House of Assembly: Vol22 - WEDNESDAY 6 MARCH 1968
Bill read a Third Time.
Revenue Vote 32,—Agricultural Technical Services; Administration and National Services, R987,000:
I should like the Minister to give us some information on subhead E, the ex gratia payments to P. J. van Baal and T. S. Sanderson.
I should like to know whether the Minister can give some explanation for the high increase under sub-head R, “Plant Pest Control”.
The ex gratia payment under item 3, sub-head E, “Miscellaneous Expenses”, was made to Van Baal and Sanderson, who suffered a loss on the Nelspruit citrus station surplus valencia harvest for which they tendered. Because of diseases and hail damage the condition of the fruit was very poor and only 20 per cent of the harvest could be exported, while the firm based its tender on 50 per cent export quality. Instead of 50 per cent, the firm could only export 20 per cent, and the Tender Board recommended that the tender be reduced from 57.5 cents per 100 1b. to 30.5 cents per 100 1b., which the Treasury approved. This amounted to a loss of R1,900.
With reference to sub-head R, the increase of R383,200 is due mainly to a large-scale campaign to control locusts and finches, in respect of which large quantities of poison, etc., had to be bought and aeroplanes had to be chartered for the spraying. I may inform the Committee that we received several letters of thanks from agricultural unions for the efficient manner in which we totally destroyed the locust plague.
Can the Minister give us an explanation as to why the amount for veterinary field services has been doubled?
The additional expenditure which will be incurred is as a result of the outbreak of Newcastle disease among chickens in the Western Cape and foot-and-mouth disease in the Kruger National Park and also in that part of the Eastern Transvaal, as a result of which compensation is being paid to the chicken farmers for their losses, and in addition it is for the purchase of apparatus, etc., for the combating of the above-mentioned diseases. An additional amount is also being provided for the stockpiling of supplies in case of sanctions.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 34,—Water Affairs, R2,296,076:
I wonder whether the hon. the Minister would give us some information in regard to the item under subhead E, the ex gratia payments to farmers in the Vaalharts irrigation area, amounting to R1,446,200, and also the ex gratia payment to J. H. du Preez amounting to R1,256. In connection with the payment to the farmers in the Vaalharts irrigation area, I should like to know whether this amount of money has been arrived at as the result of a formula which had been agreed to by the farmers; whether consultation took place and whether a formula was finally arrived at, and whether this amount was paid out in terms of that formula which was acceptable to the farmers, or whether it was paid out in terms of some other arrangement, other than a formula agreed to by the farmers. What was the formula which was arrived at and did the farmers agree to it? Then there is also the case of Mr. Du Preez.
The hon. member’s question is specifically in connection with the formula, but if he so desires I can give him the whole history of the matter.
The following Press announcement was issued by the Hon. J. J. Fouché, the previous Minister of Water Affairs, on 27th June, 1967 (translation)—
I now have the pleasure to announce … He did this at a later stage—
A special State President’s warrant has been obtained for the issue of an amount of R1,446,200, as a charge against a new item— ex gratia payments to farmers in the Vaalharts irrigation area—under Sub-head E of the above-mentioned Vote.
It must be mentioned that payment to the irrigators concerned was made with the least possible delay and that the payments have already been made, except in a few cases where the non-White irrigators have changed their addresses and have not yet been located or where disputes arose between lessees and lessors. These cases are receiving attention and ought to be finalized shortly. I can give the hon. member a reasonably detailed account of precisely how these two sums were arrived at. A formula was determined by taking into account what the losses would be for all persons abstracting water from the Vaal River— plus-minus 30 per cent—and subtracting this, and then calculating roughly what the total income per morgen on the settlement concerned was for the year as well as for the previous years in order to arrive at a realistic figure. From this a deduction was made of what it would mean if such a person had to forgo 30 per cent of his water, that is to say, the indirect loss on the proceeds of his crop, and a percentage was then determined accordingly. This is briefly the formula which was used.
The hon. member must remember that it was fairly late in the year when this occurred. The hon. member will also know that the water is allocated for a fiscal year. Luckily for the farmers a great deal of the water had already been abstracted when the crisis arose, and the calculation was made with the intention that the currency of the period would be until the end of the water year. But then it rained before the time. Persons receiving the compensation then in fact received more than they were meant to receive, but it was not withdrawn; it was given to them. The amount of plus-minus R38 is therefore a very reasonable compensation considering the fact that they had already had an income during the first part of the financial year, and that it rained subsequently, so that they could continue with their next crop. I can tell the hon. member that the Department and I are quite happy about the fact that this was the position and that the Vaalharts farmers were satisfied. I think that it was an equitable determination and the irrigators also considered it as such. The formula can also be justified in all respects.
Can the hon. the Deputy Minister tell us whether there was a concomitant advantage given to the irrigators of Vaalharts by means of perhaps a temporary reduction in the interest and redemption payments that they have to make towards the cost of the scheme, or whether there was any subsidiary benefit of that kind, apart from this financial contribution made by the State?
No, there was no additional figure calculated, because the Department felt that it had taken all factors into account in the determination of the figure so as not to prejudice the farmers. I think that the hon. member will admit that the irrigators were indeed very well compensated, considering the fact that it rained shortly afterwards and that the restrictions lasted for approximately two months only. The income per morgen is only estimated at approximately R80. If you had had an income for eight months and you then get an extra R38, and it rains shortly afterwards so that you can carry on with your farming, I think that the hon. member will admit that it is a very reasonable compensation. There was no reason to take other factors into account, and this was in fact not done.
Under Sub-head M, “Subsidies on Minor Water Works,” there is an increase of R200,000. Will the hon. the Deputy Minister explain the reasons for this increase?
As a result of the recent protracted drought the demand for minor water works has increased considerably, while the amount provided was reduced by R100,000 by the Treasury with effect from the 1966-'67 financial year.
At the present rate of expenditure it is expected that an additional amount of R200,000 will be required. This expenditure has become necessary as a result of the crisis in which we landed, and in such a crisis it is very difficult to foresee where matters are going to end, but we are satisfied, myself included, that this amount is a reasonable one.
I also want to reply to the hon. member in connection with the case of Mr. Du Preez. The circumstances under which this payment has to be made to Mr. Du Preez are briefly as follows: Mr. J. H. du Preez, owner of the farm Locate, District of Potgietersrust, applied on 8th July, 1965, for a subsidy on six boreholes. However, the application form was only received by the Department on 20th September, 1965, and was referred back to the applicant on 15th November, 1965, for amendment and for an improved sketch plan of his farm.
On a previous occasion, namely on 26th May, 1964, the Department had granted Mr. Du Preez’s application in respect of four proposed boreholes. According to the completion reports submitted by the applicant, the boreholes yielded 120, 150, 120 and 110 gallons per hour, respectively. In addition the applicant already had two existing boreholes of 60 and 120 gallons per hour. As the applicant only indicated three of the abovementioned six boreholes in his application form dated 8th July, 1965, the Department was not satisfied as to the merits of the application. The application form was therefore returned to the applicant for correction. According to the Department’s records the applicant had sufficient water at that time for his stock watering requirements, and consequently there was no justification for treating his application as an emergency case. But in the meantime the water had begun to diminish. We were, however, not aware of this. Mr. Du Preez then wrote on 25th November, 1965, to inform us that there were only two boreholes in use on his farm and that they yielded 16 to 20 gallons per hour and 60 gallons per hour, respectively. He declared that he himself had already sunk 64 boreholes on his farm and that since the date of his application he had already sunk six boreholes. Because he had sold his boring-machine, he was making a last attempt to find water. The Department accepted Mr. Du Preez’s explanations and he was informed on 30th December, 1965, that his application for a subsidy on four boreholes had been approved. According to the completion reports submitted by the applicant, the boreholes were sunk during the period 2nd November, 1965, to 29th December, 1965. All four boreholes proved successful. In terms of Government Notice No. R1016 of 5th July, 1963, it is a requirement that an applicant must make prior application and not commence with boring operations before having been notified by the Department that his application has been approved. That is perhaps what the hon. member has in mind. On 14th January, 1966, the said notice was replaced by Government Notice No. R.74/1966, with re-trospective effect to 1st April, 1965.
Because the boreholes were sunk without prior approval, the applicant was notified that he had forfeited the subsidy. The applicant made representations and claimed that the existing boreholes on his farm had dried up or weakened. He used his own boring-machine and at the time of his applicantion he was already sinking the ninth borehole. (He had not applied for a subsidy on the abovementioned nine boreholes.) Because he had sold his boring-machine and had to hand over the machine at the beginning of 1966, he continued with the boring operations in order to complete the boreholes in time.
The subsidy payable on the four boreholes in terms of Government Notice No. R.74/1966 amounts to R1,255.71. Particulars of the bore-holes are as follows: One borehole was sunk during the period 2.11.1957 to 13.11.1965 to a depth of 342 ft., and yields 200 gallons per hour; the subsidisable costs amounted to R513, and the subsidy paid was R425.79. I have further particulars here under the following headings: Period, depth in feet, gallons per hour, and the costs, inclusive of the subsidy, to complete the amount.
Because of the great expense already incurred by the applicant to find sufficient water, it was felt that he was entitled to assistance in respect of the four boreholes sunk after the date of his application. Under the circumstances the Treasury was approached for payment to Mr. Du Preez of the subsidy to the amount I have mentioned, namely R1,255.71, on an ex gratia basis, and the approval of the hon. the Minister of Water Affairs was obtained for this. The approval was granted by the previous Minister. Because the amount exceeds R1,000, it requires to be specially voted by Parliament.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 37,—Defence, R4,476:
Mr. Chairman, would the hon. the Minister please explain to us why the original estimate in respect of the contribution to the Defence Special Equipment Account has almost doubled? I should also like to know under which sub-heads this amount of nearly R30 million is being saved.
Mr. Chairman, hon. members will know that various factors influence the acquisition of equipment for the Defence Force. I do not want to enlarge on the matter here. There are other questions of delivery, possibility of delivery, delays, and so forth.
This side has asked for the appointment of a select committee in respect of this matter, but it just does not happen.
Of what assistance will the committee be to the hon. member? The hon. member will not encourage people to deliver equipment when it should be delivered. The point is that certain equipment is ordered, but is not delivered at the expected time. With the composition of our Estimates under the present system, there were certain savings in respect of certain parts which were ordered but not delivered, and also in respect of other equipment of a less important nature. As hon. members know, the Special Account is more or less an account which is designed to make provision for equipment of a more important nature. It is desirable that the balance in that account be kept at a particular level, so that when certain equipment is obtainable, payment for it can be made. Now, on 31.3.1967 there was a balance of R58.2 million in the account, and the expenditure during the period 1967-’68 is now estimated at R63 million. In the main Estimates R32 million was voted for the account. In the light of the expenditures anticipated and the future commitments of the account it is deemed advisable to strengthen the account with R30 million. As a result its balance on 31.3.1968 will be more or less the same as at the beginning of the financial year. As I have explained, there were a number of savings under various sub-heads, and this information I can let hon. members have. I do not have it in front of me now. The savings were on sub-heads such as components, and so forth. They represented an amount of up to R30 million. It was then decided to transfer the R30 million saved there to the Special Account in the meantime in order to keep the balance in the account on just as sound a level as in the past.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to have an explanation from the hon. the Minister as regards the two items under Miscellaneous Expenses. The one is an ex gratia payment and the other an ex gratia remission.
The first item of expenditure relates to something which occurred as far back as 1965. In a certain military unit there were a number of tents in which ballotees were accommodated. In some or other inexplicable way one of the tents caught alight and the strong wind that was blowing caused the fire to spread and several other tents also burnt down. In the fire some of the ballotees lost cameras and other personal possessions which were in the tents, and they submitted claims for damages. The matter was referred to the State Attorney, and he decided that there was no clarity as to how the fire started. He added—
How many ballotees were involved?
Twenty-nine. The possessions destroyed by the fire included razors, radios, musical instruments and cameras, and we thought it no more than reasonable to compensate them.
The second item relates to services which a laundry had to furnish to a military hospital in terms of a contract which had been entered into. Hon. members will understand that the washing of a military hospital, in fact any hospital, must be very clean. After the contract had been entered into, it was found that the laundry delivered the washing to the wrong places and that the washing was not properly clean. There were also other complaints in connection with the laundry service. The Department of Defence then informed this laundry that it was going to have the washing done by another laundry which satisfied its requirements. The first laundry would, however, have to pay for it, and this first laundry agreed to the services of another laundry being obtained. Gradually the first laundry, which was a young concern, began to give better services. It could then meet its commitments in terms of the requirements of the Department as determined in the contract. It was then discovered that if the amount of R3,267 were to be demanded from the laundry, it would cause the laundry to go bankrupt. Since the laundry had improved its services and was satisfying the standards laid down, it was decided to make this ex gratia payment.
Mr. Chairman, is it a feature of the Government’s attitude to firms which tender for contracts that if these firms do not give the service that is required, one takes into account that if they are required to make good that contract, they may go bankrupt and therefore one must take pity on them? Is this what the hon. the Minister is saying, namely that this company might have gone bankrupt if this amount had been demanded of it and it was therefore decided to make a sort of ex gratia payment to them? If this is in fact so, then it is surely something new. We should therefore like to know on what basis this kind of recommendation is made. Is it made on the basis of whether a business is new, as the hon. the Minister said was the case in regard to this payment? Is it perhaps made on the basis that it has rendered fairly good service but has not fulfilled its contract? We should like to know on what basis this is done because it is quite important.
Mr. Chairman, I want to say that in all fairness it will depend on the merits of the case. I think it would be wrong for a young concern which has proved that it can maintain proper standards simply to be ruined as a result of action on the part of the State. This was the only decisive factor in this case.
Who decided in this instance that an ex gratia payment should be made?
After the Department had satisfied itself that that laundry was again satisfying the requirements laid down by the Department, it took up the matter with the Treasury. In other words, that concern is now rendering the services as laid down by the military hospital.
Mr. Chairman, in regard to the point raised by the hon. member for Durban (North). I want to say that this is a matter which in my opinion is important enough to be laid before the Select Committee on Public Accounts. Why is this House expected to agree to the payment of this amount when, in my opinion, it involves an item of unauthorized payment in terms of a policy which I do not remember being approved by this House. Why does this amount merely appear in the accounts as having been approved? I say this quite objectively because I am not trying to be nasty. Why does this case not follow the procedure followed by other unauthorized expenditure? If unauthorized expenditure is made by the Railways and Harbours, it is submitted to the Select Committee for consideration. The Select Committee then discusses the matter and makes a recommendation which is there for the whole House to see. If such a payment is made by any other department, it is referred to the Select Committee on Public Accounts on which I used to serve. We discussed the matter fully and took what evidence we required and the matter was properly aired in the Committee, where, I think, it should be done. We can be far more objective in discussing the matter as a select committee than we can be in Committee of the whole House. I want to ask this hon. Minister and all the other hon. Ministers whether they will not in future consider sending these items through the proper channels because then we will spare ourselves a lot of the bitterness such as we had in the House yesterday.
We will consider the suggestions made by the hon. gentleman.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 41,—Foreign Affairs, R492,000:
Mr. Chairman, I should just like the hon. the Minister to give us some information in regard to Sub-head E, namely “gift to Austin Friars Church, London”.
Mr. Chairman, I should just like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he would explain to us how this additional amount of nearly half a million rand could not be foreseen. We are particularly interested in the items relating to increases in salaries and in transport costs. We shall also be grateful if he will give us the details in connection with the residential premises for which an amount of R88,000 is required. In this respect we shall be glad if the Minister will explain what procedure is followed when property is purchased abroad for South Africa. I am asking this question specifically because some time ago I had occasion to visit an ambassador’s residence in one of the European capitals …
Order! The hon. member may not now discuss transactions that were concluded in the past financial year. He may only ask for reasons for the increase in expenditure.
Mr. Chairman, I just want to explain why I am asking this.
Order! That is not relevant at this stage.
Then I just want to reiterate that I want to ask the Minister to explain the procedure that is followed in the purchase of residential premises and how it is ensured that the purchases are to the credit of South Africa.
Mr. Chairman, as regards Sub-head E, namely the gift to Austin Friars Church in London, I want to give the following explanation. After his visit to London in 1961, the then Prime Minister instructed the Ambassador for the Republic in London, at that time being myself, to determine whether the South African Government could make a suitable gift to the rebuilt Austin Friars Church. This church is the Dutch Reformed Church where, inter alia, Afrikaans-speaking South Africans in London go to worship. It is a very famous old church which was nearly destroyed during the war and was subsequently rebuilt. After consultation with the Church authorities the Ambassador indicated that the Church would be pleased to accept a baptismal font as a gift. The Department of Foreign Affairs, which has a permanent item “Gifts by the State” on its Estimates, was accordingly instructed to make the necessary arrangements in connection with this gift. It was decided to make a gift of a baptismal font in the form of a silver replica of the baptismal font in the Groote Kerk in Cape Town. Because the S.A. Mint could not undertake its manufacture, the work was entrusted to a Cape Town firm, Silvercraft. As a result of pressure of work and other unforeseen problems, this firm could only complete the work, which was a large and difficult assignment, in May, 1967. The cost of manufacturing the baptismal font amounted to R2,383, and the engraving to R30, giving a total of R2,413.
In terms of the principle laid down by the Select Committee on Public Accounts in Part 1 of its Second Report, 1960, a gift by the State which amounts to more than R1,000 must be approved by Parliament. When the Department’s estimates for 1967-’68 were drawn up, the final cost of the baptismal font was not known, and therefore approval of the amount is now being requested.
As far as residential premises are concerned, an additional amount of R88,000 is now being asked for. This is to make provision for the following expenditure in regard to official residences abroad: Firstly, for lighting, heating, water, etc.; secondly, for maintenance, repairs and renovation of premises, furniture, accessories, equipment, etc.; and thirdly, the purchase of furniture and equipment. The additional provision of R88,000 is required in respect of the official residences at the following missions: the Helsinki Legation which is a new legation; the Montevideo Embassy, which is now being opened; the Hong Kong Consulate-General, which has just been opened; and our diplomatic mission in Blantyre which was also recently opened. No provision in respect of these new missions was included in the original Estimates. Provision is now being made in the Additional Estimates for an amount of R73,000. R15,000 is required for the Consulate-General in Munich, which was opened in February last year. When the Department’s Main Estimates for 1967-’68 were drawn up, it was impossible to determine the requirements in respect of a residence with accuracy, and only a nominal provision to the amount of R11,000 was included in the Estimates. In the course of the year this amount proved to be quite inadequate, and the approval of the Treasury was obtained for the expenditure of an additional amount of R15,000 in respect of the furnishing, overhauling and maintenance of the rented official residence in Munich. The total amount required in respect of residential premises is therefore R88,000.
The general question in connection with the additional amounts required here, can be briefly summarized under three sub-heads: Firstly, there are salaries, wages and allowances. In this regard the increased provision for the period 1st July, 1967, to 31st March, 1968, is R40,000. Secondly, there is the periodic revision of the salaries of locally recruited staff abroad, i.e. 381 units, which amounts to R78,000. Thirdly, there is the opening of new missions, R50,000, and the creation of 39 new posts on the Department’s establishment, R46,000. Various minor adjustments of salaries, wages and allowances amount to R20,000. I do not know whether the hon. member wants more details and whether I must break up these figures.
No, this is sufficient.
A question was put as to what procedure is followed as a rule in purchasing properties for embassies and offices for our missions. We prefer to buy premises, residences and office buildings where it is at all possible and economical to do so. In such cases —as recently happened in the case of Malawi —representatives of the Department are sent to the capitals concerned to look around and make contact with local businessmen, etc., and if a suitable property is found, they act in close collaboration with our Department of Public Works. Experts are sent there and they make a thorough inspection and then a valuation prior to negotiations being entered into with the owner of the property concerned.
I just want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he personally, or a senior official of the Department, also looks at the properties to ensure that they meet the requirements of foreign representatives, which, after all, are different to those of ordinary representatives.
Mr. Chairman, it is, of course, not always possible for the Minister to go to these various countries. For example, we recently opened a consulate in Formosa. I have not been there yet and I shall not undertake a journey there for this purpose alone: but I can assure the hon. member that the Minister and the Secretary of the Department are fully informed of the purchase of properties, and that properties are not purchased left, right and centre without the Minister being informed of the matter. In the case of the purchase of a very expensive property in Japan two or three years ago, for example, the then Minister of Finance, Dr. Dönges, saw that property which cost us a large amount of money, and defended the purchase thereof in this House.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 43,—Labour, R96,000:
Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask the hon. the Minister the reason for this rather large increase of R150,000. It is not the usual increase, and I should like to ask him whether he is extending the qualifications necessary for a person to be entitled to sheltered employment, or has there been a sudden increase in those who were previously qualified?
Mr. Chairman, I would like to know from the Minister whether or not this includes extensions to already established sheltered employment institutions, or whether …
Order! The hon. member cannot suggest reasons. It is for the Minister to tell him the reasons.
I am not suggesting reasons, Mr. Chairman. I am asking the Minister to specify these reasons.
That the hon. member may do, but he should not mention what he wants the Minister to specify. The Minister can do so himself.
May I also then ask whether or not salaries are being increased?
Mr. Chairman, as will be observed, it is correct that R487,000 was appropriated for sheltered employment factories, and that R637,000 is now being required. That is to say, there is a deficit of R150,000. An amount of R54,000 can, however, be utilized from savings under other sub-heads, so that only R96,000 is being requested. This excess is due to the fact that, on the instructions of the Treasury, all deficits on working capital in regard to sheltered employment factories in respect of the previous financial years have to be made good out of appropriated funds for the current financial year. To comply with this, R164,376 in respect of the years 1965-’66 and 1966-’67 had to be made good. In addition the Government’s anti-inflationary savings measures also contributed to the fact that fewer orders were placed with factories.
In addition it can be mentioned that these services had already been curtailed by R100,000 in the 1967-’68 Estimates in comparison with the 1966-’67 Estimates. The tariffs of the telephone services have also been increased from 2.5 cents to 3.5 cents.
Vote put and agreed to.
Vote 44,—Coloured Affairs, R1,351,000:
Mr. Chairman, I should like details of Sub-heads A and U under this Vote. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister if he can give us under Sub-head A a breakdown of figures as between white and Coloured personnel, the reason being that I want to try and find out whether they are giving increased salaries to the Coloured personnel who are employed in the Department.
Mr. Chairman, as far as Sub-head A is concerned, an additional amount of R1,164,700 is being requested in respect of salaries, wages and allowances in order to defray expenditure up to 31st March, 1968. As a result of the revised salary scales for Coloured teachers, which were approved by the Treasury with effect from 1st April, 1967, under reference B2(10)-14, dated 26th April, 1967, it appears that the appropriation of R25,658,000 will be exceeded by R1,342,000. It will, however, be possible to defray part of the expected excess from savings under other sub-heads of the Vote, and consequently only R1,164,700 is being requested in these Additional Estimates.
As regards the request of the hon. member that I should now draw a comparison between Whites and non-Whites, I do not think that this is the occasion to do so. I shall now proceed to Sub-head U where there was an increase of R186,300 in respect of lower, secondary and high schools and the training of teachers. Quite a number of items are responsible for this. I shall just mention these items and furnish the amount for which each one was responsible. If there are any of these items in regard to which the hon. members would like to have more details, and they should ask me to furnish them, I would do so gladly. The items are the following: Equipment, material and furniture—a decrease of R88,400; provisions—an increase of R9,000; fuel, lighting power, water, cleaning, sanitary and fire-fighting services—an increase of R69,000; rentals and assessment rates—an increase of R195,000; examination expenses— an increase of R3,200; vacation courses and teachers’ classes—a decrease of R2,500; and gardens and grounds—an increase of R1,000.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 45,—Bantu Administration and Development, R130,000:
Can the hon. the Minister give us further details in regard to Item E, i.e. the ex gratia payment to T. G. Sauer and J. C. Kotzé? Was the amount of R3,719 paid to these two jointly?
This is compensation for the losses which these two officers of the Department suffered on the border of Angola as a result of the destruction of their personal possessions by terrorists. The official quarters which these officials were occupying, were burnt down during the night of 26th/27th September, 1966, and their possessions were destroyed. These possessions were not insured. Nor was it possible for the officers to remove any of their possessions from the quarter. Their lives were in danger. The State Attorney is of the opinion that there was no negligence, either on the part of the State or on the part of the officials, and although the State is not responsible for the losses suffered by these officials according to law, the view is nevertheless being held that the payment of this compensation by way of grace is justified. The compensation which is being paid to the two officers is R3,080 to the one and R368 to the other. It was therefore not a joint payment to the two. I may just mention that this amount has already been paid out.
Why was there such a major increase, i.e. of R126,281, in salaries, wages and allowances under Item A? Was it as a result of the allowances which are now being paid to the Transkei?
Order! The hon. member may not suggest reasons.
I should prefer not to go into the question of salaries in the Transkei. You will definitely rule me out of order. As far as the hon. member’s question is concerned, it appears from an analysis of the position at this stage that on the original appropriation of R9,650,000 there has been a shortfall of R330,000. This shortfall can be attributed to the following factors: The adjustment of salaries of officers as a result of promotions for achievements; the regarding of posts; the adjustment of the salaries of temporary employees upon production by them of testimonials bearing witness to previous experience and educational qualifications; the creation of a considerable number of new posts—amongst others for the newly established division of data processing and the new agricultural school at Cwaka; the payment of overtime remuneration to officers in charge of the change-over to computer services; the conversion of certain departmental records; and an intensified campaign for the collection of Bantu taxes.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 47,—Justice, R478,461:
There is one healthy item under this vote about which I should like to have further particulars. I refer to item J—barristers’ fees and expenses— where there has been an increase of R125,000. This is an extraordinary increase on the original estimate. Is this due to an increase in instances where counsel had to appear pro deo or is it due to counsel having been employed to prosecute …
Order! The hon. member may not suggest any reasons.
In the circumstances, I should like the hon. the Minister to indicate why this increase is such a large one.
Mr. Chairman, perhaps the hon. member for Durban (North) himself derived some benefit from this increase! In any case, the position is that the Department did not have the services of a sufficient number of qualified officials at their disposal, nor were they able to obtain them. Consequently the Department was obliged to make use of the services of advocates outside the service and as the hon. member knows, the fees of these advocates are very high. The hon. member will realize that it is impossible to predict how many cases are going to come up during the course of the year, and that it is consequently impossible to make precise provision in advance for the payment of outside help.
Can the hon. the Minister give us any further information in regard to the ex gratia payment to the Swart-land Implemente Maatskappy (Eiendoms) Be-perk, under item E?
In May, 1965, this company sold a Mercedes Benz motor car to a certain J. J. Muller. This person wrote out a cheque for the amount, but the cheque was dishonoured. Subsequently he went to Windhoek where he bought himself an airways ticket, as well as a number of travellers’ cheques. Eventually he appeared in court on a charge of fraud. The cheque, the airways ticket and travellers’ cheques, served as court exhibits. When the court case was finalized the amounts were discounted and paid into the deposit account of the magistrate. There they remained for more than three months, without being claimed. After three months such amounts pass to the State. That is what happened here. But this company then instituted legal proceedings against the Department for repayment. After negotiations, and after the State Attorney had been consulted in regard to the matter, it was decided that since the Department did not really save any claim to the money it should, with Treasury approval, be paid over to the company. Parliamentary approval is necessary for that because the amount totalled more than R1,000.
Can the hon. the Minister indicate whether the increase of R2,000 in respect of item G—allowances to jurors—is attributable to a larger number of jury trials?
That is what must be deduced from this, yes.
Can the hon. the Minister at the same time explain the increase of R10,000 in item C—postal, telegraph and telephone services? A similar increase occurs in practically every Vote.
It is mainly as a result of increased postal tariffs, which came into effect on 1st January, 1967.
Under Sub-head L, can the hon. the Minister indicate why this increase is necessary, having regard to the understanding that one has that the Lubbe organization is responsible for all mechanical recordings of court procedure? Why is it necessary to spend more money to buy mechanical recording machines when this organization, one understands, does all the Department’s mechanical recording?
I should like to know why the increase under Sub-head M is so small, only R20,000. It seems to relate to fees paid by the State Attorney to other attorneys. Why does it appear to be so small in relation to the amount paid to barristers?
In regard to casual interpreting and reporting, it is of course the case that although there is a contract it depends upon the number of offices where that contract is in operation, and if there are additional offices where the contract has to be carried out, then the rental is increased. But a large percentage of these costs are attributable to the casual interpreters who are needed, particularly for the convenience of immigrants. We find that there are many immigrants who are not conversant with either of the two official languages, and when they appear before the court we are obliged to find an interpreter who can interpret into their own language. There is no fixed tariff, and if one does not pay what these people ask, they do not make their services available. That is the reason for the increase under this item.
In regard to the legal expenses incurred by the State Attorney for attorneys in comparison with advocates, the lower amount is not attributable to the fact that attorneys charge so much less for their work. The only explanation for that is that far fewer law suits originated with the State Attorney. Of course the State Attorney acts on behalf of all the State Departments.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 48,—Prisons, R1,300,000:
I should like to know the reason for the considerable increase under Sub-head F, Supplies and Services. Is it due to the fact that there are more prisoners?
The hon. member has furnished the reply. There were a considerably greater number, approximately 7,000 over the year. That entails additional rations and medical care, etc.
Vote put and agreed to.
Revenue Vote 50,—Mines, R2,860,800:
There is an ex gratia remission to De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. of R2,400. May I have that explained please?
It refers to a diamond valued at R2,400 which was returned to De Beers.
I would like to have details in regard to the items under Sub-head G, Payment to the Compensation Fund in terms of Section 129 (1) to meet liabilities payable from the C-account.
I should like hon. members, if they want to put questions to the Minister, to put them all at once.
HON. MEMBERS: Why?
With respect, Sir, these are separate items.
Section 129 (1) of the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Act provides that if the liabilities which are payable from the C-account (the account of the State) have not been extinguished after the moneys in that account, including the interest earned on investments of such moneys, have been expended, the Minister of Mines shall from time to time, out of moneys appropriated by Parliament for the purpose, pay to the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Commissioner such amounts as are required to meet the liabilities which are payable from the said account. When the Act came into operation on 1st October, 1962, an amount of R44,518,201 was transferred to the C-account in terms of sections 110 and 112. Since the coming into operation of the Act the monthly expenditure has never been less than R420,000, and payments from the C-account are at the moment made at a rate of plus-minus R5 million per annum. The expenditure from the C-account annually exceeds its income from interest on investments. In terms of section 62 (1) (b) the General Council for Pneumoconiosis Compensation shall invest with the Public Debt Commissioners any moneys in the C-account which are available for investment. In order to cover current expenditure from this account it was therefore necessary for the Public Debt Commissioners to sell some of the securities in the account from time to time. Owing to the sale of the investments the interest on these also decreased gradually. The assets of the C-account consist mainly of long-term securities. The Public Debt Commissioners are also finding it increasingly difficult to find buyers for those securities that will result in the minimum loss to the C-account. At 30th September, 1967, the C-account was overdrawn to the extent of R1,646,929 at the Public Debt Commissioners with no prospect of finding buyers for investments to save the situation. As a last resort it was decided to exchange short and medium-term Escom securities for long-term securities at prices obtained from the Public Debt Commissioners by the Secretary and regarded as reasonable by him. The relevant securities of the C-account amounted to a nominal value of R4,034,553. The newly acquired Escom securities were again taken over by the A and Trust Accounts at the price of issue. The C-account, however, nevertheless suffered real losses totalling R359,629. Consequently the question arose whether to continue selling securities at considerable losses in order to be able to honour liabilities from the C-account and, in doing so, considerably to increase the ultimate liability of the State in respect of this account, or whether it would not be more profitable to the State to pay an annual amount into that account at this stage already, so that profitable long-term investments may be retained. Over and against that, however, the stage had been reached where the forced selling of securities would necessarily increase the ultimate liabilities of the State considerably. The Treasury decided that provision be made in the Additional Estimates for the current financial year for making an amount of R3 million available to the Fund, as now appears in the Additional Estimates.
I wonder if the hon. the Deputy Minister would elucidate the position further with regard to this diamond that is being returned to De Beers?
This diamond was used as an exhibit in a criminal case against one J. J. C. von Wielligh. After the case the diamond was declared forfeit to the State and after considering all the available evidence the conclusion was arrived at that there was no uncertainty whatsoever about the proper ownership of the diamond and consequently it was decided that with parliamentary approval, the diamond should be returned to its proper owner, De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd.
Sir. the hon. the Deputy Minister says that this diamond was used as a trap.
No, it formed an exhibit in a criminal case.
Order! The hon. member may not discuss for what purpose it was used.
Sir. this is a new item. This diamond was used as an exhibit. Was it obtained from De Beers to be used as a trap or was it a diamond which in fact had been stolen?
I do not have that information, but I imagine that the diamond might have been stolen, and after the case it was returned to its proper owner.
Vote put and agreed to.
Expenditure from Loan Account:
Loan Vote A,—Miscellaneous Loans and Services, R15,550,000.
Will the hon. the Minister please explain the item “Advances to building societies, R15,900,000”. This is a new item; there is no original estimate for it. The hon. the Minister reported the other day that he intended to make R8¼ million available to the building societies. Provision is being made here for an amount of R15,900,000. RR3,850,000 is to be met from savings on other sub-heads, leaving an amount of R12,050,000 to be voted. Can the hon. the Minister give us some information as to the reason for this item?
Mr. Chairman, you will recall that I announced in the House some time ago that one of the methods by means of which the Government intended to render financial assistance to the building societies was to return to the building societies that amount which the State guaranteed with the building societies in respect of loans to public servants and provincial officials in terms of the 100 per cent loan scheme. At the time we took this decision, we did not yet have particulars of the precise amount involved. The first amount of R8¼ million was purely a guess, because it was impossible in such a short space of time to collect all the numerous accounts and to calculate all the payments which had been made in order to arrive at a final amount. Now that we have obtained all the figures through the various channels at our disposal, we find that the amount is R15.9 million; that is in respect of both public servants and provincial officials. As the hon. member will notice, a large portion of this R15.9 million is being met out of savings. The additional amount being made available is therefore R12,050,000.
Your estimate was a poor one.
No, it was not an estimate; it was a guess. We had taken the decision on the morning of the same day on which I made the announcement in this House. There was no time to go into the details. We made a guess on the basis of the particulars at our disposal at that moment. It was not even an estimate. [Interjections.] I said that we were dealing with an uncertain factor here and that we would obtain the correct figure later. We took the decision in principle, and the principle was that that amount—whatever it might be—which had been guaranteed to the building societies by the State would be repaid.
I take it that this amount of R15.9 million must obviously be the difference between the amount which the building societies would lend in the normal course of events—in other words, probably 75 per cent loans—and the 90 per cent loans which State and Provincial employees are entitled to because they are given that facility. In other words, would it be reasonable for me to assume that this amount of R15.9 million makes up the 15 per cent difference between the amount which the building societies give and the amount which the State says State and Provincial employees may have by way of loans? I want to give the hon. the Minister my reason for asking this question. If I am correct in my assumption, is the State not having it both ways? They have drained off contributions from the building societies on the one hand by enticing investment moneys away, and now they are using available building society funds to finance the housing programme for their own employees. If that is correct, then I think the amount which is being voted here is in tact a puny amount when one takes into consideration the amount of R8½ million which the State is now going to lend to the building societies in addition to this amount. [Interjections.] I think we are talking about two different amounts. I take it that the R8½ million which the hon. the Minister referred to the other day is additional to this amount; I sincerely hope it is. If it is included, I think this amount is an absolutely puny amount because I have the assurance that one branch of one national building society in one town can distribute the amount which has been granted to the building societies within the space of two months. My point is not that this sum is too big. My point is that I think the State is trying to get it both ways. It has drained off the funds, which are normally contributed to the building societies, by way of RSA loans. I understand that it has induced people to take money away from the building societies with a view to investing it in RSA bonds; it has therefore depleted the funds of the building societies, and on the other hand the building societies, in replacement not only for what has been drained off but in replacement for the amount with which they have financed homes for State employees, are getting a miserable R15.9 million. I would like an explanation from the hon. the Minister so that we can all understand exactly what the position is.
The hon. member is perfectly correct in saying that this amount of R15.9 million is a small amount in relation to the requirements of the building societies; I said previously in this House and also in the Other Place that the idea never was that the State should finance the building societies in the ordinary way. It is not the task of the State.
But the idea was that you should not take investment money away from them either.
I also said here and in the Other Place that we felt that we were justified in repaying this amount because it was a calculable amount, an amount that could be defined, that is to say, the amount that we have guaranteed to the building societies. But the hon. member must not overlook the fact that this is not the only method we are using to help the building societies. This is only part of the measures which we are applying. The most important method is the granting of the right to building societies to issue tax-free shares.
But this is new.
This is completely new. The building societies can issue tax-free shares at 6½ per cent. I can tell the hon. member that the building societies are highly satisfied. The terms and conditions that we are negotiating with the building societies for these particular shares are very favourable. In fact, they are much more favourable than those applying to RSA bonds. We are confident that the building societies will be able to collect large amounts through this channel.
I want to ask the hon. the Minister one or two questions regarding this R15 million odd. Compared with the original guess, is that a correct estimate? I am not making a point about that. I want to know from the Minister whether this amount is the guarantee for State and provincial employees who are going to get 100 per cent housing loans. I am not talking about 90 per cent loans. As I understand the position, the building society grants a 100 per cent loan and the State guarantees R15 million, being the difference between two figures, representing approximately 10 per cent, or will the building society carry 25 per cent of the loan? The whole object of this, as I understand it, is to allow the State to grant its employees 100 per cent loans, and not 90 per cent as suggested. I think this matter should be clarified. The Minister has answered part of the hon. member for Umlazi’s question. He has not answered the other part, namely whether the amount is for 100 per cent loans or 90 per cent loans. As I understand the position, this amount of nearly R16 million will be made available for the 100 per cent loans.
Mr. Chairman, there are two types of loans involving the building societies. In the one case there is the State-aided loan in which the Department of Community Development is concerned. In loans of that type we have a 10 per cent deposit by the builder or owner, a 30 per cent loan by the State, and a 60 per cent loan by the building society concerned. We are still negotiating with the building societies in regard to this matter with a view to having this type of housing advanced. The other scheme is that for Government and provincial employees, namely the 100 per cent one. In transactions of this nature there is a 30 per cent guarantee by the State and a 70 per cent loan by the building society. The latter type is the one referred to here.
Mr. Chairman, I still think the hon. the Minister has not answered a certain section of the question put to him by the hon. member for Umlazi. Does this amount of nearly R16 million represent the 30 per cent which the hon. the Minister has just referred to, or does it represent 100 per cent of the loans outstanding to the building societies by Government officials and other state-assisted employees? That is one question I should like to put to the Minister. The other one is this. Can the Minister tell us when this money will be available to the building societies?
In reply to the first question, Mr. Chairman, the amount mentioned here only applies to that part which the Government has guaranteed, not to the whole 100 per cent. The negotiations which are taking place now are based on the understanding that the money will be supplied before the end of March. We shall have to obtain from the building societies statements of the amounts due to them. They must in fact present us with a bill as soon as possible to show what the Government has to pay to them.
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote B,—Public Works, R1,250:
Mr. Chairman, I want to ask the hon. the Minister what may be called a sample question. On page 27 we find, under sub-head 17, an item under the heading Heidelberg, Transvaal, which reads as follows: “(a) Taking over of former College of Education” and “(b) Minor alterations and improvements” in regard to the same buildings. I ask this question in order to save the Minister some time and effort. These buildings have been taken over for R2,010,000. The excess to be met from savings on other sub-heads is almost R2 million, and the amount which we are now asked to vote is but R50. This type of thing can be seen from all the various subheads here, and I ask this question now to avoid me having to ask it over and over again. My question is this: Can the hon. the Minister tell us, in the first place, what negotiations took place for the taking over of this establishment, and also where the savings come from. This is really what I am interested in, because I see huge savings under Public Works.
Mr. Chairman, I should like the hon. the Minister to explain to us a few things in regard to the first item on page 26, namely the purchase and renovation of a residence for the Chargé d’Affaires at Limbe. Limbe is some eight miles from Blantyre and some considerable distance from the new capital which is going to be built at Lilongwe. Why was this house purchased, and if it has been purchased, what are the prospects of it being sold at a realistic figure when the new capital of Lilongwe is completed? On page 27 under item (22) I see an amount of R560,000 as being accommodation for diplomatic representatives in Pretoria. What diplomatic representatives are going to live there? This is a new item because it does not appear on last year’s Estimates, and I should like the hon. the Minister to give us a full explanation regarding this accommodation and what he has in mind.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask the hon. the Minister a few questions on the last item appearing on page 26, which refers to the purchase and conversion of and additions to a former Government Miners’ Training School at Springs to serve as a school for epileptics. What area will this school serve, what age groups will be catered for, and will it be bilingual? Also, on page 27 there is an item which refers to the Military Bio-medical Institute at Littelton. Rather a large sum is to be spent here, and it concerns human lives. I want to know whether this institute will be under the control of the air force or whether it will be placed under the Department of Health.
Mr. Chairman, the first question asked by the hon. member for Umlazi has, as the hon. member himself put it, a bearing on all the items or, at least, on most of them, and therefore the reply to his question is applicable to all the items. The first column indicates the total cost. The second column indicates the estimate of expenditure for the financial year 1967-’68. The third column contains the amounts met from savings. The sum of money in the last column is merely a nominal amount to place the item on the Estimates and to bring it to the notice of this House. This is the compilation of the items to which the hon. member referred. The hon. member also inquired about the savings. The savings originate from a variety of sources. I do not know whether the hon. the Minister of Finance does perhaps have this information available.
I have also been asked about the buildings in Springs.
†This item falls under the Department of Education, Arts and Science, i.e. the purchase and conversions of and additions to former Government Miners’ Training School to serve as a school for epileptics. Because of military requirements it was essential that the buildings which were used by the Alexanderfontein school for epileptics at Kimberley be vacated not later than January of 1968. The only alternative arrangements which could be made to accommodate the school was to purchase the former Government Miners’ Training School at Springs and to make certain additions and conversions thereto. The cost of the scheme is R1 50,000 and is made up as follows. (a) purchase price, improvements: R15,000, and the site: R10,000; (b) additions and conversions: R120,000; and (c) transfer fees and contingencies: R5,000. That is a total of R150,000. The Department of Community Development will contribute an amount of R7,500 towards the purchase price in respect of housing. Regarding the purchase price, it should be pointed out that the Government Miners’ Training School was originally erected from funds of which the Government contributed two-thirds, and consequently only one-third of the value of the buildings will be paid out to the Mining Company. As provision is not made for this service in the Appropriation Act now in force, the acting State President issued a special warrant and it is therefore necessary to vote the service in these Estimates.
The hon. member also asked about the military bio-medical institute, a building for human centrifuge and physiological laboratory at Littleton. The Department of Defence has an urgent need for buildings to accommodate a human centrifuge and physiological laboratory. The apparatus, which has already been purchased, is intended for the testing of airforce pilots in flight at very great heights at supersonic speeds with a view to preventing the loss of life and the loss of expensive modern aircraft through accidents which can be attributed to the medical unfitness of pilots. It is therefore essential that the proposed facilities be provided as soon as possible. Apart from what I have already said, the contract for the supply of the equipment stipulates that the suppliers shall install the equipment in the building to be provided by the purchaser. The relevant contract contains a penalty clause which comes into operation if the building is not completed by June, 1968. Special steps were, therefore, taken to expedite the planning of the service and it was, consequently, possible to invite tenders in October, 1967. Provision is not made for the service in the Appropriation Act now in force and in view of the circumstances the Acting State President issued a special warrant. The service must therefore be voted in these Estimates.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to refer to Subhead (22) in connection with the accommodation for diplomatic representatives. I assume that this refers to the establishment of a diplomatic suburb in Pretoria. I wonder whether the hon. the Minister would tell us how far the Government’s responsibility would extent in this regard; in other words, to what extent will the Government have a share in this development? For instance, I should like to know whether the money which is being spent now, as is shown by this estimate, is recoverable.
To what Subhead is the hon. member referring?
I am referring to Subhead (22)—Pretoria: Accommodation for diplomatic representatives. Am I right in saying that it refers to the establishment of a diplomatic suburb?
I just want to know whether the hon. the Minister in question can tell us whether he knows how far the Government’s responsibility in respect of this scheme will extend. Will the expenditure be recoverable? In other words, will the sites be sold? I also want to know what certainty the hon. the Minister has that there will at all be sufficient interest to make a success of this, and whether he feels confident that it will not develop into a suburb which may, for instance, be inhabited by one colour group only, because this may do us more harm than good later on.
Mr. Chairman, as regards the hon. member’s question in connection with the purchase of property and the renovation of the residence for the charge d’affaires in Limbe, I want to say that I did not view that property personally. My information is, however, that it is situate in a very good suburb of the capital Blantyre. According to my information it is closer to the city centre than Rondebosch, for instance, is to the city centre of Cape Town. It is a good neighbourhood and the seat of government is still in that city. When they move to another capital, i.e. Lilongwe, we shall not be losing on the transaction. The purchase of this property was really a bargain. We acquired this property very cheaply, and it ought not to be difficult to dispose of it. For the information of the committee I may perhaps just mention that the Government has acquired another valuable property in Malawi by way of a gift. A person who is living in South Africa at the moment, made the Government a gift of a valuable property. He and his wife, a Mr. and Mrs. Ansel, came to South Africa as immigrants and made the South African Government a gift of a large property in Malawi. Unfortunately it is not situated very conveniently. I think that the hon. member will be interested to know that it is for the very reason that it is situated a little too far away from the city centre, in contrast to the property we purchased, that our chargé d’affaires is living at present in the property we purchased. It was purchased before the other property was given to us. If the property that was given to us were situated quite conveniently, we would of course have sold this property again. I should like to extend to the two new South Africans, who came here as immigrants, our very cordial thanks for the fine gesture they made towards South Africa by making the Government a gift of that property.
A question was asked in regard to the proposed diplomatic suburb in Pretoria. The Government will, of course, be responsible for all the financial expenditure in regard to the purchase and development of this suburb. My personal opinion is that this is a good investment. It will also be a good investment in the future. I am fairly well acquainted with land values in that part of Pretoria. It is situated in a very good and popular part of the administrative capital. If it were to become apparent later that the whole area will not be required for this purpose, the State will be able to dispose of it with ease and with profit, but I do not think that it will be necessary. I may point out to the hon. member that it is not the intention to develop the whole area immediately. This was also apparent from the reply I gave to a question that had been put to me in this regard some time ago. The area will be developed from the north-western corner. The hon. member asked whether there was a possibility that this development might not be successful. I myself hope and trust that it will in fact succeed. The occupation of this diplomatic suburb is, of course, quite voluntary. We are not in a position or able to, nor do we intend to force anybody to live there. It is situated in an attractive part of Pretoria. The conditions in terms of which the land will be made available, and which are still to be approved by the Government, ought to be attractive. There are already indications that various governments are interested in this proposition. I do not think that there are any grounds to fear that it will be limited to diplomats of some particular race group or other. The intention is not that diplomatic representatives of certain countries only may live there. It will be available to diplomats from all countries of the world.
Mr. Chairman, I refer to Subhead (22)—Cape Town: Extension of banquet facilities at the Castle. I should like to know why these facilities are necessary. We hope that the Castle is not going to become a five-star hotel now!
Mr. Chairman, as hon. members know, Government House in Cape Town is being restored at the moment. Consequently the State has no venue in Cape Town where it may hold official functions and banquets. It was felt that the Castle would be an ideal venue, for the future as well, where we may hold State functions of this nature. Amongst other things air-conditioning has been installed in such a way that it does not affect the character of the Castle in any way. That is what this additional amount is intended for.
It is not intended for exclusive use by the Department of Defence?
No. It will also be used for State functions.
Mr. Chairman, first of all I would like to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister if he can give us some details of the takeover of the buildings at Heidelberg. But I want to couple another question with that. On page 26, under Sub-head 12, Coloured Affairs, there appears an item for a training centre for Coloured cadets. I see that it is estimated to spend R700,000 on that, of which only R50 is estimated to be spent during 1967-’68. We know, Sir, that this House passed legislation to enrol these Coloured cadets for training, and I have read in the papers during last week that these people are now reporting at Police stations, as they are required to do under the Act which this Parliament passed. Here, once again, we see something trailing far behind the time when it is required. If we are going to call these people up, surely it is up to us to provide the facilities necessary for the training of these cadets. I want to ask the hon. the Minister, whether the hon. Minister of Coloured Affairs replies or whether the hon. the Deputy Minister deals with it, I do not mind, but I would like to know first of all when this place is going to be ready. Of course, if it is going to take the time which this sub-head makes it appear, then I would also like to know what facilities are being provided in the meantime for these cadets that are being called up. Under what conditions are they going to live and be trained? If the facilities are not going to be provided, are they going to be trained at all? This brings me to the obvious question: Should they be called up if the facilities are not available? These I think are questions that we want answered in this debate.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to give the hon. member the following information in regard to Sub-head 18, Heidelberg (Tvl.).
As a result of the inadequacy of suitable training facilities for the Defence Force, the Cabinet decided that the College of Education in Heidelberg must be taken over for this purpose from the provincial administration. After negotiations it was agreed that an amount of R2 million will be paid as compensation to the provincial administration, of which R1,980,000 must be provided on Loan Vote B, whilst R20,000, which is in respect of housing, will be paid by the Department of Community Development. Apart from the purchase price, approximately R30,000 is required for essential renovations. Because funds are not provided for this service in the Appropriation Act, the necessary funds must be voted in these estimates.
*Mr. Chairman, all I want to say with reference to the item Faure under Coloured Affairs, is that the amount of R50 which is indicated there is for the very purpose of enabling the Department to proceed with the work immediately. It is now being placed on the Estimates for the first time, for the very purpose of preventing a delay from taking place.
As far as the other aspects are concerned, I do not think that it is my task to elaborate on them fully. I think that it is very likely that the hon. the Minister of Coloured Affairs will furnish you, Sir, with all the particulars you would like to have in this regard.
Mr. Chairman, in regard to these training centres for the cadets, it is the intention that the registration of the cadets will take three months. Subsequent to that the exemptions must be granted. As I said at the time during the Second Reading debate, we expect approximately 90,000 to be registered. But, as you know, Sir, these centres can only take 1,000 once they have been completed. The intention is that it will start with 250. There is therefore a prospect of a long process of exemption and sifting. This centre is expected to be completed either at the end of this year or early next year. Therefore there will not be a gap in between in which it will be impossible to do anything. This process of registration, exemption and sifting will continue until the building has been completed.
I wanted the hon. the Minister to be good enough just to enlarge a bit more on the type of buildings that are likely to be put there with this money that is being voted. He has mentioned that he hoped they will be finished and available by the end of this year or by the beginning of next year. Is it the intention that they will be permanent structures, or will they be prefabricated structures? I mention it because of the climatic conditions in that area. It varies considerably through the year. I want to know what types of structures are contemplated.
Mr. Speaker, I want to deal once again with the reply of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to my question with regard to Limbe. He said this was eight or nine miles from Blantyre. As the Minister knows, the present capital of Malawi is in Zomba, which is some 30 or 40 miles away from Blantyre. Limbe is the rail head and about eight miles from Blantyre. Lilongwe, the new capital, is another 60 or 70 miles in the other direction. As soon as Lilongwe becomes the new capital, the new chargé d’affaires will have to go to Lilongwe. Now, in any case, for ordinary executive matters he has to go to Zomba, which is eight miles further than Blantyre. It seems to me here is an amount which need not be so urgently expended. It is an item which requires further investigation. I have been there several times, and so I speak with some knowledge of the district and of the housing conditions, both in Blantyre and in Limbe. By rail Limbe is still some eight miles away from Blantyre. Blantyre, as the Minister knows, is the commercial centre, just as Johannesburg is the commercial centre of the Transvaal, and we go for administrative matters to Pretoria. In the same way Zomba is the Pretoria of Malawi.
Apparently the hon. member knows that region better than I do; I do not know it at all. But, as I have already said, my information is that the purchase of this property was a bargain.
†It is situated in a suburb of Blantyre, since the Department of External Affairs of Malawi and the Government are at the moment in Blantyre. Our chargé d’affaires already occupies the building. He is quite happy there. The arrangement is functioning very satisfactorily. If and when the capital is moved to another city, I and my department are convinced that it will be possible for us to dispose of this property which we got at a bargain price. Then we will, of course, move to the new capital with the government and the various departments.
In reply to the hon. member for Green Point, who wanted to know about the kind of building that is to be erected, I want to say the following: It will be a pre-constructed building, but not the pre-fabricated type of building. It is a pre-constructed building which will be built from bricks. It will be similar to the buildings of the Coloured Corps at Eerste River. The hon. member has probably been there already. Therefore he will know that it is a very good type of building. There is nothing wrong with it.
Mr. Chairman, under Education, Arts and Science, there appears an ex gratia payment to H. J. Coetzee of Pietersburg. I would very much like to know, from whichever Minister is going to deal with it, what that is for.
I put the Vote.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Transkei has asked a question about an ex gratia payment, in respect of which some explanation must be given. It appears under Education, Arts and Science. Is the responsible Minister not going to reply?
The construction of two hostels, which formed part of the scheme, was entrusted to Mr. H. J. Coetzee. The contract provided for the fitting of 125 sq. yards of situflex on the outside of the buildings. In his bill of quantities the contractor laid down a tariff of 60 cents per sq. yard. Subsequently the Department of Public Works decided to fit 1,930 sq. yards of this material on the inside of these buildings as well, and, in terms of the provisions of the contract, to entrust this work to the contractor at scheduled tariffs by way of an amended instruction. At that stage the contractor raised no objections to it and carried out the additional work as requested. When the final account was submitted to the contractor for signature, he pointed out that the price of 60 cents per sq. yard was wrong and submitted invoices which showed that he had purchased the material at R1.74 per yard. The Department conceded that the price of 60 cents per sq. yard was too low and, after negotiations with the contractor, agreed to R1.60 per sq. yard, which was the price charged for similar material in terms of another contract in Pietersburg. By rights this contractor could of course not lay any claim to additional compensation. In fact, the State Attorney confirmed it that way. However, the Department was of the opinion that it would have been unreasonable and unfair if the contractor’s losses were to be increased by the additional work that was entrusted to him. Accordingly it was recommended that an ex gratia payment of R1,930 should be made to him.
That is, only in respect of the material he fitted on the inside?
I want to refer to an item under (22)—General. The item I want to refer to is the modernization of the S.A. Mint. This is a new item for which the estimated cost will be R2,175,000, of which we are now asked to vote R50 in order to get the scheme going. But if one looks at the footnote, one sees that the amount of R2,175,000 is an approximate estimate “in the absence of full particulars”. Well, I do not know in what way the Mint is going to be modernized. I take it it is for new buildings, but no particulars are given here at all. But, Sir, I do not like the way in which such a huge proposition is being embarked upon. As it is, nobody knows whether this job is going to cost R2,175,000 or R5 million. If nobody knows what it is going to cost in the end, why not then wait and put this on the main estimates? Why is this item included in the additional estimates while we are asked to vote R50 without having any clue whatsoever of what it is going to cost in the long run? If the guess at this stage is that the modernization is going to cost R2,175,000 then my guess is that in the end the work will cost at least twice as much. You cannot modernize the Mint for that amount with costs as they are to-day, and with all the things which the directors of the Mint and all interested persons are going to think of and include in the modernization of the building whilst it is in progress. So, I want to record my personal objection to bringing work like this forward in this way, i.e. by means of the additional estimates. What it amounts to is that we are being asked here to give approval to the commencement of the modernization of the Mint—a vast undertaking and neither I nor the hon. the Minister know what it entails. So, as I have already said, we may here be embarking on an expenditure which in the end may be twice as much, or even ten times as much. Or can the hon. the Minister tell me what relationship this provisional figure has to the final figure?
What I have said about this item, may also be said of the project in regard to the Agre-kon building in Pretoria, a new item at an estimated total cost of R1,540,000. This item can be criticized in similar vein. Why have we now to vote in principle for the construction of this building? I bet the hon. the Minister that these two items together in the end will cost at least three times as much as the amount indicated here. This is not the way things should be done and, consequently, I want to record my personal objection. In this I am very serious. Of course, I do not mind voting money for these things if they are necessary, but at the same time I should like to know what they are going to cost in the end. Also, I should like to know what amount of work is going to be done this year and when the work according to a reasonable estimate will be finished.
The hon. member for Umlazi has, I think, expressed the views of everybody on this side of the House. The footnote to this item says that the amount of R2,175,000 is an “approximate estimate in absence of full particulars”. Can the Minister tell us who has made this “approximate” estimate? Does he have this approximate estimate in front of him and, if so, will he give us details thereof? We should like to know so that we may be able to see what works are comprised under the expression “modernization”. What does “modernization” mean in this context? Does he have a list of items in front of him comprising this process? I hope the hon. the Minister does have the particulars of what is contemplated by “modernization” of the S.A. Mint. We have only a month or so to go to the main estimates. In the circumstances, what is the urgency to get this work going now? Why the hurry? You see, we have to be on our guard that this method of dealing with these major services is not resorted to by the department concerned in an endeavour to try to get its vote through before the main estimates come along for proper consideration. The additional estimates do not constitute a backdoor means of getting a major service approved by Parliament. These estimates offer an opportunity of dealing with matters of immediate importance, of grave necessity—which should be demonstrated. So, I hope whoever of the Ministers are going to deal with it will demonstrate to us the urgency of this work, will tell us who made the estimate and on what it is based so that we may be able to judge for ourselves whether this is the kind of item which should be permitted in the additional estimates.
I cannot understand why hon. members are so upset about this small amount. The hon. member for Umlazi himself said that he did not mind voting for something if it was urgent, and essential. That is all it is. Now the hon. member for South Coast says that if it is urgent and essential, we should wait and we should place it on the Main Estimates. It is urgent, and I should like to furnish hon. members with the particulars in that regard. Owing to the obsolete equipment of the S.A. Mint and certain shortcomings they have there, it is not possible to keep up with the demands made on production at present and to cope with an increase in production. Consequently it is essential for the building to be modernized as soon as practicable in order to enable the Mint to acquire and install new equipment and to remedy the position. The proposed alteration programme will disrupt the activities of the Mint considerably, and that is why it is essential that the work should be commenced as soon as possible and that it should be completed without delay. Accordingly planning was expedited to such an extent that it was already possible in February to ask for tenders for the demolition work. With a view to the S.A. Mint’s urgent need for more effective accommodation, and since provision for this service was not effected in the Appropriation Act, it is essential to make provision for this service in these Estimates so as to enable the Department to proceed with it. This is the major aim, namely to proceed with this service immediately, as we know that it will cause disruption in the Mint. The fact of the matter is that, in the light of the circumstances as they are defined here, there was no opportunity for working out the full particulars and making a final estimate of the cost here. But the estimate of the cost that was made here, was nevertheless made by technical people who are most certainly in a better position to make an estimate of the cost than is the case with any of us who are sitting here.
But you had already asked for tenders in February.
Yes, but not for the construction; I said for the demolition of the building. The whole Mint is being rebuilt and modernized. This amount does not include the machinery and the apparatus. The fact of the matter is that this is an urgent case, and in view of the fact that immediate action has to be taken, it has simply been impossible to submit a final amount to Parliament. I think we can content ourselves with this, namely that the estimate that was made here, was made by people who are at least in a position to make a proper estimate.
I do not regard the Deputy Minister’s reply as satisfactory. I do not think he has made out a case for our passing this item of R50 at this stage. It appears to us from an examination of the various items before us that some of these items could have remained over until the Main Budget proposals were before the House. It appears to us that various Departments have used this opportunity to get these items on the Additional Estimates so that the principle is established. Our objection is that even at this stage the Deputy Minister is not correct when he says that the experts of the Department have worked out the Estimates. The experts of the Department have not worked out the Estimates. It says quite clearly at the foot of page 27 that it is an approximate estimate in the absence of full particulars. I suggest that no professional man will sign a certificate in the absence of full particulars. The professional engineers of the Department say: This is a guess; do not tie us to this figure, because it is a very rough estimate. Just the other day the Minister of Finance in good faith gave us a figure. This afternoon he came to us and said: The other day I had no time at my disposal and I quite honestly could not give the House an accurate figure, but my estimate was R8½ million. But later on when the full facts came before me I gave the House a better estimate, which was not a guess, of R15 million. I submit that we are in this position now. that there are no full particulars. It is a very approximate estimate, and we know what the position to-day is with approximate estimates. The figures can be far out. But our difficulty is that if we do not make the protest now, when the figure has doubled later on, and we try to criticize it then, we will be stopped in terms of the rules of debate from dealing with it fully. We will then be told that the principle has been established and that we had our chance but did not take it. Sir, we are taking our chance now and we are raising our objection now. It is quite clear that the urgency has not been established, and even if it has been established, the final figures are not available. Departments must not come to this House and think that as a matter of course, by putting R50 on the Estimates, they can get their Votes through. We propose to put our objection on record by moving the following amendment—
The purpose of moving to reduce the amount by R30 is to indicate that we are not objecting in principle to the modernization of the Mint. [Interjections.] The Deputy Minister of Bantu Development cannot have it both ways, and that is just what this Minister is trying to do. He is trying to get a Vote through with an approximate estimate, in the same way that he tries to get a Vote through with full particulars. The purpose of reducing it to R30 is to show that we are not against the principle of the modernization of the Mint. [Interjections.] If we were against the principle of modernizing the Mint. I would have moved that the whole item be deleted, but because we do not have the full particulars this is our way of demonstrating that we are against this method of coming with Estimates. We are not against the modernization of the Mint, but we are against the Minister trying to slip through an item at this stage without giving full particulars and without giving the House full details of what he wants. The Minister has a responsibility to this House. [Interjection.] I suggest that that Deputy Minister of Agriculture should moderate his language and act as a prospective Minister. [Interjections.]
Now I do not understand hon. members opposite at all. The hon. member for Umlazi pleaded that if they did not raise any objections, if they simply allowed the amount to go through as it stands here, it would mean that next year during the debate on the Main Estimates they would be told that they could not argue about the principle because it would have been accepted already. But now the hon. member for Pinetown says that it is not the principle they are arguing about. But the hon. member for Umlazi says that he must discuss the principle now; otherwise he cannot do so later.
I said I objected to the method of doing this.
Fine. I know that they are objecting to the method applied here, because they will not have the opportunity of opposing this matter in principle at a later stage. That is why they are objecting to the method now, because they will not be able to discuss the principle later. Surely, then it is to the principle of effecting improvements to the Mint that they are objecting. But whether it is the principle of effecting improvements to the Mint, or the details or the method, it is all the same to me. As far as we are concerned, the fact of the matter is that we have work here that has to be done urgently.
It is for the very reason that we want to commence immediately. When we come to the Main Estimates, which are to be introduced soon and in which provision is made for the following year for services for which part provision has already been made by way of the Part Appropriation, the hon. member will see that provision is made there for the actual funds. I do not take it amiss of hon. members if they do not like the method, but it is a method that has to be applied from time to time. This is one of the cases where this method has to be applied. We say explicitly that it is an estimated amount.
Can the hon. the Deputy Minister give me a figure within R½ million of what the final cost will be?
My information is that this work—I am not going to guarantee that it may not cost more—need not cost much, and that it is not expected to cost more than this estimated amount for which provision is now being made in the Estimates.
The fact of the matter is that we must go on with this work, and it has been placed on these Estimates so that it may not be delayed.
How can the hon. the Deputy Minister say that it is not expected to cost more than the amount on the Estimates? Is that not exactly why we are debating this matter at all? We want to know what it is going to cost. Let me remind the hon. member that the function of every hon. member in this House is to decide whether this House will vote money to the Government for this purpose. You know, Sir, we are not like “sheep” that pass in the night. [Laughter.] One would like to know how much it is going to cost, and what it is in respect of. But here is a Deputy Minister, who ought to know much better, telling us that it is not expected to cost more than the estimate. This is a remarkable statement when one considers what is at the bottom of the page, which is that this is an approximate estimate in the absence of full particulars. What we would like to know is what particulars does the Deputy Minister have on which he bases his assertion that it is not expected to cost any more. I think that is a fair question. [Interjections.] Very well, the Deputy Minister says it is a fair question. Then I think it is also fair to ask the other part of that question, namely what particulars does he not have upon which he can base that statement? So, if this is so urgent and we have to begin immediately, then before the time of the next Estimates, in approximately a month’s time, he now urgently has to spend R50. What can he spend that R50 on between now and a month later? I hope the Deputy Minister will now get up and answer what he concedes is a fair question.
The hon. the Deputy Minister has told us with regard to this sum of R50 that it is the normal practice to make such a provision in the Estimates. We know that this job can never be done for R50, what with the fees payable to quantity surveyors and architects and the cost of labour. It has quite rightly been said that these items will appear next month in the Estimates and what the Government is now doing is to obtain approval for the principle. When the Estimates are presented to us and we raise this matter we will be told:“You agreed to this item in the Additional Estimates; why did you not say something then?” How can R50 cover the cost of the preliminary work on these buildings. I have a feeling that this figure was sucked out of somebody’s thumb. To consult your own architect about the building of a house, costs more than R50. How was this figure arrived at? I think it is an insult to the intelligence of this side of the House to tell us that the cost was estimated at R50 in order to get this item on the Estimates. It is ridiculous.
In conclusion I just want to say that this amount is calculated by the Department according to certain standards—the surface area, the cubic content, etc. This is the only information according to which an estimate can be made at this stage. That is my reply to the hon. member for Durban (North). Secondly, he asked me what information I did not have at my disposal. Sir, if I had had all the other information at my disposal, I would most probably have been able to make a final calculation, but I did not have it, and that is why this estimate is based on certain acceptable standards.
The hon. the Deputy Minister has told us that the only information he had was the information which he gave this Committee and that he has no further information. I submit to him that he now has some more information and I want to give him the opportunity to give the Committee the information he has just received.
Amendment put and negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
With regard to item (18) I should just like to inquire where this additional accommodation is?
At Simonstown. This service appeared in the 1964-’65 Estimates, and according to expectations it would have been disposed of in that financial year. Consequently provision was made under the item “Retention money and completion of various services” which appeared on the Estimates for this purpose for the possible payments during the 1965-’66 financial year. Due to late claims by the contractor which could not have been disposed of earlier, a further amount of R13,540 will have to be paid out this financial year and the contractor has indicated that possible further claims will be submitted as soon as his quantity surveyor has made certain calculations. To enable the Department to pay the proven claims and to dispose of possible further claims, this service must be voted in these Estimates.
Mr. Chairman, I do not think I heard the hon. the Deputy Minister …
Order! I want to point out to the hon. member that I put the Vote and not a single member rose in his seat.
With all due deference, Sir, the hon. member was on his feet before you put the Vote.
This item forms part of the Vote and when I put the Vote the hon. member did not rise.
I did not hear the hon. the Minister say where the additional accommodation was. That was my question.
I did tell the hon. member.
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote E,—Water Affairs, R10,230:
I would be grateful to the hon. the Deputy Minister if he would deal with the three items which appear on Loan Vote E. Firstly, there is an ex gratia payment to Industrial Machinery Supplies. I should like to know to whom this amount has been paid and for what reason. Then there are loans and subsidies to the Groothoek Irrigation Board and the Oudtshoorn Municipality. Will the hon. the Deputy Minister give us these details? The loans and subsidies to the Groothoek Irrigation Board and the Oudts-hoom Municipality appear to be merely token amounts, opening the vote for some wider grant or assistance thereafter. Could we please have the details with regard to the last two items? We would also like to know the reason for the ex gratia payment for Industrial Machinery Supplies.
The amount of R10,130 is being requested for an ex gratia payment to the firm Industrial Machinery Supplies in connection with the supply of fish belly flaps for the Vaalharts diversion weir. It is a special kind of flap through which water can pass easily when it exceeds a certain level. The relevant contract was placed with the firm Industrial Machinery Supplies on 13th August, 1963, with the firm Austral Iron Works as sub-contractors, at a cost of R186,310. The last fish belly flap was delivered on the site on 29th October, 1965, after a period of manufacturing difficulties having been experienced in the workshops of Messrs. Austral Iron Works. It will be seen from available reports that the workshop personnel of Messrs. Austral Iron Works failed in the initial manufacturing stage to exercise the degree of care necessary to ensure a sound and properly finished product, despite the fact that certain essential procedures had been prescribed in the manufacturing drawings. I may just tell the hon. member that this is the first time that we have built these items in South Africa. If the necessary precautionary measures had been taken, some of the problems subsequently experienced might possibly have been eliminated. A task of this nature had not been assigned to local manufacturers previously, but in order to promote local industries it was decided to have the work done in the Republic according to an overseas design. In a letter to the State Tender Board dated 4th May, 1966, Messrs. Industrial Machinery Supplies on behalf of Messrs. Austral Iron Works made representations for compensation for the heavy losses suffered in carrying out the contract, mainly as a result of additional time spent on the work on account of difficulties experienced. This work was new to them. Messrs. Austral Iron Works maintain that their expenses exceeded, the contract price by R86,934. By making use of a points system based on an estimated time and material basis, the Department estimated the value of the additional work that had to be done as a result of the difficult technique used at R10,130. The contract had been allocated according to the ordinary system of calling for competitive tenders, and no extra remuneration would under normal circumstances have been recommended. However, as a result of the extraordinary difficulties experienced in the manufacturing of the items, difficulties that were not anticipated when tenders were called for, the matter was referred to the State Tender Board for a decision as to whether relief was to be granted. The State Tender Board recommended that an ex gratia payment of R10,130 be made to Messrs. Industrial Machinery Supplies, subject to approval by the Treasury.
This was really an experimental installation.
Well, we had to do it in South Africa. Neither this firm nor the Department knew what they were letting themselves in for.
*In terms of reference No. B.10/3 of 3rd July, 1967, the Treasury granted approval for the payment to be made, subject to prior Parliamentary authority being obtained. Does that satisfy the hon. member?
The hon. member also wanted to know why provision is being made for loans and subsidies of R50 each to be granted to the Groothoek Irrigation Board and the Oudtshoorn Municipality. As a result of the drought experienced in both places, the situation has arisen that the irrigation board and the municipality concerned have to set to work immediately in the hope of supplying additional water towards the end of the year. For this reason the two items have been included in the Additional Estimates—in actual fact just to afford them an opportunity of commencing the work. Provision for this work will of course be made in the Estimates; it has also been approved by the Cabinet. But it was felt that it would be unfair in such a time of crisis to keep the irrigation board and the municipality waiting for a few months before they could commence with the work. We do not want the reproach to be levelled against us that we kept them waiting unnecessarily. We do not know whether it will rain before the end of the year, but if it does, one would like to see that the necessary construction works are ready. This is the reason why provision is being made for these two amounts.
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote G,—Mines, R250,000:
I should like the hon. the Deputy Minister to tell me which mines are going to enjoy this loan of R250,000.
In terms of reference F.5/388, dated 19th December, 1967, the Minister of Finance approved that State loans up to an amount of 15 per cent of their income be granted to two marginal mines in order to enable them to meet operating losses. The background to this matter is as follows: The agreements entered into between the State and the two mines provide for loans not exceeding 10 per cent of the income of the mines for the purpose of meeting operating losses. Notwithstanding steps taken to reduce operating costs, it was clear that production losses were gradually increasing and that the said assistance of 10 per cent would not be sufficient to keep the mines going. The matter was discussed thoroughly between the Government Mining Engineer and representatives of the mines concerned, and although it was realized that the life expectancy and production figures were merely tentative estimates which might eventually prove to be erroneous, the Government Mining Engineer was nevertheless satisfied, and he also recommended that it would be in the interests of the State for the assistance limit to be increased to 15 per cent in these two cases.
As there is some uncertainty as regards the date on which the increased assistance will come into operation, no payments have been made as yet.
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote I,—Commerce and Industries, R8,853,000.
Mr. Chairman, I should like some particulars regarding this item “Loans to Shipbuilding Industry” because we know certain subsidies are going to be paid to the industry. I should like to know, amongst other things, whether the amount of anticipated subsidies is included in this new amount, or what in fact the loan aspect means here. I do not know how it is going to be given and on what basis.
I also want to know to which companies the subsidies will be paid and for what particular purposes. For example, I want to know whether it is going to be made on the basis of developing the facilities they have for shipbuilding. Will the subsidies be made by way of materials or any other basis: This term “Loans to Shipbuilding Industry” is very vague and indefinite, and the amount involved is quite large. We are all very interested in the shipbuilding industry at the moment, and I ask the hon. the Minister to give the fullest possible reply, please.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to refer to item No. 5 on page 30 which reads as follows—“Purchase of Shares of South African Iron and Steel Industrial Corporation, Ltd.” Under this item there is a revised estimate of R15 million. Under this item we also see an amount saved on other sub-heads. I have looked at the “other sub-heads” of last year’s Estimates and I cannot see how the savings could have been made. Surely they could not have been from the Procurements Fund! I want to assist the hon. the Minister in this matter, if I can, and I want to refer to last year’s items. There was a loan to the I.D.C. and that money was spent on industries in the border areas; there was an item connected with South West Africa, and also the aircraft industries. It cannot have been any of those. This R15 million is a new item and I want to know how it is going to be spent. It is for the purchase of shares. I think it would be much better if the Government were to lend money to Iscor at a reasonable rate of interest because when the Government purchases shares it seems to me it does not get a fair return on the shares.
Looking at last year’s balance sheet of Iscor, I think the share that the Government gets is much too low. Year after year we have invested money in Iscor. It is a great undertaking, it is a very big and rich company, and I think at the very least the Government should get a return on the money invested. There is only one shareholder—I am leaving out accumulated preferentials, which concern only a handful of people; I am speaking of the holders of A and B shares—and that is the Government. We, the Members of Parliament hold the proxies of the shareholders. We represent the taxpayers who are the shareholders in this company. We are not getting a return on the money. After all these years, and considering the money that has been given to and spent on Iscor, I think the taxpayer should get something back through the Government so that his taxation can be reduced a bit. It is not a good investment from the Government’s point of view, and also not from the taxpayer’s point of view. I am not criticizing the development of Iscor because that does not arise. I am speaking of it now as an investment.
Let us look at last year’s figures. The surplus was R13,900.000. Of that there went to first reserve or replacements a sum of R7½ million, to general reserve R2 million, and the dividend on the A and B shares only amounted to R3,800,000. That is not a dividend on the capital invested in Iscor. All the capital invested in Iscor is the taxpayer’s money. It is a Government-owned enterprise and therefore we should have a return. I should like the hon. the Minister to explain the two items to us, namely, first of all, what return are we going to get from this investment of R15 million, and secondly, how is the excess of R6,146,000 to be met?
Mr. Chairman, I should like the hon. the Minister to give us some more details regarding item 4 on page 30, namely “Loans to Shipbuilding Industry”. I ask this question for a particular reason. I want to know whether this amount, is limited to shipbuilding activities only, because the particular company I have in mind has interested itself outside the shipbuilding industry and is in fact competing with other engineering firms. I want to know whether the sum mentioned in this item is intended for work connected with the shipbuilding industry only.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to begin by referring to item 4—“Loans to Shipbuilding Industry”— and I should like to furnish the following information. Here in my hand I have a document containing lengthy arguments and a full explanation in regard to this matter. The hon. member for Umlazi asked me to deal with this matter in detail, but I doubt whether I should deal with it in as much detail as this document does. Consequently I shall refer to those aspects which I deem essential only, and if the hon. gentleman so desires, this matter may be reasoned out in more detail, because this is an item which is open to reasoning.
As regards the amount to be voted, it may be mentioned that in terms of the loan scheme approved by the Government, Government guarantees may be given in justified cases for the repayment of the capital and interest on loans negotiated by shipbuilding yards so as to make credit available to approved purchasers. I want to emphasize that the object is to make credit available to approved purchasers. This is done provided (1) that the credit made available will not exceed 80 per cent of the cash price; (2) that the credit is limited to a maximum term of ten years; and (3) that it is paid off systematically over that term. In such cases the interest on the loans concerned is subsidized by the State to the extent that the purchaser pays interest at a rate which is 2 per cent less than the current rates of interest. On the other hand the Government itself may grant loans to approved purchasers in justified cases and depending on the circumstances. In such cases the rate of interest is fixed at 5½ per cent, but as the Treasury expects at least 6¾ per cent on loan funds, sanction has been obtained for refunding the difference in interest of 1¼ per cent to the Treasury from amounts voted on the Revenue Vote of the Department of Industries. During the past year contracts were signed for the building of two coasters—I am now dealing with the particulars for which the hon. member for Umlazi asked—and one fishing trawler. The Government granted loans for this and the first two instalments of R271,848 each in respect of the two coasters and R73,600 in respect of the fishing trawler now have to be paid. This makes a total of R617,296.
I want to emphasize that it is being found essential to assist the shipbuilding industry. I think hon. members agree that this industry should be assisted. Therefore these special efforts are being made. I do not think the question of the hon. member for Port Natal is relevant. This amount for which provision is being made is for the building and purchasing of ships only. It does not relate to shipbuilding yards.
The hon. member for Umlazi put a further question to me. With his leave, I should not like to reply to that. It deals with the companies. These are private companies and, if he were to insist on a reply, I should probably have to supply one. I should prefer not to give him those particulars. I hope this is how he will accept it.
The hon. member for Kensington put a question to me in connection with item 5. I should like to give him the following particulars. The real amount envisaged for the purchase of shares of Iscor during the present financial year is R15 million. However, we are asking for an amount of R8,853,250 only to be voted, because the balance of R6,146,750 can be met from savings or amounts voted to the I.D.C. in respect of S.W.A.W.E.K. and border areas development. I think this positively is the reply to one of the questions put by the hon. member, namely, “Where do the savings come from?” They are at the I.D.C. As far as the savings are concerned, these are at S.W.A.W.E.K., in connection with which he also read from the previous estimates, and in respect of border areas development. According to law Iscor’s authorized share capital consists of 500,000 A shares of R2 each and 27 million B shares of R2 each. All the A shares were taken up by the State President as well as 24,680,364 B shares while 219,636 B shares had been converted into 7½ per cent accumulative preferential shares and awarded to private individuals. This is that smaller amount to which the hon. member referred.
Therefore there still remains 2,100,000 B shares which may be issued without amending the Iscor Act. According to Iscor’s balance sheet of 30th June, 1967, its reserves amounted to R306 million. When this is taken into consideration as well as other inherent beneficial factors regarding Iscor, the estimated value of each share of R2 is approximately R15. Consequently it is being envisaged to take up one million of these shares this year at a premium of R13 per share; a total therefore of R15 million. This is the explanation, Mr. Chairman.
In dealing with the second item, if that is the value of Iscor, what return is the Government getting on the money, on the investment? That is my point. I did not realize my case was so strong. Now the hon. the Deputy Minister has really clinched what I said. Here we have this very valuable asset, producing huge profits from a large capital, and the country is getting nothing for it. The taxpayer is now being asked for more money on Loan Account. Buy more shares! I think we deserve a bit of interest on what we have already invested.
I come to the first item now. I cannot see how we can make up that difference, that excess to be met from savings on other subheads of R6,146,000. And the hon. the Deputy Minister says that is from the money that was voted for border industries. Is that right?
That is right.
What are we doing now, robbing border industries to pay Iscor? I thought it was the policy of the Government to push border industries. Mr. Chairman, what are we coming to? Here the I.D.C. has money voted by the Government for the I.D.C. Now we are told that the Government has to save money that is already voted for the I.D.C. They are taking it back, I suppose. The Government is the only shareholder in the I.D.C. as well, and it is voting that money for Iscor!
Mr. Chairman, I want to be brief. The time has arrived when these utility public corporations must be investigated, and they must be investigated, as I have said over and over again, by a committee of this House. After all, the hon. the Minister of Transport is sitting there, and next week he is going to appear before this House, before Parliament, and lay on the Table his accounts for the year, and be examined and criticized for several days. Right throughout the Session we have a special select committee before whom the Minister of Transport, his Deputy Minister and their staff appear to explain what they have done during the year. But we get no report from these utility corporations, and there are now about 20 of them in the country. This is a glaring case. I think the time has arrived, Sir, when we have to tackle this situation in the interest of Parliament. My hon. friends on the other side are in the same position. There is no accountability to Parliament by these corporations, and the time has arrived when we will demand this accountability.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the hon. the Deputy Minister for his reply and for the trouble he went to, but there is one aspect of this matter about which I am not quite sure. These loans are for the financing of the purchasers of ships, not the builders. This appears as loans to the shipbuilding industry. In fact, it would appear to me from the reply that these loans are not to the shipbuilding industry as such, these are loans for the people who wish to buy ships and use them, which I think is a different matter. It is the shipping industry and not the shipbuilding industry. I want to ask the hon. the Deputy Minister: To whom is this money actually lent? Because, if I go to a garage and buy a motor car, and I borrow money to buy that motor car, the money is lent to me and not to the garage, and I am in fact responsible for it. It would appear here, that although the money has been lent to finance somebody who wants to buy a ship and have it built in these yards, the money in fact is being given to the shipyard, and the various interest rates have been balanced off with the shipbuilding company concerned. I do not want to know the company; I know who built these ships. It is being balanced off with the shipbuilding company. If I am correct, surely this is a most peculiar way of doing business and of financing the sale of ships. Surely one finances the purchaser. One wants to help the person who is buying the ship, because he has not got the money to pay for it. [Interjection.] You are not financing the shipbuilding industry as such. It happens to help them to get orders, perhaps, because they have the money available. So it helps them indirectly. But I think this is a little misleading. I want to know who, in the case of this amount, is actually going to be responsible for its repayment? The person who has the goods or the person who supplied them? Because to me this seems a most peculiar set up.
Mr. Speaker, I first want to reply to the last question. I thought I had made it very clear to the hon. member. There are two methods of doing this. Firstly the Government guarantees a portion of a loan for the purchase of ships. The other method is to make a loan available to the purchaser, which is in fact being done here. This is one of the two methods. It is true that the sub-head reads, “Loans to Shipbuilding Industry”. I do think, however, that the hon. member should interpret the description “shipbuilding industry” in its wider sense, because what is actually being envisaged here is to assist in the matter of coping with financing so as to provide credit facilities in order to promote the shipbuilding industry. If this were not to be done, there would be no buyers to promote the shipbuilding industry in South Africa, particularly in view of the very strong competition with which the shipbuilding industry in South Africa has to contend from other shipbuilding industries in the world. These are the two methods of financing. I do not know whether the hon. member is of the opinion that one or both of these methods may not be good. The Government may, on the one hand, give guarantees when loans are negotiated elsewhere, or the Government itself may grant the purchaser a loan, as we are in fact doing in this case.
I do not know whether the hon. member for Kensington expects us to have further discussions on the matter raised by him.
The hon. member said that the Government was receiving nothing from this mighty organization. But the hon. member himself said that this mighty organization had become financially strong while it in fact had one shareholder only. From the nature of the case, we cannot look at dividends only. Over and above the dividends, the reserves have been built up to R306 million, as I have just said. We, as the population of South Africa, have become R306 million richer. It is on the grounds of this very consideration that it has been decided that a premium of R13 has to be paid on those shares. That is because the shareholder is now getting an interest in the business which is so much greater than what the interest was at the time of the first issue of shares. I agree with the hon. member that this is an alternative method of providing a loan to Iscor. I want to say at this stage that the financing of Iscor will be taken into consideration in due course. This is an alternative method of granting a loan. I do think, however, that the hon. member will agree with me that this is a permanent investment. In terms of that it is really more appropriate to take up shares rather than to grant a loan. Over and above the amounts which have to be placed on reserve from time to time, we at least receive a dividend of 6½ per cent. All things being taken into consideration, I think that we should extend this fine undertaking of Iscor in this way, because the hon. member now agrees with me that this really is a better method.
But it is 6½ per cent on the original value of the shares. I would not consult you as my broker.
Mr. Chairman, I want to return to the financing of shipbuilding and ship-purchasing to make my point of view quite clear. I wholeheartedly agree that the Government must help the shipbuilding industry, because every other country in the world which undertakes shipbuilding is helped by its Government to finance the sale or purchase of its ships. I agree wholeheartedly that something of this nature must be done. But I want to make my point of view in this regard quite clear. When the Government lends money, it uses public funds and we must watch those funds. I want to ensure that that money is lent against some security. That security must be the ship because that is the only security that exists in cases such as these. I want to confirm that I do not want to see the present method changed so that the loan is given to the company who builds the ship. I say this for a specific reason. At the moment the hon. Deputy Minister may only be dealing with one or two shipbuilding companies. Only small amounts in regard to coasters or fishing vessels may be involved. If, however, the shipbuilding industry develops to the stage to which it appears it will develop in the not too distant future, then the Government is going to have to advance fantastic sums of money to finance the sale of those ships. In other words, it will have to finance the purchaser from whichever country he may be. At the moment we are, generally speaking, only financing local purchases by the fishing industry and so on. In the future we are not going to be involved in amounts of R617,000 but more likely in amounts of R617,000,000. I want to be sure that when that time comes we have not set a pattern for financing the shipbuilding industry which will be unsatisfactory and which will in any way endanger public funds. I want to make this point quite clear.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member is in favour of developing the shipbuilding industry. I just want to give the hon. member the assurance that this is not the only method according to which assistance is being rendered in connection with the development of the shipbuilding industry. There are other methods which are being employed to develop the shipbuilding industry. If we were not to do so, it would mean that we would not be able to develop the shipbuilding industry in South Africa against the competition of the rest of the world. I think the arguments advanced by the hon. member are quite constructive ones. A very constructive debate has been conducted as to what methods are best. But I think the only problem which the hon. member has, is that the method which we are now employing does not appear satisfactory to him. He says that we should rather assist the industry as such, because if we assist the buyers, we shall have to continue assisting buyers until the amounts involved will eventually be so large that we shall no longer be able to exercise control over the matter. I think the only reply to this is that here we are dealing with an industry which is in its initial stage. It goes without saying that when any industry of this kind is in its initial stage—and particularly when there is such tremendous competition in the world—it has more and bigger problems than it subsequently will have after it has got into its stride and is able to operate on a larger scale, because then it will be able to compete better with other industries of this kind. I do not think we need envisage at this stage that we shall necessarily have to continue this method in future. However, there is probably an element of truth in what the hon. member said, but I think that we should rather leave this to the future. The fact of the matter is that the Government is trying to assist this industry in different ways. This method is one of the methods which are being employed to set the industry going, because otherwise this will not happen.
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote K,—Community Development, R250.
Mr. Chairman, I want to refer to sub-head 4 and the first three items which appear under it. Those items are related to the discussion which we have already had under Loan Vote B. They are the training centre for Coloured cadets at Faure, the purchase of dwellings in Springs and the purchase of dwellings in Heidelberg, Transvaal, as a result of the take-over of the training college there. I should like the hon. the Minister to explain how these purchases are divided between the Department of Public Works and the Department of Community Development.
There is another matter which needs clarification. I notice that an amount of R160,000 is involved in regard to the provision of quarters and mess for the training centre for the Coloured cadets. This appears as a Revised Estimate. The note at the bottom of the page indicates that the special warrant of the State President was issued for and amount of R560,000. The other items are identical to those authorized. One wonders therefore where the error is or whether the Minister is covering himself for a 300 per cent error in estimate. The Revised Estimate is for R160,000 while the State President issued a special warrant for R560,000. I should like the hon. the Minister to explain why there is such a large difference between these two figures.
I can give the hon. member the details. I think the problems he has may possibly be solved if I give him the details I have at my disposal. These are, of course matters falling under the hon. the Minister of Community Development, who is engaged in the Other Place at the moment. Under sub-head 4—Official Quarters—I furnish the following details. A number of projects for which no provision had been made in the Estimates became a matter of great urgency in the course of the year. Since the progress in respect of certain projects for which provision had been made did not come up to expectations and it became clear that the funds which had been provided would not be spent, it was possible to offset the savings which would result against the cost of the unforeseen projects. In order to enable the Secretary for Community Development to continue with the projects concerned, a State President’s special warrant for a nominal amount of R50 was obtained for each of the relevant projects pending parliamentary approval. These projects are as indicated in the Additional Estimates and the circumstances connected with them are as follows. I am now going to give you the various projects. I start with Coloured Affairs—the training centre for Coloured cadets at Faure. Legislation for the establishment of the Coloured Cadet Corps was passed during the 1967 parliamentary session. Provision for this service could therefore not have been made at an earlier stage. The establishment of the training centre, however, is a matter of great urgency in order to carry out the accepted policy. I come now to the item under Education, Arts and Science, namely “Springs: Purchase of dwellings”. Since the property in which the school for epilectics at Diskobolus. Kimberley, was accommodated was urgently required by the Department of Defence for Security reasons, alternative accommodation had to be found for the school. The Government’s Miners’ Training School at Springs, in respect of which the State has already contributed two-thirds of the cost of erection, was acceptable to the Department of Education, Arts and Science. The buildings on the site included, inter alia, a number of dwellings which are required for official quarters, but since no provision was made for this service in the Estimates for the financial year, covering parliamentary approval is being sought for the State President’s warrant issued for that purpose. As regards the item “Defence: Kimberley”, I want to furnish the following information. As in the case of the premises of the school for epileptics, the industrial school complex was required urgently for defence purposes. Some of the buildings had to be converted into single and married quarters and covering parliamentary approval is now being sought for the State President’s warrant issued for that purpose. We now come to the item “Heidelberg, Transvaal”. The teachers college at this centre was closed down and the Cabinet approved that the premises be taken over by the Department of Defence for the purpose of establishing the army gymnasium there. Because of the transfer of the college staff, some 38 private dwellings became available for purchase; 31 of those dwellings, together with two other dwellings which belonged to the Provincial Administration, were purchased as official quarters for the gymnasium staff. In this case, too, covering parliamentary approval is merely being sought for the State President’s warrant which was issued. The hon. member asked how these purchases were divided. Obviously the Department of Community Development only deals with the provision of dwellings and accommodation.
It is unfortunate that the hon. the Minister is not here himself to deal with this matter, because the explanation which has been given and which the hon. the Deputy Minister was good enough to read to us, certainly does not explain why we must have a sum of money provided under one vote, namely Public Works, and then find that the Minister of Community Development is doing this particular job under a separate vote of the Department of Community Development. It seems to me a matter of some difficulty in that one is having piecemeal voting to establish for instance the same training centre. It has been done by way of a vote under Public Works while we now also have it under a vote of the Department of Community Development. We have the same matter as regards Heidelberg where a considerable sum of money is involved. Under Loan Vote B we find a sum of money set aside while a further R400,000 is added on from Loan Vote K for the same project. One wonders as to what exactly the reason is. It is therefore unfortunate that the hon. the Minister is not here. There is also the other question which is important. We are now being asked to approve of these figures. What is the estimated cost for these quarters and the mess at Faure? Is it R160,000 or is it R560,000 in respect of which a State President’s warrant has been issued as indicated in the note at the bottom of the page. Which is the figure? As I have said, I appreciate the position of the hon. the Deputy Minister in having to rely on the information that was placed before him and that he may have some difficulty in explaining the points raised. But it does seem that there is some overlapping in respect of which we are entitled to an explanation.
Mr. Chairman, reference is made in the footnote to the total cost, namely R560,000. This relates to the item “Faure: Training Centre for Coloured Cadets”, to which the hon. member referred. The amount of R160,000 which appears in the second column is the estimate of expenditure in respect of this financial year, and the balance of R400,000 will be used later.
If we are being asked to deal with a revised estimate, then the hon. the Deputy Minister wants us to accept that we are dealing with a revised estimate of expenditure for this year when there is no estimate before the House as to what the total costs would be. The hon. the Deputy Minister spent a long time this afternoon explaining to us the amount of R2,175,000 for an item under Loan Vote B being the estimate of the cost as reflected in the estimates. Are we now adopting under this vote an entirely new procedure namely that while embarking upon an item of capital expenditure, the end of the road is not disclosed to us and one has to look at the note at the bottom of the page to see what the final position is. It is an extraordinary position that the State President has approved to issue a special Warrant for an amount far in excess of what this House is authorizing the expenditure to be. Now other instances have come to my notice where a warrant has been applied for for a figure which does not appear in the estimates that are placed before the House. It is unfortunate, as I have said, that the hon. the Minister concerned is not here to explain why this does happen.
The House only authorizes the amounts which appear in the last column. But with the integration of these two votes the details and the total cost are indicated at the bottom of the page for the information of hon. members.
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote L,—“Transport, R151,000”.
Mr. Chairman, could the hon. the Deputy Minister give us some information in regard to the construction of an airport at Katima Mulilo?
Mr. Chairman, the airport at Katima Mulilo was built by the Provincial Administration of the Transvaal for the Department of Transport. The provision is in respect of late claims submitted by the Roads Department of the Transvaal Provincial Administration for repairs in respect of equipment used in connection with the building of the airport.
Item 2 (c) refers to runways and associated facilities at Usakos, South West Africa. Is this a new layout? And why was there such a terrific under-estimation? The original estimate was R20,000, and the revised one is R84,600, which is over four times, the original estimate.
The hon. member is wrong. The estimate of R20,000 was only in respect of retention money. Initially the construction of the runways and taxying tracks was expected to be completed in January, 1967, and provision was made in 1967-’68 for the payment of retention moneys up to an amount of R20,000. The building programme was delayed, however, because difficulties were experienced in obtaining suitable gravel, and consequently the work was only completed in June, 1967. The expenditure incurred during 1967-’68 amounted to R84,504; of this amount R20,000 was initially provided in respect of retention moneys and was available, but the balance of R64,504 will have to be voted. In order to cover the expenditure until such time as Parliamentary approval could be granted, Special Warrant No. 12 of 1967-’68 for an amount of R65,500 was obtained from the State President. Provision for the payment of the retention money has now been made for 1968-’69. The total cost of the construction of the runways and related facilities at the airport, including the retention money of R20,000, amounts to R988,967.
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote N,—“Bantu Administration and Development, R2,750,000”.
This is a globular sum. It is simply stated that it is for the development of the Bantu areas. I should like to ask the Minister to give us details of this globular sum.
In the district of Bosbok-rand there is a forest reserve, namely released area No. 33, which is to be taken over by the Trust. It has been decided through negotiation that the land should be transferred to the Trust. The area comprises 26,425.5 morgen. Since this is State-owned land, no payment will be made for the land in terms of Act No. 18 of 1936, the Bantu Trust and Land Act, but seeing that we are dealing here with a transaction which is related to the development of the Bantu areas, it is deemed necessary for the transfer of the forest reserves and improvements to be brought into account in the financial statements of the S.A. Bantu Trust. The payment of compensation to the Department of Forestry will be made on the accepted basis of costs incurred in respect of development and maintenance, less income received. In actual fact these are merely book entries.
On a point of explanation, Sir, is the whole of this amount of R2.75 million in respect of this Bosbokrand scheme?
Vote put and agreed to.
Loan Vote Q,—“Bantu Education, R50”.
The only reference here is to a Zulu training school at Amanzimtoti. Would the Deputy Minister kindly indicate the precise location and purpose of this school? This seems to be a new Vote and I do not know whether it is related to the Adams Mission School. But wherever it may be, what is the purpose of this so-called training school, and what is anticipated to be the final cost of this service?
This is an existing training school and I think the hon. member for South Coast will be better informed than I about the actual location of the school, seeing that it is in his constituency. I merely know it as the Amanzimtoti Zulu Training School. This is the information that has been furnished to me. But it is not a new school under construction, because it is a school where the condition of the electric wiring is such that it cannot carry the present voltage, and as a result interruptions are being experienced. What is more, it has happened on occasion that live wires were found on the ground, which can have very serious consequences. The reticulation network was examined by an engineer of the Durban Municipality and the Department was informed that if major repairs—not construction work, but repairs—were not carried out, the power supply would be cut off. According to a report of the Chief Superintendent of Works, Electrical, it will not be economical merely to effect repairs, and he recommends that the network and underground distribution be replaced. As a result of an alteration to the building plans in respect of the Durban Umlazi Park Training and Technical High School, it will be possible to effect a saving of R23,000, and consequently no additional funds will be required.
I want to try to find out which school this is. The hon. the Deputy Minister has now started another train of thought because he cannot tell us which school this is. We know the Adams Mission College, which trains teachers and the like, but if he says that this school interfers with the service from the Durban Municipality then I would say abviously it is not Adams Mission College, but possibly a school somewhere in the region of Isipingo. He says the pipe is going through there. If there is a pipe, to the best of my knowledge and belief, that pipe is going to supply African Explosives at Umbogintwini, which happens to fall within the area of Amanzimtoti. There must obviously be a school there to cater for the children of the employees, because there is a big staff and it is a big area, and all that area is populated by Natives. It is at the southern end of Umlazi. I want to know which school this is because I think it is quite important.
While I am up I want to refer to the manner of presenting these items. The hon. member for South Coast asked what the final cost would be. At the bottom it says that the estimated cost of this service is R62,000. But all of a sudden in these Estimates we have a change in the presentation. If you go back to page 26, you get an estimate of total cost, and the expenditure during the year. But all of a sudden in these latter ones—and I frankly do not understand why—we just get original Estimates and revised Estimates. For what period is that? Is it for the total period? Because if one assumes that, why then put at the bottom that the estimated cost is R62,000? This is confusing. In the previous item, dealing with the funds for national housing, they put in what they estimated it would take in the beginning, and that was obviously the estimate for the year. Now suddenly we have estimated total costs at the bottom of the column, and no original estimate. Why did they not put the R62,000 there, and why can we not be told how much money is going to be spent during the course of this financial year? I take it R15,050 will be spent. But first of all I want to know which school this is and where it is, and what it is going to be. What is it going to teach the Zulus? We know what a Zulu is and we know that you want to train Zulus, but what do you want to train them as?
The hon. member asks what amount is going to be spent in the course of this year. This I already indicated when I gave the first explanation, i.e. that the amount of R15,000 was going to be spent in this year. And here the hon. member has the estimated cost of R62,000 before him, and I told him about the saving that was going to be effected and how the saving was going to be effected. I must admit that I have not yet visited this school, but according to my information it is a training school at Amanzimtoti. I would expect the hon. member to know where it is.
It may just be a matter of nomenclature, but what is a Zulu training school? I have never heard of one before. What happens in a Zulu training school, and under what statute was it erected? We have heard of Zulu schools and there are Zulu university colleges, but as far as I am aware there are no university technical colleges. What is a Zulu training college? The Deputy Minister does not know where it is, except that it is somewhere in Amanzimtoti, and he cannot say what sort of school it is. What do they train Zulus for there?
Let me now tell the hon. member for Durban (North) that Amanzimtoti is a place in Durban South. He wants to know what a Zulu training school is. It is a place where one trains Zulu teachers, just as one would train Xhosas in a Xhosa training school, and Whites, both Afrikaans-and English-speaking, in a White training school. I do not know whether I can give the hon. member any more information.
In this first reply the Deputy Minister gave the name of the school, which I did not catch. Is it the Amanzimtoti Training School? If he could give us the name of that college, perhaps we would understand the position better.
I spoke so loudly that the hon. member must have heard me say it is the Amanzimtoti Zulu Training School.
I would like to try to bring the matter back to a better basis. We are trying to find out for what school the money is being voted.
But there is no Zulu training school at Amanzimtoti. You may have a Zulu training school somewhere along the river called the Amanzimtoti—that is not its name, but that is how it is pronounced—but there is no Zulu training school at Amanzimtoti. So it probably means that the school is somewhere in the valley of the Amanzimtata River, and it is a Zulu training school. If that is in fact the official name of that school, it is a very bad name, and I never heard of its being attached to any school. Is this the school which used to be called Adams Mission? That is all I am trying to find out. If it is that school, then we understand. I think it is asking too much of us to ask us to vote money, R62,000, for a school when the Deputy Minister does not even know its location, never mind what the money is to be spent for. I tell him that there is no such school.
Amanzimtoti is the name of the school.
No, that is not the name of the school, and it does not claim here that the name of the school is Amanzimtoti. It claims that the name of this school is “Zulu Training School”. Amanzimtoti was merely put in to indicate the locality, nothing more or less. Amanzimtoti is the name of a big town and there is no Zulu training school there. If this school has a previous history we want to know what it was previously known as and where it is located.
I can give the hon. member the assurance that it is the school referred to by him. It is the Adams Mission School.
I do not know why the Deputy Minister of Bantu Development was so hesitant and so awkward in giving us the answer. Either he was trifling with the committee or he did not know. Actually there was a school originally known as Adams Mission, and when the school was taken over by the Government Adams Mission objected to that name being used. The tradition of the Adams Mission over many years was such that they did not support the Government’s policy and they made a special request that the school should not be named “Adams Mission School”. The Government then decided in due course to rename this school which for ever 100 years had been known as Adams Mission School, and because the American Board Mission refused to allow the name of Adams Mission to be used, the Government re-named the school “Amanzimtoti Training School”. The Government bought the school from the Adams Trust. I was a member of the board that did the negotiating. This school has now been named Adams Training School but it is a training school for teachers and it is not situated at Amanzimtoti; it is situated at Um-bumbulu.
We have the extraordinary phenomenon here that one hon. member on that side says that such a school does not exist and that another hon. member comes forward with an explanation as to why the school is now called “Amanzimtoti Training School” and not by its previous name. But, Mr. Chairman, I have not come here to argue about the name of the school and whether objections have been made by the previous missionary society. As a matter of fact, I have come here to ask the committee for money to repair the electric wiring, which is in a dangerous state.
Vote put and agreed to.
Estimate of the Additional Expenditure from Revenue and Loan Accounts [R.P. 2-68], reported without amendment.
The Minister of Finance brought up a Bill to give effect to the Estimate adopted by the House.
Bill read a First, Second and Third Time.
Report Stage taken without debate.
Sir, we now come to the Third Reading of this Bill. With this Bill now before us, waiting to be passed into law, I think we should review the position as set out in this Bill with the background as it has been explained to us here by the hon. the Minister. Sir, as we indicated during the earlier stages of this Bill, we on this side of the House are prepared to support it. We are prepared to vote for the Third Reading, but that is not to say that we accept it as a suitable measure to give to the Indian people the facilities, in regard to the council, which have been set out in speeches from the Government side in the Second Reading debate and during the Committee Stage. We simply accept that this Bill is giving the Indian people something which possibly they have not got at the present time. They have an advisory council at the moment and they will have a statutory council when this Bill is passed into law. Apart from that, there is no difference. I think the hon. the Minister should accept that this Bill represents a very small step forward, but small as it is, it is a step forward and that is why we give it our approval. We had contemplated putting the case that there was no substance in this measure; that this was an empty gesture so far as the Indian people were concerned; that it was an empty gesture which could not have our support; that we did not feel that Parliament should deal with trifling matters of this kind such as is contemplated in this Bill; that this was not a matter to take up the time and attention of Parliament and that we should have rejected it. However, on second thoughts and after further consideration we felt that we should go with the Government in regard to this small step forward.
Sir, we recently had the report of the commission of inquiry into improper political interference. That report dealt not only with the Coloured vote; it dealt specifically with the question of the Indians and of the council which was then proposed. This legislation has now come after that report has been Tabled and after we have had a chance to study it. The evidence that was given by Indians before that commission in respect of this proposed council, with which this Bill deals, is evidence which is germane to the consideration of this Bill. Sir, the Indians who appeared as witnesses before the commission stated categorically that they did not come willingly of their own volition. They were not coerced, but they were invited to come and give evidence. They say that they were selected as individuals by the officials of the Department. Although, like all other sections of the community—Coloureds, Whites and Indians—they had been invited to come and make their representations and give evidence before the commission, they in fact did not do so and had no intention of doing so. They gave their reasons, which I do not want to traverse row. But they were asked and invited as individuals to come and give evidence and they came as individuals, with the result that so far as the evidence dealing with this c ouncil is concerned, the Indian witnesses said that they were speaking for themselves, with one exception. There was a group of Indians from the Transvaal who submitted a short memorandum. But there was a witness, an attorney, from Durban, called Poovalingam, who is well-known to me, a very able legal practitioner as far as I know, who explained his position before the commission as an individual. Sir, we have not been able to get a consensus of opinion from amongst the Indian people, but this man in dealing with the question of this proposed council, was asked the following question at page 257—
His answer was—
Sir, hon. members may find it extremely enlightening to read the evidence of this particular witness. I would like to quote a little further from page 260 where this question is put to him—
His reply was—
That is our feeling on this side of the House. As far as I know this witness had not seen this Bill. He was dealing with proposals that were put to him by members of the commission but he forecast most accurately just how far the Bill would go. The present council has advisory functions. There is an advisory council at the moment, appointed by the Minister. It is now to become a statutory council and it is still to have only advisory functions. It has no power. The hon. the Minister said that in due course he would use the advice of the council for the purpose of finding out what the next step was to be; he was to use the advice of the statutory council now to be appointed. For whatever the reason may be, he does not want to take the advice of the purely appointed advisory council that he has at the present time; he wants a statutory council to advise him. Sir, the debate that we had the other day in this House is going throughout the length and breadth of the four corners of the Republic of South Africa because Government speakers in this House in that debate told the non-Europeans of a particular class, “We had our tongue in our cheeks when we were making promises to you in our official capacities in the past; we were not telling you the complete truth and nothing but the truth”. Sir, I ask hon. Ministers on that side of the House: What is going to be the value placed by the Indians on assurances that they are likely to get in respect of their future as a result of the passing of this Bill?
You are giving a very biased view of the matter.
Sir, it may be a sore point. It is a sore point with me as a white man, never mind what it may be to people of another colour. It is a very sore point with me because I believe that the white Government of South Africa, long before the time of Union, was based in all four provinces on the belief that you must not break your word to a non-White. When the official word of the Government is given to the non-Whites then, cost what it may, the word of the white man must be maintained. During the debate a few days ago in this House I heard for the first time in my life the hon. the Minister stand up and say, “We were making those assurances, but that was not the position.”
Order! I do not think that has anything to do with the third reading of this Bill.
With due respect, Sir, it has this to do with it: Assurances are being given by that side now during this debate. This Bill now before us gives effect to what has been promised to the Indians. But I ask: What reliance can they place on that? That is my point. What reliance can they place on it? We on this side view this little measure with misgivings. This tiny little apparent step forward, where does it lead to? During the second-reading debate I asked the Minister this very question. I wanted to know from him where will this road end? He said we would have to wait and see; we would have to wait and find out later on. He was not prepared to say where it would go. We had this other debate. That debate did not concern Coloured people only. It turned out that way, but it concerned Indian affairs as much as it concerned Coloured affairs. The commission was appointed to deal with both matters. It so happened that the debate dealt mainly with Coloured affairs, but in so far as the principles of this Bill before us are concerned, they were dealt with by the commission dealing with the question of improper political interference. It dealt with Indian affairs as much as with Coloured affairs, Bearing in mind all I have said, I again ask the hon. the Minister: Where does this lead us? Where does it take the Indian people? How far does it go? Are we taking this tiny step forward with no indication at all from the Government as to where it is going concerning Indian affairs? Is this step a beginning and an end in itself, and we will go no further? If so, we are wasting our time and breath here. Again I say that we on this side of the House are prepared to support this Bill as being but a tiny step forward, in the belief that it will lead to something better. I hope the Minister will have the courage to get up and tell us what his plans are and where this measure is leading us to. I ask this question, knowing that we are all subject to the failure of human beings, that we are limited by human endeavour, and the fact that we cannot always achieve what we aim at. Will the Minister tell us what he is aiming at? What future and what destiny does he see regarding these people who have been entrusted to his care? What is to happen to them under his control as Minister? He is in control of their destiny.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for South Coast acted here as a champion for the Indian community. I said during my second-reading speech that the hon. the Opposition in actual fact wanted to compel the Government to move faster than the Indians themselves wanted to move. [Interjections.] The existing Indian Council is satisfied with what is being done, and this has been confirmed again and again in the newspapers. If that hon. member who has so much to say would read the newspapers, he would see that the existing Indian Council has said repeatedly that they approve of the steps being taken by the Government. In this connection I want to quote what appeared in The Cape Argus of 22nd February, 1968, under the heading, “Indian Council Accepted”. The first paragraph reads—
Now I want to put this question to hon. members on the other side. Why do they plead for more than is requested by the existing Indian Council a body which is surely more representative of the Indians than those hon. members? Why are those hon. members at this moment pleading for greater representation or for more rights than the council itself requests? The hon. member spoke about “a small step forward” and “an empty gesture”, and he suggested that Parliament was occupying itself with “trifling matters”. What does he achieve by this?
We on this side are pleased with the support coming from the side of the Indian Council in this matter. Surely this council is more representative of the Indian community than hon. members on the other side, who become so emotional in regard to this matter.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who has just sat down read a report from The Cape Argus saying that the South African Indian Council supported this Bill now before us.
The report said they accepted this measure.
Apparently we read different newspapers, because I have a newspaper report before me which reads as follows—
What paper are you quoting?
This is The Cape Argus of the 16th February.
I have another report here which shows that we read different newspapers. This report appeared in a Natal newspaper which I believe knows a little more about the Indians than the local newspapers. This report runs entirely contrary to the claims made by the hon. member who just sat down. This report states amongst other things that—
The hon. member for South Coast drove this very point home two or three minutes ago. These are some of the recommendations made by the S.A.I.C. to the hon. the Minister in connection with this particular Bill, as reported in the said newspaper—
all Indian men and women over 21 in Indian Council elections … Representation to be on a provincial basis.
The report goes on to state the number of members for each province. I think this report is the answer to the claims made by the hon. member for Koedoespoort.
I want to turn to something slightly different. This Bill will establish a nominated Indian Council which will be very much the same body as that which we have been dealing with for the past two or three years. Knowing some of the members of this particular council, and having received certain information, I venture to say that the council has been very frustrated over the past two or three years.
When the Minister replied to the second-reading debate he said that the move towards an elected body would, of course, depend on how soon group areas were finalized, and so on. I should like to suggest to the hon. the Minister in all sincerity that group areas will never be finalized in the Republic of South Africa. We have through the years had as many as 200 amendments to the original Group Areas Act. If our Indians have to wait for the finalization of group areas before the elected body can materialize, then I want to suggest that there will in fact never be an elected body. As the numbers of the various South African race groups grow, no particular group area will be large enough to contain all the members of the race group now confined to that area. I predict that group areas will continue to change from year to year, the areas will be made bigger or smaller at the whim of the Government, and consequently a finalization of group areas will never be reached. If that is so, and the Minister is waiting for the finalization to take place, then it must follow that the Indian Council will never become an elected body.
The function of this Indian Council will be to give advice to the Minister. This is all very well. But what if the Minister does not take the advice of the council? I am fascinated to know what the Minister’s attitude will be if the Indian Council were to say to him at their next meeting, “We think you should re-institute school feeding in Natal. Last year you took school feeding away from 85,000 children in Natal. We. as the Indian Council, ask the hon. the Minister now to re-introduce school feeding in Natal”. I am very intrigued to know what the Minister’s reaction will be. Will he accept advice from the Indian Council in matters relating to the Group Areas Act? Will he accept their advice if they complain about particular group areas and say, “We do not want them here, we think they should be there”, or in regard to compensation under the Group Areas Act? In other words, the whole essence of this council will depend upon the ear and the attention the Minister in charge of the Department gives to the Indian Council. Will he listen to their difficulties? The essence of this was described, as the hon. member for South Coast said, in the report discussed during the debate on improper interference. I want to quote from the report with the view in mind that I believe the Minister cannot afford to wait for the finalization of group areas before turning this into an elected body, and that he must move in that direction a good deal faster than he intended to do. One of the witnesses in this report said this of the Indian Council:
This is the crux of the matter. We have started on the road towards the Indian Council; we have made it a statutory body. But it is of no earthly good whatsoever, unless the Minister moves now to make it an elected body, and not when group areas are nearer to finalization. In that same report one of the witnesses had this to say:
He was talking about this particular council which we are now setting up.
If, however, it is shown that that power is not real, frustration will set in and do much more harm than good.
What the witness was saying was that while this particular body stays an appointed body, as we have done by this Bill contrary to the wishes of the Indian community, this council will lack teeth, will become frustrated, will get nowhere and in the long run will probably do us more harm than good. I hope this council becomes an elected body soon. I hope that the Government will have the courage of its convictions to press on on the road it has set itself.
Mr. Speaker, at the second reading of this Bill I stood up and said that I had listened with admiration to the speeches of hon. members on the other side, on account of the way in which they had acted here. However, I am amazed and shocked to find this afternoon that the Opposition can turn such a somersault within a few days as it is now doing. And to go even further than this, the hon. member for Port Natal, a light-weight in the United Party, declared with arms held high that group areas will never be finalized in South Africa. What must one do with people of this kind, people who show no interest in the future, and who do not realize that we are acting in a positive way and are going somewhere? In spite of all that is being done, they remain blind and prefer to remain blind. If the Indian Council comes to the Minister—this is in reply to an argument put forward by the hon. member for Port Natal —and requests the reintroduction of free meals at school, they will be brought to reflect on where the free school feeding comes from. The council will be made to realize that money is required for it, and also that the white man will not be able to provide all the facilities for all the non-Whites in South Africa for ever. The council will have to learn and to realize that the time has come for the Indian, like the other population groups, to contribute his fair share towards all these facilities. For this reason there will be very close consultations between the hon. the Minister and the Indian Council, and this will contribute towards their education.
The hon. member for Port Natal also asked whether the Minister would accept the advice of the Indian Council in connection with group areas. Is the hon. member not aware of the existence of a Group Areas Board after all these years? Does the hon. member not know that this Group Areas Board demarcates group areas for all population groups, excepting the Bantu, and makes recommendations in this regard to the Minister? Every population group has the right to appear before the Group Areas Board. The hon. member now wants to make out that this function will be transferred to the Indian Council. However, the Group Areas Board will continue to deal with this aspect in future. [Interjection.] The hon. member also mentioned Isipingo Beach, but here he is making a mistake. At Isipingo the Government proved to the country and particularly to the Indian that he also has a place in the sun as far as the coastline of South Africa is concerned. This was proved by the Government at Isipingo Beach, and the United Party ought not to discuss it. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.
The hon. member for South Coast this afternoon asked with much ado and great seriousness where the road leads on which the Government has placed the Indian. He wanted to know what the end of this road would be. When the United Party was in power, we knew the end of their road. We knew in 1946 where the United Party was leading South Africa. We knew then what they were going to do with the Indian, but also what they were going to do with white South Africa. Twenty-two years ago the Opposition, when they were still sitting on the Government side, adopted Act No. 28, in terms of which the Indians obtained the right to vote. I maintain to-day that that would have been the end of that road. The Whites and the Indians of South Africa are safe in the hands of this Government, because we are not saying to-day what the end of the road will be, but are systematically taking forward each of the population groups, as is being done with the Indians at present. I want to appeal to hon. members on the other side that when we are discussing matters of colour, we should avoid causing matters to ripen prematurely. This is what the Opposition did in 1946, but this Government will not be guilty of doing the same thing. This Government will move forward step by step. We do not want to go all the way to-day. That is not necessary, Mr. Speaker. But when we proceed on our way into the future step by step, you may be sure of one thing: White South Africa will be safe, and the Indians of South Africa will also have parallel development alongside the white man in South Africa.
Mr. Speaker, I want to reply at once to the hon. member for South Coast, who put a few questions to me. I think in essence his case amounted to this: This present council, the establishment of which is envisaged by this Bill, is purely an advisory body. It is rue that it is a statutory body, but it differs very little from the existing South African Indian Council. He also wanted to know of what value assurances can be in view of the debates which have taken place in the last few days on the report of the Coloured commission. My case for this bill rests principally on the request of the Indian Council itself.
Is that the present one?
Yes. I think I mentioned in my second-reading speech that my predecessor in 1965, when he was considering the further steps in the evolution of an Indian council, had referred the whole matter to the South African Indian Council for them to go into this whole question of the development of the present South African Indian Council into an elected body. That was their term of reference. They were to consider the conversion of the existing Indian Council into a statutory, elected body. They spent some time on this investigation. Last year they handed in their report to me. I have the report here. Amongst other things they recommended that the present nominated, advisory South African Indian Council be elevated to statutory status, as from the date by which the contemplated Act is assented to by the State President and that they remain in office until the date on which the first elected council is constituted. The State President shall decide upon the date when such a council is to be constituted. In other words, they recommended that the existing council in the meantime be converted into a statutory body, and the question of an elected council will come at some future date. That is what their recommendation was. That is all that I have endeavoured to carry out, and the Bill now under discussion is the result.
Now I think the reason why my predecessor asked for this investigation by the existing South African Indian Council was that the late Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, had given ome attention himself to this question of the evolution of this Indian Council. I think I must quote just shortly from a speech which the hon. the Prime Minister made in this House on the 7th April, 1965, when his Vote was under discussion. The whole issue of the Coloureds and Coloured representation, which included Indians, had been raised. This is what the hon. the Prime Minister said, and I am quoting from Hansard (1965, column 4180):
That was confirmed by the Minister of Coloured Affairs a few days ago.
It is true that as far as the Coloureds are concerned they have certain reserves where only Coloureds live, but it is equally clear, and we have often said so, that those Coloured reserves cannot be homelands. It is not a potential state for the Coloured community, and for the Indians there is nothing of that kind either. When certain persons try to indicate how certain areas, for example, in Northern Natal, should be set aside as an Indian state, we always opposed it and said that was not our policy. What we say in fact is that there should be separate residential areas, separate, clear, urban residential areas, for the Indians and Coloureds, although the existing Coloured reserves may be retained and can be developed. Therefore I never put the problem of the Coloureds and the Indians on an equal footing with that of the Bantu, because I have always admitted that they were two separate problems which require separate solutions. But what I did in fact say in respect of the Indians was that in the same way that we want to develop their own residential areas for the Coloureds, and in the same way that within their own circles we want to make it possible for them to develop their own potential, without a ceiling …
That is the point I want to emphasize. That answers the question I think which the hon. member for South Coast put to me. There is no ceiling. They will develop through these bodies, in this instance the South African Indian Council. I do not think I can take the matter any further than I did in my Second-Reading speech, namely that this is an interim step. I give the assurance, and I think my assurance and the assurance of the Government is worth something, that this is a step in the evolutionary process, and in due course, when we have all the preparatory work finished, I will come back to this House with a Bill to give effect to the proposition that there should be at least in part an elected council.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a Third Time.
The House adjourned at