House of Assembly: Vol115 - FRIDAY 22 JUNE 1984
Mr Speaker, I move:
In the nature of things the new constitutional dispensation which is being established in terms of the 1983 Constitution Act necessitates certain adjustments to the Exchequer and Audit Act of 1975.
Since the Exchequer and Audit Act of 1975 was put into operation it has caused few problems, and the way in which the State’s finances are controlled has changed little. Because, fiscally-speaking, the new constitutional dispensation has many points of agreement with the old dispensation, the standpoint was adopted that the tried and trusted Exchequer and Audit Act would form the best foundation on which revised statutory measures with regard to State finances could be built and most of the sections were retained unchanged.
Hon members will appreciate, however, that it is necessary to draw a distinction between the handling of general affairs and own affairs. As a result of a distinction has to be drawn between the powers of the Minister of Finance and those of a member of a Ministers’ Council to whom the administration of the financial affairs of a population group is entrusted.
In a nutshell, the proposed financial powers of each House, although restricted to own affairs, are with a few exceptions the same as the powers of the Minister of Finance in respect of general affairs. The principle exceptions are that the Houses will not be able to levy taxes or borrow money. They will however, be able to lend money as well as collect fees and imposts for the rendering of services.
I should now like to elucidate the clauses.
In clause 1 it is provided where necessary that an estimate document be submitted to Parliament or the relevant House of Parliament, according to the circumstances. As far as the amendments to the definition of “Treasury” are concerned, I must mention that in the existing Exchequer and Audit Act the Treasury has been vested with specific powers throughout, but the definition of Treasury is now being adapted in order to draw a distinction between the powers only the central Treasury shall have and those which the relevant financial authority for own affairs shall have.
In clause 2 section 82 of the Constitution Act, 1983, is being implemented. The operation of the State Revenue Fund is not being materially changed in the new dispensation, but, in addition to the State Revenue Account which is at present the only account of that fund, three accounts for own affairs are being established. These three accounts will be used by each of the relevant Houses for the financing of their own affairs. The revenue of each account consists of payments and levies contemplated in paragraph 11 (3) of Schedule 1 to the Constitution Act plus transfers from the State Revenue Account in terms of section 84 of the Constitution Act. Each House will appropriate against its own account by means of its own laws, viz the Part, Main and Additional Appropriation Acts. Any credit balance in an Account for Own Affairs at the end of a financial year will remain to the credit of that account.
Because certain powers, duties and functions in terms of section 26 of the Constitution Act, 1983, will be entrusted to a member of a Ministers Council in the course of the present financial year, provision is also being made, in clause 2 for a Revenue Account to be credited, during this transitional phase, with certain sums of money at the same time the assignment of powers occurs in terms of section 26 of the Constitution Act. In terms of clause 3(4) the sums of money thus transferred will be deemed to have been appropriated.
†In clause 3 it is proposed that the Minister of Finance shall for every financial year, in a form determined by him, submit to Parliament an estimate and an additional estimate of expenditure to be defrayed from the State Revenue Account in respect of general affairs, as well as an estimate of expected revenue in respect of general affairs. A member of a Ministers’ Council to whom the administration of the financial affairs of a population group has been assigned shall, also in a form determined by the Minister of Finance, in respect of own affairs submit an estimate and an additional estimate of expenditure and an estimate of expected revenue in respect of own affairs to his House of Parliament.
Clauses 4 and 5 are of a technical nature and contain no new principles. In terms of section 8 of the Act, the Treasury is presently inter alia empowered to limit the granting of certain credits. The purpose of the clauses is to incorporate this principle in section 9 of the Act where it will be more appropriate.
As far as clause 6 is concerned, I wish to explain that, having regard to the fact that there will be a State Revenue Account as well as three Revenue Accounts for Own Affairs, it is necessary to provide that the last-mentioned accounts may also be credited with any profit derived from a trading and related account.
Clause 7 contains subsequential amendments to section 13 of the Act, namely the substitution of the words “accounts of the State Revenue Fund” for the words “State Revenue Account”.
The purpose of clause 8 is to delete the reference to the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, 1961, in section 19 of the Act.
*In clause 9, which is concerned with the general powers of the Treasury, the opportunity is now being taken to introduce the new concept of “State moneys and other State property”. Furthermore, the opportunity is being taken, in view of the reduced buying power of money, to increase the amount in respect of which the Treasury may, without prior appropriation by Parliament, approve any refund, payment as an act of grace, or gift, from R10 000 to R25 000. This will be in line with what Parliament authorized earlier this year in section 2 of the Post Office Amendment Bill of 1984 with regard to similar actions in the Post Office.
In clause 10 it is being provided, as is at present the case in regard to the Minister of Finance, that the relevant member of the Ministers’ Council entrusted with finances, may delegate certain powers to his subordinates.
In clause 11 it is provided that reports of the Auditor-General shall be submitted to Parliament or the relevant House of Parliament, as the circumstances may require. Furthermore, it has become necessary to substitute the words “State President” for the words “Prime Minister”.
Clause 12 merely contains consequential amendments in order to implement the measures elucidated above.
Mr Speaker, at the outset I would like to express my thanks to Mr Wronsley, the Secretary to the Treasury, and Mr Tredoux of the Treasury, for the extraordinary way in which they were at the last moment prepared to assist us in this regard. I would also like to express my thanks to the hon the Deputy Minister for his courtesy in supplying me with an advance copy of his Second Reading speech.
Having said that, I am pleased the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning is here because I would particularly like to address him. I do not believe that the way in which this particular measure has been introduced into the House, is designed to obtain the co-operation of the Opposition. I do not attach any blame to the hon the Deputy Minister of Finance. I think he is the victim of circumstances. We have demonstrated in the House that, even although we are against the new constitution, once the mandate had been given to the Government to proceed with it, we would be prepared to be constructive and to co-operate as regards changes to laws which are necessary to give the new constitution a fair chance.
But let us look at the events which have occurred regarding this matter. This measure is extremely important, as I will demonstrate in a moment. It was read for the First Time yesterday, in other words the first time hon members who are not on the Government side had sight of this Bill was yesterday. Hon members attended to the business of Parliament yesterday until a late hour. Yet we are now expected to deal with highly technical legislation within less than 24 hours of our becoming aware of it.
The hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning has seen the cooperation …
Are you attacking me?
No, I am not attacking that hon Minister. I am merely making a point which I think he should look into. The hon the Minister has seen that we are prepared to be helpful and co-operative, that we are prepared to talk constructively and to move constructive amendments. But how can that be done when one has less than 24 hours to prepare to speak on a measure? That is why I am indebted to the Treasury, that these gentlemen were prepared to sit here until 7 o’clock last night to explain this Bill. We find ourselves in the situation where these measures have suddenly been pounced upon us and where we have to deal with them according to parliamentary practice. However, this is not the way in which one runs a legislature or conducts business. This cannot continue and I want to put it to the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning that if he desires other legislation to have a smooth passage—of which there is still quite a lot to come—he should see to it that we get a fair chance of looking at it and studying it. Co-operation is not a one-way deal, but a two-way deal. We really find ourselves in a most impossible position this morning in respect of the most intricate legislation which one can imagine. Therefore, while we appreciate the courtesey of the senior officials who went out of their way to be helpful, as well as other courtesies shown to us, the hon the Minister will understand that we see the introduction of this measure in a manner which we find utterly unsatisfactory from the point of view of seeking co-operation.
Let me say to the hon the Deputy Minister that we would have preferred being presented with an entirely new Exchequer and Audit Bill. We would also have preferred this measure being the subject-matter of discussion and negotiation and being passed by the people who are going to have to deal with it in the new dispensation. Quite obviously, this Bill is going to affect all three Houses of the new Parliament, and therefore the views of other people on it are also material. In addition to that, a necessity for a new Act so that we can debate and discuss the other provisions which are not before us today, and which the rules preclude us from discussing, are of paramount importance to us. There are many improvements to the Exchequer and Audit Act which, in addition to what is now before us, we could deal with. This measure is solely adapted in order to try to fit in with the new constitutional dispensation. Whereas I agree with the hon the Deputy Minister that the Exchequer and Audit Act has stood us in good stead and is a good piece of legislation there are other matters in respect of which it can be improved. We are now being deprived of that opportunity because we are only dealing with an amending measure. We would have preferred that we would have had before us, or at the appropriate time have before us, a completely new Bill to deal with this particular matter.
Let me then deal with the provisions now before us. We have repeatedly made it clear that in our view finance is going to be one of the major issues under the new constitution. The question as to how much money is available, how that money is going to be divided, who is going to make the decisions in regard to the division of the money and for what purpose the money is going to be applied, is perhaps one of the most delicate and sensitive matters with which the new constitutional dispensation will be faced. There is little doubt about that. Parliament has always traditionally been concerned with the appropriation of money. It is the body which decides how much money is going to be spent, on what it will be spent and where it will come from. In other words, we decide what taxation should be levied with the revenue which is available. We decide where it should be appropriated. This concern is one of the major concerns of Parliament.
Secondly, the efficient administration of the funds, the control of those funds and the fact that there should not be a waste of those funds, is another matter where Parliament is concerned.
Thirdly, the accountability of the executive is also a matter where Parliament is concerned. It is for the executive to explain how the money has been spent and on what it has been spent. If it has been misspent Parliament can call the executive to account and can, where appropriate, dismiss the executive and pass a vote of no confidence in them. Those are the fundamentals with which Parliament is concerned. One has to examine the Bill as to whether it gives effect to those fundamentals. The history of Parliament and the acquisition of the power of Parliament against the executive in regard to the administration and appropriation of funds and accountability, is a long one which in some instances is littered with the bodies of MPs who have stood up for this particular right of Parliament. As far as we are concerned, we believe that whatever the new dispensation provides it must continue to provide for those three principles which I have mentioned, namely the power to appropriate, the power to see that there is efficient administration and the power to see that there is accountability on the part of the executive. If anything is done in measures still to come before the House which derogates from those three principles we will not be able to support them; on the contrary, we would oppose them if anything is done to derogate from those fundamentals. It is in the light of that that I propose to examine the Bill that is now before us.
The Bill has to be read with the Constitution Act. Part 9 of the Constitution Act deals with the finances. It provides that all revenue vests in the State President. It also provides that there is to be one State Revenue Fund. This, therefore, points initially to the concept of one Exchequer and one centralized vesting of funds, which is a matter which we approve of. However, while there is to be a State Revenue Fund, as provided for in section 82(l)(a) of the Constitution Act, there is a provision which says that accounts in connection with the administration of own affairs of the different population groups should then be provided. These accounts that are dealt with in section 82(l)(b) of the Constitution Act are now to be called Accounts for White Affairs, Accounts for Indian Affairs and Accounts for Coloured Affairs respectively in terms of clause 2 of this Bill. Whether those are the correct or most appropriate designations is a matter that we will debate in the Committee Stage. The reality is, however, that this in itself already sows the seed of fragmentation but it also enables the situation to exist that these accounts could all be controlled by one Treasury as they are controlled at the present moment. However, this Bill goes much further then the Constitution Act. This Bill brings about a far greater degree of fragmentation. In terms of clause 1(1)(i) of the Bill it actually now limits the meaning of “Treasury” in certain respects by setting out what, in fact, is the so-called Treasury, even though the name is not used in respect of own affairs, and what is in fact the Treasury in respect of general affairs.
We have the interesting situation that in terms of the Bill that is before us, there are certain powers which the Minister of Finance may exercise; there are certain powers which the Treasury may exercise, and then there are certain powers that a Minister in the Minister’s Council, who is really a Minister of Finance even though he is not called that, will exercise. We do not know what he will be called because there is no nomenclature in this Bill. In any event there is really another Minister of Finance and another official, so that we really have the situation that we are going to end up with four Ministers of Finance and we are going to have four Treasuries. We will therefore have a fragmentation in respect of what powers each one of these people can exercise. In our view the fragmentation that is taking place is not desirable. Firstly, it is not in the interests of adequate financial control and, secondly, it is not in the interest of efficiency in the financial administration of the State. In these circumstances we must point out to the hon the Deputy Minister and also to the House that one of the major faults that we find with this piece of legislation is the fragmentation of the management of the Exchequer of finances and the dangers that it has for adequate control over those finances and other inefficiencies. We therefore want to draw the hon the Minister and the hon the Deputy Minister’s attention to the fact that in other parts of South Africa such fragmentation has already demonstrated that it results in problems. Examples in regard to fragmentation are there in respect of some of the homelands and also in respect of South West Africa/Namibia, where the fragmentation of financial control has resulted in tremendous inefficiencies and serious problems from a financial point of view.
We must say right at the outset so that there is no misunderstanding, that we believe that in terms of the Constitution Act it is possible to have one Minister of Finance, to have one Exchequer and to exercise one degree of control in respect of management matters in regard to the finances of the country. By the fragmentation of this we, in fact, are creating a very serious problem, a problem which I believe we will regret in the years that lie ahead.
The second matter that I want to deal with is the question of appropriation. Here we have a new section 2(2) where the principle that I have referred to, the principle that it is the function of Parliament to deal with appropriation, a principle which is in fact one of the most treasured possessions that we have, is being eroded. If we look at the provision, what do we find? We find that if there is a reference made in respect of section 26 of the Constitution Act, then the Revenue Account is credited in respect of that particular own affair with an amount which is to be determined by the Minister of Finance after consultation with the own affairs’ Minister concerned. What does that really mean? It means in effect that in respect of the current financial year with the new Constitution coming into force in September, we are not going to have another Budget and that Parliament is not going to decide how funds are going to be divided between general and own affairs. Neither will Parliament have a say in regard to the particular portion that should be allocated to the White House, Coloured House and Indian House for their administration. This will be done by executive action by the hon the Minister of Finance simply after consultation. I want to stress the word “consultation”. It will not be done by consensus but purely after consultation with the members of the other Houses on the Ministers’ Council. This in effect means that one of the major powers of Parliament is being taken away from it because Parliament is the body that should decide how money is to be appropriated and how it should be spent. In this particular case, however, the knife which decides where the economic cake of South Africa should be cut is being taken away from this House and is being given to the hon the Minister of Finance. He will decide when to cut it and what the size of the slices will be, and this House will have no say in regard to the matter at all. This is depriving Parliament of one of its most ancient traditions. It also has inherent in it the seeds of discord and complaint. A situation may well arise where the one House or other will say that it is not getting its fair share, but it will not even have the right to do anything about it. It will be the right of the hon the Minister of Finance to decide on the allocation to each particular House.
Moreover, once the hon the Minister of Finance has decided on the allocation to each House, he also has the power in terms of clause 3(c) to decide how the money should be allocated in each particular House. Therefore, he will actually be fulfilling the function of appropriation not only in respect of general affairs but also in regard to own affairs in each individual case during this financial year. He will decide how the money is to be allocated. I want to say here in passing that I do not believe that the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning agrees with this Bill. I do not think it agrees with his views on constitutional development.
I accept my responsibility.
The hon the Minister accepts his responsibility only because it is collective.
Does the hon member want that principle to be maintained?
I want the principle to be maintained that Parliament deals with the appropriation of funds.
I am talking about the other one.
No, Sir, that is the hon the Minister’s baby. [Interjections.] You see, Sir, the problem with the hon the Minister is that somebody is diluting his principles for him. They are shaking the bottle and making the medicine rather cloudy. I say that the principle of appropriation is the right of this Parliament. It is one of the ancient traditions of this Parliament and it is being taken away.
I want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister to tell us how the Budget is to be divided. In what ratio are the funds to be divided? Let us take the question of Community Development. Is it going to be done on the basis of the number of members of Parliament, the size of each House, a population basis or on the basis of existing services? What yardstick is the hon the Minister of Finance going to use in order to determine the division? That decision is the hon the Minister of Finance’s alone. He has to consult, yes, but that is all because beyond consultation there is nothing to restrain him. With great respect, Sir, we are unable to accept that concept.
There are other matters too that arise from this particular provision, and I should like the reaction of the hon the Deputy Minister in this connection. In view of the provisions of clause 3 of the Bill, what is actually intended in regard to budgeting in the future as far as formulae are concerned? Are we going to have a situation where there will be an Act of Parliament which lays down a particular formula for a particular thing, and once that statutory allocation is made that is no longer open to debate? Is that so or is it not so? It seems to us that that is so and it also seems to us that looming ahead is another piece of legislation which is going to go in a particular direction.
Secondly, seeing that we so far have four Ministers of Finance and four Treasuries, I want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister how many Committees on Public Accounts are we going to have. As I see it we are going to have four Committees on Public Accounts operating in order to deal with this. Then I want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister whether a question of wastage of public money is an own affair or a general affair. Is unauthorised expenditure purely an own affair or is it a general affair? The reality of the matter is that if money is wasted or spent in an unauthorized manner, it does not only affect the House that is involved. It in fact affects all the other people It affects also the other Houses. Then I ask the hon the Deputy Minister to tell us, if there is a wastage of expenditure or there is unauthorized expenditure or the budget is exceeded, where is the money going to come from in respect of the excesses on own affairs that may take place. It is perfectly true that at the present moment in so far as the excess expenditure is concerned, there is a limit of 2% that can be allowed by a particular Minister. That is presently with the hon the Minister of Finance, and presumably it will be with the other Ministers of Finance. I am still looking for a name to give them, but let us call them Exchequer Ministers for the moment, just to give them a name. They can also exceed the amount by 2%. However, if one takes the history of this Government into account, to exceed the Budget by 2% is rather little. They exceed this percentage virtually every year. What happens if own affairs does that? Let us for example take an own affairs House where the Exchequer Minister exceeds the 2%. How is that money going to be obtained? It can only be obtained by means of a general affairs Vote. What happens if the general affairs Vote does not agree to give that own affairs House the unauthorized expenditure? What one will have to have is additional estimates during the year concerned in order to ratify that excess expenditure. If one looks at the record of this Government, one sees that they cannot keep within the expenditure as set out in the Budget. They cannot keep within the 2% limit. They do all sorts of things towards the end of the financial year and then one has to pass additional estimates. So what happens in respect of that excess expenditure if it is not passed? The issue that arises is whether it is not in fact possible that the Exchequer of the own affairs House gets involved in overdrawn facilities at the Reserve Bank. It is true that he does have to go through the Paymaster-General, but, Mr Speaker, you know and I know that accounts can be overdrawn without any difficulty when one does this. For example, when one gets to the end of the financial year and cheques are going to be written out by the officials in the own affairs situation, and when the cheques come in then find that one in fact has overdrawn one’s account.
That happens now.
Yes, I am sure it happens now. How is one going to deal with that situation, because we now have the situation where the financial powers have been delegated and this is where the fragmentation issue that I referred to earlier, becomes so important. I say this because if one centralizes finance and deals with it in a centralized fashion one will not encounter these particular problems.
The hon the Deputy Minister is sometimes quite smart. He told us in his speech:
This is the most innocuous thing I have ever seen.
At about 23h45 last night I looked this up and I found something very interesting because taking the provision out of section 8 of the Exchequer and Audit Act and putting it into section 9, was not just a matter of redrafting, because in terms of section 8 that power, as one will notice from clause 4 in terms of which there is a proposed section 8(1), is one of the powers of the own affairs treasury, but section 9 does not constitute one of the powers of the own affairs treasury. If one looks at section 9 of the Exchequer and Audit Act, one finds that in terms of that section the central treasury retains for itself the power in respect of the granting of credits.
One therefore has the rather fascinating situation that in terms of section 8 the own affairs treasury deals with the affairs which are stipulated there namely that the estimates are really the maximum amount that should be spent and payments can be withheld or suspended, but in terms of section 9 the central treasury grants the accounting officer the power to make disbursements but in terms of the proposed section 9(3)(b) it may limit the granting of credit referred to in paragraph (a) to the amounts which in its opinion are required for current payments in respect of the service or purpose for which it may be utilized. In other words, this is not just a shifting for the convenience of draftmanship of a provision in regard to the restricting of credit; this is actually quite a smart move in order to make sure that the central treasury remains with the power to restrain credit whereas the own affairs treasury only has a different power altogether. When the hon the Deputy Minister says in his speech that this is just of a little technical nature, well with great respect, this is one of the problems where one has to look at the wording so carefully to see how in fact they deal with this.
There are other matters to raise. Let us deal for example with the Part Appropriation. How does one deal with the Part Appropriation in own affairs because own affairs has no money except until such time as general affairs gives it the money? Therefore one cannot deal with a Part Appropriation in own affairs unless there is a Part Appropriation by means of a general law. If one looks at the wording of this provision, one finds that the wording is somewhat obscure and somewhat difficult to interpret in these particular circumstances.
Let me also deal with the function of the Auditor-General. There is a whole mass of provisions which together provides for what applies to which Minister and what applies to which treasury and where the whole thing goes. One finds that in so far as the Auditor-General is concerned, his reports now go to the appropriate Houses. What does “appropriate Houses” mean in regard to excess unauthorized expenditure? I think the “appropriate Houses” are all three, and I think that all three of the Houses should receive the reports of the Auditor-General in respect of the auditing of all accounts which are concerned. I do not believe that one can have a situation where the Auditor-General just reports to one House and the other two Houses do not know what is happening to the overall finances of the country. I believe that we should have the powers of the Auditor-General exercised in such a manner that all the MPs know what is going on in regard to finances that they all are concerned about the finances, that there is one Select Committee on Public Accounts to which one reports so that there can be a supervision of all the accounting affairs in so far as the funds of the Government are concerned.
Before I forget let me move as an amendment:
- (a) fragments management of the Exchequer’s finances and has the potential for inadequate control over the State’s finances and for other inefficiencies; and
- (b) grants to the Minister powers which traditionally should be exercised by Parliament.”.
These are the two features which we believe are important here and which we believe are fundamental to the running of an efficient organization in so far as the finances of this country are concerned. Let us accept one reality. Whatever may be the decision in regard to the decision-making and how money is to be spent by a particular House on services and the decisions that are made which affect one House, the reality is that financial administration and control are things that should be managed and controlled centrally. We do not believe that through fragmentation one will achieve the kind of situation that is envisaged, namely that of greater efficiency and greater direct control; on the contrary, the very opposite will be the case. That is why we ask the Government to reconsider the whole situation and whether we have not in fact had, in the first place, an efficient Treasury which I believe we had and, secondly, whether we should not continue with an efficient Treasury which controls the finances of this country. Thirdly, it should consider whether we have not had a system, with all its shortcomings, problems and complaints, which in the main has worked reasonably well and why we should not continue with that in the interests of efficient management in a dispensation where finance is going to become a major problem. I want to say now, and I want to end on this note, that if the constitution has a chance of success, that success is entirely dependent upon finance, how the resources of the country are allocated and whether there is a fair sharing of the cake. If you want a fair sharing of the cake which is acceptable to the people you must allow people to participate in the cutting and sharing of the cake. That is why we believe this measure is not in the interests of trying from a practical point of view to make the constitution work. We actually believe that this will hinder the work of trying to bring about peaceful and orderly co-operation and consensus in governing the Republic.
Mr Speaker, I always listen with very great interest to the hon member for Yeoville because he is normally an expert on financial measures. He served for a long time on the Transvaal Provincial Council and also on the public accounts committee of that council. He is also a highly-esteemed member of the Select Committee on Public Accounts of Parliament, and usually one can find it very beneficial to listen to him. This morning I found it very interesting, however, that the hon member for Yeoville began very calmly and gradually worked himself up, almost like the man who had to borrow a jack from his neighbour of whom he was not very fond. When the neighbour eventually opened the door, he told him in no uncertain terms that he could keep his jack.
He also had a bad night.
Yes, the hon member would seem to have had a bad night thinking about this measure. He began by saying that he supported the measure, if I understood him correctly. Of course, when one has had a bad night one does not feel very good the next day. It then appeared that the hon member wanted to move certain amendments. I admit that he received the Bill very late. However, the same applies to all the hon members of this House. I also want to tell the hon member that there is a proverb which says: A few words to the wise suffice. I have always thought that he was a wise man and that a few words would suffice for him to understand what was involved and to adjust to it.
Do you know how many sections of the Act are being amended by this Bill?
I shall tell the hon member the exact number. There are 53 sections in the old Exchequer and Audit Act.
How many of them are being amended by this Bill?
This Bill is amending 11 of them.
Yes, very well then, 48 are being amended, but I want to say at once … [Interjections.]
That is all he did. He merely counted the sections that were being amended. [Interjections.]
I am glad the hon member for Yeoville asked me that question, because it just proves to me that some people cannot see the wood for the trees. The first 11 clauses of the Bill amend 11 sections of the Exchequer and Audit Act. The 12th clause—the hon member was quite correct—amends quite a number of other sections. But it is merely substituting the expression “Minister of Finance” for the expression “the Minister” and the expression “Parliament or the relevant House of Parliament, as the circumstances may require” for the expression “Parliament” in the principal Act.
You think it is unnecessary to look at that. When you are as clever as the Deputy Minister, you must be very careful. [Interjections.]
In the third instance, the words “the responsible Minister” are merely being inserted—the hon member for Yeoville knows that. In reply to his question, I therefore want to say that 11 sections are being amended—as far as I am concerned, these are not even very contentious amendments—while the remaining 37 which the hon member noticed merely involved alterations to words. I admit to the hon member that I only counted the first 11 and was then too sleepy to count the remaining 37. [Interjections.]
Sir, I am very fond of the hon member for Yeoville, but this morning he reminded me of a story I once heard about a company that appointed an economist. When the managing director welcomed the economist, he said: “Ladies and gentlemen, I should like to introduce you to Mr So-and-So. He is an economist. An economist is a specialist; and the distinguishing feature of a specialist is that he knows more and more about less and less until he eventually knows everything about nothing.”
That is precisely the problem with the Government.
I am afraid that the hon member for Yeoville showed us this morning that he is an absolute specialist. However, I want to tell you—and I may be saying this at the expense of this side of the House—that that economist then stood up and said: “Very well, that may be the distinguishing feature of a specialist, but a manager is a generalist and the distinguishing feature of a generalist is that he has to know less and less about more and more until he eventually knows nothing about everything.”
Prove to us that you have read the legislation.
I shall do so with pleasure.
The hon member said that he would have liked to have had a completely new Act. I nevertheless think that by amending 11 sections in the principal Act, a basis or foundation is being created from which the new dispensation can be launched. As the effect of the application of the amended Act is proved in practice, attention can be given in due course to the revision of the Act if necessary.
I am in full agreement with the hon member that in the new dispensation finance will be of the utmost importance. In any case, there is little doubt in my mind that in our present dispensation the economy and finance will play an ever greater and more important role. I have little doubt that in South Africa we are in any case also moving towards the situation in First World countries where the position is that bread-and-butter situations are becoming more important by the day.
But there is one thing the hon member for Yeoville must understand, namely that this legislation must be seen in the context of a group of other laws. The hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning has already given notice of some of this legislation which is still to be introduced by the hon the Deputy Minister of Finance. This Bill must obviously be read in conjunction with the Constitution Act.
The hon member expressed his concern about the fragmentation of our financial legislation and control because he felt it would lack the necessary effectiveness. The situation at the moment is that to a great extent there is already fragmentation. The provinces are fragmented, and the hon member served on the Transvaal Select Committee on Public Accounts. In the same way many of us have served on committees in the Cape and other provinces. Consequently the same fragmentation already exists. I feel that we are moving in the direction of devolution of power, which is, after all, what we would like to have in this country. The hon member also referred to the problems being experienced in this regard in the rest of Africa. He must remember, however, that the necessary steps are being taken to ensure that there will be full accountability at all times.
I now want to refer to a number of aspects of the Bill itself. In the first place, I want to refer to something with which the hon member for Yeoville began, and if he had continued with it, he would have made a very good speech. If the principle in the new Constitution is accepted as it was accepted by Parliament on 3 September of last year and as the voters of South Africa accepted it on 2 November of last year, then in my opinion the amendments to the Exchequer and Audit Act contained in this Bill follow automatically—even if one reads them in the middle of the night.
I want to refer to some of the principles agreed to last year in Parliament and by the voters. In the first place, there will be three Houses and, in the second place, an important principle is that there will be general affairs and own affairs. If one concentrates on these two fundamental principles, which have been debated here ad nauseam, then the amendments which are being effected in this Bill follow automatically. In this connection I am referring to section 82 of the constitution to which the hon the Deputy Minister of Finance also referred. In this section reference is made to the accounts of the State Revenue Fund, and we have already debated this fully.
When did that debate take place?
In September of last year.
There was no such debate. [Interjections.]
It is true we did not get around to it during the Committee Stage because those hon members wasted too much time on other aspects.
Section 83 of the Constitution specifies in detail the question of the auditing of the accounts of the State Revenue Fund, while section 84 deals specifically with payments to accounts of the State Revenue Fund.
We never got to discussing that. The guillotine came down before that.
Why is the hon member for Bezuidenhout holding it against us that they were not able to discuss that? Surely they had an opportunity to do so during the Second Reading stage and the Third Reading stage. [Interjections.]
You said there was a debate, but there never was one.
What I meant by that was that there was an opportunity to debate it.
You said there was a debate.
Then I apologize; I chose my words incorrectly. What I meant was that there was ample opportunity to debate it. [Interjections.] From the principles that were accepted there, it follows automatically that there will also be own budgets. It follows that provision will be made for revenue and expenditure on own affairs.
And four treasuries?
Not necessarily, but it is possible. It also follows that there will be shared responsibility with regard to such a budget. It also follows that there will be a say. We shall still have to get around to that kind of legislation. These are aspects which will still have to receive attention. The principle contained in the Constitution also means that with regard to every budget—this is also important in regard to this legislation—certain procedures will have to be adopted, that there will be accountability and that the necessary control will have to be exercised. As far as I am concerned, this is exactly what the amending legislation before us is doing. That is why the 1975 Act must be adopted in this regard.
I really cannot understand what the hon member for Yeoville’s problem is in having to read through 48 clauses to find out what the objective of the legislation in fact is. The objective is merely to implement those principles of the 1983 Constitution Act in practice. Clause 2 of the Bill refers specifically to sections 82 and 84 of the Constitution Act, as the hon the Deputy Minister correctly pointed out.
I want to refer briefly to clause 9. The hon member for Yeoville also referred to it. Clause 9 amends section 31 of the principal Act. Certain adjustments are made. The proposed new paragraph (a) of subsection (1) reads as follows:
The proposed new paragraph (k) of subsection (1) reads as follows:
When I read this clause it seems to me as if one could probably give the Select Committee on Public Accounts a greater function and responsibility in respect of general affairs and own affairs in future. I personally would welcome it if there were greater involvement of members of the respective Houses to ensure that the necessary control was exercised and that the best system was adopted under the circumstances.
In view of what I have said, I cannot associate myself at all with the reasons advanced by the hon member for Yeoville for their not being able to support the Bill. It is a very great privilege for me to pledge my full support to the Bill.
Mr Speaker, the expert way in which the hon member for Yeoville pointed out the failures, shortcomings and problems of the proposed amending Bill this morning, and the almost humiliating way in which the hon member for Paarl attacked him in a captious way, displays a mentality we find in the NP today; a mentality that is destructive. It is destructive, and further proof of this is that the NP now wants to blame us because there was no opportunity to discuss the Constitution in all its stages last year. We are being blamed for that now, instead of them seeking the fault in themselves. At that stage they implemented the guillotine in the most undemocratic way, and with what purpose? Not to give us the opportunity to discuss the legislation properly. [Interjections.] That is the truth. They wanted to steamroller the legislation through this House and they pursued the most undemocratic procedures in doing so. That mentality still cleaves to the NP today. Apparently they will never be able to five it down either. [Interjections.]
In his Second Reading speech the hon the Deputy Minister rightly said that the new constitutional dispensation means that certain adjustment have to be effected to the Exchequer and Audit Act of 1975. The hon the Deputy Minister also rightly pointed out in his speech that a distinction must be made between dealing with general affairs and own affairs. It is easy to understand that statement by the hon the Deputy Minister, and it is not very difficult to understand the distinction. As we have repeatedly stated, there are very few own affairs and a great many general affairs under the new dispensation.
The hon the Deputy Minister defined the envisaged financial powers and duties of every House in a nutshell. He was also so kind as to spell out what the powers of what I want to call the mini-Ministers of Finance will be, those officials in each House who will be in charge of administering finances. Inter alia, he said that they will be the same as the powers of the macro Minister of Finance in respect of general affairs. Nothing is easier to understand, particularly when the hon the Deputy Minister hastens to tell us that the most important exceptions are that the separate Houses will not be able to impose taxes or borrow money. In fact, one feels like saying “vive la difference”. It is as simple as that. Whereas until now this sovereign White House of Assembly has had the sole right to impose taxes or borrow money, in the new dispensation the Minister of Finance of this White House will have to go and beg the macro Minister of Finance very nicely for funds to keep the own affairs of the Whites running. The hon the Leader of the House, who unfortunately is not here, disputed this fact previously, for example, in a speech he made at Bulge River. Nowadays the hon the Leader of the House agrees wholeheartedly that the macro Minister of Finance could just as well be Prof Sampie Terblanche, Mr Rajbansi or Dr Reddy in the new dispensation. In this regard I just want to say this: Heaven help the Whites if ever Prof Sampie Terblanche becomes macro Minister of Finance and the White man has to lower his standard of living in order to provide sufficient funds for the maintenance of the Coloured and Indian Chambers.
It is almost unnecessary to say—we have in fact said this often over the past few days—that just as we fought the establishment of the new Constitution clause by clause until former Minister Fanie Botha implemented the democratic guillotine which hon members opposite are so fond of, we in the CP have already intimated that we will oppose every piece of legislation aimed at implementing the new dispensation, as we have said and done over the past few days.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Is it permissible for an hon member to say that hon members or a party in this House are trying to sabotage legislation?
The hon member for Welkom must withdraw that word.
Mr Speaker, may I please address you on that score? If a body continually and actively tries to oppose and undermine a matter and commits obstruction in that regard, surely it is sabotaging that matter, figuratively speaking. That is precisely what the hon member is doing now.
Order! The hon member for Welkom must withdraw that word.
I withdraw it, Sir.
Mr Speaker, I do not know what frustrations of the hon member for Welkom has had recently. He has often been guilty of that kind of remark recently and he often has to withdraw it. I think the hon member should calm down for a change. Now he is speaking about sabotage.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: You have just given your ruling with regard to the remark of the hon member for Welkom. I think the hon member Mr Theunissen is casting a reflection on the Chair now. [Interjections.)
Order! I asked the hon member for Welkom to withdraw the word, and in terms of the rules the hon member Mr Theunissen must not take the matter any further now.
I abide by your ruling, Sir, but later in my speech I should very much like to come back to the accusations that are being made in regard to the boycott mentality those hon members are always trying to charge us with.
As we have intimated in regard to other pieces of legislation aimed at implementing the new Constitution, we will oppose every piece of legislation which comes before this House in that light. This amending Bill before us is only one of those pieces of legislation we will be opposing in this manner. Now we will probably hear the old refrain again to the effect that the Government was given a mandate, by way of the referendum in a completely democratic way and with the aid of the SABC and TV, to implement the new Constitution of 1983. [Interjections.] That is the old refrain. Then we are accused of being the people who boycott. I want to reassure those hon members. As has already been said, as regards the implementation of the Constitution we will oppose legislation to do so step by step. However, I want to assure hon members that they will not wish us away as regards the new dispensation. We will be there. We shall pursue them from Dan to Beersheba in the new dispensation. They may accuse us of having a boycott mentality if they wish, but just as we were in Soutpansberg, just as we will be in Potgietersrus, as well as in Rosettenville, we will also be here in the new dispensation until we have chased this Government from their seats opposite. They can be sure of that.
Mr Speaker, may I put a question to the hon member?
No, I am sorry. I am not going to reply to questions. In terms of our general agreement that we should expedite matters, I shall continue. The hon member can put his questions to someone else later. As I have already said, we shall expose the Government’s incompetence and we shall attack it on this matter from beginning to end.
This legislation determines how each House will be financed and where the money will come from with which the new dispensation will have to work. The workings of the State Revenue Fund are not being altered drastically, but apart from the State Revenue Account, which is the only account at present, three accounts for own affairs, one for each House, are being established, and these accounts will be used by the Houses for financing own affairs. The revenue for each account consists of payments and levies as envisaged in paragraph 11(3) of Schedule 1 of the Constitution, and in addition, transfers from the State Revenue Account in terms of section 84 of the Constitution. Each House will appropriate its own account in terms of its own laws. That is how the hon the Deputy Minister spelt it out to us. That is nice and clear so far, but the one million dollar question is: Where will the funds that have to be deposited into the accounts of those three Houses come from? That is the big question, not so? The answer is easy. After all, it is a general affair, and the three Houses will budget for that jointly and separately. There will be consensus. The Coloured and Indian Houses will be satisfied with less for pensions, etc. There will be that kind of consensus. We need have no doubt about that. Or will there be? That is the important question. After all, there will be no love and peace in terms of this new dispensation in which every House has to determine whether it is going to be satisfied with what is appropriated for it. There are a few things about which there is consensus today. In South Africa the tax burden rests mainly on the White section of our population. Is that not true? Did the taxes of the Whites not amount to R3 152 million during the past tax year? And was the joint tax contribution of the Coloureds and the Asians not only R151 million and that of the Black people, R319 million? And was the expenditure from the National Housing Fund and the Community Development Fund during the 1983-84 financial year in respect of Whites not only R86 million? And was it not almost R115 million in respect of the Coloureds? And was it not more than R81 million in respect of the Asians? Is there not also consensus in the business world that seldom if ever during the post-war period has the South African economy been in such dire straits as it is at present? The real gross domestic product has been showing a decline for two years now. Unemployment is increasing. The inflation rate, including GST, is still above the double figure mark. The current account of the balance of payments is showing deficits. One could continue in this vein. Interest rates in both nominal and real terms are at an historical high.
Who wrote your speech, Louis?
My speech was definitely not written by one of the new partners of the hon member for Ermelo. I can give him that assurance. I do not know whether he makes use of their services, but he will probably be making use of their services in the near future.
What do all the factors I mentioned before the hon member for Ermelo interrupted me look like in regard to the economy of a country in which we now want to implement a new tricameral system of Parliament, which is going to cost the country billions of rands, and for which an amended Exchequer and Audit Act is now being established?
The machinery being created by this Bill is being created perfect, and in theory it will work very well, but with a Government as politically bankrupt as the NP we can be sure that economically our country is heading for disaster. It is not only I who say so; it is the economists, who are experts, who say that.
Well, it could be said that it is Sampie Terblanche, but I want hon members to listen to what Volkskas has to say in the June edition of its Ekono mies Oorsig:
It is no wonder that Volkskas goes on to say:
Let us certainly make that the highest priority, and not to implement a constitution by way of the Bill before us at present and hang it around the economy’s neck like a millstone and drag South Africa into total bankruptcy. That is why the CP does not want to have a hand in the legislation that wants to implement the Constitution in such a way that it is going to ruin our economy. That is why we say that we will be opposing this Second Reading. We will also have our objections to each clause of the Bill recorded during the Committee Stage.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Yeoville slept very badly, but the hon member Mr Theunissen had a nightmare. [Interjections.] The hon member for Yeoville slept badly last night and one of the reasons for this is that his conscience is catching up with him now. He is a member of the party that opposed and boycotted the new dispensation out of which the Bill under discussion arises. They opposed it with everything they had. However, on this side of the House there has always been doubt as to what that hon member’s real standpoint was—whether he would vote “yes” or “no” in the referendum. Very well, that is his own affair, and no one will ever know. On his advice the PFP began supporting the new dispensation, however, and they are now giving their full co-operation in putting this new dispensation into operation, to the extent that that party which boycotted the new dispensation now has 17 candidates to fill two posts in the President’s Council. The process that led to the announcement of those 17 names caused the hon member for Yeoville a sleepless night last night.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Can I hear something about the Bill from the hon member?
The hon member will hear that in a moment.
Mr Speaker, the hon member’s speech is completely irrelevant.
The hon member is in the second minute of his speech. I shall watch what he says.
The hon member for Yeoville saw spectres in this Bill that are really not there. He spoke for half an hour about a few principles that are already contained in the Constitution and which consequently have to be included in this Bill. In my opinion, it was unnecessary to conduct such a tirade about this Bill as he did this morning, and the hon member for Paarl quite justifiably thoroughly brought him to book.
As regards the hon member Dr Theunissen … [Interjections.] Mr Theunissen, then. My error reminds me of the very interesting story the hon the Prime Minister told about the days when Dr Van Rhyn and Dr Steenkamp were political opponents in Namaqualand. On occasion Dr Steenkamp asked what kind of doctor Dr Van Rhyn was, and said that he was probably a vitriol doctor or a herbalist, whilst he, Dr Steenkamp, had two doctorates. Not only was he a medical doctor, but also a doctor of theology and consequently, a much cleverer man. At an ensuing meeting Dr Van Rhyn said that Dr Steenkamp pretended to be so clever, but that he, Dr Van Rhyn, was the vice-rector of the University of South Africa and that he awarded degrees and that, apart from that, he had awarded an honorary doctorate to Father Kestell. Then people said that Dr Van Rhyn must really be a clever man if he awards degrees and could even bestow an honorary degree on Father Kestell. I think the hon member Mr Theunissen …
He is a witchdoctor.
I think the hon member deserves the designation the hon the Minister has given him. I cannot understand the standpoint of the hon member with regard to the Constitution. At the commencement of his speech he objected vehemently to the fact that section 83 of the Constitution was not discussed by the Committee of the House last year in the debate on the Constitution. Surely he knows—and I think his reaction to this can be ascribed to the fact that his conscience is worrying him, just as the conscience of his party is worrying them about this matter—that the fact that the guillotine was implemented was the direct result of the actions of that party in that debate. That is true. Those hon members were called to order 10 000 times, and they were ruled out of order 200 000 times.
Surely that is not true.
It is true.
Two hundred thousand times?
Very well, 100 000 times. Every newspaper mentioned how many times, and if one adds everything together it was 200 000 times. [Interjections.] Surely hon members recall how many times the Chairman ruled that they were repeating arguments. That argument of the hon member Mr Theunissen is therefore not true.
I want to say that the success or failure of the Constitution, as well as of this Exchequer and Audit Act—and I am now repeating the words of the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning—is not going to depend on whether or not we pass this legislation and on who votes for or against it. The success of the Constitution, the new dispensation, is going to depend on the attitude with which our people tackle this task. If the attitude the hon member for Kuruman displayed yesterday towards another Bill and the attitude displayed by the hon member Mr Theunissen this morning to this Bill, is the attitude with which we are going to approach this matter, I want to say that there are very difficult times ahead for us in this Parliament. Moreover, if I were a member of the Indian group or the Asian group and the White members of Parliament spoke about me and my people like the hon members of the CP speak about them …
That is the reason why power-sharing will not work.
Really, Sir, we could conduct an entire debate on power-sharing. There is no such thing as power-sharing. I want to say that members of the CP are making things extremely difficult in this country. We are not going to get the right attitudes between people if they continue in that vein.
I said that there was no such things as power-sharing and that we could conduct a debate on that.
Order! I have just taken the Chair and I want to tell the hon member for Hercules that if I had not known what the present debate was about, I would have thought that it was Monday and that we were dealing with the Third Reading of the Appropriation Bill. [Interjections.]
I shall centainly allow myself to be guided by you, Sir.
Sir, the Exchequer and Audit Act forms the basis in terms of which the financial administration of the State is regulated. That is the function of this Act. It regulates the financial administration of the country. Until 1974 the control function over the finances of the State was vested in the State President and the Auditor-General. This was altered in 1974 and since then it has been vested in the Minister of Finance and the Treasury. In the new Constitution provision is made for general affairs and for own affairs, and the purpose of this amending Bill we are discussing now is to give effect to those provisions. The amendments in this Bill make provision for one Budget which will be dealt with by the Minister of Finance in respect of general affairs. There will be three additional budgets and the relevant Ministers of the Minister’s Council—they have already been given various names such as short pants Ministers and mini Ministers—will deal with three additional budgets in regard to own affairs in the separate Houses of Parliament.
This means that for the first time Asians and Coloureds, who are also taxpayers of this country, will be given control of taxes which they have to pay and their appropriation. No one can disagree with this principle.
When will the Blacks be given control?
That interjection of the hon member has already been dealt with on a previous occasion.
The principles contained in this amending Bill and which are really consequential amendments arising out of the Constitution are that there will be co-responsibility in regard to matters of common interest, such as the expenditure of finances, and self-determination and full responsibility in regard to own affairs. That is the principle contained in the Constitution and which also led to the amendment of this Act.
The Conservative Party says that the other groups are simply being given rights by the Constitution. They are becoming anxious about the fact that someone from another population group could become Minister of Finance of Parliament. The hon member Mr Theunissen spoke of Whites who will have to stand and beg from the Minister of Finance if he is a person of colour. However, have they ever considered that in the history of this country there has never been a day when the Coloureds or Asians did not have to beg the Whites for charity? Would the hon member have stood for that and been satisfied if Whites had to do that? Surely he would not. With this new Constitution a matter which has been on our conscience for a very long time is being rectified.
With the financial arrangements and control measures with regard to the appropriation of finances, a wonderful step is being taken in this country’s history. This is being effected without a single bullet from a gun and without a single drop of blood being shed. Nowhere in the history of the world is there an example of where such a tremendous step forward has been taken without conflict or confrontation.
A former member of the former Coloured Persons Representative Council who passed away quite a while ago, Mr Hans Coverdale, once told me that one of the greatest irritations among the Coloured community was that when housing is needed for Coloureds, Whites decide whether the Coloureds really need houses. The Whites also decide where the House should be built and Whites build them with money voted in the White Parliament, and they also decide about which Coloureds should live in which houses. That is only one matter, a small matter, out of hundreds which have been a permanent source of irritation among the Coloured and Indian communities and which, inter alia, is now being rectified by this legislation as well.
I am not concerned or afraid that we are going to have four Treasuries. That is not necessary. We should not go and dig up things for which there is no necessity. The world is not going to change. We are simply going to continue, and the administration of the country will continue as it is at present. [Interjections.] Those hon members need not be concerned about billions of rands which, according to them, will have to be budgeted for additionally. That is not necessary.
Your voters will be concerned.
No, my voters are on my side. They speak my language. [Interjections.] Of course it is true that it will cost more money, but not what the CP intimates it will cost. The most important thing, however, is that these communities are being given a say in the joint appropriation of funds to which their taxes have contributed. They can appropriate their own taxes in respect of their own affairs in this way.
I should like to wish the hon the Minister of Finance, the Treasury, and everyone involved in the financial management of our country every success, in the new dispensation as well.
Mr Speaker, the Bill before the House is to our mind a logical consequence of the approval of the Constitutional Bill last year and of the acceptance thereof by a two-third majority of the White electorate. One must have expected that having accepted the new Constitution—both this House and the South African electorate—that there would have to be amendments to existing legislation in order to accommodate the provisions of the new Constitution, especially where they affect the Coloured and Indian communities. [Interjections.]
George, when did you read the Bill?
Sir, I could have added the words which the hon member for Yeoville used earlier when he complained about the fact that we only received this Bill yesterday. He said that he spoke to the officials at 7 o’clock last night, but I should like to tell him that I had the privilege of seeing those officials at 8 o’clock this morning. Having said that, we have read the Bill and we understand it fully. We know what the consequences of this Bill are. The consequences are to amend the Exchequer and Audit Act so as to ensure that there are the necessary financial controls and the necessary provisions for this House and the other Houses which are to come into being to render estimates of expenditure and revenue in future, and also to bring before the Houses appropriation Bills so that money can be appropriated by this Parliament for use by the respective groups. That is what this Bill is in essence all about. If one studies it one finds that all that is altered is the existing requirements that have been tested over a very long time in the operation of this House. Those provisions are merely expanded in order to accommodate the other two Houses. That is what it is all about.
That is where you are making a mistake.
The hon member has had an opportunity to speak and I did not interrupt him once while he spoke although I did not agree with him on one or two occasions. [Interjections.] I will say this to the hon member that I agree with him when he stated that: If this constitution has a chance of success it is going to depend upon finance; it is going to depend upon the division of proceeds and the sharing of the cake. There we agree entirely with the hon member. [Interjections.] However, at times that hon member surprises me. His party gives their approval to many of the Bills which are passed to this House which have provisions to put into effect the new Constitution, yet he has brought up an amendment in this instance that I will discuss later. Their problem is, I believe, that they have to justify their conscience in respect of their attitude towards the electorate in the referendum and that is why they move this kind of amendment. Be that as it may, they are participating in the new deal. [Interjections.] I agree with the hon member when he says that for this constitution to be a success, it is going to depend upon finance. Therefore I want to stress what the hon the Deputy Minister of Finance said, namely that in future there has to be a far greater emphasis on and more consideration given to the financial planning of State expenditure in South Africa. There has to be far greater thought given to priorities. We know that at the present time the Government is definitely overspending and not only the Government. The people themselves are also spending more than they are earning and we are going deeper and deeper into debt.
I want to say to the hon the Deputy Minister and to his colleagues that as we move into this new dispensation with two other population groups who are fighting their elections now and in future will have a political say in Parliament, there are going to be greater demands for more and more money to be spent.
And you want to give them less and less.
On the one hand the hon member for Yeoville wants to give people more and more and when the hon the Minister puts up taxes or the GST, the cries and says we must spend less and less. However, the point I am trying to make is that as we extend the democratic process to the Coloured and Indian population groups, their elected representatives are going to make sure that the discriminatory practices that have been practised in the past when it comes to State expenditure, are removed. If they succeed in that and if there is to be no discrimination in future, it means that one of two things must happen. Either overall the State must spend more or the State must re-examine its expenditure priorities and spend more in those areas where it is required in order to remove discrimination and less in those areas that can well do without it. This is why I keep talking about priorities.
Tell us where we should spend less. [Interjections.]
This is a fact of life of the Parliaments of the future. The hon member for Yeoville believes that one can snap one’s fingers and in September of this year there must be a new Budget evolved, agreed to by all three Houses. That is what the hon member said in his Second Reading speech.
You are in favour of removing the powers of Parliament …
The hon member is now nitpicking. The relevant provisions in this Bill are purely interim measures so as to ensure that there will be a correct transitionary period into the new constitution. I will come to those provisions when I discuss the hon member’s amendment.
The United Party …
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I regret to have to do this, Sir, but the hon member for Amanzimtoti is trying to address this House. The hon member for Yeoville has already had an opportunity to present his case but he is now trying to carry on a running dialogue with the hon member for Amanzimtoti. I ask you, Sir, for your protection for the hon member for Amanzimtoti because the position is becoming quite untenable.
The hon member for Amanzimtoti may proceed.
Mr Speaker, I was telling the hon the Deputy Minister of Finance that in future there is going to have to be far greater emphasis upon priorities so as to ensure that the limited funds that are available for State expenditure are spent correctly in all aspects in order to meet the demands not only of the Whites but also of the Coloureds and Indians. If consensus is not achieved within these three Houses as far as the Budget is concerned then the whole new constitutional process will fail. The Estimates referred to in this legislation will have to be approved by all three Houses. This is the overall State expenditure. The Minister of Finance in the future and the Cabinet will have to spend quite some time conferring with the majority parties in all three Houses in regard to how that money is to be spent. Therefore, there is going to have to be consensus. This is what the NRP has fought for so long. We believe in consensus Government. We believe in a pluralistic constitution which forces the various groups of people in South Africa to sit around a table and reach consensus on important matters such as finance in a manner that removes domination and discrimination, and that is what the new Constitution is going to bring about.
The other thing that the new Constitution is going to remove as far as the three groups are concerned is the privilege that the Whites have enjoyed in the past. It is here that I believe the hon members of the CP are going to have to search their own consciences. It was obvious from the speech made by the hon member Mr Theunissen that they are seeking to protect White privilige. They want to retain the privilege the Whites have had in the past. They are not really prepared to consider what Coloureds and Indians who make a tremendous contribution to the economy of this country have to say in the future. Therefore, Sir, the new Constitution is going to require consensus among the majority parties in the three Houses in drawing up new budgets. It is also going to have to ensure that in time the White privilege which they have enjoyed up to now is going to have to be removed so that we will have a discrimination-free disbursement of funds among at least these three population groups. That is one of the reasons why we support this Bill.
I believe that a priorities committee is going to be or has been appointed to investigate these matters, a State President’s priorities committee on which the three houses will be represented in future. I sincerely hope that this committee is going to succeed not necessarily in expanding the budgets of the future but in so planning them that we will have the correct expenditure in South Africa which will promote productivity and the economy rather than to become a drain upon that economy, which I believe to be so in the case of the present Budget.
I want to refer just briefly to the rejection by the CP of this legislation. I want to tell hon members of the CP that 24 years ago as a young man I campaigned actively against the referendum that was held then. I believe that we did a better job in 1960 than both the PFP and the CP did in regard to the referendum last year when it came to calling for a no vote. [Interjections.] I can remember public gatherings in Natal attended by 20 000 people, people who came in carloads from all over Natal.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I do not want to interrupt the hon member, but I am under the impression that we are debating the Exchequer and Audit Amendment Bill.
Order! The hon member for Amamzimtoti may proceed.
The hon member Mr Theunissen has rejected this Bill. He said they were going to fight every measure flowing from the approval of the Constitution Bill last year, a Bill which was approved by the people of South Africa at a referendum. He said that he and his party will fight it right through this session and the next. In response to that I am saying to the hon member that in 1960 my party then fought for a no-vote in the republican referendum. Having lost that and looking back in retrospect, may I say that I believe that I was wrong in voting “no” in those days. In the same way those hon members now sitting in the PFP and I believe also may hon members sitting in the CP in time, if they live that long, will realize that they were wrong in voting “no” in the 1983 referendum. But having voted “no” we accepted the democratic decision taken by the electorate of South Africa. We lost that referendum not by a two-thirds majority, but by a mere 6% or 7%. It was very close. It was a mere 74 000 votes by which the republicans in 1960 won that referendum. In last year’s referendum the CP, which was just one of the two parties opposed to it for totally opposite reasons, lost by a more than a two-thirds majority. Therefore I say to them that if they believe in democracy, they should accept the will of the people and not put obstacles in the way of the evolving of this new constitution. They must accept the will of the people, and not only the will of the White people. Within a few months there is going to be another nearly 3,5 million of our citizens who will be taking part in the democratic process in South Africa. They must consider those people as well. It is very clear from the speeches that they have made, as my hon colleague said yesterday, that they are riddled with racism. All they are thinking about, as I have said, is White privilege and I believe they are doing South Africa harm in the long run.
I now come to the speech of the hon member for Yeoville. The hon member has moved to omit certain words and to insert:
Just let us look at this. The hon member says that it fragments the Exchequer’s finances.
Certainly it does, but as one of the hon members who follows him said, we already have fragmentation of expenditure in South Africa, for example to the provinces and elsewhere. I want to ask that hon member: What is the alternative, especially when one examines his party’s policy?
One Minister of Finance and one Exchequer.
Oh!, one Minister of Finance and one Exchequer! Let us examine the PFP’s policy. Their proposal is for a federal structure for South Africa. They have never told us how many provinces or states there should be.
If we follow the PFP’s philosophy and have their constitutional model there will be 11 legislative bodies in South Africa.
But there will only be the federal Minister of Finance.
Certainly, but in addition to a federal Minister of Finance, the federal Parliament, as in other federal Parliaments, will vote money to be distributed to the states or provinces, so that there will be a fragmentation of those finances down to the states, and these funds will have to be administered by someone. The PFP criticize, boycott, protest and confront, but when one puts their own policy to them, they just close their eyes, they just close their minds and just keep on with interjections.
Mr Speaker, I ask the question, what price democracy? In this country we are at present evolving a constitution for the future. I say to these hon members: What price democracy? Let us look at some of the democratic countries throughout the world. Let us take a look at a country which in numbers is similar to South Africa. Let us look at Canada with a population of just under 25 million. I want to put it to the hon members of the PFP, because they are the ones who are always saying that this new Constitution is going to cost the country more, that they should have a look at Canada with a population of 24 600 000. How many state or provincial legislatures do they have? They have 12 with 12 Provincial Ministers of Finance. They have 736 provincial members of parliament. They have 282 members in their federal House of Commons and 104 in the Senate.
Let us talk about Canada’s inflation rate and its lack of growth.
The inflation rate has nothing to do with democracy. [Interjections.] I think the hon member for Yeoville ought to take his medicine like a man. [Interjections.]
The United States has an inflation rate away above double figures some years ago, but today they have an inflation rate of 3,5% to 5%. The inflation rate has nothing to do with the number of their legislatures. [Interjections.] The United States has 50 state legislatures. The finances of the United States are fragmented to 50 state legislatures and one federal legislature. They have 7 899 public representatives. So, what price democracy?
We are debating a Bill which is going to divide the finances of this Parliament into four budgets in terms of the Constitution Act. Let us take Australia. Australia has a population of 15 million—its population is much smaller than that of South Africa. They have eight state legislatures plus a federal legislature in Canberra. They have 436 provincial members of parliament and 162 in their senates or councils, as they call them, in addition to 125 members of their federal parliament and 64 senators.
We have this constant talk from both the PFP and the CP. They criticize us and they go onto public platforms where they tell people that this is going to cost us more. Have the CP ever told the people what a totally separate Indian nation with its own legislature would cost South Africa plus also a Colouredstan with its own Parliament? The CP and the PFP both talk with two tongues.
As far as the amendment of the hon member for Yeoville is concerned and especially where he refers to fragmenting the finances, we reject it totally. This fragmenting is the logical consequences of giving to people pride in administering those things which they hold dear to themselves. If the PFP have not learnt what it means to a Zulu to be a Zulu or an Afrikaner to be an Afrikaner, then they have wasted their time in this House. In my 10 years here I have learnt what it means to an Afrikaner to be an Afrikaner, and as an English-speaking South African I respect that. I learnt about pluralism in this House listening to other people’s points of view, listening to what makes them feel great and what gives them self respect, but that is what the PFP have never understood. They do not understand that many people desire to be what they are, and that is what pluralism is in South Africa. We reject totally the hon member for Yeoville’s amendment where it refers to the fragmentation of finance. The second part reads: “(b) Grants to the Minister powers which traditionally should be exercised by Parliament”. Here he is in particular referring to the proposed new section 2(2) inserted by clause 2 and to clause 3(c). When one examines these provisions one finds that they have evidently been included to provide for an orderly transition of the finances of this Parliament through the next 12 months or so until such time as the Minister of Finance, and the new Cabinet, can come to Parliament with a new Budget which he can present to the three Chambers for approval. It is just a transitionary thing, no more and no less. Typical of the hon member for Yeoville, he takes a provision such as this and says that Parliament’s role has been taken away. He says it has the seeds of discord and the seeds of complaint. He says that one House will say that it is not getting a fair share. He says that it cannot do anything about it. It is all in his Hansard. However, the facts are that within less than 12 months those Houses will have a say in approving the future Budgets. Where is the validity of the hon member’s complaint.
As I have said, the hon member for Yeoville takes every opportunity to nitpick and split hairs and then when one points it out to him, he uses the force of his own voice and that of his colleagues to try and shout us down. Be that as it may, we have heard it all and experienced it all before. The facts are that last year two-thirds of the White population of south Africa said yes to this and all we are doing now is to amend the Exchequer and audit Act so that we will be able to implement the wishes and the will of the people. We will support the measure.
Mr Speaker, as the hon member for Amanzimtoti pointed out, this Bill merely makes provison for the handling of State funds in the new dispensation. The hon member said in English what I wanted to say in Afrikaans, and he must merely pretend that I cannot understand English, or else he will think me guilty of plagiarism.
Mr Speaker, I hope you have been consistently following the debate, because if it perhaps seems to you that I am deviating from the subject of the debate and perhaps talking nonsense, let me give you the assurance that I am responding to what was said in the debate earlier this morning. In the course of my speech I should like to point this out to you.
In approaching a matter, one first gets rid of the obstructions. Once one has done that, one sees how one can get to work on the problems relating to matter in question. The hon member Mr Theunissen said that the CP would oppose the Bill, in fact every Bill relating to the new dispensation. They will therefore be obstructionists as far as such legislation is concerned. I should like to comment on a few things the hon member Mr Theunissen said. This Bill relates to the acceptance of the new constitution. Arising out of something the hon member for Kuruman said, let me tell him that one can make two calculations in connection with the creation of a Coloured homeland. If the hon member were to check his facts, he would see that it costs R40 000 to create one job opportunity in the absence of any basic infrastructure. If one accepts the fact that there are two million Coloureds, this works out at R80 billion. There are, however, many worse things that are being said. That is not actually what they are looking for. Up there in Potgietersrus, where I come from, people say: “Man, let us give them the Western Cape.” In the Western Cape land costs R3 000 per ha. So if one wanted a million ha, it would cost R3 000 million.
Who said that?
The hon member’s people. [Interjections.] Let me say that if the hon member himself had been there, I would not want to guarantee that he was not the one who said it.
The CP says it speaks on behalf of the Whites in the country, in spite of the fact that they do not speak on anyone’s behalf, and what I am saying is that they must take a careful look at themselves and see whether they are doing the Whites of the country, and South Africa, a favour by saying that they are going to oppose everything and be obstructionists throughout. Let us just have a look at the problems this creates for the CP itself. The CP is denying itself the right—the obligation—to help build up those aspects in the new dispensation that are good for the Whites, because they are going to oppose every piece of legislation. With what stories do they come along, however, to oppose such legislation? I made some notes of a few of the remarks of the hon member Mr Theunissen. Arising out of what the hon member for Yeoville said, he let fly and said there would be fragmentation of the Exchequer. A little later he said that the Whites no longer had any control over themselves; they no longer had any control over the funds they were spending. Surely fragmentation means taking apart. The Whites do, after all, have their own rights. How can he say that is now fragmentation, with the Whites having their own rights, and then turn around and say the Whites have no rights? How does he work that out?
That is a very good point.
If the hon the Minister really wants to hear a good point, let me ask him what he thinks of the hon member Mr Theunissen blaming the Government for not only having economic objectives, but also social and political ones. Is there any Government in the world that does not also have political and social objectives which it must achieve? Or does the hon member think, for example, that the aged must no longer obtain pensions? Surely that is a social objective and not an economic one. Those people will have to get up and say what they mean when they are speaking.
It is written here.
Of course it is written there. Of course we pay for social and political objectives. What is the alternative? The alternative is chaos.
The hon member Mr Theunissen also said another very interesting thing, and that is that the inflation rate, including GST, was so high. I did not know one could buy inflation. Being able to buy inflation is something new to me, and when one buys it, one even has to pay GST on it. I do not know where they get that from. I do want to say, however, that if that is the problem, I would simply not buy inflation. Then I would also save on the GST. Let me, however, have a serious look at the matters raised by that party. The hon member Mr Theunissen referred, very sarcastically, to the various taxes paid at this stage by the various population groups in the country. If there is one thing I will fight for in this country, because I think it is in my best interest as a White to do so, it is that the tax that is paid by the various population groups should not be divided up. I would be living very well today if those taxes were divided up, because at present we pay the most. The hon member must go and look, however, at what is going on in businesses, what the objectives of businessmen are and what market they think will evidence the most growth. If the hon member were to take note of that, he would see on what kind of advertisements money was being spent and where the development was taking place. It is not because they would have done so in any case, but merely because they see in what direction the development is tending to go, and because they see that the other groups in the country are also progressing economically. The tax contributions of other groups are steadily increasing. It goes without saying that as a group these people are developing, because their standard of living is increasing and there is a tremendous population explosion in their ranks. Those hon members are now asking for the country’s money to be divided up amongst the various population groups, and I think that is one of their biggest errors in judgment.
Those hon members must not think, however, that because a group of people are not represented in this House they do not influence the decisions of this House. The biggest danger is that external influences might completely swamp the decisions in this House. It has happened once before in our history. Nor must hon members allege that the new dispensation will not work. Before the advent of Union in 1910, there were many representations to the effect that a union should not be established. Religious leaders wrote letters about that, letters which hon members should read. On religious grounds they contended that a union should not be established. We are now being told again that we should not proceed with the new dispensation because it will not be a success. After 1910, however, we were not all that successful either. I want to remind hon members, with due deference and piety, that in 1914 there was a rebellion amongst the Whites, not between the various population groups. Hon members are now contending that the new dispensation cannot work and want to show a clean pair of heels. Would those hon members say today that we should also, at the advent of Union, have show a clean pair of heels? Would the hon member for Kuruman, who objects to my standpoint so strongly, have said that, merely because there was a problem at that stage.
With the kind of approach they have to the new constitution and to legislation on taxation, the Conservative Party runs the risk of landing up in a specific kind of situation. If CP members are asked what the demands of the times are, they say, proudly pushing out their chests, that it is neither the time nor the place to expose and to tackle the RSA’s problems. They prefer to go back into the past where the White man was the master and the Coloured the slave. In opposing everything, that is the course the CP is taking.
I now want to turn my attention to the hon member for Yeoville. I note that the hon member is not present at the moment, and I apologize for now having to refer to him. He was here initially, but I take it that because I was replying to what the Conservative Party said, he considered it irrelevant or unimportant.
The hon member referred to a number of matters. He alleged, firstly, that this Bill fragmented the Exchequer. After having said that, he alleged that this Bill made provision for the strengthening of the Exchequer because the provisions relating to the furnishing of credit were being transferred from section 8 to section 9. If one is advocating a matter, and a clause is introduced that strengthens the case, one ought not to object to it. That is why I want to make an appeal to the hon member for Yeoville in this connection. In the past few days, during the discussion of new legislation, he has attacked us fairly sharply on this being wrong here and that being wrong there. According to him the legislation at present before the House is not a complete revision, since in it we are merely making provision for the interim period between the present dispensation and the new dispensation. In his argument he raised only one fundamental point, and that was in regard to the problem that arises if the various Houses were to exceed their budgetary limits.
Those hon members surely know that reform does not take place overnight. Must we now delay matters for another year and have matters grow worse before we resort to reform, or is it rather advisable to have recourse to reform now, something 66% of the country’s Whites voted in favour of? Is the hon member in favour of us rather waiting until the legislation has been rewritten to perfection? Let me ask the hon member, in future, just make sure that what is contained in legislation makes it possible for us to enter upon the new dispensation. Conventions will arise in the course of time, something we cannot determine at the present moment. It is true, after all, that no technology simply falls out of a clear blue sky. All development takes a certain course over a certain period of time.
Let me conclude by telling the hon member for Yeoville that he does not even have to look any further—he is a businessman and a learned individual—than the course of development of computers over the past ten years. If he were to do so, he would realize that the quicker we get started and move on, as we are now doing, the better it would be for everyone. They must not oppose us merely for the sake of opposition. The quicker we stand together and move forward, the better for us all.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Yeoville complained bitterly about the fact that he only received the amending Bill last evening and that he had very little time to look at it. One would expect that he, who is known to be an expert in this field, would have studied the Constitution, and particularly the provisions dealing with financial espects. He would then have expected this amending Bill to be introduced and that it would more or less contain these proposals. Surely it is logical that those arrangements had to be made. [Interjections.]
The Bill is a logical consequence of the constitutional dispensation. The PFP said on a previous occasion that initially they opposed the new constitutional dispensation, but that they are now prepared to co-operate and participate in the new dispensation. However, now that there is a measure before this House which constitutes part of the implementation of the new system, they are opposing it. The PFP are therefore opposing the new dispensation in any case by questioning this amending Bill. They are splitting hairs.
The hon member for Koedoespoort asked an interesting question. If an hon member on this side of the House rises to participate in a debate unprepared, he succeeds in putting a sound case better than the hon member who has prepared for a week, since we on this side of the House have a sound case to put, whilst the Opposition is always on the defence and is always trying to promote a weak case. Prepared or not, I can therefore always put a much better case than the hon member. [Interjections.] The hon members of the CP, as well as those of the PFP can be labelled as unwilling passengers on the vehicle on the road to the new dispensation. They sit in that vehicle and try to distract the driver or break a wheel. They are unwilling passengers, but they have no choice—they simply have to climb aboard and consequently, they have to make the best of the matter.
When one analyses the speeches of the hon members who oppose the legislation, one reaches the conclusion that they are simply splitting hairs. That is the method they employ to oppose the matter. There are no fundamental problems, however.
The constitutional policy of the CP, as well as that of the PFP would result in greater administrative implications and expenditure and consequently, they should rather not speak about expenditure and other problems in regard to the implementation of this legislation.
The theme of the speech of the hon member for Yeoville was the fragmentation of financial arrangements, and so on. I want to point out to the hon member that as regards the provincial system, it works well in practice at present. This House appropriates money for the provincial authorities which they use to provide the services for which they are responsible. However, one must approach this matter in a practical way. How is a budget drawn up? The present procedure is that the various departments conduct talks with the Treasury concerning the funds they need and this is all ironed out. Then the budget comes before this House for consideration. It is therefore not a fundamental problem to draw up a budget before this House considers it. There are different levels of management. Even the local authorities control a certain section of the country’s finances at present.
This morning the hon member for Yeoville had quite a lot to say about the legislation and he advanced various reasons as to why he opposes the measure. In my opinion, however, it would be a good thing if the hon member for Yeoville, with his knowledge of financial matters, would rather make a positive contribution to further the new system and let it work, since he knows that it is going to be implemented, after all. Is it not better to act in a positive way and use his knowledge and expertise to further the matter? After all, it is in the interests of all the population groups in this country.
Was I not positive enough?
Unfortunately, the hon member also criticized. [Interjections.]
Business suspended at 12h45 and resumed at 14hl5.
Mr Speaker, when business was suspended I was pointing out that the so-called fragmentary way in which the country’s State revenue will be appropriated is not a strange or unknown system. I should like to emphasize that the practice in respect of the provincial authorities obtaining at present has already been subject to a test for a number of years, in which the hon the Minister of Finance makes provision for funds for the proper administration of the provinces and the services they have to render. The official Opposition is also in favour of second tier government at present and consequently, one must construe this as being an indication that they could also be in favour of such a system in principle. I also want to point out that it does happen in practice that as regards the institutions which are dependent on the State for their funds, negotiations take place between the institutions long before the Budget is drawn up and that they make their needs known then, as is the case with the various State departments, and that the Treasury has to decide, depending on available funds, what amounts should be made available for the various services, or in respect of the various authorities for which these funds have to be appropriated. I maintain that the proposed system, as embodied in this amending Bill, in contrast to the present system, contains certain advantages over the present state of affairs. In my opinion, the reason for this is the fact that these groups of colour will now be able to share the cake, as the hon member for Yeouville described it, according to their sound judgment and depending on the needs of their own people. Although it is a privilege, it also places the responsibility on these people to appropriate those funds judiciously. It is right that they should take the responsibility for making those allocations.
This is not a simple matter. As far as this House is concerned as well, there were not always sufficient funds over the years to satisfy everyone. Everyone is asking for more money, and in practice it is true that money is not available for all the services as everyone would like. In fact, at present it is true that everyone is asking for services of a better quality and that demands are becoming increasingly heavier. Consequently, it is right that in the times in which we are living in which demands for a higher standard of living are bring made, these groups of colour should also take the task and responsibility of allocating funds on themselves.
The amending Bill under consideration at present is one in a series—I assume that that is the case—of measures which are necessary to let the new dispensation function smoothly. After all, it is necessary that these measures have to be taken. When the new dispensation comes into operation one would like to see matters running smoothly and the necessary statutory provisions being made so that it can be implemented judiciously.
In this regard I recall a story which the previous rector of the University of the Free State told about when he and a professor who was a well-known linguist were on a journey and they came across someone along the way who had problems with his vehicle. The professor was a linguist, but he did not have such an intimate knowledge of mechanics. When he alighted, he asked the man who was having problems whether there was sufficient fuel in his vehicle. The man said “yes”. And oil? The man replied in the affirmative. And water in the radiator? Once again the reply was positive. Then the professor said to him: “Man, get in and drive.”
Some people think that a matter can simply run smoothly without one taking the necessary measures, without one analysing and finding an answer to the problem areas that could arise. This will be the case with the new dispensation as well. After all, it is a new system that has to be implemented and there will be hitches on the road ahead, and with the goodwill of everyone who would like this system to succeed, it is possible to eliminate these hitches. I think that what hon members have already said in this House, viz that the goodwill of those involved in this system and the attitude with which they tackle it will to a large extent determine how much success is achieved. I believe that, in the interests of the country, even the Opposition parties, although they are sometimes critical, would also like this system to work, not only in the interests of the Whites who are sitting in this House at present, but also in the interests of the other groups of colour who have a right to exist in this country. I therefore believe that this amending Bill, which is aimed at that, enjoys the support of everyone in order to achieve that goal.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Welkom told a story about riding in a motor car. I should rather like to tell the hon member a story that comes from the Talmud, a story that is applicable to the Bill that we are discussing in this House. In order to achieve an end, one does not necessarily only have to take one route but one has to consider a large number of routes. The story is told of Rabbi Akiva who was travelling from one town to another and came to cross-roads. At the cross-roads he found a little boy whom he asked: I want to go to such and such a town. Which road do I take? The little boy said: This one is long and short and that one is short and long. The rabbi said: Do not be rude; tell me. The little boy said: I have told you. This one is long and short and that one is short and long. So the rabbi decided to take the short and long one and he walked and walked and it took him about six or seven hours to get to the destination. It was a very uphill and downhill road and it was very hard going. About a year later he came to the same cross-roads and there he found the young fellow again. He again asked him: Which is the best way to go? The little boy said: I told you. One way is short and long and the other is long and short. So he took the long and short one. He discovered that although the longest one was longer in distance, it was actually shorter in time because it was flat and it took him but an hour to walk.
The hon member for Welkom must therefore understand very clearly that one cannot say at any stage that a particular method is the only way in which to present a Bill to the House. One cannot lay down dogmatically that this is automatically consequent to the Constitution Act. There were two roads leading to the same town, but each had its own significance, each its own problems to solve. I shall deal with further points made by the hon member for Welkom a little later in my speech.
I should now like to deal with certain remarks made by the hon member for Paarl. He said that we in this House had the opportunity on previous occasions to discuss the financial methods that would be adopted in the new dispensation. Let me tell the hon member that this is the first occasion on which we have been able to discuss this particular matter. The hon member ought to realize that in the Constitution Act finance is covered by sections 79 to 86.
I would have thought that the hon the Minister of Finance would have referred this Bill to the Select Committee on Public Accounts before bringing it to this House. It would have been far better for the Bill to have been discussed in that select committee where the members could have gone into the pros and cons than to discuss it in this House in this short space of notice for consideration.
I have in front of me the Minutes of Proceedings of this House for 1983. On 25 August 1983 the then Leader of the House moved:
Those provisions of the Standing Rules and Orders apply to the guillotine. So, on 1 September 1983 at the hour of 14hl6 we proceeded to divide. Until that moment the House had dealt with only 33 out of 103 clauses of the Bill. I have made an analysis which is quite amazing. This House had before it on 1 September 1983 all the clauses after clause 33 and up to and including clause 103 plus two schedules plus a large number of amendments. The House divided 24 times and it took one hour and 34 minutes to dispose of all those items which the House had before it. There was hardly any time for anybody to say anything because the divisions went from the one division to the next.
If the hon member for Paarl thinks one can discuss this Bill within one minute, I want to tell him that there is only one thing as far as I know which a man can discuss within one minute. Another rabbi tells this story in the Talmud. A man was asked his philosophy in life by reciting the whole of the old testament but he had only one minute in which to answer while standing on one leg. He stood up and the only thing he could say was: “Love your neighbour as yourself—the rest is commentary”. Well, that is the only thing one can discuss within one minute. For that hon member to make this accusation at this stage, I think is disgraceful.
The hon member for Amanzimtoti dealt with Constitutions. Even the first Constitution of the Union of South Africa took two years before it was passed. They discussed the Constitution of the United States for at least one year and then it had to be ratified by all the states, which took at least another two years. We went through more than half of the Constitution Act, 1983, in one hour and 34 minutes.
I regret that the hon the Minister of Finance is not present because he should have heard the speech made by the hon member for Yeoville this morning. I think the speech of the hon member for Yeoville stands as an example of constructive criticism. I want to return again to what the hon member for Welkom said. He seems to think that when we on this side of the House criticize, we are only being destructive. It is completely wrong for him to believe that because our criticism is constructive. We are not like the CP who repeat the same story over and over again. Government members fall for that time and time again by entering into a political debate with the CP whenever that happens . I am also amazed at the complete disregard shown by Government speakers towards what should happen to public money. It was very sad to hear the kind of speeches made by speakers on that side. If the business people of South Africa had been in this House to hear the trash that was spoken—and I will analyse some of those speeches—which had nothing whatsoever to do with the Bill, they would have been surprised at the low standard of the debate.
What is the purpose of the Bill? It is to go into the question of collecting money or revenue, how the money is divided or the appropriations, how the money is spent or expenditure and how it is controlled, which is what the Auditor-General does. That is why we have a Select Committee on Public Accounts, namely to keep an eye on all these activities. Let us examine how much of what was said was devoted to these subjects.
The hon the Deputy Minister was vague and his speech was rather empty. The hon member for Paarl was brief, but what he said had very little to do with the Bill. The hon member for Hercules also said little. The hon member for Heilbron spoke about the Coloured homeland, the Potgietersrus by-election, the political and social aims of population groups, the chaos created by the CP, inflation, advertising, the influence of population groups on this House and nothing at all about the Bill before the House. I believe that the question of irrelevance should really be kept in mind in future.
Let me deal with the hon member for Welkom. He said that this Bill was the logical outcome of the Constitution. It is one of the possible solutions but it might not be the correct solution. That is the basic difference. That is where the fault of the whole argument of the hon member for Welkom lies. He says that if one criticizes the Government one must be against the Government. When the hon member for Yeoville spoke he was speaking for the country and saying what should happen as far as South Africa is concerned. He was not only speaking on behalf of the Opposition and what he thought should happen to the finances. If the hon member for Welkom thinks that criticism can only be destructive, he does not understand the basis of debate. He tried to discuss the question of fragmentation and to compare it with the provincial system. However, he made one very big mistake. He tried to compare this system with the provincial system, but he does not realize that the provincial council is below this House. As far as the three Houses of Parliament are concerned, they are separate but supposed to be equal. That is the basic difference.
What is the difference?
Oh, there is a big difference, because in the one case you can tell them how much money they are going to get and they cannot come and ask for more; they have no place in the discussion. However, once there are three Houses in one Parliament, when it comes to appropriations they will have a say in those appropriations. A provincial council has no say whatsoever. It has just got to take what it gets. The Minister of Finance consults the Administrators once a year and he can then tell them: “I am very sorry, but I only have so much to give you and that is what you are going to get”. It is only a question of “take it or leave it”: They always take it. Therefore, I think that the hon member for Welkom’s arguments in that respect are very weak.
The hon member for Welkom said that there are great benefits in this system. There will be four groups who will be in a position to devide according to their wishes. However, who is going to do the original division? How is that going to be done? The hon member Prof Olivier a short while ago in a previous debate showed that, according to a judgment in the United States of America, there is really no such thing as separate and equal. Therefore there are problems despite what the hon member thinks is right in this particular case. It is going to be much more difficult to operate this system than he believes. I believe that what the hon member for Yeoville has put forward would be the only system that could operate in the interim. If something better is then devised at a later stage, it can in turn be brought in. However, to plunge into this system now will lead to chaos. I can promise hon members that.
I do not know why this Government never learns from the mistakes of others. The mistakes I want to deal with are those that were perpetrated in South West Africa. On 11 February 1983 I put a question to the hon the Minister of Finance dealing with the financial control exercised by his department over South West Africa. I will just read the last part of his answer (Questions, 11 February 1983, col 89):
That proclamation puts into effect this Exchequer and Audit Act in South West Africa, with certain minor changes. So, really, South West Africa operates under this exchequer and audit system, and South West Africa is a microcosm of what could happen in South Africa.
In 1980 the Administrator-General passed a proclamation, AG 8, in which he created what he called second-tier government. I should like to deal with that. I have with me a budget speech made in South West Africa in 1982 or 1983 and this is what was said there—it almost sounds like what could be said in this House in the near future:
The speaker goes further:
He goes on to deal with another change and then says:
This proclamation was, as far as I know, issued by the Administrator-General without consulting the officials who actually have to do the job in South West Africa. Everything seemed logical. The hon member for Welkom said this afternoon that they should be given the money and they will then have the responsibility and know what to do. It was a political decision in which the financial consequences were never considered. The fact of the matter is that none of the persons concerned to whom the money was given, had the sophisticated and educated staff to control the funds allotted to them.
One must understand that the system of budgeting and control which we have developed in this House is as a result of hundreds of years accounting experience in Government. It is not something which has been devised in the past few years. Those of us who come to this House do not have the opportunity to deal with large sums of money immediately because there are a large number of people here who had a tremendous amount of experience in this regard before we came to this House.
However, there are certain systems which unfortunately do not work and the system in South West Africa did not work. The powers which were given to second-tier ethnic governments were no different from the powers which have been given according to Schedule 1 of the Constitution. General affairs are left with the central government, and own affairs, namely education, health, social services and administrative services are allocated to the second-tier government. The amount of money might not have been great in our terms. In the financial year 1982-83 the sum of R153 million was distributed to them. However, sooner than expected financial tragedy overtook the South West African Administration. On 15 November 1982 the Administrator-General issued proclamation AG 163, announcing the appointment of a commission of inquiry into alleged irregularities and the misapplication of property in these government. I want to refer to some of the aspects to which this proclamation refers, and I quote:
It states further:
It then deals with misappropriation and misapplication of State and public moneys, the existing methods of and institutions for control over the spending of State and public moneys and the application of Government property in South West Africa and the adequacy thereof to ensure proper and efficient control over the spending of such moneys and application.
I have some cuttings here which I have collected over the past year from various newspapers dealing with the Thirion Commission. I want to read some of the remarks made in this regard:
Let us be absolutely certain that if we have one control, one Minister of Finance, one Treasury and one Select Committee on Public Accounts, we can exercise full and proper control over all our affairs. The moment one starts trying to fragment them one cannot keep proper control.
I have with me all the reports of the various authorities. In one of them, for instance, there was unauthorized expenditure, and the Administrator-General refused to pass an additional appropriation because it was so bad. Even to this day, to the best of my knowledge, it has not been passed. I wonder what is going to happen in this House if there is going to be overspending by any one of the three Houses.
Are you for or against Resolution 435? [Interjections.]
That has nothing to do with this legislation. It has to do with the independence of South West Africa.
I was a member of a parliamentary team that visited South West Africa recently. The team consisted of six Nationalists and myself, and in the end we all agreed that they should have had only one system of appropriation in South West Africa namely the one we have suggested. I think it would be better if the Bill were withdrawn and a completely new Bill introduced, as was recommended by the hon member for Yeoville.
Mr Speaker, I think I have now probably listened to everything today. I must say, in all honesty, that when the hon member for Yeoville kicked off this morning, it sounded to me as if he had had a look at the Bill. He and I both serve on the same Select Committee on Public Accounts, and we are therefore probably expected to know at least something about these matters. When he started off by confessing, however, that he had not had a look at the Bill before half past eleven last night, it was very clear that he had probably gone to a great deal of trouble. Sir, at half-past eleven in the evening most of us are doing something other than looking at legislation—that is, if we are awake! The hon member put me in mind this morning of a Biblical story about Paul once delivering a speech, which he prolonged until midnight. There was a man who very badly wanted to listen to him—his name was Etigus—and he took a seat on the window-sill. When Paul’s speech went on for so long, however, Etigus toppled through the window and fell to his death. [Interjections.] Sir, if the hon member for Bezuidenhout had spoken a few minutes longer, and you had allowed him to do so, all of us would probably have been asleep.
The hon member for Bezuidenhout accuses the Government of not allowing the Opposition to furnish constructive criticism. Surely that is not true. Surely he is embracing an untruth when he says that. We have, have we not, given the official Opposition and the other two parties every opportunity —for days on end—to speak about the constitutional proposals? They did, after all, join in the boycott? Did the hon Chief Whip of the CP and the hon Chief Whip of the PFP not join in the boycott? They forced us, did they not, to use the guillotine each time.
Koos, you do not know what is in the legislation. That is why you are talking about other things.
I am coming to the legislation in a moment. I shall be telling the hon member for Kuruman exactly what is in the legislation. That is a promise. When that hon member walks out here today, he will know exactly what is in the legislation. [Interjections.] It will not, however, be what the hon member Mr Theunissen said. The hon member Mr Theunissen questions the new system, wanting to know, amongst other things, what it is going to cost and whether we can, in fact, afford it. Surely there is not a single political party in South Africa that wants to maintain the status quo. The hon member Mr Theunissen must now tell me whether they want to maintain the status quo. [Interjections.] Of course not! The CP wants to introduce a new system in which the Coloureds and the Asians would each have their own land. The hon member should do himself a favour and listen to me, because the truth of the matter is that the CP wants a new set-up. They are not in favour of the present set-up, nor do they support the set-up that the NP advocates in the new dispensation. The PFP does not want to maintain the status quo either; they want a system of one man, one vote. [Interjections.]
Tell us what is in the Bill.
I have half an hour at my disposal, and I shall be devoting the last 10 minutes to that hon member.
The PFP should learn a lesson from Ciskei, however, because their set-up is that of a one man, one vote majority government.
The hon member for Bezuidenhout must be patient; I am going to deal with him right now. The hon member for Bezuidenhout gave the Coloured and Indian voters a slap in the face. [Interjections.] He gave the Coloured and Asian leadership corps a slap in the face; he offended them. The hon member’s concluding words left me with the impression that he was afraid that the Coloured and the Indian Houses would start stealing as soon as any confidence were placed in them.
No! The hon member is distorting my words.
The hon member said, by implication, that one could not trust those people.
I did not say that.
The hon member said we should have one Ministry of Finance “to look after your own affairs”. We, however, say something else. The hon member for Bezuidenhout may be the oldest member in the House, but he should not presume to insult the Coloureds and the Indians in that way. [Interjections.] That hon member’s colleagues ought to stand up and apologize on behalf of that hon member and their party.
Mr Speaker, we would be quite happy to see an Indian as Minister of Finance. Would that member also be happy to see the same thing?
Both our policy and the Constitution are clear on that matter. Why do hon members not familiarize themselves with the Constitution? The hon member for Bezuidenhout, however, would not be in favour of an Indian as Minister of Finance, because he does not trust the Indians. He said today that one could not trust them at all. Now an hon back-bencher comes along and stumbles headlong into the same trap. [Interjections.]
I now want to accommodate the hon member for Kuruman, however, because I promised him I was going to talk about the content of the Bill. What are we aiming at with this legislation? The hon member for North Rand is a senior front-bencher and will probably remember that in the ’seventies we had three accounts, among others the South West Africa Account and the South African Revenue Account, but how many hon members remember that we also had a third account? At one stage Dr Verwoerd said that the Black people should pay for their own education, and introduced a Bantu Education Account. This account, however, only remained in existence for eight or nine years. Then it was phased out. The hon member for Bezuidenhout is right. In 1980 we transferred the SWA Account to South West Africa—their revenue and their expenditure accounts. All we are now doing is subsidizing them to the tune of approximately R700 million per year. For the rest, they handle those accounts. We do, in fact, have five accounts at present. There are the four provincial accounts and the Central Revenue Account. The hon member for North Rand will concede that I am right when I say that there was a stage when, on receiving our income tax assessment forms, one portion was for provincial taxation and the other for central Government taxation. That is true. So what we are speaking of now is nothing new. If we can properly succeed in rationalizing the system by means of this legislation, we shall be having a central account for the State Revenue Fund and three own accounts. That could even work better than the five accounts we are handling at the moment.
May I please put a question?
I want to complete my argument. The hon member Mr Theunissen said that everyone would now have to go hat in hand to the Minister of Finance. What is so strange about that? Let me refer the hon member Mr Theunissen to section 84(a) of the Constitution.
He has never read it.
Let me tell both him and the hon member for Kuruman what it contains. It provides for a formula. We must determine a formula in terms of which moneys are allotted to the various Houses. Nor is that anything new, is it? The hon member for Bezuidenhout did, in fact, acknowledge that this is what happens in the case of the provinces at the moment. Section 84(b) further provides that after this allocation is made, the specific House can again approach this higher-ranking Minister to request more money for a specific project.
And if he does not have it?
Well, if there is no money, there is no money. He cannot simply have the money printed. That is the stupidest question I have yet heard. [Interjections.] Must he instruct the Reserve Bank to have more money printed? That is a stupid question.
Section 84(c) is also important, because it provides for a special allocation to be made, over a certain period, for special projects, for example the building of a university. I hope the hon member for Kuruman is listening now, because he asked me to come back to the Bill. That is what I am now doing. So what are we providing for in this Bill? Not something that is suddenly, out of nowhere, being embodied in legislation. It is basically something that has been tried and tested over the years by a process of evolution. It is nothing new; we are merely presenting it in a slightly different guise. We are giving it a new suit of clothes. This higher-ranking umbrella Minister of Finance gives the lower-ranking Minister—the member of the Minister’s Council—an overall package for distribution amongst his own people: So much for housing, so much for environmental development—of which the hon member for Kuruman knows a great deal—so much for the combating of pollution—I know the hon member is greatly interested in that—and so much for education, etc. If there are certain spheres in which he wants to spend more, he can always approach the higher-ranking Minister once more.
I also want to refer to this question of overspending that is being rubbed in so insistently by hon members of the PFP. Today the hon the Minister of Finance himself has the right to tell a local authority: You may not borrow any more money than that. Now I want to tell the hon member for Kuruman that this own chamber of commerce is going to be empowered to lend money, but it will not be empowered to borrow money. That is very important. It has no borrowing powers, but it does have lending powers. It can, for example, lend money to a university, because thereby it would be generating revenue. It cannot, however, issue stock for that purpose. That must be done by the umbrella Minister.
There is just one other matter I want to dwell on for a moment. The auditing of any State’s financial affairs is an important matter. In the new dispensation, therefore, the Auditor-General will be able to submit four audit statements. In regard to the overall national economy he will be able to submit an audited statement, and in regard to each individual Chamber he will also be able to submit an audited statement. The composition of the Select Committee on Public Accounts has not yet been determined, but I can envisage each of the three Chambers having its own small committee, with a general select committee being constituted from the three Chambers, each of the various parties being afforded proportional representation, as before. That is nothing new either, but then we would be able to have maximum control.
The hon member for Bezuidenhout did not read the legislation. Someone drew up something for him, which he then made a bad job of presenting. The general Department of Finance is going to issue the instruction and the specific Ministries, or members of the Ministers’ Council, are going to implement it. That is how simple it is. Why does the hon member for Bezuidenhout nearly go off his rocker saying that we should have one central system of control? That is exactly what is contained in the legislation. I was a bit worried about this legislation, but when the hon member for Paarl gave a definition of an economist this morning, I got a fright. I wondered where this stood in the Bill. I wanted to go and reread that definition. When the hon member for Bezuidenhout, however, came along with the “long and a short road” and the “short and a long road”, I understood why the hon member for Paarl gave the reply he did before he spoke. Those two definitions are equally old. I just want to submit, for the hon member for Bezuidenhout’s consideration: I think he should stay off the roads, because it seems to me he is forever taking the wrong road.
I want to suggest that we give this legislation an opportunity to be used as an instrument, as a vehicle, to get the new constitution going. If we then have to amend it, we shall do so, but then we must be able to do so constructively. We must not shoot it down beforehand, however, before we have given it an opportunity to work in practice.
Mr Speaker, I should like to convey my sincere thanks to the hon members who have participated in this discussion. I should like to begin with the hon member for Roodeplaat, who has just resumed his seat, and who dealt with the insults and paternalism in the speech made by the hon member for Bezuidenhout. Why did the hon member for Bezuidenhout read reports from South West Africa in this House? He did it for one reason only, and I shall have more to say about this presently. He did it only in order to belittle those people in a paternalistic way.
I sincerely thank the hon member for Roodeplaat. He referred in a meaningful way to the interaction between the Constitution and this legislation. One has to study the Constitution before being able to understand this Bill. In the second place, one has to study the Exchequer and Audit Act as it reads at the moment in order to understand this Bill. It was clear to me from his speech that the hon member had done both.
The hon member also referred to a further important point which has not been properly emphasized in this debate, I believe. He referred to the most important watchdog of all in our public finances when he discussed the role played by the Auditor-General.
I think the hon member for Yeoville dealt quite superficially with all these matters in his speech, because if he had acquainted himself in advance with the important role which the Auditor-General will continue to play in the finances of the future Parliament, just as in the past, it would certainly not have been necessary for him to express as much concern as he did.
†The hon member for Yeoville referred to the fact that sufficient time was not allowed. I admit that that is the case, but the officials were at his and other hon members’ disposal, and he also referred to that. In addition to that, I made copies of my introductory speech available to hon members. I think that the hon member must in all fairness admit that this is not a very involved piece of legislation. [Interjections.]
*In fact, I think the legislation which is before the House is actually very simple. One does not even have to study the existing Exchequer and Audit Act separately, for when one examines the Bill, this in itself gives one a very good insight into the whole matter.
It is very easy to talk when one has all the officials behind one.
The hon member made the sweeping statement that we were fragmenting the control. This sounds like a very serious allegation, but the hon member did not substantiate that argument.
Many of the hon members who participated in the debate referred to our existing provincial system. Let us go a little beyond that. Could the hon member also tell us how many local authorities there are? One does not even have to stop at the provinces. How many local authorities are there? There are hundreds that could fragment financial control even further. Just give me a chance. The hon member should rather have counted the local authorities last night, for then he would have realized that he does not have such an enormous problem. All those local authorities also have their own accountants and their own auditors.
There are thousands of companies in the country.
We are talking about public finances now and the hon member refers to it in a derogatory way as being fragmented. I just want to tell him what the present system is. He said that the present system was working very well. This new system is based on exactly the same principle. The hon member moved an amendment in which he advanced reasons for opposing the Bill. By the way, I want to express my surprise at his amendment. It surprises me that the hon member for Yeoville should oppose the Bill in principle on behalf of his party. It surprises me that the hon member should want to describe his approach to such a clear Bill as this one as “constructive engagement”.
No. The hon member’s leader said after the result of the referendum had become known—I do not know whether they spoke to each other then—that the PFP would participate in the new dispensation in a constructive way. But what is happening now? The hon member has two feeble arguments on the basis of which he says that this important piece of legislation should be rejected by this House. In the first place, he says that there is no central Treasury control. That is the biggest lot of nonsense. The central Treasury exercises control over all credits, which are a prerequisite for spending. Not a single sum of money can be spent unless a proper credit has been issued in respect of it. Section 9 of the Exchequer and Audit Act, in which this provision is contained, is not being amended at all in that respect. The hon member also talked about unauthorized expenditure. Unauthorized expenditure in connection with this Bill is subject to exactly the same discipline as that which exists at the moment in terms of the present Act. The hon member asked what would happen when irregularities took place. Then he thought that he had got hold of a major point and he asked whether it was to be an own affair or a general affair. It is not such a complicated matter. If the relevant House is able to make good that irregularity from its own funds, it is an own affair. If that irregularity has to be handled by the central fund, it is a general affair. After all, proper control is exercised over all this money. In terms of section 84B, there are certain additional appropriations that can be made. Although the legislation does not say so, I can imagine—this is simply a good argument—that the central Minister of Finance would certainly say to the House which had drafted that budget: “You have spent certain amounts in an irregular way, which affects the financial means and the financial position of the other Houses as well, and consequently I am taking this into consideration in allocating these additional amounts.”
As far as separate treasuries are concerned , I want to say that of course each House will have its own treasury. Each of the three Houses will have a treasury, and those treasuries will also perform important functions. All requests for credit made by the own departments to the central treasury will be channelled through the separate treasuries. Furthermore, the separate treasuries will have a very important function in the preparation of the budgets of their respective Houses. The bookkeeping of the respective departments of the Houses will actually have to be done by their own treasuries, and those treasuries will be accountable to their own Ministers of Finance at all times for the expenditure by those Houses during any period. If there are mala fides, if any illegal acts are committed, of course, the situation will have to be dealt with just as it is dealt with today. Under this system, unfortunately, all one can do to prevent an irregularity from taking place is to adopt legislation and other measures. The same applies today, after all.
This was one of the reasons why the hon member said that this Bill should be opposed in principle. However, the hon member advanced another argument which was equally unconvincing. He said that this Parliament was being deprived of its powers to budget. On what grounds did he make that statement?
On the grounds of the wording of the Bill.
Yes, on the grounds of the clause, which deals with the interim period from the date on which the new dispensation commences until the next budget; for those few months, therefore.
A few months …
Yes, it is a few months. After all, Parliament budgeted and appropriated quite clearly at the beginning of the financial year. So it is not a carte blanche that is being given. The relevant amount is laid down in black and white, after all.
Suppose we have to introduce a further budget when the new dispensation comes into operation on 3 September. Now I want to ask the hon member: How is a department with a Minister and officials who are appointed at that stage to conjure up a budget out of the blue?
Have you ever heard of a part appropriation. [Interjections.]
What does it matter? A group of people who have not had any time to prepare for this would then have to draw up a budget overnight. The hon member has not told us whether or not he supports the dispensation.
He did vote “yes”, though.
No, he did not say that. In spite of the constructive contribution which his leader promised, the hon member wants to place obstacles in our way and he wants us to get off to a difficult start. If it is a very difficult start, he will allege that he also said “no”. [Interjections.]
The transition is dealt with at length in clause 2. [Interjections.] The hon member must listen now, because I am explaining the position to him. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for Yeoville must give the hon the Deputy Minister a chance to continue with his speech.
The hon member for Yeoville should not make any predictions now, because he is not the clairvoyant in this situation. I have already said what I stand for and the hon member must also state its standpoint now, so that we may judge his actions in the light of his statements. [Interjections.] I find the hon member’s attitude wrong. We must be calm now and we must discuss the Bill itself.
Any transition from general affairs to own affairs should be seen in the light of the provisions of section 26 of the Constitution Act which provides that the State President decides when a general affair becomes an own affair. It may be true that few general affairs will become own affairs on 3 September. If the budgeting has been done properly and if it is possible to ascertain properly what part has not yet been spent, and the State President decides that a general affair should become an own affair, then there is no obstacle which could prevent the dispensation from functioning easily and smoothly.
This Bill deals only with matters reflected the central Treasury. It has no bearing on matters falling outside the sphere of the central Treasury, ie provincial matters.
The hon member also referred to the question of the four committees. Actually, this matter is not addressed by this Bill, but as the hon member knows, it will be addressed by the Standing Orders.
Finally, before concluding my remarks about the hon member’s statements, I want to refer to clauses 4 and 5, dealing with sections 8 and 9 of the Act. Section 8 of the principal Act deals with the suspension by the Treasury. If the hon member examines the legislation, he will see that it deals with all four treasuries. Clause 5, which refers to section 9, deals with the restriction of the granting of credits to the Paymaster-General. Control over the Paymaster-General is given only to the central Treasury. That is why this particular provision had to be removed from section 8 and inserted into section 9. If it had been left in section 8, all four treasuries would have had a claim to it, something which cannot really be allowed. One cannot give four people control over such a matter.
The hon member for Paarl also referred to the question of control. He also referred to the present situation of the provinces. He has had a great deal of experience of this, because he was a prominent member of the relevant select committee of the Cape Provincial Council, and he is also serving on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Accounts at the moment. He is able to speak on this matter with considerable authority, therefore. He also referred to the simple way in which the entire new dispensation could be integrated into the situation which we have at the moment. This says a great deal for the Treasury which handled this legislation, and also for those who drafted it. I should like to thank them for this.
The hon member Mr Theunissen began by singing the praises of the hon member for Yeoville, the reason being, of course, that the hon member for Yeoville had also rejected the legislation. [Interjections.] They are bedfellows, but for completely different reasons. The hon member quoted from my speech for the most part. However, the hon member could at least have followed the example of the hon member for Yeoville by thanking me for having given him a copy of my speech in advance.
I forgot; I thank you now.
He tried to indicate all the people who could be Ministers of Finance in the new dispensation, and to make political capital out of it. After all, he supported us in approving the three Parliaments. Surely this principle to which we are giving effect here was a principle even at that stage.
That was before you accepted power-sharing.
That has nothing to do with it. He accepted the same principle to which we are giving effect here. Now he is sitting over there, and his views have changed completely. He is no longer with us. [Interjections.] If he wants to know where the funds come from, he has only to go and read section 84 and Schedule 1 of the Constitution. Like the other members of his party, he does not read the Acts first, because they know in advance that all they have to say is “no”. [Interjections.]
He also tried to indicate, by way of division, what an insignificant contribution the Coloured and Black people made to the revenue of the country. I should like to ask him: How does he divide sales tax? Five years’ sales tax has already been collected. How does he divide that? No, Sir, the hon member is talking through his hat. How does one divide customs duty? How does one divide excise duty? How does one divide company tax? How does one divide ad valorem tax? How does one divide the income from motor vehicle licences? The hon member was trying to smear those people in this House, just as the hon member for Bezuidenhout did, and then he has the temerity to talk about attitudes! He also quoted from a statement made by a Volkskas economist, and ended up by saying that productivity should be increased. Who has ever spent more money on increasing productivity in this country than this very Government? Who has spent more on education in this country than this very Government? [Interjections.]
†The hon member for Amanzimtoti quite correctly referred to the division of the, financial cake of South Africa.
Who has made a bigger mess of the finances of this country than this Government?
The hon member for Bryanston, who is shouting over there, is not an auctioneer, after all. Surely he could have participated in the debate.
†I agree with the hon member for Amanzimtoti that greater attention must and will be given to the question of priorities in the new dispensation. I can assure the hon member that a specific Bill will be introduced—to which he also referred—dealing with the State President’s Priorities Committee which will cover all the aspects he mentioned. All interested parties will be represented on that committee. A Bill in regard to the finances of the Houses which will take this principle even further, will also be presented to Parliament. I thank the hon member for his support. He and his party approached the referendum positively. They reacted and took part in a positive way. The Bill before us today is a consequence of the referendum. The hon member also revealed a positive spirit in this debate, for which I thank him.
*The hon member for Heilbron referred to the fact that the country’s administration involved several facets, including those of the economy as a whole, specific financial facets and especially the social problems of this country, and all these things have to be addressed. He also referred to the nonsensical statements made by the hon member Mr Theunissen, who spoke about the distribution of contributions to the Treasury. It is quite true, as the hon member said, that the expansion of South Africa’s markets is based on the expansion of markets among the non-Whites. [Interjections.] Once again, however, Mr Theunissen’s conduct proves only one thing, and that is the shortsightedness of that hon member and his party trying to gain a small and momentary political advantage. The hon member rightly said that all development took place systematically over the years. This is true, and the legislation which is now before us will have to be amended, of course; we know that in advance. I should like to compare this process which we have set in motion, and which will be felt in the economic sphere as well, with a soldier or any person walking along with a compass in his hand. That instrument ensures that its bearer will arrive at the right destination, although it cannot show him the obstacles he will encounter on his way. He has to overcome those obstacles by using his common sense when he gets to them. That is exactly what we are doing now and what we shall do in future.
I also want to thank the hon member for Welkom for his contribution. The hon member has had long experience of public service. He was MEC in the Free State charged with education and he has also had considerable experience of local government. The hon member was able to speak with authority about the allegation of fragmentation, therefore. I think the hon member touched on an important point when he said that in, future, the other groups would also be able to share the responsibility with the Whites when it came to the division of our financial means. It is simply a fact that when one has co-responsibility—this is the word which characterizes our entire dispensation—then it is important and one does find that people approach matters with greater responsibility.
†The hon member for Bezuidenhout told us the story about the rabbi and the two roads. I agree with the hon member that it is important to know which of the two roads to take. However, what is far more important is the way in which one treats one’s fellow-travellers on that road and what one’s attitude is towards the other users of that road.
*I am saying, Sir, that the NP decided on this particular road which we have taken. We have not taken this road because we say that it is free of obstacles, because many of those obstacles are being placed there deliberately by our political opponents. I am saying that we have decided to take this road and that we are taking this road not because we say that it is not a difficult road or that it is not a dangerous road, but because we are absolutely convinced of the fact that the other roads which we could have taken are much more difficult and dangerous still.
The hon member for Bezuidenhout developed a whole argument there about South West Africa. He said that what was going to happen in this Parliament now was comparable with what was happening in South West Africa. Where does that hon member see any representatives of South West Africa sitting in this House? South West Africa is controlled by its own authorities, as the hon member for Roodeplaat in fact pointed out. Absolutely nothing will be solved by saying in advance to the population groups in South Africa which we now wish to involve in this dispensation that we have no confidence in their ability to act responsibly in this connection.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Is an hon member allowed to sit in this House without a tie?
Mr Speaker, on a further point of order: I just want to say in mitigation that this is the tie of the University of the Orange Free State.
Order! The hon member must not put on his tie in this House. He must do it elsewhere.
Finally, I should also like to refer to the hon member for Hercules. In brief, he said that this amending Bill regulated the financial administration of this country. The hon member also made special reference to the attitude with which things should be done. We can write as many constitutions as we like and we can incorporate as many control measures into them as we like, but if we do not adopt the right attitude in doing these things, and if every person does not take it upon himself to do so, we shall have no chance of succeeding, because it is a fact that even something which is right can lead to enmity if it is implemented with the wrong attitude. This dispensation, as well as the legislation which we are considering here today—the legislation is a consequence of that dispensation—creates the channels along which we can find one another if we adopt the right attitude.
Question put: That all the words after “That” stand part of the Question,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—68: Alant, T G; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Clase, P J; Coetzer, H S; Cunningham, J H; De Jager, A M v A; Delport, W H; De Pontes, P; Durr, K D S; Du Toit, J P; Fick, L H; Geldenhuys, A; Heine, W J; Heyns, J H; Kleynhans, J W; Kotzé, G J; Kotzé, S F; Landman, W J; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, M H; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, P G; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Page, B W B; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Raw, W V; Rogers, PRC; Schutte, DPA; Scott, D B; Streicher, D M; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Thompson, A G; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mosselbay); Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Wyk, J A; Vermeulen, J A J; Volker, V A; Watterson, D W; Weeber, A; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E.
Tellers: W T Kritzinger, J J Niemann, N J Pretorius, A van Breda, L van der Watt and H M Veldman.
Noes—23: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Boraine, A L; Burrows, R M; Cronjé, P C; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Goodall, B B; Hulley, R R; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Savage, A; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Slabbert, F v Z; Soal, P G; Tarr, M A; Van der Merwe, S S; Van Rensburg, HEJ.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and A B Widman.
Question affirmed and amendment dropped.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
This university is situated in my neighbouring constituency of Bloemfontein West, and because the hon member for Bloemfontein West is the Minister of Justice and a Minister may not introduce private Bills, I have been asked to deal with this Bill.
I should like to thank the hon the Leader of the House, the Government Chief Whip, the Chief Whip of the Opposition and the hon members for Kuruman and Umhlanga, the Whips of the CP and the NRP, respectively, for having consented to this Bill being introduced at such short notice.
I shall be permitted, according to tradition, to say a few words in the limited time at my disposal about the university itself. Those of us who come from Bloemfontein and the Free State are, I must say at once, modest people. [Interjections.] We do not have a lot to say about ourselves, and we are not conceited. I should therefore like to call in a witness. This witness is a sportsman. I would say a great deal about sport, but I should like to quote something else in connection with this person. In the 1980 British rugby touring team, Billy Beaumont was one of their best players. He and his wife had been to South Africa before on a ten week visit. In the Sarie Marais of 14 May 1980 an interview with this couple was published. They spoke about their visits to South Africa, and to my regret I now have to refer to Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Pretoria as well. This rugby player’s wife, Hilary, said, inter alia, the following:
We hear these complaints about the cold everyday, and she could not really understand it, because to her the weather was lovely. Her reaction to Stellenbosch was as follows:
I now want to read very slowly:
About Pretoria they said:
The Grey University College was established on 28 January, 1904, in Bloemfontein, 80 years ago. On 18 March 1950, the University of the Orange Free State acquired independent status. The university has a rich history, and I would be doing this House an injustice if I did not go into this history briefly. The legislation to grant autonomy to the university was introduced in 1949. I should like to refer to a few speeches made during that debate. The first speech I wish to quote from is that of the member who represented the Bloemfontein City constituency at the time—at present it forms part of my constituency—namely Dr C F Steyn. I am quoting from Hansard, volume 66, col 1780 of 25 February 1949, as follows:
He then concluded with these words:
I should now like to quote what the then Minister of Education, Dr Stals, had to say.
Mr Speaker, may I put a question to the hon member?
I shall give the hon member a chance to put a question to me at the end of my speech. [Interjections.] I am quoting Dr Stals. (Hansard, 25 February 1949, column 1784):
Also present in the House at the time was one of his former students, who subsequently became State President, namely Dr Diederichs, and he said (column 1785):
It is also very interesting to quote what the well-known linguist, Mr Dirk Mostert, the hon member for Witbank at the time, had to say (column 1785):
Another speaker who supported the Bill that day, was Mr Sam Kahn, the member for Western Cape. [Interjections.] He said (column 1786):
That is as far as I want to go, Sir. [Interjections.]
At present the Free State University has more than 100 departments in nine faculties; Economic and Administrative Sciences, Medicine, Agriculture, Literature and Philosophy, Natural Sciences, Education, Law, Social Sciences and Theology. Medicine, since 1970, and Theology, since 1981, are the two latest faculties. The student numbers have increased as follows: In 1907 there were a mere 29 students; in 1920, 138 students; in 1940, 474 students; in 1960, 2 028 students; in 1970, 4 090 students and in 1984, 8 356 students. The UOFS has a staff of more than 1 500, of which 626 are employed in an academic capacity. This gives a teacher-student ratio of 1:13,4.
It is interesting to note the regions which students of the university come from. Fifty-five per cent of the students are from the Free State; 21,9% from the Cape; 12,8% from the Transvaal; 5,3% from Natal; and 1,3% from South West Africa.
There are altogether 21 hostels at the university which accommodate 2 847 students on the campus, while the remainder take care of their own accommodation.
With its stylish buildings, graceful lawns and beautiful campus with its abundance of trees, the UOFS is one of the proudest possessions of Bloemfontein, the Free State and of South Africa. The university is one of the few universities in the world which can boast that everything, from the student church, the medical faculty with a hospital, to its sports grounds covering 65 ha is situated on one undivided campus. In this connection I want to point out that the geographic unity of the campus plays a tremendously important role in being a student in Kovsieland.
The alumni publication of the university, which is known as Die Bult, is one of the best alumni publications in South Africa. In the December edition of 1983, one of the students tried to express something of the character to which I have referred. She wrote:
As academie, cultural and sporting centre, the UOFS is the focal point of development in the Free State, and its sphere of influence is expanding every year. Its favourable situation in the heart of the Free State and South Africa is one of the reasons why the university attracts students from all over the country … [Interjections]
Order! The hon member for Bryanston must please stop making interjections now.
The UOFS concentrates on academic excellence in tuition as well as research. In addition to this it gives particular attention to the entire development of its students, in which culture, sport and recreation are also important components. The Free State university is not only good at rugby, but also at the arts. In the March 1984 edition of Die Bult it was written:
One of the most modern libraries in the country, and a theatre complex comparable with the best, were recently inaugurated. In addition, micro-equipment to the value of approximately RO,5 million was installed in the Geology Department this month. That department recently received international recognition for its discovery of a new mineral in the North-western Cape.
The UOFS has some of the best sporting facilities in the country, as well as specialist coaches of national calibre, and that is why sport flourishes on the campus. The approach to sport is strictly scientific and coaching is supported by research inter alia into techniques and sport medicine.
The NP is exploiting the University of the Orange Free State.
As is apparent from the preamble to the Bill, we are dealing here with four provisions. In clause 1 provision is being made for the Vice-Rectors to be members of the university council. Furthermore it is being provided that the university Council itself may appoint persons to the council. The university finds that in the composition of the council a need exists for expertise from specific sectors.
Since increasingly heavy demands are being made on the available financial resources of universities, the university should inter alia like to see more persons with financial expertise being appointed to the council. With the necessary funds it will be possible for research institutes, inter alia, to come into existence.
Louis, you are too afraid of your caucus.
Order! I also want to request the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North to make no further interjections now. The hon member for Bloemfontein East may proceed.
Sir, may I please have an explanation of your ruling?
I made that ruling because the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North persists in making interjections that are quite irrelevant here. The hon member for Bloemfontein East may proceed.
Sir, I should like to give you examples of the two new centres that were recently established. The first is the Centre for Natural Science Education. I should like to quote from this publication:
According to the head of the centre, a certain Barend Wessels, the objectives of this splendid new centre are the promotion of the teaching of natural science subjects, the training of student teachers and the in-service training of teachers in co-operation with the Free State Education Department and other education departments. The research done by the staff of the centre and postgraduate students will be related to the teaching of the aforementioned subjects. The expertise and facilities which exist in the centre will also in general be placed at the disposal of the teaching community.
A second centre is the new Luyt Centre which was opened at the University of the Orange Free State yesterday evening. This institution, a centre for business law in the Law Faculty of the University of the Orange Free State, was named after the industrialist Dr Louis Luyt. It will be run by the Commercial Law Department at the UOFS and for this purpose two additional posts for senior lecturers in this department will be created. The establishment of the centre is aimed at research and teaching linked to community service. In Bloemfontein and the surrounding areas a great need for training and information in this sphere already exists, and with the increasing industrial development there, this need is going to grow. The centre is going to afford an important means of interaction between the academic and the practical, which is going to be of substantial importance to both sectors.
Another example is the Institute for Contemporary History, Inch. Its main purpose is the collection of political documents with a view to the writing of South African political history. Today more than 700 document collections are already being preserved, including those of all the Prime Ministers and State Presidents since 1961, and those of various politicians from various political parties. A sound archive and a comprehensive newspaper cuttings service as well as a unique political pamphlet collection is at present being maintained by the institute. An extensive service is made available to politicians, researchers and scholars, and various publications have already appeared. The H F Verwoerd study room was also established, and in addition there is the Hertzog House Museum, 19 Goddard Street, where General Hertzog lived and worked from 1895 to 1924, and which was donated to the university after negotiations.
As regards clause 2, the medical faculty has conferred the BM degree since its inception, whilst at other medical faculties in South Africa the old designation MB ChB is still being used. Because the degree designation BM is not generally known, the university and students are now being empowered to alter and exchange the degree designation Baccaulareus Medicinae, BM to Medicinae Baccalaureus Chirurgiae Baccalaureus, MB ChB.
Another amendment which is being proposed is that the word “State President” be substituted for the words “Governor-general”. Every university has its unique characteristics and achievements, and the UOFS is particularly proud of its former students. One former student, C R Swart, was the last Governor General of the Union and subsequently became the first State President of the Republic. I am convinced that DV another unique and outstanding achievement will be in store for another former student of the UOFS on 5 September 1984.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Bloemfontein East presented a very good case here today, but I have probably not met anyone who could make a worse job of putting such a case. That hon member is a Government party Whip. He undertook to speak for only three minutes and was also good enough to make his speech available to us. I told his Whip that I wanted to leave for Kuruman by plane at 4 o’clock, but he came to light with long drawn-out quotations to delay us. I shall now tell the House why the hon member wanted to delay the debate. It was because his Free State leader, who must deal with the next Bill on the Order Paper, is not here. The hon member spoilt a very good case. I predict that other hon members will also still be taking part in this debate.
The Whips, however, agreed that we would not speak for too long about legislation on which we agreed, and this is indeed a Bill on which we do agree. I therefore want to see whether that agreement is going to be honoured.
The CP has pleasure in supporting this Bill, because we wish the University of the Orange Free State nothing but the best and want to create opportunities for them.
The hon member referred to the role of the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of the Orange Free State, and on behalf of our party I should like to express thanks and appreciation to that institute which grants a great deal of practical and useful assistance to members of the House of Assembly. In the light of the important work this institute is doing at the university I want to appeal to both the Government and to Parliament today to grant this institute financial and other support so that it can continue with the fine work it is doing.
The hon member also mentioned that this institution is engaged in historiography. At the end of his speech the hon member also referred to the unique achievements of former students of that university. He said that the first State President of the Republic of South Africa was an ex-student of that university. I just want to say that when Inch writes the history of the eighties, I predict here today that it will be written that the once mighty NP was led to its own defeat by a former student of that university. It will also be recorded that he was assisted by an ex-Matie, the hon Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, an ex-Puk, the hon Minister of Internal Affairs, and an excheerleader of the Tukkies, the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The CP gladly supports this Bill because we have outstanding ex-students of that university in our caucus. Here I am referring to the chairman of our caucus, the hon member for North Rand, who obtained his BA cum laude and his MA degree at that university. He was also a student leader at the University of the Orange Free State, because he was also chairman of the Student Council. At a time when students at that university were in forbidden, amongst other things, to participate in or associate themselves with the symbolic Ox-wagon Trek of 1938, when the rector of that university was Prof Sakkies Fourie, who was later a United Party MP and subsequently a member of the Progressive Party, the hon member for North Rand, who was then chairman of the Student Council, said he would not bow to the decision of that leftist rector of the university. He took a stand which almost resulted in his being suspended from the university. Those are the kinds of students of the University of the Orange Free State of whom South Africa can be proud and of whom the CP is indeed proud. Judging by hon members opposite, I am forced to say, with a touch of sadness, that my son will also be attending that university next year.
Because we know that there are people like the hon member for North Rand who attended that university, we have pleasure in supporting this legislation, and that is why I will confidently be sending my son to that university.
Mr Speaker, it is with a bad taste in the mouth that I now have to react to the speech made by the hon member for Kuruman. I hope he will do me the courtesy of remaining seated while I do so. [Interjections.] Very well then, I shall say what I wanted to say in his absence. I say it is with a bad taste in my mouth that I now have to convey my thanks to the CP for their support of this legislation. On my part, however, I want to say that I think this was the most unsavoury support for legislation I have ever experienced in this House. The hon member for Kuruman saw fit, on the one hand, to say that my colleague, the hon member for Bloemfontein East, was dealing with good legislation, but on the other hand also saw fit to make personal attacks on the hon member for Bloemfontein East. The hon member for Kuruman also went further, however, and descended to such a low level that he wanted to disparage the hon the Prime Minister as a former student of that university in a disgraceful way by saying that the history of the ’eighties would indicate that this former student of the UOFS had led this people to its downfall, or words to that effect. The worst thing of all, however, was when—and I am saying this with all due respect for the hon member for North Rand; I think the hon member for Kuruman really embarrassed the hon member for North Rand—he suddenly compared the hon member for North Rand with the hon the Prime Minister. I want to say with all due respect that we all make mistakes, and I think the greatest mistake the hon member for North Rand—who was an esteemed former student of that university—ever made was on the day he walked out of the NP and went over to the party in which he now finds himself. I shall say nothing further about that, however. I just want to say that I think the way in which the Chief Whip of the CP today pledged his support for this fine piece of legislation dealing with the UOFS was disgraceful. If anything of this contemporary history is ever recorded by Inch, it will probably be the petty way in which the Chief Whip of the CP supported this legislation. When an individual gives his support in such a way, I would go so far as to say that one does not need that kind of support.
I want to associate myself with the hon member for Bloemfontein East by saying that for me personally it is an honour and a privilege to support this specific piece of legislation, perhaps owing to the fact that my wife, my three children and I were all fortunate enough to have been former students of that university. Consequently it is with pride that I support this legislation today, and I could spend hours talking about that university, just as many other former students could do about their Alma Mater. What is interesting is that I doubt whether there is any party in this House that is worth calling a party that does not also have a former student of the UOFS in its midst. Even the CP has such a member in its midst. The former students of this university are scattered throughout the country in many differing spheres, and I think that these former students are distinguishing themselves with great honour and with great pride wherever they may find themselves. Since this legislation is now being introduced to grant certain powers to the council, and certain amendments are being effected in respect of the degrees which are being conferred and in respect of the designation of such degrees, it is a privilege for me to support this legislation.
In conclusion, I consider this university to be of such great importance that I am very proud to be able to stand here today wearing the tie of this university. It does not matter when or where one wears such a tie, it always remains a privilege. Therefore it is a pleasure for me to support this Bill.
Mr Speaker, it is a pleasure for the official Opposition to pledge our support for this legislation. The University of the Orange Free State is one of South Africa’s oldest universities and has for a very long time been rendering service to the community of South Africa in that it provides not only the students of the Orange Free State, but also students from all over the country with tertiary education.
I also want to avail myself of this opportunity to lodge a protest against the conduct of the NP in this debate. It is a tradition in this House, when we are dealing with legislation of this nature, to regard it as an agreed and not as a contentious measure. We reach an agreement in regard to the debate, and normally the Opposition parties then pledge their support for legislation of this nature. I reached a personal agreement with the hon member for Bloemfontein East and he gave me an undertaking that he would not speak for longer than three minutes. He kindly gave me a copy of his speech, a very short speech, and he said that he was going to adhere to the contents of that speech. I also gave him the undertaking that I would not speak for longer than three minutes. [Interjections.] But what happened? The NP is embarrassed because it is not able to keep the debate going. Because almost the entire Cabinet is absent, we are now sitting with only one Cabinet member in this House. This Parliament now has to operate with one Cabinet member in this House.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: If the hon member for Bryanston makes such a blatantly misleading statement as to say that there is only one hon Minister present here, he ought at least to rectify it.
There are two. I am sorry. If one counts the two halves as well, there are three.
The point I want to make is that because the NP is in an embarrassing position, this legislation, which was an agreed measure and which ought not to be contentious, was shamelessly exploited to help to extricate the NP out from that embarrassing situation. I do not think that this type of conduct does this House a service.
In the few minutes I still have at my disposal, I should also like to add that we in the PFP, I personally and some of my colleagues, have during the past few years occasionally had the privilege of visiting the University of the Orange Free State in order to ensure that the students there were also afforded an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the policy of the PFP. Our reception there has always been cordial, sincere and very friendly. Recently, too, we have made quite a good deal of progress there because there are quite a number of students at that university who are able to realize that the policy of the PFP is the right policy for South Africa.
The university, as is also the case with other institutions, is at present experiencing financial problems owing to the economic conditions in South Africa. One of the provisions in the Bill is in fact aimed at introducing measures with a view to improving the financial position of the university.
The Institute for Contemporary History houses one of the most valuable and comprehensive collections of the documents of politicians and political parties that is available in South Africa. I do not know whether all the hon members realize that Parliament is a major contributor in the financial sphere to the institute. We also make good use of the services that are provided there. Politicians who retire ought to be encouraged to donate their collection of documents to the institute, while politicians who are still active ought to be encouraged, in discharging their responsibilities, to make use of the services provided by the institute.
I should also like to mention a certain person, one of the great South Africans who studied at that university and subsequently became a lecturer, then a professor and ultimately the principal of the University of the Orange Free State. I am referring to one of the great verligte Afrikaners, Prof Sakkies Fourie, who was one of the original leaders of our party.
With this we pledge our support for this Bill, and we wish the university everything of the best in future.
Mr Speaker, to begin with, I want to congratulate the hon member for Bloemfontein East sincerely on his Second Reading speech. I am not personally aware of any ostensible problems among the Whips, and therefore I shall not comment on this matter. Despite the protests of other hon members, I enjoyed his speech very much. It was very enlightening and I found it really interesting to hear a little of the history and the development of the University of the Orange Free State there in Bloemfontein.
I also want to thank the hon member very much for that part of his speech with which he furnished us yesterday to give us an idea of what he would be talking about. I want to confirm that the hon member did in fact attach a note saying that it was an incomplete speech—that it was only a portion of the speech—that it could be changed and that we were not to rely on it being the complete speech.
What do you say now, Horace?
That is not what he told me.
But that is written on the copy. [Interjections.]
I do not wish to become involved now in the unrest which has broken out between the two parties, but I do want to tell the hon member for Bloemfontein East that I enjoyed his speech very much. I shall return to it in a moment. I do not think there is any hon member who can say that it was a boring speech, and that it was not a good speech in support of such a Bill as this. I think that if any hon member of the official Opposition had been able to make such a good speech in support of any university, he could really have been proud of it.
I want to associate myself with the hon member for Virginia who said that he himself had a very close connection with the University of the Orange Free State. The other parties also pointed out that they had also had such connections. We cannot lay claim to a direct connection with the University of the Orange Free State on the part of anyone in our ranks, but I do at least want to say that my own father obtained a degree at that university during the early ’twenties.
I found the facts which the hon member made available to us, particularly in connection with the ratio between students and teachers very interesting. The ratio of 1:13,4 is an excellent ratio and is a good indication that students attending that university are able to do so in the best milieu and under the best circumstances. It is no wonder that they produce good students there. This university has developed into one of our most outstanding universities in South Africa today. One need only take cognisance of the diversity of faculties as that university to realize that it need not play second fiddle to any other university in South Africa.
As far as the Bill itself is concerned, it is of course something with which we cannot differ at all. The amendments were requested by the university itself, and it is of course within the capacity of the university to do so. The provision that the university may appoint four additional persons will probably make a contribution to the change which is taking place in the structure and function of the council of this university. The hon member indicated that with the change in the pattern of financing and the use of sophisticated technology such as computers, etc, it would probably be necessary for other universities as well to increase the membership of their councils in order to make use of the knowledge of experts in that sphere on the various committees.
As for the change in regard to the degrees, this is something which I welcome. The standardization of degree designations is of course important so that there may be clarity among the public who employ these graduates. For the students themselves it is very important that they are comparable, in regard to the abbreviated degree description, with other medical practitioners in South Africa and abroad.
The NRP has no problems with the other amendments contained in this Bill. We are proud of the fact that this university has produced some of our most eminent citizens in South Africa. We think in this connection of the examples which the hon member himself furnished, for example that of the first State President of the Republic of South Africa, and others.
I want to tell the hon member that the NRP pledges its wholehearted support for this Bill.
Mr Speaker, I am merely rising to thank the hon member for Kuruman and the hon member for Bryanston very much for the excellent and well motivated way in which they supported the Bill. The same applies to the hon member for Virginia, a former student of this university, of which we are very proud. I thank him for his support. I also thank the hon member for Durban North for his support and for his kindness towards the university. We appreciate it very much.
Finally I just want to say that when I furnished the chief spokesmen of the respective parties with a copy of my speech, I wrote on it in my own handwriting that it was confidential and that it could be amended.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Bill not committed.
Bill read a Third Time.
Mr Speaker, in view of the congenial atmosphere which is prevailing, it is a pleasure for me to move:
The House adjourned at