House of Assembly: Vol2 - THURSDAY 21 AUGUST 1924
The CHAIRMAN brought up the report of the Committee of Ways and Means reporting resolutions on taxation proposals on customs duties and income tax.
Report considered and adopted, and two Bills brought up.
Customs and Excise Duties Amendment Bill read a first time; second reading 22nd August.
Income Tax Bill read a first time; second reading 22nd August.
Maj. VAN ZYL, as Chairman, brought up the Second Report of the Select Committee on Railways and Harbours, as follows:
- (1) Your Committee has had under consideration the remarks of the Controller and Auditor-General in his report on the Accounts of the year 1922-’23 on the subject of the Durban Grain Elevator. In view of the appointment of a Commission by the Government on the same subject and of the dissolution of Parliament, and of the contemplated brief duration of the present session, it has not been found practicable to continue the investigation of the engineering questions involved, commenced by another Committee last session, and feels that under the peculiar circumstances it should express no opinion whatever on the part played by the Administration.
- (2) Your Committee has therefore confined its inquiry as to whether, in view of their being challenged, the Controller and Auditor-General’s remarks on the Durban Grain Elevator were justified or not. Those remarks fall into two categories, the record of the amount of money wastefully expended and the short summary of the history of the Durban Elevator.
- (3) As to the Controller and Auditor-General’s mentioning the amount estimated to have been wasted, there is no difference as to this being his absolute duty; it is as to his narrative of the facts that his action was questioned.
- (4) Your Committee, after taking evidence and giving the matter due consideration, finds that the Controller and Auditor-General was justified in setting forth the main facts on the papers submitted to him leading up to the serious loss of public moneys.
- (5) Your Committee quotes with approbation the British Comptroller and Auditor-General’s statement to his Public Accounts Committee in 1916 to the effect that the British Public Accounts Committee has never considered that the Controller and Auditor-General is limited in his reports merely to those points which he is bound under the terms of the Act to bring to the notice of Parliament. While it is difficult to draw a distinction between questions bearing directly on audit and those trenching on administrative functions, yet at the same time, if in the course of audit, he becomes aware of facts appearing to him to indicate an improper expenditure or waste of public money, it is his duty to call the attention of Parliament to those facts. The Public Accounts Committee was recommended even more than in the past to encourage the Controller and Auditor-General to scrutinize and criticize improper or wasteful expenditure. In spite of objection raised at times that certain points were administrative questions, the raising of which might impair the responsibility of administrative officers, the general conclusions of that Public Accounts Committee have led to the view that such criticism of administration as has actually occurred has had only beneficial results.
- (6) Your Committee having now dealt with the unauthorized expenditure and the Durban Elevator, finds itself faced with the difficulty with regard to the balance of the Controller and Auditor-General’s Annual Report, in that a certain amount of evidence has been taken by a differently constituted committee in the last session of Parliament. There are difficulties both in taking this evidence over again and proceeding with the remaining evidence, as in neither case does it seem likely that the report stage will be reached this session.
- (7) Under the circumstances the Controller and Auditor-General suggests his incorporating the more essential points in his present report by reference in his coming report to Parliament, which will allow the Select Committee on Railways and Harbours of next session in dealing with his report in ordinary course, also to review these points of principle appearing in his current report.
- (8) Your Committee recommends that under these extraordinary circumstances permission be given it to act accordingly, and that the other matters referred to it by the House on the 29th July and 5th August, 1924, as well as the Report of the Controller and Auditor-General on the free passes issued by the Railways and Harbours Administration for the year ended 31st December, 1923, submitted to your Committee, be referred to the Select Committee on Railways and Harbours of the next session of Parliament.
G. Brand van Zyl, Chairman.
Report and evidence to be printed and considered on Monday.
The MINISTER OF RAILWAYS AND HARBOURS was granted leave to introduce the Zululand Railway Construction Bill.
Bill brought up and read a first time; second reading on 25th August.
The MINISTER OF MINES AND INDUSTRIES was granted leave to introduce the Board of Trade and Industries Bill.
Bill brought up and read a first time.
Monday is very soon; can’t we make it Tuesday?
The Bill only comprises a few paragraphs.
This is not the proper way to treat the House. We have not seen the Bill, and do not know what there is in it. Monday is too soon. The Minister should make it Wednesday.
First Order read: House to resume in Committee of Supply.
House in Committee.
Progress yesterday on Vote 19, “Defence”, which had been agreed to.
On Vote 20, “Interior”, £192,955,
I would bring to the notice of the Minister of the Interior a matter which I feel is one to be gone into very carefully by him and his Department. That is that during election times that the position of polling stations should be so arranged that they are not situated on private or semi-private grounds. On the Reef we had some difficulties in regard to that. Various polling stations were situated on mining ground. In Langlaagte one of the polling stations was situated right in the heart of the Crown Mines. It was in the Recreation Hall. The position you will understand is this that between this polling station and any ground that was outside of the mine there was a good three-quarters of a mile to a mile. I might say that in observation during that election one could not help feeling that whilst we have the secret ballot, influence was brought to bear by officials in using their motor cars, bringing up the men, and using a certain amount of influence in persuading them to vote for a particular party. Those officials I may say were working for one party only, and it was not the party I stood for. I was compelled to spend the whole of my time on polling day outside this station. I may say I took the necessary steps on nomination day and protested to the nomination officer. I hope the Minister will give this his consideration before the next session, so that such a thing shall not be possible in the future. To give an illustration of what that means, I had a letter from one of my constituents a few days before the election, in which he stated he believed that the polling station was situated in the midst of the mining ground, so that after the voting was over the papers could be available for the managers of the mine who would know how the men voted. (Opposition laughter.) It is all very well for members over there to laugh, but there are a large section of voters on the Reef who felt like that. The electoral law and secret ballot are set up not so much for the protection of intelligent well-educated people like hon. members opposite as for the protection of the less well-educated who can be easily exploited. I hope the Minister will go into this matter very carefully. It is one that has created a good deal of dissatisfaction on the Reef.
At the bye-elections which took place during the last few years there was also an undue haste, and that is detrimental to the interests of all parties. As the nomination day follows so soon on the proclamation there is no time for the party machine to get in motion and to organize properly. What is more, the constituents have no opportunity of coming in touch with the candidates, especially in some country districts where there is only one mail a week.
I desire to bring to the notice of the hon. Minister the matter of Kirstenbosch. On page 78 of the estimates there is a grant of £1,400 towards the cost of a hostel. This grant was promised on the £ for £ principle, and was on the estimates three years ago, but owing to the high cost of building could not then be used, so that it is nothing new. The grant to the Kirstenbosch project is only £1,500. We find that in the same vote there is a grant of £6,000 to the Pretoria Zoo. I have no objection to that, and I wish the hon. Minister to understand that I do not wish him to cut that down by a single penny. It is a national institution, and we want it to be supported by the Government as much as possible. But when you understand that it is only a zoo, and that they are allowed to take gate money which amounts to £3,000 a year, and that they do not do research work, whereas at Kirstenbosch they are not allowed to take gate money, and research work is done, I think it will be seen that it is reasonable to ask that this grant be increased. At Kirstenbosch they are able to do research work in regard to the medicinal properties of our plants. About two years ago I brought this matter forward, and asked the Government to make an investigation. Mr. Wilcocks, who was then a member of this hon. House, gave us a few instances where wonderful results were obtained by the use of certain plants during the last influenza epidemic. The medicinal value of the plants was known only to certain natives, and the hon. member expressed the opinion that a scientific investigation should be undertaken straight away so that the value of these plants should be made known to South Africa. That is only one instance, and we have a large number of plants which have medicinal properties. At Kirstenbosch these matters can well be gone into, and it should be done—we have the whole of the institute and the Bolus Herbarium at our command. The Department of Agriculture has a great deal to do with the Herbarium at Pretoria, but they would, I think, be better advised to confine their activities to agricultural botany. I would like to draw attention to the report of the Advisory Committee of 1921. We had on this committee the late Dr. Peringuey, the director of the South African Museum, who did a good deal of research work in regard to Phylloxera, and we also had Mrs. Bolus, the curator of the Bolus Herbarium, Mr. Cartwright. Professors Compton, of the Cape Town University, C. E. Moss, of the Witwatersrand University, and D. Thoday, of the Cape Town University. This committee was appointed by the Department of the Interior, and presented a very valuable report (parts of which the hon. member read). Generally they reported that the improvements suggested and the modifications to be made are entirely dependent on the Parliamentary vote for the upkeep and progress of the garden. The present grant is quite inadequate, and the committee suggested that it should be increased from £1,500 to £3,500, for the next financial year plus a progressive yearly increment of £500, until £10,000 per annum be reached in fourteen years time, and in addition, £4,000 was needed at once for urgently necessary buildings. Unless this capital grant be forthcoming, the recommendations in the report cannot be carried out. The decisions of the committee were arrived at unanimously in 1921. The aims and objects of the Gardens are clearly laid out in another part of this statement—the establishment of as complete a collection as possible of living examples of South African indigenous flora, and a collection of exotic plants, also the scientific study of the South African flora from all points of view; the careful gardening treatment and display of this flora from the aesthetic standpoint; the education of the South African people, adults as well as students and children, in subjects pertaining to the flora of their own country; the care of a Nature Reserve and the protection of the indigenous flora therein. Kirstenbosch was started twelve years ago, mainly by public subscriptions. Several enthusiasts met, and it was decided that it was necessary to have such a National Garden established, and the Government came to their assistance by granting the property known as Kirstenbosch. Their work has been greatly hampered by the war, and since the war they could not carry on that work as they would have liked to do, as they had not the funds. I would like the hon. Minister to know that at present the position is, according to this scientific committee, that from the nature of this site it is clear that a great deal of labour has been entailed, and will be necessary in the making of paths, and so forth. The committee then asked two questions, namely: What has Kirstenbosch achieved? Has it justified the hopes of those who founded it? And they reply, “The questions are fully answered in the memorandum which describes the Fern Dell with its native timber-trees” (the hon. member here gave a list of these trees; of cycade, cedars, grasses, proteas, etc., and went on to say. No fewer than 1,200 species of native plants from all parts of the Union have been established in this garden in 12 years’ time, and Kirstenbosch has provided the most perfect means of demonstrating botanical subjects to children from Standard IV. upwards, and already they have begun to revolutionize the present teaching of botany in our schools. In the economic grounds the cultivation of buchu has been studied. A small plantation has been established, and from this it has been amply demonstrated how profitable a crop of buchu may be.
The hon. member for Langlaagte (Mr. Christie) has already drawn attention to the complaints regarding the polling booths on mining areas. That, however, is not the only complaint in connection with the electoral laws, and I would suggest that the Minister appoint a Commission for revising the law. It is disgraceful the way voters are bribed; thousands of pounds are applied to that purpose. Scoundrels are bought to persuade people to vote in a certain way although that is prohibited by law, which provides that no vehicles may be hired for conveying voters. This is continually being evaded, and there is a great deal of fraud. Candidates spend thousands of pounds, and when the statement appears in the newspaper, it states that only a few hundred pounds were spent, whereas every fool in the district knows that it is not correct and that much more has been spent. I would like to know where the money comes from for spending at the elections. A revision of our electoral law is urgently required.
I wish to bring to the notice of the hon. Minister the further requirements of Kirstenbosch. There require to be established: offices, a herbarium, laboratory, museum, stables, cloak rooms, workshops, stores, nursery buildings, and so on. To show the hon. Minister what they do in other countries, I would like to give him a few figures. Where they have national gardens elsewhere, they do not merely give a small amount which just keeps them going and does not allow development of the place at all. At the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the annual expenditure is about £61,000. £6,000 is provided by gate charges and £55,000 is voted by Parliament. Brooklands Botanic Gardens in the U.S.A., the expenditure is £26,000 per annum while the income by way of grants is £16,900. In Sydney they get £16,000 a year; in Berlin the Botanic Gardens at Dahlem, £272,536 was granted for initial expenses alone, and there are no less than forty other Botanical Gardens in Germany. The Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya in Ceylon get a grant of money equalling a 274th part of the whole of the national revenue. The Buitenzog Botanic Gardens in Java, the expenditure on maintenance of the gardens is £26,060—and in Singapore the grant from Government is £8,670. I bring these figures to the notice of the Minister because I feel that unless something is done by the Government our gardens will not fulfil the object it was expected to fulfil. There is an opportunity of developing the garden and giving a chance to those interested in botany of appreciating, caring for, improving and popularizing South African flora. We should like it to be thought of as a great national asset, and not merely as something which should be bolstered up by small grants without any thought as to the future.
I wonder if the Minister of the Interior knows how many public libraries there are in South Africa. According to the Estimates there are only two—one situated in Cape Town and one in Pretoria. Why should these places always be favoured? I would like on this vote to put in a plea for the Public Library at Pietermaritzburg. The Natal Society enjoyed Government assistance since its formation in 1851, and until 1922 got a grant of £400 a year from the Union Government. The grant was reduced to £300—and two years ago was withdrawn altogether. The Natal Society claim to be as much a State institution as the library of Cape Town or that of Pretoria. I am sure I will get assistance and support from the party on this side of this House. At a conference held in Maritzburg members of the S.A.P. were of the opinion that each Province should have at least one State-aided library. That is a fact which the Minister of the Interior might take into consideration. His predecessors in office always contended that the Government was not prepared to give grants to any libraries except the so-called State Libraries of Cape Town and Pretoria. I do not think that is right. The libraries at Pietermaritzburg and Bloemfontein do equally valuable work in regard to the circulation of literature as the libraries which I have mentioned. The Natal society is the oldest institution of its kind in Natal, and was founded 72 years ago. It was recognized by the late Natal Government and by the Union Government as a central library and is the national library of Natal. I put it to the Minister that the people of Natal are as worthy of consideration in the matter of a State Library as the people of the Cape or the people of the Transvaal. The Maritzburg Public Library contains 41,000 volumes, and the book circulation is 113,000 volumes a year. That will give the Minister some idea of the services rendered by the Natal Society and may have some influence in inducing him to take into favourable consideration the appeal which I am making to him. I will give the Minister any further information required, and I hope he will at least restore the grant of £300 per annum to the Natal Society.
I hope the revision of the electoral laws will be taken in hand at an early date. The diggers do not fall under the same qualifications as other constituents, because they are moving about continually. Nearly 300 men from Barkly went to Hopetown, and consequently could not vote unless they took the trouble and went to the expense of travelling 140 miles to vote at Barkly West. Why could their votes not have been recorded in the other district?
The hon. member cannot discuss legislation.
I only want to ask the Minister whether he is going to amend the law. The diggers at Brakfontein, in the district of Hopetown, were not in a position to go back to their own district, consequently they could not record their votes. Hundreds of diggers in Hopetown could not go to the polling stations, as the distance to the polling stations was too great, while in thinly populated parts there were more booths than were necessary. The voters lists should be compiled every two years by the field-cornets, as was done formerly. At present the work is done by an official in the magistrate’s office, and the names are collected by people in the district who know nothing at all about the work; consequently things are not always done properly. The Minister ought to take into consideration whether we could not return to the old system of having the voters’ lists compiled by the field-cornets.
There is a matter on which I would like to ask information from the Minister, prior to Union and for some little time after the Union a number of coloured voters, mostly St. Helenia’s, and some Mauritians in Durban and Natal were on the Voters’ register, and continued to have a vote for some time. There are not a great many of these people, but they have been resident in the country for a long time and all bear good characters. I understand, under the South Africa Act, that all those on the register at the time of Union were entitled to vote, but these people have been taken off because of Act 8 of 1896 of Natal—in that Act natives of any territory not exercising the electoral franchise, were not allowed to vote in Natal. I believe the construction the registering officials put on this is, that these people are natives of either St. Helena or Mauritius, and so not entitled to vote. When this Act was passed I believe it was to apply to natives as such, and not to coloured men. If it is a fact that as construed now that it applies to these men under that section I would draw the Minister’s attention to the fact that the Governor-General has power to exempt natives from that law. In other words the Governor-General could admit to the franchise people coming within the category of natives even before Natal entered Union. Will the Minister instruct his registering officers either to allow these men to be registered, or advise the Governor-General to re-admit them to the franchise that they exercised for so many years before we came into Union. I do not suppose that there are more than 20 or 30 of them at the outside.
The hon. member for Fordsburg (Mr. J. S. F. Pretorius) asked for a Commission to enquire into the alleged corruption during elections, but I think there are already too many commissions. If the Minister want to take any steps, it should be in the direction of amending the electoral laws. It is true, there is a good deal of fraud, but the hon. member has rather exaggerated it. If he has seen so much of it why did he not take steps to prevent it?
It is difficult to prove it.
Yes, it is very difficult to prove some accusations. It is possible that there was a lot of bribery and fraud in Fordsburg.
I am told that dead men voted.
An emendation of the electoral law is very urgent. People do not even want to be registered nowadays. In the old days it was stipulated that a man should be registered when he was a fortnight in a constituency. That was a very good provision, and we ought to have it once more. But there are other amendments necessary to the electoral law.
The hon. member can only discuss matters of administration, and not legislation.
I submit to your ruling. The hon. member for Fordsburg (Mr. J. S. F. Pretorius) went so far as to recommend a commission.
A Select Committee.
To catch the rogues, I suppose. The Minister ought to enquire fully into the matter and to effect the necessary changes.
I would like to say a few words about some degraded, neglected but faithful servants of the State, namely, the old Republican officials who are still in the public service. Their cause has already been pleaded, and a petition was presented on their behalf. There are 120 of them in the Transvaal, and also a small number in the Free State. I have got a nice little document here.
On what item is the hon. member speaking
The hon. member cannot discuss that matter now.
I hope to raise the matter at some other opportunity. I want to say something about the people in the old Republics who became citizens during the war.
There is no such item on the Estimates.
A legal authority has advised me that I can discuss the matter under the heading of naturalization.
Then the hon. member ought to confine himself to that point.
According to the spirit of the Proclamation of September, 1899, the people are entitled to citizenship. The Proclamation in question stated that all those who threw in their lot with the Republic and fought for it would get full citizenship. However, the new citizens who were with the commandoes in the field never had the opportunity, as did those in the towns, to get the necessary papers and fulfil the formalities, as they had to move about so much. The Government which was in power after the Peace of Vereeniging, and even the Government of 1907 was not sympathetic to those people, and never did them justice. It ought to be a privilege to the State to reward such faithful officials. More especially so where certain new citizens are now by means of special legislation enabled to become full citizens. They can only appeal to the Minister of the Interior, and request that if necessary a new law be brought in to give them full citizenship.
I should like to support the plea of the hon. member for Cape Town (Harbour) (Maj. G. B. Van Zyl) for a more liberal recognition of the excellent work carried on at Kirstenbosch. There is a growing demand for greater development of research work into the resources of our country. We have, of course, to reconcile with that the need for economy; but money spent on such research work is well spent, and will be a sound investment for the country. We know far too little of the economic and medical value of the plant life of South Africa, and this is a matter which requires systematic and scientific enquiry. There are at Kirstenbosch unique opportunities for carrying out research work on these points. Facilities for plant-growing at Kirstenbosch are practically unique, owing to the quality of the soil and the situation of the National Botanic Gardens. Work there has been carried out with a great deal of faith and patience; there are skilled and scientific men there and they are doing excellent voluntary work, but money is wanted. The Government might well make a special grant in aid of this work. Kirstenbosch is truly called a national botanic garden, the work done there being of a national character. Hon. members who have not yet visited Kirstenbosch should make a special point of doing so; if they will communicate with the Director, Prof. Compton, he will give them every facility and welcome. Although the place does happen to be in Cape Town, as a Cape Town man I may claim that it has unique possibilities. Up to the present, however, the work is being carried out under conditions of great discouragement, the financial restrictions being very stringent. The Government should take into consideration the possibility of giving a great deal more encouragement to Kirstenbosch than has been given in one past. I leave that to the Minister with every confidence that after consideration of the matter he will find that Kirstenbosch has justified its claim.
I would like to ask the Minister if the sum of £25,000 provided for repatriation in sub-section D bears in mind the doubled bounties to be paid to Indians In accordance with the statement he made the other day. Then I would like to know on what principle does the Government proceed in according grants to museums throughout this country? I know of four museums that nave no place on this schedule: Grahamstown, Kingwilliamstown, Port Elizabeth, and the beginning of a museum at East London. These are institutions of very great value and are deserving of more support than they get now.
I would like to add a word in support of what the hon. member has just said and appeal to the Minister to reinstate on the list of subsidized museums those institutions he mentioned and particularly the Port Elizabeth museum. Port Elizabeth museum occupies a unique position in this country. It is the one museum which has made a special effort to educates the lay mind. There is not a fossil, skull or anything of interest found in this country but what is sent to Port Elizabeth. It has become a standing thing in this country that if a farmer in the Union comes across anything of particular interest he sends it to Port Elizabeth. I would ask the Minister to consider reinstating Port Elizabeth on the subsidized list.
I would like to draw attention to the question of naturalization fees applying at the present time. When the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) became Minister the charge was increased from £9 to £11 I believe. In consequence of protests made by the community to which I have the honour to belong, that charge was reduced to £5, but that, too, is exorbitant. We now have a measure which is going to confer citizenship on residents in German South-West, and it seems to me that we should encourage people residing in the Union itself who desire to become citizens to assume citizenship, and I hope the Minister will take into consideration the advisability of revising the charge.
I would like to direct the attention of the Minister to the item Registration Expenses—£10,000. On the voters’ roll at Pietermaritzburg, 1923, it was found that there was about 1,000 names less on that roll than on the previous roll although the population had increased. It appeared that the registration was carried out by an officer from Durban, which seems an extraordinary proceeding. Through the efforts of the ladies of the South African Party and the Labour Party in Pietermaritzburg, by a street canvas something like 500 or 600 names were added to the roll after it had been compiled by the officials. I think that is an extraordinary condition of affairs. I would refer to another matter. That is the grants to museums and libraries. I would like to point out that the total amount devoted to this is £29,320. I do not think it is a very liberal or generous amount for a country like ours, but in the Orange Free State and Natal the total sum is £2,890 out of that £29,320, leaving the balance of £26,430 to be divided between the Cape and the Transvaal. The Cape gets £13,100 and the Transvaal £13,330. We have had eloquent appeals from the hon. member for Cape Town (Harbour) (Maj. G. B. Van Zyl) and the hon. member for Rondebosch (Mr. Close) on behalf of Kirstenbosch. I do not object to that, but I do say that this at present is an unfair distribution. I would also refer to the fact that both the Natal Society Library at Pietermaritzburg and the Bloemfontein Library have been struck off the list in recent years. This is very false economy. These libraries once had a grant of £400 each. The sum of £2,500 which now appears in behalf of the S.A. Public Library in Cape Town has been increased. The libraries in Natal and Bloemfontein are both national libraries. They appear in the Copyright Act as libraries which should receive every publication in the Union. There is another matter in connection with the Natal Museum at Pietermaritzburg. I would ask the Minister when he goes to Natal, as a lover of science, to take an opportunity of seeing that place, because it possesses the finest mammal hall and collection of fauna in this country. I am sure the Minister will give these matters his consideration and I hope he will restore the £400 for the libraries at Bleoemfontein and Pietermaritzburg.
Many people in my constituency complain of the great increase of the naturalization fees. I do not know whether the previous Government was afraid of the Germans, but that time is past now. Much inconvenience is caused in the border districts by the way they are cut up by the Delimitation Commission. It is often done in such a way that the polling stations are inaccessible to the voters The law does not allow more than one polling booth for one ward, and in that way people have often to go 20 miles to record their vote. I hope this will be changed.
I desire to say a word in support of my hon. friend the member for Cape Town (Harbour) (Maj. G. B. van Zyl) and the member for Rondebosch (Mr. Close) on behalf of Kirstenbosch Gardens. I do not think it is quite realized how much more useful work these gardens could do if they had more support. It is not an institution which does not try to help itself. The funds are helped largely by private enterprise. I think the grants towards the cost of the hostel is a grant on the £ for £ basis and it is only the other day that the tea house in the Gardens was put up without expenditure on the part of the Government. I hope that if it is too late to do anything this year, the Minister will take note of the requirements of the Gardens and see if he cannot do something next year. If a little more money could be spent something could be done to make the Gardens more attractive to the general public, and that in its turn would induce the public to give greater subscriptions and increase the sphere of usefulness radiating from the Gardens. There is one other subject to which I would like to refer, a matter to which other hon. members have drawn attention, the Voters’ Roll. From my experience in my own constituency (South Peninsula) I may say that the Voters’ Roll was very badly made up, and an enormous number of duplications appeared on it and an enormous number of people were left off. What is wanted is not merely more care in the compilation of the roll, but also that the machinery should be simplified. I have in my hand a copy of the form in use when a man claims to be registered as a voter. Well, so far from having been made more simple, it has been made a great deal more complicated, and there are an enormous number of questions to be filled in. It is true that the claimant himself has not to fill all of these in; but to fill them in entails a large amount of labour, and so many questions have to be answered that a great many inaccuracies creep in. Again, a good deal of information which should be embodied is not embodied in the Voters’ Roll. It is quite an exception in many districts to-day for any of that information (which is so necessary) to appear, and scores of addresses were given as “Main Road.” The main road extends from Kalk Bay to Wynberg in my constituency, and there was nothing more distinguishing than that. If people are to be troubled to fill in these forms, it is surely desirable that some of that information should be embodied in the Voters’ Roll. I understand that these forms are governed by regulations, and that to amend them the Act need not be altered. If that is so, they should be simplified; and when the registration comes it should be done more efficiently and carefully than it has been done in many places, and certainly than it has been done in the constituency of South Peninsula.
A deputation came to see the late Prime Minister about the question of Asiatic trading, and it then appeared that Asiatics were no longer granted trading licences in Klerksdorp, as the law provides that the number be limited to the number which had stands in 1919. The Government then requested the deputation to make a list of Asiatics who had unlawful businesses and send it to the Minister. That was done, but the late Minister took no notice of it, and instead of curtailment there was a great influx of Indians, so that Klerksdorp is fast becoming a coolie town, where white people are driven out of all trades. It is a matter of importance to us, and I hope the new Minister will give instructions to cancel the unlawful licences according to the Act of 1919.
When the hon. Minister replies, perhaps he will tell us if it is the case that the number of registered voters in the Transvaal exceeds the number of adult males over 21 years of age, and if that is so, how does he account for it?
I would like to support what has been said by hon. members of the Cape on behalf of the Kirstenbosch Gardens. The work being done there is national in the best sense of the word, and I hope that the hon. Minister will see that better provision is made for Kirstenbosch. I also want to put in a word for something to be done for that wonderful collection of records, the Cape Archives, which are housed in what is really nothing more than a glorified cellar. These priceless documents should not be kept in such unhealthy and unsuitable rooms, and better provision should be made. The work that is being done by Mr. Graham Botha and his able assistants in connection with them is excellent, and I hope that the hon. Minister will attend to this question of the better housing of the archives as soon as possible.
Several hon. members have spoken in favour of museums and botanical gardens. I think I am entitled, therefore, to say a few words about game reserves. It is true this is a matter that falls under the provincial authorities, but the game reserve in the districts of Lydenburg, Barberton and Zoutpansberg is a national asset, and is being more and more looked upon as such, and therefore I would like to bring the matter to the attention of the Government. It is the intention to lay out this reserve as a national park. I am grateful to the previous Minister of Railways that he gave us excursion trains to the eastern portions of the Transvaal. Those parts are very pretty, but the most picturesque of the things witnessed by the travellers were the thousands of wild animals in the game reserve. I hope, too, that the school children will be given an opportunity of visiting those parts, and I would urge the Minister to make the reserve a real national park.
I think at this stage I should say a few words to deal with the various questions which have been brought up by different hon. members. The hon. member for Langlaagte (Mr. Christie) objected to polling stations being placed on private or semi-private ground; now, in general, I can say with regard to that that it is certainly most inadvisable; and as much as possible we must have nothing, when voting takes place, either to lure the voter or in any way to deter him. But as far as I can see, we cannot always avoid having these polling stations on private or semi-private ground. In rural areas or rural constituencies, for instance, we very often—I should say in eighty cases out of a hundred—have these polling stations on farms, and with regard to this point, I can only lay down as a general principle, that wherever premises that are public can be procured, they will be procured; but everybody will understand that there are a good many cases where that cannot be done. The hon. member for Cape Town (Harbour) (Maj. G. B. van Zyl), supported by other hon. members representing constituencies in the Cape Peninsula, has put in a good word for the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Everybody will recognize the great national importance of these national gardens, which certainly deserve the interest and the financial support of this hon. House. I think, however, that the comparison that has been made by the hon. member for Cape Town (Harbour) (Maj. G. B. van Zyl) between the Botanical Gardens at Kirstenbosch and Kew Gardens, cannot be allowed, because Kew Gardens in London is an old national establishment. Kirstenbosch is a young institution and thoroughly deserves our support, but I am afraid it cannot be compared with Kew Gardens in London. I do not think the comparison is quite fair. So far as the financial support given to the Zoological Gardens in Pretoria is compared with the support given to the hostel in connection with Kirstenbosch, it must be remembered that the assistance given cannot be in accord with importance of the institution, but according to the pressing need, and I am not quite sure that the pressing need so far as the hostel is concerned justifies a larger contribution than £1,500 a year. I shall visit the institution one of these days and I hope to meet the authorities, and I shall be glad if any representations they may wish to make to me will be made on that occasion. The question has been asked by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (North) (Mr. Strachan) whether I know that there are more libraries in the Union than the two mentioned on the Estimates. I am quite aware that there are more libraries, and I am quite willing to admit that Natal has a right to have a library because like every other part of the Union, it stands in need of education. I, however, must remind him and several other hon. gentlemen who have spoken in connection with local institutions like museums and libraries that the whole question of financial support to local institutions of this kind has been determined in 1912 and 1913 when a Financial Relations Commission was appointed to determine what should be considered national institutions and what should be considered provincial, and if the hon. gentleman and the others who complain about the fact that local institutions in their constituency do not receive financial support that they think they should receive they are complaining too late. They should have complained in 1913. The hon. member for Durban (Central) (Mr. Robinson) has complained about the coloured people in Natal whose names have been removed from the voters’ roll. All that I can say is that they are either entitled to be on the roll or they are not. If they are entitled to be on the roll they can go to the courts and they will set it right for them. If they are not entitled to vote, it means that there will be an alteration in the law and it is unwise for the Government, in view of the South Africa Act, to do that.
The Governor-General has discretion to admit certain voters under the Act.
I understood him to say people whose names were on the roll were removed.
Under the Act native people were disfranchised and it is specially provided that the Governor-General may exempt some of them from the operation of the law. It was under that section that I was appealing to the Minister.
In pre-Union days the Natal Government exempted some natives from the operation of the ordinary law applied to antives in Natal, but where it is a question of adding coloured people to the voters’ roll I think it is most undesirable that the Union Government should do that. With regard to the question which has been asked by the hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Mr. Rider) with regard to the provision of £25,000 for the additional inducement of repatriation of Indians which I announced yesterday in the House, I can only reply “yes.” I hope this vote of £25,000 will be sufficient for the purpose. If it is not we will come to Parliament next year and ask for more money on the additional Estimates. Another question which has been raised by the hon. members for Troyeville (Mr. Kentridge) and Waterberg (Mr. P. W. le R. van Niekerk) is about naturalization fees. They think they are too high, and with regard to them I can only say that they are rather high. I think it amounts to £6 7s. 6d. I quite admit there are many poor people who would make as good citizens as those who are richer, but on the other hand I think everyone will agree that if a foreigner comes to this country and wishes to enjoy the privileges of citizenship he ought to make some sort of sacrifice to procure it. In any case, I am willing to go into the matter to see what we can do. It is a matter I shall have to discuss with the Treasury.
*A good deal has been said about the working of the electoral laws. The hon. member for Fordsburg (Mr. J. S. F. Pretorius), for instance, suggested a commission of enquiry with a view to legislation. The whole question was fully discussed in 1921 and a Select Committee brought out a report which was adopted by this House. My predecessor was authorized to introduce legislation, but for some reason or other never did so. I will enquire into the whole matter, and possibly next year introduce new legislation. It is unnecessary to go fully into it now. An hon. member has suggested a return to the old system of registration of voters by means of field-cornets. When that system was in vogue there were just as many complaints as now, and I think it better to use public servants, because they are more directly under the supervision and control of the Government. If the official neglects his duty he can be pulled up. I admit that officials sometimes neglect that, and I shall be glad if hon. members will bring specific cases to my attention. I am much against any persons who has shown himself a strong supporter of one or other party being appointed as a registration officer. I am sorry that the people in the Free State were dissatisfied because the election in Winburg took place so soon, but I thought the Free State was always ready and that that constituency had already perfected their arrangements, as it was known that there would soon be a vacancy. Regarding the period between the proclamation and the nomination day, I think that I have allowed the full time provided by the law, namely. 14 days. It would also appear that the S.A.P. as well as the Nationalists were quite satisfied with the choice of the candidate, because the election was unopposed. Regarding the matter of illegal trading of Indians in Klerksdorp, I think that is a matter for the police.
In many cases in which naturalization is applied for the applicants have been residing and trading here for many years, and there is no need why they should not be recognized as citizens. If they have for years been industrious contributors to taxation and general revenue and thereby contributed to the country’s progress, it seems unreasonable to apply a heavy disability when they wish to observe the mere formal procedure of officially becoming citizens. I want to refer to what is practically the disfranchisement of thousands of people at every election. In the last election, on the Rand, there were 8,000 people who were registered in Rand constituencies who, owing to special circumstances, had been deported to relief works or left the Rand for distant places, so that it was impossible for them to return to register their vote. Generally, they belonged to political parties which could not, of course, pay for their transport to the constituencies in which they were registered. Provision should be made in conjunction with the Minister of Railways, whereby travelling facilities could be given to such people at election times. Vouchers could be issued by magistrates to those who were entitled to vote and who satisfied him that they were unable to meet travelling expenses, these vouchers to entitle the holders to return tickets covering a reasonable period which would enable them to exercise their vote and return to their homes. The State will be put to very little additional expense, but free travelling facilities would secure a much truer reflection of the wishes of the country. When polling stations are established on mining ground they are directly under the surveillance of the officials of the mine, and consequently a great number of voters go to other polling places and vote on declaration, thus showing that the establishment of polling stations on mines is not a convenience to the public. There is a very real fear in the minds of people voting in mining areas, and I have seen actual verbal intimidation. Where polling stations are unavoidably situated on mines special instructions should be given to polling officers to see that steps are taken to guard against the intimidation of voters. In the Krugersdorp constituency indirect bribery was practised in a glaring fashion. Whilst aware of its great difficulties, I must say that the compilation of the last voters’ roll on the Rand was carried out in an amazingly inefficient way. Finally, I wish to emphasize that there is no purpose in giving a man enfranchisement unless he is also given facilities for exercising the franchise.
When the Act of Union was passed the Union Parliament laid it down that half-a-crown was enough for a naturalization certificate, but in 1921 the late Government increased the fee to £10. Subsequently, however, as a result of public protests the fee was reduced to £5. In addition a stamp for £1 has to be affixed to the application form, the total cost of naturalization being £6 7s. 6d. There are numbers of people known to me personally who cannot pay this large amount. This operates with particular hardship in the case of aliens in the Government service, for they are compelled to be naturalized or else forfeit their positions. To a daily paid man on the railways £6 7s. 6d. is a very serious item indeed. We should encourage every alien to become naturalized, but if you charge a prohibitive fee you are practically telling a poor man that you don’t want him to be naturalized. I think it would be of the greatest possible benefit to the country that any alien people here should be encouraged in every possible way to become citizens of the country, and the only way to do this is to get back to something like a reasonable fee. I know men here who would have become naturalized if the fee had been a reasonable one. The Minister says he will see the Minister of Finance. I will put this to him. The Minister of Finance is going to lose nothing because at present the fee is prohibitive, and if you will reduce the fee you will have many more people apply for naturalization than do now.
I would like to bring to the notice of the Minister a little point which might seem trivial, but which is very irritating and causes a lot of friction. That is the practice of presiding officers at nomination courts where some of them will allow speeches and others will not. I knew some of the hon. members would think it trivial, but we must avoid as far as possible any causes of friction and we must avoid putting the magistrates in a position in which they are criticized by the public. There is no doubt that the action of magistrates, when some will allow speeches and some will not, is criticized. This lack of uniformity is annoying, and I do not think it should be allowed. At the last election we had some magistrates who would allow proposers and seconders to make speeches, but not the candidate. In the country especially it is felt, and I think the Minister should lay down a uniform practice.
I would like to call attention to a grievance to which expression was given last election. I refer to the need for additional polling facilities in the district of Winterton, where there is a polling booth which prior to the delimitation served the needs of a number of Winterton electors. No polling booth was provided to take the place of the Colenso one, with the result that at the last election there were electors living within a mile or so of Colenso who had to travel about 15 miles to record their votes. The Klip River constituency can be divided into three areas, Klip River, Bergville and Winterton. In Klip River there are eight booths, Bergville four and Winterton, with about the same number of voters as Bergville, only one. The last delimitation cut off Colenso and added it to Weenen. A good deal of dissatisfaction was expressed. No provision was made for booths after the delimitation to suit the altered conditions, with the result that a number of voters had to travel 20 miles to record their votes.
The electoral laws prohibit a double registration, and if a man moves from one part to another he can be registered after three months’ residence. His name then remains on the list of the place where he came from, and it is possible for him to vote in two constituencies. The law provides that his name be transferred, but in practice it is not done. The Minister can easily rectify this by instructing registration officers to ask persons who apply for registration whether they had been registered at any other place. That will prevent double registration. Sometimes much money is spent on double registration. That has been the case in my constituency during the election, although I cannot say where the money comes from. The provisions regarding illegal and corrupt practices are stringent, but generally the successful candidate does not present an election petition. He is generally pleased with the whole world, and consequently does not encourage prosecutions. The defeated candidate might do it, but it costs thousands of pounds. For instance, an amount of £500 has to be deposited before such an action can be brought, consequently it is not such an easy thing to do. The provisions regarding corruption and illegal practices do not require emendation, but the Department ought to see that they are carried out.
I should like to ask the Minister whether he will give this House some information as to his policy in regard to immigration from abroad. The question if immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe is of considerable concern to every country any distance from that area, and in America it has been found necessary, owing to the influx of immigrants of an undesirable type from those countries, to enforce the most stringent immigration laws in the world. I hope the recent announcement of the Minister with regard to the removal of certain restrictions, which were doubtless removed in perfect good faith, does not connote the idea that this country is going to become a haven for every person from Southern or Eastern Europe who may choose to come here. It would be a great pity indeed to encourage immigration of an undesirable kind, and if we leave it to be thought that South Africa welcomes a class of immigrant who is already too numerous in this country, it will be a mistaken policy and in due time will bring its own punishment. I hope the Minister will give us a statement as to his policy on this question.
The Minister apparently does not quite understand the question of these Asiatic licences. The Receiver of Revenue generally accepts the payment of licences in respect of any stand for which application is made from any Indian, but on the other hand, the law stipulates that licences may only be issued to Indians at certain stands, therefore it is a matter that should be attended to by the Minister.
The hon. member for Klip River (Mr. Anderson) complained that the changing of the polling station causes inconvenience, and I can assure him that his constituency is not the only one where those difficulties exist. The position is worse in Zoutpansberg, where a polling station was shifted, compelling some voters to travel four days by donkey wagon. I do not know if the fact that most of the voters in the vicinity were Nationalists had anything to do with it, but I can say that it was removed much further and placed near a native kraal where there were very few voters.
I was wondering about the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) including Southern Europe in his remarks, and I regard it as another of these veiled attacks upon the Russian Jew—more anti-semitism—because no other race comes to this country from Russia but the Jew. Therefore, I am perfectly correct in reading in the hon. gentleman’s remarks an attack on that interesting and highly intellectual race. I hope that the hon. Minister will take no notice of the remarks of the hon. gentleman, and will allow into South Africa these people who are so intellecually developed. I want to acquaint the hon. Minister with a circumstance in connection with naturalization, which proves the considerable hardships of the law under which we exist. In addition to the difficulty pointed out by the hon. member for Cape Town (Hanover Street) (Mr. Alexander) and the hon. member for Troyeville (Mr. Kentridge), there is the insuperable difficulty that if an alien gets over the difficult first jump of the cost he finds himself up against another difficulty which seems t) be almost insurmountable. It is this, that they have to get their naturalization papers sworn to before a Justice of the Peace, and that in itself is not objectionable, but the Act provides that the applicant shall be personally known to the Justice of the Peace, and generally the Justice of the Peace is a magistrate with whom the applicant comes into contact. I should think that if the applicant is not known to the magistrate that in itself is a recommendation for naturalization. The rogue, who is known to the Justice of the Peace, may appear before him, and the latter can clearly say that he is an individual who is known to him personally. I brought this matter up on a previous occasion, but the present hon. Minister is considerably more sincere and more just than the past Minister of the Interior, and that leads me to believe that something will be done in the way of relief. The former Minister said he would “take the first opportunity”—which has evidently not yet presented itself. I want the hon. Minister to approach this question with the desire that those aliens who live in our midst should be allowed to become naturalized as early as possible, and if they transgress the laws of the land you can always deport them, as you can deport those born in the land. If the hon. Minister, to give effect to it, must amend the law, let him bring down an amending Act, and I am sure he will get the support of the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick).
On this question of naturalization I wish to say with submission that I am not in agreement with the Minister that an alien should be prepared to pay for the privilege of becoming a citizen of this State. Rather do I believe that the State in its own interests should hold out every inducement to these people to become citizens. I should like to give the hon. Minister a tentative scheme which may be of assistance. My suggestion is that the State should induce every alien to become a citizen of the State as soon as possible, and in order to make that position easy for the alien, I suggest, say at the end of the period of two years’ residence, the alien by the payment of a small sum, say of £2 or £2 2s., should be entitled to citizenship. Thereafter there should be a sliding scale, rising for every year, until the maximum of £5 is reached.
I am sorry, but the hon. member is not permitted, at this stage, to advocate legislation.
I am not advocating legislation, but something by which this hardship on an alien can be done away with. What I suggest would be of great benefit to the State, inasmuch as it would induce the alien to become a citizen as soon as it becomes possible for him, and would do away with the irritation which aliens feel, especially the poor alien, when he is called upon to pay so high a fee as at present.
I was not in the House when the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) spoke, but I understand that he made a racial attack. I do not know whether the hon. member’s appeal is to ask the hon. Minister not to honour the pledge which was given with regard to the Immigration Act. What is the difference whether people come from Southern or Eastern Europe, or from other parts, so long as they have a good character?
He would rather have Chinese.
I do not know whether the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) knows the Immigration Act, or knows that a man who is coming here has to be vouched for by passport and to have a good character, to be able to read and write a European language and to be free from physical defects of any kind, and in addition he must prove that he is not going to be a burden on the country. Does that not satisfy the hon. member? No, he must come, I suppose, from the same place from which the hon. member comes. The history of South Africa shows, as the history of America has shown, that you must treat a man on his merits, and not consider where he comes from. You must judge him by his conduct. I say that such a racial attack should be condemned by every hon. member in this House. “Are they going to help to build up South Africa?” is the question, and if so, it does not matter from what particular part of Europe they come.
The hon. member who has just sat, down seems to regard any reference to the question of undesirable immigrants as something in the nature of an unworthy attack on his religion. Those who heard what I said this afternoon will acquit me of having said a word about anybody’s religion. I asked whether the hon. Minister would let the hon. House and the country know what his policy is in regard to immigration. I drew a parallel with America, where America, very largely owing to the influx of people from Southern and Eastern Europe, brought in stringent immigration restrictions, and I wished to ascertain from the hon. Minister whether the removal of certain restrictions which had been announced, and which were not complained about, connoted the idea that we were encouraging immigration of every kind from foreign countries, because if that was to be done, it would be a very unwise policy. We have discussed, for a considerable part of this afternoon, the inability of the immigrant of a certain type, to pay £6 7s. 6d. for his naturalization. It seems to me that the introduction of immigrants of any kind, un-provided with capital, is a matter that ought to be considered very carefully by the Government. I think I have before now heard it said from the cross benches that the introduction of men of an artisan class not provided with funds is a great mistake. I am utterly unmoved by the abuse of the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) or the particularly vicious remarks of the hon. member for Cape Town (Hanover St.) (Mr. Alexander). The latter accused me of making a racial attack—on the strength of a speech which he had never heard, and I leave it to this House to judge whether there was a single remark which I made which was of a racial character.
I am afraid the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) is going from bad to worse, and I think this committee should dissociate itself from the position taken up by that hon. member in this matter, and in his attempt to suggest that he was not making a racial attack, although he knows perfectly well that he singled out people coming from a particular area, and knows that the majority of the people who come from Eastern Europe are people who belong to the Jewish community. In his attempt to defend himself he goes further and says he would like to see the artisan class without money excluded. I suppose he would like to see only millionaires come here—
On a point of order, I said nothing of the kind.
It is a personal explanation.
I wonder how many artizans he is likely to get coming here with money. People do not come here with money unless it is for purposes of exploitation. We want to build up South Africa, to have a large white, virile population, and we want this country to develop in the interests of the community as a whole. Does the hon. member desire that South Africa shall remain in its present position? If it is to progress it cannot be done by the adoption of the policy which he now advocates. I hope he is the only member of the S.A.P. that feels like he does in this matter. If his views are the view of his party the time will come when they will be migrating to the cross benches and gradually dwindle out of this House. Another mistake which he makes and which is deserving of correction is that he suggests that the United States have made special restrictions on Eastern. Europe. That is not true, what America is doing is that she is making a quota in accordance with the population of each country, and there is no differentiation as between a Frenchman, German, or any other nationality. They are not making any distinction of peoples.
There is a differentiation made.
They have imposed the quota in respect of every country. If there is differentiation I am not aware of it. The United States is run by capitalists, some of whom unfortunately are of my own race, and as they are exploiting others they are merely afraid of free people coming in and they are forgetting the fact that many of them would not have attained the position they have to-day if the policy of my hon. friend was in operation. Let the hon. member remember also that in South Africa to-day there are many men in positions of affluence among his own political friends, who are millionaires in fact, who would not have been here or attained such affluence had that policy been in operation here. I hope that all sides of the House will repudiate the racial and reactionary policy advocated by the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick).
The hon. member for Pretoria (North) (Mr. Oost) is surely not referring to old Transvaal burghers who became British citizens after the annexation. I take it that he refers to strangers who fought with the Transvaal burghers and were then accepted as citizens of the Transvaal. If those people can establish their legal claims to citizenship, they can acquire their full rights, but if not it will have to be done in the ordinary way by means of naturalization. But if those people have been living in the country for years and have fought for the old Republics, there will be no objection to their being naturalized. It is impossible for the Government to stipulate from Pretoria where the polling station should be, therefore it is left in the hands of the magistrates. Those officials should consult both parties before they fix the places for these stations, in order to give general satisfaction. Most magistrates are impartial, but polling booths are often at unsuitable places because the one or the other party does not submit its views to the magistrate.
†My attention has been called by the hon. member for East London (North) (Brig.-Gen. Byron) to a discrepancy which exists in the Transvaal between the number of adult males on the voters’ register and the number registered by census. He points out that there are a greater number on the voters’ list than there are actual males in the Transvaal. That fact was, I believe, pointed out by every Delimitation Commission that we have had. I do not know how the discrepancy occurred. The information I have from the registration officers is that their figures are absolutely correct, while the census officers say that their figures are absolutely correct. The problem is one that certainly needs enquiry. As to the point raised by the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) in connection with naturalization, I can quite understand that it is a hardship in many cases. However, the requirement is interpreted very liberally and all that is asked is that the Justice of the Peace shall be satisfied that the declaration is correct. The hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) has referred to immigration from abroad, especially from Eastern and Southern Europe. He gave the House the impression that the Government is encouraging immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe, but I can tell the House that the Government is not encouraging immigration from those parts and does not encourage any immigration at all from abroad. The only thing that has been done by the present Government is simply to apply Clause 4 (I) (a) of our Immigration Act to all Europeans in the same way, that is all.
You don’t apply that to Europeans at all.
Thank you. There is a distinction between controlling immigration and keeping out undesirables, and all we have done in South Africa up to now is to keep out undesirables. We don’t control immigration at all, except in so far as it concerns Asiatics, but the principle has never been laid down by this or any other Government that Government should control immigration. The United States controls immigration, but we don’t. As to our policy for the future, I can only tell the hon. gentleman that under the present condition of affairs in South Africa more Europeans are actually leaving the country than are coming in to-day, and until we have solved that problem we are not going to give any attention to the control of immigration.
I would like to give the Minister a little more information, as even old Transvaalers such as the hon. member for Bethal (Lt.-Col. H. S. Grobler) evidently does not understand the matter properly. In September, 1899, the Government of the S.A. Republic issued a proclamation to the effect that strangers who helped to fight for the independence of the country would be looked upon as citizens. They cannot be looked upon as strangers, as that would be ethically unjustifiable. The previous Minister of the Interior intended to frame a new clause to rectify the matter, but on account of the dissolution of Parliament it could not be done. Those people were practically citizens in terms of the proclamation, but never got an opportunity of signing the papers, as they were in the field; whereas others who stayed in the towns and did the work of town guards were able to fulfil the necessary legal formalities. In 1907 this injustice was admitted, because all the people who became citizens during the war were put on the voters’ list. They remained on the voters’ list, but occasionally one or other special friend made an investigation and discovered that something or other was not quite in order with the man’s papers. Those people ought not to be looked upon as strangers, but as honorary citizens, because they have done more than the people who were born citizens, as they fought for the Republic from the first day. I hope they will be allowed to become citizens by this Government without being submitted to the humiliation of applying, together with strangers, for naturalization papers, as that will be an insult which should be avoided.
In reply to the remarks of the hon. member for Pretoria (North) (Mr. Oost), I want to say that I was a field-cornet at the time, and as such had to register burghers. Citizenship was granted if a person was born in the Transvaal, and it could also be acquired if he fought for the Republic and two-thirds of the burghers signed a petition in favour of it. Before the war a law was passed which stipulated that strangers who fought with the burghers would be looked upon as citizens. The hon. member says he did more than other people, but what was the position? If he did not go and fight he would have had to go back to Holland. After the war I and others had ourselves registered, whereas the hon. member for Pretoria (North) (Mr. Oost) neglected his duty, and now he wants a special law for himself and others in order to give them the franchise.
I do not know if the statement of the hon. member is quite correct. He said that strangers—
You were also a little stranger.
I became a citizen in the Transvaal.
I was born there.
I want to explain that it is not correct that two-thirds of the burghers had to approve the petition. I grew up in the Cape, went to the Transvaal where I was called up for service and was registered as a citizen. There was no petition at all, and the hon. member knows nothing at all about it.
I would like to know whether the hon. member for Bethal (Lt.-Col, H. S. Grobler) is against justice being done to those people who fought for the country. The hon. member’s racialism is so bad that he wants to deprive a South African from Holland of his rights. I would like to have a clear statement from the hon. member on this matter. If that hon. member does not want to take away those rights he ought not to be so small-minded as to want to do it on account of personal feelings in the case of the hon. member for Pretoria (North) (Mr. Oost).
As field-cornet in my district I could not commandeer any British subjects. Those British subjects who volunteered for the Malaboch war could after their return be naturalized if a petition signed by two-thirds of the public was presented. I want to tell the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Moll) that I helped many Hollanders to get the franchise. The hon. member for Pretoria (North) (Mr. Oost) neglected his duty, however, and did not apply to be naturalized. Some of the Hollanders were stupid, but they did their duty and many of them fought to the bitter end. The insinuation concerning racialism certainly does not apply to me.
I wish to thank the Minister for his statement in regard to the question of immigration from abroad, a statement which he made notwithstanding the suggestion made by the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) that my enquiry should be ignored. With the Minister I regret that good people are leaving this country in larger numbers than those who are arriving as immigrants, but the fact remains that although many good people are leaving, a large number of people whom we could do without are arriving. I quite agree that in the present state of the law it is impossible for the hon. Minister to discriminate or use the Immigration Act, as it stands, to exclude any but the most undesirable—those who come under the category of the law as “prohibited immigrants.” There is, however, a great deal that could be done, and I hope the hon. Minister will consider the desirability of doing something to prevent our being flooded with people whom we could well do without. There are people here for no good, and people arriving on these shores who are bent on mischief, and I hope that the hon. Minister will not disregard any possible precaution to preclude these people from landing in South Africa. I should like to take the opportunity of correcting the remarks of the hon. member for Troyeville (Mr. Kentridge), who misrepresented entirely what I said in my previous remarks. He would make it appear that I objected to the arrival on these shores of people of the artizan class. I never said anything of the sort; but what I said was that I had heard it from the cross benches before now that to allow artizan people to be introduced where there is no work for them is a great mistake, and it is specially true now, when there is so much unemployment prevalent. Everybody who is proud of his race appreciates pride of race on the part of anyone else, but if the hon. member for Troyeville (Mr. Kentridge) is so proud of his race, why did he change his name in such a way as to efface his racial origin?
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE. I expect that was because of blind prejudice on the part of men like yourself.
I do not intend to follow the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) down into the mud heaps which he has got into, but I would like to ask the hon. member what he means by “undesirables.” It is no use standing up in the hon. House and speaking of people as a lot of undesirables without telling us what he means. How is the Government to know who are the people it should keep out of South Africa if he does not tell them what type it is? I quite agree with the hon. member that there are many in this country “bent on mischief,” whom the country can do without, and probably the hon. member’s seat would be vacant if his ideas were carried into effect, and probably other seats as well. I think the hon. member alluded to the artizan class, and I ask the hon. member if he has ever known moneyed men to come to South Africa “bent on mischief”? Perhaps it was mischief of a more damaging kind to the citizens of the country than that caused by the other classes which were alluded to—men who came to exploit the mineral wealth of the country and left South Africa with a lot of broken, maimed citizens and widows and orphans when they took the money out. The hon. member did not say that the objection from the Labour benches was against the importation of men under contract labour. These men have been brought in by unscrupulous employers of labour, signed on in England, and signed on again within the three-mile limit. But that is an entirely different statement from that which we are accused of making on these benches, and if we are going to build up a race in South Africa of which we can be proud, we must not exclude a man who is poor, and allow in the man who has thousands of pounds. I would now like to deal with another matter, the discrepancies between the census and the numbers of men registered on the Voters’ Roll. We have hundreds of men in the country who are not on the Voters’ Roll at all, so that there must be a tremendous number of names on the Voters’ Roll of persons who do not exist. There are men of all parties who deprecate that sort of thing. There is a tremendous amount of bogus registration and impersonation in connection with the elections in this country, and the sooner the electoral laws are tackled, the better for this country. There is only one way to do away with impersonation on election day, and this bogus registration, and that is that every citizen entitled to vote should have issued to him a “citizen’s right.” If you leave South Africa you can get a passport on which certain particulars appear identifying the person whose name appears on the passport, and if every man was issued a citizen’s right, the fact that he is possessed of such a right, and that his name appears on the roll, would entitle him to vote. He would not then be able to go to another polling station and vote twice, and impersonate anybody else. I cannot see that there is any valid objection to it, and I trust the hon. Minister will at the earliest possible opportunity deal with this matter. It is no use jockeying this Government; it must have time to go into its programme of legislation, which will be introduced in good time, if hon. members opposite, who have been asleep for fifteen years, will only be a little patient.
Vote put and agreed to.
On Vote 21. “Mental Hospitals and Training Schools for Mental Defectives,” £433,979,
One of the greatest difficulties is that one matter falls under so many different authorities. Our institutions for mental defectives and our reformatories are under separate departments. Many of the young people in the reformatories are more mentally defective than criminal. I know it is a complicated matter, because there are different stages, therefore more co-ordinated supervision is necessary with a view to better classification. The medical inspector of schools ought to determine which children ought to be sent to mental hospitals. In this regard I would like to say a word in praise of the Alexandra Hospital in Cape Town. Extensive research work is necessary. There are 400 children in the Alexandra Home and some more at Potchefstroom and other places. We ought to investigate the question to what extent the poor white problem is the result of mental disorders. The mentally deficient child has a pitiful existence, because he is avoided by everybody. Therefore he ought to be segregated and put into an institution where things are not made so unpleasant for him, and he could be educated to become a useful member of the community. By means of better organization and medical inspection of schools, and also in many other ways, these unfortunate people can be kept away from the hospitals and from prisons, where they ultimately land. They ought to be put in an environment where something can be made of them and so prevent them from being a blot on the name of their family. The present condition of things is proof of our lack of sympathy. I think I am justified in saying that those who enjoy a certain amount of happiness in the Alexandra Home have been taken from the ordinary schools and reformatories, which were not the proper places for them. We ought to give more attention to the better separation of mentally deficient children. That is necessary in the interests of the person himself, because there is lack of supervision in the schools and they are exposed to all kinds of temptations. It is easy for them to fall, and ultimately they are declared habitual criminals. We ought to look at the question from an economic standpoint also.
Why has there been a heavy reduction in almost every item on the Estimates for the Grahamstown and Port Alfred Mental Hospitals? Although the number of male and female nurses was increased the vote for salaries shows a considerable reduction. Does that mean that the Minister is reducing their salaries, for if so I wish to make a protest? If there are any nurses who deserve the highest possible pay, surely it is those nurses who are employed in mental hospitals. For the Grahamstown Hospital there is a reduction of £1,150 in the votes for provisions. I hope that means that this is a reflex of the work carried on by the exceedingly well managed farm run in connection with the institution at Grahamstown. I hope the Minister will visit these institutions and see the admirable way in which they are conducted. The strain on the physicians is very severe and, as there are, or were lately, only two of them at Grahamstown, if one is on leave the whole of the strain falls on the other. I would, therefore, urge upon the Minister the early appointment of an additional assistant physician. The Grahamstown Hospital, I should explain, is for Europeans, and the Port Alfred for native patients. Every possible consideration should be given to the members of the staffs, of whatever rank, in the mental hospitals of the country, men and women who are doing such devoted work for the State.
I wish to bring to the Minister’s notice the incredibly long hours of the attendants at the Pretoria Mental Hospital. These long hours are fair neither to the nurses nor to the patients, for the strain of nursing mental patients is very great.
In the past, owing to lack of provision for mental defectives, there was procreation amongst these people. There ought to be more eugenic supervision. I would like to congratulate the previous Minister on what he has already done for these people, and I hope the present Minister will continue the good work. It is impossible to say how much retrogression there was owing to neglect in the past. Only information and good supervision are necessary, and there is no reason why we should not have these, as we have several experts who have made overseas a thorough study of the matter.
Business was suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 8.10 p.m.
I notice in the salaries, wages and allowances for Pietermaritzburg that there has been an addition to the male nursing staff and a considerable addition to the female nursing staff, and yet the vote for salaries and wages is decreased. I do not know how that result is arrived at—the staff increased and the salaries decreased—but I would like to emphasize a point made by a previous speaker as to the necessity for an eight-hour day in these institutions. It applies more especially to the mental institutions where the staffs do not get a general nursing training. Their training is restricted very much to one particular branch which entails additional studies to enable them to qualify generally. I know from my own experience that the female nursing staff were doing 12 hours a day—that is to say two shifts for the 24 hours. Consequently they had no time to devote to study for qualifying themselves in their profession. I assume that since other accommodation was added an eight-hour day has been introduced, and that that explains the additions to staff, but I do not know how the decrease in the vote is arrived at. I would like to emphasize the absolute necessity of keeping hours down to not more than eight hours so that the staff shall have a proper opportunity to study and qualify for their profession.
The hon. member for Hopetown (Dr. Stals) has rightly pointed out the lack of co-ordination of work in connection with mental institutions. We want also the co-ordination of the work of reformatories, and he showed that the present law was based on a proper classification of mental defectives. That is the way it is done in other countries, but at a cost of more money than we can afford. Our institutions for mentally deficient people are overcrowded, and there is not proper accommodation for 600 nurses. The number of these people has increased considerably of late years. I do not know if it is a consequence of the policy of the late Government for the last fourteen years, but the increase has been very great, and there is not enough accommodation in the existing institutions. Expansion is urgently required. A new building is being put up at Potchefstroom, the hospital at Queenstown has been enlarged, and on the Loan Estimates a sum has been earmarked for the extension of the institution at Bloemfontein.
†A few questions have been put to me by the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Struben), but I do not see him here. Mention has been made by the hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay) and just now by the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Allen) about the long hours of nurses and other attendants and officers in mental hospitals. Now I quite agree that special consideration should be shown to these people, because they are performing very difficult and self-sacrificing work. The hon. gentleman will be glad to know that a change has been made lately in the hours of work of these officials. It used to be 13 hours a day, and several years ago the Public Service Commission recommended that it should be reduced to nine hours per day, but it was found impossible for several years to do so. Recently an alteration has been made, and the working hours are now nine per day. The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Allen) further pointed out that while, on the one hand, there was an increase of staff in the mental hospitals, on the other hand, there is a reduction of expenditure. And now he asks what the reason for that is. As far as the increase of staff is concerned, this is explained by the fact that the hours have been reduced from thirteen to nine, and about 168 officials had to be appointed as a consequence of that. As far as the reduction of expenditure is concerned, I can give the hon. gentleman the assurance that that has not been made by a reduction of salary as far as the officials are concerned, because they all belong to the Civil Service and work under the same conditions and rules as other public servants do. The reduction is only owing to the fact that more satisfactory contracts have been entered into for provisions.
Vote put and agreed to.
Vote 22, “Printing and Stationery,” £256,392, was agreed to.
On Vote 23, “Public Health,” £394,253,
I want to draw the attention of the House to the Nelspoort Sanatorium for tuberculosis sufferers. The farm is one of the best in Beaufort West, with excellent water, and although for the last three years more than £4,000 was spent on the improvement of the place, the income is only about £100. This should be enquired into. The previous owner became wealthy on that farm, and if the place is properly worked it ought almost to pay its own way.
I would like to ask the hon. Minister—I do not know whether he is in a position to tell us yet—if it is not desirable that we should know as soon as possible whether he intends, next session, to go on with the Dental, Medical and Pharmacy Bill, which cost a good deal of labour in this House for more than one session and I would like to know whether it is to be gone on with or dropped.
I would like to ask what measures the Government has taken against the possible spreading of bubonic plague. The Government did not quite realize in the past to what extent it spread in the Free State and Transvaal. As I said last session, we should spare no money in combating this disease. It is appalling to see how it spread in a kaffir village in Kroonstad and how it killed everybody there except two people. What is going to happen if it spreads to a town like Johannesburg with its big compounds? Much is done to exterminate rodents, but I am afraid the rural population is not quite alive to the necessity of exterminating these animals. There are mice and spring-hares everywhere, and I have been informed that pigs also carry the disease. It is quite possible there will be a recrudescence of the evil during the warm weather.
I should like to hear from the hon. Minister what the policy of the Government is with regard to the Central Housing Board, and whether they propose to continue the policy of the late Government, which was very excellent as regards the housing question, and whether they propose to develop it, particularly in the direction, not only of providing funds for European building, but also for coloured development. I think that if the Government go even further than the past Government, they will be doing a great deal of good, because not only are they providing houses for the people, but perhaps they are taking one of the best steps to provide employment for the people.
Order! There is no vote here for houses. That is a matter of policy.
I should like to know whether the Government is dealing with the question of town planning, which is very necessary in this country, so as to prevent methods which have been followed in the past with regard to the development of land which has been used for townships.
I want to point out the unsound position with regard to the outbreak of infectious diseases. At the present time the Minister cannot take action in the case of light diseases such as Spanish influenza, of which there is now a good deal all over the country. If there is an outbreak on the diggings, the Divisional Councils have to defray the costs, and the money has to be paid by the land-owners, whilst the district is not benefited by the presence of the diggers, except for the sale of meat. There is a serious condition of things at Brakfontein. The divisional council has to make provision, but it is unfair towards the landowners. In other parts of the world they have been successful in curing a number of lepers with a certain treatment, but the authorities seem to be rather sceptical concerning the results of the new treatment. Can the Minister give any information about it?
I want to make a few remarks about the Rietfontein hospital. It is an hospital which deals with contagious diseases and attached to it is a chronic sick home. Its uses are many and varied and its various spheres of activity are but inadequately described in this vote. The hospital is much handicapped by reason of shortage of accommodation and also on account of the fact that it is concerned not only with one province but with the whole Union. The chronic sick people and those suffering from incurable diseases are sent there and get the most scientific treatment. The medical superintendent there is deserving of the highest tribute any legislative assembly can give him; he is an enthusiast in his work and his advice and knowledge are always available to all public bodies. He does not make any charge but he does complain that the greatest drawback is that he has a continual fight with this lack of accommodation and the tightness of finance. It is a pity that such an enthusiast and one who so excels in his own line should have no one to take up his case, especially in view of the fact that the work he is doing is of national importance. I ask the Minister to make it his business to visit this institution as early as convenient, to see the medical superintendent and the work he is doing. The medical superintendent told me himself that one of the characteristic drawbacks he had to contend with is that some of the chronic sick admitted to the hospital did not die until they were 80 or 90. Of course that is a great tribute to himself—they are so well treated when they get in there that they do not want to give up the ghost. I am concerned merely in drawing the attention of the House to the work which is carried on in an undemonstrative way and with no limelight, it is deserving of every encouragement from the Government, and I would like the Minister to take cognizance of what I say.
The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) asked me if I am going to take up next year the Medical, Dental and Pharmacy Bill which has lapsed. My reply is “yes.” We realize that the Bill was a contentious measure so far as several clauses were concerned, but taken as a whole, it was non-party, if not altogether non-contentious. For that reason the present Government sees no obstacle why they should not take up the Bill again and bring it forward at the earliest opportunity. The hon. member for Newlands (Mr. Stuttaford) has asked a question with regard to the Housing Act and the work of the Housing Board. He seems to be under the impression that nothing or hardly anything is done to assist coloured people regarding proper housing provision. I can only point out to the hon. gentleman that so far £1,631,683 has been spent under this Act for the provision of houses, altogether 3,931 houses are involved, and of this number 1,244 were houses for Europeans, and no less than 2,687 houses for coloured people and natives. The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Allen) has referred to the Rietfontein hospital and its lack of accommodation. It is a hospital for venereal disease, and an arrangement has been come to whereby a good many of the cases sent to this hospital are now being treated in the mining hospitals by arrangement with the Chamber of Mines. That eases the position considerably.
*The hon. member for Beaufort West (Mr. E. H. Louw) stated that the farm on which is situated the sanatorium for tuberculous sufferers at Nelspoort does not produce as much as it should. The institution was only opened on 5th May last, and we are not yet in a position to judge. It is only a young institution and should be given ample opportunity to show what it can do. In reply to the hon. member for Hopetown (Dr. Stals) I want to say that I agree that the health conditions on the diggings are very bad, and it seems as if there is a loophole between the responsibilities of the Union Government and those of the Provincial authorities, and so that matter has been neglected. There is a motion on the agenda about this, and therefore I will not now go further into it. As far I can make out, the claim of the new cures for leprosy has been exaggerated. Tests were made at Robben Island with not very satisfactory results. The bubonic plague was very bad in the Free State last summer. It has been spread by rodents, and as long as it was confined to the towns it was not so bad, but the position became very serious because it was spread by rodents in Natal. One hundred and nine deaths occurred in a few months’ time in a small area. The area affected was especially the parts from Knysna to East London northwards to the Free State. It does not spread from person to person. At least bubonic plague does not, but the pneumonic form of plague is contagious. The hon. member wants to know what is being done to combat it, and it is very difficult, in fact, almost impossible, to exterminate the rodents. For that reason the plague-stricken districts are isolated and the traffic is controlled. All cases are isolated. According to some authorities plague is dormant during the winter. It is being spread, too, by fleas, which as soon as summer comes will multiply and there will be an outbreak amongst field animals. In Kroonstad 80 per cent. of the rodents died of plague, consequently the danger is not very great there. The greatest danger is in the grain districts, where there are many rodents. The department has taken steps to keep grain stores free from them. Mealies for export are being disinfected and everything possible is done to guard against the plague spreading. If a rodent which dies of the pest is found in one of the bags of mealies an embargo will be placed abroad on our mealies, it will kill our export trade, and mean big losses to the farmers. Consequently I hope farmers will approve of the measures which are thought necessary and taken by the department to combat the plague.
I would suggest that we send a few doctors to India to test the new cure for leprosy. In India this treatment seems to be successful, but not at Robben Island. Either the disease is different in India or else the right methods have not been adopted at Robben Island, and I think it advisable, therefore, to send over a few doctors to India.
I think the Minister is under a misapprehension regarding Nelspoort. The late Minister replied to a question stating that in the last three and a half years £4,000 had been spent on the improvements of the place, not taking buildings into consideration. There have been two farm managers already, and despite all the expenditure on salaries, the farm has produced very little. It is a good stock farm, and there are farmers who are desirous of renting a part of it.
I think the principle should be extended under which local authorities are refunded one-third of the salary of their chief sanitary inspector on condition that the official cannot be dismissed summarily by the local authority without the sanction of the Minister. Sanitary inspectors might, through excess of zeal, draw on themselves the ill-will of certain individuals as a result of which they get a very rough passage. This contribution of one-third by the Government should not remain voluntary on the part of the local authority but should be made compulsory.
I would like to know what the duties and authority of district surgeons are.
Under the heading of grants to medical councils and pharmacy boards I see the Transvaal gets only £50 while the Cape receives £550. Why is this differentiation made?
The question of sending doctors to India to study cures for leprosy could be considered, but as we have good institutions here for doing the work, I think it ought to be done here. The institution on the Rand which investigated a cure for tuberculosis amongst natives on the mines will enquire into the new alleged cures for leprosy. The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Allen) gave us the impression that there are some municipalities which do not fall under the ordinary law by which sanitary inspectors are protected. I think the hon. gentleman is wrong in that impression, and I think all sanitary inspectors fall under the Public Health Act of 1920.
My impression was that if the municipality did not apply for a refund of one-third of the sanitary inspector’s salary then that official did not have the protection of the Public Health Department.
I have not gone into the matter, but I think the application of that Act to sanitary inspectors is not dependent on whether the municipalities apply for a refund or not. I think they fall under the Act in any case.
*The district surgeons do the work in the districts. They have to give evidence in murder cases, they are police and prison doctors, and it is their duty to do general Government work such as attending to poor people who are certified by the magistrate as such. I know there is a general misapprehension regarding the work of district surgeons, as the people are under the impression that they are being paid to do ordinary work. If a place is too small for a doctor, application is made for a grant for a district surgeon in order to keep the medical man. That is a wrong conception of their duties. If we had the necessary funds, it would perhaps have been advisable to do so, but we have not come to that stage yet.
Vote put and agreed to.
On Vote 24, “Native Affairs,” £330,931,
I would like to know why the Government should maintain dipping tanks in reserves and locations, as Europeans have to pay for their own dipping tanks.
I wish to draw the attention of the Minister to one Vote which is here. It is a comparatively small amount, but it will have a considerable influence in the development of native affairs. It is at page 110, subheading C1, under Native Agricultural Demonstrators. This Vote was brought forward by the previous Government because they realized the importance of giving the natives some education in regard to the cultivation of their land. The previous Government recognized the need for some education for the natives in regard to the working and tilling of their land. These lands under the old slovenly system were giving out and giving a poor return. Under drought conditions the natives were receiving practically no return, and when they did have a crop it was of very poor character. So the late Government tried to educate the natives to the necessity of improving their cultivation to get an adequate return. They realized that with proper cultivation the native would get double the return he is getting to-day. We quite realize too that that would mean they would become producers of large quantities of mealies and instead of as at the present time, not being consumers, they would make a reasonable profit as a result of the surplus crop and would be able to become an important part of the community as purchasers of various articles. This policy of the late Government has had a wonderful result, the most gratifying result to those who were responsible for introducing it. I would point out to the Minister that at the present time these nine demonstrators are totally inadequate. There is an insistent demand for them and the demand is growing. I hope the Minister will see his way to meet this service and add materially to these agricultural demonstrators, who will teach the natives how to cultivate their crops. It means not only security to the natives in times of drought but it means that we are making the native, not merely the asset of labour which he has been called, but a valuable asset as a producer and consumer of civilized products. I feel sure that hon. members realize the importance of improving the prosperity and progress of the native in South Africa. I hope this Vote will receive the due and careful consideration of the Minister.
There are certain things I want to say in advocacy of the just claims of a very important section of the population of this Union. I desire to bear tribute to the peaceful nature and law-abidingness of our native people in times of stress. Two and a half years ago, during certain upheavals in the country, the native territories across the Kei were denuded of the last mounted constable there. I can bear tribute, from personal knowledge, to the absolute peacefulness then of the native people. People who can, under those circumstances, live so quietly, deserve the good opinion of the European people in this land, but I very gravely fear that our native people are much exercised in mind upon certain things, the reason for which they cannot perceive but which affect them very closely. I refer particularly to the rapid alienation of lands that were for long centuries in the possession of the Bantu tribes. I have been looking at a certain map attached to the Railway Blue Book. When I see that map my apprehensions are not allayed and I begin to wonder what effect this infiltration of Europeans in the native areas will have. We are to a certain extent in touch with the native people, but I submit not close enough touch. I am glad for all the good work rendered by the Native Affairs Commission; I hold in highest admiration the work being done by our Native Chief Commissioners; I hold in equal respect the work of the permanent staff of the Native Affairs Department; but I speak out the conviction of long years when I say this: that we shall never truly and successfully handle this problem of native affairs until we release an already overburdened Prime Minister of the portfolio of Native Affairs and appoint the best man we can get—irrespective of party—as a kind of patriarch to the natives. They understand that kind of government. They do not understand the method of the bureaucrat. They do understand the method of the chief. If we were wise enough to select someone who could represent throughout the Union what patriarchal government really is, I am sure we should allay their many suspicions and help them along the path of peace and prosperity. I do think the time has come when no Minister, even if he has a giant’s strength, should bear the two portfolios of Prime Minister and Native Affairs. I am afraid of the consequences if this system goes on.
I think it is quite easy to see to-night what gentlemen represent essentially native districts. I am one of them. I represent a constituency in which the native vote is dominant. I was born in that constituency and have lived there ever since. I suppose everybody in this country claims to have some knowledge of native affairs. Let me say that after over 40 years’ residence amongst the natives I wish to confess that I know very little about them, and the native problem, as a problem, I do not think will ever be solved by the Europeans only, in this country, but will have to be solved in co-operation with the natives. I was reading a speech by Dr. Jesse Jones, whom hon. members had the pleasure of listening to a few days ago, and he said that the Transkei—with its native council—was the best governed country in the world, which was a very broad statement to make, but I do think that there was certain foundation for it. As the hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Mr. Rider) has pointed out, they are governed more or less by a bureaucracy. There we have a chief magistrate who understands the natives, and a body of magistrates who also understand the natives and sympathize with their ideals and I think the future history of this country will depend very largely upon a policy based along these lines—on having a sympathetic Government that is strong and that understands the native. I wish to associate my remarks with those of the hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Mr. Rider) when he made an appeal for an all-time Minister of Native Affairs. The late Prime Minister and Minister of Native Affairs, as we all know, during the last past 10 or 15 years had many problems to face in this country; we have had the stress of the war, and the subsequent troubles, and we realize that the late Prime Minister did not have the time to devote that attention to native affairs that he should have. A better feeling is spreading among the Europeans and natives, and I hope that the hon. Prime Minister, will never have to face the difficulties and the times that the past Prime Minister had to face. I do not think the present hon. Prime Minister will have as difficult a task as the late Prime Minister. The portfolio of Native Affairs is the most important that a Minister can have and I think, rightly, that the post should be attached to the hon. Prime Minister—because the natives recognize one head. In the mind of a native he cannot recognize two or three heads, and the hon. Prime Minister of a country is the head of this country, and therefore I think that this portfolio should be held by the Prime Minister. The hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Mr. Rider) has said “it is a giant’s task,” and I think it is, but the hon. Prime Minister, having more time at his disposal than his predecessor, will, I hope face the position; and before he decides on any policy of taxation in this country I trust he will visit the Transkei territories and see for himself the system which pertains there, study the results, and then come back and define his policy. He should not do it before then. Seeing that uniform native taxation is coming before the country, I would like to know what the Minister’s views are. I do not think it is fair at this early stage to ask what his policy is. I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Native Affairs whether it is the intention of the Government to publish that Bill. I advise that it be published at once, so that the natives may know what to expect, and be able to discuss it at their meetings and in their kraals: and when we come back here next session every hon. member will come forward, having met his native constituents and having explained the Bill to them. If it is not properly explained to them, I fear there may be a certain amount of suspicion. In addition to the eight demonstrators, who have been referred to, there are in my constituency 50 or 60 of these men—natives—paid by the General Council, and I wish to ask the hon. Minister to make some provision in the Land Bank Act whereby natives who wish to progress may get a certain amount of assistance from the Government; help them to fence their lands; it is no use only teaching them to plough. The native cannot enclose his ground because the cattle run wild. Put a clause in the Land Act enabling natives to raise money—£10 or £15 per lot would be sufficient to meet the needs of these natives. I would be the last man to suggest lending money indiscriminately to natives; make the native councils responsible, and I think something can be devised that will be satisfactory to the natives. In the past the country has failed to do its duty to the natives, and if we wish them to develop in their areas and do not desire them to come here, we must help them to help themselves. I saw an article in the “Cape Times” the other day, headed “Kick them out.” It reminds me of an incident which happened at my election. A native said “the white man has been making use of us to build his railways, harbours and so forth, and now that they have been built, it is ‘voetsak.’” “kick them out.” I appeal to the hon. Minister of Native Affairs not to adopt the policy of “Voetsak.” We, as guardians and trustees of the natives, ought to help them. All they ask is a little assistance and sympathy, and I hope they will get it.
I hope the hon. Minister of Native Affairs will not accept the advice of the hon. member for Tembuland (Mr. Payn) for the native to pledge land for money lent; and if he had made a study of India he would find that there it has been a curse. I can only say in such a case “Heaven help the native,” for he would never be able to clear himself from debt. At present the natives are being driven into the towns by all sorts of pressure and encouragement. In Johannesburg it is the despair of the municipality to deal with the natives, and we have spent a quarter of a million on a model township, and as fast as we provide for them in locations or townships, and the like, so fast are they brought in; our problem is unending. I appeal to the hon. Minister of Native Affairs to start the segregation policy by turning off the tap; by instructing magistrates to check the issue of passes, until there is some relief in the towns. The Government can easily pass legislation in this House to deal with the native influx in that practical way, and if that is not done all this expenditure on Native Affairs is practically wasted. You are doing nothing for the native to save him from becoming a mere servant and slave of the wealthier classes. We have a new system by which the father or the uncle of eight or ten Umfaans brings them into the town, places them in employment, and obtains quite a decent revenue from this semi-slavery; no passes are required for these small boys, and the consequence is that they are brought in to a greater extent every year. If there is no check it is no use talking about any segregation policy. Government could have compounds in large centres, or do recruiting for those who actually require labour, and those not able to obtain service be retained in native territory. I agree with what the hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Mr. Rider) said about the peacefulness of the natives, but I have some recollections of an incident at Bulhoek, Queenstown, and it is strange that these peaceable people should have been dealt with there just like the unpeaceable people of the Rand areas. We have however a Government now which we trust is not so fond of shooting as the last Government. The last Government also went to the South-West African Protectorate and found that they were warranted in shooting these peaceable people down. I hope the lesson will not be lost on the present Government, and that it will follow a more peaceful course, and it will find that these people can be dealt with like other people in a peaceable way. These natives supply a large amount of labour; there are 190,000 on the Rand areas alone, and they are also employed by wealthy corporations like De Beers. They have built up wealth for people whom I fear live mostly outside this country. I admit natives do not contribute largely to revenue because their earning capacity has been kept down, producing diamonds, for instance, at the lowest cost for the wealthiest people in the world.
Order, your time is up.
I would make an appeal on behalf of the natives in my constituency. In the native territory there is a valuable hot medicinal spring set apart for the use of natives, but it is in such a deep valley, natives are unable to take advantage of it, except those immediately around it. This spring is thought very highly of by the natives for rheumatism and such like ills, and I think some of the money which is being devoted to the welfare of natives in Natal might be utilized in the making of a transport road and give these unfortunate natives the benefit of these springs. Any native who is lame is absolutely unable to take advantage of it. I hope the Prime Minister will take notice of this because a small expenditure in this direction will be of the utmost benefit to the natives.
For the most part the whole of the study and discussion of native affairs has at least during my period in this House gone very largely on non-party lines. And even in Committee in the work of the various Native Affairs Bill has gone also along these happy lines. I would like to emphasize the point made by the hon. member for Tembuland (Mr. Payn). Our native policy is perhaps one of most important, if not the most important, matter before us, and I think it should be in the hand of the chief officer of the State the Prime Minister himself. I think one of the great disadvantages we have had in the past was when the Prime Minister found himself unable to deal with the multifarious questions that rose in the Native Affairs Department, with the result that he handed it on to someone else. And between the two we had the difficulty arising of the past two years. It happened that when a native appealed to the Minister of Native Affairs the latter could say that that was a question for the Prime Minister, and if the Prime Minister was approached, he would say it was the duty of the Minister of Native Affairs, with the result that the native was sorely puzzled. I hope in future that such a state of affairs will not occur, but that we shall have one department and one administrative head who would be responsible for this portfolio, and I think the right person is the Prime Minister. I am one of those who believe that for the future we shall have a great deal of difficulty in the development of the native policy and the administration of native affairs. I do not look to the future with any hope of an absolutely peaceful time; but I do not refer to it in the sense that we shall have warfare. I do think we shall not have an easy time; the native is developing—at least a certain section of them are developing—very quickly and are coming into contact with our civilized life; they are pushing very hard for their rights and they are endeavouring to bring on the backward portion of the population a little too quickly; so from that point of view we may have a little difficulty. Those of us who have been brought up intimately associated with industrial life know the difficulty of that part of the population engaged in skilled labour. There is always a considerable amount of pressure from them, and in my opinion it will only be a wise and tactful administration in the days to come that will avoid trouble. That is one of the reasons why I think it would be a wise thing to encourage the native to develop as far as possible on the land and if possible let us increase their territories—develop that kind of administration that we have in the Transkei. The natives should be developed in agricultural training and taught to carry out agricultural occupations, so that the native in a slower progress will be in keeping with the mind of the native people. I think it would be disastrous to rush people of this kind, and they will be rushed if they come in ever-increasing numbers to our industrial centres getting into contact with our industrial life and our industrial problems, which is not going to have a beneficial effect upon the native mind. The form of Government which the Minister has referred to in the Transkei has appealed to me as one of the wisest ways in the training of the people of this country. I also want to ask he Prime Minister if he will give us a little information about the working of the native council and to what extent the Native Urban Areas Act is working, and what success has attended so far. I would also ask the Prime Minister to give us a little assurance that the Select Committee of Native Affairs in this House could have a little more to do with native affairs. It is my opinion that this committee is not used in this House as it might be. We meet once or twice each session and discuss a grant of land here and there, but unless there is some special native question before the committee nothing at all is done. With a great problem like this it has always appealed to me that just as you have Committees of Finance continually dealing with financial matters, so, too, you should have this committee continually dealing with the native affairs of this country, assisting the Prime Minister in bringing about something better in our native administration in the Union.
I rise to endorse the remarks of the hon. member for Queenstown (Mr. Moffat) in connection with native administration. We all know what good work has been done by native demonstrators in the Transkei for some time past and we are beginning to realize what our own demonstrators can do. It is not good enough that we should rely on the Transkei Provincial Council to give us these demonstrators. What we require is a centre to train our own. We require not nine but, ninety at least in the Ciskein territory. In the Transkei they have a great deal of stock. I think they have something like 2,000,000 sheep, and I do not know how many head of cattle. We all know what this means to the country and it is all the more reason why we should do something to improve the quality of stock. I would like to know something about the decrease and leave gratuities to officers on retirement and to dependents of deceased officers.
I rise to add my support to what has been so moderately and reasonably put forward by the hon. member for Tembuland (Mr. Payn) on behalf of the natives. Unlike my hon. friend, I have not one native voter in my constituency, but I have from twenty to thirty thousand natives who are inarticulate, who have no say whatever in this House beyond the responsibility, the sacred responsibility which attaches every member to see that justice is done regardless of status or colour, as regards the necessity for freeing of crops and the comments of the hon. member for Pretoria West (Mr. Hay). I do not know what experience the hon. member had had in India, how long he was there, or how much of the country he saw, but it so happens that I have recently returned from an extended tour of India under the auspices of the Agricultural Department, and I must say I saw no fencing on any cultivator’s land in India. The only fencing if such it may be called you see is a small mud wall 18 ins. in height and this is not to keep the live stock out, but to keep the water for irrigation purposes in. Now, sir, I feel sure that there is no one in this House more sympathetically inclined towards our native people than the Prime Minister who is directly responsible for their welfare, but it would be an omission of duty on our part if we ignored the fact that there is throughout South Africa a feeling of grave anxiety in the minds of the natives as to their future, and it is not surprising that it should be so. We have had speeches made during the election and in this House which, I hope, were made only for electioneering purposes and nothing else, but which nevertheless are not understood by those whom they are directed against. We have also had from the supporters of the Government expressions of opinion which are well calculated to disturb the minds of the natives, so that it is no wonder that they or many of them are under the impression that they are to be chased from their jobs which they have occupied for years wherever possible. That a system of taxation is to be imposed on them which is onerous and unjust and unfair in its incidence. I believe that this is untrue. But even to-night we have the hon. member for Pretoria West (Mr. Hay) urging the Government that these people should be denied the right to have passes to look for work. If we, who are responsible to the natives, adopt that attitude towards them we shall certainly live to rue the day. I do hope that the Prime Minister, who is also Secretary for Native Affairs, will take this opportunity for clearing the air, and removing what is at present most obscure to all people and of considerable doubt and anxiety to the native population.
I rise to support the views of the hon. member for Tembuland (Mr. Payn). I want to put the blame for the unrest in the native’s mind on the negligence of the late Government. (Opposition laughter.) It is all very well hon. members laughing. They knew the late Government was afraid to say “yes” or “no” to the deputations which waited on them. I can give instances where deputations were sent by the Prime Minister to the Minister of Mines, who sent them to different members of the commission, who then referred them to the Secretary for Native Affairs. If the Prime Minister brings forward a policy I hope he will have the courage to tell the natives what that policy is. There was more bitterness caused among the natives by not receiving them and giving them a definite answer than would have been caused by a policy which was a little bit harsh. I believe the policy which has been carried on in the past, although it was not harsh, resulted in the natives not knowing where they were.
It is well to remember that while each Minister in the Cabinet administers a department of State, the Minister of Native Affairs is responsible for the good government of an entire nation, and he therefore deserves the support of the House in whatever policy he adopts in regard to natives that is conditioned by fairness, justice and enlightened progress. Although it has been the fashion to abuse the late Government, I venture to suggest that by its legislation it has laid a very sound foundation for the future treatment of the native question. I should like to indicate how the major problems have been treated. The Natives Land Act, introduced in 1913, aimed at giving natives to understand that the area demarcated for them was safeguarded for them against encroachment for all time. That was a great gain, and had it not been for the introduction of that Act it is quite possible that considerable encroachment would have taken place in what to-day are native areas. The country as a who will welcome a statement as to the direction the Prime Minister propose to take in developing his policy of segregation. The Native Lands Act laid the foundation of a segregation policy. A great deal can be done in the reorganization of native areas on lines which accord more with the natives present mode of living. To-day quite a considerable area is occupied by natives whose lives are spent in the labour market. Natives who have become labourers should be congregated in conveniently situated native settlements where they would not be a useless and redundant element in the occupation of native areas as they are at present. In that way their conditions could be rendered much more suitable, and their mode of living could be improved and their efficiency as a unit in the labour force could also be raised. The congregation of these people into settlements would give more room in the native areas for the native pastoralist and agriculturist to develop. Act No. 15 of 1911 showed the wisdom of the late Government, as it provided for almost every relationship between the employer and the native labourer and secured for the natives proper housing, etc., and compensation for natives injured or killed whilst in the course of their employment That Act has worked very well, and has been extended to various parts of the Union with satisfactory results in every instance. Then we had the introduction of the Bill of 1920 which provided for native councils and the Native Affairs Commission. It is too early to judge of the ultimate effect of this Act, but it is a step in the right direction. I was glad to hear from the Minister of Finance that it had been decided to abandon the Native Taxation Bill for the present, but the Bill would be published so that if it contains objectionable features they may be modified. It is desirable to avoid the introduction of disturbing innovations in any new native legislation. The question of native education, although it has been left in a somewhat unsatisfactory state, is one upon which the late Government laboured in the right direction. The policy of the late Government has been to alter the type of education imparted to natives. That education has gone too much to the native’s head and too little to his hands. The Government should direct attention to the need for equipping the native as a more useful member of his own community. He is altogether a somewhat unhappy and misplaced individual when be returns to his native area. I feel a great deal of good could be done if education were given this new direction. I am sure what I recommend is on the lines favoured by so experienced an educationist as Dr. Jesse Jones who addressed hon. members in one of the committee rooms of this House some days ago.
I think there has been some little misunderstanding in regard to what I said about the Indians and their loans on land. I think the hon. member for Weenen (Maj. Richards) missed the point. I know perfectly well they do not fence, but have little banks round small areas. He is not aware of what was the curse of India. It was when these people had the right to get loans from moneylenders they fell into a condition of serfdom. The Government had to step in and lay down the principle that they could no longer borrow money on their land. To-day they are forbidden to pledge more than one year’s crop, and their position is very much better because they have been prevented from pledging their land to money-lenders. As regards passes, it is only a question of control I am urging. I do not want the native to be kept from coming into a free market and getting all that is possible for his labour. I would like to see him get more and be able to contribute more to the revenue. At present he contributes £850,000 a year, and the departmental Vote we are passing to-night is £330,000. That is to say the native—reckoning five and a half millions of them—is contributing 3s. per head per year as his share. Taking the unit of the family as five, the family is contributing 15s. a year. For this they get 20 acres of the land for grazing, gardens and huts. There is no peasant so favourably situated as the native here. I was born in this country and know what I am talking about. What I am urging on the Prime Minister is to give us a chance in the towns. Regulate the stream; issue passes to those who are wanting work; but do not congest our towns as is being done to-day. The native drifts in and becomes a derelict. He expects to get work but is often disappointed and finds himself in the hands of the police. I would do the very best possible for the native, and hope he is going to be given his chance in this country, and not always be ground down to the lowest standard of living. For the 3s. a head he contributes to the revenue of the country not only does he get his ground and his hut stands, but also gets all the blessings of civilization. Those blessings may, it is true, be put ironically in this way: “We came here with the Bible and the native had the land; now he has got the Bible and we have got the land.” But anyway he enjoys our roads, our bridges, our gaols, our Government, and our defence, and all these advantages for 3s. a head, no the native is not very hardly treated, and when I ask for more fatherly control I mean that there should be regulation of the stream for the benefit of the native as well as of those who employ him.
Might I ask the Prime Minister if he could give me any information with regard to the demonstrator who was coming out from the United States and about whom there has been some correspondence with the department to carry on the good work that the Rev. Mr. East did in the native territories? Nothing interests me more in going through the native territories than to find the extraordinary good work Mr. East has done. He had come from the United States and was a trained agriculturalist. Unfortunately he had to go back. He travelled about with a buggy and a pair of horses and a cultivator, and when he came to a piece of land which the natives were cultivating he would take the horses out of the buggy, put them into the cultivator and give a demonstration to the natives. The effect was marvellous. I think a Rev. Mr. Yates came some time ago, but he went away and another man was asked for. There is no doubt that these gentlemen have done extremely good work. At Fort Hare they are also trying to train some of the natives in the direction of scientific agriculture, and I feel sure that if you can devise a system whereby you improve the system of agriculture among natives, especially in the Cape, you will do an enormous amount of good, not only to the natives themselves but you will improve materially the •condition of the country as well. I believe it is a very simple thing to double the agricultural production of the natives. A great deal has been done in the Transkei in this direction. Some time ago we were endeavouring to see whether we could not devise some system whereby the natives could be supplied with mealie seed. I am sure my hon. friend will find that the officials of his department in the Transkei are able to do a great deal in this connection. I would also ask the hon. Minister of Native Affairs this: During the last session the hon. gentleman went to Stellenbosch and other places, and delivered public speeches in which he called the attention of the people to the necessity for introducing a policy of segregation. This speech and other speeches which have been delivered during the election, have, as far as I have been able to find out, caused a certain amount of anxiety in the minds of the native, and one does not wonder at it. I found, in going through my constituency, that there was a good deal of anxiety with regard to these speeches, and the speech the hon. Prime Minister made at Smithfield. I think that the hon. member for Roodepoort (Rev. Mr. Mullineux) expressed the opinion that they would soon know what was really in the mind of the Government. Instead of waiting until the session is over it would be better for the hon. Prime Minister to take this opportunity of informing the hon. House, the country, and the native population what ideas he had at the back of his mind when he adumbrated his policy.
He has not got any!
I often agree with my hon. friend, but on this occasion I do not, because the hon. Prime Minister would not have stated what he did unless he had a field plan and intends to put it before the country. This would be a good opportunity for the hon. Prime Minister to give the House and the country some idea of what his policy is. There is a certain amount of unrest, and anything that can be done to show the natives that there is no intention of doing any injustice to native areas will have a good effect in stilling the apprehensions in the native mind.
I should like to draw attention to the desirability of more attention being given to typhus in native areas, a disease which has almost become endemic, and unless every precaution is taken a very serious scourge will remain amongst us for years, with very sad results amongst the natives. There is an objection on the part of natives to any sort of cleansing with regard to typhus, a serious thing, which I hope will be overcome by the Department. By the removal of natives who are simply and purely labourers, more native land would be available for cultivation. The Urban Areas Act introduced in 1922 affords an opportunity of managing the native in urban areas on a wholly satisfactory basis. I think, if I may give a word of advice, that we should avoid new legislation for the natives to any great extent in the future. Miss Colenso, with whom I do not agree on many subjects, gave good advice when she advised that as little legislation as possible should be passed with regard to the natives. I should like the hon. Minister to equip native chiefs with the power of dealing with social offences and the litigation which occupies the European courts to-day. This could be better dealt with by the native chiefs. I was sorry to hear the hon. member for Pretoria West (Mr. Hay) refer to the Bulhoek matter as if it were a question of party politics, or that the action of the late Government was blameworthy. I think those of us who have studied this question most closely will agree that the Bulhoek matter was due to forces liberated during the war, it was largely unavoidable, and due to religious fanaticism. I am sorry that the same sort of fanaticism is to be found in one of the native areas in Natal on the part of one Shembe at the present moment. Then there is a danger of the spread of Mohammedanism amongst the natives; and Prof. Jabavu, one of the few native writers in this country, states that Bolshevism and its nihilistic doctrines are enlisting many natives up-country. Socialism of the worst calibre is taking a hold of the native people, and it is stated that “Christianity must be opposed and rooted out, for it is the white man’s religion upon which the white man himself does not act upon. Let us promote a religion of our own—an independent African religion suited to our own needs, such as Mohammedanism, the great African faith.” It must be borne in mind that the whole course of events in Turkey from 1919 to 1921 has turned the thrust of Mommedanism against British rule, instead of against Russia, the country previously looked upon as the enemy of Islam. The Grand Assembly of Angora in March, 1921, entered into a treaty with Russia and an additional pact has been agreed upon binding Angora not to sign any peace without the permission of the Russian Government. Recent events in Russia show that the whole political outfit in the East has changed and a writer of some importance on this subject, Mr. Bryant, has recently published a book in which he says the large section of the Moslem world no longer regards Russia as an enemy. We have to take these questions into consideration when we realize the change which has taken place amongst the natives and which leads to Mohammedanism and to further hostility against the British rules. I mention these matters because they are incidental to the problem and I hope the Minister will give some consideration to this point.
I want to say in reply to the hon. member for Witwatersberg (Lt.-Col. N. J. Pretorius) that the money spent on dipping tanks is recovered by means of fees paid by the natives. The hon. member for Queenstown spoke about the agriculture demonstrators, and said there are not enough. Well, that may be so. But I must say this, that these demonstrators are practically something new and are resorted to in the areas where you have councils, and as the council system is going to extend, I have no doubt that demonstrators will increase in numbers. I have no doubt as to their ability and I regard this as one of the best methods of developing the natives in agricultural matters that we can resort to. The hon. member for East London (City) (Rev. Mr. Rider) was very anxious about the manner in which European infiltration into native areas was taking place. It may be that the European, on the other hand, there certainly are many to-day, who say that the opposite is taking place. Then it was for that very reason that neither the white man nor the native should complain that the original land segregation Land Act, 1917, was resorted to. Unfortunately for the Cape we are in this position, that the native is practically well protected because he is entrenched in so far as he is not entrenched by law he is entrenched by the department who take great care that the native grounds do not go out of his possession very easily. It was held by the court, so far as the Cape Colony is concerned, that the law so far as native encroachment upon white areas is concerned that it does hold, and I have no doubt whatever that the court will also hold the same as regards the penetration of native areas. The interest of the native is in the care of the department, and great care is taken to see that he gets adequate protection. He is better off so far as the Cape is concerned than a good many of our Europeans. I have no doubt that a good native patriarch for the natives will be better than any Minister, but another thing is to get one, and I am afraid that a native patriarch will not be a popular one in South Africa. The hon. member is quite correct when he says the Native Affairs Department has certainly not received in the past the attention which it should receive, and whether it will receive that attention in the future it will depend on how much I will have to do. I admit that there is a good deal in the plea that some provision should be made whereby that department should receive more attention. However, I must admit that if the Native Affairs Department is to be attached to another department, probably the old view always held and advocated by Mr. Merriman that that department should be attached to the Prime Minister is for more than one reason a sound one. But it all depends on the time the man holding the office of Prime Minister can devote to that department. Unfortunately, owing to the past to circumstances no doubt, the Prime Minister has not always been able to pay that attention which I hold should have been paid to that department. The hon. member for Tembuland (Mr. Payn) gives me very good advice for which I am very grateful, and it saves me from giving answers to several other hon. members. He advises me not to decide upon any native policy before I have been to the Native Territory. That is excellent advice and I hope to follow it. The hon. member asked me what my intention is as to native taxation. I had intended to introduce native taxation, but I said so on the strength of believing what my predecessor had done, and I found a certain Bill drawn up which he said would give general satisfaction both inside and outside the House, but to my great astonishment the late Prime Minister was the first man to condemn it, and then I saw I had undertaken something which I had to reconsider. On reconsideration I find that it is not advisable to bring in that Bill as originally contemplated, and I have set about getting further advice and trying to find other ways of getting native taxation unified. I think we are going to succeed as far as that is concerned and to place it on a satisfactory basis, but I do not think that we ought to introduce such legislation this session. I think it is advisable that the natives should be made acquainted with what is contemplated, and that step is going to be taken. The hon. member also advocated more agricultural demonstrators. It is very strongly felt to-day in the Native Affairs Department that the real education and development of the native should proceed from where it proceeded in the case of Europeans; through agriculture and other works connected with agriculture and not merely by book learning. I thoroughly agree with that, and I sympathize very much with this ideal of obtaining agricultural demonstrators, or anything else that will assist the natives. I was very glad to ascertain from the heads of the various native areas how, especially in the Cape, the native has of late taken greater interest in agricultural development than ever before. I think this is very good news indeed. The hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay) advises me not to allow natives to borrow money on their land, and I agree very much with that view. The hon. member said we must try to stop the influx of natives to the towns. I think I agree very much with that, but it was for that very reason that the Urban Areas Act was passed last year, and I think there being no law to stop a native from going to any town, all that can be done is to see that natives are discouraged from flocking to the towns and to see that the towns nut the Urban Areas Act into operation. That Act is not in operation in the Cane, and I believe is only in operation in the labour areas of the Transvaal, mainly because the late Government was asked not to force it into operation at too early a date, and a promise was made that as far as the department was concerned it would hang back a little. The department is in a position more or less to force the pace on the municipalities, but according to a promise made last year it has not done so.
Is there any reason why the Act should not be proclaimed in the Cape Peninsula?
The only reason I know is because the department stands back.
Why does the department stand back?
That is a promise my predecessor, I am informed, made at the time. I do not know anything about the practice of farming out native children in the towns. I would ask the department to go into the matter and see what is taking place. I have not the least doubt it can be abused. The hon. member for Umvoti (Mr. Deane) asked that certain portions of the £4,400 paid yearly to the Natal Trust for Native Improvement should be utilized for opening roads to the hot springs in Natal. I do not know anything about that. It is a question I will ask the department to go into and we will see whether some of the money could not and should not be spent in that direction. The hon. member for Roodepoort (Mr. Mullineux) asked that I should see that native development should take place on the land. From what I have already said, I think he will understand I am thoroughly at one with him. I have already answered the question as to the Urban Areas Act. Then he asked about the native councils The natives have not taken much advantage of the provisions of the Native Area Council as under the Native Area Council Act. There have been several reasons for that, and probably it will require a good deal more encouragement before the native will take to these councils. They seem a little shy of them—possibly they do not like to tax themselves. That may be one of the reasons. At any rate, not much advantage has been taken of that Act. The hon. member for King William’s Town (Maj. Ballantine) asked what “L,” that £100 means. This means that reorganization and retrenchment have come to an end in the department. The hon. member for Weenen (Maj. Richards) tells us there is a great deal of anxiety felt by the natives on account of various stories or representations made to them as to what is the policy of the Government, or rather what is my policy, in regard to them. I can only say this, that as far as the natives understood my point of view, I have felt that that is no anxiety whatsoever. There has been rather a great deal of pleasure expressed to me, but there has been anxiety I must admit, at the curious misrepresentations of what I said by certain candidates at the elections from certain platforms. I do not say who they are.
My hon. friend, the member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) was not one of them.
The member for Fort Beaufort could not understand what you meant.
Then there must be a very large number of natives whose intelligence in understanding what I mean is very much greater than the intelligence of the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt). Perhaps there is none so blind as he who will not see. I do not think the hon. member for Weenen (Maj. Richards) need be so very much concerned. I deprecate as much as he does the wild stories that were set about, and which I am afraid always will be set about at election times so long as we are dependent on the native vote. But that cannot be helped, and I hope my hon. friend will not make me responsible for that. Also with regard to taxation, I have already said—the hon. member said that the natives felt somewhat anxious because of what they have heard about the taxation. I have said already what is intended by the Government as far as that is concerned. Well, my hon. friend from Illovo (Mr. Marwick) also wants me to say something about the native policy. I will refer my hon. friend to the advice given by the hon. member for Tembuland (Mr. Payn)—that is much wiser as far as that is concerned—and my hon. friend in front of me who is very anxious that I should do so. Well, I can say that the Government has no native policy at this moment (interruption); no, it has no native policy at this moment; and the Government is prepared to come to Parliament with a policy of segregation, or whatever it may be, and then I hope to be in a position to lay very clearly before my hon. friend and the other hon. members in this House what we intend and what the policy of the Government is. So far we know only of individual statements of what should be done; amongst others, my own. But so far as the Government is concerned I think I have said at the beginning of this session that this question is one that is not going to be hurried by me or the Government. It took my hon. friend and his colleagues 14 years, and I see the other day it was only in 1922 when the last question was put: “how about segregation?” They put it to themselves and then evidently they dropped it in 1922, but at any rate they ruminated on that question for something like 12 years. Well. I think I may take a few years, and I am going to ask my hon. friend not to be in a hurry, but to allow me a little time for consideration. I will assure him that I am going to take immediate steps to get the very best advice as to the best manner in which that or any policy—the native policy—because the present is no native policy—it is drift. As to any native policy that should be inaugurated to introduce a change in the obtaining system of drift, I am not prepared. I think my hon. friend ought to be very glad to show my hon. friend from Weenen (Mr. Marwick), because if my words, spoken after considerable consideration during something like one hour from a platform, were so doubtful and hard to understand that it has caused so much anxiety, how much anxiety may I not cause to the native mind if, in a few minutes, I set forth my policy? I think my hon. friend will admit that it is not wise and that is something—no matter what my individual feelings may be and what conclusion I have come to, and I may say I have come to certain conclusions—but in the first place they may not be sufficient, and they are not sufficient let me say at once, to go to the country and say that “this is the policy that ought to be followed.” I am certain the House would not like me to come here and lay before it anything in the line of a divergence of policy which has not been more looked at, worked out and considered in detail. That can only be done by observing what has taken place under the systems obtaining in the native territories and taking the advice of practical men in the various provinces, men who had been busy on this problem for years past. With regard to the demonstrators from America I know nothing about it. I think I have answered all the various points on which I could give information.
I thoroughly understand the difficulty in which the Prime Minister finds himself placed, but I am surprised that he should state to the House that the Government had no policy on the native question.
You never had, why should we.
I would have thought that after the definite statement he has made on the native question at Stellenbosch and other places that the Government had made up its mind and would have acquainted themselves with what the Prime Minister’s intention was because it would be supposed from his utterances that he was going to adopt some definite line of action. It would be an unfortunate thing for the natives of this country if the question were treated on party lines.
You have done so.
A good deal of it was done by the hon. members opposite during the elections. I have a right to ask the Prime Minister because he must have given a good deal of thought to the question and I hope wiser counsels are prevailing with regard to the policy he enunciated at Stellenbosch and Smith-field. Nothing has caused more anxious moments to the native population of the province of the Cape of Good Hope than the distinctive statements the Prime Minister made on more than one occasion and which he would not have made if he had thought deeply over them. He stated that it was his intention to alter the constitution of the Union, and to take away from the natives in the Cape the franchise rights which they possessed under the Act of Union and previously enjoyed in the old Cape Colony.
Business interrupted by the chairman at 10.54 p.m.
Progress reported; to resume in Committee tomorrow.
The House adjourned at