House of Assembly: Vol22 - THURSDAY 14 MARCH 1968
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