House of Assembly: Vol2 - WEDNESDAY 20 FEBRUARY 1985
announced that the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Private Members’ Bills had reported to him as follows in regard to the proposed Immorality Amendment Bill, the Repeal of the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Bill and the Smoking Control Bill:
- (a) negatived motions that legislation is desirable to repeal—
- (i) section 16 of the Immorality Act, 1957; and
- (ii) the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949, and the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Amendment Act, 1968,
- (b) was unable to reach consensus on the question whether legislation is desirable to provide for the control and regulation of smoking; control of the sale and distribution of cigarettes and tobacco products; and control of advertising and advertisements of cigarettes and tobacco products and I am accordingly unable to recommend that the proposed Smoking Control Bill be proceeded with.
19 February 1985.
The House met at 16h21.
announced that the proceedings at a joint sitting on the Transport Services Appropriation Bill [No 48—85 (GA)] and the Electoral and Related Affairs Amendment Bill [No 37 and 37a—85 (GA)] had been concluded and that he had referred the former Bill to the Standing Committee on Transport Affairs and had placed the latter Bill on the Order Paper for the Second Reading debate.
Mr Speaker, we have now come to the end of the first debate in this House on a Bill on own affairs. In this Bill I am asking for an advance to see this administration through financially until the Appropriation Bill is approved for the financial year 1985-86.
I should like to begin by thanking hon members for the congratulations they offered me during the debate. I appreciate their goodwill. I should also very much like to thank all the hon members who participated in this debate. I particularly want to thank the hon members on this side of the House who took part in the debate. Following the Chairman’s ruling on the scope of this debate, there must have been hon members, particularly on this side of the House, who had to tread rather warily to avoid falling into a trap. It did not, however, have the same effect on the hon members of the Opposition, for they in particular indulged in generalizations which one could in any event have used in any debate. [Interjections.]
I want to convey my sincere thanks to the hon members for Waterkloof, Gezina, Stellenbosch, Springs, Fauresmith, Newcastle and Paarl. They made good contributions to the debate and raised important points in connection with own affairs. The hon member for Waterkloof made the important point that when political effectiveness and efficiency have top priority, costs are in fact of secondary importance.
Further aspects to which hon members referred were, amongst others, the general philosophy and aims of own affairs, community involvement, the devolution of authority, local authorities as own affairs, the extension of own affairs, comparative cost aspects and effectiveness.
The hon member for Sunnyside, however, felt aggrieved because, in his opinion, my speech was too brief. Other members again, congratulated me for the self-same reason. That hon member, however, said my speech was too brief—he said he would have spoken for two days. I wonder if the hon member has not yet heard that one does not need many words to present a good case. However, I want to tell hon members what that hon member’s problem is. Since he joined the CP he no longer has a strong case, and when he did have a strong case while he was still a member of the NP, he argued it to death. You see, ladies and gentlemen … [Interjections.] Mr Speaker, I just want to say that at least I am not completely off the mark, because there really are three ladies present in the House now.
The hon member for Lichtenburg made disparaging references to own affairs and to the hon the Minister of the Budget. He said the hon the Minister of the Budget could not even levy dog tax. This, however, does not bother me in the least, because I can tell him that there is not a single Minister in this Parliament who is able to levy dog tax.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, Sir, I shall reply to questions towards the end of my speech, if I have any time left. I first want to settle accounts with him now. Not even the Minister of Finance can levy dog tax, for in our system of central administration we do not have such a thing as dog tax. However, if that hon member’s party had to come into power, I could quite foresee their allowing this system to degenerate to such an extent that dog tax would become one of their most important sources of revenue. [Interjections.] Since the hon member is so obsessed with dog tax now, I should like to advise him to become the shadow minister of dog tax in the shadow cabinet of the CP at this early stage.
You are making a great speech.
I thank the hon member for the compliment. The hon member has demonstrated that he would be worthy of such a designation because, as hon members will remember, he attacked me and said I do not possess any financial powers. But then, immediately after that, he whined about the levies I was able to impose.
Order! The hon the Minister must withdraw the word “whine”.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word “whine” and I say that he cried about the levies I was able to impose.
The hon member went on to refer to the farmers and really humiliated the farmers here. The hon member for Fauresmith dealt with him most thoroughly on that score.
The hon member for Sunnyside moved an amendment proposing that the taxes derived from Whites should be used only for the benefit of the Whites, and the hon member for Lichtenburg supported that matter argument of his. By so doing I think the hon member indicated his utter lack of feeling. It is a basic principle of a Christian State …
Oh, just listen to this now!
… that the haves should make a contribution towards ensuring the prosperity of the have-nots.
That is how it works in a communist state! [Interjections.]
Labour and capital are two components of prosperity. Our people of colour have consequently made their contribution too. The two members I mentioned have revealed their complete lack of feeling for the underprivileged by what they have said here. A while back there was a fad amongst some people in this country. They kept pet rocks. I believe some hon members may as well do the same. It would be indicative of the humanitarian feelings they evince. [Interjections.]
I now want to make a few brief observations on the Administration: House of Assembly. This administration is so constructed that duplication is minimized and maximum effectiveness ensured. In the Department of the Budget the functions of the five departments in regard to finances and accounts are concentrated so that each department does not need a separate unit for accounts; the same applies to personnel—that includes the appointment and remuneration of personnel—stocks and accommodation, efficiency services, special services as well as auxiliary and civilian services.
We can go into the details of all these separate components during the Committee Stage when they will come up for discussion.
What is the position of the portfolio I hold in regard to financial and even monetary policy? I want to demonstrate clearly that there is not a single facet of financial or monetary policy on which I am not able to leave this department’s mark. My two colleagues from the other two Houses—my two colleagues in the Department of the Budget—and I are permanent members of the following committees: the State President’s Committee on National Priorities, under the chairmanship of the State President himself, the Committee for Financial Policy and Strategy, under the chairmanship of the President of the Reserve Bank, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, under the chairmanship of a senior Minister, and last but not least, the Cabinet Committee on Budget Affairs, under the chairmanship of the hon the Minister of Finance. There is, furthermore, not one Cabinet Committee on which a Minister of the Minister’s Council does not serve.
When the State President appointed me to this portfolio, he also told me that it would involve teamwork. He gave me to understand clearly that I would become part of a financial team and that I would have to pull my weight. It is the goal which one strives for in a system, a system that has to be established, which is important—not the personalities involved. The fact of the matter is that as far as State revenue and expenditure is involved, I have a say in the matter and can, therefore, leave this administration’s stamp on such matters. It is true that this administration is already made up of five fairly large departments which are growing all the time. The calculated establishment of this administration comprises a total of 20 000 posts. Of these, approximately 17 000 are filled at the moment. Nearly 2 700 of those 17 000 appointments are external appointments. I am mentioning this for the information of the hon member for Yeoville. Less than 12% of those 17 000 appointments are therefore additional or external appointments. The remaining appointments are officials who have merely been transferred to this administration.
An additional twelve percent?
Less than 12%. The hon member for Yeoville is more than welcome to make his own calculations—2 700 as a percentage of 17 000.
†The hon member for Yeoville asked why it was necessary to have a part appropriation at all.
No, you raised it last year.
No, wait a minute. The hon member reasons that by virtue of section 2(1) of Act 120 of 1984 the Revenue Account of this administration is credited with the necessary amount at the expense of the State Revenue Account. He argues further that he cannot see why a Part Appropriation Bill is necessary, as it is obviously a debit against the State Revenue Account authorized by law. Do I understand the hon member correctly?
You said last year it was not; I said it would be.
No, that is not correct. This legal process referred only to transfers of money from one State Account to another, namely from the State Revenue Account to the Revenue Account of this administration. It only does that much. The hon member overlooked the most important basic rule in connection with State money: Not a single cent may be paid out of that account to which it has been transferred without an Act of Parliament authorizing it.
That was what you said last year.
For the benefit of the hon member for Yeoville, that is the purpose of the Part Appropriation Bill now before the House. If the hon member cares to refer to section 4 of the Exchequer and Audit Act he will be able to read all about it.
But read section 2(3) of Act 120 of 1984.
The hon member for Yeoville has also moved an amendment, but I cannot refer it to it as anything but a wishing letter to Father Christmas.
I would rather believe in Father Christmas than in you.
The hon member demanded no less than 12 extra benefits in his amendment. If it is agreed to, it will mean firstly that the State will need additional employees and secondly, that extra money will have to be paid out by the State. [Interjections.] In the meantime, however, the hon member is the big disciple advocating the cutting down of bureaucracy. The hon member has so often said to me: “Cut bureaucracy, cut State expenditure”. I believe that the hon member still has the same problem in that he wants the best of both worlds. It is unthinkable that a man with the experience of the hon member for Yeoville, cannot learn that that is not possible.
The hon member and other hon members too, referred to the levies which the hon the Minister of the Budget may introduce in terms of the legislation on Revenue Accounts. Section 3 of this legislation empowers the Minister of the Budget to introduce certain levies. Those levies cannot, however, be introduced arbitrarily.
†The hon member for Umbilo also referred to it. It is not a matter of those levies being decided upon at the whim of the Minister of the Budget to punish people and to make those levies so heavy that it becomes expensive for them to send their children to school. That is simply not the case. Before the hon the Minister of the Budget can enforce a levy he must in the first instance advertise his intention to do so in the Gazette. Thereafter he must seek the approval of this House before that levy becomes law.
*Surely the matter of parental contributions to the cost of education is already a principle which this House has accepted unequivocally. My colleague in the Ministers’ Council, the hon Minister of Education and Culture, has already referred to this matter in public and has said that this measure would be applied fairly and that anyone who could not afford it would be accommodated. It is an irrefutable fact that when people make a contribution themselves, they demand less. Langenhoven said that a wealthy man is wealthy because he is miserly.
I am also referring to the so-called formula amount mentioned in section 84A of the Constitution, to which the hon member for Yeoville and other members referred. Section 84A of the Constitution determines that the Houses are entitled to an amount in accordance with a fixed formula. At the moment research is being done in four areas which have been identified with an aim to arriving at a formula. The first is the sphere of education and then there are the spheres of welfare, housing and health. This matter will only go to the three Administrations—the hon member for Yeoville has asked me to furnish particulars—once the inquiries and research have been completed. These three Administrations of the Houses have extensive channels for negotiating an agreement. Only when an agreement has been reached, will the three Houses of Parliament be approached to finalize that formula in terms of section 84A of the Constitution, and then in terms of a general law.
The hon member for Sea Point as well as the hon member for Durban Point referred to pensions in particular. Let me say this here today: If there is a government which feels concern for the interests of the aged, the handicapped and the underprivileged, then it is the NP Government. [Interjections.] So much so, in fact, that the community has almost forgotten that it, too, has a contribution to make in regard to our underprivileged. Let me also say this: As far as this Administration is concerned, the Government will continue as far as it is within its means, to support the aged and the infirm, and in particular to care for the terminally-ill aged with compassion.
Having said all that, I ask the hon members and also the hon member for Sea Point in particular whether they think it is right that one should dispose of one’s assets so that the taxpayers would have to care for one. Does the hon member for Sea Point think it is right that one disposes of one’s assets so that the taxpayer has to take care of one?
The aim of that question is clear.
If the hon member really is unable to understand what that means, I do not think there is sufficient time to explain all the other matters to him. I shall therefore leave him at that.
I should like to ask everyone present in this House whether they think it is right that a person disposes of his assets so that the taxpayer has to take care of him. Is it not time the church, charitable organizations, the family and the community once again became more involved—we all know they are involved, but I say more involved—in the care of our aged?
I should like to refer to an example which my colleague, my benchmate, and I had here a week ago. We were approached by a community and asked to assist them with 50% of the money to build an old-age home. The community undertook to pay for the running of that old-age home without a contribution from the State. Do the hon members not think it is time our communities displayed this kind of attitude to a greater extent? Our old people would then really fare much better.
Certain hon members also referred to our farming community and the hard times they were now experiencing. The hon member for Pietermaritzburg South also referred to this. That is correct; the farming community is having a difficult time. Drought, for which no one is to blame, has been ravaging the country for a few years now. But if the hon member for Pietermaritzburg South knows of any other country that has a government which does more for its agricultural community than the Government of the Republic of South Africa, then I should very much like to hear about it from him, [Interjections.] The hon member may tell me during the Third Reading debate which countries do more for their agriculture than South Africa. I should very much like to hear about them. This Government is spending hundreds of millions of rands on agriculture. What is more, this Government listens to organized agriculture. The doors of this Government are always open to representations from organized agriculture and the agricultural unions throughout the Republic.
Several hon members referred to the cost of this dispensation, of which own affairs is now an important component. It is being argued that this leads to duplication. The cost of this administration will become clear in due course.
In due course? Do you not know?
That poor hon member does not have the vaguest notion of what this is all about. He does not even know yet that the provinces, which comprise major elements of own affairs, have not yet transferred anything at all. [Interjections.]
Sir, may I ask the hon Minister a question?
If there is time after I have finished speaking, the hon member may put a question. He is unable to make any contribution.
He is submitting a budget but he does not know what his budget is. [Interjections.]
It is a recognized fact— and we have never tried to hide it—that this is a process which must be transferred gradually, as own affairs are identified. Many as yet unidentified matters still remain that will in due course be transferred to own affairs. One day we shall be able to say to the hon Opposition members: This is the cost of our policy, but what is the cost of your policy? [Interjections.] When we have progressed to the point where we shall be able to say that we have now more or less finished transferring own affairs, we shall be able to say to the hon members: These are our costs. But then we shall ask the hon Opposition members what their costs amount to. [Interjections.]
As far as the Official Opposition, the PFP, is concerned, we do not even know precisely what their policy is.
Order! Did the hon member for Langlaagte say the hon the Minister is “belaglik”?
The hon member must withdraw it.
Sir, I shall not withdraw it. I shall rather withdraw from the Chamber. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for Langlaagte must return to his bench. [Interjections.] The hon member for Langlaagte has been in this House long enough to know how to conduct himself. We came to this House at the same time. The hon member said that the hon the Minister was “belaglik” and he must withdraw the word “belaglik”. I ask him to do so now.
I withdraw it, Sir.
The hon the Minister may proceed.
Sir, I accept the hon member’s goodwill. [Interjections.]
I was saying that we would then ask the Opposition Party what the costs of their alternatives are. The PFP has not yet stated what its alternatives are. I said the other day that their policy was launched in Rhodesia and then the hon member for Yeoville exploded.
I think you are ridiculous.
I am addressing the hon Leader of the Official Opposition. The PFP has so far consistently denied that their policy is one of “one man, one vote.” Is that correct? I see that the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition had, during December …
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: May the hon member for Yeoville say that the hon the Minister is “ridiculous”?
Mr Speaker, may I address you? The word “ridiculous” has been used in this House in respect of arguments since time immemorial. I do not know why the issue should arise. What the hon the Minister was saying was ridiculous and that is what I said.
Order! The word “ridiculous” as such is not unparliamentary, but I would say that the hon member for Yeoville could perhaps have chosen another word.
With respect, Sir, if we cannot say that an argument is ridiculous, nonsensical or irrelevant, what can we say? I am not being disrespectful to you, Sir, and I will choose other words if you would like me to, but I think that in reality there is a certain robustness about Parliament and that the word “ridiculous” is very low on the scale of that robustness.
I quite agree with the hon member that it is not wrong to say that a man’s argument is ridiculous. However, to say of the Minister that he is ridiculous is a different matter. To me that has another connotation. That is where I maintain that perhaps another word would have been better, but it is not unparliamentary.
Well, Sir, I accept what you say. What I intended to convey, however, was that what he was saying was ridiculous. That was precisely what I intended to convey. I say that without disrespect to you, Sir.
Mr Speaker, on a further point of order: Since the hon member for Yeoville has not been asked to withdraw his statement—which he made in English—that the hon the Minister is “ridiculous”, I want to ask you if you would not reconsider your ruling in regard to the hon member for Langlaagte because the exact same meaning can be attached to the word which he used.
No, the hon member for Brakpan is now making an incorrect statement. I immediately said very clearly “that the word ‘ridiculous’ is not unparliamentary”. However, to say that a Minister is ridiculous, I would regard as unparliamentary. Unfortunately I also have to inform the hon the Minister that his time has expired.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 68A.
Question put: That all the words after “That” stand part of the Question,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—103: Alant, T G; Aronson, T; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Botha, J C G; Breytenbach, W N; Clase, P J; Conradie, F D; Cronjé, P; Cunningham, J H; De Jager, A M v A; De Klerk, F W; De Pontes, P; Du Plessis, G C; Du Plessis, P T C; Du Toit, J P; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, A; Geldenhuys, B L; Golden, S G A; Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heunis, J C; Heyns, J H; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kotzé, G J; Kriel, H J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, M H; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, G; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Schutte, D P A; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, G P D; Thompson, A G; Van Breda, A; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Merwe, C V; Van der Merwe, G J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mossel Bay); Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Viljoen, G v N; Vilonel, J J; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Wilkens, B H.
Tellers: J P I Blanché, W J Cuyler, W T Kritzinger, C J Ligthelm, R P Meyer and L van der Watt.
Noes—44: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Barnard, S P; Boraine, A L; Cronjé, P C; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Gastrow, P H P; Goodall, B B; Hardingham, R W; Hartzenberg, F; Hoon, J H; Langley, T; Le Roux, F J; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Olivier, N J J; Page, B W B; Raw, W V; Rogers, P R C; Savage, A; Scholtz, E M; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Slabbert, F v Z; Snyman, W J; Soal, P G; Suzman, H; Swart, R A F; Tarr, M A; Theunissen, L M; Treurnicht, A P; Uys, C; Van der Merwe, H D K; Van der Merwe, J H; Van der Merwe, S S; Van der Merwe, W L; Van Heerden, R F; Van Staden, F A H; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H; Watterson, D W.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and A B Widman.
Question affirmed and amendments dropped.
Bill read a second time.
Mr Speaker, I move, subject to Standing Order No 52:
Mr Speaker, I want to say right at the beginning that what we have just witnessed in the House when the hon the Minister replied to the Second Reading debate, was a most regrettable affair. It was regrettable because it was his debut as Minister of the Budget, but he had no sense of occasion whatsoever. He used the time available to him, which was about half an hour … [Interjections.]
If the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs would like to conduct a conversation in relation to matters concerning his Department, would he mind doing it outside while we carry on with the budget? With great respect, he is the Leader of the House and should set an example. I am sorry to have to say it, but first listen to his members. [Interjections.]
Just listen to them!
Order! I want to point out to the hon member for Yeoville that I clearly called for order and that there was order until he again made a remark concerning the hon the Minister. That was when hon members started to react again.
With great respect, Sir, I am talking to the hon the Minister of the Budget. I want to come back to him now. There has been a great deal of talk about consensus in this new dispensation.
I am listening now, Harry. Just talk sense.
I will, I promise you. There has been much talk about consensus. However, what I want to say to the hon the Minister—and I say it to the hon the Leader of the House as well—is that this afternoon did not serve as an example of any endeavour to obtain consensus. On the contrary, there was an endeavour to bring about chasms and differences, and to have a debate of a nature which, I think, was entirely uncalled for.
Sir, through you I want to address the hon Leader of the House and say that the tragedy at the moment is that the Government is seeking to obtain consensus between the majority parties in the three Houses and it does not care two hoots about consensus inside this House. It does not try to get consensus with the Official Opposition or the other parties in this House. That is the essence of the matter. If the hon Leader of the House would like to enter this debate, I should like to hear whether he is interested in actually having consensus inside this House, or whether consensus in accordance with Government policy means only consensus between the three majority parties in the three Houses. That is a fundamental question and it is time that we had an answer to that. The reality is that we have not had it here.
The hon the Minister of the Budget comes here and rather contemptuously dismisses an amendment which deals with the needs of the aged, the homeless and the sick. He calls it a Father Christmas list. If the aged, the homeless and the sick in South Africa could actually depend on Father Christmas instead of on the Government, they would have a better chance, a much better chance! This is the tragedy of what is happening here. Instead of having a discussion on a reasonable basis about trying to find the money for the people who deserve it while trying to save money where we can afford to save it, we get the contemptuous argument that we are coming with a Father Christmas list. No, that is not the way in which to do it. [Interjections.]
There is another important matter to which I want to draw the attention of the hon the Leader of the House. The Minister of the Budget referred to the hon member for Waterkloof and said—he will correct me if I am wrong—that the cost was not material where there was political effectiveness.
No, I did not say that.
Then let him tell me what he said.
I said it was secondary.
In other words, in the eyes of the hon the Minister of the Budget cost is secondary to political effectiveness That is a very interesting argument. If political effectiveness means that, for example, we should have discrimination removed in regard to pensions and that all should be paid the same pension, then the cost is secondary and the Government should find the money. Will the hon the Leader of the House go to the Cabinet and put forward that argument there? Will the Minister of the Budget, when he talks about costs being secondary, say to us that it is more important that our people are housed so that there is stability, and that the cost is secondary because the political objective is so important? If he does, then he is going to get our support because then he has switched around his policy. That is what I think is fundamental to this.
There is another important matter which I should like to discuss. I should like the hon the Minister to correct me in case I do not have his figures correct because I have had to reply to him and deal with this matter immediately after he sat down. He said that the total staff involved in the new dispensation insofar as the House of Assembly was concerned was 20 000 posts—is that correct?— of which 17 000 were filled.
All right. He then said that 2 700 of those posts were extra.
Yes, those were additional posts which had been brought in. Therefore only 2 700 posts, he said, were in fact extra posts involved in the new dispensation. Am I correct? He has confirmed that. If that is correct, then I want to make two points. One is a very little one, which the hon the Minister will forgive me for making. He tried to correct me when I said the 2 700 posts amounts to 12%, Ie, as the Minister of the Budget said, the 2 700 is less than 12% of the total number of posts. It is in fact more.
Secondly, if one takes it on the number of posts filled, it is more still. Therefore, if as the hon member for Lichtenburg says, the hon the Minister is actually the Minister of Bookkeeping, I think he must get his bookkeeping straight. It is really more than 12% and he should not have told me that it was less than 12% if he wants to be the Minister of the Budget. However, that is just a little point to decide between the hon the Minister and myself. [Interjections.] It certainly is a disturbing point for a Minister of the Budget to make.
I have a far more serious point to make, however. I have in my hands a certain circular.
*It deals with “Die program vir die verhoging van produktiwiteit en besparing op personeeluitgawes”. The reference number is 14/5B of the Commission for Administration. I am certain the hon the Minister has seen it, because it was addressed to him as well. One of the important matters mentioned here is the following, and I quote:
Now, it is clear, and I want to put it to the hon the Minister, that he has to cut his appropriation by 8%, as stated in the Treasury Letter of 11 December. I am asking the hon the Minister whether that is correct. [Interjections.]
†If he is not going to do it, I do not know who is going to do it. However, what worries me about this 8%, is that I think it is a con. What he has done, is that he has admitted that he has increased his staff under the new dispensation by more than 12%—in fact the figure is 15%, depending on which figure one calculates it—and having increased it by more than 12% and even 15%, in other words 2 700 extra people out of 17 000 posts filled, he then cuts it down by 8%. [Interjections.] If that is what he has done, then I think it is a scandal to go and hold out to the public of South Africa that he is cutting back on personnel for South Africa when what he is doing is first to increase the number of personnel by more than he had before and then cut it down by a lesser percentage than that by which he increased it. [Interjections.] If that is what he is doing—and that is what he said in his figures this afternoon; I have taken his own figures and I asked him to confirm that there were 2 700 extra people— I think he is bluffing the public when he says that he is trying to cut back on expenditure in this field. [Interjections.]
The question that I want to ask him, if he is cutting back on expenditure, where he is cutting back on personnel expenditure. In own affairs we are concerned with the education and health of our people. Is he cutting back on staff there? As far as that is concerned, when it comes to education and health, we do not believe that he should cut back because that will prejudice the people of South Africa. That silence in regard to policy during the second reading debate, the challenges that we deliberately took up on our side of the House, prove our point. We put up a speaker for each of the portfolios to debate a particular policy aspect of own affairs in order to get a reaction. What did we get, however? Exactly nothing. Is that the way in which debates are going to be conducted? The reality is that, as far as we are concerned, we want to debate the individual matters of own affairs; we are concerned about the health of the people; we are concerned about the pensions; we are concerned about the teachers; but we get no response from the Ministers’ Council because they are not available. Does the hon the Minister for Education and Culture want to say something?
Please let him come into the debate. [Interjections.] I must say that that is entirely unacceptable. I want to repeat this to the hon the Minister again and again because he does not seem to understand it. As far as the concept of cutting back on expenditure is concerned we believe in cutting back on Government expenditure by removing unnecessary laws and their enforcement in South Africa. We believe in the removal of unnecessary bureaucracy. However, we do not believe in the removal of expenditure for essential social services for the welfare of the people and for stability in South Africa. We will not agree to cuts in that regard. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister must know that.
In the last instance, may I be permitted to refer the hon the Minister to the debate we had last year.
The hon member is being ridiculous.
I am being ridiculous but truthful and correct.
That has just been ruled to be unparliamentary.
I cannot say that the hon the Minister is “belaglik”, but I am allowed to say that what he is saying is “belaglik”.
Mr Chairman, I should like to plead for your indulgence today because, firstly, like many other hon members in the House, I am just recovering from a cold and have a big frog in my throat. Secondly, this is the first time that I am speaking from these benches here in the NP. [Interjections.] Because of this I may stray very slightly from the subject matter of the Bill, but I hope that you, Mr Chairman, will grant me a little leeway.
I am particularly pleased to be able to take part in this debate because, firstly, this is the first Bill on own affairs to be debated in this House. Secondly, it has to do with the passing of money for expenditure on the own affairs of South Africa’s White community. As we know, it is often said that money is power, and in this instance we are being asked to approve money for expenditure on those things that are close to the hearts and the hearth and home of the whole of the White community of South Africa; those things that are close to our culture, our heritage and our history—the things that make us what we are; the things that give us dignity and self-respect. We know from our own White history in South Africa that when these things are ignored or denied by a government or by those in authority, or when they are shown disrespect, this often creates frustration and anger that can lead to violence and bloodshed. This in turn leads to bitterness and hatred, the results of which are felt for many, many generations.
I am pleased to be taking part in this debate because this Bill epitomizes the pluralistic philosophy which is now entrenched in our Constitution. When I came to this Parliament eleven years ago, I must admit that I had an awful lot to learn about political philosophy. [Interjections.] Fortunately, my previous party, the old United Party, and its successor, the NRP, had within their membership people who deep down within their political souls were proud of what they were. They were proud of their history, their culture and their heritage. However, I want to make one thing quite clear. They were not racists, and neither were they selfish people. What they wanted for themselves, they were prepared to give to the other groups in South Africa, to the Indians and the Coloureds, and now have an Indian and a Coloured Chamber that will be debating Bills similar to the one that we are debating today.
I believe that this political development must be extended to the Black nations of South Africa. [Interjections.] In simple terms, the political souls of my former party were steeped in the political philosophy of pluralism. Speaking politically, I am a pluralist. I was a proud member of the NRP because it is essentially a pluralistic party. I believe they have done South Africa a great service. I stand here today as a Nationalist because of my perceptions of South Africa’s immediate and long-term political future. There is no doubt in my mind that it is only the NP, whose members today are also pluralists who can bring about the kind of South Africa for which I have fought for the past ten years, and which the NRP has also fought for for many years.
Having said that, I should like to get back to the financial aspects of this Bill, and also to what the hon member for Yeoville has had to say. He has criticized the hon the Minister in very strong terms. He has called for consensus, but I want to submit to the hon member for Yeoville that, if one analyses his attitude here today, one sees that he has been aggressive and arrogant. He has not tried in the least to reach consensus within this House today. I might say that it is very difficult indeed to reach consensus with parties which totally reject the philosophy on which this Constitution is based, a philosophy which was passed by more than two-thirds of the White electorate of South Africa. I ask the hon member for Yeoville why he does not respect the views of that majority of South African voters. Why is it that whenever these debates come up, the PFP just totally reject the philosophy on which our Constitution is based? When we talk about finance, all the hon members of the Official Opposition say is that we must stop spending money on these ideological programmes on which our Constitution is based.
The PFP totally reject group rights. They stand for a geographic federation. The hon member for Yeoville, in his second reading speech, asked what this new Constitution is costing in which we have three debates on own affairs. I want to ask the hon member for Yeoville how many local or provincial governments would exist in terms of the philosophy of his party.
One federal parliament.
But how many provincial governments? [Interjections.] This is the point which the PFP always ignore and they are bluffing the people of South Africa when they say that other democracies have a far more effective, efficient and economic system. I have said in debates before, and I want to tell the hon member for Yeoville, that the United States has 50 state legislatures. It has over 7 000 public representatives. I want to tell that hon member that he must look at the facts.
If the PFP should ever come to power— heaven forbid—the number of local, provincial or State governments would far exceed anything which the present Constitution of South Africa envisages. The same applies to the CP. They are always complaining about the cost of the new Constitution, but what would be the cost to South Africa of creating the total partition which Prof Boshoff talked about in Pietermaritzburg recently, a total partition dividing South Africa into a Whitestan, a Coloured-stan and an Indian-stan?
I want to put it to the people of South Africa: Stop being bluffed by these two Opposition parties. [Interjections.] They are bluffing the people of South Africa.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
Mr Chairman, I believe I have only two minutes to go and there are one or two other things that I should like to talk about.
The other area in which we have great difficulty in reaching any consensus with the PFP is that they are always calling for additional expenditure. If one studies the speech made by the hon member for Sea Point yesterday—unfortunately I was not here, but I got the Hansard and I read it— one sees that he called for more money for the aged.
Are you against that?
I am not talking about whether I am against it or not, I am saying that that party is always calling for more expenditure. That is the point I am making. The hon member said:
He went on:
He went on to refer to “meals on wheels” and so on. [Interjections.] I say one has to live within one’s means. [Interjections.] At the same time that hon member for Yeoville will call for reduced taxes. You see, Sir, one can never win with those hon members. They say that they would like to have consensus, but in no way at all do they ever face the economic realities of South Africa. That hon member for Yeoville is always playing to the grandstand, to the public. He is trying to be a good guy to the public, no matter what side of the economic coin he talks about, irrespective of whether it is Government expenditure or Government income. [Interjections.] I should tell the hon member for Yeoville that he is trying to bluff the public of South Africa. He is trying to hoodwink the people of South Africa, and if he wants consensus in this House he is going to have to face the realities of South Africa— the constitutional realities of South Africa, as well as the economic realities of South Africa. This party, the National Party, is going to face these things, each in its own time.
This party will take South Africa right into the 21st century, where we will have a safe South Africa for all the peoples of this country irrespective of the colour of their skin. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Amanzimtoti has just made his first speech in this House as a member of the National Party. Of course, I could point out to the hon member that he did not land up in the NP; it is in fact the NP that has accepted his policy. The National Party has undergone a complete transformation. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Amanzimtoti said that the CP is trying to deceive the public at large when we speak about separate development; that our policy is really one of partition. I ask the hon member for Amanzimtoti whether he is opposed to the existence of the separate Black states. Is he in favour of them or opposed to them? [Interjections.] Does the hon member accept the separate Black states or not? [Interjections.]
Absolute silence! [Interjections.]
Does the hon member understand Afrikaans? [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, the hon member says that he accepts partition with regard to the separate Black states. [Interjections.] On the one hand he says yes, and on the other, no. [Interjections.]
The hon the Minister of the Budget disappointed me. Yesterday afternoon I expected him at least to act quite impressively. Yet he did not even make a vague impression. Today he again had the opportunity to tell us much more. What did he do, however? He pointed a finger at us and said that the CP must say what the implementation of its policy is going to cost the country. However, the hon the Minister did not lift a finger today to indicate what the true state of affairs is. Even in the House of Representatives a great deal more detail was provided with regard to the Part Appropriation. Inter alia, they indicated clearly how much money is going to be spent on education, local authorities, and so on. The hon the Minister gave us no such information here, however.
He cannot because he does not know! Surely one cannot expect him to know those things!
The hon the Minister claims that the CP has no cause. The CP—and I in particular—have been insisting all the time that the Whites must not become despondent; that they must occupy their rightful place in this country. However, the NP sends its representatives throughout the country to make the Whites despondent. Today we are also dealing with a despondent hon Minister. [Interjections.] We urgently encourage the Whites to remain White; to remain proud of their White forebears and of their history. The NP regards it as a bad cause, however. They are opposed to it. When we say that we want to ensure employment opportunities and prosperity for all our people—for White Brown, Black and Asian—our cause is dismissed as being bad. The NP is opposed to it. To them it is by no means a good cause. When we encourage our people to be productive, our cause is also disparaged as being bad. Really, I think this hon Minister should rather have thought twice before having said anything.
The hon the Minister went on to speak about money being wasted. He did this whilst R3 million is simply being wasted here at Tuynhuys! [Interjections.] Then there is also the construction work carried out on the Union Buildings. This cost R11 million altogether. Of course, this took place without even calling for tenders.
That is not true. Where did you hear that?
Sir, that hon Minister does not even know about it. [Interjections.] Very well, would the hon the Minister of Public Works tell him whether tenders were called for for that construction work? [Interjections.]
No, I want the hon the Minister to give a clear answer to this question of mine. [Interjections.]
No, the hon the Minister must please answer my question. Were tenders call for for that construction work of R11 million on the Union Buildings?
But the hon the Minister of Public Works has already said that no tenders were called for. [Interjections.]
I want to know whether tenders were called for.
No. Did you not hear? [Interjections.]
Do you know how many contractors there were?
Were tenders called for? [Interjections.] Were tenders called for, and how many were received? Was there one or ten or twelve? [Interjections.] The important point is that no tenders were called for. [Interjections.] Then hon members and hon Ministers on that side talk about wasting money!
Then there is another matter about which I want to exchange a word or two with the hon the Minister of the Budget. He made a whole ridiculous story of what the hon member for Lichtenburg said in his speech with regard to dog tax. The hon member simply mentioned in passing that the hon the Minister does not even have the power to levy dog tax. The hon the Minister then devoted a considerable part of his speech to the whole question of dog tax. [Interjections.] Yes, of course that is precisely what the hon the Minister did. [Interjections.] When the hon member for Lichtenburg pleaded for the farmers in South Africa who are struggling and made a positive suggestion in this regard, it was said that he was insulting them. The hon the Minister owes us a clear reply in this regard. We want to know how the hon member for Lichtenburg could have in any way insulted the farmers when he was merely making sound, positive suggestions.
He was asking for write-offs, which is of course an insult to the farmers.
Why did the hon the Minister not say so yesterday? Why is he only bringing it up today? [Interjections.] I shall appear on a platform with that hon Minister at any time to address the farmers. [Interjections.]
It does not sound logical for people who pay interest at 29% to be accused of laziness. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for Sunnyside must be afforded the opportunity to conclude his speech. The hon member may proceed.
I want to tell the hon the Minister that the way in which this Part Appropriation Bill has been worked out … [Interjections.]
Order! My ruling also applies to the hon the Minister of Agriculture and Water Supply, and to the hon member for Lichtenburg. The hon member for Sunnyside may proceed.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. It is a great pity that the hon the Minister of the Budget did not give us more details. However, I want to say that the effects will still be seen. Until now, it has been possible to cover up to a degree—meant in a good sense—but I am issuing a warning that this covering up cannot be proceeded with for long. We shall come to the discussion of the Votes at a later stage, and we are then going to thrash this hon Minister. [Interjections.] We are going to thrash him, and then the laughter in the House will turn to tears. We are very sorry that the hon the Minister tried to play the fool today, instead of showing that he has a high regard for the own affairs of the Whites of South Africa.
The hon member for Sunnyside obviously left his speech at home today because the hon member usually tries to talk about finance; this afternoon he tried to talk politics, but he is equally ineffectual in both cases. This Part Appropriation Bill of the Administration: House of Assembly that deals solely with the own affairs of the White community, is of course a thorn in the flesh of the CP because the reality of putting into operation this extremely important component of the new constitutional dispensation runs counter to the argument and the whole political strategy of that Party. The rug has been pulled out from under their feet and the more that reality dawns on the White voters who are caught up in the net of the CP, the more ridiculous that party will become.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member for Turffontein say that the hon members of the CP are ridiculous?
The hon member for Turffontein may proceed.
The hon member for Rissik is wasting my time.
Mr Chairman, on a further point of order: Earlier this afternoon Mr Speaker gave a ruling, with reference to the hon member for Langlaagte, that the word “ridiculous” was unparliamentary. [Interjections.]
Order! If I have to motivate my ruling I shall do so with pleasure. The hon member for Turffontein did not refer to any particular member in this House, but to an overall, general political party. The hon member for Turffontein may proceed.
The basic promise of the great majority of Whites is that they want to preserve their own community life.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member for Heilbron say that the hon member for Langlaagte is ridiculous? [Interjections.]
Sir, I did not say that.
Order! The hon member for Turffontein may proceed.
Sir, it seems to me that the hon member for Rissik has a tactic for trying to waste a person’s time.
Because he is afraid to listen. [Interjections.]
I was trying to say that the basic promise of the vast majority of Whites in this country is that they want to preserve their own community life, and this great desire is being acceded to by the Government. What else is being embodied in this measure if not that all matters are the intimate concern of each of the population groups in South Africa should be dealt with in this measure in exactly the same way as in the relevant measures before each of the other Houses? What matters are more intimately the concern of the Whites than their education, culture, agriculture, local government, housing, health and welfare?
The hon member for Lichtenburg is putting forward the argument that there are departments dealing with general affairs that have a larger budget than all five of these departments for own affairs put together. Surely the importance of departments cannot be measured according to budget expenditure only. Is finance really the only norm about which the hon members want to argue?
The hon member for Lichtenburg says, furthermore, that the CP’s prediction that own affairs will have almost no meaning— these are the words he used—in the new dispensation, has now come true. I want to ask the CP why they refer to the White community in South Africa with so much contempt and such a disparaging attitude. Do ducation and culture have no meaning for those hon members? Have local government and housing no meaning for those hon members? Have agriculture and the supply of water no meaning for those hon members? Have health and welfare no meaning for those hon members? Let us hear from them now, and in particular from the hon member for Sunnyside who also took part in the attempt at disparagement on that side of the House.
In 1982 the NP laid down certain very definite guidelines through the then Prime Minister, now the State President. He said, among other things, that common voters’ lists for Whites and other population groups would be maintained. [Interjections.] He said that the composition and character of the House of Assembly would be preserved. [Interjections.] He said that its own independent state would be maintained for each Black population group. [Interjections.] He said that White ministers would retain control over White education.
Order! We cannot have a running commentary from one side of the House while the hon member is making his speech. Interjections are one thing but a running commentary is a horse of a different colour. The hon member for Turffontein may proceed.
Thank you, Sir. The then Prime Minister said that own residential areas for the various population groups and communities would be preserved. He said an own community life for Whites and other population groups would be maintained. The then Prime Minister also said this:
This is exactly what the CP is trying to do, namely to disparage what is own affairs and what is close to the White community in South Africa to such an extent that it will uphold their own argument in politics. The touting by those hon members of cheap untruths about mixed residential areas, integrated schools, communal old age homes, and about integration in general, is fizzling out in South African politics. I want to tell those hon members that time and time alone will make the White voters of South Africa, who find themselves in the clutches of the CP, come to their senses when the truth and the actual facts of this new dispensation get through to them, because the truth is being revealed day by day.
A few cases of mixed residential areas and a few cases of children of other colours in White schools are held up by those hon members as being the general rule in South Africa. Why are the exceptions to the rule being singled out and generalized? This is purely for short-term politics, as the White voters in South Africa are discovering. Two other communities are sitting in two other Chambers with their own Ministers’ Councils, and they are maintaining control over their own affairs on the same basis. It is there for everyone to see. It is no hoax. It is a reality that has been brought about in South African politics in terms of the Government’s policy.
With regard to the control of matters that are of profound importance to the Whites, the Government will not leave them in the lurch. The CP members can rant and rave as much as they like.
I see that the hon member for Yeoville is back in the House. I want to conclude with an observation about this hon member.
†The hon member for Yeoville made a very unwarranted and scathing personal attack on the hon the Minister. He complained that we on this side of the House do not want to reach consensus with Parliament as a whole, but that we want to reach consensus only with the majority party. I want to say to the hon member for Yeoville that I have known him for 23 years. The person who finds consensus with that hon gentleman has yet to be born. [Interjections.] One can ask anybody, whether in the business world, the old United Party or the PFP, and one will find that there is no way that one can reach consensus with that hon member. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I have to say with regret that I believe the hon the Minister of the Budget did himself less than justice in his reply to the Second Reading debate. I have known the hon the Minister for some time and I know he is a competent person capable of making a good and pleasant speech. Unfortunately, his speech was all patronizing denigration. I am sorry, but this is not in the best interests of this House and it is certainly not in the best interests of the hon the Minister. I am sure the new NP member for Amanzimtoti could not really have been very proud of his Minister on this occasion. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Amanzimtoti said that we and he also are very proud of the history of the United Party and the NRP. I would just like to make the point not only that we were proud of what we were doing, but also that we are still proud of what we are doing. We feel again that these hon gentlemen who left us before the job was finished, have possibly jumped the gun a little, but I will leave that as it stands.
The hon the Minister said the levies could not be imposed on parents unless it was agreed to by this Parliament. I imagine this to be true. At the same time, when we have a built-in two thirds majority, it is not very difficult to impose on the rest of the opposition the Government’s particular views. This is what parliamentary democracy is all about. I accept that; I do not argue. The point is, in the sort of world into which we are going in parliamentary life in South Africa, it does mean that the White people will have to pay much more for education. This is something which I believe they will not be able comfortably to afford.
The hon the Minister also made the statement that if they had to pay, they would ask for less. This may well be true, I do not know. I am only concerned with the fact that in 1967, when the National Education Policy Act came into being, I happened to be in the Natal Provincial Council. I am sorry that I do not see the hon member for Umlazi here, but he was there and he was most adamant that we in Natal, who were paying for school books, should not do so, but that the “Regering moet betaal”. He kept on with this all the time. He said it was wrong and against the policy and principle of free and compulsory education. I can assure you, Sir, that this is what we are going to be up against. If one is going to force people to pay and they cannot afford to pay, how can one make education compulsory? We are talking of big money as far as some of these people are concerned. I know that to wealthy Parliamentarians and NP Ministers R180 per child is not very much, but many people in my constituency and, I am sure, in the constituencies of many other hon members …
What do your colleagues in your province say?
My colleagues in my province have not put that on the agenda for the Provincial Council and I can tell the hon the Minister that they will not do so, because they say: “Do your own dirty work”. If one hon member of the Executive Committee in Natal is misguided enough to go along with this—and that may be the case—I can say that the other hon members are not.
Mr Chairman, I have now had the opportunity to listen to hon members who reacted to what I said in my reply to the second reading debate and I must say first of all that the hon member for Yeoville really amazed me. In the first place, it really amazed me that his skin was so terribly thin. Secondly, I have no idea why he became so angry. I cannot understand it at all.
He made much of the fact that we now have to find money for additional pensions if I say that costs are secondary to effectiveness. That is actually what I said: Costs are secondary to effectiveness. In that case, he said, we must immediately go and find the money to pay equal pensions and to provide equal housing and equal education. Surely, Sir, it is not logical to argue in this way. Surely the hon member knows—we have talked and argued about this often here— that as far as the question of equality of standards is concerned, we said that we should move towards equal standards in an evolutionary way and within the financial means of the State. Surely this has been laid down as a principle time and again, and it has also been accepted. Why is the hon member becoming hot under the collar about it today? It is not necessary.
The hon member also referred to the question of saving on staff. I now want to read him the answer I gave to a question on exactly that point a couple of days ago. My answer was:
I went on to say:
That is exactly what I said.
You first increase staff…
If the hon member now says that we first increased the staff complement he is wrong because this is not the case. I said there were 20 000 posts in this Administration. I said that 17 000 of those were filled. I went on to say that 2 700 of them had been appointed from outside—I beg your pardon, it was 2 000 that were appointed from outside; the others were all public servants. It is therefore not 2 700, but 2 000. That is a correction. I apologize to the hon member. If one expresses it as a percentage it is 10% of the total number of posts. It is also less than 12% of the 17 000.
But you are changing the figures.
It is in reality 2 000 and not 2 700. It is on record. The hon member can come and get it at my office. Of course we are seeking consensus, but I am asking the hon member to be reasonable in his demands. He must not make demands—and he knows that it is impossible for us to fulfil his demands—merely to gain political advantage. What the hon member for Yeoville did not do at all was to reveal what his party’s policy would cost the country. I, on the other hand, did say that the costs, in rands and cents, of our dispensation would become clear in time. However, the hon member for Yeoville made no effort to do this and I expected him to give me an answer on that point.
First of all, I wanted to know what his policy was; secondly, I wanted to know what that policy would cost. Surely that is a reasonable request? We must compare these things with each other because they are, as you know, relative. In order to determine whether or not my policy is a success, it must be compared with the hon member’s policy. If the hon member says that my policy is expensive we must know what the costs of his policy are. I will be happy to base my argument on the same premises as those of the hon member; I want to argue with the help of the figures he presents. If the hon member and I are to understand each other—the hon member for Yeoville and I do not experience many problems in understanding each other—we must make clear to each other what the basic things are about which we are to argue.
†I now turn to the hon member for Amanzimtoti. First of all, he made a good speech, and I am proud of him as a Nationalist. [Interjections.] I am proud of him as a member of the NP. In the past, when that hon member was the NRP’s spokesman on finance, I always greatly appreciated his speeches because he was one of the great exponents of the idea that we should live within our means. He urged that ever so often in this House. That is exactly the plea he addressed to the hon member for Yeoville today when he urged that hon member not to make excessive demands on the budget.
Funnily enough, even though I am Jewish, I believe in Father Christmas. [Interjections.]
Once more, Sir, I welcome the hon member for Amanzimtoti to this party. I am looking forward to the contributions he will make.
*The hon member for Sunnyside has just made—sorry, tried to make—a further contribution. [Interjections.] I claimed here that in time it would become clear what the policy of the NP would cost. I then asked what his party’s policy would cost. Therefore, when the hon member rose, I expected him to tell us what his party’s policy would cost. Once again I should like to argue this matter from the hon member’s point of view. According to the calculations the NP had had made, the CP’s policy of a Coloured homeland would cost in the region of R80 000 million or even more. [Interjections.] The hon member says I sucked that figure out of my thumb. All that I am asking him is to tell us what it will cost. He does not have to accept my figure; just tell us what it will cost.
Is it not true that that amount is necessary for housing for Coloured people, and that according to the policy of the NP the Coloured people will not have houses and will have to stay in the veld?
That is an allegation we made. The hon member is now talking about his party’s policy if he talks about people who have to stay in the veld. The amount of R80 billion was mentioned and all that those hon members can say is that I sucked it out of my thumb. I did not suck it out of my thumb. Let them tell us what the amount is.
How do you arrive at this amount?
A year or two ago we calculated what it would cost if we were to consolidate the remaining Black areas. We established that at that time it would cost roughly R1 billion. On that basis we worked out that it would take us four years …
Was Dr Malan able to tell the voters in 1948 what the policy of separate development was with reference to the Blacks?
The hon member will not make me relinquish the point I want to make with his question. I ask the CP to spell out the alternative to the policy with which we are at present dealing. We are not talking now about the costs of consolidating Black areas. I use it merely as an example. Two years ago we calculated that it would take roughly R1 billion to consolidate the remaining Black areas. We then worked out that, with the financial means at our disposal, it would take us at least four years to do this. On the grounds of this calculation, which the CP does not want to accept, it would cost R80 billion to carry out their policy with reference to the Coloured people. They can now make a simple calculation to work out how long it would take to carry out their policy in respect of a Coloured homeland. It will take 320 years. [Interjections.] The politics of the hon member for Rissik, who is now so talkative, consists solely of quoting from newspaper reports. During the debate yesterday he again quoted from a whole lot of newspapers. Yet he is an educated man. I understand he obtained an MA degree. On top of that he is also a Van der Merwe. Is he not capable of thinking something out for himself and not always merely quoting from the newspapers? We expect more from the hon member than that.
In conclusion I should like to refer to the hon member for Turffontein. He spelt out in a very effective manner the scope and the importance of own affairs. Nothing that anyone says either inside or outside the House will prejudice or diminish the importance of own affairs, because they will continue to increase in importance. I want to close with the request that hon members consider working together to make this department strong.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a third time.
Fair copy of Bill certified and transmitted to the State President for his assent.
Mr Chairman, I move:
Mr Chairman, I object to the motion of adjournment. Recently we have discussed with the Whips the question of how long we should sit. From the outset we have tried to co-operate with the hon the Leader of the House in respect of this matter. However, we have recently found that the hours of sitting of the standing committee are being altered back and forth in such a way that we are now being notified that standing committees will even have to sit during sitting hours. We cannot continue with this kind of arrangement. We asked that Fridays be set aside for standing committees and that we should have those sittings on Fridays. Now the Chief Whip and the Government are asking us—in fact compelling us—to hold standing committee meetings during the week as well. Could the hon the Minister not have arranged that the standing committees meet at times like tonight when there is no work? As a party that really wants to do our share and work within the system—the hon the Minister has just said that we should do our best to let the system succeed—we cannot allow members’ time to be spent in such a way that we are unable to make the best use of it. We therefore say that we are not going to vote for the hon the Minister’s motion.
Mr Chairman, I find it odd that the hon member for Rissik—and I assume he is speaking on behalf of the CP— is debating this motion of the Leader of the House. What are the facts? The hon member was speaking about the sitting days for standing committees. The rule is—and he can go and look it up—the hon member knows about it—that Fridays have been set aside for sittings of standing committees. Nowhere in the Standing Rules and Orders and nowhere in the rules is it determined that standing committees may not sit on any other day. In fact, provision is already being made for standing committees to sit on sitting days of the House as well. Now it is true that for the sake of good order and sound co-operation, it was agreed that standing committees would, as far as possible, sit on Fridays. I wish to inform the House that we have debated this matter in the presence of all the Chief Whips of the various parties. We said that we would do so as far as possible, but in order to let the business of the House run smoothly we would co-operate with one another in letting the standing committees sit on other days as well, when necessary.
The argument being advanced now is that these hon members find it unacceptable that we are adjourning now, since the standing committees have to sit tomorrow, on a Thursday. However, the fact is that all the parties agreed on Monday that we would adjourn this evening after the afternoon sitting. It was confirmed with all the parties yesterday that we would suspend the business of the House this evening when we come to the end of this afternoon sitting. I therefore find it odd that the hon member for Rissik is debating this now on behalf of the CP. It really amounts to nothing but the breaking of a verbal agreement between the various parties. I assume that the Chief Whips of the other parties support me in this regard. I therefore ask: For what earthly reason should one break one’s word in respect of an agreement one has entered into to promote the sound and smooth running of the business of this House? [Interjections.] The argument that is being raised is that the fact that a request is being addressed to the Chairman of Committees—and the Chairman of Committees knows this—that particular committees sit tomorrow, inter alia, the Standing Committee on Transport Affairs, is causing the problem as to why we may not adjourn now. What are the facts? If we go and look at the Order Papers, we see that as far back as Monday notice was given of standing committees that are sitting on Thursday. In other words, the hon the Chief Whip and the other members of the CP know about it. The only exception is the Standing Committee on Transport Affairs. However, in terms of the rules of the House, that committee is compelled to sit within three days after the hon the Minister has delivered his address. I therefore see no reason whatsoever for the hon members of the CP wanting to oppose this adjournment as proposed by the Leader of the House. The only reason I can think of is that they want to do so solely to delay the business of this House and to force this debate and make it difficult to ensure the smooth running of this House.
Mr Chairman, I had not intended to enter the debate, but I think I must react to one or two of the points that have been raised by my hon colleagues the Whips on the other side.
I think it ought to be brought to the attention of the Chief Whip of Parliament—Mr van Breda is not here at the moment—that what is happening at present, is that we are running the danger that the new constitution is not going to work as its creators and implementors would have wished. I say this for two reasons. The first one is that, unless we are very careful, I am afraid that there is going to be a pattern developing in this Parliament that hon members will regard Friday as a non-working day. I am afraid that we are going to find that, once the various parties have held their caucus meetings on the Thursday morning, and because Thursday afternoons seem to be developing into afternoons for discussing private members’ motions, members are just going to leave. We are going to have a working week of 3½ days. [Interjections.] I am just pointing out that that problem is looming. I think that the Chief Whip of Parliament should be informed by my hon colleague opposite that he should take cognizance of this. I am sure he has already done so.
Secondly, and equally important, is that what is manifest from what is happening this evening is that, for some reason—and I suspect that I know what it is, and I suspect that it is the same reason we have been facing for several years and certainly since I came to this place—legislation is not prepared in good time during the recess. We are sitting here with an Order Paper which is as nude as a new-born babe. There is nothing on it. I would ask the senior Minister present, who is the Leader of the House and who I am sure is aware of the problem, whether the Government cannot do something to speed up the pipeline process, from June onwards, of drafting legislation, and getting the law advisors, the draughtsmen and translators going on it. I have never been in Government, therefore I do not know what the process is. [Interjections.] There must be a means of speeding up that process. I have a horrible feeling that, once Parliament adjourns in mid-June or whenever it may be, the people who go to Pretoria—I do not want to cast stones—just rest on their laurels for a long time. The result is that we come here—and every year this happens—and we wait, we wait for legislation.
Now I want to return to the Whips. I would very sincerely ask my hon colleague of the CP to reconsider his position in this regard. I think he has made his point about the standing committees, which is a very valid point. I stand by him completely on that. However, I think that it is independent of the Whip’s agreement we made in regard to sitting this evening. He has made his point, and now he should honour the Whips’ agreement.
Mr Chairman, the Standing Rules and Orders provide that from today the House of Assembly shall sit from 20h00 to 22h30 on Wednesday evenings. I want to make it very clear that the CP is not unwilling for the House of Assembly to adjourn if there is insufficient work, and I told the Chief Whip and the hon the Leader of the House this at the meeting of the Whips.
Do the Standing Rules and Orders provide that you need not keep your word?
Instead of making unnecessarily lengthy speeches like the hon member Dr Vilonel—who is sitting at the back making such a noise—on Bills about which we all agree, we in the CP would be willing to agree that the House adjourn. We have already said as much, and I have told the hon the Leader of the House so.
At the joint meetings of the Whips, as well as at the meeting on the Standing Rules and Orders, I pleaded very nicely that standing committees should not sit on days other than Fridays. The hon the Minister will also recall that last year when the Standing Rules and Orders were drawn up, we said that the House of Assembly would not sit on Fridays so that the standing committees could do their work on that day. At those meetings I asked very nicely that we should not sit on other days. I also addressed the same request to the NP’s Chief Whip.
In order to let the business of Parliament run smoothly, the CP would even be willing to sit on days other than Fridays. We would be willing to do so and we shall co-operate with the hon the Minister, but then we must have the assurance that the available working hours of the House of Assembly are being fully utilized.
The hon the Chief Whip accused us of not wanting to let the business of Parliament run smoothly, but he must listen carefully now. The CP would be willing to sit on other days if the available working hours of the House of Assembly are fully utilized.
Tonight’s hours of sitting are from 20h00 to 22h30. Those are the legitimate hours of sitting of the House of Assembly.
Why have you changed your mind, Jan?
I shall tell the hon member in a moment why I have changed my mind. However, he does not know what happened amongst the Whips. Yet he sits and blabbers about it. [Interjections.] After having attended a meeting of the Whips, I received the following letter from the hon the Chief Whip, Mr Alex van Breda, and I quote from it as follows:
However, the hon the Chief Whip has just said that we discussed Wednesday on Monday. However, the hon the Chief Government Whip also knew on Monday that there was no work for Wednesday evening.
But you agreed …
The hon member must not speak about things about which we agreed. I am telling him that he already knew last Thursday that the House did not have sufficient work to discuss this evening.
You also knew that.
However, I stated at the meeting of the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders that we did not want to hold meetings of standing committees on Fridays.
The hon the Leader of the House moved a motion when I was not in the House, but I want to quote further from the letter from the hon the Chief Whip, as follows:
I now put it to the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs: The Chief Government Whip is asking standing committees to sit whilst the committee stage and third reading of the Transport Services Appropriation Bill are in progress. He asks the House please to sit at these times. This evening I want to say that we shall abide by what the hon the Chief Whip of the majority party asks if the Government Party can give the assurance that, instead of adjourning early every day, that sitting time will be used to dispose of standing committee work. I want to ask the hon the Minister whether he knows what he is asking of me this afternoon. He is asking us to adjourn and to go and rest this evening, but there is also a plea that standing committee meetings should take place tomorrow afternoon when the motion of the hon the leader of the CP comes up for discussion. The hon the Minister is asking us to go home and rest, but next week when the committee stage and the third reading of the Railways Budget come up for discussion, the standing committees have to sit.
I agree with the hon the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition that if the Government had done its work and its duty and seen to it that legislation is or was prepared on time to be submitted to standing committees, we would not have landed up in this situation. We would then not have needed to do these things. The Government—the Ministers— did not do their work, however. They did not see to it that legislation is prepared on time to be submitted to standing committees so that Parliament can do its work. Now the hon the Leader of the House is telling us that we must go home on a Wednesday evening, which is a legitimate sitting evening, but on Thursday, when there is work in the House of Assembly, a group of hon members have to attend meetings of the standing committees.
If other standing committees had reacted to a request of the Chief Government Whip, it could have happened that the members of my party would all have to attend standing committee sittings tomorrow when my hon Leader moves a motion here which is very important to us.
Help him with it this evening.
Those hon members can make a noise if they wish. They all want to go home this evening and do not care that the smaller parties have to sit in standing committees and do the work on Thursday.
Mr Chairman, I am sorry, but we cannot do this, and I agree with the hon the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition. I have attended a meeting of a standing committee on a Friday, having set aside the entire day to be available so that a standing committee could dispose of its business, but at 11h00, after we had had tea, there was no quorum because the Government Party does not exercise discipline. Because the governing parties in the three Houses do not exercise discipline, we had to adjourn at 11h00, and do hon members know what the result was? It was then decided to sit on Monday at 09h00, later it was decided to sit at 10h00 and eventually the standing committee commenced its business at 10h45. That standing committee has to sit tomorrow afternoon during the sitting hours of the House of Assembly.
I want to say that the CP is not going to allow itself to be pushed around by the Government Party and the rotten (“vrot”) arrangements it makes.
Order! The hon member must withdraw the word “vrot”.
Very well, Sir, their very poor arrangements.
Mr Chairman, I think, for the record, we should put one or two things right. First of all, I agree that it was suggested and agreed that standing committee meetings should be held on Fridays in the first half of the session. This can only happen, however, up to the Easter recess. After the Easter recess we are going to have to find other times for our standing committee work; and you can rest assumed, there is going to be standing committee work after the Easter recess.
In the past, on Fridays up to the Easter recess, we traditionally discussed private members’ motions. Moreover the attendance in this House on those Fridays has not always been what it should have been. We all know that. We also know that hon members tend to take long weekends off. We know hon members have various “urgent matters” that call them home weekend after weekend; very often the same hon members, I have found. When hon members are not interested in the business being conducted in the House they always seem to find something else to attend to. I do not think there is really anything much we can do about changing this.
Be that as it may, Sir, we know we are going to have hiccups; we are going to have a lot of hiccups before we ultimately get the nuts and bolts together and before we get everything operating smoothly.
It will never work!
That may be so in your opinion, my friend. I should like to tell that hon member, Sir, that we in this party will do our utmost to make it work because we want it to work. [Interjections.] We will do what we can to make it work. I believe, Sir, that in order to make it work we need co-operation. I do want to point out, however, that I too am faced with a difficulty tomorrow morning, as are certain other members, and I resent it. Therefore I can quite understand the objections raised here earlier by the hon member for Kuruman. I think he is right. He has a point. The hon leader of his party is to move a motion here tomorrow, and it is wrong that the hon the Chief Whip of Parliament should be asking that standing committees sit tomorrow, specifically during the hours of sitting of this House. I believe, however, that this is an error of judgement; no more, and no less.
I also agree with what the hon the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition has said. Any one of us who has been here for more than a few years will know that year after year we have the same difficulty in this House with an Order Paper that is almost completely blank. As a result we have to scramble for work during the first part of the session. This is true, and I am sure no hon member can deny it.
The most important thing to me here this afternoon, however, is that I do not want faith to be broken among Whips. That, to me, is of cardinal importance. Whips are peculiar animals. We are a peculiar breed. I accept that. However, when we Whips agree on something among ourselves, it is imperative that we should stick by those agreements. Therefore my appeal to the hon member for Kuruman is that he should please reconsider what he is doing here this afternoon. I ask him seriously to reconsider and not to push for a division on this matter. I ask him this because I too was party to the agreement, and I confirm what has been said in that we did agree among ourselves—that we would adjourn early today. Therefore I believe it is in the best interests of all that we should go ahead as agreed. We have had an interesting talk about this matter here this afternoon. It has been a good debate. We have aired the matter thoroughly. In the best interests of this House, however, and in the best interests of its traditions, I believe we should let the matter rest there. Let us go home early tonight and let us not argue about this matter any further.
Mr Chairman, the hon Chief Whip of the majority party has informed me that consensus was reached among the Whips of all the parties, and that the House will therefore not sit this evening. We have made arrangements accordingly with the kitchen. It costs a great deal of money to prepare food for everyone. No meals will be served this evening.
I asked the hon Chief Whip of the majority party a second time whether unanimity had been reached among the Whips of all the parties concerned. He assured me that each of them had given him an undertaking to keep to the agreement. That is why I moved that the House adjourn.
The hon member for Umhlanga said something very important. We do not want the mutual trust among the Whips to be violated. A wonderful spirit prevails at the meeting of the Whips every Thursday morning. I also ask that we understand one another well as far as this new arrangement is concerned. Not one of us could have known that, owing to the elimination of a committee stage, such rapid progress would be made with legislation. In fact, it should have been possible for us to make more time available for the meetings of committees— not just Fridays.
The hon member for Groote Schuur was correct in saying that hon members are beginning to leave Cape Town on Thursday afternoons already. We shall really have to give attention to this whole matter. After all, the new system is still in its teething stage. Things must be allowed to grow and flourish. I wonder whether it would not be better if Parliament did not sit on Mondays. For that, however, it would be necessary to have the whole process reconsidered by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
†The hon member said that legislation was not being prepared in good time, and I fully agree with him, but when we adjourn now the committees are going to sit right through the year. Next year when we arrive here some of the committee work will have been done already, and we can then start with legislation immediately. That is in any case what I foresee.
*However, this is a new system which we can cause to function smoothly, in consultation with the hon Chief Whip of Parliament and through discussions. I have a great deal of sympathy for the hon member for Kuruman if he has to attend a committee meeting tomorrow, but we simply have to adjust these things. The fact of the matter is that the system has become more effective in that there is no long discussion during the Committee Stage, and I want to thank hon member for not having spoken at great length in this House about certain things we had already threshed out during the Committee Stage. It is a sign of efficiency, but I shall put a request to the Cabinet again for the legislation to come through more quickly.
†However, as the hon member for Umhlanga said, after the Easter recess we shall not have Fridays off; we shall have enough work. We could have sat tonight.
*The hon the Minister of Finance is here, and we could have fitted in the Third Reading of the Part Appropriation Bill this evening, but I was told that the Whips had agreed; that the Whips had agreed not to sit this evening. The next time someone tells me that the Whips have agreed, he will have to get their signatures on a piece of paper. [Interjections.] This was agreed upon, and we may as well terminate this discussion now.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon the Minister? I want to ask him whether he will take my word for it that after we had had a meeting, I received a letter from the hon Chief Whip of Parliament, and that we changed our standpoint in regard to this matter because of that letter.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Kuruman has never lied to me. I shall take his word for it; why would I not? However, I was informed that consensus had been reached. [Interjections.] That is why I say that this is a misunderstanding, but let us give this system a chance to develop. I feel that we have now wasted enough time, and I move that we go home in peace and amity.
Question agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).
The House adjourned at