House of Assembly: Vol2 - MONDAY 25 FEBRUARY 1985
announced that he had called a joint sitting of the three Houses of Parliament for Monday, 4 March, at 14h15, for the delivering of Second Reading speeches on certain Bills.
The House met at 14h44.
laid upon the Table:
- (1) Human Sciences Research Amendment Bill [No 51—85 (GA)]—(Standing Committee on Home Affairs and National Education).
- (2) State Oil Fund Amendment Bill [No 52—85 (GA)]—(Standing Committee on Mineral and Energy Affairs).
- (3) Development Trust and Land Amendment Bill [No 53—85 (GA)]—(Standing Committee on Co-operation, Development and Education).
To be referred to the appropriate Standing Committees, unless the House decides otherwise within three sitting days.
announced that Mr Speaker had reported to him that the proceedings at a joint sitting on certain bills had been concluded and that he had placed these bills on the Order Paper for the Second Reading debate.
announced that Mr Speaker had in terms of Standing Order No 15 nominated the following members to act as temporary Chairmen of Committees: Messrs G C du Plessis, A Geldenhuys, J J Lloyd, K D Swanepoel, G J van der Linde and Dr L van der Watt.
as Chairman, presented the Fifth Report of the Standing Select Committee on Constitutional Development and Planning, relative to the Natural Scientists’ Amendment Bill [No 33—85 (GA)], as follows:
V A VOLKER,
22 February 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
as Chairman, presented the Sixth Report of the Standing Select Committee on Constitutional Development and Planning, relative to the Local Government Training Bill [No 26—85 (GA)], as follows:
V A VOLKER,
Committee Rooms Parliament
22 February 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
Mr V A VOLKER, as Chairman, presented the Seventh Report of the Standing Select Committee on Constitutional Development and Planning, relative to the Promotion of Local Government Affairs Amendment Bill [No 43—85 (GA)], as follows:
V A VOLKER,
22 February 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
as Chairman, presented the Second Report of the Standing Select Committee on Transport Affairs, relative to the Transport Services Appropriation Bill [No 48—85 (GA)], as follows:
D M STREICHER,
21 February 1985.
as Chairman, presented the Second Report of the Standing Select Committee on Agricultural Economics and Water Affairs, relative to the Co-operatives Amendment Bill [No 30—85 (GA)], as follows:
P B B HUGO,
22 February 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
as Chairman, presented the Second Report of the Standing Select Committee on Foreign Affairs, relative to the Diplomatic Privileges Amendment Bill [No 3—85 (GA)], as follows:
G P D TERBLANCHE,
25 February 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
Introductory Speech delivered at Joint Sittingon 25 February
Mr Speaker, I move:
Before I deliver my speech as such, I believe hon members will find it interesting to hear some information in connection with the latest position on the international financial market. The American dollar has just exceeded the level of DM3,43, and is hovering at the level of DM3,44. One now receives only $1,06 for £1 sterling. Gold has dropped to $287 per fine ounce, and the Swiss franc has dropped to f2,89 to the dollar.
It needs to be noted that only four years ago one required only 1,4 Swiss francs to buy one dollar. One now needs twice that amount of money in order to buy one American dollar. The rand is now fluctuating between 46c and 47c. I do not think it requires any great insight into economics or financial matters to realize that in the prevailing circumstances proper budgeting and proper planning by any government or business interested in sound management are extremely difficult at this stage.
*In the Main Appropriation of March 1984 an amount of R21,506 billion was voted for expenditure among the 25 Votes of the previous constitutional dispensation. To this must be added statutory amounts—mainly servicing of the public debt—of R3,851 billion to bring the total Government spending under Part I up to R25,357 billion.
As hon member will recall, I announced at a frank discussion with the private sector and the media on 19 September 1984—a few weeks after my accession to office—that in spite of the substantial curtailment of services, which had reduced excess expenditure by a good R650 million, the expenditure level of R25,357 billion which formed the basis of the Main Appropriation, was nevertheless too low as seen at that stage. I then held out the prospect of excess expenditure of R1,8 billion, statutory excess expenditure included. According to this projection Government expenditure in 1984-85 would not exceed R27,2 billion in aggregate.
Despite the present state of the economy, high interest rates, which incidentally also have to be paid by the Government on its debts and which exert constant pressure on the Exchequer, as well as a high level of continued aid to the agricultural sector, I am pleased to be able to say here that my colleagues and their departments succeeded in remaining within this target. The total additional requisition which I am now submitting to Parliament, therefore amounts to R1,436 billion, with the exclusion of additional statutory expenditure—mainly public debt costs—estimated at R531 million.
After hidden savings, which experience has taught us materialize every year, and this year are estimated at R130 million, are taken into account, the position will be as follows:
Plus: Additional requisition
Statutory excess expenditure
Minus: Hidden savings
27 324 130
I want to give hon members the assurance that considerable effort and sacrifice was required to achieve this, and it was only possible through the whole-hearted and continuous co-operation of my colleagues and their departments. On this occasion, therefore, I should like to convey a special word of thanks to all those who made a contribution to remaining within the set amounts. Without their support it would not have been possible to adhere to our undertaking in respect of expenditure control.
Since it is in fact up to my hon colleagues to elucidate, where necessary, the requisitioned supplementations in greater detail during the discussion of their Votes during the Committee Stage, I should like to content myself with the following brief remarks.
The shortfall in the account for Black, Coloured and Indian Transport Services of R39 million is attributable to increased numbers of passengers and higher running costs than originally budgeted for. Operating losses of the South African Transport Services on rail passenger services also increased steeply during the year, hence the R90 million requested. In both cases higher recovery of the losses from passengers— overwhelmingly urban commuters—is being phased in gradually, and I am satisfied that there is no alternative but to provide the additional subsidies from the State coffers.
Under this heading is grouped the South African Police (Vote 13), the South African Defence Force (Vote 16) and Prisons Services (Vote 20). Together these services require an additional R292,7 million. In the case of the Police R68 million is required. A larger force has become necessary as a result of greater demand for their services and increased counter-insurgency operations. The R27 million augmentation requested for Prisons is likewise related to a higher growthrate of the prison population, consistent with the increased crime rate with which the Police have to deal. The additional R197,5 million required for Defence is almost entirely ascribable to cost escalations and carry-over costs of earlier improvements in conditions of service.
Another major item of expenditure is the deferred payment that has to be made to the provinces. It amounts to R84,4 million this year and is a normal facet of the operation of the subsidy formula which crops up annually in the Additional Appropriation. Like the central Government, the provinces are under increasing pressure to maintain services, while the maintenance of existing capital assets such as roads and buildings imposes ever-increasing demands, and owing to consecutive cut-backs in recent years, considerable harm has in fact been suffered. The deferred payment is therefore essential.
Of the total additional R296 million requirement of the Department of Agriculture, no less than R272 million will be spent during this fiscal year on continued subsidization of essential foodstuffs, for instance, bread R74,2 million, mealies R175 million and sugar R22,8 million, totalling R272 million. When added to the earlier appropriations for this service, it can be seen that the Exchequer, despite enormous problems this year, has attempted to cushion the effects on consumers of the ever rising real cost of basic foods as far as possible to the tune of R432 million. The Government is thus, I believe, doing all it can to shield the less privileged in particular in these difficult times.
*Transfers to Administrations for Own Affairs
With the commencement of the new constitutional dispensation a large number of services were accepted as own affairs and these services are now being rendered by the Administrations concerned. The unexpended balances of amounts voted in the March 1984 main appropriation for these services for expenditure by the departments concerned, were transferred during September 1984 to the Revenue Accounts of the respective Administrations in terms of section 2(2) of the Exchequer and Audit Act, 1975. A Vote was created for each of the Administrations in order to make provision for the said transfers to the Revenue Accounts. Any deficits experienced have to be made good out of the State Revenue Account. During the present financial year the Administration: House of Assembly requires an additional R79,5 million and the Administration: House of Representatives R12,7 million for the proper financing of services entrusted to them.
Land Affairs and Housing Matters
Of the requested additional amount of R156,4 million under Vote 21—Community Development—an amount of R86 million is for a housing subsidy for public servants, mainly as a result of the sharp increase in interest rates. An amount of R36 million is required for essential purchases of land, while R58 million is required for the erection of buildings and structures. Of the latter amount, R37 million is required for accommodation in respect of the new dispensation.
The items I have dealt with above, amounted to approximately R1 046 million of the total requisition in the Additional Appropriation. The balance of approximately R390 million is distributed among various Votes, on which the Ministers responsible will, if need be, elaborate further.
Second Reading resumed
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister of Finance commenced his address to us this afternoon by talking to us about the exchange rate of the dollar. I should like to react briefly to what he said. Firstly, I think there is a lesson which we should all perhaps learn and perhaps the hon the Minister of Finance more than anybody else. That is that, despite the fact that the United States Government has, in regard to its budget, a very, very substantial deficit and despite the fact that there is a very substantial deficit on the current account of the balance of payments, the dollar is strong and is strengthening. One needs to ask why that is so. The reasons are, I think, very obvious. Firstly, there is a low rate of inflation in the USA. Secondly, there is a positive growth rate which is based on growth in the private sector. Thirdly, and more important than anything else, there is confidence in the political stability of the United States. This is why people are placing their capital there. If there is not a lesson in that for us, then I do not know.
If we want to solve our problems, the solution lies in the fact that people must have confidence in us, must have confidence in our stability and must have confidence in our economic management. Whether one agrees with President Reagan’s policies or not, the reality is that there are enough people in the world who are prepared to place their money in the country run by President Reagan.
What about Germany?
The answer in the case of Germany is very simple. It is that it happens to be next door to Russia. It is a very simple reason. [Interjections.] The hon members may laugh, but I want to ask the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs why he thinks people are putting their money into US dollars in America instead of keeping it in Europe. There is a very simple answer, and that concerns the question of political stability—that is something one must remember—and the fact that people want to have confidence that their money is going to be safe where they put it.
I do not believe—and do not let us get it wrong—that the dollar is going to soar indefinitely or is even going to remain at the present height. Eventually it will come down to a more realistic level, but the political conception in the minds of people is as important as the reality of the economy, and we have to face that as a fact in South Africa.
The hon the Minister gave us the bad news in regard to the gold price and the rand. I must tell you, Sir, that I have the suspicion at the back of my mind that somewhere along the line the Reserve Bank is intervening in order to keep the rand at the present level while the dollar has gone to the level it has reached today. If that is so, that is fair enough. As long as it does not overreach itself, I have no complaint. That is, however, not the only bad news we have. The bad news the hon the Minister gave us was that what we thought was wrong has been shown by him today to be the case. I will grant him that ever since he took office he has never concealed from us the fact that there is bad news in regard to last year’s Estimates and last year’s budget. There is no doubt that, till today and this debate, the hon the Minister has not had the nerve—and I do not blame him—to attempt to apologize for what has gone wrong. He has not even endeavoured to explain it away. The reality is that things went very badly wrong with last year’s budget.
If one is not to spend the next hour on it, one must to some extent resist the temptation to quote at length from the last Budget Speech of the hon the Minister of Finance in regard to how he had cut expenditure to the bottom line; how he had managed to get it below R25 million; how one could not afford to go above it; and how he criticized me when I said that on the strength of those figures one did not have to increase taxes. He said at the time, however, that he had to increase taxes even considering those figures. Regretfully—and I emphasize, regretfully—those of us who challenged the credibility of that Budget have been proved right.
Where do we go from here? We are now in a situation where the hon the Minister of Finance has not told us what went wrong; we have to deduce this from the figures. We were told that the figures of expenditure were going to be monitored on a monthly basis. Checks were going to be carried out every month to ensure that monthly expenditure was not exceeding one twelth of the budget. After one month, however, we were told that that procedure had failed. After the second month, we were again told that the procedure had failed. Then the new Minister of Finance assumed office; and later the Director-General of Finance convened a meeting of all the heads of departments and warned them that the existing state of affairs could not continue. What, however, has actually gone wrong? If the measures that the hon the Minister introduced this year had been introduced at the beginning of the last financial year, a saving of at least another R500 million or possibly even R600 million would have been effected in regard to expenditure.
It is all very well for the hon the Minister to come here today and to tell us what he has managed to achieve with the co-operation of his officials. However, we are in a situation where there is collective responsibility for the Cabinet. The hon the Leader of the House is as responsible for what has happened as anybody else is. We have not been told why these measures that were only taken when this hon Minister took office, were not taken earlier. A detailed and lucid explanation for this is needed. We need to know why the measures taken never worked before; why, in fact, they have only worked now. We need to know what went wrong initially.
Another important matter relates to the hon the Minister’s statement that he has cut back on expenditure. However, if one looks at these additional estimates, one cannot really see just where he has cut back. It is only really the additional expenditure that is shown; where the cutback has taken place, we do not know. We need to know whether there has been a cutback in regard to, for example, certain social expenditure. Let us look, for example, at the state of the provinces, and at what goes on in the hospitals. Let us look at how the hospitals have been told to cut back on expenditure which, we believe, is vital for the welfare of South Africa. Then let us look at what has happened in regard to infrastructural cutbacks. Where have the cutbacks really been? Have they been in current expenditure or have they been in capital expenditure? Moreover, what are the long-term consequences going to be for South Africa of a cutback in infrastructural expenditure, a cutback for which we are going to have to pay a tremendous price in a couple of years from now. These are the questions with which we have to grapple. These are the questions we have to answer. Unfortunately, the hon the Minister did not deal with these major problems, particularly in regard to where the cutbacks have been, and in regard to the consequences of cutting back in the wrong places.
We have always made our position clear. We believe there has to be a cutback in Government expenditure. We do not believe that one can carry on as the Government has done. The reality is that one has to exercise a discretion in regard to where one cuts back. In this respect the hon the Minister has not taken us into his confidence.
The other question that arises—and I think it is a very important one—relates to the financing of these funds. Normally—and I have checked the records of the past few years—the former Minister of Finance used what became a kind of standard phraseology. They were, however, mere words, because the reality was somewhat different. In any case, the former Minister of Finance said:
That was what the hon the Minister’s predecessor said—that there were “adequate funds available” and that this would be done “on a sound basis”. Now I pose the question to this hon Minister: Firstly, are there adequate funds available? Secondly, and more importantly, is the financing going to be on a sound basis? What is remarkable, is that when the previous Minister of Finance spoke to us during the Budget debate—this very Budget about which we are talking now—he said that if we were to exceed R200 000 million in borrowings, we would be in terrible trouble. That is the point. He said we were going to be in terrible trouble, and asked how we could do that. As I understand the figures, the hon the Minister is borrowing much more than R2 000 million. I think the figure is probably well over R3 000 million, or maybe R3 500 million. Are we in respect of this particular expenditure in the same ballgame as we were before, and that is that we are actually financing current expenditure from borrowed money? In other words, has the hon the Minister already borrowed money or will he borrow money in order to finance this expenditure that we have been asked to vote for now? I ask him to tell us how he is actually financing this expenditure. How is the expenditure for the current year going to be financed?
We have seen figures from the Government Gazette as to what the revenue collections are. We have some idea as to what the borrowings are. However, I think we need to know how this is going to be financed, and it is an essential requisite for additional estimates. I want to tell the hon the Minister that if it were not for the fact that he was a new Minister who was trying, I think we would not have opposed these additional estimates. We would have broken with tradition and we would have moved an amendment because this is a disastrous year where there should have been a lesson. However, we are not going to oppose these additional estimates because in our view the hon the Minister has tried to reduce expenditure.
This question of healthy financing is an issue not only for the current year, it is an issue for next year as well. The issue that we need to know is: How is the hon the Minister going to proceed with the financing of expenditure?
There is another interesting thing that arises from these additional estimates, and that is the question of the indebtedness of the Government in respect of foreign borrowing and what provision we have made for it. If the hon the Minister was correctly reported in the weekend Press—he can tell me if I am wrong—he said that he was going to provide in the Budget for some help for small businesses. He said, however, that he was not going to provide help for those who dabbled in foreign exchange. Is that right?
That is right.
What about people who have dabbled in foreign exchange like the hon Leader of the House? What about him? If I read the papers correctly, the SA Transport Services have suffered theoretical losses of R200 million on foreign loans.
Yes, theoretical in actual cash. Is that hon Minister a dabbler in foreign exchange? Is he not going to be helped? Let us look at Escom and others. The hon the Minister of Trade and Industry is smiling, but he has nothing to smile about. In view of his foreign exchange activities I would have a very sad look on my face if I were in his place.
Let us look at the Government itself. Here I want to ask the hon the Minister some very pertinent questions relating to the provision in these additional estimates for the foreign exchange losses that the Government and the Reserve Bank have suffered. Can the hon the Minister tell me what provision is being made in respect of the foreign indebtedness of the country? Let me quote a few figures in this regard: According to the Reserve Bank, the latest figure that I have in regard to the total foreign indebtedness of the SA Government is R3 170 million. However, that figure is shown in rands. In exactly the same way, in an auditor’s report, the figure for 1984 is shown in rands, and the figure for the total foreign indebtedness of the country as at 31 March was R2 012 million. However, the dollar and the Deutsche Mark loans, and also the others, are all shown in rands. What is, therefore, the real rand indebtedness? What do we really owe in rand? Let us take some comparative figures. According to the Reserve Bank the figure was R2 422 million as at March of this year. Of that there was R2 121 million in non-marketable stock, and R301 million in marketable stock. However, let us go back to illustrate what has happened to us. We merely have to go back to 1981. In 1981 the total foreign indebtedness of the Government, according to the Reserve Bank, was only R895 million. We have borrowed an awful lot of money since then. We have borrowed an awful lot of short-term money since then. I think we need to know what provision has been made in these estimates in regard to the foreign debts of the Government and in regard to the foreign debts of the Reserve Bank because this, to my mind, is extremely important.
We also need to know—because there is no indication here—what provision has been made in regard to foreign forward exchange contracts and forward exchange cover which has been given. The hon the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs sits there without a smile on his face, unlike the hon the Minister of Trade and Industry, and that is understandable because he is a realist. He knows, for instance, that it is open to Escom to obtain foreign currency but that it is also covered by the Reserve Bank as far as a substantial portion of its loans is concerned. Flow much more money are we going to have to put into the Reserve Bank in order to cover these liabilities? The question that I ask the hon the Minister—and I use this as only one example—is how much more money are we going to have to find over and above that which is to be voted in these additional estimates? How much do we really still have to find in order to deal with this situation?
To the fact that we are entitled to know I call no better witness than the hon the Minister himself because he said, and I quote him:
I say that the South African taxpayer is also entitled to know what this country’s commitments are and where we really stand financially. That is why I want to say to the hon the Minister that I am not sure whether everything that we are going to be obliged to pay is actually contained in these additional estimates. I am not sure that there are not further problems that lie ahead that we will have to face and face realistically, and I want the hon the Minister to tell us what is actually going to happen.
There are some other matters which arise particularly from the hon the Minister’s speech, and I was hoping that he would give us some details. We were told by the hon the Minister when he spoke today about the division between general affairs and own affairs in regard to the new dispensation as follows:
May I ask what has happened to the House of Delegates? Why is it that they do not require extra money? If the services have been divided and allocated in a particular form, why do only the two Houses require extra money and the third House not? The question then arises: What, in fact, has been allocated? How has the money been divided and dealt with? I believe the hon the Minister must tell us.
One last question I would like to ask the hon the Minister concerns the new State President’s Priorities Committee. We have been told a great deal about it. Looking at these additional estimates, the question arises as to whether he has applied decisions made by that committee to these additional estimates. If not, why has he not done so? If he has applied those decisions in regard to priorities, what are those decisions, what priorities have been determined? Once again, I believe that the public of South Africa are entitled to know what the priorities of this Government are.
We believe that the priorities of this Government should be to ensure a stable community, to provide the services which any Government should provide for its people on a social basis, that it should eliminate those services which private enterprise can provide better and more effectively than the Government, and that it should remove from the Statute Book the legislation, rules and the bureaucracy that we can do without. Those are priorities which we believe should have been applied in these estimates and we look forward to answers from him.
Mr Chairman, the NP Government is following one course very strongly and that is to shock the country with its actions day after day. We are seeing this again now with this additional appropriation. [Interjections.] The additional appropriation could have been very different if the Government had submitted its budget frankly, directly and honestly last year.
The hon member for Yeoville said that the situation in South Africa was not like the American situation, and he gave us a few examples. In my opinion one needs only one thing and that is confidence. If there were confidence in this Government, we would already have brought the inflation rate under control. [Interjections.] If we had had a better growth rate the economy of the country would have been in a much better position.
It has already been our experience that the Government and those hon members on the other side have no interest at all in promoting our economy. [Interjections.]
They are always flippant, just like the hon the Minister of Manpower. He does not care how many White people are unemployed. [Interjections.]
No, really. Is that so, uncle Jan? [Interjections.]
The hon the Minister is making light of it, but I just want to tell him that South Africa will take cognisance of his attitude.
It is not true, and the hon member knows it.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon the Minister of Manpower tell the hon member for Sunnyside that he is not telling the truth and knows it?
That is true, yes.
There, the hon member for Brits is repeating it, Mr Chairman.
Order! The hon the Minister must withdraw that expression.
Mr Chairman, I am perfectly happy to withdraw it, but may I just give an explanation?
Order! It is not necessary for the hon the Minister to give an explanation. Did he in fact use those words?
Order! The hon the Minister must withdraw those words unconditionally. [Interjections.]
I withdraw them. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for Langlaagte must restrain himself.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order.
Order! The hon the Deputy Minister may put his point of order as soon as this point of order has been dealt with. Did the hon member for Brits confirm that the hon member for Sunnyside was not speaking the truth and knew it?
Order! The hon member must withdraw that unconditionally.
I withdraw it, Sir.
Order! The hon the Deputy Minister may now put his point of order.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Is the hon member for Langlaagte entitled to work himself into a state of apoplexy here? [Interjections.]
Order! I respect medical opinions. I want to ask hon members to restrain themselves. The hon member for Sunnyside may proceed.
Mr Chairman, I want to refer to the first item on the appropriation, namely Parliament. An additional amount of R5,6 million is being requested. Last year, by means of questions during the discussion of the Budget across the floor of this House and also by means of the Question Paper, we asked the Government what it was going to cost, but the amount was never revealed. They did not want to tell us. I want to ask the hon the Minister why this amount could not have been budgeted for. I also want to ask the hon the Minister whether this is the full amount or will more money have to be appropriated for this purpose. I am sure that this amount could have been budgeted for last year, but for the sake of the voting public at large this information was withheld so that more attractive budget could be prepared. We have the strongest objection to the fact that budgets are being presented by a Cabinet that do not reflect the truth.
Take the Transport Vote for example. I want to ask the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs to tell us a little later how much of the money that was budgeted is supposed to make up for the damage caused by riots etc. This is something that has cropped up now and which the hon the Minister could not have foreseen in the budget. Nevertheless, I want to state that in my opinion this budget could have been much more accurate.
A reasonably large amount has been appropriated for the Vote of the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. Provision is being made for a certain amount of money for the 1985 census. We gathered—and we read—that it was probably going to cost R35 million. However, since there is such a severe lack of funds in the economy at present that many projects are having to be cut back, why is it necessary to hold a census this year that ought to have been held only in 1990? [Interjections.] No, Sir, those hon members are governing at the moment. [Interjections.] Even though I also said so, and even though I also agreed to it, the hon the Minister and this Cabinet are so irresponsible now that they do not see their way clear to accepting responsibility and announcing that these will now be a cut-back in respect of this census project. Why is it necessary to hold a census now? Why must that enormous amount of money be spent?
We notice that the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs has requested an amount of R3,35 million for foreign missions from South Africa.
Is the hon member now dealing with the committee stage?
No, I am getting to it. In the meantime I can tell the hon the Minister this so that he will know. He can try to answer the question in the meantime. [Interjections.] What missions are these? We want to hear about them and then we can go into the matter later. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Yeoville asked a lot of questions …
The hon member is entitled to make his speech. I ask hon members please not to converse so loudly. The hon member may proceed.
The hon member for Yeoville asked a great many questions and these are the kind of questions John Citizen is asking today. There are a couple that I could add but I do not want to repeat what the hon member for Yeoville has asked. That will be sufficient for now, but when we get to the committee stage I want to go back to the questions and deal with each one separately.
Mr Chairman, this amending Bill is actually a Bill for the committee stage. It was therefore most surprising when the hon member for Yeoville rose to his feet here and had a great deal to say. [Interjections.] The best of all is that he said the reason Germany did not trust us was supposedly that it was situated so close to Russia. Now I want to ask the hon member, what about Switzerland? Switzerland knows us. We know what the situation is. It is a country that has always been neutral. What about that example?
That it is because it is situated close to Germany. [Interjections.]
No, that is the problem. When one gets this hon member into a comer he always manages to slip out even though what he says makes no sense at all. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Sunnyside has really become the hon member for Yeoville’s echo. Hon members can follow the debates. Every word that the hon member for Yeoville says here is confirmed by the hon member for Sunnyside. [Interjections.] Everything he said here today would have been of for more use had he said it at the committee stage.
I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate the hon the Minister on being able to stay within the projection he gave us since he took over here. At the same time I also want to congratulate the hon Ministers and the Departments for succeeding in this object. Let us consider the food subsidies. Food subsidies amount to R272 million and housing subsidies cost R86 million. How does that sound to the hon member?
During the second reading debate of the part appropriation bill I said that in the prospects for 1985 of the Bureau for Economic Research of the University of Stellenbosch it was significant that the three economists responsible for that were not able to give even one forecast for 1985. I said that they had, in fact, calculated their forecasts according to three different scenarios. First there was the gold price as on 11 October 1984—the date on which the publication appeared. Secondly, there was an average gold price of $420 in 1985, and thirdly an average gold price of $300 for 1985. I asked the hon members to go and read it and I trust that they did so. The hon the Minister pointed out to us today how the dollar, in no time at all, had simply risen again against all the currencies of the world. For this reason I should just like to quote something I find very interesting. It is a section from a report in the business supplement of yesterday’s Sunday Times, the Business Times. I quote as follows:
When economists of stature tell us these things how can it be otherwise? So when one works on and plans a budget a full year in advance things cannot simply be straightforward.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Smithfield is quite remarkable in that he criticizes other hon members for talking out of turn. I believe he has done so himself by quoting newspaper articles which everybody else has read anyway. Be that as it may, however, as far as this Budget is concerned, I believe it can be said that the additional estimates are not as extreme as I expected they would be. Also in fairness, I believe all hon members who really analyse the situation must concede that. I would state that any additional estimates are to be avoided if at all possible, although I know it is almost impossible to avoid them in toto. In view, however, of the casual attitude of certain hon Ministers towards their budgets as a whole, and the farming problems that have been a result of the drought, as well as the amount of money that has had to be given to the Black national states—self-governing or otherwise— and also in view of the financing problems we have had, I suspect the hon the Minister must have had rather more support from his hon colleagues than usual. For some reason or other he must have been able to twist their arms more successfully than his predecessor. He certainly appears to have had more support from them than has been the case in the past.
Sir, I do not believe any reasonable person can object to the humanitarian aspects of this Additional Appropriation or to the moneys that have gone for essentials such as agriculture, because if we were not to spend that sort of money in this Additional Appropriation we would seriously be courting trouble. There are certain things, however, which, I believe, we can justifiably complain about, and I quote them merely as examples. However, in order to quote the examples I have to refer to a Vote. I quote the figure of R100 million which appears in the Transport Vote, and which is being appropriated for the subsidization of rail transport. There was not a Vote open in respect of this at all, and nobody can tell me that a loss of that magnitude could not have been anticipated by the Transport Services themselves. This, I believe, is a bad thing.
Again there was an amount of R18 148 000 that had to be paid to Putco in respect of compensation for losses on bus services resulting from the opening of a railroad. Now, one cannot open a railroad between Pretoria and Mabopane simply five minutes after its construction has begun. The Administration must therefore have known that this was going to happen. I have had quite a bit to do with budgeting over the years, and I cannot help but feel that in this instance—and there are several similar instances throughout the whole of the budget—it is a case of people being either incompetent or careless. I am not referring now to the hon the Minister of Finance. The Department of Finance merely collates what comes from the other ministries. Certain ministries, however, have either been incompetent or have been deliberately trying to cut down, knowing that they were going to be able to add that amount again on the additional estimates.
I want to conclude by saying that in general, whilst we would like to have seen even less on the additional estimates, as far as we are concerned, the position is more reasonable than it could have been. We are thankful that it is not a great deal worse.
Mr Chairman, I want first of all to refer to some of the remarks made by the hon member for Yeoville. He was quite correct in what he said, namely that one of the major factors— actually the major factor—which has made it possible for the USA to draw all the money into that country is the fact that there is confidence in the political stability of that country. Quite correctly, the hon member has said that there are apparently certain security evaluations rife on the international money market with regard to Western Germany, in spite of the fact that the West German economy is very sound. It has an inflation rate of just over 2% and is really doing extremely well on the export market. However, if it is true that there is a security problem in West Germany because of the country’s close proximity to Russia which reflects on the state of its currency, then certainly the hon member for Yeoville is not unaware of what is happening in Southern Africa. There are Russian aircraft, tanks and other Russian military equipment around South Africa. Should the hon member not also concede that while to a certain extent that kind of security situation contributes towards the position in West Germany, the situation in Southern Africa must also contribute to ours. The hon member could maybe try to quantify it and tell us what the rand would be worth if we had other conditions prevailing.
The hon member also said that he had a suspicion that the SA Reserve Bank was intervening in the performance of the rand. It is common knowledge that we have a managed floating situation and that from time to time the Reserve Bank steps in to smooth out fluctuations on the market that are too harsh either way. However, there is no way in which any central Bank in the circumstances we have today will even attempt to support a currency or to stop it from rising if the opposite happens, and not put its entire reserve position at great risk. It is well-known that only a few years ago the Bank of England lost 1 billion pounds of its reserves over a short period of time in trying to support the pound sterling because in the end it did not work and the Bank of England had squandered all its reserves.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister a question?
No, please let me finish first. I run out of time on every occasion when I reply because of questions which I have to answer.
The hon member also said that I did not take the public of South Africa into my confidence when I talked about the overspending last year. That is not true. On the occasion of that Press conference—it was widely reported in the Press afterwards—I gave details of what the overspending would have been if we had not managed to cut it by R650 million.
The amount was mentioned but not the reasons.
Well, maybe we can talk about that. However, that is history. The occasion to discuss that was there last year and we came clean to the satisfaction of all the observers and the Press who were there. The fact is that we did take people into our confidence, that we did lay our cards upon the table, that we quantified the amounts that would be overspent and that we indicated exactly where we would cut down in order to reach the expenditure figures tabled today.
The hon member also referred to the monitoring of figures. I want to tell him that the one twelfth method did not work. It cannot work for the simple reason that departments individually or collectively do not spend one twelfth or their annual budgets per month. That is why we are reviewing the entire cash flow position of all Votes in order to get a total figure per month so as to be able to monitor properly individual departments’ expenditure patterns and also the overall expenditure pattern with the object of identifying as early as possible any department that is overstepping its mark. There is a certain procedure which we have in mind. If that happens, what we then have in mind is the following—this is still subject to change and this is the discussion we are having right now: If a department has overspent or has committed itself to amounts which indicate that there will be an overspending, an alternative plan will have to be submitted indicating where that particular department will be able to come back to its original cash flow profile. If that kind of management system can be implemented effectively, then we shall have sufficient control over our budget.
I believe that the hon member has asked a pertinent question as far as our foreign debt position is concerned. I should like to request the hon member to table that question so that I can give him all the details which he possibly could want from us. This involves various currency fluctuations from time to time, and it is true that if one looks at the rand position of our foreign debts, one notices that that too changes from day to day. It is therefore a valid point that we should look at it from the point of view of the actual currencies involved.
I should like to tell the hon member across the floor of House, however, that if we do that, then we must have a discussion beforehand because I believe there are certain risks for the country involved in merely talking across the floor or publishing the exact figures since it will result in people starting their lobbying. I suggest that we can talk about this.
Are there interest payments included in this budget?
No, not in this budget. I looked but could not find any provision here for specific overspending on interest payments, but I shall reply to that question too in due time.
I can give the hon member the assurance that the figures which are before the House today reveal our best effort. This is absolutely everything on which we could lay our hands. There is nothing hidden. To come back to the specific question of the hon member, I can say that there are no further problems to be faced flowing from this additional appropriation. That is our story.
You are putting your head upon the block.
I am putting my head upon the block in the sense that if something else crops up, then we did not know about it, but there is no deliberate attempt whatsoever to hide anything as far as this particular budget is concerned.
The hon member asked: Why nothing for the House of Delegates? The simple reply is that they did not ask for anything, and while they did not ask for additional expenditure, the hon member should be glad about it. In any event, this additional appropriation will also be discussed in the House of Delegates and on that occasion they can put their case themselves.
The hon member also referred to the Priorities Committee. Obviously that committee has only just started to function to the extent that it has already met. I must point out that it is the prerogative of the State President who is the chairman of the committee to talk about it to the outside world. As far as we are concerned, all I can say is that I am confident that it will have an effect on the budget over the longer term. It is certainly not intended to have a priorities committee which would from the word go be redoing the budget. It takes a longer-term view of the appointment of the resources of this country.
*I shall now proceed to reply to the hon member for Sunnyside. He said the only thing required for remedying the inflation rate and the growth rate was confidence. This is good news from those quarters. Confidence is indeed an important factor—the hon member for Yeoville, too, argued that point well—but in South Africa with its complex economy something more than confidence is required. I do not think berating the Government, as the hon member did by saying our strong point was to shock everyone every day, is going to solve the problems. In my opinion that is simply not a reasonable statement. I shall leave the credibility of the hon member’s comments on financial matters at that.
I thank the hon member for Smithfield for the replies he has given to the arguments advanced by the hon member for Yeoville. If prominent economists evaluate the economy as quoted by the hon member, then we are certainly not involved in an easy game at the present time.
†I am very pleased at the hon member for Umbilo’s reaction that the additional estimates are not as heavy as he anticipated. We are very grateful for small mercies and we are also very pleased that we could indeed meet our objective and submit an additional budget today, a re-estimate, which is within—only just, but nevertheless—the limits we anticipated when we recalculated the entire position in September last year.
I must reiterate that I appreciate the support I received from my various colleagues, not only in cutting possible overexpenditure last year but also the very real support forthcoming from the State President and other Cabinet colleagues in compiling the estimates for the ensuing financial year.
As far as other details to which the hon member also referred are concerned, he is free to ask questions during the discussion of the various Ministers’ votes.
All I can say about the R100 million is that it was no surprise; everybody knew that R100 million was at stake for transport subsidies. We thought at that time though that new revenue resources would be exploited and created last year, which could possibly have met that amount. These did not materialize so somebody had to pay the bill since those other revenue resources were not available.
I have in the meantime received the details connected with last year’s cutting of expenditure. I do not know if the hon member is interested or wants me to read it across the floor. I can send it to him, but I do not think it is relevant to embark upon a history lesson now.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Mr Chairman, an additional amount of R5 597 000 must be appropriated under this Vote. Can the hon the Leader of the House tell us what this amount consists of and why it was not budgeted for last year?
Mr Chairman, in the first place there was additional staff expenditure. Salaries had to be paid to session staff for a longer period than was expected. Last year Parliament was in session for longer than expected. Then there was also the payment of leave gratuities to staff members who retired on pension. Additional expenditure was also incurred to fill the posts created for the new dispensation. The salaries of staff members seconded from other departments also had to be paid. Then there was also the payment of catering staff appointed for the session with effect from 1 January 1985.
The second category represents additional administrative expenditure. Additional travel and telephone facilities had to be made available to members of the House of Assembly owing to the longer hours of the previous session, and provision had to be made for facilities for members of the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates. The motor vehicle financing scheme was also extended. Another item was stocks and livestock, which was actually the cost of parliamentary printing and food. The term “livestock” is still used in connection with food, although the animals have been dead for some time. Expenditure was also incurred for office equipment for additional staff, for example R400 000 for the Hansard section. Catering equipment also had to be purchased for the second refreshment room. As hon members know we have to purchase the crockery, cutlery, etc. ourselves. A new sound recording system also had to be installed for the House of Representatives. The enlarging of the telephone exchange cost almost R100 000. Secretarial help for members of the House of Assembly also had to be provided for a longer period than was expected. We had to give members an additional R133 000 for this. This just goes to show how much more it costs us if we prolong the session. The loss on the parliamentary catering service was also larger, mainly as a result of the longer session and higher food prices. The parliamentary catering service cost us a great deal more, viz R235 000. The Panned Medical Aid Scheme also required an increased contribution as a result of the addition of the other two Houses and the members of the President’s Council, who also share in the benefits of this scheme. Together the various amounts total R5 597 000.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 4—“Co-operation and Development”:
Mr Chairman, under programme 2 additional amounts are requested for two development boards. I should like clarity on these deficiencies. Concerning the Southern Orange Free State Development Board, in particular, I should like to know to what degree the deficiency is attributable to the development of Onverwacht and the removal of Black people from various country towns in the Free State to Onverwacht. I should therefore like to know to what degree the development board was involved in these movements and in what measure this expenditure could have been avoided.
Under programme 2 there is also an amount of R9 440 000 to being voted for the further development of infrastructure at Khayelitsha. I should like to know for what further development of infrastructure this additional amount will be used. I also want to know if the cost attached to bringing people from the Transvaal is one of the reasons for the additional amount voted. With regard to programme 6, we are pleased to hear of the additional aid being extended in respect of flood damage in kwaZulu and kwaNgwane. I should like to hear, however, if, in terms of paragraph (c) of the explanatory memorandum, the department envisages a change in the basis of remuneration of political office bearers in the national states. There is great dissatisfaction among people in the national states on the method of remunerating their chief ministers and cabinet members.
In connection with programme 7, Collection of Taxes, I should very much like to know the amount expected to be collected in this way. Will it be appreciably more than the amount of R750 000 provided for here?
Concerning sub-programme 6, Information, I should like to know from the hon the Minister which publications were taken over by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Information. Is it, in fact, essential for the publication of those magazines to be continued?
In the final instance, in regard to savings economy measures, I see a saving of R39 million envisaged in respect of the independent states—previously the national states. In the light of the enormous needs of those states in the field of education, etc, I should like to know exactly where this saving was brought about. In particular I want to know if this saving met with the approval of the governments of those states.
Mr Chairman, I should like to try to reply to the hon member Prof Olivier’s questions. His first question dealt with the additional amounts voted for the development boards. I wish to inform him that the development of Onverwacht is not being handled by the development boards, but by the South African Development Trust. Those development costs are therefore not included here. The development boards of the Southern Orange Free State and the Eastern Cape are both responsible for the accounts of a large number of small Black rural communities. The average level of income of the inhabitants of those communities is relatively low, which limits their own ability to contribute to the services, even modest services, provided for them. Consequently many of these communities in reality have developed a deficiency in their current accounts over the past years. The two development boards concerned supplemented those deficiencies by what one could call domestic loans from reserve funds built up by the boards for various purposes. At this stage both development boards, that of the Southern Orange Free State and the Eastern Cape, have, in fact, exhausted the sources from which domestic loans were obtained. Simultaneously, in consequence of the independence of specific community councils under those development boards in the form of new autonomous Black local authorities in terms of the Act of 1982, it also became necessary, in transferring the assets held by the development boards to these new autonomous Black local authorities, to transfer the relevant portions of the reserve funds from which these loans had been made. As those reserve funds had in great measure been exhausted, proper provision therefore had to be made to enable by way of bridging finance, to provide new Black local authorities in the Eastern Cape, and a few which came into being in the Southern Orange Free State, with their share of the reserve funds immediately.
Added to that, deficiencies again arose in the past year, as in the previous ones, and therefore, in addition to the funds required to transfer the reserve fund payable to the new autonomous local authorities to them, fresh provision also had to made for current deficiencies, especially as the possibility of domestic loans was no longer available. In the case of the Southern Orange Free State Development Board’s R2,32 million, the part that had to be provided by way of bridging finance to enable that board to transfer the reserve funds to the new Black local authorities was R1,4 million. As regards the current deficiencies in the present financial year, the amount concerned was R920 000. In the case of the Eastern Cape the accumulated reserve funds that had to be transferred amounted to R4,92 million and the estimated deficiency in the present financial year is R8,4 million. These are the amounts concerned here.
One should also view this against the background of the acknowledged inadequate financing means for Black local authorities. Such authorities are chiefly dependent on levies, received from their residents as tenants or purchases of premises, to provide general municipal services, as well as on service levies for specific services provided, such as the provision of water and electricity, refuse removal, sewerage, etc. Unlike White local authorities, Black local authorities do not have an additional source of income in the form of assessment rates. This is, in fact, one of the defects covered by the proposed new regional levies, the regional service levy and the regional establishment levy which were announced by my hon colleague the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning at the end of last year and in respect of which legislation will be submitted to Parliament so that the total community of a region, regardless of population groups, will contribute to that specific fund by way of regional service levies and regional establishment levies. The intention is for regional services boards, on which the Black local authorities as well as the development boards will be represented, then to decide on the grants to be made from these funds to the development boards and local authorities concerned. That is my reply to the first point raised by the hon member.
Is that to replace the ultimate granting of freehold?
If freehold is instituted it can, of course, become a basis for taxation, as is the case in principle with 99-year leasehold. I think the hon member will agree with me that the value of property in Black communities, however, is not comparable at this stage with the value of property in White communities. Even if one were therefore to institute assessment rates and leasehold tax in full, it would still leave an appreciable inequality. That is why the Government regards the introduction of these two levies to which I have just referred as a better solution. It will bring about a better distribution of financial resources among the local authorities of the various communities.
Secondly the hon member put a question to me on the amount of R9,44 million for financial aid in settling people in the Western Cape. This relates to the site adjacent to and to the south of the N2 freeway. That site has been developed with a view to unconventional accommodation—one could call it orderly squatting. Those inhabitants of the existing squatter community who are neither able nor prepared to acquire a core house, even at its very heavily subsidised rental, will get the opportunity of erecting their own unconventional structures on an orderly basis on that site. This area was prepared for that purpose. Ultimately 7 000 to 8 000 plots— relatively small but well-ordered plots—will be made available there. The costs, comprising R3 375 000, provide for levelling the terrain and a large amount of earthworks. This includes stabilising the soil—R304 000; gravel streets and access ways—R750 000; water reticulation—R1 165 000; security fencing adjacent to the national road and provision of latrines—R1 million; high-mast electric lighting—R300 000; provision of school facilities—R1 million in the first phase. Another amount of importance here is for the provision of clinics and administration buildings—approximately R100 000. In broad outline those are the costs involved. The total, as indicated here, is R9 440 000.
The hon member asked if this amount included bringing staff from the Transvaal. The answer to that is no; this amount relates only to the capital development of that area. Staff brought from the Transvaal was intended to assist especially in the final preparation of that site, in preparing for the provision of various services there and to help with transport for those people wishing to make use of it in moving from Crossroads to Khayelitsha.
The hon member further referred to the basis of remuneration under discussion in programme 6 in which amounts granted to the self-governing national states included, inter alia, an amount of just over R1 million for salaries of political office-bearers of the states concerned. The formula for calculating the remuneration of political office-bearers is proportional to the salaries of departmental heads. The salaries of departmental heads were increased on 10 October 1984. In consequence the amount was also raised in proportion to the increased salaries. In addition the formula was adjusted to provide for a larger portion of the remuneration to serve as a tax-free allowance. At the moment it is relatively low—approximately 7% to 8%—although most other political office-bearers in South Africa receive in the region of 25% to 30% free of tax. In this case it has now been doubled and stands at 15%. In broad outline that is the situation there,
As regards the basic remuneration, is the hon the Minister going to discuss it under the Main Appropriation?
The hon member further asked about the additional expenditure of R732 000 for collecting taxes. This is a division we initially planned to phase out but it appeared there were still taxes and assessments in arrears under the previous system which had to be finalised. The phasing out therefore did not take place in the past financial year. I hope it will be done in the next. Unfortunately I am unable to furnish the amount we expect to be collected. I have been assured, however, that it will exceed the costs involved.
As regards expenditure on information, the hon member asked what publications were concerned. There is mention, in the memorandum made available to hon members, that in the past certain magazines published on behalf of especially the Black communities had been the responsibility of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Information and that it had been decided last year that this responsibility would devolve upon the Department of Co-operation and Development. The publications comprise the magazine Informa—an Afrikaans and English version of the functions of the department emphasizing the aid furnished to the national states. Six monthly publications also appear in six of the principal Black languages. These monthly publications are directed at the communities concerned. The department is of the opinion that these information publications provide an important service and should consequently be continued. These funds therefore cover the costs from takeover on 1 July 1984 from the information division of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Are studies undertaken regularly by the department—previously this was done by the Department of Foreign Affairs—on the actual effectiveness of these publications?
The hon member is putting an important question now. Up to the present this matter has been dealt with by the Department of Foreign Affairs and therefore I cannot give an exact answer. I have held in-depth discussions on this very aspect with my department, however, in order to improve and lend more sophistication to the techniques of disseminating information and expertise within the community on whose behalf this department furnishes service and on behalf of the general public and so on. In that context the hon member’s question in connection with the readability or acceptability of those publications is one of the important questions now receiving attention by way of a survey. Possibly I shall be able to provide more details in the discussion of the relevant Vote.
Fortunately or unfortunately there are certain errors in addition which so often crop up in one’s life. The hon member referred to the last page of Vote 4 and said that R39 million had been saved on the development of independent states. This amount represents the overall saving on all the programmes, however—from programme 1 on page 1 to the last programme on page 3. The amount saved in respect of the development programme for independent states was R14,530 million.
With a few exceptions, the savings were generally made during the course of August by my predecessor and the department when the hon the Minister of Finance most emphatically brought home to us the necessity for drastic pruning of Government expenditure to make the Additional Appropriation as small as possible. The department therefore pruned our expenditure on several projects which unfortunately from the nature of the department’s activities are development-orientated projects, cutting back on for example the allocations under programme 5 to the Development Trust Areas and to self-governing national states. There were also cut-backs on certain amounts made available to the development boards. We pruned expenditure in regard to the independent states, too, in the sense that certain urban development projects were delayed. A saving of R3,230 million was accomplished in this financial year. A delay or deceleration in certain concomitant infrastructure projects, for example provision of water, roads and so on, brought about a saving of R5,6 million. There was also a delay in projects standing over from the previous year which had not been activated and for which an amount of R5,7 million had been set aside, bringing the total to R15,30 million. Of course that is a saving one would rather not have made; just as one would also prefer not to have made a saving in respect of the self-governing national states and the Development Trust. One would also prefer not to have cut back on amounts made available to development boards and local authorities, but under the circumstances these were the contributions this department had to make. On the other hand the hon the Minister of Finance was prepared, when it became necessary, to lend assistance in the case of the flood damage caused by Domoina and the grave problems the Southern Orange Free State and Eastern Cape Development Boards had to contend with.
Mr Chairman, in relation to the R9,4 million for further development of the infrastructure at Khayelitsha in the Western Cape which he has referred to, may I point out that in his reply in the House on 19 February, the hon the Minister mentioned that the total amount budgeted for Khayelitsha was R89,5 million up to 31 March 1985. I want to know whether that R9,4 million is part of that figure or an additional amount.
The amount mentioned in that reply, if I remember correctly, is the amount which was required for the development board, which is the development agent here, mainly from the National Housing Commission. This is an additional provision made through these Estimates.
Mr Chairman, further arising from that, may I ask the hon the Minister another question? Today, in an answer, the hon the Minister said that among other things this was to provide 7 000 to 8 000 serviced plots south of the N2. In his answer on 19 February he said that in this year only another 2 400 serviced plots would be provided. I should be grateful if he could let us know whether that 2 400 has been increased to this larger number or whether they are a separate group to the 7 000 to 8 000 he mentioned this afternoon, and if so, where each of these two groups are located.
Secondly, may I ask him whether, in respect of the other developments there, it is the intention at this stage to have no serviced plots north of the N2, in other words within the original boundaries of Khayelitsha as opposed to south of the N2? [Interjections.] Mr Chairman, I am slightly confused. Does the hon the Minister consider Khayelitsha to be south of the N2?
I see. So these plots form part of the Khayelitsha development.
Finally on that score, may I ask the hon the Minister what facilities, other than water, sewerage and so on, are planned for these 7 000 to 8 000 plots, for example schools, sportsfields and that sort of facility, and are they covered by that R9,4 million, or are they only going to be developed at a later stage?
Finally, I want to ask a question in connection with Programme 3, administration of justice. In the latter half of last year, as I understand it, the work previously done by the commissioners’ courts was taken over by the Department of Justice. If that is so, should there not be considerable savings under that programme now that his department is no longer responsible for the administration of those courts?
Mr Chairman, the first question was with reference to an answer that I gave to a question the hon member placed on the Question Paper. In that answer I referred to 2 400 serviced sites in Khayelitsha proper, which, incidentally, is in its entirety south of the N2. Those are adjacent to the area which is presently being developed by the erection of core houses. There, in the coming financial year, 2 400 serviced sites will be provided for people on which they themselves can build within certain prescribed limits. The 8 000 sites in the triangular area directly south of the N2 are in addition to that.
As far as facilities are concerned, provision is made in this area for schools, clinics, administrative facilities and for trading. The emphasis is placed on the encouragement of informal business and informal trading in the same way as it has been operating in Crossroads, and an instruction has been given that, within reasonable limits, no restriction should be placed on the development of such informal commercial activities in that area. Obviously, it is likely that business people will also ask for sites and this will be provided. There are also certain open sites for providing recreational facilities in that same area.
Mr Chairman, are those 7 000 to 8 000 sites only for people from the Crossroads area, or could lodgers in the existing townships go there if they chose to do so?
Mr Chairman, the Government has made it clear recently, in the context of its announcement on the granting of 99-year leasehold, that people living elsewhere who are entitled to housing and are on waiting lists are free to make use of any of these sites for settling there.
I should like to answer the final question on the administration of justice. The transfer of the Justice branch involved a number of specialists, but the administrative work done by the Commissioners’ offices in the past is still being continued. That is actually a matter that is being sorted out. As far as I recall, a certain amount has been saved, which has been incorporated in the overall saving under Programme 1, Administration, where all the savings have been thrown together for administrative purposes, rather than spreading it among the different functional programmes.
Mr Chairman, I note under programme 6 of the Explanatory Memorandum of the department that an amount of almost R16,3 million has been voted for flood damage in the national states of kwaZulu and kaNgwane on account of cyclone Domoina. As my constituency was also very seriously hit by the cyclone last year, we greatly appreciate the provisions also being made for this here. I should like to ask the hon the Minister, however, if he can give us a few more details on how this amount was spent on various emergency relief measures.
Mr Chairman, concerning the repair of flood damage caused by cyclone Domoina, there are three components comprising a total amount of R20 896 000. I think it very important for this House and the public to note this figure. It represents almost R21 million spent on national states and trust areas. Of this amount R15 896 000—say almost R16 million—went to kwaZulu and a smaller amount of R400 000 to kwaNgwane. KaNgwane’s Department of Works and Department of Agriculture did much of the repair work themselves because of a pruning of departmental expenditure. This was therefore only supplementary aid to them.
In addition a further R4 million was spent in two territories falling under chief commissioners in respect of trust land—land therefore not yet transferred to the national states—namely in the territories of the chief commissioners for Pietersburg and Pietermaritzburg. Just to give an example of how these funds were spent, I wish to refer to the amount made available to kwaZulu, which was hardest hit: For the repair and reconstruction of roads and bridges, in and outside towns, R11 746 000; and repair to sewerage and water works, R1 829 000. In the sphere of agriculture and forestry an amount of R1 514 000 was spent on repairing fences, rural roads and bridges, dams and irrigation schemes. The Department of Health received an amount of approximately R65 000 for avenues of communication in the vicinity of hospitals and clinics, chlorine tablets for water purification, as well as supplementary aid furnished in respect of emergency aid provided on an impressive scale by the Red Cross. An amount of approximately R350 000 was spent at administrative level in connection with transport costs, trucks, hire of a helicopter and motorboats, etc. The total is therefore R15 896 000.
In the case of trust areas where the R4 million was spent, it was principally for the repair of access roads to settlements and towns and the repair of bridges which were washed away.
All this expenditure was scrutinized by a working group of experts which properly examined the situation, as in other parts of the country, and this expenditure was incurred according to the recommendations of the experts concerned. I should like to express my great appreciation to all who, in a dynamic way, attempted rapidly and efficiently to repair the damage resulting from that flood disaster.
Mr Chairman, I should like to ask the hon the Minister if he can give us more details relating to the youth action referred to under programme 2. Can he also indicate to us whether the youth action has achieved positive results?
Mr Chairman, it gives me great pleasure to have had the hon member for Klip River ask this question. The Department of Education and Training in particular—not so much the Department of Co-operation and Development—has found recently that part of the crisis in which the school-going Black youth find themselves results from an inadequate self-image, if I may put it that way. They lack self-confidence about what they can achieve by their own efforts and performance in spite of difficulties and obstacles.
Just as the Department of Education and Training has for some time now achieved success with youth motivation programmes for school-going youths, a programme for the financing of the development boards has also been undertaken. At an average amount of approximately R250 000 per development board—which is actually only a modest sum—youth motivation programmes have been undertaken in co-operation with the local authorities and schools concerned. This involves two focal points in particular. One of these is aimed at remoulding the youth no longer at school, but also not employed—either through unemployment or laziness—into productive, industrious people by way of labour motivation and orientation, as well as by stimulating them to make use of training courses.
Unfortunately, owing to limited finances, the programmes are not extensive. One would like to involve far more of the youth in them. In the second place an opportunity has also been created, in a variety of youth spheres earmarked for the purpose, for the provision of leadership courses for school-going youth of both sexes. It is also worth nothing that in quite a number of cases this has caused young people who have attended these leadership courses to establish youth clubs in their own communities which, in a very useful and productive way, give positive direction on how to spend their free time.
Mr Chairman, I should like to put to the hon the Minister a question concerning programme 7, relating to supporting and associated services. In connection with the collection of taxes we note that there is an increased amount of R732 000. What I should like to know from the hon the Minister is the following: How much was outstanding as at 1 April 1984? How much is still owing? Is the amount which is being spent on collecting these taxes in excess of the amount which has in fact to be collected? If that is not so, why then cannot the office of the Commissioner for Inland Revenue take over this task when it is in fact already handling Black taxation?
Mr Chairman, unfortunately I am not in possession of the relevant information for which the hon member for Yeoville is asking now. I have been given the assurance though that the sum of money to be collected is probably in excess of the amount to be spent on collecting it. I will, however, provide the hon member with the information for which he is asking as soon as I can obtain it.
Mr Chairman, looking at the Annual Report of the Auditor-General for the year ended 31 March 1984, it would appear that we are spending more money collecting these taxes than is in fact owing. It seems to me to be a completely illogical procedure.
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister has already given many detailed replies to questions put to him by hon members. I would like to refer again to the amount to be voted in respect of the Eastern Cape Administration Board. Could the hon the Minister give us some indication as to whether the amount of R13 million also includes funds needed for the repair of schools damaged during the student unrest there?
No provision has been made with regard to the damaging of schools. The communities have been informed that the repair of damage to schools will have to be done from available funds and that they will have to make the choice whether they want to give preference to proceeding with a planned new school or the repair of damaged schools. This is a matter which the community concerned has to take responsibility for. As the hon member may also know, in certain local communities there is also a school levy included in the municipal levy. This amount is also being used in some cases to supplement funds for repairing schools, according to the decision of the community concerned.
Vote agreed to.
Mr Chairman, obviously the bulk of the additional amount to be spent by the Department of Transport relates to overland transport. However, before we get to that I want to ask the hon the Minister a couple of questions, because it appears as if the Department of Transport has a continually expanding empire in that they have had to make increased provision for the filling of newly created administrative posts. I would have thought that at this stage of the economic life of South Africa we would be looking to reducing the number of posts rather than still increasing them. I should like to know more about the number of posts that have been created during the course of this year, that have not even been budgeted for, resulting in this increase in expenditure.
I also find it a bit confusing in that they are apparently making provision for the payment of leave gratuities as a result of unforeseen retirements. If there are unforeseen retirements, then surely there should have been salary savings in that administrative bracket which should have offset the payment of leave gratuities.
Another smaller point I should like to raise relates to aircraft safety. I am concerned to see that the bulk of the saving in civil aviation relates to things that are material to the safety of aircraft. Obviously, some of it is not the fault of the department. For example, item 2.1.3 has to do with machinery to safeguard aircraft in flight which is apparently not yet ready and cannot be procured from the USA. One can therefore understand that that amount has not been spent. However, when it comes to instrument landing systems for the D F Malan Airport at only R200 000, I think that the postponing of that type of expenditure is unwise. Instrument landing systems at the D F Malan Airport can be very relevant to passenger safety. I am not at all sure that the purchase of ILS should be postponed. Similarly, while on that subject, I should also like to make a plea for Port Elizabeth Airport in that we badly require additional ILS at Port Elizabeth. I hope the hon the Minister will give this matter his consideration.
I want now to come to the main portion of this increased expenditure which is the increase in overland transport amounting to no less than R147 million. When one considers that R130 million has already been budgeted for, one now finds that for the year under consideration R277 million is being spent. This is an inordinately large sum of money.
In the first place it is fairly obvious that this has been caused and has become necessary because the policy of this Government does not allow people to live sufficiently close to their place of work; hence they have to be transported.
The second point I want to raise in this regard concerns the monopolistic situation that this has created. There is an additional R39 million required as a contribution in respect of Black, Coloured and Indian transport services. The bus companies which get these subsidies are all monopolies. They have a monopoly for extensive bus transport in the area concerned. This whole regulation system in transport services is obviously something which is badly in need of overhauling because it is costing the taxpayer of this country a tremendous amount of money. The hon the Minister has had to come back again in this Additional Appropriation for R39 million.
Why should we restrict people being conveyed by minibuses? Why should we restrict people being conveyed by Black taxis? Why should we restrict people being able to set up big bus companies in competition with those that already exist? Market forces are always more efficient than Government edict and regulation in providing the best and the cheapest service for the community and for the country as a whole.
I believe the hon the Minister recently travelled to the Far East. Is that correct? He saw transport in the Far East and how it operates. I am sure that he must, when he travelled there, have thought of Africa as being equivalent to the Far East. We must not try to set up First World transport systems that cost us these great sums of money in the Third-World type of situation which we have here in Africa. After all, we are living in Africa and we must behave accordingly.
The whole bus system is a very, very tricky subject because it can give rise to unrest situations. We know what happened in Ciskei and we also know that in Empangeni and Richards Bay right now there is a problem which needs to be resolved. This has come about as the result of monopolies and these should be brought to an end.
I notice that we are paying extra money to the State Attorney, and this relates to appeals in regard to transport requirements. I imagine that these are the appeals which are lodged by the Department of Transport in the various court cases that involve the Transport Commission and the road transportation boards in regard to the granting of permits or the non-granting of permits. I should like the hon the Minister to confirm whether that is so or not.
Next I should like to refer to the R18 million that is being paid to Putco. The hon member for Umbilo referred to this in the Second Reading debate. R18 million is a tremendous sum of money to be paid to one bus company. It is obviously done in terms of legislation, but why was it not foreseen? Why was this R18 million not included in the original estimates? I do not think that the hon the Minister of Finance replied to that question which was posed by the hon member for Umbilo. Why was it not foreseen? Surely, we knew that the Pretoria/Mabopane commuter system was going to be by rail. Why then is it necessary all of a sudden to find R18 million, and how is that amount arrived at? I should like to know whether these are properly audited figures, because to pay out R18 million for replacing a service when that bus company had plenty of notice that it was going to be stopped, is the sort of expenditure that I believe we could well do without.
Finally, I come to the amount of R481 000 which is a payment to the National Road Fund in respect of Transkei roads. This was never budgeted for in the first place, and I want to ask the hon the Minister where this money goes. Does it get paid over to the Government of Transkei direct and do they then spend it? Is it money which we ourselves pay to contractors to spend on the Transkei roads, or is it money which the National Transport Commission spends on its own staff to do something about those roads? I shall be grateful if the hon the Minister can give me a reply to this question.
Mr Chairman, I should like to join the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central in discussing two aspects of the budget before us, namely in the first place the upgrading of the landing system at Jan Smuts. Unlike the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central I do not want to argue with the hon the Minister, but I should like to congratulate the department on the fact that there has been a saving, in that the department was able, when it was called upon to save, to effect a saving. I think it would be a good thing if the hon the Minister explained to the Committee in more detail exactly what was achieved with the money which was actually spent on the upgrading of this system.
Then, in the second place, as regards the R18,1 million paid to Putco which was mentioned by the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central, I share his concern. I should like to know from the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs whether the validity of the claims that were instituted were verified by the hon the Minister’s department and whether consideration has ever been given to doing so. This is a fairly large amount and the validity of these claims should be investigated.
Mr Chairman, I should also like to refer to the ILS system at D F Malan Airport, which I had intended to raise. I want to take it further and ask in regard to the display radar systems for Jan Smuts and D F Malan Airports—that is item 2.1.2. of programme 2—whether these were delayed by the Administration or whether the delay was due to the suppliers.
In regard to the project to safeguard aircraft in flight, could the hon the Minister tell us more about the uncertainty regarding the procurement of this equipment? I believe the one matter we dare not play around with is the safety of air passengers. We have an outstanding record in South Africa, one of which we can be very proud indeed. I think this is one of the last things one should cut down on. In this case I do not believe that it has been cut deliberately but I would like to sound a warning in this regard, particularly with the position of D F Malan Airport which has long periods of fog disrupting airways services. I think every possible navigational aid that can be given to them should be provided.
Another point—this is away from civil aviation—is the reduction in the contribution to the Urban Transport Fund. I accept that the Government has investigated every possible sphere in order to effect reductions. One must compliment the Government where it has been able to save nearly R1 million. In this case though, it is saving money in a field where Parliament has passed an Act to start a whole mechanism designed to revolutionize the transport systems in our metropolitan areas. The idea was to keep cars out of the centre of town, to reduce the use of private cars and to attract people to public transport. Nothing at all seems to be happening about this.
The revised figure is R8 million, but we do not seem to be seeing any results from this programme of urban transport planning. I want to ask the hon the Minister to give us some information on why this should be so and why we have not been able to cut down on the use of motor cars, particularly in the central business districts, by providing attractive, economic and comfortable public transport services. This is a field where the Government has saved 10% this year, but it should be able to give us some picture of what it is doing in view of that saving.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central asked various questions. First of all he asked why we had increased the personnel. It was decided to employ a Deputy Director General.
*It was also decided to appoint a chief security assistant and two senior security assistants for security work which would become necessary in future, especially keeping an eye on certain of our projects. We have improved conditions of service, as the hon member is aware. National servicemen returning to resume service occasioned additional expenditure of R62 000. Nevertheless there was not a large-scale increase in staff. In fact, at the moment an appreciable reduction in staff is taking place.
The hon member also inquired about civil aviation. In respect of this our decreases amounted to a total of R1,129 million, but this does not mean our civil aviation is any the less safe. Fewer candidates attended flight inspectors’ courses, in consequence of the weak state of the economy, which led to a saving of R30 000. We also cut back on our stores by R447 000. As an economy measure we curtailed expenditure on purchases of electronic, technical, lighting and vehicle components, as well as on fencing materials, chemicals, gas and fuel. We are now stocking these items in smaller quantities.
†The hon member, as well as the hon member for Durban Point, referred to the instrument landing system, and all I can say is that we still try to be one of the safest airlines in the world. If we do achieve a saving in this regard, it is not done at the expense of safety at our airports.
*Then there is the question of the radar display system at D F Malan Airport. The equipment for which provision has been made will be delivered only in part as a result of problems arising with the overseas manufacturers. The programmes are proceeding but delivery has been slower than we initially expected.
The hon member for Port Elizabeth Central also enquired about the subsidizing of bus passengers. Let me tell him in the first place that in regard to this subsidy for bus passengers, no provision was made to cover the damage to or burning of buses, that being merely a subsidy for commuters. Last year our department requested R160 million from the Treasury which it decreased to R130 million. In 1983-84 it already amounted to R142 million, while the total expenditure on subsidies was R199 million. These figures were anticipated. The increase in passengers was between 15% and 20% which will cost an additional R34,8 million for 1984-85. We expect to collect R65 million by way of levies.
†We all know about the levy, which we expect will bring us in R65 million. However, one cannot foresee exactly what the levy will be. If this amount is deducted, it leaves a figure of R39,2 million.
*We informed the Treasury about this in advance and it has now approved the amount because the number of passengers has increased, and consequently the subsidy as well.
The hon member also enquired about the R90 million in respect of the railways. In his budget the Minister of Finance provided for this, and his predecessor stated that in terms of the recommendations of the Franzsen Commission a pay-roll levy would be introduced by way of Parliamentary legislation. This provision was held back and the Treasury requested us not to insist on the R100 million, but rather to accept R90 million. So we managed without the R10 million. The total subsidy for the railways did not increase. This amount was held back with the idea of collecting it by way of the pay-roll levy. This could not take place this year, however, and the amount was then returned to us.
As far as Transkei is concerned, on 29 October 1963 the Cabinet took a decision to declare certain roads in that area to be national roads to funded by the Treasury. The Treasury judged this expenditure to be rightful charge against the department’s vote. This explains this amount of R480 500 in respect of Transkei.
On looking at the national road system, one should bear in mind the levy from the National Road Fund for road-building purposes. These calculations were based on that, but it has now had to be granted to the National Transport Commission in respect of Transkei.
†The hon member referred to minibuses, monopolies and the Far East. If he wants to refer to the Far East, he must decide which city he wants to take as an example. Does he want to take Bangkok as an example, or Singapore? In Bangkok there is a complete “bugger-up”. [Interjections.] It is even worse. [Interjections.] All right, I take that back. The situation in Bangkok is impossible. It takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to travel the 26 kilometres from the airport to the centre of Bangkok.
What were you doing in the centre of Bangkok?
We say we want a free economy, but one can kill a city stone dead too. We had the Welgemoed Commission and we are going to table a White Paper on their report. We are going to reinvestigate the whole situation of public transport, and we are busy with a study of this whole issue. I think the hon member knows what we are going to do. However, when one says combi’s and taxis should be allowed, to operate freely, legal combi owners will complain. I had a discussion from 12 o’clock to a quarter to two with the Empangeni commuters. I explained to them that if combi’s are allowed to operate freely, 4 000 legal combi operators in South Africa will complain and say: We have permits to operate combi’s and now you say anybody can transport passengers in a combi. So they pick up the passengers they want along the bus routes. In their turn the Black commuters of Johannesburg came to me and said: “Now we have switched to a combi system at R2 per head without any subsidy, but on Wednesdays when there are horse races or on Saturdays when there is soccer, the price is R4 per head.” There is no control.
It is a free-market system.
The hon member must talk to the Black commuters. Then suddenly these commuters stand waiting for the combi’s and they do not arrive; or the combi stands for 20 minutes and is not prepared to move unless there are 16 passengers.
Colin, you understand this thing better, but I see you are shaking your head—I can hear it over here!
We cannot merely say: “make it free”. I am for free enterprise all the way, but we have to be realistic.
*The last point refers to the Mabopane/ Soshanguve-Pretoria (Belle Ombre) line. If a train service is introduced there, according to law traditional bus operators have to be paid out. An amount of R18 million is involved here. But it was not paid. My colleague and I decided this jointly and I instructed the department to appoint a senior advocate to investigate the legality of this R18 million.
What about a senior accountant too?
We had four reputable firms of auditors working on this and we have also referred it to senior counsel.
The hon member for Durban Point made some other points. He mentioned cheap, economic public transport. The studies have not yet been completed. The hon member suggested that we must have orderly transport in South Africa. My wife and I were kicked off a bus to Singapore, so we had to take a taxi. This taxi driver told us that we must pay a fine amounting to about R2,50 to R3,00. I asked him why and he told me that between 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock they were not allowed to go into Singapore without four passengers in the car. We got there and we had to pay the fine. I asked him if we took another passenger, could we then go in without paying the fine, and he said: “Sure, but no car is allowed to enter the metropolitan area without four passengers.” That is the ideal situation. Would the hon member propose that for Durban?
*Those are all things we are investigating.
My thanks to the hon member for Roodeplaat for his questions. He also said something about toll gates. I wish to tell him the profitability of the toll gate at Tsitsikamma is 46% higher than we expected. Newspapers carried a rumour that we were going to increase toll fees. I should just like to say that the Director General and I said that since the thing was so profitable we would not be increasing toll fees for the next 12 months; they will remain as they are. Regarding toll gates, hon members tore me limb from limb, but toll gates have come to stay.
In regard to the remaining questions, I think we should avoid going into further details. I want to give the rest an opportunity as well; I want to see if they know their jobs.
Mr Chairman, I want to refer the hon the Minister to program 3 and specifically to the contribution to operating losses of SATS of R90 million. Can the hon the Minister firstly tell the Committee what portion of the R90 million will be the contribution to any losses on the rail passenger services for Black commuters and what portion for White commuters? Regarding the White commuters, I want to ask the hon the Minister whether in fact there is any loss on the Blue Train services and whether it is correct that on the Blue Train services and whether it is correct that on the Blue Train services the cost of a single fare is R1 400 in the luxury class, R1 200 in the semi-luxury class and R800 for ordinary passengers.
Mr Chairman, I thank the hon the Minister for waiting for my additional contribution. Regarding the combi’s, concerning which the hon the Minister gave me a reply, I want to say that, whenever one has a situation where a number of people are given permits, naturally they are going to be interested in preventing other people from getting in because that would simply mean more competition for them. While there is a legal permit system for combi owners, one is always going to find that those who are in possession of the permits are going to protect their vested interests and are going to try to prevent other people from getting in.
The hon the Minister brought up the position as regards personnel and military service. I should like to ask him whether the Department of Transport Affairs employs young men just out of school before they have done their two years’ national service, has them in its employ for a very short period of time and then for the next two years makes good the difference between the national service pay and their pay as employees of the department. I know that the SATS has done that. If the Department of Transport Affairs is also doing so, it is costing this country an awful lot of money. I should like to know whether this is done by the Department of Transport Affairs, and, if so, whether we could be given some idea of what the cost involved is.
Finally, I want to touch again on the subject of roads in Transkei. The hon the Minister replied to that and I thank him for his reply, but I do not think he told us exactly who spends the money. Do we pay the money over to the Transkei Government to spend on the roads or is it spent by the National Road Fund? Who spends the money? Who authorizes the contracts? In exactly what manner is this money spent?
Mr Chairman, the money in respect of Transkei is paid over to them. Some projects are undertaken in co-operation with the National Transport Commission. In that connection the total amount involved is R480 500. That is a new item. I shall go into more detail on that when we discuss my Vote.
The hon member also asked about the legal permit system. As I said, we can grant more permits to legal operators. We are busy working on this whole situation. The taxis and combi’s are not getting subsidies. This helps us with the burden of subsidizing commuters. If people choose to travel by taxi or in a combi, it will help us to save money. However, there must be no disruption. We must have a look at the whole situation.
We paid out R62 000—a relatively small sum—in respect of national servicemen. Individual amounts depend largely on the time that the person is called up for service, but the total is R62 000.
The hon member for Hillbrow referred to passenger services. We are losing money on third class passenger fares and on first class passenger fares—we are suffering losses all over. The total loss for this year on commuter and passenger services—long distance and suburban travel—will be R900 million. Part of this loss will be recouped from central Government by our amount of about R550 million in respect of interest reduction on capital. The balance is made good by cross-subsidization and by the effectiveness of the other railway services. I can give the hon member the exact figures later on, but in the meantime I should like to say that, because there is a difference, we have increased the price for first class travel by 30% and that of third class travel by 20%. Eventually we will reach the situation where the one is not subsidized more than the other. It cannot, however, be done overnight.
I shall go into more detail when we discuss the Vote. However, here are some details. The Blue Train is showing a loss.
It is half empty.
Yes, but we have made the price of the ticket R1 400.
You are pricing yourself out of the market.
We may indeed be pricing ourselves out of the market, but we must take into account that it has only been during the past few months that we have experienced a downward trend in respect of the Blue Train, and this is because money is scarce. We are investigating the whole matter.
Then why do you ask people to pay so much money?
The hon member must not consider the Blue Train in isolation. The Blue Train, with respect, is a “snob” train. We sell tickets in New York; for instance, we may sell a millionaire an air ticket on SAA and not on Pan American or British Air or any other airways, provided he books a ticket for himself and his wife on the Blue Train on a particular date. This way we sell tickets overseas for SAA, and we simultaneously sell tickets for the Blue Train. I shall go into detail about this later on. The only alternative we have is to do with the Blue Train what we did with the Drakensberg. We abolished the Drakensberg because it was no longer a profitable proposition. What happened in Natal? Sol Kerzner came to us and said: “Let me introduce a ‘Fun’ train.” He is now selling tickets on the “Fun” train from Johannesburg to Durban at R23. However, the person who buys a ticket to travel on the “Fun” train stays at the Elangeni Hotel or some other hotel specified by Sol Kerzner, so what he loses on the swings, he gains on the roundabouts. He loses on the train, but he sells liquor and accommodation at the hotels. So it is all a matter of business. That is what I am trying to impress upon hon members. [Interjections.]
Why do you not sell him the Railways? [Interjections.]
We shall have to go into these matters. My problem is: The Blue Train is a prestige train and it is an attractive advertisement for South Africa. If it shows a loss, we put up the tariffs. Now the economy has caught up with us. Now there are only a few fat cats who can afford to travel this way—I am pointing to where they are sitting. [Interjections.]
Vote agreed to.
Mr Chairman, there are a number of matters on which I would like to address the hon the Minister.
Firstly, we have not been given any details as to how the statutory figure of R531 million, which he indicated as the extent of the increase, was arrived at. I wonder if he would be so kind as to give us the details of that increase of R531 million. The total amount—over and above the original Budget—which has now to be voted is R1 987 million. I just want to draw the hon the Minister’s attention to the fact that it is not really the original Budget but the original Budget but the original Budget as supplemented. If we compare it with the figure as actually presented in August, we have to make an allowance for another amount of R300 million odd, because that shows that the original figure that was given of R2,2 million over the original Budget, is correct. I am, however, really now concerned about the additional R531 million in respect of statutory allocations. That becomes relevant because if for instance one looks at the Finance Vote, there is a saving of R2,5 million under programme 6 which relates to economic and financial agreements. The reason for this saving is that we are still paying it, but we are now calling it a statutory amount. The reality is, therefore, that some of the savings are being taken out here and being added to the statutory amount of R531 million. That means that the R531 million is obviously a net amount, because it must take account of the savings that come through the process of now having transferred certain of these figures. That is why it is important for the hon the Minister to tell us how the R531 million is arrived at.
The second point I want to raise is that there is contained in this vote, as there is contained in virtually every other vote, a provision for the increase in salaries due to the increase of 12% in January 1984. That is remarkable, because in the Budget, when it was presented in March—I refer the hon the Minister to Hansard, 28 March 1984, col 3887—the Minister of Finance told us that he was providing for this. When it came to the supplementary budget on 29 June 1984, to which I referred earlier—Hansard, col 9658—he had again made certain provision in this respect.
The rather unfortunate question that has to be asked is: Surely the officials of the department concerned and the officials of this Minister’s department, as well as the officials of the department that deals with the Commission for Administration and who are concerned with salary increases, cannot be so wrong as to make all the mistakes that have now arisen in respect of salaries? There are two alternatives. Either they were wrong and made the mistakes, because in June, halfway through the financial year, they still made mistakes in regard to the 12%. Alternatively, it may well have been done for some other reason, and that would be a very unfortunate inference to draw.
This is a very serious matter because the hon the Minister himself said today that he was putting his head on the block for the accuracy of the figures that he had presented. If we have a situation where by June of a financial year we still cannot work out a 12% increase in respect of salaries, and we are millions and millions out, then either it has something to do with the officials, which I do not believe—I just do not believe that our officials can be so inaccurate—or there is some other reason, and I think the hon the Minister must tell us what that reason is.
The other matter I should like to touch on may sound somewhat petty, but it actually involves quite a large amount of money. I refer to a simple thing like an extra R4,1 million for postages. I am sorry that the hon the Minister of Communications is not here, because I should like the hon the Minister of Finance to have his accounts checked. Why is the hon the Minister now asking for an extra R4 million? He did exactly the same thing last year. The wording in last year’s explanatory memorandum is almost identical to that in this year’s explanatory. Last year the increase was R2,14 million and, because he got away with that, this year’s increase is R4,1 million in respect of extra postage.
Firstly, postage went up from 1 April and we had plenty of time to make a re-estimate of the figure by June, but apparently we do not do that sort of thing in the additional estimates. The Post Office Budget is presented before the main Budget. So when the main Budget is presented, we know what the Post Office is going to charge and we know what the postal tariffs are. What is actually happening in regard to these postal tariffs? Is this not simply an adjustment which can readily be made in order to assist the Post Office when it has a problem? That amount is to my mind quite a substantial sum of money, and I should like to hear from the hon the Minister about the matter.
The third point I am concerned about is the question of transfer payments. In regard to transfer payments in general, I should like to know from the hon the Minister how he actually sees the plight of the provinces. What is strange is that until this year, every year when we have discussed the additional estimates we have been told that at the end of a year there would be an “agterskot” and that we have to help the provinces out because of their dire financial need. When we look at the additional estimates of this year, we see that transport services are involved, that South West Africa is involved, but that the provinces are not involved. The question that I want to ask—I raised this at the Second Reading in regard to the provision of social services—is: Is this hon Minister satisfied that, for example, the health services which are rendered by the provinces are not being adversely affected by the present situation? If that is so, I should like to hear from him.
The other matter which I would like to touch on is the transfer payment to the South West Africa Central Revenue Fund. There is a very interesting situation here. What is said here is that an amount is to be transferred in terms of a resolution by the State Security Council. I have always been under the impression—if I am wrong, I stand corrected—that it is the Cabinet that makes the decision and not the State Security Council. Is it correct that the State Security Council can make decisions which are binding upon the Minister of Finance or does there have to be a Cabinet decision? According to this item there is no Cabinet decision. It is merely a decision of the State Security Council. The other fact is that what is apparently happening here is that we are calculating on a man-day leaseback basis. The words used are:
Man-day I understand, but would the hon the Minister please explain what is meant by leaseback charges? Does this mean that we are actually charging for equipment or are we leasing it? What is the term “leaseback” supposed to convey? What one normally does in terms of a leaseback is that one sells a property which one owns and then leases it back. Is this what is suggested in regard to the equipment of the Defence Force? I do not know. However, if that is so, I should like to know what is sought to be charged on the basis of leaseback in this regard.
I am pleased that the hon the Minister of Communications is back in the House, because perhaps he will agree to give back to the Department of Finance that R4 million extra which he wants for his postage stamps.
Mr Chairman, I should like to refer to programme 4. The hon member for Yeoville also referred to it in passing. There is an increase of R12,4 million and one assumes that it costs more to collect more. I assume that this not only involves salary increases or occupational differentiation, but that it also includes the enlarging of the establishment, and I just want to ask the hon the Minister whether he is not of the opinion that to enlarge this establishment for collecting money due to the Exchequer to ensure that he will collect even more money would be the very best investment he could make.
Mr Chairman, the issue which the hon member for Paarl raised applies to the item pertaining to Inland Revenue, but it does not apply to increases in respect of administration while it is, inter alia, specifically said that it relates to the provision of salaries. Therefore, we must see it in its context. In connection with the 12% increase in salaries, I would like to read from the explanatory memorandum, if I may:
Therefore it would be wrong to convey the impression that this is solely due to an expansion of staff in the offices of the Inland Revenue Department. Allow me to ask, specifically in regard to that item pertaining to Inland Revenue, the following questions:
Firstly, what amount of money on what staff is actually being spent in order to deal with the evasion of GST, and, in particular, is it correct to say that the evasion of GST is now proving to be easier with the exemption of foodstuffs than it was before? If so, what is the hon the Minister contemplating doing about it?
Secondly, what amount is involved in regard to the pay for national servicemen who are being seconded to the department in order to assist it? Here the question arises whether the department is paying the Department of Defence for this, in the sense that the national servicemen are being seconded out, or in what way payment is being effected for this? How many national servicemen are being seconded out, or in what way payment is being effected for this? How many national servicemen are actually involved in this? Are Citizen Force personnel and commandos as well as national servicemen being used for this purpose at the moment?
Thirdly, bearing in mind that the staff has been increased in the manner suggested here, has there not been a distortion in the revenue collection for the current year? The various Receivers of Revenue have assessed people in regard to arrear assessments during the current year in order to bring in the maximum amount possible. Having assessed all those arrears, those arrears are not going to be available next year. Do we therefore not have a distortion in the revenue collection which has taken place?
Fourthly, insofar as it concerns the fact that the Black people are being incorporated in the Income Tax Act from 1 March 1984, I would assume that we knew that that was going to happen when the Budget was presented. We knew this was taking place from 1 March 1984. We had a long run-up period to it. Why then was there not adequate provision made in the Budget for this particular issue?
Lastly, does the hon the Minister not think that he will be better and more cheaply able to collect those amounts which might be outstanding in respect of the old system of taxation of Blacks than the Department of Co-Operation, Development and Education, which has to collect that money separately from exactly the same people—assuming that there is an amount of money of any consequence still owing at all?
Mr Chairman, first of all I would like to tell the hon member for Yeoville that, when I said that the figures were absolutely accurate, I meant that they were absolutely accurate in the sense that we did not hide anything. I want him to understand that.
Barend, are you back-pedalling?
No, I am not back-pedalling, but I can see what that hon member is aiming at. If there is 1 cent difference, wherever, then I am sure he will make R10’s worth of noise about it. Furthermore, I want to point out to him that the figures reflected in this Additional Appropriation are the funds to be voted. Additional State debt servicing is below the line. That is a statutory charge and it does not need to be voted.
I know that.
Yes I just want to place that on record. As far as the R531 million is concerned, it refers to State debts, not reflecting discounts.
*The saving in consequence of the relevant amount now being regarded as statutory arises because payments to IMF bodies are not reflected in the Budget at all.
And the other loans?
No, other loans are not indicated here either. Regarding the 12%, the Commission for Administration works on a numerical basis at the beginning of the year. The Department of Finance did a considerable amount of recruitment, however, and the 12% relates to new recruits.
The provinces, of course, fall under the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. The hon member for Yeoville should therefore put his questions in that regard when that hon Minister’s Vote comes up for discussion.
See what a clever boy he is, Harry?
Yes, always passing the buck! [Interjections.]
Yes, everyone must shoulder his own responsibilities in this House. [Interjections.]
The hon member further requested certain information in connection with postage. I just wish to point out to him that all postage appears in this department’s budget. That is why the relative amount is so excessively high. When we reach the stage of increasing it, however, and can evaluate it, we can surely postpone it until the Additional Appropriation. It therefore does not have to be indicated in the supplementary budget amounts. I hope that is what the hon member had in mind. When it involves a very substantial amount, however, a person may well consider it. Traditionally the Additional Appropriation does not exceed a specific percentage and, if one thinks that one can end up within the limits imposed by that percentage, such a relatively small amount can surely just be left there as it is. I agree with the hon member, however, that it would be more efficient to budget for it if one were aware of it—which is precisely what we are doing.
The following is another most important case. The fact that it is said to be a State Security Council decision is actually a most unfortunate choice of words. Although it is therefore also recorded in the minutes of the State Security Council as its decision, the fact remains that decisions of the State Security Council are subject to Cabinet approval or disapproval. The Treasury does not receive instructions direct from the State Security Council. This council submits its decisions to the Cabinet and, if the Cabinet agrees with them, those decisions become an instruction to the Treasury.
Concerning South West Africa, the State Security Council requested that all expenditure relating to South West Africa be vested in the Central Revenue Fund of South West Africa. Defence expenditure relating to the SWA Commando is in consequence now vested there direct. They do not have the money to pay for this, however, and we compensate them by increasing the transfer from the Treasury. So much for that matter.
Could you tell me what the word “leaseback” is supposed to mean?
Mr Chairman, leaseback charges are charges in respect of equipment issued by the SA Defence Force to the SWA territorial forces and which is used outside the operational area. This is part of the R54 million SWA defence expenditure.
In respect of other questions put to me I should like to point out that we are actually dealing here basically with additional expenditure. That is why, I believe, we should leave a broader discussion of GST until the Finance Vote is debated here in the House. In the meantime, however, I could respond briefly by telling the hon member for Yeoville that that is exactly why the department was very reluctant right from the beginning to support a system of differentiated GST percentages. Obviously, if any store has a mix of 10% and 0% GST commodities, it is easier than it used to be to commit fraudulent acts in this respect. That is exactly part of the problem when one opts to introduce a differentiated system. However, at the time it was felt that it would be advantageous to the lower income groups to have a differentiated system. My personal feeling is—and I have often said this in public—that we are not meeting the poorer section of our community the way we want to by making it 10:0. I believe that we can achieve it much better if the ratio is 10:4 because the poorer sections of our community often do not have fridges or freezers. They buy tinned food or food that is already prepared and they pay 10% on that. They do not buy fresh fruit and vegetables to the same extent as the more affluent people do.
It sounds as if the Sunday Times was right, doesn’t it?
I have been saying this for a long time and the Sunday Times apparently has ears in certain places.
*The hon member for Paarl asked whether the best investment of all would not be to increase our tax-collecting establishment. I think the hon member is absolutely right. We are in no doubt whatsoever that we would fare far better in the sphere of exercising control over tax collection if we had more people, and specifically more better qualified people, to carry out that work. That is precisely the dilemma in which one finds oneself. On the one hand one is absolutely compelled to prune Government expenditure and on the other one inevitably suffers losses if one is unable to increase one’s establishment as one ought. That is the dilemma, but if it were in any way possible to increase the establishment of our department properly, we would be pleased to do so.
I cannot answer the hon member’s question on who is actually better equipped to collect Black taxes, we or the Department of Co-operation, Development and Education. I think we would do well to discuss this further when we get to the Budget and not to concern ourselves further with it today.
Mr Chairman, may I just ask the hon the Minister if he has figures available in regard to national servicemen and the extent to which they are being employed? If so, how is that being accounted for? If not, we can leave it.
Mr Chairman, I can reply to that question by saying that we have been negotiating with the Defence Force to make available to us more national servicemen than those who are at present employed by us while doing their national service. Originally, the Defence Force first enabled us to employ those national servicemen who were in fact already employees of our department. In addition to those, I requested my hon colleague to make available to us as many chartered accountants and other properly qualified people as he could sacrifice in order to supplement our efforts to collect taxes and also to register a presence in those areas in which qualified people are scarce and where they are needed to supervise so as to prevent too much time passing because of no proper supervision. I want to be very specific. With the manpower at our disposal, statistical chances are that in a certain area at a particular tax collection point, for instance a GST collection point, a visit by an inspector may take place only once in many, many years. This is completely unsatisfactory but it is on account of the fact that we do not have enough adequately qualified people to do the work. For that very reason we requested the Defence Force to make these people available to us, but what their present status at this moment in time is, I would not know.
However, I want to point out that those servicemen who are presently employed by our department and who have, in other words, been seconded back to us, certainly do not cost us anything extra because I presume we are supplementing their salaries in any case. I am not in a position to respond to the hon member’s question in further detail now, but I will be able to provide him with the necessary details if he will table the question or if he will wait until the discussion of the Vote at a later stage.
Mr Chairman, there is one last thing that I want to respond to so that it is not left unchallenged and unreplied to, and that is that the fact that difficulty is being experienced in collecting GST is no reason for making people pay a higher rate of GST when those people cannot afford it.
So we make the point that there are other foodstuffs which should have been included in the exemption and we agree completely with the hon the Minister that they should be included in the exemption. We just want to make it quite clear that the fact that there are difficulties in enforcement and that adequate steps are not taken to ensure that there is no fraud in regard to GST in respect of foodstuffs is no reason why we should now reimpose GST on basic foodstuffs. There is every reason why exemption should be extended to include commodities such as the tinned foods to which the hon the Minister referred and dried beans and that type of article, but the hon the Minister will find the severest opposition from us if he tries to do away with the exemption in regard to basic foodstuffs.
Mr Chairman, we cannot even consider any structural changes in any of our tax systems because we have a commission investigating the whole spectrum and the relative contribution that is to be expected from each of the various sources of revenue. So there is no way that in the coming Budget we shall be able to propose any structural changes. If we need additional revenue, we shall have to exploit the existing sources further. In other words, we shall not be able to touch the structure.
I still believe, however, that we shall have to look not only at the collection methods which I agree can always be improved but also at whether we have the right mix as far as GST is concerned and whether we are really helping the poor people because, if I read the hon member correctly, he is making out a case for relief for the poorer sections of our community. I do not believe that there will be any drastic effect—this is just my own gut-feeling after having listened to various representations—if we consider increasing it from 0% to 4% on basic foodstuffs and decreasing GST on all other foodstuffs from 10% to 4%. If we do that, I do not think that we shall be materially affecting the cost of the foodbasket of the poorer section of our community. On the contrary, I believe that we shall be assisting them.
That kind of argument, however, is academic at this stage because we are still awaiting the recommendations of the Margo Commission. It is their brief to invite comment and to consider all these matters not only from the point of view of revenue but also from the point of view of facilitating collection, protecting the integrity of that particular tax-base and eliminating any possible fraudulent action. That is certainly something which will occupy our minds for the rest of this year and until we receive our final commitments.
I want to reiterate and stress that there is no way that we can consider that kind of thing in the coming Budget. I think we must be quite clear on that issue.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 8—“Constitutional Development and Planning”:
Mr Chairman, I would appreciate it if the hon the Minister could provide more information about the census which is to be held during the course of 1985, and in particular as regards the personnel who are involved.
Mr Chairman, let me explain at the outset that no additional amounts were included in the additional amounts for statistics for the census, but there were for other activities of that particular section.
Since the hon member is speaking about the question of statistics, perhaps we should get the facts straight. The first aspect is that the taking of a census is an activity which is spread over years and not over one particular year. In fact, the decision to take a census was taken quite a while ago. In fact, the decision was taken on 10 June 1980, and the hon member will recall who was the Minister responsible at that stage. It was none other than the hon member’s leader. By saying this, I am merely stating an historical fact, and I am not reproaching anyone, since it is necessary to take a census. At that stage the estimated amount for the census was R34 275 000. This was to have been spread over a period of five years. During the 1982-83 fiscal year, the amount was to have been R520 000. It was R2,910 million for the year 1983-84. This was already spent during the process of preparation for the census. The amount was R5,5 million for the present financial year, 1984-85. The single large amount for the forthcoming year is R24 625 000. The amount for the final year would be R720 000. The hon member will recall that the estimated amount for the census—if I am not mistaken—is approximately R35 million.
I want to add that this is not the time to debate the question of the principle of the census, except to say that if we were to postpone the census, preparations for which have already been in progress for three years, there would be various expenses which would be the subject of criticism here, if it should become a reality.
The hon member referred to the programme on statistics. The increase, or additional amount of R471 000 really relates to a number of other matters. If one looks at statistics, one finds the following: The additional estimate for which we are now requesting an appropriation is R471 000.
Let us look at the sub-programmes. There was a saving of R53 000 for demographic statistics this year. The additional appropriation we are asking for for national accounts and financial statistics—this has nothing to do with the census—is R150 000. There was a decrease of R17 300 in our budget in respect of statistics in regard to services to developing states. There was a scaling down of particular expenditure in respect of administrative supporting services. The increase of R368 600 in this regard was in respect of personnel expenditure, and not in respect of the census. Firstly, it was for the improved conditions of service of personnel, as is the case in all the other departments as well. Secondly, there were outstanding salaries we owed to the scheduled people in our employ. The amount involved here was R112 000. Vacant posts that have in fact been filled require R234 700.
The effect of the increased remuneration of casual workers—the Commission for Administration did not make provision for this—was a deficit of R57 800. Increased production bonuses require a further amount of R56 400. I could continue in this vein with specific expenses, but I think the hon member will infer from what I have already said that the census as such is not responsible for the increased expenditure.
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister asked which item I was referring to. I am referring to the explanatory memorandum before me. The final sentence reads:
That is what I was asking about: Why the increase?
The hon member will see that the global, total amount really relates to the total activities, not only to the accommodation of the census personnel. That is really what I am trying to tell the hon member.
Mr Chairman, could the hon the Minister explain to us why an additional R750 000 is needed for the administration of Walvis Bay? Why that increase?
Mr Chairman, the amount relates to the improvement of the school in Walvis Bay. It is a scheme for the improvement, renovation and refurbishing of the school at an amount of R1,517 million, of which R830 000 has to be paid in the 1984-85 financial year. The rest is excess. These amounts are dealt with by the Cape Provincial Administration, as the body responsible, whilst my department has to make the requisitions. Too little was requisitioned, and this amount now has to be appropriated in addition.
Vote agreed to.
Vote 9—“Foreign Affairs”:
Mr Chairman, in the first place I should like to know from the hon the Deputy Minister what the increase is in the freight tariffs for the conveyance of diplomatic mail bags referred to under programme 1. Under the same programme I note that the multilateral Secretariat for Southern Africa will be needing furniture from 1 April. I should like to know what the estimated cost of that furniture is. Are other states contributing to this and, if so, how much?
As regards the relief of distress mentioned under programme 3 for which R15 765 000 has to be voted, I should like to know in which states this money is being used and how much is being used in each state.
Mr Chairman, much of the extra money which is required, is going to be used in connection with TBVC countries. We raised the question of the control of moneys handed over to those governments with the Minister last year. He gave us certain assurances, which I can quote if necessary. We are going to ask the hon the Deputy Minister further questions, because we are totally unhappy about the way the Minister is controlling the flood of money which goes over to the TBVC countries.
The concept that one country should pay and that the other should spend, without the payer being able to control the spender, is something which is quite unacceptable. If we look at these estimates, the press reports and the dossiers we have in front of us, it is clear that the Minister must satisfy us that the taxpayers of South Africa are not being taken for a ride. There is, for example the question of seconded officials. Almost every time we open a newspaper, we read about South African officials seconded to Ciskei being sacked. We want an explanation from the hon the Deputy Minister why this happens. He is in charge of the secondment and we want to know what is happening. Is he accepting responsibility for what is happening there, or is he passing the buck to somebody else?
In programme 3 under the item “budgetary aid” it is said that the amount to be voted is as a result of “an unavoidable contribution to Transkei, Venda and Ciskei to enable them to implement occupational differentiation for their employees”. Why is it unavoidable for those three but avoidable for Bophuthatswana? How can it be an unavoidable decision? It can be unavoidable that they can make the decision, but how is it unavoidable that we have to pay? Fifty million rand has to be paid for this purpose, and in respect of the Ciskei which made this unavoidable decision, they are busy abolishing companies tax, GST and income tax. What keeps it going? Our contributions keep the public sector going so that in that territory can abolish taxes reducing what they contribute themselves. What kind of a deal is this? Last time we put this very specifically to the hon the Minister. He gave us categoric assurances, and I quote:
That is what was said last year in this House by the hon the Minister. Has he approved of all these projects in Ciskei? Has he approved of the big motorcars? Has he approved of the airport? Has he approved of the contracts for hospitals and schools, which have been handed over on a plate without even going to tender? The hon the Minister said that the Minister himself gives that final approval. We want to know whether he does approve. He also went on to say:
We want to know from the hon the Minister if the Department of Foreign Affairs has vetted the additional expenditure which is required. Is the hon the Minister accepting responsibility for the debacle which is the financial straits in particular of Ciskei?
There is also the question of stimulating industries. We believe, on the evidence before us, that there is a grave rip-off taking place. Companies are taking money from the South African taxpayer, which should be going to help the underprivileged people in Ciskei, but which is lining the pockets of foreigners. That is what is happening. Even President Sebe had this to say:
Order! The hon member must confine himself to the question.
Mr Chairman, I am confining myself to item (c) which is called: “The stimulation of industries”. It makes provision for R18 million in subsidies for entrepreneurs who are prepared to establish industries in the TBVC countries, and it is then stated: “This clearly indicates that the existing provision is totally inadequate”. We have the President of Ciskei saying that a large amount of this money is not going to the workers of Ciskei, but is being used to pay highly-paid executives. This is a rip-off according to information which is available to us. Millions and millions of rand are going to New York and other places to line the pockets of the entrepreneurs. This money does not go into the pockets of the workers. We want to know from the hon the Minister if he is satisfied that the whole of the additional amount of some R17 million that he requires to stimulate industries, is being properly used. Is the expenditure of this money being audited?
He knows that under the stimulation scheme a subsidy of R110 is paid for every employee. We have evidence to show that many of the Black employees are being paid R40, R50 or R60 a month. The rest of the money is going right into the pockets of the foreign developers. That is what is happening. We want to know whether the hon the Minister is monitoring this. Is he auditing this? There is a massive interest being paid on machinery and plant. We have information that machinery and plant are being put in the books at exorbitant prices from Hong Kong and other places, when they are available in South Africa at half that price. Is the hon the Minister auditing this? We have lists of companies with people on their payroll who have nothing to do with productivity. There are security guards by the drove, gardeners by the hundreds and all kinds of other things. Such a company does not manufacture goods, it farms with employees. When the hon the Minister asks us for money, we want to know that every cent is being directed towards the moral, physical and economic uplift of the people, and that the money is not being used to line the pockets of people outside.
We want to ask the hon the Minister if he can satisfy us that every cent paid by the South African taxpayer is being properly audited. In view of the history of this matter— and we take the history of the Venda debacle last year—is he prepared to allow a Parliamentary select committee to investigate the expenditure which has taken place, the projects which have taken place and the procedures which the hon the Minister should be implementing to see that this is properly controlled?
We await replies from the hon the Minister. Perhaps we shall have to accede to the voting of this money, but unless these replies are satisfactory, we shall not be supporting this kind of expenditure when the main Budget is put to this House.
Mr Chairman, as regards programme 2, Foreign Relations, I should like to know from the hon the Deputy Minister whether the larger vote of R3,3 million includes money to counteract the disinvestment campaign against South Africa.
I should also like to know from the hon the Deputy Minister whether we can get more particulars in connection with programme 3 regarding the R16 689 000 for the stimulation of industries.
Mr Chairman, firstly I want to react to the hon member for Brakpan who put a question to me with regard to diplomatic mail. I shall give him further particulars with pleasure. The tariffs for the conveyance of diplomatic mail bags are applied internationally and are calculated on the basis of the gold price and the value of the dollar. The position of these two commodities over the past year has led to the continual increase in tariffs. As a result of this, an increase of R400 000 is necessary, despite our having succeeded in reducing the mass of bags by almost 15%.
Then the hon member put a question to me about the multilateral Secretariat for Southern Africa. In this regard I want to tell him that the secretariat was to have been established on 1 April 1985 by order of the Government purely as an international institution to which all the states would have contributed. Towards the end of the negotiations the Government of Bophuthatswana refused to sign the agreement and is reconsidering the matter. Because this matter should not remain in abeyance, the Cabinet nevertheless decided that the secretariat would be proceeded with as initially planned. Until such time as the secretariat complies with the requirements of a completely independent body, it was decided that it would be run similar to a mission, with the Department of Foreign Affairs being accountable for it. The secretariat will be housed in a separate building and have its own furniture and equipment. Because its terminals and word processors will be linked to the department, expensive equipment has to be purchased.
The hon member also asked for more details concerning relief of distress for which provision is made in programme 3. I shall give him details with pleasure. Because it is impossible to determine beforehand what amount will be needed for relief of distress, an annual nominal amount of R1 000 or so is made available and budgeted for. An amount of R15 765 000 is now required, of which the greater portion will be used in the TBVC countries to relieve the effects of the drought. That was the most important reason for using this amount. The amount was determined after thorough investigations by project teams which the department set up for that purpose. Aid in the form of food, medicines and tents was also given to Swaziland after the damage caused by the cyclone last year. A limited amount of aid was also given to the Cape Verde Islands.
The hon member for Sea Point got a little excited today. In this regard it is necessary for me to say a few things about Ciskei. Firstly, I want to refer to the undertaking the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave last year. Last year he referred to projects that were being tackled in the various TBVC countries, which were being fully evaluated and in respect of which expenditure was also being controlled by the Government of South Africa.
When referring to the TBVC countries, I think it is necessary to look at the total revenue of those countries. Those governments do not only have aid in the form of loans or other budgetary assistance from South Africa as their only source of revenue. Those governments also have their own income. In other words, the basic income structure of those countries looks like this: Income generated in the various countries, for example, Ciskei, Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and similar countries—and apart from that there is also income in the form of aid provided by the South African Government. The aid provided by the South African Government falls into two categories: Firstly, there is budgetary aid which is being given in terms of the legislation on financial arrangements which led to the independence of each of these various countries. In terms of that legislation, a specific amount is paid for a period of three years. In the case of Ciskei, an amount of R120 million per annum has been paid for the past three years. The final payment has already been made, and new arrangements have to be made with regard to the forthcoming financial year.
The only other financial assistance Ciskei receives from the South African Government is project aid. In this regard I want to assure hon members that the assurance the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave in respect of projects is being pursued and carried out 100% and with great precision. There are no problems whatsoever with that. I should like to give the assurance that we are absolutely sure that as far as that is concerned the South African taxpayer’s money is being spent well and absolutely correctly. The relevant projects are in the interests of the people of Ciskei and of the various national states. Moreover, the projects are very important to the development of these areas.
As far as the R120 million is concerned, I want to say that it is money that has basically been controlled by Ciskei itself over the past few years. At present the tap has been turned off in respect of the Financial Arrangements Act, 1981, with regard to Ciskei. Now Ciskei has to negotiate with us for further budgetary aid over and above the project aid we are giving. We have negotiated with Ciskei in this regard, and it is not merely a question of money now. It also concerns the priorities of that particular government. I want to tell the hon member for Sea Point that the Government of South Africa was not satisfied with the way in which the various priorities were determined in Ciskei. For example, the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs made it very clear that at this stage he does not agree with Ciskei’s priority of an airport for Ciskei, as they have planned. That standpoint was conveyed to the Ciskeian Government.
I want to give the further assurance that before further budgetary aid is given to Ciskei, we have to obtain certain assurances concerning all the things we are dissatisfied with as regards the administration of their finances and their other affairs. We will not compromise the South African Government’s tax money in any way.
The hon member referred to certain specific things, and I take cognisance of them. He mentioned a few specific examples of which I was unaware, and about which I therefore do not have any details. Nevertheless, I understand his problems in general.
Unfortunately, however, the hon member went on unreasonably about the question of industries and the incentive measures for industries that must be established in Ciskei. In this regard I just want to say that it is extremely important that the Government makes a success of its decentralization policy. That is why it is important that the programme we have begun be pursued and implemented successfully. However, I want to tell hon members that as far as Ciskei is concerned, they must not think for one moment that everything is negative, since that is not the case.
I now want to give particulars about industries that have been established in the various countries over the past year. In Transkei, 34 industries were established and 7 369 employment opportunities were created. In Bophuthatswana, 46 industries were established and 3 700 employment opportunities were created. In Venda, 21 industries were established and 1 200 employment opportunities were created.
That says nothing.
The hon member who said that these steps meant nothing, does not know what he is talking about. [Interjections.] They mean work and bread and a living for the Black people there, and we shall not allow ourselves to be deterred from the course we have taken. [Interjections.]
During the past year, 53 industries were established in Ciskei, 34 in Transkei, 46 in Bophuthatswana and 21 in Venda. Therefore, out of the four countries, the largest number of industries has been established in Ciskei in recent times. Apart from that, 17 336 employment opportunities have been created in Ciskei. [Interjections.] I want to make it very clear that I am critical of Ciskei, but I must also take cognizance of the fact that the economic development there— that is since Ciskei became independent—is much greater than the economic development in Lesotho, for example, which became independent more than 20 years ago.
As regards the hon member, I want to conclude my remarks by telling him that we take cognizance of this criticism. We are not unsympathetic to it. I also want to assure him that as far as this and other matters he mentioned are concerned, there were direct and protracted negotiations between us and Ciskei. In fact, we must continue with these negotiations before we can take a final decision about the appropriation Ciskei will be receiving from the South African Government. However, I invite the hon member for Sea Point to approach me with specific problems he has with regard to Ciskei and I shall give him the necessary information with pleasure.
I think that, to a certain extent, what I have just said about the employment opportunities that have been created answers the question of the hon member for Bloemfontein North.
As far as disinvestment is concerned, not only the Government, but also the private sector of South Africa, has a task. Perhaps I should put this in perspective by explaining why we are not making additional money available at this stage to fight the disinvestment campaign. The advocators of the disinvestment campaign are attempting to disrupt the economy of South Africa, with the purpose of supposedly assisting the Black people in this country. The effect of what they want to do will not assist the Black people in any way, however, but it will be to their detriment in every possible sphere.
Economic disruption in South Africa is going to lead to unemployment. Unemployment is going to lead to hunger; hunger will lead to other evils and miseries for the Black people in South Africa. [Interjections.] Therefore, the disinvestment campaign is nothing but an act of violence against the Black people of South Africa, which the advocators of disinvestment will have on their conscience.
If the disinvestment campaign should be successful, it would also lead to Black workers of countries outside South Africa being sent back to the countries they come from. If that should happen, it would disrupt the economies of those countries and cause misery there, too. These are matters those who advocate disinvestment should have on their conscience. [Interjections.]
As far as the Government is concerned, the private sector has an extremely important task in this respect. In my opinion, the private sector is fighting in the frontline to point out to advocators of disinvestment the senselessness, ridiculousness and outrageousness of their actions, as well as the injustice and inhumanity towards the Black people of this country.
The Government has put its case and its standpoint very clearly through diplomatic channels. We have utilized those channels to indicate how we feel about disinvestment. Secondly, we have pointed out clearly to our neighbouring states the disadvantages disinvestment holds out for them, and thirdly, we have also properly informed the private sector about the danger in this regard.
What the Government is doing in this regard at this stage, it can do best by utilizing its own infrastructure. Additional money for this purpose is therefore not required now.
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister has reacted to what I have said, but quite frankly I think he is trying to fob off the House with generalities when specific questions have been put to him. He wants an additional R17 million for subsidies for entrepreneurs who are prepared to establish industries in the TBVC countries.
I want to confine my questions once again to Ciskei. He said that the Government was also unhappy but it has been unhappy for too long. In respect of these particular industries of which he has said so many have been established and so many “werkgeleenthede” have been created, we want to know specifically from him—we do not want generalities—whether he is monitoring the activities of these industries. Some of them engage in training programmes and they receive 125% on every cost item they incur in a training programme. Is he monitoring the costs to ensure that they are all going for training, or is he just assuming that because a return is sent in by the company, he then has to pay them a subsidy of 125%? As soon as one receives a subsidy of 125% it pays to spend money because for every 1 cent one spends, one gets 1,25 cents back. So we want to know whether the hon the Minister is actually monitoring the activities of these companies which claim 125% subsidy for training purposes?
Secondly, when it comes to the employment of individuals, these companies receive R110,00 per employee by way of a subsidy. We want to know whether the hon the Minister is satisfying himself that the R110,00 per employee per month that the South African taxpayer pays, is in respect of an individual who is gainfully employed in productive work. Or is he merely a name on a list? The hon the Minister said so many thousand jobs had been created. I have a schedule of two companies, one of them with an employee list of 2 176. So the hon the Minister and the South African taxpayer are satisfied that they have now created 2 176 jobs in the clothing industry. But of those 2 176, 72 are gardeners, 350 are cleaners … [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member must come to the point.
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister spoke of job opportunities which have been created, and I want to know whether these are the kind of job opportunities for which South African taxpayers’ money should be used. If it is productive work, of course the money must be used in this way, but creating sham job opportunities just to make the list of employees longer so that the subsidy can be increased, is no reason for us to vote this particular amount. Once again we ask the hon the Minister if he is monitoring the activities and the work of these particular companies and industries. Is he prepared to have them audited? Is he prepared to let the Auditor-General or another auditor go into the matter and have him report directly to the hon the Minister?
We are not satisfied that the control measures sketched so hurriedly by the hon the Minister are effective. We want to know from the hon the Minister whether, if it has not been audited until now, he is prepared to say across the floor of the House that from now on he will appoint auditors to ensure that this amount of R17 million is being spent properly. We want such control, because without it we do not know whether the money is being paid into the right channels and we suspect that a lot of this money is not being spent on development, but simply on the enrichment of the rich in this country.
Mr Chairman, we are voting R50,375 million on an unavoidable contribution. This afternoon the hon the Minister avoided replying and that is very sad.
R50,375 million is being spent on budgetary aid. What I would like to hear from the hon the Minister in the very short time available—and I am not obsessed with Ciskei—is how much of the cake went to Transkei, how much to Venda and how much to Ciskei. How much of the cake went to Transkei, how much to Venda, and how much to Ciskei? Exactly the same question applies to the next item, namely the increase of R16 689 000, needed for the stimulation of industries. In the minute we have left, I would like to ask the hon the Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs to explain this to us.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Sea Point mentioned examples of what he called fraud in this House. But if he is serious about this charge, why did he not come and tell us about it long ago? If he is concerned about the way in which the South African taxpayer’s money is being spent, why did he not come to us? How long has he been sitting on that information? With all due respect, I want to tell him that his information looks suspicious to me, simply because he is asking me questions about it in the House. I do not know what the answers are for the simple reason that a good citizen of South Africa ostensibly has the information, but he could not give me the information. I wonder how good a citizen he actually is in this respect. [Interjections.]
I am sorry if the hon member thinks that I avoided the questions in any way. As far as the stimulation of industries is concerned, I just want to say that a scheme exists in terms of which a rand is contributed for a rand. A rand is paid by the local government—that is Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda or Ciskei—and in addition the South African Government pays a rand to make the total financing of this package possible. This serves as an incentive. The hon member wants to know how the payments are distributed among Transkei, Venda and Ciskei. I do not have the information here, but I shall write him a letter at once explaining how the amounts have been divided among these three countries.
Business interrupted in accordance with Joint Rule 44.
Schedule, clauses and title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
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, this is an interesting report on an interesting Bill that we have to discuss here this afternoon.
It sets a precedent in terms of the new Constitution. The Standing Committee on Finance met on a couple of occasions and discussed this Bill at length. We heard evidence from the Department of Finance and the Department of Law and Order. The hon the Minister of Law and Order himself also appeared before the committee. The result of the long discussions is contained in the report, as presented by the chairman, in which the refusal of the committee to approve the Bill is expressed. Of the House of Assembly members only the members of the NP serving on the committee voted for the Bill. The House of Representatives’ members on the committee also voted in favour, while members of the House of Delegates voted unanimously against this Bill. Since then the House of Delegates has, as a House, rejected the Bill as proposed. This is going to be an interesting test for consensus in terms of the new Constitution. One wonders whether the Government is going to force this measure through or whether it is going to accept that many members of Parliament are not convinced of the desirability of this Bill and therefore withdraw it and let it fall by the wayside, because, if this Bill were not to be passed, it would not have an adverse effect on the functioning of the State, of the Government and its machinery. It would in fact be very easy for the Government to allow it to fall by the wayside and to accept that there are many members of Parliament in the various Houses who are not happy about it.
Why did we reject this Bill? Concerning the SA Police Special Account, clause 4 provides the following:
We object to this procedure. It impinges on probably the most important duty of Parliament, namely the right to control and supervise the expenditure of State funds. In terms of this Bill, if it were passed, Parliament would not know what was left in the fund, what had been unexpended and whether there were large balances being built up in the account. Nobody would be obliged to report that to Parliament. Hon members of Parliament would not have the right to find out what was happening.
It has been suggested that this measure is needed because there are ongoing projects and if one requires that, the Department of Law and Order or any other department to return the balance of their funds at the end of a financial year, that can disrupt projects. This is superficially a convincing argument, but it is patently false if one has any idea of how Government financing functions in practice.
Almost every department, and certainly very many departments, have long-term projects and commitments, eg on roads and buildings. They have contracts with staff members whose contracts they cannot terminate at the drop of a hat. In practice, though, those projects and commitments are not threatened because at the end of a financial year they are required to return any unexpended balances to the Treasury. Money is voted for the following year and the projects continue without interruption. It is therefore patently false to suggest that without a provision of this sort the work of a department such as the Department of Law and Order will be disrupted.
There is one particular area in which we have condoned this practice in the past. This relates to the Department of Defence. That was merely because it was put forward at the time that the Department of Defence sometimes needed to build up very large sums of money to be able to buy large items of equipment, for example for the Navy or the Air Force. This could not be funded in one year and they did not necessarily want it shown in the Budget that a purchase was about to take place as this could cause potential problems.
Unfortunately I might say as an aside that this has not happened. The Department of Defence—and we have criticized this— has often used those funds not for those purposes alone. It has kept unexpended balances for other purposes as well. Nevertheless, we believe that it is the only department with major capital expenditure of the sort which requires it to be allowed to build up a balance in a secret fund. So we do not accept that argument.
The second point is the question of discretion. Subsection (1) of clause 2 of the Bill says:
I think everybody will agree that “the national interest” is a very wide term. It is in fact a fairly loose term. I am sure all of us and in particular the Government would believe that the whole Budget is in the national interest, there would be conflicts of opinion on a lot of activities as to what is in the national interest and what is not. We have grave doubts as to whether the secret activities of some of the security forces in this country have in fact been in the national interest in recent years. The wide discretion with which these secret funds can be used is, therefore, something we are not very happy about either.
The third aspect is the question of auditing. The auditing of these secret funds is not as rigorous as the auditing of the ordinary activities of a Government department. There are subsections of the Exchequer and Audit Act that provide for certain exclusions and for limitations that can be applied in respect of reports by the Auditor-General.
So the audit and the information made available to members of Parliament and to the Select Committee on Public Accounts, now the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, are not, or need not be, as comprehensive as they are in respect of ordinary expenditure of ordinary departments. In all these circumstances we believe that Parliamentary control needs to be increased and not watered down. Hence we will be opposing this Bill.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Could we please get clarity on one matter. The item before us is: Consideration of the First Report. The Minister says: “I move.” Now what does he move? That we consider it, that we adopt it or do not adopt it? What is before the House?
If I remember correctly, the hon Minister moved that the report be adopted.
No, Mr Chairman. He said: “I move.” There was nothing about adopting it.
In any event, that is what I heard. Perhaps the hon Minister can verify that he moved the adoption.
Mr Chairman, I thought I moved what you yourself requested me to do, but in order to clarify it, I confirm that I moved that the report be adopted.
That is what I asked the hon the Minister to do; so that is in order.
Mr Chairman, it is odd that the hon member who raised the point of order did so after the speech of the hon member for Cape Town Gardens. It is quite clear that the hon member who raised the point of order wants to prevent the speeches of hon members on this side of the House appearing in the Press tomorrow. However, he wants to see to it that the speech of the hon member for Cape Town Gardens appears in the English-language Press tomorrow morning. It is a political move we on this side of House are taking no notice of.
I do not think the hon member for Cape Town Gardens convinced this House that we should agree with the PFP’s standpoint, viz that they are not in favour of this legislation. It is not necessary for me or any other hon member in this House to stand up and explain that the South African Police sometimes has to deal with projects of an extremely secret nature. Nor is it necessary to say that certain police activities in practically every country of the world are dealt with in a similar manner. Consequently, provision is also made for secret funds in those countries. We know this. The provision of secret funds for police work is therefore not a new principle either. It already exists world-wide, and it also exists here in South Africa. We accepted the principle in 1978 with the Secret Services Account Act, in terms of which the secret activities of the police are financed.
In my opinion, the only criticism that could be levelled today is that we did not make provision for the police in 1978. In terms of the Secret Services Account Act, secret funds are available to the police at present. All we want to do now, is to streamline the activities of our secret services and to prevent the interruption of certain projects. The hon member for Pinelands tried to compare it with the construction of roads and tunnels and the purchasing of trains, etc, but of course we know that they are incomparable. If one sees that the country’s financial situation is such that cutbacks have to be made, it is easy to say that we are not going ahead with a road building programme this year. However, we cannot say that our financial situation is such that we are postponing certain projects without giving the police any assurance that we will continue with them in the next financial year. I therefore say that whilst he was making such a fuss about the so-called absence of parliamentary control which is supposedly being brought about by this legislation, the hon member conveniently neglected to tell this House that in terms of this legislation, the Auditor-General will have precisely the same control over the secret funds of the police as he has at present. Either the hon member has no confidence in the police, or he has no confidence in the Auditor-General, or his intention is that those actions of the police which are secret should really become public knowledge. I think that is the crux of the hon member’s argument. He tried to pull the wool over the eyes of hon members of this House with his gimmick of parliamentary control.
I do not think the hon member is opposed to secret funds of this nature in principle. Nor do I think he is opposed to the fact that secret action by the South African Police is necessary from time to time. Nor do I think the hon member would deny that activities of this nature should not be hampered by periodic cash flow problems. Senior officers of the SAP gave evidence before the Standing Committee that problems are in fact experienced in this regard sometimes. I think I can say this, since the hon member quoted the history of the Act before the committee. The hon the Minister himself made it clear to all hon members that on occasion there had been some embarrassment in this regard. I therefore put it to the hon member today that he is not opposing this legislation because he personally wants to oppose it. I think his caucus gave him instructions to oppose this legislation. [Interjections.] He was not free to follow his conscience today and serve the best interests of South Africa.
Now I ask: Why is the PFP adopting this standpoint? I say the PFP is doing so for two reasons: Firstly, their ultimate aim is to frustrate effective police action against the undermining elements in this country. [Interjections.] After all, the MPC of the hon member for Cape Town Gardens, who opposed the legislation, said on occasion: “I’ll stop at nothing short of violence.” She did say that, and now I ask the hon member whether he agrees with her. I ask the hon member for Cape Town Gardens whether he agrees with Mrs Di Bishop that she “will stop at nothing short of violence”. [Interjections.] The hon member is not replying. I do not think he can reply; I really do not think he can.
This piece of legislation is the biggest possible source of frustration to the PFP because it further eliminates every possibility for them to have access to secret police activities. The PFP sees in this kind of sensitive legislation the opportunity to try to upset the new dispensation. They will accept legislation of a less sensitive or contentious nature in the standing committees. They would even try to obtain the co-operation of all hon members in that respect. However, when it comes to sensitive or contentious legislation, we can assume that the PFP will make every effort to try to upset the new dispensation in the Standing Committees.
Let us just take a quick look at who is opposed to the legislation; that is, those outside Parliament: the ANC, the UDF, certain factions at the UN, as well as the Black Sash. We could mention a whole list; and sure enough, the PFP comes into the highest Assembly Chamber in this country and votes with all those people against a piece of legislation that will enable the police to do their work properly. [Interjections.] The hon member for Cape Town Gardens brought the resistance to effective action by the South African Police right into Parliament today. I support the legislation.
Mr Chairman, of course this year there is a very large amount in this account for secret services, namely R84 million. This sum was divided between the South African Defence Force, the National Intelligence Service and the Department of Foreign Affairs. They each have an account so that they need not pay back to the department the amounts allocated to them. But an exception was made in regard to the Police. The Police Force was the only related department that did not have such an account. All that is now being requested here is that they be given the same account that these other departments already have. [Interjections.] We have no problems with that. We support the legislation and we think it is a good thing.
But we just want to say that we hope they will use the money well and not spend it on NP propaganda, as the Department of Foreign Affairs did in 1982.
Mr Chairman, I want to state at the outset that, although we are also opposing this Bill, we are not, contrary to the opinion of the hon the member for—I do not recall which constituency he represents—supporting the UDF. I do not think that the PFP is supporting them either in this regard. We are, however, not happy about an extension of the number of departments that enjoy total autonomy over secret funds. This is one of the basic reasons for our not supporting this Bill. Whilst we were prepared to listen, an adequate case to justify our altering our opinion in this regard was not made. Without such a justification, we believe that the South African Police, who have a difficult enough task as it is, would find it even harder to retain their credibility as being a normal police force whose primary function it is to maintain law and order. I know that initials and letters are being thrown around, but if they had total autonomy of that kind, in no time at all the Press would be relating them to the old SS and the KGB and various other organizations. In any event, we know perfectly well that we are not going to get a fair hearing on this or on anything else overseas or in the Press. Finally, we oppose the proliferation of departments which can build up and carry forward funds without the control of Parliament.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Cape Town Gardens and the hon member for Umbilo, but particularly the former, advanced arguments against the adoption of this Bill which I believe have nothing to do with the Bill as such. They are being motivated by some other considerations outside the ambit of this Bill. This Bill is an administrative Bill which will contribute to the easier handling of a basic process which will not be altered if this report is rejected by this House today. I say this because this argument of large balances being accumulated is absolute nonsense. There is no such thing. It cannot happen.
If this report is rejected and this Bill is not accepted, the police will not be able to contain information in terms of existing legislation. That is a simple a fact.
What is involved here? We have two channels in operation. All secret funds are allocated to the Minister of Finance and he, firstly, channels them, firstly to the three special accounts and, secondly, to the Police Force who keep it in a suspense account. That action by the Minister of Finance is deemed to be an allocation by Parliament.
What does he do? Before he dishes it out, even before he applies for the amount to be allocated to him in this House, he has discussions with all four of his colleagues. They decide on amounts equivalent to merely a net supplement after having taken into account what the previous balances were. The three previous balances in the three special accounts are easily identifiable because they are indicated in these special accounts. The other balance is in a suspense account and is also identified. There again, it is merely a question of a net supplement of the requirements agreed upon by the Minister of Finance and his four colleagues. So, whether those amounts are carried through automatically in the account or whether they are temporarily taken out of the Police Special Account, taken back to the secret funds, put back in the treasury and reallocated at the beginning of the next fiscal year, fundamentally there is no difference. It is simply easier to deal with it in the way in which the three special accounts operate at the moment. So it is merely an administrative matter and I might just state for the record that up to now the Auditor-general has never had a single negative inquiry about the way in which the police handle their suspense account, not a single one. My predecessor did not have a single negative inquiry addressed to my hon colleague, the hon the Minister of Law and Order, in connection with the handling of this suspense account.
So, what we are dealing with here, Sir, is merely the question of handling in a better way, in terms of accounting, an account which is already being handled very well.
As regards the application of the fund, the question of the national interest—it is true what the hon member said—is a very wide concept. The whole idea of secret funds, however, is something this Government have decided we cannot do without. We have the necessary sanction for this by way of existing legislation. Therefore, it is absolutely untrue and false to say that there will be an accumulation of funds, as if that accumulation of funds can take place better in a special account than as it does now. That possibility is ruled out; it is absolute nonsense. However, I must really point out that the hon member’s remarks that the auditing of a special account is not done as rigorously as the other one, are patently untrue; it is a reflection on the Auditor-General and on all of the officials working with him. The fact is that, whether one has a special account or a suspense account, the auditing is done in exactly the same way. Ultimately, as far as the reporting is concerned, there can be a difference, because the national interest and the question of what can be made public, comes into play when the report is considered.
Mr K M ANDREW. May I ask you a question?
I do not have the time. I want to stress this point to the hon members: When the decision is taken on what to report, the political functionary is not present. The decision as to what is to be included in the report which is to be made public is taken by the State President, the Minister of Finance and the Auditor-General. In the case of the Police Suspense Account, the Minister of Law and Order is not involved. In the case of the Special Account on Defence, the Minister of Defence is not involved as far as that report is concerned. The ultimate control rests there, because this is a sensitive issue.
*Mr Chairman, I am very grateful for the contribution of the hon member for False Bay, and I also owe many thanks to the hon member for Sunnyside for their support of this measure. Eventually it will be seen and appreciated as an administrative measure to facilitate administration. Basically it changes nothing, except that the administration improves.
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—Alant, T G; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Barnard, S P; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botha, J C G; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Clase, P J; Coetzer, H S; Cronjé, P; Cunningham, J H; De Beer, S J; De Jager, A M v A; De Pontes, P; De Villiers, D J; Du Plessis, B J; du Plessis, G C; Durr, K D S; Fick, L H: Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, A; Golden, S G A; Grobler, J P: Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heyns, J H; Hoon, J H; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kotzé, G J; Kriel, H J; Landman, W J; Le Grange, L; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, F J; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, M H; Malan, M A de M; Malherbe, G J; Marais, P G; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Poggenpeol, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Rencken, C R E; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, J C B; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Scholtz, E M; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Snyman, W J; steyn, D W; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terbalanche, G P D; Thompson, A G; Treurnicht, A P; Uys, C; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Merwe, C V; Van der Merwe, G J; Van der Merwe, W L; Van der Walt, A T; Van der Watt, L; Van Heerden, R F; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mossel Bay); Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Van Zyl, J J B; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Venter, E H; Viljoen, G v N; Vilonel, J J; Visagie, J H; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E; Wilkens, B H; Wright, A P.
Tellers: J P I Blanché, W J Cuyler, W T Kritzinger, C J Ligthelm, R P Meyer and J J Niemann.
Noes—24: Andrew, K M; Boraine, A L; Burrows, R; Cronjé, P C; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Gastrow, P H P; Goodall, B B; Hardingham, R W; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Page, B W B; Raw, W V; Rogers, P R C; Savage, A; Slabbert, F v Z; Suzman, H; Tarr, M A; Van Rensburg, H E J; Watterson, D W.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and A B Widman.
Question agreed to.
In accordance with Standing Order No 19, the House adjourned at