House of Assembly: Vol22 - WEDNESDAY 20 MARCH 1968

WEDNESDAY, 20TH MARCH, 1968 Prayers—2.20 p.m. COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY—RAILWAYS (Debate on motion to go into—resumed) *The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Yeoville did not make a bad speech. He is improving every year. As a matter of fact, the lessons I taught him in the past few years, are now beginning to have good results. However, there is only one more lesson he has not learned—he simply cannot get away from his role of political propagandist and deal with a matter purely on merit.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

No, he is too honest. That is the trouble.

*The MINISTER:

I notice that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is very concerned. I shall have to say a few words about him too. He must just have some patience. I say the hon. member for Yeoville simply cannot get away from his rôle as political propagandist. I want to furnish only one piece of evidence. True enough, this was not said in the speech he made the other day, but the hon. member says many things outside this House where he knows nobody can contradict him, things which his audience usually accept as the truth. In this case he addressed a meeting in the Free State, at Ficksburg no less, and in The Friend of 2nd September, last year the hon. member was reported to have said—

In the Orange Free State a bridge was built for R2 million. On the completion of the H. F. Verwoerd Dam this bridge will be under water. It has just been completed. Now they will have to build another one for R3 million.

Was the hon. member reported correctly?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I shall have to check that. I cannot tell you now. [Interjection.] Yes, the bridge will be under water.

*The MINISTER:

We shall put the matter in the Suspense Account for the time being.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

No, the bridge will be under water. There was no planning and it will be under water.

*The MINISTER:

I shall now give the facts. I hope hon. members remember what the hon. member said, “A bridge was built for R2 million.” The bridge cost R221,360. The regarding cost R264,060, a total of R485,420, but the hon. member said it cost R2 million. The hon. member also said, “It has just been completed.” I emphasize the words “has just been completed”; he said it would be covered by water and, “Now they will have to build another one for R3 million.” The fact of the matter is that the bridge was completed in 1957. That is 10 years ago, but he said, “It has just been completed.” I do not know whether the hon. member measures his “just” in periods of 10 years.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But will the bridge be under water?

*The MINISTER:

This is only one case. I shall draw attention to more in the course of my speech. This proves that the hon. member unfortunately cannot get away from his rôle of political propagandist, and this in spite of the fact that he, with his political propaganda, has chiefly been responsible for the sad position in which that party finds itself to-day. But he has not learnt his lesson yet. I must add, however, that the hon. member did his homework better this time. On the whole his facts were correct, except when he got carried away by his own eloquence. Then he disregarded the facts to some extent, as I shall show in a moment. I want to add that if the hon. member continues to learn his lessons this well, he will be able in three or four years’ time to make a good speech on the Budget after all.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

How long will it take you?

*The MINISTER:

Well, I judge from what the House says in this connection, and the overwhelming majority says I have been making good speeches for the past 14 years. I have been listening to the Opposition’s criticism on Budgets for the past 14 years. Truly, there has hardly been anything new during those 14 years. They come along with the same old story each year. If there is a deficit, there is criticism. If there is a surplus, they feel dissatisfied. If I increase wages, they say I have given too little, and if I do not increase wages, they say I should have done so. This year was no different. I listened very carefully to this speech of the hon. member for Yeoville, and after having separated the chaff from the wheat, I found the following to be the points which he had really emphasized. The first, which was obvious, was the question of the so-called incorrect estimates. Secondly, there should have been no tariff increases in 1966. Thirdly, the wage increases were good, but were going to promote inflation. The fourth point concerned the profits on the pipeline, namely that excessive profits were being made on the transport of fuel from Durban to the Witwatersrand and the Northern Free State. Then the hon. member advocated the introduction of a cost of living allowance; he dealt with the shortage of staff and finally he referred to the grievances of the staff. Of course, these things sounded very familiar. I have been hearing them here for many years.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

And you are not doing anything about them.

*The MINISTER:

To a great extent this was a mere repetition of what had been said before. Many of the suggestions were so unpractical and so impracticable that I could not have done anything about them; that is quite correct. I agree that the Opposition had an extremely difficult task this time, because they had to criticize a good Budget, and as a result I shall have to be a little tolerant.

Let me, first of all, deal with the question of incorrect estimates. This is the point of criticism that has been raised year after year over a period of 20 years, and when we were on that side of this House, we too criticized the United Party Minister of Transport on this very point, namely that the estimates were not quite correct.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

You have learnt nothing.

*The MINISTER:

But can one ever learn anything from the Opposition? This is simply impossible. I say we have had to listen to this point of criticism for 20 years and more. Today I shall once again try to explain the position to hon. members, as has been done time and again. In the first place, as I said in the past, the Railways are entirely subject to the fluctuations in the economy. The Railways, as an organization, is entirely dependent on the traffic offering, goods and passengers, for its revenue. It cannot force anybody to have goods transported by rail; it cannot force anybody to make use of its passenger services or of its air services. The practice is to contact all the various bodies which play some role in our economy before drawing up the estimates, and to inquire from them what prospect they have for the year ahead; bodies such as the organizations of trade and industry, the steel industry, the mining industry, the economic bureaux, the banks, the agricultural associations and the various Government Departments. The observations and the analyses of our own departments in the Railways based on past experience, are then added to this information. Only after all this information has been obtained are the predictions made and the estimates drawn up of what the position is likely to be in the year ahead.

*Mr. J. O. N. THOMPSON:

Is there then a second railway system which they can use?

*The MINISTER:

I do not know what the hon. member means by a second railway system.

*An HON. MEMBER:

He is off the rails.

*The MINISTER:

The estimates are drawn up after a picture has been painted of the economic expectations for the year ahead and after all these bodies have been approached. Expenditure is determined as accurately as possible, but expenditure again is very closely linked to revenue. It is, for example, impossible to determine the amount which will be paid in overtime and Sunday time during the year ahead; this depends on the traffic which will be offered as well as on the shortage of staff which may arise. When I say this hon. members should bear in mind that as far as overtime and Sunday time are concerned, payments amount to R48 million per annum. It is impossible to determine the exact amount which will be spent on maintenance and repairs. The hon. member for Yeoville can most definitely not predict what repairs will have to be made to his car in the coming year. He does not know whether or not the repairs will come to a large amount. It is virtually impossible to determine exactly what expenditure for the coming year is going to be. It is impossible to determine the number of vacancies which is going to arise and the number of vacancies which will not be filled. Who, for example, could have predicted in March last year that Suez would close and would still be closed to-day? Hon. members must bear in mind that the S.A. Railways is not a small rural business. The S.A. Railways is the biggest undertaking in the country. The revenue and capital account of the Railways is in excess of R1,000 million to-day. The hon. member spoke of private undertakings. I should like to see the private undertaking, even if it is 50 per cent smaller than the Railways, which can make an accurate estimate for the year ahead. This is simply impossible.

Then the hon. member for Yeoville alleged that the surplus of R35 million proved that there had been no need for increasing tariffs in 1966. This statement was made before and I should like to deal with it in brief. I want to indicate what the position would really have been had those tariff increases not been made. I obtained these figures yesterday and I shall quote them in English as they were given to me.

†In 1966-’67 the actual revenue was R677.7 million, less the estimated amount due to tariff increase from September, R27.5 million. The total expenditure was R676.2 million. If there was no tariff increase there would have been a deficit of R26 million. The balance in the Rates Equalization Fund was R41.4 million. After charging the Rates Equalization Fund with this deficit in 1966-’67 there would have been a balance of R15 million. In 1967-’68 the revised estimate of revenue was R753.8 million, less tariff increase of R46.3 million which, if that is deducted, would have left a balance of R707.5 million. The revised estimate of expenditure was R718.6 million, which would have resulted in a deficit on the working operations of that year of R11.1 million. The balance in the fund was R15 million. The balance, after charging the 1967-’68 deficit, would have been R4 million in the Rates Equalization Fund. In 1968-’69 the estimated revenue was R774.8 million, less the tariff increase which was estimated at R46.3 million, that leaves R728.5 million. The estimated expenditure is R798 million. That would have left a deficit of R70.3 million, less the balance in the Fund of R4 million. The shortfall in the Rates Equalization Fund would have been R66.2 million this year if there were no tariff increases.

Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

That is another wild guess.

The MINISTER:

I challenge the hon. member to dispute these figures.

*The Department extracted these figures. This means that if there had been no tariff increases we would have ended the year with an enormous deficit of R66 million. What would have happened to the wage increases if I had not increased tariffs? These are the kind of allegations made by hon. members opposite without their being able to prove them, but they sound find and the Opposition thinks that the public outside will accept that this R35 million, as the hon. member said, was taken from the pockets of the public and that it was quite unnecessary at that time to increase tariffs.

Then the hon. member said that the wage increases were good but that they would have an inflationary effect. But is this so? In the first place, as hon. members on this side said, these increases will extend over a period of 12 months. In other words, the amount of R43 million will not be injected into the economy at once. It will be done over a period of 12 months, and these increases will vary from R10 a month for several thousand workers to R20/25 a month and a higher amount for a small group. How can this amount increase the buying power of the people to such an extent that it will promote inflation? Yes, if I had increased tariffs, it would have pushed up the entire cost structure and it would indeed have promoted inflation, but inflation can most certainly not be promoted by these really slight individual increases, without tariff increases, except of course if unfair advantage is going to be taken of the increases which the Railwaymen are going to receive and the prices of commodities will be increased unnecessarily.

The hon. member and other hon. members opposite spoke of a wage freeze. But this is the biggest nonsense, because there has been no wage freeze. What did in fact happen, was that the hon. the Prime Minister made an appeal to trade unions to apply the brake a little as far as wage demands were concerned. Really, it seems to me as if laughing without any reason is an ailment from which that hon. member opposite suffers.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

One cannot help haughing at such nonsense.

*The MINISTER:

The hon. member is probably laughing at himself. What wage freeze has there been? The hon. the Prime Minister asked trade unions not to request precipitate wage increases. That is all. I told the Railway trade unions, “Please note that now is not the appropriate time for granting wage increases”. This I told them at that time. I added, however, that when the right time arrived their requests would receive sympathetic consideration, as is now being done. But what has happened in the private sector? Since January, 1967, up to t8h March, 1968, 34 industrial agreements have been negotiated providing for wage increases in the private sector. To these have to be added the improvements which have been granted to the mineworkers and the steelworkers. Negotiations in this connection were completed recently. The Wage Board made 12 determinations. But the hon. members spoke of a wage freeze. This simply is not so. Why will all workers in the private sector suddenly come forward now with demands for wage increases when there have been systematic wage increases in the private sector over this period of 12 months?

I now come to the pipeline between Durban and Johannesburg. In this regard we once again heard the same old story, namely that the Administration was making such supposedly excessive profits on the pipeline. Something the hon. members who alleged this apparently do not realize is that when fuel used to be transported by rail, exceptionally good profits were made on that as well. The hon. member said he was making a study of Railway matters. Well, something he ought to know by this time is that the fundamental principle of rating is what the traffic can afford. When he speaks of profits on fuel transported by the pipeline, he must at the same time speak of the excessive profits which are being made on other high-rated traffic. If a bar of gold, for example, is transported from Johannesburg to Cape Town, an exceptionally large profit is made on that. This is the basis of rating, namely what the traffic can afford in the first place. Therefore we find on any railway system in the world that high-rated traffic is being transported at much higher tariffs than the ordinary commodities such as ores, agricultural products, etc. This is nothing new. It is a fundamental principle that the high-rated traffic has to subsidize the low-rated traffic. If large profits had not been made on the transport of high-rated traffic, the Railways would not have been able to lose from R40 million to R50 million per annum on its passenger services.

Nor would the Railways have been able to transport agricultural products at a loss. Nor would the Railways have been able to transport ores at the actual transport costs plus a small contribution only towards overhead costs. Nor would we have been able to transport coal from Transvaal to the Western Cape at a loss. For the last 300 miles coal is virtually being transported free of charge to the Western Cape. Consequently large profits must be made on the high-rated traffic, so that the low-rated traffic may in fact be subsidized. I say this is nothing new. What would have happened if I were to concede to the request for a tariff reduction on the transport of petrol from Durban to Johannesburg and the Northern Free State by the pipeline? It would simply have been necessary to recover such an abandonment of revenue from the other Railway users. Why should a small group of Railway users only, namely the petrol consumers on the Witwatersrand and in the Northern Free State, be benefitted while any shortfall which might result would have to be recovered from all other users as well? For this reason I am simply not prepared now to consider any tariff reduction on the transport of fuel by the pipeline.

The hon. member also said that it was wrong to give these large salary increases in one year, then to sit back and refuse any further increases until the position had become intolerable. Consequently he advocated the introduction of a cost-of-living allowance which could, according to him, be adapted annually to the increasing cost of living. It was also alleged or insinuated that wage increases were usually granted shortly before an election. Therefore this kind of political propaganda put in yet another appearance. The hon. member mentioned a whole series of figures relating to wage increases in the past and smilingly said and made the insinuation that they had been agreed to shortly before a general election.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I did not say that.

*The MINISTER:

I do not want to say anything about this. All I want to say is that I reject that statement with the contempt it deserves.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

It has nothing to do with elections.

*The MINISTER:

As I say, this is another demonstration of political opportunism, something from which the hon. member cannot get away.

I now want to put a question or two to the hon. member as regards the introduction of cost-of-living allowances. Has he perhaps consulted the staff associations in this regard? Has he perhaps received any indication that the Railway workers again wanted to have such a system of cost-of-living allowances? I gain the impression that the hon. member is completely out of touch with the staff, because one of the major demands by the staff in the past was precisely the consolidation of the cost-of-living allowance and the basic wage. Does the hon. member not realize, or does he not know, that the cost-of-living allowance is not subject to overtime payments. In other words, overtime and Sunday time are based on the basic wage and not on the cost-of-living allowance. Furthermore, the pension contributions of the workers are based on the basic wage and not on the cost-of-living allowance. As a matter of fact, the staff is not even thinking of a cost-of-living allowance; they do not want something like that. They would rather have improvements in their basic wages which entail an improvement in their pensions, their bonus payments as well as their overtime and Sunday time payments.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

When did I say that they should get cost-of-living allowances?

*The MINISTER:

Later on I shall read out where the hon. member made that statement in his speech.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I shall be very pleased.

*The MINISTER:

Yes, I shall do so. This proves that the hon. member is completely out of touch with the staff. But this is not all; this is also proof that the hon. member has given no attention to this matter. What industry and what industrial agreement makes provision for cost-of-living allowances? This type of allowance has fallen away altogether, because workers want increases in their basic wages rather than an allowance which is always considered to be something temporary and something which can be abolished by the employer at any time.

The hon. member also spoke of an annual adjustment. If the hon. member had any knowledge of the administration and management of a large undertaking like the S.A.R. & H., he would not have said something like that. What he proposed is totally impracticable. It is impracticable to have an annual adjustment of basic wages in an enormous organiaztion such as this which employs more than 220,000 people in more than 800 different grades. This will mean that work will have to be done throughout the year, from January to December, in order to make it possible for the necessary wage adjustments to be made at the end of each year. I repeat that the hon. member is not giving the necessary attention to all these aspects. In spite of the fact that he has allegedly been making a study of the matter for the past year, he still does not realize the scope of the administration and management of the S.A.R. & H.

The hon. member also spoke of determining what a job was worth, the so-called “job evaluation”. The hon. member should realize, however, that this job evaluation does not amount to wages being paid in one undertaking having to be compared to wages being paid for the same work outside. The nature of the work being done and the responsibility being borne, etc., determine this. The value of the work too has to be taken into account. This is being done on the Railways. The hon. member may differ as far as some aspects are concerned, for example, he may say the wages of a special grade engine-driver are not high enough for the work he is doing. Those wages are, however, based on evaluation. At the same time the entire wage structure has to be kept in mind, and one grade cannot be selected for excessive increases, because that would disturb the entire wage structure.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But you are going to do so now.

*The MINISTER:

No, I am not going to do so. The hon. member does not know what he is talking about. After all, he has not even seen what the increases are going to be.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I know what was said at the meeting in Maitland last night.

*The MINISTER:

All he knows is what he has read in the newspapers. I said at the outset that the hon. member had done his homework reasonably well, but that he disregarded his facts somewhat when he got carried away by his own eloquence. I want to give another illustration of where he did that. The hon. member said, “It is shocking and frightening to realize what the South African Railways pays people to do the most responsible work”. He then mentioned examples. The first example he gave was that of a learner engine-driver. There is no such post. I assume that the hon. member did not know better and that a trainee was what he meant. A trainee is not by any chance a learner engine-driver. The learner engine-driver mentioned by him is in actual fact a learner fireman. A trainee is a boy previously employed by us for cleaning engines. He is a 17 or 18-year-old boy. After having passed his examinations, he becomes a fireman or a driver’s assistant. But I leave the matter at that. He said the wage was from R75 to R90 per month. The present wage is actually from R85 to R90 per month. He then spoke of a driver’s assistant. He said his wage was from R120 to R140 per month, but the hon. member was wrong. The trouble is that the hon. member hears something and jumps at it without checking on it. He then comes to this House imagining that he is standing on a platform at Ficksburg and then makes this kind of statement here. The real position is the following The maximum wage is R140 per month plus R21.55 per month as a standard wage supplement. The hon. member said that the maximum of a senior driver’s assistant was R150 per month. Again he was wrong. The maximum is R155 per month plus R23.85 per month as a standard wage supplement, a total of R187.85 per month. He said that a special grade engine-driver received R195 per month. He then went on to say that we should just consider that a man with that responsibility received less than R200 per month. Again this is wrong. The wage is R195 per month plus R30 per month as a standard wage supplement, a total of R225 per month. I am mentioning these figures in order to teach the hon. member once again that he must check his facts. The hon. member must not allow his tongue to run away with him, because that is a very dangerous thing. In this connection I want to say that the wages plus the additional benefits paid to Railway workers compare very well to wages being paid outside.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Why then is the railway losing so many of its staff?

*The MINISTER:

That is happening because of many other reasons. If the hon. member will put the same question at a later stage, I shall deal with it in the Committee Stage. The hon. member also spoke about overtime. He said, “I am told that the Airways technicians, on an average, are working 19 hours a day to keep the planes aloft”.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I said that I could not believe that and that I did not accept that.

*The MINISTER:

Why then did the hon. member say that? The hon. member does not believe it but he said it all the same. What can one do with an hon. member like that? {Interjections.] The hon. member is somewhat alarmed now, because he knows that I am going to prove him wrong.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

Quote from Hansard what he said.

*The MINISTER:

Of course I shall quote from Hansard. He said, “This figure might be exaggerated, but that is what I am told”. Why then did he mention this figure? Why did he make the statement, and he did say this, that they were working 19 hours overtime a day on an average. There are 24 hours in a day and consequently they have five hours’ sleep only. When one has an average figure, it means that some of them have to work much longer than this. Some work shorter hours but some must work longer hours. How else can one arrive at an average figure? He maintained that these people were working 19 hours a day. What is so serious, is that he was creating the impression throughout his entire speech that I was gambling with the safety of our passengers, because not only was there a shortage of these mechanics and technicians, but they were working to such an extent that they simply could not do their work properly. This is what that implied. The hon. member for Durban (Point) wanted me to quote from Hansard—

I am told that the Airways technicians, on an average, are working 19 hours a day to keep the planes aloft. it is unbelievable.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Why did you say that I said that they worked 19 hours overtime a day?

The MINISTER:

I apologize if I created the wrong impression. I quoted him as saying that they were working 19 hours a day. In other words, if we have a shift of eight hours, these people work 11 hours overtime a day.

*What this amounts to, is that the average time worked by an Airways technician a day, is 19 hours. Is the hon. member satisfied now? He said—

It is unbelievable. Perhaps it is an exaggerated figure, but even if the figure is not as high as that, there must be some substance in this statement about excessive overtime.

The following are the facts. Every year, when I am half-way with my speech, this hon. member starts feeling had. Why does he not rather learn the lesson of making use of facts, then he will not feel so bad. Now, what are the facts? [Interjections.] The hon. member must listen now so that he may learn what the facts are.

†During December, 1967, Airways technicians worked a total of 11,389 shifts. Of these 11,270 were under 12 hours, 44 between 12 and 14 hours, 46 between 14 and 16 hours and 29 over 16 hours. The longest shift worked on any day during the month totalled 17 hours 45 minutes.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

So I was not so far off the mark, after all.

*The MINISTER:

He said that all of them worked 19 hours a day on an average. Now he is still trying to make excuses for himself. If I were in his shoes I would apologize rather than try to make excuses for myself.

†The corresponding figures for January are 16,316 shifts of which 16,094 were under 12 hours, 190 between 12 and 14 hours, 128 between 14 and 16 hours and 19 in excess of 16 hours a day. The longest shift worked on any day during January, was 16 hours 35 minutes.

Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. the Minister a question? Can the hon. the Minister tell us how many of the shifts of under 12 hours were of eight hours’ duration?

The MINISTER:

Quite a large number of them were over eight hours’ duration. I am now dealing with the allegation made by the hon. member for Yeoville that the average time worked by Airways technicians was 19

hours a day. I said that that was wrong. The longest shift worked during February was 16 hours 35 minutes.

*This again proves that the hon. member disregarded his facts to some extent. When he hears about something like this, he must do the easy thing and write me a note asking what the position is. I shall then give him all the information. He is also at liberty to attack me in this Parliament, but then he will have the facts. It is not necessary to go to those people and to listen to their stories. He must write to me when he learns about this so that he may get his facts straight. I shall let the hon. member have the facts in this connection with the greatest of pleasure. Then he will still be able to use them in his speech here, but then he will have the facts. I want to say that I am aware—and now I am not speaking of the technicians only, but of many railwaymen— that very long hours are being worked. I admit this immediately. I know that some of the foot-plate staff are working from 16 to 20 hours on some shifts, but this does not happen regularly. I admit that excessive overtime is being worked in many cases.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Seven days a week.

*The MINISTER:

Seven days a week, as I worked, my friend. I am the only man who has experience of these long hours, not by sitting behind a desk, but by shovelling coal into the locomotive—for 16 long hours a day. Therefore I have a great deal of sympathy with my people who have to work these long hours, and we are doing everything in our power to decrease the working hours as much as we can. But there are unavoidable cases where one simply cannot do so. We are trying to bring about drastic decreases, but there is a serious shortage of staff. I appreciate the willingness of my people to put up with this inconvenience, of being prepared to work Sunday and Monday, night time and overtime. This proves the loyalty and the faithfulness of the railwayman in general.

*HON. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear!

*The MINISTER:

We are trying to decrease the hours by more mechanization, automation, by increasing the carrying capacity of the Railways and by means of numerous other improvements we are bringing about. But it still happens that these long hours have to be worked, something with which I am not at all content, and if we can decrease them, we shall certainly do so.

The next matter about which the hon. member spoke was the shortage of staff. As he said, “Now I am going to ask you the 64,000 dollar question”. What was I going to do to solve the problem? He became even more carried away and said, “This is the moment of truth”.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

No, Sir, I said it is time we had a moment of truth.

*The MINISTER:

I think the time is now.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I said the same.

*The MINISTER:

Now we are going to have this moment of truth of which he spoke. I think it is high time that there is clarity in regard to this matter, not only as regards my attitude, but also that of the Opposition. I hope that this afternoon will be that moment of truth and that we are going to get that clarity.

Let me say immediately that I can solve the problem fairly easily by employing non-Whites as firemen, driver’s assistants (of whom there is a serious shortage), shunters, guards, station-foremen, artisans, etc. I can easily do so. But there would be tremendous opposition from the staff if I were to do so. Now I want to know: Does the hon. member want me to do so in spite of the opposition of the staff?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Are you trying to overcome that opposition?

*The MINISTER:

I am now putting a simple little question to the hon. member.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But I did not …

*The MINISTER:

No, but I shall come to that. I want to know: Does the hon. member want me to do that in spite of the opposition of the staff?

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Now I am asking you: Are you trying to overcome that opposition?

*The MINISTER:

I am going to reply to that.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I too am going to reply to that.

*The MINISTER:

I am going to state what my attitude is. Now I first want to learn what the attitude of the Opposition is.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I shall reply to that as soon as I have another opportunity of speaking.

*The MINISTER:

One of the Opposition members has already said what his attitude is. I want to know whether he was speaking on behalf of the party.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I shall reply very clearly.

*The MINISTER:

I want to know whether he was speaking on behalf of the party. Does the hon. member want me to do so in spite of the opposition of the staff?

*HON. MEMBERS:

Say yes or no.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Reply to my question!

*The MINISTER:

He does not want to reply.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I will reply.

*The MINISTER:

Now I want to ask, on whose behalf was the hon. member for Karoo speaking when he said I had to do so in spite of the opposition of the staff? That hon. member is a leading member of the United Party.

Mr. G. S. EDEN:

On a point of correction, Sir, I did not say “in spite of the opposition of the staff”.

*The MINISTER:

The hon. member said, without any qualification, that that had to be done. Very well then, let me hear what the attitude of that hon. member is. Does he now adopt the attitude that that should not be done even if it met with opposition from the staff? Is that his attitude? In other words, does he agree that I should not appoint Coloureds as stewards of such appointments met with opposition from the staff?

Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

[Inaudible.] [Laughter.]

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order!

*The MINISTER:

You see. Mr. Speaker, when one is dealing with a party in which every man has his own policy, it is small wonder that they are sitting where they are.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

There is only one policy.

*The MINISTER:

The hon. member says, “There is one policy”. Which one is that?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

If you stopped speaking, I could get up and tell you.

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order!

*The MINISTER:

When the hon. member has the opportunity of doing so, will he tell us whether the hon. member for Karoo subscribes to that policy one hundred per cent? Will he teel us that too?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Yes.

*The MINISTER:

He will tell us that too. We are looking forward in great anticipation to the time when the hon. member will tell us that.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Now reply to my question.

*The MINISTER:

I am going to reply to you now. My policy is very clear, namely that with the approval or the start and on condition that the wage, status and standard of living of the Whites are being protected I am already employing non-Whites in work previously done by Whites. Is that clear? I am employing Coloureds and Bantu as, for example, ticket clerks; work previously done by Whites. There are certain types of skilled work previously done by Whites which are now being done by non-Whites. At present engine-cleaners quite often are non-Whites while all of them were white trainees in the past. At present there are seven or eight thousand Bantu who do the pick-and-shovel work on the permanent way which used to be done by Whites. This is also the case as far as flagmen and pointsmen are concerned. This will continue to be done. Let that hon. member listen now. He must learn his lesson.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Oh yes?

*The MINISTER:

All this is being done in co-operation with and with the approval of the staff, and this will be developed further. It will not be possible, however, to allow the mixed working of Whites and non-Whites. There is tremendous opposition from the staff, and I back them up. In certain grades and posts one simply cannot use non-Whites One cannot place a non-White station-foreman here on Cape Town station, or a non-White station-master at Retreat. One cannot use a Bantu as a fireman on an engine. This will simply not be tolerated. It cannot be done, because we cannot have a mixed working of Whites and non-Whites, but where it is practicable it is in fact being done with the cooperation of the staff. This is my policy.

The trouble is that these hon. members are not being politically honest when they present themselves as the champions of the progress the non-Whites have to make in South Africa’s economy. They are merely on the look-out, as was proved in recent years, for us on this side to make use of some non-White to do the work of a particular White so that they may exploit it politically. This is what they are doing.

I have promised to exchange a few words with the Leader of the Opposition as well. You will be able to deduce what their approach is from what I am going to read now. I am going to a note from The Star of 25th June, 1967. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition spoke at Bloemfontein at that time. This is very interesting. Hon. members will find what I am going to read very interesting.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

What is the date of that?

*The MINISTER:

25th June, 1967. In November, 1967, he again replied to this. The hon. the Leader said—

Strange things were happening under the cover of darkness in the Railway goods yards in Durban. Every night when it became too dark to see clearly, black men arrived at the goods yards and mounted the footplates of locomotives.
Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

That is untrue. It is totally untrue.

*The MINISTER:

Don’t speak so soon. I am going to read the hon. member’s denial as well. Wait a moment. According to this report the hon. the Leader of the Opposition said—

These Africans carried out shunting operations, but were known as shunter’s mates, not shunters. This is because shunting is a white man’s occupation under the Government’s job reservation policy. The Government did not want the public to know that it was being forced to use Africans in these reserved occupations …
*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAF:

That is totally untrue.

*The MINISTER: … because of the serious shortage of white labour. So Africans operated as shunter’s mates to keep the Railways running. The Leader of the Opposition, Sir De Villiers Graaff, gave this illustration in Bloemfontein last night to point out that the Government was being forced to abandon job reservation.

I then quoted this … [Interjections.] Listen now and give me a chance.

Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

You have got your dates wrong and you have got your quotations wrong. Moreover, you do not know what it is all about.

*The MINISTER:

On 6th November the hon. the Leader of the Opposition replied, because I had quoted this statement in a speech I made, one which was reported. And on 6th November, 1967, we found the following report in The Cape Times

“Because there were about 16,000 non-Whites in jobs on the Railways which were formerly done by Whites, one could understand the somewhat violent and sicourteous reaction of the Minister of Transport, Mr. Schoeman, to statements that jobs were going Black,” Sir De Villiers Graaff, U.P. Leader, said in Johannesburg on Saturday. Sir De Villiers, opening a U.P. fXte at Yeo-ville, mentioned the report in the Afrikaans Press in which Mr. Schoeman referred to a recent speech by Sir De Villiers in which he said shunting was being done by Blacks.

And now follows the important point. In this report the following is placed between inverted commas—

“I was referring to Blacks in the trade union context, meaning that work was not being done by Whites.”

Is that wrong too? Or did the hon. member say that?

Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

That is correct.

*The MINISTER:

What is the connection between “Blacks” and the “trade union context”?

Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

Non-Whites.

*The MINISTER:

Under the Industrial Conciliation Act the “Blacks”, the “African”, are completely excluded—in other words, “trade union context”, of which he spoke, therefore relates to Coloureds, Indians and “Blacks”.

Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

Nonsense. You are trying to make a stupid point, but you have got your dates wrong and you have got your context wrong.

*The MINISTER:

The trouble is that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition makes such stupid statements. In any event, the report in The Cape Times proceeds, “He had not referred to Bantu labour as reported. He had spoken about ‘Blacks’ in the context of ‘non-White’ ”. The reporter spoke of “Africans”. But the hon. member says “Africans” are not “Blacks”. He says he was speaking of “Blacks in the trade union context …” What in heaven’s name …! The fact of the matter is that the hon. member knows so little about trade unions and so little about matters concerning workers that he allows his tongue to run away with him and gets himself into trouble. [Interjections.]

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order!

The MINISTER:

The trouble is that when he hon. the Leader of the Opposition made this speech at Bloemfontein he did not have the hon. member for Yeoville at his side to correct him. And when I quoted what he had said, he did not say I was not speaking the truth—he simply said he had spoken of “Blakcs” and not of “Africans”. In other words, the entire report is true. Nevertheless he said at the beginning that the entire thing was untrue.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

It is untrue.

*The MINISTER:

This proves to what extent one can rely on statements made by the Leader of the Opposition. One can still expect this from the hon. member for Yeoville, but really, not from the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

May I put a question to you? [Interjections.]

*The MINISTER:

I am always very courteous to hon. members of the Opposition. They may put any question they like to me.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

Are there any non-Whites in Durban who are doing shunting work?

*The MINISTER:

Yes, there is quite a number of them. [Interjections.] Again the hon. member here is laughing too soon. Apparently he is suffering from an ailment —when he expects something funny to be said, he laughs before it has been said. As regards the question of the hon. member for Durban (Point), I have to inform him that we do employ the services of, for example, Indians, but not on the footplate of locomotives. That is what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition alleged.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

I never alleged that.

*The MINISTER:

But that is stated in this newspaper report.

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

That is wrong—totally.

*The MINISTER:

They are being used as flagmen at crossings. At Maydon Wharf there are many of these crossings. In addition they are being used as pointsmen and others again are being used to change points. A small number of Indians are being used for this work. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition spoke of “Africans”, but when he was caught out he said he had meant “Blacks”. [Interjections.]

*Sir DE VILLIERS GRAAFF:

Why did you not write me a letter to ask me exactly what I had said?

*The MINISTER:

But the hon. member in fact made a statement subsequently. [Interjections.] That hon. member did not make a statement subsequent to the story about the Bethuli Bridge in the newspaper.

*Mr. J. O. N. THOMPSON:

He will make a statement with the greatest of pleasure.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order!

*The MINISTER:

Now I am going to leave the hon. the Leader of the Opposition for a while, because I again want to confine myself to the hon. member for Yeoville. He spoke of grievances of the staff, of individual grievances. Of course there are grievances. In any large organization with more than 220,000 people there must indeed be individuals who have grievances. There are, however, seven white staff associations and one Coloured staff association. It is the task of these associations to look after the interests of their members— and they are doing this very well indeed. These associations represent more than 80 per cent of all Railwaymen, Bantu included. These staff associations are capable of bringing all grievances to the attention of the Minister. Hon. members may rest assured that when there are serious grievances amongst a large number of Railwaymen, those grievances do come to the attention of the Minister. Individuals will always have small grievances. But the hon. member for Yeoville came along and said that the Railwayman was afraid to go to the M.P.’s of the United Party, because they allegedly were afraid of victimization.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I did not use the word “victimization” once. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

*The MINISTER:

I am having the hon. member’s speech checked. If he had not made that statement, I shall apologize. But somebody said it. If not the hon. member for Yeoville, then the hon. member for Durban (Point), and in that case I turn to him now. The hon. member for Yeoville and the hon. member for Durban (Point) belong to the same Party in any event. Let me tell hon. members that during the 13 years I have been Minister of Transport I have never victimized anybody because of his political convictions. As a matter of fact, I have never even objected to some of the few of the remaining U.P. railwaymen serving on U.P. committees. The fact of the matter is that the railwayman has confidence in his Minister; they have confidence in the Government—therefore they do not go to the United Party with their grievances and definitely not because they allegedly are afraid of victimization.

The hon. member for Yeoville was also on about a backlog relating to capital works. I think the hon. member should have investigated the matter somewhat more thoroughly. There is no backlog as far as capital works are concerned. The position is, however, that when a railway line, for instance, is under construction—like the one between Vryheid and Empangeni—it cannot be completed within 12 months. The work may possibly take two or three years. Consequently an amount requiring to be voted for that work appears in the Estimates each year. New works are also being tackled each year. But there is no backlog, because all works are proceeding. New engines and trucks are being ordered each year. The amount which will have to be paid eventually for works already in progress, comes to more than R400 million. But there is no backlog. I really think the hon. member should have given a little more attention to this.

The hon. member also referred to the building of the new pipe-line. This pipe-line will be built chiefly for the purpose of transporting oil to a new refinery to be built at Sasolburg and for stock-piling.

With this I think I have now dealt fully with the speech of the hon. member.

†I now come to the hon. member for Durban (Point). Mark Twain once said that often a hen which has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid. As usual, the hon. member claims that it was entirely due to the pleadings of the United Party over so many years that my hard heart was softened and I made certain concessions to the staff. Of course it is the prerogative of the Opposition to plead for wage increases and to plead for tariff reductions. They are quite irresponsible; they can do it, and they are always doing it, so that eventually, when it materializes, they can claim the credit for it. Somebody once said that when an Opposition claims the credit for the good deeds of the Government, it shows bankruptcy. The only trouble is that the railwayman does not believe the hon. member and that is reflected by the results at every election.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Are you only interested in election results and not in the Railways?

The MINISTER:

I do not think anybody can be more interested in elections than hon. members opposite. They are interested in elections, but they do not like them any more. As I say, the only trouble is that the railwaymen simply do not believe the hon. member. The hon. member criticized me for underestimating and producing a surplus of R35 million, and this is what he said. It is quite interesting. He said: “I myself was a sales manager and the first time I produced an unexpectedly high sales figure over and above the forecast, I was just about fired.” What a peculiar business! His boss did not want additional business and almost fired him for working so well! In fact, that is one of the reasons why the British economy is in such a state; people will not work any more, and this boss did not want the hon. member to work. Well, all I want to say is that since those days the hon. member for Durban (Point) has been the sales manager of the United Party, and he has produced one unpleasant surprise after another, but still he has not been fired.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Why do you not deal with the point instead of cracking jokes?

The MINISTER:

Surely the hon. member does not expect me to take him seriously? But now I want to take the hon. member seriously. This is very important. The hon. member said that last year he claimed that there was some correlation between the long hours of overtime and the strain and the number of accidents, and in his speech he set out to prove that contention. He told the House that he ploughed through the reports of accidents for hours. He said I thought nobody would take the trouble, but I suppose that I apparently under-estimated the resourcefulness, the sheer tenacity of purpose and the determination of the hon. member for Durban (Point). What are the conclusions he arrived at? He said in 1967 there were 1,633 accidents on the railways, and he divided that into level-crossing accidents, 71 in three months, collisions 18, falls from trains 85, shunting accidents 57, and over 100 persons were hit by trains. Then he multiplied this by four to get the annual figure, namely 364 killed and 1,248 injured. The basic charge of this hon. member was that there was a correlation between accidents on the railways and the overtime and strain that the workers are subjected to.

HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

The MINISTER:

Take crossing smashes, 71 in three months. Was that due to overtime and strain on the Railway workers? Of course not. Take falls from trains. When a passenger falls from a train, is that due to the overtime worked by the train crew and the strain under which they work? Take persons hit by trains. Were they workers employed by the Railways who had worked overtime and were under strain and that is why they were hit by trains? But this is the type of thing I have to contend with. Then he says that to get the number of killed over 12 months, he just multiplied it by four. You might have a serious accident in one quarter in which many people are involved, and you may have no serious accidents for the rest of the year, but he multiplies it by four. Sir, I do not think for a moment— and I say this quite seriously—that the hon. member deliberately tried to mislead the House. All that I can say is that we might put it down to verbal exuberance combined with a lack of knowledge and comprehension. Still, it is very dangerous to make such statements. The public outside might believe it. He says that crossing smashes are correlated to overtime work and strain, and that people falling out of trains must be due to it. The hon. member should not say things like that.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Give me the figures.

The MINISTER:

I have pointed out to the hon. member that there is no correlation between overtime and strain and these accidents, and that was his basic charge, and that is where he went wrong. The hon. member made an unsubstantiated statement, and I think he should put it right when he gets the opportunity to do so.

The hon. member for Green Point is not here, but he apologized for being unavoidably absent. I want to deal with two matters he raised. The first is the closing of Table Bay Harbour during weekends. The position is that since the closing of Suez visitors started flocking to the harbour during weekends. They caused chaotic conditions. The roadways became congested, cars packed on or near railway tracks and obstructed train movement, and pedestrians exposed themselves to injury. It was decided on 17th June, 1967, to close the harbour during weekends. On 22nd November the restrictions were lifted, but the influx of visitors again assumed inordinate proportions, and the restrictions were reimposed on 23rd December, 1967.

Now, I should like to talk to the hon. members who represent East London and Port Elizabeth. Their colleague, the hon. member for Green Point, pleaded with me to abolish the port rates from East London and Port Elizabeth to the Transvaal. I understood that he spoke on behalf of the United Party. Have the hon. members from East London and Port Elizabeth consulted him, and do they support him? The Port Elizabeth public would like to know and the East London people would like to know whether it is the policy of the United Party that these port rates should be abolished. It is one of the recommendations of the Schumann Commission. Do hon. members support it?

*Dr. J. H. MOOLMAN:

But I can speak when I get up.

The MINISTER:

They say that silence means consent. That hon. member can speak if he gets up, but he does not speak. Well, I think the people of Port Elizabeth and East London will be interested to know—and I hope it will be reported—that the United Party pleads for the abolition of the port rate from East London and Port Elizabeth to the Transvaal.

The hon. member for Salt River suggested that the narrow gauge lines should be broadened. It is an admirable suggestion, but the trouble is that it costs a lot of money and I do not have the money to do it. He pleads for the consideration of tariffs in the Western Cape. I can only say in this regard that I cannot manupulate tariffs in the interests of one particular area. If the industrialists in the Western Cape want some relief they must find other ways of obtaining relief, but not by the lowering of tariffs.

The hon. member for Karoo spoke about pensions for Coloured people. I can only tell him that this matter was examined. It was found that the contributions that the Coloured workers would have to pay to enable them to obtain a decent pension would be so high that they could not afford them. That is why the saving scheme was introduced.

Then I come to the hon. member for Port Natal. Is he here?

Mr. L. E. D. WINCHESTER:

Present, Sir.

The MINISTER:

Well, even he is learning his lessons now. The hon. member for Port Natal stated that this Government was responsible for the staff shortages. I agree with him. Of course we are responsible for the manpower shortage. Do you know why? Because this Government is responsible for the unprecedented prosperity and industrial expansion in this country; that is why there is a manpower shortage.

An HON. MEMBER:

You stopped immigration.

The MINISTER:

That should be obvious to hon. members on the other side. The hon. member says that we lost 1 million immigrants in the ten years.

An HON. MEMBER:

At least.

The MINISTER:

Apart from the fact that this figure is a gross exaggeration, does the hon. member really think that we could have absorbed 1 million immigrants in ten years?

*Dr. J. H. MOOLMAN:

Of course; Canada and Australia did it.

The MINISTER:

There is no comparison between Australia and South Africa. Australia has a population of 14 million white people, and we have a white population of less than 3 million. Hon. members do not know what they are talking about. It is simply a pipe-dream to think that we could have absorbed a million immigrants.

*Dr. J. H. MOOLMAN:

You do not know what you are talking about. Australia has a population of 6 million.

Mr. L. E. D. WINCHESTER:

One million is a conservative estimate of immigrants and their offspring over a period.

The MINISTER:

I say that we cannot absorb 1 million immigrants in ten years; our economy cannot absorb them. For one thing we have not got the housing for them. We have not even got housing for the immigrants who are coming in to-day, and with the fluctuations in our economy we would not have been able to absorb them. Hon. members opposite do not know what they are talking about if they think that we could have absorbed them.

Mr. L. E. D. WINCHESTER:

I agree. We could not have absorbed them under a Nationalist Government. [Interjections.]

The MINISTER:

Sir, I am going to deal with the hon. member for Umlazi straightaway; I see he is very anxious that I should talk to him.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Why are you trying to get a million immigrants now?

The MINISTER:

No, we are not. We are not even trying to get 100,000 a year. Hon. members opposite must not think that the Government is as stupid as the United Party.

*Dr. J. H. MOOLMAN:

If you continue like that, we shall all be making a noise before long.

*An HON. MEMBER:

That is the only thing you do.

*Mr. SPEAKER:

Order!

The MINISTER:

I notice that the hon. member for Umlazi is very anxious for me to deal with the points raised by him. The hon. member started off by quoting a financial paper which said that it seemed that I was bored with my portfolio. As a matter of fact, Sir, I am not bored with my portfolio, but frankly I am very bored with the arguments to which I have to listen year after year from the Opposition.

*Dr. J. H. MOOLMAN:

[Inaudible.]

The MINISTER:

That hon. member will have an opportunity of saying what he thinks about the speech made by the hon. member for Green Point and I hope he will. Sir, I want to give the hon. member for Umlazi credit for the fact that he at least attempts to study his subject. He takes an interest in harbour expansion and he is probably the only member on that side who can speak with any authority on harbours and harbour expansion; I give him that credit, but sometimes he is rather wobbly on his facts, and his conclusions are very often extremely doubtful. The hon. member has one weakness and that is that in attempting to create an impression he becomes a bit offensive from time to time. I think he should remedy that weakness.

HON. MEMBERS:

Listen who is talking!

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

He is not quite as rude as you were to him.

The MINISTER:

I think I have treated hon. members opposite very well so far in my speech. I have not been offensive; I have not provoked them at all. As a matter of fact, I have dealt very softly with them, which is something I do not usually do. [Interjections.] Sir, if one hon. member opposite makes an interjection I can reply but I cannot reply when the whole of the United Party start talking.

The hon. member for Umalzi said that as a result of his criticism last year I appointed a committee to go into the Table Bay Harbour scheme. I simply hate to disillusion the hon. member. I appointed this committee as a result of representations that I received from commerce and industry in Cape Town and from the City Council to the effect that they had not been adequately consulted. They asked for an opportunity to present their views, and I decided to appoint a committee to give them that opportunity for the simple reason that when you start a project of this magnitude you should at least have the support of the local people. This committee has given all interested parties the fullest opportunity of submitting their objections, if they have any, and stating which they consider is the best place to construct the new harbour. My opinion is still the same as it was last year, but still I am giving them the opportunity of looking into the matter. The hon. member stated that he had been to the C.S.LR. and that they had not even started with their tests, etc., in regard to the Table Bay Harbour scheme.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

No, that is not quite correct. I said that they had only just started on an investigation of the Woodstock beach aspect.

The MINISTER:

But that is the other harbour scheme that the hon. member referred to, is it not?

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Yes. They had put no structures in.

The MINISTER:

Sir, I said that the hon. member’s facts were sometimes a little wobbly. I will give him the real facts. A total of 91 various lay-outs of the proposed outer harbour scheme at Cape Town has been tested over a period of more than two years, since the beginning of 1965. These lay-outs were tested to determine range and wave action, coastline erosion, etc., as they apply under various conditions encountered in Table Bay harbour during the different seasons of the year. In addition, a seismographic survey of the seabed was carried out to determine rock beds. These tests cover all aspects to be investigated and considered in deciding on the location and lay-out of a harbour extension scheme including the effect it will have on range and wave action conditions in the existing harbour. Sir, the hon. member must cut this out of my Hansard and keep it with him so that next year when he discusses this matter he will have the facts.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

I have a good memory.

The MINISTER:

The hon. member also quoted what I said about the proposed Saldanha Bay scheme. I want to refresh the hon. member’s memory in that regard. Certain private individuals made the suggestion that they should be permitted to build a huge tanker harbour at Saldanha Bay, and to build a pipeline to transport oil from Saldanha Bay to the Witwatersrand and another pipe-line to transport oil to Cape Town, to the Caltex refinery. I said that it was a pipe-dream. They said further that they would obtain the necessary capital from private sources. In other words, they would float a company, issue shares and then ask the public to subscribe. I said that you might find some gullible people who might be induced to take up shares.

An HON. MEMBER:

Suckers.

The MINISTER:

I warned them against being “suckers”; I think it is a more descriptive word; that is quite true. I warned them against this; that is still my feeling. But that has nothing to do with this committee that has been appointed. Mr. Verolme of Holland made certain suggestions to my colleague, the Minister of Economic Affairs, to the effect that he wanted to establish a shipbuilding yard at Saldanha. My colleague appointed a committee on which my Department is represented,

merely to inquire into and consider the proposals made by Verolme in regard to the establishment of a shipbuilding yard which is not a tanker dock and which does not include the building of a pipeline to the Witwatersrand and to Cape Town. The hon. member will see that his conclusions again were quite erroneous. There is no correlation between the two things at all.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

You have missed my point, but I will raise it later.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

You have been working too much overtime.

The MINISTER:

Is that supposed to be a funny interjection? It might even be reported; one never knows. [Interjections.] No, I am referring to the hon. member sitting in front of that member. The hon. member for Durban (Central) cannot make funny interjections, even if he tried; he is much too clever by half.

The hon. member for Umlazi also referred to the pipeline for ore. The position in this regard is that Iscor has a mission overseas at the present time studying the feasibility of constructing a pipeline for transporting ore. That mission has not reported yet. Iscor will, of course, decide which harbour, if the scheme is feasible, if it is practicable, will be suitable for the transport of ore through this pipeline. There is no certainty about that at all. One of the main problems is the lack of water. A considerable amount of water is required to pump ore through a pipeline, and I do not think there is so much water at Sishen and Postmasburg in the Northern Cape. We might have to take water from the Vaal river.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

We will send you some from Natal.

The MINISTER:

Yes, I wish the hon. member would send me some sea water to be used in the pipe. As I say, the whole project is still in the air and no decision has as yet been taken.

The hon. member also said there is a delay in providing the necessary rail facilities at the Durban pier and there seems to be no coordination between the Railways and the contractors. Again I must disillusion the hon. member and give him the correct facts, because his were again a bit wobbly. The facts are as follows. The quay walls and the filling in of Pier No. 1 were completed by the contractor late in 1967, that is seven months ahead of time. After completion of the filling in, drainage and sewerage pipes and electric cables had to be laid before the first shed could be erected and the hard surfacing and road system commenced. The first shed was erected by the same contractor who constructed the pier and he is also building the second shed which is now in the course of construction. The completion date for this shed is October, 1968. The necessary cranes were available when shed No. 1 and the adjacent open berth were handed over by the contractor for commercial working. Shed No. 1 is served by tracks in final position with temporary connections on the berth and no difficulty is experienced in making full use of this shed. Good progress is also being made with the final lay-out of the yard which will serve this area. The various stages of the work have been properly co-ordinated and there has been no delay in the progress as a result of lack of foresight or advance planning to take full advantage of the earlier completion of the quay walls of Pier No. 1. The cross quay is 27 per cent complete and is expected to be completed in April, 1969, instead of December. 1970, as originally planned, but as the filling in will not be completed before the quay wall is completed, no other work can be done in the meantime.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

But you are still only using this one shed.

The MINISTER:

Yes, of course.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

What about the rest of the pier?

The MINISTER:

Does the hon. member not understand English? [Interjections.] I have just given all the relevant particulars. The hon. member can check again when he reads my statement in Hansard. I think that what I have now said covers all points raised by the Opposition.

*I now want to deal with a few matters raised by hon. members on this side of the House. The hon. member for Colesberg spoke of uniforms and asked for a more light-weight type of uniform. A more light-weight type of uniform is already being worn, and I now want to mention a few examples. Station masters, station foremen, signalmen and other servants wearing similar types of uniforms are now getting a tunic type shirt with shoulder tabs on which their insignia are worn. The shunter gets a khaki shirt and khaki shorts with long socks. Airways staff also wear a khaki shirt, etc. Therefore the staff has already been given light-weight clothing. The hon. member also asked for garages to be provided at new departmental houses. Well, all new departmental houses are being provided with garages. An amount of R200,000 is provided annually for the building of garages at existing houses.

The hon. member for Parow spoke of a railway line which had to be constructed from Postmasburg to Boegoeberg and asked for a new harbour to be established there. This is a very nice idea. Estimates are, however, that the proposed railway line and rail improvements will cost approximately R170 million. The new harbour will cost R30 million. Traction and trucks will cost another R29 million and R21 million, respectively. This gives us a total amount of R250 million to construct the railway line, to provide the traction and trucks and to build the harbour there for the export of ore. Apart from the high costs, the traffic will only be in one direction. There is not a great deal of development in that part of the Cape Province, except agricultural development. There are in fact a few mines but nothing more. In other words, the ore will be transported to the harbour and the trucks will return empty. The revenue from this railway line will not even cover the interest on capital, and unless someone is prepared to bear the losses, I am afraid I cannot consider the suggestion.

The hon. member for Uitenhage asked for an investigation into the bonus system. I just want to say that this bonus system have been worked out in co-operation with the staff associations concerned. They are very good watch-dogs and if something goes wrong they immediately make representations. Because I have received no such representations up to now, I assume that they are satisfied with the present bonus system.

The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (North) spoke of the promotion of Railway policemen. The promotion in this service is fairly rapid in comparison with many other grades. Only six or six and a half years elapse before an officer is promoted to a higher rank. Some salaries of the S.A.P. and the Railway Police do differ but my attitude has always been that there is no real basis for comparison because there is no uniformity. The Railway Police is a purely domestic force and they are being treated as Railway officials.

The hon. member for Humansdorp asked for fast passenger buses. I just want to tell him that if there is a sufficient number of passengers, I shall introduce such services. He also spoke of flash-lights which had to be mounted on locomotives. I do not know whether flash-lights would really be any help. The locomotive has a very large and powerful headlight which is on at night and which can be seen from a very great distance. I do not think it would help much to mount a flashlight on top of the cabin as well.

I now want to say something about the debate in general. I should like to say that this debate was conducted in a very good spirit on the whole. No offensive or personal remarks were made. I was somewhat sympathetic towards and I felt somewhat sorry for the hon. the Opposition because their task of criticizing this Budget was a very difficult one. I make bold to say that this is a good Budget. Hon. members on this side of the House fulfilled their task very well.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

They thanked you.

*The MINISTER:

Yes, and I express my appreciation to the hon. members on this side. They fulfilled their task very well. I want to congratulate the hon. member for Randburg on his promotion to the position of chairman of the Select Committee on Railways. He has made a very good start, and I am sure that in course of time he will become even better than he is at present.

In addition I want to say I am pleased that I have been able to help the staff. I appreciate the support and the loyalty of the Railways staff. I have now been their Minister for more than 13 years. The railwaymen are of all political convictions, but although I have often had to say “no” over these 13 years, I have nevertheless always enjoyed their support and loyalty. I think all of us can testify to this. I have just had a typical example in connection with these wage increases. I had to deal with more than 800 grades and more than 100 different wage groups. A large number of staff members worked on the new salary increases for quite a few months. I gave instructions that nothing had to be divulged, that the matter had to be regarded as confidential. And not a single word was divulged. Everybody was surprised on the day I delivered my Budget Speech. This illustrates the loyalty of my staff. The idea should not be entertained that the people who dealt with the increases were all Nationalists. I appreciate everybody’s loyalty.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

The best of them are not Nationalists.

*The MINISTER:

Will the hon. member tell me now who the “best” ones are, because I should like to know? I never ask what a man’s politics are.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Nor do I.

*The MINISTER:

I promote people on merit.

*Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

How can you say then that all of them are not Nationalists?

*The MINISTER:

I presume that; after all, I must accept that a few of them will be supporters of the United Party. Can you imagine, Sir, that every single one of the 110,000 white officials would be National! I say I appreciate the support of the staff, and consequently I am pleased that I have been able to grant them wage increases this year. I know that all of them are not going to be satisfied. If Providence cannot make all people satisfied, how can I do so? I do think, however, that the increases will give a great measure of satisfaction and will serve as an incentive to the railwaymen to make even more sacrifices and to do even more work than in the past. I know that high demands will be made on the Railways in the year ahead. I must rely on the staff, especially in view of the serious manpower shortage, and now I am referring to the white as well as the non-White staff, to meet those demands as in the past, to put the shoulder to the wheel and to see to it that the year’s labour will be crowned with success. I am convinced that I shall not be disappointed.

Question put: That all the words after “That” stand part of the motion.

Upon which the House divided:

AYES—94: Bodenstein, P.; Botha, H. J.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Brandt, J. W.; Carr, D. M.; Coetzee, J. A.; Cruywagen, W. A.; De Wet, J. M.; De Wet, M. W.; Diederichs, N.; Du Plessis, H. R. H.; Du Toit, J. P.; Engelbrecht, J. J.; Ersamus, A. S. D.; Frank, S.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Havemann, W. W. B.; Herman, F.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Horn, J. W. L.; Koornhof, P. G. J.; Kotzé, S. F.; Le Grange, L.; Le Roux, F. J.; Loots, J. J.; Malan, G. F.; Malan, J. J.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Maree, G. de K.; Maree, W. A.; Martins, H. E.; Meyer, P. H.; Morrison, G. de V.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, H.; Muller, S. L.; Otto, J. C.; Pansegrouw, J. S.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, J. E.; Potgieter, S. P.; Rail, J. J.; Rail, J. W.; Rail, M. J.; Reyneke, J. P. A.; Rossouw, W. J. C.; Roux, P. C.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Schlebusch, A. L.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, H.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Smit, H. H.; Smith, J. D.; Steyn, A. N.; Stofberg, L. F.; Swanepoel, J. W. F.; Swiegers, J. G.; Torlage, P. H.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; Van Breda, A.; Van den Berg, G. P.; Van den Berg, M. J.; Van den Heever, D. J. G.; Van der Merwe, C. V.; Van der Merwe, H. D. K.; Van der Merwe, S. W.; Van der Merwe, W. L.; Van der Wath, J. G. H.; Van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; Van Staden, J. W.; Van Tonder, J. A.; Van Vuuren, P. Z. J.; Van Wyk, H. J.; Van Zyl, J. J. B.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Visser, A. J.; Volker, V. A.; Vorster, B. J.; Vorster, L. P. J.; Vosloo, W. L.; Waring, F. W.; Wentzel, J. J.; Wentzel, J. J. G.

Tellers: G. P. C. Bezuidenhout and P. S. van der Merwe.

NOES—33: Basson, J. A. L.; Basson, J. D. du P.; Bennett, C.; Bloomberg, A.; Eden, G. S.; Emdin, S.; Graaff, De V.; Higgerty, J. W.; Hourquebie, R. G. L.; Hughes, T. G.; Jacobs, G. F.; Lewis, H. M.; Lindsay, J. E.; Marais, D. J.; Mitchell, D. E.; Mitchell, M. L.; Moolman, J. H.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Raw, W. V.; Smith, W. J. B.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Streicher, D. M.; Sutton, W. M.; Thompson, J. O. N.; Timoney, H. M.: Wainwright, C. J. S.; Webber. W. T.; Wiley, J. W. E.; Winchester, L. E. D.; Wood. L. F.

Tellers: H. J. Bronkhorst and A. Hopewell.

Question affirmed and amendment dropped.

Motion accordingly agreed to.

House in Committee of Supply:

Estimates of Expenditure from Revenue Funds: Main [R.P. 5—’68] and Supplementary [R.P. 31—’68]; and on Capital and Betterment Works [R.P. 6—68].

Heads Nos. 1 to 15 and 17,—Railways, R689,591,000 (Revenue Funds—Main and Supplementary) and Heads Nos. 1, R10,632,400; 2, R76,171,900; 3, R40,634,300; 4, R1,112,000; 8, R7,549,500 and 9, R650,000 (Capital and Betterment Works).

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Mr. Chairman, I request the privilege of the half-hour. In his reply to the preceding debate the hon. the Minister honoured me—a very rare honour— by saying that I had made a good speech on a previous occasion. I wish I could say the same about his reply to the preceding debate. In the 14 years we have known the hon. the Minister as the Minister of Transport, that is probably the poorest attempt he has ever made. We can only express our disappointment at the fact that he so seldom dealt with the merits of the matter, that he tried to reply by means of personal remarks, bad jokes, a great deal of gesticulation and gestures, and that he suggested time and again that we had made mistakes in our speeches. He is still looking for the place where I referred to victimization; he has not found it yet. It was truly disappointing.

But the hon. the Minister had a difficult task and I want to sympathize with him. He himself admitted that the Opposition had raised matters of importance to the Railway workers, the Railways as a whole and in the interests of South Africa’s economy. He even paid tribute to members on his own side for their contribution to the debate, because he was in a position where it was only with the greatest difficulty that he could reply to the pointed questions and issues raised by the Opposition in the debate. For instance, I was very interested and worried when at the beginning of his speech, the Minister, as is bis wont, launched a personal attack aimed at disparaging the first speaker on the Opposition side. He chose the bridge across the Orange River near Bethulie for this occasion. I wondered what I had done wrong; where had I made such a terrible mistake? Then I saw that it was a question of my having perhaps been reported wrongly. An amount of R2 million was mentioned, which should actually have been R200,000. In all sincerity I want to repeat, Mr. Chairman, that until that was checked, I could not reply to that question, as it had taken place months ago. I did not refresh my memory with the figures. But that is not the point. I expected the Minister to rise and to prove that I had wrongly attacked the Government at Ficksburg.

My attack was aimed at the lack of co-ordination and advance planning on the part of the Government. This was such that, after the United Party had made a start with the planning of the Orange River scheme 20 years ago, they allowed it to slide to such an extent that they built a bridge where the H. F. Verwoerd Dam was to have started. When subsequently they wanted to implement the United Party’s plan again, that bridge had to disappear under the water and another bridge had to built at an enormous cost, which amounted to infinitely more than the original amount. If I had mentioned an incorrect figure in connection with the cost of the original bridge, it only served to help the Government, because by doing that I did not reveal the enormity of their mistake. But to that point the hon. the Minister had no reply. He alluded to and fussed for 10 minutes about a side issue which could have been an incorrect newspaper report. But the substance of the charge is that the Government is wasting the taxpayers’ money through improper planning, through silliness, such as throwing overboard great plans simply because the United Party had thought of them. They are unnecessarily costing the taxpayer money. They are governing South Africa incompetently.

But, Mr. Speaker, where the hon. the Minister made himself even more ridiculous, was in his attempt to disparage my hon. Leader in regard to a statement he had allegedly made in June. Who told the hon. the Minister that my hon. Leader had allegedly made a statement in June and then waited until November before he corrected it, if it had been wrong? That is the insinuation it implies. After all, he knows the Leader of the Opposition better. If the Leader of the Opposition makes a mistake, which anybody can make—in this case it was not a mistake—or if he is reported wrongly, he uses the first opportunity, when it is pointed out to him, to correct it. But what is more in June last year the Leader of the Opposition was not in Bloemfontein at all. He was not even in the Free State. That statement to which the Minister referred, was made at the central congress of the United Party in October. Within a week or two the Leader of the Opposition corrected it. when it was pointed out to him by the Minister. The other day I again had the opportunity, and many of my colleagues along with me, to talk to trade union leaders. They were concerned about the fact that certain industries in South Africa were becoming “black”. But they are not using that expression to refer to the inflow of Bantu to those industries; they are using it to refer to the inflow of all non-Whites, particularly Coloureds and Indians. It is a jargon word of the trade unions. I was in Bloemfontein at that stage. My Leader used it in that sense, as he pointed out in his correction. But I thought that with this verbosity of his, this excitement, this triumphant attitude, the Minister would have proved that the Leader of the Opposition had propagated an untruth and that in actual fact no non-Whites were being used as shunters in the Durban shunting-yards. In the end he had to admit that it was true. Indians are being used there to do the work that was previously done by Whites.

We do not say that that is wrong, but it was in connection with these continuous protests from members on the opposite side of the House, namely that they were protecting the white workers and would never allow non-Whites to do the work of Whites, that we raised this point. This is a point to which the Minister must reply if he wants to raise these points, if he wants to be to the point at all, rather than to come here with these side-issues to create an impression which does not contribute to the level of the debate at all, to the value of dialogue in South Africa.

Mr. Chairman, there was the question of the estimates on the Budget of the hon. the Minister and his colleague, the Minister of Finance, both of which were hopelessly out. We felt so strongly about this matter, that we felt obliged to include it in the amendment the House has just negatived. We feel strongly about it, because in his Budget Speech the hon. the Minister told us that he was out in his estimates, that he had calculated wrongly owing to certain unforeseen facts, which the hon. member for Durban mentioned. The Minister told us that it was attributable to unforeseen circumstances. “Fortuitous circumstances”, were the words he used. Those unforeseen circumstances were the resuscitation of agriculture, the relaxation of import control, the fact that we had built up stocks of strategic commodities, and the increase in harbour activity arising from the closure of the Suez Canal. These are the unforeseen circumstances. But a year ago the hon. the Minister himself mentioned each of them as a reason why a prosperous year was lying ahead for the Railways. Now all of a sudden they are unforeseen. What does that mean? It means one thing only. In view of the hon. the Minister’s statement that he is dealing with one of the biggest organizations in South Africa and that it is for that reason that he cannot budget so accurately and that we should view matters in their correct perspective—and this is a fair statement—this argument is advanced: it for the very reason that it is such a mighty and big organization, with a tremendous turnover of millions and hundreds of millions of rands, that the Railways can afford to acquire the services of the best brains to advise the hon. the Minister. And the Railways are doing that. We who have to debate against the hon. the Minister are very well aware of the fact that he has the advice of brilliant brains and outstanding men. We know that we are not debating against the Minister alone, because then we shall have won our case before we started. He has these tremendous means which the Railways place at this disposal and which we do not have. But the trouble is that they gave him the advice last year—and he mentioned it in his Estimates—that there were factors such as the improvement in the agricultural position, the relaxation of import control and the building up of State and trade inventories. And then the hon. the Minister did not follow that advice and, despite those facts, he still budgeted wrongly. And then the hon. the Minister said a year later that these were unforeseen things—namely these in respect of which he had been given advice—which affected his Estimates. What is one to do with such a Minister? He need not write to the Opposition for advice. He should only write to his own advisers and they will furnish him with the best advice. But then he must implement it. That is the difference. I want to mention a few more examples. It was our plea last year that concessions should be made to the staff. They were refused. They were refused by this Minister and they were also refused beforehand as a result of the hon. the Prime Minister’s statement to which the Minister referred. Why were they refused? Was it because the hon. the Minister is heartless? Is it because he is unsympathetic towards the railway man? No. It was because we experienced a period of inflation, and the Minister said last year—I think it was in reply to the hon. member for Green Point—that he could not grant those wage increases because such a step would be inflationary. And would you believe it, in his reply this afternoon, the Minister proved in a ten-minute argument that a wage increase to the railway staff would not be inflationary! What is one to do and on what basis is one to debate?

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Must I tell you?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Yes, you must tell me, because it does not make sense. If it suits the hon. the Minister to say that wage increases are inflationary, then he advances a convincing argument to prove that they are in fact so. But when it suits him to say that they are not inflationary, he is just as convincing and proves exactly the opposite. What are the facts? What are the principles? Then the hon. the Minister says that in the private sector there is no wage freeze, because in that sector virtually all the workers have been granted wage increases.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I did not say all the workers.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But, surely, I did say “virtually”. I do not want to bicker about that now. The hon. the Minister made the point that many …

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I gave you the number of industrial agreements.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Yes. I do not want us to misunderstand each other about small things. I accept that the Minister wants me to put it differently. What the Minister said, was that many workers in the private sector, despite the alleged wage freeze, did receive wage increases. Is that correct?

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Yes.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

In other words, the hon. the Minister used this argument against the railway man only. Whilst it was right that thousands of workers in the private sector should receive wage increases, it was not right in the case of the railway man. That is the argument between the hon. the Minister and us.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

We have no control over private individuals.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Why then does the hon. the Minister take the private sector as an example to justify the actions of the Railways?

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Because you claim that there was a wage freeze.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

No. Why is the private sector being dragged in when it suits the hon. the Minister? And why may I not reply to that? What kind of argument is that? The hon. the Minister argued for a long time this afternoon that there was no wage freeze on the part of the Government because of the fact that thousands of workers in the private sector had in fact received wage increases. Now that I am pointing out to him that it contains an anomaly, he says that they have no control over the private sector. Surely, one cannot argue in that way. What would one achieve if one were to argue in that way? The wage freeze was either there, or the Prime Minister was serious when he made an appeal to the workers, or was he not? The Prime Minister either has influence or he has not. But, surely, the Prime Minister cannot when it suits him compel the Minister to grant wage increases and, at the same time, not have the power to compel other people. Surely, this does not tally. This is no argument. it is either inflationary or it is not. That is my point. If it is not inflationary now, then it was for the same reasons not inflationary last year either. If the increase in wages had been granted last year, it would after all not have meant that R30 or R40 million would be poured into the economy at once. After all, it would have been done over a period of 12 months, just as is the case at present. The same arguments hold good.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

The conditions were quite different from what they are now.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But that was not the hon. the Minister’s argument. The Minister’s main argument was that it would not be inflationary because it would be spread over a period of one year.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Yes, under present circumstances. But does the hon. member not realize that as far as inflation is concerned, the conditions are quite different from what they were six months ago?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But now I should like the hon. the Minister to stand by that. The hon. the Minister has now made a very serious statement, which he also made in his main Budget Speech. Now I want to ask him that, since he used it here where we are addressing each other across the floor of the House, he should stand by that. And after the 27th of this month—when we shall criticize the Minister of Finance for not having presented us with a Budget based on the fact that inflation had now been stamped out—I expect him to help us and to speak in support of this side of the House. I hope that he will do that. We shall remind him of it. The hon. the Minister said that the circumstances were quite different. Inflation has now been checked. All I am asking him is that he should be consistent and that, if the Minister of Finance does not act accordingly, he should help us in a fortnight’s time to put that Minister in his place. We shall remember that. Then there was the Minister’s attempt at replying to our criticism in respect of the profits that are being made by the pipeline. The hon. the Minister said that it was customary that goods which could carry a high tariff, should do so. The norm is, what can the transport carry? That is quite correct. But should that norm be applied quite arbitrarily? Why are some goods regarded as goods that can carry a high tariff and others not? After all, there should be certain criteria. I merely want to suggest to the hon. the Minister that a very important criterion that should be borne in mind, is the following: to what extent does the tariff levied on goods contribute to the cost of production in other fields, and to what extent can high tariffs be inflationary? And I want to tell the hon. the Minister now that the conveyance by the Railways of petrol and oil, is a factor that counts heavily in times of inflation. It represents an important component of the production costs of every industry and undertaking in South Africa. That is what the hon. the Minister should take into account. This is our argument, namely that in view of the fact that it is already known that the cost of living in Pretoria and on the Witwatersrand is among the highest in the country, it is irresponsible, short-sighted and unpatriotic of the Minister to continue with these tremendous profits and to profiteer out of the conveyance of petrol and so to create an important factor in the higher cost of living conditions prevailing in these cities. That was my argument and there was no reply to it. But I am very patient. It takes approximately six to seven years before the hon. the Minister begins to realize what one wants from him. Not always. There are exceptions. A very brilliant exception is the question of containers. I am very pleased to see that although we merely mentioned it, we have already had an announcement as regards containerization. But that is by the way. Then there is another matter in regard to which we want clarity. The hon. the Minister said that I was completely out of touch with the staff of the Railways, because I had asked for periodic adjustments in the compensation received by railway people. I do not know whether there is a misunderstanding, nor do I know whether I put my case wrongly. I do not have my Hansard with me at the moment. My impression is that I did not plead for a cost-of-living allowance. The occasion on which I did in fact refer to a cost-of-living allowance, was when the hon. member for Colesberg interrupted me and asked whether there was any precedent to that effect and when I referred to our policy of paying cost-of-living allowances regularly in terms of the war regulations. If I had used the words “cost-of-living allowances”, I want to set the matter right immediately.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

The hon. member for Durban (Point) also referred to cost-of-living allowances.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

That may be so. What I want, is simply that there should be clarity in regard to this matter. If there was a misunderstanding, I am sorry. The attitude we adopt, and we are recommending it very strongly to the Minister and the Government, is that in view of the fact that on the international level it has now become the policy of governments to accept creeping inflation …

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

The hon. member said, “There should be regular adjustments in the cost-of-living allowances.”

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I assume that I said that, but the Minister should kindly take my word for it that it is not our policy to use the term cost-of-living allowances in the same sense we used it during the war years. Our policy is that there should be an income policy as they do have in the Netherlands and in other countries, and that the income should be adjusted regularly in accordance with the rise in the cost-of-living. That is where the misunderstanding arose. We do not want a cost-of-living allowance which is not pensionable and which does not count for overtime; we want the real, basic wages of these people to be adjusted in accordance with the rise in the cost of living. I tried to make it clear. It is possible that I did not do so, but I am setting it right now, and I added that all that remained then to be settled as a result of collective bargaining was, what share the workers were to receive in the increasing prosperity of the country. After all, we do assume axiomatically that if there are wage increases —no matter how they come about—as a result of collective bargaining every few years, one basis them on two factors, namely the rise in the cost-of-living and the rightful share of the workers in the greater prosperity of the country. That is our policy. But I am glad that we have now had the opportunity to gain clarity in this regard. These are not cost-of-living allowances in the sense of non-pensionable allowances or additional re-inforcement of wages. They must form an integral part of the wages which, count for all these other benefits.

Then the hon. the Minister kicked up a great fuss about the fact I mentioned, i.e. that dissatisfied people had told me that the technicians in the Airways had to work up to 19 hours a day.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Everybody.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

The Minister made a great fuss about that, but I immediately added that I did not necessarily accept it and that I thought it was exaggerated. I still think that it was exaggerated. But the fact remains that those workers feel that they are being exploited to such an extent that they may approach somebody like me and say that they are working 19 hours overtime. But I am pleased that we have had this argument, because now the Minister has read out some figures to us. If anyone but the Minister had told me that these people who are doing highly skilled work—important work on which the safety and the lives of thousands of people depend—had to work shifts of 16 hours and more at a stretch, I would also have said in this House that I had heard it but could not believe it.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Would you prefer the aeroplanes to remain grounded?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I would say that you should see to it that there is more staff and that you should pay to obtain their services.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Where from?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Where did you find the people you have? Why are there not enough of these people?

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Because they have to be trained first as apprentices to be able to do that job. One cannot simply conjure up people for this work.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I mentioned the figures to show how these people have decreased in numbers over the years. [Interjection.] They are taken over by other services. Why can we not take over people from other airlines? Any measure which would eliminate the necessity for these people to work in continuous shifts of 16 hours, would be in the interests of the safety of our nation.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

You are talking nonsense.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I am not talking nonsense. The Minister should listen to me, and there is not one single impartial witness who Will not agree with me that it is blatantly irresponsible of the Minister to allow people whose work it is to keep the aircraft in the air, to work shifts of 16 hours and longer. This is unforgivable and if there has ever been a case where drastic measures should be taken to put an end to this state of affairs, then it is this case. For the Minister to rise and to poke fun at this matter for 20 minutes and to carry on in a flippant manner—he did not utter one word in condemnation of the fact that these people had to work shifts of 16 hours and longer—is scandalous. He ought to be ashamed of himself, and I am repeating now what I said before, and hon. members may criticize me just as much as they please. I say that this is irresponsible conduct and that the Minister is playing with the safety of the people who fly with the S.A. Airways, if he permits the people who are responsible for the proper performance of the aircraft to work shifts of 16 hours and longer.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

You are talking absolute nonsense now.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

If I am talking nonsense, then it is nonsense I am getting from the Minister. The Minister rose to-day and he had to admit that these people were working shifts of 16 hours and longer. Or does the Minister want to deny it again? [Interjection.] I do not care whether that is on an average, but if a person has worked for 16 hours, I say that in the last period of that shift he cannot do first-rate work, and any industrial psychologist will confirm that. Fatigue must set in if a person works for 16 hours.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Just carry on in your ignorance. I shall reply to everything.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

It will be of no avail to the Minister to insult me now. For the Minister to say that it is nonsense, will not convince anybody. All it can convince me of, is that the Minister is unfeeling in this matter. I want to know from the Minister what he did to effect an improvement in that state of affairs. Why did those people have to apply for arbitration? Are they satisfied? Does it mean that they are satisfied? If people declare a dispute, is that a sign of satisfaction?

*An HON. MEMBER:

Did they complain to you?

*Mr. S. J. M. STYEN:

Yes, and they went further than that and the Minister knows it. But the Minister would not permit me to be present when their case was heard. Is that true?

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I shall reply to everything. You need not be afraid.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

In regard to this matter I want to make myself very clear. No matter what the Minister may say, let it go on record that we, the Opposition, think that it is irresponsible and dangerous to expect the technicians of the Airways to work in shifts of 16 hours and longer when they are doing the most technical work imaginable on the most complicated machinery that exists, such as modern jet-propelled aircraft with intricate instruments. This equipment must be handled and kept in a perfect condition for the sake of safety. I say that a person who has to work for 16 hours or longer, cannot do it as thoroughly as we are entitled to expect. Let this go on record, and the Minister can deny it, but we shall always disagree on that point.

The other matter in regard to which there must be clarity between the two of us, is the question of the staff shortage. I discussed the matter in all earnest and I did not try to put any catch questions. I am sincerely concerned about the position of staff shortages in South Africa. Talking about inflation, there we have an inflationary factor to which we have not yet dealt the death-blow. I am very concerned about the state of affairs on the Railways, and my concern increases when I read what responsible leaders of the Railways Administration have to say about the matter. I gave the Minister the quotations, and he did not deny them, but then he came forward with a number of political catch questions.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

But, surely, I did state my policy.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

The Minister stated his policy, but he tried to put catch questions across the floor of the House. [Time expired.]

*Mr. J. C. B. SCHOEMAN:

I hasten to react to a few of the observations made by the hon. member for Yeoville. In the first place, I shall do my level best under the strongest provocation not to become personal, but I should like to have the attention of the hon. member for Yeoville in regard to this one matter, and that is whether he suggested that the Minister, as regards his expecting the officials to work overtime, was heartless and also failed to display any sympathy in his replies to this debate. Is that true?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I say that he is doing absolutely nothing about it.

*Mr. J. C. B. SCHOEMAN:

I am deeply shocked and indignant. I want to remind the hon. member for Yeoville that a few moments ago the hon. the Minister made the statement, in the presence of the hon. member for Yeoville, that he (the Minister) was the only person here who had personal experience of the long hours firemen are required to work, and that he was the person who could be sympathetic and who was in a position to realize what the circumstances were of people who had to work long hours. But here, in a debate such as this one, the hon. member shamelessly levels the accusation that the Minister is allegedly unfeeling and has no heart for those people. Honestly, Sir, this House has a minimum of prestige and status that we must up hold, also when we are dealing with politics, and apparently there are members of this House who have no feeling whatever for showing esteem and respect and a minimum of decency towards a fellow member of this House, even if he is in the Opposition. Is that not an indication of absolute bankruptcy? And when we run out of arguments and no point of view can be justified, should we then resort to expedients such as these? I want to complain of that, and I want to make an appeal to the hon. member that, as far as the future is concerned, he should kindly make his minimum contribution to keeping this debate on the level where it should be.

Reference was made here to high tariffs and low tariffs, and to the fact that it was unfair and unjust of the Minister to expect the oil pipe-line to carry the unnecessary low tariffs on certain goods. It is, after all, an elementary business principle that in any general dealer’s concern the groceries department, where one concentrates on a large turnover and low profits, must carry its drapery department, where one concentrates on articles on which there is a high profit. Why then this attempt at differentiating between the Railways as a business undertaking and a general dealer’s concern? I think that this is an argument which is without substance and very weak. This point of view was stated by the hon. member for Yeoville when the Minister asked him where he was supposed to find the employees as well as the technical people in the Airways—then he responded by saying that the Minister must try to find them; and that was his contribution to the solution. To me this argument sounds a great deal like the one I would be guilty of if I were to ask the United Party why they were not trying to gain more members here? Why do you not try to have more members here so that you may take over in this country and govern more efficiently? You are simply not capable of doing so. You are bankrupt; you have no standpoint and no policy. You no longer have any appeal for the voting public.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Surely, you cannot say such a thing of the Chairman.

*Mr. J. C. B. SCHOEMAN:

I am referring to the United Party. The hon. member is listening the way he usually does.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

But you are talking of “you”.

*The CHAIRMAN:

Order! The hon. member must address the Chair.

*Mr. J. C. B. SCHOEMAN:

As regards the scarcity of technicians and the question of working overtime in the Airways, the hon. member for Yeoville repeatedly made the statement that the hon. the Minister was playing with the safety of the public. May I too, repeat that the Opposition is part of a prestige Parliament. May we not therefore, with the best will in the world and in all courtesy, ask them a small favour: Co-operate in the interests of the prestige of our State, and do not undermine in this way an undertaking which in its field is held in the highest esteem in the world. The safety factor of the South African Airways is being accepted generally; it is accepted as an undertaking with a clean record and here, by making use of this House, you are trying to prove the opposite to the House and to the outside world. Where is your piety; where is your feeling of loyalty to the State and the Railways as a State undertaking which has a function and a duty to perform in the interests of the public? Mr. Chairman, that Party is simply becoming reckless. They are absolutely panic-stricken. I want to appeal to their leaders to be so kind as to give them a few lessons, even if it is in their caucus, on what the functions are of a member of this House, no matter on what side of this House he may be, and how he ought to behave himself here. In addition I just want to make one single reference to a statement which was made here and which worries me a little. The hon. member for Yeoville refers every now and then to complaints he receives from the staff. The hon. member for Durban (Point) did the same thing and the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) also had a great deal to say in this regard. I want to ask whether the time has not arrived for us to go into this state of affairs. After all, channels have been provided for the purpose of dealing with the grievances of staff members, channels along which such grievances are to reach the Minister, but it appears to me that shortcuts are being followed here and, what is more, the anti-prestige members of Parliament are apparently encouraging that sort of thing and are trying to exploit and make political capital out of it. Mr. Chairman, to me this is not a pleasant and encouraging revelation, and I think it is perhaps time for us to say something in this regard and at this level. We must not try to exaggerate democracy. May I say this to the hon. member for Yeoville in connection with this prestige State of ours, if I may express its symbolically: It is so often said that Paris has been described as Paradise, and they should not try to make Paris a heaven. That is quite unrealistic; that is quite inappropriate.

In the last instance, mention was made here of the increase in salaries and wages just before the elections. I want to hope and trust that the Railway officials are taking due note of this, namely that it is being suggested here that they can be bought and that their moral standards are such that any little increase in salary can sway them to the left or to the right. Mr. Chairman, do these hon. members not think before they talk? Are they so panic-stricken that their panic simply bubbles up unrestrainedly? [Time expired.]

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I think it is only fair that I should finish the matter I started, namely the question of the staff shortage and the use of non-White labour on the Railways. The hon. the Minister will recall that we discussed the same matter two years ago; at that stage I put it to him that he ought to negotiate with the trade unions and to enter into an agreement with them to open some of the lower-paid grades of employment to the non-Whites. I emphasized that he could only do so with the concurrence of the staff associations concerned. The hon. the Minister looked at me and asked: “What do I do if they do not want to agree?” and my reply was: “Then you go back to them and enter into negotiations again, and if you cannot negotiate with them and do not have any success, then you resign as Minister and you find somebody who can negotiate with the workers.” That was my reply. I want this matter to be very clear indeed. Long before the Minister realized that he had to implement this policy, it was the policy of this side of the House and it was put in writing. This question of the labour pattern in South Africa is a question which can in our opinion only be solved through the workings of industrial democracy, as a result of agreements amongst trade unions and organized employers, which in the case of the Railways is the Administration.

*Mr. P. Z. J. VAN VUUREN:

When did you put forward that proposal?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Years ago; long before the hon. member for Benoni became a member of this House. Mr. Chairman, that has remained our point of view. I want to repeat our point of view now.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Is that also the point of view of the hon. member for Karoo?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

It is the point of view of this Party and it is also the point of view of the hon. member for Karoo. It is inevitable that changes must take place. The Minister mentioned to us a few cases to-day where this was happening under his Administration. I say that it is inevitable, but then we must accept certain things, and one of the things we must accept is that these changes should take place for the good of all the workers concerned. This affords new opportunities to the non-Whites, but it should also be an opportunity for the Whites to advance themselves and to obtain better posts. There will be white workers who will not be able to rise to higher posts as the lesser posts are being filled. There will not be many, but in any community there are people who are mentally or physically handicapped and will not be able to do this. Then it will be necessary for the authorities concerned to see to it that there is sheltered employment for such people and that they are protected so that they may maintain the standard of living of Whites in South Africa and will not lower the reputation or status of the Whites. I want the hon. the Minister to understand that this is our point of view. We are delighted to see that as the Minister is being brought face to face with reality, he is accepting our point of view to an increasing extent. We do not mind his accepting our point of view; we welcome it, but then he should not, while he is accepting our point of view, try to deny the fact. What we expect from the Minister, is that he should display some gratitude and some chivalry and that he should not try to distort our policy while he himself is engaged in implementing it.

Mr. Chairman, there are many members still who want to speak, and I just want to touch very briefly upon two further matters. I am disappointed—and I should like to hear what the Minister’s reason for this is—at the fact that there will be no increase in the allowances paid to pensioners. I do not want to say any more about this; I should just like the Minister too motivate this for us and to tell us why, if it is supposedly so essential for the staff to be granted increases, the poor people who are on pension to-day cannot get anything, as he told me when I asked him about it on a previous occasion. Then I come to the next point, and the hon. the Minister must not attack me again by saying that my information is like this or that my information is like that. I am giving him information I have just received; I do not know whether it is correct; I want him to be so kind as to tell us what the true state of affairs is. We hear that among an increasing number of Railway servants there is more and more dissatisfaction about these wage increases amounting to R43 million. Apparently the hon. the Minister caused these wage increases to be related to productivity. We are told that the Minister found it easier to determine productivity in the case of workers who are more particularly concerned with engineering in the Railway service, and that workers who are concerned with mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, and so forth, are going to receive larger increases than workers concerned with the working of trains and workers in the commercial section and the staff section. A distinction will be made between workers in these sections, from the highest to the lowest. I would be pleased if the hon. the Minister would tell us whether that is the case. We find ourselves in great difficulties. We were pleased when the Minister reported to us—and we approved it openly—that an increase of R43 million was going to be granted to the Railway servants, but we do not have any particulars. The Minister only told us that the staff associations would be notified in due course. That puts us in an extremely difficult position. I only hope that this report is not correct, because it is not possible to have increased productivity in a major organization such as the Railways unless all sections of the staff, including the clerical section and the operating staff and the commercial section, contribute their share. I do not want to say any more about that and I do not want to criticize. If my facts are wrong, I should be pleased to hear that they are so, but I do know that protests have been made and that bigger protests will be made to the Minister. There is talk of holding meetings and there is talk of declaring a dispute. I do not know on what it is based, and I should be very pleased if the hon. the Minister could give us the assurance that all staff members will be treated alike and that there will be no discrimination against certain people because of the nature of the work they are doing.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I think that I should deal first with the points the hon. member for Yeoville has just raised. The hon. member has probably been listening to gossip and that is why he made such a spectacle of himself at the beginning. Now he is trying to make excuses for his incorrect presentation of facts; he is trying the protect his Leader for what he said in Bloemfontein. He was talking about the Bethulie bridge and wanted to know what the difference was between R2,000,000 and R200,000. Unfortunately, that hon. member uses this sort of thing in an attempt to gain political support outside and to create a totally wrong impression with the public. This story was reported not only in one newspaper but in a great many newspapers, but he never took the trouble to deny it. Now he says: “It is true; the bridge will be submerged; the necessary co-ordination was lacking,” in spite of the fact that the bridge was constructed and completed long before the Orange River Scheme was adopted by the Government. [Interjections.] Do we have to accept the U.P.’s policy? Surely, that is the greatest nonsense.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But, surely, you did accept it.

*The MINISTER:

In other words, when a start was made with the construction of this bridge in 1954, we were supposed to have known that the U.P. had said that there should be an Orange River Scheme and that the Government would adopt it in 1962 and that a bridge should consequently not be built there. Have you ever heard greater nonsense than that?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I am very happy with that reply.

*The MINISTER:

The hon. member did at any rate not take the trouble to ascertain that the old bridge across the Orange River could simply not carry the heavy locomotives any more. We were therefore obliged to build a new bridge. Our modern, heavy locomotives could simply not cross the bridge, and what were we supposed to do? Should we have said: “We are not going to use any bigger locomotives; that bridge will remain there until the Orange River Scheme is undertaken one day.”

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

There are bridges which are older than that one and which are still standing to-day, bridges that were built long before 1957.

*The MINISTER:

But I have just told the hon. member what was wrong with that bridge. That particular bridge could simply not carry the heavy, modern locomotives.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

You built a bad bridge in 1957.

*The MINISTER:

The United Party built it.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

In 1957?

*The MINISTER:

I am referring to the old, original bridge. That bridge could not carry the modern locomotives any more and the 1957 bridge was then built, long before the Orange River Scheme was decided on. I gave the hon. member the cost of that bridge, namely R400,000, including the cost of the regarding that had to take place. The hon. member is trying to make excuses for himself. He is trying to extricate himself from that absolute untruth he propagated in Ficksburg, neamely that a R2 million bridge which had just been completed—according to the report he said: “It had just been completed”—will disappear under the water.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

What is the life of a bridge?

*The MINISTER:

How can one ever argue with the hon. member in a respectable manner? He waved his arms here, became irascible and tried to become insulting because I had allegedly misrepresented him. He should rather be mindful of his own courtesy every now and then. He also spoke of what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition had allegedly said. Fine, I did say it was in June, but that was because I could not decipher my own figures. The fact of the matter is that the report on what the hon. the Leader had said about the bridge at the Bloemfontein congress, did not only appear in one newspaper. I read out the whole report here. Does the hon. member now want to tell me that that whole report was untrue? Does the hon. member want to say that the whole report, where he spoke about the people who stealthily boarded the locomotives at night, is untrue? Does he say that the report is wrong which stated that he had said that they went there at night and found the people there? Is all of it untrue?

*Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

He never referred to locomotives.

*The MINISTER:

He referred to the footplates of these locomotives on which these people climbed at night.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

The point is that there was a misunderstanding in regard to the use of Black shunters …

*The MINISTER:

There was not, because the whole report referred to that. In the first instance, it is definitely untrue that we are using those people at night, as the hon. member suggested. That is what I say. I say that it is definitely untrue that we are only using those Indians at night so that nobody may see that they are being used, as he suggested at his congress. I say it is untrue. He did not refer to that in his correction. He tried to refer to that, but I do not quite understand. According to that report, the hon. member referred to “Africans” three or four times, not to “Blacks”. In other words, that reporter deliberately inserted the word “Africans” in the hon. the Leader’s speech on three or four occasions, whereas he did not use that word.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

He did not refer to “Africans” once. [Interjections.]

*The MINISTER:

I wish the hon. member would keep quiet. Let the hon. the Leader of the Opposition correct himself. It is not necessary for the hon. member to assist the hon. the Leader in making corrections. The hon. the Leader did therefore refer to “Blacks”. Now all of a sudden it is “in a trade union context”. As Minister of Labour I had to deal with trade unions for years, and I had to deal with trade unions on the Railways for 20 years. I myself became a leader of a trade union. That is why I say that it is nonsense to suggest that it is a trade union term when it is said, “the industry is getting Black …” and that this statement refers to Coloureds. It is the greatest nonsense I have ever heard. Through all these years the meaning of the words, “the industry is getting Black …”— used in the trade union context—is that Bantu, and not Coloureds or Indians, are coming in. Now the hon. member is trying to make excuses; he waves his hands and he carries on as though he has become hysterical about my having allegedly insulted his Leader.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Nobody referred to “insult”.

*The MINISTER:

That is the impression you create.

The hon. member also referred to my statement that the wage increases were not inflationary. What were the conditions last year? We were in the midst of a high rate of inflation and the Government was obliged to take very strong measures to slow down that rate. If I had granted these increases at that stage, it would only have accelerated the rate of inflation. Now we have inflation under control to a certain extent. Everybody admits that; economists outside as well as the newspapers are admitting that. They concede that the measures that were taken had been successful, and that we have to a large extent overcome inflation. Consequently the present wage increases will most certainly not have the same effect they would have had if they had been granted five, six or seven months ago. That is the position. I repeat that these concessions will not have the same effect they would have had five or six months ago. At that time, and particularly 12 months ago, it would have been wrong to grant increases. I stand by that; this is a fact, and any sensible person who knows anything about economics, will tell the hon. member that it is so.

The hon. member also complained about the high tariffs. He wants to suggest that the high tariff on the conveyance of fuel is pushing up the cost of living in Pretoria and Johannesburg even further. But that is not the case. Even if I had to sacrifice R5 million or even R7 million of the revenue derived from the conveyance of fuel in the pipeline for the sake of a reduced petrol price in those areas, the cheaper petrol would not effect any change whatsoever in the cost of living there. To reduce the price paid for petrol there by a few cents, will not in the least help to bring down the cost of living. My experience has always been that concessions in the form of tariff reductions do not benefit the consumer at all. However, when there is a tariff increase, the consumer is immediately affected.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Who controls the petrol price?

*The MINISTER:

I am coming to that The only exception is when there is a reduction in the petrol tariff. However, I have given my good reasons why this tariff cannot be reduced. If a reduction of 3c per gallon in the price of petrol were to be introduced on the Witwatersrand, in Pretoria and in the Northern Free State, it would not reduce the cost of living at all. It will not effect any change. The consumer will not have the benefit of it either.

The hon. member also spoke of the Airways technicians. He made a great fuss, because I am allegedly gambling with the safety of the passengers owing to the fact that the poor technicians have to work shifts of 16 and 17 hours.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I never made any reference to 17 hours.

*The MINISTER:

Fine, let us say 16 hours. The hon. member is so fond of quoting incorrect figures that at times I am inevitably led into the temptation of following suit. The impression the hon. member created was that all those technicians, or at least the vast majority of them, were working these terribly long shifts. What deduction could any hon. member make of this “raise-the-devil speech” which the hon. member has just made here? He made these statements in spite of the fact that I had furnished figures to indicate how many shifts of longer than 14 hours, up to 16 hours, were being worked monthly. He did not even ask what the nature was of the work done by those particular technicians. He says that the safety of our aircraft is being prejudiced. The impression is created that all those Airways technicians have to work these terribly long hours. He wants to know how the people working on the aircraft engines—the people who are doing the intricate, complicated and important work—can work such long hours, because they must be quite exhausted. The relevant figures indicate that of the 16,000 shifts per month, there were only 128 which were 14 to 16 hours long. That is out of more than 16,000 shifts.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

There should not be a single shift as long as that.

*The MINISTER:

But, of course, there should not be a single one. Does the hon. member think that I differ with him on that point? Does he think that I like seeing these people work such overtime? Does the hon. member want our aircraft to remain grounded? Does he want our air services to come to a standstill?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

No, I want the staff to be treated in such a way that you will have the people to do the work.

*The MINISTER:

The hon. member is once again making a nonsensical observation, because the staff are being treated very well. The hon. member must not think for a single moment that the fact that there was a dispute owing to their excessive wage demands, is an indication of terrible dissatisfaction in their ranks. The fact that a former member of the United Party was appointed as their representative on that committee does not affect the picture. These technicians are being treated reasonably well. In the past years they were on the same basis as ordinary artisans as far as wages were concerned. I removed them from that sphere and made them salaried officials. Subsequently they received many fringe benefits and larger increases than did the ordinary artisans in the workshops. In spite of that the hon. member says that they should be treated better. With the latest increases they received much better increases than did many of the other artisans. Where does the hon. member think I should find the additional technicians? There is a shortage. I have sent teams abroad in an attempt at recruiting them there. At present we again have teams that are going abroad to recruit staff. They are hard to find. Apart from the Atlas Company, which may not employ my staff, South Africa does not have other airlines that may possibly lure technicians away from the S.A.A. There are numerous other reasons for these people leaving the service. Apart from recruitment abroad, the only way of getting more technicians in South Africa is to train more apprentices. Sometimes I am really despondent about the hon. member’s attitude. Sometimes he makes the wildest allegations. He pretends to the world that he is the champion of these poor people, particularly as regards the Airways staff. He pretends that this is the case, because, as I have said, a former United Party member has been appointed as their representative on the committee. But he is not their champion. The hon. member must retain his sense of values.

He raised certain points regarding the cost-of-living allowances. I accept that he may not have meant it that way, but was I suppose to have read his thoughts when I replied? After all, he explicitly spoke of “cost-of-living allowances”, and he did so more than once.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

But you accept what: I meant?

*The MINISTER:

Yes, of course I do.

Reference was also made here to the staff shortage and the employment of non-Whites. That side is saying again that this side finally adopted their policy. But that is not the case.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

It is the case.

*The MINISTER:

For the past decade the Bantu on the Railways have been doing work that was previously done by Whites. What about the thousands of rail workers? Whites; were employed at first, but owing to the labour shortage amongst the Whites, Bantu were introduced instead. This is no innovation. This has been the case all these years. Years ago I had talks with the Artisans’ Staff Association in connection with the breaking down of certain work as far as signal fitters were concerned, work which had to be done by the Bantu, and so forth. This is nothing new. It is not because the United Party advocated a policy that we are supposedly adopting this all of a sudden. This is once again the greatest nonsense in the world. The position in regard to the allowances to pensioners is correct. I simply cannot afford to incur further expenditure to the amount of several hundred thousands of rand at this stage. That is why no provision was made for them, except for the abolition of the means tests.

Then the hon. member referred to the increasing dissatisfaction amongst a large number of rail workers. Well, this is the first word I have heard of it. In connection with Railway workers all I can …

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Railway employees.

*The MINISTER:

But I am saying “Railway workers”, not so? Not rail workers, but Railway workers.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I thought you had said “rail workers”.

*The MINISTER:

No, Railway workers. As I am saying, that is the first word I have heard of it, because as yet all these thousands of Railway workers do not even know exactly what their increases will be. It was only over the past few days that the staff associations received the particulars. They have not even had an opportunity to make them known amongst their members. How can there already be such a large number of dissatisfied people? All I have received so far, was telegrams of thanks from various branches of various staff associations. If the hon. member wants me to read them to him here, I shall do so. I have no knowledge of any large-scale dissatisfaction. One single person may have told him that. I, as the Minister, do not know anything about it, but the hon. member as a member of the Opposition already knows about the large-scale dissatisfaction. There is no such thing as productivity increases. Who told the hon. member that?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I put the questions.

*The MINISTER:

But the hon. member must have heard it somewhere, surely? Who told him that?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I am asking for information, that is all. Give me the information I am asking for.

*The MINISTER:

But I say that the hon. member must have heard of productivity increases somewhere.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I am merely asking for information.

*The MINISTER:

No, but one does not ask for information about something of which one has never heard, surely. But the hon. member may—if I remember correctly—look up in his Hansard of last year the place where he put forward the suggestion that I should introduce the system of productivity bargaining.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

That is quite correct.

*The MINISTER:

Does he still want it?

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Oh, yes.

*The MINISTER:

But he says that these people are dissatisfied and that these wages are based on increases in productivity.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I want to know whether there is any discrimination among the various groups in the staff.

*The MINISTER:

If one has to accept productivity bargaining as a system of negotiation, then, surely, there must necessarily be discrimination; because there are, after all, numerous kinds of work on the Railways of which one simply cannot increase the productivity. One cannot increase the productivity of the engine-drivers. One cannot tell them: Instead of 30 miles per hour, you must now drive at 60 miles per hour so as to get the train to its destination sooner. The hon. member should not shake his head. Yes, he shakes his head because he realizes only now how wrong he has been. One cannot introduce productivity bargaining for each of the 822 grades on the Railways. What we are in fact doing, is the following: Where the productivity can in fact be increased, a bonus system is introduced. Bonus systems have already been introduced in all the workshops. Outside, in other departments, bonus systems have probably been introduced for the very purpose of increasing productivity. But these wage increases have nothing to do with productivity. These wage increases were granted to the staff as a whole, as equitably as possible. From the nature of the case there cannot be uniform wage increases. One cannot grant the person who is earning R110 per month and the person who is earning R3,000 per month the, same wage increase. Then the Railway workers will revolt. What I did say, was that the wage increase would not be less than 8 per cent anywhere. It varied from 8 per cent upwards. As a result of the higher notches, some people may have received 12 per cent; others received 10 per cent. Then it also depends on the same factor the hon. member referred to, namely the importance of the work, i.e. “job evaluations”.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Is it true that the engineers are getting more than the others?

*The MINISTER:

Yes, but it has always been like that in the past. For example, the special class driver and the artisan receive more than the skilled worker does. Under this new system the artisan receives R25 per month. The skilled worker, who has to do semi-skilled labour, does not receive R25 per month. It is based on the wages he receives.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Are those people who do clerical work benefited to the same extent?

*The MINISTER:

No, there are various kinds of clerical work; there are various grades. For instance, a Grade II clerk receives a certain increase. The salaries in this grade have been improved considerably. Whereas its maximum was only R2,400, it has now been increased to R2,700; and when a person has been on the maximum for three years, it is increased to R3,000. That is where the largest group of clerical workers are to be found, i.e. in Grade II. When he reaches the “efficiency barrier”, he has to wait a long time for promotion. He must write certain examinations before he can qualify for further promotion. The vast majority of them remain on that maximum for years; and some of them go on pension on that maximum. A considerable improvement has been effected in that grade.

The engineers received a fairly good increase, but this increase put them and the engineers employed by the Public Service on the same salary scale, otherwise all my engineers would be lured to the Public Service. There was therefore no uniform wage increase. The hon. member must remember that there are more than 800 grades in the Railways. They might as well forget about the possibility of discussing here the wage increases of each individual grade. The staff associations are there for that purpose. They look after the interests of their members. If they are dissatisfied with concessions made to any group, the hon. member may be sure that they will make representations very soon.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. the Minister has again avoided a direct answer to a number of the points raised by the hon. member for Yeoville. I will leave him to deal with those in due course.

Now, I must say that the hon. the Minister was much more responsible in this reply …

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

You say there are points I did not reply to. Which are they?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

The hon. the Minister evaded giving a direct answer to the questions.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

To which points?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

I will deal with one of them. One is the question of a pipeline. The hon. the Minister says that his taking an unnecessary profit on the transport of petrol …

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I did not say it was unnecessary.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

… that his taking an excessive profit is necessary I call it unnecessary profit. He says it is essential. But, Mr. Chairman, in the eyes of the Government, petrol is a vital factor in the whole struggle against inflation, and when the motor dealers asked for an increase from three to five cents a gallon in distribution profits, they were told this was not possible, because it would increase the cost of living and inflation. Here again there are two standards, one for the Government and one for private enterprise. The hon. the Minister cannot have it both ways. Either a thing is inflationary or it is not. Either it is right or it is wrong. It cannot be right for the Government and wrong for private initiative, for the private sector and vice versa. The hon. the Minister simply shrugs his shoulders in regard to the difficulties of finding staff, and he admitted that the position was a difficult one. He said that in one particular field he tried to recruit overseas, but he has given us no real answer to this problem of the burden that will be placed on the rail worker through overtime demands. I am not happy at all with his answer to the hon. member for Yeoville in regard to Airways technicians. It only takes one person to make one mistake to cause one accident which can kill a hundred people. Just one mistake! And because it is only 116—or whatever the figure is —shifts of 16 hours per day, that does not make that any less serious, less dangerous or less undesirable. The Minister says that it is undesirable, but surely it is his task to ensure that that sort of thing does not happen.

The hon. the Minister took me to task again after, I had raised eleven points of complaint from the staff, but he did not deal with a single one of the eleven specific complaints which I raised in my last speech. He tried to play the fool and he raised a few horse laughs from his followers. They sounded more like donkey neighs to me. But he got a laugh because I, not wanting to mislead the House or the public, had myself listed accidents which had occurred in each particular class, for the simple reason that I realize that you cannot blame a level crossing accident on overtime. I myself separated them so that a false impression would not be created. The Minister tried to make fun of my arguments because I had tried to be fair. He quoted accidents at level crossings and accidents as a result of falling off trains. He did not say a word to us about shunting accidents, in regard to which we have the following figures: 12 in January, 21 in February and 23 in March, a total of 56 accidents in the first quarter. If that is to be the pattern for the whole year, we will have over 200 shunting accidents. Shunting accidents are accidents that affect the staff. Eleven members of the staff were killed and 77 injured in the first three months of last year. If you project that figure over the whole year it will be over 40 killed and over 300 injured of the staff alone. Those are the people who suffer from having to work overtime.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Are you saying that those accidents are due to overtime?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

I say that there must be a correlation between the tiredness of a person and the number of accidents.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

What evidence do you have?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

I have evidence from the persons who appeared in court on certain charges and who have given as their excuse for collisions the fact that they were overtired.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Give me the specific cases.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

I do not have them in front of me. I read about them in the newspapers. But I shall give a specific quotation now from a person writing to Die Beeld under the pseudonym “Treinspore”. This person writes as follows:

My eggenoot is al die afgelope sewe jaar kondukteur op die Spoorweë. Verlede week het my man dagskof gewerk, naamlik van 5 vm. tot 12 uur middernag.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

An anonymous letter.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

The Minister can say that it is just an anonymous letter, but I want him to dispute the facts contained in this letter: “Aanstaande week is sy skof van 6 vm. tot 2 uur nanag.” This is what the wife of this railworker says:

As u in ag neem dat die veiligheid van ’n treinvrag, passasiers of goedere, ten voile afhang van die kondukteur, sal u besef hoe ’n gevaarlike situasie geskep word deur bo-genoemde werksure. Die mense kry geen rus nie, nie eens naweke nie. As u volgende keer in die koerante lees van ’n treinont-sporing, of dat ’n kondukteur vergruis word tussen twee trokke, of tussen ’n trok en die platform, moenie wonder waarom nie. Daar-die mense was eenvoudig so gedaan dat hulle nie meer redelik kon dink nie.

This is not what I say. This is a person writing publicly to a newspaper. Repudiations of this were made by other railworkers. I am not interested in whether there were repudiations. There were others who said it was not so. Here we have an allegation of working from five in the morning to midnight.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Do you realize that he had the right to claim relief after twelve hours?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Yes, he has the right to claim relief after 12 hours, but the Minister knows that this kind of thing is happening.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I do not know that it is happening.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

I ask the hon. the Minister to make a categorical statement to the effect that railwaymen are not being asked to work these hours. I want him to say publicly again what he implied, namely that there is no relationship between accidents and fatigue. I want the Minister to repudiate every industrial safety worker and every document one can read about industrial safety which links fatigue with the accident rate. I want the Minister to repudiate the findings of all those specialists who believe that fatigue and accidents are related. Let him do it and prove that there is no relationship between fatigue and accidents.

In the short time at my disposal I want to raise some other matters of a general nature. Firstly I want to raise the question raised by the hon. member for Randburg who objected to members of the Opposition receiving information from railway servants. I want to say that it will be a sorry day for South Africa when any citizen of South Africa is forbidden the right to talk to his Member of Parliament about his problems. I believe that that is a fundamental right. I want to say too that I have never taken up a case with the Minister or his Department until a person has followed the normal channels and failed. When a person has gone through the normal channels and failed to obtain redress, I believe that he has the right to discuss his problems with his Member of Parliament. As a Member of Parliament I have the right and will continue to exercise that right to discuss any problem with any voter in my constituency because it is the democratic right of the voter to be able to approach a Member of Parliament and raise his problems. [Time expired.]

*Dr. J. A. COETZEE:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. members of the Opposition tried to create the impression here that the Budget was not satisfactory, and that the Minister had not acquitted himself of his task well. My impression was that the Minister presented a brilliant budget and that he made short shrift of the Opposition in a brilliant way. He toyed with them like a cat toys with a mouse.

I should just like to reply to what the hon. member for Durban (Point) said here. He projected the accident figures which the Minister mentioned to four times their normal size. I want to say that it is an absolutely ridiculous and imaginary way of calculating accidents. What would the position be if the hon. member for Durban (Point) were projected to a certain point? What is he going to look like? Will it still be he? Such a calculation is a complete fantasy and purely theoretical. One gets the impression that the Opposition does not feel very happy about the increases which have been granted to the Railwaymen, which is perhaps quite easy to understand.

As regards the non-Whites that are being employed by the Railways, it is clear that this only happens when there are no Whites available owing to the shortage of white manpower. What did the United Party and their predecessors do in the past? They appointed non-Whites on the Railways when there were in fact Whites available, and even dismissed Whites from the Service in order to appoint non-Whites. That is what they did.

After these few remarks addressed to the Opposition, I want, in all humility, to bring a few things to the attention of the hon. the Minister. The first is the position of the Railwaymen who want to undergo voluntary military training. Special paid leave is not being granted to employees who want to undergo voluntary military training, or who of their own accord do further military service. They must therefore make use of their normal holiday leave or unpaid leave if they have, of necessity, to be absent from service. This state of affairs does not apply in other Departments of the Public Service. Is it not possible to rectify this little matter as far as the Railwaymen are concerned?

Another little matter I want to raise, is the maintenance of the Afrikaans language at those restaurants which the Railways have transferred to private undertakings. What I want is that it should be ensured that the Afrikaans language is maintained in these restaurants. It is my experience that justice is not always being done to the Afrikaans language here.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Where?

*Dr. J. A. COETZEE:

This was my personal experience at the cafeteria on the Johannesburg Station.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

That cafeteria is being run by private people and not by the Railways.

*Dr. J. A. COETZEE:

But it is not possible to control this aspect? Perhaps it can be laid down as a condition when the contract is allocated.

*The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

The Department of Transport allocates these contracts, not the Railways.

*Dr. J. A. COETZEE:

In any case, I have at least said what I wanted to say. As regards the provision of housing, we appreciate it greatly that so much has been done in this field. The provision of housing can draw more people to the Railway Service. But I think that more can be done in this direction, and I am referring in particular here to Kempton Park.

My final plea is for a railway junction between Edenvale and the railway network at Kempton Park.

Mr. J. W. E. WILEY:

During the debate last year I brought certain matters concerning the suburban line in the Cape Peninsula to the notice of the hon. the Minister. I referred, inter alia, to the condition of the Railway premises, to the litter, dirt and fencing, roads in departmental housing schemes particularly at Retreat, nameboards of stations, parking areas, and level crossings. The Minister promised to reply to these points by letter in the recess. This he did. However, he refuted almost everyone of the allegations I made, conditions which I see every day of my life. I thereupon wrote to him and suggested that senior officials of his department should be made available to me so that I could take them on a conducted tour in order to point out to them those things about which I complained. But this request he refused because, so he said, no good purpose could be served by such an inspection. I think this is a most unreasonable attitude. However, my offer remains open and the Minister can at any time when it is convenient to him and his department make staff available to come with me on a tour of inspection. It is extraordinary, however, that shortly after I made these allegations in this House, workmen were taken off housing maintenance schemes in the Peninsula and posted to stations to paint them. Gangs were also sent around to clean up Railway premises—things which the Minister denied existed.

I should now like to deal with the suburban train service, especially at peak hours—that is from 4.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. I believe in the 1950s 29 trains left from Cape Town station during those hours. To-day, so I understand, there are only 23. If this is correct, can the Minister explain this reduction of six? There has been a substantial growth of population in the southern suburbs. I also understand that the new station allows for 41 trains to depart during peak hours. Why, in view of these factors, have the number of trains been reduced? To-day surely more people use the train service during peak hours to the southern suburbs. The result is that there is widespread dissatisfaction with the congestion on trains during those hours. The Minister wrote to me during the recess to tell me that a survey had been conducted of peak hour traffic and that this survey had shown that it was not necessary to increase the number of trains. Well, either this survey must have been wrong or the service has become so unpopular that people to-day prefer going by car or by another means of transport. If it is the latter, then I can understand the results of the survey. Since 1949 there have been no less than five increases in suburban line fares. In 1966 there was a 20 per cent increase. The return fare to Muizenberg which was 23 cents in 1948 is to-day 38 cents, to Simonstown it was 27 cents and to-day is 50 cents. Monthly tickets to Simonstown were R4.25 in 1948 and are to-day R7.41. It is, therefore, quite understandable that people are reluctant to use the suburban service. Another reason for the unpopularity of the suburban line service is the discomfort people have to suffer on these trains. Complaints about this appear from time to time in the Press and are also sent in to the Minister and to his department—complaints about jolting and jerking of trains on the suburban lines. As a matter of fact, I have personally seen people getting off trains on the suburban lines rather than continue with their journey, because of this jolting and jerking. In a letter written in October, 1967, a gentleman living at Fish Hoek was informed that investigations had been carried out about the lack of smoothness in the operation of these trains. He was informed that where this had occurred it was as a rule due not to indifference on the part of the drivers but to “certain minor technical problems”. This was alleged to be associated with the setting of electrical controls. Yet two months later the Administration advised me by letter that specific investigations by civil and mechanical engineers were taking place, as well as surprise inspections. I was told that technical officers of the department were carrying out full scale tests—full scale tests, Mr. Chairman, to see about these “minor technical problems”.

Apart from the discomfort people have to put up with, the service itself is slow and there is generally a lack of parking space at suburban line stations. Another matter—one which I did not bring up last year—is the recent erection of the station notice boards or destination boards, on the Cape Town station. I wonder whether the Minister is aware of the widespread dissatisfaction about these boards. Letters have been pouring into the Press—into the English as well as into the Afrikaans Press. I understand representations have already been made to the Administration. These boards are quite illegible; the print is much too small; and the boards are completely inadequate in that a list of suburban line stations is not displayed at all. It is very difficult to find out when and from which platform one’s train leaves. The boards are inflexible and illegible and unintelligible particularly for elderly people. I have seen them at the destination board on Cape Town Station trying to decipher the small letters indicating where the trains are going. The situation is most unsatisfactory and I would ask the Minister to look into this matter and see whether it is not possible to restore the old destination boards, which had much larger lettering and were much more effective, even if they were manually operated.

Lastly, I should like to bring to the notice of the Minister the situation at Retreat Station. As he knows, vast numbers of non-Whites use the trains at Bergvliet, Retreat Station and at Steenberg Station, which is next door. There is a completely inadequate foot-bridge over the station at Retreat, but what is worse, white Railwaymen are housed on the Cape Flats side of Retreat Station in a Railway camp. Recently a fence was built from the bridge towards Flora Road, which gives access to the non-white townships. But having built the fence, the Railways for reasons of their own put a gate in the middle of the fence. As a result, at peak hours, the non-Whites stream down off the bridge, use the gate and go straight through the white township, and this has caused unnecessary and considerable friction in that township among both Whites and non-Whites. I would bring this to the attention of the Minister and ask him please to do something about it.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I should like to return to the accusation which was made here in respect of the Airways, because I think it is a very dangerous thing to have it said in this House that our Airways has become a danger to the travelling public.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

Nobody said that.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER:

The hon. member for Yeoville said the Minister was gambling with the safety of our Airways, and what else does that imply? The hon. members opposite had a great deal to say about the staff shortage, but what did they suggest? Nothing at all.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

Just let us take over.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER:

Yes, there is the reply. It behoves anybody who criticizes another person to suggest something. Then they would have made a contribution to the debate. But there was nothing positive; only negative arguments.

What is the real position in regard to our Airways? How many accidents were there? I challenge any person on the opposite side to state how many accidents occurred in the Airways during the past two years.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

It is a brilliant record.

*The DEPUTY MINISTER:

Yes, and the position is better to-day than it was a year or two ago, and now they are afraid of that. I have obtained the figures, which indicate that in 1962 the technical staff numbered 1,326, and this year there are 1,576. There are 250 additional members of staff in service now than there were last year, but it is now being suggested that we have reached breaking point.

Our aircraft have become fewer. We had 28 in 1962, and now we have 24. I take it that the small ones have disappeared and the big ones have taken their place. In 1967, if you analyse the figures, a longer period of overtime was worked than now. We have the assurance of the Management that although the staff position is a difficult one, the position has by no means been reached which would constitute a danger to the high standard of our Airways. What is the Minister and the Administration doing to improve this position?

A survey was made at the beginning of March this year, when orders were placed for the two new aircraft, the 727 and the 737, which are expected no later than this year. It was then decided to increase the number of staff. This year 30 apprentices will conclude their studies and enter the service. A recruiting campaign has been launched overseas which is already beginning to yield fruit. I saw a file a few days ago according to which certain officials from overseas are already being employed. These statements are totally exaggerated. I do not think it redounds to the credit of the Opposition to present our Airways, which has such a spotless record, and in which an improvement has already been effected, and in which we are still improving the position, to the world as if a breaking point has been reached and there is a lack of efficiency.

The hon. member for Durban (Point) once again made the statement implying that accidents were caused by working overtime. He can say what he likes, but he has no proof of that.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

You say there is no relationship between exhaustion and accidents?

*The DEPUTY MINISTER:

I am saying that there is no proof that the accidents are being caused by exhaustion, or by overtime. Perhaps you become tired after one hour’s work, and I become tired after six hours’ work. Where does one draw the line? There is no criterion. In regard to the technical staff of the Airways, it does not go without saying that if he has on one occasion worked so many hours overtime he works that amount of overtime each day. That time calculation is made over a certain period. The person who works three to six hours overtime to-day, does it perhaps once a week and perhaps does so again the next, and it cannot exhaust that man if he works, so much overtime once a week. He does not work that much overtime each day, and that is why it is incorrect to use the argument that overtime is endangering the efficiency of the Airways. The same applies to the workers on the Railways as well. They are not working overtime regularly each day. It happens now and again, perhaps once a week or once a month. The hon. member for Durban (Point) read out a letter here. It suited his purpose to read out one letter, but not another. I do not want to tire this House by reading those letters, nor do I have them here, but we have read many letters from other ex-railway servants which put matters in a completely different light. The letter read out by the hon. member was anonymous, but those which I read are not anonymous. But he chooses to take notice of that one anonymous letter, and not of the others. No, I am satisfied that the Minister and the Chief Management are doing everything in their power to ensure safety in the service, and hon. members on the opposite side need not feel concerned about this matter.

*Mr. D. J. MARAIS:

I trust the hon. the Deputy Minister will excuse me if I do not follow up on what he has said, but in the short while at my disposal I should like to discuss another subject, and I want to address it to the hon. the Minister of Transport. I am aware that the entire question of the railway service between Soweto and Johannesburg has already been discussed in this House, yet I am making no apology for raising it again. I am convinced that there are sound reasons for the numerous complaints which I have regularly received in regard to this service. When I asked the hon. the Minister of Transport in a question whether his Department had received an application for the introduction of a regular bus service between Soweto and Johannesburg, the reply was that four such applications had been received, but that not one had been granted because it was the opinion of the Minister that the existing transport facilities were satisfactory and adequate. Now, to say the least, I was astonished by the hon. the Minister’s reply, because there is on the contrary abundant evidence that the Bantu passengers who have to make use of the service to travel to and from work do not find the service efficient or satisfactory. The hon. the Minister is aware of the fact that the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce has, during the past three years, made representations in regard to the inefficient Railway service between Soweto and Johannesburg. The representations were made as a result of complaints which had been submitted by numerous employers.

*The CHAIRMAN:

I think the hon. member must raise the question of a bus service under another Vote.

*Mr. D. J. MARAIS:

I am talking about the train service between Soweto and Johannesburg. The representations were made as a result of complaints which had been submitted by numerous employers of Bantu labour and the Chamber deplored the fact that large numbers of Bantu workers were, as a result of the overcrowded trains, being compelled to leave their homes very early in the morning, much earlier than what could be termed a reasonable hour, to turn up in time for their work. The Minister is also aware of the fact that the Johannesburg City Council has repeatedly drawn the Government’s attention to the fact that the existing railway service to Soweto has long ago reached its maximum capacity and that the Government should regard the provision of supplementary transport services as a matter of the utmost importance. As a result of the numerous complaints in this regard, which I have received in my capacity as Member of Parliament for Bantu workers, as well as their employers, I have myself gone to observe the position on the Johannesburg railway station during afternoon peak hours. Consequently I can state unequivocally that as a result of the tremendous press of people and the frantic attempts of the Bantu workers to catch their trains on time in order to reach their homes at a reasonable hour, absolute chaos sometimes prevailed there. I want to say that only the fact that the Railway officials intervened with great patience and tact, prevented serious incidents from occurring during peak hours. It is estimated that more than100,0 passengers crowd into the trains during peak hours, morning and night, and experts maintain that this figure will have doubled by 1980. If that is correct, the Railway planners will have to think in terms of a more integrated road and rail transport service. A dual service will have to be created. We realize that most adult male and female employees are either working in the central area of the city or in industries in the suburbs, and it is unnecessary for me to emphasize the value of their manpower as seen against the background of the economic welfare of our country. Consequently it is easy to understand that commerce and industry in the Johannesburg area is concerned about the loss of time and efficiency in regard to the source of labour as a result of the transport problem between Soweto and Johannesburg. We must realize that many Bantu train passengers are already being forced to leave their homes at four o’clock in the morning to catch the first train to the city and that they only reach their homes again at eight o’clock that night. It is very clear that the productivity of this important source of labour is being seriously and detrimentally affected as a result of exhaustion and the frustration caused by travelling. We must bear in mind that the packed trains running at peak periods even constitute a danger to the lives of the passengers, and that deaths as an indirect result of the overcrowded trains sometimes occur. The following comment by a passenger who has to make daily use of the train service to and from his work illustrates the undesirable feeling of frustration which the Soweto-Johannesburg train service arouses in the passengers. The report reads—

Why Africans are angry with trains. Next to his work and home the train is the urban African’s main concern. The African commuter is angry with the Railways because they so often make him late for work. Many Africans have lost their employment through repeated late-arrivals through train delays. Some unreasonable employers are not prepared to buy stories of late trains almost every day. To them the answer is simple: Why don’t you wake up earlier? I am fortunate enough to work for a reasonable employer who accepts genuine reasons but I myself feel ashamed when I am constantly late through train delays. To show the frustration Africans endure, let me give a personal illustration of what happened in one week. One Tuesday I came in the 7.30 train to work, my usual train, and was five minutes late. The following day I took the 7.20 to work and wound up ten minutes late. On Friday I took the 7.10 train to work and arrived half an hour late.

I admit in all fairness that the Railway authorities are doing their best to deal with a very difficult problem. I am quite aware of the fact that the number of trains running in one direction between Soweto and Johannesburg for example increased from 109 in 1956 to 215 in 1968. I also know that the trains depart every two minutes during peak hours, and consequently one must come to the unfortunate conclusion that the Railways’ best efforts in this respect are inadequate. As a result of the continued increase in the population of Soweto the Railway service in question is becoming less efficient each year, and that in spite of the attempts of the Department in question. I am aware of the fact that a technical committee of the Railways has been appointed to investigate the possibility of improving the signalling system and the transport capacity of the particular line by means of other methods. I trust the hon. the Minister will inform us as to whether the committee has already made its report and what improvements can be expected, as a result of the committee’s findings. [Time expired.]

*Mr. J. J. ENGELBRECHT:

The hon. members for Yeoville and Durban (Point) tried to make out a case here against the non. Minister of Transport and his Department, a case which was based on vague arguments, which contained incorrect information, exaggerations and incorrect statements. It is pathetic that people should try to build up a case here when they have no case and that they should try to point out trifles here where one is dealing with an organization of the scope of the Railways, particularly if one takes into consideration the success with which this massive organization is being controlled and managed. It puts me in mind of Langenhoven’s saying, “Who points to a hole in a sieve and jeers at it?” I wonder why the hon. member does not want to admit candidly that there is a master in control of an organization here, one which is so large and so comprehensive that it cannot be compared with anything we know in South Africa, that there is an expert in control here who is handling this organization like a genius and in a masterly fashion. Why do they not stand up and congratulate the hon. the Minister on the magnificent way in which he is doing this? In that case they would at least earn more respect from this side. I just want to make this statement to the hon. member for Durban (Point), since he sees such a close relationship between exhaustion and accidents: if one takes the proportionately small number of accidents on the Railways, and the tremendous number of road accidents into consideration, then one would probably come to the conclusion that our railway staff are people who are well-rested and that our motor car drivers are people who are exhausted.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

Are you satisfied with the working hours?

*Mr. J. J. ENGELBRECHT:

Under the circumstances we are satisfied, and we are very grateful that the railway staff are prepared, under these circumstances, to fall in with these working hours and do their best.

But I should like to return to a few matters which more specifically affect my constituency, and I would appreciate it if the hon. the Minister and his Department could perhaps, during the course of the present year, give their attention to these matters. In the first place, I want to plead for an improvement in the station facilities at Despatch. Despatch as the hon. Minister knows, is a large town with approximately 12,000 inhabitants, situated between Port Elizabeth and the industrial complex of Uitenhage. Despatch itself has no industries. The inhabitants of Despatch are people Who commute each day between Despatch and Uitenhage or Port Elizabeth. There is therefore a large number of people who make use of the train service and the station. According to statistics at my disposal, approximately 112,000 tickets were issued during 1966-’67 and one must therefore accept that that is the approximate number of people who made use of that railway line. The facilities on that station are very inadequate. On rainy days in particular there is no proper shelter, and this causes considerable inconvenience, and it would be appreciated if attention could be given to that matter.

In addition I should like to plead for the doubling of the railway line between Swartkops and Uitenhage. Approximately 60 trains are running on this line each day, and during the year 1966-’67 approximately 480,000 passengers were transported along that line. The running time of the passenger train between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage is approximately 55 minutes, which is reasonably slow if one takes into consideration that there are very few stops. The area is reasonably free of inclines, and I think that the costs will not to be high. In view of the fact that there are three crossings between Swartkops and Uitenhage, delays inevitably occur, and derailments or accidents can cause serious delays, to the great inconvenience of employers and employees. I think that the doubling of that piece of Railway line is justified.

I also wish to make a further plea. I know that suburban train services are not a paying proposition for the Railways, but here in Cape Town there is an efficient system of suburban train services, to the great convenience of the passengers. In Port Elizabeth, however, a city which is expanding at a tremendous rate, there is, practically speaking, no suburban train service. If the population of Port Elizabeth doubles within the next 20 to 25 years, then one definitely foresees chaos, because the bus companies which are at the moment providing public transport will definitely not be able to keep pace. I therefore want to plead for a suburban train service in the direction of the Western suburbs where a tremendous expansion of residential areas is taking place. There are thousands of people who live ten to 15 miles from the cities, and a suburban train service is absolutely essential. I also want to plead for a suburban train service in the direction of the Coloured residential area as far as Bethelsdorp. A major expansion of the Coloured residential areas there is taking place, and these people have to be transported to the city. The bus services are finding it difficult to transport all those people. I have seen people standing in very long queues until rather late in the evening because the bus services simply cannot transport them. These people would also like to reach their homes as quickly as possible after they have finished work in the afternoon, and I think a suburban train service in that direction could be of very great value.

In conclusion I should like to plead that the hon. the Minister and his Department should, perhaps over a longer period, give consideration to the possibility of a railway link between Port Elizabeth and the Ciskei and the Transkei. Port Elizabeth/Uitenhage is a major industrial complex. There is sufficient water; there is sufficient power; there is sufficient land; and Port Elizabeth is practically a border area, it is 80 miles from the Ciskei. If there could be an express train service which could transport these people to their homes over the week-ends and bring them back again on Mondays, it would be very convenient; it would create opportunities for employment for many people in the homelands; they would be able to return to their homes each week-end, and Port Elizabeth’s labour problems would also be alleviated. I would appreciate it very much if the hon. the Minister could give attention to these matters.

Capt. W. J. B. SMITH: I hope the hon. member for Algoa will not object if I do not follow him. I want to raise a staff matter regarding departmental trials. During the last year I was consulted by a railway employee and his father. The former had been arrested and charged with alleged theft of railway property and had been suspended from the Railways pending his trial. The case was referred to the public prosecutor who declined to prosecute. The Railways authorities then decided to proceed against him by departmental trial. When he asked for permission to have legal representation he was informed by the trial officer that that was not permissible. He was, however, allowed to have a senior serving railway employee to assist him in the trial— probably something like a prisoner’s friend. This was a person, however, without any legal qualifications. The outcome of the trial was that he was convicted and discharged from the Railways, although the public prosecutor, in the first instance, had not taken such a serious view of the matter and had declined to prosecute. I advised the accused to appeal after learning how the inquiry had been conducted. Here again, he was informed by the trial officer that he could not appeal against the conviction but only against the severity of the sentence. The outcome was that his appeal was dismissed. He had one more channel of appeal, so I advised him to appeal again, this time to the Railway Board which sat and heard the appeal in Pretoria. His “prisoner’s friend” was allowed to assist him, and I am delighted to say that they were treated with the utmost courtesy and tolerance. The appeal was allowed and the man was reinstated. However, on account of the unconstitutional way in which the departmental trial had been held, I personally asked the General Manager to institute an inquiry into the method of the first inquiry. I was notified by the General Manager, and rightly so, that the matter was the subject of appeal and therefore sub judice. However, as the person concerned had won his appeal and was subsequently reinstated, I have no further interest in this particular case. What I am concerned about is that railway employees should enjoy the same privilege of legal representation—if they so wish—at departmental inquiries as they would enjoy in ordinary courts of law, especially when they are charged with common law offences. Also that departmental enquiries should be conducted according to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and the Magistrates’ Courts Act. In support of my argument I wish to refer to the following decided cases of our Supreme Court.

The first case is Rex v. Mtetwa, 1957 (4) S.A. 298 (O.P.D.), in which Smit, A.J.P. stated—

The accused, a native warder at gaol, was convicted of contravening section 34 (2) (c) of Act 13 of 1911 and sentenced to pay a fine of £15 or alternatively three months’ imprisonment with compulsory labour … Every person is entitled to obtain for himself legal representation at his trial and should be afforded an opportunity of doing so, when it is reasonably demanded. Where it appeared that the accused had wanted an attorney and had not been given an opportunity before trial of enlisting the services of one, it was possible that a grave injustice had been done to the accused, who had been convicted.

In this case it was held that as the proceedings were not in accordance with justice, that the conviction should be set aside and the case remitted for trial before a different magistrate.

Then I wish to refer to the case of S. v. Blooms which came on review before the full bench of the C.P.D. as reported in the South African Law Reports of 1966, volume 4. In the course of his judgment, the honourable Mr. Justice Van Zyl stated—

After the trial had been postponed for a fortnight it had irregularly been advanced to the day after the postponement. The accused had arranged with his father to obtain legal representation for him but when the trial was advanced the accused and his father had been somewhat disconcerted and uncertain of their rights, or how to deal with the situation, and had permitted the trial to proceed.

The Court held that—

As the effect of the irregular advancement was that the accused had been tried without representation, whereas but for the irregularity he would have been represented, there had been a failure of justice and the proceedings had to be set aside.

The honourable Mr. Justice Beyers, J.P., concurred.

I wish to appeal to the hon. the Minister to have the Railway regulations amended to meet these requirements. We have no right to deny railway employees the right of legal representation if they so wish. Had the accused in the case referred to by me been permitted to have legal representation in the first place, the inquiry would have been conducted in a legal manner, the unpleasantness of appealing would have been unnecessary, and a lot of official time saved and expense avoided.

May I also suggest that men experienced in court work, for instance retired magistrates, be employed as disciplinary inquiry and investigation officers. I am sure this would also help towards a more satisfied Railway staff, and surely it is everybody’s duty to help the Minister to achieve this desirable state of affairs.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to clear the table before we adjourn for dinner.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

And what shall we eat if you clear the table?

The MINISTER:

It is not absolutely essential that the hon. member should eat. Before I deal with the points raised by the hon. member for Durban (Point), I want to inform the hon. member for Yeoville that I have just received this newspaper cutting about dissatisfaction among certain members of the staff with regard to the pay increases.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I have only just seen it now myself.

The MINISTER:

Apparently certain individual clerks are dissatisfied, and also certain Airways technicians. Dissatisfaction has not been expressed by a staff organization. Of course, I will wait until I receive representations from the staff organizations as such before any action can be taken, or will be taken.

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

So his information was not wrong.

The MINISTER:

No, I said I did not have any information; I did not say the hon. member’s information was wrong.

The hon. member for Durban (Point) again raised the matter of accidents. He quoted from a letter by an anonymous writer about the long hours a guard had to work. I said by way of interjection that the running staff, namely guards, drivers, and firemen, have the right to demand relief after 12 hours’ duty. It is entirely up to them whether they so demand or not. Moreover, the Administration does everything in its power to provide the relief after 12 hours.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

If they ask for the relief and are informed there is none available and they must carry on, what then?

The MINISTER:

Some of them have sat in their locomotives and refused to go further and waited until a relief turned up. Fortunately, though, I have always had the co-operation of the majority of the staff and when they find no relief is available, they carry on. I really want to deal with the hon. member’s contention that overtime must be correlated with accidents. In regard to every accident on the railway, namely collisions, derailments, and mishaps of that nature, I receive a report. I also receive a report as to how long the particular driver or guard, as the case may be, had been on duty, and how many rest hours he had had before assuming duty. As hon. members know, these people can demand 12 hours’ rest at their home depot and eight hours at a foreign depot. Very often they turn out before they have had the full rest. That happens continually. I get that information for the sole purpose of trying to establish whether excessive overtime had any bearing on the accident. When the inquiry is held, that matter is brought pertinently to the attention of the inquiry officer and it is his duty to establish whether excessive overtime played any role in that particular accident. I can give the hon. member the assurance that, except in exceptional cases, excessive overtime does not play a role.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Is excessive overtime not often pleaded by the person concerned?

The MINISTER:

No, as a matter of fact that is seldom pleaded. Because sometimes the cause of the accident is so obvious that it is quite impossible for the servant concerned to raise such a plea. Let us take the instance of a rear collision. If the guard concerned fails to protect his train as is required by the regulations, he cannot plead excessive overtime or strain, because all he has to do is walk back a certain distance on the line and hold up a red flag during the day or a red light at night and placing a few detonators on the line. As I say, the reason for the accident is quite obvious in most of the cases. It is a different matter if a driver falls asleep and runs through signals, but it must be borne in mind that there are two men on duty in the locomotive cab, namely the driver and his fireman. These matters are all gone into very thoroughly.

As regards shunting accidents, I wish to state that every fatality in the shunting yards is reported to me. I also receive a report as to what time of the day or night that particular accident took place, how long the servant had been on duty, how long his rest period was, how much experience he has, when he joined the service, when he became a shunter. All these particulars are submitted to me. Strangely enough there is no particular time at which these accidents happen. I am speaking about fatal ones now.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Only a small percentage of them are shunters.

The MINISTER:

The number of fatalities are sufficient to cause me considerable concern. That is why we have an excellent safety first organization which is very active and is continually trying to make these people safety conscious. I can definitely say that in exceptional cases excessive overtime might have a bearing or be the cause of a particular accident, but that is not the rule but the exception.

*I should like to apologize to the hon. member for Kempton Park. I was under the impression that he had spoken about the cafeteria at Jan Smuts Airport, as Jan Smuts Airport is in his constituency. But I must have misunderstood him. I understand now that he spoke about the cafeteria on Johannesburg station. He said that Afrikaans was not being done full justice there. I shall ask the General Manager to investigate the matter. It will, however, not be possible to construct a railway line from Edenvale to Kempton Park, because the expenditure involved does not justify it. Another reason is that passenger services are being run at such a big and serious loss. Therefore, we cannot construct more railway lines and introduce passenger services which will result in an even bigger loss. As far as housing is concerned, I do not know whether houses will be built at Kempton Park.

These houses are only built where there is most need of them.

†The hon. member for Simonstown spoke about the suburban services. I can assure him that we are doing everything possible to improve these services. He apologized for not being able to be here to listen to my reply. The jolting and jerking of suburban trains have caused me considerable concern, and as he rightly stated an inquiry is still taking place to find out the cause and what must be done to obviate it. The train drivers are not to blame, but mainly the cause is the draw gear. This means that changes will have to be made in the draw gear of all the suburban coaches. The hon. member spoke about the destination boards on Cape Town station. I have also received complaints. I went down there to look for myself. They are not as bad as the people say. I have no difficulty in reading them.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

[Inaudible.]

The MINISTER:

No, but I also wear glasses. On the majority of stations there are no indication boards at all, and people have to look at the timetable. The old people with the bad eyes will have more difficulty in reading the timetables than they have reading the destination boards. I have asked the General Manager to go into this question. It has been decided to change the colour of the lettering to make it more prominent. That might be an improvement as regards these people who are complaining.

*The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) spoke about Bantu train services between Soweto and Johannesburg. I supplied him with a quite exhaustive reply to a question put to me by him on 16th February, as regards what is to be done and what is being considered in order to improve these services. I can assure the hon. member that the Railways is doing its bery best to improve the services. It is a common occurrence, however, that the Bantu passengers charge for the first train that arrives. They refuse to wait for the second train, with the result that the first train is completely overcrowded. They even stand on the buffers between the coaches and even climb on the roof, with the result that accidents occur. They all want to arrive home first and accordingly catch the first train. It is no use trying to stop them, because one cannot prevail on them to wait for the other trains. However, these services are constantly being improved.

The hon. member for Algoa pleaded for the improvement of station facilities at Despatch. I shall ask the General Manager to go into this, because I do not know what station facilities are lacking there. The hon. member also requested the doubling of the railway line between Swartkops and Uitenhage. To double a railway line is very expensive, and this is only done when the carrying capacity of that line is so overtaxed that the single line can no longer carry the traffic. I do not think this is the case as regards the railway line between Swartkops and Uitenhage, and therefore he must not hope for a doubling of the railway line in the foreseeable future. He also requested suburban train services in Port Elizabeth. If this implies that new railway lines are to be constructed through the densely populated areas of Port Elizabeth, I want to tell him that this is something that cannot be considered. In a case where railway lines are already in existence and we are able to determine that it will be economical to introduce the services, this will perhaps be done. He asked what the chances would be of a railway line between Port Elizabeth and the Transkei and the Ciskei. My reply, unfortunately, is that there is no possibility of this.

†The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (City) spoke about what he called the departmental trials. There is no such thing as departmental trials. What happens is that an inquiry is instituted, and a servant who is guilty of a disciplinary infringement also has the right to ask for an inquiry. After the inquiry has taken place the report is submitted to the disciplinary officer who decides whether that servant must be sentenced or not, should he be found guilty. Then he still has the right to appeal to the head of his department, the General Manager, and eventually to the Railway Board. He also has the right of appeal to the Disciplinary Appeal Board. The chairman of the Disciplinary Appeal Board is a magistrate seconded to the Railways. He can either appeal to the head of his department or to the Disciplinary Appeal Board. When he appeals to the Disciplinary Appeal Board and there is a unanimous decision, he has no further right of appeal. The head of the department accepts that decision, but on the Disciplinary Appeal Board he has his own representative.

In other words the staff organization of which he is a member has the right to nominate a member to the Disciplinary Appeal Board. He is therefore tried to a large extent by his peers. As I have said, if the finding is unanimous, and it is accepted by the head of his department, he has no further right of appeal. It has never been allowed in the past, and it is against the regulations, that a servant can be represented by a legal adviser from outside the service. He is usually represented by a member of his own trade union. They know the regulations and the conditions of service. They are the people that represent that particular member when he appears before the Disciplinary Appeal Board, or in certain cases before the Railway Board. This system has worked satisfactorily for over 50 years, it is accepted by the staff, and I do not think that there is any necessity to change it.

Mr. G. N. OLDFIELD:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. the Minister has replied to certain questions that have been raised by hon. members On both sides of the House, but there is one particular aspect which I feel that the hon.

the Minister should clarify further. That is in regard to the high number of persons leaving the employ of the South African Railways. Earlier this month the hon. the Minister replied to a question I put to him asking the various grounds for persons terminating their employment with the South African Railways, as far as the White employees are concerned. The figures supplied showed that altogether 20,595 Whites had terminated their employment with the South African Railways during 1967. The figures for 1966 showed that 7,968 people had resigned and in 1967 this figure increased to 9,316 resignations. That means an increase of 1,348 resignations, an increase of 17 per cent. I feel that the hon. the Minister should give an indication as to whether an analysis has been done in regard to the grounds of resignation. It would appear that the increasing number of resignations, in particular the 17 per cent increase over a period of one year, calls at least for some degree of inquiry as to the grounds of resignation. Whilst dealing with the large number of persons who left the employment of the South African Railways, namely 20,595, I want to point out that only 20,352 new employees came into the service of the South African Railways. I refer to White employees. It would appear that the position as far as the manpower of the South African Railways is concerned, is reaching very serious proportions. Included in the figure in respect of those who left the South African Railways, is a figure of 7,522 members of the staff who absconded. In this regard I feel that the hon. the Minister should also give an indication of whether this matter has been analysed by his department to establish the reasons for this high degree of abscondence amongst his employees.

I should now like to deal briefly with the question of the high incidence of resignations because I feel that this has a bearing on the fact that employees due to financial difficulties find that it is necessary to resign from the Service to obtain the pension monies that are due to them in order to meet certain debts which they may have incurred, debts which may sometimes be ascribed to the high cost of living and the gap between the cost of living and the wage or salary which they are receiving. I believe that the hon. the Minister should seriously consider the steps that should be taken to discourage these persons from resigning from their employmeent for that particular reason. I believe that an investigation should be carried out to see whether it is perhaps not possible that the employee on terminating his service should receive only a portion of the money to which he is entitled from the pension fund. In that way he will safeguard his position if he should later want to return to the employment of the South African Railways. In many cases the employee in returning to the employment of the Railways has to forgo considerable pension benefits. When at a later stage he reaches the age of retirement, he finds that his pension is considerably reduced. At this point I should like to mention the Railway pensioners as this matter also has a bearing on the overall image of the Railways as a field of employment. I must say that it is rather disappointing that the pensioners will not receive anything of the R43 million that the hon. the Minister has available. The concession that the hon. the Minister has made to pensioners is in fact very small, although it is indeed welcomed by this side of the House. When we look at the figures relating to Railway pensioners and widowed pensioners, we see that 35,783 persons are receiving such pensions while 31,225 are already receiving the temporary allowance. After all, this concession really means that 4,558 of those persons will then be able to receive the temporary allowance. We are not criticizing the concession in any way but we must point out that it is indeed a very small concession when seen in the overall picture.

There is another aspect affecting the former employees of the Railways to which I believe the hon. the Minister could also give some sympathetic consideration. I refer to the present position in regard to the South African Railways Sick Fund. By means of a circular the hon. the Minister through his General Manager in November, 1966, introduced, for a trial period of six months, certain levies to be raised from persons for visits by a Railway medical officer, for medical attention rendered at an outpatients department, and for medical attendance on public holidays or over week-ends. This levy could be up to R1 per visit. Also subject to the levy are those persons who are no longer in the employment of the Railways. I believe that these persons should receive special consideration. I realize that they do receive a certain degree of consideration already in that they no longer pay a contribution but, as I understand it. one of the objects of the imposition of this levy was to counter malingering or abuse in certain cases. I cannot see, however, how the pensioned and the widowed members of the fund can in any way be accused of abusing or malingering as far as the medical benefits of the sick fund are concerned. I feel that they are a group which deserve special consideration. After all, this is a group which requires medical attention on a more regular basis. They are indeed grateful that they can receive such attention from the sick fund. I know that the Minister has indicated previously that where hardship is experienced, they can consult the district secretary of the sick fund in the area. I believe that as a matter of principle the hon. the Minister should give consideration to the justification of these people being called upon to pay this levy from the small income that they receive as existing members of the fund. Their income is drastically reduced due to the fact that they are on pension but yet they must pay exactly the same levy as those who are still in the employment of the Railways. I mentioned earlier that I understand that one of the reasons for this is the question of malingering by certain employees. The trial period of six months has passed but it has been decided that it should become a permanent feature of the administration of this fund. It would appear that whilst this has been instituted as a permanent feature of the fund, the hon. the Minister should give further consideration to these people who I believe should not be called upon to pay that levy.

There are other matters which affect the older group of retired Railway employees, such as the concessions made in regard to the number of free passes granted to these former employees of the Railways. I feel that the hon. the Minister should also give further consideration to this matter. There are cases where Railway employees have to travel a considerable distance for medical attention, perhaps at a provincial hospital if they require continual medical treatment at the provincial hospital. Many of them have to leave the larger towns and live some distance from the cities. The major hospitals are situated in the cities and this means that they have to travel a great deal between their homes and the provincial hospitals at which they are receiving treatment. I therefore hope that the hon. the Minister will give consideration to these people and perhaps allow them a greater number of free passes or free tickets where they have to travel regularly to a provincial hospital for such treatment. [Time limit.]

*Mr. J. W. L. HORN:

Mr. Chairman, as a backbencher on this side of the House it has never been my intention to attack any seasoned parliamentarian in this House. After listening to the hon. member for Yeoville this afternoon, however, I cannot help saying that in my opinion he committed a blunder, particularly if regard is had to the fact that he should set an example to us younger members in this House. After the hon. the Minister had furnished proofs here, the hon. member for Yeoville stood up again and said to the hon. the Minister that he hoped he would now speak the truth. We who know the hon. the Minister …

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I think there is a misunderstanding.

*Mr. J. W. L. HORN:

No, there is no misunderstanding, because I listened carefully. The hon. member said he hoped that the hon. the Minister would now speak the truth. I want to say that we who know the Minister, realize, as do the railwaymen outside, that the Minister cannot be brought under any suspicion as far as this is concerned. The railway-men and the people of South Africa have always accepted the Minister’s word as an honourable one in any explanations given by him.

Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.05 p.m.

Evening Sitting

*Mr. J. W. L. HORN:

When the House adjourned, I was speaking about the remark made by the hon. member for Yeoville about the reasons given by the Minister this afternoon, and I want to assert that all the arguments advanced and charges levelled by the Opposition this afternoon were refuted by the hon. the Minister with facts. Then the Opposition accepted it, because we can see them sitting opposite with dejected faces and listening to the facts supplied by the Minister. We say that we know that they accept it, but it seems as if the Opposition members, especially the hon. member for Yeoville, are very satisfied after he made his remarks and cast suspicion upon the Airways in particular. I suggest that criticizing one’s own South African services, which, as we know, are very highly praised in the world for their safety, is really not a commendable contribution to make. [Interjection.] As the hon. member has remarked there, it is un-South African to use these vague arguments in connection with the Airways and the South African Railways. We accept the Minister’s word and we have proof that the Railwaymen also accept it. When salary increases could not be granted to the Railway workers last year because of the conditions which prevailed, the workers accepted it, as did their wives, because they are not only good Railway workers but also good citizens of the country. If we see what the Railway workers have contributed recently then it is praiseworthy that so many persons made that contribution although they had not received any benefits at that time.

I also have many Railway workers in my constituency, but I know of no one who has objections such as the Opposition suggested today, and those Railway workers are grateful to-day and know that they not only have a Minister who is sympathetically disposed towards the Railway worker, but also have in him, as it were, a father who keeps a watchful eye over their interests.

I want to say a few words in connection with a section of my constituency, Postmasburg. We know that great developments have taken place there recently, and that the whole of the railway line between Kimberley and Sishen via Postmasburg has now been electrified. This has been done because the Railways there have expanded tremendously with the development in those areas, particularly because we have the iron ore mines there to-day. We all hope, especially the people in those parts of the Northern Cape, that we are now entering a period where great developments may be expected. We are probably not wrong in thinking that we may expect greater expansion to take place in the future in connection with the next Yscor to be sited there. If that is so, we surely have the right to expect that that railway line which my colleague also mentioned and which goes down to Boegoeberg will one day have to come into operation. Even if this does not happen now, the need for it will certainly be realized at a later stage. I feel that we do not really know what is going on in that area. When we consider that Postmasburg lies in the extreme North-Western Cape, that Upington lies a great distance of about 200 miles to the west, and that the existing railway line must make a detour to reach Upington, then we not only think of the large quantity of lucerne that can be supplied to the Northern Cape in times of drought, but also of other products produced at the Boegoeberg scheme. We know that to-day there is a distance of about 100 miles over which the products have to be transported far away from the Orange River to the railway line, and that this has to be done with lorries and with private transport. With a view to the future a great service can be rendered to those areas and to agriculture there if a railway line is built so that the products may be transported to the west, the north and the south. I want to content myself with saying that we can probably expect expansion to take place there too in the future, once the Orange River scheme has come into operation, and we hope that we shall be able to make use of these services because we have a great need of them. We are not asking this merely for the sake of asking, but because we know for a fact that development will take place in the Northern Cape on a much larger scale than we now anticipate, and because we feel that we are really entitled to it.

Mr. C. J. S. WAINWRIGHT:

The hon. member for Prieska must forgive me if I do not deal with what he has just said. I do not think he has much ground for complaint. I frequently travel on the railways in the North-Western Cape, to Prieska and Upington, and I think that area of our country is very well served compared to the Border. But I am unhappy to say that coming from the Eastern Cape and the Border there is very little I can be happy about in this Budget to-day. There is one item I must admit gives me pleasure, and that is when I think of the increased salaries and allowances for the Railwaymen in the Eastern Cape and Border; I am happy about this. I do not know how the increase in salaries will tie in with the problem of inflation, but this is something the hon. the Minister will have to work out with the hon. the Minister of Finance.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

He says there is no more inflation.

Mr. C. J. S. WAINWRIGHT:

Well, that is for them to decide; we will see. But as far as salaries and allowances are concerned, we on this side of the House must rejoice to-day for we do not know what to-morrow will bring. What worries me, knowing the Nationalist Party and this Government as I do, is why, when there is inflation and we have been trying to fight inflation, this Government has suddenly raised the salaries of the Railwaymen? Knowing the hon. members opposite and the way their minds work, I believe there will be a general election before the next year is out.

HON. MEMBERS:

Hear, hear! [Interjections.]

Mr. C. J. S. WAINWRIGHT:

I expected that reaction.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Go and see the film upstairs.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

It seems to me you are suicidally inclined.

Mr. C. J. S. WAINWRIGHT:

I expected the reaction, particularly from the Minister of Sport, but we will see within the next 12 months whether we will not be thrown into a general election.

The MINISTER OF SPORT:

Will you take a bet on that?

Mr. C. J. S. WAINWRIGHT:

Then we will see the motive behind all this. Of course I realize that the Nationalists will be worried about their nomination contests. The biggest election fight will be for nomination on that side of the House. All I can say is that we on this side of the House will say, as some of the people said in the case of the recent Bloemfontein City Council election, that we welcome it, come what may. I mentioned that I am not happy myself about the Budget. Coming from the Eastern Cape and the Border, I believe that we in that area are looked upon as coming from the Cinderella province and that the Eastern Cape is the Cinderella Province. I travel on the railways frequently. I like travelling by train, but I can assure you, Sir, it is not often that one can travel from De Aar through Noupoort, Rosmead and Stormberg to East London and say that you have had a comfortable journey. We believe we are being neglected in that area, and we are neglected. Our train journeys are not made very comfortable. There is very little catering at all. Only on a few trains do we have the privilege of dining in a dining-saloon. I do not want to go into details here, but altogether we are not happy about the position at all.

Another problem, too, which worries most of us and which is irritating, is that when one goes towards the Eastern Cape you find yourself drifting almost into a bottleneck with people, namely South Africa’s black labour force, who are always drifting to and from their homelands. For that reason most coaches in front of the trains are occupied by non-Whites, with the Whites in the rear, as usual. But when we stop at stations, we find that the coaches occupied by the Whites are halted in such a position that we have to disembark in the dark right back under the water-tanks and what have you, and the coaches occupied by non-Whites are alongside the platform. This happens almost every time. Often we have to disembark in the dark, there being no lights, falling over signal cables and other station equipment. This is something which was discussed here by the late Mr. Herman Bekker and by Mr. Gerhard Bekker frequently, but of course they were Nationalists and no notice was ever taken of them. I am discussing it now from this side of the House and I ask the Minister to take notice of what I say.

I put a question to the hon. the Minister on 23rd February this year, asking him whether he intended to link up Maclear with Matatiele by railway line; if so, when, and if not, why not? The reply I received was—

No, it is considered that the construction of the proposed rail link would be economically justified.

I want to come back to this statement that it would not be economically justified. What do we have to-day? We have an area supplying some of the finest produce South Africa could wish to produce—foodstuffs, livestock, wool, grain, vegetables, etc.—and yet we are completely cut off from such an important Port like Durban. When we transport our produce to the Durban market, where they need it very badly due to the closure of the Suez Canal, we have to move all our produce, and I stress livestock in particular, via Bloemfontein and Bethlehem to Durban, or, if there is congestion on that line, it makes matters even worse; it has to go from Bloemfontein via Kroonstad to Durban. This happens every time we from the Border send livestock to the Durban market. My hon. friend here asks how much of that livestock reaches the abattoirs alive. I said last year it is shocking to see how many animals arrive there dead. Sir, it is not economical to have to transport not only livestock but all our other produce over that long distance to the Durban market. Think of the rolling stock which has to be used over this great distance in transporting this produce and livestock. The hon. the Minister was boasting about the progress of the South African Railways, and yet in this year of 1968 we find that there is no direct rail link between the Cape Province and Natal. When you look at the General Manager’s report and the map contained therein, you see at a glance that there is something incomplete about it. What is incomplete is that gap of some 60 to 90 miles between MacLear and Matatiele, and, of course, there is the gap between Umtata and Kokstad as well. I do not believe that the reason for this is that it is not economically justified to build the Matatiele-Maclear line. I cannot believe it, and I do not think that the Minister really believes it. If ever there was a line that would pay us economically, it is this line to link up the Cape Province directly with Natal, and not via the Free State. Just think what it would mean to our lines of communication. It would open up Natal! Sir, I apologize for saying that! It would open up the Eastern Cape. If you look at this map in the General Manager’s report you see at once that there is something vitally wrong with it. Surely in this era in which we live, it would be economical to link up one province with another. It would be sound, feasible and practicable, and our people are crying out for this link. I am glad to see the hon. member for Aliwal listening intently through the ear-phones to what I am saying. [Time expired.]

*Dr. J. C. OTTO:

At the beginning of his speech the hon. member for East London (North) tried to envisage himself in the role of a prophet. We on the National Party side are accustomed to prophets and seers on the United Party side; some are still sitting there to-day and others are no longer alive. We are accustomed to their making predictions but always being very wrong, and that is also how it will be with the prediction which the hon. member made at the beginning of his speech.

But enough of that. I should like to refer to the remarks which the rowdy member for Durban (Point) made here time and again about the question of the so-called high correlation between exhaustion, fatigue and train accidents. Sir, I should like to quote from his speech on Monday and then he will see how he has taken the whole matter from its context. He said—

I divided …

A tremendous task which the hon. member took upon himself—

I divided these accidents into level-crossing smashes, comprising a total of 71 in the first three months: collisions, comprising a total of 18; falls from trains, 85; shunting accidents, 37, and so it goes on. Over a hundred persons were hit by trains.

Let us just analyse this. The hon. member mentioned three categories which have nothing to do with exhaustion or fatigue of engine-drivers. Level-crossing smashes for example have nothing to do with the exhaustion of engine-drivers. The second which he mentioned, namely persons who had fallen from trains, also has nothing to do with the fatigue of engine-drivers. This applies also to the third category which he mentioned, namely persons hit by trains. He only has a valid case in connection with the last two categories which he mentioned, i.e. collisions and shunting accidents. According to him there were 18 collisions and 85 shunting accidents, and in comparison with the millions of miles covered by our trains, this is minimal. I think the Railways have a fine record in this connection.

I should like to refer to the mechanical workshops on the Railways. The Railways Administration has succeeded in bringing down the accident rate to a marked extent. I think hon. members opposite will agree that this is the case. This decrease is attributable to safety training in the mechanical workshops. In order to place safety conditions in the workshops on a high level, it was necessary to bring about regularity, order and neatness in those workshops as basic requirements. The hon. member who made so many interjections accompanied us when we had the privilege, as members of the Select Committee, to visit the mechanical workshops at Koedoespoort, and the hon. member and his colleagues who accompanied us, must admit that we saw these three basic requirements in operation at those workshops—regularity, order and cleanliness. I think we can say to the credit of the Railways Administration that they also try to keep our stations and platforms neat, but unfortunately one finds both Whites and non-Whites who are inclined to dirty places and turn them into rubbish heaps. This is especially noticeable on Johannesburg station, especially on the platforms where the non-Whites catch trains. They dump rubbish on the platforms because they know somebody will clean up after them. We have a campaign at present which is being conducted by mayors—even some of our Ministers and the Municipal Association of the Transvaal have also voiced their thoughts on this matter—to ecourage the people to become more cleanliness-conscious and to keep our country clean. In this connection we know that the Railways Administration keeps the stations clean, but I should like to bring a particular little matter in connection with our through-trains to the hon. the Minister’s attention. The position is that the bedding attendants have to clean compartments on trains, and they do this, but what happens is this: Like myself, there are other people who do not like to throw peels and other waste products out of train windows; we prefer to leave such things in the compartment in a paper bag. What now happens is that the bedding attendants come, sweep the paper bag into the passage and then sweep it off the bridge between the coaches and on to the railway line, with the result that one sometimes finds cartons, newspapers and other rubbish next to our railway lines, something which is decidedly unsightly. I just want to ask the hon. the Minister if it is not possible to make our people on passenger trains more cleanliness-conscious, and if it is not also possible to introduce plastic containers into our passenger coaches on the same basis as water bottles, so that people who are indeed cleanliness-conscious. may place waste products into them. The bedding attendants can then empty them at the large stations.

Secondly. I should like to endorse the request which came from the hon. member for Kempton Park, one to which the hon. the Minister perhaps forgot to reply. Because I have received the same requests in my constituency. I also want to make a plea here in connection with concessions for Railway servants who are doing voluntary military service. As far as I know public servants obtain leave for the period concerned while Railway officials do not. I should like to inquire if the same concessions, perhaps in the form of a ten-day leave period, cannot be granted to Railway officials, because otherwise they have to use their normal leave for this purpose.

A third matter which I wish to bring to the attention of the hon. the Minister, relates to my constituency. I have already made verbal representations in this connection. As a result of the large foundry at the Railway workshops there, air pollution is taking place and it is affecting four suburbs in my constituency, namely Koedoespoort itself, Waverley, Jan Niemand Park and Eastlynne, in particular. This smoke nuisance is especially severe in the winter months. I know the hon. the Minister has promised to have this matter investigated. Perhaps it has been done, but I should like to inquire whether the elementary requirements in connection with suitable fuel cannot be applied there so that less air pollution will take place. I should like to thank the hon. the Minister warmly for what he has already promised in this connection and I believe that this matter will also enjoy his further attention.

*Mr. M. W. HOLLAND:

In a similar debate in this House a few years ago I mentioned the question of the wages of Coloured Railway workers. On that occasion, I recall, I specifically referred to the way in which the Railways was attempting to substitute Coloured labour, especially in the Cape Town docks, for Bantu labour brought here from the Transkei. I said that one could speak very highly of what the Railways had done in this connection, but pointed out to the hon. the Minister that the wages of those people were R1.10 a day, the same as those previously paid to the Bantu persons whom they had replaced. I deeply appreciated the fact that the hon. the Minister immediately rose and replied to my request, and I appreciated it even more when the hon. the Minister called me to his office a few weeks afterwards and told me what had been done in connection with this request. The Coloured Railway worker’s salary had been increased by 15 cents a day. That may not sound like much, but for the people living in the Bishop Lavis township, the monthly increase represents half a month’s rent. Whereas before they could reach their maximum wage of R2 a day only after 10 years, they can now do so after five years. I want to express my appreciation to the hon. the Minister for what he did at that time. Shortly afterwards I addressed a meeting at Uitenhage at which one of the Coloured voters introduced a vote of thanks to the hon. the Minister, especially on behalf of the people in the five to ten year service category. In his budget speech the Minister announced salary increases to the value of R43 million, and now I request him not to overlook the Coloured Railway employee. It is the Government’s policy to replace Bantu labour, especially in the Western Province, with Coloured labour, and this is what is being done. The Railways is one of the largest employment organisations in the country, and employs the largest number of Bantu. As hon. members know, the Western Province virtually is the homeland of our Coloureds, and I agree that the Coloured must have priority here as far as employment is concerned. I want to plead earnestly with the hon. the Minister not to overlook the Coloured in granting salary increases, but to take him into consideration as well. As we all know, his standard of living and way of life are not those of the Bantu. He cannot exist on the wage of the Bantu. At present it is the Government’s policy to uplift the Coloureds so that they may take their rightful place in our society and in our race structure in South Africa. This supports my plea that the Coloured cannot be compared with the Bantu as far as his standard of living is concerned. The clothing which the Coloured wears is similar to that of the Whites, and even though it may not be of the same quality, it is nevertheless of the same cut and kind. His food is the food which the Whites eat and not that which the Bantu eat.

The hon. the Minister explained here this afternoon with what problems he must contend as far as the labour shortage on the Railways was concerned. I am fully aware of those problems. I also realize that when the Minister employs non-White labour, which includes Coloured and Indian labour, to relieve the labour problems, he must have regard to the White staff associations. I can appreciate the problems with which the Minister is faced. In the first place it is the Minister’s responsibility to keep the wheels in motion. I trust that the Minister will make use of his position and will bring his influence to bear when the above-mentioned staff associations adopt somewhat unreasonable attitudes in regard to non-White labour. I hope that the Minister will succeed in having the vacant posts filled with Coloured labour, if necessary, because it is in the interests of the country that the Railways be kept at the highest and most efficient level. I hope with all my heart that the Minister will be able to deal with that situation. I do not want the idea to take root amongst our White Railwaymen that because their posts will not be filled by Coloureds, they can sit back unconcernedly.

I also have a further request to put to the Minister. I do not want to say now that the Minister should begin by appointing Coloured engineers. As far as I know, there are no unemployed Coloured engineers in any event. Where vacant posts exist which cannot be filled by Whites, in which case Coloureds are to be employed, the retention of those Coloureds in those posts should really be given serious consideration. In this connection I should like to refer to a case with which I am well acquainted. As a result of circumstances beyond my control I have been out of touch with matters for a few weeks. I now speak under correction, but if I remember correctly, the new goods sheds at Uitenhage were put into service about eight years ago. The administration and organization of the Railways required a White labour force in those sheds, but Whites were not available. Consequently Coloured labour was employed, a step with which I agree wholeheartedly. As I say, I feel that much more use can be made of Coloured labour. The unsatisfactory aspect is, however, that if Coloured workers are appointed to White posts because White workers are not available, they are not appointed on a permanent basis. Because Coloureds occupy White posts, their appointments are regarded as some thing temporary. They are not on the permanent staff, and consequently do not share in the pension and other benefits. I do not want to elaborate on this, because I am sure that the hon. the Minister knows what I mean. I feel that the stage has now been reached in respect of certain categories of work on the Railways for which White workers are not available and as a result of which Coloured labour has to be employed, when such Coloureds ought to be appointed to the permanent staff. I feel that this request of mine is not unreasonable, and the fact that I am able to come to the Minister with such a request, affords me some joy. I still clearly recall the bitter years when I was about 10 years of age and when Whites used to be labourers on the Railways. We are all pleased that that time belongs to the past. I do not believe that those days will ever return again. Where we therefore do not have sufficient Whites to fill shunting posts, for example, let us employ Coloureds. An obstacle does exist for the Coloureds, however, and that is that Coloureds who occupy White posts cannot become members of the permanent staff. It causes considerable dissatisfaction and disappointment. I request the hon. the Minister to have proper regard to the points made by me to-night.

*Mr. W. A. CRUYWAGBN:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member made specific requests to the hon. the Minister to which I shall not reply. The hon. member referred to conditions on the Railways in the days of his youth. This makes one think far back, and then one feels very much like pointing one’s finger at the opposite side of the House and saying, “In those days you were in charge of the Railways.” But we shall leave it at that.

I want to refer to a little matter which the hon. member for Durban (Point) raised here today, that is to say, representations addressed to M.P.s by Railwaymen. He submitted that the hon. member for Randburg wants to deny people that right. But the hon. member for Randburg never suggested anything of the kind. The hon. member for Durban (Point) also said he always determined whether the people who approached him had already followed the right channels, after which he then gave them advice, told them what to do and gave further attention to their cases. But this is exactly what the hon. member for Randburg said. He said we must prevent shortcuts from being taken, because if all sorts of shortcuts are taken, at makes matters difficult for the Administration. But the hon. member did not say he did not want M.P.s to listen to representations from Railwaymen or go into their matters.

I now want to refer to another matter. When it was financially possible for the Railways, provision has been made in each year’s estimates for the housing requirements of our Railwaymen. This year again an amount of R14 million was voted for the purchase of approximately 1,300 houses. The hon. the Minister also said that housing had for a long time already been considered one of the most important factors in having a stable staff. We know that the provision of housing and the necessary funds for that purpose will always be the Government’s policy where that is at all possible. If this policy is followed, the Minister and the Administration will always enjoy our wholehearted support. What is more, the existing number of new houses is constantly being added to. They are well-planned houses, they are neatly built and where they are perhaps still built in groups, they vary in style, design, and appearance. But the sympathy of the Railway Administration with regard to housing needs does not merely go as far as the provision of money for new houses. The older Railway houses are also receiving the necessary attention. I now want to refer to a specific case which occurred in my constituency. Together with that I also want to mention a problem. In my constituency 50 old Railway residences—of the very old type—were to be demolished. The idea was that on the plots that would become vacant in that way, new houses would later be built as funds became available. I approached the General Manager and asked him whether it was not possible to repair those 50 houses and retain them in service for a further period. You know that in certain parts of the country we still have housing problems. To provide alternative housing for 50 families would not be an easy task. The matter was again investigated and after I had pointed out that these people would possibly have to be accommodated far from their present abodes and places of employment, that it would entail greater transport costs for them, that they would perhaps, to be closer to their places of employment, get even poorer housing in the vicinity than they had at the moment, I am grateful to the General Manager for having decided to have those houses repaired, although it was in fact uneconomic to have them repaired at this stage. Consequently we have kept 50 families provided with housing accommodation. But now I have a problem. Apart from those houses which will in due course be demolished and replaced by new houses, we still have certain complexes of Railway houses. I am now referring to houses in a group, forming whole complexes. They are monotonous in appearance. They are the old United Party houses and when one refers to a monotonous and bleak appearance, one almost feels like comparing them with that party. But let us rather leave it at that. I feel, too, that it is necessary to pay attention to the appearance of such an extensive scheme. After all, a man’s home is his pride. And this goes not only for the home itself, but also for the whole neighbourhood in which that home is situated. We must try and renovate that entire neighbourhood again. To suggest methods here is rather difficult. We know the Railway Administration works according to a specific method or schedule as regards the renovation of houses. But in respect of the very old buildings that are close together in groups, we must see whether we cannot shorten the schedule a little. I have in mind more frequent renovations and beautifying the neighbourhood. This must apply not only to the homes themselves, but also to the whole neighbourhood in which our Railwaymen live. We believe they deserve it. We cannot do anything about the design as such; that is simply the way the house has been built, and it is a well-built structure. It will be a good thing if a process of beautifying the general appearance of the buildings as well as the whole neighbourhood could be started. It would give our Railway people in that neighbourhood a further pride, apart from their pride in their homes as such.

Mr. C. BENNETT:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Germiston has complained about the appearance of certain Railway houses. He is very lucky. In my constituency, although I have not very many railwaymen, I know that there is an absolute shortage of houses. My constituency is situated in what the hon. member for East London (North) described as a Cinderella area. But I want to get on to another matter. When the hon. the Minister this afternoon was replying to the general debate he appeared to be very pleased with life. But I do not think that we have seen the users of the Railways jumping for joy at the Budget which he has introduced. After all they, without exception, have received absolutely nothing from this Budget, not one single cent in the way of any sort of relief on rates. And this is so despite the fact that the hon. the Minister has in his Consolidated Revenue Fund an amount of some R74 or R75 million. As I have said, no paean of praise has gone up from the users of the Railways for this Budget. The hon. the Minister has relieved the effects of inflation on the personnel on the Railways. But what about the effects of inflation on those sectors of the economy which have benefited in no way from inflation, sectors which did not benefit from price increases but still had to bear the brunt of increased costs of everything they had to buy, plus the brunt of the various anti-inflationary measures of the Government, such as the credit squeeze? I want to refer specifically to agriculture tonight.

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE:

This is not an agricultural debate.

Mr. C. BENNETT:

That is a typical interjection coming from the Deputy Minister of Agriculture. Is he going to try and deny that the rating policy of the S.A. Railways is adversely affecting agriculture to-day? It is a typical interjection. I am glad about the interjection of the hon. the Deputy Minister. When the hon. the Minister was replying to the debate I listened very carefully to what he had to say. And I think it was significant that there was one speaker on this side of the House to whom he did not reply at all. That was the hon. member for Newton Park who amongst other things dealt with the problems of agriculture. Not a word was said. I am a backbencher and if the hon. the Minister ignored my speech it would not have mattered. But he ignored the speech of a frontbencher on this side of the House which dealt with problems affecting agriculture. From that side of the House we have had no word at all about agriculture in relation to Railway policy. The only exception was the hon. member for Kroonstad who said that the farmers should be rather happy because whereas the general rate increases with effect from 1966 were 10 per cent, the average rate increase on agricultural products was only about 3 per cent. I do not know where he got that figure from. I think the hon. member for Kroonstad should talk to some of the farmers down in the Eastern Transvaal lowveld, who in 1966 among other things had to bear an increase of no less than 24.51 per cent on the railage on vegetables consigned to a large number of big markets. There were also considerable increases in so far as their production requirements were concerned. Railage on fruit wrappers used by fruit farmers increased by 14.59 per cent, while on materials used for pest control it increased by 52.60 per cent.

I now want to come to an industry which I dealt with before in this House, namely the wool industry. I make no apology for dealing with it again because it is a most important industry. Its produce is sold in 33 countries of the world. Over the last five years the average earnings of that industry were round about R100 million per year. 90 per cent thereof was exported, which earned foreign exchange; and about 750,000 people depend upon it for their living. I raised this matter with the hon. the Minister in 1966. On that occasion he told me that we had no right to complain. He said that the increases then were quite insignificant.

*The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Order! The hon. member for Outeniqua must please sit down or go and talk outside.

Mr. C. BENNETT:

The hon. the Minister then said that the increases in the tariffs for transporting wool were quite insignificant and that we had no right to complain about the increase which amounted to very little per pound by weight.

But to-night I want to go back quite a long way and prove to the hon. the Minister that over the years his increases have been considerable and that in doing so he has departed from a principle which he considers to be all important when it comes to determining tariffs.

*The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Order! Will the hon. member for Outeniqua and the hon. member for Turffontein stop this talking?

Mr. C. BENNETT:

This afternoon the hon. the Minister said that “’n grondbeginsel van tariefvorming is wat die verkeer kan dra”. I am going to prove to the hon. the Minister to-night that the wool industry can no longer bear the rates that he is imposing upon it.

The wool industry experienced a boom which reached its peak in 1950-’51 when average prices were in the vicinity of 80 cents per lb. Since then the price that the farmers receive has declined steadily. Last season the average price was not 80 cents per lb. but 32.78 cents per lb. This season there has been a further drop of approximately 5 per cent, which constitutes a drop of approximately 60 per cent compared to prices in 1950. To-day the farmer is receiving a third of the price he received in 1950. What has the hon. the Minister been doing while the price that the producer received has been dropping during all these years? He has been raising the rate for wool consistently over a period of years. I want to quote to-night the figures for what it costs to consign a hundred pounds of wool from Middelburg, which is in the heart of the merino country, to Port Elizabeth, which is the main wool exporting port in the country. In 1953 the rate was 54 cents per 100 pounds less a concession of 10 per cent if it was packed in rectangular containers or bales. In 1954 the hon. the Minister raised the tariff to 58 cents per 100 pounds less 10 per cent. At that time he felt that the wool farmers were doing very well indeed, and that the traffic could bear this increase in the rate very easily. Then in July, 1958, he raised it by another 4 cents to 62 cents per 100 pounds less 10 per cent. Then in September, 1966, he raised the tariff to 63 cents per 100 pounds and abolished the allowance of 10 per cent. Over these 13 years the hon. the Minister has in fact raised the tariff from 48.6 cents per 100 pounds to 63 cents per 100 pounds.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

What is the price per pound?

Mr. C. BENNETT:

The hon. the Minister’s rates are worked out in 100 lb. loads. We have here an increase of 14.4 cents per 100 pounds, which is an increase of almost 30 per cent. While the price has fallen by 60 per cent, the hon. the Minister has raised the rate by 30 per cent. The hon. the Minister has not been content with merely raising the rates on what the wool grower sells, but he has done this also in respect of his production requirements. I again want to quote figures, although this time they will be in respect of transportation from Port Elizabeth to Middelburg of an essential commodity in the production of wool, namely wool bales. [Time expired.]

*Mr. A. S. D. ERASMUS:

Mr. Chairman, I think it was a disgraceful remark on the part of the Opposition to call the hon. the Deputy Minister of Agriculture a “boerehater” (hater of the farmers). I think it is a disgraceful remark. I want to tell them that I think they will still pay for that, because the hon. the Deputy Minister will deal with them later.

The hon. member for Albany made allegations against the Railways and said that “agricultural products are adversely affected by these rates”. I want to say that the Railways calculate their rates according to certain principles which are applied by all transport organizations throughout the world. As the Minister explained earlier on, there are high and low rated goods. I want to make the statement that agricultural goods which are large in bulk are low-rated goods and that those agricultural products are relatively benefited as compared with the other products in this country. I think that the railage in this country compares very favourably with the railage for agricultural products in other countries. I think that the hon. the Minister will go into that later. The hon. member for East London (North) was making fun here to-night when he said that an election would be held in the near future. He also made a passing reference to the National Party’s nomination contests at elections. I want to tell him that if it were not for these nomination contests, we on this side would long ago have died of political overweight, because these in actual fact keep us politically fit. In reality the United Party does not even provide good exercise for us, not even to mention opposition in an election. I think that they shake in their shoes when they think of the election to be held in 1971. The hon. member for East London (City) is already nervous about it; that is why he starts talking about it already.

I think the interests of my constituency are more important than the jokes made by the Opposition. Consequently I rather want to make certain representations to the hon. the Minister now. Last year I made earnest representations for a railway line to Dendron. I explained that this was the dream of the first representative of Pietersburg when the Transvaal still had its own government, namely the former Senator Munnik. He dreamt of a railway crossing at Pietersburg, the western branch of the crossing being the stage to the Dendron area. The Minister then told me that to him it seemed that it would remain a dream. I want to tell him that I, and the whole of the Northern Transvaal, are still dreaming and will keep on dreaming until one day he will perhaps realize that dream for us. I do want to tell him that we are very grateful for the station at Eerste Goud, which is now a serviced station, as well as for the completion of a second station at Pietersburg, which is called Ladanna Station. It is a small station, but immediately proved to be filling a great gap. This station was built near the great school complex, and as Pietersburg grows towards the north there are a large number of people who are living nearer to the station. This station is serving virtually all the people who come to Pietersburg from the north. This station does not have the facilities which we would like to have for the public and the workers. I think the Railways meant it to be merely a small side station, but it is being used a great deal. I want to make very earnest representations that the necessary facilities should be provided at this station, for example, the necessary waiting rooms, latrines, etc. The present facilities at the station are rather primitive. The hon. Minister knows the name of the station. I am referring to Ladanna Station at Pietersburg.

I want to thank the hon. the Minister very sincerely for the provision of R62,300 [Interjections.] Yes, and not many of those hon. members have anything like this to boast of. I repeat, R62,300 for the construction of a non-white station building at Pietersburg. I am grateful for the fruits borne by the many representations I have made. I am very grateful for that. The public of Pietersburg will also be grateful for that, because it provides the separation we want. Then I want to thank the Minister very sincerely for the provision of R74,000 under Communications, namely for the replacement of the manual exchange by an automatic exchange at Pietersburg. This also is a great benefit for the people of Pietersburg and for the Railway staff.

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

Mr. Chairman, when I look at the Government benches to-night and I listen to their contribution to the debate, I say: “Shades of the days when I came here in 1948”, when I think of the members they had on their side, supporting the interests of the plattelanders. The hon. member for Pietersburg who has just sat down has thanked the Minister—that we have become used to—and he has dealt with a parochial matter of one station. The Minister has not even heard of it, apparently.

But, Sir, what do we get otherwise from that side of the House? Nothing about the farmer. While the hon. member for Albany was putting up the case for the farmer, there was conversation on the other side. They were not listening. No attention was being paid. The farmer is lost and forgotten, but I think that after the Bloemfontein election they will probably start paying more attention to the farmer, and we will have the farmers being treated better.

I want to raise a matter which affects the country dweller. It probably affects my constituency more than the other country districts, but all country districts throughout South Africa are affected. That is in regard to the Road Motor Service. In the Transkei, we have two railways, one to Umtata from East London, serving five stations; and then one from Pietermaritzburg up to Kokstad, serving two towns and I think two other stations. There are sidings on that route. But, Sir, the rest of the area is served by the Road Motor Service. The other 21 towns and villages through which the railway does not pass and their surrounding areas have to rely on the Road Motor Service. Rail users, in having their goods delivered to them, are protected against loss through negligence of the Railways, or for the loss in transit of goods, but the Road Motor Service users have no such protection. In terms of clause 2 of the Tariff Regulations the Administration is relieved of any responsibilities for any loss through pilfering or loss of the goods themselves through non-delivery.

Now, Sir, representations have been made to the Minister’s Department to have these tariff regulations amended and to bring them into line with the conditions applied to carriage of goods on the Railways. The Pondoland Chamber of Commerce made representations through the Natal Rural Chambers of Commerce, but the Minister’s representative at the meeting turned their representations down and said that the Government could not accede to their request. We could understand that if the service was a young service, only supplying a few isolated points where the Road Motor Service did not have its own officials to handle the goods. But the Road Motor Service has grown into a colossal undertaking to-day. It gives a comprehensive service and it stretches throughout the country, serving areas where the Railways cannot go. The people using this service there have to rely on it, because it has the virtual monopoly on the delivery of the goods, and they have no other way of getting their goods. The Minister can say, “As far as the Railway users are concerned, we are prepared to accept the responsibility, because we have our own officials receiving, handling and controlling the goods, and seeing to it that it reaches its destination. We have our own officials handing over the goods at the other end.” If he can say that, and that those conditions apply to the Road Motor Service, I would say he would have a point. But to-day the Road Motor Service operates from station to station and the Road Motor Service has its own depots where it has its own officials. Why should a consignor of goods from Butterworth to Kokstad, or from Matatiele to Kokstad, be in any better position than a consignor of goods from Umtata to Kokstad? In the first two cases the consignor of goods by rail is protected against loss.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Not all rail traffic.

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

No, not all rail traffic. I know delivery on sidings are not protected. But from station to station they are protected.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Even then some goods are still conveyed at the owner’s risk.

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

I know the owner’s risk can operate. But what I am asking, is why should users of the Railways be in any better position than the persons who use the Road Motor Service, who are compelled to use the Road Motor Service, because there is no rail service. The users of the Road Motor Service cannot send their goods otherwise than at the owner’s risk. Throughout the Transkei the department has its depots, the Road Motor Service takes the goods to the depots and they deliver them from there. They have their own officials at the depots. So it is idle for the Department to say, as was said at this congress, that the Road Motor Service could not accept responsibility, because it does not have its own officials handling the goods. They do not ask the Department to take responsibility where the Railways do not take responsibility. All they ask for, is that they be given the same consideration as is given to rail users. That is to say, where officials despatch the goods and where there are officials to receive the goods at the other end and to deliver them, they should be able also to rely on the responsibility of the Department and the Administration in paying for any loss through pilfering or otherwise. This is an important consideration because, as I pointed out, there are only about five towns in the Transkei which can rely on the rail service. All the other 21 towns and villages have to rely solely on the Road Motor Service. It is quite wrong that those users of the service in that area, in those towns and villages, and in all the neighbouring areas should be at the mercy of the Road Motor Service as far as losses are concerned.

Now, Sir, I want to ask the Minister to give further consideration to this matter, and if possible for him to-night, to tell me that he is prepared to accede to our requests and he will do no more than put the Road Motor Service on the same basis as the Railways. That is all we ask for.

There is another point I want to raise, and I make no excuse for raising it again. I have raised it every year with this Minister for the last five years. The Minister knows what it is. All I appeal to him to do, is to put his officials in the Transkei on the same basis as civil servants in the Transkei. Every year the Minister turns me down, and from my experience I now feel that this Minister is the fly in the ointment of the Cabinet. He is fly number one in the Cabinet. He was the first Minister to turn down my request, and he was the Minister who was responsible for taking those allowances away from other officials. He admitted himself in the House that, if it was true that other officials get the allowance, he would ensure that they did not. He succeeded, and the allowance was taken away from them. [Time expired.]

*Mr. P. H. TORLAGE:

The hon. member for Transkei, who has just sat down, suggested that if one listens to this side of the House, one can infer that the position of the farmer is a lost one; he is forgotten. I want to tell the hon. member at once that we on this side of the House put our case to the Department and to the hon. the Minister in season and out of season, but that the United Party comes here and every word they speak is meant for one thing only, and that is to try and catch votes. That is why they now want to go to the rural areas and say it is the United Party which fights for the interests of the rural areas and not the National Party. But I reject this with contempt. I reject it as coming from people who are politically bankrupt. Years ago there was an hon. member in this House, the late Mr. A. J. Werth, in his lifetime member for George, who always gave me a thrill because whenever he started a speech, he used to say that it was good to be a Nationalist.

To-night I want to say together with the late Mr. Werth it is good to be a Nationalist* because this afternoon we saw here how the United Party got a first-rate hiding from the hon. the Minister of Transport. This afternoon we saw something here and I imagined two rugby teams on the field, 15 men on the one side and one man on the other, and that one person, the hon. the Minister of Transport, ran rings round that entire team. [Interjections.]

*The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN:

Order!

*Mr. P. H. TORLAGE:

I got a thrill when the hon. the Minister gave the United Party this hiding, but above all I got a thrill because the hon. member for Yeoville got the biggest hiding of his life. [Interjection.] I am serious. I want to tell the hon. member for Port Natal that I am serious, but I want to say this, that if the hon. member for Yeoville had been on this side of the House and had acted like a political clown, as he did here this afternoon, I would have been ashamed to be on the same side of the House as he.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

You are making a mistake; you are referring to the Minister now.

*Mr. P. H. TORLAGE:

I say this from my heart of hearts and from my deepest conviction that here we have a Minister who has submitted a Budget which is unassailable and beyond reproach, so much so that the hon. member for Yeoville had to sink to the lowest depths to try and make an attack on the hon. the Minister. What is more, when the hon. Minister was replying to every question put by the hon. members opposite, the hon. member for Yeoville displayed no courtesy towards the Minister at all, and sat with his back towards the Minister while he answered him, and tried to stir up this lot of United Party people.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

On a point of order, Sir, is the hon. member entitled to refer to hon. members on this side of the House as “this lot of people”?

*Mr. P. H. TORLAGE:

I said “this lot of United Party people”. [Interjections.]

*The DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order! I want to warn hon. members now that they have gone far enough and I want to ask the hon. member to be more polite and to refer to “hon. members”.

*Mr. P. H. TORLAGE:

I bow to your ruling, Sir, and I have been trying to do this as far as possible, but you must pardon me. Sir, if I lose control of myself when I discuss the hon. member for Yeoville here, because I do not want to follow him to the depths to which he sunk this afternoon. I just want to repeat that I am glad he does not sit on this side of the House.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

I would be ashamed of doing so.

*Mr. P. H. TORLAGE:

It is clear to me that there are especially four hon. members on the opposite side whom the United Party uses for this kind of work. They are the hon. members for Yeoville, Durban (Point). Port Natal and, of course, the big Chief of them all, the hon. member for Karoo. This afternoon the United Party again repeatedly said, as in the past, that this Government came forward with an increase in wages and salaries just before an election. I saw that one of the hon. members started getting scared to-night, and it seems to me they are packing up to go home.

*Mr. S. J. M STEYN:

To Bloemfontein.

*Mr. P. H. TORLAGE:

It is because they expect that there is an election at hand. The hon. member for Yeoville is boasting now; he talks about Bloemfontein, but they are so spineless that they have not even put up a candidate there. We on this side of the House do not want to deny that there are grievances and Complaints among the Railway workers. In my constituency I have the second largest Railway centre in the Republic. I now say here to-night that I have never had one complaint from those Railway workers about overtime and about the exertion being required of these people by the Administration. Never. I go further and say that as a rule I do not get any complaints of a serious nature. They are in connection with promotions and transfers, etc. But this I also want to say, that whenever we have submitted those matters to the hon. the Minister and to the General Manager of the Railways, they have always turned a sympathetic ear to us. I want to say in this House to-night that the Republic of South Africa owes a debt of gratitude to every Railway man and woman in South Africa. While we are sitting here to-night and when we go to rest to-night, those people are at their posts keeping the wheels rolling across the Republic of South Africa. Then these people are bereft of their home life, of their family life, in the service of the people and of this country, South Africa. I hear hon. members laughing at this, and I can understand it because I know they do not understand these things. They do not realize these things, because they are living above these people. But I take off my hat to these people because they are rendering a service to the Republic of South Africa, and we know that this service will in future require even more from them because the process of development is continuing under this Government and the demands made upon them will be more exacting. I say we shall always be grateful to them for their sacrifices in the Service of their country and people.?

The question arises why the South African Railways has made such progress under this hon. Minister and his General Manager and his staff, and how they have succeeded in keeping pace with the rapid economic development of the country. Because of one reason: because there is a Planning Council for the Railways and because this Planning Council plans ahead for the future. They know what needs and demands will arise in the future and they plan accordingly. [Time expired.]

Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

To-night we have had an explanation why the hon. member who has just sat down is known as “the Klip from Klin River.” It is because when you take a “klip” and throw it into a pond it sinks, arid that is where this hon. member belongs.

Dr. G. F. JACOBS:

In the mud-pool.

Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

This hon. member had the opportunity this evening to do something for his constituency and for the other constituencies in Natal which are represented by members of his Nationalist Party, and he left it; he deliberately ran away from it. He had the opportunity of supporting the hon. member for Transkei in his plea to the Minister with regard to road motor transport services. He ran away from it and so it is left to me, a member representing a constituency which has very little in the way of road motor transport services, to plead the case on behalf of those sections of Natal which do depend upon these services. I refer particularly to the Klip River area, Vryheid and Zululand. All that the hon. member for Transkei has said applies to those areas as well. But I want to revert to the Transkei just to bear out the argument of the hon. member and I want to draw to the attention of the hon. the Minister an occurrence which took place there recently.

An R.M.S. lorry had an accident and went over the cutting of the Umzimvubu River. Most of the goods on that lorry were damaged or destroyed or lost. There was a certain amount of salvage. That salvage was handed over to the consignees virtually with the words: “I am very sorry, but this is all we have managed to salvage for you; this is the best we can do”. The consignees submitted claims for loss on account of the damage which had occurred. At first they were told by the Administration: Sorry, there is no claim; all goods are conveyed by the R.M.S. at owner’s risk, in terms of the regulation quoted by the hon. member. They said they accepted no liability at all, but after further representations had been made, the Administration did meet them halfway. I believe one claim was for R500 and another was for R1,000, speaking in round figures. The two individual consignees that I know of were each paid half of what they claimed. But it was made clear to them by the System Manager’s Office in Durban that this was a gesture and was not to be considered a precedent and that the Administration accepted no further liability. Now I want to add to the plea of the hon. member for Transkei to the Minister and ask him whether he will not consider an amendment to the R.M.S. tariff regulations, even if that amendment only goes as far as Item 1, subparagraph (c), of the official Railway Tariff Book, under “Conditions of Carriage”, where it is laid down: “Where goods are checked by a servant of the Administration at the time of acceptance for transfer and are consigned for conveyance by rail only from a station to another station …” If we could substitute there a depot to another depot or a station to a depot, or from depot to station, it would be a concession. Some such concession should be made to users of the road motor transport services. I say this because as the hon. member for Transkei pointed out, there are many villages which are compelled to use these Road Motor Transport services because there is no railway. I want to go further. They are compelled to use these services because the R.M.T. Services hold a monopoly over the transportation of goods and passengers, to a large extent, in that area. There is no other way in which the traders in Zululand and in Vryheid and in Klip River can get their goods except by R.M.T. services. I want to add my voice to that of the hon. member for Transkei and ask the hon. the Minister whether he will not consider introducing some such amendment to his tariff charges in order to assist the traders and others in these particular areas.

Sir, I want to refer briefly now to two items in the Brown Book. The first one is item 420, Hammarsdale Waterborne Sewerage. Can the hon. the Minister tell me what the intention is here? This amount of money which is being spent seems to me to be rather a large amount bearing in mind that there have been vague rumours that there is a possibility that Hammarsdale station may be completely moved and re-established at another point. But the important question is whether he is going to introduce waterborne sewerage into septic tanks or is he going to link up with the existing sewerage works controlled by the Department of Water Affairs?

Then there is item 423, Inchanga: Improved domestic water supplies. I am very disappointed to find that the hon. the Minister is only going to spend R100 this year. This is a matter which has been brought to the notice of the Administration over a number of years, and let me say here and now that the conditions under which the employees of the Railway Administration at Inchanga are asked to live are shocking. Sir, they live in these houses with indoor sanitation provided—waterborne sewerage—but without any water. Whenever I have enquired on their behalf why this is the case, I have been told that the pump has broken down. As far as I can see that pump is broken down most of the time. Now there is an amount of R14,300 to be allocated; that is the estimated total cost, but the hon. the Minister is only going to spend R100 this year. I want to appeal to him please to spend more. But I want to go further and say to him and to the officials of his Department: Please let us have some planning, let us have some foresight in this matter. The hon. the Minister will not know it but I am sure the officials of his Department will know that Inchanga station is no more than three miles from the nearest point at which there is purified water provided at Hammarsdale by the Department of Water Affairs. I am certain that it will not cost R14,300 to bring a pipeline from that point to Inchanga to ensure that these people have a continuous supply of grade A water. When the pump is working many of these officials find it impossible even to bath, let alone to wash their clothes, because the water is filthy. This sum of R14,300 might possibly be for the introduction of a filtration and purification plant; I do not know, but as I say, let us have some foresight; let us consider the position in the long term. Let us not spend money now and then find later that we could have spent that money more wisely or we could perhaps have spent less or saved some money by getting water from a source which is secure, because, apart from the water which is at Hammarsdale at the moment I am sure the hon. the Deputy Minister or the hon. the Minister knows that water is coming to that area from Midmar Dam. If the statements we have heard are to be believed, we should have purified water into that area from Umlaas Road by the end of 1969. But in the meantime there is the water at Hammarsdale, and I do want to ask the hon. the Minister to plan properly and to ensure for these people a good permanent supply of grade A water and not the filthy red stuff which is being dished up to them now. The Administration has been compelled on many occasions to get tankers to cart in drinking water to these people because there has been nothing else for them to use.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

The hon. member for Umbilo has apologised for being absent to-night and I promised him that I would reply to the few points raised by him. He wants to know whether an analysis has been made of the reasons for the resignations that we have from the Railway service. Well, an analysis has not been made of the reasons for all the resignations but enquiries are very often made to ascertain why certain servants resigned from the Service. There are many and various reasons. Some resign because they do not like shiftwork. Some resign because they do not like to work over the weekends; they want a five-day week. Some resign because they think that the prospects of promotion are not encouraging. Some resign because they think that their wages are not high enough. There are numerous reasons for the resignations. As a matter of fact, when I was in Bloemfontein a short while ago the System Manager told me that he was losing quite a number of firemen. He said that a few days earlier he had called in one of these young men and asked him why he was resigning and where he was going. The young man told him that he had got a job as a lorry driver outside the Service. The System Manager asked him what he would be paid, and he replied that his pay would be R105 per month. The System Manager pointed out to him that he was earning over R200 per month at the present moment. The young man replied, “That makes no difference. I have to work at night; I have to work on Saturdays and Sundays. I am not married. I have a girl friend and I have to get my boy friend to take out my girl friend. If I get this job as a lorry driver, I will be home every night; I will be working a five-day week and I will be able to take out my girl friend myself.”

An HON. MEMBER:

He has a point there.

The MINISTER:

I must say that in my days I did not worry about working at night or on Saturdays and Sundays. I still found an opportunity of taking out my girl friend.

The hon. member suggested that when railwaymen resigned they should be paid only a portion of their pension money; that the balance should be retained and that when they re-entered the Service, this balance should be credited to their pension fund. I am afraid I cannot accede to this request. First of all, these people very often resign to enable them to get their pension contributions back; they have piled up debts which they want to pay. Although we have a Benevolent Fund from which we grant loans under certain conditions, they nevertheless resign just to get back their pension moneys; they then pay their debts or use the money for whatever purpose they had in mind and then they re-join the Service. The rule is that when you re-join the Service you have to start at the bottom of the ladder, in the interests of the other servants. If I had to start a man again on the grade which he occupied when he resigned, the rest of the railway servants would object very strongly; they would point out that they were loyal, that they remained in their jobs and that this man who resigned is now being reinstated in the same post which he occupied before he resigned; in other words, he is blocking the promotion of many other men who are loyal to the Administration and who are in line for promotion to fill the vacancy caused by this man’s resignation.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Do you consider special cases?

The MINISTER:

Very seldom; it all depends on the circumstances. As I say, that is the general rule, and I have very strong support from the Railway servants for this particular policy. We do not link up the man’s periods of service either. Once he has resigned he is treated as a new entrant to the Service and he has to start right at the bottom.

Then the hon. member spoke about Sick Lund levies paid by pensioners. As the hon member knows, the Sick Fund is controlled by the staff. They make the recommendation in regard to the levies to be paid by both pensioners and servants. The idea of the levy is not so much to stop malingering; it is really to stop abuse of medical services which they get for an extremely small contribution. For the sum of as little as R5 a month a married man with a family gets free medical services for himself and his family. They get free medicine and free hospitalisation and they can even undergo an operation that would cost a private person R500 or R600 and it would cost them nothing. I think this is one of the best fringe benefits that any employee can have. The Sick Fund introduced these levies which are also paid by pensioners but, as I stated in my reply to a question which the hon. member asked some time ago, if pensioners find that this is a hardship they can always apply to the District Sick Fund for a concession.

*The hon. member for Prieska pleaded for a railway line to be built from Postmasburg to Boegoeberg, in other words, the same plea as that advanced by the hon. member for Parow. I have given a full reply to that. I just want to add that the Railways does not make a profit on the transportation of agricultural products. In other words, if I had to rely on the transportation of ore and agricultural products over that railway line which would have to be built from Postmasburg via Upington to Boegoeberg, a railway line the cost of which is estimated at R250 million, the revenue which would be derived from that line would not even be sufficient to cover the interest on the capital. Therefore, unless the Government is prepared to guarantee the losses which will be incurred on this railway line, I unfortunately cannot accede to that plea. Hon. members will appreciate that if I should lose heavily on that particular railway line, I would have to recover that revenue from other users of the Railways; in other words, I would then have to increase the tariffs in order to be compensated for the revenue I would lose on the operation of this railway line, and I do not think that would be in the interests of the country.

†The hon. member for East London North complained about the bad train service to East London. That is an old complaint. I have heard it many times and I agree with him that the service is not always the best but as we get new coaches the service will be improved. The trouble with the dining-car facilities is that we do not get sufficient support from the passengers. After all, those hon. members would be the first to complain if there were deficits and rates had to be increased. Consequently I have to reduce expenditure by not providing dining-car facilities when those facilities are not patronised by the passengers. The hon. member is quite right in saying that the European coaches are not always on the platforms, but as the hon. member knows the non-European coaches are marshalled in front of the train, and if the locomotive has to take in water at a particular station then the non-European coaches unfortunately are on the platform while the European coaches are off the platform.

Mr. C. J. S. WAINWRIGHT:

But these are Diesels.

The MINISTER:

It may be that the loops are too short and that the Diesel cannot pull far enough ahead to get the European coaches on to the platform. [Interjections.] I say that that might be the position. I have not travelled there myself.

An HON. MEMBER:

The platforms are too short.

The MINISTER:

Yes, all these platforms are too short for long trains; the hon. member is quite right, but to lengthen all the platforms right throughout the country where they are too short, would cost a considerable amount and I do not think that that is justified by the number of passengers travelling on these trains.

The hon. member wants me to construct a line from Matatiele to Maclear. That is also one of those very nice things that one cannot do because of the cost and the losses that would be suffered on that line. I know that it would assist the agricultural community if they could get their market at Durban much closer to them and if they could get faster transport of their goods but it would cost a considerable amount to construct the line and the line would be quite uneconomic. I am afraid therefore that I cannot consider it at this stage. Perhaps at some future date, in 50 years’ time, if the United Party should come into office, they might consider it.

*An HON. MEMBER:

It will be a very short fifty years.

The MINISTER:

Well, the hon. member has hopes.

*The hon. member for Koedoespoort spoke about the bedding servants who sweep the dirt through the doorway on to the track and he suggested that plastic containers be provided. I shall ask the Management to go into this matter. He also asked that leave with full pay be granted to Railway servants who do voluntary military service. I am afraid I cannot agree to this. Railway servants who do compulsory military service do, in fact, get paid and I am considering it very strongly to change the position in this respect too, because many of these young people join the Railways a month or two before being called up for military service. They then do military service for nine months and receive full pay. After that they are supposed to remain in the service of the Railways for an equal length of time, but they do not do so. All the Management can do, is to issue summons against them for the repayment of that money, something which is a bother and a nuisance and which often is not successful. In other words, many of the young men take advantage of the fact that they get their full wages or salary for the period they are doing compulsory military service. As I say, I am considering it strongly to change the position in this respect. As far as the question of air pollution at Koedoespoort is concerned, to which the hon. member also referred, I am informed that the matter is being investigated at the moment. This investigation is being carried out in conjunction with the C.S.I.R. I agree with the hon. member that the amount of air pollution at Koedoespoort can be very unpleasant. In any case, this investigation is being carried out at the moment in an attempt to prevent it.

The hon. member for Outeniqua said he hoped I had not forgotten the Coloured workers as far as the latest wage increases were concerned. I can assure him that I have not forgotten them. Proportionately, they will get a good increase, an increase which will also amount to approximately 8 per cent on their basic wages. The amount they will receive in cash will be more than that of the Bantu because, as the hon. member knows, the Coloureds earn higher wages than the Bantu. He also asked for the posts at present occupied by Coloureds on a temporary basis to be converted into permanent ones. Attention is already being given to this matter— in fact, some of the posts, particularly those which we know we shall not be able to fill with Whites, have already been so converted.

The hon. member for Germiston asked that Railway houses be renovated at more regular intervals and that something be done to beautify the surroundings. As the hon. member quite rightly pointed out, we have a schedule in this connection, which lays down that houses should be renovated after certain periods. Of course, a great deal depends on the occupants. For example, it has never yet been necessary to renovate or paint out the study of my house in Pretoria, which I have occupied for the past twenty years. You see, Sir, it is being kept clean.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

It seems to me you do not study enough!

*The MINISTER:

What I do not do, is to study with my hands against the wall. In any case, as I have said, whether a house is kept clean or not depends largely on who occupies that house. Some people can move into a clean house and after six months that house will be dirty and filthy. Others, again, can stay in a house for years and the house will remain clean and tidy. But, as I have said, we have a schedule according to which houses are renovated. Renovations are carried out automatically after certain fixed periods. As far as the beautification of the surroundings is concerned, I do not know how it can be done. In any ease, I shall ask the Management to go into the matter.

†The hon. member for Albany asked for a reduction in the tariffs applicable to agricultural products, especially to wool. Can the hon. member tell me what is the average price of a pound of wool to-day?

Mr. C. BENNETT:

About 30 cents I should say.

The MINISTER:

Does the hon. member know that from Middelburg to Port Elizabeth the railage charges on a pound of wool are a little more than ½ cent a pound?

Mr. C. BENNETT:

But you increased the railage charge when a pound of wool was about 80 cents.

The MINISTER:

I am trying to indicate what the present tariff is. This I do not think can be regarded as exorbitant. When one gets 30 cents a pound of wool and only has to pay ½ cent for its transport from Middelburg to Port Elizabeth, I think that particular traffic can bear those tariffs. The hon. member must realize that there are many other agricultural products that are being transported at a loss. The hon. member must also realize that more concessions are made by the S.A. Railways to farmers in South Africa than any other railway system in the world. He must also remember that the Schumann Commission recommended that the gap between low-rated and high-rated traffic must be closed, low-rated traffic being mostly agricultural produce. That recommendation means that the tariffs applicable to low-rated traffic must be increased and those applicable to high rated traffic reduced. Let me tell the hon. member that I am very sympathetic towards the farming community.

Mr. C. BENNETT:

Are you going to increase agricultural rates?

The MINISTER:

No. As I was saying, I am very sympathetic towards the farmers, and I have always done my best to assist them. You see, I am a farmer myself—at least I was one for 25 years until my foreman nearly made me bankrupt.

HON. MEMBERS:

Was the railage too high?

The MINISTER:

No. I was a dairy farmer and as such the Railways did not affect me at all. What affected me was the foreman I employed. But, as I said, I have a lot of sympathy for the farmers and I help them where I can. The hon. member is aware in what way we assist farmers with the transport of their drought-stricken stock, the transport of fertilizers, of fodder, and many other items. These to-day are subsidized by the Central Government whereas this had to be done by the Railways in the past. But while our approach to the farming community as a whole is very sympathetic I cannot consider any reduction in the tariffs at the moment especially in view of the fact that I have budgeted for a deficit of approximately R24 million. [Interjections.]

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Why did you blush like that?

The MINISTER:

I am not blushing. Of course, I hope that the deficit can be reduced. That again depends on our economy. For instance, if we can get any benefit from the sale of gold on the free market it might be a tremendous spur to our economy. If that comes to pass it may be said to be another “fortuitous circumstance”.

*The hon. member for Pietersburg spoke about the facilities at Ladanna. I understand he has already made representations in this respect to the Management and that the matter is bein ginvestigated. In addition, he asked that a railway line be built to Drendon. Such a railway line will, however, be quite uneconomic. I know that part of the world— all there is, is cattle.

*Mr. A. S. D. ERASMUS:

And potatoes.

*The MINISTER:

Surely one cannot build a railway line merely for the transportation of cattle and potatoes.

The hon. member for Transkei asked that the same regulations which are applicable to the transport of goods by rail should be made applicable to the transport of goods by R.M.S. All goods transported by the R.M.S. are transported at owners’ risk. It is so that some of these goods are transported from one manned station to another manned station. At the same time, however, a tremendous amount is picked up and put down at places where there is nobody at all. That is why these goods are transported at owners’ risk. However, the Administration will make an ex gratia payment for losses or damage which can be proved to be the responsibility of the Administration. In such cases the Administration will make an ex gratia payment without, however, admitting any liability. But I have nevertheless asked the General Manager to investigate this matter to see what can be done in this regard.

The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) in supporting the hon. member for Transkei …

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

What about my officials?

The MINISTER:

Well, I have given a reply to that over and over again. The hon. member knows that repetition is odious. Why then does he want me to repeat what I have said before?

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

You have, therefore, not yet changed your mind?

The MINISTER:

No.

Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

What about their loyalty?

The MINISTER:

I admire them for their loyalty—that is why I have just given them an increase in salary. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) when speaking in support of the hon. member for Transkei spoke about a R.M.S. monopoly. Let me tell the hon. member that there are many of these R.M.S. services I would gladly hand over to private enterprise—as a matter of fact, the majority of these services are being run at a loss. We are running many of these services to a large extent in the interests of the agricultural community only. We provide them with a means of transport even if we have to do it at a loss. And yet they would still make use of their private means of transport whenever they have a opportunity—as a matter of fact, they would even hire private transport while they know the road motor services are there, and that this service is being provided for them at a loss to the Railways.

Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Would they hire it if they were able to get the service they require?

The MINISTER:

They hire it because the private operator can run the service far more cheaply than the Railways can. He hires a native driver and pays him about a third of the wage I would have to pay a white man. Of course they can operate it much more cheaply because our overheads are higher. He can therefore transport the goods far more cheaply than we can with the road motor services.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Will you oppose them if they make an application to provide road motor services?

The MINISTER:

Where the road motor service is run at a loss, I will be only too pleased to hand that route over to private enterprise. Hon. members know that I feel the same way about air services. I have offered private enterprise some of my air service routes, for instance the feeder services. Up to now no one has been prepared to undertake it.

The hon. member also asked me about the sewerage at Hammarsdale. I want to say that has been linked up with the water scheme there. At Inchanga the water supply is being improved. R100 has been provided for this purpose this year and I will find out from the Management what the prospects are of speeding it up.

Heads put and agreed to.

Heads Nos. 18 to 25,—Harbours, R24,615,000 (Revenue Funds—Main and Supplementary) and Head No. 5,—R7,886,400 (Capital and Betterment Works).

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Mr. Chairman, when we were discussing the motion to go into committee of supply, I dealt with a subject which I consider very important in South Africa. This hon. Minister did not reply to it at all. I am referring to Richard’s Bay.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

The question of Richard’s Bay will be discussed tomorrow afternoon when we discuss the construction of a railway line to Richard’s Bay. That is why I did not reply to your questions. The hon. member will have the opportunity of discussing it to-morrow.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

The hon. the Minister did not tell me this.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

If the hon. member looks at the Order Paper he will see that we are to discuss the Railway Construction Bill to-morrow afternoon. The hon. member can discuss Richard’s Bay then.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Mr. Chairman, I know that there is a Bill before this House for the construction of a railway line from Empangeni to Richard’s Bay. I do not, however, want to talk about the railway line. I want to talk about the harbour at Richard’s Bay, which is a totally different matter.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

I have no objection to the hon. member discussing it now, but I said that he would have the opportunity to discuss it to-morrow afternoon.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

On the contrary, I think that I would be ruled out of order if I discussed it to-morrow afternoon. The questions I have asked do not concern the railway line at all. The Bill will confine me to a discussion of the construction of the railway line. The questions I want to ask concern the development of Richard’s Bay as a harbour. I raised in this debate particularly this matter because it is obviously being looked to as the solution to many of South Africa’s problems.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Carry on. I will reply to the hon. member just now.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

I intend to carry on because this is the only place I can raise these points. I refer to this matter as the solution to many of South Africa’s problems. This hon. Minister has also implied this. I asked him to remove some of the doubts in this regard. I now want to refresh his memory. The first point I asked him to deal with was whether the construction of No. 2 pier in Durban is in any way going to hold up the development of Richard’s Bay harbour.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

No.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

I then asked him when Richard’s Bay harbour would come into operation. Thirdly, I asked him whether it would cater for dry cargo ships as well as tankers. I then suggested to him that he might well consider making provision for the servicing of these tankers and large ships at Richard’s Bay harbour. I suggested to him that he might well consider the possibility of constructing docking facilities for these ships as they have to go there. The harbour must be constructed at a size and depth to accommodate these ships in a fully laden state. I think that this is quite an intelligent point put to the Minister. I thought that he would therefore have dealt with it because it might well solve some of the problems with which he is faced at the moment. As long ago as 1965, the President of Lloyds warned that more and more of these ships would be built and travel around the Cape. The hon. the Minister knows as well as I do that in the years to come, that unless you can transport your cargo in ships of this kind, you will not be able to compete on world markets because they are knocking the bottom out of freight rates. As this hon. Minister knows, in some cases they are dividing the freight rates by 4 or 5 and so reducing them to a quarter or a fifth of what they are at the moment, depending on the size of the ship. These ships are therefore obviously going to get bigger. I know that this brings problems but these are the things we must face up to. We must face up to them now and not wait as we always do until the problem is with us. We must deal with this problem now. We must try in this regard and in regard to containerization, in respect of which some steps have already been taken, to be a jump ahead. Now, that is the point, Sir, and I want the hon. the Minister please to give us all the information at his disposal, now, so that we know where we stand, not only as a Parliamentary Opposition, but he must remember that upon the information that he gives now commerce, industry, our mining industry and our farming industry are all going to plan for the future. He is going to set the trend. You will remember one of the persons I quoted to him, was Mr. Keyter, the Chairman of the Mealie Board, who is obviously looking forward to Richard’s Bay as the point of export for the huge surplus of the Mealie Board. He has made a statement in that regard. Unless he can export them in this particular type of Bulk Carrier, he cannot hope to compete on the world market and dispose of the extra maize crop. That is the first point I want to get at.

Secondly, I want to ask the hon. the Minister this: In the Brown Book he has provided for stage one of the development of Table Bay Harbour. He has provided quite a big sum of money. This is at the moment before a committee, which this hon. Minister himself appointed. I want to know if the inclusion of this amount in the Brown Book means that he has already made up his mind, or whether he has put this up so that it can be transferred to another scheme that the committee recommended. I think we should have this information at this stage.

Thirdly, in the time I have I want to take up a question which the hon. member for Yeoville raised in connection with railways. I want to raise this same point in connection with harbours. This is the question of staff fatigue. This hon. Minister has had plenty of warnings. The hon. member for South Coast raised the question of a tanker that nearly ran away the other day in Durban harbour, and thanks to a member of this hon. Minister’s staff quite a terrible disaster was diverted, I know because I know who the man was who handled it. But, Sir, I want to warn this hon. Minister right now, and I want to know what steps he is taking in connection with this problem in our harbours. You know, ships do not stop when you put your foot on the brakes; ships have to be manoeuvred. Just let me read a little quotation from what the chairman of his own Harbour Board in Durban, Mr. Douglas Tilly said on the 23rd April:

He warned yesterday that the fatigue factor among harbour staff would have to be closely watched, as the men were working exceptionally hard and long hours. He was speaking at a Railway luncheon.

Then he gave the number of ships that were being handled.

In one day last week there were 80 ships inside the port or at the anchorage, and on another occasion 18 diverted ships were in the port. He said: “In normal times, even in good weather, it is a tricky task manoeuvring large vessels in restricted areas, and it is difficult to appreciate the immense strain being put upon our pilots, the berthing staff and their administrators. I believe the fatigue factor will be required to be carefully watched.” Mr. Tilly disclosed that at present an average of about 150,000 tons of bunker oil was being pumped into ships every month.

I want to make this point very clearly at the moment, because this position is not lessening. The Suez problem has not been solved, and it is obvious that the longer it remains so, the longer it is going to take to resolve it. Because every moment, every day, that the canal is not used, it silts up more and more. Even if it is decided to-morrow to open the canal, this hon. Minister knows that it is going to take a long, long time before it is restored to normal. I can see no relief in the foreseeable future for the staff working our harbours. I think that this hon. Minister must make an all out effort now to see that this staff fatigue factor is dealt with and overcome. It is all very well for the hon. the Minister to say that they can refuse to work overtime and that they can do all these sort of things. He then talks about their loyalty. Of course, loyalty alone will make them work. Can you imagine any member of his staff on the Harbours or on the Railways refusing to work overtime? Can you imagine what will happen to them after that?

I know that in certain of the Railways sheds the running foreman would tell one of his workmen: So you will not work overtime? And that man then never gets anymore overtime. He is penalized in many ways and the hon. the Minister knows as well as I do how it is done. He has no control over it. People do not refuse to work overtime, for reasons of loyalty and other factors. They go on working. But it is this hon. Minister’s job to see that this fatigue factor does not go on for too long. [Time expired.]

Mr. C. BENNETT:

I want this evening to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention again to a problem of which I am sure he must be very well aware, namely the underutilization of the harbours at East London and Port Elizabeth. We have heard a lot about the building of a new harbour at Richard’s Bay. We have heard about the extensions that are envisaged at Cape Town and Durban. I have nothing against that. But it must surely be a source of inefficiency and loss to the Administration if these two ports that I have mentioned are being under used. This under-utilization is not a new development. It has been going on for a long time. Recently the hon. the Minister has built an avoiding line from Chiselhurst down to the East London harbour. A grain elevator was also built there as more grain exports and mealie exports are going through that harbour. But as long ago as October, 1966, the chairman of the East London Industrial Development Committee was on record as having said that this harbour, namely East London, works at only about 35 to 40 per cent capacity and that block trains of empty trucks are returned from East London daily. “This was bad uneconomic business.” If one looks at page 47 of the General Manager’s report one will see that the graph on that page shows that since 1949-’50 up to 1966-’67 there has not been a very big increase in the tonnages of cargo handled at East London. Last year there was in fact a decrease over the previous year in virtually every category— such as ships handled, gross tonnage, passengers and harbour tonnage at a time when most of the other harbours were showing increases in nearly all these categories. At the same time we had this position of recurring congestion and delay at Cape Town and Durban. The latest example of that was in last night’s newspaper under the heading “The Port squeeze is back”. The article reads inter alia

The big squeeze came back to the Cape Town docks to-day with all berths taken, 28 ships listed to enter the port and 14 anchored in the bay waiting their turn.

This imbalance has been worse since the Suez crisis and it was aggrevated in the early days of the Suez crisis by the fact that at Port Elizabeth and I understand also at East London, bunkering facilities were not available. Because what happened at Port Elizabeth was that the oil pipeline to the bunkering points passed over an iron bridge—which I understand was Railway property—in the Baakaans River Valley and that when that bridge was demolished the pipes were not reconnected or replaced. I believe that for several months after the Suez crisis arose they were not replaced and as a result no bunkering was available there, but only at Durban and Cape Town. I have a newspaper cutting here which states that the port captain of Cape Town recently said he thought a considerable volume of rerouted ships now calling at Cape Town would benefit by going to Port Elizabeth. That was in June of 1967. He said ships would probably be able to get their oil more quickly if they went to Port Elizabeth. The Railways’ January summary of shipping and cargo dealt with showed that only 25 of the 3,072 diverted ships visited Port Elizabeth as against 1,750 that touched on at Durban and 1,322 at Cape Town. I do not know what the causes of this disparity in numbers are, and how far it lies within the hon. the Minister’s power to remedy this situation. Nevertheless, I want to ask the Minister whether this matter could not receive attention because perhaps the supply of bunker fuel at Port Elizabeth is limited. Or is the reason one which has come to my ears, namely that ships can bunker more cheaply at Durban, namely at R1 per ton less? I should like to hear the reasons from the Minister and perhaps he can tell us what he can do to remedy the situation, and what he intends doing about it.

Obviously the Railways must be suffering losses because the trains go down to the ports with full trucks and they return empty. I presume this is also the case at Port Elizabeth where the ore trains go fully loaded down to the port and return empty. Again this state of affairs must involve the Administration in losses.

I want to ask the Minister to consider one further point. It is very unsatisfactory to have the overwhelming bulk of facilities concentrated at one or two ports. In times of peace such a state of affairs merely causes the Administration financial loss, but in times of war it can be very dangerous for the country indeed. This matter takes on extra importance in these days of modern weapons and in time of war the principle of dispersal is always a very sound one. However, the necessary planning must be done in peacetime; otherwise we might be caught on the wrong foot if hostilities should break out. I hope the Minister is giving attention to this problem and I would be very glad to hear from him what he has in mind to solve it.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Mr. Chairman, there is one final point which I think must be raised in this committee and it ties up with a matter which the hon. the Minister dealt with last year. He referred to something which applies to Cape Town harbour in particular, but what I want to say really refers to all our harbours. He said it did not pay him really to have the local harbour working regularly at night because night working was expensive. He is so right, because it is indeed very expensive. The Minister can make all the arrangements he likes, he can bring the ships alongside the quays in good time, he can have the railway trucks or other vehicles on the wharfside to either bring the cargo to these ships, or convey it away from the ships, but there is one connecting link between the quay and the ship, and this is where I believe the Minister and his department have failed miserably. That connecting link is the crane and the crane driver who has to transfer the goods from the quay to the ship, or vice versa, whichever way it happens to be. This Minister has failed to create a set of conditions which makes the moving of that cargo go smoothly and rapidly. I want to bring to the Minister’s notice that in this port of Cape Town there have been occasions when, during a whole night’s operations less than 100 tons of cargo have been transferred between wharf and ship. Why is that? It is because that connecting link has broken down. The hon. member for Port Natal quoted to us yesterday cases he knows of crane drivers having had to work 84 hours in one week. I believe 82 hours per week is quite common. The Minister can correct me if he likes, because I have not gone into the figures. One thing I do know is that, to the best of my knowledge, crane drivers are working exceptionally long hours. These men are getting fed up, and they are one of the weakest links in the whole harbour set-up. This is not their own fault, because the conditions under which they have to work are not right and they do not lend themselves to the proper working of our harbours.

I want the Minister to tell us what he is doing about this problem. I do not know of one shipping company or agent in this country who does not have a grouse about this particular weak link, perhaps the weakest link of all in the harbour complex. I sincerely hope the Minister will tell us of some positive approach which he has in mind and which will contribute to the restoring of this link to its full strength so that the smooth workings of the harbours can go on. I believe if he can do that, he will have gone quite a long way to speed up the working of the ships that use our ports. Of course, this does not apply to ships like tankers and vessels that use the grain elevators. That is obvious. But it applies to every other ship that loads or discharges in our ports. I believe this problem has to be faced.

Now, I do not want the hon. the Minister to turn around and say I am criticizing the crane drivers, and I do not want him to think that I am. However, I believe these are matters which we have to face, because there is no sense in running away from them. I think the Minister probably knows as well as I do that this is a weak link and I sincerely hope he can tell us to-night of some positive plan which is going to change the picture relating to the loading and unloading of our ships.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT:

Mr. Chairman, I think it is quite impracticable for me to reply to every point that every hon. member raises during the Budget debate. Certain points should not be raised during a Budget debate at all because it is more appropriate to do so in Committee. As regards the points raised by the hon. member concerning Richard’s Bay, he can or could raise them when the Construction Bill is before the House.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

I raised them yesterday.

The MINISTER:

I know, I said the hon. member could raise them then, and that is why I did not reply to those points yesterday. But apart from that if I do not reply to every point raised, hon. members will have the opportunity of raising them again during committee.

The hon. member asked several questions in regard to Richard’s Bay. He wanted to know when the harbour will come into operation. If the hon. member had read the Railways and Harbours Report, he would have had that information.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

I want it from you though.

The MINISTER:

Good heavens! The hon. member has got it in black and white in the report, for which I am responsible. He can even take it home with him. In that report it says it will take two years to complete the tests. The construction of the harbour will probably start in about two years’ time, namely by 1971. How long it will take to complete I do not know. There is no estimate at the present time. I have also said before that planning is taking place at the present time. I have also said that Richard’s Bay will mainly cater for bulk cargoes and for oil. I do not for a moment say a grain elevator is going to be built there for the export of maize. If maize is exported as a bulk cargo the port must have a grain elevator, otherwise it cannot be done. Provision is being made in the planning for a grain elevator. Provision will be made for the export of bulk cargo, for ores and coal and that type of commodity. That is mainly why Richard’s Bay is being developed. It is also being planned as a deep-sea harbour so that the biggest tankers and biggest bulk carriers can be accommodated there. I have said that before too. The hon. member must just remember what I say and must not always ask the same questions year after year.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Yes, but you change your mind sometimes.

The MINISTER:

Well, I do change my mind when it is necessary, of course, because I have not got a one-track mind.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

We help you to change it sometimes.

The MINISTER:

Yes, you help me to change my mind … I will not reply to that.

A graving dock is also being planned, big enough to take tankers of 200,000 and 300,000 tons. I realize the importance of such a dock. I do not know whether the hon. member is aware of this, but according to predictions these giant tankers will not make use of Suez, even when Suez is open again.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

They cannot.

The MINISTER:

Nasser said he is going to widen and deepen the Suez canal, but I have been informed by people who should know that the dues will be so high that it will be more economical for the tankers from the Persian Gulf to come around the Cape.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

That is my information too.

The MINISTER:

Well, this time the hon. member has the same information as I have. Richard’s Bay will be on their route. If a dock is eventually provided then repairs can be effected there. I do not say I am going to build that dock; I said I was planning for it. It all depends on when it will become necessary, not when it becomes economically possible but when it will be feasible to build such a dock. In any case, as I said, it is being planned for. I cannot give any indication when it will be constructed.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Saldanha could not carry another one then, could it?

The MINISTER:

No, of course not. That is why I am not concerned about Saldanha. I have no intentions whatsoever of developing Saldanha at the present time. Richard’s Bay is the bay which will be developed as a deep-sea harbour to cater for all the bigger ships, for the export of bulk cargoes, and also for the import of oil. That is why the new pipeline is being built up to Richard’s Bay. From there it will branch off to the Rand, so that when Richard’s Bay harbour is in operation the oil pipeline can be connected to Richard’s Bay and oil can be discharged from the ships there. All these things are being planned. I said so before and I thought the hon. member would remember these things.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

You will have to put a grain elevator there too, by the looks of it.

The MINISTER:

Perhaps eventually, yes. Perhaps my successor will do it. I suppose, in the years to come. It all depends on the maize crops.

Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. member should have paid a tribute to my people in the harbours for the very excellent job of work they have been doing since the closure of Suez.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

I have never ceased doing that.

The MINISTER:

The hon. member has not done so during this debate.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

I am going to talk again to-morrow.

The MINISTER:

I hope the hon. member remembers to pay a tribute to those people, because, in all seriousness, I really think they deserve praise.

As regards the provision made in the Brown Book for the new Table Bay harbour scheme, of course that can be utilized for any harbour scheme in Table Bay harbour or in Table Bay as such.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

It is put in as stage one of the Table Bay scheme.

The MINISTER:

Yes, but that can be transferred. If it is decided to build the harbour at Rietvlei, which I doubt, then it can be transferred. I must have it in the Brown Book so that if I get the committee’s report in time there will be no delay in starting off with the project. That is why I have made provision for it.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

You are not making up the committee’s mind for it?

The MINISTER:

I think it would be most improper for me to do that. Doesn’t the hon. member think so too?

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Well, I am not really serious … [Interjections.]

The MINISTER:

I said I think it would be most improper for me to try to make up the committee’s mind.

The CHAIRMAN:

Order! The hon. member is making a running commentary on this debate and I think it is about time he stopped it.

The MINISTER:

The hon. member also spoke about the fatigue of the harbour staff. It is quite inevitable now that they have to work long hours. One thing which I think the hon. member does know is that one cannot recruit pilots off the streets. Our pilots are well-trained men and those who are in my service are doing an excellent job of work. I know there must be some fatigue, but so far they have not really complained about it. No doubt the hon. member also realizes that the diverting of ships from Suez is but a temporary matter. It might last another three or six months, but Suez cannot be permanently closed, because Egypt cannot afford to have it permanently closed. The Canal will have to re-open. When that happens, a very large number of these diverted ships will again make use of the Canal.

I have no knowledge of these very long hours which the crane drivers are supposed to be working at the present time. There is a bit of congestion in the harbour but that is entirely due to the reluctance of the commercial community to clear their goods. The General Manager has again issued a warning to them. The trouble with these people is they do not do their part of the work and then they blame the Railways for delays and congestion. Only the other day the General Manager again told me the sheds are full of goods which are not being cleared by the commercial community. If they cleared their goods, there would be no congestion at all. As a matter of fact, I have received no complaints for a considerable time now as regards delays in the delivery of goods from the harbour.

The hon. member for Albany wanted to know whether there is not a possibility of greater utilization of the harbours of East London and Port Elizabeth. I cannot compel shipowners or ships’ masters to make use of Port Elizabeth and East London in preference to Cape Town and Durban. It is entirely up to them. They have the facilities there and I would be only too pleased if ships made more use of Port Elizabeth and East London because it will ease the congestion in the other harbours. But, as I say, it is entirely up to those people and I am afraid I cannot do anything about the matter. I think I have now replied to all matters raised.

Heads put and agreed too.

Heads Nos. 28 to 30,—Airways, R59,565,000 (Revenue Funds—Main and Supplementary) and Head No. 6, R6,376,000 (Capital and Betterment Works).

Mr. C. BENNETT:

Mr. Chairman, I want to deal with some of the internal services of the S.A.A., particularly the feeder services, the ones which the hon. the Minister mentioned earlier this evening. I think he said that because they were not paying, he had offered them to private enterprise, but hitherto there had been no takers. I want to deal particularly with the service which is known colloquially as “the milkrun”, I think, namely the Dakota service from Cape Town to Oudtshoorn, George, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown, East London and Queenstown. There are flights up twice a week, namely on Tuesdays and Fridays, and return flights on the following days. Over week-ends there is a restricted service up to Port Elizabeth. I was told that at one time the feeder services were losing something like R400,000 per year. I do not know whether that is correct, and I hope the Minister will give us the figure because no relevant detailed figures are contained in the publications which the Minister has made available. There have also been rumours that this service might be withdrawn at some time unless it was better patronized.

I want to urge the hon. the Minister not to withdraw this service because many of the local authorities have invested money in aerodromes and in fact in the case of my own town, namely Grahamstown, the local municipality at the moment is busy constructing a terminal for this service. These services keep the smaller towns on the map and they help to counteract the tendency for businessmen, civil servants and others to want to go only to those places where the jet aircraft land. Of course, this tendency is very much to the detriment of our smaller towns. I want to suggest to the Minister that he should consider running this service on a different basis.

Mr. Chairman, in the first instance I feel the Minister is using the wrong aircraft. S.A.A. have, I believe, four Dakotas left, which are the aircraft used on the service under discussion, and I have no doubt that those aircraft can still be used for a very long time indeed. Indeed, they are almost ever-lasting aircraft. If it is true that the service is being underutilized and there are not enough passengers between some of the points, then I want to suggest to the Minister that those aircraft are too large for that particular job. As we know, they are built to carry 21 passengers. I understand that at certain times the average passengers load between some of those points is very low indeed, something like 1½ passengers. Moreover, those aircraft are slow with a cruising speed of only 175 m.p.h. Finally, they cannot be used on the Port Elizabeth/Cape Town route at night time because the ICAO regulations for that route specify a minimum safety height of 9,500 feet at night and the single engine performance of these aircraft is not adequate at that particular height.

Progress reported.

The House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.