House of Assembly: Vol2 - TUESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 1985
laid upon the Table:
- (a) Additional Appropriation Bill of the Administration: House of Assembly [No 54—85 (HA)]— (Minister of the Budget).
- (b) Certificate by the State President in terms of section 31 of the Constitution, 1983, that the Bill deals with matters which are own affairs of the House of Assembly.
- (2) Post Office Appropriation Bill [No 57—85 (GA)]—(Minister of Communications.
Mr Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
I am pleased that the rules of the House allow me to move this motion because I believe the situation of unsettlement, unrest and discontent in Crossroads is a matter of vital importance and interest to all members of this House and the country at large. I say this for four main reasons.
In the first place the situation at Crossroads is a single and dramatic manifestation of the urgent need for us in this country to find a policy of orderly urbanization to cope with the situation arising out of the movement of people from the rural areas of South Africa to the urban areas.
The second reason why I consider it vital that we discuss Crossroads today is that Crossroads has become the centre of a proud community which cannot be ignored and consisting of people desperately seeking to establish some roots in order to find security for their families, to find job opportunities for themselves, to establish some sort of community life and to meet the challenge of desperate socio-economic circumstances.
A third reason why I think it is important that we discuss Crossroads, is that the Crossroads saga has become an ongoing story of poverty, hardship and unrest which has caused grave concern to the people of the Western Cape and has aroused indignation and condemnation of South Africa around the world.
The fourth reason I believe it is appropriate that we should be dealing with this motion today, is that Crossroads is a tragic monument to the abject failure of Government policy over the past 25 years and more. It is a classic and tragic example of the price we are paying for the crass stupidity of trying to keep the Western Cape as a Coloured preference area over the past 25 years and more, and of the failure of influx control to regulate the urbanization process in South Africa.
I say this because, as a result of slavish adherence to these policies, which we have warned throughout the years would not work, there has been no adequate planning and no provision for proper housing and other essential community services to meet the inevitable process of urbanization in the Western Cape. There has been this obsession with the Western Cape region being a Coloured preference area over a number of years. We have seen it manifest itself in various processes of Government. Those who qualified for section 10 rights in terms of the Blacks (Urban Areas) Act were exempted from automatically obtaining those rights in the Western Cape. This we saw even as recently as 1982 when the then Deputy Minister issued a proclamation to that effect. We have also seen this in other aspects of Government policy. Therefore, it is a monument to the obstinacy of the Government in pursuance of the notion that the Cape Western area could become a Coloured preference area.
However, let me turn my back for the moment on recriminations and deal with the situation as it is today in Crossroads and the Western Cape. Here, 15 miles from the centre of Cape Town, we now have a community of 80 000 people and more who are appallingly housed, who have the most limited community services such as health services, water, roads, education, schools and so forth, and who are living under the constant fear of forced removal. They have no security of tenure. They have no security at all except perhaps for that which they may derive from a community spirit which they have created for themselves. Yet, they choose to stay in the Western Cape. The reasons for this are that despite the deprivation under which they live, the conditions are by far and large far better than those in the poverty-stricken rural areas from which they come. Here at least they can try to live united with their own families. Here at least they can find some employment opportunities. Here at least they can involve themselves in informal sector business activities, things that they cannot do in the rural homelands from which they come. Therefore, Sir, in principle, we have to recognize the fact that these people are in the Western Cape to stay, and that the time is long overdue that the Government should accept that fact and tell us what its plans are for the people of Crossroads. That is the central issue of this debate this afternoon.
I must concede—and I do so generously— that there have recently been encouraging signs of change on the part of the Government, and in this regard I should like to list the following: Firstly, there was the change of policy on the part of the NP at its Cape Congress last year when it abandoned the notion that the Western Cape should be a Coloured preference area. Secondly, there has been the recognition of the right of certain Blacks to live permanently in the Western Cape. Thirdly, there has been the development of Khayelitsha which, whatever reservations one may have in regard to its location and other factors, is certainly further evidence of the acceptance of the permanence of Blacks in the Western Cape. The fourth plus factor was the statement by the hon the Minister last week when he indicated that in the townships of Nyanga, Langa and Guguletu, Blacks resident there would be entitled to 99 year leasehold rights, and that this would be part of an orderly process of urbanization in the area. We welcomed that statement as indeed it was welcomed by other interested parties in and around the Western Cape. These then are some of the credits I wish to give the Government and the hon the Minister on their most recent performances.
However, having said that, I want to come back to the central issue of this debate which is: What is the future of the people of Crossroads? Throughout last week, during the height of the most recent unrest in Crossroads, the hon the Minister was issuing statements. Some of them were helpful and encouraging but others were ambiguous and ambivalent. These were statements in regard to the urbanization plans of the Government in the Western Cape. However, at no stage did he give an unequivocal answer to the specific question which I now put to him, namely: Are people going to be forcibly removed from Crossroads? [Interjections.]
The hon member ought to know that the answer is no.
The hon Whip of the NP says no, but I am putting this question to the hon the Minister. Are people going to be forcibly removed from Crossroads? The answer to that question is what we want from the Government during the debate this afternoon.
We know that the Government wishes to encourage the inhabitants of Crossroads to move to Khayelitsha. We know that some of the residents of Crossroads have in fact indicated that they would like to move to Khayelitsha. We also know that if the Government can satisfy others in regard to transport costs, higher rentals and matters of that nature, then there may be even more people who may be prepared to move to Khayelitsha. No one can have any objection to that—that is their right. All other things being equal, if they want to move, they have the right to do so.
However, I want to ask the hon the Minister again: What about those who elect to stay? Whatever happens in Khayelitsha, however many people move to Khayelitsha, what about those people in Crossroads who choose of their own volition to stay in Crossroads? I want the hon the Minister to give us an assurance today that they will not be forcibly removed.
When the hon the Minister does so, he will have to deal with two categories of people, namely the so-called “legals” and the so-called “illegals”. This is a vital question when one considers the possibility of removals from Crossroads.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the belief that forced removals were about to take place was the prime cause of the recent riots and unrest in Crossroads. There is no doubt about that whatsoever. The fear that there were imminent removals about to take place was the prime cause of the recent unrest in Crossroads.
That belief may have been based on fact or rumour but, if it was based on rumour, it can be well understood because of the incredibly stupid and insensitive deployment by the Government of a squad of several hundred foreign Blacks known to be part of a removal squad used by the department for moving people. That gave impressive strength to any sort of rumour which occurred relating to pending removals from Crossroads. Incidentally, the hon the Minister and the Government had ample opportunity to dispel those rumours before the unrest occurred. Perhaps this is a question of a breakdown in communications. We on this side of the House warned the Government that these rumours were being spread as a result of the presence of that group of Black people—the removal squad—in the area. We warned the hon the Minister that this was resented and was being identified with forced removals. The Press did exactly the same. Some elements of the Press were unable to contact the hon the Minister in order to convey the issue to him. Therefore, we issued that warning.
When the hon the Minister is dealing with the question of forced removals, whether or not they are going to be moved, he has, as I have said to clarify the status of the so-called “legals” and “illegals”. There is no doubt that the whole operation of the influx control laws has done a great deal to undermine the confidence of the people of Crossroads in Government promises and assurances which have been given in the past.
There are many people in Crossroads who see the government’s attempts to encourage their removal to Khayelitsha as nothing more than an attempt to drive a wedge between the so-called “legals” and “illegals”, so that when the “legals” are moved to Khayelitsha, the Government can forcibly remove the “illegals”. Therefore this is a matter which has to be clearly identified by the hon the Minister when he replies to this debate.
It is this fear of the Government’s attempting to drive a wedge between the “legals” and the “illegals” which has in recent times had the result that many of those who were prepared to move to Khayelitsha, have decided to maintain solidarity with the others and have changed their minds about moving. The hon the Minister will know that this is a vital issue to which he must give his attention.
If one has to sum up what the Government should be doing, and what we want the Government to do to deal with the situation, one could mention the following: Firstly, the Government must give an assurance that there will be no forced removals. Secondly, there must be full and realistic consultation with the people concerned, and the hon the Minister must make certain that his lines of communication with all concerned are clear and direct. Thirdly, attention must be given to the upgrading of Crossroads as a settled community. We have seen first-phase development. The predecessor of the hon the Minister promised second and third phase development. I want to ask, what has happened to the next two phases of development at Crossroads? That is another aspect the hon the Minister has to deal with.
Fourthly, the hon the Minister has to ensure that unnecessary police raids are stopped. Unlike the Government’s recent record, it must respond quickly to rumours that are spread in order to remove the fear of coercion from the minds of the people in the area concerned.
A fifth aspect to which the hon the Minister should give his attention—and I hope he will do so when he replies to this debate—is an assurance that informal sector business activities will be allowed to continue at Crossroads, and will also be allowed to be performed in the new area of Khayelitsha because these are matters which also cause concern to the people involved. I believe these are vital matters which need to be clarified. While I commend the hon the Minister for some of the statements he has made during recent weeks in regard to the Western Cape, I still think there are glaring omissions with which he must deal.
The hon the Minister should refrain from making vague and ambiguous comments such as one statement he made on 18 February when he said that he wanted to refute in the strongest possible terms the rumours doing the rounds in Cape Town that a large-scale removal of Black people from Crossroads to Khayelitsha would take place immediately. The moment he uses the word “immediately” the clear interpretation is that such removal is not going to take place right now, but meanwhile no assurance has been given that it will not take place at all. I therefore urge the hon the Minister, when the replies to this debate, to be direct and lucid; to choose his words very carefully so that those people who are so vitally concerned can understand and, hopefully, receive some reassurance that the Government is not considering forcing them out of the area in which they now live.
I hope this debate will serve the purpose of clarifying these issues. That is precisely the reason for my moving the motion which is printed in my name on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, when uprisings occur in South Africa, regardless of the residential area in which they occur, I do not think any right-minded South African would take pleasure in any accompanying loss of life or the tremendous damages or wounds and injuries suffered by people. A tragedy of this nature, wherever it may occur, is usually an event which would give any country a very bad image. The truth of the matter then is that the reason why the hon member for Berea requested this debate is most certainly to be found in the fact that he, like all of us, is deeply concerned about the conditions prevailing in Crossroads.
The hon member, however, directed certain reproaches at the Government and said, inter alia, “This is an example of the failure of the Government’s policy, and it also shows that influx control has been a complete failure”. [Interjections.] But if one had had to apply the policy of the hon members of the PFP in South Africa, a policy in accordance with which no form of influx control would exist in South Africa at all, I just wonder whether Crossroads would have been situated 15 km outside Cape Town now or whether it would not perhaps have stretched to the other side of the mountain past Grabouw and Elgin by now. After all, that is the course the hon members advocate.
However, I do not want to talk about that. I should also very much like to try to ensure that this debate is conducted at a level which I think is worthy of this House in South Africa. After the occurrence of certain faction fights at Crossroads, The Argus of 30 December 1983 reported the following, and I quote:
†Mr Speaker, I have seldom before read anything more descriptive about Crossroads, and we all know that a great deal has been said and written about Crossroads over the past ten years. In April 1983, however, eight men were killed and 26 injured in a clash between certain factions. Sporadic faction fights took place before 1983 and have subsequently too.
That there should have been violent clashes with the authorities and the police during the last fortnight is therefore no surprise. Anything, even the most trivial reason, could have sparked a violent outburst in Crossroads. The whole area, with its inhabitants, lent itself to an outburst. This is not said to deny these unfortunate people a place in the Sun; it is merely a reality. The tragedy of it make it more of a reality. At the time The Argus also said in the same leading article, and I quote:
I want to say that I echo these words. I believe this is the only way in which one can deal with a serious social problem, especially when financial means and not available to house people in a better fashion.
*The permanence of Blacks outside the national states—also in the Western Cape— is regarded as inevitable. The economic interdependence of Whites and Blacks has been acknowledged. The violation of this interdependence would cause the Republic to suffer untold harm. No one, in a lucid moment would suggest anything like that. Consequently when the population increase exceeds the rate at which job opportunities are being created, illegal squatting will inevitably occur. Everywhere in the cities of our neighbouring countries, for example in Maputo and in Zimbabwe, squatter villages have even been razed during recent years and the people sent back to the country. We know that it is usually the unemployed who build huts for themselves out of sacking, timber and plastic.
In Cape Town Crossroads came into existence because illegal workers had no housing. To raze the area or to wish the squatters away, consequently offers no solution to this problem. But continual uncontrolled and unlimited squatting is also undesirable because it creates a multiplicity of problems for existing organized communities.
Our first priority is, therefore, the Blacks who are here legally, who have been born here, and accordingly qualify in terms of section 10. There is great enmity between them and the so-called illegals. We have already had examples of this in Crossroads. It has also caused many faction fights in Crossroads.
What is the Government doing now? At the moment the Government is doing everything it possibly can, firstly to settle legal Blacks and their families who do not have homes, in Khayelitsha, where they are also entitled to leasehold rights. This should become the stabilizing factor in the Black community. Secondly, every tenant who has legal rights of permanence in Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu, may also be granted 99-year leasehold rights. It is the decision and the policy to give them these rights. I think this demonstrates great progress in regard to promoting the growth of a strong Black middle class. Then I ask myself—this is also the question hon members should ask themselves—who are the people now who do not want to provide squatters with better living conditions in South Africa? Who is exploiting these people so unscrupulously? This is the crucial question. All these opportunities are being created here, but what happened in spite of this being done?
In June 1982 the UDF, accompanied by 500 so-called volunteers, paid a visit to the area and distributed anti-Khayelitsha pamphlets among the people, urging them not to move. Afterwards about 12 000 inhabitants of Crossroads signed a declaration stating that under no circumstances did they want to go to the new homes.
I now ask: Is the Government doing anything other than what it is able to do under the present circumstances to give these people stability? But what do we find? We find people going around this area telling the people of Crossroads not to move to better homes. Those hon members must ask themselves who is responsible for that and who in the final analysis is responsible for the violence which has been breaking out in those areas: The people who are telling them not to move or the people who are telling them that there is a much, much better place to live where they may have all the rights they so badly want?
Mr Speaker, if one has been listening to the debate thus far, initially to the hon member for Berea to whose speech I want to refer briefly, in one respect one has to agree with him, namely that the present situation in Crossroads is a monument to failure. I do not think it is a monument to the failure of the former policy of the NP, but actually a monument to those persons whose responsibility it was to implement that policy.
But I want to ask the hon member for Berea who spoke so scornfully about “so-called legals and so-called illegals”, whether it is the standpoint of the PFP that people of colour, possibly because their skin is a different colour to ours, should be allowed to break the laws of this country with impunity. [Interjections.]
I want to address myself instead to the NP and in particular to the hon the Minister. We knew his predecessor as someone who at least looked enthusiastic while he was speaking, even about his own failures, but what have we seen recently? In a period of no more than six years the NP has had a complete right about turn—perhaps I should rather call it a left about turn—in policy, and I am referring specifically to the presence, or not, the increasing presence, or not, of Black people in the Western Cape.
As recently as September 1978 no less a person than the present State President was the Leader of the NP in the Cape. At the NP Congress in the Cape, he introduced a motion on behalf of the Head Committee of the NP which reaffirmed the standpoint of the NP that the Blacks and particularly the illegals would not be tolerated in the Western Cape. After all, we were there. The erstwhile Western Cape MP, who were still Nationalists then—here I am thinking of the present hon Chief Whip of Parliament and others—made fervent appeals in the caucus and study groups of the NP for the maintenance of that standpoint. [Interjections.] They wanted to maintain the preferential labour policy for Coloureds in the Western Cape.
This applied until last year, when the same man who in 1978 had introduced and expressed the opposite standpoint, our present State President, came along and proposed to the Cape NP that they should make a left about turn—Blacks are now permanently in the Western Cape. In spite of this they are telling the voters that they have not changed their standpoint.
In one respect I want to agree with the hon member for Berea, namely that one of the reasons Crossroads exists today was probably the standpoint of the NP that the Western Cape was a preferential labour area for Whites and Coloureds and that provision should consequently not be made for the orderly urbanization of Black people. For that policy to succeed, the authorities and in particular the responsible Ministers had to ensure that there was no illegal influx of Black people into the Western Cape. These are not just any Black people but in the main Black people who are citizens of independent states. The Black people came.
I want to remind hon members of a recent event. This was in 1983, when the previous Minister made his announcement on Khayelitsha. I want to refresh the memories of those hon members. At that stage the hon members of Western Cape constituencies were placated by the previous Minister who told them the need not to be concerned about Khayelitsha. In actual fact Khayelitsha would be replacing Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu.
Now I want to tell the hon member for False Bay that he would do well to read his own speech of 6 June 1983 again. It is an interesting speech. I shall even give him the column number; it is column 8697. There the hon member said, with reference to the speech of the previous Minister, that he accepted that the Black people of Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu were going to be moved to Khayelitsha. No one on the NP side—neither the hon the Minister nor any other NP member—repudiated that hon member’s view. Now the same Nationalists who in the past advocated the converse policy are fervent supporters of the permanence of the Blacks in the Western Cape. [Interjections.]
In conclusion I want to refer to the motion of the hon member for Berea. We should like to know from the hon the Minister what his standpoint on Crossroads is. Is he or is he not going to clear up the place up? In the same breath one wants to ask the PFP whether they think it is humanly possible, considering the present state of affairs in Crossroads, to accommodate 80 000 Black people there decently. Surely it is not possible. The impression one gains from the PFP is that they think the Black people must simply live there in those conditions.
We are now asking the NP and in particular the hon the Minister who is now in control of the situation—or is supposed to be in control of it: What are the Government’s intentions? Are those people going to be moved to Khaylitsha? If they refuse to move, is the hon the Minister simply going to issue another statement? Is the Government going to allow itself to be intimidated by a group of youthful stone throwers?
Unfortunately I do not have much time left. I want to tell the hon the Minister—and we have known each other for many years— that his series of statements during the past few days and his timing in making those statements, could unfortunately leave the Black rioters at Crossroads with no other impression but that he was yielding to pressure. They cannot arrive at any other conclusion. [Interjections.]
In conclusion I want to put in a good word for the South African Police Force. Our Police Force must handle riot situations under the most difficult conditions imaginable. The time has come—and I am saying this with all the responsibility I can muster— for the South African Police to be given the green light to enforce the laws of this country and that they must not have to bend the enforcement of these laws in specific circumstances for political purposes. [Interjections.]
The Black man does not respect a coward. The Black man has the greatest respect for a man and particularly a leader who is prepared to enforce his authority. Unfortunately in the present situation the Government is creating the impression that it is yielding to the agitators and that it is not prepared to shoulder the responsibility of the country any longer.
Mr Speaker, I think the hon member for Barberton has the police situation a little by the tail. One of the well-known rules concerning police action during riots is the use of minimum force. This principle has been debated and redebated throughout the Western World, and to the credit of our Police I can say that in all the confrontations in which they have been involved they are not only applying this principle to an increasing extent but are becoming more expert and adept in applying it. I want to commend to hon members a letter in today’s Cape Times under the heading “Worse violence without SA Police”, which puts the matter entirely into perspective.
Like the hon member for De Kuilen who turned back a little to his United Party beginnings today and made a useful contribution, we too would like to extend our sympathies to those who were injured or killed during the riots. These sort of circumstances only serve to demean us all. The indication by the hon member for De Kuilen that hon members on that side of the House and any right-thinking person should feel this way, is a correct one and one which we share.
The other point the hon member for De Kuilen made and in respect of which I think he should think again, was to use the UDF as the scapegoat on which to blame the ills and the circumstances at Crossroads. It is a very convenient new movement on which to heap all the ills and the circumstances pertaining at Crossroads, which are a result of Government policies.
The new Minister has taken over a history of blunders and bungling, incompetence and ineptitude in respect of the whole question of urban Blacks, all of which have their origin in the warped ideology of the NP’s past. In terms of this ideology they refused to accept the inevitability of urbanization. The administration of that policy, flowing from that ideology, has led us to more and more civil disobedience, unrest and riots, resulting in international disrepute following the loss of lives and property, as well as deepening resentment and distrust in our own country. It is really quite tragic and ironic that on the eve of significant reform in the field of Black rights in South Africa, there has been yet another eruption of violence at Crossroads, claiming the lives of 18 people and injuring scores of others, civilians and policemen alike. This is apart from the cost of it all at a time when our resources are so severely strained and are needed for socio-economic development.
What concerns us on these benches, is firstly, the apparent unawareness of the Government and its insensitivity to the tinder-dry emotions in Black townships, which can be sparked off by the very slightest hint of authoritarian action, whether they are rent increases by community councils, or the unwitting use of the words “removal”, “resettlement” or “relocation” and, in this case, by the arrival on the scene of staff who were going to be involved in removals.
It is no good the hon member who spoke a moment ago, asking who spread the rumours. Those people are not fools. If ever a person is aware of where somebody comes from, it is a Black man. He knows instinctively if somebody comes into his midst, whether he is a stranger or not, or whether he belongs there or not. The presence of those people, apart from the fact that they were allegedly wearing red armbands, would have started them off straightaway and the word would have gone around. Nobody had to spread any rumours. That is the move which, I believe, indicates a lack of sensitivity, as well as an unawareness of the existence of these tinder-dry emotions which the Government does not seem to take into account.
There seems to be a stereotyped reaction to the first signs of trouble.
Particularly if they are “verkrampte” Blacks from the Transvaal.
From Pietersburg. I would like to make this point. Until such time as Blacks are represented in this Parliament, they look to the hon the Minister and his commissioners as their representatives. Together with his commissioners in the various areas the hon the Minister must reexamine the system to ascertain whether that representation on behalf of the Blacks is accessible and sympathetic to them, and engenders and inculcates a spirit of confidence in Black communities, particularly the hon the Minister’s own willingness to listen to their grievances.
I should like to ask the hon the Minister if he was told immediately of the first stirrings of this unrest. May I please repeat that, Mr Speaker. I would like the hon the Minister to indicate in his reply whether he was told at the very outset of the first stirrings of this unrest in Crossroads.
I want in this regard to refer to the hon the Minister’s statements in the sequence in which they appeared. The initial statement does not appear to have that sense of urgency or to indicate any necessary action. Indeed it was only in the last of the three statements, dated 21 February 1985, that we find in the last paragraph:
My point is that if the hon the Minister was informed correctly, as he should be informed in every case where this sort of thing happens, then his first action should have been an endeavour to meet with these people, to discuss the situation with them and on an ongoing basis as their representative in this House, engender together with his commissioners that spirit of cooperation and accessibility which can perhaps prevent this type of thing in future.
The situation is in fact ironic, because every one of the moves that have been made since this time last year, was vehemently opposed in this House, during the last session of Parliament. We have had a series of uncoordinated announcements on an ad hoc basis. They started at the NP Cape Congress with the scrapping in word of the Coloured labour preference policy. They were followed by the 99 year leasehold for Khayelitsha. Then followed the State President’s Opening Address, and now Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu—only, today greater mobility in terms of the transferability of section 10 rights. What a way to go about things! It is totally uncoordinated. It has no plan to it. Its entire effect is lost and in fact in a situation like this it simply appears as if violence begets the necessary allowances or ameliorations of policy which should come about on a basis of pre-emption, ie ahead of the events that are taking place.
The point I should like to make is that I believe that the hon the Minister must reiterate in Parliament the position regarding political rights, ownership in all townships and the question of planned urbanization taking place in consultation with Black leaders throughout the country. The solution to Crossroads does not lie in Crossroads. The solution to Crossroads lies in the application, on a coordinated basis, of the Government’s new approach to Blacks. Another consideration is that we must give land a value. Ownership in those areas is an absolute prerequisite. Only through ownership can we bring about the effect of having market forces in action. There will then be a voluntary movement to better accommodation. Only by speeding up that process can we in fact bring about the situation where we can forestall any more unfortunate incidents such as those that have just taken place.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for King William’s Town will forgive me if I do not refer to his speech. I have very limited time and lots to say to the hon the Minister.
My colleague, the hon member for Berea, has outlined very ably the reasons why this party has asked for a special debate on the subject of Crossroads. I want to add very little to his opening remarks before I get on with the gist of my own speech. He is absolutely right in saying that the Crossroads situation is rooted in the past, in the past history of the policy of the NP, in the absurdity of trying to retain the Western Cape as a Coloured labour preference area. I want to add one thing to what he said. I want to point out the extraordinary circumstance that, although the Government abandoned this absurd policy at the Cape Congress of the National Party in September last year, an instruction to the officials of the administration board went out only last week.
At the end of December.
Well, I was told that it was only last week that information was handed down to the officials of the administration board to stop implementing the Coloured labour preference policy. The hon the Minister shakes his head. I can tell him that people have been trying to register and that section 10 Blacks have had difficulties. So, it is possible that officials who have been programmed, shall I say, to think in one direction ever since the labour policy came into existence in the fifties, are finding it very difficult to veer in the opposite direction. It is possible that that is what happened.
I must also tell the hon the Minister that I am sorry for him. I am genuinely sorry for him. He has inherited a package of broken promises from his predecessor. That is one of his problems. Dr Koornhof promised the people of Crossroads in 1979 that they would be rehoused in situ in three phases. I hope that the hon member for Barberton realizes that there are other ways of clearing Crossroads than by moving everybody from 15 to 32 kilometres out of town. There is urban renewal in situ. It was promised that this would be done in two phases. The third phase was to be the upgrading of Crossroads itself.
Phase 1 was never even completed. The people concerned were promised that 2 575 houses would be built near the existing Crossroads in phase 1. In fact, 1 662 houses were built. The rent, they were told, would stay at R24 per month. It is today R47 per month. The project was completely abandoned. Phase one was not completed; phases two and three were never even started.
The other broken promise to which I want to refer very briefly was the promise made to the Cathedral-Nyanga people. Crossroads is not one community; there are about five or six squatter communities there. One of these communities consists of about 8 000 people, who are known as the “Cathedral people”. They of course take their name from the hunger-strike which some 80 of these people undertook for three weeks in March, 1982. Those people were enticed out of the cathedral because of the worldwide publicity this issue was receiving. They were told that they would be given immunity, their registration books were stamped for September 1982; and they were told that steps would soon be taken to “legalize” their position.
That is not true!
Well, everything is apparently “not true.” [Interjections.] That honourable gentleman was the Deputy Minister when all this was taking place and he did not care one iota about what was happening … [Interjections.]
You know better than that.
I say there was nothing but promises, promises but no action was taken at all.
Moreover, the lack of communication was quite extraordinary. My hon friend has referred to it, and I want simply to say that it is amazing that the hon the Minister did not know of the agitation that started as soon as those strange men were brought in from the Transvaal and identified as a “removal squad.” Everybody else knew about it, but not the hon the Minister.
Who spread the story? [Interjections.]
It was not his department, evidently, because if his department had known and had told the hon the Minister, I cannot imagine that he would have issued the first of the four statements that he subsequently issued. That statement made it absolutely clear that it was the Government’s intention to move people to Khayelitsha as part of this “orderly urbanization” plan, because the Minister said that there was no immediate plan. “Immediate” was the word which naturally gave everybody the impression that the removal would take place, “if not now, then some time soon.” The arrival of these people actually confirmed the worst of the squatters’ fears. Then we had the outbreak of violence, and none of the Minister’s subsequent statements was unequivocal enough to reassure people that there was not going to be forcible removal. I repeat the absolutely relevant and priority question of the hon member for Berea: Is the hon the Minister going to issue such a statement during this debate?
I want at this stage to spend a few minutes of my time on the question of police action at Crossroads. I wish the hon Whip of the CP would send for the hon member for Barberton instead of having a cosy little chat over there. [Interjections.] I want to address the hon member for Barberton; I am sorry that he is not here.
Why did you not ask me?
Well, I did not know what he was going to say. Still, I want to tell the hon Chief Whip of the CP, if he will please convey it, that I think the hon member for Barberton’s statements about police action are absolutely disgusting. [Interjections.] May I have a call for order, Sir?
Order! [Interjections.] Do the hon members for Kuruman and Langlaagte know what order means? The hon member for Houghton may proceed.
I want, anyway, to tell those hon members that there can be only one interpretation of what the hon member for Barberton said, and that is, give the police the green light to shoot people! [Interjections.] I think that is disgusting, absolutely disgusting!
When did I say that? [Interjections.]
In your speech. [Interjections.]
That was the clear interpretation of his speech. There can be no other interpretation. What he should have done was, firstly, to question why the police did not take action much earlier about the Mafia activities that were being carried on at Crossroads. We all heard the tales of extortion and about the way in which people were being ripped off by rival gangs. Yet it is only recently that some action has been taken. That is the first thing.
Furthermore, I want to know exactly what has happened about methods of riot control in South Africa. As long ago as Sharpeville, I asked the then Minister responsible, Mr Erasmus—and that is a long time ago—how the police were trained in riot control. He said there were ten methods, starting with “exercising self-control, patience, courtesy and humanity” and ending with “firearms”. I must, however, tell you that by the time the riots in Soweto started, firearms had become the first method that was used. I attributed then the high number of dead and wounded to inadequate training in riot control, and I gave examples of what was happening in other countries.
Nothing has been learned from the lessons of Sharpeville and Soweto because when my colleagues and I—there were five of us— went to Crossroads the other day when the rioting was in full spate, what did we see? We saw pictures of police absolutely unprotected, standing in the street, shooting at crowds who were throwing stones at them. I believe that is why we have such a high number of wounded and dead, because if a man is unprotected and somebody throws a stone at him, the temptation to shoot if one has a firearm in one’s hand is almost irresistable. I can understand that.
So far 18 people have been killed at Crossroads. The official figure of the injured is 228, of whom 48 are in a serious condition. I learned from the doctor at the clinic that three of the dead were under the age of 12 and that 11 of the injured are under the age of 12. Of the injured who were treated, 165 were injured by birdshot or buckshot. Why are they using buckshot?
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, the hon member may not, Sir.
Seventeen people were injured by rubber bullets. Those who were referred to Tygerberg Hospital—believe it or not—were placed under arrest and police guard. What sort of action is that towards people who are wounded? Moreover, many of the people wounded had nothing to do with the riots. They were wandering around the streets and got caught in the cross-fire.
I want to mention that in the UK, in the 12 months that the mine strike has been on, only 3 people have been killed, in spite of the fact that there have been very ugly confrontations between the strikers and the police.
I think it is absurd to send police out into riot situations without protection. I do not believe that Caspirs and Hippos have any role to play in street fighting, absolutely none. It gives the impression that a war has broken out between the police and the civilians.
Before somebody makes a sarcastic remark about “since when do you care about protecting the police”, I just want to make it quite clear that my concern is not so much for the police but for the unfortunate people they shoot at with their lethal weapons. Has anyone in this House seen what a rubber bullet looks like? I have one here for the edification of hon members. This is a rubber bullet. [Interjections.] Look at it, Mr Speaker. This is what is being shot at people. [Interjections.] I am told by the doctor at the clinic that an eleven year old child has had her jawbone fractured by a rubber bullet fired at Crossroads.
How does he know that?
How does he know it? Because he is a better doctor than that hon Minister. [Interjections.]
I am deeply concerned about the amount of shooting and wounding of people that has taken place at Crossroads. I believe the police must stop indiscriminate shooting. We have enough evidence from Namibia and from the Eastern Cape, as presented by the hon members for Port Elizabeth Central and Albany the other day in this House, and we have enough evidence from the pamphlets of the Catholic Bishops to know that a great deal of police violence is taking place. Indeed, the sad truth is that the police actually often stimulate the violence. They should be kept away from funerals. There is nothing more provocative than the police turning up at a funeral where the victim is someone who has been killed by the police. Keep them away from funerals and keep them away from school yards, for goodness’ sake. Only let them into the townships if they are actually called in to protect residents or to stop actual arson or anything dangerous. Otherwise, keep them out!
I say the sad truth is that violence has become endemic in South Africa. In the last few days, in about 14 different townships widely dispersed throughout the Republic, there has been violence and people have been shot. It has become endemic and I am afraid the police are unfortunately very much part of that violent scene. One of the major demands of the squatters is: “Get the police away from Crossroads”.
There is another major issue that I want to deal with in the very short time at my disposal. I agree entirely with my hon colleague that the major issue is legalization of the people who are at Crossroads at present. There are large numbers of legal people, but there are large numbers of “illegal” people too. Let us accept that they are there and make them legal. Let us put an end to the wretched harassment of these people who are seeking a livelihood for themselves and their families. Unless we do this, I promise hon members that the most extreme punitive measures are going to be used against South Africa.
Mr Speaker, a terrible thing happened to the hon member who has just resumed her seat on the day she was born. She was born with a white skin. The hon member for Houghton has repeatedly stood up in this House and pleaded the cause of the so-called poor, oppressed Black people in this country. The hon member even went so far as to produce a rubber bullet here, a rubber bullet which is in any case a lot softer than the stones which were thrown at peace loving citizens of this country. Then the hon member sided with those people who were throwing the stones. It is an evil day for South Africa when standpoints such as those adopted by that hon member are expressed in this House. The moment I realized that the hon member for Houghton was going to participate in the debate, I became suspicious of the honourable intentions of the hon member for Berea in introducing this motion.
The events of Crossroads can certainly not be seen in isolation from what is happening in the rest of the country at the moment. We cannot isolate Crossroads from the agitation and unrest in the rest of the country. The removal or the so-called possible removal of people from Crossroads to Khayelitsha was nothing but a useful pretext to stir up unrest at Crossroads.
Is that your answer?
That is not my entire answer. That hon member should rather look in the mirror and ask himself whether he belongs in this House. [Interjections.]
It is strange that the motion of the hon member for Berea coincided so beautifully with the UDF meeting yesterday evening where nothing but violence was advocated.
You knew the date, you fool. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member for Greytown call the hon member a “fool”?
The hon member must withdraw that.
Sir, I withdraw it.
Normally most Blacks in the country are peaceful people, who ask nothing but to be left in peace to earn their living. But I want to dwell on this point for a moment. There has now been rioting and unrest in Crossroads. Stones were thrown at people, their motorcars were damaged some distance away from the area and their lives were endangered. Today I want to say that the peace-loving citizens of this country, inter alia the voters of False Bay, are very close to losing patience with these people. One has sympathy for people who are having a hard time, but when those people abuse ones sympathy and begin throwing stones, one loses sympathy with them. I am serious in asking the hon the Minister that when people are moved from Crossroads to Khayelitsha, the people who are going to live near the N2 highway will be housed as far as possible from the road to avoid a repetition of this kind of situation.
When the people of Crossroads tell us that they are not interested in being resettled in Khayelitsha, I ask myself why we have to resettle them. Why must we help them out of their misery at all? But solely from a health point of view Crossroads is a time bomb. Nobody with self-respect, and no Government with self-respect can allow those conditions to continue to exist. The residents of Crossroads now tell us that they are not interested in being moved. If this is the case I think we must let half of them remain there. Perhaps we should simply establish the basic infrastructure there so that the basic facilities can be made available to the people there.
There are many questions as to why Crossroads came into existence. We know the story of ubanization, of hunger—which I think in any case is not always true and is often a myth—we know the stories of incitement against influx control by members of the PFP, namely the hon member for Cape Town Gardens, the hon member for Pinelands, the false prophet for Pinelands, the hon member for Houghton …
On a point of order, Mr Chairman: Is it permitted for the hon member to refer to another hon member as a “false prophet”?
The hon member for False Bay must withdraw that remark.
Mr Chairman, I withdraw it.
Every person who employed an illegal Black, played a part in establishing Crossroads. Every person who played a part in encouraging people to rebel against the laws of this country, caused the bloodshed at Crossroads—and now I am referring to the members of the PFP. [Interjections.] Those people are always the first to go and talk to the poor people of Crossroads on the slightest pretext. What do they tell them? Here and elsewhere we are always hearing what they are told. Now I want to know what they are telling those people. Mr Chairman, I am telling you the PFP is inciting the residents of Crossroads and of every other Black community in this country to civil unrest, to rebellion against the Government … [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for False Bay may not make such remarks here. He must please withdraw them.
Mr Chairman, I withdraw them. [Interjections.] In conclusion I should just like to say …
You are a false representative!
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Bryanston will cause me to threaten him; which of course I may not do in this House. [Interjections.]
In conclusion I just want to point out that one understands the distress of people who are having a hard time. One also understands the fact that the actual long-term solution lies in decentralization and in the economic development of those areas. But every party governing this country, under whatever circumstances, will of necessity have to apply influx control as part of its everyday policy. [Interjections.] That is why I say we can deal with this situation in different ways. But one facet must remain, namely effective influx control measures in order to prevent a repetition of incidents such as those we witnessed during the past week. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I can well understand why the hon member for False Bay is somewhat disturbed and overly sensitive today. We all know that he would prefer the Coloured labour preference area of the Western Cape to be retained. In his own views and ideas he is very much at odds with his own party. He is certainly very much at odds with the hon member for De Kuilen, who said he felt this was a very sensitive subject and that we should therefore approach it with great care. What a contrast with the very sick speech made by the hon member for False Bay. [Interjections.]
We also know very well that that hon member wants to see the whole of Crossroads razed to the ground. Am I right?
You did not listen to my speech. You are making a false statement.
Oh, is it a false statement? [Interjections.] I leave it to the judgment of those who have just listened to that speech, which was so full of hate.
When we discuss a subject of as serious a nature as the one we are debating now, it is inevitable that one is going to have a look at the history of how the Government has dealt with the situation, what the situation is like now, and what needs to happen. It is also inevitable, I believe, that when one considers the history of squatting and of squatters and of the Government’s attitude towards them in the Western Cape, one can only be filled with a sense of revulsion and horror at the fact that we are still debating this issue in 1985.
It was in 1974 that at least two hon members of this party—the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition and I—who had then only recently been elected to this House, were called upon by inhabitants of places like Modderdam, Unibel and Vrygrond to come and see peoples’ little shanties and homes flattened to the ground. We went there again when the officials cut down the trees and the branches and even the tarpaulins, the sheets and anything and everything put in place by those people to give them some kind of shelter. All that was taken away. We have seen over so many years the sordid history of this all. Therefore, because it is the history of turning people out, a history of shame, certain harsh words have to be said in a debate like this one before we dare to go on to look at what can happen in the future.
I believe Crossroads is a name which has brought shame and dishonour to South Africa. It is a name which has become as infamous as Sharpeville, as Soweto and as Biko. It has captured the headlines throughout the international community, so much so that it appears on the front pages of newspapers such as the London Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post. It has become a symbol of all that is ugly and unacceptable in the grim story of apartheid. What happened at Crossroads last week came like manna from heaven for those who are supporting the disinvestment campaign against us in the USA and elsewhere.
We do not have to do a single thing. All our struggles, all the meetings of our leaders, all our statements, all our television programmes are as nothing when an incident such as that at Crossroads last week takes place. And that is the kind of message which this Government is sending out to the world.
The Washington Post demanded in an editorial in which South Africa and the South African Government were ferociously criticized, and I quote:
It then proceeds to forecast that, and I quote again:
That was written a week ago. That is the kind of message that the Government is conveying to the world when we are seeking to fight against disinvestment. I count my words when I repeat that Crossroads to the outside world has become a symbol of all that is wretched and barbaric in South Africa. Furthermore, in the Western Cape— never mind what is happening in New York and in London or elsewhere—it has become a symbol of uncertainty, of bitterness and of despair. There is one point on which the hon member for False Bay is accurate and that is when he says that what is happening at Crossroads cannot be seen in isolation. It is the mere tip of an iceberg, and urbanization is not confined to the Western Cape. It is both a national problem and a national opportunity which needs to be grasped.
The population of South Africa is expected to increase from 28 million to 44 million by the year 2000, and to 59 million by the year 2015. This represents an annual compounded growth of 2,11%, which is roughly the same growth rate as in the less-developed countries in the world. Hon members in this House and people who seek to give leadership in South Africa must understand the gravity of the statistics which are realistic and which cannot be argued or worried away. The White population is expected to increase by nearly 1,5 million during the period 1980 to 2015; the Coloured population by 1 354 000; the Asian population by 420 000, while the Black population, who will not go away, is expected to increase by an additional 27 526 000 persons. The expected increase of Blacks is thus more than 8,6 times higher than the increase of Whites, Coloureds and Indians added together.
The population growth is likely to be most marked in the urban areas, since it is primarily in those areas that the jobs and services are located in largest numbers. That is a fact of life with which we have to come to terms. Dewar and Ellis estimate that by the year 2000, 93% of Whites, 86% of Coloureds, 92% of Asians and 75% of Blacks—that is 27 965 700—will be urbanized. Are the bulldozers then going to be used? Is a handful of police then going to be used? Are dwellings going to be scrapped? Is one going to threaten, blackmail and force people? It cannot be done. [Interjections.]
The CP is living in the past and they belong there. Their voice is one that must cease to be heard. Having listened to the hon member for False Bay this afternoon I have realized that he does not belong in this party but that he belongs in the CP. He belongs there because his are the same sort of sounds that they utter. [Interjections.]
They predict that by the year 2000 the urbanized population will reach a total of 39 million. They state further that even if the Government’s policy of deconcentration and decentralization is 50% successful, 25 million people will be urbanized by the end of the century. However, it is unlikely that the policy will even be as successful as 50%. At present rates it costs about R17 000 per decentralized job, and we cannot afford that. We shall be realistic if we look at a figure of 40 million urbanized people, of whom at least 34 million will be Black. It is not a question of who is White and who is Black. It is a fact that this is going to happen and is already happening right now.
I want to raise four questions with the hon the Minister.
The central question which cries out for an answer is why the Government over and over again waits for destructive fires to rage out of control with their consequent damage, injury and loss of life before it is forced into action. We see this happening now. How many people, how many communities, how many organizations did not issue warnings about what was going to happen? It was totally ignored, and we get these marvellous epistles coming out of the office of the hon the Minister over and over again as though he is still in RAU or still head of the Broederbond, issuing statements and decisions which mean absolutely nothing. Despite the recent announcements and the sounds of sanity which have been heard over the past few days from that hon Minister, the fires of Crossroads, although now extinguished, smoulder on. The wounded are bound up and the dead are buried, but the resentment and the anger continue. Distrust and suspicion are hallmarks, and the police are no longer seen as the guardians of the community but as part of the oppressive machinery of this Government. No one in his right mind on that side of the House or on this side wants that to continue, and that is why we have to ask this disturbing question: How long will the Government pursue its policy of reacting only when everything else has gone wrong?
I want now to ask the second question: How long will the Government and this hon Minister too continue to underestimate the intelligence and the resolve of the newly urbanized communities in South Africa? They will not be taken for a ride, even on the back of a truck.
This is the third question: When will the Government come to its senses and realize that there is a communications network, a by-word-of-mouth process which spreads like wildfire once the Government makes any move towards forced removal? One cannot do it by stealth, one cannot do it by clever statements because they will know. As the hon member for King William’s Town rightly said, when one is in that kind of community, one finds that strangers who come in— these strangers from the north did go in from Khayelitsha—speak to the people there and ask for drinks and so forth. When those strangers were asked what they were doing there, they replied that they had come there to move the people. That is the kind of communication which takes place and no sophisticated answers from the hon the Minister will change that,
The fourth disturbing question is the following: When will the Government realize that by this kind of action and inaction the only conclusion that can be drawn by the residents of Crossroads and elsewhere is that force and pressure is the only language that this Government understands [Interjections.] No one wants it; I am asking how long will the Government fail to realize that this is exactly the message which it is giving: You will only move when you are compelled to, when people die and people are injured and damage is caused?
These four disturbing questions need to be analysed by all of us on that side and this side if we are going to learn anything from recent tragic events. The Government reaps now what it has sown over decades of neglect and brutal treatment, but it does not have to go on.
One of the major reasons why this has come to a head, I believe, is that there is a fundamental contradiction in the reform movement which is taking place in the factories, shops and offices of our land under recent labour legislation but which has not been transferred into either the political arena or the community. One cannot select people like that. One cannot expect them to have a reform taking place in the factory but deny that reform in transport, in residential areas and in political rights. Blacks are treated like pawns in a gigantic chess game. We seem to imagine that they are without feeling and without family ties and are there to be pushed around from day to day.
In this glossy booklet with its yellow pages published by the Government under the title Co-operative Coexistence some of the Government’s recent decisions are listed. I hope the hon member for False Bay will have the chance to read it some time. In this booklet we are told that the Government has decided to promote orderly urbanization and to eliminate negative discriminatory aspects of influx control. If the Government is serious, if it is serious in seeking human contact, if it is serious in involving Black communities in decision-making, then I say firstly that influx control must go, and it must go now. Secondly, there must be no forced removals. We on this side want clarity from the hon the Minister, because the hon member for Kimberley South answered a loud “No!”, while the hon member for False Bay made it quite dear where he stood. We need to hear it from the hon the Minister.
The decision on the Western Cape Coloured labour preference area must be fully implemented. Negotiations must take place between the hon the Minister and the people themselves.
In Alan Paton’s famous classis Cry, the Beloved Country one of the characters, Msimangu, says, and I quote:
He also comments: “Oh, the grave and sombre words.” They are indeed, and all of us need to take them to our hearts. If they are not to be an epitaph on the grave of all that is decent, compassionate and sane, then this Government under this hon Minister must demonstrate in practical terms a change of heart and a change of policy so profound that the Blacks will actually believe there is a place for them to live in peace, otherwise none of us will.
Mr Speaker, it is really a crying shame that an otherwise talented preacher like the hon member for Pinelands should have spelt out such a fundamentally important and difficult problem like the urbanization implications for the next decades, that he should have raised this particular matter and then have buried it and wrapped it up in a speech that was shot through with a spirit of inciting bitterness and encouraging opposition. His speech was a demonstration of play-acting and reasoning that was utilized in a totally negative sense of incitement, bitterness and the encouragement of frustration. There were however important points in the crux of the hon member’s contribution to the discussion of the urbanization problem. Before I deal with specific points, I should also like to refer to the hon member for Barberton’s remark when he said that Crossroads was a heritage of the non-implementation of policy by the governing party. If I remember correctly, Crossroads dates from 1975. The period from 1975 to 1981 was a piece of history during which at least two people—I am referring to the hon member for Waterberg and the hon member for Lichtenburg who are not here now—were involved as Deputy Ministers in the implementation of Government policy in regard to Black Affairs. It is very easy for someone to talk about the non-implementation of a policy but then one should not try to wash one’s priestly white hands in innocence when in reality one has played a very important part in regard to this matter, except of course if Mr Pik Botha has already bullied those hon members in this regard, as they have previously complained. [Interjections.] Yes, it has already been said previously that it was Mr Pik Botha who made the hon member for Waterberg do this, that or the other thing.
On an occasion such as this one has to record one’s attitude towards the inhabitants of the whole Crossroads complex with a great deal of sympathy and fellowfeeling, as was correctly stated by the hon member for De Kuilen. This is a community in which human drama can manifest itself with far-reaching implications. It requires a great deal of understanding and tact to handle the situation. It also requires a great deal of responsibility and positive action on the part of the Government.
One wishes in the first place to express one’s sympathy because of the high price in lives, injuries and damage to property that has to be paid in this community as a result of the rioting and violence. One has to express great appreciation for the unavoidable and necessary role which the SA Police had to play there as the guardians of law and order in order to put an end to the violence. If they had not done so and free rein had been given to the violence, one wonders what exactly would have happened.
One is also sympathetic because one notes that the vast majority of the inhabitants of that area have acted in an orderly and peaceful fashion while the violence emanated from what was comparatively speaking a minority group. One is also sympathetic because it is clear that there was the irresponsible incitement of a feeling of unrest and fear through the medium of unfounded rumours of a threatened mass resettlement which, it was said, would take place compulsorily and by force. This happened in spite of the express assurances that had been given that the authorities were prepared to negotiate with the inhabitants in connection their acceptance of better living conditions, and also that plenty of advance notice would be given in respect of any steps that were to be taken. Those assurances were given but these unfounded rumours were nevertheless maliciously encouraged.
One also realizes—this was emphasized by hon members on both sides of the House— that this is a community that is struggling in an atmosphere of instability and insecurity because so many of them are unemployed and life is therefore very difficult for them. A contributory factor in this regard is the fact that a large number of them are present here illegally. These two factors contribute towards the uncertainty in the minds of those people and in their community life. They are unsure in spite of the fact that the Government made a fair offer—to the illegal inhabitants as well—that they would be given the opportunity to settle in an orderly manner in the area to the south of the national road that was being developed for controlled squatting or controlled unconventional housing.
It has already been said that one has sympathy for these people because of the fact that they are being exploited by competing factions under Mafia-like leaders who are conducting a reign of terror among those people.
Helen says nothing about that.
No, nothing is said about that. One can also understand the depth of the dilemma of those inhabitants because from negotiations which my people have had with those people recently it has appeared that large numbers of them admit that a better way of life and better possibilities await them in the facilities that are being provided for them at Khayelitsha, but that because of fear of intimidation and violence by these Mafia groups who find it necessary because of their own financial interests in the shape of the levying of all kinds of extorted “protection money” to have these people continue to live in these dreadful conditions at Crossroads, they do not dare to make it known that they are prepared to move to Khayelitsha. The dilemma in which these people find themselves must be dreadful indeed.
Having said all this in a spirit of understanding and sympathy in respect of the circumstances of the people of Crossroads, there is on the other hand, as I said at the start, the responsibility of the State of maintaining law and order, of ensuring stability and, particularly, of ensuring that minimum standards of orderly urbanization will be maintained in that set-up. The hon member for False Bay pointed out quite correctly that there are circumstances and conditions in the Crossroads set-up which are not acceptable to a modern developed Government. The unordered impenetrable riot of dwellings that has developed there, which are impassible to vehicles that have to render public services that, is something which one notes with concern because it cannot continue in that fashion. There is a serious threat to health, and not only that of the inhabitants. This is not simply a localized risk because the possibility of the outbreak of an epidemic which will effect the whole area is considerable. The situation simply cannot be permitted to continue indefinitely. In two cases that I can remember we have also seen the danger of fire that is prevalent in this closely-packed, higgledy-piggledy housing complex where the smallest fire can easily start and spread out of control thus causing great harm to those people.
I want to emphasize the fact that besides these factors there is also a serious threat to the safety and the security of the inhabitants, particularly as a result of the atmosphere that is created by the competing factions in that situation. Against that background and with a view to these facts in this undesirable situation, the Government could not simply throw up its hands and sit back. Under the guidance of my predecessor a new project was launched to offer those people a better alternative in the form of the township development at Khayelitsha. In the light of all the accusations against and snide remarks about my predecessor, I want to say that it is to his credit that this large-scale project which will amount to R90 million at the end of this financial year was launched there in order to offer these people a better way of life.
There are 5 000 core houses in the process of completion. Snide remarks are now being made that the homes are too small and too uncomfortable. However, these homes are core houses. Viewed in the light of the standard of the development it is already more than most of the people in Crossroads can afford. That is why the Government has also subsidized these houses so that the rental at this stage can be fixed at R20 per month. Five thousand core houses is a considerable number. We have been asked what has become of Crossroads Phase 2 and Phase 3. What has been provided there is Crossroads Phase 2 and Crossroads Phase 3 in the superlative.
I should like to refer to two measures suggested by an English language newspaper yesterday morning which in its opinion would be an important contribution and which in actual fact have already been implemented. Apparently this newspaper did not take note of the announcement that has already been made in this connection. In the first place it is asked quite rightly that there should be subsidized transport for the inhabitants of the new settlement at Khayelitsha so that they do not need to pay more for transport to their place of work than will be the case if they remain at Crossroads. However, that is precisely the situation. My hon colleague the Minister of Transport Affairs has made it possible for a weekly clip-card from Khayelitsha to Cape Town to cost exactly the same as from Crossroads.
It was also said that people who wished to extend the structure of their core house but who were not immediately in the financial position to extend that house in a conventional way, should be permitted to build the type of unconventional squatter-like structures that they have at Crossroads, on their plots in Khayelitsha in order to supplement their facilities. It was stated some time ago that such an opportunity would also be available to people settling in Khayelitsha in anticipation that they would in due course, as their financial and economic position improved, transform those temporary structures into more conventional structures. The department has already made plans to provide them with the necessary advice in regard to the extension of their facilities, and also to provide them with subsidized building materials. We also hope to be able to make loans available in the future. My hon colleague, the Minister of Transport Affairs, has already envisaged that the railway connection to Khayelitsha will in all probability be completed within the next 18 months.
I want moreover to point out that we also announced that a further 7 000 plots over and above the site and service plots that would be made available in Khayelitsha together with the houses in the area south of the national road would be available for orderly township development. People who cannot afford to rent a core house or people who prefer for other reasons to settle there, can do so in that area in a controlled form of unconventional housing at an even cheaper tariff with the provision of basic facilities that are required in a township development.
In this connection I want to tell the hon member for False Bay that my department together with the other departments involved is giving attention to the question of the safety of passing traffic. Efforts are being made to ensure the safety of passing traffic on the N2 freeway, bearing in mind the nearby township development for these people. At the moment the distance from the northern boundary of that area is about 180 metres from the road reserve. An investigation is being made to see whether it cannot be moved further back. Provision will be made for proper and regular patrols along that boundary and along the freeway, as well as the provision of the necessary high mast lighting in order to ensure the safety of the traffic there. I want to assure the hon member for False Bay and his constituents who are most affected thereby that this matter is being dealt with in a very sympathetic and serious way by the bodies and persons who are responsible for the security of our country and our environment.
In pursuance of one of the questions asked by the hon member for Berea—and I have appreciation for the positive way in which he raised specific problems at the end of his speech—I want to give the assurance that particularly in the unconventional settlement area space will be provided for informal business activities, and that the normal First World regulations will not be applied there as strictly as sometimes characterizes specific local authorities. I think it is necessary that the informal type of business activity that has arisen in an area like Crossroads should also take place in the new settlement.
Against this background of a better alternative for the inhabitants of Crossroads who are at present living in circumstances which a responsible authority and, so it would appear from their own evidence, those people themselves, cannot accept, I want to make an appeal to those inhabitants to co-operate, and I also want to appeal to all the persons and bodies involved in this area to accept the urban renewal and the orderly urbanization that is offered by the new alternative, and to assist in its practical implementation. This is not simply a question of the inhabitants of Crossroads. It also affects everyone who can exert any influence there. It also involves everyone who can make a contribution to that development, for example the private sector, the employers of the people living there and also well-meaning, development-oriented persons and bodies like the Urban Foundation which in various respects has rendered very meritorious service in the implementation of the urbanization process for Black communities. I also want to make an appeal to the churches which are so often inclined in overheated situations to fan the flames even more, to play a responsible, conciliatory and intermediary role in order to promote a positive attitude on the part of the Crossroads inhabitants. The problem of Crossroads is not only their problem. It is the problem of all of us in this environment and here in the Western Cape. We have all to make a contribution, and that is why I make this appeal to people.
I also want to say that in the light of South Africa’s economic and demographic realities it is simply unrealistic to, permit a completely uncontrolled influx of people into the urban areas to take place. Provision has to be made whereby the urbanization process and the settlement in the urban fracto areas takes place in an orderly and responsible manner. This is in the interests of everyone. In the whole urbanization strategy the provision has also to be made that urbanization should not simply concentrate on existing urbanization points but that through the decentralization policy, the factors that can make a positive contribution towards urbanization, should be encouraged in the deconcentration points as well. This should also be positively encouraged in the national states so that urban development can continue there. The whole idea that “urban Blacks” is a collective appellation for everyone living outside of the national states is patently nonsensical.
In the early seventies more than 1,6 million Blacks became urbanized in the national states where previously there had been scarcely any urban development. The tendency to which I have referred must also be promoted further.
†I should now like to make an appeal to and invite the Crossroads Committee, as well as other spokesmen and representatives of resident groups and factions of Crossroads and related areas, to participate in the negotiations, to which I have already invited them, with a view to accepting a better quality of life, a better opportunity of urbanization and opportunities for availing themselves of conditions which, I am sure, will enhance not only their individual but also their communal and family life. Through such negotiations I believe that several matters which are still in dispute and which have been a bone of contention in the past could again be considered. Efforts could be made through negotiations to find a solution for such disputed matters. I am, in the first place, prepared to consider, in the course of the negotiations, the possibility of the proper upgrading and urban development of the areas on which Crossroads and the KTC camp are situated …
… provided we can negotiate this on the basis of acquiring the cooperation of the masses of squatters in Crossroads to contribute to a proper renewal of that area in order to make possible a meaningful urban renewal so that it will not just be converted into a new, slightly reduced squatter camp. In this way, I am sure, meaningful progress can be made—provided we can get the co-operation of these people. Let us be realistic however. According to calculations that were made while my predecessor was in this office—when phases 2 and 3 of Crossroads were under consideration— at best some 3 000 sites could be made available for settlement in the Crossroads area. Since there are at present roughly speaking, probably more than 10 000 housing units in the Crossroads area, it is quite clear that that area is simply unable to accommodate, at the most, a quarter or a third of its present inhabitants. Therefore, the majority of the inhabitants of Crossroads will have to be settled elsewhere. If I were now asked whether there will be any settlement under some form of compulsion, I would be unable to deny this categorically; for is it conceivable that as responsible Government, and a responsible Opposition, would simply accept that perhaps a minority of people, by refusing to move to a reasonable alternative urbanization settlement, could obstruct through their presence the possibility of reasonable urban renewal and an upgrading of the Crossroads area. Surely, no responsible Government could categorically state that pressure would under no circumstances be exerted on such people to conform to a generally agreed plan of urban renewal.
In this context, let me reiterate my appeal to the private sector to give the greatest possible co-operation towards finding a solution for the problem of upgrading those two areas—again, provided the co-operation of the inhabitants can be procured in bringing about a truly meaningful urban renewal in those communities and those areas.
It is of no small significance that the State has already invested close to R90 million on the development of Khayelitsha. Close to R10 million has been spent on the development of the area set aside for unconventional housing, or ordered squatting. This is a big investment; and I think it is a challenge to the private sector to contribute its share towards the development of Khayelitsha.
Moreover, in negotiations with the inhabitants’ representatives, we should also discuss possible means of creating or finding employment opportunities for these masses of people, of whom such a large portion are unemployed. These employment opportunities may not all be available in this area, but let us work together in a reasonable and rational way in order to find a solution for the poverty by creating employment opportunities in a reasonable and responsible way.
Finally, in our negotiations, I am also prepared to consider what would be the most practical way of handling the case of tens of thousands of squatters who are present here without legal authorization in order to find a solution which would ensure a better quality of life for the squatters themselves and for the respective squatter communities to which they belong in this area. I sincerely hope that we will, with the co-operation of everybody concerned, succeed in launching this process of negotiation between the authorities, other interested parties and, in particular, the representatives of the Crossroads Committee and other inhabitants’ organizations. We should, in the process, also consider whether the parties concerned can come to a reasonable agreement, an agreement that is workable—otherwise I shall not go in for it—to bring about an orderly upgrading of the areas concerned, to negotiate employment opportunities, and to search for a method of handling the large numbers of people living here without legal authorization.
*I want to conclude by referring to a study that I received recently from a leading expert in the sphere of urbanization, Dr Flip Smit of the HSRC. I was amazed to have pointed out to me in that study the intensive way in which Africa countries are combating disorderly urbanization by means of strict control measures. I made particular note of the fact that in a country like Tanzania which is held up to us as a sanctuary of socialist bliss, there is legislation against the unemployed who are present in urban areas. They are simply rounded up and then offloaded in rural settlements for re-education.
Last year or the year before last the country which the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North so loves to sing the praises of, namely Zimbabwe, also set two operations in motion. Unemployed people who were lounging around in the urban areas were picked up and offloaded in rural settlements where they were re-educated. The women too who were operating a particular activity in the urban areas which was not acceptable to the government, were rounded up and offloaded elsewhere. There are few Africa countries that do not have specific measures on their statute books for handling the urbanization of a developing Third World community in a specific and orderly manner. Inasmuch as we are always being accused of being so cruel and heartless, it is a good thing to realize that these problems cannot always be dealt with with kid gloves, but that there also has to be decisiveness and orderliness. We can find important examples in this regard in the Africa countries that are so often held up to us.
I want to express the hope that my appeal for co-operation in negotiation and also to bring about an orderly life style and urban improvement for the inhabitants of Crosswords will have a positive reaction, not only on the part of the inhabitants there but on the part of everyone who can influence them in any way and who can moreover co-operate in order to find a positive solution to the problem.
Mr Speaker, the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development and of Education made a contemptuous reference to the hon members for Waterberg and Lichtenburg as if they were co-responsible for the conditions in Crossroads. However, I urge him please to accept responsibility for his own ineffectiveness and that of his Government. Do not take cover behind the members of the CP. [Interjections.]
In 1983 the hon members for False Bay and for Tygervallei accepted the establishment of Khayelitsha, a Black city of 25 000 people, on the basis of the condition and the promise that the Blacks of Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu would eventually be moved to this consolidated Black city. Indeed I understood the hon members accepting this at that stage. During the past week, however, this hon Minister, who is so eager to hide behind the leader of the CP, announced that leasehold rights would not only apply to the Blacks of Khayelitsha, but would also be extended to Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu. In other words, the hon members for False Bay and Tygervallei fell for it. Their dream of these people eventually being moved to Khayelitsha now lies shattered. [Interjections.]
The hon member for False Bay stated here today that no self-respecting Government would allow people to live in appalling conditions such as those of Crossroads, and then he went on to request the hon Minister to retain half of Crossroads. It is, therefore, astounding how he contradicts himself.
You are lying!
Order! The hon member for False Bay must withdraw that word.
I withdraw it, Mr Speaker.
Now the hon Minister comes along and accedes to the representations of the hon member for False Bay. He announced that Crossroads would remain, and the PFP shouted “Hear, hear!”. What has been the result of this announcement by the hon Minister? Khayelitsha is being built, Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu are to remain, leasehold rights for Blacks are being extended to these townships and Crossroads is to be built; this means five Black cities on the Cape Flats, and today I want to predict that when Khayelitsha is full, 600 000 Blacks will be living on the Cape Flats—just as many people as the present population of Botswana.
Now I should like to ask the hon members for Tygervallei and False Bay why they have ceased to oppose the inundation of the Western Cape by Blacks. Why did they initially oppose the inundation of the Western Cape by Blacks? The hon member is silent now because he knows he backed down. The hon the Minister has announced leasehold rights for Langa, Nyanga and Khayelitsha and I now want to ask him whether the section 10 Blacks who are going to be remaining behind in Crossroads, are also going to be given leasehold rights.
So the Blacks in Crossroads are now also going to be given leasehold rights. [Interjections.]
I should very much like to prove a few points here today. White opposition to the influx of Blacks to the Western Cape and the unrest in Crossroads is being nipped in the bud by the NP. I am going to prove this. Black unrest is being kindled by the concessions of a weak-kneed Government and an irresponsible Official Opposition which intercedes on behalf of agitators, and there has been no shortage of examples of that in this House today. I have a telegram here from the Lydenburg area which was sent to my hon Leader, and I quote:
This was sent by a certain Mr Lamont who lives near Hoedspruit. In the Strand an official of the NP, Mr Nortjé, and a certain Mrs Ackerman collected 614 signatures between eight o’clock and twelve o’clock one morning from people, many of whom were Coloured, who objected to these conditions in the Western Cape. The hon member for False Bay, however, drove to the Strand to tell these people that they had now made their point and that they should not pursue the matter any further.
Was I in the Strand?
Then he telephoned Mr Nortjé and asked him to let the matter rest. That hon member used his influence to ensure that people would stop sending the petition around.
In this House today the CP asks the hon the Minister and the Government to enable the S A Police, who are responsible for law and order in this country, to exercise this responsiblity. [Interjections.]
Tell them, Jan.
Mr Chairman, I now want to ask the hon member for Heilbron who is making such a noise whether, when the Blacks throw stones at them the police should also pick up stones and retaliate? [Interjections.] If stones are being thrown at the S A Police—and I want to ask the hon Deputy Minister this question—must the police pick up stones and throw them back at them? [Interjections.] By making concessions the Government has gone out of its way to bring about peace. It has not, however, succeeded in doing so. Concessions are seen as a sign of weakness. The Blacks see concessions as a sign of weakness and it is indeed the case. If the Government does not exercise the authority at its disposal to maintain law and order, it becomes responsible for the collapse of law and order in this country. We want to tell that hon Minister and his Government that if they do not see their way clear to governing, they should resign so that the people can elect a Government which is prepared to govern. [Interjections.]
I want to ask the PFP whether they approve of the conditions in which the people of Crossroads live. I direct this question specifically to the hon Leader of the Opposition.
Of course not.
He says he does not approve of those conditions. Do he and his party approve of the violent behaviour of Blacks in Crossroads?
I do not approve of any violence.
He does not approve of it. Do he and his party approve of stone-throwing, arson and other brutalities which have occurred?
Of course not.
He does not approve of it. [Interjections.] I now want to quote to this House an extract from Die Burger of 26 February:
The report goes on to state that approximately a thousand people attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom where Whites. I now want to ask the hon Leader of the Official Opposition whether he approves of the threat of a bloodbath issued by Dr Toms.
It is not a threat, it is a prediction.
It is a threat. [Interjections.] Does the hon Leader of the Opposition approve of this threat?
It is a warning, Jan, it is not a threat.
It is a threat. [Interjections.] Does the hon Leader approve of this threat? Does the hon Leader of the Official Opposition approve of the fact that the UDF is blackmailing the Government with the threat of a blood bath? The newspaper reports state that Dr Toms, and other speakers who incited others to violence, received enthusiastic support from a predominantly White audience of about 1 000 people. Those jubilant Whites are not supporters of the NP, although they often agree with the PFP in this House. They are most certainly not supporters of the CP. Today I want to make this point: These cheering Whites who attend the UDF meetings are supporters of the PFP. Does the hon Leader of the Official Opposition deny that they are supporters of his party? [Interjections.] Does the fact that these Whites contribute to the emotional incitement to violence in South Africa meet with his approval? I want to ask the hon Leader of the Official Opposition this question: Does it meet with his approval that these Whites contribute to the emotional incitement to violence in South Africa?
That is by no means emotional incitement.
He says it is not emotional incitement, and that is what his members say too. I want to ask the hon Leader of the Official Opposition: Does he condemn this provocative incitement to violence? Does he condemn this stirring up of Blacks to take the law into their own hands? If the hon Leader of the Official Opposition and the next speaker do not condemn it, he and his party will be co-responsible for its consequences.
The hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development and of Education spoke about “mafias which victimize people” in Crossroads. I want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister of Law and Order: What is being done about this? Are the police in a position to take action against these people in this place, against these “mafias” which victimize the people of Crossroads? [Interjections.] The governing party suppresses the opposition of the Whites in regard to the unrest and the influx of Blacks to the Western Cape. The PFP and their hangers-on encourage it. The CP will take up the cudgels on behalf of these people who do not wish the Whites to be crowded out of their own areas by Blacks.
Mr Chairman, I do not propose to devote much of my time to the hon member for Kuruman, except to say that the questions and comments he has made serve only to show how badly out of touch he is with the situation in Crossroads and the Western Cape.
I want first of all to return to some of the comments made by the hon the Minister in his speech. I think he will agree that during the first part of his speech he said very little new and reiterated standpoints and things that have been said before. For example, he pointed to various problems that exist at Crossroads. Some of those that he mentioned were intimidation and protection rackets and that type of activity. We accept that these exist. However, what I would like to ask him, and in particular the hon the Deputy Minister for Law and Order— neither of whom was in his post at that time—is what the Government did to put a stop to a situation which had developed over many years in Crossroads. I would suggest that they did precious little. In fact I would go even further. I would suggest that in years gone by it suited the authorities to have factions at Crossroads and to have squabbles among the people. In fact, in general it suited the authorities to make life as miserable as possible for squatters in various areas in the hope that things would become so unpleasant that they would go somewhere else.
Another point I wish to refer to is the question of urbanization strategy. Here I think the hon the Minister makes a fundamental mistake. He refers to the need for an ubanization strategy, with which we agree. He refers to the need for orderly settlement of people in towns, and there again we will agree. However, without any interlocking logic, he immediately assumes that one therefore needs influx control to be perpetuated indefinitely to achieve those first aims. That is where we fundamentally disagree with the hon the Minister. We agree with him on the first two points but there is no reason to believe—if one looks at the figures and at trends elsewhere in the world—that if one abolishes influx control, if one phases it out rapidly, one cannot have an orderly ubanization strategy.
There are, however, three positive points which the hon the Minister has made, first of all in relation to the disputed aspects to which he has referred. The first one is his announcement that he is prepared to consider negotiating the upgrading of Crossroads and of the KTC site—which was of course the Phase 2 Crossroads site—as part of renewal programmes. The hon member for Tygervallei looked as though he was about to pass out when the hon the Minister was making that announcement. I believe that that in itself is an indication that it must be good news for the Western Cape. [Interjections.]
Furthermore the hon the Minister—in more general and circumspect terms—did at least say he was prepared to consider how to handle the so-called “illegals” in a practical way and also to negotiate in respect of that issue. I think that is to be welcomed as well. Although willingness to negotiate is in itself not a solution to the problem, it is at least a beginning.
In more general terms there is also the question of a willingness to negotiate with interested parties from all sorts of groups. This too is to be welcomed.
In respect of the hon the Minister’s remarks in connection with the hon member for Pinelands, I must say it appears as though he is trying to wish away all that has gone before; as though because he has only held this particular portfolio for a few months the people of the Western Cape, and the Black people of Crossroads and elsewhere in the Western Cape, must forget about everything that has gone before. However much he may wish that, it is not going to happen, whether it would be nice or otherwise. The hon the Minister should also not forget that for nearly a decade the Government did not build one house for a Black family in the Cape Peninsula, and it did not allow anybody else to build a house for them either. As a result a massive backlog built up, while the Black population increased by more than 60%. He should also not forget that since the new deal for Crossroads was announced in 1979 there have been numerous broken promises, some of which have been referred to by hon members of my party here this afternoon. I do not therefore want to repeat them. Both those aspects are aspects that rest fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the Government, and they cannot simply say now they are going to ignore them and talk instead about Khayelitsha as Phase 2 of Crossroads.
I wish to return to a matter which I consider to be one of very great concern. That is the question of why the hon the Minister has not given reasons to us in this House why the Government took so long to take urgent action over the past couple of weeks.
On 13 November 1984 I wrote to the hon the Minister in relation to Black Affairs in the Western Cape. I wrote to him in connection with a number of subjects. Among other things I wrote to him as follows:
The hon the Minister replied on 21 January this year, stating, inter alia, as follows:
I wrote back to him on 7 February stating as follows:
On Monday, 11 February, rumours came to my notice to the effect that the Government was going to embark upon a forced mass removal of people on Monday, 25 February, which was yesterday. On Wednesday hundreds of men from the Transvaal and numerous trucks moved into Khayelitsha. We learned about this on the Thursday morning and attempted to contact the hon the Minister, who was unfortunately away. I spoke to the Chief Commissioner of the Western Cape, Mr Timo Bezuidenhout, but he was not able to give me a satisfactory explanation for the presence of these men. I then went out to that site at Khayelitsha and had a look for ourselves. I saw about 62 trucks there, as well as hundreds of men from the Transvaal who apparently could not speak Xhosa, although I could not check that fact. These people had apparently told some other people that they were there to move the Crossroads inhabitants. I also met with some of the leaders from Crossraids, who expressed their concern and asked me to try to contact the Minister.
I did this first thing on Friday morning. I spoke to the hon the Minister and pointed out the tensions that were building up and particularly drew his attention to the problem relating to those men from the Transvaal. The hon the Minister assured me that he intended issuing a Press statement on the same Friday and said that he hoped that would sort the situation out. The hon the Minister did not succeed in doing so in that Press statement, which I do not have the time to quote at length, but he used phrases like:
The hon the Minister went on to say: “Advance notice will be given”. “Additional staff has been brought to Cape Town.” No direct or specific reference was made to those Transvaal men, although I had drawn the hon the Minister’s attention to that specific point. This served to cause even greater apprehension than before. We know that on Monday people stayed sway from work, violence erupted and the hon the Minister issued a further statement, again using the word “immediately”—he said that no large-scale movement was going to take place immediately. This compounded the problems.
As the hon member for Houghton mentioned, we visited Crossroads. It was interesting that, listening to the regional news on the SABC on our way back, we heard them give some details of what had happened at Crossroads that morning. In addition, they then in essence made the following comment—and I do not claim it to be a verbatim quote—using the words “high priority”:
It is hardly surprising that, if the SABC interpreted his statement in that way, the residents of Crossroads also did so.
The hon the Minister has been given a terrible inheritance, but I appeal to him to open a variety of channels of communication to keep in touch. I welcome the fact that he has suggested today that he may be doing so. He certainly has to listen to what the officials and people in his department have to say, but channels of communication should also be opened to other people, even if he completely disagrees with them, so that he can then at lest weigh up what he hears. Secondly, I appeal to him to ensure that ambiguous statements are not issued because they only serve to increase tension. Thirdly, I appeal to him not to wait for unrest before treating Crossroads problems as urgent.
Negotiation rather than violence must be made a more effective method of bringing about change. The Cillié Report on the 1976 Soweto riots observed the following:
Announcements in the past few days concerning Langa, Nyanga and Guguletu are welcomed. So are those allowing residents of the three existing townships to make use of all the Khayelitsha options and the announcements made by the hon the Minister today. However, they would all have been that much more welcome, and more helpful, if they had been made ten days ago, before the unrest broke out and before 18 people were killed and hundreds wounded.
It is fair to ask where the Government should go from here. Crossroads has become a nightmare for the Government. It is grossly overcrowded and there are many other problems. It would be dishonest to try to glamourize Crossroads, but if the problems are to be resolved, there must be an understanding of what Crossroads means to many of its residents. There are negative aspects that it symbolizes and the hon member for Pinelands has mentioned those.
I should like to mention some of the others because I think that it is important that there be an understanding. For many of those residents it is a symbol of survival against tremendous odds. It is a symbol of hope, of what ordinary people can do to influence their life chances if they are determined enough. It is a monument to people determined to be treated as human beings and not merely as numbers on passbooks to be shuffled around at the whim of officialdom. It is an opportunity for people to live together as families and to seek work, even if under very difficult circumstances. It has provided scope for individuals to use their initiative to improve their quality of life.
We need first and foremost to create a climate of trust by direct negotiations, as the hon the Minister has offered, between himself and members of the Crossroads community on an ongoing basis and with no ambiguities. Numerous problems need to be resolved, and while my hon colleagues have mentioned some of them, I want to highlight a few more.
The hon the Minister covered the question of the existing land at Old Crossroads and KTC, and I welcome it. The second question I think needs to be looked at is this: Why cannot houses be built on empty plots in the existing townships and in the buffer zones on their borders? It has been estimated that these areas comprise something like 2 500 sites. Thirdly, illegals will not move until they have been legalized, and the hon the Minister must accept that many of them were promised this years ago. Some of them are newcomers, but many of them were promised this years ago.
Only those before 31 December 1978.
There are the Cathedral squatters, there are the Nyanga Dune squatters, all of whom were made various promises. I do not have the time to go into details, but the hon the Minister should know that.
For how long are transport subsidies guaranteed? This is important. One accepts the offer that has been made, but does that help if in two years’ time it is said that those subsidies are all uneconomic and, because the Government does not have money, they all have to pay normal fares? I think the period for which those subsidies—not the actual rate but the subsidies relative to the transport from Nyanga—are guaranteed is important.
How can people be sure what rents and/or service charges are going to be in the future and that they are not going to increase as rapidly as they have in New Crossroads?
You have written all those things in The Argus.
No, they were not in The Argus.
Is there going to be adequate police protection against intimidation at Khayelitsha? This has not been so at New Crossroads. People at New Crossroads still suffer from arson, assault and intimidation, and if the Government does get people to move voluntarily, it has to make sure that they are going to be confident that wherever they go, they will not be followed and intimidated.
But you want the police to withdraw …
No, there is a vast difference between protecting the property of law-abiding people and shooting at first sight. [Interjections.]
Why not provide for various site sizes at the proposed site and service schemes and vary the rents accordingly? We should not adopt a “beggars cannot be choosers” approach. Why not convert to freehold title at once and not waste time with 99 year leases? Let the Western Cape for once lead the country in Black affairs.
Finally, the Government should not delay announcements about property rights in other Western Cape townships. Those people should be given the chance now and let us hope that we shall get an improved situation.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Cape Town Gardens, like other hon members, also mentioned the so-called Mafia factions in Crossroads and said we could do nothing about the situation. I want to point out to the hon member that two of the so-called leaders of the Mafia factions in Crossroads are awaiting trial in Cape Town at the moment on charges of public violence and intimidation. The fact of the matter is that the police, therefore, did not fail to take action.
Why did you wait so long?
The hon member for Houghton is asking why we waited so long, but just the other day there were demonstrations by one of the faction groups whose members stated that they were not prepared to speak to us before we set their leader free. That is the position, and so the hon member must not say we were not doing anything about the matter.
I want to have it on record right at the outset that I am sorry people died or were injured during the unrest in Crossroads. I am just as sorry for, and should like to convey my sympathy to, the next-of-kin of the people who lost their lives in the riots. I am also sorry for the people whose property was destroyed and who consequently suffered tremendous losses in this senseless violence. It is the wish of the SA Police that in future we adhere to the guidelines the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development spelt out here this afternoon, so that this kind of violence does not re-occur in South Africa, and the police do not have to try to combat it. The hon members for Barberton, Houghton and Kuruman had some harsh things to say here. The hon member for Barberton took up the cudgels for the police and we appreciate that. What the hon members for Barberton and Kuruman said by implication, however, constituted a dangerous, shortterm endeavour to achieve popularity. [Interjections.] They speak the same language as the radicals in this country. The kind of language they use does not help to curb bloodshed.
This afternoon the hon member for Houghton also spoke about the “indiscriminate shooting” by policemen. Let me tell her that we can get by without this kind of language in South Africa. This is the kind of language that makes one’s blood boil and causes blood to flow.
I want to entreat this House to set an example of calmness and reason because we cannot achieve anything through radicalism in South Africa. If we do not set the example here, we cannot expect to find it amongst members of the public. I, therefore, appeal for us to set the example.
Many questions and accusations have been asked about and made against the Police in this debate. It has been said, for example, that the Police were the cause of the riots. It has been said that they were the spark that set off the powder keg, that “they stimulated violence” and that they made use of excessive force.
What are the facts? I only have a few minutes available to me, but I should very much like to give the House a chronological breakdown of the events on that Monday, 18 February 1985.
As early as 07h30 Captain Nel, the officer commanding Guguletu police station, received a report that one of his patrol vans, which was out on routine patrol, had been attacked and cornered by a group of riotous Blacks in the vicinity of Mahobe Avenue in Langa. A White man had allegedly also been killed by the crowds. I want to emphasize that this happened at half past seven in the morning. During the entire weekend, as was the case that morning, only two police patrol vans were on duty. They were going about their routine policing duties. There was nothing to indicate that any unrest was to be expected.
This officer, accompanied by ten of his men, went to the scene and at the Sibiha shop near Mahobe Avenue—an avenue which runs past Crossroads—came across two milk delivery vans which had been plundered and damaged by stone-throwers. The drivers had run away. A crowd of approximately 200 people had surrounded the policemen there and were bombarding them with stones.
Following that, the riot squad, which had in the meantime been called up and mobilized, began to report the massing together of riotous crowds. The stoning of buses along Lansdowne Road—which is on the other side, the southern side of Crossroads— had started and large groups of Blacks had begun flocking together on this road. The stoning rapidly spread all the way round Crossroads.
It must be borne in mind that the Police were not at all Involved at this stage. They were bombarded with stones, but they had still not taken any action. Barricades were erected along Lansdowne Road, Mahobe Avenue and Old Klipfontein Road—which runs parallel to the N2 freeway—to prevent the police from forming a buffer between the rioters and the general public and the highway. Conditions deteriorated to such an extent that all the members of the Police Force who were endeavouring to put a stop to the violence in the vicinity of Crossroads and its environs, where showered with stones, etc. In spite of this, the riot squad did everything possible to calm the emotions of the people by not making use of weapons or gas for the time being, but rather using a loudhailer and, in their own language, pacifying the masses. The officer commanding the squad made a reconnaissance of the area in a helicopter to try to establish whether the matter could not be solved without resorting to force.
At this stage the peace-making efforts of the police were met with only one response, that of stone-throwing. A petrol bomb was hurled against the left side of one of the Casspir vehicles. The police still did not take action, excepting to ask the people to disperse and to return to their homes.
At 10h25 a Dairybelle truck was plundered and set alight in Emms Avenue. The first action by the riot squad involving the use of weapons was taken in that area when rubber bullets were fired at approximately 250 Black people in an attempt to disperse the mob before they could do further damage. After this a Black agitator, using a loudhailer, incited the rioters in Crossroads to form a line across Mahobe Avenue, and there were indications of a possible attack on the police and the development board’s offices and of the area of Nyanga West being activated and drawn into the unrest. A bulletproof window of one of the armoured vehicles was cracked by the impact of a rock and so I can tell the hon member this afternoon that a stone is, in fact, harder than one of those bullets. The police were left with no alternative but to drive off these militants with baton rounds and bird-shot before their superior numbers became unmanageable. Due to the overwhelming number of stones and petrol bombs being thrown from all quarters, it would have been fatal had the police carried out a standard baton charge at that stage. The minimum force initially resorted to by using teargas and the sneeze-machine was not at all effective. Groups simply scattered, only to regroup, attacking everything in their path with stones, spears and swords. At 11h47 approximately 600 Black people broke down a gate and an enclosure surrounding the administration board’s offices at Nyanga, apparently with a view to damaging the buildings. The police again had to use teargas, rubber bullets and bird-shot. Bird-shot was used to a greater extent to control the situation which was starting to get out of hand in this area and to prevent and curtail the danger of the trouble spreading over a wider area. Let me state frankly that it would have been legally justifiable for the police to use sharp-nosed ammunition, but despite these circumstances they refrained from doing so and instead used minimum force. It was impossible to make arrests on a large scale. We just simply could not get our hands on these people. Anyone who has been to Crossroads will know what it is like there. One cannot get into the place. Someone would throw a stone or a petrol bomb and disappear amongst the buildings and the police would then be unable to follow him and arrest him.
In spite of all these attempts by the police and others involved in this, the rioters chose to continue plundering, intimidating, throwing stones and petrol bombs and firing shots at the police. But the police had limited the activities of the rioters to such an extent that the unrest centred around Crossroads and could not spread too far. In spite of this we have evidence—and one can read about it in the Press—of some of the rioters breaking through the lines and throwing stones at cars and setting them alight outside Crossroads. This pattern was repeated on 19 and 20 February until the unrest subsided and the police immediately ceased their activities and withdrew. Hon members do not have to believe me or the police. I want to summon an independent witness. The hon member for Kuruman also called on him, but I want to do so in regard to another matter. Dr Ivan Toms of the SACLA Clinic said the following in The Argus of 23 February.
That is the evidence of an independent person who had observed those events. So does it appear as if the police were responsible for starting things off? Did the police spark things off? No, Sir, it is clear that the police tried to extinguish the spark that threatened the powder-keg. This is the task the police tried to perform. To deal with a situation like the one prevailing there the police had two choices. They could just have left everything. The unrest would then have been worse and would have spread. We would then have had large-scale destruction and loss of innocent lives. Fortunately the police chose the second alternative, namely to maintain law and order, to protect the innocent and to prevent wide-ranging arson and loss of life. The SA Police are the guardians of law and order. In spite of the fierce and unfair criticism and the mistakes we have made—we are not perfect and also make mistakes—we shall continue to maintain law and order, firmly but fairly and with restraint, in all spheres in South Africa. I am not apologizing for that. Chaos and anarchy will not be tolerated. Peace-loving and law-abiding people can rely on the protection of the SA Police.
A second accusation has also been made, and the hon member for Houghton mentioned it. It has been said that the Police were inadequately equipped and trained. The SA Police have had the necessary equipment since 1980 and are thoroughly trained to deal with every reasonably predictable, normal occurrences of unrest.
Why did they not use riot shields?
The Cape Times carried an article about that with photographs of the riot equipment. That equipment is available to us. But I should very much like to explain the circumstances to the hon member. The equipment could not always be used effectively under the circumstances prevailing in Crossroads. The mood and attitude of the crowds towards the Police determine the kinds of equipment and weapons to be used. For example, a fairly peaceful crowd can be tackled using shields, rubber batons only 75 cm in length and helmets with face guards. These crowds, we had to deal with, however, could hardly be described as placid and completely different circumstances prevailed there. The following methods were therefore used in this sequence: First of all we used persuasion. We spoke to them and tried to persuade them over a loud-hailer to disperse. Following that tear gas and sneeze-powder were used. Rubber bullets and bird-shot were subsequently used. The next step was to use the coarser bird-shot. I want to point out that we also had R1 rifles with sharp-nosed ammunition because we could not allow people who were throwing petrol bombs at us and shooting at the police to continue doing so. I have evidence that shots from a heavy calibre firearm were occasionally fired at the police from the midst of those crowds, a few of the vehicles’ bullet proof windows being cracked in the process. A shield, head protection gear and a baton offer no protection against that.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 23 and motion lapsed.
Introductory Speech delivered at Joint Sittingon 20 February
Mr Speaker, I move:
To commence with I wish to sketch, as background, the economic circumstances in which the South African Transport Services had to be operated and managed during the past financial year.
The economic climate in which a business organization must function determines, to a large extent, which strategies it has to employ to achieve its goal. The mini-upswing in the economy from April 1983 to June 1984, which was characterised by an increase in salaries and employment, was mainly the result of greater consumer spending by the public. By the end of 1983 it was apparent that this upswing could not continue. The upswing was hampered by the rapid increase in imports and resultant deficit on the balance of payments, continued drought conditions, a renewed drop in the value of the rand and an increased rate of inflation.
In 1984 these factors were even more prominent. The State was compelled to introduce more stringent monetary and fiscal measures. Interest rates also increased considerably. At the same time the State reiterated its intention of curtailing Government spending. This remedial action brought about, inter alia, a decline in the domestic demand as well as decreased imports, while the upswing in the economies of South Africa’s major trading partners and the weakening of the rand resulted in increased exports.
An upswing in the domestic economy is only anticipated towards the end of 1985. It is expected that the actual upswing in the business cycle could gain momentum in 1986 and will largely depend upon the success of the measures recently introduced, the gold price, the growth in exports and an improvement in agricultural conditions. We trust that good rains will create a more favourable business climate.
Meanwhile Management has proceeded to introduce various actions to cope with present conditions. Increased productivity was achieved with the reduction of the personnel complement from 279 000 in June 1982 to the present 235 000, that is by 44 000, or 16%. With the initial weakening of the economy in 1982, the traffic at first declined sharply but by 1984 it started to increase again. When Transport Services’ total labour input for the first half of this financial year is compared with the traffic volumes of the different services, it reflects an increase of as much as 10% in labour productivity. During the latest 12 months for which figures are available, operating productivity increased by 12,9%. Various techniques to enhance productivity were employed in an endeavour to invest funds as far as possible only in assets which would make a positive contribution towards Transport Services’ financial position.
As for the rendering of services, the aggressive marketing plan to attract passengers and goods and to make services more acceptable to the public continued during the past year. Marketing efforts are concentrated on the needs of individual companies with a view to satisfying such needs through special arrangements.
Another very important component which determines the successful management of an organization, particularly in the present circumstances, is sound communication. Communication strategies were further refined, internally as well as externally. Internally our human material is seen as our most important resource in satisfying the needs of our clients.
A personnel newspaper, Esprit de Corps, has been launched. A scientific transport publication, the SA Transport Services Momentum, was also established through which Transport Services’ most important clients and opinion formers are regularly kept informed of developments in all fields of transport.
By practising effective communication and by continually increasing the productivity of all production factors, I believe that Transport Services will be able to render a progressively better service to its clients, with a concomitant growth in our share of the transport market.
I am of the opinion that certain very acceptable recommendations have materialized from the De Villiers inquiry in connection with Escom. In view of this I have decided to request Dr De Villiers to inquire, together with the Management of Transport Services, into the financial and organizational structures of the S.A. Transport Services, as well as all other relevant aspects.
Mr Speaker, I shall now review the activities of the past year. Except where otherwise stated, the percentage change is in respect of the period April to December 1984 as compared with the corresponding period the previous year.
Passenger Services Rail passenger journeys were adversely affected by the prevailing economic situation. During the period April to November 1984 main-line journeys were 10% lower, while the introduction of the Mabopane—Belle Ombre service in August 1983 contributed to the fact that commuter journeys as a whole remained fairly constant.
Revenue-earning goods rail traffic increased by 10%. Despite stiff competition in the market the tonnage of high-rated traffic increased by 11%. This increase is attributed mainly to a growth in container traffic.
The importation of maize also contributed to the fact that from April to November 1984, 24% more imports flowed through South African harbours, while the upswing in the economies of our major trading partners resulted in 22% more exports being handled.
Passenger traffic on SAA flights increased by 15% during the period under review. This positive figure is largely due to improved efficiency and a more dynamic marketing program. An interesting point is that in respect of the business class which was introduced on 1 November 1984, occupation increased by 32% in December. Likewise, occupation of our late-night flights, which offer a discount of 50%, increased from an average of 54% to 98% since May 1984. This and other concessions have placed the comfort of air travel within reach of the man in the street and have contributed towards giving South Africa’s tourist industry even greater impetus.
Despite the tight economy and resultant stiff competition from private hauliers, our road transport services were operated on an economic basis.
As far as pipelines are concerned, the intake of refined products at Durban and Sasol I increased considerably.
As I indicated last year, the rationalisation of personnel continued to receive earnest attention and the personnel were reduced by a further 6 000 during the past year. It remains the policy that no personnel in permanent employment are dismissed in the process and that vacancies are filled only after proper evaluation.
Progress on larger schemes
Mr Speaker, I wish to report briefly on two of the larger schemes for which money was voted in previous budgets.
Construction work to increase the carrying capacity of the 585 kilometre coal export line between Witbank and Richards Bay is progressing satisfactorily. Work on the reinforcing of the existing line is 40% complete while the doubling of the line between Broodsnyersplaas and Ermelo has been completed. Deviations to reduce gradients are at present under construction while contracts have been awarded for the doubling of a further 145 kilometres between Ermelo and Richards Bay. All work will be completed by the end of 1991, after which the line will be able to carry 65 million tons of export coal per annum. On completion of this work the cost involved in constructing the coal line will amount to almost R1 700 million. This amount does not include the cost of rolling stock or harbour works.
During the year the electrification projects between Beaufort West and De Aar, between Pyramid South and Pietersburg, and between Pyramid South and Sentrarand were completed. The electrification of the De Aar-Port Elizabeth section will be completed during 1985 while that of the Springfontein-East London section has already commenced. When these projects are completed, approximately 78% of the total ton-kilometre rail traffic will be hauled by electric traction. This will result in less diesel traction being used, with a saving in fuel and foreign exchange.
Since Transport Services commenced with the electrification of railway lines in 1924, total investment in such lines has amounted to almost R644 million and at this stage South Africa already boasts of more than 90% of all electrified railway lines in Africa.
It is expected that only R1 528 million of the R1 750 million which was approved by Parliament last year for the provision of infrastructure will be utilized. In accordance with the Government’s fiscal policy, the Capital Budget for 1985-86 has also been scaled down in an orderly manner and provision is being made for an amount of R1 650 million. In real terms this is a considerable reduction in capital investment. Despite the curtailment of funds it is still the responsibility of Transport Services to provide an efficient transport system, and a limited number of new projects in the Capital Budget for 1985-86, cannot, therefore, be avoided.
A project which could not be included in the budget owing to the time factor was the proposed rail link to Khayelitsha. The provision of such a rail link has now become a matter of high priority and the construction of the line will be proceeded with as soon as the necessary parliamentary approval has been obtained. I shall introduce the necessary legislation during the present parliamentary session.
In compiling the estimates for the 1984-85 financial year a deficit of R106 million was budgeted for.
We are grateful to the Government that it will make good to Transport Services the operating costs which were capitalized in respect of the Sishen-Saldanha project.
Taking everything into consideration, we will be in a position to balance the books for 1984-85.
One of the major problems Transport Services has to contend with is the ever-increasing losses on passenger services. Seven years ago the loss amounted to R300 million but this year it has been increased to almost R890 million.
It is generally accepted that 1985 will be a difficult year.
Although exports will increase, the expected decline in imports and in the domestic demand will adversely affect Transport Services’ high-rated traffic. S A Airways, on the other hand, should benefit from the expected increase in tourist traffic especially from the USA as a result of the strengthening of that country’s currency.
With due regard to these economic indicators, the working deficit for 1985-86 would amount to more than R750 million without tariff adjustments. As this enormous deficit cannot be accommodated, Transport Services has had no alternative but to adjust fares and tariffs. As already announced, air fares were increased on average by 6,9% and cargo rates on average by 5,4% with effect from 1 February 1985, while rail passenger fares were increased on average by 22% with effect from 6 February 1985. It is estimated that these fare and tariff adjustments will generate additional revenue of R41 million in respect of rail passengers and R76,6 million in respect of air fares and cargo rates, which will still be inadequate to offset the expected deficit.
Existing structural deficiencies in Transport Services’ tariff structure will seriously hamper our successful operation in the transport market. It is, therefore, the intention to introduce tariff adjustments with effect from 1 April 1985 which are mainly structural adjustments, with a few differentiated scale increases where cost coverage is exceptionally low and where anomalies presently exist. The existing tariff lines for high-and low-rated traffic and for traffic conveyed in track loads are being adjusted in order to reduce the tapering effect over longer distances. This involves increases varying, according to distance, between 0,1 and 10,5%.
A new tariff scale for coal is being introduced. This scale will also be applicable to anthracite for export. The average increase is 8%. Export coal is conveyed mainly under contract conditions and these tariffs are being increased in accordance with the escalation formulae.
Owing to the uneconomic transport of goods by rail over branch lines, a levy of 20 cents per 100 kg is being introduced in respect of traffic on, to and from all branch lines. This also applies to branch lines which have been replaced by road transport services. In South West Africa the levy will be 25 cents per 100 kg.
The tariff for petrol is not being increased, while that on diesel and power-paraffin will increase by 10%. This narrows the tariff gap between these products.
The tariffs applicable to livestock are being increased by 12,5%. Although this increase will further reduce the traffic volumes which are already very small, the service cannot continue at the present cost coverage as Transport Services’ net revenue position will improve even if all such traffic is forfeited. The existing rolling stock can and will be adapted to the declining demand. As a result of this tariff increase, the cost of conveyance of cattle over a distance of 2 200 km increases by only approximately 2 cents per kilogram, while that of a sheep from De Aar to Johannesburg increases by approximately 1 cent per kilogram.
The conveyance of livestock is exempted from the acquisition of road transport permits mainly because the transport thereof by rail is less flexible. Transport Services’ share in the market for the conveyance of livestock has in the recent past dropped to only approximately 17% of the total number of animals slaughtered with a 30% contribution towards costs. Consequently, Transport Services accepts that it cannot or should not compete in this market, as well as the market for certain other exempted commodities, and structural adjustments are being made which will ensure that the exempted items Transport Services still has to convey, are transported at more economic rates. Specific exempted items will, therefore, be conveyed at cost-related tariffs from 1 April 1985. Concerning the cost coverage in respect of the conveyance of agricultural products, I wish to emphasise that the average cost coverage on this type of commodity is at present approximately 70%. Revenue derived from the conveyance of agricultural products cannot, therefore, in any way cross-subsidise the transport of other commodities; in fact, it is just the other way round!
Furthermore, adjustments are made, where necessary, on a continuous basis to ensure that the costs coverage of all traffic will eventually fall within a band of between 85% and 135%. To give effect to this, adjustments in truck rates will be made with effect from 1 April 1985.
Transport Services at present applies various minimum tariffs on rail traffic for different services rendered. These minimum tariffs and miscellaneous charges which are, incidentally, also being increased, are partially incorporated in the tariff scales while an overall minimum rate per consignment is being introduced.
The tariffs on mail and parcels conveyed by rail are being increased by 12%.
As a result of these structural and scale adjustments, Transport Services’ revenue derived from goods services will increase by altogether R227 million. This means that the revenue derived from all goods traffic will increase by 7,6%—inflation is much more than that—but, as I have already stated, the tariffs for individual commodities may increase by a higher percentage than this. Of course, the tariffs on other commodities will increase by lower percentages while the basic rate for some commodities will not increase at all. For example, the tariff for maize conveyed in bulk over a distance of 500 km will not increase at all, while that for maize conveyed over a distance of 1 500 km will increase by 5,1%. The tariff for bagged maize conveyed over a distance of 100 km increases by 0,2% and over a distance of 1 500 km by 5,6%. The tariff for coal between Witbank and Johannesburg will increase by 1,4%.
In the case of certain commodities of which very little is conveyed by Transport Services and which may be freely transported by road without permits, there are substantial tariff increases.
The following are a few other examples of tariff adjustments based on the average distance each commodity is hauled: The tariff on sugarcane conveyed in full truckloads will increase by 12,5% and that in smaller quantities by 13,8%. The tariff on cheese in full truckloads will be increased by 9,7% and that for smaller consignments by 13,7%, while the tariff on potatoes in full truckloads will be increased by 11,7% and that for smaller consignments by 13,3%. Based on the average distance stock feeds are hauled, there will be no tariff increase on this commodity, while the tariff on fresh fruit will increase by 13,9%. The tariff on agricultural machinery is being increased by 6,3%.
In respect of wharfage the maximum value limit of R13 000 is to be decreased to R10 000 per harbour ton and the minimum value limit of R75 will be increased to R83 per ton. In effect this means that revenue derived from low-value commodities such as coal will increase, while importers and exporters of high-value commodities will benefit.
A discount of 10% is being introduced in respect of wharfage rates for containerized traffic conveyed by rail to and from ports.
Owing to the uneconomic nature of port dues and tariffs for tugs and dry docks, these tariffs are being increased by 20%, 15% and 10%, respectively. The basis of tug tariffs has been adjusted to take into account the size of the ship and the tariff is levied on a per-service basis and no longer per tug-hour.
As far as road transport services are concerned, tariffs for mail and parcels will increase by 12% and those for goods services on average by 14,8%.
The foregoing tariff adjustments represent an overall average increase in revenue of 7,5% on all the services, which is far below the prevailing rate of inflation of approximately 13% per annum. I think that in this we are setting an example to private enterprise in South Africa by having an increase of 7,5%, the lowest increase of all businesses in South Africa.
It is estimated that revenue derived from all services will amount to R8 158 million, while expenditure after appropriation of net revenue will total R8 350 million, leaving an expected deficit of R192 million for 1985-86. We do not wish to increase tariffs to such an extent as to make good this deficit, but we shall endeavour to reduce it by greater efficiency, more savings and still higher productivity.
Last year I referred to the position in South West Africa and stated that the expected operating loss would be R90 million. I also indicated that the Management of Transport Services had been asked to go into the matter in depth. I am pleased to state that the efforts to reduce costs and increase revenue were successful also in this instance. The expected operating loss for 1984-85 will be approximately R80 million, notwithstanding the rate of inflation.
In accordance with Government policy, the assets of the South African Transport Services in South West Africa which are necessary to operate the rail and road services in the territory, are being transferred to the Government of South West Africa with effect from 1 April 1985. From that date Transport Services’ loan indebtedness to the Treasury will be reduced accordingly, while the Administrator-General of South West Africa will accept full responsibility for Transport Services’ rail and road services in South West Africa. Transport Services will then undertake the operation and administration of the rail and road services only as contractor and the arrangements in respect of the financial responsibility for the operating losses will be resolved mutually by the Administrator-General, the Department of Finance and Transport Services. Meanwhile, attention is being given, in consultation with the trade unions, to the position of the personnel when the railways in South West Africa become entirely independent.
The position in regard to Transport Services’ interests in Walvis Bay harbour, as well as its air and tourist services in South West Africa, remains unchanged.
This is the first time that the Appropriation Bill of the South African Transport Services is being presented at a joint sitting of all three Houses. It is an historical event. I am confident that the debate will be conducted on the basis of the following words of an unknown speaker: “The secret of success in conversation is to be able to disagree without being disagreeable”.
Mr Speaker, the South African Transport Services commemorates its 75th anniversary this year and I wish to congratulate the Management and all who are part of this vast organization on attaining this important milestone. I would have liked to have wished the personnel a prosperous festive year but in view of the present economic climate this is not possible. I am, nevertheless, confident that in spite of the economic situation, Transport Services, with its record of perseverance, will emerge with flying colours.
Disraeli said: “There can be no economy where there is no efficiency”. I wish to convey my personal thanks to each member of the personnel of Transport Services—Dr Bart Grové and his competent management team and the men and women at all levels— for the efficient manner in which they have performed their task under difficult circumstances. Without the active contribution and sacrifices of its personnel, Transport Services would not have been able to meet its commitments to our country.
I am also highly appreciative of the responsible manner in which the trade unions acted in regard to financial relief for their members. In my deliberations with Transport Services’ trade unions over the years they have never made unreasonable demands and we have always had amicable relations.
I wish to convey my sincere appreciation to the three Commissioners of the South African Transport Services Board, Messrs Dupel Erasmus, Piet Aucamp and Koos Albertyn, for the dedicated manner in which they have assisted me during the year. My thanks also to the personnel in the Ministry under the guidance of Mr Johnnie Muller for their loyalty and dedication.
Hon members will recall that when the South African Transport Services Finances and Accounts Act, 1983, was dealt with in the House of Assembly, it was indicated that Transport Services was moving towards an integrated budget. Consequently the working estimates and capital budget are henceforth incorporated into one publication.
The “Memorandum by the Minister of Transport Affairs” contains estimated results of working for the current and ensuing financial years.
Mr Speaker, I now lay upon the Table:
- 1. The Estimates of Expenditure of the South African Transport Services for the financial years ending 31 March 1985 and 31 March 1986, and
- 2. a Memorandum setting out the estimated results of working of the South African Transport Services for the 1984-85 and 1985-86 financial years, together with the latest financial and other statistics.
Second Reading resumed
Mr Speaker, I want to start my speech this afternoon by congratulating Dr Grové and his team on their results in the past two years. I see that, with the changeover of officials, they have unfortunately not yet been able to get into the Chamber. However, I hope that the hon the Minister will see to it that they receive my message of congratulations.
You can congratulate me while they are coming in.
We shall get to the hon the Minister a little bit later. I regret to say that I have no congratulations for him at this stage, other than perhaps to commend his good sense in appointing Dr Grové as General Manager of the SATS.
In the current economic climate the results of the SATS are truly excellent. The increase of 10% in productivity and the reduction of 44 000 or 16% in the staff show a determination and an ability which many in the private sector would admire and envy. In fact, I should like to recommend to the hon the Minister that he should perhaps second Dr Grové to public administration for a while. We do need this sort of reduction in staff in the public Sector that Dr Grové has been able to bring about in the SATS.
The figures are even better than they appear. Last year the Minister told us of an expected R11 million loss. This turned out, when we got the final figures not very long ago, to be a profit of R74 million. However, what we must note is that that was after placing an amount of R546 million in reserve for higher replacement costs. This was in addition to their normal depreciation of R351 million. In addition to this they treated as an expense item, R139,5 million which were losses sustained on the Sishen-Saldanha line, which they recovered and which they immediately transferred to a revenue reserve. For tax purposes the private sector would have had to treat these items as profit. Therefore in private sector terms the SATS profit was R759 million for the 1983-84 financial year—and that is not bad at all.
The hon the Minister has said that he has appointed Dr De Villiers, who was responsible for the Escom Report, to look into the financial structures of the SATS. We welcome this and we hope that the hon the Minister will also appoint other members of that commission of inquiry because there were some very able people on that commission besides Dr De Villiers. We should recommend that Dr De Villiers should look at the higher replacement cost fund in particular.
The budget appears to be a deficit budget, but in fact it is not. On the face of it, there is a deficit of R192 million, but in reality it is not a deficit budget at all. Firstly, the SATS budgets are traditionally ultra-conservative. For example, the SATS has budgeted to lose R106 million this year. I said in this debate last year that that was far too low a figure. We are told now that we are going to break even despite the tremendous and unexpected drop in the economy, particularly in the last quarter of 1984. I lay odds that the breakeven will in fact turn out to be a profit.
My reason for saying that it is not a deficit budget is of course the reserve for higher replacement costs. If this is taken into account, we are actually budgeting for a profit of about R400 million. I was not able to extract from the figures we have how much is being reserved this year for higher replacement costs, but my guess is that it would be of the order of R600 million.
Unfortunately, however, there are some bad aspects to the way in which the profit was obtained. It is the old cross-subsidy story. Before I go any further, I want to move as an amendment to the motion that the Bill be read a second time:
- (1) the continuation of discriminatory practices in the employment of South African Transport Services staff;
- (2) the continuation of discriminatory practices in the provision of services to the South African public;
- (3) the excessive protection against private enterprise given to the South African Transport Services by the Government, resulting in unfair competition.”.
It is the last aspect I want to get to first, and that is cross-subsidization. The budget this year has given new impetus to this old story. The SATS is protected by a host of laws and regulations which prevent private enterprise from competing. A study, the National Transport Policy Study, has been started and a number of reports have been received on phase 1 of that study. Those reports have underlined the inefficiency of Government transport policies and particularly the protection given to the SATS. That is common knowledge and arises out of the study which the Department of Transport Affairs itself has initiated.
Let us hope that, when the study is complete, we will find a move towards the free-market system and consequent deregulation. The excessive regulation and protection of the SATS is an option we in South Africa can no longer afford. The SATS is increasingly using its police to police these regulations. The SATS Police operates road blocks and check points. There was a Press report recently of increasingly impounding of trucks by the SATS for alleged contraventions.
As a result of these so-called contraventions, people are charged and they have to appear in the courts of small towns at great expense, for instance in Beaufort West or Alexandria. For transport operators from the Reef to have to appear in a court in Beaufort West costs them a lot of money and they have to defend cases which are very often withdrawn before they actually appear. They get there and find that the State Prosecutor is not prepared to prosecute the case, presumably because there is not sufficient evidence on which to do so. Often the private transport operator finds that it is cheaper to pay a R50 admission of guilt, even though he is not guilty. A R50 admission of guilt payment—this often happens in these cases—is much, much cheaper than travelling all the way to Beaufort West, Alexandria, or wherever the case will be heard.
Deregulation is essential and should be forthcoming from a Government who say they believe in free enterprise. Deregulation is not only necessary in road transport but also in air transport. In the United States of America, the American Airline Deregulation Act was passed in 1978, after 40 years of strict regulation and interference in private enterprise by Government. Since that date airline productivity has increased by about 80%. In June 1981, the Civil Aeronautics Board found that market forces had accommodated travellers’ needs better than regulations had done, and that smaller communities were getting more direct flights. I submit that that can also apply to rail services.
From 1978 to 1981 in America, consumer prices rose by about 60%. Over the same period, after deregulation, airline fares rose by 50%. So the result of deregulation was cheaper and better transport for the man in the street, which is what our regulations should, but do not do.
Air deregulation has also worked in Australia, whose situation is perhaps more similar to that in South Africa.
I am tired of seeing headlines such as I saw on 29 April 1984: “See Sunny South Africa and pay through the nose.” That report goes on to say that South Africa is the most expensive travel destination in the world. John Reid, the chairman of the Tourism Association of Southern Africa (TASA) said:
The reasons he cites for this are, among others, pool-partner schemes which negate cheaper South African fares, and the protection of internal transport against free enterprise. This Budget has now seen the start of a whole new scheme to benefit the SATS at the expense of the private haulier. The SATS are exploiting its control over the harbours of this country to benefit the railways at the expense of the private haulier. They are now going to give 10% discount on wharfage rates to the customer who rails containers into or from a particular port. They are, in effect, saying that whoever uses the Railways to go to the harbours will enjoy a cut in harbour fees as well. Is this fair? Is this not abuse by the SATS of its control over both the harbours and the railways? Certainly, the private haulier cannot, therefore, compete on an equal basis with the Railways.
Since I have got to this subject, I may mention that the harbours are of course the star performers of the whole transport system. For the year 1985 the revised estimates are that harbours will make R415 million, while the original estimate was R264 million. The harbours of this country are subsidizing the whole rail transport system. Is this, in fact, fair to ports such as Port Elizabeth and East London? Those ports badly need help, yet they are subsidizing transport right around the country.
What should we look for in regard to future transport policy? I believe we definitely need a strong move towards deregulation, decentralization and privatization. I have already covered deregulation. Concerning decentralization, let me pose three questions. First, why should rail, air and harbours be the preserve of only one organization? Secondly, should we not have three separate organizations for these three sectors? And thirdly, could the harbours not consist of a port authority for each port, as happens in other countries? I hope these questions will be considered by the National Transport Policy Study Group. It works elsewhere. It works in other countries of the world, and I believe it would work here— perhaps to the advantage of us all. One cannot expand on that without having made a detailed study; and I think the National Transport Policy Study Group should be able to make that detailed study.
As to privatization—I raised this in last year’s debate in regard to SAA—we have done it to a limited extent with Sasol. So why cannot we do it with the transport sector? Again, should the National Transport Policy Study Group not be considering this aspect? Perhaps they are. I hope so because I believe that there can be great advantages. As I have said before, the time available in this debate does not allow me to develop these arguments, but of one thing I am certain. The transport system in this country is in desperate need of a total overhaul.
The SATS have a board, the South African Transport Services Board, which consists of the Minister, three commissioners and a secretary. The cost of the Minister’s and the SATS Board is budgeted at R1 534 000 for 1985-86.
Yes, this is just for the one year and, of course, it is a very substantial sum. Moreover, I do not believe that the Minister’s salary is included in this figure because that is paid by the Department of Transport.
The functions of this board are defined in the South African Transport Services Act, and basically they are to deal with matters of policy concerning the administration and working of the SATS. The present incumbents are worthy men but they have all been drawn from only one source, and that is a political one. What experience did they have, other than political experience, when they were appointed? We believe this is part of the gravy train, the gravy train of the NP. I believe it is time to break away from this system and appoint a different type of board. What I suggest is a two-tier system. There should be a management board consisting of the executives of the SATS, and a policy board to be appointed by the Minister, and that board should be representative of the public and the private sector. The members should not be chosen for their political convictions but for their ability in their field. The chairman should be independent of the interests groups represented on the board and obviously should be a highly respected and competent person.
The board should include, obviously, the SATS General Manager, the Director General of Transport, and then one representative each from and nominated by commerce, industry, mining, agriculture, probably the Consumer Council, plus a specified number of members appointed for their expertise in the transport field, one of whom should be conversant with labour practices. Perhaps the hon member for Pinelands could be one of them. We believe that a board of this nature would offer great advantages to both the SATS and the private sector, and thus create a situation which would be to the advantage of all South Africa.
I want now to get to the subject of the first two legs of the amendment, and that is discrimination. It is a sad commentary on the South African Government that every year we have to return to the subject of discrimination on the SATS. I can assure the House that as long as discrimination on the grounds of the colour of a man’s skin is practised by the SATS, so long will we keep raising the issue here. We are accused of always raising the issue of colour but that, of course, is the direct result of the practice of apartheid in this land. I am happy to undertake that when the SATS no longer practices discrimination, I will no longer raise it in SATS’ debates. [Interjections.]
At the outset, let us give SATS credit for what it has done in this regard, although I cannot call these steps much more than the first tottering steps towards adulthood. However, many of these discriminatory practices are not of their making and I do not blame them. The laws of this very House are themselves to blame. Let me quote section 6 of the Conditions of Employment (South African Transport Services) Act, 1983:
When one considers that there are four independent homelands and there are millions of Blacks living in this country who are no longer South African citizens because of an edict of this Government, then one begins to realize the scope of the problem. I see that the SATS emply 41 368 people who are citizens of independent states or the homelands of South Africa. This is, therefore, not a small problem; it is a major problem.
The outcome of all this is that there are different categories of employees which are based on skin colour. The permanent employees are in the best position, and all the lower categories have declining salaries, pension benefits, medical aid benefits and leave benefits. It is only the permanent employees who are protected by the Conditions of Employment (South African Transport Services) Act of 1983. Section 6(2)(a) provides that the employment of a casual of regular employee “shall be regulated exclusively by such conditions as may be agreed upon at the time of his employment”.
The trick is that, while the Act actually makes no mention of race, the five categories of employee are decided on the skin colour of the people concerned. They are “permanent”, ie Whites who have more than two years’ service; “temporary”, ie Whites with less than two years’ service; “casual”, who are Coloureds, Indians and Blacks who are not members of a pension fund; “regular employees”, who are Coloureds, Indians and Blacks who become members of a pension fund after two years; and “contract workers”, who receive none of the benefits of the other categories and who, of course, are Black. To take just one little example of how this works, let us look at air hostesses—I know that that is a very pleasant pastime which the hon the Minister enjoys. In 1984 2 601 Whites applied to become air hostesses and 322 were appointed; 123 Coloureds applied and only 1 was appointed; 90 Asians applied and only 3 were appointed; and 1 138 Blacks applied and not a single one was appointed.
There was no discrimination.
Patently it is very difficult to get a job as an air hostess if one is not White. My experience of those who have made the grade is that they are first class. Perhaps the standards that are set for them in their applications are too high. Certainly, the ones we have are absolutely first class.
Do you want to lower the standards to accommodate Blacks? [Interjections.]
What I am saying is that I think that the standards could be too high if one looks at these applications. As at 1 February 1985 there was not one single Black air hostess in the whole of South African Airways. There were 7 air and 11 ground hostesses from the Coloured group; there were 7 air and 3 ground hostesses from the Asian group—a total of only 28. None of them are permanent employees despite periods of employment of up to 7 years and 3 months.
We understand that this is going to fall away, but when? A 5-phase plan to equate these categories was agreed to by the SATS and its staff associations in 1983. Phase I has been implemented and the salaries of six grades have been affected. Phase 2 will not be implemented this year because no general salary adjustments are to be made and these phases only come in when a general salary adjustment is made. I understand from a statement in the standing committee that it will cost some R300 million to implement fully the 5 phases of anti-discrimination.
I believe that all of it should be done this year. I believe we owe it to our fellow South Africans. To find the money in order to do it, I need only refer again to the depreciation reserve on replacement value. On 31 December 1984 this stood at R2 116,9 million— a huge pool of financial resources. I think there is something wrong with my figures here. I think they have been mistyped; as I recall it was R1 600 million which is still an enormous amount of money. I would rather see us perhaps use somewhat older equipment and use some of this money to eliminate apartheid measures in the SATS than use it for buying new equipment. In 1983-84 we put R546 million aside and in 1985-86 it would not be unreasonable to assume that this will rise to R600 million. I ask that half of that figure—that is all we want—be used for the purpose of doing away with discriminatory employment practices.
Then we come to discrimination in service to the public. While I am addressing this House, there are trains running in the Peninsula carrying signs that say “Whites Only”. There are stations with waiting rooms for Whites only. Surely the days of this type of sign have gone. We saw a week or so ago a meeting in Sea Point accept integrated beaches. Why should the SATS lag behind? The Post Office is integrated to a much larger extent. Why should SATS lag behind?
In October last year I visited a museum in memory of Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi. The central display showed Gandhi being thrown off a “Whites Only” train in South Africa. This, we were told, was one of the events which had the strongest influence on his life. It made me ashamed of what my countrymen have done all those years ago. That we should still do the same things today is untenable. It happened to Colin Croft not long ago, and just over a year ago it became known that President’s Council members who were not White had special VIP status. It was Lofty Adams who said: “This is an affront to my dignity”. He said of the apology to Colin Croft by the SATS—and I quote:
In the meantime you travel in your Mercedes-Benz, you “fat cat”.
It is the hon the Minister who travels in a Mercedes-Benz, Sir; I do not have one. He also has a chauffeur for whom the taxpayers pay. In fact, they pay for the Mercedes-Benz as well. [Interjections.] Let me make myself clear: I do not blame the SATS for this. It simply carries out the policy decisions made by this Government. The buck stops with this Minister and, if he is not prepared to do something about it, let us find a Minister who will. [Interjections.] Perhaps that Minister should come from the House of Delegates. The Indian rail system is an exceptionally profitable one; they are doing very well indeed.
Unfortunately my time in this debate is practically at an end. In the last moments available to me, I just want to comment briefly on the standing committee. The fact is that we sat around a table in a standing committee to discuss this budget, but we did not have any figures in front of us at all at the time. Why not? I believe it is because the Government Printer had not printed them in time. They only arrived later that morning. There we sat to discuss a multi-million rand budget and we had not a single figure available. Even had the figures been available, the amount of time after the Minister’s speech and before the meeting was such that we would have had very little opportunity to read and digest them properly and make some beneficial use of them. I think we need to have another look at this system in relation to budgets. This is the first budget that has been handled in this way …
It was a mistake. I am very sorry about it. Next year it will be rectified.
Sure, but even if that is rectified next year, there is not really time between getting the figures and going into that standing committee. There is usually going to be perhaps one evening to study the figures, because the hon the Minister delivers his speech on the Wednesday afternoon, the documents are given to us and we go into the meeting the next morning to discuss the budget. We are dealing with something like R8 000 million. How can we really be expected to come up with anything worthwhile and beneficial? Is it not possible for us to get some figures and documentation, even if it is during the previous month, so that, when we sit down to discuss the SATS Budget, which is a very important subject indeed, we at least can do so with some knowledge?
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central began his speech by making a few good remarks about this year’s budget which we shall finish dealing with one of these days, and about the coming budget. One appreciates the fact that he congratulated the General Manager of the SATS and his staff on their achievement and their exceptional proficiency.
Almost immediately, however, the hon member said that he could not agree with the manner in which the profits had been made during the past year and with the projected shortage, which he knew would be rectified. He praised the SATS, said how wonderful things were and spoke of their very great competence and efficiency. No one wants to argue with the hon member about this, but in the same speech the hon member asks “that we should have deregulation and that we should think about privatization” for many of the services that the SATS is providing at the moment. If the SATS is doing so well at the moment—and I agree with the hon member on this point— why does he want to fragment an undertaking which functions so well and so profitably and is so efficient? He wants to separate the harbours, the Airways and the Railways. If it is such a profitable undertaking, why does the hon member want to sell it? For what reason does the hon member think that the Transport Services will be more prosperous under the auspices of private initiative than under its present management, from which one regularly receives compliments for particularly competent ministerial action? Why does the hon gentleman then want to sell it now?
†I think the hon member was scraping the bottom of the barrel. He had very, very little criticism in respect of this Budget. That is why he had to bring in all sorts of extraneous issues. We have often heard that from the hon member. In fact, last year he said that we should sell South African Airways. However, now SAA shows a profit of R4,5 million.
*Last year I could still understand the hon member’s argument because then there was an enormous deficit. The situation is improving now, however, specifically as a result of the methods used by SAA, and because of the plans being implemented. As a result there is an enormous increase in the number of passengers and clients of SAA. I find it strange that the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central now wants to get rid of this undertaking.
When the hon member had eventually exhausted that topic, he said he would like to turn to the subject of the tremendous discrimination which ostensibly still exists in the SATS. He contends that unfairness and injustice towards the other groups exist. The hon member ought to have regular reports at his disposal, however, just as we do. What does one find in them? Under “Manpower and Personnel” in the latest annual report of the SATS we find this important paragraph:
The hon member made special mention of the fact that there are Blacks who are not citizens of the Republic, and that they can now make no progress. The general manager says exactly the opposite in his report, however, and I quote:
As far as my information goes, these points are valid as a result of agreements and negotiation between the various staff associations. The report continues:
I quote these points to indicate to the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central and his kindred spirits, his colleagues, that progress is indeed taking place and that steps are being taken to eliminate the discrimination with regard to personnel. We know, after all, that “the rate for the job” is what counts. If I am correct, the SATS was one of the first undertakings in South Africa which made great strides, taking the initiative, with regard to the abolition of job reservation. In addition the personnel of the SATS receive equal payment for equal responsibility and for equal training. There are not enough Whites to fill these positions in any case. The hon member can go and look at the establishment. He can go and see how much of the work previously was done by Whites in the workshops and in the ordinary staff positions of SA Transport Services, is being done by trained non-Whites today. I do not know therefore why the hon member wants to advance this argument. Is it another pinprick to harm the relations between the various population groups?
I wonder if the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central cannot realize that this sort of conduct is making relations between the various population groups worse instead of better. I hope the hon member will not advance that argument again.
In the year in which the SA Transport Services is celebrating its 75th anniversary, one would like to congratulate the hon the Minister, his general managers and his whole staff on this notable event. They can look back on three-quarters of a century of consistent, wonderful service to the Republic of South Africa, the independent states around us and the national states which are still under our control today. Indeed, they may be congratulated on the service they give the whole of Southern Africa.
On this occasion one would also like to pay tribute to the predecessors of the hon the Minister and his general managers who have all, in turn, made a special contribution to the economic development of the country. The SA Transport Services has not only served the whole hinterland, but has also helped to stimulate the development of our own industry.
The SA Transport Services’ own buying power has seen to this. Only the most essential components are still imported today. All the other capital goods are produced here. Most of the diesel and electric locomotives are assembled here in South Africa.
During the past decade the direct contribution of the SA Transport Services to the gross domestic product has averaged 5,56% per year. The 235 000 employees of the SA Transport Services represent 4,7% of the work force in the non-agricultural sector.
The fixed investments of the SA Transport Services amount to between 55% and 65% of the total gross investment by the transport, storage and communication sectors. In the 1984-85 financial year the total expenditure of the SA Transport Services has amounted to approximately R9 000 million. This amount must make an impressive impact on economic activity. In the last 10 years tariffs—this includes all services— were raised by about 1,9%, whereas the inflation rate in South Africa during the same period was 12,8%.
†There are many other achievements of the SA Transport Services that one can mention on an occasion like this. Containerization has brought about a revolutionary change in the handling of freight and cargo. Today we employ the most modern fuel-saving aircraft. Electrification of railway lines has made South Africa less dependent on fuel which has to be imported. Soon electric-traction will cope with approximately 78% of the total ton-kilometres generated.
We know that trains are today running much shorter hours on all the journeys we can think of. Freight is despatched and delivered more speedily. One can say with conviction and sincerity that this is a vast business undertaking, and, as such, the SATS has fulfilled its obligations with efficiency and with due regard to sound financial and economic principles. Not only the hon the Minister, but his whole management team, can be justly proud. So can all those thousands of employees, both White and non-White, be proud of their achievements. I think it should also be the pride of all South Africans.
By employing good methods in management, by promoting cordial international relations and by keeping up with change all around us, the SATS has led the way in many respects. With a sluggish economic situation, internally and externally, as the inevitable background, the SATS has had to adjust and adapt without losing sight of its goal of providing a service to its clients. Despite the fact that the worker complement was reduced by 16% between 1982 and last year, a 12,9% increase in productivity was achieved. This is really quite an achievement.
*We know that the SATS has received compliments in all financial circles because, despite a decrease in the number of employees, it could increase its rate of productivity to such an extent. Strangely enough, it is the private sector that congratulated the SATS.
The hon member for Port Elizabeth Central mentioned that the SATS had shown a surplus of R74 million in 1984. This year, 1985, the books are only just balancing. What is of great importance to me, however, is that the SATS should not fly higher than its wings allow. When there is a shortage of money, the minimum but still essential projects are undertaken. Financing costs remain too high for unlimited expansion. One cannot expect others to tighten their belts, if a State undertaking like the SATS does not set an example too. I think that in this connection the SATS is indeed setting an example. A certain amount is budgeted on the capital programme, but if it is possible to cut down on expenses, this is done and this was proved in the past financial year. It is right that this should happen. Not only are sacrifices being asked for, but sacrifices are also being made and showing results.
I also want to refer to the appointment of Dr De Villiers to investigate, together with management, the financial and organizational structure of the SATS. This is welcomed. It proves firstly that the SATS is not prepared to rest on its laurels, but is even prepared to call in the private sector. In addition it shows that the SATS has nothing to hide and will welcome any further recommendations to encourage good management, to encourage training and to emphasize economic priorities for good service and efficiency. We know that the SATS is fighting a losing battle to retain its share in the total transport market and to try to expand it.
The organization definitely does not want everything for itself. Therefore I find it strange that the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central made the point that the SATS is being benefited in contrast with the private sector. The hon member surely knows what the figures are: The SATS has received less and less of the transport market. How can the hon member say that the SATS is benefiting itself when there is an enormous increase in the share that the private sector has in the South African transport market? [Interjections.] The organization does not want everything for itself. That is why the whole marketing process is aimed at achieving client satisfaction. It must be a speedy and sprightly service for the industrialist, the farmer and the businessman. The container traffic in South Africa has caused an increase of 11% in the tonnage high-rated traffic. This is where the competition is keenest— the high-rated transport market. The SATS has transported 11% more.
The losses on passenger services remain a headache, however. At the moment the losses amount to approximately R900 million. In some or other way—and I do not want to say any more about it—these losses will have to be made good. In this year of celebration the hon the Minister would surely have wanted to avoid tariff increases. The deficit of R750 million for the 1985-86 financial year must be rectified however. That is why rail and air fares had to be adjusted in February. But the income on all goods traffic will only be increased by 7,6%. After all the increases there will still be a shortage of R192 million in the new financial year. I want to repeat what I said earlier: We must not budget for deficits. If we could adopt a good financial policy to any extent, “then we would avoid deficit budgeting”. I think the SATS is trying to do this.
As these previous shortages have been cancelled by economizing, by efficiency and by high productivity, one can only hope that the SATS will succeed in cancelling the loss once again. One admires the SATS’ ability to pull its weight even more in this regard. One does not know to what extent this capability will still be tested in future.
Lastly, let me say—and I feel free to say this—that the savings methods of the SATS are succeeding in their aim. The high productivity of a decreased work force keeps the wheels rolling. The service fulfils its role as our most important transport service. In addition I can say that it is a capable management team which has ensured that we are getting a good return on the capital invested in this undertaking. Nor does the organization flinch from the socio-economic obligations which it must honour in so many respects, even if the compensation for these is sadly lacking. There should be appreciation for the role that this organization plays as an employer, which goes much further than its own establishment. The employees of this organization make great personal sacrifices even though they too are weighed down by inflationary pressures and the high cost of living. When the country again moves away from the economic recession and high interest rates and consumer spending can perhaps be encouraged once more, their position will definitely be reconsidered. It is certainly not desirable for their life expectations to remain unfulfilled in this regard.
It gives me great pleasure to support the hon the Minister’s Appropriation.
Mr Chairman, on 31 May of this year the SATS will celebrate its 75th anniversary as the national conveyor of the Republic of South Africa. I should like to congratulate the hon the Minister, the SATS Board, the General Manager and his top management and all the staff members on this wonderful milestone for the South Africa Railways and Harbours, as it used to be called.
It is interesting that in 1910 the total capital investment was only R180 million and that this investment has grown so much that it exceeded R15 000 million in the 1983-84 financial year. It is also interesting to look at the old South Africa Act, the Union Act, and I am quoting from section 127 which stipulated how the Railways should function. Section 127 reads:
and I want to emphasize this:
Unfortunately for the agriculturalist in South Africa in particular, this Act was then amended and this amendment introduced a shift in emphasis. In consequence section 7 of the new Act now reads as follows:
The SATS has made a major contribution to the development of industries in South Africa. In 1910, for example, goods to the value of R5 million were purchased and of this amount R1,3 million were spent locally. During the 1983-84 financial year goods to the value of R1 419 million were purchased, of which amount more than R1 000 million were spent locally. From small beginnings in 1910 the SATS has grown into a world giant in its field. I should like to tell the Railways people that we wish them everything of the best. May the next 75 years be very successful for them.
Mr Chairman, I move as a further amendment:
- (1) by failing to announce the increase in goods tariffs and passenger fares simultaneously, presented a confusing image of the true circumstances in connection with the South African Transport Services;
- (2) by increasing transport tariffs for agricultural products and other commodities, has shown that he has not taken the interests of the agricultural sector and the consumer into proper account;
- (3) is integrating passenger services and is failing to take and to maintain the necessary separation measures on trains, stations and premises of the South African Transport Services; and
- (4) fails to look properly after the interests of the White worker in the service of the South African Transport Services.”.
I find it strange that adjustments to passenger fares were introduced on 6 February of this year, only 14 days before the hon the Minister introduced his budget. If the reason for this was that the hon the Minister wanted to obtain additional revenue by means of the earlier announcement, this indicates that the SATS is in a terrible state. For that reason I prefer to believe that the hon the Minister’s motive was most probably to ease the budget shock somewhat. We would appreciate it if the hon the Minister would take us into his confidence and give us the real reason for this anomaly.
The shock effect of the tariff adjustments, no matter how moderate they may be, has not yet been felt by the people, but will only be felt when trade and industry pass the increased costs of their products through to the consumer. Then the people in South Africa are really going to realize what has hit them. My sympathy lies with the farmers who cannot increase the prices of their products to cover the increased rail freights. Although industries use a great deal of diesel, it is the farmer’s main source of energy in his production process. The increase of 12,5% in the transport costs of livestock, 13,9% for fresh fruit, the increase in the transport costs of potatoes and sugar cane, to mention but a few, are burdens the farmers will not be able to bear. The financial position of most farmers is desperate and these increases are a further nail in their financial coffins.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member say I hate the farmers?
Order! The hon member may proceed.
The value of the farmer’s product is continuing to drop, while the production costs are continuing to rise. During the past few weeks we had the situation that the price of fertilizer rose by 21%, while the price of farm diesel rose by 26%. The hon the Minister’s colleague is also expected to increase the price of fuel again in June.
In accordance with Standing Order No 19, the House adjourned at