House of Assembly: Vol2 - FRIDAY 29 AUGUST 1924
Mr. ALEXANDER. as chairman, brought up the report of the Select Committee on the petition of E. F. B. Schierhout, as follows:
Morris Alexander, Chairman.
Report considered and adopted.
The MINISTER OF LANDS, as chairman, brought up the report of the Select Committee on Crown Lands, as follows:
I. Your committee begs to report that it has had under consideration the papers and correspondence referred to it, and recommends:
- (1) The grant for undenominational public school purposes of a piece of land about 6 acres in extent, situate on the Tsolo-Commonage, subject to the condition that the land shall revert to the Crown when no longer used or required for undenominational school purposes; the land to be vested in the following trustees, viz.: The Provincial Secretary of the Province of the Cape of Good Hope, the Superintendent-General of Education of the Province of the Cape of Good Hope, and the chairman of the School Board of the district.
- (2) The withdrawal from the list of demarcated forest lands of a portion, in extent about 75 morgen, of the Bellville Forest Reserve, Cape and Stellenbosch Divisions, and its sale out of hand to D. J. Brink at a purchase price of £3 per morgen.
- (3) The rescission of the resolution of Parliament (Cape), dated 28th August and 29th August, 1893, approving of the reservation as a public outspan of a portion of the farm Olyvenhouts Drift in the Division of Kenhardt, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, in so far as it affects certain portions, measuring in all approximately 1,234 morgen, forming part of the northern and southern extremities of the said outspan.
- (4) The elimination of the words “as a site for Church and Parsonage, on condition that when no longer used or required for the above purposes the land shall revert to the Government” appearing in the title deed, dated 7th February, 1912, conveying Agricultural Lot No. 136, Douglas, Division of Herbert, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, to the Kerkeraad of the Dutch Reformed Church at Douglas, so as to enable the church to sell or lease the lot provided that the proceeds derived therefrom shall be devoted to church purposes.
- (5) The withdrawal from the list of demarcated forest areas of a piece of land, approximately 35 morgen in extent lying between beacon 32, the Umkanzi River and the sea, situate in the Division of East London, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, with a view to its subdivision into lots to be offered for sale in terms of the laws regulating the disposal of Crown land: Provided a proper camping site be reserved and provided further that the improvers of lots be allowed to purchase their lots at the upset price.
- (6) The lease, in favour of the Bechuanaland Dairies Limited at an annual rental of £150, and subject to such conditions as the Government may approve, of certain land in extent about 10,000 square feet, being the site of the Cold Storage Works, together with the buildings thereon, situate at Vryburg, Province of the Cape of Good Hope; the lease to be for a period of one year reckoned from the 1st October, 1923, and to continue thereafter until terminated by six months’ notice given by either side.
- (7) The allotment out of hand to S. H. Pithey of Lot “F,” Grootfontein, Vryheid District, as from the 1st October, 1923, at a purchase price of £2,274 17s. 4d., in terms of the Land Settlements Act, 1912, as amended.
- (8) The grant in favour of the Village Management Board of Tsolo of approximately 395 morgen of the Tsolo Commonage, District of Tsolo, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, subject to such conditions as the Government may approve.
- (9) The sale out of hand, for the sum of £25, £40 and £5, respectively, to the occupiers of the encroachments on (1) the eastern side of Lot No. 8, Block A, (2) land adjoining divisions 1-7, Lot 3, and (3) an extent of approximately 15 feet on the north side of division No. 14 of Lot 3, Amalinda, Division of East London, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, subject to such conditions as the Government may approve.
- (10) The grant of servitude of abutment and aqueduct over portion of the “Farleigh Forest Reserve” in favour of the owners of the farms “Hollywood,” “Hollywood Park,” “Eastwood” and “Karawater” portions of the original farm “Olivenhoutkraal” in the Division of Knysna.
- (11) The grant in favour of the chairman for the time being of the Labour Colonies Committee of the Dutch Reformed Church and to his successors in office, for the purpose of a labour colony for poor whites, of a certain piece of land named Neus Island situate in the Orange River, Division of Kenhardt, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, subject to such conditions as the Government may approve.
- (12) The grant in favour of the Council of the Municipality of Bredasdorp of a strip of land being portions of Erven Nos. 28, 29 and 30, Block E. situate in the township of Bredasdorp, Division of Bredasdorp, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, subject to such conditions as the Government may determine.
- (13) The grant for undenominational public school purposes of Lots 68 to 71 inclusive, Blaauwberg Strand, Cape Division, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, together with a portion in extent approximately 11/3 morgen of the Crown land lying to the west of the block of land containing Lots 68 to 75, on Condition that when no longer used or required for undenominational school purposes, the land shall revert to the Crown: the land to be vested in the statutory educational trustees as provided for in section 312 of Cape Provincial Ordinance No. 5 of 1921.
- (14) The grant in favour of the Village Management Board of Berlin of a certain piece of land, being the War Memorial Site, measuring approximately 19 square roods 97 square feet, situate at Berlin, Division of King William’s Town, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, on condition that when no longer used or required for war memorial purposes, the land shall revert to the Crown.
- (15) The sale out of hand to the estate of the late Andries Johannes van Rooyen for the sum of 6s. 8d. of a certain piece of land, measuring approximately 30 morgen 246 square roods named Riet Rivier Noord situate in the Division of Humansdorp, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, subject to such conditions as the Government may approve.
- (16) The withdrawal from the list of demarcated forest lands of about six acres of sub-reserve (g) Mpamba Forest of Reserve III, Leyne Forest Reserve, King William’s Town.
- (17) The elimination of the words “as a site for offices and a store” and the condition “that when no longer used or required for the aforesaid purposes the land shall revert to the Government” appearing in the title-deed dated 26th February, 1914, in favour of the Divisional Council of Kuruman, conveying Lot No. 5, Block C, situate in the Township of Kuruman, Division of Kuruman, Province of the Cape of Good Hope.
- (18) The allotment out of hand in terms of the Land Settlement Act, 1912, as amended, of Lots U.125 to U.169 and U.171 to U.173, Umfolozi, Lower Umfolozi district, to the persons recommended by the Natal Land Board.
- (19) The rescission of the resolution approved by the House of Assembly on the 23rd March, 1914, and concurred in by the Senate on the 1st May, 1914, and the substitution therefore of the following: “The yearly lease, out of hand, of the farm ‘Rooipad,’ on the South bank of the Orange River, Division of Kenhardt, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, upon such terms and conditions as the Government may approve.”
- (20) The amendment of condition VII in the title deed in respect of Oliphant’s Hoek Forest Reserve, George Division, to read as follows:
“That all profits derived from the land hereby granted shall be exclusively devoted to the upkeep and improvement of any Labour Colony established on the land hereby granted or on any adjacent land, and for the benefit of the people belonging to any such Labour Colony.”
- (21) The grant in favour of the Village Management Board of Keimoes, Division of Gordonia, Province of the Cape of Good Hope, of certain 191 erven situate in the village of Keimoes, subject to the following conditions, viz.: (1) that the land hereby granted or the proceeds derived from the sale thereof, shall be used for such purposes as the Administrator of the Province of the Cape of Good Hope may approve, and (2) that the land hereby granted shall be subject to all rights and servitudes which now affect or at any time hereafter may be found to affect the title of the land hereby granted or which may be binding on the Government in respect of the said land as at the date hereof.
- (22) The grant in favour of the Bellville Village Management Board of certain two portions of land measuring approximately 31/2 morgen, and 21 morgen respectively, situate at Bellville, Cape Division, Province of the Cape of Good Hope—minus such portions as are required for Government purposes—subject to such conditions as the Government may approve.
- (23) The reservation for the use of coloured persons and the grant to individuals recommended by the magistrate, assisted by two local landowners to be appointed by the Government, of leases for a period of ten years, with the right of renewal for further periods of ten years, subject to such conditions as the Government may determine, of the islands in the section of the Orange River between Rooikop Island and Cannon Island (that is, between the farms “Zoovoorby” on the north bank and “Eksteenskuil” on the south bank) which are not already occupied by Europeans.
- (24) The readjustment of the boundaries of the farms Hoogland No. 181 and Uitzicht No. 221, Zoutpansberg, according to the recommendation of the Transvaal Land Board.
II. Your committee is unable to recommend:
- (1) Proposed sale of two pieces of Crown land near Red Hill, Simonstown.
- (2) Proposed cancellation of certificate of reservation and grant in respect of Lot 109, Amalinda, East London.
- (3) Proposed sale of Mowbray Outspan, Albany.
- (4) Proposed sale of mineral rights to Portion “A” of Tarentaalrand No. 2025, Pietersburg.
P. G. W. GROBLER, Chairman.
Report to be considered in committee of the Whole House on 1st September.
It is not necessary to say much on this motion, as we all realize that the session should come to an end as soon as possible in order to give the Government an opportunity to make arrangements for the work of next session. The Government is desirous that Parliament should be prorogued towards the end of next week, so that members can go home and the Government can give its attention to various questions.
Mr. B. J. PIENAAR seconded.
The motion makes it perfectly clear that the session is coming to a speedy end; in fact, the Prime Minister has told us so. I am in charge of a Bill of some importance—the Accountants’ Bill—which we have not been able to bring on since, and this is a matter of great public moment. Whether this House adopts it or not is a question for this House. A great deal of expense, however, has been incurred in connection with the furtherance of this Bill. I realize that if the Prime Minister were to be good enough to spare a day or two it would place me in difficulties with regard to the further stages of the Bill. I will ask the Prime Minister if he will grant me facilities for moving a motion with precedence that the Bill be suspended at the stage it has reached this session and brought on next session. If that is done, we will be able to keep the Bill alive for the decision of the House on this subject. There are precedents for this course, and I submit it will be only fair to the promoters of this Bill, who have incurred very great expense and gone to great trouble, to give them the opportunity. Tuesday, I may point cut, is no longer a private members’ day, and the only way I can do it is to get permission from the Prime Minister.
Yes, I feel that if possible we should come to the assistance of the hon. member, and I am quite prepared to give him those facilities, in the hope, of course, that no debate will ensue upon it on that day. I must say that I don’t think that there will; and for that reason I am quite prepared to give my hon. friend the assurance.
I hope the Prime Minister has not replied. I wanted to make a few remarks. On this side of the House there is no intention whatever of having this session unnecessarily prolonged, and we would gladly help the Government in any way possible to bring our proceedings to an early conclusion. But I would like to know from the Prime Minister how long the Government will keep us here—whether the intention is to finish our work by a definite date next week. And also I should like to know whether it is the intension of the Government to proceed with all this very long list of Bills which we have before us on the Order Paper. Some of these Bills, as I have said before, I think, might very well be dropped. They are not very urgent or important. They are matters which might very well be dealt with by us next year when we come together again. Take this matter of the Government Attorney Bill. It seems to be a very contentious matter, and I think we are going to waste time over it this session and it might just as well stand over. Then take the matter of the Financial Relations, the small amendment which is intended. The Government has declared their policy, that they intend to deal with this whole question next year. There is no urgency now to deal with this particular amendment. The Government has allowed the Provincial Administration to work on an overdraft and therefore there is no urgency whatever for this Bill, and it is a contentious matter which we are going to waste a lot of time over if it is proceeded with. Take this matter of land settlement over which we have spent a lot of time already. If the Government are going on with it then they should be able to accept certain amendments pressed for from this side of the House and in that case they will get an easier passage for the Bill. Certain safeguards to the public we think necessary. If the Government will accept the amendments the passage of this Bill will be expedited. I think if a couple of these measures were dropped the Government would find that from this side of the House there is no reason whatever for prolonging this session, and I hope the Prime Minister will be able to tell us whether it is his intention to come to a conclusion next week. Another matter which is troubling members on this side of the House is as to when we are to meet next year. Arrangements have to be made in advance by members who come from all parts of South Africa.
You never told us. This is very unusual.
Of course I do not press for it. If the Prime Minister is not in a position to give the information, then he cannot give it. But if it is possible to tell us more or less what time we are to meet next year it would meet the convenience of a large number of members.
If I may just shortly answer my hon. friend. In the first place as to the question when we are to meet next year. Well, I do not think I can give any fixed date, but it will be more or less the same as usual. As to whether I am able to say when we shall be able to finish here this session, all that I can say is that I hope we shall finish by Saturday, but I am not sure whether we shall be able to do so. It will depend upon the progress we make. I hope, however, we shall all try to finish by that date. My hon. friend has stated it is his opinion that some of these measures now on the roll should be dropped. I can only say this, that all these measures have been deemed by us of such importance as to make their acceptance during this session necessary. It may be that we shall have to abandon one or two, but I would like, and I hope we shall be able, to put them all through. Now for instance this Bill that we are busy with at the present moment, the Land Settlement Bill. That must go through this session.
Some amendments would make it very much easier.
That must go through. As far as the amendments are concerned I can quite understand there will be amendments and that they will be considered in Committee, but I do not think it is necessary or was necessary, to debate them as they have been debated during the last few days. I do not think if hon. members are really anxious to assist in getting this measure through the House that all the discussion that has taken place during the last few days was really necessary, and I think if we could shorten our debates somewhat on the second reading we may stand a very much better chance of getting our amendments through in Committee. But one thing is certain: This measure must go through. As to the Financial Relations and Attorneys Bill, I must say that I would have liked, and I think it would have been to great advantage, to have them both through. As far as the Financial Relations Bill is concerned, however, I must say that if we do not get it through we shall be able to carry on without it, but I am not prepared to say the same with regard to the Attorneys Bill. But I shall first have to discuss with my colleagues.
Motion put and agreed to.
First Order read: Land Bank Acts Further Amendment Bill, as amended in Committee of the Whole House, to be considered.
On new Clause 6,
I would like to move certain amendments which will improve the text. I move in line 45, on page 4, and in lines 19, 32 to 33 and 38, on page 6, to omit “boreholes or windmills” and to substitute “or under the provisions of section 9 of this Act.”; and in line 64, on page 4, to omit “register subdivisional deeds of transfer in respect of” and substitute “partition”; and in lines 9 and 21, on page 6, to omit “sub-divisional” and to substitute “partition”.
Mr. VERMOOTEN seconded.
New Clause 6, as amended, put and agreed to.
On new Clause 7,
I move in line 48 to omit “boreholes or windmills” and to substitute “or under the provisions of section 9 of this Act”.
Mr. VERMOOTEN seconded.
New Clause 7, as amended, put and agreed to.
In Clause 8,
I would like to know whether advances will be made only in respect of water supplies for stock or for windmills too. For instance, for a hand pump, or catch pans on a revolving belt or for a small petrol machine used for hauling up water. I think all such machinery ought to be included.
The clause applies to water supplies for agriculture and stock farming, and it is for that reason that the general term “water supply” is used.
You should not make it “windmills” only. Why not make it “pumping apparatus”?
The bank will use its discretion in this matter. There will be no difficulty in the practical application of the clause.
The amendment was agreed to.
On new Clause 9,
I move in line 1, on page 8, after “supply”, to insert “including windmill”.
Mr. VERMOOTEN seconded.
New Clause 9, as amended, put and agreed to.
On the amendment in old Clause 9,
I move in line 19, to omit “bank”, and to substitute “board”.
Mr. VERMOOTEN seconded.
Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.
On the Schedule,
I move: In the first item, second column, sixth line, to negative the amendment proposed by the committee of the Whole House. I hope, now that the Minister has had time to reconsider his attitude, he will meet us in this matter; at any rate, I hope he will give us his objections or the reasons why he has departed from the Bill and substituted “Governor-General” for “Board.” I think common courtesy at least demands that he should tell us what his reasons are. I wish to say again that where it concerns the chief officer of the bank, the managing director, the person responsible for the policy of the bank, I think it is clear that the appointment should be made by the Government, but where it concerns the second officer of the bank, the executive officer, for whom the board is directly responsible, and the Minister only indirectly, I certainly think that this appointment should be made by the board. There would always be the opportunity or the chance if anything did go wrong that the board could turn round and disclaim any responsibility for this appointment. If the Minister refuses to meet us, or give us any reasons why he has run away from his own Bill, then he must not take it amiss if we become suspicious and think that there is something behind it. I cannot refrain from expressing my surprise at the attitude of the Labour members. I can just imagine how they would have made the rafters of this House ring if the S.A. Party Government had taken the same line as the Minister takes to-day. I would appeal to the Minister to consider this matter and allow the amendment.
I do not know why the hon. member (Col.-Cdt. Collins) like the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) last night, should bring in the matter of courtesy or discourtesy. I am sure I have always tried to treat hon. members opposite with courtesy, and I informed the House yesterday that I accepted the amendment of the hon. member for Pretoria District (North) (Mr. Oost) because I thought it would be in the interests of the country that the appointment of the chief officer of the bank should be made by the Government.
You did not put it in the Bill.
I daresay there are other respects in which the Bill could, be amended. Suggestions have been made from various parts of the House. I have accepted quite a number of amendments. Let me tell my hon. friend that in the past this general manager was appointed by the Minister under the legislation of the Government of the other side. The functions of this general manager will be practically the same as the functions of the previous general manager. I am creating a new office of managing director, but the general manager will substantially perform the same functions as he has done hitherto, and, what is more, in the absence of the managing director he may delegate his authority and functions to this general manager, who will have a seat on the board. In the circumstances, I thought it only right and in the interests of the country that the appointment should remain in the hands of the Government. I regret, therefore, that I cannot accept this amendment.
The amendment made in Committee was agreed to, and that by Col.-Cdt. Collins dropped.
Mr. CLOSE moved: In the first item, second column, eighth line, after “manager” to insert “provided that no person shall be so appointed unless he has been recommended by the board for the appointment”. The object of this amendment is that the board may have a say, at all events, in the appointment of the general manager, in whose appointment they have so much and so important a concern. I am sure, now that the Minister has carried his amendment about the Governor-General, he will recognize the advisability of letting the board have a say in the appointment of such an important officer as the general manager.
Col.-Cdt. COLLINS seconded.
Motion put and the House divided:
Anderson, H. E. K.
Bates, F. T.
Chaplin, F. D. P.
Close, R. W.
Gilson, L. D.
Grobler, H. S.
Heatlie, C. B.
Krige, C. J.
Lennox, F. J.
Louw, G. A.
Louw, J. P.
Marwick, J. S.
Miller, A. M.
O’Brien, W. J.
Payn, A. O. B.
Pretorius, N. J.
Richards, G R.
Rider, W. W.
Robinson, C. P.
Sephton, C. A. A.
Smartt, T. W.
Smuts, J. C.
Struben, R. H.
Van Heerden, G. C.
Van Zyl, G. B.
Tellers: Collins, W. R.; De Jagger, A. L.
Badenhorst, A. L.
Barlow, A. G.
Bergh, P. A.
Beyers, F. W.
Boshoff, L. J.
Brink, G. F.
Cilliers, A. A.
Conradie, J. H.
Conroy. E A.
Creswell, F. H. P.
De Villiers, A. I. E.
De Waal, J. H. H.
De Wet, S. D.
Du Toit, F. J.
Fick. M. L.
Fordham, A. C.
Fourie, A. P. J.
Grobler, P. G. W.
Hattingh, B. R.
Havenga, N. C.
Hay, G. A.
Heyns, J. D.
Kemp, J. C. G.
Keyter, J. G.
Louw, E. H.
Madeley, W. B.
Malan, C. W.
Malan, M. L.
McMenamin, J. J.
Mostert, J. P.
Muller, C. H.
Munnik, J. H.
Naudé, A. S.
Naudé, J. F. T.
Pienaar, B. J.
Pienaar, J. J.
Raubenheimer, I. van W.
Rood, W. H.
Roos, T. J. de V.
Roux, J. W. J. W.
Smit. J. S.
Snow, W. J.
Stals, A. J.
Swart, C. R.
Te Water, C. T.
Van der Merwe, N. J.
Van Hees, A. S.
Van Niekerk. P. W. le R.
Van Zyl. J. J. M.
Visser, T. C.
Wessels, J. B.
Wessels, J. H. B.
Tellers: Sampson, H. W.; Vermooten, O. S.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
I moved. In paragraph (c) of the last item on page 16 of the schedule, after “is” to insert “actually”; after “agents” to insert “and in respect of which the advance was made”; and on page 18, to omit all the words after “possession” in the first line, to “board” in the sixth: line.
Mr. DU TOIT seconded.
Bill, as amended, was adopted, and read a third time.
Second Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for second reading,—Land Settlement. Acts Further Amendment Bill, to be resumed.
Debate, adjourned from 28th August, was resumed.
I am convinced there is no one on either side of the House who wishes to see the all important question of land settlement made the sport of party politics. We all realize that this question is so intimately bound up with the well-being of the people of this country that legislation regulating future land settlement is a national task and one which we should see is carried out faithfully and well. I consider that the test to be applied to this Bill is whether it is so framed that the good faith of its purpose and its efficiency in operation are bound to win the general approval of both political parties; and it is precisely because the Bill fails to do this that we on this side of the House draw attention to its defects. We maintain that the Minister enjoys unfettered choice of the selection of applicants for allotment, and this is a serious defect of the Bill, because it opens the door to opportunities of political patronage. The hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) said that that was why he approved of the Bill, and because it merely permitted an evil that already existed, or would exist, whether the law was passed or not. We have also the hon. member for Vredefort (Mr. Munnik) actually asserting that political considerations had determined the choice of a number of allottees in a number of Zululand allotments; and he mentioned the names of certain gentlemen who are, he asserts, tainted with South African Party membership or prominent in the South African Party. I have gone through this list; and without a great deal of trouble I can identify at least 7 who belong either to the Nationalist or to the Labour parties, so that his assertions prove nothing. But the curious fact remains that the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) and the hon. member for Vredefort (Mr. Munnik) are the only two members in this House, as far as can be ascertained, who have themselves received an allotment, under the South African Party regime, of Crown land, and yet they both raise these accusations against the late Minister. I do deprecate the hurling of these accusations at public men on the slenderest evidence, or no evidence at all, when the whole question of land settlement should be approached from an entirely different attitude. Our intention, I think, has been made clear by the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan), who pointed out that the abolition of publication was a defect, and the removal of the control of the Land Board and the superseding of the Land Board in certain respects by the Committees of Control were further serious defects. The cumulative effect of these several defects of the Bill is such as to arouse misgivings as to whether in its operation it will answer to the tests I have applied to it—the good faith of its purpose and the efficiency of its operation. What is the training that a probationer or lessee must have? There is no definition of what “temporary occupation” may be; and Crown lands may be held up indefinitely while this system of “temporary occupation” is being extended over the whole area. Crown lands may become a haven for shiftless people who are not conforming to the requirements of permanent improvements of the ordinary progress which is enjoined by the present Land Act or Settlement Acts. There is no limitation to the area to which this Bill can apply, or the total acreage which should be allotted in one year; and I would commend to the Minister the provisions of the New Zealand Act which certainly would be a guarantee that there was no misuse of Crown land or that it would be cumbered up with settlers who are not making beneficial use of their allotments. A further complaint is that this Bill deals in one way only with two totally different classes of settlers. I agree that this Bill could be made adaptable to the cases mentioned by the hon. member for Witwatersberg (Lt.-Col. N. J. Pretorius)—the cases of men suffering from a temporary set back or adversity who have lost their land, but otherwise well equipped for life on the land. We wish to consider replacing them in a position of being able to earn their own living. But there are other cases; of the poor white; who come in a totally different category such as has been described by the hon. Minister of the Interior in this way. He says: “Such a family is typical of the entire poor white class. They know a little about, everything, and trek about from farm to farm. They complain bitterly of every owner who tries to help them, and the owner says he prefers a hundredfold to have the natives to work for him. They sink deeper and deeper and go to towns and try to keep body and soul together by begging.” These people cannot be treated as landed proprietors; and to place such people on the land under a loose system, such as is, outlined under this Bill, would be simply asking for trouble and failure. They are a class very largely unacquainted with habits of industry, and unwilling to adopt them except under extreme pressure. The Minister or the Interior went further and said that these people bore the curse of Gibeon on their brow; that is, they were cursed with having to be bondmen and hewers of wood and drawers of water. We, on this side, do not go so far as that, but I say that their case requires different treatment from that in the Bill. This Bill lays down that wages may be paid, but there is no statement as to the return of crops, nor is there any sort of outline as to the working of the system, nor did the Minister give us any impression as to how the training is to be carried out. The probationary lessee is to be very largely a landed proprietor, and yet be under some supervision and control, which is not clearly defined at all in this Bill. These advances may drift into a system of indeterminate doles. Any body who has had anything to do with practical farming knows that one of the most ready ways of losing money is through insufficient supervision, and if we can imagine the case of the poor white being supervised by this committee, I think we must come to the conclusion that the kind of supervision laid down under this Act is altogether insufficient and inapplicable to the case of a poor white. We have had a speech from the hon. member for Gordonia (Mr. Conradie), who has had a long experience of the Kakamas settlement, and I was disappointed that he made no reference to the comparative success which it at one time enjoyed. I am told that the more recent signs of failure there are due largely to the fact that no disciplinary measures exist for those who will not work or do what is required of them under the rules of the settlement. The only provision for discipline there is for their expulsion from the settlement, a provision which those in control hesitate to carry into force. We feel that the Minister should meet us by limiting the application of the proposed Bill to certain specified areas, and in addition he should replace the safeguard which exists in the principal Act, that is, restore the obligation to publish particulars of the proposed allotment, and notify applicants of them. He should also place the whole scheme under the control of the Land Board. The request for the limitation of the application of this Bill to certain areas seems to me to be reasonable, because there are areas which the Minister could fully occupy himself with, the development of the Haartebeestpoort and Olifant’s River area, where large schemes of irrigation have been undertaken by the Government. This would be in line with what is being done with satisfactory results in New Zealand, and would be a satisfactory compromise on this question. That briefly is the request we wish to make to the Minister, that he would meet us in regard to these points so that the Bill may be placed on the statute book and that he may proceed with the very large irrigation schemes which require development.
I have no wish to detain the House more than a few minutes. I agree with the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) that the Bill either goes too far or not far enough. If it is intended to deal with the poor white problem it does not go far enough. I agree with the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) that the Minister should define his position more clearly. I would recommend to his consideration the scheme brought up to the late Government by the Agricultural Advisory Board which proposed a communal farm for the benefit of these people, and that the Minister of Lands should get land in the Western Free State. The scheme was brought forward by Mr. Bourke, who is a very large mealie grower. This scheme was that the Government should set out a communal village with communal lands and grazing grounds. No man was to be allowed to plough his own ground. They were all to be placed under supervision and they had to plough communally. Such a scheme has been developed by Mr. Bourke, but the men who come to him are not allowed to plough individually. They have to turn out with Mr. Bourke’s men. Mr. Bourke takes his proportion of the crop and the balance is divided by the number of ploughs. The money is not handed over to these individuals. It is retained by Mr. Bourke and doled out by him. That scheme has been so successful that some of these men now own their own farms. This scheme of probationers will never work. These people are thriftless and inefficient. It is through that thriftlessness and inefficiency that they are where they are. If you are ever going to uplift these people you must take them by the hand and compel them to work. There is no other way of getting out of it. “By the sweat of their brow shall they eat their bread.” The hon. Minister of Labour was greatly concerned the other day about the salvation of white civilization in this country. If ever you are to save white civilization in this country you have to uplift these people. We are a white population of a million and a-half, presumably half Dutch and half English, and from 15 to 20 per cent, of the older race of this country are classed as poor whites. As a Scotchman said once: “Have you no ambition?” You talk about “ons land” and “ons volk” and what do you do for either? It is a pity there are so few practical farmers on the Government benches. I should advise the Minister to withdraw his Bill and bring up a better-considered measure next election.
I think one sees in this Bill an attempt on the part of the Minister to grapple with that overwhelming proposition, the poor white question, and I think as such the Bill is entitled to sympathetic treatment and constructive criticism. We on this side of the House share the Government’s concern with the poor whites. As the last speaker has said, the only way to uplift them is to teach them how to work and get work. To place it on no higher ground, we know that a state of degradation of one section of the population is bad for the other sections. The question should not be one of party politics, but in a scheme of this sort I would suggest to the Minister, with all sincerity, that he should carry the country with him. The only way he can do that is by safeguarding the public rights. The Minister must admit that he takes most arbitrary powers under this Bill. Take this question of temporary occupation. There is no limit in point of time. It can be curtailed and extended according to the caprice of the Minister. It is possible for a Minister under this section to give a very extended period, which may in fact amount to a lease in perpetuity. This is very arbitrary and should be altered. Then again, in regard to the selection of these probationary settlers, the selection rests entirely with the Minister. I think that is neither sound, in the public interests, nor in the interests of the Minister himself. It is possible for him under the provisions of this section, to extend a considerable amount of patronage. I do not say he will do it, but it is possible for him under this section to extend patronage to his own followers to the detriment of other citizens of the State. It is necessary that there should be a buffer between the Minister and the probationer. Then take sub-section 3 of sub-section 1, namely, the expenditure which the Minister can incur. This is wholly controlled by the Minister, both as to the amount and the manner. The powers asked for are far too wide. The probationary period may prove very costly. I think it would be reasonable, and I. would ask the Minister whether some limit should not be placed upon it by Parliament. The expenditure should not exceed a fixed amount in respect of any one settlement; a maximum should be fixed; I would urge the Minister to consider that seriously. If he does not he will find he is subject to the importunities and clamour of settlers and their friends. If he does not do that he will create a great many enemies, and a great amount of enmity. The Minister is a French scholar and he will remember what a great French writer de Balzac said: “You have done that man a favour; you have made an enemy of him for life.” Then with regard to the committee of control, it should be compulsory that the committee must function in every case, because it may be fairly argued that this committee may consist of creatures of the Minister. I do not think the Minister is going to appoint such people, for a moment, but the present occupant of his office may not be there for long. It is possible for that control to be exercised by creatures of the Minister, whoever he may be. That is a position which should not be possible. I should suggest that the functions of those in control should be compulsory, and further, that the control should be exercised by independent persons. The Minister should select three members of the Land Board as a committee of control. You want as your committee a body of individuals who are independent and have the public confidence. There are other aspects of the Bill one wants to criticise, but I will not go into them now. I do insist that the Minister has asked for far too arbitrary powers, and that he should endeavour to have the public with him, as if he has public confidence this measure, which is a step in the right direction, should be fraught with success.
It is the duty of every South African and every member of this House to give the Government every possible support in: the honest endeavour it is making to help solve the poor white question. But the methods which the Government are adopting under the Bill are a new departure from the principles which have been accepted in regard to land settlement. There are two principles in the Bill which members on this side of the House object to. The first is, that Government proposes in effect to do away with the advertising of vacant Crown lands. These lands belong to the people, yet powers are to be delegated to the Minister which have hitherto been carried out by the Land Boards. I do not suggest that the present Minister will do it, but there is a possibility under the Bill of stopping any further allocation of Crown land except under conditions laid down in this measure. If the Minister had confined the Bill to any particular portion of available Crown lands there would have been on objection to the measure on this side of the House. We can only agree to the Bill provided considerable amendments are made, which can be done in Committee.
I cannot congratulate the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) on his speech, as the hon. member created such confusion m connection with the Bill that some members of his party do not know what is in it. I am surprised that a Bill which has been framed so simply should cause such confusion. The hon. member created the impression that its provisions would be applicable only to Crown lands, but in that he is quite wrong, as it is stated clearly that it would only apply to certain closer settlements.
The Bill does not say that.
Yes, it is in the Bill, and I said so clearly when the measure was introduced. In order to explain it, I stated what was the usual procedure in connection with the granting of lands under the old law, and specially mentioned Clause 11 of the Act. In the Bill it is clearly stipulated that it would only apply to closer settlements. Clause 3 provides: “Notwithstanding any contrary provision contained in the original Act, the Minister may appoint a Board of Control for each area used for closer settlements,” etc.” It will be seen, therefore, that it is only applicable to closer settlements. The hon. member for Rondebosch (Mr. Close) made a rather valuable suggestion, and I hope the advisory board will have the same functions as the land boards to make recommendations regarding the selection of probationary settlers within the closer settlements. In the Bill it will be laid down clearly that it will apply only to certain areas. That is what the Bill aims at, and there is no intention to apply its provisions to all Crown lands, as that would be absurd. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) knows that very well. Not all Crown land is suitable for closer settlement. I hope a part of Zululand will be suitable for the purpose, but if such a settlement is established in the Free State, land will have to be purchased for it.
And then you will have to come to this House for the necessary money.
Of course Parliament will decide, because if money is required for a settlement I shall have to ask for it, and it will be put on the Loan Estimates. There is no question of the Minister acting arbitrarily. The whole discussion was the result of the speech of the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) who did his best to create confusion, and succeeded, for obviously some hon. members did not know anything about the Bill. The hon. member charged me with doing things in the dark in connection with the allocation of ground, but the Bill clearly stipulates that I can only grant land on the recommendation of the Land Board. The Advisory Board makes recommendations about the persons who will be accepted as probationers, but in cases of the allocation of land or the making of advances, the Land Board will have to make recommendations. Now the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) made a fuss because I refused to advertise the land, as provided for by the original Act. He said that he would never have done it. It seems, however, as if the hon. member has a short memory. He recommended me to take, as an example, the Bill drafted by him, but may I remind the hon. member that according to that Bill he wanted to grant lands to settlers without advertising? I am following that example, and I am doing exactly what my predecessor intended to do. Then it was right, but now that I want to do it, the hon. member sees in it nothing but corruption. He further says that he never allocated land without advertising it, which is another example of his weak memory. We have heard here about farms which have been exchanged. Were they advertised?
That is quite a different matter.
Somebody said that I intend doing away with the land boards, but that is not true at all. If I follow the advice of some hon. members I shall have to do exactly what they do not want me to do. My predecessor appointed a land board in every area and gave it the same powers as the ordinary provincial land board. In that way the powers of these boards were considerably curtailed in respect of the areas for which a separate land board was appointed. That is not my policy. I return to these boards all the powers and functions which they had. The land boards are important bodies consisting of prominent citizens, and it is not right to take away any of their powers. If I intended to do that I should have followed the policy of my predecessor and appoint a number of land boards. Besides, I have the power to appoint the members of the board. However, I have prevented that. There will be advisory boards to superintend the activities of these settlements and to recommend the people who should be put on the land, but as regards the allocation of land and the granting of advances, that would be the work of the land board. The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) was really comical, and he, too, obviously suffered from a short memory. He was one of the most prominent members of the Milner Cabinet. He was Colonial Secretary, Treasurer and acting-Lieutenant-Governor. He was practically the Pooh-Bah of the administration, and consequently was responsible for Clause 7 of the Ordinance of 1903, which provides that it should be published after and not before the allocation, which is of no use to the public. And now the hon. member says that I violate the principles of the settlement policy. It is not necessary to go into the further details. Regarding the remark of the hon. member for Rondebosch (Mr. Close), I shall move an amendment to Clause 1, which wall stipulate that the advisory boards will only be appointed in connection with settlements as defined by the Bill. These boards will not be appointed on all the settlements. It has also been remarked that a time limit should be fixed during which these probationers would be on the land. It was my intention to make the period three years, and I am prepared to embody that in the Bill. If in three years’ time a man has not proved himself a suitable settler—
You are going to drive him away?
If in three years’ time a man does not prove that he is able to farm or capable of learning to farm, he should leave the property, and he will fall under one of the schemes devised by the Minister of Labour. I do not think it necessary to reply further to the discussion. It was of such a general nature that it would lead me too far afield to discuss all the points.
The motion was agreed to.
Bill read a second time; House to go into committee on the Bill on 1st September.
Third Order read: Second reading, Board of Trade and Industries Bill.
The object of this Bill is to reform the existing board and to amend the existing law in certain respects. The experience of the board has been that the law is rather vague and liable to different interpretations; also that its powers are curtailed in certain respects so that the board is bound in an undesirable manner. It is the intention of the Government to reconstitute the board and no longer to have part-time members. It also aims at doing away with assessor members and not to use the services of public servants as members. Then there is the question of the representation of different interests, which is a question of administration. Everything possible will be done to cover the different interests, but it is not possible to have all the industries represented. I can say, however, that it will be the aim of the board to look after the interests of all our industries and trades, although the industries will not be directly represented. Clause 1 deals with the composition of the board, which will consist of a chairman and three full-time members. Representations have been made to me that the number should be increased to four members and a chairman, that is to say five members in all. The Government, however, has come to the conclusion that four members are enough. Clause 2 deals with the powers of the board. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) said that the Government is responsible to Parliament and that such responsibility should not be reduced. I would point out that the clause is so worded that this will not be done. Sub-clause (f) deals with combinations, trusts, monopolies and trade obstruction. It embodies a principle which was taken from the original Act and is undoubtedly sound. Sub-clause (c) is also important and deals with the revision of excise duties. The Government realizes that the present tariff is the relict of an old principle, namely, an instrument for increasing the revenue of the State. The new board will make recommendations to reform the tariff on scientific lines in order to bring it into harmony with the industrial policy of the Government. Another important sub-clause deals with dumping, and this House will soon have to revise the legislation applying to this matter. One section of our people regards the existing laws in this connection with approval, whilst another maintains that it does not achieve its purpose. It is a matter of importance to the Union, and if necessary the different laws must be codified, so that the customs officers should not be in any doubt as to their powers. Then there was the important Clause 3, already embodied in the Customs and Excise Amendment Act, so I need not say much about that except that the important principles it contained are nothing new, as the Railway Board for many years now has had the power to alter the railway rates. The last clause makes provision for the retention of certain clauses of the original law. There is also the question of the right to appeal to the Board of Trade and Industries against the decisions of the Commissioner of Revenue and his department. The Government thinks such a right is unnecessary. We realize that not everything can be done by legislation, but that the country depends to a large extent on the personnel of the board and the initiative of the Government. However good a law may be, it will not mean much if we do not place good members on the board, and if the Government does not intend to carry out the recommendations of that body. In any case, it is the object of the Bill to give Parliament the opportunity again of clearly defining the duties and functions of the Board of Trade and Industries and of creating a new board. It is felt that the present board does not serve its purpose, possibly because it attempted to do the impossible, possibly, too, because it did not consist of a full personnel of full-time members. It is felt that the members require all their time to devote to this important work.
I wondered when I read this Bill what reason the Minister had for bringing it in because I find under Act 28 of 1923 provision is made there with regard to the powers of the Board of Trades and Industries. When I compare these powers with those conferred in the present Bill there is very little difference, if any at all. However, the Minister made it plain towards the end of his speech why he wanted this Bill—he wants a new board, a board of one way of thinking. That is really what it comes to, and I think there is no doubt also to provide, for the addition of two paid billets. On the present board there are two full-time members and three part-time members, five in all. But this Bill provides for four full-time members, and I must say I do not agree with the hon. the Minister when he says they should be required to be full-time members. I do not object at all to the Board of Trade, because I think that in the policy the Minister is pursuing, endeavouring to create a scientific tariff, he will need all the advice he can get. However, there is no people on this earth who have or who can create a scientific tariff because anomalies and interests will always exist. I do not in itself object to the board, but I do think, and that is where I differ from him, that all trade interests should be represented on this board and not one single one. Why should commercial interests not be represented?
And the consumers.
Yes, and the consumers, too, instead of having it confined to manufacturers and producers. I want to see the consumer and the commercial man represented on this board, and I consider this existing board is fairly, I do not say it is perfectly, representative of their interests and the interest of trade.
Is there a consumer?
Yes, and a representative of commercial interests, producers and manufacturers as well. I would urge upon the hon. Minister to adopt the same principle and appoint two full-time members on the board as they exist at the moment and three part-time members. That I think would be a fair and sounder plan. The full-time members could do all the slogging work which takes up a lot off time, correspondence, gathering of information, etc., and when matters come up for final decision the part-time members can be consulted. They will bring fresh ideas because they are more in touch with the public. The hon. Minister says the board is not giving satisfaction, but is there a board dealing with the customs tariff on earth that does give complete satisfaction to everybody? On tariff matters you are always touching interests of one kind or another and pressure is brought to bear in one way or another, and you can never give complete satisfaction with any board, even though it is composed of Archangels or even if it is a board of men like the hon. Minister. I hope my friend will take the hint I gave him and keep two men to do the hard work, the spade work, and to make the enquiries and then bring in the outside members when they have to come to a decision. I would appeal to him to make the board representative of all interests and not of one interest, that is to say, the producing and manufacturing interests. Importing will have to go in the future as it has gone on in the past, and my hon. friend cannot depend altogether on South Africa, however high the tariff may be. Importing interests will still have to be considered; and how the consumer will come in under a scientific tariff is another question—we will have to wait until a scientific tariff is before the House, and then we will have to judge.
I do not think there can be any objection to the main principle of this Bill, but there are one or two points which, in addition to those my hon. friend (Mr. Jagger) has brought forward, we have to consider. In the first place, the hon. Minister has not quite explained to our satisfaction the necessity for the introduction of this Bill at the moment. I saw in one or two papers the other day that this Bill is in accordance with the recommendation of a Special Committee which sat and reported this year. Well, there is no such report available, and I am informed on enquiry that the report in question is a departmental one, or else the report is made by the board itself on its own doings and future. I am informed that it is now being translated, and it would have been useful to help us to discuss the Bill if we had had that report placed on the table of the House. However that may be, there is another point we may well consider. As I understood the Minister, and from what my hon. friend has said, the Minister contemplates that this Board will be primarily concerned with tariff matters. If that is so, it seems to me there is hardly a sufficient reason for the introduction of the Bill, and when we look at section 2 it appears that the Bill in effect perpetrates a considerable extension of the scope of the Board, because it is now laid down that the function and the duty of the Board shall be to enquire into and advise on all matters concerning the economic development and natural resources of the Union. Well, that practically covers all that one can think of: All trade, industry and enterprise of any description; and strictly speaking, it would give the Minister power to deal with matters affecting the use of water, mining—precious minerals or coal—or, indeed, any matters connected with agriculture. It does not appear, from what the Minister said, that that is what he proposes to do; but the fact that these powers are given to him under the Bill may no doubt lead in time to the reference to this Board of all kinds of questions which would want the greatest possible skill to enable them to be dealt with satisfactorily, and which in the ordinary course would be referred to commissions appointed for the express purpose of dealing with such matters. That leads one to consider what the position of the Board is to be; and as it is evidently contemplated that this Board is to be engaged and occupied with tariffs, it does not follow that the Board will be composed of people who will be in the least competent to deal with these important questions which in terms of the Bill may be referred to them. If it is not proposed to refer these matters to the Board, why put these proposals in the Bill? The powers in the old Act were quite wide enough, and one can only suppose that these wider powers in the present Bill may be used at some further time. I would suggest to the Minister that he should make it plain that either this Board is concerned only with the opportunities of trading and the tariff question; or if he gives the board the wider powers to which I have referred, he will consider the appointment on the Board of people who are reasonably competent to deal with such matters. There would be considerable difficulty in that, because we want people with experience; and such matters could be better dealt with by a commission from time to time as the occasion arose. It adds force to the suggestion my hon. friend made that the Board should be divided into two parts; otherwise one fine day you will find the Minister referring to the Board matters connected with mining and water, and he will find on the Board people only competent to deal with tariffs.
I welcome this Bill and I welcome the wide powers given to the board. I think, when we remember that the present Government has declared in favour of a policy of protection for South African industries, it is difficult to see how any Bill except one widening the powers of the board could be brought before the House. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) does not believe in protection, and I can understand his attitude. He parted company with the late Government because it wanted to build railway coaches in this country rather than overseas, and the hon. member thought it uneconomical to build them here, and considered it was better to send the money overseas. But the bulk of the people of South Africa have come to the conclusion that if this country is to be saved industrially, and if there is going to be any room whatever for the growing youth of this country, you will have to go in for a definite policy of protection for South African industries. That is the policy which the Government announced, and I take it that this Bill is an endeavour on their part to provide the requisite machinery under which that policy can be given effect to. There is no doubt, as the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) has said, that the consumer is interested in this matter as well, but the bulk of consumers, particularly those of them who are working men, are beginning to see that although it is possible in endeavouring to encourage South African industries that the prices of commodities manufactured here will be raised, it is better to have the cost of your commodities going up slightly and providing fresh avenues for employment than to have a starving population in South Africa, as we have at the present time. It has been said that there is no need for this Bill because the powers given to the new board are very much like the powers given to the present board. Some of the powers given in this Bill do exist at present, but the whole foundation of those powers is clearly stated and indicated in this Bill, whereas no indication was given in previous legislation as to the line on which they were to proceed. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) says all sections of the population are represented on the present board. I would like him to tell us how the manufacturers are represented. The late Government refused to give them a representative on that board. I think the Chamber of Industries is entitled to direct representation on that board so that we may have someone on it who understands the needs of manufacturers in this country. The manufacturers are not represented on that board. I take it on the new board various interests will be represented. I do not wish to see the exclusion of any interests that should be represented, but the people who are most directly concerned in the policy have no representative at the present time. There is a reference here in sub-section (f) of section 2 which puts the matter in a better form than existed in the Act of 1923, because that Act simply refers to these monopolies so far as they tended to create monopolies or restraint of trade. The Minister, I am glad to see, has put in an amendment which is in the right direction, but I do hope in the recess the Minister will go further into this matter. A question has been asked by the hon. member for Troyeville (Mr. Kentridge), and from the answer it was clear that the matter had been brought to the Minister’s notice—there are certain people here, manufacturers, who insist upon persons who are dealing with them signing an agreement that they will not sell the product below a certain price, and if they do they will not get the products. When the State protects an industry the State is entitled to insist on two things. The State is entitled to insist that the wages paid in the industry shall be fair and it is entitled also to insist that the public shall not be fleeced. That can easily be done. I know I shall be told if you get into the question of prices the whole commercial edifice will tumble, but that was not so during the war. I think the Government is entitled to see that the public is not fleeced. The Government is also entitled to see that they do not deliberately constitute themselves into a monopoly as in the case I have given where they want to keep an artificial price on the article in this country and tell the retailers that they must sell at that price or not have the goods. Certain merchants have communicated with the Minister informing him that they are prevented from getting certain manufactures of this country because they refuse to sign such an agreement and refuse to charge the consumers a higher price than is fair. The Government ought to do more than receive advice from the board in regard to the maintenance of such high prices. In the Profiteering Act of 1920 there was such provision. Unfortunately that Act no longer exists. I hope the Government during the recess will go very carefully into this matter with the idea of bringing in special legislation. It needs a special law to deal with it. If we do not control these people South Africa will soon be controlled by them. There is one other point I think the country is entitled to ask the Government to go into. I see in paragraph (h) one of the things they are going to deal with is the encouragement of the investment of capital in industry. The time has come when provision should be made for the creation of an industrial bank. You have got no means at present of helping industries except through the ordinary banks. We know the banks do not provide the means that are wanted by young and struggling industries to get assistance to enable them to carry on, and assistance which they can get in other countries but do not get here. The ordinary banks cannot efficiently function as industrial banks any more than they could as land banks. Just as it was necessary to have a land bank to encourage agriculture, so it is necessary to have an industrial bank to encourage industries. Many industries could be developed in this country if you had an industrial bank. We know that the creation of the land bank has led to a tremendous advance in agriculture in South Africa; similarly an industrial bank would lead to great developments in industry. If the Minister will go into these matters during the recess, I am perfectly certain with the machinery under this Bill and with such special legislation as he may bring forward next session to deal with monopolies, he will be able to go a long way towards developing our industries and solving the problem of unemployment and that we shall advance as rapidly in industry as we have done in agriculture.
I agree with the outlook of the hon. member for Hanover Street (Mr. Alexander), but I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to one or two facts. First of all I would like to see the representatives on this board representing the different sections of the community, because, after all, we are the creation to a great extent of our environment and the conditions under which we live. I would like to see as the members of this board: one recommended by the Chamber of Commerce; one also to represent the Chamber of Industries; also a farmer recommended by the agricultural societies; and the fourth a representative of the workers of this country recommended by the organized trade unions. The point of view with which different sections of the community approached any subject is influenced by their environment and their standard of living. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) stated that it was utterly impossible to have a board to satisfy everybody, and with that I agree, unless you have all sections represented on the board. The hon. member also stated that it is utterly impossible to have a scientific tariff. One of the reasons why I wish all sections to be represented on the board is because I believe that before very long the customs tariff will be a scientific one, not for the collection of revenue as at present, but for the protection of industries and the protection of the standard of living of the people. I believe it is possible to have a tariff framed on true economic lines whereby the products of a country, the people of which have a lower standard of living than we have, should be taxed to the equivalent if they were produced under the conditions prevailing in South Africa, and that the imported value of their goods will be estimated on the cost of producing a similar article under the wages paid in the Union. This would prevent the destruction of our industries. I never saw such a lopsided board as the last one, and we must have a board representing all sections before we can get justice done for the workers.
Previous speakers have emphasized that the board must contain representatives of various interests—manufacturing, commercial and so on. My view is, however, that the board should not be selected with that end in view at all, but with the view to obtaining a body of men of good critical capacity. The special interests which have been mentioned should certainly have an opportunity of putting their case before the board, and the board would then act as judges. On the other hand, if you have a board of four men, each representing four different interests, you will have four different reports on every subject, and the Minister will be as wise when the board has finished its enquiries as when it started, and it seems to me it will be impossible to obtain a board which will represent all interests in such a large country as South Africa. Therefore, I think the board should consist of men of good critical capacity, capable of judging evidence and drawing their own conclusions. I have a great deal of sympathy with the view of the hon. member for South Peninsula (Sir Drummond Chaplin) in his suggestion that the range of subjects over which the board is going to roam is very extensive, and it would be an advantages if the board’s activities were restricted to tariff questions, which it is quite clear in the near future are going to take up a great deal of time and will need a considerable amount of care and thought. If the Minister is going to give the board such a variety of subjects to deal with as is suggested in Clause 3, I feel the board should be larger than it is, and I think you could do with a board of five, instead of three members and a chairman. There is one omission I would like to see remedied. I think it should be distinctly laid down that the quorum of the board should consist of a majority of members of the board. In past legislation no quorum was specified, and the result has been that very few members have been left in the country at various times. But they have constituted the board and have issued reports in the name of the whole of the board, and this has been rather misleading to the public. There is one other point I would like the Minister to amend. I would like it made perfectly clear in section 1, Clause 1, that the members of the board will retire by rotation. One of the great difficulties with which the commercial community is going to be faced in the near future is the constant alteration of tariffs; at any rate provision should be made in the Bill that there is going to be some continuity of policy as regards tariffs, more particularly for the benefit of the manufacturing interests. It is impossible for manufacturers to invest capital to any considerable amount unless they are assured that there will be a continuity of policy as regards the tariff board. I should like to refer to the statement of the hon. member for Hanover Street (Mr. Alexander) with reference to the question of price agreements. Well, a manufacturer does not insist on a price agreement in the interests of either the wholesaler, the retailer, or the consumer; he only insists on it because he finds that if he does not have a price agreement he is not able to sell his goods at all. If you prevent a manufacturer having a price agreement with his customers the result in many instances will be that the South African-made article will suffer as against the imported article, and I would like hon. members to bear that in mind if any steps are taken to make any form of price agreement illegal. I do not think that the hon. member, in 1924, need worry about the fleecing of the public; to-day there is more than enough competition to keep down prices. The manufacturer or the merchant or the trader is more likely to go into the bankruptcy court than to go into Park Lane.
I would like to ask the Minister whether before this board makes an enquiry which may effect an alteration in the tariff, proper opportunity will be given to those interested to represent their views.
I hope that the Government, while going forward with this Bill, will proceed very carefully and very warily with the men they place on this board. I was surprised during the election to find that so many went mad on protection, particularly the farmers. I have a great deal of sympathy with the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger), but I want to say that, as representing a farming constituency to a large extent, I was frightened at protection. It is a double-edged sword as far as the farmers are concerned and also as far as the consumer is concerned. I trust that when the Minister appoints the members of the board he will have a farmers’ representative and also a representative of the consumers from the trades unions. I think the majority of people are talking on this question without going very deeply into it. I would warn the Government when they appoint these men that they should not make them all apostles of high protection, and that they should have on the board some sound farmer who is selling in the markets of the world and who has to buy here. The Minister should also think in this matter, of the wage earner. I would not be in favour of putting a big tariff wall round South Africa which is going to lead the farmer into bankruptcy.
The farmer would suffer.
Of course he would suffer, as he has suffered in other countries. Look at the position of the farmer in Australia and America to-day. He is in a very parlous condition. I would appeal to the Minister to appoint on the board a sound farmer and a sound trade unionist to keep these other fellows in check.
I would also caution the Minister to be very careful in appointing these boards. I am a protectionist, but the cries all round for protection which we have heard would almost show that some people have gone protection mad. The two main sources of wealth in this country are mining and farming, and, if you injure these industries through excessive protection, you are going to injure other classes of the community and I hope that the Minister in selecting the board will see that the various interests are very well represented. I would be very pleased if he were to see that the consumer is well represented on the board. In the last session and in some previous sessions we heard insistent demands for a high protective duty on such a thing as netting wire.
You wanted it on wine and you got it.
To place a high protective duty on fencing material means increasing the cost of something which is badly required by the farming community. We are making provision to-day to give them an opportunity of getting cheaper money and a reasonable method of repayment through the Land Bank for fencing, but on the other hand we want to put it on the cost of the article. It would pay the farming community to buy out these people and provide for them for the rest of their lives rather than have this protective duty put on to such an article as netting wire. I merely instance this. I would caution the Minister to see that you get all the interests well represented on that board and that these demands for protection are carefully looked into, because you have many of your industries claiming protection to-day which would perhaps get on well without protection. Although I am a protectionist, I feel that protection must be applied very carefully.
The hon. member for Worcester (Mr. Heatlie) rather misunderstands the position as regards wire netting. What was desired by the local manufacturer, I think, was not so much that you should have a high protective duty on foreign-made wire netting, but rather that you should allow the dumping clause which already exists to be imposed in regard to this particular industry. The information we have is that wire netting is being dumped into this country at a price, inclusive of freightage,—
People have gone dumping mad also.
I know that. Your constituency evidently has done that, I was saying that wire netting is being dumped into this country at a price, including freightage, which is less than it is being sold at to their home consumers. I trust the Minister will go into the question with a view to adjusting the whole matter. It has been said, I think by the hon. gentleman who has just sat down, that two of our main producers are the mining and the farming industries. In regard to the latter I do not cavil. The farming industry is one of the biggest bulk producers and should be one of the biggest bulk producers that we have. Unfortunately, in our mad race for industrialism we have been inclined to overlook the necessity of fostering the farming industry. I want also to issue a warning to the Minister to be careful how far he goes in the direction of protection and as to whom he is going to appoint to his Board. They should not be men who have no other ideas beyond the old hidebound ideas of protection. Though I do not go all the way with the member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) I am not wedded to either free trade or protection, I am prepared to consider every case on its merits and to examine the position fairly whatever case comes up for consideration. It should be the same with the members of the Board and if a case necessitated protection let them protect it. I warn the Minister to be careful of the member who pointed out that the only form of protection is by tariff. If you protect by tariffs either for the purpose of protection or revenue you will be likely to upset the whole internal policy of a country and you always make the consumer pay higher. That is the inevitable result of protection by tariffs, it is a wasteful method of collecting revenue and it is a wasteful method of protecting. You can take the case of my hon. friend for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) he is a large importer, I am sure he will not deny that, suppose he imported a certain class of goods at a cost of £100 that with protection duties would mean £125 before the goods were landed in this country and it is perfectly obvious, that if my hon. friend is desirous of making his profit of say 25 per cent.—
100 per cent.
No, no. I will be lenient towards him and say 50 per cent, to make it easier of lightning calculation. He makes his profit not on the original £100 but on the £125. That is business. He has got to make his profit out of his total outlay. Ignoring the freightage altogether another £62 10s. is put on the cost of the articles and in turn the wholesaler to whom the goods are sold will also want to make his 50 per cent, and he makes it on £125 plus £62 10s.: consequently when it reaches the poor old consumer who is the person who has to do all the paying he is paying infinitely more than he should. The results obtained do not warrant the outlay on the part of the consumer either in the way of revenue or protection. I would suggest to the Minister that the members of his Board should be men with open minds on this question, men who if they feel that it is necessary to institute protection for the fostering of any industry or trade will do so but who will not be averse to doing it all by bounties. The principal advantage of the bounty system is this that it always comes before the House every year, it figures on the estimates and the House can say what the conditions are that shall be laid down in industry before the paying of any bounty. For instance the House as composed to-day will say to any industry “we will not give your industry any bounty unless you employ men and women under the right conditions, their wages shall be right, their hours of working shall be right, and the general conditions must be such as will meet with the approval of any civilized Parliament,” This policy applies even, to the home made article because we have raised the cost of the imported article by imposing a tariff and the local producer feels that he can quite rightly charge something a little bit lower than the price of the imported article so that all round the poor consumer pays—and the net result is that the whole thing is of no advantage to the country.
I welcome this Bill, because it shows that the Government means business with our industrial development. During the elections all the leaders of the Nationalist party clearly stated that a Nationalist party Government would do its best for industrial development and although it is premature at present for the Government to come with a fully worked-out programme of industrial development, I am glad it shows its sincerity by making a beginning. The solution of the poor white question is linked with industrial development, but perhaps we shall be told again by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) that the poor whites cannot work in factories, and that only a certain type is suitable for that purpose.
The hon. member may not refer to a previous debate.
I would like to refer to sub-section (d) of Clause 2 which deals with retail prices. The hon. member for Cape Town (Hanover St.) (Mr. Alexander) spoke about the fixing of minimum prices by manufacturers. There is, however, another aspect, and that is the enormous profits made by traders. The question of distribution is an important factor. If the shopkeeper is not sympathetic and if he makes excessive profits, the industry suffers. I can prove that one of the biggest retail firms in Cape Town sold a pair of boots made in Port Elizabeth at a profit of 140 per cent. What chance has South African manufactured articles to become popular with the public if such things are allowed? I trust therefore that the Board will thoroughly investigate the selling prices to the consumer, and that its powers in this respect will not remain a dead letter, I want to point out the necessity of propaganda for our industries. The representatives of the wholesalers, when they call on the retailers consistently give preference to the imported article, probably because it is to the advantage of his master, the wholesaler. Fortunately, however, the retailers in the country are not imbued with the free trade ideas of the urban commercial community. I think it is necessary for the State to make propaganda for goods manufactured in South Africa. It may perhaps be said that we should leave that to the Chamber of Industries and to the manufacturers, but they will only advertise their own goods and that will not help much. If the Government appoints a man to push business with the retailers and the general public, it will pay this country well.
The speeches of the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) and the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley), if I may say so, have been two useful contributions on the question under consideration. The warning which has been thrown out by the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) is one that cannot be too frequently repeated, when the question of free trade and protection are under discussion; and one of the great harms that issues when these questions are discussed is the attempt to reduce the question of free trade and protection to a shibboleth, and convert them into party cries. I thoroughly agree with the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) when he says we should cast from our minds the principle of protection, and deal with each case as it arises, and to see that we are careful not to injure any class or section when imposing protection. The form of protection is, as the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) pointed out, as important as the question whether the industry is to be protected or not, and I am glad to see that under this Bill the Government is giving power to the board, not only in regard to recommending fiscal policy, but also recommending the form that protection should take, in the form of bounties and otherwise. When we come to the question of the constitution of the board, there I find some difficulty. The suggestion, as I take it, which came from the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) is that each class of the community should be represented. In Germany, before the war—and of course it was the most highly protected country in the world—they practically had an industrial Parliament on this question—consisting of trained members from all sections of the community—they had commerce; they had agriculture; they had every form of interest represented on it; and naturally they had representatives of the consumers. Now is it practicable for us to constitute a board of trade on those lines? It is not practicable; and that being so, the suggestion has been thrown out by the hon. member for Newlands (Mr. Stuttaford) that rather than make this board one merely of representatives of protection, of free trade or commerce—you should make it a purely advisory board. The moment that you suggest constituting the board on the lines of interest your difficulties become innumerable. As I say, in Germany it was found in order to have the thorough representation each section of the community wanted, it was practically essential to establish an industrial parliament. I think it would be well for the Minister to consider whether he would eliminate altogether representatives of any particular interest or industry. It is common knowledge that on the last board the politics and the policy of the individual on that board were represented by his own particular industry or calling. It seems to me that is going to be the case inevitably. If you have a board constituted by men who have intelligence and who could hear the representations which are placed before them by the different representatives of the different industries, then I am inclined to think you would have better and more impartial advice. I am afraid if you attempt to make the board representative of various interests you will fail. If the suggestion of the hon. member for Newlands (Mr. Stuttaford) is not to be adopted I strongly support the suggestion that you must give the farmer and the consumer representation; but, failing a complete representation of individuals and interests, it seems to me that a small board of non-interested but intelligent men could probably give the Government more information than people who are interested. A confirmation of what I am contending for is to be found in the case of Prof. Fremantle who is a member of the present board. One of the most conspicuous members of that board has been Prof. Fremantle, who is neither a merchant nor a trader, yet I think his position has been such as to give ground for the contention that if men of that type, men of character and intelligence and integrity, were appointed the Government would get better advice as to these matters which are of the greatest possible moment to the trade and industries of this country.
As regards the observations of my hon. friend the member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger), we all of course know that he is an absolute free trader and we know why he contemplated leaving the Ministry, a chance which never eventuated owing to reasons which are well known to him. The expression of opinion which has come from him is therefore not at all surprising. He asked us what was the necessity for this Bill, and several other members have asked that same question. The necessity is plain. We want to constitute a board of full-time members; we want to make the functions and the duties of the board clearer than the existing Act does, and that is why they are formulated in the way set forth in Clause 2 of the Bill. I admit if you scrutinize very closely the functions of the existing board and those provided for in this Bill, you will find the same functions reproduced either implicitly or explicitly. Yet I am informed that the present board has found that the existing Act has not worked satisfactorily owing to the lack of clear definition. I repeat what I said in Dutch. The important thing is the board and the Government of the day. Nevertheless the Bill seems to be welcomed by everybody, and it seems to me that the bulk of the remarks of hon. members have been directed more to the composition of the board than anything else. I know the composition of the board is a very important matter. My hon. friend for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) pointed out that I am a child in tariffs. I admit the soft impeachment and that is why I want a good board. I admit the Government cannot, off its own bat, enter upon all sorts of schemes and render aid and support in all directions without the advice of a body like a Board of Trade and Industries and that is why, I conceive, the Board of Trade and Industries was constituted in 1921 by mere Government notice. As to representation, I quite endorse the remarks of the hon. member for Newlands (Mr. Stuttaford) and those of the hon. member for Durban (Central) (Mr. Robinson). Perhaps it was owing to my remarks being made in Dutch that those hon. members did not follow them, because the views they have expressed were exactly the views as expressed by me. I stated that the Government had found that it was absolutely impossible to give representation to the various interests. Let me inform hon. members as to the various requests that have been directed to us and our predecessors as to representation on the board. You have the Chamber of Industries representing manufacturers; you have the Chamber of Commerce; the Chamber of Mines, who would probably ask for more than one representative; the agricultural industry with various branches; you have got the native population; you have got trade unions; you have got the railways and harbours asking for representation on matters affecting them; you have got the Treasury; you have got the statistical council; you have got the banking interest, and goodness knows how many more interests that are asking for special representation. The thing is an utter impossibility, and the conclusion to which the Government has come is that we want a body of independent, impartial, judicious and judicial men. It may be difficult to find them, but you want that class of board which will represent no particular interest. We do not want to have a tug of war between interests on the board, and the Government has come to the conclusion that it is no use having a board of part-time men. We want a board of full-time men because the experience is the board is overwhelmed with work and it wants full-time men to do justice to the work. That is why we are opposed to the idea of getting a member from the public service to devote part of his time to the reports and work of the board. If a man is in the railway department he is either necessary or unnecessary. If he is necessary all his time ought to be devoted to that important work, and there should not be thrown on him the duty of attending the Board as a part-time member and sharing in the responsibility of its reports. For that presupposes collaboration, work and the reading of a mass of documents and considering them and arriving at a conclusion. That, to my mind, is unsound. Therefore, we cannot accept the suggestion that the Board should consist partly of full-time and partly of part-time members. The Board has power to summons any witnesses from any department of the public service, and to call for information from any department except that it cannot get information in connection with income tax. So it is always open to the Board to have witnesses who have special experience with regard to particular interests. I take it where interests are concerned the Board will, of course, as a sensible body give an opportunity for the expression of the views of those directly concerned. I do not agree with the hon. member for South Peninsula (Sir Drummond Chaplin) that the primary duty imposed on the Board is that of recasting the tariff. That is not so at all; it is certainly one of their duties, but by no means the only one and I will not say the most important one. The hon. member remarked that the Bill empowers the Board to do anything under the sun. In that respect it does not differ from the duties placed upon it by the existing Act. Experience has shown that the Board has not gone outside what was contemplated originally; I have no information before me that the Board exceeded what was expected of it in an unreasonable manner. The hon. member for Hanover Street (Mr. Alexander) dealt with minimum prices and referred me to a provision in the Profiteering Act—which has lapsed,—dealing with the fixing of minimum prices. That is a big question, and as I told him privately it is not a question I am going into. I do not see how I can embody the provision in the Bill, for the Board is purely an advisory body. The provision would be an inelegancy and would be quite out of place, but it is an important matter to which I will give due attention during the recess. As to the hon. member’s suggestion that special legislation should be introduced to deal with trusts and monoplies, that is one of the very things upon which the Board will be expected to report and make recommendations. The hon. member also raised the question of an Industrial Bank. One of the first functions of the Board will be to make recommendations as to the payment of bounties or other form of State aid for industries I quite recognize that it is a sort of logical result of the establishment of the Land Bank that you should have an Industrial Bank.
A State Bank.
That is a still larger question, but it is a point upon which I am not prepared at this stage to make a definite statement, and it is a matter which will have to be considered during the recess. The hon. member for Liesbeek (Mr. Pearce) also dealt with the question of representation of various interests on the Board. I have indicated how utterly impracticable it will be to give representation to every interest that has asked to be represented. With regard to the question of a quorum raised by the hon. member for Newlands (Mr. Stuttaford) under the present Act the Governor-General in Council may make regulations prescribing the procedure of the Board, and although the Act has not laid down a definite quorum it can be laid down in the regulations. But in practice that has never been found necessary, and now with full-time members—which is a very important departure from the existing state of things—I intend, as long as I have the honour of being a Minister, of demanding an explanation of the absence of any member unless that absence is justified by illness or something of that sort. We must assume that when a man is salaried that he is devoting all his time and attention to the work and that he will be present at meetings doing his share of the work, and will attach his signature to every report. The question of the retirement of members of the Board in rotation can be considered in Committee. The hon. member for Stamford Hill (Mr. Lennox) asked me whether an opportunity would be afforded to the interest concerned to make representation when an alteration of the tariff is proposed. Naturally, the Board as a sensible body of men must give this opportunity. If a man goes before the Board with a request for support or an alteration of the tariff, the Board must necessarily give those who will be affected thereby, the chance of laying the other side of the case before it. If there is any complaint on that score it is always open to the interests concerned to approach the Minister. I would point out to the hon. member for Bloemfontein North (Mr. Barlow) that the interests of the farmer and the producer are not necessarily inconsistent with the policy of protection. In Germany it has been found that agricultural development went hand in hand with the development of manufacturing industries. Captain Bruce, the Premier of Australia, lately laid down this idea—that the surplus revenues from protection should be used for the stimulation of primary products. Therefore, I say that reasonable protection is not necessarily inconsistent with the due protection and fostering of the primary industries of the country. The Government is not out for spoliation of the agricultural or mining industries, for they are the basic and primary interests of this country. I shall always look to my hon. friend, the member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger)—child as I am to tariffs—for some guidance and information. I hope he will not take it amiss if I do not adopt every one of his suggestions, but I am always interested when I hear the hon. member speak on these subjects, as to which I admit his knowledge is much vaster than mine. Then the hon. member for Worcester (Mr. Heatlie) mentioned the case of fencing and wire netting. I think some other hon. member also mentioned these instances. It is, of course, the duty of the Government to see in every particular case what is more directly concerned. You have the great farming industry, and it is quite conceivable that the interest of that industry ought, in certain cases, to prevail against the protection or suggested protection, of a smaller and subordinate matter. These are matters that have to be dealt with on their merits, as the particular cases and circumstances arise. The hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) suggested that tariffs were unsatisfactory from the point of view of both revenue and protection, and he suggested that we should act solely on the bounties system. As a matter of fact, the Bill does make provision, as I have said, for bounties, and other forms of State aid, but I think it will be difficult for the hon. member for Benoni (Mr. Madeley) to change the great conviction of this country that the time has arrived for real protection in order industrially to develop South Africa. We must have protection. It is no good telling us that it is not in the interests of the country. We have the experience of the rest of the world—leave England out of the question for a moment—but Germany and the United States and almost every other country in the world has been built up on protection. We don’t want to run protection mad, but we want to avail ourselves of the benefits of a sound policy of protection. That means reasonable protection.
*The hon. member for Beaufort West (Mr. E. H. Louw) discussed the question of minimum prices and propaganda for our own goods. I think it is a disgrace that there is so much profiteering in South African goods. It is the curse of this country that we have so little faith in our own productions and that there is a silent contempt for things made here. We should try to change public opinion in this respect. Unfortunately, there is a tendency in this country to believe that everything coming from abroad must be superior, and we must make an end to that.
Then the member for Durban (Central) (Mr. Robinson) candidly admitted that it is impossible, at this stage, for us to have something similar to the industrial parliament, as he called it, which they have in Germany, in which all sections of the community and all interests are represented. We cannot start so pretentiously. I doubt whether it would be possible or advisable to have such an industrial parliament in our country. We are only at small beginnings to-day. Let us start with this whole-time board, and see how it works. That is why we have made provision here that the board shall be appointed for a period not exceeding three years, and the provision can be made for the retirement of members by rotation. Let us experiment and do our best and as our industrial and general development proceeds, we can become more pretentious.
The motion was agreed to; Bill read a second time; House to go into Committee now.
HOUSE IN COMMITTEE.
The CHAIRMAN stated that in accordance with the ruling given by Mr. Speaker on the 22nd instant, Clause 3 had been excised from the Bill.
On Clause 1,
I move in line 16, to omit “may” and to substitute “shall”.
I accept the amendment.
The Clause as amended was agreed to.
On Clause 2,
I move in line 39, to omit “adjustment” and to substitute “removal”; and certain amendments in the Dutch version which did not occur in the English version.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
Business suspended at 6 o’clock p.m., and resumed at 8.8 p.m.
Clauses 4 and 5 and the Title having been agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments, to be considered on 1st September.
Fourth Order read: House to go into Committee on the Zululand Railway Construction Bill.
House in Committee.
The Clauses, Schedule and Title having been agreed to,
Bill reported with amendments in the Dutch version only; which were considered and adopted.
Mr. JAGGER objected.
Bill to be read a third time on 1st September.
Fifth Order read; House to resume in Committee of Supply.
House in Committee.
When progress was reported on 25th instant it had been agreed that the sub-heads of Vote No. 28, “Agriculture”, £955,928, be considered seriatim, and sub-head A, “Administration and General”, £40,664, was under consideration.
On conclusion of the consideration of the Estimates of Expenditure referred to the Committee from time to time, the Chairman had leave to bring up a report forthwith.
In order to focus the attention of the House and the public on the extraordinary system of spoils and spoliation now being introduced for the first time in the history of the public life of South Africa—(Ministerial laughter). Hon. members of the Labour Party will not laugh so much when I have done. For the first time a flagrant system of spoliation has been initiated by the Minister of Agriculture, and in order to focus public attention on that I move—
In the paper a few days ago there was an inspired article—probably inspired by the Minister himself—stating that the new Minister had during the short time he had been in office acted in a thorough-going manner and was resolved to economize and retrench. Let us see how this policy is being carried out. Gen. Enslin and Col. Jordaan have been dismissed. It is a very curious coincidence that both these gentlemen happened to be his opponents in the field during the activities of the Minister of Agriculture in 1914.
Don’t give us an old story.
The hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) has been such a political turncoat that he told us that anything that happened a year ago was before the Flood. It is certainly a coincidence that these two gentlemen I have mentioned were opponents in the field of the Minister of Agriculture during the 1914 rebellion. This may be a pure coincidence, but I have a series of new appointments which are certainly not coincidences. Let me refer to an article which appeared in the paper a few days ago headed “A recent farming insolvency,” and which states that farming operations on an extensive scale had been revealed in connection with the insolvency of Mr. H. J. P. Bezuidenhout—Gen. Bezuidenhout—an old crony and staff officer with Gen. Maritz, said to be a rebel under the command of the Minister of Agriculture during his activities during 1914. He has just gone insolvent for £26,000. It seems to have been a pretty flagrant insolvency, but the interest to us in the matter lies in the statement “the insolvent further stated that he had recently been appointed by the Minister of Agriculture as a locust officer at a salary of £50 a month”—in other words, the very fat salary of £600 a year. His sole claim as far as I can see on the good nature of the Minister was that he had been one of his rebel chiefs in 1914. Appointment No. 2 is that of Capt. Joubert, who was staff officer of Maritz, and helped to take our boys over to the Germans. He also has been appointed a locust officer; Capt, de Villiers, likewise staff officer to Maritz, and who also helped to take our Defence Force boys over to the Germans, has similarly been appointed a locust officer. The Labour members are not laughing now.
I wish to point out to hon. members that no hon. member has the right to make any interjection from a Ministerial bench.
Here we have the case of ex-staff officers of Gen. Mannie Maritz being appointed as paid officials at the expense of the taxpayer within a few weeks of the Minister of Agriculture taking office. Let me say with regard to these unfortunate events of 1914 that I never held the view that a man who went into rebellion was a traitor. Some of the finest characters have been rebels, but there is a great moral difference between a rebel and a traitor, and the people the Minister has been pleased to appoint were not rebels in the ordinary sense—they were traitors and they handed the youths of the country over to the enemy. While they have been appointed, other men—more honourable and reputable—have been dismissed. These are four appointments of ex-rebel officers. Number 5 is J. R. de Kock. De Villiers was appointed locust officer for Gordonia, Joubert chief locust officer in South-West Africa, and Bezuidenhout, I think, he is chief officer for the whole of German West. J. R. de Kock is also an ex-rebel officer and had the honour of serving under the Minister of Agriculture and has been appointed chief locust officer for the Western Transvaal at £600 a year. Number 6, J. W. Viljoen, was Gen. Viljoen, also an ex-rebel officer, if I mistake not, under the Minister of Agriculture. I am creditably advised that the Rhodesian Police are looking for this gentleman, and last Thursday he was served with several civil imprisonment summonses. This is the type of gentleman that the Minister of Agriculture appoints as a chief locust officer.
You don’t want to be a rich man to kill locusts.
You want to have an honourable man.
What is civil imprisonment—it is proposed to abolish it for debt.
Imprisonment and rebellion are nothing? I am surprised at the hon. member. One would have thought that a member representing an important section of the public would try to set a higher standard of probity and public ability than is being set up by the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow). If these things are nothing, well I would not like to live in South Africa if these are the things we are to be saddled with in the future.
Why don’t you quote Botes who was a rebel officer.
As far as I know Botes was a scoundrel used as a catspaw by the Nationalist Party. These hon. members are trying to make light of the matter when they are faced with these damning facts. Let me tell you what happened in Marico as an example of what is probably happening in every district in the country. Naturally I am unable to produce facts and evidence as to what is going on in the whole of the country. It is only occasionally that it comes home to us on what a wholesale scale this system of spoils and spoliation is being carried on. Let me tell you what happened to De Kock and Viljoen. Up to now the locust officer in Marico had been one Poulteney, who I understand is a very reputable man and bilingual. Mr. Poulteney gets a letter of dismissal written, not by the Agricultural Department but by Mr. van Zyl, Secretary of the Nationalist Party in Zeerust and on the day he is dismissed Mr. van Zyl and Mr. Oosthuizen, who is I believe the Provincial Councillor for that area, hold a meeting in the Nationalist Party offices. They make up a list of appointments and dismissals and this ukase is served on Mr. Poulteney by Mr. Viljoen, but in the handwriting of Mr. van Zyl, Secretary of the Party. Mr. Poulteney is dismissed on the grounds of reorganization and economy. It seems to me that reorganization and economy cover a mighty lot of sins in these days. Mr. Viljoen is appointed locust officer. He is uni-lingual and an illiterate man. He knows little about locusts or anything else. Mr. Poulteney, who is dismissed on grounds of economy and reorganization, is immediately approached by Mr. van Zyl and Mr. Viljoen to sign on as assistant to Mr. Viljoen. That is the process going on in Marico and Zeerust. This man, who is dismissed from the service on the grounds of economy and reorganization, is superseded by a man whose sole recommendation is that he was a companion of the Minister of Agriculture. We are not in a position to know what the machinations of the Minister of Agriculture are in other districts, but that is what is going on in a district where, above all, the Minister is well known and in a district represented by the Minister of Justice. I am told that a third insolvent, a Mr. Durr, has also been appointed locust officer. I see that the Minister of Agriculture laughs. He has a brow of brass. I don’t think the country will laugh and I don’t think the members of the Labour Party, whatever the Labour members in this House may be called upon to do—I don’t think the rank and file of the Labour Party is going to laugh over this and I don’t think any reputable citizen of the Union is going to laugh over it.
All the honest men are in the South African Party!
I am beginning to think so by the look of it.
That is why the country threw you out.
The country did not know what they were letting themselves in for. I do not think the public of the Union realized that they were going to be saddled with a Tammany Hall system of politics in this country. I do not think any section “boss” in New York would have dared to have done what the Minister of Agriculture has done in this country. I would like to ask the Minister of Labour what he thinks of this. Whatever his political defects and faults may be, I have always found him an honest man up to now. I have never agreed with his politics, but I have always considered him to be a man of integrity. I hope he will have the moral courage to stand up in this House and say whether he approves of this system of putting personal friends and political adherents and favourites of this type into the public service of the Union. These constitute but a very few examples that I have been able to collect sitting here in this House. I have tabled a question which I will force the Minister of Agriculture to answer before this House adjourns demanding the names of every locust officer that has been dismissed from the service since June 17, 1924, and the names of the new appointments.
I would like to see them all dismissed.
I am sure you would. I do not think you will be disappointed, because at the rate the process is going on, they are all going to be dismissed and ex-rebel officers and Gen. Maritz’s officers will be installed. I see a statement in “Die Burger that every scab officer is to be dismissed. The article in “Die Burger” is cynically frank about it. It says: “We are going to give them all notice, but those who have done good work are going to be retained.” Judging by the samples of what the Minister of Agriculture considers “good work,” we know what is going to happen. Here we have “economy” in the Marico district where Mr. Poulteney carried on with 21 assistants and Mr. Viljoen has at the present moment 42 assistants. This is “economy,” according to the new regime. I hope the Minister will explain to us this inspired article in “Die Burger”—why he has given 400 scab inspectors notice, and what is meant by this somewhat onimous threat that no scab inspector, although dismissed, if he has done good work, will be fired out of the service. We know that Ministers are harrassed and pestered by thousands of their henchmen who are clamouring for posts. We know that irresponsible promises have been made in the past. These numberless chickens are coming home to roost. We know what is going on. Ministers have to do something to still the mouths of their clamouring supporters, and they look to the Agricultural Department chiefly to provide the wherewithal to foot the Bill. Everything that the new Government has done during this session tends the same way. They made an insidious attempt in the Land Settlement Bill to introduce a system whereby they could distribute largesse to their followers. We have foiled that. How we are going to foil this other thing I do not know, unless the public rise in their wrath and show that they will not tolerate this, kind of thing. I can only stigmatise the system as a scandalous one and as an iniquitous one, and I sincerely hope that this House will signify its disapproval in the very strongest terms by agreeing to the motion which I have submitted.
It is rather extraordinary that in the numerous debates that have taken place in the House the South African Party should always fix on the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) to open some attack or other. It is extraordinary for this reason that, as the speeches go on and as one member of the South African Party after the other gets up we find them gradually edging away from the hon. member for Port Elizabeth Central (Col. D. Reitz). One by one they get up and they put it in this way “let us get away from the side issues”—the side issues obviously raised by the hon. member—or they say “let us confine ourselves to this, that and the other subject.” The South African Party always seem to give the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) the opportunity of opening the attack and as soon as the hon. member gets going they are sorry that they let him loose and they gradually begin to retract. One can quite understand that when the hon. member gets up with sweeping accusations, based, one might say, not even on proper hearsay—
Coming from you, that is very rich.
When the hon. member gets up and says “I am informed,” “I believe,” or “it may be or it may not be”—and I will show him presently where he is hopelessly wrong in connection with certain appointments—one can quite understand that, if that is the attitude of the hon. member and if that is the information on which he bases his arguments, others members of the opposition gradually edge away from him and feel very sorry they let him begin this, I can hardly call it attack, this obstruction. Messrs. Enslin and Jordaan had been dismissed and the hon. member tried to bring the House under the impression that they were dismissed to make room for other people whom he has mentioned in this House. Has the hon. member taken the trouble to scrutinize the reports in connection with scab, in connection with the sheep division? Does he know that what the Minister proposes to do has been recommended time and time again by the Civil Service Commission? Has he, before making these statements, and before attempting to create the impression of jobbery, has he tried to investigate the position? Has he endeavoured to see what has been stated by his own Government in connection with the gentlemen in question? The hon. member drew a distinction, a subtle distinction, between what he called a rebel and a traitor. Probably he admires the rebel, but he has got a lot against the traitor. Of course, Mr. Chairman, it is not a case of removing certain gentlemen in the sheep division and to appoint others in their place. Messrs. Jordaan and Enslin are not to be pensioned in order to provide positions for Messrs. Bezuidenhout and Viljoen. The one officer is in the sheep division and the other is a locust officer. The hon. member knows quite well that the locust position to-day is entirely different to what it was years ago. We have members of the South African Party getting up and beseeching the. Government to do something about the locusts, and on the other hand, we have the member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) getting up and with a sob in his voice and a tear in his eye, decrying jobbery. He says the only qualifications the gentlemen who have been appointed have is that they were rebels or traitors.
I will deal with that later. Has the hon. member any personal knowledge of the gentlemen appointed? Is it fair in his opinion, to get up and make these sweeping statement, does he know these men personally and is he acquainted with their knowledge of this particular subject? It is simply the old attempt to create an atmosphere by statements which are thoroughly misleading. The hon. gentleman in answer to an interruption shows how futile the whole argument is. He has said that the notorious Mr. Botes had been made a cat’s paw by the Nationalists. When we get an argument of that calibre advanced to the House it is time the South African Party got someone else to lead their attack. The hon. member also referred to re-organization as a cloak for openings amounting to a system of jobbery. He may have to think on the matter of re-organization when the matter of Mr. Schierhout comes before the House. He has also mentioned a certain Mr. Durr and I ask has he any knowledge, has he any personal knowledge of him. Does the hon. member know that this gentleman was very strongly recommended by the Farmers Union of Zoutpansberg—composed of about 75 per cent. of South African Party men and enthusiastic supporters of the South African Party? If he does know it, what right has he to get up and make the statement that Mr. Durr is one of the undesirable appointments?
Why did he go away from Ermelo?
I would get you to ask that gentleman that question outside the House. Then the hon. gentleman came to scab inspectors, and is apparently unaware of the reports or recommendations made to his own late Government in the past. He is prepared to make this sweeping statement that 400 scab inspectors have been dismissed and without taking into consideration who is competent. I would advise him to get into touch with the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) and ask him whether the re-organization of a whole department is entirely unknown to his regime. It is really laughable when the South African Party, having appointed dozens and hundreds of these sheep inspectors who are nothing but political agents, can now in this House raise the question of jobbery and attack the Minister of Agriculture along the lines they have done.
If the hon. and legal gentleman who has just sat down defends his clients in a Court of Justice equally well as he has defended the Minister of Agriculture, all I can say is “God help the clients of the hon. gentleman.” The hon. gentleman has tried to introduce into the course of the discussion what we occasionally know in the country courts is done by gentlemen holding a less exalted position than that of K.C.—try to draw a red herring across the trail; and I have never in the course of my Parliamentary experience seen a Minister placed in a more invidious position than the Minister of Agriculture has been placed in by his friend. Does the hon. member for Zoutpansberg (Mr. Pirow), young in this House, think he occupies such a position that when a serious charge is made against a Minister he does not allow the Minister to get up; but the hon. member considers the position so serious that he dare not trust the Minister to reply, but must himself get up to defend him. When the hon. member is a little longer in this House, and has a little experience, he will not subject the House to such an exhibition as he has given, it this evening. I am not going to refer too much to the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow), who has always had a certain grudge against me since at one noted political meeting at Observatory he was not prepared to make way for another gentleman and that was the reason the hon. gentleman changed his political opinions, because of that historic meeting held at Observatory. The good sense of the Committee that was called together was not prepared to make way for the hon. member and to supply him a seat in the Cape Peninsula.
How many times have you changed?
My hon. friend tried to change them when he cut the telegraph line near Virginia Siding; and when I got out of the train and met large numbers of people and there was a possibility of reinforcements coming, the hon. gentleman was distinguished by his absence. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) has made certain charges, and I would have imagined that the Minister of Agriculture would have got up and answered them and shown whether they were true or not. I am sorry the Prime Minister was not in the House, so that he could have heard the charges that were made, and if they are correct. I say without hesitation, if they are correct and the Minister of Agriculture has been a party to these matters, he is unworthy to hold the position that he does at the present time.
The farmers have put him there.
I have grave doubts whether the farmers put him there or not. When the hon. member for Zoutpansberg (Mr. Pirow) talked so much about locust appointments, is he aware that the Transvaal Agriculture Union, a non-political union that represents I suppose a larger number of Nationalist Party farmers in the Transvaal than South African Party farmers in the course of his presidential address in opening the Congress said that Mr. J. A. Manson as a senior locust officer “has your approval.” Does the hon. gentlemen opposite know that he is not a member of the South African Party, but a member of the Nationalist Party, and is there, representing the farmers and the policy of the Agricultural Union of the Transvaal and is that the reason why the Minister of Agriculture said, in a most peremptory manner, that he would not allow any organization to dictate to him in connection with appointments? They never attempted to dictate to me nor to the hon. gentleman, but when you have an organization of that character composed of representative farmers of the Transvaal or other provinces, it is the duty of the Minister to consult these people with their local knowledge, and not to put political protegees into their place.
Exactly. That is why you did not do it.
The hon. member opposite says I did not do it. Would he like to hear what the agricultural gentlemen of the Transvaal Union say about me? All he said is this: “We have experienced a change of Government since we last met, and I would be failing in my duty if I did not place on record my appreciation of the sympathetic treatment. I have received at the hands of the late Minister of Agriculture. … When he differed from us he did so with honesty and sincerity.” I take that tribute of praise from the president of the Agricultural Union of the Transvaal, who is a member of the Nationalist party, to be of far more value than the statements of hon. members on the opposite side. In connection with the appointment of locust officers no political consideration was ever thought of. Before an officer was appointed we consulted not alone the magistrate, but the farming organizations and the people we know would be suitable persons. Why was Mr. Graham Cross put in charge of the locust administration? Because he was deemed by the Minister of Agriculture, after consultation with others, to be the best man for the position. Who was Mr. Wilkens? Is he not a leading Nationalist? Who was Mr. Kolbe? Is he a member of the South African Party?
If hon. members opposite are starting with crocodile tears now, they will have ample opportunity during the next five years for more weeping. I shall not be intimidated by soap-bubbles, and shall act in the interests of the country.
If only you act rightly.
The hon. member may depend on that. Last night I replied at once when I was attacked on the Agricultural Vote, and the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Geldenhuys) complained that I replied too soon. To-night the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) takes it amiss that I do not rise immediately to reply to the present attack. It seems as if members of the Opposition do not agree and are rather confused. I am not afraid of to-night’s assault. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) made a great fuss concerning appointments, about which members have not been consulted. When the hon. member was a Minister and making appointments did he consult hon. members? Of course not. I am responsible to the Cabinet for my department and for appointments made, and I take full responsibility for them. Now the hon. member says that Barnie Enslin and Jordaan, one of them a brigadier-general and the other a colonel, have been dismissed because they were against me in the field in 1914. When I closed down the sheep division in order to effect economies, I did not for a moment think of these gentlemen having been in the field against me, neither do I know that Mr. Enslin was a supporter of the S.A.P. I was under the impression that he was a public servant, and as such neutral. Now I learn that he was an S.A.P. adherent. Messrs. Enslin and Jordaan and the chief scab inspectors were retrenched on economical grounds. We have three departments for combating animal diseases. Has the Minister of the Interior a separate department for every human disease? Has he a department for measles, a department for plague and a department for tuberculosis? In my Department, however, there are three separate divisions. There is Onderstepoort; there is the Veterinary Division, and there is the Sheep Division which is engaged in the eradication of scab. Why should I keep the three divisions for this work? We cannot do that sort of thing. We are responsible for seeing that the money of the taxpayer is spent properly. The hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) knows that the Public Service Commission recommended two years ago that the sheep division should be abolished, but the hon. member who was then Minister did not have the courage to do it, as he was afraid of his own officials. He did not do what he should have done. Had the hon. member done his duty then, the Department would have been abolished two years ago. In reply to a question of Mr. Merriman in the Select Committee, Mr. Robinson, chairman of the Public Service Commission, said that if the division was abolished a large sum would be saved annually, and the work of eradicating scab should be placed under the Veterinary Division. That was the recommendation of the Public Service Commission, and now, when we are carrying it out, we are attacked and it is alleged that I dismissed 470 scab inspectors in order to make room for Nationalists. I have nothing to do with the political views of officials. If an official does not do good work, he will not be re-appointed no matter what his political views are. The Opposition speaks as if this is the first time that a whole division has been closed down. I would like to ask the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) what he did when he was Minister? He dismissed 430 scab inspectors. Did he then consult hon. members regarding the new appointments?
No, he appointed political agents. His new scab inspectors were used to act as political agents of the then Government party. I can assure the House there were no political considerations in connection with the eradication of scab. The, bad inspectors will have to go, but I shall keep the good ones. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) made a number of complaints regarding the locust division, and one was that I appointed Bezuidenhout, who was a rebel. No doubt Bezuidenhout was a rebel, but must he be punished his whole life for that? Who granted him and the others full amnesty? Was it not the S.A.P. Government? Does it mean that we must never employ these people again? I never knew that the members of the Opposition could be so false, as first to grant these people a free pardon and then shut them out from all appointments.
The hon. Minister should not say that members are false.
I withdraw the word, but I will say then that they are not honest. I have appointed Bezuidenhout, but it is only a temporary appointment which may last two or three months, and no longer. It has also been complained that I appointed a certain Joubert who was an officer under Maritz. Yes, Joubert has been appointed. He lives in Gordonia which teems with locusts. He is a good, honest young South African, and I am proud that I appointed him, and I feel convinced that he will do his duty. Whatever hon. members may say, his appointment will stand. Then the question was raised of the appointment of Viljoen. According to the complaint he is an insolvent, and it is alleged has been summoned to appear before the Court, and that he was also a rebel. I do not know whether Viljoen was a rebel or whether he has been in prison. It has also been alleged that Mr. Van Zyl of Marico sent a written dismissal to a certain Mr. Poulteney. Why is not the letter laid on the Table? If that is done I will take action.
A commission of enquiry should be appointed.
To investigate all the scandals.
There are no scandals. I take full responsibility for all these appointments. Because a few Nationalists have been appointed this attack is made. Does the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) want to prohibit me from appointing Nationalists or members of the Labour party? I shall not be intimidated by attacks of that sort, and if there are Nationalists who are capable I shall appoint them. The hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) explained with great verbosity that I should consult the Transvaal Agriculture Union with regard to appointments in the locust division. Is it possible to consult such bodies? And does the hon. member know that Mr. Wilkens, one of the heads of that Division, is also a member of the head committee of the Agricultural Union? He makes recommendations, and I make the appointments. In that way the Agricultural Union is being consulted. It cannot reasonably be expected of me to take instructions from the Agricultural Union. I do not want to ignore these people, and where it is necessary shall consult them. I am responsible for the appointment of officers, and as long as I bear that responsibility, shall make the appointments and reserve to myself the right to adopt recommendations or otherwise. The previous Minister knew nothing about the Locust Division, and left it to his subordinate officers—hence the present bad condition of affairs. The danger from locusts is greater today than ever on account of his bad organization. This has been improved now, and if necessary I shall visit the various places personally. The accusations of the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) that I dismissed officials in order to appoint others in their places is without foundation. Some hon. members even said that the wool industry will suffer, but there is not the least ground for saying such a thing, as the scientific division remains and will be expanded.
I believe, according to the rules and regulations of the House, that will allow a little more than the 10 minutes’ limit that was placed upon me the last time I was addressing the House, I was trying to explain to the House that in connection with the administration of the late Government and the appointment of locust officers no political consideration of any sort was brought under review. As a matter of fact, there were more chief locust officers and locust officers appointed who belonged to the political party opposite than belonged to the party represented on this side of the House.
Not in Graaff-Reinet.
I am speaking of the Union generally. Let us take the chief locust officers, how were they appointed? They were appointed by consulting the Agricultural Unions and consulting agricultural bodies and magistrates and people from whom we could get the best information. Who represents the Transvaal amongst the chief locust officers? Mr. Manson, whom the president of the Transvaal Agricultural Union went out of his way to compliment the Government on the choice they had made. Then you have Col. Wilkens. To what political party does he belong? Then you have Mr. Kolbe, who, I understand, is a Nationalist, but a leading farmer and a man who enjoys the respect of all sections of the farming community in this country. He was appointed as representing the Free State. Then we took the president of the Cape Agricultural Union, Mr. Hockly.
Are those men still holding the position?
I daresay they are still holding the position, but the Minister of Agriculture has not yet told me whether he has got rid of any other people to make room for these extra appointments. That is what the Minister has avoided telling us. My information has come from the public press.
A broken reed.
The member for Somerset (Mr. Fourie) and I very seldom agree, but I agree with him to-night. He says “a broken reed”. I got it from the leading articles in “Die Burger.” The hon. gentleman has never told a truer thing in his life. It seems to me an extraordinary thing that information in regard to such important changes should have been conveyed to us by “Die Burger” and not by a responsible Minister. It looks as if the Minister has been inspiring these articles. When my attention was called to these articles I did not believe them, I said something is wrong, it is a rumour.” But the Minister to-night says that it is the case. The Minister refers to the organization of the sheep and wool division, and states amidst the cheers of his supporters on the opposite side, that this was a recommendation made a couple of years ago. Has the hon. member gone into It, has he read the reports, has he taken the opportunity of consulting the head of his department, where they would have been able to give him all the facts; or has he been acting on the position which he took up when flushed with his Ministerial post, he said “I am not going to allow the officials of the Agricultural Department to advise or dictate to me.”
A new Mussolini.
If he went into these things he would have found that it was inadvisable to make the changes referred to. No one has a greater respect than I have for the Public Service Commission, within their sphere, but as a farmer I do not think that they are a body that really can advise on the administration of the Scab Act, and the improvement of sheep, and how it is to be carried out., That is not their job.
Why did they do it.
I, do not know, unless the inspector of Public Works thought that by doing so some economy might be made. That, of course, could not be, because it was proposed to put up a division in the Veterinary Department. Whether the Minister has done so or not I do not know.
What I have said there I have said to-night.
Is it clear on what he has done, except to make provision for his friends in the appointments to which the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz), has referred?
That is cheap.
I want to raise the strongest possible protest, not on my own behalf, nor on behalf of the members of this side of the House, but on behalf of the sheep farmers in this country.
What right have you to do it?
You must forget Observatory. I have far more right than the hon. member opposite.
No, you have not.
I think I know more about the sheep and wool industries than he does.
Yes, on wool gathering!
You are never going to get rid of scab in this country by the proposals of the hon. Minister. He proposes to remove from office two officers who have done most excellent work, General Enslin and Colonel Jordaan. If the Minister looked up the files he would find that General Enslin, when he conducted the business, and when the wool was sold to the Imperial Government, he managed so well that the leading business people said that if the Agricultural Department was not careful they would take that most excellent man away from them. Hon. members know that in the improvement of the sheep and wool industry splendid work has been done during the last ten years, and that has been largely due to the sheep and wool division presided over by Gen. Enslin. Ten years ago our wool was, in many instances, a by-word. At the exhibition at Wembley I have the best information to say that the Cape exhibit was not alone a credit to the country, but its exhibit at the Wembley Exhibition was a superior quality to even the exhibit from Australia. That was brought about solely and entirely by the magnificent organization of the sheep and wool industry, the work of Gen. Enslin and Col. Jordaan. I think the hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Fourie) will acknowledge that. With due respect to the Veterinary Department, no matter how clever they may be in their own particular work, I say the ordinary Veterinary Surgeon without knowledge and study is not competent to come in and express his opinion on the technicalities on the sheep and wool industries of this country. It is a thing which requires a special study, and you will have to train up your people so far as that is concerned.
What about the expert?
The expert must have somebody—
To teach them.
I say the proposal made by the Minister of Agriculture has caused the greatest anxiety to the farmers of this country.
Mr. McCallum is still at the head of the Department.
Yes, but he is not at the head of the department. I am talking about the breaking up of the whole system of organization. I understand the Minister wants to place the whole of the sheep and wool division including the Scab Administration, under the Veterinary Department, and he proposes to put on pension, three or four, or more of the senior officers of the Department. Is that correct?
That is right.
He proposes to retrench them and for that purpose he gives notice to each scab inspector in this country that his services would be dispensed with.
Exactly as you did.
I found my inspectors were on the pension list, and I found that in dealing with contagious diseases, which we hoped by strict attention to get rid of, I found that it was not a job for men on pension.
And you did not get rid of it in a few years.
Nor will the Minister get rid of it in his life time. You are going to appoint local boards and you are going to use the police also, and my hon. friend said the sheep inspector has got to report to the committee. Is that correct?
I picked it up from “Die Burger,” so it must be correct. Has the Minister any experience of how scab committees worked in the past? There are certain districts in this country where people are enthusiasts in removing the disease, and where if the inspector lacks in his duty, they will deluge my hon. friend with complaints and demands for his dismissal. But on the other hand, there are other parts of the country where the people are not so much in favour of stringent measures.
What about East Coast Fever?
In East Coast Fever districts where committees were appointed, we had an enthusiastic body of people who were extremely anxious to stamp out the disease. If there was friction between them and the Department it was because they said the Department did not go far enough. But there are other districts, and there are districts in the northern part of the Cape Province where the people are not looking for stringency, but where they are looking for leniency. If he wants to get rid of scab, he would allow things to go on as they were, and he would have, with the majority his Government has behind him, he would have introduced the Diseases of Stock Bill, which I have drafted and which was laid before this House.
Yes, to tax the farmers more.
He would have put that Bill through and would have placed the responsibility for cleanliness of stock on the owners and he would get rid of the disease. Until he does that he will not get rid of it.
I will not do it.
If he is going to make the appointments the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) has referred to, he is not going to improve the position in any way. We cannot help feeling, after the statement of the Minister, that there are reasons which have caused him to go in for reorganization. A change of this kind could not have been brought about by the Minister, if before bringing it in he had considered it and given it every consideration. The Minister of Agriculture has hardly come into office, and had no opportunity of discussing the question before he changed his opinion, I would like to know what the views of the Department are and what the views were that were expressed to him before he made his change. I make him a present of one statement. If he wants to know what steps I took when I had the honour to hold the position of Minister of Agriculture, I came to no decision without allowing the chief of the Department to have an opportunity of putting on paper his views, so as to protect himself if he disagreed with the Minister. I would be glad to hear if my friend had a full discussion with the Department as to the advisability of this change, and I would like to know what the decision was that was arrived at. I feel very strongly on the question, I feel very strongly on this question, and I feel we have done a great deal to build up an admirable sheep and wool industry in this country. The moment a case is reported that there has been a dereliction of duty it should be impartially investigated, and if it is found that an inspector has not done his duty, he would know that he would have his services terminated at once. I hope that the Minister will follow a policy of that sort, but I am doubtful about it. Time will show that the changes are not in the interest of the sheep farmer, and it will not be long before the sheep farmer will protest or all the progressive sheep farmers of this country or their organizations will protest.
The right hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) made the statement here just now that he was speaking on behalf of the sheep farmers of South Africa.
And so he does.
I admit my hon. friend behind him is a sheep farmer, but the right hon. gentleman has no right to say he is speaking for the sheep farmers of South Africa. I represent the biggest wool producing area in South Africa. I have looked up the Blue Book; and it is a fact. The only wool one can find in Fort Beaufort is the wool on the head of the right hon. member. There are no sheep at Fort Beaufort. I represent farmers who get a price in the biggest wool markets, and the fact of the matter is this we knew in Bloemfontein at the sheep sales two weeks ago that this change would take place. A meeting of the Merino Breeders’ Association was held under the presidency of Mr. Scholtz, a late member of the S.A.P., and nothing was said against it; in fact, the sheep breeders are welcoming this change. The right hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) lives under the shade of Table Mountain, and he gets no further. He talks a great deal about sheep farming and sheep breeding; but since the time he has come here he is living in the past; and he goes in now for fruit culture. I am reading now from a South African Party paper the “Bloemfontein Friend,” a copy of which has just got into my hand. “There is not unlikely to be a tendency to make political capital and possibly to stir up racial misunderstanding in connection with the decision of Gen. Kemp (Minister of Agriculture) to abolish the sheep division. There was a good deal of foundation for the criticism that this division was brought into existence to find jobs for some of the favourites of the South African Party it is known that the Public Service Commission has considered the sheep division for some time, and it is believed that it had recommended abolition to the late Government. … Gen. Kemp has not taken a hurried decision and has carried out the recommended proposal made and fully considered by the Public Service Commission.”
Is that the leading article?
Yes, it is the leading article. Now the Rt. hon. gentleman says he represents sheep farmers, but the Editor of that paper is the editor of the “Farmers’ Weekly”—which speaks for the farmers of South Africa. Let me tell my hon. friends opposite that they do not know what is going on in South Africa. They are living in the past, and are exploded volcanoes. The right hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) said I have a grudge against him. He must be fair. It is only a few weeks ago that I said the ex-Minister has done particularly well, and I have said so on public platforms. I have no grudge against my right hon. friend. I have a good deal of sympathy; grudge, no! He does not mean all he says. He never did. As to the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz), well, he is becoming the scavenger of the South African Party—the man with the muck rake; there is no doubt about that. He goes back to the rebellion of 1914, when we went through the most terrible time of our existence. Now amnesty has been given, and the hand of friendship has been hold out.
Do you know that some of the richest men in South Africa have been bankrupt? The hon. member for Stellenbosch (Mr. J. P: Louw) ought to be careful. There is a great deal of difference between the last hon. member for Stellenbosch and the present member. The hon. member must not laugh at bankrupts. Hundreds have gone bankrupt through unfortunate circumstances, or through locusts.
The locust department is not the civil service. I am a poor man myself. It has nothing to do with bank balances at all. The South African Party talk about rebels. Only last session here we had Sir Abe Bailey, one of their leading members and a man who was put in gaol; we had Mr. Malan, a man who was put in gaol; the South African Party went even further, they made a man who had been deported and sent to Holland their general organizer. There is nothing in that. Good luck to them. I would like to put this question to my friends on the other side: do you really and honestly believe that the speech which was made by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) this evening, is going to do any good to South Africa? Do you call that opposing? You could not govern: God knows you cannot oppose. You are bankrupt in policy and you are bankrupt in opposition. If hon. members on the other side want to know how to oppose they must come to the Labour Party. That attack was made for one reason. During the election the late Prime Minister went round the country and warned English-speaking men like myself that if the Nationalists got into power they were going to pull down the flag and make Gen. Kemp Minister of Defence. The people were told it was untrue, and the people knew it was untrue. Now hon. members on the other side are doing the same sort of thing again. It is the old racial stunt over again. Hon. members on the other side do not care the least thing for the sheep breeders. Their own newspapers say it is the racial stunt. Hon. members on the other side are simply trying to cause trouble. What is their idea? They wish to cause trouble between one wing of the Pact and another wing. But we are going to stand by our allies because we trust them. We cannot trust the hon. members on the other side.
The hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) is very fond of telling us what hon. members on this side of the House have said at some time or other. I would like to read a letter the hon. member wrote regarding secession.
I am sorry; I cannot allow the hon. member to go into the secession-question now. It has nothing to do with the question before the House.
Do you rule that against me without hearing me?
I understood the hon. member to say he was going to refer to secession.
As a point of order, I understand the charge that has been made by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) was that certain appointments had been made in connection with certain people because they had taken part with Maritz in the rebellion. I understand that was the charge, and in reply hon. members have brought up the whole question. The hon. member for Bloemfontein North (Mr. Barlow) has referred to the fact that that does not in any way disqualify people from getting positions in the public service. I thought the hon. member for Cape Town (Harbour) (Maj. G. B. van Zyl) was going to explain that the opinions of the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) are different to-day from what they were.
But he said it was dealing with secession.
To show that the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) is not advancing a bona fide argument.
I have to judge what is relevant to the debate, and I must say that the matter of secession has nothing to do with the question of agriculture.
I would like to advise the Minister of Agriculture in view of the complaints and objections of the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) that, whenever, there is an appointment to be filled the Minister should write a letter to every member on the Opposition side of the House saying I have appointed so and so. How do hon. members opposite expect to hear that appointments have been made except from the press? Do they expect the Minister to write them a private letter every time. I am perfectly satisfied when the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz)—I notice he has left the House—walks home to-night he will be singing it “I was only blowing bubbles.” I suppose he thought they were bombs he was dropping in the House, but they were only bubbles and they have been entirely disposed of by the hon. member sitting there. In one respect those charges were scandalous. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) managed to seek out a lot of names and lay the charge that this one was a bankrupt, that a rebel, this a thief, and so on. What information has he got to substantiate it? He was challenged to give information and he was unable to do so. He could not give a word. It is typical of the mode of attack from that side of the House. Another typical method of attack was that of the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) who complains that the Minister of Agriculture has deliberately taken the step without consideration and wants to know why he has not put it off and waited for the recess. Right throughout the whole of the session we have been listening to arguments on that side of the House asking why we have not settled the whole future policy of the country in a few months. But when one hon. Minister has acted expeditiously and quickly on the reports which he has studied, he is attacked by the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas. Smartt) because he has done it expeditiously and quickly. What has he done? If one looks at the Budget one finds that in this division there are 488 members of the staff. The Minister has dismissed five of that number on the recommendation of the Public Service Commission. There are 654 officers in the Veterinary Department. In the report of the Select Committee on Public Accounts for 1922 the Chairman of the Public Service Commission stated in reply to questions “we have drawn attention to the cost of scab inspection. Nearly a quarter of a million is spent annually on the Sheep Division. We have suggested whether it would be possible to place the scab and sheep divisions under the Veterinary division. A great saving and more efficiency would thereby be achieved.
That is what is going to be done, too.
The hon. member for Port Elizabeth Central (Col. D. Reitz) is always suspicious that everything done on this side of the House is done with a political aim. Is that the motive he ascribed to the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) when he dismissed over 300 men a few years ago? He tells us that is being done now, but as a matter of fact five men have been retrenched on the recommendation of the proper body. A bankrupt can be just as good a locust officer as a millionaire, and probably a better one as he will work for his money.
I know the Minister wishes to get this item through, but we cannot leave it as it is. It was announced yesterday that there would be great disclosures to-day, that a bomb would be exploded and that the Nationalist Government would disappear during the explosion. What has become of the leader of the attack? He has left the House; he has fled, and his soldiers have retreated. Why did he not make definite accusations in order to give the Minister a chance to reply? Let us fight it out so that we shall not hear all kinds of stories in the country. If the complaints are brought up in this House they can be discussed. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz), has made an attack, and what does it amount to? A secretary of the Nationalist party wrote to a locust officer that he was dismissed and the latter left the service. This is absurd; I suppose the locust officers will have to resign if they receive a letter from a child in school. The Opposition asks for a commission of enquiry as soon as an officer is dismissed on the letter of a child or a secretary of a branch of the Nationalist party. Ever since yesterday we have been trembling at this promised attack. It was led by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) and not the Minister of Agriculture, and when the latter got up we thought we would hear how the country was put back 500 years in one day. But instead of that the late Minister blew his own trumpet. For weeks he carried in his inside pocket a resolution of praise sent to him by the Agricultural Union. Does the hon. member not know that one is spoken well of only when one is dead? He is politically dead, and, of course, they praise him. One day there will be a political resurrection, and then we shall hear a different tale from those people. Why does he not carry in his pocket the motions of censure of the Agricultural Union, which were passed a short while ago? The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) thinks that an ex-traitor should never again hold a position. Does he not know that the late Administrator of the Transvaal was once a traitor? That was admitted by Mr. Robertson himself during the bye-election in Wakkerstroom, but the S.A.P. made so much of him that they gave him the most responsible position in the Transvaal. Now, however, the Nationalists are not to appoint anybody, who was once a traitor. And yet they say that the political views of an official should not be regarded on his appointment. In my constituency one has to pay to see an S.A.P., and yet their supporters get all the appointments. The two chief locust officers, for instance, are S.A.P. supporters, and yet the previous Government with a great show of innocence, said that it never knew what were a man’s political leanings. It is wonderful that immediately after a person stood as a S.A.P. candidate, the S.A.P. Government ceased to know what his political views were. There is Mr. Neser, for example, who was the S.A.P. candidate at Klerksdorp. No sooner was he defeated, than the Government began not to know what his views were, and they appointed him to the Board of Trade and Industries. There was no work for him there, however, and he resigned. Then there is another S.A.P. man. Mr. Orr, who became a member of the Railway Board. There are persons like Nicholson. Cheere-Emmett, Japie Hamman. etc., who got appointments and, of course, the Government never knew what their views were.
Certain charges have been made here to-night, and my hon. friend has tried to defend them, but he has evaded the point.
What is the point?
The point is that certain charges have been made and they have not been answered yet. The country demands an answer to these charges. The charges have been admitted by the Minister; he says he has done so, and he has declared here to-night that he is going to continue to do so. The Minister says that he assumes responsibility for what he does. He must remember that he is responsible to Parliament and that he cannot go and tell Parliament that Parliament is not going to dictate to him. He must take his instructions from Parliament, and abide by the decisions of Parliament. The hon. member for Frankfort (Mr. J. B. Wessels) has referred to the hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) as having blown his own trumpet. I think my hon. friend has every reason to do so. We of the South African Party are proud of his administration as Minister of Agriculture. The hon. member for Zoutpansberg (Mr. Pirow) has referred to a certain Mr. Durr, and has said that this man has been appointed on the recommendation of the Farmers’ Association. I would recommend him to read the report of the Agricultural Union as to what took place there, and the view expressed by the Union on the very point as to appointments made in Zoutpansberg, and see if the persons recommended or suggested by the Agricultural Society were not considered, and friends were appointed. I felt it my duty the other night, when the hon. member for Pretoria (North) (Mr. Oost) made certain charges against the Agricultural Union of the Transvaal, as a member of an agricultural union, to protest against those charges. He has tried to insinuate that the agricultural organization is sympathetic towards one political party only. It is a golden rule in our agricultural organizations that we have nothing whatsoever to do with politics, but I did not hear a single word of protest from any hon. member on the opposite side, when the hon. member (Mr. Oost) was trying to make out that the Agricultural Association was bound up in politics. I had honestly expected that the Minister of Agriculture would have rebuked his follower for having made such an insinuation. What does he do? He endorses the hon. member’s remarks. Let me tell the Minister that if he wants to make a success of his administration, he must invite the support of the farmers of this country and invite the co-operation of organized farming bodies. We heard the statement by the Minister the other night which I might say was one of the only statements he has made in this regard that he was going to discard the scab division and we had to read about that in “Die Burger.” We also saw that certain officers were to be dismissed. General Enslin was the man who started the department and I would like the hon. Minister to tell us what the scab position was at the time of the Union and what it is now. The present position is due to the working of the department and it would have been much worse if it had not done its duty. What I do object to is this that we should have to get all our information from “Die Burger” and not from the Minister. He does not trust us, he places his trust in “Die Burger.” A few days later we find that he is going to dismiss about 300 scab inspectors and he is going to place the work in the hands of the police.
We have not come to the scab vote yet.
We are discussing the Minister’s policy and it is tantamount to a vote of no confidence in him. We are discussing his policy.
A scabby policy.
I agree with the hon. member for East London (City). The hon. Minister has stated that it is his intention to dismiss certain officials for the sake of economy and I ask him now is he going to replace these people by other officials? Are you going to reappoint other people in their place?
Why did you not listen when I made my statement.
I wish you would make it again, because you were not clear on your point. I take it these are young men and that they are civil servants and they will have to be pensioned. Accordingly I want to know how far it is going to effect economy and by how much. I think the country is entitled to know that. I must say as a representative of the sheep farmers—the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow) prided himself on representing the best part of the sheep area of the sheep industry. I cannot agree with the policy of the Minister.
Wrong again. He said it was the biggest sheep industry.
The hon. member who has just spoken has taken up a very arrogant attitude for a young member. The hon. member will do better if he has more respect for older members. He wants to teach the Minister and he goes so far as to ask an explanation of him. He is in doubt as to whether Parliament will approve of the attitude of the Minister. I can assure the hon. member that Parliament will. The Minister last night explained, dismissing certain officials in order to economise. I credited the hon. member with more commonsense, and thought he would know that if people were dismissed in order to economise, they would not be replaced.
I do not believe all I hear,
Does not the hon. member understand Dutch? It is all very plain. It would seem that S.A.P. members think that once an official has been appointed no authority can dismiss him. The Public Service Commission recommended the abolition of the sheep division, but the previous Minister of Agriculture never had the gumption to carry out the recommendation. Yesterday the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) made an attack, but shortly after that his supporters had to disperse. It was said that there would be a more terrible attack to-night. It has come and we find that the sub-leader of the Opposition went in another direction. It was a mock attack made by disappointed ex-Ministers. That shows that the S.A.P. is not only too weak to govern the country, but too weak to lead the Opposition. The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) had much to say about rebels, traitors and insolvents, but there was a time when the late Prime Minister had to give him a lift. What would have become of him if that had not been done? He had to leave Heilbron because he could not make a living there, and again in Bloemfontein when the Free Staters drove him to Port Elizabeth. He would never have been in this House if the late Prime Minister had not carried him on his back. He is the last man to say so much about such hon. South Africans as those mentioned by the Minister of Agriculture. We admire him for the plucky attitude he adopted, and the country will support him through thick and thin if he will proceed on the same lines. The whole attack was nothing but a sham fight. The country has seen that the new Government is busy cleaning up the stable left by the old Government. They will see that the Nationalist ranks will swell continually, whilst those of the S.A.P. will decrease until finally they disappear like the morning mists before the sun.
I do not rise in order to defend the Minister, because he did that very ably for himself. I rise to defend people who have been attacked in a regrettable way by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz), an attack on those who cannot defend themselves. That is unfair. I know Mr. Viljoen well, and the hon. member for Standerton (Gen. Smuts), knows him well too, because Viljoen served under him as commandant in the Anglo-Boer awr. Mr. Jan Viljoen is no rebel, ho is a deserving citizen of the State with an honourable record. Now that he gets a small temporary appointment, he is attacked. Then allegations were made regarding a letter of dismissal written from the office of the Nationalist Party at Zeerust. That also is misleading. There is only one Nationalist Party office in the Transvaal and that is at Pretoria. If all the complaints of the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) (Col. D. Reitz) are so ill-founded, they are not worth much. I wish to point out to this House that 12 years ago an attack was made by the Unionist members of the same Opposition on the then scab inspector, who was accused of being a political agent. The press of the Unionist Party continued the attack, but to-night those political agents are defended. If my memory serves me correctly, the same members said, when the Sheep Division was created, that it would become the head office of the S.A.P. The last thing that a Government should allow is that State officials should be used as political agents. During the last elections most of the scab inspectors took an active part on the side of the S.A.P. I am fairly well acquainted with the Department of Agriculture. Speaking as a farmer and as one who takes an interest in the Agricultural Union, I can state that there has been for some time a feeling in agricultural circles that the sheep division should be dope away with and that the eradication of scab should fall under the Department of Veterinary Research. It is advisable that the officials of the Veterinary Department should be responsible for the combating of animal diseases, and such a change will not only ensure the work being done more efficiently, but it will also be more economical. There are many ways of doing a thing, but there is only one proper way, and that is the one now being followed by the minister. There has long been a feeling that things were better when the magistrates in the districts had more to say in regard to the eradication of scab. Since the magistrates have been robbed of part of their powers, the results have become poorer and the combating of the disease should again be placed under their control in conjunction with advisory boards composed of farmers. I am pleased to hear that the Minister is going to take strong measures for the eradication of stock diseases, and I can assure him the Transvaal will support him in that. The Minister has been severely attacked because he carried out the recommendations of the Public Service Commission, but I see no justification for this attack, all the more because the Commission was appointed by the previous Government to co-ordinate the work of the various Departments.
The previous speaker has accused me of being “manhaftig,” but, sir, I represent a constituency in which there are many progressive sheep farmers, and I am expressing their views.
They cannot be progressive farmers then.
The hon. member who has just spoken has lost his identity and because of that he thinks he is an authority on all subjects. I would advise him to regain his identity before he speaks about sheep farming. I would like to know what is to become of the sheep experts. After all the sheep division has not been used merely for the purpose of eradicating scab, but for improving our sheep and wool, and the efforts of the department on these lines have been most successful for there has been a vast improvement in the quality of our stock in the last five years, in fact ever since the initiation of that great policy of the late Gen. Botha to engage sheep experts to advise the farmers. The argument has been advanced here to-night that the administration of scab should come under the Veterinary Division, and then scab would be eradicated. I do feel that immediately scab comes under the Veterinary Division’s control, they would demand to be given the same powers in regard to its eradication as they have got in regard to other stock diseases. I maintain that if the Minister gives the present Sheep Division the same powers, they will eradicate scab. The whole reason why we have not eradicated scab up to now is that the fines have been too small. I am glad that the Minister of Finance has been most sympathetic towards fencing. I do believe that if anything has assisted to control scab in this country, it has been fencing.
I am sorry that the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. C. Van Heerden) either did not listen or did not understand. I showed clearly I was going to keep the experts of the sheep division and increase the staff. The hon. member says that if the eradication of scab is placed under the veterinary division, the disease will be stamped out. What then is his objection? If the hon. member does not understand what I say, I cannot help it. I was quite serious when I said that the Agricultural Union is not a political body. I hope the Union will remain outside the sphere of politics, and I shall consult them as far as possible. The facts of the case are that I replied to a statement of the hon. member for Pretoria (North) (Mr. Oost), namely, that the Agricultural Union of the Transvaal passed a resolution to the effect that farmers should be represented in this House by farmers and that the Union will assert itself in the political arena. I replied that I was sorry and that I would co-operate with the Union when it was possible to do so, but did not feel it my duty to carry out all the resolutions of that body. One of the resolutions of the Agricultural Union in Pretoria was that the Government should use the Air Force to destroy locusts. It would seem that they do not take the question of costs into consideration, and they forget that it is impossible to see locusts from a height of 4,000 feet. Another resolution was that railway lines should be built in the desert in order to exterminate the locusts. Yet another resolution recommended that the South African Mounted Rifles should be used. Does the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. C. van Heerden) want me to carry out all those resolutions? If they are for the good of the country I shall act on them, but not otherwise. I frankly admit that General Enslin carried out his duties ably and that there is now considerably less scab than there was at the time of Union. Does the Opposition praise General Enslin because in 1919 he got £1,200 from the Union Government and another £1,200 from the Imperial Government for his service in connection with the wool schemes? I am taking this step in the interests of the country and the farmers, and in order to deal as efficiently as possible with scab. Two practical farmers, the veterinary surgeon and possibly the commandant of the district will serve on the advisory board, and I am going to make the regulations more stringent. I am not going to exterminate sheep; what I aim at is the eradication of scab. The hon. member for Fort Beaufort (Sir Thomas Smartt) wants to know whether I have read the reports of the Public Service Commission. Yes, I have read them and I am carrying out the recommendations, but the hon. member evidently did not read them or, if he did, did not have the courage to carry them out.
Business interrupted by the Chairman at 10.55 p.m.
Progress reported; to resume in Committee on Monday.
The House adjourned at