House of Assembly: Vol2 - THURSDAY 31 JULY 1924


Mr. SPEAKER communicated the following message from the Hon. the Senate, viz.:

The Senate begs to acquaint the hon. the House of Assembly that the Senate has appointed a Committee of three members to join with a Committee of the hon. the House of Assembly as a Joint Sessional Committee for the purpose of the superintendence and management of Parliamentary Catering. The Senate requests that the hon. the House of Assembly will be pleased to appoint an equal number of members to serve with the members of the Senate.

Message referred to the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders for consideration and report.


Is it the intention of the Government to sit on Monday? It is a public holiday, and what is more, and will be of more importance to the Prime Minister, it is the King’s birthday. The House is not unwilling, but we should not expect too much of members.


This House has never been faced with a question of sitting on this day, and I have not given the matter a thought. I will leave it to the House, and make a statement to-morrow.


The MINISTER OF NATIVE AFFAIRS was granted leave to introduce the Moroka Ward Land Relief Bill.

*Gen. SMUTS:

Is this the same Bill as the old one?



Bill brought up and read a first time; second reading on 30th July.


The PRIME MINISTER was granted leave to introduce the South-West Africa Naturalization of Aliens Bill.

*Gen. SMUTS:

Is this the old Bill?


This is exactly the same as the old one.

Bill brought up and read a first time; second reading on 30th July.


First Order read: Third reading, Third Appropriation (Part) Bill.


That the Bill be now read a third time.


A few years ago the Government promised to bring to the attention of the Tariff Board the plight of the salt industry. There is an unfair competition against our own industry. Salt is conveyed by the shipping lines as ballast and is off-loaded at the ports at very low prices. This kills the salt industry. The carriage on salt from the interior is about 2s. 3d. per bag. Salt is sold at the coast at the price which leaves only a very small margin of profit to the manufacturer up-country. The whole matter should be gone into by the Tariff Board. The previous Prime Minister has been asked to do this, but nothing has been done. Our local industry must be protected from unfair com-petition by foreign countries.


I want to bring to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture the large amount of poverty existing in my constituency. The farmers in the Hekpoort Valley have received seed from the Government; but the locusts have destroyed the crops, and much loss was suffered through drought. The result is that most farmers are on the brink of bankruptcy. The summer crops have now to be sold, and the farmers have neither the means nor the seed to go on with their farming operations. The Minister of Agriculture is very busy, I see; but I want to bring the exceptional state of poverty to his attention and to ask him to consider whether he will not help the people with seed again.


I would like to ask the Minister of Agriculture a question in regard to the price of guano. Government guano is being sold at £7 a ton, whereas superphosphates can be imported at £4 2s. 6d. I understand that large quantities of guano are produced, and I would ask the Minister whether the price of the South African guano cannot be reduced. A huge quantity is already being consumed in various agricultural districts in this country, and the tendency would be to use it still more if the price were so reduced as to compete with the imported article.


I want to say in reply to the speech of the hon. member for Bosh of (Mr. C. A. van Niekerk) that the new Government have already received representations from persons connected with the salt industry, and have referred the matter to the Board of Trade and Industries for investigation. The Agricultural Department is giving its attention to the matter of guano. Provision has also been made regarding seed potatoes. The matter will be further dis-cussed when we come to the committee stage of the Budget.

The motion was agreed to.

The Bill was read a third time.


Second Order read: Adjourned debate for House to go into Committee of Supply to be resumed.

Mr. SPEAKER stated that when this debate was adjourned yesterday, the Question before the House was a motion by the Minister of Finance:

That the House go into Committee of Sup-ply on the Estimates of Expenditure to be defrayed during the year ending 31st March, 1925, from the Consolidated Revenue and Railway and Harbour Funds, and also on the Estimates of Expenditure from Loan Funds, 1924-’25. †The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND HARBOURS:

Before commenting upon the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year upon which we have now embarked, that is, for the year 1924-’25, I think it will serve a useful purpose if, at the outset, I review the actual results of working for the year 1923-’24, which terminated on the 31st March last. Since the last statement was made in this House in regard to the financial position of the Railways and Harbours, the accounts for the financial year 1923-’24 have been completed, and it is therefore possible for me to give the House a comparison of the actual results with the estimated results for that year. The Estimates presented to Parliament in the 1923 session provided for the year 1923-’24 a gross expenditure of £23,367,476, and an estimated gross revenue of £22,854,227, making the estimated deficit for the year, £513,249. The accumulated deficit at the 31st March, 1923, amounted to £2,220,510, so that after adding to that figure the deficit estimated for 1923-’24 of £513,249, there was the prospect that at the 31st March, 1924, there would be a total accumulated deficit of £2,733,759. The actual position at the 31st March, 1924, has proved to be very much better than was forecasted, and in place of the year’s working resulting in a deficit of £513,249, making the accumulated deficit £2,733,759, the year’s working has re-turned a surplus amounting to £1,450,267, and this has reduced the accumulated deficit to 770,244. The improvement, therefore, over the Estimates amounts to £1,963,516. This improvement is mainly due to the revenue received having exceeded the estimate by£1,575,112, while a reduction in the expenditure of £388,404 accounts for the remainder of the improvement, which, as just stated, amounts to £1,963,516. Having indicated, therefore, that this financial year, that is, 1924-’25 has started off with the accumulated deficits reduced to the sum of £770,244, I will not burden the House with any further details of last year’s working, as it was dealt with very fully by my predecessor. I will, therefore, proceed to indicate the probable revenue and expenditure for 1924-’25. Before turning to a consideration of the present financial year, however, I would like to mention that while a record year’s traffic was conveyed resulting in additional revenue to the extent of 1½ millions being obtained, this was accomplished at a total cost which was nearly £400,000 lower than the estimated cost. I would like here to repeat what I have said on previous occasions that a measure of praise is due to my predecessor for the very active and painstaking policy he pursued in effecting reductions in expenditure and economies generally, and while I do not by any means subscribe to all his actions or to all the means he adopted in that connection, I feel bound to give credit where it is due. I do not, however, overlook the large part which the officers and staff of the Administration as a whole did in effecting those economies and in keeping the expenditure down to the lowest possible limits, as I realize that without their assistance it would be beyond human effort for any Minister to achieve the results which have been attained. Turning, then, to a consideration of the prospects for the year 1924-’25, I will first deal with the Estimates of Expenditure, then the Estimates of Revenue, and finally the differences between revenue and expenditure, that is, the net result anticipated for the current year. At one stage I had thought it would suffice to furnish the House with particulars of the alterations only which have been made in the Estimates of Expenditure submitted to the House during last session, but, as I realize that there are many new members in this House who would be handicapped considerably if this were done, I have decided to cover the ground dealt with by my predecessor, although in doing so I realize that there will be a certain amount of repetition which, however, is unavoidable. For that reason, therefore, I hope hon. members will bear with me in dealing with those matters which to a certain extent have already been dealt with by my predecessor in office. The expenditure then on Railways, Harbours and Steamships for the year 1924-’25 is estimated at £23,908,128, and is made up of:








This amount, compared with the original estimated expenditure for 1923-’24, shows an increase of £540,652. This comparison, however, is between two sets of estimates and I think it is preferable, therefore, to compare the 1924-’25 Estimates with the actual expenditure for 1923-’24, as by doing so hon. members will be better able to appreciate the extent to which the estimated expenditure for 1924-’25 varies with what is now known to be the actual experience of the past year. This course has been followed for the last three years and I feel sure that the House will agree that a comparison on these lines is of more value and more up-to-date than a comparison between the 1924-’25 Estimates and the original Estimates for 1923-’24. which were prepared over a year ago. The Estimate of Expenditure for 1924-’25, then is, as I have already stated, £23,908,128, the actual expenditure for 1923-’24 was £22,979,072, so that an increase is contemplated of £929,056, which is sub-divided as follows:—










On first thoughts, hon. members may be inclined to the view that these Estimates of Expenditure have been framed on a generous scale, but this is not the case. The estimate has been based on the actual expenditure of the past year to which has been added, (a) the estimated cost of working the new lines to be opened during 1924-’25, (b) the provision for the working of the grain elevators and new services and (c) other additional unavoidable expenditure, to which I shall refer later. Examining the purely railway expenditure, which accounts for no less than £834,766, of the total increase of £929,056, I have to inform the House that provision has been made for increments to the salaried and daily paid staff, the amount provided in this connection being £206,000. Another large item in the additional expenditure is the amount of £233,000 in respect of grain elevators, a considerable portion of which is represented by the cost of purchasing a large quantity of grain bags, and also operating the terminal elevator at Cape Town and the 34 country elevators, for roughly nine months of the year. The next large item is that of the contribution for depreciation of railway assets. This contribution represents an increase of £30,384 over the contribution on the 7 per cent, of revenue basis and altogether represents an increase of £238,000 over the contribution made during the year 1923-’24. Another of the very large items of increase is that of interest on capital, which is estimated to exceed payments made during 1923-’24 by £191,000. These items alone more than account for the total increase in the estimated railway expenditure, and but for the savings which have been effected in other directions it will be seen that the increase in railway expenditure would have been much greater than is contemplated. In order that hon. members may readily grasp the outstanding variations between the estimated expenditure for 1924-’25 and the actual expenditure for 1923-’24, I will now give in round figures the main items which go to make up the net increase of £834,766. They are as follows:―


Increments to daily paid staff


Increments to salaried staff



Working of grain elevators


Depreciation of railway assets


Interest on capital


Additional quantities of rails, sleepers and other material


Opening of new lines


Additional repairs to buildings


Increased provision for catering service


Additional contributions to pension and superannuation funds


Increased interest on superannuation and other funds


Electrified working in Natal



From this amount falls to be deducted the following decreases—


Reduction in the provision for writing down the value of stores to current prices


Reduction in the amount for running expenses, mainly for coal and water


Saving in overtime, reduction of staff and Various sundry savings…


Total decreases


Net increase


Comment on the majority of these items is unnecessary, as they are largely self-explanatory, and as full explanations of the increases and decreases, compared with the original Estimates for 1923-’24, will be found in the introductory memorandum to the Estimates of Expenditure, which were laid on the Table of the House on Friday last, I do not propose to deal with them all at further length. One or two of the increases, however, are of sufficient importance to call for explanations, and as the facts should be in the possession of the House, I will now deal with them very briefly.


First there is the question of the provision for depreciation of railway assets, and in this connection it will be remembered that during the last three sessions, the contribution has been calculated at the rate of 7 per cent, of the revenue accruing from railway main services. This basis was first adopted three years ago and was a departure from the basis which had been in operation since 1917. That basis consisted of contributing 2.86 per cent, of the capital cost of the wasting assets, but because the resulting amount was considered to be much in excess of the amount that would ever be required, an innovation was made, and the basis of 7 per cent. of the revenue was adopted. That is not, in my opinion, a correct basis on which to make this contribution, and in this view I am supported by the officers of the Administration. The amount that should be contributed for depreciation of railway assets should be, in the opinion of the officers of the Administration adequate for that purpose. In the case of the contribution provided for in these Estimates, I have their assurance that the amount is considered to be reasonably adequate. The subject is one which is not without difficulties, and has been a subject of discussion throughout the railways of the world without any common basis having been agreed upon or employed. For the present, therefore, I am satisfied to provide the round sum of one and a half millions, and as this is some £33,000 in excess of what 7 per cent. of the estimated revenue would give, I feel sure hon. members will agree that I am erring on the side of safety. I propose to have the subject re-discussed with the officers of the Administration and hope to be in a position to make a definite recommendation to this House during next session. With regard to the provision for writing down the value of stores stock, I have to remind the House that the two previous contributions which have been made were £500,000 in 1922-’23 and £250,000 in 1923-’24. Stores stock has now been more or less brought down to current market prices, and for that reason it is felt that a contribution of £100,000 during the current year will suffice to bring the stores stock down to its current value. The writing down of stores stock has been of undoubted advantage to the Administration in that it has prevented the inflation of the working accounts by including charges for stores at prices in keeping with the current market rate for such stores, and it has also reduced the cost of capital works, including new lines, on the cost of which interest has to be paid in perpetuity. Regarding the additional provision of £45,000, for the working of new lines to be opened during 1924-’25, the sections anticipated to be opened for public traffic during the financial year and the probable dates, are as follows:—Raapenberg to Vyge Kraal, April, 1924; Franklin to Kokstad, May, 1924; Franklin to Matatiele, May, 1924; Windhoek to Ondekaremba, July, 1924; Heilbron to Petrus Steyn, July, 1924; Lydenburg to Olafantspoortje, July, 1924; Hercules to Magaliesberg, September, 1924; Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp, September, 1924; Touws River to Ladismith (first portion), September, 1924; Touws River to Ladismith (second portion), March, 1925; Rustenburg to Boshoff, October, 1924; Fort Beaufort to Balfour, December, 1924; Ermelo to Lothair, March, 1925. It is estimated that the total mileage of lines to be opened during the current financial year is 423 miles.

Harbours Expenditure, 1924-’25.

Turning now to the estimated expenditure on Harbours for 1924-’25, hon. members will observe that the total amount is estimated to be £1,064,456, which represents an increase of £24,202 over the actual expenditure for 1923-’24, which was £1,040,254. This increase is more than accounted for by the additional interest on capital out of Loan Funds, the increase in the provision in this respect being £31,000. The fluctuations under the other heads of expenditure are very small and call for no special comment.


In respect of steamships, it is anticipated that the expenditure for 1924-’25 will amount to £221,710, compared with the expenditure for 1923-’24, which amounted to £151,622; this shows an increase of £70,088. This increase is mainly due to the provision for the chartering of ships for the conveyance of sleepers and coal, mainly to and from South America, the actual provision for this service amounting to £63,400. As against this, of course, there will be revenue obtained which it is anticipated will amount to £67,584, thus showing a small profit of £4,184 on the service contemplated. Turning now to a comparison of the estimates of expenditure for all three services of railways, harbours and steamships, with the estimates of expenditure as submitted by my predecessor early in this year, hon. members will no doubt notice that the expenditure has been increased by the sum of £138,632.

It would serve a useful purpose, I think, if at this stage therefore I outline briefly how this increased expenditure is accounted for. The items are as follows:—

Electrified Working in Natal, £33,980.—It is anticipated that this service will be in full operation before the close of this financial year, but the expenditure for which provision has been made represents only six months’ working in respect of the section from Mooi River to Ladismith, and three months’ working in respect of the section from Ladysmith to Glencoe; the remainder of the electrified section, viz., from Mooi River to Maritzburg, will not, it is anticipated, be opened until the close of the financial year. Chartering of Ships for Conveyance of Sleepers and Coal, £63,400.—As already explained, this expenditure is necessary on account of the Administration chartering ships to convey sleepers from South America for the requirements of the Administration and also to convey coal to South America on the outward voyages. Provision for Depreciation, £30,384.—This represents the difference between 7 per cent. of the estimated revenue and the lump sum of £1,500,000. Payment to the Messina Development Company for the production of 2,000 tons of copper, £10,000.—This expenditure was incurred in the year 1922-’23, but was charged to the cost of the construction of the electrified section from Glencoe to Maritzburg. It has since been decided, however, that this expenditure is a proper charge to the ordinary revenue of the railways and harbours, as it is in the nature of a subsidy and, as such, should not be financed out of Loan Funds. Provision has in consequence had to be made in the Estimates for the current year in order that the matter may be adjusted as between capital and revenue. Interest on Pension Funds, £9,755.—Owing to the decision to increase the rate of interest now paid on the balances at the credit of the pension funds from 4 per cent. to 4½ per cent. it is necessary to make provision for the increased payment on this account. Approval of Parliament to the increase in the rate will be sought in a Bill amending the Railway Service Act. Working of Balfour-Grootvlei Line, £3,287.—This represents the expenditure that is anticipated to be incurred in working the Balfour-Grootvlei line to the 31st March next. As the House is aware, a new line is being constructed from Frankfort to Balfour and the Administration has acquired the line belonging to the private company, which will be used to link up the line from Frankfort to Grootvlei. Actuaries' Fees: Valuation of the Superannuation Fund, £1,522.—This represents provision that is required to be made for the valuation of the Superannuation Fund by the Actuaries. Road Motor Service: Messina Line to Bridgewater and Parkfield, £824.—This provision is required for the new road motor service to Bridgewater and Parkfield.

These items total £153,152; but as a set-off against this in part, a reduction has been made in the annual contribution towards reducing the deficiency in the Pension Fund. This has hitherto amounted to £98,220 annually.

In consequence of the increase in the rate of interest on the balances it is now possible to reduce the contribution by reason of the increased rate of interest to the extent of £14,520, and so the net increase in the Estimates of Expenditure, amounting to £138,632, is explained.
Revenue for 1924-’25.

Turning now to the Estimates of Revenue for 1924-’25, hon. members will notice from the Green Book which I will lay upon the Table of this House at the conclusion of my remarks, that the gross revenue from railways, harbours and steamships is estimated to be £24,120,276, which is made up of:—








This estimated revenue exceeds the estimate of revenue intimated by my predecessor to the extent of £68,424. This increase is made up of additional revenue that is anticipated from the chartering of ships for the conveyance of the Administration’s sleepers and coal, namely, £67,584, and the revenue to be received from the new road motor service on the Messina line of £840, giving a total increase, as already stated, of £68,424. Compared with the actual revenue received during 1923-’24, hon. members will observe that it is anticipated that less revenue will be received in 1924-’25 to the extent of £309,063, this decrease being made up of—

a decrease in railway revenue of


decrease in harbours revenue of




an increase in revenue from steamships


Total decrease


Particulars of the variations in the estimated revenue, compared with the actual revenue for 1923-’24, under the various heads will be found in the Green Book which will be distributed to hon. members this afternoon. I need not, therefore, enter into details as to the estimated amounts which it is anticipated will be obtained from each of the various sources, but a word or two, as to the reasons for the estimated decrease in the revenue, will be appreciated. Briefly, it is anticipated that revenue will be sacrificed to the extent of £500,000 on account of the recent reduction in railway rates and that to this extent the revenue of 1924-’25 will suffer. In addition to that it is not anticipated that traffic to the extent experienced during 1923-’24 will obtain during 1924-’25, as the effect of the drought, the ravages of locusts and the fact that record tonnages were conveyed during last year, will tend to return a lower revenue. On the other hand, additional revenue will be obtained from the opening of new lines to the extent of approximately £107,000. These three factors explain the decrease of £309,000 already referred to. I may add that the Estimates of Revenue have been determined after giving careful consideration to the views of the commercial and industrial bodies as to the prospects of trade during 1924-’25.

Harbours Revenue, 1924-’25.

In the case of harbours, the total revenue is estimated to amount to £1,312,083, and compared with the actual revenue for 1923-’24, which amounted to £1,359,827, shows an estimated decrease of £47,744. This decrease is comparatively of no importance and calls for little or no comment, but it may be of interest to remember that the Harbours Revenue has been based on the round figure of, per week, £24,500, which represents approximately the rate at which the Harbour Revenue has been received since the 1st of April of this year.

Steamships Revenue, 1924-’25.

The Steamship Revenue for 1924-’25 is estimated to amount to £236,023. This represents an increase of £80,128 over the actual revenue received during 1923-’24, which was £155,895. The main cause of this increase is the revenue which the Administration will secure from chartering ships for the transport of sleepers for its own use from South America and the freight on coal on the outward journeys. This to a certain extent is an innovation in the running of steamships, but it has been forced upon the Administration to a certain extent by the necessity for obtaining sleepers for railway requirements and there is every reason to believe that the financial results will justify the experiment that is being made. I should like to mention here that the Administration is taking all the sleepers it can get locally which are suitable to its requirements and are otherwise satisfactory. We are also purchasing sleepers from Rhodesia and are prepared to give sympathetic consideration to the purchase of sleepers offering from Southern Africa or the African Continent generally.

Surplus Budgeted for in 1924-’25.

That completes my remarks upon the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, and from a comparison of the gross figures, hon. members will have realized that the net result anticipated for 1924-25 is a surplus of £212,148, the gross revenue being £24,120,276, and the gross expenditure £23,908,128, and the difference being the surplus, as already stated, of £212,148. If these Estimates are realized, then the accumulated deficit with which this financial year was commenced, and which amounts to £770,244, will be reduced to £558,096 as at the 31st March, 1925. There is no reason to believe that a set-back will be experienced, and although the revenue of the railways is bound to suffer in consequence of the prolonged drought and the shrinkage in the maize crop, there is every reason to anticipate that the railways will at least balance the expenditure with the revenue and probably provide a small surplus to the extent already indicated.

Rates and Fares.

Hon. members are aware that the existing tariff of rates and fares is higher than pre-war by approximately 37 per cent., taken as a whole. It will also be within the recollection of hon. members that with effect from the 1st of April, 1924, reductions in passenger fares and goods rates were made, to the extent of surrendering revenue of approximately £500,000 per annum. It will be the policy of the Administration to continue to give every consideration to further reduction of rates and fares, and in this respect to comply in the fullest possible manner with the provisions of section 127 of the Act of Union, which provide that “the railways, ports, and harbours of the Union shall be administered on business principles, due regard being had to agricultural and industrial development within the Union and promotion, by means of cheap transport, of the settlement of an agricultural and industrial population in the inland portions of all provinces of the Union.”

Road Motor Services.

At the present time the Administration has in actual working seven road motor services, operating over a total distance of 256 miles. Two of the services returned a surplus while the other three resulted in a deficit, but taken as a whole, the road motor services returned a surplus of £1,927 for the year 1923. Bearing in mind that these road motor services are primarily for the purpose of developing the districts which they serve and at the same time act as feeders to the railways, it is gratifying to be able to state that, although the surplus earned is small, a loss has not been sustained and that the policy has been justified by the financial results alone. It will be the policy of the Government to encourage and foster the opening up of the agricultural districts of the Union by inaugurating road motor services wherever a clear case can be made in justification thereof. If the potentialities of a district for which a road motor service is asked for, indicate the prospects of a reasonable return of revenue, then every possible assistance will be given in the direction desired and the financial results of working the service will not be the only determining factor in the consideration of the claims made. Where new districts and territory are opened up by the introduction of road motor services, profits cannot reasonably be anticipated from the commencement. These can only come with time, and the principal consideration must be the benefit to be gained by the Union as a whole, in which of course the claims of the railways will be proportionate to the others. I want to make this clear, because with the need that exists for the construction of new railways in districts where the traffic is sufficiently dense and remunerative to justify the building of a railway, many districts will require to be content for some time to come with the assistance to be derived from road motor services until the Government introduces a programme of new railways. With a view to carrying out the intentions of the framers of the Act of Union, the General Manager of Railways is conducting a series of experiments and is pursuing with considerable energy the question of lighter and less costly forms of motive power, so that on branch lines on which the traffic does not justify the employment of the smallest of steam locomotives, engines of the petrol motor and other less costly types may be used, and so obtain transportation of passengers and goods at a minimum of cost. In this connection successful results are anticipated from the Dutton Road railways and also the employment of rail motor engines and vehicles. Wherever these vehicles can be used economically and in districts in which the traffic is not sufficiently dense and remunerative to justify the smallest steam locomotive, then every assistance will be given to develop these districts by the methods stated. The officers of the Administration have given, and are continuing to give, much time and thought to the development of this cheaper form of motive power, and so far, although many difficulties have had to be overcome, their efforts have been rewarded with a substantial amount of success—sufficient at least to justify a continuation of their activities in the practical application of the lower powered and capacity vehicles. In conjunction with the road motors, it is hoped that by the employment of road railways and rail motor vehicles it will be possible to bring many districts, that are at present beyond the reach of the railways and stationary in their development through lack of transport facilities, into touch with the everyday markets of the Union and so stimulate and give new life to much of the agricultural activities that only await the advent of cheap and expeditious transport to bring them to their maximum of intensity.


Turning now to a few matters directly concerning the staff of the railways and harbours, hon. members will be glad to know that the Administration has under consideration the question of further extending the employment of civilized labour in the railway and harbour service, with a view to increasing the numbers wherever possible. As a preliminary it has been decided to extend gradually the policy of employing youths in all mechanical workshops in the Union, and throughout the railway and harbour service generally. This will enable many youths who cannot otherwise secure employment to obtain a start in the railway service, the intention being to select the most suitable for promotion to any vacancies requiring to be filled in higher grades. The Administration also proposes to increase the employment of civilized labour on such work as such labour may be fitted for, if and when it should become necessary to enlarge the establishments in the service, due regard being had to the financial side of the proposal. With this end in view instructions have been issued that the policy of employing civilized labour on branch lines at reasonable rates of pay shall be re-introduced. Investigation is also being made as to the possibility of extending the use of civilized labour to relaying and re-ballasting work on open lines, and the terms and conditions of service of civilized labourers whom it is proposed to provide for in this way are under consideration. In this connection the Administration will, from the point of view of rates of pay, have due regard on the one hand to the economic aspect of the question and the necessity for the relief of unemployment, and on the other hand, to the effect any alteration in the conditions will have on the farming and other communities. The Administration has also under consideration the question of enlarging the field of employment for civilized labourers on railway lines under construction, and other construction works, by extending the use of such labour to platelaying and ballasting. In this connection it is very gratifying to be able to state that from the General Manager downwards the officers and staff of the railways are giving every possible assistance in the endeavour to absorb a greater number of civilized labourers and generally to assist and further the policy of the Government in this respect.


The Administration proposes to review the question of the special cost of living allowance now paid to the railway and harbour staff stationed at Durban. Statistical information as to living costs is now in course of preparation by the Census Department, in concert with the Public Service Commission, and the matter will be dealt with as soon as such information is available. In the meantime the existing allowance will continue to be paid.


In regard to the adopted policy of electrified working of railways, it will be of interest to hon. members to know that the conversion of the section of the Natal main line from Pietermaritzburg to Glencoe, including the Howick Branch, from steam to electric traction was commenced in September, 1922, and that to date it has made satisfactory progress in all directions. The power station at Colenso will be able to generate electric current next month, and it is hoped that electric traction will be commenced about September next with a full commercial service in operation between Mooi River and Daimana in November. It is a pleasure to be able to state that the farmers and other owners of land have been very reasonable with the Administration in the matter of compensation for the ground required for the towers and in allowing right of way and giving facilities for the construction gangs. There are altogether 12 sub-stations under erection, of which the first six will be finished by November, while the remaining six will be completed as the different sections are opened up for traffic. Practically 90 per cent. of the overhead equipment between Daimana and Mooi River has been completed. It is expected that 25 electric locomotives will be available for work by September. In the matter of staff, 1,158 Europeans and 5,624 natives are employed by the Administration and the contractors. The Electricity Commissioners will be responsible for the power house, transmission lines and sub-stations. The Administration’s control commences with the delivery of current from the sub-stations to the track overhead system. When electrification work is completed, approximately 48,000 tons of South African materials will have been used, of which the principal are steel, cement, and bricks. Electrification of the lines from Cape Town to Simonstown, Monument to Sea Point, and Monument to the Docks, approval of which was given during the last Parliamentary session, has enabled the Administration and the Electricity Commissioners to take steps to obtain tenders for the erection of the power station, sub-stations, transmission lines, overhead equipment and the motor coaches required in connection therewith. The designs of the coaches have been approved and despatched to Europe, and, generally, the work is being advanced as rapidly as circumstances permit, but it is not possible to state definitely at the present time the approximate date of opening. This will depend to a large extent upon the expedition with which the electric motor vehicles can be constructed.

Construction of New Lines.

Of the total programme of new railways approved of by Parliament in 1922 and which involved the construction of 853 miles of railway, that 285½ miles have been opened for traffic, platelaying has been completed on 186½ miles of the remaining 567½ miles, and the work of ballasting and the construction of culverts and earthworks is being proceeded with as expeditiously as possible. On the Ladismith, Calitzdorp, Magaliesberg, Boschhoek, and Lothair lines, progress has been retarded somewhat on account of the shortage of sleeper supplies. This matter, however, is receiving every attention, and it is hoped to remedy the position at an early date. On the Ermelo to Lothair section the earthworks, culverts and bridges are well advanced, while on the Fort Beaufort to Balfour, Frankfort to Grootvlei and the Vaalwater lines, the earthworks and culverts are well in hand. On the Warden line the earthworks start on the 1st proximo and on the Marquard line on the 10th proximo, while on the Kakamas lines the earthworks will be commenced on the arrival of permanent way material, which is anticipated in September, but owing to the usual indefinite delivery given by Continental firms, this forecast is somewhat uncertain. The George to Knysna line has not yet been staked out, but it is anticipated that this will be done in September. At present the construction of new lines is employing 1,970 Europeans.

Manufacture in South Africa.

The question of the more extensive manufacture in the Union of the Administration’s requirements is at present engaging serious attention, but obviously this is a matter which the Administration will have to consider most carefully before embarking upon a definite programme. The proposals which were submitted by the officers of the Administration to my predecessor do not appear to have occasioned any exhaustive inquiry, and I feel that this is a matter which should be very carefully considered before embarking or placing money on the Estimates for definite undertakings. It is our immediate policy, however, to retain for local manufacture as much of our requirements as is possible. I may mention that I reversed the decision of the former Minister in respect of the manufacture of 25 third-class main line saloons in South Africa instead of overseas. The amount to be spent in South Africa in this connection is £96,250, or an increase over the overseas quotation of £19,000, or approximately 26 per cent. It must also be borne in mind that with increased production in our workshops the overhead charges will be spread over a larger volume of work and the ultimate costs are bound to reflect this. I may also say that I have approved of the preference accorded to South African manufacturers being increased from 5 per cent. to 10 per cent., as is done by other Departments of State. My friend, the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger), may think the railways are now “going to the dogs” by agreeing to this increased preference, but I hasten to assure him that the amount involved is £500.

Grain Elevators.

In regard to the grain elevators which have now been under construction for over two years, the House will be pleased to learn that the majority of the 34 country elevators have already been opened and that the few which have not been opened will be ready for business within the course of the next few days. The Cape Town elevator is now being tested and it is hoped that it will be possible to carry out the official opening at an early date. Owing to the drought and the disastrous effect it has had upon the mealie crop, it is not anticipated that there will be much maize available for export. On account of this, the inaugural year of the grain elevators will not coincide with the heavy traffic that was anticipated. On the other hand, and as hon. members are aware, there has been a progressive increase for some years past in the production of maize throughout South Africa, and last season over six million bags of maize and maize meal were exported so that, although the prospects of the current year are not what they might have been, there is good reason to look forward to a much larger production of South Africa’s main cereal in future, which the elevators are destined to stimulate and equipped to handle expeditiously and economically. Provision is made at the grain elevators whereby grain can be delivered in bags and the elevators can therefore be used with equal facility for local consumption grain as for that of export. With regard to the Durban elevator, the reconstruction of the foundations is being carried out by the Administration’s engineers under the direction of Mr. Kanthack as consulting engineer. In this connection I have to express the widespread regret and loss sustained through the death of the late Mr. Ingham, with whom Mr. Kanthack was closely associated on the work of bringing the foundations of the Durban elevator to a successful completion. I am glad to be able to state that the reconstruction work is proceeding satisfactorily although it is a very difficult job. It is not expected that the foundations will be completed until towards the end of this year.

Grain Elevator at Durban.

The Report of the Commission, and let me say here that I consider it to be a very valuable report, has already been laid upon the Table of this House. As regards the situation arising out of that report in connection with the Administration’s agreement with the consulting engineer, I may say that this matter is engaging my attention at present, but it is not in the public interest that I should say more at the moment.


I am glad to be able to testify to the loyalty of and the excellent service rendered by all grades of the staff. The Government relies upon the hearty co-operation of all members of the staff towards a continuance of effecting every possible legitimate means of economy, and at the same time it assures all members of the staff that they will have fair and just consideration at the hands of the Government. The public of the Union have always been quick to appreciate good and willing service and will never, I feel sure, be unmindful of the just claims of our public servants. With regard to the relationship between the Administration and the staff organizations, I wish to say that the Administration will be prepared at all times to receive and consider representations from all staff organizations without restriction or hindrance, as I fully realize the good and necessary work done by these organizations. In this connection I wish to add that it has been decided to extend the scope of matters to be referred from time to time to the Conciliation Board, which, as members are aware, consists of equal representation of the staff and the Administration.

Expenditure Out of Loan and Betterment Funds.

I have to inform hon. members that the Estimates of Expenditure out of Loan and Betterment Funds are in course of being printed, and I hope to be able to lay them upon the Table of the House in the course of a day or two. These Estimates, which are contained in what is familiarly known as the “Brown Book,” will show that an expenditure out of Loan and Betterment Funds during 1924-’25 is contemplated to the extent of £6,861,000, and that this sum will be financed from monies obtained from the following sources:―

From the Treasury out of Loan



Betterment Fund


Appropriation of Capital Credits in respect of assets withdrawn from service or written out of Capital Account


Savings on the appropriation approved of by Parliament for Working Capital



This expenditure is less than the expenditure provided in the Estimates for last year, which amounted to £8,054,056, the reduction being £1,193,056. This reduction is more than accounted for by the lesser amount that will be expended out of Loan Funds, supplied by the Treasury, the difference in this respect being £1,250,000, made up of:







The Loan Estimates, which I hope to lay upon the Table at an early date, give full details of the various works on which it is anticipated the expenditure in question will be incurred, but I think it will be of interest to hon. members if I mention a few of the principal items. Briefly, the total amount is anticipated to be expended on the following large works:―

On the completion of the construction of railways


On rolling stock


On working capital


On harbours, which includes the following principal works


Continuation of the construction of the breakwater at Algoa Bay


Building the new East Pier at East London


Continuing the construction of the new Graving Dock at Durban and dredging the channel thereto


Extending the Breakwater at Table Bay and widening the South Arm


Extension of the Cool Chambers at Table Bay


Improvements at Walvis Bay


Purchasing tugs, dredgers and lighters at the various harbours


Other works



Construction of Grain Elevators


Electrifying sections of the line in Natal and the suburbs of Cape Town


Provision for Unforeseen Works




These works will involve an expenditure during 1924-’25 of £5,524,000, and deducting that amount from the gross total of the estimates it will be apparent that a sum of only £1,337,000 remains available to meet the expenditure on the many other works which have to be carried out each year, in order to equip and bring the railways and harbours up to that standard of efficiency for which they are noted, and at the same time conduct the transportation services of South Africa as economically as possible. As I have already commented upon the progress that has been made to date in the construction of the new lines of railway, grain elevators and electrification works, I do not propose to repeat that information, and will therefore now lay the Green Book upon the Table. In conclusion, I wish to emphasize the fact that there are at the present time 85,788 employees in the Railways, Harbours and Steamships Administration. We are all, including the responsible Minister, servants of the people of the Union, who are the owners of these great undertakings. Continual courteous, conscientious and prompt service on the part of all of us forms the only basis for the successful working of the whole organization. However humble the station in life, whatever class or creed they may belong to, the interests of the users of these State undertakings must be served to the best of the ability of all of us. It is in this spirit that I have undertaken the work in connection with this Portfolio, and it will be my constant endeavour to imbue every member of the staff with the spirit of service.


The House is indebted to the Ministers who have spoken on this motion for a clear and simple statement of the financial position of the Union and of the railways. I wish to offer them by congratulations on the statements made. The statements contained, it is impossible that it should be otherwise,—nothing that was new as regards figures or policy, but still there are in connection with the Budget of the country and railway stations, many questions of grave importance which will require discussion in this House. I think it would be desirable that the debate should be adjourned to give members time to read and digest the figures before us. I move that the debate be now adjourned.

This was agreed to.


On what date?


I hope hon. members will be prepared to resume on Monday. Of course, if it be decided later that Monday be a holiday, then it will be on Wednesday. In the meantime I put it down for Monday.

This was agreed to.


Third Order read: Second reading, Third Railways and Harbours Appropriation (Part) Bill.


I move—

That the Bill be now read a second time.

In view of the full statement which I have just made in regard to the whole financial position, I do not expect that hon. members will want me to make a further statement, but I think it is desirable that I should give the House the results of the two months, April and May, of this financial year. No doubt hon. members will have seen the figures in the Gazette, but I think it is just as well that I should repeat them. For these two months, April and May, the net revenue in respect of railways, harbours and steamships showed an increase of £29,000 over the Estimates. The surplus in net revenue for the three services was £51,000, giving a total of £80,000. The saving in working expenditure on the three services amounted to £160,000, making a total of £241,000. The estimated excess of receipts over expenditure was £48,000, giving an actual excess of receipts over expenditure of £289,000. Hon. members will agree, I think, that for the first two months of the financial year, both as regards our revenue and expenditure, the position is very satisfactory.


I wish to ask the Minister one or two questions. I would like to know what is being done in regard to the bus service from Sea Point to Camps Bay. Let me say at once that before I left office I sanctioned the running of this bus from Sea Point to Clifton, but nothing at that time was said in any shape or form about going further. At that time it was simply going to run from Sea Point to Clifton. Now I see from the paper—I notice that there is a good deal of correspondence going on—that this bus service is to run as far as Camps Bay and Bakoven. All I can say is that I think that it is very unwise and I think it is very unjust to take a step of that kind. I agreed that the bus should run to Clifton because I thought it might assist the people who live in the bungalows below Victoria Road who would have to climb over that road to the upper road where the tram runs, and consequently that such a service would not be in much competition with the tramways, but if these buses are going to run all the way to Camps Bay it is going to be a very serious matter for the Tramway Company. I do not think such competition is fair. Let me point out further that it is not going to be beneficial either to the people who live at Camps Bay or the people who live in Cape Town and who want to go to Camps Bay. This company is by no means in a flourishing condition. A large sum of money has been spent and I don’t think the company has had a penny of interest. If this competition goes on, one of the services will have to stop, and that will be the Tramway Company, and so the people, instead of having the opportunity of going to Camps Bay by Kloof Nek, will have to go by this bus to Camps Bay. I think it is a short-sighted policy and an unjust policy. I also want to ask the Minister a question with regard to the cold storage at the docks. Before I left office with the late Government we had already sanctioned the putting of the cold storage provision in the upper storey of the new store at No. 7 Quay. The plans were being prepared; we had had a report from the expert, Mr. Griffiths, that had been sent down to the General Manager’s office, and the draughtsman and his assistants had been got down from Johannesburg to draw up the plans with the understanding that, if it were possible, this cold storage should be ready before the next season for the export of fruit. That was the arrangement made prior to my leaving office. I would like to know what alterations are being made in regard to that arrangement. As far as I knew, the whole thing was settled and preparations were going on for the provision of this cold storage in time for the coming season. I would also like to ask a question with reference to the £500,000 reduction of rates, in which was included a sum of £20,000 reduction of building timber rates for the purpose of reducing the cost of building to the up-country people. I would like to know what is being done in that regard. Perhaps the Minister will give me some explanation in regard to these three matters.


I wish to take this opportunity of asking the Minister for some information regarding a matter of some importance to my constituency, and that is the question of improving the facilities for the shipping of fruit at Algoa Bay. The Minister probably knows that there has been a very considerable increase in the shipment of fruit from Algoa Bay. As many as 18,000 cases in a week have been shipped from there and the arrangements require a very considerable improvement, principally in two directions. One is in regard to mechanical carriers in order to avoid the fruit being knocked about in course of shipment. The other is a similar matter to that which has been referred to by the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger)—the provision of cold storage. At the present moment this does not matter so much, of course, on account of the cold weather, and the citrus fruit does not require it so much, but when the summer weather comes on and we have the shipment of pines, which are largely grown in the Bathurst district, it will be necessary to have provision for cooling before the pines are placed on the ships. It is not a matter of very big expenditure. There is a position right at the head of the quays which was occupied by cold storage before, and it is very necessary that this provision should be made. As the Minister will know, in the Midland parts of the Cape the trees are now coming into full bearing. This is a trade that will increase rapidly from year to year. We hope, of course, that under the auspices of the Minister there will be a harbour built there, but we know that a harbour naturally takes some time to build. These things are very necessary which I have mentioned if the business is to be properly dealt with; they do not involve much expenditure, they can be done quickly, and they will be just as useful when the harbour is built as they are now. It might also be advisable to have some insulated lighters. There is another matter I will be glad if the Minister could give me some information about. We have seen in the press that a consulting marine engineer has arrived in this country. He has been visiting Durban to see about the question of the port entrance there. It is understood that he was also to report on the question of a harbour at Algoa Bay. If the Minister can give me some information as to when he is likely to visit Algoa Bay I should be obliged to him.


When the Minister is making his reply I hope that he will give us a little more information in respect of these road trains, which I believe are part and parcel of the policy of the Government’s railway development. It is gratifying and very encouraging to hear that the Government is alive to the necessity of opening up those parts of the country which urgently require railway connection, but I hope that hon. members who are asking for railways will not be led away by the impression that these suggested road trains will entirely supply the necessity. I have had some experience in connection with this, and the first thing required is a permanently hardened road. Now it is not a responsibility of the Union Government to build roads, and the Provincial Administration is not permitted to borrow large sums of money for the purpose of hardening roads nor has it the money now to keep the present system of roads in a sufficiently sound condition. If these road trains are to be used, and they can be used to a considerable extent in opening up new country away from the main lines of railway, what is the Minister’s policy going to be in respect of the hardening of the roads on which these road trains will have to run? Somebody has to do it, and somebody has to keep them in order, otherwise they fall to pieces in a short time. They must be kept in condition. There is another matter in which we in Natal are closely concerned and interested, viz., the electrification of the main line of railway. The particular people I am referring to are those who reside on either side of the railway and are interested in the establishment of industries. I should like to know whether there will be a surplus of power of the electricity which is produced for sale to the public, and, if so, under what conditions. It is a matter of very great importance and interest to us people who are looking ahead in regard to development of industries, and we are assured that it is going to be a definite policy of the Government to encourage industries wherever it possibly can. I would like to know in what direction this cheap power will be available, and under what conditions.

†*Mr. G. A. LOUW:

feared that the employment of motor lorries to carry goods and products to the railways would have the effect of throwing many out of employment, and would tend to be a serious setback to local industries. To-day all this transport is done by means of the ox or donkey wagon. All this will disappear when motor lorries are imported. These men will lose their means of livelihood, and they are generally people who cannot be employed in any other capacity. He therefore trusted that the system of using motor lorries would not be extended.

†Brig.-Gen. BYRON:

This seems the appropriate occasion to bring forward a matter to the attention of the Minister of Railways and Harbours. On Monday next we are going to have one of the statutory public holidays, in which the railway servants will participate, including the daily paid men, but the pay of these will unfortunately be deducted. There are a large number of public holidays in South Africa—eleven in all—and on these occasions the daily paid men have their pay deducted. Something should be done to remit them of this tax, which is something like 4 per cent. of their pot too great remuneration. I hope the matter will receive the due attention of the hon. Minister.

†Hon. W. A. DEANE:

I would like to call the attention of the hon. Minister to the wattle industry, and that a serious revision of the rates is required. South Africa is destined to become, in the near future, one of the principal vegetable tanning countries in the world. I have it on the best of authority that the production of Argentina is vastly diminishing, and the world will have to look to South Africa for its vegetable tanning products. I do not suppose that any agricultural community in the world is taxed more heavily than South Africa by its railway rates, which do not stimulate, but smother, production. We are at the same time exporting 140,000 tons of bark per annum, and for every ton of bark exported six tons of wood are produced, so that we are producing about 900,000 tons of wood. I regret that one-third of this timber is destroyed by fire, owing to unsympathetic rates on the railways. We have provinces like the Orange Free State and Basutoland bordering on Natal which would absorb this timber. I would therefore ask the hon. Minister to give a better rate, and save this wicked waste. If we are to compete with the world in tanning material, we should have rates on the railways which would enable us to do so. Then there is also the matter of loading on the railway of heavy timbers, and there are not enough facilities provided for doing so. There should be travelling cranes to stimulate and encourage this loading. There is a great deal of waste at present because of this lack of loading facilities.


I should like to have some information from the hon. Minister of Railways and Harbours as to whether he proposes to make any provision for the reduction of coal rates where the coal is going to be used for industrial purposes. There is going to be a lot of industrial development on the coast, or there would already be were it not for the distinct handicap of the coal rate. I maintain that we have reached a stage that we can produce in this country our own products, and where the coal is bona fide used in industrial work, a reduction in rates would be amply justified. There are certain industries on the coast which are urgently in need of this help. I will not go into details of employment which would be given, which goes without saying, but I would like to have a statement from the hon. Minister that he has considered this matter to which I have referred, as one of vital importance to the future of this country. The area I have the honour to represent is a very large producer of pines, fruits and dairy products. I do not know whether the hon. Minister is aware that on the railway from Grahamstown to Port Alfred there is a bridge which will not allow of heavy engines and full loads to go over it, and it would not be too costly a work, and it would be justified, to strengthen or replace the bridge to allow the heavier traffic to cross it. At present train loads have to be broken to enable traffic to pass along that line. The bridge needs either to be strengthened or replaced. We can realize that we do not expect the construction of the vast number of new lines which have been asked for the other day, but where there is an existing line which moderate expenditure would make efficient, that might well be undertaken. Another point I would like to mention. The Minister has spoken about the Harbours. I would ask him to come down and see what might have been the chief harbour in South Africa. I am asking a small thing to-day—that is, that you take into consideration the sending round of one of the dredgers to open out the mouth of Port Alfred harbour. The fishing industry in South Africa is already a considerable one, and it is going to be one of our big industries. At present the trawlers come from East and West and fish off the fishing banks that lie off the mouth of the river. I want to see that provision is made to enable those fishing trawlers to put into the harbour. To-day they are prevented from doing this by the silting up of the mouth. The dredging could be done at low expense. I would ask the Minister to give consideration to the various points I have raised.


We have now come to the period when we are reducing rates, and considerable reductions of rates have been made in various directions.


Why has it not been done by the previous Government long ago?


The interjection is almost too stupid to be taken notice of. Rates have been increased; during the war period we know it was inevitable that rates should be increased. We have also had reductions in various directions, but the Minister should now direct his attention to reductions in dried fruits and raisins. On going into the matter he will find that the relation of the rates to be paid to the value of articles is out of all proportion. The South African rates are too high. Then the Minister should give his attention to another matter in that connection. He should give an export rate for dried fruit and raisins, for I certainly think those are articles which deserve an export rate. To-day we have to find a market overseas for a considerable surplus of our production. The overseas market is very low. I know the Railway Department has been generous, and has in encouraging export lately given an export rate for lucerne, but in connection with your dried fruit rate, we pay a double rate. You have a rate first on the imported box wood inland and the box wood back. The packing material constitutes about 25 per cent. of the rate and it comes to be a heavy charge on the product. I do not expect the Minister to give me a reply to-day, but I do hope the matter will have his attention at an early date. There is another matter which I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to. He has made the pleasant announcement this afternoon that he is going to employ as much motor traffic as possible. I want the Minister to take into consideration the affording of motor traffic from the Koo to Triangle Station. In the Koo you have a considerable production of fruit, and these people have to carry their fruit over a considerable distance, over 30 miles. These people have no other railway connection, and to carry fruit that distance is more than the article can stand.


The Minister in defining “civilized labour” in this country, said he regarded as civilized labour those white and coloured workers who lived on the higher standards. In the Cape a very liberal policy has always been adopted both in regard to native education and native development, and it is only those hon. members like myself and others who represent native constituencies or constituencies largely inhabited by natives who can fully realize what the advancement due to this policy has been. Many natives have become highly educated and live on the higher standard. Not only have they availed themselves of educational facilities in the Provinces, but in many cases they have gone abroad, have gone so far as to take a degree at some university, and come back very highly educated and civilized indeed. If the policy of the Government is to be that the coloured man only and not the native, whatever standard the native has reached, is to be called a civilized workman, and the native is for ever to be a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, I think that is going to create a very bad impression on the natives of this country. I think the Government has to the full the loyalty of the native races of this country, but if we are going to hold that loyalty, it can only be by a policy of justice, and I do hope that the Minister of Railways and Harbours will so far mend that statement of his and if he is going, to include the coloured worker, he will say civilized labour is the labour of any man who lives on the higher plane and not of the coloured man only.


I would like to call attention to the coal industry in Natal. During certain periods of the year, particularly July, the coal industry suffers very considerable difficulties owing to the shortage of railway trucks. That shortage is probably due to an exceptional demand; nevertheless these coal mines, which employ a great number of men, are losing very heavily. The coal industry is by no means the profitable undertaking that some people may imagine.


I would like to call attention to the necessity of something in the nature of a pier for fishing being built at Hout Bay. The matter was discussed before the dissolution, and I believe an estimate was prepared, and it has since been found that if certain alterations were made the work could be carried out at considerably less cost than was first anticipated, so that the actual cost is not of any very great importance. The matter is, however, one of considerable importance to the people in the locality, and to the fishermen who work there and at Kalk Bay. I hope the Minister will make provision for this very necessary work.


When railway matters were before the House last session I called the attention of the then Minister of Railways to the congested condition of the railway station at Durban, and the Minister (Mr. Jagger)—who had been up to Durban—admitted that there was very great need for something to be done, and that if he could not give us a new railway station, he at least thought it necessary to give us something to improve working conditions. I do not know whether the present Minister has been at Durban or not, but if he has not I would strongly urge him to go as quickly as possible, not only for his health, but to increase his knowledge of other parts of the Union. He will find that the complaints are very fully justified. The late Minister, while he was sympathetic, would not undertake to do anything much in the immediate future, but we have been told that the new Government will be much superior to the old one, and we therefore expect greater consideration. I would like to emphasize what has been said about the necessity of reducing the coal rates. The Natal coal industry has to compete with the whole world. Therefore, it is advisable that the railway rates should be as low as possible. If the rates were reduced a very largely increased business could be done in export coal, and I am sure that the traffic would grow so considerably that the profits of the Railway Department would be increased.


I hope when the Minister is dealing with the question of excursions he will consider the running of excursions from the coast to the inland portions of the Union. There is also the matter of railway concessions to delegates to municipal conferences. The delegates to these conferences feel that they are undertaking a public duty, and they have made frequent representations to the Minister asking for concession rates, but in the past their requests have been overlooked. I hope the Minister will give this request his favourable consideration.

*Dr. ROOD:

In connection with the reference to a motor service by the Minister, I want to bring his attention to the needs of the Kaapse Vlakte (near Barberton). If the Minister cannot grant a railway from Carolina to Barberton, he ought to consider whether a motor service is not advisable or whether a Dutton railway cannot be built. I am sure such a service will pay. At present the fruit growers have to convey their products a long distance by ox wagon. There is a motor service in the Northern Transvaal and it is alleged that that service does not pay. The fact is, however, that the motor service only starts after the fruit season. The Kaapse Vlakte has a great future; it is splendid for cotton growing and I hope that the Minister will give his attention to the matter and will see that the motor service is necessary. The matter has already been considered by Mr. Harris of Johannesburg, and I hope that the Minister will also give his serious attention to the question. Then also, the fruit and cotton growers along the main line to Delagoa Bay have to convey their products over long distances to get to a station. These stations are generally congested. The farmers think that if there were more sidings on the line where they could load their products themselves it will be a great convenience to them. I also want to bring to the attention of the Government the matter of the provision for cold storage at Delagoa Bay, the natural harbour of a great part of the Transvaal. In Barberton alone there are about 500,000 fruit trees. This number will be doubled in the near future. At Tzaneen there are large cotton fields, and it is a strange thing that they have to send their products 14,000 miles to Cape Town, whereas they are only 100 miles from Delagoa Bay. More attention should be given to export facilities for the Eastern Transvaal.

†*Mr. ROUX:

I also want to appeal to the Minister to assist the fruit growers by reducing the tariff for dried fruit. My constituency has a great future for dried fruit but the railway rates are unfortunately so high that it is a very hard struggle during the first year. In California the most millionaires have made their fortunes from fruit. There is also an opportunity in South Africa to make money from fruit, but unfortunately the prices are low and the costs high, so that the profit is very small. The rates for wool ought to be reduced also. The rate for wool intended for export is ten times as high on the railways as that of coal. In my district the lambing season is over and most of the lambs had to be destroyed owing to the drought. Some wool-growers are on the brink of ruination and relief is urgently needed. Since the railway line has been built through the Karroo the people were allowed to make use of the trains running through those parts. This privilege, however, was stopped since June 7th on the trains known as “No. 3 down” and “No. 4 up.” On my representations this was cancelled in respect of “No. 4 up,” but the public desire that it should also be done in respect of the other train. The public of Laingsburg have sent in a petition signed by a large number of people regarding the matter, but no steps have been taken yet by the Government. Another matter is that the pupils of the Drostdy, the school for the blind at Worcester, formerly were allowed as many concession tickets as they wanted for parents to visit their children, but now this is only granted for a few times every year. I hope that in future these poor blind children will be allowed to have a concession ticket every week if they want it to visit their homes.


I wish to take advantage of the first opportunity afforded of ascertaining from the Minister whether it is his intention to carry out the scheme of the late Government in connection with marshalling yards and workshops for the electrification scheme at Maritzburg. A great deal was heard about this throughout Natal at the general election, and many of us were under the impression that it was for party political purposes.


That is just where you are wrong.


I would like to give the Minister an idea as to what the late Government intended to do. I desire to know whether the new Government intends to carry it out—I hope they will. I also hope they will ascertain whether the site selected for marshalling yards and new repair shops is in the most suitable position for that purpose. What appeared in one of the most important local papers was this: “Work on the new marshalling yard for Maritzburg Station, which is to cost £50,000, and which, when completed, will occupy an area near Mason’s Mill, is to commence next week, and with this step forward, begins what is hoped will prove to be a tremendous boon to the town and district.” I hope the Minister will tell us whether the present Government contemplate the carrying out of the scheme as outlined before the election.

†Maj. G. B. VAN ZYL:

I would like to ask the Minister whether the Government are prepared to carry out the policy so eloquently proclaimed by what I might call their “Labour half section” in the Government, that is, that they will give equal pay for equal work. In this regard I want to know whether the coloured men at the Cape Town docks are going to receive from them the same pay as the coloured men receive from the private employers at the Cape Town docks. If not, I would like to know from the Minister his real definition of the term “civilized labour.”


The Minister has referred just now to the building of a line from Fort Beaufort to Balfour. Originally I understood that the Railway Board reported that that line should be built from Fort Beaufort to Seymour. My hon. friend will see that there is a blue print which shows the line going from Fort Beaufort to Seymour. A couple of days before the Bill was introduced the Railway Board, for what reasons I do not know, altered their opinion and suggested that the line should be made from Fort Beaufort to Balfour. Now I understand that there is a great danger not only of the line not going to Seymour but also of the line not going to Balfour. I understand that lately an officer of the department has been up there enquiring from the people and that if the line comes back another mile toward Upton it will meet their requirements. I have only this morning received a communication from a large number of people interested in tobacco growing in that part of the district in which they say that the United Tobacco Company have a factory some distance from Balfour and that when the railway was first surveyed and the intention of the Department was to put the station at what is known as the cross roads on the rise to Balfour the Company got possession of a certain quantity of ground with the intention of putting up buildings there, as that would be most convenient for them to deal with the tobacco production of the district. It seems to me that if this proposal is carried out the wagons will go right down to Fort Beaufort and the railway would lose traffic through what I consider is a great mistake made by the Board. I would suggest to the Minister that he should send up the enthusiastic new member of the Board who has just been appointed, to meet the people of the district. Another point is that an officer of the Railway Department was sent up to enquire into the question. In the various valleys on the Kat River running into the mountains you have a district of great productivity which nobody who does not know that district can realize. When this officer went there, I am told, he said he knew quite sufficient about it, that there was no traffic to be got and he went away and, I think, made a report on which the Railway Board at the last moment altered their opinion. I would ask the Minister whether he will have that question gone into. I would ask him before a further mistake is made to go into the whole question and see that if the line goes to Balfour the station should be at Balfour. I have some considerable knowledge of the irrigation possibilities of this country, and I say unhesitatingly that there is no part of South Africa that I know of that has got such irrigation possibilities, and got such grazing veld adjoining the irrigable areas or is more suitable for small settlements than the district from Kat River to Fort Beaufort and Seymour. I think a great mistake is being made in the location of the station. There is another point in which I know the hon. member takes an interest. The Minister states that as far as the cold storage of the Cape Town Docks is concerned he is making provisions for an expenditure of £30,000. I will not say whether that is sufficient or not, but I hope that he will be able to tell us that the work which will be carried out will be of such a character that they will be able to deal with the fruit trade of the Cape Town Docks. I am perfectly certain that if the hon. member will realize that if you have got that fruit to the right temperature it is unsafe to store more than 400 tons in that store at the docks. When a large volume of fruit comes in that store we fruit-growers have the unfortunate experience that when the fruit goes to the London market a great deal is in a wasty condition. I hope that the Minister will deal with this matter so that when the citrus season commences in September due provision can be made and we shall not have lost another season in dealing with our fruit for export to the markets of Europe. I hope the Minister will go sympathetically into this question, which is not only a matter of great importance to our fruit-growers in the Western Province, but also to those of other parts of South Africa. A great deal more fruit will be sent this year than last year.


I think most of us have read in the papers the slogan, “We want good roads,” a matter to which the hon. member for Weenen (Maj. G. R. Richards) has drawn attention. I have risen with the object to support raising Loan Funds for the purpose, and would also ask hon. members to take into consideration whether the power to construct roads should not be taken from the Provincial Council; indeed, I go further and say that all powers should be taken from the Provincial Councils, and that they should be done away with. In the Transvaal, and I suppose other parts of the Union, there are practically no good roads which connect one province with the other; we have been told and read that the Provincial Councils they say: “We have no money to construct good roads, or to keep roads in order.” I say that everybody who travels between Johannesburg and Pretoria takes his life into his hands, and runs a grave risk, with little probability of coming back alive, the road being very bad and dangerous. Should the hon. Minister not leave it to the Union Government to construct good roads in South Africa!


On behalf of the hon. member for Newcastle (Mr. Nel), who is unfortunately absent through illness, I want to support the appeal made by the hon. member for Stamford Hill (Mr. Lennox), in regard to shortage of trucks for the coal traffic in Natal, which is a serious matter to some collieries. There is another matter I should like to impress upon the attention of the hon. Minister—the question of local allowances to public servants in Natal. The present operation of that allowance is confined to those resident in Durban alone and does not extend to Railway or public servants resident outside the Borough of Durban or in such places as Pinetown. I should like to see the operation of these allowances extended as the cost of living is excessive in that area at the present moment. Then there is also the matter of the superannuation fund of the railway men to which I should like to draw attention. There is a strong feeling on the part of railway men who have considerable service to their credit that the pensions which they will receive on their retirement are altogether insufficient for them, and I would appeal to the Minister to have a revision of the conditions under which railway men who have spent their life in the service are retired at present. Then there is the question of transshipment charges payable by people who have produce carried over the narrow-gauge railway in Natal which is another source of grievance to them. We have a considerable mileage of narrow-gauge railways in Natal, and the people who use them are penalized by the heavy transshipment charges on their produce, which they dispose of to various markets in the Union. I should like to have a pronouncement of the hon. Minister with regard to his attitude towards the amendment of the Railway Service Act, of which he gave notice last session. The Minister while a private member gave notice of his intention to introduce an amendment of the Railway Service Act, which would make it impossible for men to be appointed on the clerical staff of the Railways unless they have passed examinations in both languages. In Natal in the past a considerable number of people were admitted to the clerical staff of the Railway who were not bilingual. A large number of the sons of railwaymen have been admitted to the service hitherto, and it was regarded as a privilege they could look forward to with a certain extent of confidence. There is considerable unsettlement amongst the men because of the notice which the Minister gave as a private member, and if every entrant into the railway should be required to be bilingual on his entry into the railway service this will cause considerable misgiving amongst railway men, and I hope that the hon. Minister will make a pronouncement on this matter at the earliest possible moment.

†Rev. Mr. RIDER:

I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to what appears to be a considerable grievance. I know of a railway official in my constituency filling a very responsible position, and when he reaches the age of retirement he will have a salary of £585, but his pension will only be about £11 per month, because it will not be calculated on his years of responsible service. Thirty-seven years of service are included, part of which he served on a very low rate of pay. I hope that the Minister will give that matter his most sympathetic consideration, and if he gives attention to that it will give effect to the sentiments expressed by the hon. Minister to have a happy and contented public service.


As a matter of urgency I would like to refer to the continuous retrenchment of young men from the Railway works who have served their apprenticeship. I do not know who is responsible. It is a very disgraceful thing to do. I hope the new Minister of Railways and the new Government will see fit to reverse this policy, because it seems wrong to force these young men out into the street and leave them unemployed with the consequent risk of degeneration.


I do think that hon. members have been rather unfair to me this afternoon—


Not at all.


—in visiting the sins of my predecessors upon me.


(addressing members of the Opposition): That is enough to overwhelm you.


Let me deal first with the point raised by the hon. member for Salt River. There is no question which has given me more anxious thought than this of the apprentices who have finished their articles at Salt River, and for whom employment cannot be found.


They are ordinary workers.


When these men were taken on as apprentices there was no guarantee that employment would be found for them at the completion of their articles. However desirous we may be of retaining these men, still we are in this position that we cannot provide work if there is no work. I have instances of men in the paint shops. I have gone into this matter with the General Manager and the Mechanical Engineer, and they have assured me that there is no work and that we have no alternative but to let these men go. But I can assure hon. members that at the earliest possible date when suitable opportunities offer, these men shall get preference and take first place. I am hoping that with the extension of railway work in our country we shall be able to find work for all these men. With regard to the point raised by the hon. member for East London (North) (Brig.-Gen. Byron), I am glad he has brought this to my notice, and I will go into it. With regard to the Superannuation Fund, that question is being examined as hon. members are aware by two actuaries, one appointed by the Administration and the other by the men themselves. Pending the receipt of the actuaries’ report, I cannot say anything more on the matter. The question of the insufficiency of pensions has exercised the minds of many of us for some time, and when the report of the actuaries is received the Government will go fully into the whole question, and possibly we shall be able to propose something to the House which will improve the matter. In regard to the narrow gauge lines, and the questions which have been raised, I quite agree with the objections. Indeed, during the 1922 session I opposed the construction of these narrow gauge lines myself, but on taking office I found that the materials had been ordered. Had that not been so I should have asked the House to reconsider the matter. With regard to the request that I should make a statement on several matters which I dealt with when I was in Opposition, I do not intend dealing with those questions now, as these matters will be dealt with when the Service Bill is introduced, as I hope it will be, during the next ordinary session. Perhaps it is necessary for me to say that while the Government desire to see that all our employees are bilingual, we do not propose to penalize anyone in the service who cannot speak both official languages. I do not think that this question is going to be of any importance in the future. We find throughout the country that English-speaking parents are seeing to it that their children learn Dutch, and the children of Dutch-speaking parents on the other hand learn English. The hon. member for Von Brandis (Mr. Nathan), has raised the question of the condition of the roads. I want to say to the hon. member that there is nothing to prevent the Provincial Councils from raising money for road construction. The hon. member complained about the condition of the road between Johannesburg and Pretoria. May I suggest to the hon. member that next time he makes that trip he does it not by motor but by train. He will find the trains are comfortable and run to time. The hon. member for Cape Town (Harbour) has asked me certain questions about policy. My reply to him is to wait and see. When I spoke of the introduction of civilized labour I laid stress on the fact that it would be a gradual process. The right hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) raised the question of the site of the station on the Balfour line. This is the first time the matter has come under my notice and I will have it looked into. If at all possible I shall meet him with regard to the site. I thoroughly agree with him that we must not make the mistake of placing the station in the wrong place. We have had too many mistakes in the past of that nature. I shall also look into the question raised by him that an officer of the department refused assistance offered to him by the magistrate and other officials at Seymour. With regard to the remarks of the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) concerning cold storage accommodation at Cape Town, I wish to state that when I took over the department I found the principle of providing a cold storage chamber had been approved, but I certainly found no plans for the work.


The officials had been brought down from headquarters to prepare them.


The principle had been agreed to, but there were no plans. I agree with what has fallen from the right hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) with regard to the export of our fruit. We are just at the beginning of our development. The possibilities of the fruit export from the Union are really enormous, and I look forward to the time when cur fruit export will be one of the chief sources of revenue to the country. There is enormous development going on in all parts of the Union in the way of fruit cultivation, and as we have tackled this problem we shall do so thoroughly. In consultation with the Minister of Agriculture I have asked my department and the Agricultural Department in conjunction with Mr. Griffiths, who has done very good work, to deal with the matter at the very earliest possible date, and prepare plans, not only with a view to meeting immediate requirements, but with a view to our requirements in five or ten years. It is undoubtedly true that we must have accommodation at the quay side, for without that we cannot compete with other countries. We have had so much loss occasioned to the farmers in the past that Government must now do what is necessary. At the same time, however urgent the matter may be, I do not want to rush the matter unduly for fear that we might make a mistake. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) has raised the question of the suitability of No. 7 quay but I am not so sure that that is the right place for the chamber, for ships of different companies are now taking away our fruit. The sum of £30,000 on the estimates is more or less an estimate, and if the cool storage chamber should cost more I am quite prepared to provide more money. The hon. member for Maritzburg (North) (Mr. Strachan) has raised the question of the new repair shop. We are going to remove the marshalling yard to Mason’s Mill which is about three miles out of Maritzburg, but not the repair shops.

†*The hon. member for Ceres (Mr. Roux) and the hon. member for Worcester (Mr. Heatlie) raised the matter of the freight on dried fruit. This matter will have my close attention. I am quite in sympathy with everything that hon. members have said. Our dried fruit industry is of almost as much importance as our fresh fruit and I will go into the matter thoroughly. As regards a special export tariff for dried fruit, I may say that I am in favour of the principle, but I cannot make a full statement now. I am afraid that a tariff for wool will have to wait until there is a general reduction of tariffs. The hon. member for Ceres (Mr. Roux) has also raised the matter of concession tickets for the blind at Worcester. The Administration will consider the matter. As soon as the Administration has more information regarding the Kaapse Vlakte, near Barberton, the matter of more transport facilities will be taken into consideration. The matter has already the attention of the Administration. Regarding the provision of cold storage facilities at Delagoa Bay, the Administration of the Union cannot do anything. We can only make recommendations to the Portuguese authorities, but further we can do nothing.

†As to excursion fares we are running special excursion trains inland but I will go into the question of their further extension. The hon. member for Berea (Mr. Henderson) has raised the question of the Durban station. I visited Durban on several occasions, and I was able to see what a progressive community it was. As regards the station accommodation there it is a big question and I want a little time in which to consider it. As to coal rates I do not know whether the hon. members who have raised the point refer to the export and bunker rates, because those rates are exceptionally low. While I sympathize with the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Struben) on the general principle of cheap coal for industrial purposes this is a question which raises very great difficulty, because once you start differentiating between coal used for industrial and coal used for ordinary purposes very great difficulties arise. I am afraid the practical difficulties in the way will prevent my doing anything. With reference to a suggested fishing pier at Hout Bay, the question has been investigated by the department, but there are difficulties in the way as regards a road for the bridge for which the Provincial Council are responsible for. If the hon. member for South Peninsula (Sir Drummond Chaplin) can bring pressure to bear on the Provincial Council to do its share, possibly we may be able to meet him.

The position with regard to the shortage of trucks in Natal is this. We always have a very large number of trucks at Durban loaded with coal, and the difficulty can only be solved if we obtain proper assistance from the people concerned at Durban. The remedy is the prompt release of the trucks and their return to the mines. The people who have the trucks consigned to them have the remedy in their own hands. The hon. member for Griqualand East (Mr. Gilson) has raised the question of natives on the railways and the policy of introducing civilized labour. I want to point out to him that the same policy was announced and actually carried out by my predecessor, at Salt River and Uitenhage. I have extended that policy to all our workshops, and am extending the field of civilized labour on the whole of our system. We have about 35,000 natives in our employ at the present time and it is not our intention to throw these men on the streets, they have given good services in the past. The Government, however, feel that the basis of employment for European and coloured labour must be widened. If this is not done what prospect is there for the sons of the people of this country. The Government have definitely decided that the basis of employment must be broadened and we are going to do it. It will, however, be done gradually. The hon. member for Albany (Mr. Struben) has raised the necessity of a dredger at Port Alfred. I shall go into the question and assist him if possible. The hon. member for East London (North) (Gen. Byron) has raised the question of the pay of employees on public holidays. The information he requires is this: They are paid for three days for public holidays and twelve days in addition. This is the maximum, and they are not paid for anything over that. The hon. member for Umvoti (hon. Mr. Deane) has raised the question of the rates on wattle and wattle bark. That matter will have my attention. He, however said that our rates are the highest in the world. As a matter of fact I am informed that they are the lowest. But that does not mean that we cannot possibly further assist the industry, which is a very important one. In regard to the matter of timber, which he has raised, I shall have that looked into.

†*The hon. member for Colesberg (Mr. G. A Louw) has taken up an attitude in respect of the motor-lorries in conjunction with the railways, which surprised me. If the local public does not want them, I will certainly not compel it to have them.

†The hon. member for Weenen (Maj. Richards) is asking for information with regard to road rails. If he has any case in mind in his own constituency and will bring it to my notice, I will have the necessary investigations made. He has also asked me a question with regard to the electrification scheme, and whether it will be possible for private undertakings to buy power. The reply is in the affirmative. The Commission will be glad to supply power to all undertakings, and it will be delivered at cost. We are looking forward to great development as the result of providing industries with cheap power.

The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (South) (Sir William Macintosh) has raised the question with regard to the extension of the pier at Port Elizabeth. Mr. Wilson, the engineer, who has been brought out to investigate the position at Durban and Port Elizabeth will look into this question. With regard to providing cold storage accommodation at Port Elizabeth, I am interested in that matter, and will see what can be done in this connection.

I come now to my hon. friend for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger). I want to deal with this interesting question of the competition between the Camps Bay Tramway Company and the Railway Department which has arisen in connection with the ’bus service between Sea Point Station and Clifton and Bakoven. The Sea Point railway line has not paid for a long time. I want to ask the House whether it was not the duty of the Department and its officers to see if traffic could not be increased for that line. The Railway Department seems to me to have been slow in doing it. My hon. friend was responsible for introducing it as far as Clifton, and when he adopted the principle of running ’buses to Cilfton, he practically agreed to the principle of extension to Bakoven.


Not necessarily.


Yes. We are running the services to Bakoven with the same vehicles and the same men employed as we were doing with regard to Clifton. We are receiving the support of the public. During the first two days our service was running we have had over three hundred people making use of it, and we have had strong representations from the public concerned asking us not to pay any attention to any representations that might be made against the service. There is the further point, that the Railway Department has to face competition all over the city and all over the country. There is competition at Sea Point; the trams and ’buses run there. We have competition at the Docks. We have not closed the Docks to private enterprise running their ’buses to the Docks. It does seem rather a dog-in-the-manger action on the part of the Camps Bay Company to say that we are not to compete. As long as we are serving the public a much stronger case will have to be set up by the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) or any other member before the Railway Department will budge from the position they have taken up. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) also raised the question of timber rates. I am informed that that question is still engaging the attention of the Administration, and it is hoped that a decision will very shortly be come to with regard to it.

The motion was agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

House in Committee †Mr. MADELEY:

I am sorry to say I was not satisfied with the reply given by the Minister to the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Snow), in regard to the question of apprentices, about their being thrown on the streets when they have finished their indentures. It appears to me that the argument of the Minister tended in this direction that, “unfortunately, nothing more can be done; apprentices have been trained by us, a big department of the State, presumably we have been utilizing their labour in a skilled capacity up to that point, but they have finished their indentures, and now we have got nothing more for them to do and they have got to go.” I would ask the Minister, first of all, what on earth they train apprentices for? It appears to me that the very fact that we take upon ourselves the responsibility of training them carries with it the responsibility of finding them something to do when we have trained them. It seems to me an idle argument for the Minister to use that he has no work for them. It is a foolish argument so far, because you have had work for them until you parted company. Is it perhaps because when once they have finished their articles they become entitled to journeymen’s wages? I put it to the Minister’s most serious consideration, and I urge upon him that it is a very dangerous thing for him at the outset of his career to lean upon his permanent officials too much. I may suggest to his colleagues equally to take warning. Do not follow too closely in the footsteps of the late Government. Be prepared to strike out on original lines, and do not for Heaven’s sake swallow holus bolus anything that the permanent officials like to tell you. After all, the permanent officials are there to run their department in the easiest and cheapest possible way. The success or failure of a Government Department has been the ledger method every time, and that has been carried infinitely too far, and I want the hon. Minister to call a halt in that method of administration. Has the Minister taken the trouble to find out whether there is any work. I ask him to look at all the assets of the Railway Department and the condition of the rolling stock—in places it is shocking. I feel sure when he has done this he will find there is plenty of work on the railways for these apprentices. Let me deal with the economic position. You have for five or six years been training these lads in work of the utmost importance to the Railway Department; you have had the very best material trained in the very best possible way, and you are turning it out to waste on the streets. I say it is a waste of time, it is a waste of money and it is a waste of material—further it is a waste of the time of the lads themselves. You have built up hopes in the breasts of these lads that they were going into an occupation which you have since made a blind-alley occupation. You have trained these lads as mechanics, and there are no opportunities in the industries of this country tor skilled mechanics. I ask the Minister to give this his close personal attention, and not too readily to accept the statements of departmental officials. These officials have to be examined as closely as has the past policy. Do not take over the bad old methods of the hon. J. W. Jagger (Ministerial and Opposition cries of “Order”). Yes. I know it is out of order, but so is he sitting there out of order.


The Camps Bay Tramway Company has invested a lot of money in that line, and the shareholders have never received any interest on their money. Now the Railway Department is going to compete with them. There is not sufficient business for both of them, and the result will be that the tramway company will have to close down. I myself began the omnibus service as far as Clifton, but no further, and I am strongly opposed to continuing it to Camps Bay.


I would ask the Minister to consider this: Would he think it right, if the Railway Department asked for it, to construct, a new railway line parallel to the Cape Central line and running many miles of its length? Would not it be said that in constructing such a line the Railway Department was violating the agreement with the shareholders of the Cape Central Railway? The Minister says he sees no reason why the Railway Department should not compete with any existing enterprise—just as any existing enterprise competes with the Railway Department. But there is such a thing as good faith. This Tramway Company has run this line without paying any dividend for twenty years; it has run this line and opened up this district. The Railway is an institution run by the State, and where the State has allowed private enterprise to develop a locality, it is not right for the State to allow the Railway Department to ruin that enterprise. Unless the Minister is prepared to say that he would build a parallel railway to compete with the Cape Central Railway he has no right to agree to the institution of this motor service in competition with the Camps Bay Tramway Company. If the Camps Bay Company is forced out of existence this city will lose one of the most beautiful routes anywhere in South Africa, that is the circular tramway route round the Kloof Nek to Camps Bay. It would never be a practical proposition to run a ’bus service over that Kloof Nek, and the scrapping of the Camps Bay line would mean in effect the scrapping of that circular route. Every ship that stops at Cape Town sends numbers of people over that circular route, and the majority of the visitors to Cape Town look forward to availing themselves of the chance of seeing that route. Speaking myself as a visitor to Cape Town, I say that it would be a great loss to this city if the route around the Kloof Nek were lost, and it will be lost if the company loses its traffic along the level road along the sea coast.


The hon. member evidently does not consider the interest of the family man at Clifton and other places. Are we to consider solely the interests of the Tramway Company? I know any number of people to-day who are taking the train to Sea Point and walking all that distance to Clifton to avoid paying the exorbitant fares charged by the Tramway Company. It is all very well for hon. members to put up a plea for a Company simply because it has been shouldering a white elephant, but the people who ought to receive consideration are the fathers of families. The people there want cheaper fares. If the company had a little more enterprise it would charge less and then it would be able to build up a bigger traffic. If the hon. member will only interview many of the people living at Clifton and elsewhere along that coast he will find a very strong desire for cheaper fares and greater facilities. I hope the Minister of Railways will go on with the scheme and that the company will be compelled to reduce its fares.


Transport riders have as much right to complain of the competition of lorries as the Camps Bay Tramway Company have to complain of the competition of motor ’buses. The fact remains that the development of the country demands that the railways service should he extended, and I feel that Mr. Jagger’s objections are ill-founded.


The Camps Bay line was brought into being by an Act of Parliament in the same way as the New Cape Central Railway, and both were intended to open out the districts which they serve. So the two cases are exactly parallel. The hon. member for Brakpan (Mr. Waterston) evidently did not listen to the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) who made it perfectly plain that he had no objection whatever to a bus service to Clifton; in fact he started the service, but he and I object to the extension of the service to Camps Bay. The hon. member (Mr. Waterston) with his usual unctuous rectitude implying that he alone has any solicitude for the family man, is always tiresome and sometimes his rectitude grows nauseating. In regard to the family man of whom he speaks, he usually uses a monthly ticket and there is practically no difference in the rates for monthly tickets between the bus and the tram, but where the difference comes in is in the single fares. The single fare charged by the Railway Department is considerably less than that charged by the Tramway Company, and that is where the latter will lose all its tourist and casual traffic. That line was built to attract tourist traffic. The Company should not be dragged into insolvency through the action of the Government. Let me remind him the company is made up of shareholders who are private individuals and fair play to individuals is fair play to the company. I hold no special brief for this company, but my sense of fair play has been revolted by the Government stepping in where competition inevitably means the going under of the other party. If there were enough traffic for both let both compete, but the existing traffic has not been sufficient to allow the present company to pay a dividend.


The hon. member has been talking about monthly tickets. When a man travels with a wife and family he naturally does not have a monthly ticket and these are the people who are going to receive the benefit through this particular service. I want to Say the supercilious attitude adopted by the hon. member may please his own friends over there but it will not do on this side. When he stands up and objects to competition we expect him to join the ranks of the Socialists by and by.


I would like to support the protest made by the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger). I think this is a departure from a very sound principle; after inducing a company to spend a very considerable sum of money in providing a public service, it is not right for the Government to come in and compete. In connection with this matter I want to tell the Minister something perhaps he does not know at the present time and that is that some years ago when the late Government was negotiating with the New Cape Central Railways to take over their line it was thought that their terms were rather hard and a suggestion was put forward to the Government that there should be a competing line built, but that was immediately turned down because it was thought unfair for the Government to step in and build a line which would compete with that company in their business. If it had been shown that the company had been making large profits there might have been something to be said for such a course, but where that company had been making either nothing at all or very small dividends it was thought that it would be quite unfair for the Government to take away the trade that they had. It seems to me that in the present case the circumstances are analogous. In the old days the people of Cape Town were glad to have this tramway to Camps Ray built. Now the Government seek to come in and compete with the company in carrying passengers. I think this is a matter that requires further consideration. It will have the effect doubtless of driving away capital. It is one thing to carry passengers to and from Clifton, which is not well served by the Tramway Company, but quite another thing to compete with the Company in carrying passengers to and from Camps Bay.


It is rather extraordinary to me that none of the members who have spoken against this undertaking have mentioned the public interest. Is not the Railway Department entitled to bring traffic to the Sea Point line?


By fair means.


The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) agreed to the principle of introducing the ’buses to Clifton. May I draw the attention of the hon. member for Dundee (Sir Thos. Watt) to this? It was his colleague at that time who agreed to the principle of competing with the Company.




When you agreed to the principle of inaugurating a ’bus service between Sea Point and Clifton.


That is not the question. The question is about the extension of the service to Camps Bay and Bakoven.


May I remind the hon. member that when the question was first raised the Assistant General Manager pointed out that later the extension of the ’bus service to Bakoven would arise?




I shall be pleased to show the documents to the hon. member. Now I have stated, and I repeat it here, that where the public interest demands it the Railway Department will compete with private enterprise, and we are not going to run away from that position. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Blackwell) has raised the position in connection with the Cape Central Railway. He does not know that my predecessor, on one occasion, when he was interviewed by a deputation, said he was quite prepared to construct a competing line if the terms of that company were unreasonable. The public of Clifton and Bakoven have suffered, and it is only after the institution of our ’buses that the Company has wakened up. We are getting the support of the public, and under the circumstances we shall carry out our duty. With regard to the point raised by the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) I must remind him that the shop where the dismissals took place was working short time.


What was the reason?


The reason is that we have not sufficient work. In order to provide more work I have reversed the order that twenty-five third-class saloons should be built overseas, and they are now to be built in this country. I give the assurance that at the first possible opportunity we shall give these men work. The trade union organization agreed when we took these boys that if we had not the work when their training was completed that we should let them go. Under the circumstances the hon. member will see that I have done what I could do to assist. With regard to the departmental officers and their recommendations, while I shall not accept these reports blindly, those reports come from men who know the circumstances and until such time as I find them to be incorrect I shall accept them.


Will the railways help to destroy public property? because that is what it comes to. It is all very well for the Minister to talk of public convenience, but the Tramway Company is a public convenience, and this Company has never yet paid a dividend.


Perhaps it is over-capitalized.


How do you know?


I said perhaps.


The hon. member brings forward no proof in any shape or form of what he has said. The tram service to Camps Bay has been conducted for a good many years, and has never paid yet, and when the traffic is on the increase—I don’t know—the Railway Department comes barging in. The fact is that I authorized the ’buses to go as far as Clifton, and I was under the impression that that was not competing with the Tramway Company. Now they are going to Camps Bay, and that is competition. I must say that that is a most unfair thing for the Railway Department to do.


Does the hon. Minister not realize what he has said; that he wants to discharge these men who have learned their trade, and to train more, and throw more upon the labour market? Is not that the logical result of the statement of the hon. the Minister?


We are hoping to have an extension to our shops.


The whole country is expecting realization of this new Government, and even on this side of the House they realize that any hope which is to come has to come from the Government on the other side. I am happy to see that they are so delighted that I am bringing forward some matter of interest—not the insane question of the competition between the Tramway Company and the Railway—but asking them to concentrate on something worth while. What I want to drive home to the hon. the Minister is this fact; however much credence he may place in his permanent officials and however pleased he may be, in the generosity of his mind and heart with them, and whatever encomiums he may pay these gentlemen, the fact remains that the rolling stock of this country is in a deplorable condition. That is a fact. I will agree that it is due to the policy of his predecessor; but nevertheless, the Minister must try to catch up, and not discharge the very men who would enable him to catch up. There are heaps of work to be done, and while on the one hand rolling stock requires immediate attention, on the other hand you are discharging men who have been trained to perform the task of attending to that work. I do once again urge; upon the hon. the Minister to go into the matter and see if he cannot resume the employment of these men.

The Clause was agreed to.

The remaining Clauses were agreed to.



That the Bill be now read a third time.



then moved—

That the Bill be read a third time on Monday.

Mr. VERMOOTEN seconded.

Agreed to.

The House adjourned at 6 p.m.