that the actuarial valuation will now be undertaken every three years instead of every five years. I feel this is a good amendment, because five years is a long time when there is something wrong with the funds of some or other institution. In my opinion, this amendment should have been introduced a long time ago.
I feel very unhappy, however, about the fact that overseas banks could now possibly take over total control of banks in South Africa. We have been opposing this for 20 years. This was one of the things that has always been brought to the fore by the NP, namely that foreign banks should not take complete control of our money in this country. We had to fight a long battle before overseas banks eventually became South African banks, and with the best will in the world I cannot see why this should be changed now. The hon the Deputy Minister must please give another reason for this, because the reason given, that we are now making this concession to facilitate consolidation by the mother company abroad is, in my opinion, not a good one. I believe there are other hidden motives and we would very much like to know what they are.
In conclusion I should like to discuss building societies. Building societies are actually the homeowner’s friend, because over the years we have all been able to purchase homes with the assistance of low-interest loans. Nowadays, however, no young man can purchase a home if he has to pay 15%, 16%, 17% or 18% interest; it is out of the question. I have learned that the Building Society laws are going to be amended, but I am concerned about this. This matter has been unnecessarily delayed because these amendments should already have been before this House. At present housing is a very delicate issue in South Africa. A person who wants to buy or build a home today has to earn a very high salary to be able to afford the mortgage on the house. The price of land in Pretoria, for example, has increased recently from R15 000 or R20 000 to R80 000, and one can imagine how enormous the house will have to be to justify that expensive plot. There is also a kind of psychosis in the country that when a young couple build a home, they should not start with a small house. It must be a large house for which they must negotiate a large loan, so that the property can eventually be resold at a profit. Of course, this is the wrong approach because one must, after all, first crawl, then walk and then run.
At present building societies have too little money and cannot compete with the other financing institutions. Ways and means must therefore be found to ensure that the building societies receive sufficient money so that the poor man, those starting out and people in the middle income group can obtain loans. This is something I should like to bring to the hon the Deputy Minister’s attention, though I realize that we cannot discuss it in this debate. Because we shall not have another opportunity to discuss this, however, we want to emphasize that this is an aspect the Government and the various departments will have to give attention to.
We do, however, support this legislation.
Mr Speaker, this is what we would term an omnibus Bill which covers amendments to something like six different financial laws. At the outset I want to say that the NRP will be supporting this measure.
The hon member for Sunnyside raised the matter of high interest rates, especially on building society loans. I think he has raised a very important subject because the fact that the interest rates of building societies have reached the level they have, has put large numbers of people under tremendous financial pressure. I think one can expect that with the recessionary trends we have in South Africa at the present time more and more people are putting their homes up for sale because I sincerely believe that many of them are not able to afford the high interest rates. This is almost entirely due to inflation and the Government’s attempts to control inflation by limiting the supply of money and by allowing interest rates to float according to market forces. The interesting thing I want to draw to the hon the Deputy Minister’s attention, if he has not already noticed it, is that this Bill which contains something like 39 clauses has nearly 15 clauses directly concerned with inflation. They concern the raising of registration fees, the raising of the maximum deposit a person can have in a savings account etc. More than a third of all the clauses in this Bill are concerned with inflation one way or another. I think this is a sad commentary on the situation we have in South Africa. What also gives cause for concern is the fact that these clauses—which we will support because we understand that there are administrative problems involved in raising levies from time to time—now give the hon the Minister the power to prescribe by regulation an increase in levies as inflation demands, rather than what we have done in the past, namely that he had to come to the House to amend the Act so as to empower him to charge a higher levy. I appeal to the hon the Deputy Minister to take heed of this fact, and I sincerely hope that he and his Minister and his colleagues in the Cabinet will pay even greater attention to the problem of inflation. It is my personal view that South Africa is not going to beat inflation without having to bite the bullet. Wherever inflation has been beaten in the Western World, it has been beaten at a price. It has often been said by hon members in the Government benches that we cannot afford to beat inflation like they have done overseas because we cannot afford unemployment, but wherever inflation has been beaten nations have had to suffer increased unemployment in the interim period. What causes inflation? Inflation is caused when too many people are employed in unproductive jobs.
The NRP. [Interjections.]
That hon member sits in the front bench as the financial spokesman of the official Opposition but he always wants it both ways. When the Government insists on putting up taxes in order to pay for the social benefits that party is always crying for, they shout at the Government. When we suggest how to overcome inflation so that there will not be price increases, he says that we cannot afford unemployment. Members of the PFP are typical politicians. They will not face the truth of the problem facing South Africa as far as the economy is concerned, namely that there are too many people sitting on their backsides doing nothing and expecting to get a lot of money for it. The United States and Britain have reduced their inflation rates from as high as 21% to 3,5%. Why do countries like Spain, Portugal and even France which is governed by a socialist government, now have to bite the bullet? Their political leaders realize the facts of life.
In what clause of the Bill is mention made of biting the bullet?
One thing that hon member should realize is that we in this party are concerned about inflation. Until South Africa licks inflation we are not going to get effective growth in our economy and in our GDP. That hon member writes letters to and is interviewed by the newspapers as the financial spokesman of the PFP who is worried about the future and because there is not sufficient growth in the GDP. Now he is, however, arguing against me when I appeal to the Government to do what is necessary and what other governments around the world are finding they have got to do in order to lick inflation and get the economy going.
What does that have to do with the Bill?
I can tell the hon member that 15 clauses in this Bill, which amend certain sections in the respective Acts, have been introduced because of inflation. That is the point I want to make.
Having got that off my chest, I want to say that we support many of the other clauses in the Bill, especially clauses 15 and 16 concerning the Pension Funds Act. Those clauses are designed to eliminate the malpractice the hon member for Yeoville spoke so eloquently about of employers withholding contributions to pension funds in order to benefit themselves by obtaining the interest on those funds. I do think it is a sad commentary on some of the employers in South Africa and also on brokers that they do engage in such malpractices. One question that was raised with me was whether it was not a lot of wishful thinking to expect these employers to have that money deposited or transmitted to the pension funds within the limit of seven days. I do believe, however, that with the banking facilities we have today for transmitting funds—they can be transmitted almost instantaneously—it can be done within the limit of seven days.
In terms of clause 16 pension funds will in future have to be revalued every three years instead of every five years. The question was also raised whether this would not place tremendous pressure on the actuaries of South Africa whose work would now be increased proportionately. However, as was explained to me, many of these pension funds revalue their assets annually anyway and have to report to the department only every five years. So, having listened to the argument, we believe that in the interests of the employee it is very good that these pension funds are revalued every three years instead of every five years.
A final point I should like to raise in passing is the fact that some seven clauses concerning the Insurance Act, the Pension Funds Act, the Banks Act and the Building Societies Act are now scrapping the requirement that a certain percentage of these financial institutions’ assets should be held in prescribed Government stocks, the so-called 20% subminimum of the investment holdings. We believe that this is in line with the Minister’s statement that this is a step towards a freer market in that in future these financial institutions can invest in stock that will be yielding higher returns than the Government pay them. We believe that this is a good thing. The Government is now going to have to start competing with Escom stock and other stock and we believe that this is good for the economy in general.
With those few words I take pleasure in supporting the measure, but I sincerely hope that the hon the Deputy Minister and his colleagues and also the hon member for Yeoville will remember what I said about inflation.
Mr Speaker, this is a fairly bulky Bill and I am glad it is not a contentious one. I am also glad of the support hon members have given the Bill. It is indeed a good piece of legislation.
†I wish to refer particularly to the hon member for Yeoville who paid a compliment to the Registrar for his effective control of financial institutions. He also referred to greater protection being afforded to the public as far as the Stock Exchange is concerned. I have no difficulty with that. Although this is not the legislation dealing with that particular aspect, I take note of it. As regards the building societies, I can give the hon member the assurance that any change affecting the building societies is brought about in very close collaboration with the building society movement as such. We are not in a hurry because we have to deal with these matters in a very responsible way. That is the reason why the new building society legislation has not yet been introduced.
The hon member referred again to smaller amounts of Government stock being made available to the public. I have no quarrel with him in this regard. There are numerous finance houses competing with each other nowadays and, should there be a fair demand for that type of stock in smaller quantities. I am absolutely sure that the finance houses will accept that type of business. I have no problems in that regard at all.
As far as home service policies are concerned, it is a fact that most life insurers are not interested in selling smaller policies than, let us say, R10 000 today because the administrative costs in this regard are high. Unless home service insurers are permitted to fill this need as far as the smaller man is concerned, that section of the population will remain rather unserviced as far as this particular type of insurance is concerned.
I do not think the hon the Deputy Minister would take out such a policy.
Let me tell the hon member that I did have such a policy when I started out. However, this type of insurance is not the general practice any more although there still is a certain demand for this type of policy.
*The hon member also referred to clause 10 on which he intends to move an amendment in the Committee Stage. I do not want to deal with that now. We shall be dealing with it in a short while in the Committee Stage. The same applies to the increase in the savings account amount from R25 000 to R50 000, as provided for by this legislation. The hon member wants this amount to be increased to R100 000 and he also intends to move a relevant amendment in the Committee Stage. I shall therefore also deal with that briefly in the Committee State. When I reply to one of the other hon members in a moment, I shall also refer to the question of the shareholding of 50% in regard to the banks.
I also want to thank the hon member for False Bay for his contribution. He referred, in particular, to the fact that administrative procedures were now being facilitated. If we facilitate these procedures, perhaps the hon member for Amanzimtoti will be glad of the fact that it will not be necessary to increase those fees so frequently. I am glad the hon member referred to that.
The hon member for False Bay also referred to the question of pension monies that have to be paid in within a certain period, something that will contribute further to combating abuses. He is absolutely correct, and I thank him for his participation.
Perhaps the hon member for Sunnyside did not handle the matter quite correctly. He expressed a very firm opinion about our now giving foreign banks a majority shareholding in South African banks. That is not, of course, correct. This measure does not make provision for those banks to obtain a majority shareholding in South African banks, which they previously virtually owned completely. The hon member will remember that legislation was passed two years ago providing for that shareholding to be reduced to 50%, but that they could decrease this by arrangement with the Registrar and the Minister. The position is therefore that we are not giving these banks a majority shareholding because there is already such a majority interest. The banks approached us and asked us to make it technically possible for them to retain the existing arrangement, and we agreed and made it technically possible for them to do so. We therefore made provision for them to retain a hundredth of a per cent above 50%. The legislation provides that it must be 50%, but in this connection we are allowing them an additional one hundredth of a per cent.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon the Deputy Minister why we do not continue with that old policy if we have to bring it down to less than 50% and this is only of a technical nature?
In my Second Reading speech I have already said that the banks have a history of doing business here. They have done good business in our country, for themselves and for us. They have also provided good services here and are still doing so. We did not regard it as an unreasonable request to allow them technically to do their business in that way, as they have done it for decades now. One hundredth of a per cent will not change the matter either way.
†The hon member for Amanzimtoti referred to the high interest rates and inflation. The hon member is a constant fighter against inflation. I want to praise him for that. I have no difficulty in doing that. But the Bill now before the House hardly presents the opportune moment to discuss this particular subject. Nevertheless I grant that he has a point there. Raising the small fees that are payable for copies of documents and that sort of thing could hardly be termed a big sinner in boosting inflation. In any case, somebody must pay for the work that is being done. The alternative is that the Government will have to pay for it.
You have missed the point. The point is you are increasing the fees. We have been paying for it in the past.
That is right.
Inflation is such that costs have risen. Now because inflation you are raising the fees.
No, the hon member is splitting hairs on this particular issue. The point is that somebody who wants those services must pay for the work. The user must pay, and he must pay a reasonable fee for the work. The hon member also referred to the malpractice of withholding pension fund contributions. I am glad that the hon member as well as other hon members referred to this particular matter and that they are holding strong views on it.
Once again my thanks to hon members for their participation in the debate.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr Chairman, I move the amendments printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
- 1. On page 9, in line 10, to omit all the words after “(1)” up to and including “of’ in line 15, and to substitute:
Should any insurer fail to comply with any provision of section 17 or 18 the directors of that insurer shall jointly be liable to pay a penalty in such amount as the registrar may determine, but not exceeding
- 2. On page 9, in line 25, to omit “insurer” and to substitute “directors”.
I have motivated these amendments during the Second Reading and now await the hon the Deputy Minister’s response.
Mr Chairman, the hon member has moved an amendment to this particular clause to the effect that the directors rather than the insurers or corporate entities should become liable for the payment of the relevant penalties. This is a totally new principle as far as this particular Bill now before the House and the Act as it reads at the moment are concerned. It is a departure from the general approach in the Act, namely to address the insurer and not the directors. The shortfalls as contemplated in clauses 17 and 18 may also be quite inadvertent and sometimes of a technical nature. I have no difficulty with the motives of the hon member in moving this particular amendment, but I think it is too drastic when a mere technical omission is committed, which in any event could have been done inadvertently. We shall keep a close eye on this, however.
*Should this assume extraordinary proportions, attention can be given to the matter in future. I believe that under the circumstances and in view of the facts known to us the hon member’s proposal would be too drastic.
Mr Chairman, I should like to react to the hon the Deputy Minister and to deal with all the points which he has raised. First of all I should like to point out that he has not dealt with my arguments as to why it should take place.
Firstly he says it is new. Well, lots of things in the world are new. Somewhere we have to make a start. The fact that something is new does not mean that it is no good. With great respect, I think that is not a valid argument. Secondly he says that it could be just inadvertent and therefore it is not necessarily something major. I maintain that it could also be not inadvertent. It is actually very important to note that the investments which are made by an insurance company, are investments which are prescribed by law. There are examples, fortunately before the hon the Deputy Minister’s time in the Registrar’s office and fortunately before the present Registrar’s time, when insurance companies did not obey the laws and when they did not invest their assets in accordance with what was required in the first schedule, not because of inadvertence, but because of a deliberate fraudulent intent. The hon the Deputy Minister will remember some of the cases. I do not want to rake up those old problems and to discuss them across the floor of the committee, but they are well-known in the history of financial institutions in South Africa. Therefore I say that it is not always inadvertent.
The hon the Deputy Minister also says if it is inadvertent and something minor, why should there be a major penalty? I worded it deliberately that it is an amount not exceeding 12% which the Registrar may determine. In other words, if it is something minor, he can accordingly impose a penalty which is commensurate with the nature of the breach which has taken place. I think this deals with such a case quite effectively.
The issue which also arises is that in our criminal law we find that when a company commits an offence, the normal rule is that a director should be liable unless he neither knew of the intention nor could prevent it. The hon the Deputy Minister knows that. In these circumstances I asked pertinently during the Second Reading debate why a policy holder should be prejudiced because of the actions of a director in not complying with the law. That is the simple question, and to my mind the person who should pay the penalty, is the one who has committed the breach and not the innocent one.
I must say, with respect, that I find the hon the Deputy Minister’s arguments very unconvincingly. I have a feeling that he himself is not terribly convinced by it. I think he himself cannot find an answer to this and that is why he says it is drastic and new and therefore he should like to have a little bit of time to think about it. If he does not accept it now, then I should like to ask him to think about it and perhaps next year he can introduce the amendment himself.
Mr Chairman, I see that the hon member is also beginning to see the light. He realizes this is a drastic measure. The problem is that those assets held by the company might be disproportionate for a while owing to conditions on the stock exchange at that moment. One really should not summons directors charging them with a criminal offence merely because a technical difference has arisen. I do not think that is right. If the hon member reads the last part of that clause, he will find that the maximum penalty need not always be imposed. I am quoting the last part of the proposed new section liter:
I have already put it to the hon member that these matters are naturally subjected to scrutiny from time to time. If circumstances arise that require us to take drastic and far-reaching action we shall of course take cognizance of that.
Mr Chairman, it is most remarkable that there is now a principle that those who are innocent pay the penalty while those who are guilty escape it. This principle cannot be correct. The hon the Deputy Minister has not tried to argue the contrary. The policyholder is innocent and the director is in the wrong, whether in a minor respect of a major respect does not matter. He is the one responsible, but he will not pay the penalty. I regret that I have not been able to convince the hon the Deputy Minister, but I will leave it at that. However, with great respect, I cannot accept the principle that the innocent must pay while the guilty are allowed to escape.
Amendment 1 and 2 negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause agreed to (Official Opposition dissenting).
Mr Chairman, I move as an amendment:
- 1. On page 21, in line 38, to omit “fifty” and to substitute “one hundred”.
I would like the hon the Deputy Minister to comment on this.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Yeoville is asking that it should be possible for the amounts in savings accounts to be increased from R25 000 to R100 000 and not to R50 000 as is proposed in the Bill.
I am sorry that I cannot accept this amendment of his either. This entire matter cannot be viewed in isolation, because this type of investment is an integral part of the liquid asset requirements of these institutions. As the hon member remarked in his Second Reading speech, there are various rules applying to investments. It is specifically the banks that requested that the amount be increased to R50 000. If it were to be increased further to R100 000 the correct step would be first to refer it to the technical committee that investigates such matters with regard to banks and building societies. They could then make a recommendation to us.
If the hon member really does receive representations on this matter from financial institutions, such as building societies and banks, he can refer them to us and we shall refer them to the technical committee for proper investigation. I do not, however, think that we can make such an important amendment on the spur of the moment. It must first be properly investigated.
Mr Chairman, if I may have a forecast, the amount will be increased to R100 (MO. Whether it is done this year or next year, it will come. There is no question about that. It is just one of those things. I accept the fact that the hon the Deputy Minister might like to have the matter referred to the technical committee—I accept that as a valid argument—but I must say that perhaps he does not know that there were representations made to have the amount increased to R100 000. That representations came from building societies, and not the banks. I personally felt that if the building societies were to have the level increased to R100 000 it would be proper if the same would also apply to banks, otherwise one might have the argument that there is an unfair competition situation. It is for that reason that I have moved the amendment in respect of the level applicable to banks.
As far as the building societies are concerned, they have made representations in that regard. Whether the hon the Deputy Minister himself has received those representations I cannot say, but they definitely have been made. According to my information representations have been made with the department. It is therefore a question of consistency between the types of institutions.
Amendment 1 negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause agreed to.
Mr Chairman, I should just like to react to part of the debate which took place here in the Second Reading. I want to express my disappointment at the opposition to this clause voiced by my hon colleague for Sunnyside. I find it disturbing that when there are people who have investments in South Africa, who get attacked overseas for having those investments in South Africa and who defend their investments and position in South Africa, we do not support and encourage them to be in South Africa and to assist us with the development of our country through the provision of finance and through financial institutions. I would have thought that when somebody gets up here he would say that we actually appreciate the fact that people are prepared to defend their investments in South Africa rather than say that we do not want them to have this kind of situation in South Africa and that we do not want them here. I do not know whether the hon member for Sunnyside wants them to withdraw their money from South Africa, but if he does I want to make it clear that as far as we are concerned we want to encourage foreign investments, we want to encourage people from overseas to be here and we want them to have a stake here, because the more people have a stake in South Africa the more people are going to defend South Africa overseas against our opponents.
Mr Chairman, I think the hon member for Yeoville has the wrong end of the stick. It is not true that we do not defend those persons who have investments in our country. Quite the opposite in fact. It is hon members of that party who said at the time that foreign undertakings should withdraw their money from South Africa. We defended it and attacked that party on that issue.
We never said it.
Yes, hon members of that party said so.
You are talking nonsense. [Interjections.]
There were hon members of that party who said so.
Mention their names. [Interjections.]
It was a member of Parliament. He sat here.
Mention his name. [Interjections.]
He also appeared before a select committee on another issue.
Mention his name. [Interjections.]
I never said that foreign businesses should withdraw their money from South Africa. The hon member for Yeoville must not think he can use those tactics to score political points off me. [Interjections.]
Clause agreed to.
Mr Chairman, I move the amendment printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
- 1. On page 25, in line 52, to omit “fifty” and to substitute “one hundred”.
I want to repeat that there have been representations. I believe that in the circumstances in which the building society movement finds itself this amendment should be agreed to. I also want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister that if the amount is increased to R50 000 what the logic would be in not increasing it to R100 000?
Secondly, I should like to ask the hon the Deputy Minister why he told the building society movement—I assume he is a party to it because the Registrar did it—to stop the accounts dealing with money market accounts when in fact they were getting money from that source. They were in fact obtaining money from the public and were doing it legitimately because there is nothing in the Building Societies Act to stop them from doing it. It was merely said that in the opinion of the authorities this should stop. There is no legal basis for this decision because the building societies obey the law. They have a good relationship with the Registrar. If the Registrar says that something should be done, they obey him, and I actually value that co-operation. However, I think the time has come now for the hon the Deputy Minister to account to us because we are dealing here with savings accounts and transmission accounts. He should tell us why those money market accounts were put an end to and why building societies were told not to do any further business in those accounts.
Mr Chairman, I have already given the hon member an answer in respect of this increase, viz that I first want to have it investigated by the technical committee. However, there is another reason too, relating to savings account money. Savings account money is short-term money, and that is a problem.
I said that.
That is the problem that building societies have. They cannot go into short-term funds in a big way because that will land them squarely in trouble.
*If building societies have to borrow on the short term and lend money on the long term, an imbalance is created. I have no objection to there being savings balances, or even to their being increased, but then I have to know that this will not have a negative effect on the structure of those financial institutions. Therefore, before I can accept any such amendment, the matter must first be duly investigated by the technical committee.
Mr Chairman, I think with, great respect, that the hon the Deputy Minister has the wrong end of the stick. The argument is not about whether these are short term assets or not. The argument is actually that they do not want them to be regarded as being short term. They want them, in fact, to be covered to a greater extent, and that is the whole argument. The argument is not the issue that these are short term. If the hon the Deputy Minister will refer back to the enquiries that were made some while ago in regard to the stability of savings accounts, he will find that there is a very big difference between call money in a bank and money in a savings account. Furthermore, building societies do not take call money; they only have savings accounts. Savings accounts are generally, with the exception of transmission accounts, relatively stable accounts. With great respect, Sir, that argument is therefore not of force.
I hope that the hon the Deputy Minister is now in a position to deal with the question of the money market accounts.
Amendment 1 negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause agreed to.
Bill read a Third Time.
In accordance with Standing Order No 22, the House adjourned at