House of Assembly: Vol22 - WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH 1968
The following Bills were read a First Time:
South West Africa Constitution Bill.
Cape of Good Hope Savings Bank Society Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I move—
The economic climate of the past year has been favourable and the South African Railways have shared in the country’s prosperity. An analysis of the traffic handled reveals a high level of business activity until late in August last year. From then onwards the disinflationary measures introduced by the Government took greater effect and a slowdown in the economy was evident in the working results of the country’s national transport undertaking.
Nevertheless, as far as overall performance is concerned, the current year has been one of the best, albeit owing to somewhat fortuitous circumstances. I refer to the resuscitation of the agricultural sector, the relaxations of import control, the building up of trade inventories and stocks of strategic commodities and the increase in harbour activity arising from the closure of the Suez Canal.
From an operating point of view, this year has been a strenuous one. The shortage of manpower became even more acute, but thanks to a high level of productivity, the benefits accruing from the expansion and modernization of our facilities, and above all the outstanding co-operation of the staff, the overall transport demand has been met.
The expectations for the coming year are somewhat divergent. Whilst industrialists predict a moderately good year, commercial opinion is less optimistic. Imports of commercial goods during the last quarter of 1967 did not maintain the previous year’s level. This could be due to the effectiveness of the Government’s disinflationary measures and the considerable build-up of inventories during the early months of the year. Conditions in the agricultural sector are not as promising as they were last year and it is doubtful whether the overall production in this sector will match the level of the previous season. In addition, there are the possible effects of devaluation of the currencies of certain countries.
In the light of these circumstances the conclusion is that whilst the economy will continue to expand, the growth rate in revenue-earning goods traffic is not likely to equal the average of 5 per cent maintained during the past two years.
ANALYSIS OF WORKING RESULTS
There has been some comment on the working results of the current year, and I think it is my duty to indicate briefly the reasons for the considerable excess on the original estimate.
In presenting my Budget last year, I intimated that the prospects for 1967-’68 were encouraging and that there was considerable optimism. The expansion in the economy has been beyond expectation, and this is revealed in practically every facet of both commerce and industry. The Railways have long been known as the barometer of the national economy, and the surpluses on the monthly results of working are no more than a reflection of the buoyancy in business conditions generally.
The Budget for 1967-’68 provided for a total increase of 7.85 per cent in the Administration’s revenues. In a survey which the Stellenbosch Bureau of Economic Research published a couple of months later, the increase in the gross domestic product for 1967 was estimated at 7.9 per cent. The Bureau now estimates the growth rate at nearly 10 per cent, and the latest estimate of the Administration’s total revenue shows an improvement of 10.4 per cent over the previous year. It is apparent, therefore, that Railway earnings have merely moved in harmony with other economic indicators. Besides the benefits derived from the economic expansion, the Department, of course, also profited by the Government’s stockpiling programme.
In addition, the results of working were also influenced by the fact that expenditure has fallen short of the estimate. Last year I reported on the shortage of staff and the difficulty experienced in filling vacancies in certain grades. The position has deteriorated and the Department has been called upon to an even greater extent to meet the increased traffic demand with a smaller labour force by the efficient deployment of all its resources.
NEW WORKS PROGRAMME
Before I briefly comment on the new works programme I must emphasize that progress on such works is dictated by the availability of funds and manpower, and by the nature of things all works sanctioned annually cannot be completed in the same year. Consequently there is every year a carry-over of work still to be completed. Hon. members will observe from the new Brown Book that there is an accumulated programme of works sanctioned at a cost of R471 million still to be completed.
With an average allocation of R128 million of loan funds per year, the Administration would, therefore, have a work programme of several years, even if no new items whatsoever were added. The expanding economy of the country does not, however, permit of such a course. New rolling-stock must be acquired and additional facilities provided as required. However, in the general spirit of the Government’s intention that both the public and the private sectors should spend less, State Departments have this year had to curtail their loan fund requirements. The Administration’s own programme has been pruned by some R10 million, but I wish to give the House the assurance that despite these restrictions the progress on urgent and essential works will not be retarded.
Dealing specifically with some of the major projects, I should like to inform the House of the progress that has been made.
The new railway lines from Chiselhurst to East London harbour and from Reunion to Umlazi have been opened to traffic. As hon. members will recall, the former line was built to permit of the conveyance of maize direct to the new grain elevator, while the latter line was constructed to serve a Bantu resettlement area. The doubling of the line between Klerksdorp and Potchefstroom has been completed, with the result that ore traffic from the Postmasburg line to the Transvaal and Natal is now moving more freely.
Work on the new line from Metsi to Kaapmuiden, which will bypass the Kruger National Park and which will cater for the expanding ore traffic from Phalaborwa, is progressing and also the important new line from Vryheid to Empangeni, which is being built to provide relief on the Natal main line and ultimately to serve the proposed new harbour at Richard’s Bay.
Good progress is being made with the various line improvement and electrification projects. The doubling of the Cambridge-Blaney section is nearing completion and will be opened in stages during the second half of 1968. The deviations on the Springfontein-East London and the Kroonstad-Harrismith lines are scheduled for completion during the first half of 1969. The work on the latter section is being carried out preparatory to the electrification of this important link between the Orange Free State and Natal.
The electrified line from Kamfersdam to Hotazel has been opened to traffic as far as Postmasburg and the remaining portion of the work will be completed before the end of the year. The extension of electrification from Glencoe to Hlobane will be completed by about the same time.
The new diesel running shed at Port Elizabeth is expected to become available in June this year and the new goods layout at Kroonstad during March next year. Contracts have been let for the first stage of the new goods depot at Bayhead, Durban.
At Table Bay Harbour work has commenced on the construction of the repair pier off M Berth in the Duncan Basin. Progress on the provision of additional pre-cooling space at D and E Berths for a further 5,000 cubic tons of fruit has not been up to schedule, primarily as a result of delays in the delivery of imported materials. A portion of the new facilities has, however, already been brought into operation and the contractor is being pressed to speed up the completion of the work.
Pier No. 1 at Salisbury Island, Durban, was completed during October last year and the first cargo shed and wharf cranes were placed in service at the same time. At present two of the seven berths along this pier are in use as commercial berths and four as lay-by berths, while one is being used by the contractor. By the end of January, 1969, the remaining three cargo sheds and all wharf cranes will be available and all seven berths will by then be in use for commercial purposes. The two berths along the cross quay will become available for use as lay-by berths early in 1969.
Since the beginning of the year, one diesel and 76 electric locomotives, 60 motor coaches and 159 plain trailers for use on suburban services and 5,239 goods wagons of various types, including 50 narrow-gauge trucks, have been placed in service.
Rolling-stock already sanctioned but still on order, or to be ordered, includes 201 electric, 90 diesel and eight narrow-gauge steam locomotives, 316 main-line passenger vehicles, 153 suburban motor coaches, 399 plain trailers and 7,872 goods vehicles, including 10 narrow-gauge trucks and 18 narrow-gauge guards vans.
Despite the curtailment of capital expenditure to which I have referred, hon. members will realize that the need to conserve capital cannot be allowed to jeopardize the soundness and adequacy of the economy’s infra-structure. Provision has, therefore, been made in the Estimates of Expenditure on Capital and Betterment Works for a further 50 electric locomotives, 220 main-line passenger vehicles, 71 motor coaches, 152 plain trailers, 4,642 standard-gauge goods wagons, 30 narrow-gauge trucks and six narrow-gauge guards vans.
There has been considerable speculation since I announced the decision to extend Cape Town harbour on the seaward side of the Duncan Dock. In order to afford commercial industrial and shipping interests a further opportunity to examine the proposed scheme in the light of their particular needs, I have appointed a committee on which they are represented to re-examine the proposals. I had hoped to be in possession of the Committee’s report by now, but the Chairman has indicated that he is not yet able to report.
As hon. members know, I have already introduced a Bill for the construction of a new railway line from Empangeni to Richard’s Bay. This line will initially serve the proposed aluminium smelter near Richard’s Bay and eventually the projected new harbour. Provision for the new line is made in the Estimates of Expenditure on Capital and Betterment Works for 1968-’69. Provision is also made for an additional tanker berth at Island View, Durban Hon. members will recall that the pipeline, now operating very successfully between Durban and Johannesburg, was specifically designed for the conveyance of white petroleum products. Although this traffic takes up little more than two-thirds of the line’s capacity, the Government has, as I explained when I submitted the Additional Estimates for the current year to the House, deemed it essential in the national interest to authorize the construction of an additional pipeline, principally for the conveyance of crude oil, via Empangeni to the Reef. Provision is accordingly made in the Estimates for the construction of this pipeline at a cost of some R42 million. It is expected that tenders for its construction will be awarded in May, 1968, and the completion date is approximately 12 months later.
In view of the rapid growth in air traffic in the international, regional and domestic fields, I have had a complete survey made of the activities of South African Airways, bearing in mind particularly future traffic potential. The expansion of the airline’s operations over a wider area, and the need to acquire the latest types of aircraft so as to enable S.A. Airways to maintain its acknowledged high reputation and standing with other airlines of the world, were also taken into consideration.
It is obvious that the fleet must be substantially augmented. Delivery of new aircraft, especially new types, cannot be procured at short notice. After a close study of the types available to meet the requirements of the S.A. Airways, orders have been placed for three Boeing 747, one Boeing 707 aircraft for the international services and one Boeing 737 to supplement the fleet employed on internal services.
The 737 and 707 type aircraft are scheduled to arrive in November and December, 1969, respectively, whilst the Boeing 747’s cannot be delivered before October to December, 1971.
The Boeing 747, or jumbo jet as it is called, although subsonic, will have a cruising speed of between 610 and 630 m.p.h. which is about 20 m.p.h faster than the Boeing 707. This new type of aircraft on order is designed with a configuration to carry 363 passengers and baggage, together with 37,000 lbs. of freight. In other words, its total capacity is equivalent to about two-and-a-half times the number of passengers conveyed by a Boeing 707, plus 37,000 lbs. of freight. The freight capacity alone is equal to the full carrying capacity of a Boeing 707.
Each Boeing 747 will cost approximately R15 million, but its unit operating costs are estimated to be about a third less than those of Boeing 707’s. It will be noted that an amount of R54.8 million is provided against item No. 1120 of the Brown Book, with a cash provision of R5.5 million in 1968-’69, in respect of advance payments. Further capital investment will be necessary at a later stage for hangars and workshop buildings, as well as a simulator and other associated equipment.
Housing has long been recognized as a most important factor in ensuring a stabilized staff position. Some 42,500 of the Administration’s married staff are accommodated in departmental houses or in houses acquired with the Department’s assistance. For the coming year the new Brown Book provides for an amount of R5.5 million to be spent on departmental housing for the staff, and R3.5 million on loans under the two house ownership schemes. As the amounts repaid by way of redemption of housing loans, now averaging R4.8 million a year, are re-utilized to finance further loans to the staff, the Administration will make nearly R14 million available this year for housing. This represents the acquisition of some 1,300 additional houses Because of the limited number of applications received for loans under the Assisted House Ownership Scheme, due to the high rate of interest chargeable and the difficulty in raising housing loans, I deemed it expedient to reduce the amount appropriated by Parliament under this head for the current year by some R400,000. An equivalent amount was made available for the House Ownership Scheme under which the full amount of the loan is granted.
Having commented on some of the major new works already in hand or to be commenced and the rolling-stock, etc., being acquired to meet the country’s transport needs, I should like to give the House a brief indication of the steps being taken in other directions to meet present-day requirements. These include the need to operate longer and heavier trains to cope with the growth in traffic; modern communications and signalling systems to increase track capacity and to facilitate train control; intensive track maintenance of a high standard in order that heavy loads may be moved at high speeds; special types of goods stock to cater for specific commodities; and the intensive training of staff in modern procedures and techniques to man our services with the depleted labour resources at our disposal.
With the need to operate longer and heavier loads, the Administration has had to strengthen the drawgear of goods vehicles, improve the efficiency of the existing braking system, design lighter trucks that can carry heavy loads, and to improve the rollability of rolling-stock by using a new type of bogie equipped with roller-bearings. It has also been necessary to design and introduce special types of goods stock such as tank wagons to convey liquid products, cement and unslaked lime, refrigerated wagons for perishable commodities, trucks with a smooth interior finish which is particularly suitable for the conveyance of goods packed in cardboard containers and paper bags, as well as vehicles for palletized traffic and a new type of fish truck with a glass-fibre reinforced body.
On the civil engineering side the mechanization of track maintenance has enabled the Administration to reduce its staff complement considerably, both white and non-white, notwithstanding an increase of almost 60 per cent in the gross ton-miles of traffic moving over our lines. The high density of traffic, coupled with the faster speeds and heavier loads of trains over certain sections of line, demands a standard and tempo of track maintenance which is far beyond the capability of manual procedures.
In the field of electrical engineering the past few years have witnessed the advent of new communication and signalling systems and the electronic computer which have improved the standard of safety and efficiency in railway operation and streamlined administrative and other procedures.
Study groups are sent overseas from time to time to keep contact with the latest developments in the field of rail transport, but the initiative and ingenuity of the Administration’s own staff, who have pioneered many of the latest developments on the South African Railways, are not to be discounted.
Staff training continues to enjoy high priority in the Administration’s work programme. This applies to almost all groups of staff, both White and non-White, and includes not only functional training but also special courses in new management techniques and administrative procedures.
I now pass on to a review of the current year’s working under the following heads:
I deal firstly with goods.
As the Reserve Bank reported recently, there are indications that the restrictive monetary and fiscal measures applied by the authorities are now succeeding in their aim of reducing the excess monetary demand for goods and services, and this is confirmed by the trend in the Administration’s revenues.
During the first quarter of the financial year the tonnage of high-rated traffic exceeded the corresponding figure of 1966 by nearly 9 per cent. In the following quarter the increase was only 2.94 per cent and during the period October-December, .43 per cent.
The high rate of increase earlier in the year was due in large measure to the volume of merchandise imports. In the third quarter these fell below the level of 1966, and the total increase in revenue from high-rated goods for the first nine months of the year was only 9 per cent above the 1966 figure. There was a slight improvement during January, but it is too early to judge whether this will be maintained.
Low-rated goods reflected a steadier trend. Although the volume of export chrome and manganese was less than in the previous year, this was offset by increases in the tonnage of magnetite and iron ores and also the heavy shipments of maize. The total tonnage of low-rated goods for the nine months showed an increase of 6.4 per cent and earnings 15.75 per cent.
Goods revenue is now estimated at R384.3 million, i.e. R38.7 million, or 11.2 per cent, more than the figure for the preceding year. The high percentage increase is in part due to the revised tariffs being applicable for a full year as compared with only seven months in 1966/67.
As a result of the fairly severe winter and also by reason of the revised tariffs, revenue from coal during the period April to July exceeded the figure for the corresponding months of 1966 by R1.6 million. The traffic later decreased, however, and earnings for the period September-December were, in fact, R19,000 less than the corresponding figure for the previous year. The total tonnage to the end of December showed an increase of only 2.2 per cent on the 1966 figure, and revenue for the year is estimated at R54.5 million, i.e. R2.1 million more than in 1966/67.
The number of first and second-class passengers is well below the previous year’s total, but in the third-class the number of journeys has risen by 5.4 per cent in the case of suburban and 2.2 per cent on long-distance trains. It is anticipated that passenger revenue will amount to R69.1 million, i.e. only 1.9 per cent more than in 1966/67.
Road Transport Services
The number of first-class passengers making use of the Administration’s Road Transport Services continues to decrease, but the number of third-class passenger journeys during the first nine months of the year increased by more than 9 per cent. The tonnage of goods rose by 3.5 per cent and cream traffic by 19 per cent. Livestock decreased by nearly 21 per cent as there was no movement of drought-stricken stock.
Road Transport revenue for 1967/68 is estimated at R16.8 million, or R700,000 more than in 1966/67.
The harbours experienced a high level of activity throughout the year, and the volume of cargo handled, both imports and exports, rose by more than 34 per cent.
The increase in cargo discharged was in respect of merchandise, principally during the first five months of the financial year, and petroleum products, whilst the increase in exports comprised mainly maize, sugar and general cargo. Durban accounted for more than 50 per cent of the total tonnage handled at all harbours and Cape Town 25 per cent. During the period April to December, 1967, 10,734 oceangoing ships called at South African harbours, 2,380 being vessels diverted from Suez.
Wharfage dues for the year exceed the 1966-’67 total by R3.3 million, due initially to the relaxation of import control but also to the substantial volume of oil discharged and bunkered and the heavy maize exports.
Port and light dues and revenue from tugs show an increase of R2.5 million, largely on account of shipping diverted from Suez.
Total harbour revenue is now estimated at R41.2 million, i.e. R7.2 million, or 21 per cent, more than the preceding year.
In addition to the other petroleum products, large consignments of crude oil and naphtha were conveyed by pipeline during the current year, and at times the volume of traffic reached such proportions that it became necessary to introduce a fourteen-day pumping cycle, which considerably reduced the quantity of slop normally accumulating as a result of intermixing.
There were three serious fires during the year, two as a result of the line being punctured by heavy earth-moving equipment working in the vicinity and one due to a burst at a temporary joint which was to have been repaired the following day.
Pipeline revenue is estimated at R24.6 million, i.e. R7.4 million more than in 1966-’67.
The demand for air transport continues to grow and the indications are that the passenger total for the year will exceed the one-million mark for the first time in S.A.A.’s history. Compared with the same period of the previous year, passenger traffic during the first nine months of the current financial year advanced by 18.8 per cent on the Springbok services, 36.2 per cent on the Australian, 6.1 per cent on the regional and 12.5 per cent on internal standard class services. Owing to the popularity of the Boeing 727 aircraft the patronage of the Skycoach services, using Viscounts, was disappointing and barely exceeded the previous year’s passenger totals.
During the same period cargo ton-miles increased by 11 per cent on the internal services, but on the overseas services there was a decrease. In order to secure S.A.A.’s legitimate share of the available traffic, a freight service to Paris was introduced recently in partnership with U.T.A. and this is being well patronized. Total Airways revenue is now estimated at R55.7 million, i.e. R7.2 million more than the previous year’s figure.
Revenue: All Services (1967-’68)
Revenue from all services is now expected to reach a total amount of R753,834,000, or R76.1 million more than in 1966-’67.
Expenditure: All Services (1967-’68)
In accordance with the Additional Estimates of Expenditure to be defrayed from revenue funds, dealt with by the House last month, the revised estimate of expenditure for the current year is R718,665,800.
The year is, therefore, expected to close with a surplus of R35.2 million.
I propose to utilize R3 million of this surplus to meet part of the cost of the housing programme, and to credit the Rates Equalization Fund with the balance.
As mentioned in my introductory remarks, the staff position in certain grades deteriorated during the current year. The average shortage in certain important operating grades is now in excess of 13 per cent and, in the case of artisans, almost 20 per cent. In certain individual grades the actual shortage is considerably higher.
In the ranks of the professional staff the position is equally difficult. The intake of engineers nowadays consists almost entirely of graduates who study with the aid of Railway scholarships. In this connection I may mention that 808 scholarships have been awarded since the inception of the scheme. Up to the present 319 students have completed their studies but only 174 of these are still in the Service, the remainder having resigned. There is also a high wastage rate in the case of the B. Com. scholarship scheme and the training scheme for engineering assistants.
The losses in the ranks of these beneficiaries are disappointing, hut the continuation of the schemes is, nevertheless, considered to be in the national interest even though the Administration does not reap the full benefit immediately.
Notwithstanding the fact that the total white staff, who are primarily responsible for the movement of traffic, decreased by nearly 1,000 units during the current year, it was possible to handle the total traffic volume which increased by some 4 per cent on a ton-mile basis during the same period. This clearly proves that the Administration, with the loyal support of the staff, once again succeeded in achieving a higher level of productivity.
Hon. members are aware that I received strong representations last year from all staff groups for wage improvements. Because of the Government’s campaign to combat inflation I was unfortunately not able to meet their request at that time. Present economic indications are, however, that the war against inflation is being won. In these circumstances, and bearing in mind the loyal co-operation of the staff and my undertaking to consider their wage claims at an opportune time, I have decided to make certain salary and wage concessions to the staff, both White and non-White. The wage concessions, which also involve an adjustment in overtime and Sunday time rates, will become effective from the April, 1968, paymonth. The total cost approximates R43 million per annum. The staff associations will be notified of the details of the adjustments in due course.
Hon. members will be glad to hear that Railway pension beneficiaries have not been forgotten. In response to representations it has been decided to abolish, with effect from 1st October, 1968, the means test at present applied in determining the temporary allowance payable to them. This means that from that date the allowance will be paid at the rate of R35 per month for married and R15 per month for unmarried pensioners, irrespective of income from any other source. The estimated cost of this concession is R800.000 per annum.
My colleague, the Minister of Finance, will deal with the representations of Public and Provincial Servants for improved working conditions as well as matters relating to civil pensioners, in his Budget speech.
PROSPECTS FOR 1968-’69
If the brakes on the rate of expansion in the national economy continue to be effective, their restraining influence may well be reflected in the slower growth of rail earnings in the coming months.
With regard to the prospects for high-rated traffic from specific sectors of the economy, reports from Commerce predict a slight slowdown in the rate of increase in sales by both retailers and wholesalers. It would appear also, from a survey conducted by the Stellenbosch Bureau for Economic Research, that both the wholesale and retail trade intend to reduce stocks on a substantial scale during 1968. Obviously, where replenishment is retarded there will be an adverse effect on railings.
Having regard to the limited availability of credit and the effects of other disinflationary measures, it is also generally accepted that, despite recent relaxations of import control, the level of imports is unlikely to be much higher than that of 1967. The view of the Association of Chambers of Commerce in this regard is that, due to the ever-increasing proportion of consumer requirements supplied by South African Industry, imports of consumer goods—always an important factor in railway earnings—now represent only a small proportion of total imports.
The Administration’s revenues will also be affected by the anticipated reduction in the volume of crude oil imports during the year to come.
Regarding exports of fruit, wine and other high-rated agricultural products, it is not considered that their volume, and consequently rail and harbour earnings, will decline significantly as a result of the sharper competition following devaluation in Britain and certain other territories, although the position is not free from doubt.
On the whole, therefore, it would appear that as far as the high-rated categories of traffic are concerned, the rate of growth is likely to diminish during the year 1968-’69.
As regards the low-rated commodities, it is estimated that over two million tons of the 1967 crop of maize will be available for export during 1968, and dependent on favourable weather conditions, a total of 3.35 million tons of maize exports is expected to be transported in 1968-’69.
Exports of manganese and chrome ore, which are already lower than in 1966, may be influenced by economic conditions in the principal overseas markets, viz., the United States, United Kingdom and West Germany, whilst producers of manganese ore are faced with competition from West Africa. In the case of iron ore, Australia is also competing on the Japanese market and the prospects for South African exports there are not very favourable.
An increase in the production of fertilizers is expected during 1968-’69, but advice has been received that production at coastal plants will not vary substantially from the 1967 level. The additional output will be largely from inland factories closer to the farming areas, with proportionately less benefit to the Railways.
In comparison, therefore, with the rise of 4.87 per cent in 1967-’68 in total freight tonnage, including coal and livestock, provision is made for an increase of only 2.07 per cent in 1968-’69. Revenue from goods, coal and livestock is estimated at R454.5 million or 1.99 per cent higher than in 1967-’68, compared with the increase of 9.98 per cent in the preceding year.
The introduction of a train service to the Umlazi resettlement area is expected to provide a considerable increase in the number of suburban passenger journeys during the coming year. Taking into account the steady annual increase in third-class suburban traffic, passenger revenue for 1968-’69 is estimated at R73,280,000, or almost 6 per cent more than in 1967-’68.
On the assumption that imports will not increase materially but that the diversion of ships from Suez will continue throughout the year, provision is made in the estimates for a rise of R1.3 million (i.e. approximately 3.1 per cent) in harbour revenue.
During the coming year it is not anticipated that the same volume of crude oil and naphtha will be transported by pipeline as in 1967-’68, and after allowing for a normal annual increase in the case of other petroleum products, total pipeline revenue is estimated at R21 million, which is well below the figure for 1967-’68.
S.A. Airways expect an additional R7.2 million in earnings in 1968-’69, i.e. the same increase as in 1967-’68. Airline revenue for the coming year is thus estimated at R62,968,000.
Revenue from all services during the year 1968-’69 is expected to total R774,865,000.
The Estimates of Expenditure to be defrayed from Revenue during 1968-’69, tabled two days ago, do not provide for the salary and wage concessions and reflect a total expenditure of R762,380,000, so that the year would close with an estimated surplus of approximately R12.5 million.
Taking into account the cost of the salary and wage improvements to be met from revenue funds and concessions to pension beneficiaries for which Supplementary Estimates are being tabled, it is anticipated that the results of working will show a deficit of some R24 million. I wish to assure the House that whatever the amount of the deficit, this shortfall will not be recouped by way of tariff adjustments but will be financed in toto from the Rates Equalization Fund.
Before I close I have an item which will not affect the results of working for the ensuing financial year but which may be of particular interest to the Hon. Members from South West Africa: It has been decided to abolish, with effect from 1st April, 1969, the split rates at present applicable to traffic conveyed between the Republic and South West Africa. The resultant loss will require to be borne by the Railways.
The Railway Commissioners, the General Manager and every member of the staff, under difficult conditions, once again succeeded in successfully meeting the high demands with which they were faced. I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to them all for their loyal support and devoted services rendered under pressure of disinflationary measures and acute staff shortages.
I now lay upon the Table—
- (1) Estimates of Expenditure on Capital and Betterment Works of the South African Railways and Harbours for the year ending 31st March, 1969 [R.P.6—'68];
- (2) Supplementary Estimates of the Expenditure to be defrayed from Revenue Funds during the year ending 31st March, 1969 [R.P. 31—’68];
- (3) Memorandum setting out the estimated results of working of the South African Railways and Harbours for the financial year 1967-’68 and anticipated revenue and expenditure for the year 1968-’69, together with the latest traffic and other statistics [W.P. A—’68]; and
- (4) Statements of the Estimated Revenue and Expenditure of the South African Railways and Harbours for the year ending 31st March, 1969, and Statements of the Original and Revised Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year ending 31st March, 1968 [R.P. 7—’68].
Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that we on this side of the House welcome particularly the announcement by the hon. the Minister that the staff of the South African Railways and Harbours will receive some relief from the economic pressures under which they have suffered during the past year. We do not want to minimize our gratification at the news the Minister has given us on that score.
But there are certain points about that which need further clarification. I was surprised by the vagueness of the Minister’s statement. I want to express the hope at once that these benefits will be in the form of direct salary and wage increases. Will they be?
They will be.
Because fringe benefits alone cannot meet the requirements of the workers. I think the House should note the very serious consequences of the long delay on the part of the hon. the Minister to make these adjustments. [Laughter.] Hon. members may laugh, but when one reads that the establishment of artisans of the S.A. Railways is 20 per cent below strength, anybody who has the interests of the S.A. Railways at heart will be perturbed and disturbed. It is definitely not a matter for laughter at all, and I am sure the hon. the Minister does not laugh at it.
Furthermore, I think the public outside will now be curious to know whether this means, as the Minister actually hinted in two or three places during his speech, that it is the considered opinion of the Government that inflation has been beaten. We must now expect that when the hon. the Minister of Finance comes with his budget there will be adjustments in the wages and salaries also of public servants. This action by the Government, in the first place announced by the hon. Minister of Transport, will have repercussions throughout our economy. The private sector is now going to face irresistible demands for similar increases. What is regrettable is that in this Budget there is no sign on the part of the hon. the Minister that he is undoing an injustice to the railway user committed last year —the increase of rates at a time when he should not have done it, when inflation and the cost structure made it most undesirable. For that there is to be no redress. It will be a further tragedy if next week there is to be no redress for the private sector of our economy either in accordance with the expectation being created by the Government that inflation has been beaten.
However, the Minister made a most interesting speech. I am particularly interested in his estimates for the coming year. He seems to have been extremely conservative throughout, giving the impression that he expects this inflation to continue during the coming year and that, as a result, there is to be no relaxation of the curbs placed on the economy of South Africa in order to discourage excessive growth. As I have said, the Minister made a most interesting speech, but I think the House will agree that all of us are entitled to time to consider it further. Accordingly I move—
Amendments in clauses 3, 15 and 17 put and agreed to.
Amendment in clause 17 put and agreed to.
Amendment in clause 15 put and agreed to.
When this debate was adjourned yesterday afternoon I said that I was hoping that during the two days the Bill had been debated both sides of the House would find some common ground for agreement so that we might go forward together and prepare a Bill or devise a method for the economic development and not only for the rehabilitation of the reserves. Well. I am disappointed that we did not get as far as that. I am not very much concerned about the question whether there is economic integration, or any of the other fancy names hon. members used. I have regarded this Bill throughout as an economic measure, and. consequently, it would have been more appropriate if it had been handled either by the Minister of Economic Affairs or the Minister of Finance. Both sides of the House are agreed on one thing— all of us are anxious to develop the reserves economically not only in their own interests but also in the interests of the country as a whole. While I listened to the introductory speech of the hon. the Minister—and may I thank him for making available to us copies of that speech in advance—I got the impression, especially from paragraphs 3 and 4, that he himself was disappointed with the progress they had made in this field over the past eight years.
Well, that is the impression one gets when one reads his speech. He said he had decided last year to introduce a measure to improve what had already been done for the development of the reserves. Well, I do not blame him. I have here two reports to which reference has been made during the course of this debate, i.e. the report of the Bantu Investment Corporation and of the Xhosa Development Corporation. These reports are for the year ending at the end of March, 1966. Are these the most recent reports?
I think so, although I am not quite sure.
In any event, it is the most recent I could find. And if it is so then that in itself condemns what has been done— because here we have two reports two years old without there being an interim report in the meantime. How can we judge what progress is being made if we do not have a proper audited and up to date report before us. Goodness knows, as it is we receive little enough information in these reports. So, I can understand that if this is all the Minister can show he himself must feel disappointed.
Let us look at the activities of the Xhosa Development Corporation. This corporation was given R1 million as capital. All shares were paid up—so that they had R1 million to play with. But looking through its balance sheet one wonders what they have done with the money. We see from the report that the corporation had a few heavy investments and a profit. These are the investments: With the Public Debt Commissioners R493.000; with Saambou Building Society R150.000: and with the Nasionale Building Society R350,000. I admit that in the short period they did not have time to have the money invested in development. But they have shown a profit. But the profit they have shown is the interest drawn on the money given to it for the purpose of developing the reserves.
Are these not all Bantu-owned concerns?
Is the Saambou Building Society a Bantu-owned concern?
I do not know the Nasionale Building Society. Is that from the same stable? I think their sources of revenue are really established if that is the case.
Sir, in the first half of the hon. the Minister’s speech he dealt with the clauses of the Bill. In the second half he eulogized what had been done in the reserves already—nothing to do with the Bill. I feel that we require something very much more than that. I see the plan and I want to say to the Minister that I think that, being disappointed in the progress that has been made, he has gone to the example of the Industrial Development Corporation in order to give himself the control of a corporation similar to the I.D.C.; he will now have this overall corporation. I want to say that if he is going to persist in this we shall have to ask for certain assurances in this debate. Throughout the debate we proposed that this Bill should go to a select committee so that we could get expert evidence from people who have already expressed themselves about the development of the reserves. Our view is a very simple one; we said, “Go back to the report of the Tomlinson Commission”. That is our proposal, but the hon. the Minister will not have the Tomlinson Commission report. He simply says that they are going to make money available through a reserve fund.
Sir, now we come to the hon. the Deputy Minister. I am sorry he is not here. I think the hon. the Deputy Minister has given us the key to the disappointment. He says it is really impossible to develop the reserves because the Bantu themselves in the reserves have not been developed sufficiently as individuals to be able to take part in this development. He says it is a human problem; it is not only a problem of providing the secondary development, that is to say, industrial development and so on; it is primarily one of developing the Bantu themselves, especially in education.
Do you not agree with that?
Of course, I do. The hon. the Deputy Minister says that sufficient has not been done in education—we realize that—and then they suggest that we are to blame. They asked what we did when we were in power. Well, I want to say to the hon. the Minister that when I think of the 1948 election. I recall that we had members from the other side, who were then in Opposition, stumping the country and saying that the United Party Government were prepared to spend £4 million (R8 million) per annum on the Bantu for education. They said that the man who had initiated it, Mr. Hofmeyr, one of the two great Ministers of Finance this country has known, was a “kafferboetie” because he had done that. Sir, we did our best.
The hon. the Deputy Minister then went further and said that in order to measure the progress that had been made in the development of the reserves, it was not fair to compare them with the white areas. I quite agree with that. No one has ever made that comparison. What we have said is that they have hardly been developed at all. But the Deputy Minister said that we should make a comparison with other countries in Africa. Sir, the other countries in Africa are not part of South Africa. These are our own people in our own country, and they have been in our own country for hundreds of years. The comparison is not valid at all. What was his next comparison? The next comparison he made was this: He said that you could not expect to get entrepreneurs amongst the Bantu. We quite agree. That is why we suggested that you should go back to the recommendations of the Tomlinson Commission and allow white entrepreneurs to go in. The hon. the Deputy Minister went on to say that we must first develop the human material, and then having done that, we shall have something to work on; we shall have engineers and professional men. Well, if we have not got engineers and professional men, who are to blame for that? When the system of Bantu education was introduced for the first time in this country, there was a flourishing university college which was on the point of becoming a university, at Fort Hare. In the report of the Tomlinson Commission they refer to the possibility of Fort Hare developing in that way. The next point he mentioned was this: He said, “Why should we be afraid of competition; why should we be afraid that the lower wage scale in the reserves will compete with the wage scales in our white areas?” He said that Japan had not competed in that way. But the story here is different; he is not going to impose tariffs against the Transkei. Sir, I want to go on to what I regard as the two fundamental principles in this Bill. If you have a development corporation like this one that is proposed here, or the two that we already have, what is the fundamental problem? The fundamental problem is this: How can we have managerial independence combined with public accountability? When I talk about “public accountability” I mean accountability to this House that votes the money, not to the hon. the Minister alone. Various members have expressed their views about this question of accountability. We have discussed this question in the House for a very long time. It was raised in this House in debate in 1951; that was in the days of Mr. Havenga. Sir, I have quoted this on another occasion; I should like to quote it again. When we asked the Minister of Economic Affairs to give us information about the Industrial Development Corporation and the other national public corporations like Iscor, Sasol, etc., this is what Mr. Havenga had to say in his reply to the debate—
An hon. member: And you have to find the money.
The Minister of Finance: I know that as a result of greater burdens which the State has to bear in regard to the financing of these corporations, it is reasonable that Parliament should demand the right to have some control but that control, I submit, should be over broad questions of policy. I know my hon. friend (the Minister of Economic Affairs) was worried by certain developments, and he has promised the House that he is going to take a greater interest in the running of these undertakings.
You see, Sir, it was a problem as long ago as that, and if that was true of these great national undertakings, how much more true is it of these Bantu Corporations? I think it is essential that there should be a measure of parliamentary control.
Are you not satisfied with clause 24 of the Bill?
Sir, I was interested in what the hon. member for Heilbron had to say. He said that I personally had urged in this House a closer association between the Department of Economic Affairs and these corporations. My objection is that the association is much too close. The hon. member has misunderstood what I have had to say over the years. What I am asking for is that it should not be the Minister of Economic Affairs who receives the report, but that we should have it, similar to the report, referred to by the hon. member for Transkei, by the Auditor-General. I think it is essential. When we have raised the matter, when we have asked questions about the development, and even when we asked about a particular company, when the I.D.C. had difficulty over that company and had certain sums at stake, we were told that the Minister was not responsible, that he was only responsible for nominating the directors but he was not responsible for what they did.
That is why I ask whether you are not satisfied with clause 24 of this Bill.
I am coming to that. Clause 24 does not meet us at all. Let us look at clause 24. What have you to do under clause 24? The hon. member for Wolmaransstad asked why we wanted this investigation, because we could raise this under the Minister’s Vote. But we cannot raise it under the Minister’s Vote in terms of the Bill. The Minister is not responsible; his directors are responsible. They are not responsible to him; they are not servants of his Department.
Who appoints them?
The Minister, on behalf of the Trust. [Interjections.] The Trust still may require these things, not Parliament. Parliament votes the money. In this case it is the Auditor-General who tells Parliament, much to the embarrassment of hon. members opposite. [Interjections.] That is the story we have just heard from the hon. member for Heilbron, and there were other hon. members who spoke in a similar vein. I am sorry the hon. member for Florida is not here. He seemed to think that the hon. member for Pinetown had cast reflections on the directors.
Of course he did.
I am very glad the hon. member for Brakpan is here and that he has taken up the cudgels on behalf of the hon. member for Florida. What the hon. member for Pinetown did was this: He contrasted the measure of control under the Companies Law with the measure of control which is required here. He pointed out that if under the Companies Law reports of this kind were to be presented the directors would find themselves in trouble. Naturally, and we know that, because this is a different kind of control. The hon. member for Florida seemed to think that we on this side intended to have tight control, but we do not wish to have that. But we are not satisfied with the manner in which it is developing at present, and I want to read to the House the opinion of a brilliant economist at one of our universities who has done a good deal of research into what is happening with these public corporations. He ends up his dissertation by saying this. He is Mr. Roux of the University of South Africa, and he says—
I have quoted that because it expresses my view. It is not a question of what is being done by these directors. The point is the question of accountability. Let us take the misunderstanding of the hon. member for Pietersburg, who says surely the system proposed here is similar to what you have in a city council. It is not. The accounts of a city council are audited and they come before the council. If you attend a meeting of the Johannesburg City Council, you will soon hear what they have to say about the accounts, especially the Opposition there. But then the most colossal blunder of all was made by the hon. member for Pietersburg when he said: Look at the S.A. Railways; that is a similar undertaking. Well, well. This afternoon we heard a statement in regard to the S.A. Railways by the hon. the Minister of Transport, who is now submitting himself to the criticism and investigation of this House for a week. That is perfect accountability, and that is the essential difference. The hon. member says we have one policy in this country and another one overseas, and he says when we go overseas we boast of the achievements of the Nationalist Government. That is not so; we think of them as a prodigal son, and when we go overseas we try to keep our differences in the family. We do not tell the worst to the people outside; we put the best possible face on it. I have found myself in the embarrassing position overseas of trying to defend the Bantu education system in this country. [Interjections.]
I am very glad the hon. member for Wolmaransstad is here, because the case he put was this. When this Bill eventually goes to Committee we shall not need any further report back to Parliament; we shall be able to consider every clause in detail. I concede the point, but we do not have all the wisdom in our Select Committee. We do not know what is going to happen to all these companies afterwards. The hon. member for Wolmaransstad thinks that every year we can get up in this House under the Vote of the Minister of Bantu Administration and debate the details of this, but we cannot. The people with whom that should be discussed are the directors of the company, as we have in the case of the Select Committee on Railways.
Now I come to another point, which I regard as one of the two principal points. The second one is in regard to the constitution of the Board. There is provision in clauses 9, 10 and 14 for a Board of Directors who will be nominated by the Minister, and an Advisory Board. The hon. member for Heilbron spoke about the system that Mr. Anton Rupert was following. I do not think it is a fair comparison. When Mr. Rupert explains his system, he has investments in other countries, whereas we are discussing an investment in this country. This is what Mr. Rupert said—
Then he described how his companies are conducted and said—
That is not what we are asking for.
I did not say that was what you were asking for. I said that had been suggested.
Well, I am very glad that is the explanation. But we can think on those lines. We are going to train the Bantu to develop their own reserves and to obtain their own directors, eventually.
The magic word here is “uiteindelik”— eventually. Eventually that will happen. How will they learn? How does a man learn to fly? He does not learn to fly by studying Newton’s laws of motion and the theory of flight. He learns through being in the aircraft with the man who is training him. That is the obvious thing to do. Now it comes to this, that we have to choose between two systems. The hon. member for Heilbron, whom I regarded as that side’s chief speaker because he followed on after the opening speech, said the system which is advocated in this measure has been operating in the university colleges quite successfully. I cannot see how it can ever operate successfully; I do not think it can. When we discussed this in the select committee, which became a commission, on separate university facilities, all the best advice in the country which we could get, and I think especially of Pretoria University, Potchefstroom and Stellenbosch, was obtained, and they gave us the following advice. They said we must have non-Whites on the same board with us, on the same council. They asked how they could ever learn if they were not on the same council?
What about clause 10 dealing with advisory boards?
They said they should be on the same council. Otherwise, how are they going to make contact? How are they going to learn otherwise? The aim is eventually to hand over to these people. I would not suggest handing over now, but what I think the hon. the Minister should consider is the following. Instead of having this advisory council, this board of advisory directors, why not include one or two Bantu on the suggestion, for example, of the government in the Transkei? Take this Transkei report. Why not have one or two of them on that Board? They can be suggested by that government and considered by the hon. the Minister, who can also accept them, if they are satisfactory. Surely that is the best way; that is the correct approach. Otherwise, how are they going to learn? How are they going to learn in a university college to control the affairs of the senate? I am speaking not so much of the university council as of the senate. It is an advisory senate in a university college. A senior man may be in an advisory capacity in an advisory senate. This is quite wrong but the argument is, they cannot sit together. But why can they not sit together? They are not developing in our area; they are developing in their own areas. Surely some concessions can be made in that respect?
Read clause 10 (1).
We will do all that in committee, when, I think, we shall have an excellent opportunity.
I want to take one final point. I would suggest to the Minister that instead of persisting with this Bill, if he does not agree with the appointment of a select committee, he should go to the Government and say the I.D.C. has now performed the first part of the task for which it was created. It was first of all created in order to assist developing industries, and secondly to assist Government undertakings. Those two aims were laid down by the United Party government in 1940. Those were the two reasons for the establishment of the I.D.C. [Time expired.]
Mr. Speaker, I should like to reply to the debate, which has now lasted slightly more than two sitting days. With your leave, I shall first discuss the matter in general, and then reply to specific points raised by hon. members.
There was a very widespread reaction to the Bill which is now receiving our attention. Firstly, I want to refer to contributions from hon. members on my own side of the House, and I want to say, and you will probably agree with me, that hon. members on this side have made my task much easier in that they have in many respects replied to arguments, assertions and counterfeit arguments from the other side of the House. They have in this way made my task much easier in that I, therefore, do not have to go into every assertion made by hon. members of the Opposition.
When the debate began, I made up my mind to listen very attentively—and I am saying this to hon. members on my own side—to what each one of them said, and not to use their speaking turns as my rest periods. I wanted to see to what extent they were making my task easier. I made notes, which I can read out here, of how each hon. member on my side dealt with certain aspects raised by hon. members on the opposite side. Consequently it is unnecessary for me to reply to those points.
I can assure you that it is very necessary that you reply to them.
I see that the first speaker on the Opposition side is already uneasy now that he hears me thanking hon. members on this side for their positive contribution, because he knows what his own contribution was like. He is also very well aware of what the contribution of his colleagues on the opposite side was like. I now come to what they have said, since the hon. member is eager to hear what I have to say about them.
I want to make quite a few general observations about the way in which the debate was conducted by the opposite side. The first observation is that very little was said about the new aspects being proposed by this measure. Hon. members of the Opposition had nothing at all to say about the intrinsic nature of the new aspects of this Bill. The only exception was the hon. member for Kensington, who has said a few things about those aspects a moment ago. We must remember that this measure is really a consolidation of, plus an addition to, two Acts which have been in existence for years. It was therefore very necessary to go into the new aspects of this Bill. But that was not what the hon. members of the Opposition concerned themselves with. I am not talking about the real innovations in this measure. The real innovations in this measure are the following. Actually there are only two general assertions I want to make. Firstly, the corporations are being brought closer to the trusteeship concept of our Bantu administration, and secondly, it will now be possible to proceed in a much more flexible way with the existing corporations and with other corporations which may be established. But they did not go into those aspects at all.
They are the same as under the old policy.
May I remind you, Sir, that that hon. member had unlimited time in which to speak, but he sat down before an hour had elapsed. Now he must keep quiet so that I can speak.
“Orders is orders.”
It seems to me the hon. member who made that interjection is only now getting his thoughts in order, instead of doing it yesterday when he spoke. Throughout this debate we heard like a constant refrain— also a moment ago when the hon. member for Kensington was speaking—how that side were so sanctimoniously expecting something big to be introduced here. Their expression was that there could be “common ground” here, an expression which echoed like a refrain. It was decided in their caucus that this was one of the points on which they should hammer, i.e. this “common ground” idea. If there is such a terribly great need for “common ground”, and if there is such a great desire on that side to co-operate on a common basis—something which I doubt very much in any case—then I ask: Why were there no constructive suggestions forthcoming from their side? They could have suggested a common basis, which they could have made tempting to us and difficult for us to say no to. But we heard nothing of that nature. They did not mention one such point. They did not come forward with a single point which could have been regarded as a common basis of action. All that was forthcoming from that side was pious idle talk. It was all negative.
Another general observation I want to make is that hon. members on the opposite side pretended that this Bill was introducing something brand new (“vonkelnuut”).
First you said it contained nothing new; now you are saying that it is something new.
No. I said hon. members on the opposite side pretended that it was brand new. That is precisely what I also said a moment ago. “Vonkelnuut” means brand new, in case the hon. member does not know. Hon. members on the opposite side pretended that there had never been anything in the nature of corporations in the past years and that they themselves had been unable to see how those corporations conducted themselves. They pretended that the corporations were being introduced for the first time now. That is the attitude that was adopted by hon. members on the opposite side. One could have used the existing Acts as a criterion for determining how the corporations had worked in practice and in what respect the existing Acts contained deficiencies. Nowhere did they show us where the existing Acts fell short in terms of proven practice. I am not talking now about the theoretical ideas which the Opposition now have in regard to the Acts and which correspond with those they had as long ago as 1959, when the first Act was introduced.
A third general observation I want to make is that, in the main, hon. members on the opposite side discussed one matter which is not specifically being introduced in this bill by so much as one single word. It is also ironic that certain hon. members—such as the hon. member for Bezuidenhout, who, as far as I can see, did not even read the Bill— said in addition that the one matter they were discussing, and which I say was not specifically included in this Bill, was badly phrased in this Bill. This is the so-called agency basis on contractorship in terms of which Whites may operate in the Bantu areas if we approve it. I challenge hon. members on the opposite side to show me where provision is now for the first time being made in this Bill for the agency principle in the Bantu homelands.
We were replying to arguments.
No, and I repeat, no; the hon. member was in part replying to arguments, and in addition he—and not only he, because he is in good bad company— said, when he was discussing the agency principle, that the Bill was making provision for it in an inadequate way. That is what the hon member said, and nowhere in the Bill is provision being made for that. He did not even find it between the lines, because it is not even to be found there. I did in fact deal with the question of agencies because I gave a very comprehensive introduction to the Bill. I also furnished an explanation of the procedures according to which we were setting about our task. But the point is that I did not state that provision was being made in the Bill for agencies. This is an inherent capacity that each corporation has. If hon. members had put it in that way, it would have been a different matter. However, I take it amiss of them that they did not even read the Bill carefully enough to have seen that provision was not being made for that.
It is a poor argument you are now using.
No, it is not a poor argument. It points to a poor scrutiny of the Bill on the part of the Opposition. [Interjections.] I want to make a further general observation, i.e. in regard to the statement made by various members on the opposite side that development in the homelands is too slow and that there is an urgent need for industrial development. That is allegedly the important thing A great deal can be said about this matter, but I want to refer to it very briefly.
Firstly I merely want to say this. If industrial development is really all that necessary and was just as necessary in the past as well, why was there not a great influx of interested industrialists to those Bantu areas when the Opposition was in power? In our time there has been no great influx either, because we have not been overwhelmed by people who want to go to the homelands for the purpose of establishing industries, to such an extent that we have had to chase them away in great numbers. That has not been the case at all. We are not even being overwhelmed by people who want to go to the border industry areas. There is not even a great influx in that regard.
We know that.
Yes, I know that hon. members on the opposite side know that. I also know that the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) goes into ecstasies on that score. I know that he is grateful for that. But the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) has shaken his head so much on that account that I can hear it here where I am standing.
That is an old hackneyed story of yours.
Who is the hackney horse? Surely that hon. member is not a hackney horse. [Interjections.] Hon. members may as well get done with shouting now. I want to tell the hon. member for North Rand that I admit that that is an old, hackneyed argument, i.e. that somebody is shaking his head so much that you can hear it. I will not use it again, but I still remember how that image was used here for the first time in respect of that hon. member.
If you are going to confine yourself to attacking people here, you are going to have very little time in which to say anything.
I say that the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) is pleased about the statement I made that we were not even being overwhelmed by people wanting to go to the border industry areas. However, I want to tell that hon. member that the figures indicate that the interest in that regard has been increasing steadily over the past few years. The interest will become even greater in years to come. We are not discussing border industries now, because they are not the subject under discussion here.
What border areas do they want to stream into?
That hon. member cannot be so stupid that he cannot understand that I may not now discuss border industries here. [Interjections.] That hon. member is the last person I would be afraid to discuss border industries with, but it does not even fall under my Vote. But I nevertheless want to tell him that if there has not even been a great influx in that regard, particularly not in the beginning, how could there possibly be an influx into the homelands? That is the point. I know the hon. member cannot understand it. I do not blame him for it, because it is not his fault. But hon. members on the opposite side must remember, and I have said this here repeatedly, that development in the Bantu homelands is by no means a simple matter of industrial economic development. Hon. members on this side of the House stated this very clearly. I stated it emphatically here in September or October, 1966, when my Vote was being discussed. Last year I had a policy motion, lasting an entire week, in the Senate in regard to this important subject, i.e. the internal development of the Bantu homelands. It has been stated time and again, and I am not going to repeat it on this occasion I have furnished hon. members with the references for this. I notice that the hon. member for Pinelands is hanging on my words. He will probably go and look it up.
I stated very emphatically what economic development is and how the different facets of economic development in a homeland, as in any area, follow one another. Agriculture develops first, and the people develop with it. The development of the Bantu in that area is actually of more importance than agriculture, because of what avail is the development of agriculture if the people are not developed? It is the people who have to develop agriculture as well. With that is associated all the other facets of economic development, such as trade, which, strangely enough, preceeded industrial development in the Bantu areas. In most communities trade is a little ahead of industrial development, because in agriculture man is always haggling and buying and bartering. He must buy in order to subsist. I dealt fully with the infra-structure and every thing associated with that. The hon. members have a very unbalanced view of economy if they think that only one thing is required in the Bantu areas, i.e. a chimney on every antheap or a factory on every morgen of land one finds there. That is not the solution in regard to the Bantu areas. Of what avail will it be to crowd the Bantu areas with smoking factories if the people there do not lend themselves to economic development and if they cannot absorb things into their system and cannot cope with the concomitant development? [Interjections.] Mr. Speaker, I think it is my turn to speak now. The hon members on the opposite side must display this much goodwill to me. I am not threatening them in any way, but I want to warn them that I have an unlimited time for this speech. I have in my time spoken for hours on end and I feel quite capable of doing so again. I want to warn them in advance that they will not get me back into my seat any sooner through jeering, shouting and unfair treatment. In fact, they will provoke me into remaining on my feet until the House automatically adjourns. Hon. members must give me a chance to try and reply in a courteous manner. Surely that is not asking too much of my colleagues on the opposite side?
But may I say something? [Laughter.]
Very well, the hon. member may ask me a question, but according to the rules he is not allowed to say something.
I want to ask the hon. Minister whether they have not accepted a policy in regard to which they cannot wait as long as he now wants to wait?
I am grateful for that question It is an intelligent question which one may expect from that good friend of mine. [Interjections.]
Order! Hon. members must not display their envy of that hon. member in this way!
Mr. Speaker, the policy we have accepted, the general policy in regard to the internal development—not the other facets of it, but those which are under discussion now—of the Bantu areas is that there should be a comprehensive development, but at such a rate that the development of the people will be able to keep pace with it and they will be able to absorb everything which is being introduced in terms of all the facets of development there. That is our policy, and it is the correct one.
But I was talking about the overall policy.
It seems to me that that hon. member and I will have to argue this matter out some other time. I do, however, want to say that I also heard comforting things from the side of the Opposition. I must admit it. In certain respects I was really highly pleased inter alia, to hear how standpoints which we have adopted both within and outside this House, are now gaining acceptance amongst the Opposition. Yes, I heard many examples of that. To tell the truth, I am really sorry I did not make a separate list of these things. Sir, may I just remind you of one where the hon. member for Bezuidenhout put both his feet into it?
He wants to turn Nationalist again. [Interjections.]
The hon. member for South Coast also referred to it. He shied away, not only from integration, but also from economic integration as a policy of theirs. In my notes I have written down between quotation marks how the hon. member for Bezuidenhout said that in terms of the United Party’s view one should really talk about “economic co-operation”, not so much of “economic integration”. They are running away from the word, and I hope they will run away from the image, the idea, of economic integration.
That you are creating.
No. We have dealt with that matter repeatedly here. If it is necessary, I shall do so on this occasion as well, but we must first see whether we have sufficient time left for that. Mr. Speaker, these are the encouraging aspects which I also came across in this debate.
Sir, as hon. members on the opposite side mentioned, I gave them duplicated copies of my speech. They had the whole of the weekend, from Thursday to Monday, in which to study it. I am highly pleased and grateful that these are the good fruits of the full text of my speech having been made available to them. I am going to do so again in future, because it has had good results. In scrutinizing that speech over this long period of time they could find nothing with which they could attack our policy in a constructive way. I also want to convey my sincere thanks to hon. members on the opposite side for displaying far less rancour in regard to this subject than was the case three years and nine years ago. In 1959 we heard far more rancour and gall, if one can hear gall, from hon. members of the Opposition in regard to this very subject, the Bantu Investment Corporation. It is very comforting that this was not the case now, and for that I am also grateful to the Opposition.
Sir, I now want to deal with another general point, and after that I shall return to hon. members individually. I want to put it to you that the ignorance and the intimidation displayed in the arguments from the side of the Opposition in order to try and justify their case, as they see it, was a great disappointment to me. There is only one aspect of the intimidation they used that I want to deal with, i.e. the fact that they stated repeatedly: There will be very unfair competition for Whites in the white area from the industrial and other economic undertakings which this legislation will make possible in the Bantu homelands. There will be unfavourable, bad and dangerous competition with the Whites, they say. In addition they asked repeatedly what protection there would be against such competition. Let me state the following point very emphatically here. We cannot overemphasize the importance of competition by means of which the Whites can maintain themselves and have always maintained themselves in this country against non-White nations. The Whites are in South Africa because they were able to maintain themselves in competition with others, and not only competition in the economic sphere, but in many other spheres as well. We must never be afraid of competition. I agree wholeheartedly with what the Deputy Minister said about that, but I want to emphasize the fact that, if we are able to maintain ourselves in competition, we have marrow in our bones as Whites.
We must make fewer laws.
Ah! One cannot be without laws. Very well then, let me just follow up the hon. member for Bezuidenhout on this very point. He says that we should make fewer laws. There were two laws in regard to this matter; now there will only be one. Is this not a case of having fewer laws?
Are you not afraid of competition?
No. I am not afraid of competition. I shall proceed. I want to tell hon. members on the opposite side, and everyone in this House, that they should not present the matter as if the future of the Whites in South Africa lies exclusively in the entrenchment of all kinds of old practices and in the entrenchment of the colour of our skin and all kinds of institutions.
Work reservation is a good thing, because it ensures a balance of labour between the various groups of workers. We must ensure, by means of achievements, that we are able to maintain ourselves in such matters as economy and trade in particular. We must ensure, through the quality of our intellect and labour, that we will be able to maintain ourselves. For the purpose of selfmaintenance we can never over-estimate these values. That is why hon. members must not think that we should protect the white areas in all kinds of ways with these entrenchments, because it is not only from the Bantu areas but also from other countries of the world that we shall be inundated by competition. But, Sir, we must remember that we on this side, in our view of matters, do not regard our Bantu homelands in South Africa as foreign Bantu territories, as we regard other African countries. This is also a reply to what the hon. member for Kensington said here a few moments ago. The Bantu nations are not being regarded as foreigners of that kind. In practice, and by means of legislation, we are giving them preference as South African Bantu above Bantu persons from other African states and above other African states as such. They are being given all kinds of privileges. Hon. members ought to know that. If they do not know it, they ought to listen to me.
Then you must not talk about colonialism.
Order! The hon. member for Transkei had an hour in which to speak, and has since then made two hours’ worth of interjections already. I think that is quite enough now.
And, Sir, he did not even use his hour to the full. We are allowing Bantu persons in Bantu areas in South Africa certain privileges in our legislation, administration and in all the practices we are maintaining. May I remind you of the fact that in the Transkeian Constitution it is categorically stated that Transkeian citizens shall not, because they have their own citizenship, be regarded as strangers to and in South Africa. This is categorically stated in that Act, in contrast to what the position is in regard to Bantu persons from other Bantu countries in Southern Africa. This does not only apply in regard to services offered to them on our part. It applies particularly in the case of an important matter such as labour, in so far as that labour for Bantu persons is in fact available in the white areas. May I remind you of the fact that this same kind of arguments was encountered recently, as was the case a few years ago when the registration of the Transkeian voters took place. At that time those people were told that they should not allow themselves to be registered because the Government would then discover them and send them all back to the Transkei so that they might realize that they were Transkeians in the white areas. My reply to that was—and I am repeating it here—that the contrary is true. Those Bantu persons who have themselves registered as Transkeian citizens, are more welcome to work here with us in the white areas than those who refuse to have themselves registered. We must understand the position very clearly, and the members of the Opposition must understand it very clearly. In particular I want the Bantu to hear and understand very clearly that acceptance of membership of a specific Bantu nation by Bantu individuals and the classification of those Bantu individuals in that nation, will result in far greater benefits for them in the white area of South Africa in regard to work and various other matters, than the hope which some Bantu persons may perhaps be nurturing of being integrated with the Whites in one society or, put another way, their refusal to accept their own ethnic membership by attempting to integrate in the white area or to obtain membership of the latter group. I want to make this very clear. Acceptance by Bantu persons of ethnic membership of their own specific nation is worth much more to them in qualifying for employment here with us in so far as work may be available.
Now I should like to deal with arguments and points put forward by individual members. The hon. member for Transkei moved an amendment here to the effect that a select committee be appointed to deal with this Bill. Hon. members on this side of the House have dealt with that amendment very effectively. I do not want to repeat what hon. members on this side of the House have said. I can only say that we have had the practical experience, over a number of years, of both these Acts which have been applied in respect of two existing corporations. And I do not know of a better test to which any Bill before this House can be subjected than this very one. No select committee can do better than this testing of the measure in practice. These two Acts have been tested in practice. The new provisions being added in this Bill are so few that the two existing Acts are not being substantially changed. That is why I say that the appointment of a select committee is the last thing the Opposition should have asked for, even though they did so in regard to previous legislation of this nature. In addition, the hon. member for South Coast, as well as other hon. members, spoke about parliamentary control over the spending and the actions of these corporations allegedly being necessary. This is probably because they want long-drawn-out discussions on this matter here each year. But as I said this afternoon in a remark I made to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition—and he admitted this—members of the Opposition do not really want parliamentary control over these matters. What they really want is that we should ask them what to do. What members of the Opposition really want is that there should be Opposition approval for these matters.
Talk like a grownup. Why talk nonsense like that? It is childishness. You are a Minister.
Go ahead and explode.
Do you not know that Parliament controls the finances?
Do not get angry.
That hon. member does not get angry for nothing. After all, we know him. As soon as you bring him near to the truth, he gets angry.
I am getting impatient with this childishness.
Let me inform that hon. member, who has already reached the Biblical span of life: Abuse is no argument. I am saying this to him in his old age. The hon. member for Transkei complained that the statements of the corporations will not be laid upon the Table and that what will in fact be laid upon the Table will provide insufficient information. The hon. member objected—as did other members—to the fact that the financial statements and books of the corporations would be audited by chartered accountants only, and not by the Controller and Auditor-General. The hon. member for Pinetown had the same objection. I want to say to the hon. member for Pinetown that the way in which he raised objections to the accounting profession will, in my opinion, be justification for the accounting profession to lodge a complaint against him. By implication he very clearly insulted the accounting profession and he cast aspersions on that profession as being unworthy of auditing the books of the corporations. If the hon. member were to look at the Bill, he would see that in clause 22 (1) (b) it is provided in what way the auditors must report and what they must certify in regard to the books and the financial statements of the corporations. They are granted the right there to bring in unfavourable reports. They may mention that they have come across corruption in their investigations. They may do that if they want to. If the hon. member for Pinetown were to look up the Act relating to the work of the Auditor-General—and apparently he does not know this—he would see that the Auditor-General has the power to appoint accountants from outside his own staff to undertake certain auditing work.
We know that.
The hon. member for Transkei says that he knows that. But if the Controller and Auditor-General should appoint the same accountants as are now appointed by the corporations, they say that it is wrong. The Auditor-General has the power to appoint outside accountants, and he does so particularly as far as statutory bodies are concerned. In that case nothing is said about it. Then the reports brought out by those chartered accountants are fine. But if we state in an Act that they should do so, then it is wrong. What kind of logic or political ethics is it to argue in this way? The hon. member for South Coast, as well as certain other members, at length referred to and quoted from criticism which the Controller and Auditor-General expressed in regard to Bantu affairs in his usual report. They very skilfully tried to drag it into this debate. I am quite prepared to reply to that at the right time. For the purposes of the task we are now performing as regards the consideration of the provisions of this Bill it is not relevant at all and I cannot discuss it, but I shall discuss it at the proper occasion. However, the hon. member for South Coast did something very stupid in his speech yesterday when he said, with reference to the criticism by the Controller and Auditor-General, that I should have asked for a select committee straight away. Does the poor member not know that that criticism of the Controller and Auditor-General does in fact go to the standing Select Committee on Public Accounts? Mr. Speaker, this is the kind of argument one has to deal with here.
The hon. member for South Coast also complained, if I understood him correctly, that officials of the Department could not be entrusted with the work of organizations such as these corporations.
I did not say that at all.
What did the hon. member say then?
Look at my Hansard. Why do you make a statement like that?
The hon. member must not expect me to read through all the members’ Hansards to-day. I am giving the hon. member a fair chance. I want to be fairer to him than he was to me. I am giving him a chance now to say precisely what he meant.
You are doing nothing but being personal in your remarks and I see no reason why I should answer you.
Very well, if the hon. member does not want to avail himself of the opportunity of telling me precisely what he said, then I am not going to deal with this point any further. Let him run away if he wants to.
Mr. Speaker, I should like to deal with another point which the hon. member made. The hon. member, as well as other hon. members, used the word “socialism”. That hon. member referred to the land tenure of the Bantu as a socialistic phenomenon, and other members referred to the Bill as a socialistic one. Sir, I deny once and for all that it is anything of the kind, and I want to tell the hon. member for South Coast this, and he can become angry about this too if he likes: He is somebody who passes in this House for a person who knows the Bantu. Does the hon. member for South Coast not know that the most fundamental, primary and most important economic principle which the Bantu developed amongst themselves was in respect of land tenure, and that was communal. The generally prevailing way in which the Bantu of their own accord regulated land tenure amongst themselves was to hold land communally as a tribal possession. Is that socialistic or communistic, or what is it? It is a most typical, fundamental characteristic of the economic philosophy of the Bantu. The only economy which they developed for themselves was in respect of their land tenure, and that they developed along the lines of a communal system. To call it socialistic is stupid; I repeat that it is stupid.
I think it is wilful.
Nor is there any socialism in this Bill. Is it socialism if we establish a corporation such as this one? What is the distinguishing feature of this corporation system? The distinguishing feature of this corporation system is that it acts in a supplementary way. Throughout the primary requirement and the primary supposition is that it must be possible for the Bantu individually or in companies or partnerships to do these things themselves. And in so far as the Bantu cannot do these things themselves, the corporation must take a hand and help them to do these things. The corporation must take a hand in financing them to do these things, or do them itself in lieu of the Bantu who cannot do so. Is that socialism? It is not socialism at all. Sir, one at least expects hon. members on the opposite side to have a little more sense than to talk in this way when dealing with matters of this kind.
I come now to the hon. member for Pinetown. I have already replied to his main objections. He raised objections in regard to the work of chartered accountants, and he also put a question to which the hon. member for Florida furnished a completely correct reply. He asked where the corporations would be able to sell their goods. It is not necessary to go into that. They can sell their goods anywhere. I also dealt with it a moment ago when I discussed the question of competition. In addition the hon. member asked me whether the labour regulations and the wage measures would also apply in the Bantu areas. The hon. member for Pinetown ought to know what the statutory position is, and if he does not know what it is, then he must go and read the Wage Act and the Industrial Conciliation Act. I did not even look it up again after he had spoken here. I still remember it from debates which we conducted here many years ago. Surely we know that the provisions of those Acts apply throughout the country except where it is possible for exemption to be granted in terms of those Acts themselves. Now the hon. member is refusing to listen to me. It makes no difference; if the decency for that is lacking, then I repeat it in order to have it on record. There are other members who do have the decency to listen. Those Acts make provision for such exemptions as are necessary, and if exemptions are not granted in terms of those Acts and in terms of the industrial agreements, then the provisions are of course applicable in so far as the Bantu areas are covered by those provisions.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Houghton is a person who at least makes a thorough study of any Bill she wants to talk about. I must say this to her credit. I have always admitted it. I admitted it particularly three, four years ago when I was dealing with those very long and difficult Acts here, probably the longest and most difficult which this Department has ever had to deal with, i.e. the Acts of 1963 and 1964. I have always admitted that she makes a thorough study of a Bill, but I regret to say that I cannot say the same of her in this case. Yes, I see the hon. member for Houghton has folded up the Bill as sweetly and carefully as she folds up her clothes at night, but she did not study it. She may perhaps have paged through the Bill and glanced at it here and there, but she did not read it in the way a member who wants to discuss it should read it beforehand. When the hon. member arrived here along with us 15 years ago, all of us, the old members of that time and the new ones who came here then, all saw her sitting against the back wall and thought that the hon. member had the potential to make fine contributions in this House. She seemed quite interesting in those days.
Order! It seems to me the Minister still has his eye on the hon. member. This has nothing to do with the Bill.
The hon. member has developed over the years, and she has become fiercer and fiercer in regard to matters such as these, and in her short speech the other day she made another ferocious attack; I am sorry to have to say it. She said terrible things here. Sir, the comparison between her conduct here in the beginning and her conduct here now, corresponds so well to what Solomon—and she would appreciate it if I quoted the Old Testament—said in Proverbs, namely “The lips of a strange woman drop as a honeycomb but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.” The hon. member must not be so sharp if she has not read the Bill thoroughly. The hon. member herself said the Bill envisages a system of white knowhow and white capital in the Bantu homelands. whereas this is nowhere stated in the Bill. That is one proof that she did not read it.
Then your own speech was nonsense.
I did not say that it was stated in the Bill. I referred to it as one of the methods which the contractor or the agent might use in the course of his work. But the hon. member said that it was stated in the Bill. Well, I think I can leave her to Solomon; that is enough.
The hon. member for Pinelands spoke about the lack of work for Bantu in the homelands, and he compared it to the large amount which, according to him, had been spent on border industries and the small number of Bantu— according to him, 50,000—who had been employed by border industries. His figure is incorrect, but for the sake of argument I will accept his figure. It is more than 50,000. The hon. member must bear in mind that any expansion, any provision of employment, whether it be in border industry areas or whether it be in agriculture within the homelands, or whether it be in industries or mining or anything else inside the homelands, provides a means of existence not only to the worker, but also to his dependants. If the hon. member would only take that figure of 50,000 and use it as a basis for making scientific calculations, he would realize that if 50,000 are employed by the homelands, whether inside the homelands or outside in the border industries, then there are, according to departmental calculations, at least two other Bantu employed in ancillary activities. If the exceptionally low figure of 3.4, which has been established scientifically, is taken as the number of other people who benefit thereby, then it means that for every 50,000 employed in industry, half a million subsist on what they provide. In other words, hon. members must not come and tell us that border industries have only provided a livelihood to 50,000 Bantu; they have provided a livelihood to half a million, because if they were not there, they would have been in the white cities and the white towns in the white areas, but now they are concentrated there; they are living in their own areas and they are working there in the border industries. The same thing can happen in the case of other employment within the homelands.
Yes, but then there must be a great many more Bantu, because their numbers are still increasing tremendously in the cities.
Sir, long before figs grow upon thorns that hon. member is going to come and tell us that there are too few Bantu here in South Africa; that is the way in which he argues.
Mr. Speaker, I still want to say something about this other assertion, because nothing has yet been said about it from this side. It relates to the question as to why white capital cannot be allowed into the Bantu homelands now if it is the position that those Bantu homelands will one day themselves, as free independent countries, be able to allow the entry of white capital. In this regard I want to furnish one further reply, which I want to emphasize very strongly, because I should like to have the Bantu know that the Government and I think this way in regard to the matter. The hon. member for Primrose has replied very effectively to this, but I should like to add the following. We who operate in the Bantu areas on the basis and according to the practice of trusteeship, will not as trustee and as guardian exploit or take advantage of the opportunity we have in being there by benefiting people of our own blood there to the detriment of the Bantu, because we would by so doing be sowing dragon’s teeth and creating provocation for the Bantu to take their revenge on us later when they become independent, as we know revenge has been taken on white powers who did that higher up in Africa in the past. We are functioning as a trustee. It is very easy to tell us: You must operate on a partnership basis with the Bantu. That one can do where the parties stand in the relationship of free equals to each other. But we do not stand in the relationship of free equals to the Bantu. We are their trustee; we are their guardian, and if that hon. member is a guardian of a child and he takes advantage of the opportunity to use and exploit the assets of that child to his own benefit or to the benefit of his family or his friends, then he will be an unworthy, an unfair and a dishonest trustee, and neither I nor any of us are going to be such a trustee of the Bantu. This honest treatment of the Bantu is our best investment for good neighbourliness and friendship later on, particularly when it is possible for them to become independent, as the hon. members on the opposite side are always reminding us. It is our investment for the future.
The hon. members for East London (City) and Kensington asked why Bantu persons could not be appointed to the boards of directors of those corporations. The hon. members spoke of an advisory board as opposed to the substantive board, but the hon. members must realize that we do not approve of there being partnership in one form or another, and I said, even in regard to agency, that there will be no mixed ownership of these undertakings, with the concomitant mixed boards of directors. This is not the best way of teaching the Bantu their responsibilities and that is why we do not believe in it and will not have mixed boards of directors of Whites and Bantu intermingled. That is why we are conferring it upon an advisory body which can also acquire executive functions. In terms of the Act the corporation will have the power to transfer functions to the advisory Bantu board which is there to advise the corporation, so that they may do certain things themselves. This is stated in the Act, and of course directors and officials of the corporations will be able to attend the meetings of those advisory boards, consisting solely of Bantu, in order to advise and to assist them in their deliberations, and even with the resolutions they will have to adopt. We are operating on this basis every day. The Whites are with the Bantu in large numbers in order to assist them where they have to deliberate in their authorities and school boards and other bodies. But the responsibility must reside with those Bantu themselves who have to take the decisions. It is of no avail having two or three Bantu directors in a corporation of eight directors where the majority of Whites bear the responsibility for the decisions and the rest merely sit there to be present in the atmosphere of discussions. That is of no avail. Giving people responsibility is the best way of teaching them to do something. I hope the hon. members will remember this reply.
The hon. member for Mooi River objected to taxpayers’ money being spent on the takeover of trading stations in the Transkei Let him raise objections; that is why he is here. We are not raising objections, because we see to it that the right policy is being implemented there, and that is why we are doing what is necessary. But the hon. member must remember that what we now actually have to do in the Transkei, i.e. to pay out millions of rands to Whites in order to take over their properties and have them pass into Bantu hands eventually, is the penalty the people of South Africa are having to pay for having had a wrong-headed Opposition régime which allowed those things to take place there. I do not want future generations of South Africans to be saddled with further penalties. That is why we do not want to do the wrong thing now for which our people will subsequently have to be paid out at very great cost.
The hon. member for Mooi River also had a great deal to say about profits and losses. He and the other hon. members did not understand the position correctly. The hon. members would do well to go and read my speech again and see what I said about profits. Nowhere did I say that anybody, for example agents or Bantu undertakings, should work on a no-profit basis, but I stated clearly, and I repeat it, and I shall keep on repeating it because I believe what I say, that profit is not the only consideration, and that we must not allow profits to blind us to all other considerations; and I said this particularly in respect of the corporations and not so much in respect of the agents. The hon. the Deputy Minister was quite right then in mentioning the good example of a poorly-paying coal mine. Of course we are grateful if an undertaking of a corporation yields a good profit, but our pursuit of profits is not the only aim; we also strive to create employment for the Bantu. Of course, we want all possible undertakings to be tackled in the Bantu area with a view to creating employment for the Bantu, and all those things to which this leads, even though the profit margins are rather small. But naturally this is not the basis on which private organizations function; they only function on a basis of profits. An ordinary company wants to make as much profit as possible with the smallest possible staff, whereas we say that as many as possible should be employed, even though the profits would consequently be less. I maintain that this is the right way to tackle development in the Bantu areas.
Would the Minister just reply to me on the point I made? When a factory which is functioning on a very unusual profit margin passes into the hands of the Bantu, what happens to the Bantu then?
I have stated clearly that what I have said up to this stage, relates to the corporations. I now want to reply in regard to agencies. Nowhere did I state, as hon. members opposite kept on chanting in a chorus, that I expected some of the agents or some of the contractors to go and operate there by way of charity. I stated it emphatically as one of the principles that whereas the agency or the contractorship which will, by agreement, be admitted there should also benefit by it, it should not be the only one to benefit by it. The Bantu, the corporation or the tribe, or whoever the agreement was entered into with, should also benefit by it by means of rentals, royalties, profit-sharing, etc. If the agent has operated on a small profit margin, he can turn it over to a corporation; and if a corporation has operated on a small profit margin, then that corporation can turn it over to the Bantu persons if they want to take it over, and if they do not want to do so, the corporation must continue with it. That is the reply to the hon. member’s question. [Interjection.] I cannot reply to further questions. I cannot go on being lectured to in this way by that hon. member. We can discuss the subject with each other again later on.
The hon. member, as well as the hon member for Mooi River, also asked what and how many concessions there would be in the Bantu homelands, referring to the kind of concessions which apply in regard to border industries, for example. I could not quite gather from the hon. member’s speech whether he was greatly in favour of the concession system for border industries or whether he was opposed to it.
That is not relevant.
Well, he is half in favour of it and half against it, but the point is simply this. The concession system has already been developed there for the border industry areas, and due consideration will be given to the question as to in what degree similar concessions can be justified for Whites who act as agents in the Bantu areas, because those agents must employ people, etc., under the existing laws. Consideration can then be given as to whether there should be exemptions, whether concessions should be granted, and then the matter comes before the relevant body which advises the Government and before the various departments. Every matter will be dealt with solely on its merits.
The hon. member for Bezuidenhout said that there were two sets of laws which applied in the white areas and in the Bantu areas in regard to economic undertakings, but that is not the case. I do not know where the hon. member gets that from. I do not want to say that the existing practice is the right one and should always continue to exist, but his factual assertion was incorrect. It is not true that there are two sets of laws for the Bantu and for the white areas. There are various laws which apply in the white areas as well as in the Bantu areas. The Industrial Conciliation Act is one which I have already mentioned. This applies throughout, in the Bantu areas as well, as far as the areas of the various industries extend there. There is the Wage Act, the Apprenticeship Act, the Road Transportation Act, and the Companies Act.
I was referring to economic regulations.
Then the hon. member, who is an old parliamentarian, should really express himself more precisely. The hon. member referred to economic laws, but if he meant economic regulations, then I shall leave it at that.
The hon. member for Etosha asked me a few questions to which I want to reply. Firstly, he asked me whether the minerals which can be mined in the Bantu areas may be mined and processed by corporations, or only by the agents. My reply is that it can be done by both, depending upon what is desirable. It can be done either by the corporations or by the agents on the basis of agreements. He also asked me about Swanla in South-West Africa. We know it is an organization which recruits labour and which also trades there. Trade, in particular, is in actual fact something which should be undertaken either by the Bantu themselves or by the corporations, and nothing has as yet been decided in regard to this aspect, but negotiations will in due course be conducted with Swanla. He also asked me whether it was not correct that members of the Legislative Assembly of South-West Africa should also be excluded from membership on boards of directors of these corporations. My reply to that is that he has only to move an amendment to that and I will accept it The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) asked about development possibilities in Insizwa in the Transkei. The position is that there was uncertainty about in whom the mineral rights there were vested, but this uncertainty has been cleared up now and attention will therefore be given to individual cases of people who are interested in prospecting for minerals there. It will be possible to consider their cases. But the hon. member made a mistake in what he went on to say by intimating that the agencies to which I referred were concentrated solely on being philanthropic, on a labour of love. It occurs to me that I have already replied to that. It is not the case. They are not being expected to operate philanthropically at all, and if they do not want to operate on a basis on which we can agree, they need not come forward.
The hon. member for Hillbrow, like the hon. member for Bezuidenhout, spoke about integration, which he put on a par with “interdependence, because one group needs the other”. It is a mistake to phrase it in that way. It is not concerned with group co-operation. It is not the group of Whites and the group of Bantu who are co-operating in the mines, because that is the example he used, if I remember correctly. There is no group co-operation; it is on an individual basis. This is the mistake the hon. member must rectify in his own mind, i.e. that when we warn against integration it is not a question of group as opposed to group, but of individuals who are being integrated to equal labour with other individuals, i.e the Whites, whose homeland this is. The hon. member asked whether we could have considered this Bill if the concept of independence for Bantu homelands had never cropped up. My reply is that the history of the precursor to this Bill furnishes one with the reply. As the precursor to this Bill we already had the Trust in the earliest years, and I pointed out in my speech that since 1936 the Trust has undertaken all kinds of things, all kinds of economic work as well as agency work, when there was as yet no mention of the possibility of independence for the homelands. In 1959 the Bantu Investment Corporation Act was also introduced, the basis on which this measure is now elaborating further. When that Act was drafted and introduced here, there was as yet no such thing as a Transkeian parliamentary system either, something which only came into being in 1963. Surely the hon. member knows what the reply is. Surely he can look it up, he who is so fond of looking things up. It is very clear that what this Bill is establishing, has nothing to do with the statement “because the Bantu nations will or can one day be independent”. It is an inherent development process which is desirable in terms of our policy. It was already present in embryo form in the earliest phases of our administration under the Bantu Trust Act. It was subsequently continued by the Bantu Investment Corporation Act and the other Act which was introduced. I think the hon. member may be grateful for the lesson I have now given him.
The hon. member for Kensington mentioned one further point to which I have to reply, and then I am going to resume my seat. I have already replied to his other points. The hon. member quoted from the statements of one of the corporations and said, “Look, they are investing in Saambou—is Saambou a Bantu undertaking?”
I did not stretch out my arms like that; I spoke properly.
Oh, you spoke properly. Well, the hon. member must not think that I am being improper now, but I wish he could hold a mirror in front of him when he speaks in order to see what he looks like when he is speaking. The hon. member asked, properly or improperly, whether Saambou was a Bantu organization.
Well, is it?
The hon. member must go and have a look at what is stated in the Act of that corporation, whether it does not have the right to invest money in that undertaking. It is stated quite explicitly in the powers of that corporation in the Act introduced years ago, not the Bill, that if the corporation has temporary funds which it does not want to use at once, it may invest them. As regards the Bantu Investment Corporation, the Act states that it can invest where it pleases. As regards the Xhosa Development Corporation, the Act states that the money must be invested in an undertaking approved by the Minister. The prescribed procedures have been complied with in the investment of those funds. There is nothing wrong with that.
I did not say so.
Why then does the hon. member ask whether Saambou is a Bantu undertaking? What is the suggestion behind that question? I say there is nothing wrong with that; they can invest the money where they please, from the Public Debt Commissioners to the building societies, if the necessary approval is obtained. This aspect is worded in a slightly different way in this measure, and the hon. member may as well go and look it up in order to see how it is worded in this Bill. Perhaps he will then understand it better.
In addition I just want to say the following, arising from what the hon. member and several other hon. members on the opposite side have said. They tried so frequently to reproach us with the Tomlinson Report and Professor Tomlinson. I find it very strange that that report should now have become such an extremely valuable document to that side. It has in fact become their political Koran. Originally they did not want to have anything to do with that report. They do not accept the basis, the fundamental principles of that report.
The hon. member says “of course”. In this House they pecked at that report here and they pecked at it there.
This side accepted it; we accepted it.
That hon. member must keep quiet about the Tomlinson Report. He whole-heartedly acclaimed it from this side, when he was still here.
Of course, and I still do.
Now they are pecking out eyes here and there from the Tomlinson Report. The basis and philosophy of that report is …
It was accepted by this side.
The upliftment of the reserves was accepted by this side.
The basis of the report, namely separate development, is not accepted by those hon. members. I do not know why they are trying to ride bare-back on the Tomlinson Report. The report they should ride bare-back is the Fagan Report. Sir, I have had my say.
Question put; That all the words after “That” stand part of the motion.
Upon which the House divided:
Tellers: P. S. van der Merwe and H. J. van Wyk.
Tellers: H. J. Bronkhorst and A. Hopewell.
Question affirmed and amendment dropped.
Motion accordingly agreed to and Bill read a Second Time.
Mr. Speaker, I move—
Since the Expropriation Act was passed in 1965, it has been applied on several occasions to obtain land from owners who were either not prepared to dispose of their land to the State on a voluntary basis, or prevented from doing so by fideicommissary provisions. Although the Act has not yet presented any problems in practice, its application has brought to light certain shortcomings which we should like to rectify timeously.
Expropriation of a person’s property is a drastic step which should not be resorted to lightly. Sometimes it is of course unavoidable, since the interests of the individual must necessarily give way to public interest. One principle must be maintained, throughout, however, and that is that the person who is deprived of his property must not suffer any loss. Both the Act and this amending Bill comply with this principle, but we must also take care that public funds are not spent unnecessarily, all the more since the Act may be applied by local authorities and its provisions are incorporated in legislation authorizing educational institutions and private entrepreneurs to expropriate land or rights to land. I shall deal with the various clauses briefly.
Clause 1 of the Bill allows the expropriating authority, at its discretion, either to make an offer of compensation or to inform the owner that he must declare within 30 days what amount he wants to claim as compensation. In the second case this authority in practice usually notifies the owner as to whether it is prepared to meet the claim and, if not, what amount it is in fact prepared to pay. The authority is, however, at no time under any obligation to make an offer, which is actually unfair to the owner, who is obliged to submit a claim. Moreover, with a view to the awarding of costs in proceedings which may be conducted to determine the compensation, it is desirable that an offer should be made prior to the proceedings. The clause makes it compulsory in future for the authority to make an offer after the owner, as is expected of him, has submitted a claim. Such an offer is conveyed to the owner in the same manner in which the notification of the expropriation was delivered to him. The authority is allowed to make an offer even though the owner fails to fulfil his statutory obligations.
The Act provides for the payment of interest on the amount of compensation as from the date of expropriation to the date of payment. With a view to curtailing the expenditure on interest as far as possible, it is proposed to amend the Act so as to make the full amount of the compensation offered, or any portion thereof, payable on the date of expropriation or thereafter, even though the amount of the compensation has not yet been determined, without prejudicing the right of the person whose property has been expropriated, to go to court. In the event of a smaller amount being awarded as compensation, it is incumbent upon the owner to repay any reduction ordered by the court, together with interest. Except in exceptional cases where the land is expropriated so urgently that a valuation of the land is not available on the date of expropriation, the amount of the compensation offered may be paid on the date of expropriation, but in practice it may be desirable to pay only three quarters of the amount, in order to exclude any danger of losses being suffered should the court determine a smaller amount and the owner be unable to repay the reduction.
As far as clause 2 is concerned, since the possibility of an offer not being made is being excluded, the alternative words are being deleted. Any person whose land has been expropriated has six months’ time from the date of the notice of expropriation to ask the court to determine the compensation if he is not satisfied with the compensation offered. It is, however, not a requirement, nor is it always possible, to make the offer at the same time as the notice of expropriation is served. It may therefore happen that the person whose property has been expropriated has less than six months in which to approach the court. The Act is now being amended in such a way that the period of six months will commence on the date of the offer, if the notice does not contain the offer.
I now come to clause 3. The rate at which interest must be paid on the amount of compensation may be determined from time to time after consultation with the Minister of Finance. In order to avoid any suggestion of unfairness, the same rate has been decided upon as is charged in respect of State loans and State advances. The latter rate is amended from time to time, with the result that the interest which is payable in the case of one expropriation, must be adapted to each amendment. something which is in conflict with the practice followed in regard to the levy in respect of State loans. It is therefore only fair that the interest rate which applied on the date of any particular expropriation be paid throughout in respect of that expropriation. The proposed amendment makes provision for this and at the same time provides that the rate which is applicable to State loans applies to expropriations as well. The practice which we have thus far followed, is therefore now being incorporated in the Act.
In terms of section 6 (1) the person whose property has been expropriated must within 30 days after the date of the notice of expropriation declare in writing what he claims for his land or property. The cost of court proceedings in connection with compensation is awarded with due regard being had to the amount of that claim and the amount of the offer. There is, however, no penalty if the person whose property has been expropriated should fail to submit such claim within 30 days, which can make matters very difficult. Payment of the compensation can hardly be expected to be made before it is known what the owner claims. In the meantime, while he is delaying his claim, the statutory interest is accruing. We are now inserting a provision which boils down to the fact that if the owner’s claim is not received within 30 days of the date of notice, interest will cease and will only begin accruing again after receipt of the claim. Provision is also being made for the possibility that an owner might decline to accept the provisional amount which is paid to him. In such a case no interest need be paid on the amount.
Section 8 of the Act provides how compensation is to be determined, and that account shall be taken of the cost of any works being constructed or undertaken to be constructed for the benefit of the person to be compensated, “with a view to mitigating his damage”. The effect of the words quoted is to place the expropriating authority under an obligation to prove that the relevant costs have in fact been incurred to mitigate the damage. Since the authority may on its own, or at the request of the person whose property has been expropriated, incur costs without it necessarily being the intention to mitigate the damage, and since the person whose property has been expropriated will in any case have the benefit of the works concerned, the authority ought in any case to enjoy the benefit of the mitigation of the damage by subtraction from the cost. The words “with a view to mitigating his damage” are accordingly being deleted.
I now come to clause 4. In case the court decides that the owner must bear the costs of proceedings, it is essential that the other party should be able to set off any fees still owing to the owner, against those costs. The Act makes the necessary provision as far as the compensation fees awarded by the court are concerned, but does not refer to any interest which may be owing. Provision is now being made here for interest also to be applied towards the payment of the cost of proceedings.
In connection with clause 5 I want to say the following. Section 11 deals with the circumstances of any dispute between the owner and a mortgagee and provides that the expropriating authority may refer the dispute to the court. It is, however, regarded as undesirable that the authority should interfere in such a case. The provisions concerned are therefore being deleted.
Clause 6 provides that if land expropriated in terms of the Act is encumbered by a mortgage. no compensation may be paid, except to a person agreed upon by the owner and the mortgagee. Until these two parties come to an agreement, payment is not possible and the money must be retained by the expropriating authority until the dispute has been settled. In the meantime no interest is payable in respect of the money. It is a deficiency, however, that although the dispute may be settled and interest is therefore payable from that date, the owner and the mortgagee may fail to notify the expropriating authority accordingly. It is now being provided that the money be retained until they serve the necessary notice, which will mean that the interest will also only accrue from that moment.
Mr. Speaker, this amendment has become necessary to introduce sound and better administration into the legislation. I trust that the House will give this measure its unanimous support.
Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House shall support this legislation. The hon. the Minister rightly said that it is necessary to facilitate the application of the Act, and it is in everyone’s interests that this be done.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr. Speaker, I move—
The majority of the Acts, ordinances and other measures which have the force of law and which were passed prior to Union in 1910 by the legislatures of the territories comprising the Republic to-day, are, from the nature of the case, only in English or in Dutch. Ever since 1928 efforts have been made to revise these measures either by making them available in both official languages by way of re-enactment or suitable incorporation in existing measures, or by repealing them where they have fallen into disuse. In this way no fewer than 660 of the old laws were repealed last year in terms of the Pre-Union Statute Law Revision Act, 1967. The need for the continuation of the rest is still being investigated, and the object of the Bill before the House at the moment is in fact to repeal three old laws in force in the province of the Cape of Good Hope relating to quitrent tenure and the disposal of certain land, and to provide for matters incidental thereto.
The proclamation of Sir John Cradock, issued early in the nineteenth century, has served its purpose. Land that was allotted under that proclamation, is subject to certain rights, inter alia, the reservation to the State of mining rights in respect of precious stones, gold and silver. Such a right will naturally remain in force where it has been included as a specific condition in the title deed in respect of the land concerned, even if the proclamation by which it was originally established should be repealed. However, the position is different where the title deed only contains a general reference, for instance that the allotment of the land is subject to the provisions of the relevant proclamation. In such a case that provision will be annulled upon the repeal of the proclamation. The Bill therefore provides for the continuation of any such right notwithstanding the repeal of the old proclamation.
In so far as the other two Acts are concerned the object of the Wynberg Municipal Council Vacant Lands Act, 1896, was to vest certain land in the Municipality of Wynberg (at present part of the Municipality of Cape Town), while the Griqua Claims and Kokstad Erven Disposal Act, 1899, provided, inter alia, for the disposal of vacant plots in the Kokstad municipal area—in both cases subject to a right of repossession by the State upon payment of a compensation in respect of improvements.
The possibility was investigated of incorporating the said right in a substantive law upon the repeal of the old Acts, so that the latter may be done away with completely. In order to be able to do this, the land in respect of which the right of repossession is in force would have to be clearly defined. This would involve a complicated and cumbersome investigation, considering the numerous divisions, consolidations and re-divisions over a long period which would have to be taken into account. This would not only be an expensive process, but also a time-consuming undertaking which would not be justified, considering the present shortage of manpower in the survey and deeds offices concerned, and the object of the investigation. Consequently it is proposed to repeal the Acts in question and provision is made in the Bill for the continuation of the right which the State or any person has in respect of the land referred to, or the conditions subject to which any such land is held.
Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House will support this Bill. The Minister rightly says that this Bill provides for the repeal of the old laws, most of which should be repealed. One of the conditions of the proclamation of Sir John Cradock in regard to perpetual quitrent farms, should not be re-enacted, namely that which provides for the State to be able to make roads and to take the materials for making those roads free of compensation. I discussed this matter with the hon. the Deputy Minister. I believed that he informed the Minister of our objection. He agreed with us that that provision should be removed. He said that he would either move an amendment to that effect in the Committee Stage or, if that could not be done there, then in the Other Place. I hope that the hon. the Minister will agree to this. The hon. the Deputy Minister has already said that he is prepared to have that provision deleted. I think that the hon. member for King William’s Town would like to go into more detail in regard to this matter.
I should like to refer for a minute to this Cradock proclamation and what it entails. I was disappointed to see that this was going to be repealed and that the rights of the State as those rights affect the landowners in the Cape, specifically in the Eastern Cape, were left untouched. It is interesting to see that Sir John Cradock in 1813, when South Africa was as yet virtually undeveloped, already realized the importance of agriculture and wished to encourage it. On that account he included the following in the preamble of that proclamation—
The proclamation thereupon converted the loan tenure of the time into a permanent tenure. We find that in clause 3, as follows—
I now come to clause 4, where we want an amendment. The rights which the State reserves unto itself I believe to be wrong. As the Minister has pointed out, section 4 reserves no other rights than the rights to the mining of precious stones, gold and silver “as also the right of making and repairing public roads and raising materials for that purpose on the premises”. Well, the circumstances prevailing at that time warranted this—after all, these were loan farms given to the people whilst the Government took unto itself the power to take land as and when required without paying for it. The retention of these rights in perpetuation seems to me to be unfair because there will now be a discrimination in the Cape as between owner and owner, depending on the type of his tenure. The owner of land under a system of quitrent suffers as against the owner who has land on freehold title. In the latter case the State has the right to expropriate the land “subject to adequate compensation being paid”. If the owner is dissatisfied with that compensation he may even go to arbitration. But in the case of quitrent owners, the State can take whatever property it wants without paying any compensation whatsoever. Nowadays the State does pay compensation but only as a gift, by way of an ex gratia payment. The owner has no legal argument against the compensation offered and has no recourse to arbitration. The effect of this can very clearly be seen in the relevant ordinance of the Cape Divisional Council where this proclamation is followed virtually word by word. Section 131 (1) reads—
In subsection (3) it states—
That is the part covering the quitrent people, who, although they are in actual fact being paid compensation, have no right to object to the amount. This is the important point of this proclamation—the right which we do not want to see incorporated in the new system. We see it also as part of the effort of the Provincial Council to put this matter right, because they have over the years been asking for the repeal of this proclamation. On the 20th May, 1965, for instance, the hon. member for King William’s Town in the council, Mr. van Coller, moved—
The mover wanted quitrent land placed on the same footing as freehold land in this respect. Last year there was another motion on very much the same lines. I am not going to read the motion in full. I want to refer, however, to the concluding words where the mover asked for an investigation to be instituted “on the procedures and methods of obtaining land by the State, whether such acquisition be either by negotiation or expropriation notwithstanding the conditions of tenure of such land”. It is interesting to see that the chief Government spokesman in the council on that occasion …
Order! I think the hon. member is going too far now.
With respect, Mr. Speaker, I merely want to demonstrate the necessity for the Minister amending this Bill …
Order! What happened in the provincial council is not relevant. I think the hon. member has already stated his case.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is only enlarging upon his argument why these restrictions should be removed and whether the rights the State is reserving unto itself should in fact be retained. I submit, Sir, that it is relevant.
The hon. member was given ample opportunity for stating his case.
Hon. members must remember that the purpose of this measure is not to effect changes in the old position. Even if we did make provision for matters requested by hon. members, a lengthy investigation would be required before they could be rectified. But surely the hon. member himself admitted that it is the practice to-day that where land is expropriated —be it by local authorities, by the provincial council, or by the divisional council—compensation is in fact paid. The State has taken powers of expropriation unto itself in various Acts over the years. So, for example, the South African Railways may expropriate any land required for the building of a railway line, even without paying compensation. But usually this is not done. It is no longer the practice to-day. The practice of not paying compensation is completely out-dated. One cannot grant or take away rights in this Bill, because then one will be interfering with the entire basis of these ordinances. I just want to point out that even if, for example, legislation would be passed which does away with the right to raise material for roads on the land, it would, as far as I can see, make very little difference to the present position, because it is a fact that there are many subsequent laws that grant these powers to the State or to the authorities.
Repeal the lot.
All that is being done here is to do away with the number of Acts and ordinances in which these provisions are embodied, without granting or diminishing any rights. This is the reason for this Bill. If hon. members can make out a good case as to why the powers which are being retained here and which existed under these ordinances and decrees should be done away with, I am quite prepared to listen to them, but then we will have to submit other legislation repealing that legislation. If hon. members can make out a good case as to why this should be done, I am prepared to introduce such legislation here to rectify the position, but we cannot do this in this Bill.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
When this debate was adjourned, I had indicated to the House that first of all we were opposing this Bill. I gave our reasons for doing so. Those reasons were based mainly on two factors; first of all, that while the hon. the Minister gave a reason for wanting to exempt himself from the provision of an ordinance, in the Bill in fact he exempts himself from the provisions of any and all ordinances. Secondly, because we were against the principle of putting into the hands of the Minister licensing, in proclaimed areas. We felt that this was perhaps being used as a substitute for proper planning in those areas. I gave adequate reasons as to why we believed that this Minister should be in a position, when he proclaims a group area, to make provision for the change-over and for the trading rights which are going to be necessary in that area, without recourse to a measure such as this, which is a further inroad into the rights of local authorities, and a further inroad into the lives of people and their means of earning a livelihood. It is all very well for the hon. the Minister to say that he is doing this for the benefit of the people in that area. We do not know that. We have never had any experience of the hon. the Minister as a licensing officer, and we do not know whether he is adequately qualified for the job. We believe that the people who are there, who should in fact and do in fact know the requirements of the area, are in a far better position to deal with licensing applications in an area. I have no doubt, as I have indicated, that any local authority, for the benefit of the people who fall under its rules and regulations, would obviously be prepared to co-operate with the hon. the Minister to achieve the best results in the area, not only for the benefit of the local authority but for the benefit of those people who are in fact going to live in the area.
You will remember, Sir, that I said in summing up that I believe that when once one starts upon legislation of this kind—group area or community development legislation— it becomes necessary to add more and more rules and regulations to enable you to carry it out, and I likened it to a creeping autocracy. I do not know if that is quite the right word. It might in fact be a type of creeping bureaucracy, that is necessary for the adequate application of this kind of legislation. But whatever it is, I think the Minister understands clearly what I mean. He will go on bringing further amendments to this House to enable him to do all the things that crop up as the result of his doing this sort of thing. It is one of these never-ending things; it is like Parkinson’s law being applied to land and areas and to a service and to a department. This thing is going to grow out of all proportion. I think it is out of all proportion now. Here the hon. the Minister, when he has this huge organization handling the question of the implementation of the group areas legislation, has to come back here and admit that because he cannot plan it properly he has to take further and further powers from the local authorities to make sure that he can allow into those areas only those people whom he wants to allow in. This is wrong; it is something with which we cannot possibly agree. As I have said, the hon. the Minister has exempted himself from all provincial ordinances; he has exempted himself from the provisions of all local authority by-laws and the like, so he has absolute power to do what he wants in these areas; there is nothing to stop him, and even with these vast powers, which I think are unprecedented in the history of this country in normal times, he wants still further legislation; he wants to arm himself still further to try to achieve the objectives of this law. One wonders if before long, when the hon. the Minister arrives at the boundary of a city or a town, the mayor will not have to meet him and hand over his mace or his gold chain of office as a sign of submission to this Minister and as acceptance of the fact that When the Minister enters into a local authority, the mayor has no jurisdiction there. We oppose this measure.
I rise because it is my privilege not only to support the amendments contained in this amending Bill, but also to support the new principle embodied in clause 6, as it indicates to me the absolute necessity of developing our communities further, also in regard to their commerce. This Bill really has two facets. On the one hand it is intended to rectify the flaws in the principal Act, the Community Development Act, and on the other hand we have clause 6, which established the new principle of licensing control. Sir, as was the case this afternoon, we had the experience last Friday morning of listening to the extremely frustrating speech made by the hon. member for Umlazi. I call it frustrating, because the entire spirit in which he made it and the entire subject matter of his speech testified to the complete absence of any idealism, idealism that hon. members should have when making contributions concerning the establishment and development of our communities. Perhaps I must not take it amiss of the hon. member, because when the United Party had the privilege of governing this beautiful country of ours, chaos and a great deal of misery prevailed in the field of community development. But in spite of that, the hon. member for Umlazi tried to ridicule measures intended to serve our communities and tried to suggest that they were impossible, while the hon. member and his colleagues on that side should be aware of what is expected of them as an Opposition. They should not indulge in suspicion-mongering whenever measures aimed at dealing with delicate situations are involved. One does not expect this of a responsible Opposition. It makes our task on this side much more difficult if we have to go and convince our people outside that hon. members on the other side are still playing a fair part as an Opposition in this House. But that is not all. I need only refer to phrases used in season and out of season by that hon. member. He said, for example: “The thinking behind that clause worries me.” He went on to say: “What experience does the Minister have as regards determining how many licences there are to be in any particular area?” Sir, we realize that the hon. the Minister, as we know him, will not take any notice of these silly remarks. But what about that large group of brilliant Government officials constituting our Department of Community Development, persons who devote their lives to the development of communities, and who have brought about a permanent and splendid change in our cities and towns in South Africa? Must that hon. member refer to them in that way?
We do not want to issue licences.
Of course not. The principle of licensing control is an old one in our licensing law, and if that hon. member knows anything about his Province, then he will know that Natal made a law in this regard as far back as 1850, namely Act 3 of that year. In order to see the major objections of a general nature raised here this afternoon, in the right perspective, I want to ask how licences are issued in South Africa when this Community Development Act does not apply. I think that for the sake of clarity we may say that it is the duty of the local authority, but before an applicant may apply for a certificate authorizing the official of Inland Revenue to issue the actual licence, the local authority must first comply with certain preliminary requirements. These preliminary requirements are general requirements in South Africa. We may summarize them by saying that there are four such preliminary requirements. The first is that the building must comply with certain requirements. The second requirement is that there must be adequate provision for fire protection. The third requirement is that the premises must be situated in an area where such a type of licence can be accommodated, and the fourth—and this is important in this regard—is that the person concerned must be a fit and proper person. But then Natal has laid down a fifth requirement, and that is that it must also be for the reasonable convenience of the general public. These are the regulations generally applicable in South Africa, except that there are certain variations in the various Provinces.
Over against that we now have the amendment proposed in clause 6. A new principle is being laid down by clause 6, and as I see the matter, it amounts to this, that the licensing authority may not issue a licence to a disqualified person in a group area without the necessary certificate. Furthermore, a transfer of such a licence may not take place unless the certificate makes provision therefore, and in a designated group area a licence may only be issued to an authorized person if he is in possession of such a certificate, and the same applies in the case of a transfer. In fact, we have parallel cases in our licensing laws, and I should just like to mention one or two examples. Let us take the case of a person who wants to trade as a butcher. What must he do? First of all he must, in terms of the Marketing Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder, apply for a butcher’s permit. For the rest he must follow the ordinary procedure. He must apply for a licence certificate, which then authorizes the Receiver of Revenue to issue the licences. But no matter how many licences are issued by the Receiver of Revenue, unless such a person has been granted his butcher’s permit, he may not trade as a butcher. No matter how many certificates the hon. the Minister of Community Development issues, unless the local authority sees to it that the preliminary requirements have been complied with, unless the local authority or the licensing official issues the certificate which authorizes the Receiver of Revenue to issue the actual licence, that person may not trade. Even if the licensing official and the Receiver of Revenue issue their licences and that person does not possess the certificate required, then he may not do business.
But there is a second parallel I may mention to you. In the case of a person wanting to set up a bakery, he may not do so before having obtained the customary permit from the Wheat Board. He may obtain his licence and set up his business only after having obtained that permit. But if he does not have that permit of the Wheat Board, he may not trade as a baker. Now it is being said that the general objection to the proposed law is, firstly, that there is too much interference with the local authorities. I want to ask the hon. member for Umlazi whether he has ever complained about the existence of the Wheat Board or the Meat Board. No, he has not, because in that case institutions are involved, whereas this legislation deals with the further development of separate communities, and their Party is fundamentally opposed to having separate communities; they want a mixed society in South Africa, but this Government will never allow that.
The hon. member raised a second objection, i.e. that the Minister was being granted too many powers. The Minister was now being granted “sweeping powers”. I answer this objection by asking the following question: Who knows the preliminary requirements for, the problems of and the need for the establishment of a group area better than precisely the hon. the Minister and his Department? Who knows the ideals, the aspirations and the dreams of those people better than precisely the Minister and his Department? As a matter of fact, it is only the Department of Community Development that has at its disposal a complete socio-economic survey of all disqualified families and their business concerns. And then this inane question is asked: How can this Minister and his Department say how many trading licences are necessary in a certain group area? I believe that this new provision which is contained in clause 6 will help us in the furtherance of community development. Our ideal is not only to establish communities, but also to see to it that they develop as healthy communities. Over a period of more than 300 years we have evolved our own way of life in this country, and as the population in our cities increases, the demands made on us as rulers become greater. But it is our ideal to see to it that all sections of the population, both White and non-White, lead happy and contented lives and see a future for themselves. Accordingly I believe that the principle contained in clause 6 will ensure that further procedures are devised for developing our communities in the commercial field as well.
The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central), who has just resumed his seat, says he supports the new principle enunciated in clause 6. I want to ask the hon. member, firstly, whether he has read it, and secondly, whether he understands it. I have always accepted the hon. member as an intelligent person. If he had read and had understood it, I cannot understand how he can support it. He mentioned four conditions that licensing authorities have to comply with, and he mentioned a fifth one which he says only applies in Natal. I can tell the hon. member now that he is wrong, but that is incidental.
The effect of this Bill is going to be to add further conditions to the licensing boards’ problems, but it goes further than that, because it gives this hon. Minister the supreme control and the supreme power over every single licence which will be granted in South Africa.
That is not so.
Hon. members who interject in this way must try to read and understand the Bill. The hon. member made the statement that no matter how many permits the Minister might issue in terms of this provision, it could still not result in the issue of a licence, but he has put the whole question back to front. The provision here is that unless this Minister issues a permit, irrespective of whether there is necessity in the eyes of a licensing board, which is a local authority controlling a local area, a body fully conversant with the needs and requirements of that area, it does not matter how necessary that body might consider the issue of this licence it may not do so. Without a permit from this Minister it is powerless to issue such a licence, and the Bill does not even allow for an appeal by any person who considers himself wronged. As the hon. member for Umlazi said, this is creeping bureaucracy, and what have we found in this world where we have had such bureaucratic principles applied? It has opened the door to malpractices and I want to warn the hon. the Minister now that this can happen if this Bill is forced through.
The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central) also asked who knows the problems better in group areas than the Minister, but I want to say to him that this Bill does not only deal with group areas or only with pro claimed areas. This Bill is going to be applied to the whole of South Africa, to every single licensed premises in this country, if this Government carries out its stated policy, namely that this Group Areas Act will ultimately be applied to every square inch of this country. [Interjections.] We have had the Minister’s second-reading speech. He said that the intention here was that he should control economic development, trading, in areas proclaimed under the Group Areas Act; that he wanted to protect the interests of certain traders who were, as he put it, trading in the wrong areas now. But that is not what is contained in this Bill. This is the thing I cannot understand. I want to put this to the hon. the Minister, too. Is not a natural extension of what he said in his second-reading speech that individuals must be prohibited from going into other group areas to conduct business; that an individual cannot go and buy from a business which is situated in the group area of a different group from the one to which that person belongs? That is the natural extension of what the Minister said.
You are talking a lot of nonsense.
May I put it this way to the Minister: Is it his intention to prohibit the entry of persons of one group into another group area for trading?
To establish a business, yes.
Whether it is to establish a business or not, to prohibit trading. This Minister has specifically exempted four kinds of trader, namely the bunch-buyer, the ostrich-buyer, the hawker and the peddler.
But they do not occupy premises.
That is the very point. It shows that the hon. member for Umlazi was right when he said that the Minister does not know the facts. Every hawker and every peddler has to have fixed premises in terms of the licensing ordinances. That is why I ask whether this is the natural extension. Are hawkers of one race going to be prohibited from hawking in areas occupied by other races? [Interjection.] This is a further interference in the normal rights of the people of this country.
Do you want me to include them in this Act?
No. I am asking whether this is the next step envisaged by the Minister.
What right have you to say that?
Because I say it is a natural extension of the remarks of the Minister in introducing this Bill.
To get to the Bill itself, in clause 6 the Minister takes power to control the issue of licences in any premises and on any land, and he shall decide whether any applicant has the right to occupy or use those premises, and he shall tell the licensing authority whether or not that person can get a licence to trade. Under subsection (2) he also takes the right to order that an existing licence shall not be renewed if he considers that that person should not be trading in that particular area. Sir, I think this Bill should have been re-named. It should have been named the Bill to Promote Improper Interference in Trading and Licensing Affairs by the Minister. Under subsection (3) the Minister takes the power to prohibit the issue of any licence in respect of any premises or land in any group area as defined, and also—and this is the most iniquitous part of the whole of this measure—he takes the power to limit the number of licences of any one kind that may be issued in any one place. The Minister is even going further than just usurping the powers of a licensing authority. In fact, he is now setting himself up as the Lord High Priest of Licences. Even licensing boards are open to argument. Vested interests, any interested parties, have the opportunity to appear before the licensing boards and to argue the question of the necessity for a licence. On what grounds will this Minister decide whether he will grant a permit? I am now referring specifically to this point of more than one of a type of licence not being granted for a particular place. What will he consider in deciding this point? I submit, as was pointed out by the hon. member for Umlazi, that neither this Minister nor the officials of his Department, with due respect to their abilities, really have the necessary expert knowledge to decide whether or not the licence should be the only one of that type in a particular place.
Apart from this, the idea of control by the Central Government is repugnant to many people. It is also repugnant to the members of the Commission of Inquiry into Trade Licensing and other Allied Problems. I quote from page 13, paragraph 113 of that report—
That is the recommendation of a commission established by this Government to investigate this very point. This Minister hereby takes the power to create a monopoly. If a certain type of licence already exists, he can say that no licensing authority will be allowed to grant another similar licence without the permission of the Minister. Why have we a Monopolies Act on the Statute Book? I want to quote again from this report, from paragraph 252 on page 32, where the question of basic economic or socio-political beliefs that are held within the trade are being discussed. This is what it says—
This is the over-riding presumption in our Regulation of Monopolistic Conditions Act. That is the whole object of the Act, i.e. that there should be competition and freedom of entry. Society allows a person to seek a living in the way in which he thinks best, in the way which he chooses, and when it comes to trade there is a presumption that every individual should be free to enter it, provided he complies with the conditions laid down or suggested by the hon. member for Port Elizabeth (Central). This is to ensure that no one person shall get wealthy, shall accumulate wealth, at the expense of others because he has been given a monopoly.
You have totally misread the proposed section 43A. (3) of the Bill.
The hon. the Minister says I have misread this subsection. I have read both the English and the Afrikaans versions. I prefer to quote from the English version, and this is what it says. I wish to paraphrase it as I read it:“The Minister may by notice in the Gazette provide that no licence shall be issued in respect of any premises or land …”
Why do you pass over the words, “shall for the first time”?
It makes no difference whether it be for the first time or the second time. As I said, I wish to paraphrase this subsection. I start again: “The Minister may provide that no licence shall for the first time be issued in respect of any premises or land if any such licence has already been issued to any person in respect thereof …”. Now, what does that mean?
Continue with that subsection.
Very well—“… that no licence of the same kind as that licence shall be issued to any other person for the first time in respect thereof, unless such person produces a certificate issued by the Minister …. This is the whole point.
That is the important point.
This is the point: Unless he gets a permit from the hon. the Minister. I say the Minister is the one who is creating the monopoly. This is the whole point of my argument, and the Minister has admitted it in his own words. Unless the Minister gives the person concerned permission there can only be one.
But that is not true.
But that is what is stated in the Bill. What does it mean then if it does not mean what I allege? I am sorry but I am unable to follow the Minister’s reasoning. If these words do not mean what I allege, we are playing with them. Any way, Sir, let us leave that point; perhaps the Minister or some hon. member opposite can give us an answer to it. I will be very glad to hear that this is not what the Minister intends, because this to me is terrible, that the Minister can take upon himself the power to create a monopoly. 1 want to get back to this report.
By doing that, is the hon. member getting back to the Bill also?
Yes, Mr. Speaker. In dealing with the principle of this Bill I think that many of the recommendations of this commission apply to it. I continue with paragraph 252 of the report.
Briefly, the corresponding benefits which society derives from freedom of entry and competition enterprise are progress as a result of innovations by newcomers or competitors …
—in other words, there are new ideas, new methods and so on—
This is something which is most important in trading, that this competition is a factor which upholds the standards, and the public can only benefit from competition, but on the other hand it can only be detrimental to the public interests if a monopoly is created.
Paragraph 253 reads as follows—
support a system which restricts competition by limiting the number of licences.
With that I want to leave this report …
Why don’t you read paragraph 360 et seq. as well? Those contain important points.
Those paragraphs dealing with the subject matter of the Bill, not the paragraphs you read.
I am sorry, but I must disagree with the hon. the Minister These are not recommendations of the commission, this is the evidence presented to the commission by the officials of the Minister’s department.
If that is your argument, why don’t you read …
Order! I think the hon. member must read that at home and rather carry on with his speech now.
As I have said, competition, especially in built-up and thickly populated areas, the areas with which the Minister is primarily concerned, is important. Suburban shopping centres depend upon variety and competition. It is no good having a shopping centre where there is only one of each type of business because that does not attract the people. Therefore, if the Minister is going to adhere to the principle of one of each type of licence, he will be doing a disservice to the very people he claims to be assisting. This just goes to show once more, as I said earlier on, that this Minister and the officials of his department are not experts in this particular sphere and I think they should leave it alone. They must keep out of this sphere of licensing. As I said, the creation of monopolies is undesirable; we all condemn that, but the hon. the Minister takes this power to decide how many of each type there shall be.
There is another aspect which worries me with regard to these provisions found in clause 6 of the Bill, and that is; what is the effect going to be on township developers who have already planned and designed premises for certain purposes? Perhaps the premises have already been built and have tenants in them. If the premises have been designed for a specific purpose and the Minister has the power to curtail development in those premises, one might find a developer with a whole block of premises which are completely useless to him. I know there will be people who say: “Oh, well, that is a chance that he takes.” But any developer will have investigated the potential of that area and the commercial potential of the surroundings. He would not have checked on whether the Minister will allow him to …
The only thing I want to do is to say: “You cannot give a licence to A, who is a new intruder in business; it must be given to B, who is a displaced person under the Group Areas Act in another area.”
But this Bill does not say that. I do accept the bona fides of the Minister, but the Bill does not say what the Minister claims. We must debate the Bill on what it contains.
Make that clear if you can.
Will the hon. the Minister accept an amendment to make this clear?
If it does and it meets these points then I will be happy to consider anything in that respect.
Thank you. What the Minister has just said brings me to what I want to conclude with. I want to say that once again we are amazed at the powers which the Ministers have, particularly this Minister, to present a case with such high-sounding ideals based on a Bill presented to this House, with these high-sounding phrases, but a Bill in which we on this side can always find a sting. Therefore I reject this Bill completely.
After having listened to the hon. member who has just sat down, I understand very well why the United Party is going downhill in Natal. The hon. member proved that his Party is without principles, policy, or direction and is staggering along on a road that leads to nowhere. I want to tell the hon. member that the National Party has adopted a definite course and has laid down a policy which they will carry out, come what may. The National Party will carry out their policy without causing other people hardship, as the hon. member suggested they would cause. The hon. the Minister indicated very clearly in his second-reading speech what powers he is asking for in the Bill, and why he is asking for them. The hon. the Minister never asked for the power, as the hon. member suggested he did, to say where a licence will be granted or not, but what he did ask for, was the right to determine who the licensee would be. This legislation is very necessary; it is something which we should have had years ago. I maintain that if we had had this legislation five or six years ago, many of the present problems would already have been solved to-day, and the people who are affected by this legislation would have known where they stood. At the moment they do not know, and that is why they now find themselves in areas where they do not belong. The hon. member also said that the hon. the Minister would now have the power to determine where one might live and where one might have a business undertaking. The group areas laws passed by this House already contain this principle. They provide where one may live and where one may have a business undertaking; it depends upon the race of the person and on the group area which has been set aside for him. Why then does the hon. member come forward with such arguments and ascribe all sorts of unfair motives to the hon. the Minister, in spite of the fact that a few days ago, in concluding his speech, the hon. the Minister made an earnest and sincere appeal to the hon. the Opposition not to draw conclusions from the Bill which are not justified.
I want to mention an example of where the objects of this Bill have already been applied for some time, and that is by the Resettlement Board of Johannesburg. Since business premises have been made available at Meadowlands the Resettlement Board itself has attended the sessions of the Rural Licensing Board of Johannesburg for the consideration of applications for licences for Meadowlands, and they objected to applications where persons did not have a permit from the Resettlement Board to have premises there or to be present there. This has led to hearty cooperation not only between the Licensing Board and the Resettlement Board, but also between these authorities and the people who had been settled in Meadowlands. This cooperation developed because the people knew that they would not get a licence unless they were allowed to be present in that area by law and in the opinion of the Resettlement Board. This system has worked very well. I have never yet heard the Rural Licensing Board in Johannesburg say that powers have been taken away from them, as the hon. member for Umlazi wanted to suggest in his cynical speech. He said that the hon. the Minister would now take away these powers from local authorities. The local licensing authority will, however, welcome this fact, because it will facilitate their own work as they will not issue licences to disqualified persons now and then find out afterwards that these persons do not have the right to be in that area. I maintain that if the United Party-controlled City Council of Johannesburg, which is having great difficulty with this problem, adopts an honest approach to legislation introduced by the Government, they will welcome this legislation, because it will make their task very much easier. For this reason I want to support the legislation, and I am sorry that the United Party’s attitude is so negative. They should realize that if they act in a positive way, as they maintain outside that they advocate the same policy, they will succeed in making an impression upon voters. I happened to take a look at the manifest of the United Party’s candidate for Pretoria (West). In that he states that the first thing he says is that he and the United Party will fight to strengthen and protect the role of the Whites in South Africa. If the United Party therefore adopt such a negative attitude towards this legislation and the voters of Pretoria (West) should read or hear what their attitude is, especially that of the hon. member for Umlazi, that United Party candidate will go and drown himself in the dam at Pretoria West.
I maintain that once this legislation has been placed on the Statute Book, the serious problems existing at present will be solved. The hon. the Minister is here asking for the power to determine whether any person applying for a licence in a certain area has the right to be in that area. It goes without saying that if one wants to be fair one should, before a person settles in a certain area, give him permission to do so, because only then can that person start and develop an undertaking there on which he and the society which he serves can be proud. Then he knows where he stands. If, however, he enters the area on the sly, not knowing whether he will be thrown out of there to-morrow or the day after, how can he establish a proper undertaking there? This idea is important. Another important fact is that the National Party will carry out this policy come what may. The policy is to remove the disqualified traders who are still in the white areas to-day. The trade potential which is developing in their own new areas will then be given to them, so that they will suffer no inconvenience or loss, but will be properly settled in their business undertakings in those areas. At the moment they cannot be removed, and as a result we have a number of Indian traders in Johannesburg who cannot make a decent living because the Whites are not buying from them. The Whites voluntarily refuse to do so. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) must not shake his head now. He should come and take a look in Johannesburg. I am not talking of Natal now, but of Johannesburg. These traders do not make a living if they are far from non-White areas, because the Whites do not buy from them. They are not provided for in their own areas either, because other people come and snatch up the trade potential there. The hon. the Minister is now asking for the power to see to it that these traders are resettled properly so that they may make a living in their own areas. I welcome this legislation and I am glad that the hon. the Minister has decided to take these powers, because I believe that they will contribute towards solving the problem. The hon. the Minister can now prevent unhealthy monopolies from being created, and see to it that disqualified persons who already have a business undertaking in an area are resettled in a qualified area so that they may trade again. The hon. the Minister only wants to regulate these matters by means of his able officials in such a way that justice will be done to all.
Another very important point which I want to make here this afternoon is in connection with these people who are not pitied so very much because the hon. the Minister is allegedly usurping powers for himself. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) asked whether this was again the beginning of interference in the private lives of people by providing what they may do and what they may not do. These powers which the hon. the Minister is going to take will also be to the benefit of traders in those specific race groups. I say this because the hon. the Minister is by that means going to prevent undesirable competition from developing and is going to see to it that those people who are already established in a business will be able to establish themselves in a business in their own areas. It will mean that these people will be able to establish themselves in their own areas without suffering any inconvenience or heavy losses, where they can build up proper businesses. There is another point—and in this connection I would welcome it and I hope that it will be done by the Department of Community Development and the people who plan these areas—and that is that business premises there will be planned in such a way that restrictions will apply in order to prevent unbalanced trade development from taking place in such areas. If you go to the outlying areas of Johannesburg where most of the non-Whites settled themselves in tin shanties and shanty towns in the old days of the United Party, when no planning was undertaken and no provision was made, you will find that there is a business undertaking for every five to ten families. This has meant that not one of those people has been able to make a decent living, and has been largely responsible for the unhygienic conditions in which business is conducted in those areas to-day. I now want to express the hope that when planning is undertaken, business premises will be limited so that it will not be possible to get too many trade licences, which may cause unnecessary competition. Something which does not exist in the Transvaal to-day is that the licensing authority takes over-trading into account when trade licences are issued.
Mr. Speaker, at this stage I should like to move—
The House adjourned at
With your permission, Sir, I rise on a point of personal explanation. A material part of my speech was misquoted in the House yesterday. I did not at any time reflect on the integrity or competency of the auditors or directors of the Bantu Investment Corporation as suggested by the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development in his reply to the second-reading debate on the Promotion of the Economic Development of Bantu Homelands Bill. This is clear from a perusal of my speech as recorded in Hansard.
I am grateful to the hon. member for having visited me this morning to discuss this matter with me and also for his explanation here. I accept his statement that no inference such as I suggested can be drawn from his words, and for my part I withdraw the statement made by me that a complaint could be lodged against the hon. member by the profession.
Sir, I should like to thank you on behalf of the University of the Witwatersrand for exercising your discretionary powers under Standing Order No. 1 (Private Bills) and thereby permitting this Bill to be proceeded with as a public Bill. We are very grateful for the assistance we have received from you, Sir, and from the officers of this House. I should like to thank the hon. the Minister of National Education for the valuable comment and advice that we have received from his Department in the preparation of the Bill for introduction. Then I should especially like to thank the hon. the Leader of the House for granting us the privilege of Government time to facilitate the passage of this Bill through the House. We are indeed grateful for this indulgence.
Sir, the occasion for the Bill is the need to make statutory provision for the office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor. There are other minor amendments proposed because of the opportunity provided by the introduction of this Bill to deal with the position of the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
Clause 2 is the main clause of the Bill. In terms of clause 2, the officer styled “the Principal”, who is ex officio Vice-Chancellor, now becomes the Vice-Chancellor who shall be ex officio the Principal; and under this clause the office of Vice-Principal is now abolished and there is created an officer styled “the Deputy Vice-Chancellor”, or not more than three officers, as the council may determine, each of whom shall be styled “Deputy Vice-Chancellor”. Clauses 3 to 8 are consequential.
The remaining clauses are clauses 1, 9 and 10. In clause 1 the definition of “professor” is amended to include an honorary professor. Clause 9 contains a provision to extend the authority of the Senate in respect of an academic matter. Clause 10 is the customary amendment to substitute “State President” for “Governor-General” wherever it occurs in the Act.
Finally, it has been decided to substitute “rektor” for “prinsipaal” in the Afrikaans version.
On 14th April last year, during the second-reading debate on the University of Cape Town Amendment Bill I informed this House that in consequence of an amendment made to the Standing Orders (Private Bills), to which the hon. member for Kensington referred, it would in future be possible for private members to introduce these amending Bills provided it did not affect the interests of any person adversely. Now I want to avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate the hon. member for Kensington most heartily on the privilege which he has been granted to introduce the first amending Bill to this effect. He is one of the more senior members of this House and I always think of him as an ex-inspector of education and as an expert in the field of education. I think that it is a privilege that he has been granted to be the first to have an opportunity of doing this.
In September, 1967, the University of the Witwatersrand approached my Department to have certain amendments made, particularly to provisions dealing with the administrative hierarchy, as was explained here by the hon. member for Kensington, as well as to those dealing with the composition of the Senate. With the assistance of my Department, further amendments were discussed and improvements made, which were also referred to by the hon. member and which were accepted in full by the University of the Witwatersrand. These have been embodied in this Bill now before this House. Consequently it gives me great pleasure to announce that the placing of this Bill on the Statute Book has the full support of the Government and myself.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
Mr. Chairman, I move the following amendment standing in my name—
I understand there is a shade of difference and we are reverting to the original term, where it says “prescribed by the Council”.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Report Stage taken without debate.
Mr. Speaker, I move—
In moving that this measure be read a third time, I should like to express the thanks of the University of the Witwatersrand to the hon. members of the House, especially the hon. members on my left, who have been most co-operative.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a Third time.
Mr. Chairman, we on this side opposed this Bill at the second reading at some considerable length and, I make bold to say, with some considerable effect. Certain amendments will be proposed by hon. members on this side during this Committee Stage. I do not propose to move an amendment to this clause. I merely propose to indicate that we on this side much regret the fact that this clause does not contain any power to encourage the one method which we believe could really bring about the greatest measure of development in the homelands, namely the encouragement of white enterprise and skills to enter the reserves under appropriate control. There is no need to elaborate on this aspect now because we have already made our point before. We have indicated how under our policy there would be control and inducements which we would grant in order to make the scheme effective. I simply rise to make it quite clear that the absence of this power and this encouragement in this clause is one of the main reasons why we on this side of the House oppose the Bill as a whole.
Clause put and agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask, the hon. the Minister to explain why he has taken the power to compel any of the various corporations to accept any contract entered into “by and between the Minister and third persons on its behalf prior to its establishment before or after this Act comes into operation”. The point is that we can understand from the hon. the Minister’s second-reading speech and from reports that we have read recently in the Press about negotiations that are taking place for further development in the homelands why this provision is necessary as regards the acceptance of any undertakings which the Minister might have given before the passing of this Act. What we cannot understand is why he should need this provision after this Act comes into operation. Surely the hon. the Minister will have sufficient confidence in the boards, which he himself will appoint to run these corporations, to allow them to negotiate with third parties. In terms of this clause he retains the right to enter into agreements, possibly without even the knowledge of these boards, and then to compel them to accept the terms and conditions of these agreements with third parties.
Mr. Chairman, this clause has nothing to do with any lack of confidence in the boards of the existing corporations. This clause is included in the Bill merely in anticipation of a position which may arise when an agreement is entered into between me and some other body or person in connection with a matter which must be performed, undertaken or supervised later by a new kind of corporation still to be formed in terms of this Bill. Say for instance we regard it as necessary to constitute a corporation for mining purposes and we make an agreement with somebody in connection with the opening up of a mine before that new corporation is formed. That agreement can then be taken over by the corporation as soon as it is constituted.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether there are any such agreements at present in force between the Minister and corporations of this nature which he intends to have confirmed under this Bill.
No, there are no such agreements, but certain negotiations are being undertaken between my department and other parties. You therefore do not know when such negotiations may perhaps be concluded in the form of an agreement.
Clause put and agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, clauses 9 and 10 can be read together but I should like to devote my attention at the moment to clause 9. It is assumed that if we do not state that directors are White, Bantu, Coloured or Indian, they will be White. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether it is within his discretion to appoint Bantu to the board if he wishes to do so, in terms of the clause as it reads at the moment.
Yes, as the clause reads at present, it apparently is.
Now, Sir, if that is the case, what is the objection to the hon. the Minister accepting the suggestion I made in the second-reading debate that he could include one or two Bantu on this board. The hon. the Minister, and I think the hon. member for Heilbron, said that the hon. the Minister in drafting this Bill, was following the system of the university colleges, the system used in higher education. In Bantu university colleges there is a white council and a non-white advisory council. Quite recently we had in this House a Bill on higher education, dealing with an advanced technical college. The hon. the Minister of Indian Affairs gave us his example of a technical college council which was mixed, namely white and Indian. I should like the hon. the Minister to tell the Committee what is the objection to including one or two in the council. We have had that before in the case of Fort Hare. In the old days, and in the days of this Government, we used to have nominated members. It was not in the days of the present Government, but still under a Nationalist Government. White members of the council were nominated to the Fort Hare council where there were non-white members sitting. Is there any real objection to that? Why should they not do so? They will not have control. It is no special system. And if they are going to be trained to assume the duties of directors, the obvious way to train them seems to me to have them with you.
Mr. Chairman, yesterday afternoon when I replied to the debate I did in fact reply to these questions by the hon. member for Kensington as well. But I shall simply repeat them now because this is another appropriate opportunity for doing so. The position is clear. I referred to clause 10 as well. In terms of clause 10 the advisory boards will consist of Bantu persons because we want to give the Bantu persons positive guidance under clause 10 to bear responsibilities. In terms of clause 9, which is now under discussion, we shall not appoint mixed boards consisting of white persons and Bantu persons. I gave the reasons very clearly yesterday. There may be many reasons, but I gave, inter alia, this very important one yesterday: It is our object to train the Bantu to be able to bear the responsibilities they will have to bear and take the decisions they will have to take. Yesterday I said this clearly, and now I am going to repeat it: If a board were to consist of, say, eight persons of whom, say, three were to be Bantu persons, I fail to see how the Bantu persons could be properly trained on that board to bear their responsibilities. The hon. member based his arguments on a few Bantu members. He said there had to be a few. I am now arguing on his premise.
Say there were to be five?
No, I am now dealing with the premise of that hon. member.
Say two out of eight.
Very well, two. The hon. member has just decreased the number. If there were to be two Bantu persons out of a total of eight—this is what the hon. member put to me—I fail to see in what way they would be bearing any responsibilities on the board, because the six white members would in all probability always settle the matter. They would be bearing all the responsibility. Yesterday I said it was much better to transfer certain powers of the board of directors, as we may do, to the Bantu persons serving on the advisory board and to tell them: You have to deliberate and decide on this and that subject. If such decisions are implemented, they will have force and effect. Members of the board of directors will be present at those deliberations of the advisory board and will attend the same meetings and sit at the same table. If necessary, there will also be officials of the corporations and of the Department. They will advise the board to take the correct decisions. Then they will be bearing the responsibility and not a white majority. I have made this very clear. This is the method in which I believe, i.e. to give a person responsibilities, to let him take decisions, the consequences of which he himself will have to bear; then such a person will acquire a sense of responsibility and not as long as others have to bear the responsibilities. I gave the same explanation yesterday.
In this clause we are not dealing with an investment corporation only. There are also the development and other corporations.
The advisory board relates to them only.
I am not referring to advisory boards now, but to the board to be established in terms of clause 9, the board of directors. A board of directors may be appointed in many circumstances—it may be appointed for a leather factory, for the mining industry, for the agricultural industry, or for whatsoever. Is there any reason why a board of directors consisting of, say, five Bantu persons and three white persons cannot be appointed for these corporations to be established for a specific purpose? Will that not be the best way of teaching the Bantu what the nature and the functions of a board of directors are?
What I said to the hon. member for Kensington, applies mutatis mutandis to the hon. member for East London (City), except that I want to argue with him about the example mentioned by him of a board of directors consisting of five Bantu persons and three white persons.
The numbers do not matter; as long as the Bantu persons are in the majority.
It makes a big difference. We cannot undertake to appoint a majority of Bantu persons to a mixed board, at least not until they have been tried and they have proved that they are able to bear responsibilities. This they will have to prove in the advisory board in which they will have the power of decision and execution as regards that number of functions which will be entrusted to them. There is nothing to prevent the corporations from passing entirely into Bantu hands after a number of years and when that is deemed desirable. As far as this is concerned, clause 9 imposes no restrictions. If such a step is deemed justified, they may be converted into corporations.
Clause put and agreed to.
In reply to the hon. member for Kensington the Minister said that these advisory boards would be there only in an advisory capacity. It was in that way that they would get their training, he said. He also said that the director and officials would be there to see that these advisory boards took the “correct” decisions. Are the director and officials then to be there to see that that is done —what the Minister wants done? I think the Minister could have chosen his words much better as I think that is not what he had intended saying.
However, I should like to direct the Minister’s attention to subsection (1) (b) of clause 10 where provision is made that the trustee can transfer powers to the board, powers which the trustee, after consultation with the board, may from time to time determine. What powers does the Minister have in mind? Might it be executive powers? I shall be glad if the hon. the Minister can tell us.
I think the hon. member is misinterpreting my words if he wants to suggest that I allegedly said that the director and officials had to be present in order to ensure that the decisions of the advisory board would be the “correct” ones. The directors and officials are there to advise the advisory board, to guide them and to assist them in the decisions they have to take. This is the pattern being followed by my Department throughout South Africa as far as dozens of boards are concerned.
I was talking about the words you used. I know what you meant. I am only saying that your words did not convey that meaning.
Then the hon. member wanted to know what powers were going to be transferred to these advisory boards. At the moment I do not have a complete list of all the powers which may be transferred to them. I can, however, give the hon. member an example. Supposing a large project is in progress at some specific place—a factory, a mine or something similar—and a number of Native workers have to be accommodated there in a home or a compound or whatever you want to call it.
“Bantu” and not “Native”.
There is nothing wrong with “Natives”—absolutely nothing. It would please the hon. member most if I were to say “Africans”. In any case, where there is such a number of Natives, or Bantu, who have to be accommodated in living quarters, it would be appropriate to transfer the task of supervision over such living quarters to the board—the arrangements there, how the people eat, how things are set up, the discipline, their cloakrooms, etc. This is one good example of a case in which such a board can be given decisive powers.
This clause deals with the appointment of advisory boards consisting of Bantu persons for the purpose of training them. Under clause 9 a board of experts is to be appointed for a particular sphere to deal with developments in that sphere. I assume that persons serving on this type of board will be remunerated for their services. But what will the position be in this regard with the Bantu people constituting these advisory boards? If they are to be remunerated, how is the figure to be arrived at?
While on clause 10, I should like to direct the Minister’s attention to what I consider might be an error in translation—perhaps only an error of nomenclature. There are other very similar errors elsewhere in this Bill but these I can discuss with the Minister on another occasion. But this particular one in clause 10 I should like to bring to the attention of the Minister now. I refer to page 13, the last line of sub-paragraph (iii) reading “authority or board which he may deem fit”. This has been translated from “enige gesag of liggaam na goeddunke”. I presume what is referred to here is a local authority and, consequently, the word “body” might be a better word in place of “board”. The word “board” occurs also in line 24 on page 13. I put this suggestion forward particularly in the light of the definition of “board” in clause 1. Perhaps the Minister could move an amendment in the Other Place to bring the terminology of the Afrikaans and the English texts more into line.
I just want to tell the hon. member that I can give him the assurance that the words in both the Afrikaans and the English texts are quite correct. The hon. member’s interpretation of the translation is not correct. This is quite correct and has been approved and accepted by the law advisers.
With respect, I agree that it is a correct translation, but the point that I am making to the Minister is that in view of the special meaning given to the word “board” in clause 1, it might be advisable, although it might not be as good a word and although it might not be a direct, correct translation, to substitute some other word for the word “board” where it appears on these two occasions.
No, that is not necessary.
I wonder if the hon. the Minister has fully appreciated the point made by the hon. member. “Liggaam” does not mean the same thing as “board”. The word “board” is defined in this Bill—
Is that what this clause is supposed to mean too? Surely not. If the Minister looks at the definitions he will see that “board” is defined as a “board of directors”. Surely that is not what is intended in this subsection.
I cannot appreciate the objection of hon. members on that side. I shall reconsider this, and, if necessary, I shall change it later, in the Other Place, but so far I can see absolutely no justification for doing that.
I am sorry, Sir, we cannot accept the Minister’s statement that he cannot appreciate our objection. This is the Minister’s Bill. He has inserted a definition here. That definition in clause 1, which this committee has passed, states—
In the Afrikaans text it says—
When you read this clause you find that in the Afrikaans text it says that the hon. the Minister may consult with “’n liggaam of gesag”. Those are bodies or authorities. In other words, if the Minister is applying this Act in English he will consult with certain organizations, but if he applies it in Afrikaans he will consult with other organizations. I cannot see how this House can allow a Bill to go on the Statute Book when, depending on the language which is used, the Minister will consult with different bodies. In the one case, if he is talking English, he will consult with a board of directors, but if he is interpreting the Bill in Afrikaans, he will not consult with a board of directors, but with quite a different organization. We cannot accept the Minister’s shrug of the shoulders and his statement that he cannot see that we have any point but that he will look into the matter. I hope the Minister will give us a more satisfactory indication that he is aware of the anomaly that he is creating here. Otherwise he is asking us to accept a complete disrespect for the official languages of South Africa.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Durban (Point) must please understand that when I give him an undertaking I will carry it out. I told the hon. member and all members of this committee that at this stage I was not at all satisfied that those words required to be changed but that I would go into the matter and move an amendment in the Other Place, if necessary. Under the procedure of Parliament this House will then be informed of that. I stand by this undertaking of mine.
Sir, the hon. the Minister cannot treat this committee in this fashion. What he is saying is this. We have raised an objection to the wording here and he says, “Well, I have heard what you have to say; I am not certain myself; I do not think you are right …
On a point of personal explanation, I do not want to be charged with something I have not said. I said that I had no doubt about the matter at this stage, but that I would go into the matter again in he spirit in which hon. members opposite had raised the points, and I shall do so.
The Minister says that he will go into the question and that if he is then satisfied that it should be amended, he will do so in the Other Place and the Bill will then come back here, but that is not good enough. We are not satisfied on this point and we say that the Minister should indicate now that he will amend this provision. With whom is the board going to consult?
I am satisfied.
Well, then we must move an amendment to this clause because we say it is wrong. This clause deals with the appointment of advisory boards consisting of Bantu persons. It provides that the trustee may appoint an advisory board, and then it goes on to say—
According to the English text he is going to consult with his own board of directors. According to the Afrikaans text he is going to consult with other bodies.
No, read further.
In the Afrikaans text, paragraph (iii) provides—
It goes on to say—
Why should I read further? The English text too goes on to say—
Surely the hon. member must realize that it is senseless to tell me to quote the Afrikaans text further when the English text goes on to say the same thing. I want to point out to the Minister that a “board” is quite a different thing from a “body”. According to the English text, the Minister is confined to consulting with the board of directors, but according to the Afrikaans text he may consult other “gesaghebbende liggame”, and we think that should be the position, namely that he should consult with them, not merely with the board.
I do not think there is any need to belabour this point any further. I think that all that can be said in this connection has been said and I wish to move—
I see that the hon. the Minister is not rising to reply to the amendment moved.
No, I gave you the opportunity to rise first.
Then I want to express the view that the Minister’s attitude here is a complete negation of the whole spirit of parliamentary government. The object of parliamentary government is that a measure shall come before us which we shall consider, and where there are faults we shall bring those faults to the notice of the Government, the public and Parliament. Here the attitude of the hon. the Minister is that he is not impressed by the views of the Opposition. He is not interested in our views; he is not interested in the mechanism of government or democracy. He, the great I-am-Minister, is going to consider it in his own good time and he, the great I-am-Minister, is going to decide entirely on his own whether he is going to alter this or not. That is not the way Parliament works and he is not going to steamroller this Opposition. We have raised a valid, a completely incontravertable point. The Minister has no argument against it, but he says he will consider it. Now I suggest that if the Minister has the ability, which I think he has, to handle a portfolio, then he has the ability to consider a simple matter of language involved in this issue. It is a simple question of definition. The Government has always prided itself on its bilingualism. If the Minister cannot solve a simple question of translation and must now ask us to leave the matter in his good hands so that he can sit back and think about it, then he is admitting his inability to handle such a simple issue. We are not prepared to accept the Minister’s opinion or his consideration of himself as the final arbiter. The Minister is not the final arbiter. This Committee, this Parliament, is the final arbiter.
Not the Opposition.
Too often, when the Opposition raises issues, we get this reaction of the Minister, confirmed now by the interjection “Not the Opposition”. This Opposition is part of Parliament and it has every right and every intention of exercising its right as a part of Parliament. It is Parliament which has to deal with this issue, and not the Minister, as an individual.
Now I want to refer to another reply of the Minister’s, and that was the statement that this board, to give an example, would deal with the conditions of the workers in a factory. Are we to understand that this advisory board will be a sort of super trade union which will deal with the rights, privileges and conditions of service of workers? Is this going to be substituted for an industrial council, or will there be works committees representing the workers? The only example the Minister has given of what this advisory board will do is that it will act in the field in which a trade union would normally operate, and I think we are entitled to know whether that is in fact the intention of the Minister.
We really cannot raise points under this clause which are not relevant at all, as the hon. member for Durban (Point) has just done in part. I want to tell the hon. member that there is no need for him to give me a lecture during the Committee Stage on the responsibilities of this House. I do not want to rub this in nor do I want to make him feel very bad, but I just want to tell him this. During the period of virtually eight years that I have been Deputy Minister and Minister I have handled more Bills in this House than he will ever handle in his entire life. I have handled more in one session than he will ever handle, and I know exactly what the procedures are and how one has to deal with amendments such as this. I want to tell the hon. member and the mover of this amendment that they have not given me any advance notice of this amendment and that they have not placed it on the Order Paper as they could have done. In that case everyone would have been able to take cognizance of this amendment and I myself, my law advisers and the Parliamentary law adviser would have been in a position to study it this morning. I would have been able to consult everyone in order to learn whether they deemed the amendment necessary. These are all people who were concerned in approving this Bill. But now I am suddenly presented with this amendment and I am told that this has to be changed. There is a bona fide doubt whether it is necessary. [Interjections.] I mean there is a bona fide doubt on the part of hon. members opposite. I have no doubt about it, but I am prepared to change this if the law advisers tell me we may do so, and consequently I say, and I am now repeating this for the third time, if it is necessary to do so, I shall amend it in the Other Place. I as well as other Ministers have done this before in the past. This is an old procedure in this House when we do not want to waste the time of the Committee by arguing about a word such as this, where one first has to go into the implications, the cross-references, and where one possibly wants to consult a law adviser. In such case, we give the assurance that we shall go into the matter again and, if necessary, move the amendment in the Other Place. This is what I have done on various occasions, as well as other Ministers, so as not to waste the time of this Committee. But this is not the right spirit to force one in this way to accept an amendment which may not be necessary. I repeat now that I am prepared to give attention to this and possibly amend it in the Other Place. But because I have not yet been able to give attention to the matter in this short time, seeing that I have not been given any notice of this amendment, I cannot accept it at this stage, but that does not mean that I shall not do so in the Senate if need be. I consequently appeal to the hon. member to reciprocate the attitude of a gentleman which I am adopting and to withdraw his amendment and to rely on my word.
In view of what the Minister has said, I withdraw my amendment.
With leave, amendment withdrawn.
Clause, as printed, put and agreed to.
For reasons indicated by me during the second reading, I should like to move the following amendment—
As I said yesterday, I am prepared to accept the amendment.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
The expenditure incurred by or on behalf of the board, including the remuneration of directors and alternate directors, shall be defrayed from the funds of the investment corporation. I want to know who will decide what the directors’ fees are to be.
Mr. Chairman, they are approved by me as Minister, usually in consultation with the Minister of Finance.
Clause put and agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, we find from this Bill that various laws and regulations will not be applicable to these corporations. I must say I am pleased to notice that, according to this clause, the hon. the Minister has changed the attitude adopted hitherto by the Government towards Government or quasi-Government undertakings in that he is making provision with effect from 1.1.1969 for these institutions to comply with the other licensing regulations in force throughout the country, or, if I may put it this way: they will have to comply with the rules and regulations relating to the payment of licence fees or duties. I should like to know from the hon. the Minister whether the corporations will have to comply with the other provisions of the various licensing statutes. Will they have to comply with health and building regulations, and so on?
Yes, they will observe those regulations as far as possible and, of course, as far as necessary. I should like to see them complying with those requirements if at all possible because it is necessary to do so in many respects. Of course, it is not necessary to have such compulsion in a Bill like this.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. the Minister said he hoped they would observe the regulations concerned. But this was not the question. The hon. member’s question was whether they would be subject to the regulations and provisions of licensing ordinances, etc. This was the question asked, and to which we should like to have a reply. Are they exempted from the relevant regulations or only from paying the taxes? This clause deals only with taxes. The question is whether they are exempted only from the payment of taxes, or also from the provisions of the other ordinances relating to ordinary business enterprises? This is what we should like to know. Will they, notwithstanding the hon. the Minister’s wishes, be entitled, for instance, to erect buildings that do not comply with the building control regulations, or do they have to comply with all the provisions of the various ordinances and other statutory instruments when they establish business enterprises?
But surely the hon. member should know that if this measure grants exemption from certain other Acts and regulations, then they are exempted from those, and if exemption is not granted, then they are not exempted. I think this is obvious. Exemption is being granted here in respect of licence fees. It is something specific from which exemption is being granted. I am not now referring to various Acts relating all possible prescriptions and requirements. In another clause exemption is being granted from the Companies Act and the Banking Act. But here exemption is not being granted from health Acts and similar statutes, neither from building regulations. Surely it goes without saying that if they do not get exemption from those things, they have not been exempted.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. the Minister has now repudiated his original reply. In his original reply he said he hoped they would conform, he wished them to conform, and he would like to see them conform. Now the Minister has repudiated himself and we on this side accept that repudiation happily.
Clause put and agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I move the following amendment—
- (2) The books of account, balance sheet and profit and loss account of the investment corporation, a development corporation and a corporation shall be audited by the Controller and Auditor-General.
It is quite clear from the remarks of the hon. the Minister in his reply to the second-reading debate that he has not fully appreciated the difference between an audit controlled by the Controller and Auditor-General and an audit undertaken by a private firm of auditors. Let there be no mistake. I am not casting any aspersions on the profession of which I am glad to say I am a member. It is just a question of how Parliament works and what parliamentary authority is.
The hon. member for Pinetown cast a reflection on the accounting profession. [Interjections.]
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, the hon. member for Brakpan said that the hon. member for Pinetown had cast a reflection on the accounting profession. My point of order is that at the opening of this afternoon’s sitting the hon. member for Pinetown made a personal explanation which the hon. the Minister accepted and he withdrew his remarks. In the light thereof I ask that the hon. member for Brakpan be directed to withdraw the statement he has made.
Order! Will the hon. member for Brakpan withdraw his words?
Mr. Chairman, I was not in the House when the hon. member made that statement, but I accept what he said and I withdraw my remarks.
The hon. member has withdrawn his remarks and the hon. member for Parktown may continue.
On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, must the hon. member not apologize as well?
Order! The hon. member may continue.
Mr. Chairman, there are certain essential differences between an audit controlled by the Controller and Auditor-General and an audit undertaken by an independent auditor. Where we have an audit controlled by the Controller and Auditor-General, and in that type of audit I include instances where the Controller and Auditor-General has appointed a private firm to act on his behalf—the hon. the Minister rightly said yesterday he does this in very many cases —the report on the organization concerned comes before Parliament through the Select Committee on Public Accounts. In the Select Committee on Public Accounts, as you are well aware, Sir, we examine not only the figures that are presented to us in the form of a balance sheet and accounts, but we hear evidence, we call for papers, and where necessary we make a complete investigation into the balance sheet and accounts. In this way, as we all know, we get what is commonly known as accountability to Parliament, and this is what we are asking for here. In the case of an audit by a private firm of accountants who is appointed not by the Controller and Auditor-General but, as in this case, by the Minister or the directors of these corporations, that auditor is not responsible to Parliament in any shape or form. He will prepare his balance sheet and accounts on the normal accounting principles and he will then hand them to the responsible person and eventually they will find their way to the Table of this House. But we have had many cases in the past where that procedure was followed and where the balance sheets and accounts of corporations were tabled in this House with comments from the auditors, and yet we were not able to get anywhere. I want to refer the Minister to the reports of the S.A.B.C. because they are pertinent to this issue. If one examines the reports of the S.A.B.C. for the years 1963, 1964 and 1965 one will see that the auditor makes certain comments. These comments are to the effect that in terms of section 24 of the Broadcasting Act the S.A.B.C. is supposed to do certain things. The auditor draws attention to the fact that these things were not done. The auditor’s comments of 1963 are repeated in 1964 and again in 1965 when he reported that some of the things required to be done had been done whilst others were still not done.
The point in issue is this. What redress did we as members of Parliament have when these reports were presented to us? What redress did we have when we saw these balance sheets and accounts? And the Minister wants to adopt the same procedure in the case of these corporations now under discussion. But what redress did we have in the past? We raised the matter in the House time and again and the Minister concerned said that the S.A.B.C. is an independent corporation and would not reply to us. I am quite sure that it is not the hon. the Minister’s intention that this should happen in the case of the Bantu Development Corporation or the other corporations. I am sure that he will want us to have an opportunity of discussing fully the balance sheets and accounts of these companies. Here we have a case where large sums of money are going to be spent and where we sincerely hope that large undertakings are going to be established. We hope that there will be many organizations with boards of directors and advisory councils and that some progress will be made with the expansion of the Bantu areas. But we have no control. What is worse is that all these corporations which the hon. the Minister is now establishing have been freed from the provisions of the Bank Act and the Companies Act. I am sure that the hon. the Minister knows, I refer him to sections 90 to 99 and the eighth schedule of the Companies Act, that the Companies Act makes provision for what accounts are to be kept, how they are to be kept, what disclosures are to be made to shareholders, what the specific duties of the auditor are, what the auditor is to report on and how he is to report. Now all these safeguards are wiped out because the hon. the Minister has said that the companies, the organizations or the corporations which he will establish in terms of the Bill before us, will no longer be governed by the provisions of the Companies Act. The Companies Act does not apply in terms of clause 29 (1) which states “no provision of the … Companies Act shall apply to the investment corporation” or the development corporation unless the State President by proclamation makes any section applicable.
That is after all a very important proviso.
It is not important at all. What is important not only from the point of view of members on this side of the House, but from the point of view of all members in this House, is that Parliamentary control should be established in regard to these matters and that these organizations should be accountable to Parliament. I do not wish to refer again to the report of the Auditor-General on the Bantu Trust with which the hon. the Minister said he would deal at another time. I do however want to tell the hon. the Minister that not only members on this side of the House, but also many members on the other side of the House believe that the time has come when every organization, whether it be independent, semi-independent or dependent, which is financed by Government money, should appear before a select committee for examination. I hope that the House will now have an opportunity of saying to the Government that this is what it wants done. I hope that they will vote for this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, we are very tired of this old story of the Opposition’s, because we have been hearing it for the past 20 years.
The Opposition insists that all the accounts of these corporations, in fact, those of all utility companies, should be dealt with by the Select Committee on Public Accounts of this House. They are talking about so-called accountability to this House. Hon. members forget that the corporations that will be established in terms of this Bill, do not only handle public funds, but also the funds of private individuals, i.e. people who, for certain purposes, are going to invest their money in those companies. Those companies will also enter into competition with certain companies of which they are the spokesmen in this House, namely the Anglo-American Corporation and affiliated companies. This is the same argument we heard in regard to Sasol, because they know that those certain companies for which they are the mouthpiece, are in competition with these companies which will be established. “One cannot quarrel with one’s bread and butter” is a proverb which is very true of hon. members on that side of the House. You would like to know the secrets and business methods of those companies. You would like to know what is happening in those corporations, because they are going to be in opposition to certain companies with which you cannot quarrel since they are your bread and butter. That is why we are tired of this old story. The books of account of these corporations will be audited properly. The Trustee is going to appoint auditors. I want to make it very clear that those auditors will do their work properly. They will devote all their attention to any irregularities that may occur; otherwise they will not be worth their salt as accountants. The fact of the matter is that the only reason why you want to have it referred to a committee, is that you want this disclosed.
Order! The hon. member must address the Chair.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. members want to make a political matter out of this. They are not concerned about the auditors, because the auditing will be done properly. All those clauses which make provision for the requirements auditors must comply with in auditing books, can be included in the regulations by way of proclamation. They will then have to obey them. It is not necessary to make the whole Companies Act applicable to these corporations in order to make those particular sections imposing certain obligations on auditors, applicable to them. The auditors are going to do their work very thoroughly. If those hon. members say that the auditing will not be done properly, they are casting a reflection on that profession. I accept that that profession has a code of honour, in spite of the fact that the hon. member who has just spoken, is a member thereof. I accept that it has a code of honour, just as my profession has a code of honour. They will report properly.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, the hon. member said that he accepted that that is an honourable profession in spite of the fact that the hon. member for Parktown is a member of that profession.
Mr. Chairman, it seems to me as though that hon. member does not understand Afrikaans. He understands Xhosa better. In spite of what the hon. member said, I say that that profession has a code of honour.
Order! The hon. member must please repeat what he said.
Mr. Chairman, this is what I said. In spite of what the hon. member said about that profession, namely that they would not have to report in terms of the Companies Act, I say that they have a code of honour and that they will nevertheless comply with it. They will submit a proper report, and any irregularities will be disclosed at such an audit. The auditors of the Broadcasting Corporation disclosed those matters they regarded as irregularities. They reported on them. What do those hon. members want now? What they want, is not only a proper audit, but also a disclosure in Parliament so that they may start a political hunt here. That is really what they want, and that is why we must resist it with might and main. Those hon. members do not want their private affairs to be discussed in public, and why must these people who are going to invest their capital in these corporations, be exposed to what is merely a public disclosure of their affairs. They do not want to have this done for the audit, but only for the disclosure. Let us allow this matter to rest there once and for all. This method works excellently in the case of all the corporations. Where would Sasol have been to-day if year after year we had disclosed and discussed every audited report thereof across the floor of this House, particularly in view of the politicking of that side of the House? We would have discredited Sasol to such an extent that it could never have been an asset to this country. But you, Mr. Chairman, will remember how during the first years of Sasol’s existence those members on the opposite side of the House disparaged it from top to bottom in this Parliament, year after year, in order to make political capital out of it. Now that Sasol is a major success, now they pride themselves on Sasol. What did they contribute to it? Nothing, Mr. Chairman. To-day, too, they will contribute nothing to making this matter a success. They would like to have it fail. All their assurances of allegedly supporting it, are mere lip-service. They are only concerned about politics and nothing else.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member who has just sat down, has let the cat out of the bag in no uncertain way. I note that this is now a striped tiger, black and white, apparently, instead of the black cat we have been hearing about for the last few days. It has now suddenly become piebald. We are now told by that hon. member that the reason we cannot have an Auditor-General’s report, is that this corporation and the corporations created under this Bill are going to be competing commercially with Anglo American and with other concerns in the private sector of the South African economy. That hon. member has said here openly in the House that this corporation is going to be in open competition with ordinary private white enterprise in South Africa. In this Bill provision is made for it to deal solely with the development in the Bantu homelands. But we will be coming to a clause very Shortly where there is a tiny loophole, i.e. there is a provision whereunder the Minister can exempt. We wondered about that exception. Now we know what it is. Activities of this corporation will be limited under clause 23, I think it is, to Bantu areas. But there is an exception at the Minister’s discretion. From what we hear from the hon. member for Heilbron it becomes obvious why that exception exists— that in fact the object of this corporation is to compete with well-known firms. Who is that hon. member trying to protect. What industrial or commercial undertaking is he trying to protect that he should be afraid, that he should be so dead scared that the light of day should shine upon the activities of this corporation? What underhand plans are there, Mr. Chairman, that this Parliament may not know about and should not be able to examine? What has that hon. member got in his mind concerning the potential use of this measure in carrying out its activities with the money the taxpayers of South Africa, our money and the money of the public, which the public and Parliament may not know about? In the second-reading debate we heard that it really made no difference. We would get proper audits. We have just heard again from the hon. member that accountants and auditors follow an honourable profession which I accept without question. How is it now that something must be hidden and that this House, or the Controller and Auditor-General, may not find out what is going on? This has confirmed every suspicion we had. Every suspicion which the hon. the Minister tried to lull in his reply to the second-reading debate, has been reawakened by the chairman of the Bantu Affairs Commission. We have now, not a suspicion, but a categorical statement …
You said you had certain suspicions. What are those suspicions?
The hon. the Deputy Minister asks me what are our suspicions. Our suspicion is that there must be a reason for not wanting these accounts audited by the Controller and Auditor-General. That suspicion has now been confirmed by the categorical statement from a member of the Native Affairs Commission who states here that the reason that we cannot have these accounts audited is that it will disclose private business in competition with white private enterprise.
That is not a suspicion; it is a fact.
Now the Minister is confirming it as a fact. A Minister of State confirms that the object of this Bill will be to participate in economic activity in competition with white private enterprise. The hon. the Minister of Planning says that is a fact. [Interjections.] Am I doing him an injustice? I do not want to misquote the hon. the Minister.
It is a fact.
Now the hon. the Minister confirms that my suspicion is a fact. It is on record for South Africa to hear that our suspicion that there is something the Government does not want the public and Parliament to know about, is not only a suspicion; it is a fact. In a few minutes, in one sentence from the hon. member for Heilbron and one interjection by the Minister of Planning, the whole of the façade that the Government had spent days building up, has been ripped aside. We now have this measure before us, exposed in all its nakedness as something which South Africa dare not know the truth about, because if South Africa knows the truth, it would interfere with its competitive position in relation to private enterprise. Now, Mr. Chairman, we are entitled to ask: What activities— and I asked the Minister this distinctly and clearly—what activities does he contemplate which would, if disclosed, affect competition with private white commerce or industry? I ask him this specific question, because unless there is some activity, something which must be hidden because it would affect its competitive position, the hon. member for Heilbron was talking tripe. We accept that that is usual, but I think that for once his enthusiasm overran him, and for once the true striped cat came out of the bag and not a black cat.
We are now all the more determined that Parliament should control the expenditure of this corporation. It is vital that the Controller and Auditor-General should do the auditing, and that Parliament should have complete access to all the information which the hon. member for Heilbron wishes to hide from Parliament and the people of South Africa.
Mr. Chairman, I do not think that the hon. member should use this matter for practising his oratorical powers to rouse people. He can do so at the election in Pretoria (West).
Just answer his questions.
I shall answer his questions. That hon. member must keep quiet and wait. I shall make my speech according to the points and the sequence of my own choice. I shall reply to everybody.
That is quite all right. Just answer his questions.
I would like the hon. member for South Coast to understand that I shall reply to the points raised by the other side, but in the sequence of my own choice, as I like to and at the time of my choice and not as and when that hon. member wishes me to.
*Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Durban (Point) need not become upset about this. As I have said, he may as well practise his oratorical powers in Pretoria (West), and not here. They do not belong here. Now let us look …
What about Swellendam?
Yes, Swellendam, or any other place. After all, at Bethlehem and Bloemfontein you people shied away. [Interjections.]
Mr. Chairman, let us look soberly—at this time we can look soberly at them—at all the provisions of this clause.
You do not have to make up time while you think what to answer.
Shame! That is all I can say to that hon. member. There is not one single public corporation of this nature which falls under the Controller and Auditor-General. That has been the position from the earliest times on. This applies to Iscor, Escom and the I.D.C. The Industrial Development Corporation was established in 1940 under the regime of the United Party. I should like to have had the time to trace how they justified at that time the fact that they did not appoint the Controller and Auditor-General, but a private auditor. Now the hon. member for Durban (Point) says here, “South Africa dare not know the truth”. Were those the objects of the United Party in 1940, when, in the case of the I.D.C., they provided in this very House that private auditors may be appointed? If hon. members opposite want to know how that Act sounds, I can tell them that it sounds even worse than this Bill. [Interjections.]
Order! Hon. members must give the hon. the Minister a chance.
Thank you, Sir; I shall make good use of this opportunity. Listen to what the I.D.C. Act of 1940 says—
The accounts of the corporation shall be audited by two persons who publicly carry on the profession of accountants and auditors, to be appointed annually by the board, one of them upon the nomination of the Minister, and the other upon nomination by the private shareholders.
Not the Controller and Auditor-General. In the case of other corporations one finds the same pattern throughout. One finds everywhere that it is private auditors that are used to do the auditing, the private auditing profession which has its own code, a code laid down by law and a code laid down by their own organizations. Over the past seven to eight years we have seen the Bantu Investment Corporation operating with such auditing by private auditors; we have seen the Xhosa Development Corporation operating in the same way, and the same applies to the Coloured Corporation over the past few years.
We opposed that every year.
You oppose everything.
If the hon. member for Durban (Point) had been here in 1940, he, too, would probably have opposed this provision in the I.D.C. Act.
I wonder what the hon. member for South Coast has to say about that and whether he would have permitted that hon. member to oppose it in 1940. Fortunately he himself was not here at that time.
In 1940 I was fighting for my country.
Now the hon. member for Durban (Point) comes forward with bloodcurdling remarks such as, “Let the public see everything”. I want to ask the hon. member whether the Controller and Auditor-General allows the public to see everything. He does not even do it, and the system according to which the books and the reports of the Controller and Auditor-General are submitted to this House, is after all not designed in such a way that the public sees everything and that this House sees everything. Those are melodramatic words calculated for effect only; they do not have any bearing on the facts. Now the hon. member asks me, “What is contemplated as competition for the white industry which must be hidden?” No, there are no specific things which have to be concealed specifically with such evil intentions. But this is a business principle throughout the world and also in South Africa, and it is a business principle which all our corporations must uphold, namely that a certain exclusiveness is connected with business, and that the books, documents and reports of public companies should not lie open to all and sundry so that they may be examined and scrutinized by everybody who wishes to have access to them. That is not business practice; that is not business procedure, and that is all the hon. member for Heilbron said a few minutes ago.
I am sorry, but I cannot accept this amendment because it is entirely contrary to and in conflict with the practice that has existed so far, not only in respect of these two corporations, but also in respect of all State corporations in which the State or some or other branch of the State is the shareholder, and for that reason I do not see at all why one should totally deviate from that in this case. Nobody else has asked for that. This practice is quite an accepted one, and the private auditing profession is doing the work satisfactorily. Sir, this is so strange to me: the Opposition is, amongst other things, one of the bodies in South Africa which very often pleads—and sometimes to a certain extent perhaps justly pleads—that one should kindly give private people a chance, too; that one should not take everything out of the hands of private entrepreneurs. Here we have a case where one has confidently—with confidence justified by all the corporations we have had to date—been entrusting work to private auditors. Why are the private auditors not good enough in this case, whereas during the past seven years this profession has been good enough for these two corporations and has also been good enough for all the other corporations? Can hon. members mention to me one single corporation in South Africa of which the books have been audited by private auditors and in regard to which it has been found that those auditors have entirely failed in their duty? No, an example of that is nowhere to be found, because we are dealing with an honourable profession which has a code of its own that it has to uphold, and which has to comply with the laws. I simply fail to see the point of it, and that is why it is unnecessary to accept the amendment, nor am I going to do so.
We are not asking from the Minister any more than the Minister’s colleague is asking from commerce and industry. We are not asking for the disclosure of special secrets about the Bantu Investment Corporation which are not required from an ordinary business. The Companies Act, in sections 90 to 98 and in the Eighth Schedule, sets out a long list of requirements which companies and auditors must comply with before the accounts comply with the Act. All we are asking, so far as a disclosure of information is concerned, is that this Bantu Investment Corporation must make a similar disclosure. Sir, the hon. member for Heilbron referred to Anglo American. Surely if Anglo American is required under the Companies Act to disclose full information as prescribed in the Companies Act and in the Eighth Schedule …
But it not made public.
Sir, I wish the hon. member would contain himself. The report of the Anglo American Corporation, under the provisions of the Companies Act, is a public document. It is a public document which every shareholder can see. Members of the public can go to the shareholders’ meetings and hear the discussions. All we are asking is that the Bantu Investment Corporation, which is going to have funds invested in it, should make as full and frank a disclosure to the public, to the country as a whole. Surely that is not an unreasonable request. The clause dealing with accounts is a very brief one. I am making no reflection on the auditors. The auditors have complied with this section of the Act, but they have not gone as far as they could have done if the Eighth Schedule of the Act applied to them. Of course, the Eighth Schedule of the Act does not apply to them.
My request is that the Minister should seek powers or should ask the State President to provide, as far as the requirements of the Companies Act are concerned, that the disclosure of information by this Corporation must be as full and frank as ordinary banking institutions, industry and commerce are required to be. If companies are required to give this detailed information and if auditors are required to comply with all the requirements of the Eighth Schedule of the Act, surely it is not asking too much to ask that an organization such as this, which is in open competition with other organizations, should provide the same information. We are casting no reflection on professional accountants when we ask for the audit to be done by the Controller and Auditor-General. It is frequently the Auditor-General’s practice to ask professional accountants and auditors to do this work on his behalf. These firms of accountants and auditors then do the audit and report to the Auditor-General within the framework of the Act. If the requirements of the Act are so circumscribed as is provided in the Bill before us, then we are going to get a very abridged report; we are not going to get full information. I am not talking about secret information. I am talking about information which is required of other public companies which operate in competition with this sort of organization. I submit that our request is reasonable. We are not asking for any more than is demanded by the Minister of Economic Affairs, in his legislation, of commerce and industry who are in competition with this sort of organization. For that reason it is unfair and undesirable that the information required to be disclosed should be as circumscribed as provided for in this Bill.
If the hon. the Minister will study the Eighth Schedule of the Act plus sections 90 and 98 of the Companies Act, he will see that in many respects the present provisions of this clause are quite inadequate. If he were to provide that sections 90 and 98 of the Companies Act and the Eighth Schedule applied to this corporation, the public could get more information, without any disclosure of secrets, and the documents available to the public would be more informative and it would be a better document in the interest of the public. Sir, we represent the public here. I repudiate the suggestion made by some members on the other side that we are the mouthpiece of certain organizations. We are here as public representatives, and we are concerned with the investment of public money. Taxpayers’ money is being invested in these corporations and we have the right to make a protest and to ask that just as the Minister of Economic Affairs demands from commerce and industry that there shall be an adequate report as laid down in the Companies Act, an equally adequate report and an equally adequate balance sheet must be tabled in this House for us to examine and discuss at the appropriate time.
I am afraid that the hon. member, in taking the line which he has just taken, has not proved the necessity to accept the amendment moved by the Opposition to the effect that the books of the corporation must be audited by the Controller and Auditor-General. I would like to refer the hon. member to clause 29 (2) of this Bill, which provides—
The point is whenever it can be regarded as necessary or wise to apply to corporations certain provisions of the Companies Act, including those to which the hon. member referred a moment ago, then the Minister is empowered to apply those provisions to corporations by means of proclamation. There is authority in the Act for the Minister to select certain provisions of the Companies Act and, if he deems it necessary or feasible, to apply them by way of proclamation to corporations, but so far it has not been regarded as necessary. The Act does make provision for it, however. It is therefore not necessary to accept the amendment moved by the hon. member for Parktown. The necessary provisions already exist and they can be applied, if necessary, to corporations.
The hon. the Minister perhaps accentuates the attitude which has been indicated so far from his side of the House. He says there is a provision that it can be done by the State President. Sir, what are we doing here? We are sitting here as Parliament, as a committee of the Whole House of the House of Assembly; we are determining what shall happen. It is no answer to the hon. member for Pinetown to say there is provision that certain provisions of the Companies Act might apply. The hon. member referred to matters where these details have to be provided. But the Minister says this has not been found necessary up to now, and it is not going to be done.
How do you know that? What assurance have you?
No assurance at all, except that the Minister says it has not been necessary up to now, and he has also said that it is unnecessary to accept this amendment because that also has not been considered necessary by the Government, up to now. In other words, the Minister’s attitude is that this corporation will continue as the others did so far as their relationship to Parliament is concerned. But the hon. the Minister and the hon. member for Heilbron both have an attitude of mind towards Parliament. That is the difference, and the hon. member for Heilbron has the impertinence to talk about “die sogenaamde beheer” of Parliament. We regard that as somewhat contemptuous of Parliament and of our procedure, contemptuous of the Public Accounts Committee, and contemptuous of everything that Parliament traditionally is and all the functions that it traditionally has.
The hon. member has the knack of misrepresenting things.
On a point of order, Sir, is the hon. member for Heilbron entitled to accuse the hon. member for Durban (North) of misrepresenting?
The hon. member may continue.
The hon. member for Heilbron has a habit of putting his foot into it and he has a habit of showing contempt for this House.
On a point of order, Sir, may the hon. member accuse me of being in the habit of showing contempt for this House?
The hon. member must withdraw it.
On a point of order, Sir, may I ask what the difference is between that and the hon. member saying that I have a habit of misrepresenting things?
The hon. member did not refer to deliberate misrepresentation. There are many Speaker’s rulings that you must specify that the misrepresentation is wilful.
I did not say it was deliberate, Sir.
Is the hon. member for Heilbron entitled to say that the hon. member for Durban (North) is guilty of the habit of misrepresenting things, and because he did not use the word “wilfully” your ruling does not apply to him? I think both words amount to the same thing.
There is a vast difference between the two things. To accuse the hon. member of habitually having contempt for Parliament is a very serious matter, and I ask the hon. member to withdraw it.
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order …
Order! I have given my ruling.
Sir, I want you to give me an opportunity to put my point of order.
I have given my ruling and the hon. member must resume his seat.
Am I to understand that it is now permissible to say that an hon. member is in the habit of misrepresenting, or to accuse an hon. member of misrepresenting?
I have a ruling here given by Mr. Speaker after he had ordered an hon. member to withdraw the word “misrepresent”. It reads as follows:“I have now gone into the matter and find that, in the past, members were only requested to withdraw the word ‘misrepresent’ or ‘misrepresentation’ when it was qualified by words such as ‘deliberate’, ‘wilful’ or ‘intentional’. In future the words ‘misrepresent’ or ‘misrepresentation’ will not, unless qualified, be regarded as unparliamentary.”
That is a ruling by Mr. Speaker. Will the hon. member for Durban (North) withdraw?
I withdraw it. I hope that in calculating my 10 minutes you will allow for injury time. Let me say. that inasmuch as you ruled that there is an imputation of wilfulness in what I said as regards the hon. member showing contempt for Parliament …
Order! That matter has been disposed of now.
But the hon. member shows contempt for Parliament by using the words “die sogenaamde beheer van die Parlement”.
I qualified that.
Then let me ask the other hon. members why it is that they are not prepared as Members of Parliament to accept this amendment? [Interjections.] What for? For this simple reason, that this is not the enlarged caucus of the Nationalist Party; this is the House of Assembly. Let us remember that we are all sent here by the people. We are the representatives of the people and it is the duty of all of us on both sides of the House to question everything that the Government and its agencies do, on behalf of all the people we represent whether they voted for you or not. That hon. member and all hon. members must remember that.
You forgot all about it in 1940.
We are now talking about 1968, when there are more and more State corporations and more State control and a creeping sort of monster that grips everything and every organization and every establishment. There is State control of every single endeavour. The hon. members really cannot object to this amendment. [Time expired.]
It seems to me as though hon. members opposite have really lost the thread altogether. I want to ask those hon. members specifically what they Want in regard to this corporation. In the first place, clause 21 (1) provides that the corporation must keep proper books of account. Let us accept that this is being done. Then clause 21 (2) provides that those accounts must be audited. In other words, there cannot be any mistakes as far as those accounts are concerned. Surely that is clear. Thirdly, it is provided in clause 22, to which we have not yet come, that there must be a proper balance sheet and that the details of the accounts are to be submitted to the Trustee, and that the Minister must Table in Parliament every year the audited report of the corporation. Now we are satisfied that due regard is being had to the affairs of the corporation and, secondly, it is being Tabled in this Parliament. After all, we do have the opportunity every year to discuss in Parliament these books of account when we are not satisfied that the policy, as laid down by this Parliament, is being carried into effect. This can be done every year under the hon. the Minister’s Vote. Now I am asking hon. members what more do they want than that proper books of account should be kept, that the books should be audited and that Parliament should be able to discuss the policy in respect of the corporation? Why do they want to poke their noses even deeper into the corporation’s books of account? It seems to me as though hon. members are quite unnecessarily trying to raise a dust. It simply remains a fact that all the documents that are being Tabled may, in any case, be discussed under the Minister’s Vote, if they refer to matters of policy. But if we were to allow every member of the public to poke his nose into the corporation’s books of account, would we not be deterring the private investor? And is that not what hon. members are really after, namely that they want to deter people from investing private capital in the corporation? [Interjections.] Is that not perhaps the reasons, i.e. because they want these concerns to be failures? Is that not perhaps the reason why they are opposed to the system contemplated in this Bill? I really fail to see any substance in the arguments raised by hon. members opposite.
I do not understand hon. members opposite, particularly the hon. member for Heilbron. He got very excited indeed this afternoon, and he read me quite a lecture about accountants and auditors. He is a lawyer and he should be able to understand these things. What we said was that you can have the best auditor in the world, and all auditors who are members of the Society and registered auditors are capable, but when you get their reports, what do you do with them? We ask the Minister to tell us why things have not been done. The last speaker said we should ask questions in this House about policy, but what about questions of fact? When the auditors in these three reports, reported that the regulations of the Broadcasting Act had not been complied with, we asked the Minister for an explanation, and the hon. member opposite knows as well as I do what explanation we got. I would like that hon. member who has just sat down a Whip of the Nationalist Party, to get up and tell the House what explanation we got from the Minister in charge of this matter when we asked him questions based on the auditor’s Report. We got no answer at all. Now the Minister says, following the speech of the hon. member for Pinetown regarding the provisions of the Companies Act, that the point is that he may bring the Companies Act within the orbit of this Act by proclamation. I disagree. The point is that he may not, not that he may. The position of the Minister in this issue is very much the same as that of the chairman of a company; it is his final responsibility. I do not doubt for a moment that the Minister will do everything in his power to see that the full information is made available and that the corporation complies with as much of the Companies Act as he deems necessary, but why take the onus on his own shoulders? He is being both judge and arbiter. He has to decide what information shall be supplied, and he is responsible for the information. It is an untenable state of affairs. You cannot plead and judge at the same time. And it is wrong for the Minister to say “I may”, but it is right for us to say “He may not”. The hon. member for Heilbron and the Minister will know that there are many matters provided for in the Companies Act that need not appear in a balance sheet and the best auditor in the world can sign it with a clean conscience as having done his job.
For example: There is a provision that an annual general meeting must be held by a certain date but in clause 22 it is not stated that it must be held on a particular date but “as soon as practicable”. The same with clause 21. Where there are no specific provisions requiring a balance sheet to reflect certain items the board of directors is legally entitled to tell the auditor that he has no right to insist that they should show their assets or their liabilities in a particular way as long as they make the correct disclosures to the public.
Would that be in compliance with subsection (1)?
That is why the Companies’ Act was brought into being to ensure that the public should be given more information. It is not a question of the correctness or otherwise of a balance sheet—it is a question of how much information Parliament thinks the public should have. As I see the matter, hon. members opposite are taking a political stand in regard to this matter. The hon. member for Middelland said we wanted certain information from people. How absurd! I can think of nothing more so. We want Parliament to control parliamentary funds. And the hon. the Minister is not right when he says this has been going on for a long time, because since 1959—the furthest I went back—we objected to lack of parliamentary control on every occasion. So, this is not the first time. We have asked for it in 1959 and we have asked for it for the Coloured Development Corporation. In 1965. I think it was; we are asking for it now and we shall be asking for it on every occasion until the Government sees the light and makes every corporation subject to parliamentary control.
Order! Arguments are very often being repeated in this debate. More than an hour has already been devoted to this short subsection. Therefore I am not going to permit any further repetition. I also want to point out to hon. members that much of what they have to say really relates to clause 29 (2). When clause 29 (2) comes up for discussion. I shall therefore not permit another discussion of this nature.
It is merely obstruction.
Order! The hon. member must withdraw that statement.
I withdraw it, Mr. Chairman.
Did the hon. member withdraw it, Mr. Chairman? I did not hear.
Yes, the hon. member did.
But the hon. member did not stand up.
Order! Does the hon member want to teach me how to maintain order? As I have said, the hon. member did withdraw.
Then I accept that the hon. member did in fact do so.
To my mind there is a certain inconsistency in the arguments advanced by hon. members of the United Party. One group is pleading that the Companies Act should be made applicable to this, whereas another group is pleading that the auditing should be done by the Controller and Auditor-General. In fact, that is what is being asked in the amendment. That is quite a different matter, because the Controller and Auditor-General does not only carry out an audit, but also reports on his findings, and this report is, in turn, investigated by a select committee. For the purposes of such an investigation all documents must be made available. These corporations are going to enter into the economic life. Let me mention to hon. members an example to illustrate this. Let us assume that there is a hessian factory in which certain private individuals have invested money, and that this hessian factory is competing with a similar factory in the white sector. Hon. members now want the affairs of the former factory to be investigated by Parliament and a select committee, i.e. in public. Now I want to ask hon. members opposite whether they are willing to disclose to the public the personal information they furnish for the purposes of income-tax. Are they willing to see that Anglo-American’s information and all its documents required for income-tax purposes should be disclosed to the public by the Auditor-General? Surely not. These corporations are going to enter into the economic life, and anybody who enters the economic sphere has certain business secrets, certain business matters which cannot be disclosed.
Order! The hon. member is repeating what has already been said here ten times over.
It is for the very reason that these arguments have so far failed to penetrate to the hon. Opposition, that I am repeating them.
That does not matter. The hon. member must stop repeating arguments.
I hope that they are now able to realize why we cannot permit this disclosure. This is purely a matter of principle. That is the only reason why we cannot support their request. We are pleading that they may see this point so that they will realize that there is good cause for our attitude in this regard.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Heilbron has repeatedly said that these accounts must not be open for scrutiny because private capital is involved. Private capital can only be involved as far as it is loaned to these corporations. Investors of private capital cannot become shareholders in the corporations.
What about the Bantu in the corporations?
Yes, there are Bantu but not shareholders. The point is made that the corporations will come into competition with Anglo-American and other white concerns.
What about an agency, any agency?
I think an agency would be something quite different. Anglo-American could perhaps be an agency. Nobody is asking to see what the agency is doing. What we are asking is the opportunity to scrutinize and investigate state investments, state money, to see and investigate where the corporations invest the money, not where Anglo-American invests money. I read in the papers that according to a speech made by Mr. Young, the managing director of the X.D.C., that Viskor is now going to go into Coffee Bay at Umtata, but nobody is asking to see what Viskor’s accounts are. We only want to see what happens to money which we give to the development corporations.
Order! That point has been made over and over again.
If you will give me a chance, Sir, I will tell you why. I will deal with a specific instance. The hon. member for Middelland has said the accounts will be laid before us, and the hon. the Minister has said so too. We have the accounts for the year 1966 before us. Now I ask the hon. member for Middelland to tell me by looking at this account before us what has happened to the Transkei meat industry? What money has been invested there and what money has been spent there? I ask him to tell me what money has been spent on the furniture factory at Oshake? What money has been spent on the leather goods factory at Tambane? Nothing in these accounts tells us how the money is being spent.
The hon. member for Heilbron dealt with competition with white concerns. As I mentioned the other day, there are rumours circulating throughout the Transkei that the Transkei meat factory has lost a lot of money. Our money, the public’s money, is invested there. That factory is in competition with white butchers in the area, It tenders for contracts to supply meat at the hospitals, for instance, and it has obtained a big contract. What concerns the factory’s competitors is, who is paying for the losses incurred by the meat factory which is in competition with the white establishments?
Order! What has a factory’s loss got to do with this particular clause? This clause lays down that books should be kept in a proper manner.
Yes, and we have moved an amendment that these books must be audited by the Controller and Auditor-General so that we, the Members of Parliament, can see what is going on.
Order! That still will not turn a profit into a loss.
No, Sir, but according to the Controller and Auditor-General’s report on the Bantu Trust it was certainly a loss. You are quite right, Mr. Chairman— there is no profit. That is what this side is complaining about. Let me put it this way. If the Auditor-General had to audit these accounts the Select Committee on Public Accounts could ask the managers of these corporations, “What is happening at the Transkei Meat Factory? What moneys did you spend there last year? How did you spend it?” The select committee members would have an opportunity of questioning the officials concerned. But if the accounts came before us in the way envisaged by the hon. the Minister, Parliament would have no control. By looking at the account before me to which I referred earlier on, one learns nothing. We learn nothing at all except that the Investment Corporation has suffered a loss. But we do not know whether the meat factory has been making a profit or whether one of the furniture factories has been running at a loss. There is nothing in these accounts to show us. That is why we want the Auditor-General to be able to have these officials before the Select Committee on Public Accounts where reports can be presented and we as Members of Parliament can question them to ensure that public money has not been wasted.
Question put: That subsection (2) stand part of the Clause.
Upon which the Committee divided:
Tellers: P. S. van der Merwe and H. J. van Wyk.
Tellers: H. J. Bronkhorst and A. Hopewell. Question affirmed and amendment dropped. Clause, as printed, put and agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, this clause contains a provision which does not appear in the old Bantu Investment Corporation Act or in the Homelands Development Corporations Act. Subsection (b) allows the trustee to operate in areas outside Bantu areas if he considers it necessary for the attainment of the objects of the body concerned.
During the second-reading debate the Minister said that this provision was being made to enable the corporation to deal with the wholesalers in the white areas. In my speech I asked him if that was the only reason. He nodded his head and said “yes”. But I really cannot see that this important amendment, or addition to the powers of the trustee and the corporation, is necessary merely for the corporations to be able to deal with wholesalers in white areas, because they are at present doing that, as the Minister knows. Because of that I should like the Minister to give us more information as to exactly what is intended by this clause. Before we start criticizing, I want to ask him exactly what he is aiming at.
Mr. Chairman, I shall do so with pleasure. I want to agree with the hon. member that precisely the same words are not to be found in the two existing Acts. But we do find provisions there which make it possible to achieve more or less the same object. I now want to point this out to the hon. member in these two Acts.
The Bantu Investment Corporation Act, section 3 (2), reads as follows—
The Corporation itself determines that.
In the Bantu Homelands Development Corporation Act we find approximately the same wording, also in section 3 (2)—
The position now is as follows: The corporations must function for the Bantu and in the Bantu areas, as laid down in the Act. But it is not always possible to limit their activities to within the Bantu areas concerned. Pursuant to my observation the hon. member mentioned the wholesalers as an example. My opinion is that for a Xhosa Development Corporation or a Bantu Investment Corporation which buys from a wholesaler in, say, Johannesburg or Cape Town …
No, outside the Bantu area … there ought perhaps to be better cover in the Act than in the existing two Acts. Now I want to give the hon. member a better example. Suppose that the Xhosa Development Corporation, of which the hon. member probably has a sound knowledge, wants to equip a motor workshop where it has motor vehicles repaired, and has sound reasons for erecting that workship not at, say, Butterworth, Idutywa, or Umtata, but near its head office in East London, then it may not do so. In terms of the provisions of this new clause, I may grant it permission to erect its workshop there. Here one must either accept the intention as regards the implementation of the Act or remain suspicious of it if one wants to. It is not the intention at all to have the corporations act in direct undertakings, to finance the Bantu and so forth, in the white areas. I have explained the position to the hon. member as best I can. I just want to add that we think it better to have the wording as it is at present instead of as it occurs in the two existing Acts; for this reason the wording we have before us is being substituted for the wording of section 3 (2) of the two existing Acts.
Mr. Chairman, much as we appreciate the explanation given by the hon. the Minister, I think that there is something further in this. I want to refer particularly to the hon. the Minster’s second-reading introductory speech. He said—
That is exactly what I said a minute ago.
I agree, but does this not mean that the hon. the Minister can through these corporations go into direct competition, as the hon. member for Heilbron also said, with other enterprises in other parts of the country outside the Bantu areas? If the hon. the Minister wants an example, I will use his example of a wholesaler. Clause 23 states—
of this Bill. But if the hon. the Minister considers it necessary for the attainments of the objects of this Bill to raise capital, then he must find some financial undertaking to raise that capital. He might also consider it essential to further the objects of this Bill that he should have control of a large wholesale organization. He mentioned the example of a wholesale organization and that is why I am using it as an example. He deems it necessary that this organization should have control of a large wholesale organization. Therefore as I see this, and I should like the hon. the Minister’s assurances on this point, anyone of his corporations can buy out a firm of wholesalers in this country, be it Suzmans, Jaggers or any other firm, in the furtherance of the ideals of this Bill. He will then be able to supply his Bantu traders from such an undertaking. Am I reading this correctly or not? This is even more relevant when you consider clause 23 with clause 30 where additional power is given to the Bantu Trust to spend trust funds in areas outside the Bantu areas if it is expedient under the Promotion of the Economic Development of Bantu Homelands Act. I should like to have this category assurance from the hon. the Minister that we are not going to have the position where this Bill will be used for the establishment of either Government or quasi-Government controlled organizations which will go outside the Bantu areas and trade or manufacture in direct competition with existing enterprises.
Mr. Chairman, I referred to the wholesalers not in the sense that the Bantu Investment Corporation and the Xhosa Development Corporation have taken over wholesale organizations. I meant that they were doing business with existing wholesale organizations. If the hon. member will accept my assurance, because those are the exact words he used in his question, that it is not the intention that the corporation should go into business competition with existing white enterprises outside the Bantu areas, then I will give him that assurance. He has asked for this assurance and I give it to him.
Mr. Chairman, I accept the assurance of the hon. the Minister. By way of explanation I should like to say that when I mentioned the question of wholesalers as raised by the hon. the Minister, I was thinking of his statement in this regard in his second-reading speech. To be quite candid I thought that this was a red herring which was being drawn across our path.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot follow why the hon. the Minister referred me to section 3 (2) of the Bantu Investment Corporation Act and the Bantu Homelands Development Corporations Act.
I said so because that was originally intended to cover examples such as these.
I must say that I cannot agree with the Minister at all. Subsection 2 states:
These two sections have to do with Bantu persons. This clause now deals with an area. Section 3 (1) dealt with the areas in which they could operate.
Section 3 (1) must be read with section 3 (2).
That is so. The Minister said that this is not to compete with enterprise outside the reserves. I take it that the Minister means that it will not compete in that it will sell goods to the Bantu in that area outside the reserves.
It will not compete by starting a business in Cape Town or in Johannesburg, for instance. It will not start a business in any white town.
Clause put and agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment.
Committee Stage Clause 1:
Mr. Chairman, I wish to move the following amendment—
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
I was most disappointed yesterday afternoon when, after I had raised this matter in the second-reading debate, the Minister showed that he was not prepared to accept or to effect an amendment to this clause, especially after the hon. the Deputy Minister, in discussions, had given us the assurance that he would effect an amendment to this clause either in this House or in the Other Place. The hon. the Minister says that he cannot accept this amendment and that if we want to do away with the reservation of this particular right by the State, we will then have to wait for special legislation to bring about the necessary amendment. Sir, I cannot see why we should postpone this to some future date. It seems to be unnecessarily postponing the “Good day” that we can have by repealing this right immediately. I therefore move the following amendment—
Provided that the State shall not retain the right of making and repairing public roads and raising materials for that purpose on the premises, in terms of section 4 of the Proclamation dated August 6, 1813, by Sir John Cradock, providing for perpetual quitrent.
I think in the second-reading debate I very clearly stated our objection to the retention of these specific rights by the State. I pointed out very clearly that we cannot legislate and that in effect we do not try to legislate on behalf of the province. But I must emphasize that this proclamation is the basis on which the ordinance dealing with this matter is founded, and until such time as we repeal this right the province will not act in respect of its ordinance and repeal the right which is embodied in that ordinance to effect the very thing that is provided for in this proclamation which is now being reserved by the State. Sir, I do not want to repeat all the arguments which have already been advanced. I merely want to say that there is nothing complicated about this whole thing. We are merely putting the owners of land in the Cape Province on a par, whether they be freehold-title holders or whether they be title-holders under the quitrent system. Our quarrel is that here you have two people, both owning land of the same valuation, and yet in the one case the owner may be paid compensation and in the other case he has to be paid compensation.
As I already explained in the second-reading debate, this Bill is not intended to take away or grant any rights. All that is being contemplated here is merely to prevent further dealings from taking place under these ordinances, because they can now take place under legislation brought in at a later stage. In other words, we no longer need these ordinances for dealings of the present time. As regards rights existing by virtue of the legislation which is now being repealed, it should be clear that a proper investigation must be made before any legislation may be passed or amendments may be introduced which are aimed at doing away with these rights. We cannot simply decide across the floor of the House to alter certain existing rights by legislation. A proper investigation into all the implications has to take place first. The object of the Bill, as I have said, is not to grant or take away any rights. If the hon. member, as I told him in the second-reading debate to-day, can make out a good case, then we can discuss the matter. If the hon. member can make out a good case for the removal of rights which the State has at present under the ordinances to which the hon. member referred, I shall be prepared to introduce other legislation to place all the owners concerned on a par, but this cannot be done in this Bill, because we have not yet had an opportunity of investigating the implications of such amendments. The intention here is purely to repeal the proclamation so that no further dealings can take place in terms thereof. I want to point out to the hon. member that even if we did repeal this legislation, there would be other powers under existing legislation which enable the State to obtain certain rights, without compensation. The practice followed is such in all cases that compensation is in fact paid where these rights are affected and where the State intervenes to make use of rights possessed by an owner. This is being done under all circumstances, both by the Railways and by other Government bodies. Since this restriction still applies to certain properties and not to others, and the hon. member wants to rectify the principle, I am prepared to introduce legislation, at a later occasion and after consultation with the hon. member, to place all owners on a par, if this is feasible. But on this occasion I cannot accept this amendment.
I want to support the hon. member in the amendment he has moved here because I think there is a very real need for this matter to be dealt with. We are glad to have the assurance from the hon. the Minister that if in due course we can make out a case for it, legislation may be introduced to deal with it. It seems to me that it may be a wise procedure to get rid of this restrictive provision that this proclamation at present imposes on the Provincial Council and on other local authorities, so that in due course they can legislate without being subject to the restrictive clause of this proclamation. I want to make a very strong plea to the hon. the Minister to accept this amendment or to take the necessary steps to place on the Statute Book legislation that will place this matter on a more satisfactory footing than it is to-day. There is general dissatisfaction throughout the Cape Province in respect of these particular measures which apply at the present time.
The hon. Minister has told us that he first wants all these matters investigated. This one needs no investigation. It is a restrictive provision which affects many landowners. It is a provision which they have been concerned about for quite some time and they would very much like to have this restrictive provision removed. I am not referring to the other provisions; I take it that the other provisions do need investigation, but here we are dealing with a provision which we all know can be removed without causing anyone damage. The hon. Minister must not take it amiss of us if we think that we are dealing with a provision here which can be removed without further investigation. I should like to hear from the hon. the Minister why he cannot accept this amendment.
I just want to point out that this is not the only ordinance or legislation in terms of which the State has the right to expropriate without paying compensation. I am prepared to discuss the whole principle at a later opportunity with hon. members, and if I do not introduce legislation, the situation will remain unchanged. If I do not repeal this ordinance, then the situation will remain as it is, but I should like to have the whole situation investigated. If hon. members can prove that it is practicable—and I feel that it is practicable— I am prepared to introduce legislation in terms of which the State has to pay compensation in all cases of which property is expropriated, but this is not the occasion to effect an amendment the effect of which I cannot determine at present. This is the whole situation, and therefore I am not prepared to accept the amendment, but not because I am against the principle advocated here by the hon. member. Accordingly I say that I am prepared to go into the matter and to introduce legislation which will embody this principle advocated by him.
Surely the hon. the Minister appreciates that the object of this Bill is to repeal certain old laws. One of them is this Cradock Proclamation. All the Cradock Proclamation does is to give certain rights to the owners of these properties, and it also gives certain rights to the State in respect of the land—prospecting for gold and silver and then the provision which the hon. member has dealt with. It excludes other rights in the land from the State’s control. If I must take what the hon. the Minister has said at face value, then there seems to be no point in having this Bill at all because what the Bill does is to repeal an old law which gives certain rights to the state in respect of land and certain rights to the owner of the land. Then there is a provision which says that nothing herein contained shall detract from those rights. In other words, we are repealing the law formally but we are leaving the effect of the law just as it would be if we did not pass this law. That is the situation in which we find ourselves. As the hon. member for Gardens has said, all that this amendment seeks to do is to remove from the State the right to deal in those matters which are mentioned in the amendment, namely the making of roads and so on. When the hon. member spoke during the second-reading debate yesterday he indicated why he wanted this done. But I think one should go even further.
The hon. the Minister does not need to look into this matter. It is a very simple matter, as the hon. member for Gardens has said. All we are asking is that the State shall not have the right to deal with those matters mentioned in the amendment; that it shall not have those particular rights in the land. This is not something that the hon. the Minister has to think about. I hope that the hon. member for King William’s Town will tell us what he almost told us in the second-reading debate yesterday, namely that this matter has already been well canvassed; it has already been talked about in public and it already has the support, in other elected bodies, of a large proportion of the hon. the Minister’s party, if not of the party itself.
That is not the point.
The hon. the Minister says that is not the point. Is the hon. the Minister in agreement with all this? If he is in agreement that this right should not be retained by the State, then here is the opportunity, the only opportunity that the representatives of those people have, to get the approval of this House for the removal of those rights.
Why should this be the only opportunity? We can have a general Bill to remedy the whole position.
But then all the rights are retained. [Interjection.] If that is so, why does the hon. the Minister have clause 2 in the Bill at all? If he wants to get rid of all the rights, he should remove clause 2 from the Bill and then we will have the position that all the State’s rights in these lands will be removed and the statute will also be removed. The matter appears to be so simple, but I do not understand the Minister’s approach. He says he does not necessarily disagree that these rights should not continue to be exercised by the State, but he feels that this is not the opportunity to do something about it. But this is the first opportunity and if the Minister feels that at a later stage he might in fact take away more rights from the State, then that can still be done. But the acceptance of this amendment will not in any way affect a later examination as to whether or not more rights should be taken from the State. Here is a simple matter. All the people concerned want it. Both political parties apparently are in agreement on it, and if the Minister were to accept this amendment it would ensure that this would be done now instead of at some future date which, as the Minister knows better than I do, may be in two years’ time. The Minister himself may not be here then and his successor may not be as indulgent in his attitude towards property owners. I do hope that the Minister will reconsider his first attitude and accept the amendment.
The hon. the Minister has said that an inquiry is necessary and that if we could make out a good case he would consider bringing in further amending legislation. But we can make out a good case on this matter right now. The position has changed tremendously since the Cradock Proclamation, which was originally brought in in 1813, when a road was something which was there merely to serve the local landowners and it was a narrow strip running up hill and down dale. There was no question of filling up the hollows and merely a limited amount of material was needed to make that road and to maintain it. Under those circumstances it was quite reasonable to expect of the local landowners that they should contribute material towards the construction or the maintenance of the road, because it merely came from the side of the road and could be removed by pick and shovel, and in fact the road was for their benefit. But today the position has changed tremendously. Whether it is a divisional road or a trunk road or a national road, those roads to-day are not merely being built for the benefit of the land-owners over whose land they pass; they are built for the benefit of the general travelling public who may come from hundreds of miles away. What is more, the amount of land taken for the road itself is becoming increasingly bigger. At one time there used to be a road reserve of 60 feet, and then it became 80 feet, and to-day in some instances it is 120 feet. Also, the nature of roadmaking has changed, and the road itself is wider and therefore takes more material. To-day you have these tremendous fills of depressions and you have overhead bridges, which need material for filling up the approaches, and this is taken out of the ground of the neighbouring landowner. The effects of the Cradock Proclamation to-day constitute a very severe burden on the owners of quitrent farms. It is inequitable that whereas the owner of a freehold farm should be entitled to compensation, the owner of a quitrent farm is not entitled to compensation. The authorities may pay him compensation if they think fit, but they do not have to. What is more, if he feels that the compensation is inadequate, he has no right to appeal to anybody. If the Minister delays this matter further, he will further perpetuate this present inequity which is a severe hardship on the land-owners concerned, especially having regard to the way in which the gravel or other roadmaking material is taken out to-day. It is not merely a question of digging a pit, as used to be the case, and taking out the gravel. Big earth-moving machinery opens up a big area, almost an acre of ground, so that they can dig a shallow trench in order to get the material out easily. The topsoil has subsequently got to be put back, but that ground is never again in the same productive condition as it was before. This is a real hardship, and I appeal to the Minister to reconsider his attitude.
May I just put the point to the Minister this way, because it seems to me he simply wants to postpone this matter indefinitely instead of dealing with it now, when we are repealing this proclamation. Let us now repeal this right as well, because this right does not really affect the State in any respect. The hon. the Minister himself said there were other laws under which expropriation could take place. We have the Ordinance which enables the Provincial Administration to take land. The point is just that that difference in compensation for quitrent owners as against freehold owners will not be changed in the Ordinance until such time as the right the Minister is now taking in this legislation is repealed. But it does not affect the State in any way. There is nothing to go into, because there are other laws under which land may be taken. It would only eliminate that injustice, or, at least, it would give the necessary guidance to the Provincial Administration. They would see that this right had been repealed by the State and as a result they would change their ordinances as well in order to act according to this amendment.
I want again to put the matter to the hon. members as clearly as I can. This law is being repealed because it is not longer necessary; in other words, because there are other laws in terms of which one may perform the actions provided for in this ordinance. All that is being done here, is to perpetuate what has been done in the past, and the rights that existed under the ordinance are being retained. However, the ordinance is now being repealed and no future action can be taken in terms of that law; it must be taken under other laws. However, I want to tell the hon. member again that I have no quarrel with the principle he has been advocating, but I first want to know what the implications would be if I accepted this amendment. The object of this Bill is only to effect a repeal. It is not to remove any legal rights. Therefore I want to repeat that I am prepared to accept the whole principle they are referring to. If it can be proved to me, after we have made the investigation, that we can repeal it on those grounds, I am prepared to introduce legislation, but I cannot do so under this repealing legislation. I hope hon. members will accept it like this.
Amendment put and the Committee divided:
Tellers: A. Hopewell and T. G. Hughes.
Tellers: P. S. van der Merwe and H. J. van Wyk.
Amendment accordingly negatived.
Clause, as printed, put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who was on his feet when this debate was adjourned is not here at the moment so I do not propose to follow his argument and deal with it. I do wish to associate myself with what the hon. member for Umlazi said when he indicated what the attitude of this side was to this Bill, namely that we are opposed to it for the reasons that he gave.
The Bill unfortunately evidences an attitude of mind towards government which is growing more and more to be the norm of government in South Africa. That is that the Government sets up some sort of government agency, some sort of empire at the head of which there is a Minister acting through the department concerned, and then the Minister takes over from all the existing agencies and steamrollers his way through.
If one looks at clause 2 of the Bill now before the House one finds that the board for certain premises can, if it pleases, ignore, and is exempt from any ordinance.
Only in respect of what is mentioned there.
In respect of certain very important matters. Section 20 of the Act deals with certain very important matters with which the provincial councils are vitally concerned. Quite apart from the fact that provincial councils have control of local authorities, it is the provincial council in the end which determines what the general norm should be for local government in that province. It is a very necessary link, a very necessary part of our constitution, a very necessary part of the process of government.
Then you must argue against section 20 of the original Act.
We did at the time. The hon. the Minister will remember how we argued about it.
You cannot criticize it now.
The hon. the Minister should know that Mr. Speaker would not allow me to criticize existing legislation. But when that measure was before the House, we opposed it. As I say, I am not allowed now to criticize existing legislation. The Minister knows that; he has been here longer than I have. Therefore that argument of the hon. the Minister is not worth a thing. The fact of the matter is this. It is this sort of attitude of mind which we on this side find so distressing. The Minister has his empire, and in this case it is the Department of Community Development, and he has fantastic powers in respect of every inch of land in South Africa outside of the Bantu areas. With all this power, Ministers now wish to create their empires and their cities. They now wish to be exempt not only from the local authority by-laws and regulations but also from the provisions of an ordinance.
Only in regard to the same matters.
It does not matter whether it is only in regard to the same matters; the fact of the matter is that it is a provincial ordinance. This sort of legislation can only undermine the public confidence in our elected institutions as provided for in the Constitution. It can only have that effect. One can argue that it is intended to have that effect where those authorities clash with the empires that have been created by statute. The hon. the Minister of Planning who is sitting there behind the hon. the Minister is also part of this process. His Physical Planning Act of last year was one which excludes them, despite pleas in this House not to have Parliament excluded in certain respects, from a consideration and a report in many instances. Here we have a most extraordinary position. We have a department which is excluded for the purpose of buildings in cities and so on, from the provisions of a provincial ordinance. I do not think this has ever happened before so far as the public’s attitude towards provincial councils is concerned …
Have you read the original section 20 whereby the board shall be exempted from the provisions of any by-laws or regulation of a local authority, etc.?
Yes, I have.
It now only makes provision for one single case where these matters are not regulated by by-laws as in some instances but by ordinances. It is only a single case.
The single case the Minister has indicated has to do with endowment fees. Is that right?
No, it is only one single local authority who did not use a by-law to make these regulations but did so by way of an ordinance. So in the area of jurisdiction of all other local authorities I have the right. In the case of one local authority only it had been done by way of an ordinance. That is the only reason.
Then I must ask the Minister this question. If that was his intention, then why did he not put it in the Bill? Why does he take the power to be exempt from any ordinance whatsoever? This is the point.
No, not any ordinance whatsoever.
But that is what the Bill says.
Only any ordinance dealing with these matters.
That is correct; it is any ordinance dealing with these matters. This poses the question: In a province to-day who is to be the co-ordinating authority in relation to local authorities? I will tell you, Sir, what the answer is, and the answer is it is going to be this hon. the Minister. The powers of the provinces are cut off altogether. They are cut off in this sense that their ordinances dealing with these matters may be ignored completely by the Minister’s board, a board which makes decisions without there having been a debate or their hearing argument. It will be a board making decisions over-riding an ordinance which was agreed to after debate which represents the views and the wishes of the people in that province. There is no way in which one can know what those officials are going to do, what the Minister is going to decide. This is all done in secret behind closed doors. We are not very pleased if this is what the Minister really wants in the Bill. There is a growing attitude of contempt for these elected institutions by this Government. Our Constitution provides for provincial councils and our Constitution provides that our provincial councils should exercise certain powers. One of those powers is the power which the Minister is here dealing with, and for a very good reason, because the provincial council is the proper authority to deal with the local authorities in its area. It is the proper authority to plan development in that province. The Minister here is dealing with a matter which relates to the provinces’ powers under section 84 of the Constitution. What he is doing in effect is to say to a provincial council: “In this field your powers in my discretion do not exist.” We tire of raising a point of order dealing with the powers of provincial councils and in fact we cannot raise that point of order any more because your ruling, Sir, was that the point of order was invalid. The point of order deals with section 114 of the Constitution. Section 114 of the Constitution is there, and means something. It was retained in 1961, because presumably it meant something. Section 114 says that “Parliament shall not abolish any provincial council or abridge the powers conferred on provincial councils under section 84 except by petition to Parliament by the provincial council concerned”. I do not want to deal with the constitutional niceties of this matter, but I do want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he consulted the provinces whether any province has petitioned him to remove this provision, and what indeed the attitude of the provinces is. Can the hon. the Minister give us an answer to that now?
It was not necessary to consult them. It is only in connection with one local authority …
There you are. He has not consulted them, Sir. What I am concerned about in respect of section 114, is the spirit of the Constitution. What does it mean if one’s attitude of mind is that of the hon. the Minister? What he is saying, Sir, is this: “I need this power to create my empire. I might have some difficulty. I might come across a provincial ordinance which is not in keeping with my plan. Therefore I must be exempt from it.” That is just what he has done, and that is his attitude of mind. Where does this get us to? It does not breed respect for the democratic processes. It does not breed respect for our Constitution. But it does accentuate that this is the trend of this Government, the trend of this hon. Minister’s Department, and of the machine created by the Act that we are here amending. Let us appreciate that these things are done by a world of bureaucrats. But, Sir, it seems to me that the army of bureaucrats is headed by a very autocratic autocrat, if this is his attitude.
Under the Smuts Government it was worse.
There were not in the days of the United Party Government such empires as these. It was not necessary to control from the cradle to the grave every aspect of every person’s life. Everything that one has to do to-day, one seems to have to get a permit for from someone or other. As far as this empire is concerned, we have seen more and more a growth of power. The hon. the Minister’s predecessor came to this House just about every year at one stage, you will recall Mr. Speaker. Every year we had a tremendous fight about this, and every year we had a debate as to whether or not the existing agencies could cope. We are getting to the stage now where the only way this Government can put its policy into operation, is by abandoning all recognized democratic processes that we have had since Union and long before. Here is another example of it. The only way the hon. the Minister can develop and plan is, apparently, to ignore all local rights, to ignore all the Provincial Council ordinances dealing with those matters, in order to plan his urban renewal schemes.
That is nonsense.
It is not nonsense, Sir, it is true. But, if it is nonsense, I must ask the hon. member why it is that all these institutions have to be excluded. Why can the hon. Minister not co-operate with them? Why can he not co-operate with the local authorities? They have had experience of these matters. They have a long history in dealing with these matters. Their experience with materials, roads, lights, etc., is invaluable. But, furthermore, even more than that—they are there on the spot. The bon. the Minister is in Pretoria. They know best what is good for them in Durban, for example. They know better than the hon. the Minister.
You are creating altogether a wrong impression. We are not against local authorities; we are co-operating with them very well.
Yes, but the hon. the Minister wants to be able to be sure that he can ignore them altogether, if he wants to.
No, it is only a technical hitch in this Bill.
That is right. It is a technical hitch, and this is his technical stick to beat them with.
It seems to be part of his technique.
Yes. It is not only in respect of matters like these but also now with regard to licences, ordinary trading licences. What the hon. the Minister wants to have control over trading licences for, one wonders. But, Sir, the hon. the Minister is now taking the power in clause 6 (3) to control the granting or the withholding of a trading licence in every single area of this country, no matter where they are, no matter whether they have been developed, no matter whether it is in the centre of Cape Town or Pretoria, or whether it is out in the country districts. He has the power in terms of this clause, he. the Minister of Community Development, to grant or withhold the trading licence. This is an extraordinary power to take. The hon. the Minister has indicated to us throughout this debate that this is not really what he wants to deal with.
You are wrong again.
The hon. the Minister has indicated that he wants to deal only with certain people. He wants to deal with displaced persons, that when people are displaced from one group area to another, there is some provision and he can control the situation as to the trading licences. I understood that that was one of the hon. the Minister’s reasons.
Yes, but one does not take a shotgun with one if one wants to kill a fly. That is the point. One does not get one’s shotgun out and blaze away at it. What is happening here, is that the hon. the Minister wants to control licences.
You want to use a catapult for a cannon.
Well, well! This catapult for a cannon !
Order! The hon. the Minister is only putting ideas into hon. members’ heads!
They are both illegal.
Here again the hon. the Minister does not mean to take the power. But the Bill as it is phrased, gives him that power. The amendment which the hon. the Minister has put on the Order Paper, makes no difference. It says that he is the sole authority in respect only of the areas proclaimed in terms of section 23 of the Group Areas Act. That is most of the areas, as far as I am aware. But the hon. the Minister must have a look at the power that he wants. It is all very well saying “I only want to deal with one small aspect”, and then taking the power to deal with the whole lot. The normal democratic processes are here again being excluded. Well, we have in Natal, as the hon. the Minister knows, a system of licensing which one does not find in any of the other provinces. One of the features of this is that one may object to the licence being granted if there is no reasonable need for it for the public. In order to determine this, boards are set up in various ways and in various fields. They hear both the applicant and the objector. They listen to both sides and decide, in the light of the evidence and the decisions in the matter, what is best for that area. Now all that is being excluded.
What I want to know, is the following. The hon. the Minister surely has the power to determine whether a man will trade or not. The hon. the Minister will appreciate …
You are wrong again.
… that many of the debates have been devoted to this very question of the taking away of the livelihood of someone through the application of this and the Group Areas Aot. Surely, the hon. the Minister has powers enough. Surely, in terms of this Act, he can refuse a man a permit to conduct a business in one area or the other.
It is only after he has obtained the licence and started a business, and then I can cause him hardship.
A business has to be conducted on certain premises. That is why the hon. the Minister says he has excluded hawkers, peddlers, ostrich feather sellers, and bunch buyers. Now, Sir, they have to occupy those premises. As I have said before, if he is a disqualified person, he may not occupy them unless he has obtained a permit from the hon. the Minister.
What I said, is that he may not get a licence unless I declare that I shall give him an occupation permit.
That refers to subsections (1) and (2). The hon. the Minister is now making a case for subsections (1) and (2).
But in terms of subsection (3) he has the power to grant or withhold a permit or a trading licence in any area of the Republic in respect of which there is a proclamation in terms of section 23 of the Group Areas Act. That applies only if the hon. the Minister’s amendment is accepted. If it is accepted, he has the power to do it in any of those areas. What I am saying to the hon. the Minister is that the centre of Cape Town is a proclaimed area. Most of Durban is a proclaimed area. In all those areas that do not concern the hon. the Minister in so far as he does not have to do any development there and has no powers there unless he exercises them in terms of the Urban Renewals Act, he has in terms of this clause the power to grant or withhold any trading licence, whether a group area or different races are involved or not and whether or not they are members of the same race. He has taken the power in terms of that clause and that is our objection. Our objection is not to the provision which helps him to resettle people. Our objection is that as that clause stands, it gives the Minister of Community Development a say in respect of all trading licences, if he wishes to exercise it.
That is a cannon you are seeing.
It is not a cannon I am seeing, it is the cannon that is there in the Bill. If the hon. the Minister will look at that clause he will see that that is in effect what it does. That is the power he has. This is a most remarkable power to take. This is a sort of Maree’s Parkinson’s law, because it goes on and on. Once you have set this in motion it is very difficult to end it. If community development includes the power to grant licences and the normal criteria are to be excluded, then one wonders where this department is going. When the hon. the Minister’s predecessor, the present Minister of Defence, introduced the concept of community development and the Group Areas Board was called the Community Development Board, the hon. the Minister went to the trouble of saying that he wanted to pose two questions, as is his wont, and then try to reply to them. The first was “What is meant by community development and what are the functions of the Department of Community Development?” This was his answer: (Hansard 24th February, 1965, col. 1713):
This is a long way from the apparent object of community development. This goes an awfully long way past that. I hope that the hon. the Minister, when we come to the Committee Stage of this Bill, will give consideration to the suggestions we have made. In regard to licensing, I hope that the hon. the Minister in his reply will make it quite clear what exactly it is he wants to do. During the Committee Stage we will find a way of dealing with that. We will try to frame the language of this clause so that it reflects the hon. the Minister’s intention.
I shall deal with that matter before the House adjourns this evening.
I hope that the hon. the Minister will do that. The fact is that we are here, not as the hon. member who spoke before me said, to listen to what the hon. the Minister says. He said that it is quite clear from listening to the hon. the Minister that such and such is the position. We are here to pass or not to pass legislation and to indicate what we feel about it. As this Bill stands at present, it does no service to our public institutions. It does them a great disservice. It also does a great disservice to the hon. the Minister’s Department in as much as he now becomes the high priest of trade licences. As it stands—and it is no good the hon. the Minister shaking his head—we cannot make out his intentions. The hon. members on that side of the House are most impressed by the hon. the Minister’s speech. I am very impressed by it too, but I am more impressed by the matter which is to be the subject of every member’s attention, namely what is in this Bill. What is in this Bill is in the first place a contempt for our existing institutions, a contempt for our Constitution and furthermore the taking of a power which in all consciousness even the hon. the Minister cannot justify even with an empire such as his, upon which, he feels, the sun should never set. We will oppose this Bill until and unless the wording of this Bill is changed to reflect what the hon. the Minister has said is his intention.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member explained to us that members of the Opposition too were here to assist in the passing of legislation. He also explained their view of this legislation. Philosophically his whole argument concerned nothing but the practice with which this legislation seeks to deal. I want to tell him that I think he would have been much closer to the mark had he said that they had participated in this debate not to assist in passing legislation, but to create an atmosphere outside. Mr. Speaker, consider the irresponsible language that was used. The hon. member who spoke before me, used expressions like “contempt for elected institutions”, “no respect for democracy”, etc., time and again. The hon. member for Umlazi recently spoke of a creeping autocracy. This hon. member repeated it. He said it was something which was gradually becoming worse. They did not confine themselves to this legislation and the problems to be dealt with. They employed a philosophical approach to the matter for the purpose of creating an atmosphere outside, especially for creating the impression, in one province in particular, that the Government— and these are the actual words used by the hon. member this afternoon—was passing over our local and provincial authorities like a steam-roller. This is simply not true. Apart from the fact that this is not true, the people do not believe it either. One only has to ask the hon. member for Simonstown what his experience has been. The problems encountered by him in his constituency were of such a nature that he had to run to the Government because the local authorities could not solve his problems fast enough for him. I want to tell the hon. member who spoke about this in a philosophical and rousing manner, that the people outside take the following view of this matter. When a policy on which the Government has embarked has to be carried into effect but gets bogged down on the local or provincial level, that Government is a weak one. Then they take it amiss of the Government if it cannot overcome this obstacle. This is the view the man in the street takes of the matter, and all the endeavours by the hon. member to create the impression that the local or provincial authorities are being swept aside, will not be believed by the people outside. They no longer believe it in any event. The hon. member’s argument was that the hon. the Minister was becoming king of the issuers of licences.
The High Priest.
Or the High Priest. At times the hon. member reminds me of a high priest. The hon. member knows that the issuing of licences is the task of local and provincial authorities. The only thing this legislation is providing is that the Department will issue licences in certain cases where development has to be brought about. The hon. member called it an “empire”. Here is an “empire” which will not fall but which will do fine work for South Africa. It is the task of the Department to set development in motion; to establish new communities and to make them grow with everything that this implies; as well as to create the opportunity for economic development in that community. When the situation arises in which the issuer of trading licences, who confines himself purely to existing needs, has to issue a licence and is unable to take into account what influence the granting of a licence to a disqualified or a qualified person in that particular community will have on the growth of the community, a plan must be devised to give some say in the matter to that body actually concerned in the growth of that community. This legislation does not transfer the issuing of licences to the hon. the Minister or the Department. The only thing that is being done is that the hon. the Minister or the Department has to issue a certificate as they have better knowledge of the situation. The hon. member said the hon. the Minister was in Pretoria, but surely he knows that the Department has offices and regional offices in all the large centres.
I do not want to take any notice of the hon. member who sometimes imagines that he himself can do a heart operation. I want to return to the hon. member who has just spoken. Surely he knows that there are regional offices of the Department that are in close contact with circumstances in each area, and that have their finger on the pulse of every new community to be proclaimed and developed in the particular area in which the office is situated. Surely they are the ones that are able to judge. Those officials of the Department are the ones who can advise the departmental head and the hon. the Minister much better than persons who merely receive applications for licences and who decide by themselves whether there is any need for such a business without their considering what effect such a licence-holder may have on the community. This legislation merely provides that a certificate has to be obtained from the Department, that knows how the growth of the community concerned is to take place, in order to prevent the issuer of the licence from making a mistake and from issuing licences to disqualified persons year after year. The hon. the Minister said licences were being issued without any regard being had to whether that person might in fact obtain a permit. If the hon. the Minister were to refuse a permit subsequently, the hon. member would rise once again in this House to complain of the merciless treatment of that person and of the injustice he was being done in that a permit was being refused to a person who had trading rights in that area. This is a case of putting the cart before the horse. This legislation wants to put the horse before the cart.
The hon. member for Umlazi said some days ago that they had no fault to find with a large number of the provisions contained in this legislation, that they were of an administrative nature, and to use his exact words, “indeed this side agrees with some of them, because we want to see the measure work. It is law and is to be carried out, and we feel that where relief can be given, we will support the Bill”. The point I now want to make is that this question of licences, in addition to the administrative provisions referred to by the hon. member embodies the same principle. This makes it possible to create for a person who has become a disqualified person in a particular area, opportunities in a new group area where he will not be a disqualified person—
And, in addition, all the powers that he has here.
I have just told that hon. member that that story about the powers does not hold water. It only exists in the hon. member’s imagination. It does not exist in practice.
Read the Bill.
In conclusion I want to say that the case made out here by hon. members about the terrible powers of the hon. the Minister and the terrible objects he has in mind with this legislation, will not influence anybody. The various race groups in this country who want to see to it that community development takes place and makes progress will be deeply grateful for the coming of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I have listened with interest to the hon. member for Stellenbosch. He seems to have enjoyed himself in indicating to this House the complete inefficiency, at any rate from his local knowledge, of the local authority in Stellenbosch to control licences and to see that they are issued to the right people. Because he feels that it would be better done—and I take it he is speaking for Stellenbosch—by the Minister or by somebody appointed by him in Pretoria. But I will come back to that. I want to say in passing that the hon. member referred to a transplant. Unfortunately for some of us who might wish that there had been development in that direction, the development in the research of cranial transplants has not progressed very far. The hon. member will therefore have to wait a long time before he can have that necessary transplant. The first point which arises concerns the introduction of the word “ordinance” in clause 2. I think it is necessary to just briefly look back at the history of the present section 20 of the Community Development Act. In the Act of 1955 when the board was known as the Group Areas Development Board, the board was subject to certain proper and acceptable conditions in terms of section 12 (1) (b). Certain powers could be exercised after consultation with the administrator and the local authority concerned. Now, we know that consultation can degenerate into an empty formula. But it was at least there in an act, in a provision which was otherwise objectionable. It did ameliorate to some extent the power which was being given to this board. We know that there were further provisions in that section, particularly that the actions of the board were subject to the provisions of any law relating to townships and town planning in force— that was the initial approach in 1955—and that the Development Board would observe town planning schemes and town planning regulations. The reason is very obvious. Why do we have regulations and why do we have town planning schemes? It is because they must form part of a whole, of a greater concept of the development of any particular area. And one cannot have certain provisions and certain requirements for one area and not in another, within the same local authority area or adjacent to one another. There must be the ensurance of a planned development, the provision of services all conforming to a master plan. And so the board was bound to have regard to township regulations. But in 1959 the Government appeared to have become frustrated in certain directions and an amendment was then brought to the powers by the then Minister of the Interior, namely Mr. Naudé. And in the course of his speech in the House he said that he agreed wholeheartedly with a speaker when he said that it was really the duty of a local authority to undertake certain obligations, in regard to the planning of townships. He went on to say—
That was then brought in. The hon. the Minister at that time then went on to say—
That was the provision which was introduced in 1959 and has continued to exist. We now find that there is another amendment to be made. In that instance it was to bring certain councils into line. The hon. the Minister at the time was quite frank about it. He was having difficulty in some local areas and he wanted to make some of them toe the line. When I looked at this draft Bill before us now—before we heard the hon. the Minister’s introductory speech—one wondered what on earth the difficulty now was. What province was concerned? Three of them are controlled by his own party. What province was causing him difficulties.
Yes, but that is in the Bill as it was presented. What province is causing him difficulty?
No, that is not the problem.
The Minister has now told us that what he is concerned about is really the endowment fee which he cannot get round in one instance because it is enshrined by ordinance and not merely by way of regulation. That is what he wants. He wants to get round the endowment fee which in one local area is enshrined by ordinance and not by some regulation which he could ignore. Now, the hon. member for Durban (North) had comments and suggestions about shotguns, but this looks to me more like a seven pound hammer cracking a peanut. If the hon. the Minister really wants to get round that difficulty then surely he need not come with an omnibus clause of this sort so that he can ignore every regulation and every ordinance in respect of all these items under section 20? He could merely add at the end of section 20 (2) (b) of Act No. 3 of 1966, which gives him the power, after consultation with the administrator, to exempt the board “from the provisions of any ordinance in terms whereof approval must be obtained from a local authority for the subdivision of land”, the words “or for the payment of endowment”. It is quite simple. If he wants to do that we can debate the one issue which is purely an issue of exempting this board from payment of endowment. I am not suggesting for one moment that it is a healthy procedure. I do not know where the financing is coming from for the roads and so on. But that is not now under discussion. The Bill before us goes the whole hog in that there could be a complete ignoring of all ordinances. But I want to return, if I may, to the question of licences. I wonder whether the hon. the Minister has really realized what he has in clause 6 when applied in its real and basic meaning. In clause 6 he proposes to restrict his powers to group areas. I should like him to look at the report of the Minister of Planning. What are the group areas as set out in the report of the Department of Planning for the year ending 30th June, 1967? What are the group areas that have already been determined? It is not just a few Coloured group areas in which he wants to make certain that a displaced Coloured trader can get a licence. There are 581 white group areas; 297 Coloured: 131 Indian: 4 Chinese; 8 Bantu; 1 Malay and 51 border strips. The hon. the Minister has mentioned that it is the intention in the Committee Stage to amend his powers to deal with group areas. But his hon. colleague sitting next to him intends to see to it that the whole of the Republic is a determined group area. I do not want to detain the House unduly but I want to deal with just one point which I hope the hon. the Minister has no intention of doing, and that is that with the introduction of the powers which he has introduced in clause 6 —and I hope he will reconsider this—he can destroy and will destroy the establishment of any goodwill attaching to any business in any area of the Republic of South Africa. The hon. the Minister shakes his head. The power which the hon. the Minister is to take unto himself is to veto the issue of a first licence. Now, that is not in connection with a particular plot. Licences are not issued to plots or holdings or buildings. Licences are issued to individuals. I hope the hon. the Minister will consider this point because I believe it is a dangerous aspect which has crept in because of the blanket wording of this section.
Licences are not transferred when you sell a business, that is a business to be continued on the same premises. Licences are not transferred. The buyer has to apply for a new licence. Now, what is the effect? A family business has gone on for years and the man dies. His estate had no idea as to whether any goodwill value—nor did he during his lifetime—attached to the business. He does not have to comply with or provide for named laws and regulations, for example that the building must conform to health clauses and so on. of which he is aware. But he has to have the ability to read the mind of the hon. the Minister, whether or not the hon. Minister at that time will decide to issue a new licence in respect of those premises. Now, the hon. the Minister would tell me that he would not be so unreasonable as to destroy the goodwill of a business. But the goodwill of many businesses has already been destroyed by the application of the Group Areas Act. Many businesses. If the power rests in the Minister to control the issue for the first time of a trading licence in any group area, it in fact places in the hands of the Minister—or some person nominated by him—the right of killing or sustaining the goodwill of any business, no matter how long it has been in existence. This is a serious provision. The hon. the Minister tells us that what he wants to do is to give some degree of preference to displaced traders who move from one group area to another. But it could be done in some other way and not in this way. Because in this way the hon. the Minister places himself and his successors in the position of a dispenser of rights and privileges, and the goodwill which will attach to a business will be dependent upon whether the Minister is prepared to dispense a new permit to the new applicant. For those reasons we cannot, from this side of the House, support the Bill as it is.
Mr. Speaker, it is a pity that when we discuss legislation in the House of Assembly of the Republic of South Africa, we cannot on both sides manage to refrain from making statements which are detrimental to South Africa, because to say to the country and to the world in the course of a debate such as this that the Minister introducing a Bill has no respect for constitutional institutions, if any person makes such statements in public, he does not harm the governing party, but harms the name of South Africa. However, if he had any right to make that assertion … [Interjections.]
… then it would be another matter. But what right does he have to make it? What is he getting at here? Hon. members do not know what the Bill is about. They have not studied it properly. It is not provincial ordinances that are being dealt with here. As a lawyer that hon. member ought to have known this. If the hon. member had read the Bill together with the existing section 20 of the Act, he would surely have known that provincial ordinances are not being dealt with here. It is not here a question of infringement of provincial rights, as he implied. In terms of section 20 of the existing Act the Community Development Board is already exempt from the provisions of any by-law or regulation of a local authority and the conditions of establishment of a township prescribed by any Administrator, townships board or townships commission, in other words, the powers of provincial authorities which deal with the matters which are further mentioned in the clause.
Why did you not consult the provinces before you did this?
The provinces were consulted about this at the time, before it was done, and the provinces have co-operated in this matter. In all the provinces there are townships boards or townships commissions which control the matters affected by section 20 (1), and the by-laws and regulations of all local authorities are subject to that and have been fitted in and adjusted accordingly. That is the existing position. But the City of Durban has its own townships board. It is not responsible to the provincial townships commission, and that is the only change which is being made here. Durban is now merely being brought into line with what is happening in the rest of the country, only because Durban has its own townships board and is not subject to the Natal Townships Commission. Surely one cannot have the position that one has to do something in a certain way in Pietermaritzburg, but in a different way in Durban; that one must do something in Port Shepstone, but that one must not do it in Durban.
Who is in the best position to judge?
Surely one cannot have such a divided state of affairs in the country; surely one must have uniformity. It was merely an oversight at the time when this clause was drawn up that Durban’s position was not covered by this. No allowance was made for the fact that, as far as these matters are concerned, Durban functions under its own ordinances. That is all that it means, and if hon. members think seriously about it, I think they will agree with me that such a state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. Let us not argue about section 20 now; it already exists in our law; it applies to the whole of the rest of South Africa. It is only as a result of an oversight at that time, in regard to the special position of Durban, that it is not applicable to Durban. Surely it is not fair and correct that a position should apply in Durban which is different to that applying in the rest of the country, and therefore the position must be rectified.
Why did you not say that in the Bill?
But it is evident from the Bill, if hon. members would only read the Bill properly. If they can do better than my legal draftsmen and can suggest wording to me which will state the position more clearly, I am prepared to accept it. But they must not read things into this Bill which it does not contain.
Have you ever read section 114 of the Constitution?
Order! The hon. Minister must not reply to that; it is not relevant at the moment.
Hon. members are so inclined to read matters into the Bill which are not contemplated at all. The relevant section of the Constitution, to which the hon. member has just referred, has nothing to do with this position, because one is not dealing with provincial rights here.
Let us now come to the provisions of clause 6. Here hon. members also tried to cover a wide field. One hon. member on the other side said that I now wanted to issue licences; another hon. member said that I was now going to place the entire country under control and that I was to become the dispenser of privileges. Another hon. member said that in terms of these provisions I could now destroy goodwill which has been built up by a concern. Let us carefully examine the contents of this provision as it stands here, and let us see what pertains in practice. Let us look at the provision as it stands here, due regard being had to the amendments which I have placed on the Order Paper, because it must be read in conjunction with these. Let me first deal with clause 6, the new section 43 (A) (1), which authorizes me to say, before a licence is issued, whether the person to whom the licence is to be issued is qualified to receive such a licence or not. This does not mean that I am taking licensing powers. The licensing authority concerned remains the authority which issues that licence; which must determine whether a licence of that nature is necessary and desirable and whether the premises in respect of which application is being made are suitable. What is the present position? The licensing Court sat at Ottosdal just a few days ago. There was an application from three disqualified persons to establish new business undertakings in suitable premises in a group area. The licensing court had to consider whether a reasonable need existed for licenses of that nature, and whether the premises were suitable. It could not take other considerations into account. The result is that it will have to issue licences to those disqualified persons, and now I must either refuse or grant them a permit.
You do not have licensing courts in the Cape.
This matter was very carefully considered by the Commission of Inquiry into Trade Licensing and Allied Problems, and they expressed themselves very clearly in paragraph 363 of their report. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) read out certain sections of the report, but when I asked him to read paragraph 360 and the succeeding paragraphs, he said that I was only referring to the comments of my officials before the commission. But that is not correct at all. Paragraph 360 starts off with these comments, but the succeeding paragraphs lead to the findings of the commission on the basis of the evidence. What did the commission find? I quote—
That is precisely the position. They say—
can result in a citizen obtaining a concession from the State …
Because a licence is a concession from the State—
This is the present position. Then the commission recommends—
All that I am now doing here is to give effect to this, in that I am telling the licensing court that before it considers an application for a licence, the person concerned must first furnish it with proof that he will be allowed under the Group Areas Act to obtain a permit in that area. [Interjection.] That is precisely what is contained in the new section 43A (1); subsection (3) contains another principle, and I said so in my introductory speech. But I am coming to that. I have said that subsections (2) and (3) go together, but (2) is to a large extent also linked with (1), because it deals with the renewal of a licence. With the application of the Group Areas Act, disqualified persons are in the course of time being resettled in their own areas or in areas specially set aside for their trading purposes. When they are resettled in this way, I must have the right to notify the licensing authority that their permits to occupy those areas in which they are disqualified, have now been withdrawn or are now being withdrawn, and that on those grounds their licences may not be renewed. That is what it means.
This brings me to subsection (3), which is in fact the main provision to which hon. members opposite object. Let us read subsection (3) as it will be if the amendment which I shall propose in the Committee Stage is accepted. Then it will mean that the Minister may by notice in the Gazette provide that no licence referred to in subsection (1) shall for the first time be issued in respect of any premises or land situated in a group area as defined in section 1 of the Group Areas Act of 1966 specified in the notice, or, if any such licence has already been issued to any person in respect thereof, that no licence of the same kind as that licence shall be issued to any other person for the first time in respect of such premises or land, unless such person produces a certificate issued by the Minister or any person authorized thereto by the Minister, stating that the licence applied for may be issued to the applicant concerned. This means that I may by notice in the Gazette designate certain group areas as areas in which the licensing court may not issue a new licence for the first time, or may not issue a licence to any other person for the first time, unless I provide the licensing court with a certificate indicating that that person may be issued with such a licence.
It is now being said that I am going to create monopolies here. This deals with persons on such premises or land. I am not determining the number of premises for which licences may be granted, but I am saying that after the number of premises has been allocated, I shall be the only one to say who the qualified persons are to whom licences may be granted. But I cannot determine how many licences there are to be; it is not in my hands to do so, because the number of licences depend upon the number of premises available, and also upon the number of applicants. But I alone can say, firstly, whether a person is qualified to obtain a licence there or not …
But a licence is given to the person, not to the premises.
That is correct. The intention here is only that when those applications are considered, I must be able to say to the licensing court that in considering these applications they may take X, Y or Z into consideration, but they may not take A into consideration. [Interjections.] This is what it will mean in effect. I may indicate several persons in respect of the same premises who are entitled to obtain a licence there. But my reason for wanting this, and the object I wish to achieve with it, are these. Let me now take the example of one race group and one group area. Let us take the Indian race group and the two Indian group areas in the Peninsula. Trade potential develops as a result of the developments of their own areas and other surrounding areas. Applications are made for trade licences. The licensing authority responsible does not know who the disqualified Indian traders are in the rest of the Peninsula who live in other municipal areas, other local authority areas and who must be removed from other areas. They have no control over that. My Department alone is in a position to judge, on the basis of the socio-economic survey which it has made, which persons are qualified to be incorporated in that area, which persons should, as a result of their circumstances, be the first to be incorporated there, perhaps because the conditions under which they are then living may be slum conditions and for that reason they must be the first to be removed. But it may perhaps be that the license is for a type of business for which A is not suitable, because he, let us say, has a cafe at the moment, and the matter in hand concerns a general dealer’s licence. Then I must be in a position to say “No, do not give A, who is now a cafe owner, a general dealer’s licence there; let us rather take a general dealer who is a disqualified person and place him there.” This is to make it possible for disqualified persons who are living in uncertainty in the areas from which they know they must sooner or later be removed, to take up the trading potential which is developing in their own areas, and to ensure that it is taken up in the right way, and to ensure that persons from elsewhere do not snatch it from them beforehand. This is further to ensure that, when an existing licence is to be taken over by someone else in those areas—this is the second leg of this provision—we shall not have happening there what so often happens to-day, and that is that a few large business undertakings buy up all the premises as soon as trading licences are granted in group areas for non-Whites. Eventually one is left with a few large entrepreneurs who have an absolute monopoly, and the entire process whereby we want to assist the disqualified trader to become established in his own area, is thereby destroyed, because one has strong monopolistic organizations which buy up those new businesses one after another and then obtain the licences. We must therefore do something to prevent that, because one must apply and utilize the trading potential developing in the residential areas of those communities on behalf of the disqualified persons of that individual group who are in another area at present in a position of uncertainty about the future. This is what we are going to achieve with this, and this instrument will make it possible for me to achieve it. If the hon. members opposite find fault with this principle I am advocating, let us argue the matter and let them vote against it if they wish. But if they join me in accepting this principle, and want to assist in its promotion, then let them tell us so; and if they have problems in connection with its formulation, we can discuss the matter. I am quite open to persuasion in that regard. I am perfectly prepared to accept any amendment which will grant me these powers, but I am not prepared to accept amendments which will emasculate these powers. These are the objects which we want to achieve here. I sincerely hope that hon. members will see it in that light, and not as something sinister we want to apply against the interests of the various race groups.
The hon. member for Umlazi said that I could achieve the same ends by co-operating with the local authorities, by means of negotiation, etc., and by appearing before the licensing boards. Appearing before the licensing boards is not the solution, because the licensing boards cannot refuse a licence on those grounds. In the same report it is also stated that if the licensing boards are to refuse on the grounds of disqualification, they must actually evade the statutory powers which they have at present and act in conflict with their statutory powers and obligations. I therefore cannot object before the licensing boards on these grounds, and what is more, it is an impossible task. Every local authority has a licensing board, and my Department would therefore have to employ sufficient officials to be present at every meeting of every licensing board in the country in order to be able to lodge objections, and this is impossible. It is in fact done in consultation with the local authorities, but I cannot only do it in consultation with them. Local authorities are also powerless in respect of certain problems we are faced with. I have mentioned the case in Ottosdal. Now we also have the case in George, where there is a Coloured group area, but where the local authority refuses to agree to the establishment of a Coloured business centre in the Coloured group area. In other words, there are certain local authorities which do not co-operate. In this connection the hon. member for Stellenbosch is quite right. As far as this important provision of national policy is concerned, local authorities must do their share and co-operate as far as the implementation of the Government’s policy is concerned.
Because there are, however, local authorities which do not want to co-operate, the hope of obtaining co-operation is not enough, and I need these powers in order to be able to take action. We are now beginning to reach the stage where from place to place we can systematically begin to afford the non-White population groups the opportunity of utilizing the trading potential which is developing in their own areas and of exploiting it for their own benefit and for the benefit of their own communities.
Motion put and the House divided:
Tellers: P. S. van der Merwe and H. J. van Wyk.
Tellers: H. J. Bronkhorst, and A. Hopewell.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
Bill read a Second Time.
The House adjourned at