House of Assembly: Vol2 - TUESDAY 19 FEBRUARY 1985
laid upon the Table:
Transport Services Appropriation Bill [No 48—85 (GA)]—(Minister of Transport Affairs.
as Chairman, presented the First Report of the Standing Select Committee on Finance, relative to the South African Police Special Account Bill [No 32— 85 (GA)], as follows:
C H W SIMKIN,
15 February 1985.
Mr Chairman, I move:
It gives me great pleasure to be able to participate today in this historic event by introducing the first part appropriation of the Administration: House of Assembly under the new constitutional dispensation.
Last year I also had the pleasure to be very closely involved with the introduction of the financial measures for the new dispensation, as contained in the Exchequer and Audit Act and the Revenue Accounts Financing Act. For that reason it is a particularly pleasant task for me, as Minister of the Budget, to be able, in continuation of this process, to deal with this product which gives expression to the actual financing of own affairs and self-determination under the new dispensation. This is really the first financial step in the important process of development of moving away from the Westminster system of democracy.
The objective of the Part Appropriation Bill before this House is to appropriate funds totalling R1 136 million from the State Revenue Fund for transfer to the Revenue Account established in terms of section 2 of the Exchequer and Audit Act, 1975, to finance the expenditure of those departments falling under the Administration of the House of Assembly.
For your information, I should like to mention that the following departments have been classified under the Administration of the House of Assembly in terms of Schedule 1 of the Constitution Act of 1983: Health Services and Welfare, Agriculture and Water Supply, Education and Culture, Local Government, Housing and Works, and Budgetary and Auxiliary Services.
In terms of section 4 of the Exchequer and Audit Act, 1975, amounts appropriated in terms of the Part Appropriation Act are deemed to be advances, and consequently cease to have effect on the commencement of the Appropriation Act for the financial year concerned. Issues already made under such a Part Appropriation Act are deemed to be issues made under the Appropriation Act.
†I would further like to point out that the monthly requirements for the Departments of Health Services and Welfare, Local Government and Housing and Works, as well as for Budgetary and Auxiliary Services are estimated to follow a fixed pattern, whereas the estimates for Agriculture and Water Supply, are estimated to follow a fluctuating pattern due to payments in respect of various loans granted by the Agricultural Credit Board to armers, and furthermore due to payments in respect of subsidies and production loans payable to farmers in the drought-stricken areas.
As far as the payments to Universities and Technikons, which fall under the control of the Department of Education and Culture, are concerned, the biggest part of the subsidies are payable in the beginning of the new financial year due to the fact that these institutions operate from the beginning of the calendar year, compared with the fiscal year of the State which begins on 1 April.
*I want to give hon members the assurance that the amount of R1 136 million which is to be appropriated, is the minimum amount estimated until the requisition in respect of the main appropriation for the 1985-86 financial year is appropriated.
It is consequently with confidence that I ask the support of hon members for this well-considered motion.
Mr Chairman, in the first instance, may I convey my congratulations to the hon the Minister of the Budget on his appointment and his first appearance in this particular debate on this occasion. I personally wish him well in his job and I hope that we will have many opportunities to debate and cross swords in this House on matters which concern the welfare of our people.
May I say right at the beginning that the ambit of the debate is obviously going to be interesting because in the normal course of events in any legislature—for instance in the provincial council in the days when you and I were there, Sir, even though the scope of the provincial council was limited—in a financial debate of this nature anything we like can be debated including national politics. I hope we shall have the same procedure here and that this will be an occasion for a full and free debate on any subject that hon members may like to raise.
It is also true that in many respects there is a very thin line between own affairs and general affairs, because if one looks at Schedule 1 to the Constitution Act which specifies what may be discussed one sees that in most cases it states: “Subject to what a general law may provide.” The reality is, therefore, that the grey area is so tremendous that there really should be no provision in this regard.
However, the fundamental question which I should like to pose to the hon the Minister of the Budget today is not only what the costs of the separate services which are being rendered are—because we have no budget before us at the moment; we are dealing purely with a part appropriation—but whether he can give us an indication of the additional costs as a result of the administration of the services involved.
As far as we are concerned, there are many real savings to be effected by having a number of so-called separate activities put together, but there is no question about the saving in respect of administration which goes on top of that. There is little doubt that we have incurred very high additional administrative expenses, and the best example came from the question of just a few minutes ago when we dealt with the hon the Minister’s own department. The question of additional staff is one that he still has to investigate to know what the position actually is.
On the question of State expenditure, we on this side of the House have taken a fairly strong view on the expenditure that should be pruned. The expenditure we believe should be pruned is in relation to things which are unnecessary, which cause duplication of work and which deal with the implementation of laws that we can do without in order to bring about an efficient administration of the State. We have never advocated and we will not advocate the cutting back on expenditure that is required for meeting the social requirements of the people and which is necessary for maintaining the stability of the community. There is a fundamental difference in this regard and, because of this, I wish to move the following amendment:
- (1) to provide additional meaningful relief for the aged, war veterans and other persons in need of social assistance in the prevailing serious adverse economic circumstances;
- (2) to bring relief and protection to those who are unable to obtain or afford reasonable accommodation;
- (3) to take adequate steps to meet the projected water shortages of the future;
- (4) to assist in the provision of agricultural products at reasonable prices to the consumer, while ensuring a viable agricultural community;
- (5) to ensure continuance of free and compulsory primary and secondary school education, and access to tertiary education to all who can benefit therefrom; and
- (6) to upgrade the level of health services.”.
This amendment covers the ambit of what the Ministers’ Council has to deal with in the main, and individual speakers will deal with its individual constituent parts.
I myself would like to deal with the expenditure aspect because we have already discussed a general affairs part appropriation amounting to some R7 billion. If we total the amount for own affairs that is to be appropriated by each of the three Houses, we find that it amounts to R1,71 billion of which this House will appropriate R1,136 billion. I feel that some explanation is needed in regard to the apportionment of the total amount. Why is there an amount of R1,136 billion to be appropriated by this House? How is this figure arrived at and what is the basis for it? It cannot be a round figure because we have this odd amount of R1,136 billion. I feel that this needs an explanation.
In addition to this, I want to say that the complete omission that we have noticed thus far in regard to the new constitution is that nobody has told us how the departments have been divided up. Nobody has told us how the staff has been dealt with. Nobody has yet told us how money has been allocated in terms of the Exchequer and Audit Act under the amended authority for the past financial year. Nobody has told us where that money has gone to. Nobody has told us how much was allocated to general affairs and how much was allocated to the various administrations of own affairs. [Interjections.]
Wait for the Budget.
The hon Minister says: “Wait for the Budget.” We are dealing with this financial year which ends on 31 March. As I say, nobody has told us these things.
The hon the Minister was utterly silent on the point as to why there has actually been a part appropriation this year at all as far as own affairs are concerned. The intention was—the hon the Minister himself conveyed this to us—that by reason of the provisions of Act No 120 of 1984, we had statutory appropriations which made a part appropriation unnecessary. Therefore, I should like an explanation from the hon the Minister in regard to what he said during the debate last year and how he interprets section 2(1) of the Act which reads as follows:
Subsection (3) of the same section reads as follows:
This, therefore, is an interesting feature because one can assume from what is happening that what is taking place here is that the appropriation statutes for 1984-85 do not cater adequately for the 1985-86 financial year if the amount is simply transferred automatically. It would appear that one would need a larger sum of money, and therefore one is led to assume that there is going to be a substantial increase in Government expenditure this year in regard to own affairs and therefore too in respect of the general affairs budget. Otherwise one would have assumed that the general affairs Appropriation Bill would have been adequate enough in order to deal with the situation, bearing in mind the provisions of the law that I have just read to you. That was the view of the hon the Minister; that was the view that he took. That was what he said, and if one looks at Hansard one will find that he said it in so many words.
However, I think there are other matters that need to be dealt with. There are two specific questions that I wish to direct to the hon the Minister of the Budget. Firstly, in terms of the Act I have already quoted, namely the Revenue Accounts Financing Act, there is a power in respect of levies which may be raised by this House in respect of services. What are his intentions in regard to the raising of levies? Are we going to have some more taxes imposed upon us indirectly which the hon the Minister of Finance is not going to do but which this Minister of the Budget is going to impose upon the unsuspecting public by pretending that they are levies? That is my first question.
The second question is as follows. Last year, in dealing with the question of statutory allocation and the fact that it would be done automatically in respect of certain amounts for this financial year without having an Appropriation Bill, the hon the Minister said in this House:
I want to ask him: What negotiations are taking place? Who is participating in the negotiations? I want to know that, because we are not taking part. What is taking place in regard to the formulae and in regard to how the formulae are going to be applied? The Standing Committee on Finance is certainly not dealing with it. Who is dealing with it, if anybody is dealing with it at all? The whole question of how the cake is going to be divided is the vital question for South Africa, and we have had nothing but silence on that question until now.
Mr Chairman, in the first instance I want to congratulate the hon the Minister on the responsible department that has been allocated to him. We know him as a particularly capable Deputy Minister of Finance, and we are very pleased that he has been appointed to this post. We wish him everything of the best in the task that lies ahead.
The amendment of the hon member for Yeoville was once again typical of the conflicting opinions within the PFP. He started his speech by referring to the wastage of money that is taking place. Then he moved his amendment, but he did not tell us how much his recommendations were going to cost or where we were going to find the money for them. I am very sorry to say it but, beyond that, he was merely trying to score political points because this is a part appropriation. Further details will be forthcoming in the main Budget. I gained the impression that the hon member did not quite know how to deal with this matter. [Interjections.]
In the discussion of this part appropriation where we still do not have all the details, it may perhaps be important for us to take a broad view in regard to the norms applied in the allocation of functions, functions of State activities such as education, health and transport at the various levels of government. It is important for us to look at this allocation of functions because a budget only reflects the activities allocated to the various departments.
I think the hon member for Yeoville first referred to the fact—many other speakers also mentioned it—that, in principle, the Constitution is in conflict with basic economic principles. The hon member for Yeoville also pointed out that we find here a duplication of public services as well as an extension of the Public Service. A further point of criticism—of course, one expects this from the CP—was that most functions are allocated to general affairs at the first level of government and that very little remains that can be considered to be own affairs.
I want in the first place to point out in this respect that every constitution is drawn up with a view to political feasibility. Only then is consideration given to the question of economic effectiveness. The criticism in connection with the extension of the Public Service also merits attention in my opinion. I should like to point out that the Public Service is very closely linked to the growth in the economy of the country. In this regard I should like to make the following quotation:
In this respect one thinks for example only of the fact that the PFP wishes to suspend influx control completely. They are absolute protagonists of a swifter process of urbanization. It is, however, true that the swifter the process of urbanization the greater the demands that are made of the Public Service.
Influx control has nothing to do with own affairs.
Mr Chairman, a budget reflects the allocation of functions to the respective levels of government. We find continual movement here between the various levels. We have also to deal here with the struggle for concentration on the one hand and decentralization on the other hand; and, of course, the struggle between diversification and integration—equalization and competition. Furthermore there is also the struggle between control by way of regulation on the one hand and freedom of discretion on the other. There is therefore a continual movement of functions from the highest to the lowest level of government. The most important reasons for this movement are, however, political decisions which are based on social and economic changes. It appears from studies that where the allocation of functions deviates completely from basic economic and management principles, adjustments have to be made at a later stage.
As I have already said, in South Africa the new Constitution is based on the principle of political feasibility. What this amounts to is that the Coloureds and the Indians are included in the political decision-making process without the rights and authority of the Whites in regard to their own affairs … [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member must confine himself more to own affairs.
Mr Chairman the theme of my plea is the functions that are allocated to own affairs. I do not think one can talk about the allocation of functions to own affairs without taking the total spectrum into consideration.
Order! The hon member cannot select a subject for his plea and, in so doing, not discuss own affairs. The hon member must confine himself to own affairs.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, my time is too limited, Mr Chairman.
The philosophy of this Government is the maximum decentralization of own affairs to the lowest level of local government. In the budget for own affairs for this House, therefore, provision is made for own affairs at this level as well as for local authorities. The criticism of the CP boils down to the fact that nearly all the Bills submitted to this House are dealt with under general affairs, and that few of them deal with own affairs. Unfortunately, it is true that Bills and even amounts of money that are voted, do not always reflect the scope of the functions allocated to budgetary and other own affairs departments. Own affairs starts with budgeting for own affairs and moves down to the lowest level of local government.
It is interesting to note that in the USA where own affairs are defined as “human resource services”, we find that over a period of 20 years …
Forget about the USA; rather discuss South Africa.
Mr Chairman, I am speaking at the moment. The hon member for Kuruman will be given an opportunity to speak later. I should be pleased if he will kindly keep his mouth shut. [Interjections.]
As I have said, it has been found in the USA, Defence excluded, that over a period of 20 years, State spending can be allocated as follows. Of the State spending involved, 20% is spent at first level, 20% at State level and 40% at local level. Therefore, I want to advance the argument that a constitution which rests on the principle of joint decision-making on general affairs and separate decision-making on own affairs is not necessarily in conflict with basic economic principles. I want to state further that political feasibility does not necessarily clash with economic effectivity. I also want to point out that we in Southern Africa have an integrated economic market which makes joint decision-making and joint affairs in various departments absolutely necessary.
I come now to the principles on which the allocation of State functions rests. Which principles ought one to consider in regard to the question of the allocation of functions for own affairs? Firstly, one must consider the principle of economic effectivity, secondly, the principle of fairness, thirdly the principle of political responsibility, and fourthly, the principle of administrative effectivity. If these principles are not considered, it will lead to heavy expenditure in the budget for own affairs.
The principle of economic effectivity rests upon scale savings—unfortunately, this does sound theoretical—competition in the public sector and the price mechanism in the public sector. The principle of economic effectivity provides that functions shall be allocated to levels of government where they can be implemented most cheaply and most effectively.
Scale saving is an interesting aspect because one finds that as the demand for services increases one experiences a drop in costs. If one wanted to find out where this principle operated best, one would find this particularly in capitally intensive industries. In the case of Defence, when one comes to the Airforce … [Interjections.]
Order! I have asked the hon member to come back to own affairs. If he does not do so I shall be compelled to ask him to resume his seat. The hon member may proceed.
Mr Chairman, a second point I want to raise is the labour intensive aspects of the Public Service. This affects the Public Service but criticism was expressed by the hon member for Yeoville in regard to so-called duplication. I shall try to reply to that. When one is dealing with labour intensive units in the Public Service, one does not have scale savings, and this can be broken up into various units. As I have already said, the increase in the Public Service is not necessarily linked to the number of units. The criticism that has been expressed here in regard to the fact that we have various departments for own affairs—a matter which according to our critics is going to increase expenditure—is doubtful because it cannot be proved.
There are, however, elements in certain departments which are labour intensive and which cannot be classified under own affairs. A matter dealing with own affairs must, however, be seen in its totality because aspects of it are delegated to the local authorities. Therefore, when one looks at the allocation of functions to a department in regard to own affairs, I have already pointed out that the duplication of costs in that regard …
If the hon member does not know what own affairs are, how then is the hon member for Brentwood supposed to know? [Interjections.]
One finds that that criticism in regard to the allocation of functions for own affairs in the Public Service and the tremendous expense in that regard is not well-founded.
Another interesting point is that of the price mechanism in the public sector which is of great importance in regard to own affairs. The hon member for Yeoville expressed criticism in regard to levies. In the case of own affairs we have to deal with the division of revenue in the main Budget where there is a portion of the revenue for own affairs. Moreover, in the case of own affairs, the right exists to impose levies.
These levies which are also known as “user charges” are nowadays an important method in the State system of collecting funds. In fact, it is often regarded as a very good way of accumulating funds. We have to deal here with the principle of exclusion. When one makes use of a levy, it is often the most effective way of correctly utilizing of the resources of the State. It is also to the advantage of the non-consumer because he does not have to pay. Funds obtained from levies also assist in covering total expenditure. The function of levies has the advantage that levies can be imposed in respect of any service at any level of State administration.
Another very interesting aspect comes to the fore when we come to the question of fairness. As far as fairness is concerned, one has to deal with the distribution of revenue and expenditure, and here the well-known overspill concept comes into play. One cannot allocate functions to own affairs when one has to deal with a too large overspill problem. One has therefore to try to concentrate those functions somewhere and, as the present Constitution is drawn up, this overspill problem has already been eliminated fairly well.
Let me use a practical example. Defence is to the benefit of all of us but it does not fall under own affairs in the various Houses and so it cannot be debated during the course of this debate. Another example is the research at Onderstepoort which is of importance to all farmers, White and non-White.
There is a further aspect which is of great importance in the allocation of functions in respect of own affairs, and that is the question of political accountability. Through the medium of this Constitution we have created the possibility for each population group to have access to and control over its own affairs. It is a well-known fact that in countries like England and the USA minority groups like the poorer sections of the population do not always have access to and a say in regard to expenditure. As a result of our system of own affairs at this level, and as it is decentralized to local authorities, we fortunately do have the advantage of being able to give every population group the possibility of having access to and control over its own affairs.
I want to come to a fourth point which is very important. The first point of importance, as I have pointed out, is economic effectiveness. The second point is fairness which comes into play particularly at a higher level. As far as own affairs is concerned there is also an interesting element of fairness in that the people outside are also given the opportunity to participate in own affairs, even at as low a level as the local authority level. The fourth point which is very important in the allocation of funds to own affairs is the question of administrative efficiency.
In drawing up a budget for own affairs one must continually ask oneself whether the department implementing the functions allocated to it is sufficiently capable of carrying out these responsibilities correctly. The Public Service gives particular attention to planning—programmed budgetary systems.
Where we have now started off in a new direction it is of the most vital importance for the departments falling under own affairs to define their aims clearly. They must give particular attention to their resources. They must also give particular attention to the necessary implementation of policy to achieve those aims. It is also important in the case of own affairs that departments should give particular attention not only to the determination of goals for the lower levels but also the co-ordination of their priorities.
There is a further aspect to which I should like to refer and that is that as far as own affairs are concerned, they have the authority of law. It is often stated, particularly by hon members of the CP, that the Whites have forfeited many of their powers. However, when one looks at own affairs, one finds the following quotation from the pen of a well-known expert in constitutional law particularly fitting:
With own affairs we have to deal with the whole question of the “co-equal legal basis”. I do not think we need feel badly about what we are developing here.
I also want to point out that we have today reached a very interesting phase in our history. When one looks at our Constitution, at the norms in terms of which one has to allocate functions and how those functions have already been allocated to own affairs, then it is clear that we have a political feasibility here which is not in conflict with economic effectiveness. We have a model here which is not in conflict with the whole question of the devolution of power. I am certain that when we receive the financial Budget reflecting the functions allocated to own affairs we shall see that we are on a new road which in my opinion is going to be a great success. Therefore, I support the Bill before us.
Mr Chairman, I want first of all to congratulate the hon the Minister on his appointment to this post. I think he is going to need strength and sympathy. We heard at the time that the Cabinet was going to be appointed on merit. Having listened to the hon member for Waterkloof, it is clear to me that when the hon the Minister was appointed his merits were far above those of the hon member for Waterkloof.
Before I go any further, I first want to move an amendment, and then I will debate the matter further with the hon member for Waterkloof. I move as a further amendment:
The hon member for Waterkloof said that the Constitution was there for political feasibility and economic effectiveness. However, what political feasibility has this Constitution ever had except to deprive the White man totally of all his power? The Government has surrendered completely and has now to listen to what the international money market and America prescribed to it. The Whites have no authority over their own affairs. Every single thing is subject to a general law, and that hon member knows it. If that hon member does not know it, I do not know how he can teach at a university.
He went on to talk about economic effectiveness. If that is what he is talking about, where is the economic effectiveness since the Government received a “yes” vote? The economy of this country is collapsing. There is unemployment in every respect, retrenchments, bankruptcies and liquidations—consider them and call them what you please. If we have economic effectiveness then the businesses of those Whites should have flourished. The Coloureds should also have flourished in their Chamber and in their sphere. This also holds goods for the Asiatics and the Blacks.
I want to ask the hon member for Waterkloof where the fairness comes in. What does he see as fair? Is it fair that the Whites who in the past had authority over everything that was theirs, who had total authority and sovereign power, should now have been stripped of everything? Is that fair?
The NP is making a total and complete assault upon the soul of the Whites, their spirit and now even their identity. Just look at what the BBC—Botha Broadcasting Corporation—showed on TV last Monday. The Whites are being brought down. Their own identity and honesty is being made suspect— and then this is fair. Is that hon member proud of being White? That is his own affair. He says that we are moving in a new direction. However, the NP has not moved in a new direction but has tumbled over a cliff. Then they still say that the Whites are fully privileged.
Last year the hon the Minister held a meeting in Johannesburg, and fortunately I was there. I expected the hon the Minister to tell us a little more about this department today and everything it does and how money is allocated. After all, money would have had to be allocated to these three departments from 3 September 1984. What I know, I heard the day he spoke, but he has said nothing in the House today. The hon the Minister’s speech took four minutes, but if it had been my department, I would have been able to talk about it for four days. I would have spelt out the survival of the Whites, but the hon the Minister has destroyed their chances for survival to such an extent that he was not able to talk for longer than four minutes. On that occasion the hon the Minister said that the Administration of the House of Assembly did not have authority to levy taxes because taxation could only be levied from one quarter. He said that the respective Ministers’ Councils could at most impose levies on services, but that the revenue thus generated would have to be utilized where it accrued. The hon the Minister told me that he has the authority to impose levies. When I asked him what the difference was between a levy and a tax, in view of the fact that the ordinary man in the street had to pay both, he said that there was actually no difference. He said that the central Government would impose taxation, and that I can understand. However, now there is the question of levies, and I want to know from the hon the Minister whether he is going to impose levies on income tax and whether he is also going to come to light with levies as is the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. At the moment, the NP Government is not imposing taxation but is stripping the Whites in this country of all their possessions. Is the hon the Minister also going to impose levies now like the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning in respect of regional development into which the Blacks will also now gradually be drawn? The world is not being told the truth. At the time of the referendum the former Prime Minister said that there would never be joint sittings. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member must come back now to the discussion of own affairs.
I shall discuss own affairs now. Is it an own affairs that we should all sit together? Is it an own affair that the hon the Minister can impose taxes for revenue purposes? Is he going to impose a levy of 2% on turnover and salaries? How is he going to impose taxes to pay for expenditure in respect of own affairs? He must spell this out. Why is he hiding it? The levies which the hon the Minister is going to impose must be used for the services and the survival of the Whites. How long after these taxes have been imposed is the money still going to be used exclusively for the own affairs of the Whites? The hon the Minister also told me that day that he had a large department with 14 000 officials.
Mr Chairman, the hon member is apparently referring to what I am supposed to have said. Perhaps he will give me his source.
Does the hon the Minister think that I do not have a source? [Interjections.] I have the document here and will let him have it. [Interjections.] I challenge the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning to accuse me of having quoted something for which I do not have a source. I did not want to do it, but I challenge the hon the Minister …
May I ask the hon member a question?
No. I challenge the hon the Minister to accuse me of having quoted something for which I do not have a source. Be a man. [Interjections.]
Order! There is freedom of speech in this House, and the hon member is entitled to make his speech. The hon member may proceed.
The Whites in this country are the people who have throughout the years provided work and shown initiative. I want to explain what has happened in this country. From a reply to a question asked by the hon member for Pietersburg on 3 May 1984, it appeared that the Whites in this country had paid R3 152 803 000. This is in regard to tax assessments that were sent out. The Coloureds paid R77 335 000 in tax and the Asians paid R74 478 000 in tax. The Whites paid 95,5% of all direct taxation for that year, the Coloureds paid 2,3% and the Indians 2,2%.
I want to put this question to the hon the Minister. He has a seat on the Priorities Committee. After all, we no longer have simply a Minister of Finance; we have a very large State machine, and this committee is only one of many. The Whites are discriminated against, and I refer particularly to children’s allowances for 1982-83, which have also been mentioned in this debate. The average disbursement per child per annum to the Whites was R532,27, to the Coloureds R609,94, and to the Indians, R898,98. I want to ask the hon the Minister whether on this Priorities Committee of which the State President is the chairman, he has asked that the White children should be given the same allowance in view of the fact that the Whites pay so much tax. In the other Chambers there is the request that old age pensions for Whites should initially be frozen until everything can be at par. Can I have a source from him? Did he say yes or no? No, he sits there because he is an instrument in the hands…
Order! If the hon member is perhaps able to indicate to me where it is provided that Pensions, in this regard, is an own affair, I shall permit him to proceed with his argument. However, if he cannot find it in Schedule 1, then I am afraid that he will have to come back to own affairs. The hon member may proceed.
Mr Chairman, if pensions for White children are not an own affair, then you are confirming the fact for us that there are no longer any own affairs. Everything then is general affairs. I am referring to the pensions and allowances of the Whites by way of comparison with those of the other groups.
Order! I am not arguing with the hon member at all. Unless the hon member can show me in Schedule 1 of the Constitution, or otherwise convince me, that Pensions, in this regard, fall under the administration of this Ministers’ Council, I cannot permit the hon member to continue for the simple reason that it does not fall within the authority of the Ministers’ Council. The hon member must abide by my decision. He may proceed.
Mr Chairman, pensions are paid by the Department of Social Welfare, and it is under that subject that I have raised the matter. I do not wish to disobey your ruling, Mr Chairman, because I am quarrelling with the Government. I do not wish to quarrel with you.
As far as own affairs are concerned, I want to ask the hon the Minister whether the Voortrekker Monument falls under one of his departments or whether it falls under general affairs. Does the hon the Minister regard the Voortrekker Monument as an own affair of the Whites of South Africa, yes or no? Can this Ministers’ Council decide in regard to the Voortrekker Monument? We have nothing before us. Is the hon the Minister’s department going to pay allowances or maintenance costs in respect of the Voortrekker Monument? I should very much like to know what the situation is. Is the Voortrekker Monument an own affair for the Whites or is it a general affair?
Non-Whites can also visit the Monument.
The hon the Minister says that it is actually a general affair. That is what it boils down to. Does the hon the Minister regard the Monument as a general affair purely because non-Whites can also visit it?
Non-White visitors also visited the Voortrekker Monument in your NP days.
That is true, but who controls the Monument? All the non-Whites in South Africa breathe as well. I want to ask the hon the Minister to tell us under what affairs the Voortrekker Monument falls. This budget and this whole matter prove to us what a farce these so-called own affairs are. This is a tragedy, and I want to say that the struggle that our fathers began will continue until we die or have triumphed. That is the oath of White South Africa. We shall restore the White man to his rightful place in this country. I want to tell the hon the Minister that we are going into this.
Mr Chairman, we now have to deal for the first time with a new dispensation in our taxation structure. This is a sort of group taxation. In terms of the amendment moved by the hon member for Sunnyside we are now going to have a taxation structure in terms of which the various population groups on their own are going to have to be responsible for taxation. We will then have White taxation, Coloured taxation and Indian taxation. It appears to me then as though we are also still going to have Black taxation. We will then have to make an allocation in regard to company tax and transfer it in certain proportions to the Whites, the Coloureds and the Indians. We shall have to divide up GST and decide how much the Whites are going to receive, how much the Indians are going to receive and how much the Coloureds are going to receive. The hon member for Sunnyside’s amendment is quite priceless. I think we should preserve it for posterity. [Interjections.] Sir, as long as the hens cackle, I do not care if the cock crows.
With this discussion of the Part Appropriation of the Administration: House of Assembly, we are giving effect to the one leg of our Constitution, namely the principle of authority over own affairs. The other leg, namely that of deciding on general affairs, is already off the ground. The mechanism to give effect to it is already well in motion; it is co-responsibility as vested in the operation of the Cabinet, a co-say as vested in the operation of the standing committees, and the decision-making process in the three Houses. With goodwill, a sober approach and objective thinking, this process will work. Of that I have no doubt.
In dealing with own affairs I gain the impression—after the hon member for Sunny-side spoke I was convinced of it—that the other participating parties in the intimate circle of this House, the House of Assembly, have revealed a large measure of negativism in respect of the system. Therefore, as far as they are concerned, there is no wish to arrange own affairs to such an extent that they will receive high priority in these activities. We in this House are going to make or break this system. If we go on belittling the system, denigrating it and applying delaying tactics wherever we can, we will be placing own affairs on the pyre of destruction.
The PFP advances as its argument the effect of duplication. They do not acknowledge the necessity for own community claims. They fail to acknowledge the claims of every separate community and they want to deprive the communities of the privilege of deciding solely and alone in regard to their own affairs.
On the other hand, the CP denigrate it as being inferior and unimportant, and paint a picture of the present system as being simply a farce in which authority over own affairs is eventually going to disappear. [Interjections.] That is a sign of laxity, of weakness, of a sort of abdication that prevails on the part of the CP. Do they not lack the desire and the will to build upon own affairs? That is the question we must put to them which they have to answer. Do they have the ability to build upon own affairs as something fine in our national economy? They will have to guard against an oversimplication of the allegation that own affairs are inferior or unimportant.
In this blatant denigration of own affairs they are going to be the pallbearers of this system. [Interjections.] The debates of the past have illustrated this clearly. They paint such a miserable picture of own affairs that people outside can easily gain the impression that own education and own community life are not viable. Then they must not accuse the NP of the demolition of a pure education system or an own community life for Whites. It is their actions that give rise to the breaking down and demolition of own affairs—of that which is important to us as Whites. The question is therefore whether they are in earnest when they talk about the position of the Whites in South Africa.
The White man in South Africa does not wish to see himself as wrapped in a cocoon or in cotton-wool. [Interjections.] He does not want to cut himself off and live in isolation. The White man in South Africa has achieved something; he has developed the will to maintain himself, and he is going to do so even more so in the future. With that will that he has acquired, he is going forward into the future with confidence, and no fear-mongering tales about integration or abdication will cause the Whites again to stop in their tracks and even about turn, as the CP have done. We on his side of the House are proud … [Interjections.]
Thank you, Mr Chairman. There is such a choir of them singing that they cannot hear themselves at all.
We on this side of the House are proud of this component of own affairs in our Parliamentary dispensation. I repeat, we are proud of own affairs as a component of our Parliamentary dispensation.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
Is the hon member prepared to answer a question?
No, Mr Chairman, that hon member has already talked so much that… [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member is not prepared to answer a question.
I have tried to make myself acquainted with the Administration: House of Assembly. I have the privilege of serving on three of the five own affairs ministries’ study groups or caucus groups. Together with my colleagues on this side of the House I want to give the Chairman and the members of the Ministers’ Council the assurance that we will do everything possible to build upon this leg of our Parliamentary system and make something fine and worthwhile of it. We should like to wish the Chairman of the Ministers’ Council and his colleagues everything of the best.
We should also like to assure the officials with Mr Cornelissen as Director-General at the head of this Administration: House of Assembly, that we have full confidence in their ability, and that we wish to work with them in a spirit of the best good faith and cooperation. We on this side of the House will jealously ensure the implementation of the eight national aims as contained in the Constitution. However, it will also be the task of this group to strive to achieve the first aim, namely to respect, promote and protect the self-determination of population groups. That will also be our task. If the other parties in this House do not see their way clear or are not willing to do that, we in this group do and are and we shall do it.
Time does not permit me to deal in detail with the budgeting procedure. Under the Vote Administration: House of Assembly, a global amount will appear in the Blue Book which, in terms of section 84 of Act 110 of 1983, will be transferred to the Revenue Account of the House of Assembly. For the coming financial year section 84(a) which deals with a specific formula, will not be applied, but use will be made of the procedure as laid down by section 2 of the Revenue Accounts Financing Act, Act 120 of 1984. In terms of this arrangement the amount that will be available for own affairs will be the budgeted amount for 1984-85 minus the nonrecurring expenditure and minus the sum of the anticipated revenue to be obtained from the own affairs economy. From this the budgets of the five departments will then be drawn up which, after presentation, we shall most probably be able to discuss.
I want to conclude by referring briefly to education as an own affair. Education is primarily an own affair. Unfortunately, I do not have the time now to deal with this matter in detail; we should like to do so when the Second Reading of the Appropriation Bill of the House of Assembly is before this House. For the present I want to content myself by referring to Act 76 of 1984, the National Policy for General Education Affairs Act, in terms of section 2(1) of which the Minister of National Education will determine norms and standards. In terms of section 2(2) of the aformentioned Act the Minister of Finance will then also budget accordingly. Section 3 of the Revenue Accounts financing Act makes provision for levies in respect of specific requirements for an own group. Such levy legislation will then be dealt with as a law of own affairs, and in the case of the Whites it will be submitted to this House for approval.
One should not at this stage make unqualified inferences in regard to the compulsory contributions by parents to which the Province of the Transvaal has already given attention. The principle of the financial involvement of parents has been accepted, but there will still have to be a great deal of discussion before the amount per child and when it will have to be applied is decided upon. Parents should therefore not allow themselves to be misled by unqualified gossip which periodically does the rounds in this connection. Eventually it will be the Ministers’ Council that will have to decide in regard to this matter after which we can then argue the case in this House.
I have pleasure in supporting the Bill and I want to wish the hon the Minister of the Budget everything of the best.
Mr Chairman, I should also like to add my congratulations to those of the other hon members to the hon the Minister in respect of his appointment, and of course wish him good luck. Having said that, I intend going out of my way to make his life miserable. [Interjections.] No, I do not really mean that.
With a round figure such as we have before us, it is of course extremely difficult to pinpoint anything specific insofar as the usage of these funds is concerned. Furthermore, we have no precedent to work on insofar as the sum is concerned. The only matter of interest that does come to mind is that the part appropriation is about a quarter of the ordinary budget, and that this budget appears to be approximately a quarter of the amount of the provincial budget. I do not know whether that has any significance or not.
However, insofar as this debate is concerned, we are confined to White affairs and, as far as I can gather, mostly matters relating to provinces, and these are of course now going to be matters relating to the House of Assembly. Among the matters that are specifically and pertinently the functions of the House of Assembly, are questions of education and local government. These are specifically matters that have been mentioned in the hon the Minister’s speech.
The money that is being appropriated, R1 136 million, is to be expropriated from the State Revenue Fund, and used for these and the other purposes the hon the Minister mentioned. It is for this reason that I ask if sufficient money is being appropriated to ensure that no further calls are likely to be made upon the parents as far as education is concerned and upon ratepayers in general and the business sector in particular in respect of local government.
Hon members may ask why I make these two points in particular. I ask this in respect of education because I have it on reasonably good authority that White parents are, in the near future, going to be expected to pay anything from R180 upwards per child at school as an additional fee to the present voluntary school levies which vary from school to school. I am uncertain as to whether it is intended that this levy will also apply to the other race groups. I appreciate that we are only dealing with own affairs and that I cannot deal with what goes on in the other Houses. However, all I can say is that we in this House quite obviously cannot make the other Houses impose that levy in respect of their pupils.
It would seem to me that the rationale behind this proposal is that, as more State funds have to be appropriated to the other race groups, less will be made available to the Whites. This shortfall will thereafter be made up by this special levy. If this really is the intention of the government, I believe we should be told so immediately. Furthermore, I would make the point that this would abrogate the principle of free and compulsory education which is available in all civilized countries, and my party would be most alarmed at the consequences which I do not have the time to go into today. I can tell the House, however, that they would be a terrible burden on a large segment of the population who would be expected to pay this R180-plus per child per annum in addition to the existing school levies, which vary from school to school but in many schools are around R100 per annum.
I appreciate, and I accept that all reasonable people appreciate, that the disparity in the per capita money spent on the different population groups has to be eradicated. Any reasonable person must accept that. However, if this is the way it is intended to remove that disparity, it will not only be discriminatory, and discriminatory against the White group whom we are here to defend and who, incidentally, pay the overwhelming part of the taxes, but it will also not serve the purpose it is intended to serve. To say that we all get the same from the central pot, but we have chosen to pay extra, will not serve the purpose because when it comes to the crunch people will look at the education system and say that the White people still have a better system than the others. They will not look at the fact that the Whites are paying extra as a result of an extra levy. They will merely say that the White man is in a far better financial position and hence in a position to pay this whereas the poor unfortunate people of the other groups cannot afford to pay this. One will therefore not get rid of the criticism, not so much of different educational systems, but of different standards of facilities and education. So, I believe it will not serve the purpose for which a large segment of the most unfortunate section of our community at the moment is going to be crucified, and that is the young married couples with children at school. They are the people who are suffering at present. I am in a position to know something about that because I have several children in that kind of situation. I know what their position is.
Insofar as local government is concerned, I also have some queries. At present, these fall under the control of the province and are virtually self-supporting except for an administrative arm in the province. Under the current system, a new proposal is in the pipeline according to which local government will fall under the control of a Minister. There will be a proliferation of local authorities. Many of them will be less viable than the existing local authorities. There will also be metropolitan and regional authorities. Is it the intention that the more viable local authorities will be levied specifically—as they will be White, local authories—to give permanent subsidies to the other local authorities? If this is so, this is quite unfair again. I believe that it may well be that one will have to subsidize the less viable local authorities. I am not quarrelling with this. They may have to be subsidized in some way. If it must be done, however, it must be done through the general tax, not on the backs of ratepayers who are already burdened heavily enough.
There is a tendency creeping in at levels of government—not only the central government, but other levels as well—to start charging the end-user, regardless of whether he pays tax, or rates, or whatever it may be. If there is a fire, although one has paid one’s rates, one still has to pay for the fire engine. They come along with a bill afterwards. The same applies to schools. That is another thing that is in the pipeline somewhere. I would say it is not going to be very long before, if one phones the police station and asks the police to come along to investigate someone burgling one’s property, they will probably give one a bill for that too! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, we have just been listening to the most responsible and stimulating speech we have had from the Opposition side this afternoon. The hon member for Umbilo asked several questions and advanced arguments which will be the basis for fruitful discussion in later debates. My own time is very limited and I believe that the hon the Minister himself will react to the hon member with his customary courtesy and correctness.
Unfortunately I cannot say the same for the speakers on the Opposition side who spoke before the hon member for Umbilo. Let us look at the speech of the hon member for Sunnyside. That hon member knows that I have appreciation for him. He is by far my senior and he is a man who has taken his path through life. However, the hon member’s conduct here this afternoon can only be described as recklessly negative. He was so recklessly negative and destructive that one could only regard it harmful to our country. The hon member for Sunnyside said that the Government had now totally sacrificed White power and that the Government was now listening to the forces of international big business. What rubbish! To what forces of international big business does this Government listen? To the pipes of what forces of international finance does this Government dance? The hon member for Sunnyside sits in this house as a member of Parliament to state his party’s standpoint as he sees it, from his point of view, and he says that he has been deprived of his rights. By his conduct here he demonstrates that what he said was untrue.
As has been done before by that side of the House, the hon member suggested that the economy of South Africa is in a bad way today because the referendum resulted in a yes-vote. That, too, is untrue. What is indeed true is the following. If the no-vote had been in the majority in the 1983 referendum, do hon members know what the effect would have been? [Interjections.] It would have shown the rest of the world that we as White South Africans are intransigent, that we are not prepared to make progress on the road to constitutional reform.
Order! I regret that I cannot permit the hon member for Stellenbosch to conduct a constitutional debate here.
Mr Chairman, I am in fact only reacting to the speech by the hon member for Sunnyside.
Order! I am aware that the hon member wishes to react to the hon member for Sunnyside. However he must not allow himself to be misled by the hon member for Sunnyside into discussing matters he ought not to discuss.
Mr Chairman, I abide by your ruling. Perhaps, however, I should just complete my sentence by saying that if we had made it clear that we were intransigent, we should have been in a far graver situation today; the disinvestment campaign against us would probably have got off the ground.
The hon member for Sunnyside argues that he had been under the impression that the hon the Minister was to have informed us here today and told us exactly what the purpose and the role of this Department of his is. He wants to know what, in fact, is going on in this Department. I know what is going in this Department. Does the hon member know why I know that? It is because I approached the hon Minister’s department and ascertained what was going on there. Surely the hon member for Sunnyside could have done the same.
I can tell the hon member for Sunnyside that this hon Minister has an excellent, and well-organized Department under him. The Department has, inter alia, a Directorate: Efficiency Services. The hon member ought to be pleased about that. Moreover there is a Directorate: Finance as well as a Division: Provisioning Administration and a directorate: Personnel Administration. Own affairs, therefore, fall under this hon Minister. Then, too, there is a subdirectorate: Special Services and a subdirectorate: Auxiliary and Civil Services. What we are doing here is, inter alia, voting money to help maintain all these services. I believe that this is a fine Department. I also contend that in future this Department will be expanded even further. I foresee that as the provincial system gradually changes, it will also happen that this Department will have to take over some of the services at present being provided by the provinces. Therefore this is a department with a fine future. It is also necessary—and what is more we have every reason to do so—to debate the affairs of this Department judiciously and at a high level.
The hon member for Sunnyside also made a great fuss about asking us whether we are proud of being White. I should like to react to that. However, I take it that you will not permit me to do so, Mr Chairman.
This, then, brings me to the hon member for Yeoville. The hon member for Yeoville moved an amendment to this measure. Before doing so, however, he once again pointed out very earnestly that State expenditure must be curbed. The Government has, of course, already adopted this as its point of departure. Therefore this is by no means anything new. The hon member is saying nothing new when he says that. The Government has already accepted the responsibility to curb State expenditure. However, the hon member for Yeoville moves his amendment which comprises six points. However, each of the points in that amendment entails additional expenditure. Now, I really do not know what the hon member wants.
The hon member for Yeoville states that he wants to know how the amount of R1 136 billion has been subdivided. He wants to know what the hon the Minister has in mind as far as levies are concerned. He wants to know what negotiations the hon the Minister conducts with his colleagues in the other two Houses. As a senior member of this House the hon member for Yeoville surely knows that we do not discuss such matters when we debate the Part Appropriation here. I believe that that hon member is overcome with frustration because he does not form part of the process of Government. Anyone who is as curious as that, should sit close to the fire. The hon member asked what he called a fundamental question. In the first place, he asked how many additional staff will be necessitated by the establishment of this Department. I can tell him that I believe that it will be very few. However, there is one thing I want to place behind all doubt, and that is that in today’s circumstances, it is impossible to reduce dramatically the staff of either this Department or that of the Public Service as a whole. That is simply impossible. It is necessary that this Department— which deals with own affairs—be supported, together with all other Departments, by a proper, well-trained and sound public service, if the country is to be effectively governed. We must not try to create the impression among the public at large that major savings may be affected by cutting the staff of the public service. That, of course, is an argument advanced in the private sector as well.
Then the hon member for Yeoville goes on to ask what costs will now have to be incurred due to the new constitutional dispensation. This, of course, is an argument we have had to listen to ad nauseam. Many people are trying to make political capital out of the new constitutional dispensation in this way. I have no objection to their doing so. Nor do I object if they criticize the Government, because if the Government makes mistakes then it must accept responsibility for doing so. I do object when the impression is created among the public that one of the reasons for the so-called recession we are experiencing at present is the establishment of the new dispensation, which supposedly costs them so much money. I think that this is an over-simplified approach on the part of the Opposition parties when they say that we are experiencing a recession due to the ideological policies of the Government, or when they say that the recession is a consequence of the new dispensation. Both the far right and the far left parties in this House use that argument. However that is an oversimplified approach and puts those at whom it is aimed, on the wrong track. By using such arguments to convince them, they do them no service. The public at large is given the impression that there are cheap solutions for South Africa’s problems, but that is not true. Whatever structures may be created in this country as an alternative to the existing one will cost a great deal of money. I do not deny that the structure that the Government has set in operation, and in terms of which I am standing here in this House speaking, is going to cost money. It is simply impossible to maintain and guarantee an orderly form of Government in South Africa which will not cost money.
Order! The hon member has now said what he has said, but I think that he must now come back to the Bill.
Mr Chairman, I need not come back to anything because I am on the point of concluding by saying that we are now on the threshold of the new dispensation, that the road ahead is still unknown to us but that it is á road of hope, and this measure that we are debating today represents an important milestone on this road of hope. Accordingly that is the attitude with which I should like to support the Bill.
Mr Chairman, the speech made by the hon member for Stellenbosch was largely a reaction to what the hon members for Sunnyside and Yeoville had said. I am not going to follow him in that, save to say that we believe that there should be dramatic cuts in expenditure on current account. We do not believe it should be across the board, for we believe that one has to look at one’s priorities. To the extent that we in South Africa have been spending money on priorities of an ideological nature, we believe they should be cut out. We should rather start spending money in the interests of the people of this country.
The hon the Minister, on the face of it, has an easy job. After all, he only has to administer a simple little budget for White own affairs within the parameters laid down by the hon the Minister of Finance. However, I believe it is a very sensitive and a very important job, and much is going to depend on how he handles it, because we are separating people who live in one society into three separate budgetary groups. While the Constitution lays down that taxes should be evenly applied, it does not lay down that levies should be evenly applied. If this hon Minister is going to use his powers to impose substantial levies or to use levies to provide better services for Whites while the other communities are not going to get those services, one is going to have a situation in the urban areas in which the rich are going to get richer and the poor are going to get poorer. It will mean that the affluent are going to have the good services and the non-affluent are going to have the poor services. Now, one might say that that is simply the way in which one pays, that is the way the cookie crumbles, but I believe that very, very severe strains are going to show in our society if significant differences develop in the standard of social services, in the standard of housing, of education or of health services. We want to warn the hon the Minister that his function should be to ensure in consultation with the other Ministers, that the various communities move ahead together with comparable services being provided. There should not be a significant disparity between the services of the one and the other. Right now we are seeing how explosive the issue of housing is. Only a year ago we saw how dangerous the issue of health could be when the cholera epidemic was rife in Natal. We want to tell the hon the Minister that, while he has the right to operate in a separate governmental compartment, he must insure that he acts in consort with his colleagues in the other Houses within the constraints of the constitution.
The hon the Minister is saddled with administering a budget but he has no control over the overall fiscus and the consequences of overall governmental fiscal policy. He has no control whatsoever over inflation, and yet at the budgetary level he has to cope with problems which may be created by the Minister of Finance. He therefore is in the invidious position having to deal with day to day matters affecting the White community while he has no overall control over those fiscal policies which will determine what the rate of inflation will be and whether overall taxation should be high or not.
It is in this connection that I want to say a word or two about the aged, and particularly the aged in the urban areas. The hon the Minister must accept that there is no other group that is more adversely affected by an increase in inflation and an increase in the cost of living than the elderly retired people who live at a relatively fixed income but who nevertheless have day after day and week after week to meet rising costs in basic necessities and the comforts of life.
They are caught up in a tragic spiral. First they have to try to make ends meet and then they are compelled to lower their living standards. After this they have to make sacrifices in respect of comfort and pleasure. Eventually they have to reduce their assets ending up in a situation of growing financial insecurity.
I believe that whatever else, we have to get our priorities right. As far as the aged people in the cities are concerned we dare not leave them in the lurch. We dare not waste money on ideological extravagances while the aged people in our cities are suffering the bodyblow of inflation running at something between 17% and 20%.
We make no apology for the fact that we believe that in the field of the aged there should be increased expenditure. The hon the Minister might ask where he should get it, but I refer him to Sakerapport of 2 December: “Swart beheer: R320 miljoen om mense te skei.” Cut out that R320 million being spent to move people and the Government will be able to improve the welfare services …
Sir, I want to illustrate my point because the hon the Minister will ask me where he must get the money. I am trying to explain to him where he should try to get the money. He should knock on the door of the hon the Minister of Finance and say: I want more money for health services. He must argue in favour of the ordinary people of South Africa and not just bow before ideological concepts of expenditure as has been done in the past.
I want to put it to him that when he submits his Budget I expect old age pensions to be increased by at least the amount of the increase in the cost of living. At 17% it means at least R30 per month; not from 1 October, but from 1 April. We believe that the means test has to be raised to make it at least comparable with the decline in the value of the rand over the past year.
Many aged people in the cities are, at no cost to the State, living in rooms, in flatlets. They are ill and they need attendants. What a miserable situation it is that such a person can only have an allowance of R20 per month for an attendant! I think it is iniquitous that a person who depends on a nurse-aid for his very survival should get a pittance of merely R20. Many of our aged in the cities are not members of medical aid societies. The cost of medical attention is crippling, but even more so is the increasing cost of prescribed medicines. We believe that something should be done at least to give the aged a rebate in respect of the GST which they are paying on medicines prescribed by doctors.
It is iniquitous that old age pensioners who are war veterans of the 1914-18 War still have to qualify in terms of a means test. It is time that veterans of that war were exempt from the means test.
We believe that more realistic allowances should be paid to welfare societies which provide housing and sustenance for the aged.
Finally, for those senior citizens who do not use the facilities of the State for their accommodation but live in private accommodation, we believe the State should do much more to support organizations like “meals on wheels” which take the meals into the homes. Rather this than require that people live in institutions. The State should also do much more to support service centres which can provide comfort and company for people.
I wonder whether the time has not come for a select committee of this House or some other organization to look into the whole question of the plight of the aged in our cities. Has the time not come for us to look at it in the form of a comprehensive package for the aged? Here I address myself to the hon the Minister sitting next to the hon the Minister of the Budget. There is the whole question of housing, the question of health services, the question of medical care, the question of accommodation, the question of physical comfort and companionship. We in these benches believe that the time has come to cut through the ideological expenditure and to look once again at these people who we believe deserve the support of the wider community and the taxpayers of South Africa.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Sea Point referred to a few matters and in the course of my speech I shall come back to some of them, when I deal with the issue of financial discipline with reference to our constitutional development in South Africa. I just wish to say to the hon member that the call emanating from their side is always very interesting. It is always “save” on the one hand, and “spend more money” on the other.
They go on to say that money is being spent on ideological matters, whereas that money should go towards social matters. I just wish to make one statement. It is that as far as the ideological matters are concerned, it is essential for order in South Africa, and for the continued existence of the community in which we live, that this community be administered and regulated in a certain way. If there is an ideological aspect to doing so, then we do it for the sake of good order in this country. Without that good order, economic decay would result in this country, and in that event no one would be able to comply with the social demands they are now setting.
I wish to deal, by way of the constitutional development, with the matter before us today, viz an appropriation in respect of own affairs. The way in which a country regulates the life and welfare of its people is determined by its constitution. A constitution is described as the system and fundamental principles in accordance with which a nation and a country is governed. A written constitution can therefore be regarded as constituting the basic guidelines in accordance with which a community is governed politically.
By way of constitutional reform an effort must be made in every country, as in South Africa, to find spheres in which people agree with one another.
Order! I cannot permit the hon member to conduct a constitutional debate.
Mr Chairman, may I address you on that? It is impossible for me, in this debate, to get to my point on own affairs in finance without explaining it to the House on the basis of our constitutional development which made it possible.
Order! I afforded the hon member the opportunity to make the statements he has made by way of introducing his argument, but I cannot permit him to continue to conduct a constitutional debate.
With respect, Mr Chairman, I have not yet even completed my introductory paragraph.
The hon member may proceed.
We in South Africa must establish a constitutional dispensation that will eliminate conflict. One of the ways in which this can happen is to ensure the continued existence of minority groups. The way in which one develops a constitution also has an influence on the economic policy of the Government and on the way in which a government regulates its finances. This measure before us today is a typical example of this. We have had here constitutional development giving rise to a measure whereby the House of Assembly has before it today an Appropriation specifically concerning the affairs of the Whites in South Africa.
As far as I am concerned, this Appropriation serves as very firm evidence of the constitutional development that has taken place in South Africa. It has also proved one other important norm, viz the protection of minority groups in this country. This also shows that the Constitution, and the fact that we have this Appropriation before us, comply with this norm. If we in South Africa—and here I wish to reply to the hon member for Sea Point—were to have a different ideological standpoint entailing, say, a one man, one vote system, I contend that we would have economic decay in South Africa which would mean that it would be impossible for us to further own affairs or to assist people in general in the social sphere and meet their needs. If an economic philosophy is accepted in South Africa in terms of which all people are placed on an equal economic level, then in the nature of the matter, without there being inputs from everyone, we should lapse into an economic situation of either socialism or communism. When people set the Government social and cultural demands unique to own affairs they must guard against constantly asking certain things from the Government without a quid pro quo from their side, because this simply leads to the erosion of the country’s economy and will eventually result in chaos. Politicians who, by way of social and cultural promises, cause people to think that they will always remain in the responsible positions, will, as a result of the democratic processes whereby they were placed in those positions, eventually be voted out of those positions by the same democratic processes because they will not be able to fulfil those promises consistently. My contention is therefore that the emotional striving for economic equality without contributing one’s own share, and the erosion of State funds due to their popular utilization towards social and cultural advantages, can give rise to economic and political decay and to a reduced equality as far as the economy is concerned. This kind of management, which is built on promises of social and cultural upliftment is in my opinion not conducive to individual achievement. If a community needs social and cultural upliftment and these are matters dealt with by this House, the House of Assembly for Whites, the State does have an obligation to them. However, it is far more healthy if many of those needs can be satisfied by the community itself, and in this regard I want to refer to what the hon member for Sea Point had to say about the elderly. I am very much in favour of the community itself accepting far more responsibility for the care of the elderly. It is the duty of the State to create certain infrastructures, but the community itself has the primary duty to look after the elderly. We are making a very big mistake in South Africa by trying to initiate a programme of socialization by simply giving the State the responsibility.
In order to survive in South Africa there must be an acceptable recipe for all in terms of which they can be given a say in the matters affecting them. Everyone must have the opportunity to maintain his next-of-kin. There must be an opportunity for us to live alongside one another in an orderly fashion in orderly communities. It is particularly important that in a country like South Africa we should protect the rights of minorities and that minorities should themselves be able to decide on their own affairs, as we are doing here today. The PFP and the CP must try to understand that the broadening of the constitutional democracy in South Africa will not lead to a one man, one vote system, but that we on this side of the House put the emphasis on the cultural diversity in South Africa. The fact that we have this appropriation before us today is the biggest single piece of evidence that the NP recognizes the fact of cultural diversity and that we have developed this in constitutional terms to the point at which we stand today, viz that we are passing financial measures to prove it. Our Constitution provides for a say over our own affairs, and this budget is evidence of the practical implementation of this political philosophy. [Interjections.] I just wish to say to the hon member for Kuruman that I understand his not grasping these things, and he can carry on cackling about it. [Interjections.] We believe that individuals have an urge to achieve greater things at the cultural and social levels. In this appropriation the NP makes specific provision for these needs of people. The philosophy of self-determination that is being put into effect in terms of this appropriation is a fine example of the unfolding and development of the NP’s policy of control over own affairs. Later, when we come back to the discussion of the Vote of this department, there are several interesting discussions of detail that could be conducted.
Suffice it to say that this method of financing by the State also lends strong support to another philosophy which I regard as very important. It is that if communities set demands in respect of social and cultural standards that are higher than those which the State can reasonably comply with, then those communities must make provision for the achievement of those standards out of their own resources. This can be done, as said before, by way of special levies that can be utilized for special projects and expenditures.
With these few words I want to state that I take pleasure in supporting this measure. I believe that what we see here today is the realization, the culmination, of a policy of the NP which has unfolded up to the present, so that today this House of Assembly has before it for the first time an appropriation which seeks to achieve a special function, viz the social and cultural future of the Whites of this country.
Mr Chairman, I listened carefully to the hon member for Springs who has just spoken. There are one or two points on which I differ from him. I do not see what cultural differences have to do with race because cultures spread across a number of different race groups. I think he confuses cultural differences with race. Another point on which we differ, is on the concept of a group. We in this party have never denied the existence of groups. We make specific provision for groups in our constitution—if he has ever bothered to read our constitution—but the difference of course is that we do not believe that people should be compelled to be members of groups.
The subject I should like to address myself to, is the question of the agricultural community in South Africa. I am glad to see that the hon the Minister is in the House at the moment because I think the immediate financial plight of farmers gives cause for grave concern among all of us. The hon the Minister has no doubt received a recent study by the South African Agricultural Union according to which some 70% of farmers in the summer rainfall areas can be regarded as being in a critical financial position. The same applies to about 67% of farmers in the winter rainfall areas in the Free State and to about 46% of meat producers. At the present interest rates, there is no doubt at all that a large section of our farming community will be going to the wall. I think the hon the Minister has seen this report which has been recently updated. It does not help for us to wring our hands in this House about the plight of farmers. We should be asking how they got into this position and what we can do to improve their position. At the current rates of interest, even with a good season this year and in the next couple of years, there is no doubt that a large number of farmers are still going to go bankrupt. Any farmer with a debt-over-assets ratio greater than 30% in fact stands a very good chance of going bankrupt. If we can reduce interest rates from 17% down to some 8%, a very large proportion of these farmers who find themselves in a serious financial situation can be saved. Lowering an interest rate is of course very difficult and should not really be done for the agricultural community on its own. It is something that affects all sectors of business, farming being one of the most seriously affected. One of the keys to this is of course the question of Government expenditure. I do not want to discuss the effect of Government expenditure on interest rates, a subject which has been discussed earlier on, but I hope that the hon the Minister will impress on his colleagues that this is one of the problems.
Another factor which puts farmers in the situation in which they now find themselves is inflation. The hon the Minister will be only too well aware that the cost of fertilizer has gone up by 21%, diesel by 26% and tractors by 25% to 30%. This is squeezing profit margins very severely. That is why we get continual calls for higher prices. Farmers, of course, get it in the neck from the Press and the consumer public, but unfortunately they have no alternative. There are a number of reasons for inflation, but one of the keys to it is, again, Government expenditure, and again it is the same interlinked problem of inflation and overspending. Up to now I think most commentators would say the Government has followed the correct monetary policy to control inflation and to bring down interest rates. It lies in the hands of the hon the Minister and his colleagues to show the will and determination to follow the correct fiscal policies and cut back on Government expenditure; that is, if we want to save a large proportion of agriculture and our capacity to provide food and fibre for our nation.
Turning more specifically to farming debt, I want to point out that the farming debt, according to various estimates, amounts to some R9 billion. Some farmers are so heavily in debt that their debt-over-assets ratio is some 150%. It is absolutely scandalous that they should have been allowed to get into this position in the first place. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that a large proportion of agricultural financing is undertaken via the co-operatives. It is my feeling and that of many of my colleagues here that the function of financing agriculture should be largely shifted away from cooperatives to the banks where it should be. The banks have the necessary expertise in that connection.
Secondly there is the question of drought aid. A lot of the drought aid going to farmers through co-operatives is not going to the right farmers. It often goes to the farmers who happen to be first in the queue and not to the most deserving farmers. Although the drought aid is intended for the farmers, it often assists the co-operatives in saving them from the very difficult situation in which they find themselves.
My time is running out. I shall return to this matter later on in the Vote on agriculture. What I want to impress on the House this afternoon is the very serious financial position of South African farmers. We cannot allow some 25% of our farmers to go to the wall without severely affecting the capacity of our country to feed itself.
Mr Chairman, this is a notable phenomenon we are experiencing today in that the PFP’s member for Pietermaritzburg South is the man who stands up for the farmers of South Africa and that on the Government side, nothing whatsoever is happening. However, it is quite clear that the governing party has pushed its right wing into the front lines today in an effort to make the own affairs of which there are virtually none—the meaningless own affairs—look like something worthwhile. I say that what we said before the referendum and when this constitution was announced is being illustrated today viz that own affairs will be of virtually no significance in this new dispensation. This is the second day of the fourth week of this session and we are dealing with the first Own Affairs Bill. All the Bills dealt with thus far have concerned general affairs.
In his Part Appropriation, the hon the Minister of Finance requested an amount of R7 000 million. The hon the Minister of the Budget, who deals with the Whites’ own affairs, requested R1 136 million today. Therefore the hon the Minister of Finance is asking seven times more for general affairs than the hon the Minister of the Budget requests for own affairs purposes. We said that this—and even more—would be the order of the relationship.
If we consider the Directors-General of the departments we shall see that there is one Director-General for own affairs and 24 or 25 for general affairs. This Director-General for own affairs has five Ministers, however. We shall see what the real budget is going to be, but to judge by the amount requested today by the hon the Minister of the Budget and on the general budget, I want to say that are general departments that will have more finances than the own affairs of these five Ministers put together. If the State President wants to know where he can save on Government expenditure, I propose that he terminate the services of four of those five Ministers. The one remaining Minister can do that job without any trouble. We can see this in particular when we consider their establishment, as was evident from the questions today. I propose that the State President could do the same in regard to the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates. In this way he could do away with 12 ministries. [Interjections.] Therefore hon members can see for themselves the remendous saving the State President could effect.
It is because that hon member has made own affairs meaningless. According to the policy of the CP, own affairs would be overwhelming. They would have their own full-fledged Cabinet and we should have ours. However, I want to say that the title of the hon the Minister of the Budget—and I shall not take this matter too far—is a misnomer. “Budget” is correct, but he is not a Minister; in fact he is only an accountant. The House of Assembly as it is here does not have the power to impose taxes; it has no source of taxation.
Looking at the constitutions of Switzerland, the United States and federal systems—this is a race federation—we can see that every canton in Switzerland has its own source of taxation, and that every state in America has its own source of taxation. The federal authorities, too, have their own distinct sources of taxation. This House of Assembly is one component of the race federation but it has no source of taxation. Now I ask: How can one create a Ministers’ Council which does not even have a source of taxation? Those Ministers cannot even impose a dog tax. [Interjections.] I want to say to the hon the Minister that the Town Council of Pofadder in that hon Minister’s constituency has more power of taxation than this entire White Ministers’ Council. This hon Minister cannot impose a single tax. The danger is that after they have seen, after the sitting of the general Cabinet, what they are going to get, they will have the right to impose levies. After all, we know how these things work: These men will build themselves a little empire. Therefore they are going to soak the Whites, by way of levies, to obtain a source of revenue. There is already talk of imposing levies for education so that there can be a source of revenue. This illustrates that this entire system is dragging down the standard in South Africa. The Coloureds and the Indians are not being uplifted to the standard of the Whites; the Whites are being dragged down. We had unrestricted education, and we had free education. Those two concepts go hand in hand. Education is an own affair …
Order! The hon member must accept the existence of the dispensation as it stands for the purposes of the debate.
I accept the dispensation, Sir, and I am discussing the own affair “education”. I am referring to matters that directly affect the hon the Minister of Education and Culture. He wishes to impose a levy, and I am discussing that. I say to him that he is going to drag us down. He is going to drag down the standard we have achieved. We have had unrestricted education and free education, and that is something one only achieves when one has achieved the higher levels of development. Now levies are to be imposed. I want to know how the hon the Minister is going to impose levies and then still compel people, even if those people cannot pay the levies, to keep their children at school. The Government is lowering the standard, and therefore the CP insists that the House of every population group should have the sole legislative authority over the taxes paid by the relevant group and that the Ministers Council should administer that money. In our opinion that will make own affairs meaningful. As matters stand today, however, own affairs are meaningless. In today’s set-up, own affairs mean nothing, because if one does not have control of finance one does not have control of one’s own affairs.
What about company tax?
In our opinion, company tax is very easy to determine. Every company has shareholders, and therefore one can determine what the distribution of shares is and the income of a specific company can be distributed accordingly. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, may I please ask the hon member a question?
No, Mr Chairman, that hon member might as well sit down because I am not prepared to answer his questions.
Order! The hon member is not prepared to answer questions. [Interjections.]
You dare not answer because you know you are in trouble.
No, I am not in trouble, but I do not allow myself to be put off my stroke by a nincompoop like that hon member.
Order! The hon member must withdraw that word.
I withdraw it, Mr Chairman.
Personal income tax can be identified by way of the individual, and in this way the group to which it belongs may be determined. Customs and excise can be ascertained by determining to whom the specific articles go. As far as sales tax is concerned, a formula can be determined, and as far as Black people are concerned, a formula has already been worked out in this regard.
However I should like to address the hon the Minister of Agriculture and of Water Supply. This is an own affair, because after all, he deals with agricultural financing.
And boreholes too. However, today I wish to discuss agricultural financing. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister must please listen now. The hon the Minister ought to be aware that due to the drought we have had over the past number of years, the debt ratio of an estimated 15% of the grain fanners in South Africa is more than 1:1.
Where do you get that figure from?
These are provisional figures being obtained by co-operatives to be submitted to the Government. These figures indicate that approximately 15% of the farmers owe one and a half times as much as the assets at their disposal. However, the fact is that rain has fallen over large areas of the country this year, thus affording relief. Nevertheless the drought persists in the Western Transvaal, the Western Free State and parts of the Northern Cape. Those farmers have the same debt ratio, but this year they have no hope of deliverance.
If ever there was a disaster in the history of agriculture in South Africa, those farmers in the areas to which I have just referred, are facing that disaster.
I know it.
The hon the Minister knows it. Therefore certain drastic, extraordinary steps will have to be taken. In the first place the hon the Minister will have to consider writing off the money owed to the Department of Agriculture by the relevant farmers in those areas. [Interjections.] That will entail no additional expenditure by the State. We know that this Government has put South Africa in the position of having no money. What can the hon the Minister do now? He can write off those debts. [Interjections.] In the second place, the hon the Minister will have to consider having 75% of the debt owed to the commercial banks by the farmers in those regions, taken over by the Land Bank. These are not widespread areas, and enormous quantities of money are not, therefore, involved.
Irrespective of security?
After all, the commercial banks gave those farmers loans on the basis of security. These banks also have their norms that they maintain, and therefore I request that the hon the Minister consider having 75% of the debt owed by those farmers to commercial banks, taken over by the Land Bank. I also suggest that the State fully subsidizes for two years the interest on any money still owed to the Land Bank and the co-operatives by the farmers in those areas. This will enable the farmers to reduce their debts and to start paying interest again after two years. In present circumstances, and with the prevailing high interest rates, farmers are unable to pay their debts. The price of fertilizer was recently increased again by 20%, fuel prices have increased and the present high interest rates in particular make it virtually impossible to proceed with a farming enterprise in the areas to which I referred. It is impossible to farm if one has a debt ratio such as that which is built up as a result of a four-year drought. Therefore I wish to say to the hon the Minister that that Ministers’ Council, the Ministers’ Council for the Whites, now has the opportunity to assist a sector which performs an absolutely vital function. In this area, a small, limited area, an estimated 50% of South Africa’s maize harvest is produced. We know what a maize harvest is worth to South Africa. We know what it is worth to its domestic population and we know, too, what such a maize harvest is going to be worth for South Africa in future as far as exports are concerned. If we had had a record maize crop this year and were able to export our maize, then the maize farmers, with the present weak rand, could have brought about South Africa’s recovery virtually single-handed, because we should have earned many millions of rands with such a weak rand.
I therefore request that hon Minister to show what he is made of and to do something for the farmers in those areas.
Mr Chairman, I should like to react to what the hon member for Lichtenburg said. Firstly, on the positive side, I am grateful that the hon member tried to make out a case for the farmers of South Africa today. However, that is as far as my praise for the hon member’s speech can extend. If the hon member wants to champion the cause of the farmers of South Africa in this way, then I must ask him rather not to do so. He cannot say that we have a bankrupt State—and those are the words he used—and at the same time ask that that State accommodate the farmers by summarily writing off their burden of debt on a large scale. If he is going to plead the cause of the White farmers of this country, we ask him to do so in a responsible manner.
Hon members will know that the farmers of this country are going through extremely difficult times, and they call upon all the parties in this House to consider responsibly the problems they have, including their financing problems. If there is one member of that party who is capable of doing so, then in my opinion, it is the hon member for Lichtenburg. What did he do today, however? He made a political issue of the farmers’ problems. [Interjections.]
Are you afraid of politics?
Mr Chairman, I wish to ask that hon member whether he and his party are big enough, despite the political differences that exist, and there are considerable differences between us, really to have the cause of the farmers at heart and next year, when the occasion again presents itself in this debate, to come forward with a responsible request that will serve the cause of the farmers? [Interjections.]
The hon member for Sunnyside, almost a benchmate of the hon member for Lichtenburg, moved an amendment.
The amendment read—and the point was also made by the hon member for Lichtenburg—that this Vote must not be approved before taxes levied by the Whites in this country are allocated to this Vote so that the Whites alone have a say in this regard. This is an argument almost equally as ridiculous as the case which the hon member for Lichtenburg wanted to make for the farmers of this country. How on earth can there be a division of this tax revenue? If that party were to come to power tomorrow, how would they divide the sales tax, for example, paid by Whites, Coloureds, Asians and Blacks respectively? If it is an Opposition party that comes to this House with amendments of this kind, I ask you: What attention should we pay them? [Interjections.] The hon members should really take into consideration the fact that the Bureau for Market Research, for example, has ascertained that at last 50% of the excise duty that is levied comes from the people of colour of this country and that it is estimated that 50% of general sales tax also comes from the people of colour of this country. Then, too, there is the tax paid by the gold mines. What would the hon members do with that? [Interjections.] The operation of the gold mines is largely reliant on the fact that we make use of Black labour. That is the standpoint which that party comes to this House to defend.
Order! The hon member for Greytown must now refrain from making interjections.
I should like to end on a more positive note. This Department of the Budget and of Auxiliary Services ought in my opinion to develop, within each House of Parliament, as the department in which the claims of the own affairs departments to a just share in the State Revenue Fund, are co-ordinated. A co-ordination of the claims of the three separate Chambers of this Parliament must, in the first instance, take place within the Departments of the Budget of the three separate chambers. The basic way in which own affairs departments will be financed ought in my opinion to be considered on an ongoing basis within this Department of the Budget.
It ought to be possible for these three Departments of the Budget to contribute inputs to the Committee on National Priorities. I believe that this would be the most orderly way in which the finances for own affairs of each population group could be negotiated. Consideration of the basis upon which funds for Provincial Administrations are allocated, takes place constantly. Debates during the budgets of provincial councils have often led to the adjustment and improvement of the formulas in terms of which they obtain their funds. I reiterate that in my opinion, arguments concerning the basis for the points of departure in accordance with which own affairs departments will be financed, belong in this department, and that this custom will become established in all the Houses of Parliament.
This point of departure will of course cause hon members of the Opposition parties to say at once that this constitutes a recognition that the role of each own House is nothing more than the role at present played by provincial councils. This argument would have been valid if every House, and therefore the House of Assembly as well, did not form an integral part of the Central Government, in contrast to the provincial councils.
By way of the Directorate: Efficiency Services of this department the effective functioning of the administration of every own affairs department will be monitored on an on-going basis. There is no gainsaying the fact that the establishment of this department of the Budget has taken place as a result of a special political dispensation. The Government will use this department, too, particularly through its Directorate: Efficiency Services, to cause this entire dispensation, particularly with regard to the administration of own affairs, to function as effectively as possible.
Mr Chairman, this debate so far has proved that as far as the Government is concerned—and also of course speakers on the Government side—there is a total lack of any concept of what own affairs are all about. They have no new ideas. They have no initiatives and no plans. As far as the interests of South Africa’s farmers, aged persons and schoolchildren are concerned, these will have to remain in the safe hands of the PFP, the only party that really has their interests at heart and looks after them. As far as speakers on the Government side are concerned, not a single one has so far today met the responsibility of speaking on behalf of the people they represent. [Interjections.]
The Government—and I am delighted to see the hon the Minister of Education and Culture in the House—owes South Africa some very clear answers. Today there is only confusion and ignorance as far as teachers, parents and administrators of education are concerned regarding the affairs of this hon Minister’s department.
What South Africa would like to know is the following. What is the scope of the new Department of Education and Culture? Here we have an hon Minister who is responsible for the education of 8 000 children. If we should ask the hon the Minister of Education and Culture in the House of Representatives he can tell us that he is responsible for the education of all Coloured children. Likewise the hon the Minister of Education and Culture in the House of Delegates will be able to tell us that he is responsible for the education of all Indian children. What we should like to know from this hon Minister, however, is this. If he has a department he should tell us something about it. What is that department going to be doing? How and when is it going to do whatever it will be doing? What we should like to know in particular—what the people of South Africa want to know—is when and how the educational responsibilities of the provincial administrations are going to be transferred to the Department of Education and Culture. We want to know this because a very wide field is covered here. It covers the education of children at primary and secondary school level. It covers a whole range of related educational activities. To this day all this is a well-hidden secret. It is such a well-hidden secret that it is rather difficult for us on this side of the House to question the hon the Minister on specific aspects of White education. I believe that it is the responsibility of this hon Minister to tell South Africa at the earliest possible stage precisely what is going to happen and when it is going to happen.
I should like to refer very briefly to the question of school fees. Everybody in South Africa—every White parent— is deeply concerned about the intentions of the Government in respect of school fees in the future. This affects parents’ ability to plan for the future, particularly as far as their budgeting is concerned. It also affects parents in their choice of schools for their children. The confusion which reigns at the moment must be ironed out, and this hon Minister is the one who must do it. What we should like to know is what the plans are. Has any formula been worked out? Have any regulations been laid down so that it will be possible for us to deal with the plans of the Government?
If one looks at what the situation is in the Transvaal today, one notices that they have already taken a decision to introduce additional school fees. They have drawn up their regulations but these have not yet come into operation. When one speaks to the people in Natal—the home province of this hon Minister—one learns that they have taken no such steps as yet, and there is a great deal of confusion in respect of what is going to happen in that province.
The Cape Provincial Administration has in turn introduced an ordinance. The relevant stipulation—the one dealing with school fees—has, however, been withdrawn. It is therefore clear that there is confusion. This confusion must be cleared up, and it must be cleared up by this hon Minister.
We in the PFP stand for free and compulsory education for all schoolchildren. Obviously every child has the right to obtain the best education available to him, and it is wrong that any child should, as a result of financial stringency, be denied the right to a sound education.
We also appreciate the huge financial problems which are involved. Referring to the De Lange Committee Report, there is one paragraph in particular to which I should like to draw the attention of the hon the Minister. Paragraph 3.6.6 b, on page 77 of the report reads as follows, and I quote:
If, by the year 1990, we were to achieve a pupil to teacher ratio of 30:1 it would cost this country something like R4 000 million in terms of the figures which applied in 1980. What we do, however, require from this Government is an undertaking, a statement of intent, that education will be considered to be the highest priority, and that as far as education is concerned economic stringency will not be applied because we are dealing with the foundations of the future of this nation. We are dealing with the most important factor in the creation of prosperity and security for the future, and we are also dealing with the future happiness of our children.
I ask the hon the Minister to tell South Africa how much parents will have to pay and where the money will go. What are the intentions with regard to such funds? Can the hon the Minister also tell us whether he does not believe that some other system should be introduced to raise the funds that are needed? Will the system which is being considered not be too cumbersome and difficult to apply in practice? Will the administration of such a system not be extremely costly, and will the funds which are raised via the system which is being proposed not be misapplied, misappropriated and possibly dissipated in some cases? Is it not necessary that the Government re-think this particular matter, and that they evolve a system which will be more efficient than the one which is being proposed at the moment?
Mr Chairman, in the brief time at my disposal I shall not be able to deal with the speech of the hon member for Bryanston, other than just to say that it is so that in the Transvaal the new system of charging for education has been passed, but in Natal, which is controlled by the NRP, the authorities have refused to pass such an ordinance. They have said: “Let the Government do its own dirty work; we are damned if we are going to do it for them.” [Interjections.] Therefore, in Natal we have not yet buckled down to the imposition of this system in respect of school fees.
However, seeing that this is an own affairs budget which deals with matters closest to hearth and home and the family, I want to deal specifically with that concept. Unfortunately, over the years for millions the original meaning and understanding of ‘hearth and home and family’ has changed. The home today is not a big, sprawling place, where one simply adds on another room as mother and father get old or as children are added to the family. Today millions of people live either in blocks of flats or in small homes where it is impossible to maintain the old tradition of the family staying together. This has brought about a population group of some hundreds of thousands of elderly people who are no longer accommodated in family homes, and who have over the years learnt to fend for themselves in flats and rooms, as the hon member for Sea Point put it; but they have managed. They were able to cope, but today a situation has been reached when that part of our South African population can no longer cope. Even in the most closely knit families with the greatest love linking the children to their parents, the children simply cannot afford to look after their parents or their grandparents, they do not have the necessary facilities. In other cases the children have died or have moved and the aged are left alone.
It is this group of people which I and every other hon member have in our constituencies. It is these people who are suffering from the current situation, I believe, more than any others in the country today. In my constituency and in others like it with flatlands, their homes have literally disappeared over their heads. Their homes have become like the hole nextdoor to Parliament gaping spaces where there used to be buildings in which people lived. When that space is filled and the new building goes up, one sees a big notice “luxury flats” or “luxury hotel”. One gets—I received one today and I suppose other members of Parliament did too—a beautiful letter written on expensive paper pointing out the joys of accommodation available near Parliament, the cheapest at R159 000 for a little townhouse and the bigger ones at more than R250 000. Yes, buildings in that category are going up, but homes for the people who draw R180 per month in the form of a pension are nonexistent.
Today that R180 at the current inflation rate and at the expected inflation rate for this year is a pittance. I am now talking about White pensioners, the people for whom this House is responsible. I say that amount is a pittance. It does not even pay the rent of a hovel-sized flat. The rent of a single room with a little bathroom is more than they can afford out of such a pension. Then food has still to be bought and there are all the other costs.
Whatever we do in this House in regard to our budget for own affairs—I know this is only a “voorskot”—this is one section of our people for whom this House must care. When I say that, I do not have 10% in mind or a little bonus of R30 to carry them over from April to October; I am talking about the responsibility of this House towards that section of our people to whom South Africa owes a debt of gratitude because they are the mothers and the fathers of the generations that have built South Africa. We dare not be untrue to them. Therefore I ask the hon the Minister of the Budget to fight tooth and nail. When they cut the cake and it has to be allocated, he must ensure that the aged of South Africa, the pensioners of South Africa are enabled to live with some dignity and not be driven into the ground, losing even their own self respect as a result of what they have to sacrifice because they cannot afford to live decently.
Mr Chairman, I think we on this side of the House have no fault to find with the case put by the hon member for Durban Point regarding the senior citizens of our country. I believe the hon the Minister will react to his statements.
There is another aspect I want to touch on at the beginning of my speech, and this concerns something which took place here without hon members being aware of it. I am referring to what was not said in this House. In this connection I am referring specifically to the hon members of the CP. It is very interesting that not one of their spokesmen said a word about local authorities. In my opinion this is one of the most important aspects we find in the new dispensation, but the CP did not say a word about it. I think it is obvious why the CP is steering clear of the subject of local government. In my part of the world, Newcastle, during the municipal elections in September of last year things went in the way the hon the Minister of Home affairs once described them: They descended on the place like a flock of starlings on a row of fig trees. The entire rightwing onslaught was there, from Eugene Terre’Blanche, through the entire spectrum, right down to the Natal congress of the CP.
What did you write in that newspaper?
I shall react to that. I am quoting from The Citizen:
They went further and I want to bring what the hon member for Pietersburg said to the attention of this House. I am quoting:
This is the reason for their Silence.
Needless to say, this likely candidate they had there, a certain Mr Schutte, is not serving on the town council of Newcastle today, Dr Gideon van der Merwe is. [Interjections.] The hon member is a Nationalist. [Interjections.] Obviously that was an inspired guess.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, I do not have the time. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Fauresmith asked the following question inter alia: If the CP comes into power, what then? At this congress held in Newcastle, another problem cropped up. The CP are people who have a great deal to say about own affairs, but their own financial affairs are not even in order.
I should like to ask the hon member for Koedoespoort—I do not see him here now, after he had quite a bit to say all afternoon— whether he has any idea where a certain Dr Van Staden of Natal fame is to be found at the moment. This gentleman was the secretary of the CP in Natal. I now want to quote what appeared in the Sunday Tribune of 5 August, under the headline “If you’re honest, the party needs you”:
Order! The hon member must please get back to own affairs.
I think the finances of a party is very definitely an own affair. [Interjections.]
The fact remains, this member has vanished. I think the hon members of the CP are still looking for him.
To abide by our ruling, Sir, and get back to own affairs I want to say that 18 September 1984 was an historic milestone in the constitutional reform of the Republic of South Africa, when Act 110 of 1983, the Republic of South Africa Constitution Act, was passed. In the same way, today, 19 February 1985, is also an historic day in the constitutional development of the Republic of South Africa with this first Part Appropriation of the Administration: House of Assembly being introduced by the hon the Minister of the Budget. Today we are witnessing the continuation of the mandate the voters gave this side of the House, namely to strive to maintain the self-determination of peoples and liberty of everyone in South Africa. One of the most important facets for which this appropriation makes provision is the guarantee of the vested rights of the Whites by means of local authorities, while the same rights are being granted to other peoples and population groups. Indeed, the maintenance of the rights of the Whites is a prerequisite for the maintenance of the rights of other peoples and population groups. As long ago as 30 June 1982 at the federal congress of the NP the general point of departure of the self-determination of each group over its own affairs and joint responsibility over matters of common interest was established. As far as local authorities are concerned the guideline has been laid down that where at all possible and subject to effective financial measures being introduced to make local authorities viable, local government institutions should be established for the different population groups. Inherent in this structure is the maintenance of own communities. In this way the self-determination of each group is insured and it embodies the right of each group to decide on its own interests. It also eliminates the domination of one group by another. The Committee of Inquiry into the Determination of Criteria for Viable Local Authorities similarly recommended that local authorities must have access to adequate funds to be able to perform their basic functions. Members of each community must be prepared to raise funds themselves, within reasonable limits, so as to be able to perform the basic functions as local government bodies. Obviously a very important principle is embodied in this recommendation, namely that each community must be prepared, naturally within bounds, to generate funds itself. If there is one important aspect in this and in future appropriations of the House of Assembly, it is precisely this principle. We can and should at all times set an example, the example of helping oneself in such a way that others would like to follow your example.
Obviously new sources of revenue must also be taken into account when assessing a community’s viability, because the absence of adequate financial resources will seriously hamper the establishment of new local authorities. In principle the Government has already accepted that new sources of revenue be established which will consist of—
- (a) a regional services levy, based on the total salary—wage schedule of all employers; and
- (b) a regional establishment levy, based on the one hand, on the sales of goods which are subject to general sales tax by all vendors registered as sellers for purposes of the General Sales Tax Act, and, on the other hand, a levy on the basis of floor area by those vendors and professions or financial institutions manufacturers and wholesalers, for example, who are not primarily liable to GST.
What the proposals amount to in essence is that the Central Government will transfer certain tax powers and responsibilities to the local level. In this way it will be possible to establish viable local government institutions for all population groups. With the greater degree of devolution of powers and the decentralization of administration to the local government level the question arises to what extent there can be minimum administrative control over local authorities. It is being said that the devolution of power to local authorities will lead to an unavoidable increase in expenditure. The question of control over local government expenditure and its reconciliation with their autonomy then emerges.
In my opinion the solution lies within primary White authorities. The claim that increased expenditure will unavoidably follow on the devolution of power is incorrect. We on this side of the House believe that primary White local authorities are going to prove the opposite. If this is the case, then the problem in connection with control will to a very large extent fall away. On the contrary, we on this side of the House are confident that established White local authorities will take up this challenge, and will set an example to the emergent local authorities of all other population groups.
I conclude with the words of the State President:
Mr Chairman, it is a privilege for me to support this Bill.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Newcastle made an interesting contribution. I am sure he will forgive me if I do not enter into the conflict that he has with the CP in Newcastle. That is an own affair in which I have no particular interest.
We on this side of the House have tried in this debate to focus on the departments making up the administration of own affairs in the House of Assembly. In the few minutes at my disposal I want to pay some attention to the Department of Health Services and Welfare. I particularly want to echo the sentiments expressed by my colleague, the hon member for Sea Point, when he spoke about wasting money on ideological matters. I want to raise the question of the reduction in the provision of medical services, particularly in the Transvaal. A great deal of unhappiness has been expressed at what is happening there. There is general concern among the members of the public. At a time when taxpayers’ money is being squandered on the creation of three additional Departments of Health Services and Welfare, many services are being reduced.
I am advised that, among other things, instructions have gone out that laboratory investigations are to be kept to the minimum. This in itself might be a good thing, but one must be careful not to overdo it. Secondly the cutback in staff would leave a gap for future generations to deal with. Thirdly I am told that the number of new junior staff members to be recruited has been reduced and that this will mean a break in the continuity of training. I am also told that it is important to note the psychological damage that is being done to medical care as people within the profession are made to feel insecure about their jobs. Finally, there is another instruction according to which, part-time staff are being laid off, people who provide good value for money.
Paragraph (f) of our amendment calls for the level of health services to be upgraded. We believe this to be vitally important. However, we also believe that it will be extremely difficult to achieve this when there is a cutback in health services. As has been reported, posts are not being filled and staff are being asked to work 2½ hours a week extra, that is overtime without pay. It was reported in the Rand Daily Mail of 3 November 1984 under the heading “Angry nurses slam new austerity plan” that:
A headline in The Citizen of 5 November 1984 reads: “Extra hours are a bitter pill for nurses.” We believe that, after years of wasting money on ideological matters, the Government is jeopardizing health services by alienating nurses, people who work at the very grassroots of medicine. At a time when the economy is in a decline and people are being put out of their jobs in ever-increasing numbers, it is shortsighted to reduce the quality of health and welfare services and at the same time spend money on the setting up of new departments. One can only appeal to the Minister to keep his expenditure on creating his bureaucracy to an absolute minimum, and to concentrate his efforts and resources on providing services and facilities for those who will need them. Earlier today during question time he told us that the staff complement of his department was 4 500. It is my hope that he will fill as few of these administrative posts as possible and so allow nurses and doctors to be appointed.
In addition to the problem in this regard, The Star on 15 February reported that unemployment especially among the young, was reaching crisis proportions. A study of the Government Gazette indicates that 219 companies were dissolved during the first six weeks of this year alone. Thousands of people are out of work and at the same time health and welfare services are being curtailed. People need to be kept alive and to be fed during this time. We should not be cutting back on services for the poor while we are wasting money on duplicating services. When one considers unemployment, it is important to note that there is a need for a comprehensive social security system in this country, and I would appeal to the hon the Minister to give his attention to this matter. We should ensure that those who are out of work do not go hungry.
The hon member for Springs might find himself out of work very soon.
What is clear is that there is a surplus of facilities for Whites and a shortage for other population groups. It is not my intention to itemize the facilities in short supply for other population groups, but there is no doubt that there is a shortage for other population groups. Surely the hon the Minister should investigate the rationalization of services rather than perpetuate a system whereby money is poured into separate departments while the poor are being deprived of services and facilities.
Mr chairman, in the few minutes at my disposal I should like to put certain matters to the House. One is that it has appeared very clear from this debate that the moment of truth has arrived for the governing party. In spite of all the propaganda in regard to the so-called own affairs and general affairs, it has become clear in this debate that the Government has in fact forfeited the self-determination of the White man in this country.
Hon members on the Government side who have spoken today comprise the so-called right wing. We know these hon members. The so-called right wing spoke today as if to give the impression, and to calm hon members in this connection, that something of own affairs still remains. The hon member for Newcastle said an amazing thing today. In the municipal elections that we have had over the past month, the NP candidates did not stand under their banner but tried name-lessly and facelessly to enter the elections under no banner whatsoever. Eventually, if such a candidate won, it was then said that he was a candidate or representative of the NP.
I want to tell the hon the Minister of the Budget that he had the opportunity today to tell the voters outside and hon members in this House what own affairs really are. However, there was nothing in this regard in the hon the Minister’s budget. I trust that when the main Budget is presented, he will make use of the opportunity to inform the House in regard to what own affairs really are and why those own affairs actually make provision for self-determination. I also want to ask the hon the Minister whether he agrees with what was suggested in Rapport, namely that even an own department of education for the Whites should actually be included in one national department of education, one general department of education, because it is very clear to us that what the liberal newspapers are saying today will become the policy of the governing party tomorrow. One of the things that is still being held up to the Whites is that they need not be afraid: Education will remain their own affair.
There is a further point that I wish to raise. Over the past few years the Government has in fact been politicizing education in South Africa in the sense that no person who is not a spineless yes-man of the Government, is able to occupy any executive position in education and particularly tertiary education. This is taking place particularly at university levels. The State President is now Chancellor of the University of Stellenbosch, as is the hon the Minister of Cooperation, Development and Education of RAU. We find now that when members of a convocation exercise their right of appointing a candidate as chancellor of a university, use is made of the newspapers and so forth to denigrate such a person as though he did not have the right to occupy that position.
I want to make a last remark. In its modus operandi this Government is typical of the government of the late General Smuts in its final phase. Their arrogance and the way in which this Government seeks to manipulate South Africa and recklessly to try to eliminate the people who are not its followers, not only is an infringement of the rights of the citizens of this country but also certainly contributes towards bringing this Government to a fall. As far as the lastmentioned point is concerned, the Government is playing into the hands of the CP. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Rissik has made certain statements in connection with the moment of truth. If the debate today had proved one thing to me it is that the CP has only one interest and that is its own.
If we as Whites in this country want a future we shall have to be prepared to realize that there are not only 5 million Whites living in this country but also 25 million people of colour. Moreover, we must realize that we have to act in such a way …
Man, we knew that hundreds of years ago.
The hon member for Rissik has had his turn to speak.
Those 5 million Whites—we are the leaders of those Whites—must act in such a way that it will be worthwhile for those 25 million non-Whites living in this country together with us to continue to do so. Moreover, our actions must have the effect that the non-Whites want us here. [Interjections.]
If the principles of a party are built on selfishness, that party has no future. The whole principle of own affairs, as has been apparent from this debate today, is specifically built on the fact that one man does not begrudge another what he claims for himself.
I should very much like to refer to a number of points raised in this debate. I should like to begin with the hon member for Yeoville. I was surprised that the hon member for Yeoville started by complaining that the principle of own affairs as part of our whole constitutional dispensation was too expensive. I was under the impression that the hon member for Yeoville had voted “yes” in the referendum. [Interjections.] If the hon member for Yeoville did vote “yes” in the referendum, as I believe he did, …
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
Order! That remark of the hon member does not deal with own affairs, and the hon member for Yeoville need not ask a question in that regard.
But, Sir, you do not yet know what question I want to ask. [Interjections.] I want to tell you that the question that I want to ask is in regard to my own affairs.
Order! We are not at the moment debating the budget of the hon member for Yeoville. The hon member for Paarl may proceed.
Mr Chairman, let me in any event try to reply to the question of the hon member. He wants to know how I know that he voted “yes”.
No, that was not my question.
Order! The hon member for Paarl had better keep out of the own affairs of the hon member for Yeoville.
That is precisely the point. The hon member …
May I put a question to the hon member? Under which hon Minister in this own affairs Parliament do my affairs fall? [Interjections.]
I should like to elaborate further on the point the hon member for Yeoville made in connection with the cost of the dispensation.
I issued the warning that this legislation was necessary, but last year you said it was not necessary.
It has been ruled that we must not discuss the constitutional situation. Therefore I feel now like a certain minister of religion who is probably known to most of us. However, it is not the hon member for Waterberg. This minister had on one occasion to deliver a New Year’s Eve sermon. However, he did not have the chance to prepare himself and, when he had mounted the pulpit he said that he had only a few general but nevertheless thought-provoking ideas to put to the congregation.
I would so much like to have said that the hon member was of course correct; it is an expensive dispensation. It would have been very much cheaper had we had a dictatorship.
It would have been cheaper had we had a federal system. [Interjections.]
The hon member is in fact helping me now because that is precisely not the case. All that would be cheaper would be a dictatorship or an African-type pattern of a one party state.
The federal system of the PFP or the system of the CP or even the system of the NRP will in the long run not be a cent cheaper than the system propounded by the NP. [Interjections.] However, this debate is not simply on the question of cost. What is very much more important than the cost aspect is the ability to maintain stability, to create freedom and to defuse tension in South Africa.
Everyone agrees—and I am sure that I can say this on behalf of everyone in this House—that there can be no cheap instant solution to government in South Africa. That is undoubtedly true. Therefore, the test does not lie in the cost of the system of own affairs and of general affairs.
But is the cost not important?
Of course the cost is important, but that is not all that counts. There are also other yardsticks against which the success of such a system has to be measured.
Just consider the influence of such a government on political tensions. Consider the influence of such a government on the maintenance of peace in South Africa. Also consider the influence of such a government on the economy of South Africa. If you will permit me, Sir, I want to make this point. The hon member for Stellenbosch also mentioned it. Do hon members imagine for one moment that the people who propagate disinvestment will invest in South Africa after they have achieved their purpose?
Is disinvestment an own affair? [Interjections.]
What happened in Zimbabwe? [Interjections.]
I want now to discuss another matter which is very specifically peculiar to the situation we are dealing with at the moment. From the nature of the case, as far as the financing of the Budget for own affairs is concerned, we come closer to the voter or the public. The hon member for Bryanston complained about the education situation, but I am sure that he knows very well that we are in a transition stage. It is therefore very unfair of him to look only at the situation as it is today, 19 February. After all, one cannot simply break down one day and start a new day. There has surely to be a transition stage. As far as own affairs are concerned, we have to deal with certain matters in regard to which the voter, the public gain practical experience of the authorities, because own affairs affects their health, the education of their children, their local government, as the hon member for Newcastle remarked, their agriculture and the administration and financing of all these matters.
What about their culture?
Culture as well, of course. With this new dispensation the Government is being brought closer to the public.
Mr Chairman, the year before last the hon member for Paarl referred to the Language Monument Committee, which is multiracial, as the first multiracial Afrikaans cultural organization. Would he classify that organization under own affairs or general affairs?
I do not have the slightest doubt that my language which is also the language of the hon member and also the language of our colleagues in the House of Representatives as well as the language of a number of hon members in the House of Delegates, is a matter affecting all of us.
What about English?
The hon member for Rissik must not ask questions which … [Interjections.] With this situation in which the Government is coming closer to the voter in respect of these matters …
Order! The hon member for Rissik and the hon member for Turffontein must please give the hon member for Paarl a chance. The hon member may proceed.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. In this whole process in which the Government is being brought closer to the voter it is vitally necessary that an image of effectivity and helpfulness should be created. The hon the Minister of the Budget and the hon Ministers of the Ministers’ Council have to my mind a very great responsibility in the new dispensation to convey that image of effectivity and efficiency.
It is true that a large portion of the money of the South African taxpayer is spent on the Public Service. If one were to capitalize the salaries in the Public Service in respect of general and own affairs, one would realize that it was in fact the largest investment made by the taxpayer today in the whole South African setup. The success of the new dispensation and the test for the Department of the Budget are going to depend to a large extent upon the effectivity and efficiency with which this task is to be performed. In saying this, there are two characteristics that come very strongly to the fore. I am referring to adaptability and productivity. It is a fact that in a swiftly changing South Africa adjustments have continually to be made. It can so easily happen that procedures and methods stagnate and become fixed. This happens because those procedures and methods were successful in the past and always worked, and because it is so much easier simply to maintain the status quo. It is very important to my mind that this new dispensation, this system of own affairs, this new era in the crystallization of a new policy provides us with the ideal opportunity of testing the adaptability of the South African Public Service, as embodied in our Cabinet and our Ministers’ Council, in that way. I want to say immediately that from what we have seen up to the present, it would appear as though a great deal of success has already been achieved in that regard.
In the last instance I just want to refer to a characteristic which will have to come very clearly to the fore in this Ministers’ Council. That is the necessity for the highest degree of productivity. This is a concept that has already been discussed ad nauseam in South Africa. We have also already had a productivity year in South Africa. The fact is, however, that while the average per capita income of the average South Africa has over the past decade and a half mostly been able to keep pace with the rise in the cost of living, the increase in productivity has been pathetic. This is going to be a great responsibility. I want to make an appeal to the hon the Minister to ensure that this principle will be applied very positively in the relationship between that section of the Government entrusted with own affairs and the public. In this connection the new dispensation has an important role to play, namely to convey the philosophy of greater productivity to the outside world. This will be achieved by greater application, better planning and taking the right decisions, and with that, greater efficiency. It is not so much a question of harder work but rather of greater efficiency.
I want to conclude by saying that I wish the hon the Minister of the Budget and his colleagues everything of the best in their important task of making a great success of this new dispensation.
Order! During the speech of the hon member for Sunnyside I asked the hon member for a certain indication in regard to pensions. In order to avoid any misunderstanding I should like to point out that that indication was requested in the light of item 1 of Schedule 1 which, inter alia, reads as follows:
- (a) norms and standards for the provision or financing of welfare services;
Social welfare, subject to laws as set out in the Schedule, is obviously an own affair. I just wanted to make that matter clear.
Mr Chairman, at this stage I just want to thank all hon members who have participated in the debate today for their contributions. We have had divergent views, but the fact of the matter is that this is a new dispensation which we have to process into a system, and we are in fact developing it swiftly into a workable and practical system. What we have done here today has been to break fallow ground in order to establish the system. As I shall be completing my reply to the debate tomorrow, I move:
Mr Chairman, I move:
The House adjourned at