House of Assembly: Vol2 - THURSDAY 28 FEBRUARY 1985


Order! The hon member for Bezuidenhout has asked me for an opportunity of making a statement apropos of a certain ruling given yesterday by the Chairman of the House. I now gladly give him the opportunity of doing so.


Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity afforded me of making the following statement.

In my speech yesterday during the Second Reading debate on the Transport Services Appropriation Bill, when I said that I was misquoting Disraeli who said that the Conservative Party was an organized hypocrisy, I meant to substitute the Nationalist Party. Inadvertently, however, I substituted the word “Government” for “Party”. It was not my intention to reflect upon the Government per se and I accordingly withdraw this reference to the Government.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Additional Appropriation Bill which is now being presented to this House, has as its object the appropriation of money in the amount of R97 544 000 for the financing of the additional expenditure of the departments incorporated in the Administration: House of Assembly. The amount of R97 544 000 which this House is being asked to appropriate, is made up as follows among the five departments of this Administration:

(a) Vote 1: “Health Services and Welfare”

R4 069 000

(b) Vote 2: “Agriculture and Water Supply”

R88 085 000

(c) Vote 3: “Education and Culture”

R2 150 000

(d) Vote 4: “Local Government, Housing and Works”

R85 000

(e) Vote 5: “Budgetary and Auxiliary Services” ….

R3 155 000

R97 544 000

I should like to draw hon members’ attention to the fact that the Administration estimates that an amount of R18 million of own revenue will be collected in order to finance the above-mentioned services under the respective votes. This will mean that in effect only an amount of R79 544 000 will have to be transferred from the State Revenue Account to the Revenue Account of the House of Assembly. This revenue is obtained from internal and external service charges, and no levies in terms of section 3 of the Revenue Accounts Financing Act, 1984 are involved in this.

For the information of hon members I now want to proceed to deal with the relevant votes of each department separately.

Vote 1: Health Services and Welfare:

Of the amount of R4 069 000 which is being requested for Health Services and Welfare, R2 458 000 represents mainly the carry over of salary improvements which were effected after the main appropriation for the 1984-85 financial year had already been finalized. This is a direct consequence of the implementation of occupational differentiation, with the result that provision could not be made for this expenditure.

In addition an amount of R1 611 000 is required for the subsidizing of welfare services, namely homes for the aged, homes for the handicapped, sheltered employment, rehabilitation centres for alcoholics, homes for blind persons, children’s homes and places of care.

Vote 2: Agriculture and Water Supply:

Of the amount of R88 085 000 that the House is being requested to appropriate, about R75 000 000 represents mainly financial assistance to farmers with regard to production loans, interest subsidies with regard to carry over debt and interest subsidies with regard to Landbank loans in the designated areas.

For the information of hon members I should like to point out that the financial assistance given to farmers is associated with factors over which the Government and the Ministers’ Council have no control. It follows therefore that the expenditure represents assistance rendered to those communities who need it badly as a result of the prolonged drought conditions.

The balance of approximately R13 000 000 which is being requested, is needed for recurrent expenditure, as well as repairs to waterworks as a result of the flood damage by cyclone Domoina.

Vote 3: Education and Culture:

For this vote an amount of R2 128 000 is required for salary improvements to university educators. The universities could not adjust their tariffs in time to make provision for the additional salary expenditure with effect from 1 October 1984, with the result that the subsidies had to be increased.

In addition an amount of R22 000 is needed with regard to financial assistance to declared cultural institutions, inter alia in respect of housing subsidies and employers’ contributions to pension and provident funds.

Vote 4: Local Government, Housing and Works:

The amount of R85 000 is needed mainly for salary-related expenditure, inter alia as a result of the establishment of this new department.

Vote 5: Budgetary and Auxiliary Services:

Of the amount of R3 155 000 which the House is requested to appropriate, approximately R2 705 000 is estimated for salaries and salary-related expenditure. This amount is mainly in respect of staff who were transferred from the affected “mother departments” to this department of the Administration, and for whom inadequate funds were appropriated by the departments from which the personnel was taken over.

Furthermore, an amount of approximately R450 000 is required for office equipment and security services associated with the establishing of this new Administration.

For the information of hon members, I should like to point out that the Department of Budgetary and Auxiliary Services, as the name implies, exercises, inter alia, overall financial control over the Administration: House of Assembly.

The Department is also responsible for all personnel and general administrative functions of the other four departments of this Administration.

As I have explained, the total amount of R97 544 000 mainly represents expenditure in respect of existing recurrent services and programmes taken over from the affected “mother departments” of the central Government with the implementation of the new constitutional dispensation.

This implies that additional funds would in any event have been required by the departments from which the services and programmes were taken over. Allow me to reiterate that all the services in connection with the new constitutional dispensation are as yet not rendered by the Administration. In this regard I should like to mention the services of the provincial administrations as far as own affairs are concerned.

A decision by the Government in this respect will in all probability be taken in the not too distant future following technical and other investigations and consultation with the provincial administrations.

I should, however, like to assure the House that the Administration: House of Assembly has been functioning in a satisfactory manner as from the date of implementation which was only seven months ago.

I should also like to express my gratitude to the Chairman and my colleagues of the Ministers’ Council and the officials of this Administration as well as to the officials of the “mother departments” for the outstanding successes and achievements accomplished in the short period from 3 September 1984 to date in establishing this new Administration.

In conclusion, permit me to say that I shall elaborate on the activities and functions which fall under the jurisdiction of the Administration: House of Assembly during the presentation of the main Budget for the 1985-86 financial year.


Mr Speaker, this a unique occasion for two reasons. Firstly, of course, these are the first additional estimates in the House of Assembly in the new dispensation. The second reason, which is actually quite more remarkable, is that this is the first time that we have in my knowledge of Parliament—my knowledge goes even further than my presence here—ever discussed additional estimates without having discussed the estimates. This is a unique situation in that as a body, even though the power is traditionally vested in Parliament to vote the money, we have not had an opportunity of dealing with the estimates for the House of Assembly at all, while we are being asked to deal with the additional estimates to the estimates with which we have not dealt. That certainly is unique in parliamentary history not only in South Africa but I would imagine anywhere in the world. It is something most remarkable.

What has happened is that today for the first time we see the amounts that have been appropriated in terms of the amendment to the Exchequer and Audit Act, in particular section 2(2), by the hon the Minister of Finance acting together with the relevant members of the Minister’s Council. It is a most remarkable situation because I see here written on the piece of paper that is in front of me “Original Estimate”. I want to tell the hon the Minister that “original estimate” does not mean original estimate; it actually means an amount appropriated by the hon the Minister of Finance in his discretion after consultation. That is the truth and the reality of it. Here we find ourselves in a classic situation in that we are dealing here with the manner in which the power of Parliament as the body which appropriates money has been taken away.

Sir, you are going to rule today that we are only allowed to discuss the additional estimates. When will you allow us to discuss the estimates which have not been put before us? It is a fascinating situation, and I think, with respect, that in this particular debate you must allow us to discuss the whole of these estimates because we have not had an opportunity of discussing the estimates. This is a situation which indicates that there is a fundamental power of this Parliament that has been taken away from us and which I promise we do not allow to be taken away without protest.


That is not true.


The hon the Minister says it is not true. That can only mean that he was not consulted, and that simply makes it worse.


That is not true and you know it.


The hon the Minister says it is not true and that I know it. I also know that he is a fool and I know it in every respect and he knows it too, else he would not have made that interjection.


Order! The hon member must withdraw that.


Is the hon the Minister entitled to say that what I am saying is not true and that I know it?


The hon the Minister knows he is not, and I was on the point of telling him when the hon member brought it up.

*The hon the Minister must withdraw that remark.

†The same applies to the hon member for Yeoville.


I withdraw it.


I will withdraw it. I think the hon the Minister must judge for himself, because if he does not know what the provisions of the Exchequer and Audit Act are, then I do not think that he should hold office in this House. [Interjections.] He has no right to hold office in this House.

Let me deal with some fundamental issues that arise from this. Firstly, we are dealing here, among other things, with certain allowances in respect of the department of the hon the Minister himself. I would like to draw attention to a very simple matter—perhaps he will explain it to us—and that is: What is it actually costing to manage the new department as such? If I look at Budgetary and Auxiliary Services I see that the amount transferred in terms of the Exchequer and Audit Act, which is the amount that was transferred by the hon the Minister of Finance, is R5 454 000. That is purely for administration. This amount is being increased by R3 155 000.

We have the breakdown in an explanatory memorandum for which we are indebted to the hon the Minister. I see that it includes his salary of R46 000, and I am pleased that it does not include the salary of the other hon Minister who made an interjection earlier, because I might have had some views about removing it. It also includes R1,750 million for management with R2 million being the revised figure. This gives us a total figure of R2 million with an additional R250 000.

I tried to get hold of similar documentation in regard to the other Houses; apparently there is only one available to us at the moment. For some reason the other one is not. I had a look at the Budgetary provision and the administration amount there is given as R2 797 000 with an additional amount of R499 000.


Where are you reading from?


Where am I reading from? I am reading from “Vote 1: Budgetary and Auxiliary Services” of the House of Representatives. I am quoting comparative figures. I am asking the hon the Minister to tell us in which respect the budgetary services differ among the three Houses in regard to what is required of them and what the structural differences are between our House and the other two Houses.


There is a provincial system …


No, we have just been told that the provincial system has not yet been included. [Interjections.] I think we need to know. We have just heard that the provincial system is not yet there, that it is still coming. No provision has been made for it this year. It is going to appear in next year’s estimate, if I understood him correctly. I think this needs explanation.

Another matter is the increases in respect of provision for staff and salary. I want to tackle this in two ways. Firstly, the hon the Minister says that he took over from certain departments which had made inadequate funds available to him because money had not been adequately appropriated. I understand that that is not his fault, except for the concept of collective responsibility on the part of the Cabinet.


Funds were appropriated for those departments.


I cannot understand how anybody could have appointed that gentleman a Minister when he does not know that we had a main Budget at the beginning of the year and that we then passed a special law to enable the hon the Minister of Finance to appropriate funds for the House of Assembly. If I had more time I would read it to him. If the hon the Minister would just stop displaying his ignorance, we would not all think he was so foolish.


Where do these funds come from?


Has the hon the Minister not read the Exchequer and Audit Act? Has he not read section 2? With great respect, I think he needs some kind of help.

The issue I want to raise in respect of staff is far more serious. It arises out of an announcement made yesterday by the hon the Minister of Home Affairs, relating to the question of productivity.

I want to tell the hon the Minister that in dealing with his staff and with staff as a whole, there is a way of getting people to work harder and to be more productive. One of the ways in which to do it, is to give them incentives to work more, to work longer hours, to work more intensively and to be more productive. If I read the hon the Minister of Home Affairs’ statement wrongly, the hon the Minister must please correct me. One of the ways in which not to encourage people to work harder, is to cut their salaries. One can have wage and salary freezes only when one has price freezes. One cannot have an increase in the cost of living of just under 14%—it is actually probably higher— and then freeze salaries so that in real terms one is actually reducing salaries. I have not spoken about any compulsory freeze of salaries and wages or a compulsory freeze of prices. However, we have to negotiate and see to it that, on a voluntary basis, a price freeze is instituted in South Africa. The Government has been increasing prices and is now considering freezing salaries, so that in real terms the purchasing power of workers is going down. This one cannot have. There are ways and means of encouraging productivity. Workers who retire or resign need not always be replaced. However, there has to be an incentive to work and if that incentive is not maintained, measures towards productivity are not going to work. I appeal to the hon the Minister to keep this in mind.


Mr Speaker, the CP has already said very clearly on a previous occasion that it finds the new dispensation monstrous. As far as this Additional Appropriation is concerned, I want to thank the hon the Minister for the additional information with which he provided us. I think, however, that the way in which the departments were divided up in the case of own affairs was completely autocratic. How were these departments divided up previously? I think Parliament should have been better informed about this, so that one could have discussed these matters more meaningfully.

As far as the House of Assembly is concerned, there are five Ministers who deal solely with own affairs, whereas there is only one director-general. If only one director-general can do all the work of the House of Assembly’s own affairs, I think that only one Minister can do so too. Is the extent of the work and responsibility of any of these Ministers greater than that of an ordinary MEC in the Transvaal? I do not think so. I am convinced that if ever money was wasted, it is with regard to these own affairs. Ultimately everything is general affairs, after all. The Whites are being bluffed and led up the garden path where own affairs are concerned. The Constitution provides that virtually every own affair is subject to a general law. If one calculates the State expenditure entailed by a Minister with a core staff of four to five people, together with their travel and board and lodging expenses, housing etc, I wonder what the total costs involved will amount to. I am of the opinion that the expenses involved in four of these portfolios could have been saved. The same applies to the Ministers’ Councils of the other two Chambers. I should like the hon the Minister of the Budget to tell us what the expenses involved in such a portfolio are.

I am very pleased that a certain matter is not subject to a general law. It concerns the Minister of Agriculture and Water Supply, and is something which is not an own affair of the other two Houses. It is stated very clearly in the Constitution. This matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of general affairs. It falls under own affairs. Item 8 of Schedule 1 reads as follows:

Water supply, comprising the following, namely—irrigation schemes; drilling for water for agricultural and local government purposes.

We should be very grateful for what is in fact given to the farmers. There is no one in South Africa who will not be grateful when something is given to him.


We are dealing only with own affairs now.


But I am saying that water supply is one of the two matters in the entire Constitution to fall under own affairs, because the other 12 are all subject to a general law of Parliament. Ultimately, therefore, they are not own affairs. Here sits the hon the Minister of Education and Culture. His department is subject to a general law. It is not an own affair over which he has sovereign power and the sole say.

We see that the amount appropriated for the creation of State-supported irrigation schemes was R11,564 million. It has decreased slightly. There is a decrease of R150 000 and that includes boreholes. This year, when this drought was at its worst, the subsidy for boreholes was one of the items from which aid was withdrawn. The hon the Minister could not increase the subsidy. Instead he actually decreased it by R150 000. Eleven million rand is being wasted, however, on decorations for the Union Building in Pretoria. It is not as if the building was falling to pieces. Could the hon the Minister not have asked for that R11 million to be used for this community? Does the hon the Minister realize that it is not only the farmer and his employees who will be kept on the farm in this way, but that the farmer also produces food for every resident of the cities? I should like to know from the hon the Minister, since this is supposedly an own affairs matter, what he has done to use his influence to make better use of money such as this? That money could have been used for the benefit of the farming community which has to produce food for the population of South Africa.

When we come to the various votes, I shall put further questions. In the meantime these few remarks will suffice.


Mr Speaker, it is obvious how some of the hon members voted in the referendum. The hon member for Yeoville and the hon member for Sunnyside still have no intention of taking that beating. I know that the hon member for Yeoville was also involved in Wesbank at one stage. He also knows about take-overs and what happened there.


I refuse to sell out my people!


I shall still get around to the hon member for Sunnyside. What it amounts to is that when one begins with a new constitution, when there is a changeover, one must virtually begin with a completely new system of bookkeeping and I think the hon member for Yeoville knows this. He says that Parliament is now being deprived of its powers, because he does not have precise comparative figures. But if he had done his homework he would have known better. He is a member of the Select Committee on Public Accounts, and he is familiar with the detailed figures of last year’s appropriation. The figures of all these departments are given there in detail. All that is happening now is that it is being divided. When the full appropriation and subsequently the statements of the Auditor-General are presented, he will not be so stupid that he cannot see the connection. But he was asking things here, very noisily, and with a great deal of point-scoring, he wanted those systems to be completed immediately. I think this is most unfair. When he was in business he never succeeded in doing that. That is why he is in politics.


May I ask the hon member a question?


He had his turn. I am not yet finished with him. He told the Minister of the Budget here that wages should not be frozen, because we have inflation. Real wages should not be reduced now. He said that real wages should not be reduced and that we should rather adjust to inflation. That just shows how little he knows about economy. I want to tell him that the British Minister of Finance said the other day that in times of inflation one of the greatest possible problems is caused by real wages rising rapidly. But he comes along and says that we must let them rise. [Interjections.] No, Sir, one must not make a fuss here about ill-considered things. He was simply trying to steal a march. When inflation was fairly high in Germany two or three years ago, the German Public Service accepted a reduction in salaries to fight inflation. But the hon member for Yeoville says we must not do this, we must increase salaries. [Interjections.] He said people should do this of their own free will.

I now come to the hon member for Sunnyside. When he looks at own affairs, over and over again we find that he looks at a single item. He knows just as well as I do that to a major extent the Provinces also fall under own affairs. He knows just as well as I do that local authorities are also own affairs. I suppose he did not read his Constitution. It is of no interest to him. Now he comes here and talks about a building that is being renovated. This is also a matter of priorities. But I want to tell him that we all realize that problems are being experienced in agriculture. I do not think there is a single hon member on our side who is not aware that there are problems in agriculture. Not everyone in agriculture has problems. Some people had good crops. Particularly with the weak currency I think that the wool farmers cannot always complain. Some of our friends in the deciduous fruit industry in the Cape have no real reason to complain either. But some of our people are experiencing problems because of the drought. I think an amount of R88 million is being budgeted for agriculture. This also includes interest rate assistance.

We sympathize with the farmers in this time of high interest rates. We have to combat inflation because this will be for the best in the long term. But how does one fight inflation? One fights it with high interest rates. This is one of the most important methods. I think the hon member for Sunnyside will agree with this. There is no other way of fighting inflation. Of course high interest rates are detrimental to our farmers. It makes things difficult for our farmers. But this Government is prepared to assist the farmers with the increased interest rates. We do not have very much before us today, but we are laying the foundations, we are commenting to a new system. The picture is not yet complete and I feel that to voice unfair criticism at this stage almost amounts to blasphemy.

I take pleasure in supporting this additional appropriation because we are heading in the right direction.


Mr Speaker, once again we have before us a Bill about which I find one cannot argue very much because one has no precedents from which to work. Were it not for the colossal sum required for agriculture, with which I am not remotely going to quarrel, the sums involved would be very, very small indeed. I would like to say, however, that the House of Assembly Administration, its home affairs, is something which I think is going to present us with a lot of problems in the near future. However, how one can assess or judge anything at the moment when the Administration is not handling most of its affairs, I really do not know. At the present stage, with the Provincial Administration system carrying on as of yore—and those are the functions that are to be handled by the House of Assembly Administration—one cannot tell whether the Administration is going to be efficient or inefficient, wasteful or not, except in one respect on which I should like to comment specifically to indicate that even in this field one cannot afford to be wasteful—I know I may be deviating slightly from the functions of this House at this particular time. I refer to the huge expenditure to provide accommodation for one of the other Houses of Parliament in Durban. It involves some R8,5 million for renting property. I cannot help but feel that a little imagination could have been used, and that premises that presently exist could have been put to use. I refer, for instance, to the Provincial Senate buildings in Pietermaritzburg. If the White affairs are going to be handled in Pietermaritzburg, I really see no good reason why the affairs of the other communities cannot also be handled there. I believe that this is one of the reasons why we are in such a devilish mess in South Africa today. We do not try to find more economical ways of doing things. No, we want the grand gesture, the magnificent edifice. I am sorry to say that unless we really make a solid effort, we are going to be in trouble.

I should like to just touch on one matter which is a very topical matter. I am sorry that the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition is not here at the moment. He was here; that was why I did not send a message across to him.


He is in the House of Delegates at the moment.


I see. Well, I am sorry to have to speak without his being present. However, I assume that, in respect of the situation now—own affairs—the PFP accepts the fact that we do have “own affairs”. I was very interested to read an article about a speech given by the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition while he was lunching at the Cape Town Press Club. According to this article, he said we had entered a new era in South African politics and that we had moved from the era of confrontation to that of negotiation. Well, I am very pleased to hear it, but I would just mention in passing that I have not noticed a great deal of it so far. Nonetheless, I accept that that is the case. However, I would like to know whether the PFP accepts the fact that we do have own affairs and that we have to work for these own affairs. [Interjections.]

In the past, the PFP opposed the Schlebusch Commission, they opposed the President’s Council and they opposed the creation of the new Constitution. Moreover, at that very same meeting the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition indicated that the constitutional changes that had come about, had come about as a consequence of the pressure exerted by the PFP. I was really quite surprised when I read that. I would like to know which part of the existing Constitution conforms to PFP policy. That is what I would just like to know.


Was he not talking about the State President’s announcements in his opening address?


Well, this is why I come back to the point. We are now dealing with own affairs, with negotiation politics, and I am just wanting to know whether we are in fact going to get genuine negotiation in respect of these affairs. [Interjections.]


Are you getting ready to follow Ron?


Oh, please, gentlemen. Please, please make your own speeches in your own time—if you are capable of doing it! [Interjections.]

I do, however, ask that, if we are going to make these noises about having negotiation politics, then please let us indeed have negotiation politics, because every time the hon members on that side of the House stand up to speak in this House, there seems to be confrontation. I have tried to be friendly with both sides of the House during this session in order to obtain the negotiation atmosphere. However, I am finding it a little difficult.


Mr Speaker, we are indeed in a unique situation, as the hon member for Yeoville said. The situation is made even more unique by the fact that the hon member for Yeoville has posed here as a keen seeker of consensus. During our previous debate, he criticized me for not trying to reach consensus. [Interjections.] Yet, what is the hon member doing today? He is practising confrontation; he is attacking the very legal existence of this administration. How does the hon member like that as an example of consensus?


The hon the Minister said he did not want consensus with the Opposition.


I did not say that.


The hon the Minister said that he wanted no consensus with the Opposition.


From which source is the hon member now quoting that I allegedly said I did not want consensus?


The hon the Minister of Finance said he did not want consensus with the Opposition. [Interjections.]


The hon member is kicking up a great fuss now and is saying that we now have to discuss the additional appropriations although we did not discuss the original appropriations. But the hon member has the laws, which we have debated in a democratic way in this House, in front of him. On that occasion we were debating how these distributions should be made. In fact, that hon member and I debated this matter. Now, after having followed the path of democracy, he is once more raising the old trivialities here today. I think the hon member can do better than that and I take it amiss of him for dragging in this kind of argument here today.

In regard to the appropriations referred to here, that is to say, amounts which have already been appropriated, the hon member can only read about a part of the appropriation here. But he knows that the law provides that that unused portion has to be transferred to the new department. It is as simple as that.


Nobody knows how it is apportioned.


The hon member is asking me to tell him what it costs to administer my department. But the figure appears very clearly in the schedule. It is very clearly stated there that the original amount appropriated was R5 454 000; the revised appropriation is R8 609 000, and that is why I am now asking for an additional amount of R3 155 000; in other words, according to our calculation, it costs R8,609 million for 7 months of administration. What is so problematical about that?

The hon member also asked how this administration differed from the other two Administrations. But I think the hon member could at least do a little research too and find that out for himself. Why does he ask me? The hon member has been in politics for much longer than I have and he should know that the Administrations which have been assigned to the various Houses are not necessarily all the same size. As he knows, the farming section operated by the Whites is much larger than those which are, for example, operated by the Coloureds or the Indians. Does he now find it strange that we have a large Department of Agriculture? The same applies to universities, technikons, and hospital services. [Interjections.]

The fact of the matter is that the hon member should have given the matter a little more thought and then he would have realized that he was making an unfair request of me, namely that I should draw a comparison between the respective Administrations.


I am speaking about your Administration.


The hon member then proceeded to refer to insufficient funds which had been transferred to my Department and said that I should, therefore, ask for extra money. But there is nothing unusual about this, there is always an additional appropriation. Or does the hon member know of certain years when there was no additional appropriation?


I know of years when far less was appropriated.


A number of vacancies have also been transferred to my Department; in other words, posts which have, in fact, been created but which have not been filled. Those vacancies in my Department must now be filled and that requires money which was not originally appropriated. At the time the appropriation took place they were vacancies and not filled posts.

In conclusion I should like to refer to the hon member’s plea and insinuation to the effect that the salaries of public servants should be cut. He then issued a warning. I really find it laughable that this hon member should quite suddenly now lodge such an uncalled for plea. That hon member is, to the best of my knowledge, the first man to start a vendetta against the Public Service in this House.


You do not even know what the word means. [Interjections.]


Sir, this hon member does not know everything. He just imagines he does. The hon member, however, is not denying that he started this vendetta. All he can say is that I do not know what the word “vendetta” means, but he is not denying that he started it. It is simply the truth. When that hon member said that we were spending too much I asked him in this House on what we should spend less. At first the hon member did not know, but subsequently said: “Cut bureayucracy”. Now all of a sudden he is the great, unsolicited champion of the public servant.

The Public Service has come a long way, as have the negotiations with the departments involved. It is unnecessary for the hon member to drag the Public Service into this matter for the sake of a little political gain.

The hon member for Sunnyside said that we could combine all five of these departments into one.


One Minister could do all that work.


He says: “One Minister could do all that work.” That hon member is merely giving vent to generalizations. Why did he not stand up and argue his standpoint systematically? Anyone could make a statement like the one he made there. He could even suggest that one Minister could manage all the departments of the Cabinet. When all is said and done, one dictator could do that. So the hon member takes part in the discussion but his arguments are not substantiated. He simply says that money is being wasted in these departments. This hon member, as well as the hon member for Yeoville, are welcome to go over the votes which are being dealt with here. They would see that these amounts of money which are being requested here would have had to be appropriated in any case, as I said in my speech. Even if there had been no own affairs, almost 100% of that money would still have had to be appropriated. Any hon member who studied these figures and saw that they applied to seven months, more than half a year, would come to the conclusion that an own administration for the House of Assembly is, in fact, costing the State very little extra money. I can tell the hon member, as I said in my second reading speech, that this administration got off the ground surprisingly fast and is producing excellent and efficient work. Hon members will gradually become aware of that.

I convey my sincere thanks goes to the hon member for Waterkloof who has already given the hon members for Yeoville and Sunnyside a very good reply.

†The hon member for Umbilo was in a better mood today. [Interjections.]


I am always in a good mood.


I want to thank him for that. The hon member referred to the provincial system still in existence. I concede that. As a matter of fact, I did so in my introductory speech when I said:

A decision by the Government in this respect will in all probability be taken in the not too distant future.

As a matter of fact, Sir, I may add that a report in respect of all these investigations to which I have referred is already in the hands of the Government and we can expect a decision to be reached shortly.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage


Vote 1—“Health Services and Welfare”: *Dr M S BARNARD:

Mr Chairman, according to the explanatory memorandum, an amount of R4 069 000 is being requested by the Department of Health Services and Welfare concerning its additional appropriation for 1984-85. We must see this amount against the background of a question that I put to the hon the Minister of Health Services and Welfare a few weeks ago. I am referring to question 5 of 12 February. In answer to my question with regard to economizing in his department, the hon the Minister said the following:

The Cabinet instructed that the programme be implemented in all Government departments in an effort to bring about an 8% saving on personal expenditure. Productivity of departmental officials will have to increase due to the 8% curtailment in the personal expenditure.

†Mr Chairman, in the light of the hon the Minister’s reply to this question, I should like to ask him why he needs the additional amount of money set out in the explanatory memorandum in respect of programmes 1, 2, 3 and 4 under his Vote. When we discussed the estimates of the Department of Health and Welfare, the hon the Minister explained how much had been saved in respect of each of the individual items in the light of the new plan of the department to curtail expenditure. I would very much like to know what saving there has been in spite of the fact that he has had to ask for these additional amounts.

The hon the Minister also mentioned that there would be no decrease in the standard of the service. I should like to tell the hon the Minister that I received a pamphlet containing a drawing in respect of which the budget control division of a hospital says:

Save. Does your patient really need his drip?

I shall be very interested to see whether this sort of thing is going to improve the standard of medicine at hospitals.

There is also a further request in this regard, namely that patients should no longer be transported on trolleys from a ward to the theatre but that they should be accompanied by a porter, walking wherever possible. [Interjections.] Mr Chairman, I really think that this is ridiculous. Is the hon the Minister’s department really trying to save money by making patients who are full of pre-medication walk to the theatre? Surely there are other ways of saving money.

As far as the programmes “medical care” and “mental health” are concerned, I should like the hon the Minister to tell me how much money is being appropriated in order to improve medical services to the public.

In programme 4, “welfare promotion”, the hon the Minister is asking for an additional amount of nearly R3 million.

In his introductory speech the hon the Minister of the Budget told us that the amount of some R1,6 million was required for the subsidization of welfare services including old age homes, homes for the handicapped, sheltered employment and so forth. I should like to ask the hon the Minister which areas of welfare services are covered in this regard. Is it intended to increase the subsidy in respect of social workers or in respect of administrative expenditure, or, in fact, to improve welfare services generally? Is that what it is for? In respect of which areas is this money to be appropriated? It is quite clear that in many spheres in South Africa today there is an economic recession, and in some areas the welfare services are very nearly non-functional. This is as a result of the fact that 25% of their total expense is obtained from the private sector and from public subscription. For that reason we are very interested to know where this additional amount has been spent. Which areas in South Africa received money? In one centre in particular, in Port Elizabeth, there is at present a great demand for social workers to help in areas which are economically depressed. If the hon the Minister is looking at these areas, any additional amount which he is asking for will be well spent here.


Mr Chairman, I should like to refer to programme 2 of the additional appropriation of the Department of Health Services and Welfare, namely medical care. I assume that the hospitals and institutions involved here, are the hospitals and institutions which fell under the Department of Health and Welfare in the old dispensation. Those institutions catered not only for White patients, but also for patients of other population groups, such as Black patients. I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether the administration of those hospitals and institutions is now going to be split up and whether this amount is only for the White part of such an institution.

In the explanatory memorandum it is mentioned that increases in the budgeted amounts may to a great extent be attributed to improved conditions of service. I want to ask the hon the Minister when these improved conditions of service came into effect.


Mr Chairman, I would like to pose some comments and questions to the hon the Minister of Health Services and Welfare relating to programme 4. I think it is true to say that one of the most important functions of a ministry of own affairs, and of this particular portfolio, is that of looking after the interests of White pensioners, especially the interests of White social old age pensioners. For Whites it is of course a particular problem because we have many aged Whites, pensioners and otherwise even more so than for the other groups, because the percentage of Whites who fall into the aged category is much higher than for the other population groups. It constitutes a ratio of 1:11, and it will eventually increase to 1:5. As far as this aspect is concerned we are very much like the other Western countries.

There seems to be a tendency to cut back on expenditure, when one looks at the Budget, but one has to look at the position of these people very carefully. I have been in this House for five years and I have dealt with many queries from pensioners. For the first time in my life, I have actually received a letter from an elderly person, a retired person, who wrote to me to ask whether I could give information on where one could buy second-hand clothing on terms, because this pensioner could not afford to pay cash.


I am size 42, if you come across anything, Brian.


The hon member for Bryanston does not exactly fit into the category I was thinking of. I think there are more deserving cases.

However, these people are really suffering. When one looks at the actual expenses, this is one area in which, whatever we do, we cannot cut back. When that hon Minister speaks to the hon Minister of Finance, I want him to look at that means test. That means test is ludicrous. Why is it ludicrous?

I know that he is not responsible for it, but he is looking after the affairs of White pensioners. I would like him to go and argue with the hon the Minister of Finance about that.

If a person earns R84 per month he is, as the hon the Minister knows, entitled to the full social old age pension of R166 per month. That means that his income is R250 per month. Somebody who has tried to provide more adequately for his retirement by way of a pension fund, and who now gets R167 a month, receives no pension at all. I cannot accept a system in terms of which one actually penalizes people who try to provide for their retirement. I think such a system is daft.

The last point I should like to make to the hon the Minister is the following. I think his department, when it came to the servicing of White pensions—and I have said this before—was an efficient department. I think people received very good service on the whole. What I should like to know is the following. Of the staff transferred, what percentage of the old department has gone across to look after the affairs of White pensioners in particular, and does the hon the Minister actually feel that this is going to be adequate to give them the same sort of services they used to get before, or even an improved service? Old people are particularly sensitive about the way they are treated.


Mr Chairman, I want to refer very briefly to the hon the Minister and the Department, which under very difficult conditions and in extremely difficult times provided for an increase in the Appropriation which is within the means of the State, but is still sufficient to overcome extremely difficult situations. In the discussion of the hon the Ministers’ Vote later, and on other occasions, we shall discuss these matters in more details.

But there is a matter in connection with which I should like an explanation from the hon the Minister. With regard to civil pensions and the contributions to the relevant pension funds I note that there is a very significant increase in the amount for which approval is now being asked. Will the hon the Minister please give us more details on this?


Mr Chairman, in regard to the question put to me by the hon member for Parktown I just want to say the following. Arising out of the particulars in a reply I gave earlier to a question of his, he wanted to know how large the saving was that had been achieved. The hon member will be able to gather from the reply to that particular question that I did not say a saving of 8% had been achieved. I said a request had been made to the individual departments to try to achieve a saving of 8%. Now I could just add that a saving of 8% was not achieved.

The supposition is that, in the Department of Health Services and Welfare generally— not only in so far as it concerns own affairs— we would be able to save an amount of approximately R10 million, which of course is dependent on the conditions I set out earlier.

The hon member asked me to inform him of my reaction in regard to the pamphlet he showed me, as well as to the apparent instructions that patients were no longer to be conveyed on mobile stretchers but instead had to walk to wherever they had to go, after they had received premedication. All I have to say to him is if such an instruction was in fact issued, it did not originate from my department. It was not issued by my department and I consequently have nothing to do with it.

The hon member also put questions to me in connection with the issue of Mental Health and the possible amount that could be saved in this sphere. If I misunderstood him to some extent, he will just have to correct me. At this stage it is very difficult to give a precise indication of how large an amount can be saved in this way. It is difficult, firstly, because a division in activities still exists in the general affairs as well as in the own affairs section of the department. A final division has definitely not yet been made in so far as Mental Health is concerned.

As far as General Health is concerned— that includes hospitalization—no division has been made, as the hon member is definitely aware. What form the process of the division in regard to the provinces will take, and which functions will be carried out by the provinces and which by the department, is still in the development stage under the guidance of the hon Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. The subject of welfare promotion and the functioning of welfare services has also been broached and inquiries have been directed at me.

Before we discuss the functioning of welfare services in South Africa, I want to say that we must bear in mind that South Africa is not a welfare state. It is neither the intention of the Government nor of the department, to provide a general welfare service. In fact, we are of the opinion that welfare services could better be dealt with and provided by private institutions, by people who are really interested in that field and who dedicate their lives to it.

On the part of the Government, however, we are always prepared to render assistance. We are prepared to render assistance in the sense that when approved posts are created the State is prepared to subsidize 75% of each of these posts. Remarks have been made about how difficult it is to obtain the remaining 25% and I accept that it is difficult. It is difficult to get hold of that other 25% today, but I still think that the State’s contribution of 75%, as well as the subsidizing of old age homes, is ample. I want to point out that there are three categories of welfare patients in the old age homes, with the result that we have a larger percentage of Whites in our old age homes in South Africa than in any other country in the world, in spite of the fact that we are not a welfare state. I shall come back to that when I deal with certain remarks made by the hon member for Edenvale.


I should like to know if the hon the Minister has any indication yet of whether his department has experienced a greater demand for welfare services as a result of the economic pressure and whether there are more such cases in certain areas than in others.


It is difficult to tell whether there is more pressure. There can be no doubt that there is indeed continuous pressure. We have not yet made a final survey but, if I had to form an opinion, I would not think that the pressure was any greater this year than it was at the same time last year. There is continuous pressure from people who, as a result of circumstances, their lifestyle, the means test and as a result of the pensions they receive, find it difficult to come out on the money they have at their disposal. Family circumstances, amongst other things, also contribute to the situation in which these people find themselves. And so those problems are always present. There is also no doubt that some people are having a harder time than others. Let me reiterate that a survey has not been made but I am not of the opinion that there is a greater need this year than there was in previous years.

The hon member for Pietersburg has asked me, with reference to programme 2, which deals with medical care, about the application of the amount of R693 000. For this programme an amount of R458 000 was requested for the implementation of improvements in the conditions of service of the previous financial year. The remaining R235 000 is required in regard to the implications which the increased GST will have for the provision of medical services. The increased GST has an effect because the State, too, normally has to pay GST on everything it purchases. I may be asked whether we should not abolish GST, but that is a matter we can discuss later. But that is basically the situation in that regard.


Mr Chairman, may I, with reference to programme 2, ask the hon the Minister whether this administration is only responsible for the White section of such an institution? What is the position in regard to an institution which also serves other population groups? Would the administration of such an institution be split up amongst the administrations of the different Houses of Parliament?


I have already said that a final division has not yet been made. From the nature of the case one must realize that there are very few hospitals—the matter of medical care is concerned here—which are only occupied by one race group, and the hon member is also aware of this. Naturally an individual investigation will be made into the circumstances of each of these hospitals and individual decisions will be taken. I can now say that the Commission for Administration is already in the process of doing this. We can talk about it at a later stage.

I do not expect there to be two sources of control over the same hospital for that, to my mind, would cause chaos, but as I was saying, the entire process is being investigated and it will be examined further.

The hon member for Edenvale raised a matter of concern to him and to me and about which he, as well as I, have spoken on various occasions. In the first instance it is basically concerned with the question of the finances available for pensions. Naturally it will be understood that it is not possible for the State to grant as much to people in the form of pensions as it would like to do. One tries to grant pensions to the best of one’s ability and where these pensions are granted the means tests are very much to the fore. I grant the hon member that, because the example he mentioned on the question of the means test is a matter which bothers me just as much as it does him. We shall look into this matter again.

As far as the second aspect is concerned, I know that it is a matter of concern to the hon member that our people no longer care for-themselves in their old age. I have a select committee appointed last year which was unable to complete its work, and when Parliament was dissolved it was also dissolved. I can now inform the hon member that I shall introduce a motion within the next few days that a similar select committee be appointed to investigate this matter which is also causing him such concern.

The hon member for Brits referred to programme 3—Mental Health. The full amount of R241 000 is for the purpose of carrying over improvements to conditions of service from a previous financial year in so far as it concerns officials who are remunerated through this programme.

Another hon member—I think it was the hon member for Edenvale—asked me what percentage of the officials who were involved in welfare had been transferred to the new department and whether some of the old people were not perhaps more sensitive to not receiving the same services.

Naturally it will be realized that the old departments basically dealt with White pensions only. Coloured and Indian pensions were dealt with by the Department of Internal Affairs and Black pensions by the Department of Co-operation and Development. The greater number of officials were, therefore, involved in the old Department of Health Affairs in any case. Approximately 90% of the officials of the old department were transferred to the new Department of Health Services and Welfare.

Vote agreed to.

Vote 2—“Agriculture and Water Supply”:


Mr Chairman, of this total Additional Appropriation of some R97 million, some R88 million is going to Agriculture and Water Supply, which means that it is by far the greater proportion of the Additional Appropriation.

I would like to concentrate on the R75 million which is being set aside for drought assistance to farmers. The main reason is the drought which we have all experienced. We in this party accept that some assistance must be rendered, and this is probably being forced on the Government. Having said this, a number of points arise out of it.

The first thing of which we in this House should satisfy ourselves is that this money goes to the affected farmers. I have heard complaints—I am sure the hon the Minister has also received complaints on his desk— that in many instances the farmers who receive this assistance happen to be those who end up first in the queue. Some co-operatives are quicker in advancing loans to some areas and the loans get through more quickly. It often happens that there are many deserving farmers who do not receive the assistance they should.

The request I would like to make to the hon the Minister of Agriculture and Water Supply this afternoon is that a clear set of guidelines should be established. I think the best people to do this would be the SA Agricultural Union because they are the organized voice of agriculture. They should set out the criteria according to which the loans are made. Perhaps the hon the Minister has already done this, but I am not aware of it.

The second issue that arises is that we should take note of what has happened and see what steps we can take to perhaps avoid a disaster of this magnitude in the future. Obviously we can do nothing about drought— it is something we will always have to live with—but there may perhaps be other factors that have perhaps contributed to the situation in which we find ourselves.

The one matter I would like to raise with the hon the Minister is the question of the one channel fixed price schemes. I am absolutely sure that these schemes have led to production in areas that are marginal areas. This means that in the case of a drought, the impact of the drought is far worse in these areas. I know this falls under the portfolio of the hon the Minister of Agricultural Economics, but it is virtually impossible to separate the two sometimes, because we are talking of something that affects the White farmers.

I want to ask the hon the Minister what has happened to the investigation undertaken by the National Marketing Council in connection with the various control schemes.

Another issue is that the serious situation in which many farmers find themselves is due to the uncontrolled granting of credit through co-operatives. There are many instances where I think co-operatives have granted credit far too liberally. This has resulted in farmers finding themselves in an unfortunate position. I do not believe co-operatives are really the bodies to do this and I do not believe that they always have the necessary expertise either. What I want to ask the hon the Minister again, is whether this could not specifically be referred to the Jacobs Committee so that it can establish whether it is desirable that such a large burden of agricultural financing should fall on co-operatives. Once there is a drought, farmers find themselves in trouble, and when farmers are in trouble co-operatives are in trouble. You then have to bail out the farmers to bail out the co-operatives, a sort of vicious cycle. Could the Jacobs Committee not pay specific attention to this aspect? Perhaps looking at these two aspects would help to reduce the severity of the impact of droughts in future.

*Mr C UYS:

Mr Chairman, last year during the Appropriation debate on the then Department of Agriculture as it was then constituted, if I remember correctly, a total amount of R457 million was voted. If my calculation is correct, the Vote in the Additional Appropriation of the Minister of Agriculture Economics added to the Vote in this Appropriation now totals just over R1 000 million. But I have no objection to that, on the contrary, I just want to point out that when at that stage we on this side expressed grave doubts as to whether the appropriation would in any way be sufficient, this was taken amiss of us.

The greater part of the Additional Appropriation under this Vote is of course intended for agricultural financing, which is only to be expected under prevailing conditions. In the explanatory memorandum the hon the Minister says that an amount of R51,6 million will be used mainly to grant loans for means of production and the consolidation of debts. I think it is a pity that the hon the Minister did not give us these figures separately. I would have liked to know what the total amount was which was being allocated to loans for means of production and what the total amount was for the consolidation of debts. It would be a good thing if we could have these figures separately. Even more important is that we have learned from experience that in the consolidation of debts, some applications do not succeed and many applications only succeed partially. We would greatly appreciate it if the hon the Minister could tell us what the total amount is for which farmers applied for consolidation of debts and what percentage of those were eventually approved. I am not so stupid as to want all those applications to succeed, because things do not work like that in practice, but we should like to have an overall picture. The same applies to loans for means of production. I should like those answers.

I want to refer briefly to what the hon member for Pietermaritzburg South said. If an individual farmer gets into difficulties because he owes the co-operative too much, we must not only blame the co-operative for that. After all, the farmer is also responsible for his own debts and he should not incur more debts than he can repay. I would be very careful about tampering with the present credit provision pattern in agriculture, without there having been a very thorough investigation. After all, what are farmers dependent on for credit? Either the commercial bank, the Land Bank, Agricultural Credit or in the final instance the co-operative. I feel that in many cases agricultural cooperatives are probably in the best position to reach a sound decision on how much credit they can grant a farmer. Let me rather say that the agricultural co-operative should be in the best position to be able to do this if it has done its homework properly.


Mr Chairman, to begin with I wish to express my dismay at the uncalled-for and in my opinion unjustified attack on my person by the hon member for Yeoville. I object to it most strongly. I made a remark here about certain statements made by the hon member. I did not attack his person in any way. He thought fit to make absolutely offensive remarks against my person. I object to that most strongly. I try to maintain my own dignity in this House at all times and I have always displayed dignity and decency towards members on the opposite side.


Why did you call me a liar?


I did not call you a liar.


You did.


I did not. I said that it was not true.


And you said I knew.


I take the strongest exception to the insulting remarks made by the hon member. I did not insult him.


Of course you did. Why did you then have to withdraw the remark?


I withdrew that I said that it was not true, and that you knew it was not true.


What does that mean?


That is not an insult to your person.


Why did you then have to withdraw it?


Mr Chairman, you will not allow me to discuss this any further. I just want to record my dismay and the fact that I take the strongest exception to the insulting remarks made by the hon member.


That is not true, and you know it is not true.


Order! The hon member must withdraw that remark.


I withdraw it.


I do not know whether the hon member for Sunnyside is still going to rise to ask questions. Apparently he presented his argument in the second reading debate and I want to reply to it. He remarked that the subsidy on boreholes had been stopped. I do not know where he got that information from, for it is not true. There has been no termination of subsidies on boreholes at all. On the contrary, the appropriation of money for the sinking of boreholes has been increased by R270 000 for the present financial year. It has not been stopped. What has been terminated is State support of farmers’ water works as well as the purchase of land. The hon member will agree with me that one must get one’s priorities straight at a time such as this. We were of the opinion that it would not have a depressing effect on agriculture if subsidies on water works and the purchase of land were terminated, because those are long-term projects and the funds could rather have been used for drought aid to farmers who are struggling. But there was no reduction or termination of water drilling services. These are proceeding just as in the past. In other words, the subsidies are still available.

I also want to refer briefly to the remark made by the hon member for Barberton that, since we are in mid-stream now, we should be very careful when it comes to any change at this stage in the method of financing. That is true. As far as the future is concerned, though, we shall have to take a very careful look at the financing of agriculture. I am referring only to the State and semi-State institutions now, viz our co-operatives, the Land Bank and the Agricultural Credit Board. We shall have to take a very careful look at these. I feel there should be a more co-ordinated effort. We shall have to try to bring these things together and proceed with a uniform policy. That links up with what the hon member for Pietermaritzburg South said. We shall also have to ensure—that is another strong point that he made—that the aid we provide, reaches the right people.

†He is quite right. We shall have to see to our future planning in connection with aid to our farmers. We must see whether the aid reaches the farmers who need it most.

*We are already talking to the SA Agricultural Union about further aid measures. We shall listen to the SA Agricultural Union’s proposals in this regard shortly. When this drought has ended, all of us who know agriculture, shall have to put our heads together in order to formulate a truly uniform policy. In all honesty I must say that I am not happy about certain of the drought aid measures. I think hon members on the opposite side are not happy with them either. We shall have to put our heads together in order to work out a uniform policy so that the aid will reach the man who truly deserves it, the productive farmer, because he is the one who must receive the aid. Unfortunately some of our aid measures have been counter-productive in the past.

In addition the hon member made the remark that we had underestimated. That is true. It has been the practice for years, however, not to vote sums for disasters. During the past financial year we had two disasters. The one was Cyclone Domoina and the other was the drought. Money was not appropriated for these two disasters at all. It has also been the practice for years that sums are requested in the additional appropriation in order to meet disasters of this nature. It is also mainly attributable to the fact that at the time of the presentation of the Main Budget, the Minister of Finance wants to try to keep State spending, about which everyone complains, as low as possible in order not to overestimate with regard to State spending. I think it is a good practice. Although we knew of the drought at the time of the presentation of last year’s budget and it was already very severe, we did not know that it would continue for another year. Therefore I do not want to apologize for the fact that we underestimated in this regard. I just want to tell the hon member that he is correct: we underestimated completely on that score, and we did so as a result of the increase in the intensity of the drought.

The hon member for Pietermaritzburg South made another point to which I should perhaps react. Once again it is a matter which falls slightly outside my scope. However, you will probably allow me, Sir, to give him a brief reply. It is in connection with production in marginal areas. A great deal has been said about this matter. For instance, the Maize Board has recently taken a good, long look at the report of the Jacobs Committee on the question of production in marginal areas. We shall also have to look at this matter very carefully, because it really is so that there is production on places that should never have been farmed—let us be frank with one another about this.

Sir, I do not want to reply to the question of the report of the National Marketing Council now, because it is completely outside my scope and I do not want to try your kindness any further. Therefore, I shall let that suffice.


Order! As the Chair does not have all the details of programmes before it, it is of course very difficult to tell when hon members are exceeding the bounds of what is permissible. Therefore it is not a question of indulgence on the part of the Chair, but the problem entailed by the division of votes with which the Chair has to deal.

Vote agreed to.

Vote 3—“Education and Culture”:


Mr Chairman, I was alarmed by the story of the hon member for Parktown about tranquillized patients who have to find their own way to a theatre. One can have some unfortunate fellow going into the wrong theatre to have his tonsils removed, and then coming out of the theatre with a high-pitched voice. So I just hope the hon the Minister will give attention to these possibilities.

*The first point I want to make is that we are experiencing a particular problem with the new system: It is not possible for us to place questions on the question paper with regard to, for example, educational facilities for other population groups. Mr Chairman, your decision—and that of others—is that we may not interfere in Coloured and Indian affairs. Here we may only speak on behalf of the Whites and of course also on behalf of the Coloureds whose blood is 93% White. [Interjections.] That is, if the most recent scientific research is correct. One of these days the formula for the three Houses is going to be 2:4:1. I am mentioning this to the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. Perhaps he should look into this.

The hon the Minister of Education and Culture invited me—and I thank him for this—to discuss with him the matters I touched on here on a previous occasion. I thank him for that, and I shall avail myself of that opportunity as soon as possible. I want to repeat, however, that I hope that the hon the Minister will avail himself as soon as possible of the opportunity to reassure the public on the confusion in their ranks at present, and will do so publicly. It is important for the Government to announce what their planning and time-table is for the transfer of the responsibilities for education from the provinces to his department. How and when is this going to take place, and what are the implications? South Africa wants to know what the situation is.

I have also asked my second question before, but I have not yet been publicly given an acceptable reply to it. The question concerns the payment of additional school fees by the parents of South Africa. There is unbelievable confusion in this regard. Every province has a different approach, and the process has reached a different point in each province. Consequently it is essential for there to be a clear explanation of the situation in South Africa as a whole. This explanation must give the parents a clear indication of exactly what is expected of them; how much they are going to pay; how they are going to pay; and what the objective is. I also want to bring this question home to the hon the Minister: Is this the most effective way of collecting additional school fees? Are there not other and more effective ways? Because of the administrative costs involved in this, is there not perhaps going to be a tremendous waste of money here? I also want to ask whether the funds are not perhaps going to be used incorrectly.

It is also extremely important for the hon the Minister to give South Africa clarity on the question I am now going to put. I am asking: What are the implications to the reaching profession of the Government’s emergency savings measures? I want to mention this principle to the Minister. We know that savings measures must be applied. We understand that South Africa is experiencing tremendous economic problems at the moment. We realize that the Government must intervene. But the education of the children of all groups in South Africa must not under any circumstances be prejudiced by this. The Government can and must cut down on current expenditure as the bureaucracy, the officials and all their activities. But as far as the children and teachers are concerned I must warn the Government that it dare not cut expenses, because if it were to do that, it could do irreparable harm to the future of our country.

There is one final point I want to mention, and the hon the Minister is most probably aware of this. Recently something took place in the Transvaal which requires the urgent attention of the hon the Minister. A circular was sent to all the teachers in that province. But this circular was in the form of an interrogation and asked personal questions, inter alia, this sinister question, namely what political party the teachers support; in other words, a fundamental civil right, the right to keep that information secret, is now being threatened by an official circular in which it is insisted that teachers must state what political party they support. What is the reason for this sinister behaviour?


Order! I cannot allow the hon member to continue in this vein unless he can convince me that this concerns the additional appropriation.


Mr Chairman, it does concern the additional appropriation because the hon the Minister is responsible for this and he must handle the appropriation.

But I am appealing to the hon the Minister to intervene and to ensure that this modern, sinister inquisition ceases immediately.


Mr Chairman, while I was listening to the hon member for Bryanston I was reminded of 1966 when he and I were political opponents. [Interjections.] If I look back to those days, I want to ask him whether in his opinion the Government has not moved further to the left today than it was in 1966. The hon member would do well to think about this. [Interjections.]


Order! The hon member must please confine himself to the Vote.


There are quite a number of matters I should like to discuss with the hon the Minister, but I want to tell him that during this sitting we will still discuss many matters with him. But today it has been stated here that training at universities and technikons falls under so-called own affairs, and now I want to ask the hon the Minister whether technikons and universities really are still own affairs. My observations during the past year or two have shown that the Government has been doing its best to integrate the universities in particular, but also the technikons, as much as possible. It is boasting about the number of non-White students being integrated into our universities and technikons. Consequently I should like to know from the hon the Minister whether in view of the Government’s policy we can still speak about White universities in South Africa. In this regard I am thinking about the University of Stellenbosch, about RAU, and I am sorry to say that even the top hierarchy at Tukkies has already been infiltrated by the governing party to such an extent that it is no longer the Voortrekker university it used to be. [Interjections.] But that matter will soon be put right.

An amount of more than R2 million is now being requested for so-called White universities, but I gain the impression—and I think I am correct—that many non-White students are now being enrolled in the so-called White universities. Bearing this in mind I wonder whether we can still talk about own affairs in this respect if the universities are now being converted into the type of university Ikeys and Wits were in the old days; in other words, mixed universities which have actually become the breeding ground of Nusas and so on.




That hon Minister has written Tukkies off in the same way that they have written off the Whites in this country. I do not want to let myself be led astray by the hon member, but this does remind me that before the referendum the hon member spoke a lot of nonsense about those students. I want to tell the hon member that he will not dare to visit that residence again after the things he said there.


Order! The hon member must not say that he will not let himself be led astray and then in fact let himself be led astray. [Interjections.]


I call this Appropriation, this section we are now dealing with, the subterfuge appropriation or section. After all this is the subterfuge of so-called own affairs and own culture which was used against the White people of South Africa. We have progressed quite far with the debates on so-called own affairs and own culture. Now I should like to ask the hon the Minister to tell us what culture actually is. What is this own affairs culture? This is something the hon the Minister must tell us. Under the Vote: Education and Culture there appears the heading “Financial assistance to declared cultural institutions”. I should very much like to know from the hon the Minister which institutions these are.


The Volkswag.


That is a very interesting question the hon member put, namely whether the Volkswag is a cultural institution or whether only the FAK is. The FAK is now being used as one of the strong arms of the Government and has been completely politicized. The hon member for Virginia who is the big Afrikaner in this case worked so hard last year to get the conservatives kicked out of the FAK. I should like to know what the hon the Minister’s view is. Where are the cultural institutions which are supposed to belong to the own affairs of the Whites. Is it the Voortrekker Monument, for example? Last year we asked a question about the Voortrekker Monument…


Order! I do not find the Voortrekker Monument under the Vote we are discussing now.


Mr Chairman, then the hon the Minister must explain this to me, because here we find the heading “Financial assistance to declared cultural institutions”. In his Second Reading speech the hon the Minister should have given us a far clearer analysis of what we are dealing with here. All I want to know is whether the commissions or bodies who deal with things like the Voortrekker Monument are own affairs or general affairs. Last year when we talked about this they were general affairs. When we asked whether the Vrouemonument was an own affair or a general affair, it was an own affair.

I should very much like the hon the Minister to tell us which cultural institutions he subsidizes, what he considers to be a cultural institution, what a cultural organization is and which cultural organizations receive the funds.

I should also like to know from the hon the Minister how the increase of R80 000 in respect of administration is being divided. I agree with the hon member for Yeoville that one does not know what the hon the Minister’s point of departure in this Appropriation was.

By the way I see that mention is made here of overseas study to the value of R3 000. I cannot actually talk about this, but I just want to know from the hon the Minister where one can study for R3 000 nowadays. Is it in Venda or does one actually go a little further afield?

For the moment these are the few questions I want to ask the hon the Minister.


Mr Chairman, I should just like to reiterate a few of the queries of my colleague the hon member for Bryanston concerning, first of all, the role and position of the hon the Minister vis-à-vis the four provincial education departments, because I think he certainly is well aware that, apart from acting as a possible channel of communication, he is also regarded by the provincial departments and particularly the teachers as their Minister who should be protecting them against the possible predations of the hon the Minister of National Education.

I should also like to reiterate the point concerning the security questionnaire. I think the hon the Minister is well aware that we in Natal had contact with the security questionnaire several years ago. In my opinion a very clear statement in this connection is necessary at this time.

I would like to take up the issue raised by the hon the Minister of the Budget who stated that the increase in the expenditure of universities was a result of the fact that they could not raise their tariffs in order to meet the salary increases granted from 1 October 1984. We all know that the teachers of South Africa, including those who fall under the hon the Minister, had a salary increase granted during October and November last year which was not paid at the time. It was a “teach now, pay later” system. The salary increases are due to be paid in April and May 1985. May I ask the hon the Minister whether he could give us a categorical statement that they will be paid and that that will be accounted for in the forthcoming budget of his department.

I note that there is an increase in the amount of money granted to universities and technikons. There has been much discussion in the Press recently about the fact that the universities have had to cut a very considerable sum from their overall budgets. I should think it is important to warn the hon the Minister of the effect of cutting the universities’ real performance at this time. It is certainly going to affect the future of South Africa.

A further point I would like to raise, is that of the position of the chief executive officer of the department of this hon Minister. I would like to ask the hon the Minister whether his chief executive officer—who, I believe has the designation of Chief Director—has the same title and position as the chief executive officers in the other own affairs departments, and whether this has always been so, or whether in fact there has been a change in this respect. I understand there has been considerable controversy about the executive authorities of the education departments in this country.

I would like to comment on the amount to be voted for children in need of care. Unfortunately there is no increase. I think this is a very important issue. We are going through a recession and a period of unemployment. According to all press reports, family conditions are becoming worse. Child battering and family murders are becoming more common. I would urge the hon the Minister to take very great care that children who are in need of care actually receive more money at this time. The social workers whom I have been talking to have a saying about these children in need of care namely, “in a recession our children do not lose a mother, but that is what happens to children in need of care”. Some foster children are being returned, and others are losing the workers who should be caring for them. Therefore I think that is a very important point.

Lastly, I would like to return to a point raised by my colleague, the hon member for Bryanston, namely the question of productivity. He raised the important fact that we need to say something about what is going to happen to the teachers. I would particularly urge him also to raise the matter referred to by the hon the Minister of National Education last night, namely longer working hours. Does he envisage that teachers should work longer working hours as well? I think every parent in South Africa would like to know that.


Mr Speaker, the hon the Minister will remember that last year there was an increase in the teachers’ salaries. It was agreed that the increase would come into effect on 1 October 1984. The October and November increases would be paid out in April and May this year. This would constitute an amount of approximately R50 million per month. Will the hon the Minister tell us whether that amount, the greater part of which will probably be handled by the provinces, is going to be paid out? Which staff members, who fall under the hon the Minister are involved? Will they also receive increases in April and May? How large is the amount for which the hon the Minister is making provision to pay those people.

The second point we want information from the hon the Minister on, is the following: Can the hon the Minister tell us whether the FAK also receives a contribution from the State? Is the FAK one of these organizations? Is the FAK one of the declared cultural institutions receiving a subsidy from the State? How large is that subsidy? Can the hon the Minister please give us this information.


Mr Chairman, I should like to refer to the amount of R22 000 voted for declared cultural institutions. I should like to know from the hon the Minister whether the entire question of culture between the three relevant population groups—the Whites, the Coloureds and the Indians—has now been sorted out to such an extent that one can now really speak of a White culture, which is only practised by Whites. I should also like to know whether these declared cultural institutions work exclusively for Whites and have absolutely nothing to do with the other population groups; make absolutely no contribution in that direction. I have to ask this question because it is of fundamental importance to us.

In the past it was said in this House that the Coloureds have the same culture as the Whites. In this very House I argued that the Whites and the Coloureds each have their own separate culture. That standpoint of mine was questioned, and such a separation was disputed. It is on this basis; it is on the basis of what has been said in this House in the past, that I am asking these questions today. Now of course I know that as far as the governing party is concerned, nothing that was said in the past is of any importance any longer. They simply draw a red line through it. Nowadays we must only talk about what is going to be said tomorrow. [Interjections.] On this basis I am now specifically asking whether this separation is now so final that when we are dealing with amounts such as those in this Budget, we will in future know whether it only refers to Whites; that the other population groups have nothing to do with it.


Mr Chairman, I want to reply to the hon member for Koedoespoort immediately. Other hon members also referred to this aspect.

The cultural institutions which fall under this department have reference to the culture of the Whites. In reality they deal mainly with the cultural history matters. The hon the Minister of National Education and I have divided certain institutions between us. I shall inform hon members which institutions fall under the jurisdiction of this department, that of the Whites, and are therefore operated for the benefit of the Whites. Of course this does not mean that we want to build a wall around them. We are proud of them; we do not want to hide them.

The first one is the National Cultural History and Open Air Museum at Pretoria, which also controls the museum at the Voortrekker Monument. In the second place there is the South African Cultural History Museum here in Cape Town. Then there is also the Voortrekker Museum in Pietermaritzburg. In addition there is the War Museum of the Boer Republics in Bloemfontein; the William Fehr Collection, in the Castle in Cape Town; the Michaelis Collection, also here in Cape Town; and then the Engelenburg House collection, in Pretoria. These are the cultural-history institutions which fall under the jurisdiction of this own affairs department and which have been preserved for posterity with great love and care and are being introduced to our people here in South Africa. Other institutions fall under the portfolio of the hon the Minister of National Education.


And to obtain any further information, people will simply have to go and read the Constitution.


Yes, that is correct.


I read the Constitution; that is the whole point. [Interjections.]


Mr Chairman, I should like to turn to the hon member for Bryanston now. He put good questions to me. I should therefore like to reply to most of his questions as far as I am able to do so on this occasion. He enquired about the transfer of the provincial education departments to this department of own affairs. The hon the Minister of the Budget referred to this in his second reading speech and said that we were in the process of looking at models and of negotiating. This matter is now approaching finality, and I believe that the Government will probably be in a position—after further discussion with the provinces—to make an announcement shortly. I support the idea that this matter be cleared up and finalized as quickly as possible. The method according to which it will take place is a matter which requires careful thought, and we do not want to prejudice, by over-hasty action, what has been built up over the years, by means of which such a high standard for White education in the respective provinces has been achieved and maintained.

The hon member for Bryanston also asked about the compulsory school contribution that parents may have to make. It will be a contribution supplementary to that of the State with regard to the education of our children. I want to make it clear that no final decisions have been taken at all. A great deal of work is being done on this matter; various institutions are being consulted; there is liaison with the teaching profession as well as with the parent organizations.

In addition, the hon the Minister of National Education is working on a formula in connection with the financing of education in this new dispensation. I believe that it will also be essential to take cognizance of the findings of the hon the Minister in this regard. It is important to take cognizance of the analysis of this matter and the conclusion which is reached. The needs will then be determined, which will help in the determination of the amount which parents may be asked to contribute. These are all matters which are receiving close attention at the moment. I want to stress that these are matters concerning which we are taking the teaching profession and the parent organizations, on provincial and central level, into our confidence, and are including them in helping to work out a scheme which will meet the requirements and needs.


Mr Chairman, is it not true that the hon the Minister made a fairly categorical statement last year as to what the school fees would be that parents would pay, and the fact that they would definitely come into operation in 1986?


I think the hon member should read his newspapers more accurately. I made no such statement. I said that proposals made at the stage pointed to the fact that school fees in the case of a primary school child would be approximately R120 and in the case of a high school child approximately R180. I said that proposals which had been submitted at that stage, would definitely not come into operation in 1985. I said that they would come into operation in 1986 at the earliest. I must point out, however, that a lot of work still has to be done. We dare not make this matter one which will end up on the political platform. Hon members will agree that it will be in the interests of our children not to debate this matter on a political level. We shall hold consultations concerning the matter on as broad a basis as possible.

The hon member for Bryanston also spoke of the implications of economizing measures with regard to the teaching profession. People in the teaching profession, as good citizens of the country, are just as intent as others on making their contribution to the financial needs of our country. On the first opportunity after the Commission for Administration and the authorities had found that economizing measures would have to be taken by all departments, I deliberated with the teaching profession on this matter. I held consultations with every conceivable educational body, the universities, the technikons and special education, and especially the teaching profession itself.

I can tell the hon member that the reaction was positive. Naturally there will be arguments that efforts should be made to ward off the curtailments. I want to put it to the Committee, however, that even yesterday discussions were still being held. The discussions are on-going and the teaching profession is continuously being consulted. They are continuously being kept informed of the possibilities, and efforts are being made to achieve consensus with them too. We do not think that the curtailments will harm the teaching profession.

Personally I have no knowledge of the circular to which the hon member for Pinetown referred and which originated in the Transvaal. Of course the Administrator-in-Executive Committee of that province is dealing with the matter. I see that a debate took place in the Transvaal Provincial Council. I took cognizance of the contents of the debate and requested that details of the whole matter be given to me. I do not want to express an opinion on the matter at this stage, but I am in the process of ascertaining exactly what took place.

I find the contempt for own affairs, for the Whites’ affairs which radiates from the hon member for Rissik shocking. [Interjections.] From beginning to end the hon member tried to disparage the Whites’ case. In the one breath he was asking whether universities and technikons were still own affairs— invoking own affairs—and in the next he was trying to disparage own affairs. It is absolutely impossible to argue meaningfully with that hon member, and I cannot seriously reply to any argument that he puts to us. [Interjections.] The intention of that member is merely to indulge in politicking and not to promote the education and the culture of the White.


Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May we perhaps inquire from the hon member for Rissik who the “mannetjie” is?


Mannetjies Botha. [Interjections.]


Order! I want to ask the hon member for Rissik to refer to hon members of this Committee as hon members.


The universities and technikons which are being managed in the name of own affairs—Education and Culture: House of Assembly—are being managed with the greatest responsibility and integrity. There is no effort to engage in underground activities. Dialogue takes place on a regular basis. The members of other population groups who are attending those universities as students, have been admitted for very good reasons. The hon member knows that they are very good reasons and his leader has already allowed attendance for those reasons. There is an excellent relationship between this department and those tertiary institutions.

I want to assure the hon member that we take extremely good care of those tertiary institutions which came into being under the auspices of the White population, and regard them with great pride. We take careful note of the degree to which we can be of assistance in deserving cases—cases which the hon member’s leader has also accepted. In those cases it is good to place the expertise at the disposal of members of other population groups as well.

In view of the spirit in which the hon member spoke about culture, I do not intend replying to him in earnest on his question of what culture is. The hon member is obviously so full of frustration that no sermon will make any sense to him. [Interjections.] I have replied to the hon member’s question concerning which cultural organizations fell under the jurisdiction of this department. [Interjections.]

†The hon member for Pinetown referred to the question of security. I think I replied to him when I answered the hon member for Bryanston.

He then asked me for a categorical statement on the adjustments in April and May. That will of course be dealt with in the Budget debate. The hon member will appreciate that I cannot at this stage discuss issues relating to the Budget. It is the second time that he has tried to lead me into the trap, and I hope this is also the last time.

The chief executive officer of this department is the Chief Executive Director. This is a position between that of Director General and Deputy Director General. It is a position above that of Deputy Director General. In this regard there has been some discussion with the organized profession, who contended that this position should carry with it the status of a Director General. Full discussions have taken place between the hon the Minister of National Education, in his capacity as the hon the Minister of Home Affairs, the profession and myself. Proper attention had been given to the arguments put forward by the organized profession and I hope that these discussions will continue. Obviously, we must give the system the opportunity to develop.

Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 68.

Schedule, clauses and title agreed to.

House Resumed:

Bill reported without amendment.

Bill read a third time.

Fair copy of Bill certified and transmitted to the State President for his assent.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Liquor Amendment Bill [No 27b—85 (GA)] be referred to the Committee of the Whole House.

With this new Constitution we are all still feeling our way and this afternoon is the very first time that Standing Order No 31(l)(c) is being applied in this House. I am sure that you, Mr Speaker, perceive the importance of this standing order for those who do not participate in consensus in the standing committees and who are not impressed by Cabinet Ministers’ pleadings on those committees to register their opposition to the lack of consensus on a particular Bill. Indeed, this standing order will become the acid test of consensus and chairmen or chairladies of standing committees will be able to judge how successfully he or she has or has not been in obtaining consensus by observing whether a member or a party exercises its right in terms of this standing order. In fact, if one could give this standing order a name, it can be called the “failed consensus rule”.

On an issue such as liquor, this party, and on previous occasions other parties, has a so-called “free vote”. If only for this reason, I believe that my motion has considerable validity, because quite clearly a small standing committee cannot adequately reflect the views of a spectrum of opinion. It is necessary that we go into Committee of the whole House in order to give expression to the essence of democracy in a parliamentary system which the standing committee clearly makes difficult. On clause 17, for example, I wonder whether the hon member for Stellenbosch, who was on the standing committee, really voted with a clear conscience in support of the amendment relating to flavoured wine. I am sure that, had the hon member for Innesdal been on that standing committee, he would have liked to have supported clause 17, as I would have. However, there might have been other members who would not have done that. In fact, I wonder whether the hon member for Wellington is not perhaps upset about clause 17.


I supported it.


He supported clause 17. Did the hon member for Gordonia support this clause? That is very interesting. They do agree, therefore, that as regards clause 17, some restrictions on the sale of alcoholic cool drinks which masquerade as flavoured wine, should be applied. That is very interesting. Mr Melck, who represents a substantial wine lobby in Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery, believes that wine should be freely available at all times to people, but those hon members do not seem to think so. It seems to be important that we should have an opportunity to debate those kinds of issues in a Committee of the whole House. I must say that I am relieved to hear that those two hon members have some feelings about supporting clause 17.

A Committee Stage would, I believe—we cannot do so in the ten minutes at my disposal—have given us time to consider all these issues. Clearly, it is not my job now to motivate my amendments. I am simply asking for an opportunity to discuss them. I believe that, if we have a free vote on the Bill, representation in the standing committee dealing with liquor should not be on the basis of political parties, but it should be on the basis of those who are concerned about the evil social effects of alcohol abuse and those who represent the wine lobby. Then, I believe, we would not have to refer the Bill to the Committee of the whole House.

There are three amendments in my name, and I believe that they basically express two concerns. One is that the Liquor Board should in fact deal with changes to licensing conditions. In my opinion it is not a good thing for the Minister to have that power. Were I able to recommend more amendments along that line, they would be in the spirit that, if the Liquor Board grants the licences, then the Liquor Board should alter the conditions of licences. If it goes simply to the Minister, there is not, I believe, adequate investigation and there is no opportunity for different people, such as churches, the police, etc, to give evidence to the board. I think that that is unfortunate. That would be the thrust of my amendments. Were I confident that we would get a Committee Stage, I would obviously have some more amendments.

The third amendment I have proposed deals with the issue of the SA Railway Police. Again, because we do not have a committee of the whole House, we cannot adequately ask the hon the Minister sufficient questions. Although I, as a member, can sit in on a standing committee, I am not allowed to participate in the proceedings of the standing committee. However, it seems strange to me that the SA Railway Police, the National Security Department and one or two other organizations should be free from certain restrictions in terms of the Liquor Act while the SATS, of which the SA Railway Police is an integral part, has sufficient exemption, as I understand it, in terms of the Act to provide those facilities for its staff members. It is for these reasons that I move my motion, and essentially because I believe in the parliamentary tradition of individual members of Parliament being able to express their convictions. It is an opportunity such as this which allows us to remind ourselves that Parliament has not always had rigid and cast-in-concrete type caucus structures and discipline. It is when members of Parliament have a free vote that I believe democracy comes into its own. That is my reason for moving this motion.


Mr Speaker, I think the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North has really presented the House with a very half-baked proposal today. The fact of the matter is that in no way has the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North made out any fundamental case to illustrate, or even indicated, in terms of the amendments he has in mind, that there are any fundamental problems as far as the Bill is concerned. What is more, the hon member did not make use of the opportunities offered to him by the Parliamentary system to raise his objections or put forward his proposals. He is represented in the standing committee by members of his party.


We have a free vote.


Ours is a free-vote system.


In that case the hon member is at liberty to submit his proposals to the Chairman of the standing committee. Has the hon member made use of the opportunity afforded members of Parliament by the standing committee to effect changes or amendments to legislation? I can inform the House that several amendments were proposed, considered and adopted in the standing committee. So the opportunity afforded hon members in a body such as a standing committee to effect amendments to legislation was not made use of by the hon member.

Secondly the hon member did not in any way approach me either. The legislation has been before Parliament for some time now. If the hon member had wanted to move specific amendments, he could also have approached the Minister. Even more important is the fact that after the standing committee had unanimously adopted the amendments to the legislation, and this had been discussed in a second reading debate in the House, there was general unanimity. The hon member did not even make use of the opportunity afforded by the second reading debate to at least put forward his objections and give notice of the motion he was placing on the Order Paper. There was an opportunity for questions. In the second reading debate the hon member could have stood up and put various questions if he had sought information. I would have been prepared to reply to them. The hon member did not, however, even make use of that opportunity. Now, after the horse has bolted, he comes along with a motion for us to go into committee so that amendments to the Bill can be moved.

If one looks further at the amendments, one realizes how half-baked they are. Once again it is not a question of objections in principle. It is not a question of any fundamental objections to the principle of the legislation, but rather a question of a few half-baked amendments. In the first place the hon member elucidates his own amendments, saying that his one objection is that the Minister has too many powers which should actually be transferred to the board. If the hon member had, however, examined the functions of the Liquor Board in the principal Act, he would have seen that section 3 provides:

The Board shall— (a) advise the State President or the Minister, as the case may be, as to any matter arising out of the application of this Act or the general distribution of liquor and referred to it.

The Liquor Board is an advisory body. If the hon member now wishes to contend, contrary to the principle of this Act, that greater powers should be given to the Board, this should be done consistently. I do not want to say that it has no specific merit. One cannot, however, argue on an ad hoc basis, in regard to one provision, that greater powers should be granted to the Board and that the Minister’s responsibility in this connection should be reduced. The hon member’s inconsistency and ill-considered judgement is also apparent in the light of the fact that the very same matters are raised in clause 11 and clause 15 of this Bill. He does not, however, come along with amendments to cover that. In the one case, that of a restaurant liquor licence, the Board must decide on the hours. In the case of a malt licence the Minister is at liberty to decide. He can also take a decision on off-sales hours. [Interjections.] That hon member has no such amendments on the Order Paper. The hon member says “we are still feeling our way” here—but let me tell him that he is fumbling around in the dark. He has had an adequate opportunity to put forward amendments—in the standing committee, to the Minister and to the Chairman of the standing committee. He also had an opportunity, in the second reading debate, to put forward his standpoint, but he is obviously seeking some platform from which to make himself more widely known. Here it is not a question of the principles of the Bill; it is more a question of a standpoint he wishes to put forward. He did not make use of the opportunities afforded him. I cannot agree to our referring this Bill to the Committee of the whole House.

Question negatived (Messrs K M Andrew, G B D McIntosh and P G Soal dissenting).


Introductory speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 20 February


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Section 143(1) of the Electoral Act, 1979, prohibits the conducting of opinion polls in respect of general elections as well as by-elections. This provision was introduced in 1978 on the recommendation of a select committee. That select committee was of the opinion that the conducting and publication of opinion polls concerning the support that the various parties and their policies and candidates enjoy, could interfere with voters in the free exercise of their franchise.

Although the Government is still in principle against the conducting of these opinion polls, it is proposed in clause 1 of the Bill that the prohibition of opinion polls as far as they relate to by-elections, be abolished. There are 286 directly elected members of Parliament in terms of the new Constitution. Because of the greater number involved it may result in the holding of more by-elections, which could disrupt the work of bona fide research organizations.

Mr Speaker, section 35 of the General Law Amendment Act, 1972, prohibits the use of, inter alia, the name of the State President for the purposes of elections or in pamphlets or articles in publications purporting to propagate or criticize the principles of political parties.

Section 13 of the Constitution of 1961, protected the dignity and honour of the State President, who was, in terms of that Act, the ceremonial head of the Republic and was, therefore, also above party politics. Owing to the political role which the State President plays in the new constitutional dispensation which commenced on 3 September 1984, he no longer enjoys the protection which was conferred upon him in terms of section 13 of the previous Constitution. Since 3 September 1984, the provisions of section 35 militate against the spirit of the present constitutional position, and the repeal thereof, with effect from 3 September 1984 is therefore being proposed in clause 2 of the Bill.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Chairman, we shall be supporting the Second Reading of this Bill, as we did in the course of proceedings in the standing committee. As has already been indicated, clause 1 of this Bill does away with the restriction on opinion polls during by-elections. Thus that restriction continues to exist only with regard to general elections.

It is known that the PFP were opposed from the outset to the idea that opinion polls should be restricted in that way. We believe that restriction was introduced for the wrong reasons, that it happened on account of quite blatantly political considerations, and that it was introduced without an in-depth investigation being carried out into the desirability of restricting opinion polls in such a way while elections are in progress.

Opinion polls are, as other members on the standing committee have already indicated, part of the modern democratic course of events. Opinion polls are not relevant to elections alone; they are also useful for free enterprise. Moreover, they are useful for research bodies; and they are even useful for the Government of the day—whether it be at the central, provincial, or local level—to enable them to gauge public opinion on some matter at a particular juncture.

This restriction was initially so ill-considered that a total ban was imposed, not only on the publication of the results of opinion polls, but also on the holding of opinion polls during the period before an election or general election. This held for all opinion polls, even those with very limited or no political content. This is why I say that it was a rash and pointless restriction in the first place.

We now find ourselves in a situation in which it is being argued that certain so-called bona fide research bodies are experiencing problems as a result of this restriction. Here I specifically mention the HSRC, which finds that by-elections often occur one after another, with the result that they can scarcely find the time to fit in a particular opinion survey. It sometimes also happens that they have to postpone an opinion survey half way through, because a by-election has been called in the meantime. This is a very practical manifestation of the sort of problem this ban creates. However, we find it strange that merely because a research body such as the HSRC, which was established by the Government, experiences this problem, attention is suddenly given to this and the Act has to be amended, whereas many private bodies have had problems with this restriction for years and have made it clear that they are not in favour of this restriction being introduced or, indeed, maintained.

Thus, although we support clause 1, it is and was our considered opinion that any restriction on the holding or the publication of opinion polls during elections is unnecessary and pointless. There is no evidence indicating that the publication of the results of opinion polls has a bad influence on the course of democracy in South Africa. Truth to tell, at this stage the Act is creating a ridiculous situation in that there is no restriction on the most superficial and unsubstantiated claims made by political parties regarding the extent of the support they enjoy in a particular constituency, or the measure of support they enjoy countrywide on a particular issue, but a scientifically-based opinion poll is forbidden. That is the situation that has obtained until now.

Therefore, although in our opinion this clause does not go far enough by any means, we believe that it is at least a small step away from this ridiculous situation. Moreover we sincerely hope that the Government will keep its promise and that the department and the minister responsible will have the whole question of the prohibition of opinion polls during general elections investigated.

Clause 2 prohibits the use of a portrait or effigy of the State President for political ends. However, it is common cause that that state of affairs, under the new constitutional dispensation, obviously no longer holds, because the State President is now in the thick of politics, which was not previously the case.

As far as clause 2(1) is concerned, we had one problem that we argued about at length in the standing committee. It concerned the fact that this restriction was being repealed with retroactive effect. We maintained that it is wrong to make legislation retroactive unless of course there are very good reasons for doing so. During negotiations, and now, too, we believe that there was no good reason why this abolition should be retroactive.

We realize that there have, no doubt been certain contraventions. In fact I pointed out that several meetings at which the State President was to appear were advertised everywhere. Among other things it was announced that he would address the meeting, not just as State President, but as leader of the NP, in other words in a political capacity. In fact, therefore, that would amount to a contravention of the General Law Amendment Act if this restriction were not lifted. In our opinion there is no reason why the organizers or the managers of political parties who exploit such a situation should not acquaint themselves with the Act and the restrictions existing at a particular stage, when it is indeed expected of the general public to take this into consideration. Therefore, what I am trying to say is that if we can expect it of the public to take legal restrictions seriously, we ought also to be able to expect it of political parties, political organizers, and political office-bearers, who, on account of their work, should perhaps have a better grasp of what is or is not legal at any particular stage. We therefore believe that this retroactive aspect should not be dragged into our legislation in order possibly to save people from the consequences of their rash behaviour in the past.

Therefore, as far as clause 2, too, is concerned, we are satisfied with the idea behind it, but regret that the standing committee did not see fit to accept our amendment to the effect that the retroactive power be excluded. We shall therefore be supporting the second reading of this Bill.


Mr Chairman, we want to convey our sincere thanks to the hon member for Green Point and his party for their support of the Bill. In the standing committee we noted the arguments advanced by the hon member and his party about the general legal principle of not making legislation of this nature retroactive. We understood that in the standing committee, and the hon member will recall that the feeling that predominated during our deliberations, which eventually also caused us to take the decision, was that we accepted the specific clause in this case because it was in line with existing legislation regarding the person of the State President in his previous as well as in his new political capacity.

Allow me to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the committee for their participation, including the Opposition members in this House and the members of all political parties in the other Houses of Parliament. If one had never been convinced of the merits of this new system upon which we have embarked, one would definitely, after having done a round with the standing committee, be convinced that we in South Africa really do have here a constitutional recipe that will in future become worthy of emulation by many. I should like to thank all members of the committee for their sincere and pleasant co-operation, on a personal level as well.

The hon member for Green Point referred to the point of view of the HSRC on opinion polls. It seems to me that the hon member was not really being entirely serious when he spoke about a “so-called” bona fide opinion poll organization” with reference to the HSRC. I do not believe the hon member for Green Point really meant that the HSRC was merely a “so-called” opinion poll body.


I was opposed to the implication that the others did not have bona fides.


Very well, I follow the hon member’s argument that he was not casting a reflection on the HSRC as such. We as politicians tend to accept opinion polls in our favour, and not to accept opinion polls that are against us. We as politicians in South Africa had better accept, too, that opinion polls have become part of the modern world of communication in which we live. It is an open question whether the opinion poll influences you and the voters, or whether you and the voters are already so influenced that the opinion poll merely reflects the existence of a particular point of view on particular issues. Moreover the question occurs to all of us, as politicians, as to the degree to which the question is loaded, and the degree to which it has been “cooked”. If the answer to the question is in one’s favour it has not been “cooked”, but if it is against one it has been “cooked”. All of us in this House realize the dilemma of political communication.

We on this side of the House are happy to support publicly the specific clause in this Bill that provides that the prohibition of the conducting of opinion polls during by-elections should be completely abolished in view of the new dispensation. It is true that in view of the new dispensation and the larger number of members of Parliament, by-elections will take place more regularly in the future, and the conducting of opinion polls will greatly restrict the work of people involved with them. Our select committee received a telex from the Association of Market Research Organizations. Perhaps it should just be placed on record, since the hon member for Green Point did not state this quite clearly, that this association was very pleased with the amendment of the clause in question. In their letter to us they said they would also like to see the repeal of the clause relating to the holding of opinion polls during general elections or referendums. Nevertheless, they find it gratifying that at this stage the clause relating to by-elections is indeed to be repealed.

We also received reports from the HSRC, and the members of the standing committee discussed this aspect at length. Perhaps it is as well to take this opportunity to mention that there is another important aspect in South African politics, namely that one wonders whether the clause relating to the conducting of opinion polls during general elections ought also to be repealed. We decided, however, that that particular restriction should remain. Certain members of the standing committee argued that bodies with a lot of money are well equipped and if they move into the field of politics, particularly in view of the new dispensation, a problem could develop in South African politics. I think the hon member for Green Point agreed with us there. It is hon members belonging to the other parties who argued with us. We cannot allow people with a lot of money to control the political scene by conducting opinion polls, as is often the case.

Our point of view on this side of the House is that determining opinions, forming opinions, is essentially a political matter that actually makes us, as politicians, jealous in a certain sense. We state our point of view and our policy and we send out our pamphlets. We as politicians should like to reserve for ourselves that right to form opinions, while the Press and the media participate freely the discussion of the topic.

I just want to raise one last point in this connection, namely that in the future we are going to reach the point in the democratic development of South Africa at which we shall have to give funds, to political parties on behalf of the Government, to enable them to practice their politics. I know, Mr Chairman, that you and many other members of the House have often heard this idea expressed. In most democratic countries in the Western World the state, and thus the taxpayers, give money to the active political parties in those countries so that they can practise their politics in the interests of democracy. Mr Chairman, as a taxpayer I should not even have minded giving a few rand to the CP or the HNP to finance their activities as political parties in the interests of democracy. A lot of time is spent collecting funds. Other parties struggle in this regard, while the NP manages quite easily. It is more important to concentrate on conveying the message of the party to the voters. This is an inherent element of the legislation we have before the House today. We feel that we as political parties want to maintain the provision prohibiting opinion polls in general elections so that political parties, at this stage of our development, can give all their time and attention to conveying their political point of view to the voters.

With these few observations—and my thanks go, once again to all the members of the standing committee—I should like to give my wholehearted support to the legislation before us. From our side we should like to say to the hon the Deputy Minister Ron Miller what we have occasionally said in private conversation, namely that we on this side of the House are particularly proud of this new Deputy Minister who has joined the ranks of our Government. We wish him all the best in his new capacity and we look forward to many years of cordial co-operation, and to the fruitful results that will stem from his concern with, and management and administration of, this specific portfolio in the interest of South Africa.

Mr Chairman, we are happy to support the legislation before this House.


Mr Chairman, on behalf of the Conservative Party I should very much like to congratulate the hon the Deputy Minister on his appointment to this department. I believe this is the first legislation he is dealing with in his new capacity in this House. We on this side of the House came to know him as someone who usually made good contributions here. We found it particularly interesting to debate with him and to listen to him. I believe that in the future we shall continue to act in the same spirit and attitude as in the past towards the hon the Deputy Minister. We shall of course also tell him quite clearly when we differ with him, which we shall in fact be doing presently. We shall of course also tell him when we agree with him.

Be that as it may, we wish the hon the Deputy Minister all the best in his new capacity.


Well said, Daan!


Well said, Daan!


Those hon members can say: “Well said, Daan” if they wish. Up till now they have undoubtedly had reason to say so. However, I think now is when the “Well done, Daan” is going to stop. [Interjections.]

Mr Chairman, it is very interesting— sometimes not only interesting but even somewhat heart-rending—to listen to hon members of the governing party. Not so many years ago—it was as recently as 1978— when I myself was a member of the National Party, and when I still served on a select committee that investigated the Electoral Act, we discussed these particular matters. Perhaps not so much to refresh the memory of the hon the Deputy Minister, but to jog the memory of a number of other hon members, I want to show by means of a few quotations what arguments hon members of the governing party put forward at that time. The Minister at that time had the following to say on moving of the second reading on 29 May 1978, and I quote him as follows (Hansard, Vol 74, Col 8009):

Mr Speaker, it is felt that the publication of so-called opinion polls that have occurred during elections in recent years could interfere with voters in the free exercise of their franchise and could possibly be regarded as being tantamount to undue influence, which is specifically prohibited by the Electoral Act. A new provision is therefore being introduced into the Electoral Act whereby the conduct and publication of the result of opinion polls concerning the support that the various parties and their policies and candidates enjoy, are prohibited.

The then Minister went on to say:

Because an election is in fact an opinion poll, and because the house-to-house visits by political party workers are basically a conduct of such an opinion poll, previous election results and canvassing by political party workers are excluded from the prohibition.

That is what the then Minister said. I am now going on to refer to former Minister Pen Kotzé, who was regarded in those days as one of the great experts in the field of elections. He is now a member of the President’s Council.


He is still an expert in that field.


Yes, he is still an expert. I agree with the hon the Deputy Minister. However, let us listen to what he said at that time. I wonder whether the hon the Deputy Minister will still agree with him then. In that same debate of 1978 Mr Pen Kotzé said inter alia the following, and I quote him as follows (Hansard, Vol 74, Col 8031):

In our report we said—and I stand by this—that there was a strong school of thought in the world that people must at least have sufficient time to refute the results of an opinion poll before election day for otherwise such results could be abused in a most outrageous way.

The hon Chief Whip of the Official Opposition then referred by way of interjection to the position with regard to opinion polls in West Germany, at which Mr Pen Kotzé went on to say:

These opinion polls are simply undertaken in an amateurish, superficial, onesided and biased manner and with motives which are not altogether honest. There were even cases where the opinion polls were calculated to influence elections to one direction or the other. If it is true that an opinion poll is not aimed at influencing the voters, surely there is nothing in this legislation that prevents any undertaking from conducting an opinion poll during the election for scientific or other purposes or in order to ascertain the feelings of voters at the various stages of the election.

The hon member for Virginia, who also said certain things in that debate, happens to be present in the House this afternoon, but he is not listening to me very attentively. The hon member said at that time, and I quote (Hansard, Vol 74, Col 8094):

Another requirement is that voters must be protected from intimidation or unjustified influence. Clause 39 places a limitation on the costs of an election. In terms of clause 41 the prohibition of undue influencing is made more effective. Clause 45 deals with the prohibition of opinion polls.

The hon member refers here to what the hon member for Sandton said, namely:

… that the voters have the right to be provided with information. There are various other ways, however, in which voters can be provided with information during elections. It is not necessary to use an opinion poll because such an opinion poll may be extremely confusing for the voter if it is done by using specific questions aimed at creating a specific image. That is why it is also important that the voter should be protected against such undue influence.

Here I shall leave out a few lines, and then point out what someone who is now in the Cabinet, said at that time. The hon the Minister of Environment Affairs and Tourism, then still a member of the South African party, said, and I quote (Col 8113):

I want to conclude with a few remarks about opinion polls. I have not changed my mind about opinion polls! I do not believe that opinion polls such as we have seen in the last couple of elections have been fair opinion polls. I do not believe they have been correctly and properly conducted. I believe they have been perpetrated with a view to shaping election results.

Thereupon the hon Chief Whip of the Official Opposition asked:

Have they been accurate?

The hon the Minister went on to say:

As I have said, the method of opinion polls has also been imported. I say that with the Press monopolies that exist in South Africa, the results can only be loaded against the opponents of those particular newspapers. In the case of so-called academics who have taken part in these opinion polls, it seems to me that they have been nothing more nor less than the agents of the PFP. If there were a free Press in South Africa one could support the idea of opinion polls, but opinion polls in a monopolistic Press situation like under the present circumstances are as biased as is the political reporting of the so-called free Press.

These are matters to which Mr John Wiley, an hon Minister in the present Cabinet, referred. What I find amazing, however, is that the Government has suddenly, after seven years, moved closer to the PFP—as they have with reference to other matters. They are not, however, moving a lot closer; just a little, just a little closer to the PFP, just about half way. In my opinion there are specific reasons why the Government now wants to restore these opinion polls during by-elections. All of a sudden they have come up with the examples of the HSRC. The HSRC is supposedly unable to continue with its research. When there is a by-election the HSRC has to suspend all its activities. In my opinion, however, the Government could easily have moved an amendment to provide that the HSRC and other genuinely scientific research institutions could continue with their work. There are many methods by which this could have been done. I want to tell the hon the Deputy Minister that his second reading speech was really very vague. He gave hardly any reasons why the proposed amendments should be effected, but the argument that the HSRC supposedly has to be helped, is simply not convincing. The argument that the interim opinion surveys are for that reason necessary—also because there are all of a suddenly many more members of Parliament—simply does not hold water.

This amending Bill is an anti-CP and an anti-right wing piece of legislation. It is aimed against the CP and the right-wingers, and I have no doubt about that. It is not aimed against the PFP. This legislation is being introduced because there is now a particular tendency in South Africa. It is being said that the next general election will only be in 1989. I am not so clear on what the position will be in 1989. The Blacks are being included in this new structure. Of course it will not be a fourth Chamber, the people in Harrismith are told. The hon leader of the NP in the Orange Free State is completely satisfied with that statement and the NP is going ahead with it. But something else could come up and then it would be very easy once again for an amendment to be introduced to provide that the lifespan of the present Parliament be extended for a further period of five years.

The Government has just one thing in mind, ie the gradual softening up of the electorate, and particularly the White voters, and even more so the hundreds and thousands of conservatives still in the NP, for this new process. This is what is in the back of the Government’s mind.

We know the history of by-elections in South Africa. By-elections in South Africa are just as important as general elections. By-elections are an indication of how the voting public feels. After all, we have seen this since the CP was established. What happened at the time of the by-elections?




Yes, even at the time of the by-election in Stellenbosch. We then had almost 600 votes more than ever before. That is twice the number Gideon had when he settled the hash of the Midianites. Starting from the north there was not one election in which the NP did not experience a drastic deterioration in its position.


What about Malmesbury?


Yes, even Malmesbury.

We must have no doubt about this. The CP and the conservatives in the country do not trust the Government and that is why we do not vote for the NP and that is why the NP turned us out, and I am happy about that, too.

I want to state pertinently today that the NP will be using its methodology in conjunction with its Press. I want to quote the hon the Minister of Environment Affairs and Tourism, but nowadays, when I refer to the liberalist press, I am no longer referring to the English language press. I must say that I am grateful today that there is an English language press, including The Citizen. [Interjections.] I must say that press is the one press where I encounter the occasional grain of truth, but if I look at the so-called opinion polls carried out by the newspapers, in Beeld, Rapport, Die Vaderland, Die Volksblad, and so on …


What about Die Afrikaner?


Unfortunately the circulation of Die Afrikaner is still very small, but it will be as well if the hon member were to read it more.

We are in a situation in which every argument the Government used in 1978 is being used by the CP today because it is the methodology of the Government at present, in these by-elections, which it knows it is losing …


Let us go to Harrismith now. Where are the Free Staters who are sitting here?


Yes, the NP are struggling in Harrismith … [Interjections.] … and now these opinion polls have to be allowed in the case of a by-election. As far as the other Houses are concerned there are no other by-elections pending. It is the White Chamber that will now be involved in by-elections.

Now we have a situation in which the Government—I am tempted to say “by hook or by crook”, but I do not know whether it is Parliamentary or not; if it is not parliamentary, I withdraw it—is using every method imaginable to create a psychosis among the White voters that the Government is right, that everyone in the world agrees with it, and that there are no problems. The Government is doing this particularly in the case of this by-election.

At the time when I voted in favour of this legislation, I was a member of the governing party. At that time I belonged to a great, strong party. The legislation was then piloted through, and hon members present at the time will be aware of the background to this.


It was against the PFP.


Yes, it was partly against the PFP. But it was the NRP which at that stage was a small party in this House that also lacked the funds that the NP has today with the monopolies they have in the Press.

As a member of the governing party I said we should allow the opinion polls to remain. The then Minister and the hon members who talked about it explained away every one of my arguments very neatly. Now, all of a sudden, opinion polls are to be held during by-elections. Not in four to five years’ time, when it is time for the big general election, but now, because the by-elections are in progress now.

This is why the Bill the Government has now come up with, seems somewhat fishy to me. I know about the experience we have had recently. I want the governing party to take a critical look at their own newspapers for a change. Go and read what Rapport said on the basis of its so-called opinion polls. Go and read Beeld and Die Vaderland also. Before every particular election the world is told that Waterberg is being won by Mr Eben Cuyler. Potgietersrus is being won. It happens every time, at every by-election.




Yes, Primrose too. In Primrose we reduced the majority from 4 000 votes. I must say, the present hon member will never in his life see Primrose again. [Interjections.]

This Bill is aimed at the by-elections for this House that are in the offing. It is also aimed at casting the CP in a bad light and at creating the image among the public at large that the NP is winning in South Africa. [Interjections.]

I know the CP is in the minority and the Government will go ahead with the opinion polls. I should very much like to know what the opinion polls on the coming by-elections are going to be like. I am thinking of Harrismith and all the others there will be, and I hope there will be many; not so that the hon members should die, but so that they should gain promotion. [Interjections.] I hope there will be a lot of elections so that we can chase them from Dan to Beersheba.

Our circumstances in South Africa are no longer those of a democracy in which each one of us really has the opportunity to state his point of view. We have already spoken ad nauseam about the question of Freek Swart and the TV.

I want to tell the hon the Minister of Home Affairs something, but I shall not use flattery, since it makes him uneasy. We shall therefore have to quarrel a little with each other. I want to tell the hon the Minister that a party can eventually be as strong as the late Gen Smuts’ party was in 1943. In spite of all its opinion polls the NP, like the UP, is eventually going to lose.

In 1978 I stood by that principle. At that time the select committee took evidence for us and we listened to the leaders of that time. I see no reason why I ought to take a different standpoint today from the one I held in 1978. We therefore vote against the first clause of this amending Bill.

As far as the second clause is concerned, the first section of it is acceptable to us. However, we do not agree with the second section of the second clause—ie the question of the retroactive power of the legislation.


Mr Speaker, the hon member who has just sat down tried to make a political speech. He conjures up spectres at every turn and sees all sorts of underhand plans behind this amendment. I can just tell him, when he makes such a fuss about the Government’s fear of by-elections, that we have just had four by-elections in George, Primrose, Parow, and Piketberg, and all four constituencies returned NP members to this House. This is my answer to the hon member.

The aims of the amending Bill under discussion have been very clearly set out by the hon the Deputy Minister and the hon member for Innesdal. Briefly, what it amounts to is that the ban on opinion polls during by-elections, which still exists, is being repealed, and that section 35 of the General Law Amendment Bill which affords certain protection to the State President, is being repealed.

Before I react further to the speech by the hon member for Rissik I just want to make the general statement that the hon the Minister submitted comprehensive memorandums to the standing committee, including representations made to him by the HSRC. From this it was evident why certain changes regarding opinion polls had become necessary. The Association of Market Research Organizations also made representations in this connection.

Before I go further I should like to say in general that what was very gratifying to me during the meetings of the standing committee was the pleasant attitude we encountered among the members of the other two Houses. It became clear to me very soon that they were keen to co-operate in the search for consensus. This is more than I can say for the Official Opposition and the CP. The hon member for Green Point did considerably scale down his objections to the legislation today, it is true, but the hon member did not make the slightest attempt to try to find consensus in the standing committee. He simply dug his heels in like a stubborn donkey and opposed it. We should probably be grateful that the hon member scaled down his objections to a large extent today.

The standpoints of the PFP and the CP on opinion polls are very clear. The hon member for Green Point says the ban on them should be repealed, with regard to general elections as well, while the hon member for Rissik, on the other hand, states that the ban should remain. In my opinion both of these standpoints are short-sighted if one looks at what the HSRC says in its memorandum. It states very clearly that it is the by-elections that cause problems for the researchers. I quote the following from the memorandum:

Die probleme word nie soseer deur algemene verkiesings en referenda geskep nie, maar deur tussenverkiesings wat, anders as algemene verkiesings en referenda, betreklik dikwels kan voorkom en ewe dikwels deur heel onverwagse gebeure genoodsaak kan word.

If one looks further at proposals of the HSRC and the Association of Market Research Organizations it is clear that these two organizations understand the reasons why the prohibition was placed in the Statute Book at the time, and did not really expect the prohibition to be completely abolished. At the same time the HSRC sketches very clearly for us the extent of the problems that researchers experience, and they make a very strong case for the relaxation of the Act, especially during by-elections. The fact that 80 elected Coloured MP’s and 40 elected Indian MP’s have been added to the 166 elected White MP’s surely speaks for itself. It is only logical to expect that the chances of by-elections being held have increased to that extent and that we are making the task of the researchers impossible unless we pass the proposed amendment. The problem is that every time a by-election takes place, opinion surveys have to be stopped or completely interrupted. If a survey is interrupted it can mean that the whole survey has to be re-programmed. It could also happen that new teams of field workers or new research assistants have to be recruited and trained. An interruption can even result in a survey that has already been partially completed, having to be started all over again. Delays can also cause serious contractual problems, for example when deadlines are not met.

Several of the arguments advanced by the hon member for Rissik are certainly valid, but if one looks at the disadvantages outlined by the HSRC we should, in my opinion, take them into account, and it appears to me that the advantages of the relaxation of the legislation outweigh the disadvantages. This is also why I say the hon member for Rissik and his party are short-sighted in their approach.

As far as section 35 of the General Law Amendment Bill is concerned, it is in my opinion merely a consequential amendment that we are concerned with here, namely to bring one Act in line with another Act. From 3 September 1984, according to the new Constitution, the State President is in the midst of the political arena. For what earthly reason must another Act give him protection from the given date onwards? It is obvious that the arguments advanced by the CP and by the hon member for Green Point on behalf of the PFP do not hold water and I am happy to support this legislation.


Mr Speaker, first things first. We wish the hon the Deputy Minister well with his first piece of legislation, although I must tell him that we do not agree with it. We shall be opposing it. I believe that this is probably one of the shoddiest and most ad hoc pieces of legislation that I have ever seen in my life. I am not surprised that the hon the Minister of Home Affairs handed it to his new Deputy to deal with. I think he is so ashamed of it that he had no other option. He wanted to duck away from it. He wanted to get as far away from it as possible.


Who came to the standing committee?


Oh, the hon the Minister came to the standing committee. I know; I can tell a whole story about him at the standing committee. The hon the Minister could not wait to get an adjournment of the standing committee so that he could get out into the passage to talk holes into people’s heads. If he wants to talk about the standing committee, I shall talk about it. I can talk about it ad nauseam.

I want to say that it is more in sorrow than in anger that we oppose this Bill. I feel sorry for the hon the Deputy Minister, but I feel more sorry for my old friend, the hon member for Innesdal. If ever there was a sincere and hardworking member of this House, it is that gentleman. He is chairman of that standing committee. I really felt sorry for him, because there he was, trying to defend the indefensible.

I do not have to talk to this House about the NP’s opinion of opinion polls. They have told us. They told us when we introduced and debated the Electoral Act, Act 45 of 1979. The hon member for Rissik quoted some of the speeches they made then. The hon the Deputy Minister told us their opinion in his introduction. He said:

Although the Government is still in principle against the conducting of these opinion polls, it is proposed in clause 1 of the Bill with the prohibition …

So he went on. They are still opposed in principle. What nature of government is it that is opposed to a principle, but introduces a piece of amending legislation that goes against that very opposition? What convoluted sort of logic is this? I cannot understand it for the life of me and I am sure that nobody ever will be able to understand it.

However, what do we find if we go into this? We find that it is the HSRC who wants this amendment. They are the people who want to have “innocent” opinion polls—not the nasty sort of opinion polls that all the hon the Ministers and their colleagues spoke about in 1979: No, not those! Those are different. This is a whole new ball game. They want to conduct their opinion polls apparently during by-elections.

What does the HSRC concern itself with? I have had all sorts of pieces from the HSRC, but on the strength of this legislation one is led to believe that all they do all the time is conduct opinion polls on political viewpoints. What nonsense is it, that their work is going to come to a standstill? Where does this come from? [Interjections.] They investigate and bring out reports on all manner of things. Hon members may laugh, but it is the most ridiculous thing I have ever come across in my life. What about Amro? That is going to come to a standstill as well, because all these people ever do is to conduct opinion polls at the time of by-elections. There are Independent Appraisers, IMS South Africa, G Klein and Associates, M & M—that is Marken Meningopnames—Market Research Africa, Marketprobe, Markinor, Marplan, Marquest—that sounds like Ma Riley—A C Nielson, Research International and RIMS. They are all going to go out of business if we do not allow them to have polls in by-elections. What arrant nonsense!

Sir, the numbers game: We are told we have to do this because we have another 130 members of Parliament. Now we have a whole new situation because we have these extra people and all these extra by-elections that could therefore take place. Because of that, we must now lift this restriction on opinion polls. Are these hon gentlemen all forgetting the fact that we have an equal number to the number sitting in this House sitting in provincial councils in the four provinces of South Africa? Are the hon gentlemen forgetting the fact that it is common cause, because it has been bandied around, that when the Government gets its way, we are not going to have those provincial councils any longer? Then will we be going back to square one? Are we then going to rush in here and once again start “boer-ing agteruit” by removing this piece of legislation from the Statute Book? What games are we playing here?

From whom does the most telling indictment of all come? The most telling indictment of all comes from the HSRC itself. I have taken the liberty of having their recommendations translated. The HSRC and the companies represented in Amro were the only two parties who presented written documentation. Their memoranda are marked A and B, B being the one from the HSRC, and that is obviously the one that motivated this amendment. These gentlemen go to the extent of making two specific recommendations. Let us read what they recommend. They do not give one but two possibilities that may be considered, namely that the section be amended—

  1. (a) to enable bona fide researchers and research bodies such as the HSRC to undertake surveys or hold polls in the period prescribed by section 143 (from nomination day up to and including polling day) but qualified by the condition that they may not published their findings (even relevant findings obtained by means of an earlier survey which has already been concluded) in the period concerned; and
  2. (b) to enable the bona fide researchers and research institutions to undertaken surveys and to publish their findings (or to postpone disclosure until after polling day)…

That is specifically as far as by-elections are concerned:

… provided the survey or poll itself is not undertaken or held in the electoral divisions concerned during the “prohibited” period.

That is what they recommend; but, no, we have to come with a Bill that says it is open house on opinion polls in by-elections. We piously say, however, that it is closed house in general elections. Sir, I ask the hon the Deputy Minister in all sincerity: Can he honestly and sincerely justify the fact that the principle he and his Government are against must now be thrown overboard just for by-elections but must be retained for general elections? Can he really justify that situation? I doubt he can.

We were against opinion polls in 1978 when we served on the select committee that was appointed to inquire into the Electoral Act. The committee was under the chairmanship of the gentleman who is now the Chief Whip of Parliament, Mr Van Breda. We are still against them. We are consistent in our attitude. We do not want to see opinion polls, under any conditions during any sort of election, whether it be for the House of Delegates or the House of Representatives or this House of Assembly, or for any other political body that may be elected in South Africa. The reasons therefor have been more than adequately aired in this House on many occasions, and I do not think we need agonize over them any longer.

As far as the second clause of this Bill is concerned, we have no objection. We realize that the position of the State President has obviously got to be taken into account and the amendment is thus necessary. I also want to place on record that we have no objection to the retrospectivity of these provisions because this is obviously necessary. I also think we are going to find other legislation coming before us from time to time where we are going to have to incorporate retrospectivity to 3 September 1984 in order to accommodate the new dispensation. I do hope that we will not agonize over that particular aspect of future legislation, as we do in our standing committees on each and every occasion that something like this arises.

So it is with regret that we must say we oppose this Bill. We oppose the principle contained therein, and we will vote against it.


Mr Speaker, the hon member for Umhlanga spoke directly to the hon the Deputy Minister, and I am going to leave it to the hon the Deputy Minister to reply to him. Please permit me, however, focus my attention for a moment on the hon member for Rissik.

I know why the hon member for Rissik is opposed to this legislation. Before expressing myself on this issue, however, I must first tell hon members the story of the mangy lion. As hon members know, the mangy lion was a lion with only one eye. He had lost one eye and could therefore not see very well. So when he went hunting at night, he could not catch a buck. When he returned to his lair next morning, he would therefore still be hungry and very morose.

The hon member for Rissik is a little morose this afternoon because he has been to Harrismith. His problem in holding meetings in the Free State is that he no longer draws an audience. That is specifically why the hon member normally challenges other hon members in this House to appear with him on political platforms. He knows there will then be a confrontational debate, a circus for the voters, consequently assuring him of a larger audience. That is his problem.

I can guarantee to hon members that very soon now—within the next few weeks—he is again going to be issuing such challenges. He has, in point of fact, already done so this year. When he does so in future, however, hon members will know there is only one reason behind it: He no longer draws people to his meetings who want to listen to his stories. If he now thinks we are going to be so shortsighted as to create a political platform for him so that he can draw larger audiences, he must have a very low opinion of our intelligence.

In any event, when that hon member was to join me on a political platform in Petrusburg in 1983, he did not turn up. [Interjections.] That was still during the referendum. He simply sent another arrogant little man along to take part in the proceedings.

As a result of this problem the hon member has, he is now squarely opposed to this legislation. We accept the hon member’s standpoint.

There is one thing I am very sorry about, however, and that is that the hon member did not put forward, in the standing committee, all the arguments he raised here this afternoon, because I think one ought to pay heed to some of them. Perhaps he could still have convinced us of this point of view, but he did not utter a single word … [Interjections.] All he said was that he was opposed to the legislation. If he had only been prepared to participate in the discussion on consensus, in all likelihood we would have found one another.

That does not fit in with his plans, however, because he is not opposed to the Electoral Act; he is opposed to the Constitution. That is his problem. He wants the Constitution to fail, and that is why he will not make any contribution in the standing committees in an endeavour to convince us of his view. He wants to state his standpoint in public so that the general public can hear him.

As the hon member for Innesdal has said, it is regrettable that the public does not always know what happens round the consensus tables in the standing committees. There the goodwill in regard to South Africa’s interests radiates from the majority of the political parties of all the Houses represented there. Nor is it possible for the Press to gain entry, because then that spirit of goodwill would probably cease to prevail. That is true. I wonder how much more legislation has been dealt with this year, during this session, than in the corresponding period during last year’s session? How much less time than in the previous session is now taken up in debating comparable legislation in this House? All this is the result of the activities of the standing committees. We also found this goodwill in the case of this legislation.

I should like to quote two very important arguments in support of why we eventually reached consensus. I say again that I regret the fact that the hon member for Rissik did not raise his arguments in the standing committee, because according to him there are methods whereby one can ensure that research continues. These days human sciences research frequently makes use of opinion polls. Research is used on a much larger scale throughout the world in the human sciences, and specific use is made of questions of the attitude-type which are scientifically based and can also furnish scientific explanations.

And that is specifically why the HSRC, in the first paragraph, points out that researchers involved in empirical studies on topical, socio-political matters, increasingly find themselves hampered by the implications embodied in section 143 of the Electoral Act, 1979, when it comes to research of the opinion-poll type.

The hon member for Rissik says we can very easily find methods to ensure that bona fide research continues. He apparently has some knowledge of these methods for ensuring its continuation, and that is why I am saying that it is a pity he did not mention this in the standing committee; perhaps we could have given it some thought. To tell the truth, we did do so. In seeking consensus amongst the various parties concerned, and while the hon the Minister was present, we proposed certain amendments to see if we could not accommodate one another. The eventual consensus was, however, that is was difficult to find a reliable norm to determine what was bona fide research and what was an opinion poll—and when all was said and done that was our problem—because otherwise one would have to establish a body to investigate every little piece of research in South Africa, whether it were carried out by universities, by the HSRC or whatever other body, with a view to determining whether it was research or merely an opinion poll. The hon member, however, did not say a word about that. I hope one of the speakers on his side takes the opportunity of just telling us what methods one could use to determine whether it was bona fide research or not.

I realize, as the hon member for Umhlanga pointed out, that with the possible 80% increase in by-elections, research is increasingly hampered and that we should also take into consideration the large number of provincial by-elections that can take place. The fact of the matter is that there are an additional 80 elected members in the House of Representatives and 40 elected members in the House of Delegates, and the chances of a by-election taking place at any particular time during the year is greater than it has been in the past. That is one of the arguments the HSRC advanced, and in my view it is a valid argument.

As I have said, science is making increasingly rapid strides. This is also happening in the field of the human sciences. I do not think the hon member for Rissik can compare the conditions prevailing in 1978 with those of today, because science, particularly socio-political research, has made rapid strides even in those few years—specifically in South Africa too. I think it is essential for us to bear this argument in mind in judging the legislation before us.


Mr Speaker, in connection with this statutory amendment, the first question that comes to mind is: What has happened, in the NP’s way of thinking, to induce it to bring about this drastic change to this Act? In 1978 the NP, as the governing party in this country, was strongly opposed to this, and the hon the Deputy Minister says that today they are still, in principle, opposed to opinion polls during elections. The NP was absolutely convinced that opinion polls should not be permitted either during general elections or during by-elections. At that time the Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr Schlebusch, said the following, amongst other things:

Opinion polls are something of an innovation in our country, and the organizations conducting them in our country are still new. What happened overseas? Numerous examples may be quoted of where opinion polls overseas were completely wrong. What happens is that one finds a certain kind of voter who would like on to the bandwagon … Why should such a person be influenced, during this critical period to which I referred, by an incorrect opinion poll?

The hon member for Virginia, who is today still sitting there on the other side of the House, also participated in that debate. The hon member expressed his strong opposition to opinion polls at any time during elections. [Interjections.] The fact of the matter is— and I do not want to rehash the debate, because the hon member for Rissik quoted the hon member for Virginia’s precise words— that at the time the hon member was also completely opposed to opinion polls during by-elections.

The question that now arises is what has, in the interim, happened to the governing party’s, the NP’s way of thinking to have convinced it so conclusively that the contrary must now apply and that opinion polls can be conducted during by-elections, in spite of objections to this in principle. Is it simply to oblige the HSRC? Has the present-day governing party become so feeble as to allow anyone to prescribe to it how it ought to do things? Today the hon member Mr Kritzinger alleged that because the Conservative Party was opposed to opinion polls it was a short-sighted party. Was the National Party short-sighted in 1978? Was the hon A L Schlebusch being short-sighted at the time? Was the hon member for Virginia being short-sighted? What has now so suddenly made the National Party so liberal-minded about this; no longer so short-sighted as far as this is concerned? [Interjections.]


Have you read the report?


I shall be coming to the report. [Interjections.] The fact of the matter, however, is that the HSRC’s report has therefore convinced the Government to jettison its own principles, merely to oblige the HSRC. The hon the Deputy Minister has intimated, has he not, that he still adheres to the same principle. [Interjections.] It is surely a very strange party which adheres to a principle, but nevertheless allows itself to be convinced by an organization that the party is at liberty to forsake that principle so as to oblige others, and what is more on the basis of arguments that really do not carry all that much weight.

I should like to know from the hon the Minister of Home Affairs—when he has finished his discussion with the hon member for Virginia …


Put your question to the hon the Deputy Minister.


No, forget about the hon the Deputy Minister for now. I should like to put my question to the hon Minister himself. [Interjections.] What on earth has suddenly caused opinion polls during elections to become so important today? What precisely has so enhanced the value of opinion polls to a party which would readily violate even its own principles in order to give affect to this? After all, in 1978 the NP did not attach that much value to opinion polls. Then the NP totally rejected them. At the time the party that argued in favour of opinion polls was ostensibly short-sighted. So what has suddenly so enhanced the value of opinion polls that immediate provision must summarily be made for them?

There is another aspect, however, on which I must focus attention. The fact of the matter is that opinion polls are in no way perfect, as the hon A L Schlebusch said at the time. Opinion polls are frequently wide of the mark. It surely depends on which respondents form part of the sample, where the opinion poll is conducted, etc. My contention is that the results of an opinion poll carried out in regard to a by-election will undoubtedly be determined largely by the area in which that opinion poll is conducted. An opinion poll conducted in Pretoria or on the Witwatersrand would, I believe, furnish results completely different to those of an opinion poll conducted, for example, somewhere in a rural area.

And by now we are surely familiar with the kind of people who conduct opinion polls. They conduct them with a specific purpose in mind, because they want to influence somebody; they want to make an impression on someone. They therefore ensure that the relevant opinion poll is specifically conducted in an area which would most benefit a particular party at the expense of another party.




No, it has nothing whatsoever to do with that. The fact of the matter is that the hon the Minister is violating his principles. He is violating this principle merely to oblige certain people. [Interjections.] It is also true that the manner in which an opinion poll is conducted is, I believe, very important. Of necessity an opinion poll is centred on a specific question. What is therefore important is the way in which that question is put. Is the question clearly and concisely formulated so that the relevant respondents can very specifically answer it, or is it formulated a little vaguely so that the respondents cannot, in point of fact, give a decisive answer? The significance of each answer is then interpreted in the manner that best suits those conducting the opinion polls. If they formulate the question in such a way that the respondent must, of necessity, answer “yes”, whilst in actual fact wanting to give a qualified “yes” or one involving some or other explanation, that explanation or qualification is not taken into consideration, being interpreted merely as an unequivocal “yes” in relation to the question that was put. The same applies, of course, in the case of an inevitable negative answer to the question put. The relevant respondent’s qualification of his answer is frequently not taken into consideration at all. That is the very reason why so many opinion polls are simply not worth the effort, their sole object being to exercize specific influence or create a certain atmosphere in regard to a certain matter.

It is now being said, however, that in this new dispensation there are 130 new members of Parliament and that this is specifically going to result in opinion polls, conducted for the benefit of elections, being hampered for that reason. I just want to put a question in this regard. Before the new members of the House of Delegates came here, surely the SA Indian Council was in existence. And there were, after all, elections held for that Council. And opinion polls could surely be conducted for their elections too; opinion polls which could, after all, also have influenced their voters? Earlier on there was also the CRC. It was not a hundred years ago that the CRC was abolished. In other words, those people were there. They could have exercized an equally obstructive influence on opinion polls.


The fact is that their research is hampered.


No, the fact of the matter is not that their research is hampered. Their research is not hampered, because they themselves state that there are methods that can be employed to allow them to continue, without interruption, with their research. The hon member for Umhlanga quoted the relevant passage and I therefore do not want to waste time doing so again. They can achieve their results; we must simply not allow them to make their results public at certain times or not to conduct polls at certain times. So why do we not do so? If the Government wants to oblige to these people, why does it embody their proposals in the legislation? Why is the Government now opening this up? The Government could surely have assisted them in this way to continue with their research.

I want to state that no research is as good as an election that has taken place. These people say that by-elections interrupt their research, hamper it. By-elections actually promote their research, because the results of a by-election are not an opinion poll—they represent the actual opinions voiced at the polls, and this promotes the research. In consequence the results of the research much more closely approximate the truth, their accuracy is increased and they are more dependable.

The fact of the matter—we cannot get away from it—is that opinion polls exert an influence. If opinion polls are conducted during a by-election and the result indicates that one party has an exceptional amount of support, while another is faring badly—one has 80% support, a second 5% and a third possibly 10%—that result exerts an influence on the opinion of the voters, particularly those present-day voters who are undecided. After all, we all know, from our recruiting campaigns, how many people there are these days who are undecided. Every party encounters that large percentage of people who are undecided—people who do not know what they should do. Some of them, however, are the kind of people to whom the hon Mr Schlebusch referred at the time. They are the people who are keen to get on the bandwagon. There is also the type of person who never wants to lose: he wants to be on the winning side. So if he were told repeatedly, before the time, that a certain party was in the lead and would win, he would climb on that bandwagon because he wanted to win. That person would therefore not be exercising sober judgement because of an improper influence exerted on his judgement by opinion polls which are not perfect; on the contrary, they have many shortcomings.

We are now using a body such as the HSRC as an instrument to persuade our voters, prior to elections, to think and vote in a certain way, whilst the political parties themselves have not reached those people, whether by way of recruitment or whatever other method, so as to exert an influence on them. This information is not going to be hidden under a bushel. The results of such an opinion poll will be blazed forth on television and radio and the newspapers will proclaim the results under banner headlines. The effects of those results will be come clearly apparent when the actual results of the by-election are made known.

I now want to put another question: What is the difference between a general and a by-election? Is one of the elections then of greater or lesser importance? An election is an election. Let me say: In a general election a party can win or lose; it depends on whether it wins the most seats, but the importance of by-elections lies in the fact that they give an indication of electoral opinion trends amongst voters between two general elections. In many cases in the past by-elections have indicated to the governing party that it should keep a weather eye open.

Once, in the annals of history, Wakkerstroom was a pointer indicating to a certain party: “Your fate is sealed. The voters are turning against you.” That is why by-elections are very important. They serve as a barometer for the governing party and also for every opposition party, indicating what party is in the process of growing, which party has any hopes of winning in future. They serve as a barometer to indicate how future general elections can be won. A by-election is just as important as a general election, and we should not pretend now that by-elections are merely temporary little events that take place in the interim. A by-election has value and exerts a great influence.

So to say that by-elections can now be subjected to opinion polls, but not general elections—as if one would only be influencing public opinion in general elections and not in by-elections—is of no value whatsoever. The CP is therefore opposed to that clause and is not prepared to support it. We are least of all prepared to support it because the governing party cannot advance any arguments to prove why it has violated its own principle simply to open the door for by-elections. Sheltering behind this there is a political party which knows it is losing ground. [Interjections.]

In the history of this country there have seldom been as many by-election defeats as the NP has suffered in the past 2 years. The HSRC results can be misused to warn this party or to promote its course by influencing the voters.

As far as the second point is concerned, we are quite satisfied with that. In terms of the new Constitution the State President is a political figure. Because he is active in politics, he cannot be afforded the protection of a State President who is merely a Head of State and is not in the political arena. If someone engages in politics, he must also be able to take the knocks that are part of political life. We are quite satisfied about the protection, which was afforded former State Presidents, being taken away in the case of the present State President. We are therefore in favour of the second clause, but definitely not the first one.


Mr Speaker, in the first instance I want to thank all the hon members who participated most sincerely for their enthusiastic contributions to the debate. I want to thank my own colleagues in the NP for their well-reasoned arguments. They have already refuted many of the arguments of the CP and to a great extent also those of the NRP. I especially want to thank the chairman of the standing committee, the hon member for Innesdal, very much for his kind words. I also want to congratulate him on his appointment as chairman of the standing committee. I also want to thank the hon members Mr Kritzinger and Dr Odendaal for their contributions; I really do appreciate it. What the hon members said was most significant and I am certain that those who opposed this Bill took note of their insight and of the quality and logic of their arguments.

I also want to thank the hon member for Green Point and his party for their support of the Second Reading of this legislation. We understand their problem and what their objection is all about. The essence of the objection of the hon member and his party to the legislation—that is the second clause, as the hon member for Innesdal said—was in fact argued from a legal point of view. One can see why the hon member argued that normally one could not make legislation retrospective to a previous period unless there were very specific reasons for doing so. I think the hon member for Innesdal explained very well why that purely legal argument was not applicable in this instance. There are other arguments in support of this change we have made. The hon member for Innesdal specifically pointed out that the principle or the effect of retrospectivity actually contradicted the spirit of the new Constitution, and the change in the status of the State President from a ceremonial to an executive head of state makes a fundamental difference. I think the hon member and his party will concede that it actually could cause problems, as was manifest in our practical experience of the State President’s involvement since 3 September last year up to the present time. At present there are no outstanding court cases and it is therefore not relevant. It is not a way of trying to dodge accusations; it is merely an effort to put matters right for the future. I think the hon member would agree with us on this.

In his objection to opinion polls being conducted, he is in reality questioning whether the involvement of the people doing the research and publication of the results do have any fundamental influence on people’s opinions while they are participating in elections. I want to tell the hon member—to a certain extent this also answers questions by other hon members who used the same argument—that there are two reasons why we are opposed in principle to this type of activity. The first is the publication of the results and I shall return to that later. The second is the involvement of those who are conducting the research in the streets and who, with the politicians, are also working with the voters there. So actually there is a factor of involvement. He does, however, question whether there is scientific proof, whether it has the kind of effect which we say it has. There are two sides to the argument. Until such time as we have the scientific proof, we must dissociate ourselves from our own opinion. We must wait until we have real and completely clear-cut scientific proof before taking action. Of course we know that that principle is very definitely not applicable to all our legislation. One cannot always wait until one has completely clear-cut scientific support for one’s own principles or the course one wishes to take. One implements legislation to alleviate the negative effects of a specific situation to the best of one’s ability. To a certain extent there is indirect scientific proof of the so-called “bandwagon effect” when it comes to the publication of the results of these opinion polls. The hon member can ask the hon Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a sociologist and will be able to prove to him that scientific research was done on so-called “group norm pressure”.

†In the vernacular, this means fad and fashion and “the bandwagon effect”. The hon member himself as a married man will know that his wife can hardly resist buying a new dress because it is in fashion. This is a simple example of the bandwagon effect which influences people. However, perhaps more important than that—and one must take this into consideration when one considers the principle—is the ability of the individual and the party to take counter-action to an opinion poll to which he may not have access in terms of its construct and the type of questions asked. It was said by the hon member for Koedoespoort, albeit for other reasons, that one does not always have access to the questions. One cannot find out how the poll was conducted. Moreover, one may not have the finance to be able to prove that that opinion poll was wrong in the first instance.


You are motivating opposition to your Bill.


No, I am saying that if we are going to err, we must err on the side of the individual’s right to exercise his vote democratically without improper interference. That is what I am saying. The hon member will realize that today it will cost between R5 000 and R15 000 at least to do an opinion survey of political fortunes based on a sample of 500 in one constituency alone. I want to add that it is not only the cost effect that must be considered, but also what happens once an opinion poll result is published in the newspapers. All political parties do not have access, we know, to the newspapers which propogate anti-party—whichever party it may be— points of view. How is one going to reach the voter if the result of an opinion poll survey—as has happened in the past—is published two days before an election takes place? Moreover, whether we like it or not, many of those surveys are used in a manipulative way.

Furthermore, how does one gain access to the media in order to argue against a particular opinion poll, even if it was done scientifically? Therefore, if we are going to err at all in legislation—and this is the principle involved here—let us err on the side of the democratic vote and the right of the individual and not on the part of those who have the money or the newspapers to propagate their points of view.

The question that arises immediately— other hon members have asked this—is: What is the difference between a single by-election or a series of by-elections and a general election? That is really what it comes down to. I shall shortly answer the hon member for Umhlanga in terms of his argument. One must, however, also take into account that legislation to control matters is a relative matter. It is not an absolute. Take for example the control of liquor. The attitude of the hon member for Umhlanga, and of those who are against the fact that we are going to allow it during by-elections but not during a general election, shows that they are subscribing to a principle of absolute control by legislation where one bans entirely. That is a very naive approach to legislation. What we are dealing with here is relative control of the effect of the activity we are trying to control. I say to the hon member for Umhlanga that he will concede that. We are not all teetotallers; but neither are we all in favour of debauched drinking. There is relative control of a commodity which, if it is abused, does have a negative effect on the population. Therefore, we look at this legislation in exactly the same light—the relative control of the negative effects of opinion polls as far as political activity is concerned.


Do you think that women can also get a little bit pregnant? [Interjections.]


It may well be possible, yes; but that is unfortunately not within my scope of activity, and so I am not competent to answer it.

I say to the hon member that a further factor which must be taken into account is the effect and scale of this sort of activity, and the negative effect when this sort of opinion poll is undertaken. When it comes to single by-elections—and I think every member will agree with me on this—the parties concerned who are contesting it, are in a better position to argue their case, if they wish, against an opinion poll. They are. They have the resources to do it. They have the concentrated resources to negative those attitudes which are not available in a general election because then their resources are spread right across the country.

Furthermore, a very important principle in legislation is that the effect of a particular activity must be measured and there must be a proportional relationship between the effect of a particular activity and the kind of legislation introduced. That is why capital crimes are, in many instances, punishable with the ultimate and supreme penalty, ie the death penalty. By contrast, a parking offence may only result in the offender’s incurring a R10 fine. That is how the concept of relativity works: We must take into account both the effect of an offence and the ability of society to absorb and negate that offence. Herein lies the answer to the hon member for Umhlanga: We must be sensitive to the relative needs of society; we cannot work on an absolute basis and simply ban everything that we do not regard as a good idea.

I may just say to the hon member that he is of course being relatively consistent here because the hon member for Durban Point was the man who originally advanced the idea of banning opinion polls. He was the man who did it and, of course, the NRP are to a certain extent voting against this today, on a relative basis.

*Mr Speaker, I just want to come back to the hon members of the CP.

When one analyses their arguments it would seem as if they were actually supporting our point of view, because what they are saying is that our prohibition opinion polls during general elections has a detrimental effect on their ability to influence people. That is actually what they are saying. They are therefore agreeing with us. They are saying that it has a adverse effect on them because free and general opinion polls are not permitted during elections. They are therefore proving and confirming that such opinion polls do influence the voters. They are admitting it by their very actions and arguments.

What it actually boils down to—and I must cross swords with them on this—is that they are opposed to opinion polls, as the hon member for Rissik and the hon member for Koedoespoort said, because they are of the opinion that the Government can manipulate such opinion polls.


That is what it does.


That is really a poor argument, and I hope the hon member realizes what he is saying. The HSRC is one of the organizations in this country, in the world, which operates in the most scientific manner. Their use of scientific methods can stand up to any scrutiny. About these allegations I can merely say that I hope the hon members realize that they are impugning the integrity of that organization. I should like to assure the hon members that those people cannot be manipulated. It is exactly because of that characteristic of integrity that this Government is prepared to support them wholeheartedly. [Interjections.] Clients very soon find out which organizations conducting so-called scientific polls manipulate their findings, and that is then the end of that organization. In my opinion that is a specious argument and an impugning of the integrity of that organization, and I hope those hon members are going to apologize to the HSRC. [Interjections.] Those hon members cannot get away from the fact that they are under the impression that the NP wants to manipulate the results. That is not true, and even if it were, those hon members could conduct their own opinion poll if they had the money. Both sides can make use of opinion polls. That argument is not going to hold up and I think hon members will realize that today.

†Mr Speaker, I should like to come back to the hon member for Umhlanga and say that I hope I have satisfactorily answered the question that he put to me. I do not think he is quite right when he calls this shoddy legislation. It is refined legislation which is finely tuned to the needs of the organizations involved in research, the impact and its effect. I think the degree of sensitivity which this Government exercises is to be praised and not to be condemned.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


Certainly. Of course it is. Life is full of subjectivity and that is why it has to be relative. We cannot all have the same point of view but we must test it against reality and relative effects.


At least it contains a new sort of principle, an elastic principle.


Yes, of course, that is what life is all about. There is adjustment and there is modification in terms of the needs of society.

In conclusion may I just say that if we had not brought in this modification to this legislation, which was well motivated by the Human Sciences Research Council, it would effectively and seriously have hampered an important arm of scientific research in South Africa, and we did not want to deal a death blow to that activity. We merely wanted to control that activity in the interests of society. Therefore, I hope all hon members will see it this way and give us their full support in the second reading.


Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon the Deputy Minister why he did not amend the Bill along the lines suggested by the HSRC?


Mr Speaker, I thought I had answered that, because what the hon member is talking about is only the publication of results. We also have a problem with activists being involved in the field at the time. That is the other side of the story.

May I wind up finally by expressing the hope that all hon members will appreciate the importance of doing this in the interests of scientific research in South Africa and that they will all support this Bill.

Question agreed to (Conservative Party and New Republic Party dissenting).

Bill read a second time.

Certified fair copy of Bill to be transmitted to the State President for his assent unless the House decides within three sitting days after the disposal thereof in all three Houses to refer the Bill to a committee.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the House do now adjourn.

Agreed to.

The House adjourned at 18h26 until after the disposal of the business of the Joint Sitting on Monday.