House of Assembly: Vol2 - WEDNESDAY 13 AUGUST 1924
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for House to go into Committee of Supply, to be resumed.
Debate adjourned on the 11th instant resumed.
When the House adjourned on Monday I was discussing the difficulty which many farmers felt in the matter of paying income tax or increases on which they had as yet had no return. The question of the simplification of the income tax returns for farmers is of the greatest importance. One feels convinced also that if the farmer had a form which he could easily follow it would encourage him to pay more income tax. I would like to hand the Minister of Finance the suggestion that he should send people, in the nature of preachers, round the country to encourage people in the name of patriotism to pay the largest amount of income tax they possibly can. He will find that such a course will pay him well. I need not say that such preachers need to visit the towns as well as the country. I would like to bring a word or encouragement to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Agriculture in connection with the locust plague. There are too many inspectors. In my district far too many inspectors have been appointed by the Government in the past, and too many of them are of the hangeron type. Most farmers are convinced that they can do much better work if they are organized in circles and left to deal with the locusts themselves. All that the farmers require is that the Government should supply the poison, and then the farmers will carry out the work themselves without the need for 28 inspectors appointed at the expense of the Treasury. Then the question of the jackal-proof fencing is of the greatest importance. It is not only of importance to the Land Bank, but it is of importance to the Treasury as a source of income. I want to make it very plain that the income tax paid by the farmer is growing daily, and that income tax will grow vastly owing to the farms in the sheep district at any rate being netted. I mention the income tax because one finds such great variations in the amount paid in various parts of the country. One farmer in my district very cheerfully paid £750 in income tax. It is certainly an example to set, and one wonders if the example cannot be followed with very great benefit to the Treasury. The question of jackal-proof fencing is of importance, particularly when the farmer is not in a position to net his farm at his own immediate expense, and has such a large mortgage that he cannot approach the Land Bank. The Land Bank will only advance on first mortgage. This places farmers in a difficulty. I am sure if the Land Bank would advance money on jackal-proof fencing it would help farmers very considerably. I would like to refer to the remarks made by the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) about the Provincial Administration. He said that the Provincial Administration had lost all sense of responsibility because they refused to balance their Budget and came whining to the Treasury. I would like to point out that at least as far as the Cape Province is concerned this is untrue. The Cape Provincial Administration has again and again attempted to balance their Budget. They have not come whining to the Government. If they have lost their sense of responsibility it is due to the action of the late Government. The Provincial Council has had no chance at all in the past. We are looking forward now to their getting a fair chance to do their part of the business, and we believe they will be helped by the present Government as they should be. We trust that the Government will lay the position of the Provincial Councils down in such a way that they can make ends meet. I am afraid the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) must admit that he, too, has been responsible for damaging the goods which they now ask us to deliver intact.
How about the deficits of the School Boards?
Yes, the deficits of the School Boards would still be within the capacity of the Provincial Council to-day if the Government had given the Provincial Council the right to put on the Sales Tax as they wanted to. Instead of that the Government forced the Provincial Council to continue with a turn-over tax which the Government of that day knew quite well was so unpopular that it would help to break up the scheme of government. The position the Provincial Council holds is of the greatest importance to the country, and the blows education has received in the last few years are such as it will be difficult for us to recover from. We have not been helped in the past to maintain what was practically the constitution of the country. The constitution has in some way been rather shattered by the Government of that day. I trust this matter will be looked into, because we must look to the time when each child and each individual in the country will have a chance to acquire some sort of trade or profession or skilled work of one kind or another. We must do that or else we shall be ruined as a white race in this country. I would like to draw the attention of the Minister of Education to the very big family he has in the certified homes of the country. There are a large number of these homes entirely under the Government or to a large extent subsidised by the Government. Many of the children are simply lumped together quite irrespective of their capacity, mental or physical, and I hold that some differentiation should take place. The children who are of the best mental type should be kept apart from those who are less fitted mentally or are even slightly feeble-minded. I have myself seen very serious results due to mixing up those who are more or less feeble-minded with those who are capable of taking a good place in the service of the country. I would like to add a few words in regard to the development of industries. I believe our industries have a very great future if they are correctly handled. I have a letter here from an engineer, a man who is very keen on working up iron industries in South Africa. He writes—there is no question of any personal benefit in this matter—“We are capable of turning out very much more in this country of iron work than is generally thought. The whole grain elevator work could have been made in the Union … why not trust South Africa?” That seems to me the whole crux of the question, why not trust South Africa? Why not trust the engineers and the workpeople of South Africa, We can get pig iron here, and we can develop iron industries to such an extent that we shall have to think perhaps very little about unemployment.
I was very pleased to see that the hon. member for Graaff-Reinet (Dr. Bremer) had made a few remarks which directly concerned the industries of this country. During the elections members on the Government benches made various promises to the effect that they would encourage and foster industries. I am very glad that they did make those promises and I hope they will carry them out. We must admit that if this country is to make any progress then the industries must receive adequate protection and encouragement. Providence has endowed South Africa with large iron and coal deposits, but unfortunately we have not yet realized what those deposits are going to mean and will mean for South Africa in the future. Iron and coal are the very foundations upon which a country’s industrial development is based, and if we develop these two ores we will find that in South Africa we will have progress, prosperity, population and wealth. The future prosperity, in my opinion, of South Africa, very largely lies in the development of our iron industry. What has made England, America and Germany the great commercial and industrial countries that they are? It is their coal and iron deposits which they have developed. Is there any reason why South Africa should not develop its great coal and iron deposits and thereby come to the forefront and the front benches, and take its place among the industrial countries of the world? We are importing to-day into South Africa very large quantities of iron and steel manufactured articles, a great deal of agricultural machinery, iron standards, iron pipes, and a great quantity of other iron and steel articles, and I ask why should that be? Is there any reason why a great number of these articles should not be manufactured in South Africa? The reason why we have not, lies in the fact that we in South Africa have not produced one ton of pig iron, and when you produce pig iron you open out an avenue to our industrial development. The hon. member for Boksburg (Mr. McMenamin) speaking a few days back, referred to the high prices which they had to pay for pig iron in Johannesburg. It is possible in South Africa to produce pig iron and deliver it in Johannesburg at a good profit, for £6 per ton, or 50 per cent, less than the present iron founders and moulders in Johannesburg are paying for the imported article. Some of the hon. members had an opportunity of inspecting the iron foundries of Johannesburg, and were astounded to see what machinery was there, and how these industries had developed, but these industries are suffering because the country has not come forward and produced the necessary pig iron. If a portion of the energy, wealth and brains put into the gold industry had been directed towards the iron industry our position in South Africa would have been very much better than it is. I hope the time is not far off when South Africa will realize that if we are to become an industrial country, we should start straight away to produce the necessary pig iron, so as to supply the industries which need it. Is there any reason why we in South Africa should not produce the common plough which the native is using, or other articles which we are using in South Africa? I would now like to mention something about the Newcastle iron and coal industries. Mr. Eaton, who is a working man, some time ago realized the importance of making pig iron in South Africa. He took the trouble to travel to England and America to investigate the iron industry there. He came back and decided, after careful investigation, that Newcastle was the best site for pig iron production in South Africa, and his reason was that in Newcastle there is an abundant supply of free and unlimited water—a large quantity of water being necessary in the manufacture of pig iron. Newcastle is in the coal area. It takes four tons of coal to convert one ton of ore into pig iron. Take Pittsburg, in America, there iron ore is transported 1,000 miles, and in England it has to come from Scandinavia. Mr. Eaton then floated the company known as the Newcastle Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. I may say that this company has no watered capital. The shares issued were nearly all subscribed, except a few shares issued to Mr. Eaton for his out-of-pocket expenses in investigating the iron industries in America and England. These works were on the verge of producing pig iron, but unfortunately have not the necessary capital to get to the producing stage. The late Government, realizing the importance of the iron industry and the production of pig iron, passed the Bounties Act, and if we can prove, which we have done, that 50,000 tons can be produced at these works, we are entitled, I submit, according to the second proviso of the Act passed past year, to ask the Government for an advance on the bounty. We only require £12,000 more to bring the works to the producing stage, and I appeal to the Government to make that advance. If once we start producing pig iron, I am convinced we are opening the door to new avenues of industry, and I hope, therefore, that the Government will take the matter into its serious consideration, and give its consent to making the necessary advance. I am advised it would be only a matter of two or three months if the advance is made to get to this producing stage. May I also mention the agreement entered into between the Railways and the Pretoria Iron and Steel Works, under which this company undertook to start immediately to erect their works, which they have not done, and, further undertook to produce by January 1st, 1923, certain articles provided for under that agreement, which they have also not done? I hope that the Government will consider that agreement and advise the House what the position is under that agreement—has any extension been granted, or has it lapsed? Because considerable concessions were made to the Pretoria Iron and Steel Works, and I hope the existence of that agreement will not affect the position of the Newcastle works in regard to their request for a bounty, which is provided for under the law. These Newcastle works will absorb 100 Europeans, of whom 15 will be apprentices, and £4,000 will be paid per month to the Railways. It has been proved that we have suitable iron ores within a matter of 20 miles from Newcastle, and Mr. Eaton estimates that there are 2 million tons of good iron ore available immediately for production into pig iron. I would like to appeal to the hon. the Prime Minister, who had an opportunity of inspecting these ironworks, and also the hon. Minister for Mines and Industries, to grant the bounty to these works. While I am on the question of industries, I should also like to say a few words on railway rates. If industry is to be fostered in South Africa, a national policy will be bound to take into consideration the alteration of the existing railway rates, so as to bring them to an economical basis so far as inland industries are concerned. The present rates are based on the port rate, that is, on the assumption that all industries are at the ports, and owing to this, unusual anomalies have arisen. To give one instance, at Newcastle you have large carbide works which have lately been established, and something like half a million pounds has been spent upon these works, including the coal mine. You can send carbide from Newcastle to Cape Town, a distance of 1,100 miles, at a rate 50 per cent, cheaper than to Kimberley, which is 600 miles from Newcastle. That is the position so far as railway rates are concerned. On the one hand it gives you the right to compete with the imported article at the port, but when it comes to inland towns the rates are based on the imported article coming from the ports. In sending carbide from Newcastle the railway rate to Kimberley is based on the railway rate the importer would have to pay from the nearest port to Kimberley. I do believe the future of our industries lies where the coal mines are and where there is cheap power and no longer will they be situate at the ports. I hope the Minister of Railways will take into serious consideration the alteration of the present rates so as to adapt them to the establishment of industry in the hinterland. I hope also that the Government will take into consideration the protection of industries against dumping. I now wish to direct a few remarks to the Wattle industry. The hon. member for Umvoti (Hon. W. A. Deane) made some remarks with regard to the immediate investigation of insect pests at present attacking the wattle plantations. The wattle industry is the fourth biggest in this country, and is accordingly entitled to some consideration so far as the immediate appointment of a scientific man is concerned to investigate these pests. It is estimated that these pests are reducing the total production by 20 per cent, per annum. This is a very large amount. It might be remembered by the Government that the Railway revenue is £250,000 per annum from the industry. I would also draw the Minister’s attention to the railway rates on firewood and other wood which the various parts of South Africa require. In the Free State and the Northern parts of the Transvaal there was at one time a big demand for wattle poles for fencing purposes and the erection of buildings, but owing to the railway rates that business has been entirely done away with. Now we have to burn the wood which previously was sold and created wealth in this country. Another matter which I wish to draw the Government’s attention to is the rates on carbolinium, coal tar and other by-products made from waste wattle wood. The railway rates are so detrimental that we are not able to compete against the imported article. From this wattle wood we are making wood alcohol, carbolinium, acetone, etc. One more matter with regard to Natal. Mention was made of the burning question of identification passes and the Masters and Servants Act. The result of the present law has been most detrimental to farmers in Natal, and I hope the Minister will consider the consolidation of the native identification law and the Masters and Servants Act so as to bring the whole of South Africa under one law in this matter.
I feel like the Scotsman who gave a pound for the return of the Jews to the Holy Land and who, the following week, went and asked for his money back because they had not already started. Many nice things have been said about the Ministry, but I congratulate also members of the Opposition on realizing their duty. The better they do it the better it will be. I am delighted they have started on a career of hostile criticism because, as has been said, the better the Opposition the better the Government. The Government was returned on two mandates, one was turning out the previous Government, and that has been carried into effect with success. The other was to deal efficiently and immediately with unemployment. While I hesitate to offer hyper-criticism I feel that the machine has not moved fast enough. For six weeks we have had our three meals a day. We have gone on very prosperously so far as members in the House are concerned. Outside there has been increasing hunger, and I have asked myself if something more than has been done could not have been done by responsible Ministers. I acknowledge the mess they had to clear up was great, I admit the greatness of their task, and I know they have entered on their duties full of courage and energy and we must express delight at what they have done. They have at least shown that the old Government never showed, sympathy with the people, sympathy with, the poor and struggling workers. While in office the late Government only had one thing in view: to increase the prosperity of the already privileged and already wealthy classes. We must see that the present Government is kept up to the collar in dealing with the greatest problem they have to face, that of unemployment and increasing want in the country. That is my representative duty here. I had hoped that the first thing done would be that every department would have been instructed to take on at once all the white men they possibly could. It might be said that in doing so they would be anticipating Parliamentary sanction, but we have precedents for that, for the late Government ignored Parliamentary sanction on many matters to the detriment of the country, and I feel that in matters in relation to unemployment we could have anticipated that sanction. There has been waste of time, and I am sorry indeed that the wheels have moved so slowly Mistakes might have been made, but they are mistakes which could easily be rectified. Had the Government tackled the thing in the right way and said we will take on all the men we can get, or at least find places for as many men as possible, they might, in my own constituency, have taken on 300 men in the Railway workshops, and from 100 to 150 apprentices. What an example they could have set to the various municipalities. They could then have carried out what the hon. member for Standerton (Gen. Smuts) had said he was going to take up—the big fight with the Chamber of Mines. After all there should be continuity of administration, and it is up to the Government to take on that “big fight.” The mining industry is wallowing in profits, and if the Government had done what they could have done, and induced municipalities to follow suit, they could have taken on the “big fight” of the previous Government with the Chamber of Mines and made it a real fight. They could have told the Chamber to take on at least 2,000 white miners who are still walking about the streets and, if that policy was pushed to the point of earnestness the Chamber of Mines would have had to do its duty to the country. I want to refer to the advice recently given by the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger), to the Government to pursue a policy which wrecked his own Government; that they should adopt the policy of free trade, a policy for which the hon. member was jettisoned from the Cabinet as the Jonah who brought on the storm. He still preaches his doctrine of destruction. I am astonished that the hon. member, and also the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (South) (Sir Wm. Macintosh), cling to the idea that prosperity means cheapness in production, and do not see that their interests as traders are bound up in increasing production and purchasing power, and not in the mere increase in the importation of goods. I went to Australia to study the question of free trade, saying to myself, “Surely all the people in Australia and America cannot be fools.” In Australia business men who were for free trade, like the hon. members referred to, have no regrets now for adopting protective duties—their stores and warehouses are bigger than ever; their businesses more prosperous, Sir George Reid, the leader of the forlorn hope for free trade in Australia, at a complimentary dinner given to him as High Commissioner in London, said he had one regret, and that was that he had not been converted to protection twenty years earlier. The question of importation at the cheapest rate means continuance of conditions which prevent expansion. No country can show that it has expanded by anything but increased production and industry. You may import a thousand bales of blankets, but they will not produce a human being, but if you bring out the makers of the blankets you increase the population and also its purchasing power. There is an argument which was used by Abraham Lincoln which has never been answered, and never can be, by the free traders. Lincoln said, “If I send a thousand dollars to Europe for rails Europe will have the dollars and we shall have the rails, but if we make the rails in America we shall have both the dollars and the rails.” There is a great advantage in keeping money circulating in a country. It is like an irrigating stream fertilizing wherever it flows. It is not merely figures which indicate wealth, and one can imagine a country entirely prosperous but which has scarcely anything to show in the way of figures. You may have your banks bursting with money, but the country itself may not be prosperous. It is not a matter which can be expressed in terms of arithmetic. A country may be completely prosperous on its own internal production and distribution, and yet practically have no exports and no imports. In fact, we might be happier if we could use our own diamonds and consume our own products with a large and prosperous population. How can we attain prosperity if the first consideration is not that of providing work for the people? The free trader asserts that production rests on cheapness, but the first enquiry of a worker is not “Where can I live cheaply?” but “Where can I get work?” It is not until you have given people work that it is any use going into the question of cheap, living. Surely, if there is anything in the argument about cheapness of production, then you should get the best results from slave labour, or Chinamen. Our policy is different—we want to develop industries in South Africa so that we can keep our own people profitably employed. How is it that a country like Germany can boast that it rode to prosperity on the back of free trade England by taking possession of British markets? England will have to learn the lesson that she must protect her markets as well as to open them, for to-day her great danger is competition from Germany and America, protectionist countries. It is sad to see, as you go through the streets of Cape Town and other big towns in the Union, in shop window after shop window the wares of Germany displayed to the exclusion of British goods. The hon. member for Cape Town Central (Mr. Jagger), and others of his way of thinking, must realize that countries exist on the prosperity of their own people, and that wealth is not reflected by balances in the banks, but in the state of prosperity of the whole of the people. It is useless pointing to the fact that year after year we have the balance of trade in our favour, for that balance never comes back to South Africa. It is only internal production that will give us return of capital which is constantly leaving our shores never to return under free trade conditions. The hon. member for Cape Town Central (Mr. Jagger) and the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (South) (Sir Wm. Macintosh) have urged on the Government that there should be lighter taxation. South Africa has been advertised during the elections, and also oversea, as the most lightly taxed country in the world. Surely it has not changed into a heavily taxed country in the short space of six weeks? After all, the question is not what is the taxation, but what is the burden of taxation. Taxes are light if the people are able to bear them, and it is a question of the proper adjustment of taxation. The fault of the previous Government was that the taxation was ill-adjusted and pressed hardly on the workers. South Africa is certainly the most lightly taxed country so far as the wealthy are concerned. I want particularly to ask the Government to get busy quickly on some of the things I think the country is expecting. I regret that they have allowed six weeks to pass without coming forward with a measure for which the whole country has been looking for at least 13 years. That is a measure which will ensure a diamond cutting industry in this country. For all these years the producers of diamonds have successfully defied the Government. If we had the people of the country guiding the Government, we should by this time have built up one of the finest industries that could be imagined. It is an industry which gives employment to 20,000 people with a remuneration of something between five and six million pounds per year. It has been proved up to the hilt that during the time the Cape was separate, De Beers controlled the Government: Mr. Cecil Rhodes used to describe this as due to the “irresistible arguments of De Beers.” Those irresistible arguments, will, I trust, not reach members on this side of the House. I trust influences will not be brought to bear to prevent the setting up of that great industry in South Africa. At the present time Basutoland reaps the greatest benefit from diamond production in this country. I find no excuse for the Ministry in not having in this session brought a measure before the House, to ensure diamond cutting. It will be January before we meet again, and by that time the diamond magnates will have got to work to try to persuade our friends that this industry is an impossible proposition. Had we got a measure through in this session we can be perfectly certain that diamond cutters would soon be on their way to South Africa. The Government should be careful from whom they seek advice. We remember the gentleman who came back after investigating diamond cutting in Europe and said it was a hereditary occupation and could not be transferred to this country. That civil servant has been responsible for the loss of at least ten to fifteen million pounds to this country. Since then, that evidence of his has become laughable. I want to put it up to the Government that before they send us back to our homes they should deal with that question, and put on such a tax in regard to the export of uncut diamonds as will ensure that we shall have the bulk of the diamond cutting done in this country, the country which produces 99 per cent, of the raw material.
What was the result of Brighton?
The reason for the Brighton failure was very simple. They had to get their raw material and had not capital enough to carry on the business. It proved a success so far as the cutting was concerned. But we can go for instances beyond that. In America they have developed an enormously successful diamond cutting industry on a differential tariff. Of course, we shall have the usual crop of denials, and I warn the public against anything of this nature emanating from the De Beers Company or is thrown up in London for consumption here. Naturally the dealers are very much interested in getting diamonds cut where labour is cheapest. These people are interested in South Africa only so far as they can get profits out of it to spend elsewhere, where they find their titles of commercial value. Whatever may emanate from those who are interested in the realization of this product, whatever they may say, I am perfectly certain the mandate is clear to this Government that at all costs we shall have this cutting industry established here. I only regret it will be six months from the time they took over office till we meet again, and that during that time those who are opposed to the creating of this industry will be able to get busy in preparing as strong a case as they can against it. I see the hon. member for Beaconsfield (Sir David Harris) getting very irritable. He does not sit very comfortably in his seat. I would ask that gentleman what the diamond industry has done for the people of South Africa? Thank heaven a change of policy has come, and we are going now to see the resources of this country developed for the benefit of this country in spite of these great financiers who so securely run their monopolies year after year. I wish also to press on the Government now that we have heard how they are going to disburse all the loan money, and we find it is going as usual to develop Cape Town, Port Elizabeth—as a reward for political devotion—we see it going on to loyal little Natal—we do not grumble at that—but from the North, particularly from Johannesburg, we ask how it is you are reducing this loan money to within one and a quarter of a million available whilst still there is no Johannesburg railway station? How is it we in that part of the Union go year in and year out without the railway station we have been promised and are entitled to? I ask members opposite to join us in insisting that before the whole of that loan money is exhausted that act of justice shall be attended to as far as Johannesburg is concerned. Then I regret exceedingly that it has got into the papers, whether with his consent or not I do not know, that the Minister of Finance has declared against the principle of issuing premium bonds. Once again we are following in the track of the great capitalists in allowing them to influence our financial system and to keep it on the old conservative lines. Yet if there is a mandate from the country in regard to finance it is that the country wants premium bonds because they are a popular form of investment. I do not know how it is when you have 90 per cent, of the people of a democratic country asking for a thing that 10 per cent, of the people can secure refusal of it. It is a most extraordinary state of things, due largely to the influence of the churches, to the influence of the extremely good people who condemn “gambling” except on the racecourse and stock exchange, that something which the whole country is asking for is denied. The Government should provide by legislation for those Provinces who want a Lottery Act. That is wanted by fully 90 per cent, of the people of the Provinces.
Legalize the three card trick.
It is strange indeed that 10 per cent, of the people who are against these things can prevent 90 per cent, of the people getting what they ask for, and I trust there is no truth in the statement that the Minister of Finance has declared definitely against premium bonds. I want to refer to remarks made by the hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Rider), who has done this amount of good that he has produced resentfulness against anything which will continue the spirit of racialism which has been engendered in this country. We all feel that if ever there was a country which required the slate to be washed clean it is South Africa, and we are astonished that these gentlemen who assume to themselves custodianship of the best traditions of Britain and to keep alive its best sentiments, forget the greatest of all British traditions: that is, that to forget the past, forgive your enemies, and even take them into partnership. We are asking for that spirit, and when these gentlemen are bringing forward the iniquities of Maritz they do not care to be reminded of the greater iniquities of Jameson, and let me remind them too of what “the greatest statesman of the age,” the right hon. the member for Standerton (General Smuts) who is now the leader of the Opposition, did; the gentleman who prepared what he called a number nine pin for us to swallow. As it turned out he administered that pill to hon. members on the Other side, and they are still very sorry for themselves, but I will remind them, in the language of their great leader, that they will be all the better for it. Ten years hence, when their time comes again, they will be rid of a great many impurities, and the effect of that bitter medicine will have been that of a great curative. When I refer to the hon. leader of the Opposition, I regret the circumstances of the absence of the right hon. gentleman, and I hope he will soon recover. But I would remind you that he was born under the British flag, and that at the least he should have respected it, even if he did not own allegiance to Great Britain as a suzerain power, when he himself crossed the border and induced a rebellion against that flag. He fomented rebellion in this country, and made young men rebels; he got men shot and killed, and do we hear any condemnation of that? Is that act not as great in its want of loyalty as the action of Maritz? I do not defend Maritz, but if the hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Rider) wishes to rake up these matters of past history, let him consider the instance of that leader whom he so reveres. Let us, however, wipe the slate quite clean and start afresh.
It was not my intention to trouble the House during this session, because I wanted to see the Government settled in its saddle, and propound its policy before I ventured to say anything in criticism, but I cannot allow the remarks which have fallen from the hon. member for (Pretoria, (West) (Mr. Hay) to remain, without giving him some reply. The hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay) has a great grievance against the mining industry, but when he stood against me in Beaconsfield in 1915 he did not propound any of these things at all. He was the chairman of the Robert Victor diamond mine, and if that mine had been a very rich one the hon. member would have been in the same company as the great capitalists; but that mine was a failure, and he has now found refuge in the Labour party. It is a well known fact that a reformed woman is hard upon her sex. The hon. member knew exactly what the prospects of that company were. When he discovered that it was a failure he sold every share to a confiding public.
It is not true.
The prosperity of the country is due to the mining industry. The hon. member became identified with the diamond industry, but when it was a failure he did not lose, but he passed his shares on to others. I do not wish to refer to the past, Dr. Jameson is dead; but I would like to say this; he was not a traitor to his own country. That is the point we are making, and I will let it stand at that. The hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay) is one of those members who are trying to cast a slur upon the De Beers Company. What has that company done? I will tell you.
Mr. WATERSTON made an interruption.
The hon. member for Brakpan (Mr. Waterston) did one great things in this country, he organized a commando, and I hope he is proud of his conduct during the whole of those proceedings. I will tell the House some of the things that De Beers has done besides producing diamonds. They built the Fourteen Streams—Klerksdorp Railway of 148 miles; they created big explosive works and another big industry—fertilizers. The hon. member for Piquetberg (Mr. de Waal) made a great point about fertilizers. About £300,000 was spent in erecting and organizing that fertilizer factory, which has been a financial failure because the fertilizers produced there cannot at the present time compete with those coming from overseas; but I do say, and farmers will agree with me, that farmers have never purchased fertilizers at such a cheap rate, as they do now since the De Beers fertilizer factory was established, and farmers must feel that they owe a deep debt of gratitude to the De Beers Company, if it was only for the fact that they paid continental producers £8 to £9 a ton for fertilizers, during the war—which can be produced to-day for £4. Mr. Rhodes, in his time, started the big fruit industry in the Peninsula, and we also started a big coal industry in Natal, where we lost money, because the railway does not supply us with a sufficient number of trucks. This company has never made a profit since it was formed 25 years ago in consequence of the shortage of trucks. The same thing exists today, and there is no improvement. I do not blame the present Minister of Railways and Harbours, because he has not yet had sufficient time. If De Beers were not behind this company it would go into liquidation to-day, and I think that without being accused of boasting I can say that the De Beers Company is the best employer of white labour in this country.
The hon. member does not know what he is talking about. The hon. member was very keen on the establishment of a diamond cutting industry in this country, but neither the De Beers Company nor I have any objection to it. They have been talking about it for the past 20 years in this country, and no one has started it, because it is an unpayable proposition. The hon. member who sits over there knows more about it, evidently, than I do, and wants to teach us our business. It is curious that all the people who have failed in their own business, and if I may say so, are still failures, always try to teach the people who have made a success of their business, how that business should be carried on. There is no opposition as far as this country is concerned to a diamond cutting industry. There is no difficulty in this country for the establishment of a diamond cutting industry, because diamonds are produced on the alluvial diggings which lend themselves better to cutting than those produced in the mines, and polishers and cutters will have a much better opportunity of cutting these alluvial diamonds than those coming from the mines, because these are mostly diamonds that can be cut.
The digger cannot cut.
The diggers get their money at once and there is no diamond cutting industry. Polishers and cutters from Antwerp and Amsterdam have to go to the London market and compete for their purchasing requirements. If there was less competition for the river diamonds, and the river people are producing about 2 1/4 millions per annum, they might get less for their diamonds in consequence of there being fewer buyers. This country does not consume any of its diamonds, but if it consumed all the diamonds which are produced here, I should say that if a diamond cutting industry was not established here, we should pass a law to compel this being done, but as we do not consume our diamonds here, they have to go overseas. Now let me say this, that half the value of the world’s diamonds of to-day are produced outside the Union, the position to-day is not what it was 25 years ago, when South Africa produced at least 95 per cent, of the world’s total production of diamonds. To-day the industry does not produce half the amount it did since the death of Rhodes. You have to consider that there have been outside discoveries all of which have militated against Kimberley. Were it not for these discoveries De Beers would to-day be working five mines instead of two and Kimberley would be the most prosperous city in the whole of the Union. To-day there are large production of diamonds in British Guinea, the Belgian Congo, and Angola. It is the business of dealers in Antwerp, Amsterdam and America to buy the rough diamonds and to cut and polish them. You can take the case of wool farmers, if they were themselves to manufacture the finished article from the rough they would not get a, market in Bradford or Manchester. Similarly it is the business of cutters to buy the rough diamonds, Antwerp and Amsterdam would cut and polish them. It is their business to do so. If you cut and polish the rough diamonds in this country you will lose these two markets for your diamonds and these people will go to other producers of diamonds either in the Belgian Congo, Angola and British Guinea.
We can cut, polish and sell them ourselves.
There would then be an additional incentive to these countries to produce more diamonds, and the industry in this country would be ruined. That is what is going to happen if you listen to the wise words of the hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay); he does not know what he is talking about. If you follow them you will ruin the whole industry of Kimberley, and damage this country to a greater extent than you realize. He has been talking about the diamond syndicate. Why the syndicate buys the products of our country, and where is the crime in buying our products. They buy the whole of our produce and share the profits with the producer. Does the manufacturer share his profits with the farmer? No, of course he does not. In addition to that the syndicate takes all risks of bad debts. I am sorry I have taken up the time of the House. I know the hon. member from Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay)—he has stood against me at elections and polled only 300 votes; to-day he comes here and viciously attacks the industry which has been not only the salvation of the Cape Colony, but has been one of the mainstays of South Africa. The hon. member as I said was connected with the Robert Victor diamond mine which has been a great failure. However, he did not nurse the baby, he saw the failure coming and out he went. I have spent the whole of my life in this country, and whatever little ability heaven has given me I have endeavoured to use for the benefit of South Africa, and I resent the gratuitous attack made by the hon. member.
I congratulate the Minister of Finance on his Budget. The speeches made by hon. members of the Opposition show that they expect this Government to rectify in fourteen days all the mistakes they made in fourteen years. The people in Western Transvaal have a serious grievance. I am sorry that the Minister of Lands and the Minister of Agriculture are not in the House, and I hope, the other Ministers will bring this matter to their attention. Few people realize the plight of the farmers in those parts, as a result of locusts and drought. It has been stated, and quite correctly, I think, that about 75 per cent, of the farmers are nearly bankrupt. There should be an investigation by the Government because the people also suffer from the effects of the maladministration of the previous Government. For instance, there is the tobacco tax, which is a heavy burden on the small farmer, and most of the tobacco farmers are small growers. I hope the tax on roll tobacco will be altogether abolished next year. The farmers were at their wits’ end; they did not know whether they had to plant tobacco, because if the tax was not done away with there would be no sale for their product. I advised them to plant as much as possible, and I hope, therefore, they will be treated sympathetically. I promised them to try to have the tax repealed. That tax just about finished them. The tax on increased values, too, is a very unreasonable one, and only leads to dishonesty. The farmer is compelled to do down either himself or the State. The ordinary income tax ought to be sufficient. The act for the alleviation of distress has been proclaimed in Western Transvaal, but I do not think it will attain its object. It is, only applicable to farmers suffering from the effects of drought, and I hope that its scope will be widened so as to apply also to farmers suffering from the devastations of locusts. It is almost useless to help only farmers who have nothing left. The farmer who still has his ground ought to receive assistance too. Many farmers are in danger of becoming bankrupt if they are called upon to pay off their bonds. There is famine amongst the farmers who have had bad crops for the last three years. Several settlements in Losberg are not a success, because they are managed on wrong lines, and too much was paid for the ground. A supporter of the Government had a farm near Johannesburg on which he planted a large number of trees, and cultivated it in such a way as to induce his wife to go and live on the farm. She, however, preferred city life. Ultimately he found that he did not want the place, and sold it to the Government for £40,000. This farm was not worth more than £10,000 at the most, and as a settlement no more than £5,000. The late Government then had the farm divided into portions, and gave it out to settlers. £7,000 was paid only for the portion containing the dwelling house. The Minister of Lands ought to have a thorough enquiry made concerning the conditions at these settlements, for if there is no change for the better, most of the settlers will be compelled to leave them within a few years. There is great room for improvement in the housing conditions of the railway workers in the Transvaal. The coloured railway workers in the Cape live in better houses than the white workers in the Transvaal. The workers complain regarding the water supply and the water rates which they have to pay. The water is not laid on in the houses, and often they have to fetch it from a stream near by. I am glad that the Minister of Agriculture has taken steps to see if the total destruction of locusts is within the scope of possibility, and I hope the campaign will be a success. Most of the locust inspectors who were appointed are staunch supporters of the S.A.P. and they evidently think that loyalty to their party, the driving of motor cars and ordering the farmers about to destroy the locusts, are their only duties. The farmers have to use their own workers. The State ought to pay for these services. I welcome the decision of the Government to introduce legislation regarding the poor whites. It is a very difficult problem, which must be tackled. I was very sorry to see yesterday, during the discussion on this important matter, all of the Dutch-speaking members of the Opposition leave the House. I was disappointed at the bitter tone adopted by the Opposition during the Budget debate. There are great difficulties which cry out for a solution, and instead of putting our heads together and cooperating, hon. members abuse one another. There are Opposition members who have grown so callous, that nothing seems to make an impression on them.
The hon. member must withdraw that statement.
I withdraw, but I think it is absolutely futile to try and convince the members of the Opposition.
We are grateful for the speech of the hon. member for Beaconsfield (Col. Sir David Harris), and the information supplied by him. I never knew before that De Beers so closely resembled a philanthropical institution. That speech made the impression that De Beers suffered a great deal for South Africa and its people, and was prepared to do much more for the poor and the suffering. Much can be done for the country by the company, which is the owner of the Premier Mine. There are a number of people beyond the Premier Mine who struggle hard to make ends meet on the alluvial diggings. The company can help to place the diggers at Beynespoort and Kameelfontein in a better position. It is all the more hard for them because they work on the edge of a rich diamond field. It is a well known fact that the ground below the Premier Mine is the best alluvial digging in the country, and De Beers can have this proclaimed for the diggers. The hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay), emphasized the necessity of the speedy solution of the unemployment problem. I would like to endorse his remarks, because the present state of affairs is simply disgraceful. Some time ago things were so bad that the children of the diggers could not go to school any longer, because they had no food or clothes. Some of the Provincial authorities would not believe that it was so bad, and then I took a number of them out to see for themselves. The medical inspector of schools did not believe my statement, but when he investigated, he agreed that the majority of the children were almost starved, and those who suffered most were not inspected, because they were not at school. It is the imperative duty of the Government and of De Beers to save those children. If De Beers wants to do more good, let it throw open the ground below the Premier Mine, which now lies undeveloped, and will within a few years be buried under the dumps of the mine. If De Beers refuses to do this, it should be compelled by the Government by means of legislation. I wish the members of the Opposition could pay a visit to those farmers who have been ruined by the East Coast fever, droughts and locusts. I hope the Government will return to the old Transvaal system of allotting cattle to farmers who require them. Except for eight per cent., all the loans for cattle which were issued in 1908 have been repaid. That action of the Government saved many families. The Government must act immediately, whatever the cost. The speech of the hon. member for Lydenburg (Mr. Nieuwenhuize) created a very good impression. I wonder how that hon. member could muster up courage to express his opinion so frankly. He asked for more relief for the tobacco farmer. The tobacco farmer, however, does not only want relief but salvation. When it was in the power of the S.A.P. to do that, the hon. member for Lydenburg was silent. Now the tobacco is in the hands of the manufacturers, he pleads for the deliverance of the farmers.
If the hon. member did raise a plea, it was of little avail. The factories bought the tobacco cheaply, and got all the profit. That could have been prevented by the previous Government. Also the Rhodesian scraps are an unfair competition. The freight on tobacco by the Rhodesian railways comes to about 1s. 6d. per lb. for conveyance to Cape Town. The S.A.P. Government did nothing to prevent that. That competition ruined many of the farmers. The cheap conveyance of Rhodesian scrap tobacco was allowed, and the Union farmers were driven off their land. I understand that the Western Province produces 200,000 lbs. more yellow tobacco than is consumed in South Africa, and yet the importation of Rhodesian tobacco is encouraged. The Government will have to give its attention to this matter also. The difference of opinion between two prominent members of the Opposition, namely, the hon. member for Lydenburg (Mr. Nieuwenhuize) and the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) is remarkable. I have nothing against them personally; on the contrary, I have great respect for both. The hon. member for Lydenburg declared that the tobacco tax must be abolished, as it is ruining the farmers, whereas the hon. member for Yeoville a short time ago solemnly declared that the tobacco tax was one of the foundation stones of the S.A. Party. How must I understand that? It is just the same with other things. For instance, the hon. member for Lydenburg does not now object to an embargo on Rhodesian cattle, whereas his party, when they were at the head of affairs, consistently refused it. The hon. members for East London (Rev. Mr. Rider and Brig.-Gen. Byron) attacked the Government because it released a highly respected South African from gaol. They vehemently denounced this action, but it is noteworthy that their attitude is in direct conflict with that of the right hon. member for Standerton (Gen. Smuts). These hon. members are undoubtedly honest men, but they are inconsistent. I do not wish to make too much of this matter, as it is probably very unpleasant for those hon. members.
No, let us have the whole thing.
The words used by a prominent gentleman are the following: “We want Gen. Maritz to lay the blame of the rebellion on the leaders of the Nationalist party.” The hon. member for East London (Rev. Mr. Rider) took up a very haughty attitude, and asked whether Maritz had repented. I would ask the hon. members for East London and Fort Beaufort whether they have ever repented of having caused the death of 26,000 women and children, of causing the loss of the independence of the two republics and the untimely death of thousands of men, and the ruination of their homes. If they have done that, then only are they justified in demanding repentance from Maritz. But I never heard that they have repented. In a letter from Maritz to the late Prime Minister he said, “South Africa is my mother country, for which I fought so hard; but it was impossible for me to carry out the orders which you gave me in 1914. If you think I ought to return in order to obviate difficulties and not be a stumbling block for the peace of the country, I place myself in your hands, and you can do what you like.” This despised rebel has so much patriotism that he was willing to place himself in the hands of the then Prime Minister, if in that way he could prevent strife and division. Do the hon. members for East London know that the hon. member for Standerton (Gen. Smuts) promised the wife of Maritz that he would release the latter as soon as possible? This shows the difference of opinion in the ranks of the S.A.P. in August, 1923, the late Prime Minister had promised to do for Maritz what the present Government has now done. That was a written promise of the right hon. member for Standerton to Mrs. Maritz and I have enough respect for the right hon. gentleman to believe that he would have carried out the promise. He would have released Gen. Maritz. The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) spoke of the foundation stones of the S.A.P. The hon. member for Lydenburg (Mr. Nieuwenhuize) does not seem to think much of these foundation stones. Another foundation stone is the sum of £110,000 on the Estimates for the purchase of the settlements of the Sundays River scheme. That is one of the fine legacies of the previous Government, and one of the foundation stones to which the hon. member for Yeoville referred.
It is a bargain, too!
I will accept that statement, although there is no evidence for it. The purchase was made after Parliament was dissolved. The purchase was effected on the special authority of the Governor-General. Is that a democratic policy? The country was never consulted, and £110,000 of the country’s money was invested without the people knowing anything about it. No, it is not democratic, and it is most reprehensible. I will not even mention the Durban grain elevator scandal, because there are too many others. There is the Hartebeestpoort dam, which was estimated to cost £750,000. Instead it cost £2,000,000.
It gave work to poor whites.
Is it in the interests of the poor whites to give 100,000 acres of cotton lands in Zululand to settlers of the planter type? The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) stated in public with pride that 100,000 acres of cotton-growing land in Zululand were allocated by the Government after the dissolution of Parliament, and that was not given to the poor people of this country. That, according to the hon. member for Paarl (Dr. de Jager) is the way in which the Government is trying to help our poor whites. The Opposition has up to now not made a success of its functions. I have tried to prove how inconsistent the different wings of the S.A.P. are. Constructive criticism was lacking, and there was nothing but disapproval, denial, accusations and destructive criticism by the Opposition. The hon. member for Paarl laughs, but I may remind him about certain little things at the Congress of 1913. The Government has proved that it is worthy of the confidence of the people, although we need not be afraid to level criticism at the Government, as the hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay) has done.
I wish to take this opportunity of placing before the House one or two items of vital importance affecting the welfare and progress of South Africa. The first is the formation or creation of a department of Marine, and the second is the question of subsidizing commercial aviation in this country for the benefit of the commercial community. Hon. members will realize that in our railways and harbours administration there are two highly technical professions overlapping. We find that the harbour service is subservient to the railways and yet we want to attain a high standard of efficiency in the administration of harbours to deal successfully with the export trade of the country. We have obtained markets throughout the world but we cannot afford to remain satisfied with what we have obtained, and it is essential that every effort should be made to retain these markets and to capture new markets. In order that we may safeguard ourselves we must consider the efficiency of our harbour administration. I want to be perfectly clear on this point because I am referring particularly to the administration of the harbour staff, not so much to questions of policy or development of the harbours, but as to the question of efficient services and staff organization. It would be of great value if it were possible to create a special authority which would have the power of administering the harbours as apart from the railways in a manner that would not take away the system which is now in force, and which we have had for many years in this country, by means of a board or controlling body that would be directly responsible to the Minister, the Railway Board and the General Manager. It means this that we have the administration of the harbours to-day centred in the railways, and the railways predominating over the harbours to the extent that they employ 74,000 people whereas the harbour administration employs 5,000. It stands to reason that there is always the possibility that the question of railway administration may take precedence over the harbour administration. I think it would be in the interests of the harbour people would tend to the efficiency of the harbours themselves. South Africa can be justly proud of the harbour developments which have taken place. But we cannot rest on our laurels, we must look to progress and development and do all we can to ensure the future welfare and prosperity of the country, and to see that it is assured for the rising generation. With regard to the creation of a Marine Board I would point out that the facilities for those young men who wish to take up the sea as a profession are lacking today. The youth who desires to go to sea is unable after serving his apprenticeship to qualify as a mate. If we had a department of Marine such a body would have a right to issue certificates. The result is that to-day we find young men who are determined to take up the sea as a profession having to go abroad for their experience and qualifications to such places as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and even Mauritius, so that they might obtain a master’s or a mate’s certificate. I contend, and I feel, that unless the House considers the question seriously we are not working in the interests of these young men or in the interests of our maritime development. In about a year 60 young men will be available to follow up the training they have received on the “Botha,” but unfortunately they will have to go elsewhere to obtain their certificates. Is it not possible for the Government to consider this question, for we cannot afford to lose a single youth? South African youths can take their place with the best and greatest of any nation, and we must see that they are retained here in order to carry on the glorious traditions of our forefathers. There is another point which I consider of national importance, and that is the locust menace. It must be approached from all sides of the House without any thought of party politics. The Government is in the unfortunate position of still having to carry out experiments as to the best means of ridding the country of this terrible pest. Indeed, the question is serious enough for the Government to invite the best scientific brains in the world to come to our assistance. The Government would be fully justified if it were to offer a prize of, say, £25,000, open to the whole world for the best means of extirpating the locusts, and the money would be well spent, as it would probably be the means of saving many millions to the Union. With regard to the question of commercial aviation, with which I am fully conversant, South Africa is ideal from this point of view, as it has a vast area, our communities are scattered, our climatic conditions are equal to any in the world, and therefore from the point of view of actual flying we could not wish for better conditions. We have to consider the value of aviation to this country. The quick exchange of intelligence and business is the best means of spreading modern civilization and commerce, and in this direction the aeroplane has opened up a new era. Commercial aviation should be subsidized primarily in order to assist the commercial community, and also as a means of national defence. During the great war, South Africa contributed to the Royal Air Force 2,0 young fellows, of whom about 1,400 actually qualified as pilots, and 800 or 900 are at present in South Africa. I do not suppose that many people realize that it cost the Imperial Government £1,000 a head to train these young fellows. This means that the Imperial Government has invested for us over a million pounds. Is it not possible to see that this invaluable asset is not lost to the country? Unfortunately there is not sufficient scope to be able to retain these young fellows in commercial aviation, but if we were to follow the example set by many countries and subsidize flying companies, we should create a new industry, and also provide for these young men whose only qualification is a knowledge of flying, as previous to the war they had no business or professional training. Mr. Clarence W. Barron, a well known writer on financial subjects in the United States, urges the United States Government to subsidize commercial aviation which, he points out, is the cheapest form of national defence. There has long been an analogy between the British Navy and the development of sea power. Mahan has pointed out that sea power is dependent on flourishing industries, and the British Navy owes its existence to the energy of the British mercantile marine to which it still looks for a reserve of men and material. The same applies so far as the air is concerned. To-day Great Britain is depending for the defence of the country on the lines of subsidized commercial aviation. She has just notified her intention to subsidize commercial aviation to the extent of £1,000,000. The French Government allowed in their last Government 170,000,000 francs for this purpose; the U.S.A has subsidized aviation between New York and San Francisco. I find also that the Australian Government have taken up the same policy and are subsidising commercial aviation to the extent of £70,000 per annum. Madagascar also is subsidizing commercial aviation. If all these countries find they are realizing considerable benefits from subsidizing commercial aviation, benefits which they would not otherwise enjoy, surely it is in the interests of South Africa also to consider this question. I think in South Africa we devote something over £100,000 to the maintenance of the South African Air Force. I do not wish to create the impression that I am trying to minimize the work of the Air Force in South Africa. I am not doing that at all. I think our Air Force is to be congratulated on their work, but the point to my mind is whether the expenditure is in the right direction and whether we are deriving the utmost benefit from it. I contend we are not. I say if we would use that money to subsidize commercial aviation we should not only have the benefit of securing our defence, we should not only be able to train our men and accelerate the service between Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, but we should be creating the nucleus of a new industry in this country. We should also have our aerodromes placed in all the strategic centres of South Africa and it would not be necessary for our aeroplanes to shift about as they do now. Unfortunately, our air force is fixed in Pretoria. Some of our men are only able to get two weeks a year in training as a refresher course. In subsidizing commercial aviation you could keep these men employed and retain that asset in this country. I would like to refer to actual developments in other parts of the world. In Great Britain in 1923 the subsidized services were from London to Paris, to Zurich, to Cologne, and from Manchester to London. Since 1919 over 50,000 passengers have been carried over the regular air services, while over 12,000 flights have been made. These figures are for the English companies only. If we took into consideration the foreign companies the figures would be greatly increased. In France they have lines between Paris, Strasburg, Prague, Warsaw, Amsterdam and Northern Africa. Russia subsidizes and maintains the biggest air line in the world. That is one 5,000 miles long. Germany has six air lines in the territory between Berlin and Eastern Russia. In Australia they have four services in operation. We find that other countries have found it necessary to subsidize commercial aviation. From the point of view of risk air transport is as safe or safer than any other form of transport to-day. These statistics show that from 1919, when subsidized commercial aviation began, to 1922. they had not had a single fatal accident and yet they have covered something like 6,000,000 miles. One of the German services has not had an accident of any shape or form to a single passenger. So that this question is one simply of efficiency and proper organization. Unfortunately in South Africa we have had accidents, but in one case at least I know of at Johannesburg it was due purely and simply to the ignorance of the pilot and nothing else. We have not yet had the sympathy of the Government, but I feel sure that when the matter is put clearly before them the Government will recognize the importance of this matter and give whatever assistance they can. I hope hon. members will treat this subject as one which is for the welfare of the rising generation, and I hope all the efforts of this House will be entirely centred on seeing what we can do for the benefit of the people of South Africa, the country of which we are so proud.
We must not take the criticism of the Opposition too seriously. We must rather sympathize with them. During the elections the right hon. member for Standerton (Gen. Smuts) adopted all the principles of the Nationalist party. Only one member of the previous Government was honest enough to send in his resignation after the elections. I deprecate the impression which the Opposition tried to create namely, that they were the only representatives of English-speaking constituents. The members of the Nationalist party in this House also represent English votes. In my constituency, Barberton. I have more English-speaking constituents than the two hon. members for East London have Dutch-speaking supporters. The Dutch-speaking people, the English-speaking section, and all the younger people of the country of every nationality have decided to give the country a change of Government in the interests of the future of South Africa. We are Nationalists; we are bread and butter politicians. One of the main reasons why the English-speaking people voted for me was because they were convinced that the matter of the education of our children was at stake. Much was said yesterday on the poor white question, but that problem will not be solved until the children of the nation receive the proper attention of our statesmen. The most important thing is education, and when one sees under what circumstances children attend school, one wonders that the people have not sunk lower. There is a certain matter in this connection which I want to bring to the attention of the Minister of Railways and Harbours. In mountainous parts the children have to go to school by train. Some of them have to leave at dawn, and there are cases where the children are from 12 to 18 hours away from home. Often they attend school for only two and a half hours a day. Some have to go by means which, in fever-stricken districts, have disastrous effects on their health. It should not be the aim of the Government to compel the Provincial Administrations to save money, but to enable them to do their duty in this respect. The recommendations of the Baxter report are still being advocated by the S.A.P. It is alleged that money is being squandered, and hon. members compare expenditure for education in this country with that of England. They forget that England is a highly civilized country and that we have not quite reached its standard yet. We are only in the first stage of our development, more especially so in the Transvaal and the Free State, which were practically in ruins at the end of the Anglo-Boer war. This is no reproach. I simply mention the fact in passing. When the Provincial Council started in 1910 to build up our educational system, we were a long way behind. A great part of the expenditure is utilized for buildings. I agree that the Department of Public Works squanders a great deal of money by antiquated building methods, and we should have cheaper and better buildings. We should remember that the initial costs of education are necessarily very high on account of the many buildings which have to be erected. There is a levy on the export of cotton. The hon. member for Beaconsfield (Col. Sir David Harris) objects to a tax on the export of diamonds, but here we have an example of a new industry which is taxed in its initial stages. I hope the Minister of Agriculture will do away with if, as this industry should be fostered. If there is to be a levy, it should be spent in the districts where it is raised. I would like to know what has been done with the funds which have accrued from the levy on cotton. With regard to the export of fruit. I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that if fruit sent from Barberton, which is 1,400 miles from Cape Town—the only inspection centre—is rejected, it has to be sold for next to nothing on the Cape Town market. The result is that our poorest fruit finds its way into Cape Town hotels and spoils its good name. I hope the Government, through the Land Bank, will help the Co-operative Fruit Exchange to establish central packing houses in different parts of the country, where the fruit can be handled. In that way there will be a more even distribution of the surplus. Such depots will also be a great factor in the fight against disease. I hope that the railway rates for fruit will be reduced. It is a pity that we should send our fruit 1,400 miles to Cape Town when we have a good harbour at Delagoa Bay, quite close to us. This harbour would be of more value to the Transvaal if we had a good contract with the Portuguese. The Government ought not to give preference to the foreign settler or planter, but should rather protect the interests of those who have already invested their money here. We hope that they will become good citizens of South Africa, and therefore we ought to assist them in such a way that they will come to the conclusion that there is no better country than South Africa. The High Commissioner in London ought to get better information for the benefit of settlers, some of whom have been shamefully misled and deceived. The settlement on the Wit River is making good progress, but a railway line is needed. Very useful work is done by poor whites on the afforestation scheme at Maritz and Berlin, but unfortunately these people are being exploited by the only shopkeeper there. He charges them such high prices that their wages of 6/10 a day have only a purchasing power of 4/-. An ex-officer of the English army bought ground at the Vlakplaats Irrigation Scheme in the district of Carolina for £62 10s. per morgen. If the ground needed for building and ground which is of little value is deducted, he pays more than £200 per morgen for ground under irrigation. That is much too high, and he will never make good. In this way the settlements in South Africa get a bad name. The pensions of railway officials are inadequate. The Minister of Railways and Harbours ought to give his attention to the matter, because it is impossible for these people to live on their pensions when they reach pensionable age. The question of local allowances is another subject which should be attended to. The allowance at Waterval Boven is 2/- less than in Pretoria and Johannesburg, although the cost of living is higher there than on the Rand. We are too much inclined in South Africa to become jack of all trades and I would like to see more apprentices on the railways. If there were four apprentices to every worker, many of our sons will be able to earn a living.
The House is indebted to the hon. member for Durban (Point) (Maj. Miller) for his admirable speech, all the more admirable because this is his maiden effort. He gave us a great deal of expert information, and I think the Government would be well advised to pay careful attention to some of his suggestions. It seems a great pity that having these enormous assets in the form of trained young aviators that we do not make better use of them than we do at present. I think the hon. member made a small slip in stating that the cost of training anying officer was only £1,000. I understand the figure is £10,000. So we possess an asset which cost nearer £10,000,000 than £1,000,000 in training; reflection should make us take care to use their services to the best advantage. We cannot afford to neglect the experience of other countries in the matter of aviation. Undoubtedly South Africa is particularly favourably situated for the development of commercial aviation. The atmospheric conditions are good, and no young men have given or can give a better account of themselves either on the ground or in the air than South Africans. I have great pleasure in calling to mind and notice an occasion during the Great War when our only means of communication between our forces near the Caspian Sea and our Assyrian allies was by a flying machine, and a Durban boy was the first to render excellent service in opening up these communications. We have on the estimates over £100,000 on the Defence Force vote for military aviation, but I do not think that is the very best use to which the money could be put, or the best use to which we could put our personnel and material. If the greater portion of this expenditure were devoted to civil aviation we would get a very considerable revenue and, perhaps, the service would be self-supporting before very long. It seems to me it would be almost as foolish to run our railways in peace time as a compensation for war, as it is to organize aviation in peace time solely with reference to war conditions. If we develop aerial communication in peace time we shall have very little trouble in transferring it to military uses when the occasion arose. From purely military aviation we get very few results, and as only the sum of £13,000 is put down on the estimates for aerodromes, petrol, equipment, etc., to does not appear that very much can be done on that small amount in the way of training personnel.
Business was suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 8 p.m.
Just before the adjournment I was making a few remarks on the condition of our aviation resources for civil purposes and I tried to point out what use we could make of our personnel and material. I have remarked that we are spending a sum of £100,000 on aviation this year with very little practical results to show for it. I am not reflecting for a moment on the zeal or ability of the officers engaged in our Air Force. I am only suggesting that perhaps a much better use could be made of such public funds that in the present allotment. We know that to-day ships of war, even light cruisers, carry aeroplanes. No doubt some hon. members must have seen the American warship “Trenton” which recently visited South Africa and noticed that she carried aeroplanes. It is well worth consideration whether aviation could not be found one of the cheapest and most effective forms of coastal defence for this country. Our enemies, if any, will approach from the sea and will be exceedingly vulnerable to attack from aeroplanes, and we ourselves, particularly along our coast, would be very liable to attacks from aeroplanes carried by enemy ships. The provision of aerodromes along our coastal towns would have to be considered and these would be indispensable in war time. It is a most fascinating and attractive subject, and I feel I cannot do it justice in the limited time at my disposal, more especially as I have heard it is impossible for the Minister of Defence to be here this evening. I shall hope to return to the subject at a later stage. I take it is not only inevitable but also necessary and desirable that the Budget debate should be used for the airing of grievances and perhaps for the exposing of alleged scandals of which we hear from time to time, even although often on investigation these are found to be mares’ nests. It is necessary that an opportunity should be given for criticizing the Government of the day either for their policy or want of policy. This is not altogether unwholesome, but in view of the very large number of speeches of that nature which have been delivered during this debate, perhaps it will not be an unwelcome change if I do not go into such matters but confine myself to making suggestions of a constructive rather than of a critical nature. We have heard a great deal about the development of the industries of South Africa, but not sufficient about the most important industry, that is agriculture. People who plead for the development of various industries must always remember that they must essentially be founded on the great basic industry, agriculture. It is a moot point whether South Africa will ever be a great agricultural country—take its place, that is to say, with countries like the United States of America, Canada, Australia and Russia, as a country which has large contiguous areas of fertile land that will carry a large population. There is, however, a considerable area in the aggregate which can be developed in South Africa. While Canada has been described as the granary of the Empire and Australia and New Zealand as the meat providers. South Africa, I suggest, will be known as the orchard of Europe. We have very promising signs of the development of our fruit growing. There is no doubt whatever that the quality of the fruit which is grown and which can be grown here is excelled by none. It must not be forgotten too that the class of settlers who are now engaged in fruit culture is a class that is going to get even better results in the future than we have had in the past. I look forward to a great development in this respect, and every means should be taken to spread the good news and make the excellence of our produce known. I was very pleased to find during my last sea voyage that grape fruit was provided at meals by the Union. Castle Company. Grape fruit is now a staple article on almost every American breakfast table. Vast quantities of this fruit will be grown here, and I have no doubt that the grape fruit habit will spread in Europe to cur great advantage. Already there are immediate indications of the pressure of the problems lying before us, and I want to draw attention to some of them. We are greatly delighted that last year we reached the millionth case of deciduous fruit to be exported. Then in regard to citrus fruit, in the last five weeks we exported no less than 300,000 boxes, and it is believed export will reach half a million boxes this year, and with deciduous fruit over 1¾ million cases in 1924. But we have to look to the future, and it is a pity that more accurate statistics are not available on this point. But we have something fairly reliable to go on with; we know that there are 2½ to 3 million citrus trees already planted in South Africa, and the number is being added to by the extent of about half a million each year. This number may be increased in future. The increase in export anticipated after 1925 is about 33⅓ Per cent. more, and after that the ratio of increase will probably be in geometrical, not in arithmetical progression. I have actually been told by a fruit growing authority that it is expected that in five years’ time the possibilities of the export of fruit, deciduous and citrus, will be 25 times what it is to-day. It is difficult to realize that, because there is not a probability of our being able to handle such a vast quantity of fruit between now and then, but there is no reason why we should not make every effort to cope with the known possibilities of export. Within two or three years, without doubt we shall have to handle 5 million cases of fruit per annum, which will represent a great deal of haulage: 10,000 railway trucks or 700 trains will be required to haul these 5 million cases, and as the citrus season is a comparatively short one, it is calculated that 50 to 60 fruit trains will be running every week during that time at the height of the season. Now I doubt whether, without measures being taken, we will be in a position to deal with that quantity, it will require a good deal of forethought and management to cope with the situation when it arises; we have reason to believe that it will arise within a few years. Take the question of freight, which is also an important item. If we take that figure of 5 million cases it will be found that it represents about 300,000 shipping tons; in other words, either cold chamber or fan-room accommodation for 300,000 tons of freight will have to be available in a few years. It will take all the existing resources, supplemented by a good deal more, of shipping, in order to cope with that situation. Not only have we to deal with transport by land and freight by sea, but is. I believe, found as the result of continued experiment, that our fruit will carry much better if put in cold storage before being shipped. At present the cold storage accommodation, with the exception of one port, is not what it ought to be. There ought to be five ports used for the shipping of fruit. I hope that the Railways and Harbours Department will take into consideration the absolute necessity for providing cold storage accommodation and conditions for enabling fruit to be shipped from East London. Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay, which are particularly deficient in such facilities. Furthermore, provision of insulated lighters at these three ports will have to be undertaken. They complain, too, in my constituency that the slings in which fruit is shipped into the steamers are totally unsuitable for the purpose; they are rope slings which crush the fruit. There is no reason why this detail, and it is only a detail, should not be got over. We cannot begin too soon to make provision for this great development of our fruit trade. Well, there is another point, which, perhaps, will give rise to even more consideration. I have nothing but praise from what I have heard of the efforts of the Co-operative Fruitgrowers’ Exchange, which has dealt with a new situation very effectively. But this fruit exchange, beginning with very small things, may not be able with its existing powers to deal with the larger situation when it arises. I hope that the citrus growers will be duly grateful to the farmers of the Western Province who have initiated and brought to success this work of export, but the time is coming when, with only the means now at their disposal, they will be unable successfully to tackle the problems which will present themselves to them, and some change will have to be considered—perhaps to give them statutory powers to allot the necessary space on board the ships, and cold storage accommodation, at their discretion, and in the best interests of all concerned. This has been done in the case of New Zealand, where a board exercises absolute control in regard to all dairy products export arrangements as hon. members will remember. It raised a good deal of opposition over there as no farmer likes to have his personal liberty of action interfered with, but the net result is good, and New Zealand has attained the proud position of being the biggest exporter to England of dairy produce of any country of the world. Denmark held that position, but New Zealand now holds it. The necessary power should be given the exchange to run this difficult export business on a definite and satisfactory basis. Already we see that there is a certain amount of friction between this port and that port—it is said that too much space is allotted to one and too little to another. Up to the present these matters have been dealt with satisfactorily, but the extension of the powers of this, or some other, body is necessary. Another thing that will engage serious attention is the fact that although very good prices were being obtained on the other side it costs 12/- per case from orchard to Covent Garden, which takes a very big bite out of the 20/- or so which the fruitgrower gets, and he has to pay all growing and harvesting expenses. We must see that marketing costs are reduced, because it is obvious as our production increases, and we are able to flood the European market, that good though the fruit may be, there must be a serious drop in prices to bring it within the reach of consumers. A reduction in one item can be attained by making better arrangements for providing packing cases, and I am informed that the present arrangements are uneconomical. If we could import all the wood in shucks to make good and satisfactory packing cases, I think the position would be better. Secondly, the railway freights can be reconsidered. It is evident that we can run full train loads at much less expense per ton of fruit than at present. Then there is the matter of ships carrying fruit; it is certain that before long we shall require special fruit ships in addition to the ordinary steam ships, as in the case of the Mediterranean orange trade. I think this export development is very promising, but we ought to take very serious stock of the situation now, and we ought to consider the possible position of those fruitgrowers who are waiting five to seven years to get a profitable return from their orchards, and then, perhaps, find they are squeezed out of the market, and either cannot get there to get proper prices for their fruit, so that their preliminary years would be largely wasted. I know we can produce the quality; I think we can materially reduce the freight, transport and other charges, but there is another requisite if we are going to get and retain our markets, and that is the regularity of supplies. We want once for all to get away from the gibe that has hitherto been thrown at South Africa, that it is a land of samples, and that it cannot produce bulk regularly according to sample. Although this prospect of large production is in sight, I would point out that the permanent success of an orchard as far as citrus is concerned would depend very largely on its being on irrigable land, and that brings us to the consideration of our whole irrigation policy. I believe we have spent about six millions on irrigation projects; I understand that the interest on that alone is about £600 a day, a very large sum per annum. Well, that alone need not alarm us, but what gives us great concern is that the Government which is providing this money, is not likely to recover the interest charges not to say the principal, as things stand at present. This is not a pleasant prospect; we find that such a state of things is not confined to South Africa, but is also found in regard to irrigation projects almost throughout the world. In other parts they call these things “projects,” which is preferable to “schemes,” as we call them in South Africa. These schemes are not necessarily essentially unsound, but the revision of the whole situation is called for, and we ought not to be too proud to learn from other countries. We ought to learn from them what they have decided with regard to precisely the same problems, and adapt, or adopt the principles suitable to South African conditions. On 21st April last, in a presidential communication to Congress President Coolidge devoted a whole message to what he calls Federal Reclamation by Irrigation, and made use of this expression: “There are farmers who are unable to pay the charges assessed against them. In some instances settlers are living on irrigated lands that will not return a livelihood for their families and at the same time pay the money due the Government as it falls due.’ I think, Sir, no words can better express the actual position of many in South Africa than these. In the same report he points out that another vital factor was that the collection of water accounts by the projects managers was not always supported by the Government. He went on to say that the project manager who collected these accounts was put into the position of a bluffer. He had got to pretend that he was going to enforce payments of these accounts and he knew all the time that the Government would not support him, as the man affected would appeal to his Senator or Congressman or some other influential friend. I’m afraid we are very familiar with this in South Africa. There is a very great deal in the Presidential message, but I will not detain the House by giving it fully. In Australia the same problems had to be faced: there the difficulty was partially solved by writing down a considerable amount of the capital sum expended on irrigation. They also appointed Irrigation Advisory boards in order to help the Government to deal with the situation as a whole, and also to see what the settler’s position really was. In both countries they come to more or less the same conclusion, but there is a striking departure new to the United States, I believe, in President Coolidge’s message to Congress. His request to the Legislature is contained in a few lines: “There shall be substituted a new policy providing that payments shall be assessed by the Government in accordance with the crop-producing quality of the soil.” This principle is not altogether unknown in South Africa. We have it exemplified in some of Our gold-mining leases to a large extent. The returns to the Government were based on the profit-producing quality of the mine, and I do not know if there is any insurmountable reason why the same principle should not hold good in certain land leases and why it should not be applied to irrigation farming. Enormous charges per acre have to be incurred before an acre of ground is reproductive. I will put down the prairie value of good riparian land on the banks of a river at £2 to £3, and I do not think any exception will be taken to that valuation. It should also be remembered, that the best riparian land is usually heavily bushed. To clear stump and plough—which would cost £8 an acre—I have known it to cost as much as £15, and I have also seen it done for £5. These are actual figures, and the cost of conservation—building the dam—has been exactly £20 per acre, according to the Irrigation Department figures. Then, if you have conserved water, you must have canals to lead it from the dam to the ground, and I assure hon. members that this is a somewhat costly business and can be put down at not much less than £10 per acre on an average. Levelling is another important charge, and I put that down at £12 per acre. Here are some special conditions applicable to South Africa; we have to recognize our peculiar circumstances in the conservation of water. In India that costs only £3 per acre, but that is due to the fact that there they do things on a large scale. There is one canal there which will alone irrigate an area equal to the whole irrigable portion of South Africa. In India, too, they have large plains with easy grades. In South Africa the slopes are often steep. The total cost per acre, to continue my calculations, are increased by fencing and housing, because obviously a settler must have a house and sheds. He has got to provide himself with implements, farm machinery and other things necessary for improvement and development, which will add another £20 per acre. If the settler goes in for fruit-farming he has to live five years out of capital without getting scarcely anything in return from his land, and that must be added to his total acre cost; I put that down at another £20 per acre. Then there is the capitalization of water rates coming into the calculatives, which on a basis of 20 years’ purchase might be taken at £30. In brief, before this land is productive, it will have cost something like £112 an acre. You might think these figures are extravagant, but there is some proof of them. We have come across it in our own experience. Lands with established lucerne have been offered and frequently sold at £100 per acre. I say it is impossible for a settler to pay his Government dues and bring up a family if he has to face the total cost of £112 per acre before the productive period. Evidently the land companies who sell this land have come to the same conclusion as to cost because their standard price is £100 per acre for land in production. What does all this point to? It points to this, that only the most profitable crops are suitable for irrigation farming, and I do not think we can honestly recommend settlers to stake their all on lucerne and ostrich feathers. So many people have been ruined by putting their money in ostrich feathers during the boom which, as all know, was followed by such a terrible slump. If the fruit industry is to develop, we must begin by putting irrigation on a proper footing, and I do not see how we can get far away from this scheme outlined by the late Minister of Lands, when he said he was going to appoint some sort of advisory board or Irrigation Commission to deal with the whole matter. A great deal of the trouble in South Africa is due to the fact that a lot of irrigable land has been held for speculative purposes and has been put on a rateable basis when the owner has had no means or perhaps no intention of developing it himself. That is got over in America by the fact that in a project assisted by State funds no riparian owner is allowed to hold more land than he can usefully develop, and this has been fixed as the “homestead unit.” We have to adopt some system that will prevent public funds being used by riparian owners who are holding up the use of irrigable land for a rise in price. The whole irrigable area in South Africa amounts, we are told, to about 3 million acres. Thirty acres is recognized as the average practicable amount of irrigable land one farmer can profitably develop, and if he has more than that it is not usually in his best economic interests. That is why I am taking 30 acres as the average size of an irrigation farm. That will give us 100,0 farms, and since you can take it that five is the average number per family on such a farm it means a total white population of half a million on irrigable holdings. Look at the enormour advantage to the Union if so many of the sons and daughters of South Africa can be provided for in this way. They will increase production and consequently revenue. It will help the unemployment problem if we can put this irrigation policy on a sound footing the prospects are very great, no doubt a certain amount of self sacrifice will be called for. The present position is utterly unsatisfactory and cannot go on. We stand a good chance of losing most of the Government funds already put in these projects and also many reputable hard-working settlers engaged in agricultural work in South Africa, may be brought to ruin unless some radical change is made in our irrigation policy. The magnitude of the problem need not deter us from attempting to solve it, for I think the rewards will be great. We are very fortunate in having in this country two exceedingly able irrigation engineers, the present and late Directors of Irrigation, and they are also great men. They have always taken a wider view than the professional one. I commend to the notice of hon. members a paper read by Mr. A. D. Lewis at the last irrigation Congress, in which he ably outlined the functions of the State in this connection. Two or three facts emerge from all this. First of all, it is obvious that the price of land, which I have calculated at £112 an acre, must be reduced, or the settler will not be able to come out. Secondly, we must see that the land is devoted to the most valuable crops, such as fruit or dairy produce which is not as expensive in freight as more bulky productions, or in some cases crops such as lucerne, which will keep. Then there must be adequate means of rapid transportation, for the farmer mostly deals with very perishable articles. Ruskin said transportation is civilization: the old Romans knew that when immediately after the occupation they built roads in the countries they conquered. We need not only railways but adequate roads for the motor car and the motor trolley can successfully compete economically with the railways even in South Africa. I hope some of the figures and facts I have presented will be considered, remembering that even next year—as far as we can foresee—we shall not have sufficient facilities for handling our fruit unless those now existing are increased. We should aim too, at providing for the small man. At present it is necessary for a man who goes in for fruit culture to have considerable capital. But the small man should be placed in a position to make headway if he is apt and industrious. Why, for instance, should the small man have to bear the very great cost of leveling his land, a task which is just as important as the conservation of water? If we can evolve a scheme which will enable the small man to go onto the land and to stay there we shall perform a great work in securing the future of South Africa. We have to look after the base of the social pyramid, for the apex can look after itself if the underneath mass is sound. I cannot now deal adequately with these subjects without unduly trespassing on the time of other speakers. I can only indicate that our national advance should be general and on a wide front, in the hope that these important matters will have early and full consideration.
How different is the speech we have just listened to the one the hon. member (Brig.-Gen. Byron) delivered a week ago. I hope in the future the violent fulminations of the hon. member and his colleague the hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Mr. Rider) will never be heard, and that we shall have from them constructive rather than racial speeches. When I hear the word “racialism” it really acts on me as an emetic. It must be a source of great pleasure to the Ministers of Finance and Railways to hear favourable criticism from all sides of the House on their lucid and comprehensive statements in presenting their Budgets. Their remarks have been appreciated by all sections. A great admiration has been expressed that these two young members have so thoroughly grasped their subjects. I was surprised at the Opposition calling out that the Government had no policy. Before the elections the Prime Minister clearly enunciated a policy and laid down his famous six points. Everybody read them.
Nobody understood them.
These six points of the Nationalist party’s principles have stirred the whole of South Africa with delight, and they Save awakened feelings of joy in the hearts of the people, and have had a great effect on young South Africa. We feel proud of the intellect the country has sent to Parliament. The principles of the Nationalist party have not only given hope to the people, but they have stimulated the intellects of our young Turks, as I call them, and they have come here to give us the benefit of their brains. The people of South Africa have a hope. A new hope has arisen, and poor men go about with a smile on their faces because they say “there is hope for us and hope for our children.” When we consider the great problems we have to deal with on the Rand, we must remember that only about three out of the ten Ministers have an intimate knowledge of Witwatersrand questions. I have lived in Johannesburg for 28 years, and have learned to know the psychology of the mining magnates. In the last ten or fourteen years Johannesburg has come to be inhabited by economic slaves. When you hear the mining magnate speak he is always a pessimist. He will never tell you the amount of money he draws out of the Rand, or the quality of gold, coal or diamonds he has taken out of South Africa. Why, out of the Transvaal they have taken one thousand million pounds’ worth of gold and they have also taken out of the Union seven hundred million pounds’ worth of diamonds. What has South Africa got of a permanent nature to compensate it for the loss of this mineral wealth? On the Rand you have sand heaps and the tombstones of men who have died from miners’ phthisis. You have also got two hundred millions pounds’ worth of public debt. This pessimism has led to a new disease which I call “Neurophobia.” It is a disease that they want to see confined to Cabinet Ministers and their chief supporters inside and out of the Nationalist party. It is a disease which they spread through this pessimism of theirs. We South Africans have a name for it in Dutch. We call it “Vrees papbroekigheid.” Still, this pessimism of theirs they try to instil into the leaders of the people. They always say: beware of what you are doing or the country will suffer. I want to give a concrete case of this “Neurophobia” and the late Prime Minister. We had an election on the Rand in 1907 which was chiefly fought on Chinese labour. No sooner was that election fought on that issue than Gen. Smuts, who was acting Prime Minister, came and told us: “Lionel Phillips has been to see me, and he says if we remove these Chinamen the country will be ruined.” Gen. Smuts wanted to reverse the very policy he had been fighting the election over. This is a concrete case of “Neurophobia,” but I am afraid the late Prime Minister suffered from that disease from 1907 on, until we turned him out of office. I hope now his health will improve. We had this afternoon a typical case of spreading this disease by the hon. member for Beaconsfield (Sir David Harris). I am sorry he is not here to-night.
He has got “Neurophobia.”
Well, his particular province is diamonds. Their cry is over production. You must not allow diamonds to be over produced, they say, or you will ruin the market. It is all rubbish. Our diamonds are the best in the world, and I say there is no such thing as over-production for South African diamonds, because we shall always find a big market for our diamonds all over the world. Every man of luxury, when he gets a girl, requires a diamond. So I hope the Ministers are not getting affected by this disease the hon. member for Beaconsfield (Sir David Harris) is trying to infect them with. When I heard him speak this afternoon about over-production, I say with all respect it reminded me of the old biblical story of Esau and Jacob. The face was the face of the hon. member for Beaconsfield (Sir David Harris) but the voice which speaks is the voice of Solly Joel. Hoggenheimer and Company. I see the member for Kimberley (Sir Ernest Oppenheimer) is disturbed; I said Hoggenheimer, not Oppenhemer. I hope he is not going to get into the clutches of Joel Hoggenheimer and Company—he is far too good a man for that. In the Transvaal we have a body of autocrats who call themselves the Chamber of Mines. The Chamber of Horrors I think would be better. These gentlemen are nothing but the puppets of Solly Joel, Hoggenheimer and Company. I wish the Government would take strong—fair but strong—steps against that body known as the Chamber of Mines.
Oh no, hanging is too good for them. If some of them had been hanged there would be less misery in South Africa. I say the wings of this Chamber of Mines must be clipped. They say: these Nationalists are against capital and capitalists—how can you develop without capital? Of course you cannot develop without capital, but if they will only limit themselves to their work, that is the development of their industries, we would give them all the help they require. What we object to is their interference with the business and policy of the State. We will protect their industries if at the same time we can see that the consumer is properly treated. Now I want to make a few suggestions to some of our Minister. Not only suggestions, but a few requests. We all know the policy of our Government.
What is it?
I am sure I am not responsible for the intellect of members opposite. If I were I should have a big job in front of me. They have seen those six points in the press and will hear more about them later, when I hope some of you will have the manliness to come over to this side of the House. I want to say something about income tax. We in the Transvaal were envied because before the Boer War till 1902 we paid no income tax at all. The only tax that we paid was the poll tax, and then you chaps over there came with your income tax. You chaps over there—
Order, the hon. member should address the Chair.
I am also addressing the Chair although I am looking this way. Now I want to say a few words about diamond taxation. I want to see our Government take a firm and just view of this question. It has been a scandal for years how the De Beers Company got out of their legitimate taxation. While the Transvaal is taxed 60 per cent. and the Free State has taxation of 40 per cent., De Beers taxation is only 10 per cent. A lot of good things about De Beers have been said this afternoon. You would have thought that they were a charitable institution, but for years and years they have only paid 10 per cent. on their diamonds. The hon. member for Beaconsfield (Sir David Harris) has forgotten to tell us how, after in one year they had paid £3,000,000 in dividends—it was during the war—they suddenly shut the mines down. The country wants to see justice done between these mines. It is unfair that the Transvaal should be taxed 60 per cent. and the Free State 40 per cent. and De Beers only 10 per cent. Now, in relation to gold taxation. You hear in the Transvaal that the gold mines are going to be closed down by taxation. In the Transvaal the right to mine and dispose of gold belongs to the State. In other words the gold belongs to the State. When the gold was discovered in the Transvaal, President Kruger said: We will allow you to take out this gold, but 5 per cent. of this gold—not the profit, but the gold—we shall retain because you are depleting the country’s wealth. Lord Milner did the only good thing he ever did in South Africa when he increased that tax to 10 per cent.
10 per cent. on the profits, not the gold.
Eventually they worked in the income tax and all that sort of thing. We must work back I say to the days of old President Kruger.
It was never collected.
No, why it was never collected because you would not pay. President Kruger laid it down that 5 per cent. of the gold must go to the State. Imagine in 30 to 40 years’ time when the gold mines are worked out you will have nothing there but one big hole. I should like to see our Government revert to the old policy and make a sinking fund so that we shall have something, that will make up for the depletion of our national wealth. Profits to my mind should come in with Income Tax, which we all have to pay. I personally believe that a sinking fund should be established, not only in connection with the gold and coal mines, but other mines as well, so that our children shall have something when the mines are worked out. Then you hear all these pessimists about the closing down of the low-grade mines. I have been 28 years in Johannesburg and this cry is as old as the hills that these mines will close down, but no mine will close down if it pays a profit of only £100 per annum, because the controllers of the industry are always hoping that they will strike a rich vein.
I thought they were pessimists.
We heard of the E.R.P.M. closing down for some years now, but there is a rich strike, and anyway they are always hoping for a little bit of luck for the future, but the Government will not kill the goose that lays the golden egg, for these low-grade mines serve a useful purpose to the State and circulate money and employ many people. This threatening of the Ministers and people is a pure bogey. No Government like our present Government, consisting of patriotic sons of South Africa, will do anything to the detriment of our own people. I say this country, having returned this Party, is entitled to look forward with confidence to the Government attacking this question of mineral wealth taxation for the benefit of the people. Now I would like to say a few words to my friend the hon. Minister of Mines and Industries, and I want to bring to his notice this question of mining leases, on which we on the Rand have agitated for years, even before the Botha Government came into power. It started giving out mining leases and I think the hon. member for Kimberley (Sir E. Oppenheimer) will say “hear, hear,” because he has had some of them. We are absolutely against any more of these leases being given. We know the history of the State Mine, and what Messrs. Joel and Co, got from the Government; it was changed three times, not for the benefit of the State, but every time for the benefit of Solly Joel & Co.—one of the richest areas of the Transvaal. Nearby is a very rich patch, I am informed, and I do hope the Government will not commit suicide by leasing out these patches any more. I hope that the Government will not give out any lease without the fullest consideration, when it cannot itself work them. If the Government took the Geduld portion and appointed three directors and a consulting engineer, and ran the Geduld mine in the same way as you run the Robinson or any other gold mining company on the Rand, we will not have overseas shareholders, but the people of South Africa, interested in that mine, and I do not see why it cannot be done. It is said that the State cannot run these things, but we do run our railways. It is true, badly run since 1916, but up to 1916 they paid a very handsome profit. Municipalities run lighting works, trams and the like. In Germany, I am told, the coal mines belong to the State, and why cannot there be the same thing in South Africa, especially when you have this rich patch at Geduld?
Are you sure it is there?
There have been more scandals about these leases than anything else. The contract with Joel was referred to a Select Committee which advised the Government not to change the contract, but Gen. Botha said he would resign if there was not a change of contract. I hope we have heard the last of these leases being given out. Now, I want to draw the attention of the hon. Minister of Mines and Industries to the question of mine trading, which has become a scandal on the Rand, and I want to warn—no, not to warn, but suggest, to the hon. Minister what a complicated question that is, and at the back of the whole thing is an insidious attempt of the mining companies to get the trade into their own hands. We have a whole Blue Book dealing with the N.R.C., and their tradings on the Rand. I want to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to the matter as it is a very complicated question, and he should give it his closest study. It must be settled sooner or later. If the mine is a long way from a township it may be advisable for the Government to set aside one or two trading sites, but it must lay down the principle that no more concession stores or trading by any company should be allowed on mining ground. It has become a very serious question on the Rand. Take Boksburg, where the mayor told me when I was there during the election, that more than half the shops would have to close down because the people there cannot make a living any more, and I cannot use stronger words than to impress upon the hon. Minister to give his closest attention to this most difficult subject, and impress upon him that no more power be given to the mining companies to trade with their employees. A dark picture will be painted for the hon. Minister, but he is a strong man, and I hope he will see that he is not bluffed (“niet om die tuin gelei word”). I want to say a word to the hon. Minister of Railways and Harbours. It seems to me that our railway administration and system has become a charitable institution, because we are making contracts with firms overseas, or even in South Africa, when they come to tell you they cannot carry out the contract, this charitable institution gives them large sums of money, and they call it “ex gratia payments.” One some engines some years ago, we had to pay thousands of pounds. I have served on the Select Committee on railways for years now, and I have never heard of one instance of the Government getting the benefit. The boot is always on the other foot. I also want to bring out our dealings with the coal owners of South Africa, who are becoming a big trust, and are a big trust on the Rand; and during the past years have been squeezing the railways and getting ex gratia payments. I hope that the hon. Minister of Railways and Harbours, and that the hon. Minister of Finance will see that this system stops.
It has been stopped for the last three years.
You paid £67,000 not long ago.
To the Transvaal Coal Owners’ Association.
At any rate, there is the fact. Always put up a big fight against the ex gratia payment system. You should read the Auditor-General’s report of two years ago, and you will see they paid £67,000 to the Coal Owners’ Association.
Three years ago.
I do hope that the hon. Minister will put an end to this nefarious practice once and for all. I do not know why the railway should not work our coal mines itself in the Transvaal. The Government has 10,000 morgen of coal-bearing farms in the Transvaal. Why cannot this coal be worked by Government for the benefit of our railways? Are we always to be led by the nose by these trusts in South Africa? There is one question I want to bring to the notice of the hon. Minister, whom we all know for a fair man—fair in his dealings. I know that the railway employees are looking forward to a change as far as their grievances are concerned. I do not say they must always be listened to, but there have been cases of injustice to these men. Hundreds of these men have passed through my hands; they have retrenched people, and if is not a nice thing to say in the House.
That is absolutely untrue.
They have a word which is called redundant, and I know that the railway employees are looking forward to a peaceful time now, a period of security of tenure. I would also like to see the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs here, as there are one or two things I would like to bring to his notice. I know of one case where a postmaster at Fouriesburg was called redundant, given a holiday and several hundred pounds as compensation, when, if he had waited six months’ longer, this official would have been placed on pension, and this extra compensation saved. It is a scandalous thing that such a state of affairs could exist. I also want to appeal to the Prime Minister to help me and my constituents on the Rand to get rid of a pestilential spot known as the coolie location. I want him, as the Minister of Native Affairs, to go into the matter. I promised my people that, as we now have such a sympathetic Government, that that black spot would now be removed. It is with feelings of hope that the people of South Africa look towards us on this side of the House. We have a lot of young men in this House with us, and we, who have stood in front of the battle for 12 years, see these young fellows coming in, realise that there is hope for South Africa. Some years ago Mr. Merriman said: “God help South Africa if men like Smartt and Jagger get into the Government.” Now it is a case of “Thank God we have got rid of them.”
The hon. member for Vrededorp has referred to a payment to the Transvaal coal owners. It was a payment of £77,000, and it was made in 1920. That correction was made by the late Minister of Railways and Harbours and it was quite in order. Addressing myself to the Budget I should like to say that the Minister of Finance belongs to the younger generation of South Africans who have yet to win their place in the front political rank, but none of us on this side of the House are so ungenerous as not to recognize that in his first effort as Minister of Finance he was seen at his best in this House. I wish his colleagues would be a little more assiduous in their attendance at this debate, and in this respect I may say the Labour Ministers have a bad pre-eminence. The Budget in so far as its aim is to establish all round confidence in the country fails in a most important particular. It fails to take into account the fact that the Government now in power during the recent election made a number of definite declarations on questions and policy which disturbed the confidence of those largely dependent for success in industries, on the adequacy or otherwise of the supply of native labour. Their anxiety is accentuated by the announcement of the Minister that he intends to introduce a uniform system of native taxation. The Minister, in his Budget speech, dealt with the suggestion of the Rt. Hon. the Leader of the Opposition that he should drop the proposal to render uniform the system of native taxation, and, in opposing that course, he said that it would upset the whole scheme of the Budget. The scheme of the Budget in this respect is to produce a larger revenue from native taxation to meet £60,000 voted on last year’s Estimates and £100,000 voted on the current Estimates for the improvement of native teachers’ salaries. This involves considerable increase in native taxation for expenditure which does not commend itself to the natives who pay taxes, and, so far as Europeans are concerned, they are bound to suffer, with the natives, for the wrong direction of native education and development. The present policy of native education is producing more agitators to the square inch than South Africa can do with. I would much rather that the Minister of Finance curtailed all future additional expenditure for native education than pursue the course which he has marked out under the Budget. Native education of a sound character is necessary, but if the Government seriously recommends to us an increase of native taxation on this account it is the duty of the Government to come forward in the first place with an assurance as to the justification for the increase in such taxation. The Government must be satisfied, and satisfy this House, that the expenditure necessary for native education is going to be incurred in education which will be to the ultimate advantage of South Africa. That is what it has failed to do in connection with this Budget. There is a wide diversity of taxation to-day, and it would be better to allow that diversity to remain rather than disturb it for the sake of expenditure on ill-considered ends. To begin at the lower end of the scale, the native in the Western Province pays nothing in the way of taxation under present conditions. In the Eastern Province, excluding the Transkei, natives in locations pay 10s., plus divisional council rates and taxes, and in the Transkei, in unsurveyed native areas, they pay 20s. per annum and from 25s. to 35s. in surveyed native areas according to the amount of ground held. In Natal 14s. per hut is paid, while in the Transvaal a male native pays £2 per annum, and. if he has more than one wife, £2 per annum more. The process of arriving at a uniform taxation is one which presents a universe of difficulty, and it is likely to be regarded as so revolutionary a step as to require more justification than has been as yet laid before the House. All these matters depend on the question of provincial finance and should have waited upon the solution of that vexed question. The impression given is that this question has not had the full consideration of the Government. In addition to this we have the Prime Minister’s declaration during the recent election with regard to segregation. That declaration has been taken very seriously throughout South Africa, and when considered in conjunction with the proposal to bring about a uniform scale of taxation is one very disturbing to industries dependent upon native labour. We have also the policy of the Minister of Labour with regard to the cessation of the introduction of native labourers from Portuguese territory. The number of such natives emploved on the mines at the present moment is 87.851, and the Minister of Labour has declared that it would be his policy in a period of four years to entirely eliminate this source of labour. To make good that shortage the mining industry will have to compete with the farmer for the native labour which is available to-day and there will be a consequent shortage of farm labour and a shrinkage of acreage cultivated by farmers. The holding of the Portfolio of Labour by the present Minister would seem to connote that his declaration of policy in regard to the introduction of white labour is one which the Government as a body will support, and in that connection we have to consider the future of industries that have been established on the basis of native labour. We have to consider that the proposal to place poor whites on farms in Zululand is diametrically opposed to the policy enunciated by the Minister of Labour of absorbing whites to do work at present carried out by natives. The public mind has been considerably disturbed by these declarations, which are mutually destructive and represent no settled policy. Now is the time for the Prime Minister to make a statement on the subject of the employment of natives from Portuguese East Africa. I should like to deal briefly with the proposal to establish poor whites in Zululand. In the last 15 or 20 years I have frequently travelled through Zululand, and I visited it when malaria was at its height, and I should be sorry to see poor whiles placed there unless under conditions which would exclude the possibility of their being Iaid low by malaria. In 1910 deaths from malaria in parts of Zululand occurred at every native kraal in the most unhealthy belt. There is nothing to guarantee that the scourge will not return with similar severity at any time, and those who have jeered at the policy of the Natal Land Board have spoken in entire ignorance of the land settlement policy of that useful body. The Natal Land Board has been in existence for 20 years, and has been the means of establishing settlements which will bear comparison with any other settlement in South Africa. The hon. member for Umbilo (Mr. Reyburn) was entirely in error in assuming that the hon. member for Umvoti (Hon. W. A. Deane) had in his capacity as Natal Minister of Agriculture favoured large landlords. The Creighton settlement of small farmers was a lasting testimony to the efforts of the hon. member for Umvoti to establish the smaller man upon the land. To those hon. members who have attempted to make political capital by representing that the land was granted to speculative companies. I should like to draw attention to the very fair and straightforward statement on this question made by the Minister of Lands yesterday. I hone we shall hear no more of the misrepresentation that this land was granted for speculative purposes, for that is a gross libel on the Natal Land Board, which is composed of English and Dutch members, whose work in establishing the sugar industry in Zululand is quite sufficient testimony to their service to the community. The hon. member for Umbilo (Mr. Reyburn) says that the ordinary people of Durban have approved of the action of the Minister in holding up the allotments and that they do not want large areas. Speaking out of the wealth of his ignorance he apparently overlooks the fact that you cannot grow cotton unless you have sufficient land for grazing the stock you require for raising your cotton crop. The hon. member for Umbilo (Mr. Reyburn) distinguished himself the other night by referring in reply to the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. Reitz) to a remark which that hon. member had made in regard to the action of certain members on the Nationalist side who have been responsible for the expenditure of millions of money in connection with the rebellion. I was surprised to hear the hon. member make use of a statement that the men who had started the Boer War—indicating that they belonged to this side—because of the gold mines, and who “stole Kimberley,” cost the country millions of money and untold suffering. He did not choose to indicate to whom he referred, but it seemed to me that that statement came with very bad grace from the hon. member for Umbilo (Mr. Reyburn). I can scarcely conceive of a Britisher making such a statement in this House, and I certainly am quite at a loss to understand why he should have made such a statement, because historically it is incorrect. To anyone who has read or probed into the history of this country it must be plain that the events which threw the two white races into hostile conflict were of a remote date, even prior to the Great Trek. Sir George Grey was probably nearer the mark when he said that the dismemberment of South Africa took place at the time of the Great Trek, and to say at this stage that we on this side of the House, or people connected with us, were responsible for the Anglo-Boer War for the sake of the getting possession of the gold mines is surely to put before the House a travesty of the truth. I can only imagine that the hon. member in making use of this statement was seeking to ingratiate himself with people on his side of the House who hold these views on mistaken-grounds.
What about a “Century of Wrong”?
That was written by a member of a different nationality, who took the view that these events dated from a century ago, a view corresponding to the one which I have expressed.
What about Conan Doyle’s “History of the War”?
I should be surprised to hear that Conan Doyle ever argued that the South African Party brought about the Boer War for the sake of acquiring the gold mines. I can only say that, judging from the applause which greeted the remarks of the hon. member for Umbilo, they appear to have given satisfaction to some hon. members sitting immediately near him. If he had had a proper regard for historical accuracy he would have realized that the events which were responsible for whatever of a painful character has happened between the two white races had their origin in a period of a hundred years ago. These unfortunate occurrences have their origin in the events of the past and to say they were due to the greed or cupidity of the people connected with our party is a travesty of the truth and certainly one the hon. member will not venture to make in his own constituency. The hon. member for Pretoria (Central) (Mr. te Water), in a speech to which in most respects one would take no exception, but would rather felicitate him on, said he congratulated the hon. member for Zoutpansberg (Mr. Pirow) on the courage with which he brought before this House certain allegations in regard to Col. Mentz. That is an unfortunate support of what seemed to me a wholly cowardly attack on a man who was absent and unable to defend himself. I can see no courage in it. If there was any courage in it, it was the courage which belongs to the slaughter house. I was extremely sorry to hear that the attack had been made. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) and the hon. members for Bezuidenhout (Mr. Blackwell) and Zululand (Mr. Nicholls) were able to reply to the statements and have sufficiently disposed of them. I wish, however, to remark upon a tendency the hon. member for Zoutpansberg (Mr. Pirow) has shown to wound people who cannot defend themselves. A question put by him yesterday contained the extremely offensive suggestion that the 1820 Settlers’ Association were engaged in trying to induce settlers coming into this country to buy land from a certain specified company. The correct information about this matter shows that of 87 settlers who have bought land in the Transvaal one only bought land from the company in question, and as a guarantee of the fairness of the purchase, the Government Land Board authorized the purchase and allowed it to go through under the contributory system. The whole of the transaction had to pass under the approval of the Land Board. The hon. member’s question to my mind furnishes evidence of a very regrettable attempt on the part of this hon. member to make in this House a suggestion which does not bear examination and is calculated to injure an association which is engaged in patriotic work, and work which South Africa stands badly in need of. I can only regret that there seems to be a tendency on the part of certain members to attack ex-minisers in a manner which savours of unfairness. The statements which have been bruited about in regard to reckless and unwarranted expenditure, also in regard to land speculation of friends of the late Government have, I think, been entirely exploded. The replies given by ministers to the various questions on these points have certainly served to show there is no truth in statements of this kind. I come to a matter of a more serious character. That is the regrettable feature of the recent elections in regard to the way in which hatred was fomented against the leader of the Opposition by certain men who are at present occupying seats in the Government. Hon. members will be aware that the trial of Lieut. Joubert has resulted in his acquittal by the jury and the statement by the judge that he entirely agreed with the verdict of the jury, in that connection I would like to refer to an open letter which was issued by the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs which seems to me to contain a particularly cowardly attack on the Leader of the Opposition. In a document headed “An Open Letter to Gen. Smuts,” beautified by a photograph of the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, we have a series of the most scurrilous statements.
I must ask the hon. member to refrain from words of that nature in regard to hon. members of this House. The hon. member has twice used the words “cowardly” and “scurrilous.” They are not Parliamentary expressions and are not to be used in this House.
I bow to your ruling, sir. In the indignation of the moment I made use of the words without realizing that I was transgressing. I withdraw the objectionable words as they may not be used in this House, but I will go on to refer to “The Open Letter to Gen. Smuts.” In this the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs says: “No, Gen. Smuts, a thousand times no, … even on the most peaceful aeroplane demonstrations you take no adequate precautions to prevent the bombs of death from being hurled at innocent sightseers. Had you had more respect for life you would have given an emphatic instruction that no live bombs are to be carried by aeroplanes. …” Now the jury has discharged Lieut. Joubert, the judge has concurred, but we have heard no withdrawal of this extreme application of the principle of Cabinet responsibility by the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs. Would he care to be scourged for the theft of a possibly erring postman? We have to bear in mind that the Leader of the Opposition was not at the time Minister of Defence. I would ask hon. members in all fairness whether, as South Africans, they approve of this kind of attack being made upon a public man of this country. It seems to me that this is a kind of attack that has got to be strongly deprecated if we are to be strong enough to maintain decent government in this country. I do condemn this, and ask every hon. member who has regard for the future government of this country to pass condemnation upon a statement of this kind. The hon. Minister of Posts and Telegraphs is now a member of the Cabinet, and I am glad that the hon. Minister has now arrived.
You should have started sooner, when I was here.
I have had to refer to the hon. Minister in uncomplimentary language, but should have preferred to do so while he was here. His views have undergone considerable change with no apparent or assigned reason that one is able to diagnose except, perhaps, an increase of his personal hatred against the right hon. Leader of the Opposition. I think he would agree with the doctrine that was enunciated by his colleague, the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow). who said that when the Pact came into power they would impeach Gen. Smuts for his Indemnity Act.
Who said that?
The hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow), and I am assuming from the hon. member’s open letter to the right hon. the Leader of the Opposition that he largely shared that opinion. But I would like to remind him that he did not always hold the same views. There is a document which reads this way, which appeared on the advertisement page of the “Natal Mercury”: “£50 Reward! I will pay the above sum to the Red Cross Fund if the statement made by the ‘Natal Mercury’ that in accordance with the Hansard report I voted with the Hertzog party against the second reading of the Indemnity Bill is true. T. Boydell.”
What year was that? What is the date of it?
Before the Pact.
Tell me the date of it.
I am not doing any injustice. I am reading his own words.
Twelve years ago.
That document was a subject of some dispute with the editor of the “Natal Mercury,” who sent a telegram to the Clerk of this House: “Refer to division on Indemnity Bill, March 17th, and should be obliged if you or Speaker would telegraph what would have been effect had ‘Noes’ been in majority.” Then he said: “Would not the Bill have been defeated.” The answer from the Clerk of the House was “Yes.” The other question was: “Did Boydell or Kentridge vote for or against the Bill?” The answer is: “The members voted against.” I am dealing with the question that the right hon. the Leader of the Opposition is to be impeached for his Indemnity Acts, and I think I have established that the hon. member voted against the Indemnity Act of 1915.
What is the date?
The 1st April.
In connection with the Labour party motion on the Profiteering Bill, 1920, the hon. member (Mr. Boydell) and his party retreated before the enemy, and made use of this statement, “that his party, if they could, would put the Government out in order to take its place themselves, but certainly not to lodge in a position of power the ultra conservatives on his right.” He was referring, I think, to the Nationalist party. At a later stage, in 1921, he indicated that he was unable to join any of the other three existing parties. He said: “Labour would welcome the amalgamation of the other parties, so that it would be able to fight them as one solid party, and be recognized as the official Opposition to those having the same position on purely social and economic questions.” He added: “The Labour party could not accept the invitation of Gen. Smuts, for the reason that it would be prevented from doing so owing to its constitution, and for the main reason that its social and economic policy differed totally from any of the three other parties.” To come to a later date, we have the hon. Minister in Greyville (Mr. Boydell), quite recently making this statement: “The Nationalist party have extended to us the hand of good fellowship and have taken us into their confidence and into their ranks and shown in every possible way that they are prepared to co-operate and work with us and give effect to the principles for which we stand.” On another recent festive occasion, at Milnerton, I believe, the hon. member said that he had “joined the Cabinet on principle.” I should like to know what principle
Did you read the correction of that? There was a correction in the paper next day.
I regret to say I did not see the correction.
Well, it appeared in the paper.
The hon. Minister’s entry into the Cabinet seems to have been the subject of a good deal of comment in his own constituency and a signed letter dealing with that subject will be of considerable interest to hon. members. “As one who supported the resolution I took into consideration the fact that a Cabinet Minister is in office all the year round, and an ordinary member of Parliament can be said to be in office for six months, and during the six months he is absent much mischief might be done. If two or three Labour members were in the Cabinet they may be in a position to see what is taking place all the year round. Nuf sed. W. Ross.” Apparently the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs has been sent to the Cabinet as a police constable from Greyville, and the Minister of Labour as a police constable from Denver, and we can only hope that they will not be found asleep on their beat. There is another matter to which I should like to draw the attention of the Government, that is the agitation of a particularly mischievous kind which is being carried on by a Nyasaland native named Clements Kadalie, in Durban. He is trying to enroll natives as members of the Commercial Workers’ Union and bring them under his control and generally dislocate conditions in Durban as between employer and employee. I want the Government to say if there is any intention to put a limit to the operations of people of this kind. Even to-day I have received a telegram from Durban dealing with the mischievous work of this man. Let us have a declaration with regard to the policy of the Government not only with regard to native taxation measures but also on the other aspects of the native question involved in the Budget.
I would like to remind the hon. member who has just spoken of the proverb concerning glass houses. He quoted extensively from newspaper cuttings, but if he wishes to see the inconsistent attitude adopted by his party, he ought to read Hansard of 1907 and 1910. This proverb is also applicable to their attitude regarding Gen. Maritz. Our whole history has been one of blood, tears and misery. The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Geldenhuys) said that the Prime Minister is politically bankrupt, but that statement is more applicable to the S.A.P. The English and Dutch-speaking sections of the community can no longer be kept asunder with this racialistic nonsense. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) has treated us to some fine election stories, but he ought to know that that sort of thing is no longer effective. The Dutch and English-speaking people have to work together for the future welfare of South Africa. The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) said the Government was only building on the firm foundations of the S.A.P. But I would say that the foundations of the S.A.P. are just as unstable as the Durban grain elevator, and if we had continued building on them we would have been in the same way as the elevator. The hon. member for Pietersburg (Mr. J. F. Naudé) quoted certain documents concerning the farm “Tommy” in connection with illegal land transactions. The matter was repudiated in a way, but we are still more or less in the dark about it. Nobody knows exactly what the position is. The hon. member for Ermelo (Col.-Cdt. Collins) had the impudence to tell me that I knew nothing about the sale of land. I agree that I know little about such underhand dealings. But I know that a part of the farms which were exchanged for the ground of Mr. Brink have been sold for £7.000. Then the hon. member for Ermelo said that the remaining 7.000 morgen were offered at £1 per morgen. The object of the whole discussion has apparently been to confuse the public. The hon. member tried to give an explanation, but nobody understands a word of it. The fact remains, however, that the State loses £14,000 on that particular transaction, but—it does not matter, because the ground only belongs to the State. That seems to be the mentality of those who tried to explain the transaction. I hope the Minister of Lands will have a searching enquiry made. A case of this nature is just now being tried in the Courts, and the whole atmosphere is full of suspicion. A good deal was said yesterday about the poor white problem. As a result of the bad administration of the previous Government there are thousands of people in this country who cannot make a living. And then the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) has the audacity to advise the Government to build on this foundation of starvation and bankruptcy. Industries ought to be fostered. I recently visited the iron foundry, and was surprised to see how many things could be made there, but it is now closed and all our orders go overseas. This is a direct result of the policy of the previous Government in regard to the railways, who ordered everything from abroad and left our own people without work. If these factories were working, there would be employment for many people. It is a fact that many people of this country are capable factory workers. The Government ought to assist the industry by means of bonuses. If there was more encouragement for industries and agriculture, unemployment would cease and the thousands of boys who leave our schools annually, could get work. A sum of £700,000 has already been spent on relief works, but conditions are still growing worse. There is another £300,000 on the Estimates for this purpose, and I hope it is the last time that this item will appear there. We have to help the poor people to get on to their feet; then they become taxpayers and are an asset to the State. When the right hon. member for Standerton (Gen. Smuts) promised to protect our industries, the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) resigned, because he is a free trader. It is impossible to have a Cabinet consisting of members holding such divergent views. The Government looked too much after the big interests, and that is one of the reasons why the country is in such a state to-day. I hope the new Government will put an end to this state of affairs. The old Government made it very hard for the railway employees to make a decent living. The eight-hour working day ought to be re-introduced as soon as possible. During the last two or three years about 12,000 white employees were dismissed from the railway service. The re-introduction of the eight-hour day will help to lessen unemployment. Many complaints have been made regarding the Miners’ Phthisis Act since 1921. In co-operation with the Chamber of Mines, the late Minister of Mines introduced a measure which was still more unsatisfactory than the Act of 1918. The Miners’ Phthisis Board and the Scientific Research Institute ought to be thoroughly reorganized. There are mine workers who have been suffering a long time with miners’ phthisis but who, under the present law, do not receive fair treatment. The object of the law ought to be to prevent the disease, but the aim of the present Act is to make things as cheap as possible for the Chamber of Mines. Many workers had to leave their work between 1912 and 1916 who under this law cannot be helped. When a man is in the last stage, the officers of the Institute declare that he is in the first stage. I hope the Minister will introduce a new Bill on the subject next session.
The debate was adjourned until to-morrow.
The House adjourned at