House of Assembly: Vol2 - WEDNESDAY 6 MARCH 1985
announced that he had amended Joint Rule 23 to authorize the Speaker to place a bill for Second Reading on the Order Paper of a House which has adopted a report of a standing select committee recommending that such bill be not proceeded with.
as Chairman, presented the Third Report of the Standing Select Committee on Transport Affairs, relative to the South African Transport Services Amendment Bill [No 35—85 (GA)], as follows:
D M STREICHER,
Committee Rooms Parliament 1 March 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
as Chairman, presented the Third Report of the Standing Select Committee on Mineral and Energy Affairs, relative to the Coal Control Bill [No 20—85 (GA)], as follows:
M H VELDMAN,
Committee Rooms Parliament 1 March 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
Clause 1 (contd):
Mr Chairman, just before the House adjourned yesterday evening, I was beginning to explain briefly what was really happening as far as the 33,3% decrease in service bonuses of SATS employees was concerned. I know that this is a very sensitive matter. Some of the hon members asked me whether I had put the case of SATS employees to the Cabinet.
Just you wait, they are looking for you in Johannesburg! [Interjections.]
I put the matter in such a way that in his statement yesterday, the State President expressed himself as follows with regard to the SATS. I quote (Hansard: Assembly, 5 March 1985):
This is what the State President himself said in this House; I have quoted his own words.
I have had talks with the trade organizations and have told them that these things are appreciated. The Government and I have great appreciation for what the staff has already sacrificed, and on various occasions I have thanked the staff for this. To ensure the success of this effort, however, every section, every public servant, every railwayman, every post office clerk and everyone who is part of the Public Service, must pull his weight. I also gave the staff organizations the assurance that as soon as the economy recovers, these matters will be reconsidered.
Various hon members came to me and asked me what I had done for the railwayman. I put the railwayman’s case every time, but I want to point out that this problem is one that affects the whole country. It is a depression that has hit the country, but I say we must press on regardless. We are going through a dark patch, but as soon as the economy recovers, we are going to reconsider this whole matter. [Interjections.]
I want to come to the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central.
†The hon member for Port Elizabeth Central and certain other hon members mentioned numerous things, but because I have only 25 minutes I cannot reply to them all. Firstly, I want to say that in the House of Representatives I told the members to stop asking the members of the PFP to state their cases, because they make a mess of it. I told them that they were capable of stating their cases themselves.
That is an absolute cheek.
That is a hard fact. They have their platforms from which they can talk. I want to admit that I then made a mistake.
*I told the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Representatives, Mr Dennis de la Cruz, that he had repeated what the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central had said. He came to see me in my office afterwards, and told me that he had not repeated that hon member’s speech, and that it was his own. I am now convinced that he did not repeat that hon member’s speech, and I promised him that I would rectify the matter. It was therefore not a repetition of the speech of the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central.
Why do you force him into such a humiliating situation?
These hon members come every time and state their standpoints … [Interjections.]
Now that the hon the Leader of the Official Opposition is not here, the hon member for Yeoville or the hon member for Pinelands act as leader. [Interjections.] Is the hon member for Sea Point the leader? That will be the day! In any case, the hon PFP members are leaderless. [Interjections.]
†The hon member for Port Elizabeth Central referred to the Apple Express, but I shall speak about that when I come to the hon member for Humansdorp. [Interjections.] What did the hon member say?
I said: “There is a rotten apple express over there”.
Can that hon member say I am rotten?
The hon the Minister may proceed.
I shall come to the Apple Express later.
The first phase of the renovation of the Port Elizabeth station will be completed by next year. We are giving attention to the matters to which the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central referred. The hon member also referred to parliamentary catering. We have had a discussion about that matter and I do not know whether the hon member is not satisfied with the way in which the catering in Parliament is being undertaken. On the committee I explained that it would not be the right thing to privatize catering in Parliament now for specific reasons. However, most of the catering of the SATS has already been privatized.
*Take Jan Smuts Airport as an example. One pays 85 cents for a cup of coffee because Jan Smuts has private caterers. Private enterprise is utilized as much as possible, also on stations, and the SATS undertakes catering only in one or two places. Just take a look at the prices we pay for meals when privatization is introduced. The hon member must simply be consistent. I am not opposed to privatization, but these things are already being done.
†The hon member also asked for ILS on the Port Elizabeth Airport. That falls under the Department of Transport and I shall reply to that when we discuss that Vote.
*I shall reply to most of the other matters in letters to the hon members, because I cannot deal with them in 25 minutes.
The hon member for Kimberley South asked why we did not give attention in the annual report to the 50th anniversary of the SA Railway Police. He delivered a wonderful eulogy on the Railway Police, who have protected this billion rand asset for 50 years. We issued a special publication. We did not want to incorporate it in the General Manager’s annual report. We published a Railways Police Album covering the 50 year period. The album is illustrated with photographs of 50 years ago. It is a beautiful book. We donated the book to the officials, but they are selling it for R25. I have received mine already, but I bought this copy for R25 to give to the hon member as a mark of appreciation for his lovely speech. I shall give it to him now.
Thank you very, very much. [Interjections.]
That book is only for snobs because only snobs can afford it.
No, it is a fantastic book. I wrote the foreword for it, and it is selling like hot cakes.
I was annoyed with the hon member for Meyerton yesterday. I always believed that the hon member was sincere. The hon member for Rosettenville sincerely took out the February edition of The Flying Springbok, and spoke about it. We are all dissatisfied about that edition. The hon member for Meyerton, however, came forward with the March edition which is a completely different edition. The hon member said it hurt him to see how the hon the Minister disparaged his staff. I repeat what I said: Oom Sporie described that February edition exactly.
Order! Not “Oom Sporie”, but the hon member for Rosettenville.
The February edition is exactly as the hon member for Rosettenville described it.
He never discussed the February edition.
He had the February edition there.
He had it in his hand, but he never discussed it.
It may be a misunderstanding.
Here is his Hansard. He did not say a word about the February edition.
The hon member for Meyerton told such a heart-breaking story. How his heart bled for the staff. It was pathetic to hear how many tears the hon member could shed because I had disparaged the staff to such an extent. [Interjections.] All I say is that this matter will be rectified.
The hon member for Meyerton referred to a number of things that he said he had raised with some members of management. Why does he then raise them with me? He said he had raised these things with members of management and probably they will then give him a reply to the number of things he has raised with them concerning his constituency.
The hon member for Roodeplaat made a very good contribution about management and management development and the new management techniques that are being applied. He also spoke about decision-making. He held up a few examples for us. I want to congratulate the hon member on his contribution in respect of management.
†The hon member for Umhlanga referred to the Blue Train. He said that when people came from overseas, the first thing they did was to go on the Blue Train. Well, I say ten out of ten for that. Then they go down a goldmine and then they go to Mala-Mala.
No, secondly to Mala-Mala and thirdly down a goldmine.
I have nothing against Mala-Mala. I think people will prefer going to the Eastern Transvaal in any case, but that is all right.
Don’t you know that Mala-Mala is in the Eastern Transvaal?
What did I do? I said in this House that the Blue Train was helping us because one finds millionaires overseas who say they will fly SAA provided that they get a ticket for the Blue Train. That was what I said. The Blue Train is helping us in various ways. It helps tourism. I said in English the Blue Train was a snob train, but in Afrikaans it was a “prestige-trein”. Sometimes there is method in my madness. This was the best way to advertise it.
*I was asked once why women are not interested in these driving competitions. So I said that I would make them interested. All I said was that women were bad drivers, and the entries increased three hundredfold.
We also got free advertising in The Argus. There was a whole page of colour photographs and the headline “Blue Train Blues” They published photographs of overseas people saying: “It is wonderful, the third best train in the world.” Some call it “altogether the best train in the world.”
†We are getting the advertising from what I have said.
*I say again that the Blue Train is a “prestige train”.
You said: “It’s a snob train.”
It doesn’t matter; it can be a snob train.
†I am a businessman and I want to sell the Blue Train, and I am succeeding in doing so. [Interjections.]
I want to deal with the question of overbooking in the past. We had the system of giving tickets to certain agents to sell. Then there were cancellations and these did not arrive in time. People therefore said that the train was full, whereas there were actually many cancellations. The whole process has been altered.
It is no more the case that an overseas agent can have many reservations, book them and then not get the money because of cancellations. They are now penalized for doing this. We are implementing various methods to overcome this problem.
The hon member for South Coast referred to the pensioners, as did the hon member for Durban Point. I will reply to both these hon members simultaneously. A joint committee on pension matters only considers the admission of employees to membership, the submission of a recommendation regarding payment of contributions and improvements in pension benefits payable to members. That is what they decide on. Adjustments in pensions are paid out of revenue and therefore the joint committees on pension matters have no jurisdiction regarding such matters. In the circumstances the request that pensioners be represented on the respective joint committees cannot be supported. One cannot have a pensioner on this committee because he is already receiving a pension. If he is still employed by us and is eligible for a pension one day then we can put him on this committee.
The hon member also referred to the railhead of Port Shepstone. The SATS have no plans whatsoever to close the Port Shepstone railhead. There is no reason why the municipality of Port Shepstone should not negotiate with the SATS for the lease of any land they may require. They can have free access to us to discuss these matters.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question?
Order! Is the hon the Minister prepared to reply to a question?
It was not a case of closing the railhead; it was a case of whether the railhead was going to be moved. That was the question.
That can also happen. We can give attention to that.
The hon member for Bezuidenhout asked why we should subsidize the commuters. He did not ask why those people are not staying at their place of work. The hon member for Langlaagte referred to what happened when the hon member’s party ran the City Council of Johannesburg. Their recommendation was that certain Black townships should be erected where they are today. The hon member’s people made these recommendations on a committee. My question is: Where must the people of Soweto stay in any case? Tell us where they must stay. Do not simply make a statement and then leave it in the air. [Interjections.]
*Throughout the world people have to be transported. There are people who live in London and have to travel 45 miles every day to get to work. One cannot have everyone living in one place. [Interjections.] The hon member also put a number of other questions to me.
The hon member for Hercules put certain questions to me as well. We are having an evaluation made with regard to train passengers as against air passengers. For various reasons we cannot convey everyone by air. An aircraft cannot make frequent stops, but one can let a train travel from Bloemfontein to Welkom. Therefore the one cannot replace the other. We are paying attention to the hon member’s requests. Included in Wim De Villiers’ terms of reference is an instruction to investigate the possibility of giving the travel agencies out on tender or of privatizing them. The matter will be investigated.
Then I come to the hon member for Sunnyside. Is he here?
Then I shall not deal with him.
The hon member for Uitenhage has repeatedly arranged for us to visit Cuyler Manor and Uitenhage. It is a pleasure to come across a member of Parliament who pays so much attention to our Railway workers. He also described the importance of the Port Elizabeth harbour. He does not grumble a city to death. There are people here who want to grumble a city to death. Some of the Opposition members talk continuously of how East London and Port Elizabeth are deteriorating. Here we now have a member who points out that the harbour has shown a profit. He is making a positive contribution and I want to thank him, especially, too, for the role he plays in Uitenhage in respect of the Railway workers.
†The hon member for Durban Point also referred to the 13th cheque. He, and also the hon member for South Coast, asked certain questions in this connection. Reference was made to the interest on the pension contributions of certain people who were dismissed between 1965 and 1981. Regulations did not previously make provision for the payment of interest on contributions in respect of these cases. Furthermore, the Archives Act provides for the files of ex-employees to be destroyed after a certain period. As the files of most of the people concerned are no longer available, it would be impractical to review the decision not to pay interest on the pension contributions of employees who were dismissed for reasons of alcoholism, fraud and theft prior to 1981.
Not in respect of fraud and theft: Nobody asked for that.
They are included as is alcoholism. We even went into the possibility of an ex gratia payment, but we do not have the records any more. So we have a problem there.
As regards the proposal of a 13th cheque for pensioners, I can say that the additional cost involved amounts to approximately R19,1 million. This will have to be financed from revenue. I feel very sympathetic towards the pensioners and I can say that we are looking into the whole matter again, but I shall refer to that later on.
*The hon member for Boksburg spoke about graphite bushes. We are dealing with the possibility of producing them locally instead of importing them. I can also tell the hon member that as far as family planning is concerned, we shall give the lowest priority to hostels in future. We shall rather provide family housing than build hostels again. I took cognizance of the hon member’s problems. We shall attend to them.
Then I come to the hon member for Sea Point, the acting relieving temporary leader of the PFP.
†He referred to various matters. I can say that we requested the city council to pay attention to the Victoria Basin. They have a committee working on it. I myself would like to see the Victoria Basin developed. I am all for it, but the economy today is such that one does not easily find people to undertake certain developments. We are waiting for proposals from the city council and the committee working on that.
We even have problems with the City Council of Johannesburg. We told them: Regarding your proposals and various others, let us develop land surrounding the station and certain areas in Johannesburg. They said the street plan did not provide for certain developments in the centre of the city. I am in favour of this thing, but it takes time to overcome all the arguments against it. Nevertheless, we are paying attention to that.
The hon member referred to D F Malan Airport as the Cinderella of airports. The D F Malan Airport is fully equipped to function as an international airport. It already caters for the international flights of SAA, British Airways and Varig to London, Frankfurt and Rio de Janeiro. In addition to Jan Smuts, Cape Town and Durban have been included as gateways in bilateral air agreement negotiations. In this regard, Pan Am has the right to operate to Cape Town when the need arises.
What more must we do? We do not denigrate D F Malan Airport; we do not say it is not a gateway. However, we do say that if the business is generated here, D F Malan Airport will become a gateway.
You charge too much.
Oh please, man. We charge the same at Jan Smuts Airport; there is no difference.
There is a difference.
There is no difference.
Of course there is a difference.
Oh, all right! [Interjections.]
*I come now to the hon member for Worcester. This hon member put his case in a very pithy way. As regards the surplus land the SATS has there, we are negotiating with the town council. The negotiations are taking place, and we are paying attention to the problems the hon member for Worcester has as far as land is concerned.
The hon member discussed containerization and how it developed. I am very grateful for his contribution.
The hon member for Langlaagte asked why I did not fight for my people in the Cabinet. I can only tell that hon member that my conscience is clear. I told him last night that this was a team effort; I am not someone who leaves the herd. As a Cabinet we decided that the matter would be dealt with in this way. What had to be said in respect of the railwayman, however, was said in the Cabinet—hence the State President’s statement.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: This hon Minister told me last night that he had not known of the decision.
The hon member asked me whether I had known about the decision when I introduced the Budget. [Interjections.] Now we have all heard: Then the CP people still speak of honesty. [Interjections.] I said emphatically that when I dealt with the Appropriation, nothing was said about the thirteenth cheque.
That is the point.
When the Budget was being prepared, nothing was said about the thirteenth cheque; in other words, this hon member is insinuating that I knew of these matters, but that I kept quiet about them in my Budget speech; in other words, that I lied. That is what he is insinuating.
That is not true.
That is exactly what it is. [Interjections.] Truly, he who sups with the devil, should use a long spoon. [Interjections.]
Now the hon the Minister has recorded it in Hansard.
These people can become so bitter. I never thought that some of these hon members could become worse than HNP members. I find it incredible. They were hand in glove with the HNP, but now they are worse than the HNP. I find it incredible that one Afrikaner can persecute another Afrikaner so. [Interjections.] Jaap Marais would have performed better than the CP … [Interjections.] I would rather deal with Jaap Marais than one of those hon members.
The hon member for Springs apologized because he could not be here. The hon member made certain requests, however, with regard to land and negotiations. His request will receive attention.
I want to congratulate the town council of Springs on the erection of their terminus, the parking area and the ride-and-park system. We are also paying further attention to this.
Now we come to the hon member for Johannesburg North. This hon member kicked up a terrible fuss here about the question of Soshanguve and the passengers to Pretoria.
†However, everything he said was what the Pretoria Chamber of Commerce told him to say.
Of course, yes! The hon member is not even the member for that area. We invited all the members of Parliament representing Pretoria and its environs. We invited the Minister of Transport of Bophuthatswana, under whose jurisdiction Soshanguve falls, together with all his officials and the MPs for Pretoria, to come with us on that train journey at 04h30 in the morning. We asked at the time whether they saw any evidence of overcrowding and they, as well as the Minister, Mr Makori, admitted in the presence of members of the Press and television that there was no overcrowding.
*There is something else behind it all as far as the hon member is concerned, however. We built a station at Belle Ombre which cost R8 million. The planning of this station took place in consultation with the city council and all interested parties. Pretoria MPs have been asking for this system for years. What does the hon member want now, though? Although the Black taxi drivers say that they cannot move, the hon member wants the train and the bus to run next to one another. I thought that the hon member had more sense than that.
The hon member for Humansdorp spoke about uneconomical branch lines. One of these was that on which the Apple Express runs. The Commissioners of the SATS Board will discuss the matter with the hon member and the hon member of Oudtshoorn, who is also affected by it. For a long section of its route the train travels through the constituency of the hon the Deputy Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. I should not like us to take such an attraction as the Apple Express out of operation. We should rather try to make the project viable. The hon member for Humansdorp said that the conveyance of fruit by rail was a completely outdated method of transport, and that, of course, is our problem. Farmers say that they can deliver the fruit much faster using motor trucks. I thank the hon member for his contribution and want to give him the assurance that we shall contact him before we do anything in his constituency.
The hon member for Koedoespoort referred to the role of the SATS staff. I cannot differ from him.
The hon member for Wellington spoke very effectively about pensions and I want to tell him and the hon member for Durban Point that the pensions of pensioners who retired just after December 1973 have to date been increased in aggregate by 153%. The pensions of those who retired before 1 December 1973, have, in addition to this 153%, been adjusted by a further 37%. The total adjustment was 209%. I want to mention a few specific examples of people who retired before 1 December 1984. A man who retired on 16 February 1967, after 40 years of service, then received a pension of R120 per month, which is now R457 per month. A man who retired on 1 December 1971, after 15 years of service received a pension of R112, which is now R347. The adjustment of pre-1973 pensions was greater than post-1973 pensions, I want to tell the hon member once again that there are pensioners who are having a hard time, and I admit it. We are going to see again how we can handle the situation in order to help these people. I am also going to get old and many of us have relatives who are already old and whom we feel worried about when the time that they can no longer work is at hand. Once someone has been in service for 40 years, he should receive a pension which he can live on and which we do not have to be ashamed of.
I want to put a question to the hon the Minister while he is speaking and the officials are present. From his appropriation it is not clear whether he has budgeted for an increase or a decrease in passenger traffic and goods traffic. Can he tell us what the case is?
In my budget speech I gave a projection according to which we think that the number of passengers will remain constant and that the volume of goods will increase. I can give the hon member a copy of the speech. I can also let him have more details. I foresee, however, that the demand and especially exports will increase as a result of the weak rand. For example it is not impossible that we shall soon be able to export over 40 million tons of coal.
The hon member for Green Point spoke of the safety of passengers. I want to tell the hon member that a mistake was made in the reply we gave him here. The hon member put a question about the number of murders. The reply should have come from the Cape Town office, but the information in respect of the number of murders that took place came from the Cape Town regional office. Six murders were reported on Cape Town station. [Interjections.]
It is at least twice the figure for the previous year.
I have given the hon member the answer. The area covered by this information that was furnished stretches from De Aar, and all the stations within the entire area are involved. However, it was not a case of 52 murders being reported on Cape Town station. The figure was three and last year the figure was six. Crimes on Railway property have decreased by 17% countrywide, and as far as Cape Town specifically is concerned, it has decreased by 14%. The reason for this was that we made more police available, used radio control systems and applied other methods and techniques. I just want to tell the hon member again that the incidence of crime has decreased. [Interjections.]
Yes, but the incidence of murder has increased by 100%.
Yes, possibly, but if there is one murder in one year and two murders the following year, one cannot say that the number of murders has increased by 100%. If only one murder takes place the year after, the incidence has decreased by 100%. [Interjections.]
Since I do not have much time left, I shall not have the opportunity of replying to all the other questions now. I shall therefore try to do so in my reply to the third reading debate. I merely want to tell the hon member for Gordonia that if it is found in the investigation we are now engaged on that the Sishen/Saldanha line economically warrants certain additional steps being taken, we shall do so. The railway line was built for the conveyance of iron-ore, however, with the result that the section has no stations. Money will have to be spent in order to cope with passenger traffic. We are carrying out an investigation to determine whether we shall be able to cope with passenger traffic as well. Unfortunately that part of the country is sparsely populated. However, we are paying attention to the hon member’s suggestions.
I also want to say I withdraw what I said about Jersey cattle. Someone telephoned me and told me that I should not say that about Jersey cattle. I think they are excellent animals, but I do not want them on my land! [Interjections.]
Clauses and Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Mr Chairman, I move, subject to Standing Order No 52:
Mr Chairman, since we have had the Second Reading of this Bill we have found out that, on average, railway workers’ salaries are going to be reduced by 2,8%. We were informed of this after the Second Reading but before the Committee Stage. I am sure that the hon the Minister fought very hard to ensure that the salaries of railwaymen should not be reduced. However, he was not successful. When we consider that Dr Grové and his men reduced staff by 44 000, we do not believe that the transport workers should have been dealt with in the same way as the members of the Public Service. What reduction in staff has the Public Service had? There has been no reduction. There is not even going to be a reduction now. All that is being done is to cut down the posts already vacant by 50%. This does not mean the reduction of staff by a single unit. We have also had no commitment from this Government that if staff retire or resign they will not be replaced. However, the SATS succeeded in reducing staff by 44 000.
If one makes a calculation, excluding those staff earning less than R6 000 per annum, one finds that the saving to the SATS in this current year as a result of this reduction will be R47 million. This is a large sum of money. When we read the hon the Minister’s Budget speech we find that the increase in passenger fares amounts to R41 million with the increase in tariffs. Therefore, these two items balance each other out. I want to appeal to the hon the Minister that in view of the saving of R47 million, he should pass this benefit on to the people of South Africa. I appeal to him not to increase rail passenger fares for this year but to call a moratorium in this regard. I say this because the money is there with which to do it, namely the saving of R47 million.
I want now to take issue with the hon the Minister on another matter. This is something like the seventh time that this Budget has been debated, and there are still two more to come. If the hon the Minister and his officials are not heartily sick of this Budget by this time then they are men of great patience. Moreover, if they do not by this time believe that the three Houses should debate this Budget jointly then they are also men of great stupidity, which I do not think they are. I believe that they realize that we should have joint sittings on these budgets. Let us vote if we must in the three Houses if we wish to preserve the White minority Government but let us at least debate Bills jointly.
The basic feature of all the debates in these three Houses has been the discrimination practised by the SATS both in its employment of staff and its service to the public. The hon the Minister is an expert at giving a humorous or disinformation type answer, his favourite being the dining room in Durban where the Blacks have better or more facilities or whatever it may be. Not in any House has the hon the Minister said anything that gives hope of any immediate relief from the situation in regard to discrimination.
I take strong exception to his introductory remarks in his reply to the Second Reading debate on this Bill. The hon the Minister said:
To start off with, Sir, that is not true because we do not regard them as incapable of handling their own affairs. The hon the Minister went on to say:
Those are the hon the Minister’s own words. If they believe this then why do they not tell us? Why, according to the hon the Minister, do they go behind our backs and complain to him? I sat through the whole Second Reading debate in the House of Representatives, and not once did I hear such a complaint. I wonder very seriously whether those complaints were in fact made.
Secondly, can the hon the Minister honestly say that he really believes that discrimination in South Africa affects only those of colour adversely? Can he say that when we fight apartheid, we only do so for Coloureds, Indians and Blacks? Can he really be so blind that he cannot see how we are all penalized by discrimination? When one hears him say what I have just quoted, one can only believe that he has adopted the stance of an ostrich: head in the sand and nether end in the air, just waiting to be walloped. Perhaps he has not heard that because of the kind of discrimination in the SATS of which we complain, there is, firstly, an arms embargo against us; secondly, we cannot travel freely in the world; thirdly, his own SAA aircraft have to fly round rather than over Africa; fourthly, we have been booted out of the UN; fifthly, the extra that we have had to pay, and still do pay, for crude oil amounts to hundreds of millions of rand; we are fighting a costly war in South West Africa; American disinvestment is fast becoming a reality. The list is never-ending. Does the hon the Minister not realize that the current economic disaster which has been caused by this and past Governments is due largely to these policies? He has only to look around him at the carryings-on in triplicate in this Parliament to realize the expense of it all. Therefore the hon the Minister must not tell us that we are paternalistic when we fight discrimination. He must not tell us to let the Coloureds and Indians fight for their own rights. When we attack discrimination, we do so because it harms every South African, whatever his colour. We do so for the constituents who vote for us, as well as those who do not. We do so for the future of all of us.
Let us just have a look at the latest example I have of discrimination in the SATS, as provided in an answer to a question I asked just the other day. In housing loans we make available to Whites, R1 408 million; only R20 million for Coloureds; R9,3 million for Indians; and only R1,5 million for Blacks. That is quite ridiculous!
Before I forget, the hon member for Green Point has asked me to ask the hon the Minister please to give him the correct answer to the question that he asked about crime in this area on the SATS.
I gave it to him.
No, no, no.
He wants a correct, written answer, as per the question. [Interjections.]
I will give him all the information he needs, but he must not insinuate that I did not give him a correct answer.
I think the hon the Minister must tell us what he is going to do in regard to discrimination. It lies in the power of that hon the Minister to end discrimination within the SATS this year. The money can be withdrawn from the replacement value depreciation fund. Let us have a reply to this positive suggestion. He did not give me a reply in the second reading debate. He must not pass it off with a joke. He must not attack us for being paternalistic. Let us have an answer. Is he going to do something about it this year or is he not? Is he going to start getting rid of discrimination in this coming year for which we are budgeting or is he not?
The other issue in our amendment related to the deregulation of the statutory advantages given to the SATS. We have had no commitment or even statement of intent from this Minister. I want to ask him across the floor: Does he believe in free enterprise?
Of course, yes.
He says, of course, yes. Why does he then not commit the SATS to pursuing a free enterprise direction? What is wrong with that? Instead of improving, the situation is getting worse. I have already mentioned the unfair advantage being taken by the SATS with the 10% wharfage discount to rail customers. Now we also have Railways Police whose latest actions strongly resemble George Orwell’s 1984. It appears that the hon the Minister has completely lost control over his own Police Force. They have embarked on their own course of action which is causing incredible harm to the private sector, and directly benefits the SATS’s commercial interests.
I asked the hon the Minister how many private sector trucks had been impounded by his Police in October, November and December. The answer was that 46 trucks had been impounded in those three months by the Railways Police—trucks taken off the roads. I am also indebted to the latest issue of Road Transportation for an article in connection with a roadblock by the Railway Police at Villiers. They impounded 15 trucks belonging to private hauliers, made them drive 120 miles to Kaserne and held them for longer than two weeks. Think of the cost to their owners of the down time on these rigs. The owners went to court, and the PCA chief executive flew to Cape Town to see the Director General: Transport. The impounding of the trucks is illegal in terms of the Road Transportation Act. In terms of the South African Transport Services Act of 1981, their activities are restricted to the area of the SATS’ jurisdiction within the boundaries of an airport or within 10 km of any border. Thus the impoundings at Villiers were also illegal in terms of the South African Transport Services Act.
The catch lies in the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977. For the purposes of that Act the Railways Police are defined as police officials, and section 20 of that Act gives police officials the right to seize anything, with some qualifications. Therefore, in terms of that Act, the actions at Villiers and Kaserne were legal.
Having discovered this legal loophole, the Railways Police are taking advantage of it, and I should like to quote the following from that copy of Road Transportation:
That is free enterprise!
That is free enterprise—exactly—which the hon the Minister says he is in favour of!
If ever there was a clear case of using the Railways Police to obtain a commercial advantage for the SATS, this is it. I want to ask the hon the Minister whether he believes that the actions of his Police in this instance were just?
Of course, yes!
He believes they were just. Will he seek to try to correct the situation that I have outlined, or will he do nothing about it? He will have time to answer me in this third reading debate.
Has the hon the Minister spoken to his colleague, the Minister of Justice, with a view to amending the Criminal Procedure Act and, if not, will he do so? It is a shocking state of affairs. We do not like to see headlines like this one in the Eastern Province Herald: “PE boost as road haulier wins battle against SATS”, with the following report:
It was an objection from the SATS that caused the appeal to be held. Think of the costs involved in fighting that case which ultimately was won.
All these matters are a symptom of the disease of regulation, of bureaucracy interfering with market forces to the detriment of the country as a whole. That bureaucracy, with respect, does not know what it is doing. It fiddles here and it adjusts there, and the whole system goes into total disarray to your cost and mine; to the cost of the man in the street, to the cost of everybody. Regulation does not benefit the public; it does the exact opposite. It does not bring prices down; it increases them by creating monopolies, and in many other ways.
South Africa can no longer afford this disease. Another aspect of it is the cost of controlling it and the staff that have to be used to control all the regulations. Major surgery is needed, and I hope that this hon Minister will be the surgeon.
In the time remaining to me, I want to raise the issue of public safety on mainline trains. There was the incident of the Jewish children who were returning home from a camp in Port Elizabeth, and they were molested by people who should have known better. There has been bad behaviour on the Trans-Karoo Express; the hon the Minister’s reply to my question verified that. I have also had letters of complaint. I believe that the SATS should have better control on their mainline routes. Surely the conductors and the dining-room staff of the SATS can see to it that their customers are kept under control? We all know that in a private bar, the barman and the people in control in the hotel or whatever it might be, have to keep control. Why cannot the SATS maintain better control on their trains? [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, if one was listening to the hon member who has just resumed his seat, one could not do otherwise but gain the impression but that he was waging a personal vendetta against the hon the Minister this afternoon. I think he should be ashamed of himself. [Interjections.] If there has ever been a Minister who has done his utmost for the SATS it is this Minister. When I listen to the PFP talking about discrimination and furnishing numbers in the way the hon member did here this afternoon, I also gain the impression that they are definitely the worst racists in this Parliament. But I do not have the time to react further to his speech.
Because my time is limited, I want to refer to a few interesting research projects of the SATS. In the first place there is the mobile stress gauge unit. For the design, testing and evaluation of permanent way components it is necessary for the actual rail stress, displacement and acceleration to be known. Purely theoretical considerations are not good enough because the conditions of the permanent way change and are not predictable in theory. In the past the stresses were indeed measured in the rail, but this process and the processing of the results took time. It was necessary to process all the measurements in the office and with the large-scale tests it took up to six months before the results were known.
But modern techniques and computer programmes now make it possible to obtain the same results within minutes, with an even higher degree of accuracy. In 1982 a tender was consequently awarded for the provision of a mobile stress gauge unit. The unit consists of a 12,5 metre semi-trailer which is pulled by a mechanical horse. The semi-trailer is equipped with electronic equipment and a computer for the recording, amplification, storage and processing of electrical signals from the gauges. These gauges are linked to the rails and to the sleepers and joined by cables to the semi-trailer. After amplification all signals are stored in the computer and with the correct programme the data can be reflected immediately in any form desired. Alternatively the data can be stored on a magnetic tape and in this way the rail stress conditions can be reflected exactly.
A second aspect I want to mention to hon members is the problem of rapid weathering. One of the major problems in connection with wooden sleepers is that weathering characteristics can only be monitored over a long period, ie 10 to 20 years. This means that historic information gleaned over a long period with different types of wood and different conditions in the permanent way must be relied on. It is now possible to carry out rapid weathering tests on small samples, but the complexity of the stresses and other variables in a sleeper is such that sample tests have little or no value. It was therefore decided to manufacture a rapid weathering apparatus, popularly known as the torture chamber, in which full-sized sleepers are subjected to rapid weathering. This apparatus has been designed in such a way that the sleepers go through repeated cycles of immersion in water, heat-drying, ultra-violet ray eradiation and power testing. The period of the cycles can be varied and the variables can also be intensified. With the help of this apparatus the physical and structural degradation of the sleepers can be measured as well as other aspects such as the rate of loss of moisture, the rate of drying out of preservatives, etc.
In this way the rate of weathering of a sleeper which normally has to be monitored over periods of 10 to 20 years can be evaluated within a few weeks. Even more important is that a correlation can be built up with rail tests in the long term which may eventually result in lengthy and expensive rail tests becoming unnecessary.
Then there is also the rail planing machine. Contracts are at present being entered into for the upgrading of the coal line to Richards Bay to accommodate 26 ton axle loads. The rails being released which are still usable are being delivered at such a rapid rate that the division responsible for their sale cannot keep pace. Consequently it was decided to hire a rail planing machine to plane the rails in the permanent way for reuse later. With adjustable cutting heads this planing machine is also able to remove ridges and other defects to a depth of 3 mm and at a rate of 100 m/h.
It was initially estimated that only 50% of the rails from the section would be suitable for re-use. But since the planing machine has been taken into use it has been found that up to 80% of those rails could be recovered. This recovery means that approximately 400 000 metres of rail can be re-used. Calculated at present tariffs, rails would have cost R24 million. But by using this method, R16,5 million is being saved.
I could continue in this vein. But these are a few examples—and very good examples too—of how the SATS is succeeding in making the basic production factors as effective as possible.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Smithfield made a very interesting speech; inter alia in connection with rail stress. I want to concentrate mainly on Railways stress.
I sympathize with the hon the Minister who has to render socio-economic services, for which the Government accepts responsibility without compensating the SATS fully for them. But I have no sympathy when the actions of the SATS contribute to the White depopulation of the rural areas.
Recently the SATS introduced a bus service from Petrusville through Van der Kloof, Orania, Hopetown, Witput, Belmont, Heuningneskloof, Modderrivier to Kimberley—a distance of more than 220 km. This bus service was introduced to transport passengers from all those respective places to do their shopping in Kimberley; although every place, every hamlet, every village those people come from has its own shops. Coloureds now purchase goods on credit from the shops at Van der Kloof, and use their cash to do their shopping in a city. I have received a letter in this connection, and I am going to discuss it with the hon the Minister in person. I do not want to elaborate further on this now.
I also just want to mention that the passengers who travel on that bus stay in Kimberley overnight. The question I consequently want to ask is where those people are in actual fact sleeping. [Interjections.] My argument is that this is just another service operating at a loss which has been created. It is a service operating at a loss for which the taxpayer must pay. The taxpayer must pay for the further White depopulation of the rural areas.
Speaking about services operating at a loss, I also want to say that serious attention must be given to third class passengers who do not buy tickets. A way must now be found to deal with these people firmly. The SATS cannot afford this loss any longer and the taxpayer is no longer prepared to compensate for this loss either. The ticket inspectors concerned must really be protected now. The time has now really come for this to be done. The Railway staff who have to move about in those third class coaches sometimes literally take their lives into their hands. Those people are doing dangerous work and they are not being adequately protected.
In addition to the large losses on third class passenger services there are also various other factors which have an effect on this appropriation. Recently the hon the Minister of Manpower requested the private sector to train and employ more apprentices. Coming from the Government I find it strange and regrettable that during the past year the SATS employed less than a third of the apprentices it is equipped to handle. Is this part of the hon the Minister’s economy measures? The hon the Minister must be careful that he does not economize so much on his staff that he eventually does not have the people to do the work. Several classrooms for apprentices are standing empty.
Another very important factor I want to refer to concerns the capital assets of the SATS which works according to the so-called current cost system. This is a good system but the hon the Minister is making a big mistake in levying higher replacement costs against an asset which he knows full well is not going to be replaced. I maintain that the hon the Minister is making a mistake in doing this. In this connection I am referring, for example, to steam locomotives, to steam locomotive depots, to certain mechanical workshops and to foundries. Because these higher replacement costs come from the Operating Account, they must consequently be defrayed from revenue, and this really has a big effect on tariffs.
The hon the Minister must not retrench workers. He must not try to economize in this sphere. There are other spheres in which he could economize. I am referring here inter alia to uniforms. According to the information I have received, there is now going to be a change-over to a light blue uniform whereas only last year there was a changeover from the dark blue to the brown uniform. The question is what this change-over to a uniform of another colour is going to cost. The cost must run into millions of rands.
The hon the Minister could also economize by not providing Zambia with locomotives. He has not yet been paid for those locomotives. The President of that country travels abroad, denigrates South Africa and advocates sanctions against our country. But the hon the Minister is patient—and I sympathize with him—because he has a Government which tells him that he must just not upset this President.
Yesterday was a sad day in this House when the State President announced that measures would be introduced to lower the pay of the staff of the SATS. What made that occasion bitter, was the “hear, hears!” which resounded from the NP benches when the State President resumed his seat. “Hear, hear!” when the bread is being taken out of these people’s mouths. [Interjections.] I did not think that I would ever live to see such a day in this Parliament. I want to tell the hon the Minister that his people in the SATS have been applying economy measures for some time now.
You are a cheap politician.
The hon member for Turffontein must not mention the word “cheap”. [Interjections.] They are the people who are prepared to say “hear, hear!” when other people are deprived of their incomes. I want to tell the hon the Minister …
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: is an hon member entitled to create the impression that behaviour on this side of the House indicated that we were in favour of something of this sort? If so we want to make it clear at once that this was not the case.
Order! That is not a point of order. I heard the hon member for Turffontein say that the hon member for De Aar was a cheap politician. What did he mean by that? Did it imply any insinuation?
Mr Chairman, during the past few days we have had to listen to hon members on that side …
Order! That is not my question. I want to know whether an insinuation was involved.
Sir, I am trying to explain.
Order! The hon member of Turffontein had better withdraw those words.
Sir, I withdraw them.
The hon member for De Aar may proceed.
I am sorry that the hon the Minister does not have the opportunity to listen to me now but he knows that the SATS can afford to ensure that the salaries of its employees are not reduced. I want to ask him: For goodness’ sake help your people, because if you do not help them, these people will be facing a time of hardship, and not only of hardship, but also of hunger.
Mr Chairman, I think it is a pity that the hon member for De Aar is exploiting the measures which have been introduced in the economic circumstances in which we find ourselves for cheap political gain. At such a time all of us who have South Africa’s welfare at heart must stand together in the interests of South Africa. It is not pleasant for any Government to introduce such measures and it is a pity that the hon member saw fit to exploit them for political gain.
In contrast with the hon member for De Aar I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the SATS for what it means to our country and its people. I want to begin by mentioning the fact that last year in January the largest bridge in the history of the SATS, the bridge over the Umfolozi River, was washed away. I want to take this opportunity to mention that in a record time of 7 months the SATS had completed the new bridge. On this occasion we want to pay tribute to the SATS and convey our sincere thanks to it.
I should like to say a few words about our South African harbours. This reminds me involuntarily of the late oom Willem Delport, the former MP for Newton Park.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order; is an hon member who has lost his way allowed to stand around in the passages?
Order! The hon member for Umfolozi may proceed.
Sir, while we are participating in this debate I am reminded involuntarily of the late oom Willem Delport, the former MP for Newton Park, who always enjoyed participating in this debate and spoke specifically about our South African harbours. We pay tribute to him on this occasion; we honour his memory.
It is interesting to note that in the year 1983-84 the tonnage shipped by our South African harbours increased by 1,4 million tons or 2,42% from 60,7 million tons to 62,2 million tons. The tonnage of cargo landed increased by 1,9 million tons or 16,29% from 12,2 million tons to 14,2 million tons. Of this amount 10,1 million tons was general cargo and 4,1 million tons was bulk cargo. A total of 77,1 million tons of cargo was handled at our harbours compared with 73,7 million tons the previous year, an increase of 4,63%. This increase is due mainly to the fact that maize had to be imported and more coal was exported. It is interesting to note that the cargo handled in 1974-75 was only 31,9 million tons compared with 77,1 million tons last year. The tonnage, expressed in millions of tons, of the cargo handled at the principle harbours during the year 1983-84 was: East London 2,2; Cape Town 4,9; Port Elizabeth 4,9; Saldanha 9,7; Durban 17,8; and Richards Bay 37,7. Consequently the Richards Bay harbour handled 48,8% of the total.
The hon member for Durban Point complained that he could not find the results of working of the harbours in the annual reports. But the report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of the SATS for the 1983-84 financial year, which contains all this information, has been tabled.
The results of working of the principal harbours were as follows: Durban, a surplus of R223,6 million; Table Bay, a surplus of R19,3 million; Port Elizabeth, a surplus of R13,6 million; East London, a surplus of R5,8 million; Saldanha, a loss of R8,6 million and Richards Bay, a loss of R9,9 million.
In the 1982-83 financial year the deficit on Richards Bay harbour was approximately R18 million. As the hon the Minister has indicated, this young harbour will probably already show a profit next year. The success of the Richards Bay/Empangeni growth point is however not measured by the results of working of the harbour, which in any case merely reflect the bookkeeping deficit on a modern harbour which is only 8 years old. What is of importance is the foreign exchange being earned by the export of coal, heavy minerals and so on, through this young Richards Bay harbour.
The erstwhile small fishing village has developed into a model growth point. In 1969-70 there were fewer than 100 people in Richards Bay. Today, 14 years later, there are more than 16 000 people. There are now modern residential areas, a central area, two high schools, two primary schools, a technical college, an airport, several churches, hotels, a caravan park, a beach which has been fitted with shark nets—better than Durban— and where facilities are now being provided, sportsfields, etc. It gives me pleasure to inform this House that this growth point is a great success. Throughout the economic recession it grew at a rate of 19% per annum. Investors with expertise, vision and a knowledge of what is going on are investing in the Empangeni/Richards Bay growth point.
I now call the attention of the House to the highpoint of this debate On 29 January 1985 the Town Council of Richards Bay agreed unanimously on the following motion:
[Interjections.] Long wagon-loads of coal are converging on Richards Bay, where only yesterday there was still a swamp. Out of the sea, the sand, the swamps and the bush a miracle came into being. A giant has awakened. This gives proof of vision, drive, single-mindedness and confidence. We are sincerely grateful to everyone who made a contribution.
I want to take this opportunity to ask the hon the Minister and the Transport Study Group to consider taking the members of the Transport Study Group on a trip in a passenger train along this coal line as soon as possible. The only way in which one can gain an impression of this marvel is to see it and experience it for oneself. Only then can one appreciate it.
I take great pleasure in supporting the Third Reading.
Mr Chairman, I should first like to deal with some of the hon the Minister’s answers, or non-answers, to some of the matters I raised. He has a very smooth way of ducking the real point by means of a joke or a slick word or two. I want to ask him one or two specific questions, which I hope he will answer specifically.
He has now produced a new argument why the cases cannot be reconsidered of that small handful of 8 to 10 people who were dismissed between 1965 and 1981 because of an illness, a disease, which was classified at the time as misconduct. He said that the Archives Act had led to the relevant records being destroyed. Will he tell me from what date the records were destroyed? How long ago were those records destroyed?
I want to ask him a second question. If I can produce correspondence from the Minister and his department which in the case of six to eight of those people specifies their period of service, the reasons for their dismissal and all the details, will he take the action he said he would have taken if he had had the records, viz that of considering ex gratia payments? I can give him that information, obtained from his own department and from the Minister himself or his predecessor. If that is all that is standing in the way of these cases being reconsidered, I will give him the references where he can get all that information out of his own records. But no, he comes with the “smoothy” that all the records have been destroyed in terms of the Archives Act. I will help him replace those records, because I have them in my files.
Thirdly, as it was known that this matter was in dispute and has been in dispute for a number of years, why were those records destroyed? Why were they destroyed at a time when they were being dealt with and disputed? No, Sir, it is not good enough! I will provide that information. I obviously could not, between the hon the Minister’s reply to the Committee Stage and the Third Reading debate, go and get the information out, but I will provide him with the names, the dates on which the people concerned joined the service, the dates on which they were dismissed, the reasons for dismissal, details of the appeals that were lodged and of the rejection of the appeals by the General Manager and the board—I shall give him all the information he wants. Will he then carry out the undertaking he made this afternoon of considering ex gratia payments? I shall take the matter no further. I shall leave it there and await the hon the Ministers reply, because there will be another year if we cannot get an answer this year.
Let me give another example of his manner of replying. He picked out one aspect of the Sishen/Saldanha line, namely the general traffic, but he did not reply to, but carefully avoided, my questions about the need for a systems office to control a single line carrying limited or restricted traffic. I think it is called a regional office. Why was there the need to have a regional office, with all the costs involved, to administer one line restricted to iron ore exports? If it was a general line carrying general traffic and there were other requirements, one might be able to justify it, but to create a whole systems structure—I have not worked out the cost of it—to deal with the transport of a single commodity from one point to another and its export does not seem to me to be an example of efficient rationalization. Now I hear there is a new system, or a new regional office, being established at Richards Bay. So the hon the Minister is once again going to create a superstructure of senior officials in senior posts. These senior officials are going to need secretaries and telephones and they are going to need assistants. In short, they will have all the paraphernalia associated with a new control mechanism—and this at a time when we should be saving money.
I do not say that the Richards Bay line and port will not show enough growth to justify the establishment of a new regional office in time. However, Parkinson’s Law is inviolable; it always works. One appoints a boss, and the boss has to have a secretary and two assistants. Those two assistants have to have their secretaries and their four assistants. It works that way. That is Parkinson’s Law.
Now, at this time, when railwaymen are asked to make a sacrifice in terms of salary, I hear there are plans to open a new office at Richards Bay. I hope the hon the Minister will tell me that that idea has been dropped or postponed.
There is another question I was asking the hon the Minister when I ran out of time. This question related to Airways. I have taken out figures in respect of the latest specified week—21 to 27 January. This was a busy time; Parliament was about to meet, and so MPs had reserved seats on flights. In that whole week, in the Boeing 737s on the coastal route, there was an average number of 8,3 business class passengers per flight. The statistics are given in global figures, but some of those numbered flights fly 4, 5 or 6 times during each week. So, the figure that is given as the weekly total of the number of passengers per flight seems high; but when this figure is divided by the number of times that flight flies each week, the average number of passengers is 8,3 passengers in the business class, and 100 in the economy class. In the reverse direction, there was an average of 6 passengers in the business class and 92 in the economy class.
On those flights—this is according to the hon the Minister himself; I am not quoting anyone else—there are 60% non-smokers and 40% smokers. However, the allocation of seats was as follows: 23 seats were allocated to smokers and 90 seats were allocated to non-smokers. [Interjections.] That was the allocation; and I want the hon the Minister to know that I am not the only one holding this point of view. In his own Cabinet— let alone in this House—there are people who support me and who agree with me. I want to know why there is such discrimination: 23 seats for 40% as opposed to 90 for 60%—or 100 counting business class. Why cannot 60 seats be allocated to non-smokers and 40 to smokers, instead of 90 for non-smokers and 23 for smokers?
May I ask the hon member a question?
Yes, certainly; but quickly, it is a ten minute speech.
I would like to ask the hon member whether he agrees that passive smoking can also result in disease.
I am not interested in the hon member’s campaign to stop people from smoking. I am interested in the right of passengers to their fair share when they travel on SAA. [Interjections.] That is all I am talking about; I am not engaged in a medical debate now. I am just asking for fair play and justice.
I also want to ask a question in regard to track maintenance. I am not an expert, I am not an engineer, but it has been put to me— the figures have been shown to me—that since the introduction of these big automatic tamping machines the maintenance costs on tracks have increased considerably as against the old manual method of maintenance where the ballast was tamped down by hand. I want to be able to reply to these enquiries, but I have not yet received a reply to a question I put on the Question Paper in this regard. Can the hon the Minister tell me the relative cost of the machines per kilometer as opposed to the old system and whether it is correct that operating expenses have increased steadily over the years since the introduction of these automatic tamping machines?
In the last minute or so I have at my disposal, I want to remind the hon the Minister of a visit we paid to the Natal System about three or four years ago. At the time I pointed out to him an example of non-productivity. It was a small thing, namely a scale which was raised about 18 inches or two feet from the ground. Every item that had to be weighed had to be physically lifted onto it, instead of wheeling on a trolley and deducting its weight. Here we have the new Durban Station, this huge white elephant, where everything is modern except for this old-fashioned pedestal scale. When a trolley comes along, these poor old porters have to manhandle every trunk, put it on the scale, take it off again, and put it on another trolley for it to go off to the train. I have never seen such stupidity. The hon the Minister or the General Manager promised me that they would rectify the position, but what they did was to have a little metal runway put up, too narrow for the wheels of a trolley but one can at least wheel a bicycle or a motorcycle onto it. However, religiously every day, every trolley has still to be unloaded and the articles weighed and then reloaded onto the trolley again. I do not think this is an example of good productivity for the hon the Minister to brag about.
Mr Chairman, unfortunately the hon member for Durban Point has put all his questions to the hon the Minister and not to me, and I therefore leave it to the hon the Minister to reply.
As the SATS is an organization operated according to business principles, it is necessary inter alia that this organization should have an adequate labour force at its disposal at all times. Coloureds, Indians and Blacks play an important role here. The SATS not only has to recruit workers, but has to see to their welfare and happiness by providing them with accommodation and other benefits. The shortage of White labourers has obliged the SATS to direct itself more at the Black labour force to be able to supply proper service on the one hand and on the other to carry out the Government’s policy under which population groups should be served by their own people. Unfortunately we find that, regardless of attractive employment benefits such as promotion on a basis of semiority; leave, medical and pension benefits; travel facilities; the payment of a service bonus, etc, in spite of repeated efforts the SATS is not succeeding in supplementing its Black labour force locally as is the case with Whites. A reluctance to do shift work or to work at weekends, as well as the Black man’s preference for weekly instead of monthly payment, are reasons why job seekers in urban areas are not interested in certain types of work. In order to maintain its services, the SATS has had of necessity to rely to ever-increasing degree on contract employees recruited in neighbouring self-governing national states and independent Black states.
I have mentioned these facts in an effort to indicate that the SATS is dependent on contract labour to maintain its services. The necessary housing for these employees will have to be provided either by local authorities or the SATS. In the SATS, Blacks are accommodated chiefly on a single basis and Coloureds on both a single and family basis. Indians in Natal make use of their own accommodation. At present there are 13 hostels in which approximately 23 354 Black employees are accommodated. Currently a further 7 hostels are being planned for approximately 12 500 employees. In addition approximately 13 632 Black employees are being accommodated on a single basis along sections between towns and cities. Then there are two personnel residential complexes for Coloureds at Mitchell’s Plain and at Louwville near Saldanha in which 1 000 and 123 employees respectively are accommodated. The above hostels and personnel homes are built according to the most modern standards with the emphasis on the recognition of the human dignity of each employee. The food provided is of a high quality …
Order! I call upon hon members not to converse so loudly.
… in order to ensure the highest possible nutritional value. Residents are also supplied with sports and recreational facilities of a high quality, both indoors and outdoors. The SATS is a very large organization with many employees and with the best will in the world it cannot attain absolute perfection and eliminate all faults. Neither are its employees perfect and will continue to make mistakes. All the envisaged projects, changes and improvements cannot be accomplished simultaneously or in one fell swoop. Nobody dare say, however, that the SATS does not try and try hard to fulfil all its employees’ expectations of human dignity. Why do the Progs not pay visits to these hostels erected by the SATS for its employees? Why do they not do that in preference to beating a path to Crossroads? Hon members of the Official Opposition are very quick to descend upon Crossroads in the hope of some political scavenging, but they make very sure that they remain just outside missile range and under the protection of the police. They are not seeking political solutions, but political publicity. If there is a lesson to be learned from Crossroads, there is definitely also one to be gleaned from the way in which the SATS provides its employees with accommodation.
In October of last year the SATS laid down a new housing policy as regards Coloured, Indian and Black employees. Hostels will be erected in towns where there is a large concentration of employees, say 1 000 or more, from the various disciplines of work. This type of accommodation for Blacks will continue to be provided as in the past but the original philosophy of design, that is multi-storey buildings with modern sports and recreational facilities will, where possible, be adapted to comply with the simple concept of extended single-storey buildings. Sports facilities will comprise only one or two soccer fields without pavilions, a grassed athletics field with an earthen ramp to provide seating and minimum facilities for change rooms and toilets according to need. As the hon the Minister explained, this philosophy is an adjustment to economic circumstances and the wishes of the employees involved. Section hostels for track maintenance crews will in future be known as “hostels” and be erected only in Black residential areas and towns and, where possible, in Black states. Family accommodation is provided in Coloured, Indian and Black residential areas as well as along the sections running through such areas. Most of the houses along the sections were previously occupied by White personnel, but the employees concerned were transferred to larger centres in consequence of the institution of modern methods of operating trains.
Not only White, but also Coloured, Indian and Black employees may participate in the SATS house ownership schemes, which enable them to purchase their own properties. I wish to state that nowhere in Southern Africa, or possibly in the world, better house ownership schemes and benefits exist for workers than those the SATS offers its own employees. Take, for example, the house ownership schemes for employees from the various Black peoples. Since the inception of the 100% scheme, 5 783 applications for loans have been received and properties with purchase prices ranging from approximately R1 000 to R65 000 per house have already been purchased on behalf of 414 employees at a total cost of approximately R2 771 548. In addition 118 undeveloped plots and 34 igloo huts (“dophuise”)—not town houses or the tot (“dop”) one drinks—have been acquired at a total cost of R205 000 and these are at present under development for allocation to employees. A further 177 plots have been allocated to the SATS in principle and their development will be commenced as soon as the governing body concerned ratifies the allocation. In accordance with regulation 6 of Proclamation R293 of 1962, as amended in 1983, the SATS has been declared a proper authority to purchase property in trust areas. Negotiations to acquire property in these areas and especially in kwaZulu have reached an advanced stage. Negotiations are also in progress with independent neighbouring states in order to extend this scheme to enable employees to acquire their own properties there as well.
The 10% or assistance scheme is also very popular among workers and is used especially by Africans who build their own houses in national and independent states as well as by those who purchase at discount prices the houses in which they are at present living. Up to February 1985 the 1 502 loans granted for this purpose represented a total amount of approximately R1 427 973. In East London employees have already purchased 95 houses assisted by the 100% scheme and in the East London area loans have been granted for 235 houses under the 10% or assistance scheme.
†Now that I am speaking of East London, I want to warn the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central to keep his grubby little hands out of East London’s cookie jar. [Interjections.] The hon member is a bad-luck representative. Wherever he goes, the blight sets in. He talked and complained East London into near-bankruptcy, and then he fled to prosperous Port Elizabeth. Today East London is booming, and poor Port Elizabeth is suffering from an economic setback. [Interjections.] It is suffering from an economic setback under the irresponsible, arrogant political verbosity of the hon member. Does the hon member now intend to flee to Cradock, where he has made the Black township his own political football field? I shudder to think what may befall those poor people in Cradock when the hon member’s affidavits start sprouting. I am positive that Port Elizabeth will recover from this temporary economic setback, but then they will have to throw the hon member out on his ear at the first available opportunity. [Interjections.]
*The hon Minister and the SATS, from the highest to the humblest member, deserve all the praise showered on them for a job well done!
Mr Chairman, may I put a question?
Order! The hon member has already resumed his seat.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: I was on my feet before the hon member resumed his seat.
Order! Is the hon member for East London North prepared to reply to a question?
Yes, Mr Chairman.
Mr Chairman, I should like to ask the hon member who won the 3,30 at Milnerton. [Interjections.]
How should I know? The hon member should know that.
Order! That question has nothing to do with this debate.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for East London North, who has just resumed his seat, has been launching the usual attack against the PFP. We are used to it, but it is striking that it was less vehement than usual and also of shorter duration. Perhaps it is because the NP attacks us about a policy on one day and accepts it the next. It is also apparent from the hon member’s speech that he has progressively less reason to attack the PFP.
†The hon member for Durban Point raised the question of smoking on aeroplanes. I should, however, like to ask the hon member whether he agrees that smoking can cause very severe and serious illnesses.
You make your speech.
I will make my speech, and I want to tell the hon member that smoking results in severe chest diseases, for example chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cancer, coronary artery disease and many other illnesses. There is irrefutable evidence that passive smoking can result in the same conditions. I should therefore like to ask the hon member a very simple question. Does he think it is fair for a smoker to cause illness in those people who are in his company? Why should non-smokers in an aeroplane be subjected to this odious, obnoxious smell and be forced to inhale cancerous agents? Whatever the hon member tried to say is in my opinion totally irrelevant. He was merely talking like an addicted smoker. [Interjections.]
I do not know why the hon member for Durban Point attacked the hon the Minister.
*After all, this hon Minister and his Department are in favour of people smoking. Does the hon the Minister believe people in South Africa should be encouraged to smoke?
Then I want to ask him why he advertises the smoking habit in every possible place? I asked the hon the Minister the following questions on 12 February this year:
- (1) Whether there are any advertisements for cigarettes at (a) Jan Smuts and (b) D F Malan Airport; if so
- (2) whether he will furnish the names of the companies advertising cigarettes at these airports;
The reply to (a) and (b) was of course yes. [Interjections.] There is one thing about the NP; if someone comers a Minister, the rest of the hon members start baying. [Interjections.]
I used to smoke, but at the moment I do not. Because I used to smoke, however, I am aware of the bad effects of the habits and that is why I am so against it. That is also why I am attacking the hon the Minister and his department for encouraging people to smoke.
As I have already said, the reply to my question was yes—cigarettes are being advertised at all our airports. We do not find pictures of scenic attractions nor the fauna of our country displayed at our airports. What does one see? Advertisements for smoking requisites. In his reply the hon the Minister said, amongst other things, that advertising space is being leased to the following businesses: Rothmans, American Cigarette Company Ltd, Riggio Tobacco Corporation, Winston Tobacco Company Ltd, Dunhill of London Ltd and Liggett and Myers. The hon the Minister does, therefore, admit that his department encourages smoking habits in South Africa.
Where do these advertisements appear at Jan Smuts Airport? There are three advertisements on billboards and six on litter bins in the open parking area. In the underground parking area there are three advertisements on litter bins. In the Cape Town departure hall there are ten medium and three small advertisements on walls and six on litter bins, and in the internal arrivals hall there are four small and one medium advertisement. In the international arrivals hall and verandah there are three medium advertisements on the walls, three small advertisements on pillars and 12 on litter bins, and in the international departures hall and verandah there are one medium advertisement on the wall, seven on pillars and 16 on litter bins, and then there are three advertisements in display cabinets as well. I just want to ask the hon the Minister: Does he or does he not acknowledge that advertising cigarettes and other smoking requisites encourages people to smoke? I also asked the hon the Minister whether the advertising of tobacco products is allowed countrywide on the property of the SATS where advertisements are usually displayed.
Why does the hon the Minister do this? I know what his reply is going to be. He makes money out of it. I cannot estimate how much money he makes out of tobacco advertisements alone, but the advertisements for drink and similar things at Jan Smuts Airport in Johannesburg provides him with R273 000 and the advertising at D F Malan Airport earns him R135 000.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member whether he would also like to ban alcohol which causes cirrhosis of the liver, and since human beings transmit influenza germs, would he also like to ban human beings?
Sir, I certainly do not want to ban smoking. I think the hon member, being an NRP member, does not understand the argument. I do not want to ban smoking; I just do not want it to be advertised. There is a great difference. Sir, I do not want to ban smoking. [Interjections.]
The hon the Minister wants revenue and he could not care about the result. He does not care that young people go to airports every day and see these glamorous advertisements. This Flying Springbok—I brought one from the aircraft today—is actually what one may call a magazine which belongs to a tobacco advertising company. Just look at the first page, and so one can go on. Moreover, it sets out how the SAA sells tobacco and cigarettes on the aircraft. So the hon the Minister is definitely in favour of smoking and of his Airways supplying the smokables.
I am very grateful that the hon the Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare is here. You see, Sir, I asked the hon the Minister of Health and Welfare a similar question.
*I asked the hon Minister of Health and Welfare whether his department intends conducting an anti-smoking campaign in 1985; if not, why not? The hon Deputy Minister should go and speak to the hon Minister of Health and Welfare because he does not agree with him—the hon the Minister’s answer was:
I would like the hon member for Durban Point to listen.
Since the hon the Minister is unfortunately not here, I want to ask his Deputy Minister whether he is satisfied that the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs advertises cigarettes wherever he possibly can. Is he satisfied with that?
This is not my Budget Vote.
But the Deputy Minister is entrusted with health matters. He should try to give a reply now. Is this acceptable to him?
I questioned the hon the Minister of Education and Culture on this matter and he said:
The Department of Education and Culture and the Department of Health and Welfare therefore say that smoking is the cause of death, diseases and related problems, but this hon the Minister and his department are advertising it wherever they can.
There is no doubt that smoking costs South Africa a great deal. The Director-General of Health and Welfare provided this statistic recently: Smoking costs South Africa R3 million per day. This hon the Minister, for a mere hundred thousand insignificant rands which he receives for smoking advertisements, is in the process of encouraging South Africa to smoke more and more. He is assisted in doing this by these publications, which are made available everywhere free of charge on aeroplanes and at airports. I really do not think that it is fitting for a State Department to make use of such a danger to health in our country to get hold of money.
Accordingly I want to make an earnest request of the hon the Minister to attempt to determine whether it is not possible to put a stop to this practice.
Finally I just want to put one more question to the hon the Minister. Why, as soon as the aeroplane is in full flight, are the passengers told that they may smoke if they wish? Of all the announcements made over the intercom system of each aeroplane, the announcement telling passengers that they may now smoke, is the most important. As soon as the pilot has steered that massive aircraft through all the dangerous stages to get it up in the air and on the correct course, the passengers are immediately encouraged to carry on once more with their nicotine suicide. Why? [Interjections.]
That is scandalous! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, this budget makes provision for almost nearly R280 million which has to be used for the payment of salaries to employees of the SATS. Earlier today the hon the Minister acknowledged once again that when this budget was drawn up, he was not aware that the State President would call for a salary cut of 3%.
But that is not a cut in salary!
This budget, therefore, makes provision for the employees of the SATS to be able to receive their full salaries in the forthcoming financial year. Accordingly the directive concerning the decrease of 3% in their service bonuses will result in a saving of 3% on this particular item in the Budget. The information we have is that an amount of approximately R40 million is going to be taken from the SATS employees on this basis. It is an amount of R40 million which is being taken out of the pockets of SATS employees; R40 million which they will be the poorer for now. Now I want to know from the hon the Minister what he is going to be doing with that saving of 3%. Is he going to reduce the tariffs of SATS accordingly, and if not, why not? If the tariffs are not going to be reduced, is the hon the Minister going to introduce an amendment to this budget, indicating a reduction in the total amount budgeted for equal to the salary cut of 3%? I want to ask the hon the Minister if he is also going to reduce this budget by an amount equal to the R40 million which is now going to be saved; the amount of R40 million which is being taken out of the pockets of the employees of the SATS.
Prince Hendrik the pickpocket! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, the SATS is run as a business enterprise. It has its own budget, and pays the salaries of its officials itself. The top management of the SATS, when drawing up this budget, did not see fit to reward the employees of the SATS for their contribution to increased productivity and for their sacrifices with salary cuts. I do not believe that was the case, particularly after having read in the Christmas edition of the publication Esprit de Corps that an estimated deficit of about R643 million for the financial year 1983-84 was converted to a profit of R74 million for the SATS. The budget was drawn up in such a way that it would not be necessary to reduce the salaries of the employees of the SATS. I now, therefore, want to ask the following question about this. If this Budget is approved by this House, in the form in which it has been presented to us today, will the hon the Minister not be obliged to compensate the employees of the SATS—to compensate them fully— for the loss in salary that they now have to suffer? In this Budget provision has been made for them to be remunerated in full. When this Budget is approved, the CP demands that the hon the Minister uses the entire amount for which provision has been made in this Budget, to pay the employees of the SATS their full salaries.
The officials of the SATS are being praised for the work they are doing. We also have confidence in them. We sympathize with them. In the year ahead they have to foot the bill for the incompetent and extravagant behaviour of the Government, which is now in deep trouble. It is they who will have to get by, in the year that lies ahead on earnings reduced by R40 million, amidst increases in the cost of living, rising interest rates, increase in taxes, and so on.
I regret having to tell the hon the Minister this. We have no confidence in the hon the Minister as the political head of the SATS. Today I want to tell him plainly that no one can pay any attention at all to what he says. He does not listen to what hon members ask him during debates in this House. He does not listen; he just gives a reply. He is a typical example of someone who only has a vague idea of what is going on. [Interjections.] He uses hypothetical and untrue examples, announcing them as if they were the truth and in this way glosses over his inability to give hon members honest and straightforward replies. [Interjections.] I want to mention examples of this, of which I have a whole series here. I am sorry that I only have a little time available to me because I have five examples here of how this hon the Minister says just anything—he sets up a clay pigeon, which he himself shoots down again. The hon the Minister speaks about things which hon members on this side of the House did not say at all. Today we again had that beautiful example in connection with what the hon member for Meyerton had said, and I think that the hon the Minister should apologize to him in this House.
Last year, when I put questions to the hon the Minister on the integration on trains, he said to me, “Die agb lid vir Kuruman het nou die dag langs ’n anderkleurige in die vliegtuig gesit en niks daarvan oorgekom nie.” The hon the Minister is trying to justify this integration, this mixing which he has forced onto the SATS, by saying that a CP member sat next to a person of colour on an aeroplane without coming to any harm. During the second reading debate I pointed out to him that he and his party are on the road to integration—of the multiracial Cabinet, via the multiracial standing committee system through to multiracial travelling facilities. Moreover the hon the Minister knows that Mr Ben Schoeman never spoke about multiracial cabinets and multiracial standing committees. When I asked that hon the Minister if he realized what the logical consequences of his party’s policy were, he said …[Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, is the hon member prepared to reply to a question?
No, I do not have enough time to reply. When I asked that hon Minister whether he realized what the logical consequences of his party’s policy would be, he said: “Die agb lid vir Kuruman het gesê dat ek integrasie toegelaat het. Ek het die agb lid vir Kuruman in sy eie bakkie sien ry—nie in ’n spoorwegbakkie nie—in sy eie bakkie.” The hon NP members almost killed themselves laughing at this joke of the hon the Minister. Everyone was satisfied then. All the integrationists were satisfied because the hon the Minister had replied to the CP. The hon the Minister won the argument with that comment. He, however, told an untruth, and on top of that told it as if it were the truth. By doing so he covered up his inability to give honest and straightforward replies to this House. Once again the hon the Minister justified his party’s policy of integration by saying a CP member drives in a bakkie with a Black man sitting next to him. Last year the hon the Minister tried to justify integration using the example of me sitting next to a person of colour in an aeroplane. This year he tries to justify it by saying I drive sitting next to a Black man in my own bakkie. That hon the Minister must now start thinking about the clay pigeon he is going to set up next year to justify his policy of integration. I just want to tell him that the examples he employs to try to justify integration do not hold water, and that he is using typical liberal arguments—typical Prog arguments—in an attempt to disparage us. But I also want to say that I do not blame the hon the Minister for using this kind of argument because the direction he and his party are taking will not end until the separation among the races and peoples is obliterated completely. I want to tell the hon the Minister that in that process he is going to encounter the unrelenting opposition of the CP.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central said that the SATS had 44 000 fewer people in its employ and that R47 million had been saved. I want to point out to him that we did not pay off anybody; nobody was fired. I told the hon member that for the past two and a half years we had not filled the vacant posts of the people who had resigned. Nobody was thus paid off. The 230 000 people presently employed by us can rest assured that we are not going to pay anybody off. In fact, we are going to protect them. The hon member must not create the impression that we fire people left, right and centre, because that is not true.
I did not say that.
The hon member also asked why we could not have joint sittings so as to eliminate the necessity for me to go to three Houses. We are not discussing the Constitution in this House now. Why does he raise that matter now? It is absolute nonsense.
We talk about disparity. I said in the two other Houses as well as in this House that disparity existed. As a matter of fact, it still exists, but we are phasing it out in five different phases. We are busy with the first phase now. If we were to discard disparity completely, it would cost us between R400 million and R450 million. The Coloured, Black, Indian and White labour unions all agreed that we should discard disparity over a period in five phases.
But they would be happy if you were to do it now.
The hon member also referred to free enterprise. Am I for free enterprise or am I against free enterprise? Well, when I became Minister we began to privatize even the catering on SAA. We gave that out on tender to Marriots, and since then they have complained more than during the time we handled the catering ourselves.
I have not said a word about it.
Letters and complaints were received from you …
That is not true.
I shall show the hon member the letters and complaints.
From me the hon the Minister did not receive a single complaint.
I am referring to the hon member’s party.
The hon member said that we used the SA Railways Police to help us to take trucks off the road. I challenge the hon member to make that speech in front of the private hauliers’ association. The hon member should make that speech in front of the people who legally undertake transport in South Africa. He should make that speech in front of—I nearly mentioned the name of a major haulier in this country—those who always say that we ought to protect them because they have permits to transport certain commodities and therefore they should be protected against pirates. The hon member seems to think that we are only protecting the SATS, but I want to ask him, if he wants to make certain allegations, to make those allegations in front of the people whom I am actually protecting, the legal hauliers of South Africa.
*The hon member for Smithfield referred with great appreciation to technological recoveries and mentioned the improved recovery of rails and the general savings this has entailed in the maintenance costs of the SATS. I am pleased that he made those kind remarks.
The hon member for De Aar spoke of the socio-economic services. He spoke about the bus service we introduced and named a number of places over a distance of 220 km. Ostensibly we introduced this as a service running at a loss in order to remove even more Whites from the rural areas. Must we suspend that bus service? Am I speaking loudly enough and can the hon member hear me? Must we suspend that bus service to Kimberley?
Will the hon member tell his people that he is asking us to suspend this bus service which was requested by the public?
I shall tell them, yes.
Very well, we shall investigate the whole matter, and if that service shows a loss, why should we proceed with it? If it is an evil, whereas our intention thereby was to serve those small villages, we shall withdraw the bus service. We have no intention of causing Whites to move away from the rural areas. That is not our purpose, and that is why I am having such problems with uneconomical branch lines. That is why I tell hon members that it is going to result in the country schools having to close. We shall take another look at the whole situation.
The hon member said we were taking in less than a third of the apprentices. Must we take in the full number of apprentices for whom facilities exist to find in the end that we cannot provide work for people who have been trained? The hon member should be realistic.
The hon member also spoke about the higher replacement costs against an asset which was not going to be replaced. If we know a steam locomotive is being phased out, we must have a replacement cost in our calculations because in due course that steam locomotive that no one wants and that is rusting away at Touwsriver, must be recorded in the books as having no value. I really think the hon member must be realistic. Why must one show the value of a steam locomotive in your books at a fictitious calculation?
The hon member said that we were not saving by providing Zambia with locomotives for which we did not receive payment. There are 13 locomotives in Zambia, and monthly payments are made with regard to them. There is an outstanding account at the moment. This thing has been going on for years. If we provide Zambia with locomotives, one must think of what freight traffic is generated, which goes from South Africa to Zambia, to keep our network in operation. None of these things is being done on a charitable basis; this is a profitable undertaking. There was one state to whom we said that we would not provide them with locomotives and they then got their locomotives from Russia. I say if we can make money by hiring out a locomotive to someone …
To Zambia, while they still owe us money?
Of course. From time to time Zambia is in arrears and then they settle their account in full again. I can give the hon member a figure which stretches over a period of four years, and he will see that we are running a profitable business.
The hon member says we shouted “hear, hear!” because the State President had taken the people’s bread from their mouths. I like this kind of statement, because any levelheaded person who reads it will see that these people are outbidding the HNP completely.
Of course that is so. The hon member is standing on the same platform and cursing other Afrikaners. [Interjections.]
What are you doing now?
I am answering an accusation that my party shouts “hear, hear!” because the people’s bread is being taken from their mouths. Must I keep quiet about it?
The total payment to the SATS employees today is R3 100 million in salaries and overtime payments. Of this amount we took away R42 million. I fought to retain the R42 million, but I said repeatedly that I appreciated that this was a team effort. Of R3 100 million we took away R42 million. Did we take the bread from their mouths? I said that when the economy recovered, this matter would also be rectified. It is not a continuous deduction of a third of the thirteenth cheque. It is being done because of the present circumstances.
Mr Chairman, I want to ask the hon the Minister, if he as a member of a team, namely the Cabinet, pleads for the retention of R42 million for the SATS officials, is my hon colleague for De Aar not entitled to plead for it too? [Interjections.]
That is correct, he is quite entitled to plead for it. He must not, however, come and tell me that the bread is being taken from the mouths of the people who receive R3 100 million, of which we are now taking away R42 million. Just be realistic. [Interjections.]
I shall reply to the hon member for Umfolozi next. In Empangeni there is a problem with the bus service. For more than a month 200 buses have been maintaining an effective strike. Here we find the example of a well-balanced member of Parliament who has attended various meetings because he can speak the Zulu language like a Zulu. He is negotiating with the Black people in order to find solutions for us. I want to thank the hon member for Umfolozi very sincerely for this.
The hon member also expressed his thanks for the speedy repair of the flood damage. He also referred to the achievements of our various harbours. I want to tell the hon member it was the finest speech I have heard in this House in a very long time, especially when he said that I was going to be given the freedom of Richards Bay in recognition of the services of SATS. I know it is a symbolic action towards the SATS and the honour is not really mine, but that of my predecessors. Being given the freedom of Richards Bay is a symbol of thanks. I was given the freedom of Standerton, and the other day they caught me in Standerton for not stopping at a stop street. That helps a lot. [Interjections.]
†I come to the hon member for Durban Point. One can present the records of six to eight persons, but what about the 20, 30, 40 others? I am prepared to pay an ex gratia contribution to them, but let us rather discuss the whole matter. It is no use arguing about this matter. I cannot only give grants to certain persons. If we decide to grant something, it must be applicable to all the contributors.
The hon member asked why there is a regional manager at Richards Bay. He is not a regional manager; only an area manager.
The value of the products exported through Richards Bay is eventually more than R3 100 million if one includes chrome, vanadium, aluminium and everything else. At the moment it is one of our most important harbours.
With regard to seats for smokers on the SAA …
What about the Saldanha regional office?
We are also looking into that.
The hon member for Durban Point said I have a way of sidestepping questions.
*I have just received a note indicating that I have only 10 minutes in which to reply to all the questions. We should like to accommodate my colleague the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs in a moment. Every time I receive a note …
Where is he?
He is coming. He has just gone for a smoke. Now the hon member says I am sidestepping the issues. I reply to every question. I also said at the outset that some of the questions would be replied to by letter. I cannot stand and waffle here, however, as I do not have the time.
†The hon member also referred to smokers on aeroplanes. I admit I am a smoker. However, an aeroplane carries 150, 200 or even 300 people. They are put into a tube or pipe and then they are taken 30 000 feet into the air. It is altogether a different story. Let us be reasonable. If one smokes, one can upset people. Most people are already upset at being in a pipe with 300 other people.
*A whole lot of people are put into a pipe. To many people it is a strange feeling.
†The hon member also referred to the tamping machine and compared it with the old system. I shall reply to that in writing.
*I am very pleased that the hon member for East London North spoke about the facilities for the Blacks, the Coloureds and the Indians. One would never get that from the PFP. When we build hostels and erect housing for Coloureds, Blacks and Indians, they will never rise and say thank you. These are things we are proud of and I am pleased that the hon member for East London North mentioned them. I truly want to thank him for doing so.
The hon member for Parktown asked why the smoking habit was being promoted on Railway property. He asked why I encouraged people to smoke. We do not encourage people to smoke. The people are smokers already, but according to the advertisements one person must smoke Lexington and another Rothmans. These are company efforts and we make money from them—I admit it. Now I ask the hon member candidly: Must we ban the “Drink Oudemeester” advert on Jan Smuts Airport?
Good heavens! Does the hon member want to kill our business? I think these things were created for man for the express purpose of testing his willpower. [Interjections.] I am serious when I say there are many temptations. There is not only smoking and drinking. There are other temptations too. One should be able to keep oneself in check.
Mr Chairman, may I just ask the hon Minister how he can advertise it while the Department of the hon the Minister of Health and Welfare is spending millions of rands on preventing people from smoking? How can two departments in the same Government work against one another in such a way?
I really cannot go into that point. We are not playing one off against the other. I only say that I am going so far as to try to persuade people not to smoke in an aircraft. The hon member should appreciate the fact that one cannot expect the South African Airways to ban the advertising of cigarettes while the rest of the world is let off. We collect more than R600 million in excise duty on cigarettes. [Interjections.] After all, it is a source of revenue. I must also have understanding for the fact that there are 90 000 people in South African who work in the tobacco industry. These are the people who work in the factories, pick the tobacco …
Are you also speaking now of hospitals and doctors?
But what about the smokers, man? We are also voters.
Yes, Sir, it is strange, but I must say one thing about the smokers: They are not as unmannerly as the non-smokers. [Interjections.]
Are you talking about the State President?
No, man! I am only talking about some of them. [Interjections.] The hon member for Parktown was a smoker himself until the day before yesterday.
I am ashamed of it.
Is he ashamed? It doesn’t look like it.
I now come to the hon member for Kuruman. It does not help to adopt the attitude of “what is the Minister going to do with the R40 million while the SATS has shown a profit?” Last year we showed a profit, but the hon member knows that this year we budgeted for a loss of R192 million. This R40 million is deducted from the loss. It was mentioned in the Budget: A profit last year, but a loss this year.
The hon member says they have no confidence in me and that I use false examples. I said to the hon member: Last year I spoke about a CP member who sat next to a Black person in an aircraft.
The hon the Minister said it was I.
No, the hon member for Kuruman travelled in a bakkie. [Interjections.] I feared this day. I have always said I feared the day that a Hoon would call a Schoeman a liar, and vice versa. This thing is going to count against us one day. That hatred sometimes pours …
It is not hatred.
In my opinion it is hatred if a man tells me he has no confidence in me. [Interjections.] In other words, he is telling me I am lying.
I knew this day would come. I was always afraid that we would pitch into one another one day. Perhaps the way I treated the hon member for Meyerton was wrong, but it is because I received information from another person, and not directly from him, about what he had said. If I was too sharp, I shall apologize to him. However, I do not want to quarrel with people who have the same objective as I have. I do want to say though that those hon members want to do things which will cause problems in our country. I do not want to curse anyone on the opposite side; nor do I want to curse a Coloured or a Black man. And I do not want the hon members to curse me either.
I want to conclude by saying that we have concluded all the debates in all three Houses. I am thankful to all the hon members for their contributions. I am also grateful to all members of our staff, from Dr Grové downwards. In addition I thank everyone who shares this job with me; it is truly a pleasure to work with such people. We shall get through this difficult patch. I believe the economy will recover.
What is a strong government if not a government that, in spite of knowing it is going to be criticized because it has reduced a person’s thirteenth cheque, still has the courage of its convictions to acknowledge to its people that it has financial problems? We believe that the economy will recover next year, and that things are going to improve. The gold price is going to recover, the rand is going to become stronger, and—I believe—we are going to get good rains. [Interjections.] I believe it. I do not care what the Progs believe; in reality the Progs are a dwindling section.
In any case, I am very grateful to the hon members for the understanding they have for our problems.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a third time.
Fair copy of Bill certified and transmitted to the State President for his assent.
Introductory speech delivered at Joint Sittingon 4 March
Mr Speaker, I move:
The present Diplomatic Privileges Act no longer meets the requirements of our country. In addition to diplomatic immunity conferred in section 2 of the present Diplomatic Privileges Act the State President may, in accordance with section 2A, enter into a reciprocal agreement with a foreign state in terms of which such privileges and immunities as he may deem fit may be accorded to a consul or trade representative of that state, as well as to persons attached to or employed by the consular mission concerned or such consul or trade representative.
The Act, however, makes no provision for the granting of privileges and immunities to members of the families of such persons. The Act exempts consuls and trade representatives as well as their staffs and members of their families from legal restrictions upon the acquisition or occupation of immovable property by a person of a particular population group.
The main object of the Bill before Parliament is to extend the categories of persons to whom privileges, immunities and exemptions may be granted. Firstly, in clause 2 of the Bill, the State President is authorized to conclude a reciprocal agreement in proper cases, in terms of which privileges and immunities may be accorded to certain categories of persons not included in section 2A of the present Act. These additional categories comprise any official representatives of another state, other than consuls or trade representatives, the staffs of such representatives, and the families of all representatives, including those of consuls and trade representatives.
Secondly, in clause 3 the State President is authorized, if he is satisfied that it is not possible or desirable to enter into such an agreement, to confer immunities, rights or privileges by proclamation in the Gazette or in such other manner as he thinks fit. Such conferment is to be done on a basis of reciprocity where possible.
Thirdly, in clause 5 provision is made for the exemption of these additional categories of persons from the restrictions upon the acquisition or occupation of immovable property. With the approval of the Minister of Foreign Affairs this exemption may also be extended to an entity seated in another state and to a person who represents or is employed by such an entity. An example of this would be a non-governmental corporate body that wishes to establish an office in the Republic.
Clause 6 of the Bill provides for an increase in the fine for a contravention of the Act from £500 to R5 000. The remaining clauses of the Bill introduce consequential amendments.
Why are these amendments desirable? I would wish to emphasize that South Africa continues to subscribe to the generally accepted norms and practices by which diplomatic relations are regulated and conducted. However, in our particular circumstances, there is a growing need to supplement the current legislative provisions in order to accommodate our particular circumstances realistically. Several governments are already, and might in future, be represented in South Africa by consuls or by trade, commercial, labour, railway or other representatives, performing the same duties or duties comparable to those performed by diplomatic missions. Furthermore, the increasing interdependence of the states of Southern Africa has brought us to a point in our history where there is contact and co-operation in a great many mutually beneficial activities.
A specific style and practice in the conduct of interstate and intergovernmental relations has begun to emerge according to the needs and realities of our region. The countries of Southern Africa share transport systems, roads, bridges, railways, harbours and aviation facilities. There is increasing movement of people and goods across political boundaries and there is co-operation on labour matters, health and welfare, agriculture, energy, posts and telecommunications, environmental affairs and tourism, and a host of other matters.
In our region we will have to exchange representatives in numerous spheres and levels of common interest which go beyond the current defined confines of formal interstate diplomatic practice not developed for and tailored to our needs in our region. Also in respect of improving relations with certain countries outside our region, and I want to emphasize “outside our region”, and to facilitate trade and technological exchange with them, it is considered necessary to establish less formal and rigid mechanisms and procedures for the conduct of intergovernmental representation and traffic. For these reasons, the amending of the Act is clearly in the interest of our country.
Second Reading resumed
Mr Chairman, this Bill was one of the early Bills referred to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. During the course of the deliberations, certain features of the Bill were discussed intensively. Certain amendments were subsequently received from the department, and certain of these amendments have been incorporated in the Bill.
We in these benches considered it largely unnecessary for the hon the Minister to have introduced this Bill. The Bill really deals with two concepts. In traditional form, the question of diplomatic immunity had a very special and limited meaning. It applied to diplomats and to formal representatives of governments. Arrangements were usually made on a reciprocal basis and published in the Government Gazette. Obviously, traditionalists would have preferred this, may I say, old-fashioned system to have continued.
We in these benches accept that in the world of modern diplomacy there is a new grey area of representation. This representative enjoys the support of a government and yet he is not an official representative of that government per se. In these circumstances, we believe that a case has been made for extending the scope of diplomatic immunity and diplomatic privilege to include a new category of people who are defined in the proposed new section 2B. As I say, we would have preferred to think that life in the diplomatic field was still as orderly and as regular as it was in the past and that this particular provision was not necessary. However, we accept that, not only in the peculiar circumstances of South Africa but in the whole field of the grey area or the informal area of diplomacy, it is necessary, and for that reason we support that provision. Because that provision is the main provision of the Bill, we see it as the essential principle of the Bill and will not vote against this measure.
There is another clause, or rather paragraph, with which we have difficulty and which, if the procedure allowed it and there were to be a Committee Stage in the House, we would have voted against. I point here to one of the problems under the new system which may have to be given further consideration, namely that it is not possible for this House to distinguish between its approval of the Bill as a whole and its approval of the individual clauses. Perhaps we will have to reshape the rules of procedure so that it is possible for a party to support the principle of a Bill but be given the opportunity as a party to register its vote against specific clauses if it has an objection to them. The present rules preclude us from doing so, so all we can do is to point out that the two representatives of the PFP on the standing committee, the hon member for Pinelands and I, voted against the amendments to section 9(b) and (c), dealing with the new concept of an “entity” and immunity being given to an entity as opposed to immunity being given to an individual or the representative of a state. I put it to the hon the Minister that, even at this stage, he should give consideration to amending or deleting those two paragraphs.
The message which we received was that these entities, which are not defined as a legal concept but are undefined entities seated in another state, should be given exemption from the racial provisions, essentially of the Group Areas Act, in respect of ownership of property, and that all employees of that entity should be given exemption from the Group Areas Act in respect of the occupation of property. I still hope that if the hon the Minister wants to proceed with this he will be more convincing than he has been so far in saying that it is necessary.
The argument runs like this: There are foreign entities that would like to do business in South Africa, or something which the hon the Minister thinks is in the interests of South Africa, but are embarrassed by the provisions of the racial laws of the country. They should therefore be given an exemption to avoid that embarrassment so that they can do these good deeds for South Africa. Of course, the Minister has to decide that it is in the interests of South Africa. The reason these people are embarrassed, is because there is a Group Areas Act. What the hon the Minister is saying is that we should try to avoid causing embarrassment to foreigners who might do well for South Africa while we continue to apply the provisions of the Group Areas Act against the citizens of South Africa.
In November it was ten years since we told everybody that we were going to do all in our power to move away from discrimination. Surely the hon the Minister, as a member of the Cabinet, should have said to the Cabinet: I have a dilemma. I believe that the Group Areas Act should be amended or repealed. We should get rid of the dilemma which is the Group Areas Act and not create an exemption for a foreign body in order that we can continue to apply the Group Areas Act.
I want to put it to the hon the Minister that if the problem flows from this particular racial law—I accept that there are tensions; we cannot overfly Africa or do a number of other things—something should rather be done about the law itself. Why are there these tensions? It is because we have laws like these. I believe the hon the Minister is not helping us or himself to move South Africa away from the Group Areas Act by making special provision to make new entities honorary Whites while ordinary South Africans have to continue under this law. I put it quite sincerely to the hon the Minister: Surely we want to move away from this legislation? Surely we should not make it easier to apply it in South Africa? We should actually make it more difficult to apply it, until in the end it falls away. I would hope that the hon the Minister, even at this stage, realizes that a provision like this enables the Group Areas Act to stay on the Statute Book of South Africa longer than it should.
Secondly, I have the feeling that it is actually going to be more embarrassing to South Africa to have these “entities” created honorary Whites. They are not created honorary Whites. We had the situation with the Japanese jockey. We had the embarrassment, both inside and outside South Africa, of people who are not White deemed to be White because they are privileged. These are not diplomats; they are just people who work for entities which the hon the Minister believes are operating to the benefit of South Africa. I believe that this provision, whatever the hon the Minister may believe, is going to become a source of embarrassment rather than a source of relationships improving.
Thirdly, the hon the Minister has not given examples, either to this House or to the committee, of specific instances where this law is necessary. One has heard of examples in an airy-fairy kind of way of “we might like to do this”, but nobody has come to the standing committee or this House and said, “I have a concrete illustration of an entity which wants to purchase land but is prevented from doing so in terms of the Group Areas Act”. Any entity, international or local, can get exemption from the Group Areas Act because the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, who controls it, can give that exemption. In fact, there is no problem. Anyone can be given an exemption. What this law says, however, is that it is not the Minister administering the Group Areas Act who must give the exemption, but it is now the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has to designate that a particular entity seated in a foreign state is worthy of being given exemption, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs has to approve every category of employee who should be given exemption from that particular provision of the Act. That means that this Minister in fact now fouls his own hands. He becomes the Minister who in practice operates and grants exemptions from the Group Areas Act. Quite frankly, I cannot think of anything worse, if I were in his position, than being the Minister of Foreign Affairs; he is the Minister who is responsible for deciding whether a person can acquire land in defiance of the ordinary race laws in South Africa, and in terms of this provision, have occupation of immovable property as a “person who represents or is in the employ of any entity and whose occupation is approved by Minister”. That means that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has to do the racial dirty work of the other Minister in deciding whether a particular individual can get exemption from this race law or not.
Fourthly, I have a feeling that we are going to prevail on the hon the Minister in this particular regard. I think he must sense that important aspects of the Group Areas Act are going to disappear in any case. The President’s Council is looking at that. We had the Strydom Committee, we had the Select Committee of Parliament, we had the announcement of the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning about the release of areas in CBDs.
It is very slow.
I realize it is slow, but why should we clutter up Foreign Affairs legislation? I think this is a messy, racial, Group Areas Act exemption provision, which is being introduced at the very time when this Government is committed to phasing out important parts of the Group Areas Act. Just from the point of view of timing, why do we start doing this? Why introduce the Group Areas Act provisions into the field of Foreign Affairs, and make that Minister the man who issues the permits? At a time when the Government says it is committed to easing the application of the Group Areas Act, especially in relation to the question of CBDs and business premises, this Bill is introduced. We do not oppose a Bill which is an omnibus Bill. However, we have very serious reservations. I want to ask the hon the Minister: Is there not another way? Is there not a way of amending the Group Areas Act? Is there not a way of scrapping the Group Areas Act? Surely this is not the time in the history of this Parliament, in this very sensitive diplomatic situation that we find ourselves in, to say that the Group Areas Act is going to stay; that instead of the exemption permits being given by the Minister for Constitutional Development and Planning, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is going to hold himself up as the arbiter to decide who should be allowed to trade, and who should not be allowed to trade; who should be allowed to occupy, and who should not be allowed to occupy.
You are generalizing.
This is very important. The matter is not defined. The legislation speaks of an entity, seated in a foreign country, which in the opinion of the Minister is recognized to be in the interests of the Republic. Let me put it to hon members: What would happen if Chase Manhattan wanted to compete with Volkskas? It may be that Chase Manhattan would be doing it in the interests of the country because it would raise foreign loans. By investing in South Africa, it would bring foreign capital to South Africa. That would be judged as being in the interests of South Africa. That foreign body would get exemption from the provisions of the Group Areas Act by the hon the Minister, but a South African body, operating in exactly the same field, cannot do so. My colleague, the hon member for Pinelands, and I raised these points on the standing committee, and I raise them again now.
I want to assure the hon the Minister that we do not want to be obstructionists in what is this twilight field of foreign diplomacy. What he cannot ask us to do, however, is to give the Minister the right to exempt foreign entities so that it is easier for the Government to apply the Group Areas Act to the disadvantage of the citizens of South Africa.
Therefore, while we support the overall principle, if the rules of this House permitted it—and the hon the Minister has it in his power—we would ask for this Bill to be committed to the committee of the whole House, and in those circumstances, we would more an amendment. I ask the hon the Minister very seriously, while I hope he accepts graciously our support for the Bill in the overall, also to accept our recommendation that it be committed to the whole House. We would also ask him to more an amendment removing those two particular provisions which relate very specifically to the discriminatory racial laws of South Africa.
Mr Chairman, one cannot understand the hon member for Sea Point. He comes here and misuses this opportunity to make an entire speech on the Group Areas Act and its abolition. But this has nothing to do with the amending Bill we are considering today. [Interjections.]
Order! Hon members must give the hon member an opportunity to make his speech. The hon member may proceed.
In the standing committee we already pointed out to hon members that the Group Areas Act had nothing to do with this. The hon member could have discussed the Group Areas Act on another occasion; it is not relevant to this debate today.
I should like to take this opportunity to thank the hon members of the Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs for the extremely good spirit of co-operation which prevailed in that committee and for the great degree of concensus which was reached in that committee in respect of this amending Bill. I must also thank the hon member for Sea Point for the reasonable attitude he displayed there. Here, however, in the open House, he is being less reasonable and is speaking for the benefit of the Press.
In the space of a few minutes I should like to motivate the necessity for this amending Bill. It is becoming increasingly clear that South Africa and its neighbouring states, as well as other African states, cannot exist in isolation from each other. There is a growing realization among states in Southern Africa that they can no longer turn their backs on interdependence with South Africa. This also holds great advantages for South Africa. South Africa’s economy requires that we cannot live in isolation. We must forge as many trade links as possible with states in Southern Africa. As these states in Southern Africa come to realize that it is in their interest to co-operate with South Africa, the interaction between South Africa and these states increases. It increases in various spheres. Together with the increasing interaction between the states, there is also an increase in the need to maintain some form or other of representation with the RSA and to exchange representatives.
In consequence of the international political climate against South Africa these states are, however, experiencing an increasing number of problems in forging normal diplomatic links with South Africa. Consequently alternative practical solutions are being sought at relations level. In the past, these solutions were found in consular or trade representation, and even in so-called labour representation, but although these representatives represent their respective states at the official level in South Africa, in terms of the present Diplomatic Privileges Act they enjoy little or no protection in respect of immunities, rights and privileges.
To rectify this situation, it has become essential to amend the aforesaid Act to make it possible for the State President to comply with a request for representation from another Government if he deems this to be in the interests of the Republic. In terms of the amendment to the Act the State President may now, where applicable, and on a reciprocal basis, grant such representative who does not enjoy protection, the required immunities, rights and privileges.
Several states in Southern Africa are already represented in the Republic, and more of them will probably be represented in future. In order to accommodate such requests for more protection and immunity, it has now become necessary to amend the Act.
Mr Chairman, I want to tell the hon member for Bloemfontein North that we are satisfied with all the arguments he raised in connection with interaction and so on. We accept that this takes place, but our standpoint is that it can be based on the conventions which existed in the past. But I shall elaborate on this further in the course of my speech.
In the second place the hon member for Bloemfontein North, who is the chairman of the relevant standing committee, said that this Bill had nothing to do with the Group Areas Act. But I do not know where he comes by that because clause 4 provides that—
as prohibiting these people who are now enjoying exemption from owning or occupying that land. This is squarely within the provisions of the Group Areas Act. Consequently I cannot understand how a member as senior as the hon member for Bloemfontein North could not perceive this.
I must tell the hon the Minister that unfortunately we cannot support the Bill. Diplomatic immunity is a privilege which is granted to certain categories of representatives from other states on account of considerations of reciprocity. We know who those people are and consequently I am not going to elaborate on who they are at present. Now the Bill is attempting to extend this important and exceptional privilege to two further categories of persons, namely the persons mentioned in the proposed new section 2A(1). These are persons to whom the State President, acting on the advice of his mixed Cabinet, may grant immunity in terms of an agreement with another state. He does not do so in his personal capacity. He does so in his capacity as State President, acting on the advice of his mixed Cabinet.
In the second place the State President may grant this kind of immunity simply at his discretion, and also acting on the advice of his mixed Cabinet.
These are two new categories of persons which are now being created on a largely discretionary basis and which are being granted immunity. Any person who prosecutes or institutes certain civil actions against a person who enjoys diplomatic immunity is liable to an exceptionally heavy penalty of R5 000 or three years’ imprisonment.
These gentlemen who are now all going to come here in terms of clause 2A(1) and in terms of the discretionary power of the State President, are all going to enjoy diplomatic immunity.
It is true that nowadays—and in this regard I want to agree with the hon member for Bloemfontein North—political activities are, for various reasons, more unconventional and it is desirable for our country’s representatives in another country to enjoy proper status and protection as well. But it is for this very reason that these things can be arranged in accordance with the existing conventions, international customs and recognized principles of international law, as they are at present. We also know that such reciprocal immunity arrangements must be made with other states when this is in the interests of South Africa, but we know this Government well by now. It does not always act in the interests of South Africa. It only acts in the interests of the NP. After all, we know what it did a few years ago in respect of Renamo and we know what it is doing now in respect of Mozambique. When was it acting in the interests of South Africa; when it was helping Renamo or when it signed an accord with the Communist government of Mozambique? [Interjections.] After all, in the past we had an accredited … [Interjections.]
Sir, the hon Chief Whip of the NP asked me to get a move on and finish my speech but I cannot speak while the choir is singing at the back there. I am merely asking for your protection.
Look who is whining now.
I am not whining, but the hon Chief Whip of the NP asked me to get a move on and finish my speech. But if those hon members do not give me a chance, I shall carry on quite calmly with my speech.
South Africa’s accredited representatives operated in Rhodesia for 13 years without this kind of legislation being necessary. Incidental practices should not be elevated to the status of an Act authorising the granting of diplomatic immunity on the advice of a mixed Cabinet and over a wide front. This is our first objection.
As the hon member for Sea Point says, this Bill goes further, however, and affects the Group Areas Act. Whereas in the past land occupied by a diplomat was registered in the name of that government, it can now be registered in the name of the person himself or an entity approved by the Minister. In such a case, as is set out in clause 4, the laws or conditions in a title deed do not apply. In the same way that we witnessed the provisions of the Group Areas Act being circumvented by the creation of free trading areas in the central business areas of South Africa, we saw the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs take the gap and circumvent the Group Areas Act under certain circumstances by allowing these people to settle in any part of South Africa. Any entity seated in another state which is recognized by the Minister for the purposes of the relevant paragraph, may acquire or occupy land unhindered. We know about the embarrassing position in which the Government found itself in Primrose recently. A Portuguese from Mozambique, married to a Black woman, moved into a White area there. When we checked on this in the Deeds Office, it came to light that the property was registered in the name of “The Peoples Republic of Mocambique.” A communist state is the registered owner of immovable property in the White group area of Germiston. [Interjections.]
By means of clause 4 of the Bill under discussion the Government is now trying to circumvent this embarrassing position in which it found itself in Primrose—because it actually used certain channels to allow those people to continue to live in Germiston; completely contrary to the provisions of the Group Areas Act, and what is more on a property registered in the name of a communist state. However, now every entity imaginable which is seated in another state and which is recognized by the Minister, can acquire this right.
What is an entity in actual fact? Did the hon the Minister try to ascertain what an entity actually is? I looked up the word in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. It gives three main meanings to the word “entity”. In the first place the word is defined as follows:
In the second place it gives the word the following meaning:
Consequently this means that every living person is an entity. The said dictionary goes even further in its definition of “entity” and says, and I am quoting again:
In terms of the relevant measure of the hon the Minister it is consequently even possible for a common cold—provided it is recognized by the Minister—to acquire property rights to immovable property outside the group area of its specific race and to own such property. [Interjections.]
But a third meaning is also given to the word “entity”. I am again quoting from the said source, as follows:
Consequently, Sir, it would seem that an entity is as boundless as God’s mercy. [Interjections.] The Conservative Party understands the problem of the hon the Minister. But we cannot allow the Group Areas Act systematically to be further emasculated and violated.
Which people are going to live there? Which people are going to live in areas normally reserved for White occupation? Diplomats are going to live there, as well as consular officials, those persons in respect of whom an agreement has been entered into, and of course the new category of cases in terms of the envisaged new section 2A(1). The discretionary cases were in fact broached by the hon the Minister in his Second Reading speech. I am quoting the following excerpt from it (Hansard, 4 March 1985) as follows:
The hon the Minister may give all the persons involved in the facets to which he referred in his Second Reading speech the right to live in Germiston or Piketberg or anywhere else in South Africa.
By the way I also want to make mention of the fact that the hon the Minister made his Second Reading speech in English only. When we stated at that stage that we took it amiss of the State President that he spoke only English at the signing of the Nkomati Accord, while President Machel spoke Portuguese there, we were told that we were verkramp and insensitive because we should have realized that the speeches on that occasion were intended for foreign consumption. Does this now mean that every speech the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs makes is intended for foreign consumption? Does this also apply to every Second Reading speech on general affairs he makes in this House? Will all those speeches of his consequently be made in English from now on? [Interjections.] We want to make it clear that we are not prepared to put up with the principle of bilingualism being violated in this House.
To suit Rajbansi! [Interjections.]
After all we are an American colony! [Interjections.]
We maintain that the Group Areas Act does not apply to those persons to whom the hon the Minister can now grant exemption in this way. In this way even Dr Rademeyer’s Enrichment Services can consequently own property here, because it is after all also an entity. As far as we are concerned, the privileges the hon the Minister is granting in terms of clause 4, are not privileges which are being granted on the basis of diplomatic considerations. They are not being granted on the basis of reciprocity either. Whereas in the past we had a specific diplomatic residential area, in this country— and as a matter of fact this still applies throughout the world—what is happening now? It is all very well to allege that when a diplomat finds himself in a foreign state, he may live where he wishes. But we know that in practice there are diplomatic residential areas in the separate states. Those persons, including the cases in terms of section 2A of the principal Act, as well as all the other entities too, may live in the White areas in South Africa, provided the Minister gives his approval.
Because we believe that the hon the Minister can do the things he would like to do both in terms of existing conventions and the provisions of international law, and in terms of provisions contained in the Bill under discussion, we are opposed to this Bill. Because this Bill is also a typical circumvention of the provisions of the Group Areas Act we simply cannot support it. Until relatively recently the NP Government still said that there were a few things in South Africa which were and would remain sacred cows. Among these sacred cows were an own community life, own residential areas and own schools. In this way all these sacred cows are being violated by the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs. We simply cannot support this Bill. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I shall be very brief. We approve entirely of the extension of diplomatic immunity to people not included in the categories that are listed under the relevant provision of the principal Act. That deals with that aspect very quickly. I also want to say that we accept the need for what I will call the second half of this Bill. However, I want to issue a very sincere warning to the hon the Minister because, whichever way we look at it, with this measure today he has created a new “buzzword”, namely the word “entity”. I am afraid that he has done himself a disservice because the hon member for Sea Point has a point in one direction and the hon member for Brakpan, of course, has a point in the other direction. These two hon members are arguing against this Bill for completely opposite reasons. I think, however, that the term “entities” is going to cause the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs problems and that it is going to embarrass him in the very circles in which he moves. I suggest that what is going to happen is that people are going to say that we now have a new situation in South Africa in which we do not only have Whites, but also Blacks, Coloureds, Indians and entities. I see that the hon the Minister smiles, but he and I both know that this is what is going to happen. However, having said that, it is another hesitant step forward and it is something we have considered very carefully. We agree with the merits contained therein, and the motivation as put forward by the hon the Minister in his Second Reading speech was far better than we had heard in the standing committee. As I say, the merits outweigh our objections and for this reason we shall support this Bill because we believe that in the long term we are going to achieve the objectives that I think the hon the Minister is sincerely seeking to achieve. I also sincerely hope, however, that he has not created something that is going to cause him embarrassment. I believe though he has.
Mr Chairman, I should like to thank the hon members for the extent to which we were able to reach consensus on this measure. As far as the argument of the hon member for Sea Point is concerned, I think he will understand that the object of this Bill is most certainly not to tamper with the Group Areas Act as such. The object of this legislation is to make it possible to adjust to what he himself regards as a new developing grey area in diplomatic activity—particularly under African circumstances. He acknowledges, on the one hand, that such a grey area exists and I want to thank him for that. He therefore acknowledges that due to present day interstate and intergovernmental activities, a need exists to introduce an added dimension to the rules of procedure and diplomatic style, something other than the stereotyped, formal systems which have developed over the decades in the European industrial countries. The present Act was promulgated as far back as 1951. It is now 1985. Not only are there more states in the world in 1985 than there were in 1951, but there are several opposing ideological power bloc groups.
It is an international political reality that certain governments, due to acute ideological differences, cannot liaise with each other by means of the stereotyped, open practise of diplomacy through the normal, formal diplomatic channels. We have passed the Talleyrand stage long ago.
The only aim of this legislation is to make available the machinery to strengthen intergovernmental ties in the interests of South Africa, to do business and to promote commerce and communication in the interests of all the people of South Africa—Whites, Blacks, Asians and Coloureds. That is why we have received the unanimous support of the other two Houses as well, because it is quite obvious that this is not a political matter, but that its aim is to ensure that South Africa can do business more effectively with certain governments and entities abroad.
To my mind, the concept of “entity” cannot present any problem, because it is we who decide, in the interests of South Africa, when a certain person or body qualifies as an entity. If there is a foreign undertaking—it would not be any Tom Dick or Harry— which was perhaps not, strictly speaking, a juristic or natural person, but still had a foreign base and in its existence abroad in fact represented that government here in an informal way or in a manner other than through the usual diplomatic procedures, what reason could we have for depriving ourselves of this measure?
In the first place, it is very much in the interest of South Africa to be allowed to fly to different countries. It is in the interest of South Africa to be able to do business. It is in the interests of all of us to export and to import. But if there are countries which, for whatever reason, find it difficult at this juncture to practise diplomacy through the normal channels, why should we subject ourselves to tendency of the UN to isolate ourselves, to bowl ourselves out and to cause our exporters and businessmen and our interests to suffer harm simply because we have legislation which was placed on the Statute Book in 1951 and no longer satisfies the requirements of our particular circumstances and the requirements which are in the interests of South Africa?
And so I unfortunately cannot accept the proposal of the hon member for Sea Point. We gave this legislation profound consideration and came to the decision that it is what South Africa requires now. Contrary to what he said, I did, in fact, mention examples in the standing committee. I mentioned specific examples, and I call as my witnesses the hon members who were there that day when I addressed the standing committee.
In regard to the hon member for Brakpan, well, he is opposing the Bill for different reasons to those of the hon member for Sea Point. All I can say in this connection is that there is no change of principle occurring here. As the principal Act reads at present— and the hon member would do well to go and look at it—trade representatives and consuls can receive exactly the same privileges as diplomatic representatives by means of an agreement. In terms of the existing Act we may enter into an agreement with any government enabling any number of people, upon which agreement has been reached, to represent that government as consuls or trade representatives and enjoy that immunity.
The problem that now confronts the hon member has therefore existed since 1951. When Dr Malan introduced the original legislation here, he stated in this House as well as in the Senate of that time, that it was in the interests of South Africa that legislation prohibiting the occupation or acquisition of property by persons on grounds of their membership of particular population groups, would not be applicable to foreign representatives. He said that something of that nature could simply not be tolerated in South Africa. That is what Dr Malan said in 1951 but we are now in 1985 and the hon members of the CP are in fact further back in time than Dr Malan was in 1951. I think they should just go and reflect on that.
As far as the penalty clause is concerned, the hon members would do well to go and examine the Act themselves. An offence could only be committed against representatives whose names appear in the register, which will be published. The rest are specifically excluded. In this respect, too, there is no change of principle.
We live in a bilingual country and I really want to make an appeal to the hon member and say that we must please not try to attack each other in this House on the ground of the language we choose to employ. Afrikaans and English have equal value in terms of the Constitution. I want to tell the hon member that when I address the House in English, I am using an official language of South Africa, of which I, as an Afrikaans speaker, am proud as well.
Question agreed to (Conservative 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 Chairman, I move:
Mr Chairman, the rules that we have laid down for Parliament for this session, state that we should meet on Wednesday evenings. It is not clear to me why we need to adjourn tonight. The House is obviously settling down into the new constitutional dispensation, but we believe there is no reason for adjourning the House. The evening sessions of 2½ hours can be effectively used for private members’ motions which give a character to Parliament and make it relevant. We have many private members’ motions on the Order Paper which can be debated.
We suspect the reason why we are not sitting according to the hours in the Standing Rules and Orders is that the Government has not got enough business to keep us occupied. From our point of view this is unacceptable. There are many important issues to be debated in Parliament. On a number of issues we have endeavoured to raise we have been told that there is not enough time. Now, however, we are being called upon not to sit when our Standing Rules and Orders require us to sit.
This Parliament has appointed a very expensive official with Cabinet rank to organize the business of the three Houses. It is my submission that if the Government is unable to find enough business for us, we are certainly happy to raise a whole number of issues of great national importance in the time that is available if they are not able to produce the business. We will oppose the motion. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I am horrified to find for the second time in as many weeks the normal common decency that prevails at a Whips’ meeting with the Leader of the House can just be thrown out of the window.
What are you talking about?
The hon the Chief Whip of the Official Opposition knows what I am talking about. It was agreed at the Whips’ meeting last week. The hon the Chief Whip and the hon member for Hillbrow were there when the hon Leader of the House even asked his secretary to phone through and find out what reservations were made in the dining room. He cannot deny it. [Interjections.]
It was agreed at that meeting that we would not sit tonight, and my caucus will bear witness to it because I went back and reported this to them. I cannot express the disgust I feel that these people can throw the normal common decencies of this House out of the window as though they do not give a hoot for them. [Interjections.] Quite honestly I do not know what we are going to do in the future and how we are going to be able to conduct our Whips’ business because I simply cannot see us doing so. I wish I had more time to express my innermost feelings of dismay at the way in which these people are behaving.
Mr Chairman, I am afraid that the memories of the hon member for Umhlanga and myself in regard to what transpired at the last Whips’ meeting are completely contradictory. [Interjections.] I happen to know as a matter of fact that I was asked by the hon Chief Whip of the majority party whether in fact we would be prepared not to sit this evening. This was as late as yesterday. Why would the hon Chief Whip on the other side approach me on my attitude as to whether we would be prepared not to sit this evening if there had been an agreement? [Interjections.] I do not like casting aspersions on a colleague, but I am afraid that the hon member for Umhlanga is trying to make mean political capital where there is none to be made.
I want to corroborate what my colleague, the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North, the Whip on duty, has said. We have two and a half hours for debate after dinner, and that is tailor-made for the private members’ motions. I want to say that Parliament is in grave danger of surrendering a precious right, and that is to put aside adequate time for private members’ motions. The tradition in this House is to have at least ten private members’ motions. We have had three so far this session. I have little doubt that after the Easter recess there will not be an opportunity for a private member’s motion.
The Committee on Standing Rules and Orders in all good faith left it to the discretion of the Leader of the House to arrange time for private members’ motions. We did that in good faith. I am not suggesting that there has been a breach of faith. I am not suggesting that at all, but I am asking him to use his best endeavours to make quite sure that at least ten private members’ motions are debated before the Easter recess. If that is to be achieved, the only way to do it is for us to sit on the four remaining Wednesday nights before the recess. I earnestly ask the Leader of the House to reconsider his position on this. In regard to tonight, that may be difficult, I grant, because members are not ready with their motions, but certainly from now on we should have a clear lead from the Leader of the House.
Mr Chairman, I just want to say that the CP does not object to the suggestion of the hon the Leader of the House.
Mr Chairman, the Whips have telephoned: The kitchen and the catering committee of the main diningroom have been told that there are no reservations for this evening. Hon members were present. We have decided not to sit tonight and are going to try not to sit on Wednesday evenings. That was an agreement. The hon Chief Whip of the NP has informed me that he reached an agreement about accommodating extra private members’ motions. I do not see why we should now debate a matter on which we have reached agreement.
The hon member for Umhlanga is quite correct. The hon member for Kuruman will also be able to testify that there was an agreement. We can discuss it during the Whips’ meeting tomorrow. We have agreed not to sit tonight. I could make a long story about this by saying that the Official Opposition wants to create the impression that we do not have any work to do. Because of the Standing Committees we do, in fact, have less work in the House. So there are several reasons I can give. But if it is necessary, we may sit on Wednesday nights, but we can accommodate private members’ motions without sitting on Wednesday nights. We can continue to debate this matter tomorrow.
We have arranged that there will be no catering this evening. Nor do we have a private member’s motion before us tonight. Why must we now disagree with one another in this manner? I have always thought that matters are discussed and agreed upon during a Whips’ meeting. Really, Sir, I am disappointed.
†The hon member for Umhlanga is perfectly right. I cannot, in future, ask the hon members to put their signatures to what we have decided on. [Interjections.]
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—106: Alant, T G; Aronson, T; Ballot, G C; Barnard, S P; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botha, J C G; Botma, M C; Clase, P J; Coetzer, H S; Conradie, F D; Cunningham, J H; De Beer, S J; De Jager, A M v A; De Klerk, F W; De Pontes, P; Du Plessis, G C; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, A; Geldenhuys, B L; Golden, S G A; Grobler, J P; Hardingham, R W; Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Hoon, J H; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kriel, H J; Kritzinger, W T; Landman, W J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Le Roux, F J; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, M H; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, W D; Morrison, G de V; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Page, B W B; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Rabie, J; Rogers, P R C; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, J C B; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Scholtz, E M; Schutte, D P A; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, G P D; Theunissen, L M; Thompson, A G; Treurnicht, A P; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Merwe, C V; Van Eeden, D S; Van Heerden, R F; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mossel Bay); Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, F A H; Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, A A; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Vilonel, J J; Visagie, J H; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wright, A P.
Tellers: J P I Blanché, W J Cuyler, C J Ligthelm, R P Meyer, J J Niemann and L van der Watt.
Noes—19: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Barnard, M S; Burrows, R; Cronjé, P C; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Malcomess, D J N; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Soal, P G; Suzman, H; Swart, R A F; Van der Merwe, S S; Van Rensburg, H E J.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and A B Widman.
Question agreed to.
The House adjourned at