House of Assembly: Vol22 - THURSDAY 21 MARCH 1968


Bill read a Second Time.

Bill not committed to Committee of the Whole House.

Bill read a Third Time.


Heads 28 to 30,—Airways, R59,565,000 (Revenue Funds—Main and Supplementary) and Head 6,—R6,376,000 (Capital and Betterment Works).


When we adjourned last night, I was suggesting to the hon. the Minister that on the feeder services where he is using Dakota aircraft, he was perhaps using aircraft which were not entirely suitable for the purpose because these Dakotas are designed to carry some 21 passengers, whereas so many passengers are not always available and the aircraft are sometimes half empty; secondly, because the Dakotas are slow, with a cruising speed of 175 miles per hour, and lastly, because their single-engined performance is not sufficient to comply with the regulations for the particular route between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. I suggested to the hon. the Minister that he should consider using a smaller aircraft on these routes and that he might perhaps step up the number of flights. The hon. the Minister is already doing this on another feeder service, namely the route Upington-Keetmanshoop-Windhoek, which he is operating …


Not any more.


… which he has been operating up to the end of this month at any rate, according to the official timetable, in collaboration with the Suidwes-Lugdiens, using six-passenger seat Aztec aircraft. I want to put it to the hon. the Minister that that or a similar aircraft—and there are such aircraft on the market—would be more suitable for his purpose. There are, for example, what are commonly known today as mini-liners carrying, say, eight passengers or a ton of cargo and able to be converted quickly from passenger-carrying to cargo-carrying, which have a better cruising speed than the Dakota. One particular aircraft has a maximum cursing speed of about 270 miles per hour, and probably a normal cruising speed of round about 235. which is 60 miles per hour faster than the Dakota itself. Those aircraft are able to land on most of our South African country aerodromes and on most of our air strips. This is an important point as they should be able to land on a normal grass runway, because it is quite impossible or impracticable for the smaller municipalities to provide tarmac runways costing between R300,000 and R400,000. Even where the State may perhaps contribute 90 per cent of the cost, it still means that the municipality concerned would have to put up about R30,000 or R40,000 itself for a runway costing between R300,000 and R400,000. The position as regards these smaller towns is that their airfields will have to remain grass airfields and this, of course, eliminates the idea of using jet or turbo-prop aircraft on those airfields. I want to put it to the hon. the Minister also that if he were to step up the flights on this particular service I have mentioned, he would probably get more passengers because the service will then be more regular. I refer, of course, to the service running from Cane Town to Port Elizabeth/ Grahamstown/Queenstown/East London. The fact that it is only operated twice a week and that the return flight takes place the next day in each case, militates against its being used regularly by passengers.

I also want to suggest to the hon. the Minister that with faster, smaller aircraft he could perhaps extend that service to other towns as well. He could, for example, link up Queenstown with Bloemfontein, and passengers could then return via Beaufort West to Cape Town, which would give the Eastern Cape a direct route up to Bloemfontein instead of passengers first having to fly to East London or to Port Elizabeth. It would also provide the very large Karoo area, which at present is not being served at all, with a landing point at Beaufort West. Sir, just as the 727’s and the Viscounts are to-day the feeder aircraft for the international services of the 707’s—and in future the jumbo jets—which operate from Jan Smuts, so these local services are the feeders for the 727 service. I would ask the hon. the Minister to consider this very seriously indeed, because I am certain that if he were to use smaller aircraft and introduce a more frequent service—say three times a week instead of twice a week as it is at the moment—he would find that the number of passengers using those services would increase.

*Mr. J. W. RALL:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to agree with the hon. member who spoke before me in so far as he made certain suggestions in regard to our feeder air services. I think we should take a wider view of this matter. I think the time is ripe for us to consider this entire matter from every point of view. I think we must investigate all the aspects of feeder air services. At the moment we have the Marais Commission which is going to bring out a report on the co-ordination of traffic. However, I think the time has now come for us to have a more specific investigation instituted into the entire matter of feeder air services. In the past this type of service has often been uneconomical. Periodic attempts have been made to establish such air services in South Africa, but up to now the economic problems which cropped up, have always been the stumbling block. I therefore foresee that we will at first have to plan in the direction of State aid for a feeder air service. This should be done in very close co-operation with the S.A.A., and can subsequently be transferred to private entrepreneurs. The hon. the Minister has already stated here, yesterday in fact, that he would gladly transfer these services to private entrepreneurs. It would therefore be possible, at a later stage, to transfer them to private entrepreneurs in their entirety. Initially however there will have to be State assistance, and Government planning for the most part.

I should also like to bring a few other matters to the attention of the hon. the Minister. The flight personnel of the S.A.A. are a small group of people, but they are key men. They are irreplaceable. Training them is an expensive process. That is why, seen from the point of view of the S.A.A., it is extremely important that we should not lose the accumulated knowledge of these people, people whose services have been obtained with difficulty and over long periods of time, particularly when this knowledge is often indispensable . These people retire when they reach the age of 50 years, and they can elect to carry on until they are 55. In Canada and the U.S.A., a pilot can elect to stay on until he is 60 years old, provided he is medically fit. I should like to see this aspect being investigated in the S.A.A. as well. We have pilots who at the age of 55 are still quite fit and 100 per cent capable medically-speaking. They are people whose services can still be utilized. I am thinking in particular of another use to which we can put these men, that is, to utilize their services as flight training personnel, as instructors for pilots of the S.A.A. When these men have reached the age of 55 years they are usually senior captains, and of course they have a tremendous amount of experience. That experience cannot be allowed to go to waste as far as the S.A.A. is concerned. That is why I should like to see them being appointed as ground training personnel as special compensation for the task which they have fulfilled. Then the medical aspect does not enter the picture at all. They can serve as ground instructors for the purpose of building up a flight personnel for the South African Airways.

In view of the expansion which is taking place, the pressure on the training staff will become unendurable. Even now instructors of the S.A.A. are finding it difficult to train the men quickly enough. They are already beginning to work over week-ends, and I think we must pay tribute to these people, who are performing a difficult task under difficult circumstances, but at the same time with very good results and a high degree of success. I am thinking for example of utilizing the services of men who have reached the age of approximately 60 years on the flight simulators. In the Estimates considerable provision is being made for supplementary items for the excellent flight simulators which are already being used for training purposes at Jan Smuts Airport. These experienced and senior captains can utilize their accumulated knowledge to give a pilot background knowledge. The candidate can make considerable progress on the simulator apparatus before he has to undertake real flights. The active and medically fit instructors can then be used for actual flight training. Before that happens, however, the services of the somwhat older men can be utilized to take our men through the basic stages of training.

In this regard I should also like to refer to a problem which our pilots are often faced with, and that is the question of the man who becomes medically unfit while he can still participate actively in flights. The medical requirements for a pilot are rather exacting, and this should of course be the case. Because it is so we often find that younger men, men about 40 years of age and often below 50, are declared medically unfit as far as flight efficiency is concerned. For the rest they are quite fit and in a good condition. These men are medically unfit for some minor reason or other and they are no longer able to fly. This entails hardships for them. We must, as far as the S.A.A. is concerned, give attention to this matter in order to provide these men with security who have through no fault or negligence of their own become medically unfit and simply cannot remain on the active flying list. Actually they are very unfortunate people. I think that we should come to some or other arrangement in order to make special provision for those people.

There is another matter which I would like to raise in this regard. Although it affects the Department of Transport, the South African Airways is very closely tied up with this. I am talking about air traffic control, particularly at the Jan Smuts Airport. The air traffic controllers fall under the Department of Transport, but they handle the aircraft of all the airlines making use of Jan Smuts. The fact of the matter is that South African air space is becoming overcrowded. There are a whole series of air services making use of Jan Smuts. New pool agreements are being negotiated, and an increasing number of air services are starting to operate in South Africa. We are beginning to experience traffic congestion, which may constitute danger for the future, particularly at Jan Smuts and that entire complex with Jan Smuts as centre, because most air traffic control goes out from that point. In addition we still have military airfields in that vicinity. I think that we should undertake long-term planning in this regard. I want to refer specifically to this aspect of the matter as it affects the South African Airways. There is a panel which is investigating near-miss accidents. In English it is called a “near-miss panel”. The South African Airways are represented on this panel, and they are doing good work in the undertaking of research in this regard. From the point of view of the South African Airways we will also have to ensure improved air traffic control. When I say that, I am not doing so in order to discredit the staff in question. Once again I am filled with admiration for what those people are able to do when they have to work under very difficult circumstances during peak hours. We must find a basis on which we can give these people special remuneration for certain services which they are rendering there. I shall take this point further when we discuss the Vote of the hon. the Minister of Transport. I think that we should, as far as the South African Airways is concerned, look to this matter and make specific proposals as far as they affect the South African Airways.

Provision is being made in the Brown Book for certain flight equipment and auxiliary ground equipment. I want to bring it to the hon. Minister’s attention that there is a relatively simple piece of equipment which can expedite the operation of our Boeing 727’s. This is the so-called D.M.E.-equipment, i.e. distance-measuring equipment. Our Viscounts on domestic flights, as well as our Boeing 707’s operating overseas, are equipped with distance-measuring equipment. Problems are often experienced with our Boeing 727’s **************when changing wind conditions are encounted, and they cannot for that reason use the most economic angle of descent. This equipment can assist in determining to within a mile precisely at what distance they are from the airport when they make their approach. This also enables the aircraft to save a considerable amount of fuel by enabling them to choose the optimum point at which to begin their approach descent. It also includes a safety factor in this respect that, particularly at Jan Smuts, aircraft can be instructed to do certain things at a certain distance. It also makes it possible for them to ensure in cloudy weather that they climb or descend to a certain height at a certain distance, or perhaps do something else. [Time expired.]

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Mr. Chairman, I welcome the concern felt by the hon. member who has just sat down in regard to some of the aspects relating to the staff of the South African Airways, and also his pleas in regard to feeder services.

I want to bring the debate more specifically to the main services which the last two speakers want to feed because I believe that we have grounds for serious concern in this field. Yesterday the hon. member for Yeoville referred to dissatisfaction which he understood was felt in a number of circles in regard to the distribution of the R43,000,000 pay increases—chiefly amongst the clerical staff. The hon. the Minister said it was unlikely that the Opposition should know anything which he himself does not know. The information of this side of the House is that there is in fact real dissatisfaction, that it has reached the stage where statements have been made to the Press and that petitions to the Salaried Staff Association are being circulated, demanding that the matter be put right and threatening that, unless the complaint was met, there would be mass resignations amongst Airways personnel. I do not know whether the report has been brought to the attention of the Minister, or whether the Opposition are again ahead of him in getting information. But I hope he will give us a statement in regard to this matter, and in particular, an assurance that this vital group of staff, the Airways personnel, upon whom the South African Airways is so dependent for its efficiency, and its magnificent record of safety and service, in fact has not been overlooked, and that there will be no grounds either for dissatisfaction or for threatened resignations. It will be a tragedy if we find that the morale of Airways personnel should be destroyed and that this service, of which South Africa has always been so very proud, should be endangered thereby. I also understand that the Airways artisans are dissatisfied with their share of the increase and that they are proceeding with their dispute and intend to stick by their demands for 40 per cent increase. If it is so, this indicates that their share too out of the increases has not met the circumstances and the needs of, that group of people.

Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

They have been prosecuted for refusing to work overtime.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Yes, Mr. Chairman, there are various aspects which I have not time to deal with at this stage, but we well remember other occasions where the activities of the Airways were seriously disrupted because of dissatisfaction amongst the staff. We have always maintained and we continue to maintain that the South African Airways deserve and demand a special place in the transport structure of South Africa. They are a service which requires personnel of the highest calibre to meet the high pressures and tensions under which they must always work. Both air crew and ground staff have a far greater responsibility than in the slower moving fields of transport. When one is dealing with supersonic and just subsonic aircraft, the whole tempo of activity must be geared to the modern age, and we feel that special attention is required for the special staff which is required for this special aspect of transport.

There are other fields in which I feel there has been neglect of the Airways, and in which the Airways have not had their true and proper attention from the Minister. The hon. the Minister will remember that last year I raised the question of looking ahead to ensure that we were catering for the future in regard to the planes which were being ordered for South African Airways. Last year I also drew the Minister’s attention to the remarks I had made the previous year. I do not want to quote them; they are on record in last year’s Hansard (Col. 2827). However, I want to quote an interjection I made then, when the Minister failed to reply to my charge. The question I put to the Minister then was—

May I ask whether the Minister feels that he will be able to cope with the internal traffic in the next five years?

The Minister said that he was quite satisfied and that if he found that he could not do so he would buy more planes. A year ago he was satisfied. But in the interim he appointed a special committee to make a special survey of requirements. After having told us last year that he was quite satisfied and that he had looked far enough ahead and that it was nonsense to talk about demand exceeding supply, this year, it is obvious that there will have to be a large expansion. He also announced the orders which have been placed. But this is a year too late, because the earliest delivery of the 737s can only be by the end of 1969, whereas we cannot have the Jumbo Jets, which by next year will already be in use amongst competitive airlines, before the end of 1971. The Jumbo Jet aircraft are going to create quite a number of problems calling for a tremendous amount of attention. But already by next year our competitors will be flying these, aircraft in, and we will be trailing behind. Moreover, we have heard little or nothing of the planning, both in Airways and in Transport, to prepare for these giant aircraft.

I hope the Minister will not be so contemptuous of our sincere attempts at pointing out, as we pointed out last year and the year before, that the popularity of S.A. Airways was overrunning planning by the Department. But to-day on flight after flight it is impossible for a person who has to travel at short notice to get a seat. Only yesterday a foreign businessman arrived in Cape Town by train, having lost one day out of a five-day visit because he could not get on a plane with a booking three days ahead. On Sunday in Johannesburg he tried to get a seat for Wednesday but could not get on. The Minister may shrug his shoulders and say that a few people cannot be helped. However, when one deals with international businessmen, international tourists, and with South African businessmen, one cannot expect them to take a chance on the waiting list. They have to be at their point of destination to meet specific obligations. I say, the position is getting chaotic. It is almost impossible to get any seat on short notice today on any of the standard flights. Without exception one is told that one has to be waitlisted. Members of Parliament have had the experience of not being able to get away on a normal flight with a booking one month ahead, and sometimes even longer. As a matter of fact, I wonder how many members of this House have been unable to get a seat for the Easter recess? And what about the public? For them the position is even worse. There have been complaints everywhere. However, I do not have the time to deal with this now. The Minister ought to be aware that planes are leaving with empty seats because of bookings not being taken up while genuine travellers are unable to get seats on those planes. I say, the entire reservation system has to be overhauled. We have already pleaded for this, and I plead with the Minister again to introduce a proper computer system so that this state of affairs, where bookings are being turned down while there are vacant seats on aircraft, can be avoided. [Time expired.]


To-day the hon. member for Durban (Point) has continued elaborating on the refrain of the hon. member for Yeoville yesterday to the effect that there is alleged large-scale dissatisfaction, particularly amongst the clerical staff of the S.A. Railways, in regard to the proposed salary increases and adjustments. We have in fact seen a report of alleged dissatisfaction in one of the newspapers. But I think one must accept that there will be dissatisfaction amongst some people. In fact, the Minister stated repeatedly that in such a tremendous staff, such as that of the S.A. Railways, there would always be a few groups who would be dissatisfied.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

To a point where they want to resign?


The Minister said that the door was still open to further adjustments. Yesterday the hon. member for Yeoville made a big fuss in regard to the amount of overtime which was being worked, and created the impression that this would allegedly endanger the safety of passengers. But I think that this entire matter was, when seen in its true light, blown up to exaggerated proportions. The pattern which the United Party members followed in their arguments, as they did yesterday and as the hon. member for Durban (Point) has done again to-day, is a pattern which the United Party has been following for many years in this House and also in other councils where they are represented—i.e. to try and make everyone believe that something terrible is happening here. I have a few of these people in my constituency and they come to me from time to time with their complaints; as representatives with a sense of responsibility we bring these matters to the attention of the relevant authority from time to time. But I really do not think the situation is as serious as the hon. member for Yeoville was trying to imply yesterday.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

May I ask you a question?


The hon. member can rise to speak later. The debate is still in progress. As I have said, I think that these things have been blown up until they have assumed unrealistic proportions. Let us accept that there are quite a number of dissatisfied people. Let us concede that. But what cannot be conceded, is the fact that the S.A. Railways Administration, and in particular the Minister, does not lend a sympathetic ear towards these complaints, particularly when people come forward with a good case, a case which has merit.

*Mr. S. J. M. STEYN:

Are you aware of the fact that prosecutions are at present being instituted against 15 persons because they did not want to work overtime and did so for reasons of safety?


I do not have any details pertaining to that matter, and therefore I cannot reply to it. The Minister will probably be able to reply to it. All that I can. say is that where prosecutions have been instituted there must have been good reasons for doing so. I challenge any hon. member of the Opposition to point out one unmerited prosecution. As I have said, the pattern of the United Party’s approach in regard to this matter is one in which the purpose is to sow suspicion and to try and make the people believe that there are people here who are being treated unfairly and unjustly.

I am convinced that the quality of the service which is being rendered by our Airways staff is most without any doubt of the best in the world. In addition this service is being rendered under very difficult circumstances. I should like to pay tribute to those people.

We are living in a time when developments are taking place. South Africa is not a static country; it is a country where one finds all kinds of explosions taking place every day. Who, in the wildest flights of his imagination, could have thought that we would have had this tremendous influx into our harbours, or that we would have had this tremendous explosion in the number of passengers on our Airways?

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

But over the years the pattern has been clear.


The hon. member is always “wise after the event”, but that is what the United Party is like.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

Read my Hansard of last year.


The United Party is always being clever. I would always prefer to err on the conservative side than on the other side. That is why I can say that it is a pity that there are people who are quite possibly having to suffer inconveniences, but we must accept one thing. As a result of one’s capital requirements and the provision made for those requirements from time to time one has to cut one’s coat according to one’s cloth. There were very good reasons why the Government did not purchase other aircraft. We were able to put our capital investments which we could have made in regard to those aircraft to much better use in other directions, for example, towards ensuring this country’s safety. But the United Party takes a restricted view of these matters, a view which is only concentrated on this specific aspect, and the hon. members for Yeoville and Durban (Point) know this. He is a man who has a say in the defence group of his own Party. We have examined many defence projects, and we have also examined jointly many airways projects, but we are being hampered to an equal extent in the development of these services as a result of a shortage of capital, which one can put to better use somewhere else, according to priority, than one can do here. Could one of those reasons not have been the reason why we did not supply these services? I want to congratulate the Minister and the Airways on what they have accomplished under these circumstances with the aircraft and the staff at their disposal. I also want to pay tribute to these people for the services they are rendering at our airports, where such a tremendous passenger explosion has taken place. Many of us who travel—and we travel quite often— have seen what a tremendous influx there has been, for example to Jan Smuts Airport, where one has to handle a tremendous throng of all races under difficult circumstances at peak hours. To-day I want to pay tribute to the judicious and the most humane way in which the staff at that Airport has dealt with difficult situations in a multi-racial country such as this. It is our earnest hope that that Airport will soon be enlarged so that we can cope with these difficulties there. Our Airways staff is doing an excellent piece of work. As regards our overseas services, our overseas flights, we who have had the opportunity and to whom it has fallen to make frequent use of them, want to say to-day without fear of contradiction that our overseas flights are among the best in the world. I have undertaken long flights on most of the airlines of the world, and did so again at the end of last year, and truly one is proud to be a South African when one embarks on one of our aircraft in Europe in order to return to one’s fatherland. [Time expired.]

*Dr. J. D. SMITH:

The hon. member for Durban (Point) complained as usual here this afternoon about the shortage of seats on aircraft at short notice. If the hon. member had travelled overseas, as the hon. member for Benoni has just pointed out, he would have known that one finds precisely the same position in America and Britain, i.e. that one often has to make seat reservation a long time before one flies. I just want to tell the hon. member, as the former speaker said, that we can only operate an air service according to our financial potential, and I think we must congratulate the hon. the Minister and the Airways with the services which are being made available, within the scope of our financial potential, to South Africa, as well as overseas. I want to state that our Airways to-day are the pride of our South African transport system. After listening all day yesterday to hon. members on the opposite side, and again this afternoon, I really think they should put an end to their criticism, because when the hon. the Minister of Transport rises to speak just now, they will be flattened in the same way as he flattened them in his reply to the second-reading debate. The Opposition puts me in mind of an incident that took place years ago during the inter-varsity at Newlands between Stellenbosch and Cape Town. You know that at inter-varsity there is always a humorous curtain-raiser, a rag, before the main match. On that day the Maties put on a display at Newlands. They drew a large wagon across the field, on which there was a wheel with a crank-handle, and every few paces they stopped, Father Time would turn that wheel, and another dead Ikey would pop out. This hon. Minister has been Minister of Transport for almost ten years now, just as the Matie in those days had won the inter-varsity for ten years running, and every year the Minister, after the Opposition has criticized his Railway Budget, has turned the crank-handle and every time a dead U.P. man has popped out.

After the announcement made by the hon. the Minister in his Budget speech to the effect that we are now going to get three new Boeing 747 jet aircraft, air giants that can carry 363 passengers each, one can do nothing else except to thank the hon. the Minister for the far-sightedness he has displayed in placing a small country such as South Africa in the front row of airline countries in the world. In addition we also have one of the best safety records in the world. The South African Airways are regularly showing a profit, in spite of all the strong opposition we are having to contend with from overseas airlines. This display of profitableness can only be termed spectacular, and the fact that for the first time last year we transported more than one million passengers by air on our Springbok Airline is cause for celebration and not criticism.

Before I resume my seat I should very much like to bring a few matters to the hon. the Minister’s attention. In the first place my plea to the hon. the Minister is that he should give consideration to the following: In the same way as members of the House of Assembly are given air concessions to fly between Cape Town and Johannesburg, he should also grant those concessions to members of the parliamentary Press gallery in Cape Town who, although they are not officially connected with Parliament, are nevertheless regarded as an integral part of Parliament, and who render an important service here by reporting what happens in the Chamber of the House. You know, newspapers are granted concession on the Railways, and it may be interesting to know that the first concession for newspaper men, when they are on duty to report on what happens, was introduced by President Paul Kruger. That is why I want to ask whether it is not possible for the Minister to give his attention to this matter. It will mean a great deal to them. It will also be a quid pro quo for us to these Parliamentary reporters, who also make their appearance here, as many of us do, as migrant birds or migrant labour, so that they can also get to their families at least once a month at a discount. I also want to ask whether it is not possible that these newspapermen, who have to come to Cape Town with a lot of luggage during the Parliamentary sitting, should not be granted a further concession as regards goods. As the matter stands at present, they are being granted a concession for 50 lbs. only, and many of them also have a great many articles which have to be conveyed back and forth between the other provinces and Cape Town.

I also want to ask whether the hon. the Minister will not consider introducing minipassenger buses, as they have overseas, at our larger airports and particularly the Jan Smuts Airport, for the convenience of passengers alighting from aircraft or who have to be conveyed to aircraft during inclement weather conditions. I have often seen passengers rain soaking wet at the Jan Smuts Airport. They are provided with umbrellas, but these offer inadequate protection.

I also want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he cannot go into the question of having greater variation in the announcement by air stewardesses on aircraft. The new uniforms which the stewardesses are wearing are soothing to the eye, but I also want to say that the announcements which are regularly made by air stewardesses in the aircraft are for the most part made in the same stereotype way and in the same words. Now, no matter how melodious the voice of the air stewardess, that message and announcement has no personality. Is it not possible to encourage the air stewardesses, without deviating too much from the old recipe, to say something informal to the passengers now and again?

Then I would also like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he could perhaps give us information in regard to when he expects the international hotel at Jan Smuts to be ready, and whether this international hotel will also, as is the case overseas, be constructed by our own airline or by an overseas airline or by the private sector, and whether they will have any share in it.

In the last instance I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he cannot also give attention to the possibility of introducing film shows on our overseas flights on the Boeing jet services, as is the custom on the American airlines. The competition between the various airlines, as the hon. member for Benoni said, is becoming quite intense in South Africa. The South African Airways have an outstanding record as regards its service, and also as regards the meals on the aircraft, but we shall have to begin thinking of offering something extra, particularly in the case of the new Boeing 747 jet aircraft. That is why I want to plead with the hon. the Minister to consider the idea of film shows. Of course one can read magazines and newspapers on the long flights overseas but one becomes tired of doing that. These film shows need not intrude on the privacy of other passengers. The film can, as in America, be exhibited against a screen in front of the aircraft, and passengers who want to follow the soundtrack, can do so by means of earphones. There are few people who are able to sleep on those long flights, and that is why I think that a good old cowboy picture can do no harm, and I want to plead with the hon. the Minister to give consideration to this suggestion.


The hon. member for Turffontein asked that members of the Press Gallery should enjoy the same travel privileges as M.P.S. I am afraid that I cannot accede to that request. M.P.s. are in a privileged position. Their privileges are dealt with by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. That Committee decides what privileges are to be granted to M.P.s. It would not be possible for this Committee to deal with matters pertaining to Press Gallery correspondents, but, in addition to that, we cannot make an exception by granting special privileges to an outside group.

The hon. member also asked for small passenger buses to be made available in order to transport passengers in inclement weather from the terminal building to the aircraft.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

He is only looking for favourable reports.


Our aircraft are not very far from the terminal buildings, as is often the case at overseas airports. They are usually very close to the terminal buildings, and in addition we have a much more favourable climate. It is the exception if it rains when the aircraft has to depart. In fact, there are times, as was recently the case during the drought, when we wished it would rain. There are umbrellas available, but it would be quite unpractical to use a bus to convey people over a distance of 30 yards.

The hon. member asked that air hostesses should vary their announcements a little and that they should say something informal at times. I am afraid that if I give them instructions to that effect, they might perhaps say something which would not meet with general approval. One would have no control over what they might say. I do not know whether the hon. member would risk allowing the hostesses to say just what they wanted to say in between, in the same way as Fanus Rautenbach does.

The international hotel at Jan Smuts will be built by a private undertaking. Negotiations with the Department of Transport are still in progress.

The hon. member also asked that films be shown on aircraft on overseas flights. I do not know whether he is aware of this, but we experimented many years ago with film shows on the domestic services. They were not very popular with the passengers. Some liked them and others did not, and it was then decided not to show any films. We usually keep our ear close to the ground and we know what the majority of the passengers want when they travel in our aircraft, and up to now the observation has been that the majority of the passengers would not like films to be shown on the aircraft.

†The hon. member for Durban (Point) drew attention to what he alleged was large-scale dissatisfaction amongst many members of the staff in regard to the wage increases which have been granted. I said in my reply yesterday that I was quite convinced in my own mind that everybody would not be satisfied. I knew that. As a matter of fact, I think no concession made to the staff by me or by any of my predecessors, including United Party Ministers, ever satisfied everybody. It is only human nature. Everybody thinks that he should receive more than he actually receives. If another person receives R5 per month more than he receives he is dissatisfied. Of course, there will be dissatisfaction, but I have not received any complaints from any staff association. I deal with staff associations and not with individual members of the staff. If there is dissatisfaction it is the duty of the staff organizations to bring the matter to my attention. I am not concerned about what individuals say in the newspapers. This story about large-scale resignations when the railwaymen have received such an excellent increase is so much ballyhoo. There will not be large-scale resignations. I am not even concerned about petitions. One or two members of the staff who were dissatisfied ran to the newspapers and expressed their dissatisfaction.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Over 350 signatures.


Yes, and I have a white staff of 110,000. Three hundred signatures amount to a mere bagatelle.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

In the Airways.


I do not care whether it is in the Airways or not. They have their own staff organization which can make representations on their behalf. The floor of this House is not the place to discuss their individual grievances and their pay rises. They have a staff organization, and if they are dissatisfied they can bring it to my attention through their staff organization and not through members of the Opposition.


Why can’t we discuss it here?


That is the right way to do it and that is what the staff organizations want them to do. The staff organizations take the strongest exception when individual members of the staff run to Members of Parliament and ask them to bring their grievances to the attention of the Minister across the floor of the House.

The hon. member complained about insufficient flights on the internal services. Sir, tributes have been paid to the South African Airways by many people who say that S.A. Airways, although a very small airline, have always kept pace with the most modern developments, and have always ordered their planes when the need has arisen. The hon. member cannot judge by one or two flights which are overcrowded. Some flights are more popular than others. I travel a great deal by air and on many of these flights there are still vacant seats.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

But when you try to book you cannot get a seat.


There are other reasons for that. On certain flights there is always over-booking. Let me tell the hon. member I have travelled on the internal services of other countries and I think our internal services compare very favourably with those of any other country, especially the U.S.A.

The hon. member also talked about aircraft being ordered too late. A new 727 was delivered in August of last year. The first 737 is to be delivered in October of this year, not next year. The second one will be delivered next year. Does the hon. member know we were one of the first airlines to order 737s? When I visited the Boeing works in Seattle in 1965 they only had the mock up—the 737 was not even in the air yet. As I say, we were one of the first airlines to order the 737. Does the hon. member know we are one of the first airlines to order the 747, an aeroplane which is not even in the air yet? It is still being built, the prototype has not even flown yet. Does the hon. member know that?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

They are going to be flying here next year.


They are not going to be flying next year to South Africa. Where does the hon. member get that? Can he tell me of any international airline operating to South Africa which is going to introduce the 747 next year?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Those are the reports going around.


Which reports?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Press reports.


I have not seen one Press report to the effect that any international airline operating to South Africa is going to introduce the 747 next year, and I challenge the hon. member to show me that newspaper report. It is so easy to criticize when one cannot substantiate one’s criticism. What we hear is merely a lot of hearsay. Then the hon. member makes a lot of noise in the House in an attempt to create a favourable impression. I say we were one of the first airlines to order the 747 and these aircraft are intended for the external services. It is really because of the competitive angle that S.A.A. are compelled to order these planes. We are a small airline compared to other international airlines and we have limited funds at our disposal. Therefore I think it would be the height of folly if I had to start ordering planes, and have our aircraft flying just about empty to their destinations and back.

The hon. member also said there was no planning. I wonder whether he realizes that I have the most competent officials in charge of the Airways. They are competent men, men of great ability. They are men who plan for the future and who do the necessary evaluations before I order the planes. I am dependent on their advice. I as the Minister do not decide on my own; I do not give them instructions and tell them that, because two or three planes are overcrowded, half-a-dozen new ones must be purchased. No sensible man would do that. I am dependent on the advice of my officials who are in charge of our Airways, men who, as I say, have great ability and have proved themselves to be most competent.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Are you acting on their advice?


Of course; why does the hon. member think I ordered these 747s? As I say, it is so easy to criticize. However, I do not mind criticism based on facts, I do not resent constructive criticism. The hon. member talks about planning. What does he know about planning? What does he know about planning for the Airways? Must we just guess that next year we will probably have 20,000 more air passengers, without taking the economics of the position into consideration at all? Is that planning?

Mr. W. V. RAW:

You have your annual figures.


The annual figures vary from one year to the other; they depend on the country’s economic position and on whether the people can afford to travel by air or not.

The hon. member also spoke about overbookings. Of course there are over-bookings, but that happens to almost every internal service in the world, and there are very good reasons for it. In every service that I know of, there is over-booking because so many booked passengers do not show up at the last moment. I was asked why those people are not penalized for their default. We tried that once, but unfortunately all the airlines are to a very large extent in the hands of travel agents as far as bookings are concerned, and consequently we have to keep in their good books. Some years ago we tried to make people who do not show up pay a penalty, but the result was they were prejudiced against the travel agents who made them pay that penalty. The agents were losing their customers, and those customers they had they were sending to other international airlines. I am speaking now of the international airlines. That is why, despite the continual complaints about over-bookings, not a single internal airline penalizes defaulting passengers. Therefore I say we cannot do it.


Is the hon. the Minister blaming the travel agents for these over-bookings?


No, of course not; the S.A.A. are responsible for over-bookings because we allow it. But I say there is a very good reason for that. Every flight is over-booked because so many people do not show up to take their seats at the last moment. That is why people’s names are put on a waiting list and people are asked to go to the airport because if booked passengers do not show up they can take those vacant seats.


So it is not the fault of the travel agencies?


If the hon. member listens to me, he will not need to ask these questions. I gave the reason why we do not penalize the people who do not show up to take their seats. That is what I was explaining, and that is when I referred to the travel agents.

*The hon. member for Middelburg asked whether the retiring age of our air crews could not be raised. He pointed out that other airlines were retaining pilots in service until they reached the age of 60 before they resigned. That is correct. However, I want to point out that the S.A.A. is regarded as one of the safest airways in the world. We have a very good reputation and one of the reasons for that is the painstaking medical examination which our air crews have to undergo periodically. They undergo a thorough medical examination every six months. I underwent the examination at the Medical Institute at Voortrekkerhoogte myself, and a more thorough medical examination cannot be undertaken anywhere in South Africa. There are various reasons why our pilots retire at an early age. In the first place they do not want to stay on any longer. The second reason is that according to all the medical evidence it is in the interests of safety that these men, with a few exceptions, should retire at a specified age. Physically the man may be quite fit, and have nothing wrong with him, but the important point is that his reflexes may have begun to slow down a little. I have had experience of reflexes which have slowed down For 25 years I have been hunting big game, and during that period I found myself in many dangerous situations where there was no time to think and where I had to react immediately. For example, if a wounded Lion charges me at a distance of seven paces there is no time to think. When one is piloting a Boeing aircraft at 600 miles per hour, one does not have much time to think if something goes wrong. The reaction must be immediate. When I was hunting in the Caprivi strip last year a wounded lioness charged me, and I realized that my reflexes were beginning to slow down a little. I then said that it was time for me to pack away my big-game rifles. The same applies to aircraft crew. That is why we are not keeping those men in service for too long a period. It is not in their own interests, nor is it in the interests of the safety of the Service.


How good are the hon. member for Durban (Point’s) reflexes these days?


Yes, that may well be asked, but where can we send him to be examined?

The hon. member for Middelburg also spoke about improved air traffic control. One of my problems is getting enough air traffic controllers. It is very difficult to get them. They are given a very good training and they do their work very well.

My colleague who is in charge of the Department of Transport is really responsible for this matter, because traffic control falls under that Department. None the less, I have already suggested that their pay be increased to see whether we cannot attract more people to those specific posts. The hon. member also spoke about D.M.E. equipment. This distance measuring equipment has already been installed at certain of our airports, inter alia, at Jan Smuts Airport.

†The hon. member for Albany asked that I should purchase smaller planes than Dakotas and utilize these aircraft on the feeder services. The service he had in mind is the one to Oudtshoorn, Plettenburg Bay, Grahamstown, and those areas. I am afraid I cannot do that. The hon. member rightly says that smaller planes are being used from Upington to Keetmanshoop, but that is being done by a private company. I am trying to standardize my aircraft as jet aircraft and prop jets, for the purpose of easier maintenance. I have got rid of all the propeller aircraft except the Viscounts which are prop. jets. Eventually I shall have to get rid of the Dakotas as well. There are smaller planes which are prop jets, but of course they cannot land on dirt runways. I shall have to have another division of maintenance for the smaller propeller aircraft, which I think is quite uneconomical. I would, however, suggest that a private company take over that route. I am quite prepared to hand it over to private enterprise. I can inform the hon. member that when the new airport at George is completed, because as the hon. member knows we are contemplating building a new airport there, that service will be reconsidered. We will not withdraw the Dakota service immediately, but we do not really get sufficient passengers to justify that service. According to the statistics for the operation of that service from April to December of last year, we operated it at a loss of R219,886. I would suggest that the hon. member and his colleagues who represent those constituencies try to persuade the public to make more use of that service. If the demand is increased, I shall introduce more flights. When these services become economic, I will be able to give them better services than they have at the moment.

Heads 28 to 30 and Head 6, as printed, put and agreed to.

Heads 31 to 33,—Pipelines, R3,847,721. (Revenue Funds—Main and Supplementary) and Head 7,—R30,787,500 (Capital and Betterment Works).

Mr. P. A. MOORE:

Mr. Chairman, I make no apology for raising the question of the excessive charges for transporting petrol from Durban to Johannesburg. I think they are extortionate. We have raised this matter with the hon. the Minister before and the hon. member for Yeoville raised it once again. The hon. the Minister said it was the old, old story. It is an old, old story but a good story. The hon. the Minister’s reply is not a convincing one. That is also an old story but it is not a good story. We who live in the interior feel that we are being fleeced in order to pay for the cost of the Railways. The hon. the Minister has told us in the past that he finds the pipeline the most profitable part of all the sections under his Administration. In my experience the hon. the Minister has made three kinds of reply to criticism of his charges. In one reply he adopts the attitude of the monopolist. He told us: “That is my decision. I get that profit and I am going to keep it”. There can be no competition because he is in the position to lay down the law. That was the first reply. His second reply is the one he gave to the hon. member for Yeoville. It is a reply he has used at various times. He has told us, “The system is the rate that the traffic will bear”. I want to suggest that that Statement is not applicable to the charges, for the transportation of petrol by pipeline.

Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No. 92.

Heads 31 to 33 and Head 7, as printed, put and agreed to.

Heads 34 to 38,—Net Revenue Appropriation Account, R21,261,279 (Revenue Funds— Main), put and agreed to.

House Resumed:

Main and Supplementary Estimates of Expenditure from Revenue Funds [R.P. 5—’68 and R.P. 31—’68] and Estimates of Expenditure on Capital and Betterment Works [R.P. 6—’68], reported without amendment.

Estimates adopted.


Bill read a First Time.


Mr. Speaker, I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

I just want to inform the House briefly about the railway line which the Railways intends building between Empangeni and the proposed harbour at Richard’s Bay, subject to approval by Parliament. Full particulars have been furnished in the Report of the Railways and Harbours Board which has already been tabled.

When it was recommended to Parliament in 1966 that a connecting railway line be built between Vryheid and Empangeni, one of the considerations advanced was that it could be used as a feeder line to a possible future harbour on the North Coast of Natal. In the meantime the Richard’s Bay Planning Committee began instituting a thorough investigation into the development of Richard’s Bay, and in its first interim report recommended, inter alia, that construction of the proposed deep-sea harbour be commenced with not later than 1970 and that an aluminium smelting plant be established in the vicinity of Richard’s Bay. The proposed deep-sea harbour at Richard’s Bay is still in the investigatory stage, but the indications are that a railway connection between Empangeni and Richard’s Bay will have to be provided round about the middle of 1970 in order to transport large quantities of stone and other material for a breakwater and the harbour construction works as well as equipment, etc., to Richard’s Bay. As soon as adequate information is available for planning the harbour lay-out, a report in respect of the proposed harbour will be presented to Parliament.

As far as the other recommendation of the Richard’s Bay Planning Committee is concerned, the Industrial Development Corporation has decided to establish an aluminium smelting plant in the vicinity of Richard’s Bay. If economic conditions are such that it will be possible to commence with the erection of the factory, it is expected that a start will be made with the preparation of the site in May this year already. A railway line will then be required by July, 1969, in order to transport heavy machinery and material to the factory site by rail. At a later stage the raw materials required, which will for the time being be brought in through Durban, will also be transported to the smelting plant over the proposed railway Line. The position is therefore that the railway line will be required for the proposed smelting plant before it will actually be required for departmental purposes. It must be borne in mind, however, that the establishment of a smelting plant in the vicinity of Richard’s Bay has the backing of the State, that such an undertaking is being established at Richard’s Bay for the very purpose of serving as an incentive for the establishment of other industries, and that the line will in any case have to be provided for departmental purposes about a year later. It is therefore intended to plan the construction of the line in such a way that by July, 1969, it will be completed to up the premises of the smelting plant at the least. In the event of economic conditions delaying the establishment of the smelting plant the construction of the line will, of course, be adjusted accordingly. The railway line will be approximately 11 miles long and will be constructed at an estimated cost of R3¾ million, or roughly R340,000 per mile. Although it will be a single track line the earthworks, bridges and culverts will be built in accordance with double track standards with a view to the future development anticipated. Steam traction will be used initially, but it is the intention to electrify the line once the electrification of the Natal North Coast line has advanced to Empangeni.


Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we welcome this Bill. I think it serves as evidence of the growth of, not only our external trade, which is I think now providing concrete evidence of how fast it is developing, but also of our own economy. This is an added reason why we should welcome the development which is taking place now at Richard’s Bay.

Part of the pressure there, as I understand from the hon. the Minister and from what I read in the Blue Book, is due to the establishment of the big smelting factory for aluminium. I wonder if the hon. the Minister could presently tell us whence comes the bauxite which they are going to use for the construction.


We are importing it through Durban in the beginning.


Through Durban in the beginning, and subsequently through the harbour. Mr. Speaker, through you I would like to thank the Minister for that information, which is valuable to us in trying to understand the position.

Naturally, with the extension of the railway, which is not to stop at Emgangeni—it is to go to Vryheid and has a long history still in front of it—and the development of the harbour, there will grow up a town of, I should imagine, very considerable magnitude. The question of water supply is a matter which will have to be dealt with by the Department of Planning. I understand that certain steps have already been taken in that regard, and that it may be possible for an adequate water supply for the time being to be secured without very expensive water works by using the water of Lake Umzingazi. This will probably suffice for quite a time, at least while the work is under construction, both the railway and the harbour.

I notice in the Blue Book that provision is made for the bulk handling of maize. The Minister will correct me if I am wrong when I say that I think when he was dealing with his Budget yesterday and on previous days he said that there was no intention of erecting elevators.


I said it will be done in the future.


It will be done in the future, but not for the time being. Mr. Speaker, I would like to issue a word of warning here, if I may. Some years ago I served on a provincial commission of inquiry into certain aspects of agriculture in the whole of the area from Empangeni northwards. One of the things that struck us at the time on the commission and formed the subject of a special report which we submitted—we found it of such importance that we made it an interim report dealing with that subject alone—was the difficulty of getting the moisture content of maize below the percentage permissible for export under natural conditions in that area. The high humidity is normal there, particularly at the low level. It is very near to sea level, and at that low level with the very high humidity, it was found quite impossible under normal conditions to get the moisture percentage down to export level. It was worse, Mr. Speaker. Out of a considerable number of samples that we had tested by various millers, we found that well over 50 per cent could not even be milled in other parts of South Africa to conform with the requirements of the trade, for precisely the same reason: The percentage of moisture was too high. I would like just to issue a word of warning to the Minister and his advisers that they should watch this point if we are going to use that port as a port for the loading of bulk maize, and if it is going to be exposed for any length of time to the atmospheric conditions which prevail in that particular area.


Is it worse than in Durban?


Oh yes. May I say to the hon. the Minister that the C.S.I.R. through their branches will be able to give him the comparative table, and the Department of Agricultural Technical Services I am sure will be able probably to spotlight this particular point if it is referred to them, without any difficulty at all. They will be able to say what the position is. The position one year was so bad that the whole mealie crop from that area northwards, small as it was, was unsaleable in South Africa. It is not a great mealie producing area, although in some of the alluvial areas there the yield per acre of maize is bery high indeed, particularly when the land is first broken up. The whole of that crop was unsaleable until it had been taken from there and moved to an area with a dry atmosphere, and subjected to further drying, brought down to the requisite standards of moisture content, and then brought on to the market. All that was necessary because it could not be sold as it came in from the fields after the normal drying period which is allowed for by mealie growers. That perhaps was an unusual event. It was particularly bad that year, a year of very high humidity. But that is the kind of thing that happens up there. We have to realize that the climatic conditions there are abnormal. It is nothing to go on for a long series of years, perhaps for eight, nine, 10 or 12 years with relatively low rainfall, but then you will strike a year when there will be up to 60 or even 70 inches of rainfall in that area.

This does not only affect the question of the atmospheric moisture but it also affects of course works, like railways and that sort of thing. But there the Minister will have the records in respect of his own existing railway and the troubles that they have had in the past in connection with bridges over the Umfolozi and other rivers, culverts and so forth. All that is history as far as the Railways are concerned, and no doubt all the planning that has been done takes cognizance of that.

Apart from that, Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt whatever that, however we may be viewing this railway as the first step in a much bigger and longer line and the development of the harbour at Richard’s Bay and, even if we take a big and wide view, I am certain that it will be found to be inadequate, say within the next couple of decades. The development up there will be absolutely phenomenal when once the railway line and the harbour have been built. I know the Minister’s plans. We have read the Blue Book; we have heard what he had to say about it. The Minister afforded me the great privilege and did me the courtesy of having me with him on one occasion when he went out to have a look at Richard’s Bay. I think one can understand the Minister’s desire to develop that harbour for certain specific purposes so far as rail transport and the harbour are concerned. But, Sir, development is going to swamp all that. This is going to be a terrific harbour, a harbour of immense importance to us in South Africa, and the railway line will be equally important. Electrification is coming. As the hon. the Minister said just now, that will tie it to our central system, and the future of this harbour and the railway is limitless. It is along those lines that I believe the Minister is planning, it is along those lines that we accept the position on this side of the House. We can only hope that there are going to be no unexpected hold-ups and undue difficulties placed in the way of the Minister and his Department, and that in the time allowed in terms of the Minister’s own plans, we will have the harbour and the first segment of the line of 11 miles to Empangeni duly completed as a first step towards the bigger plan which is envisaged. We will give it our blessings from this side, Mr. Speaker.


I am glad the hon. member mentioned the high humidity and its possible effects on export maize. I think it is a matter which the Maize Board should take into consideration. I do not know whether there was a misunderstanding as to what I said yesterday but the hon. member will see that in the Railways and Harbours Report it is said that provision is being made for the planning of the grain elevator. But it does not mean that that elevator as I said yesterday, is going to be built immediately. Of course, all these aspects have to be taken into consideration. My colleague, the Minister of Planning, tells me that in the second report of the Planning Commission this matter is also dealt with, namely the high humidity and the effect it might have on export maize. So that will be taken into consideration. I agree with the hon. member that this is going to be a big harbour. The possibilities are immense, in fact, unlimited. I think it will be the finest natural harbour in South Africa once it is developed. It is even a better natural harbour than Durban, and it is ideally situated. It is only 100 miles from Durban. I think it will be a growth point and the expansion that will take place in the whole of that area is going to be considerable. I can assure the hon. member that as far as I am concerned, I will try to keep to the schedule We are both getting old, but I hope that both of us will still see that harbour in operation.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.


I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The most important amendments contained in this short Bill are consequent upon representations received from the Federation of Mining Trade Unions: firstly, that the maximum working hours at all mines and the rates of remuneration paid in respect of overtime be determined, and secondly, that statutory provision be effected in order that the Minister of Mines may have the power to prescribe in respect of all mines minimum and uniform requirements in regard to working conditions and the general welfare of employees in the mining industry. In addition there are a few definitions that are being amended, two purely consequential amendments, and then a few amendments to the provisions granting the State President the power to make regulations.

Firstly, as regards the definitions: as hon. members will note from clause 1, it is the intention to substitute in certain definitions the reference to the repealed Gold Act, Act No. 35 of 1908 (Transvaal), by the reference to the Mining Rights Act which, as hon. members will remember, was passed here last year. This amendment is only being introduced for the sake of clarity and to prevent confusion. Furthermore, the definition of the word “boiler” has to be amended in order to adapt it to changed circumstances and new technical developments as well as to the provisions of the Factories, Machinery and Building Work Act of 1941. Hon. members will realize that boilers have changed a great deal in the course of years. This amendment is aimed exclusively at safety and at better control over boilers and allied equipment.

As regards the consequential amendments: the former of the two consequential amendments, namely the one which is contained in clause 2 and which deals with the official supervision of mines and works, is consequent upon the substitution for the Gold Act of the Mining Rights Act of 1967. The other consequential amendment (i.e. in clause 3) has become necessary because the designation of the chief inspector of machinery has been changed. He has also become a Deputy Government Mining Engineer now, and section 2bis of the law relating to the establishment of the Mine Safety Committeee should therefore be amended to refer to a Deputy Government Mining Engineer as a member of the Committee. In order to distinguish this officer from the other Deputy Government Mining Engineer serving on the Committee, it is now being proposed to describe the one as a Deputy Government Mining Engineer who has specialized knowledge of machinery, and the other as a Deputy Government Mining Engineer who has specialized knowledge of mining. This is merely a practical arrangement which has to be defined in this way.

As regards working hours and remuneration for overtime: clause 4 contains the most important amendments, namely those that are consequent upon the representations made by the Federation of Mining Trade Unions. The problem that faces the trade unions is that matters such as basic or minimum wages, remuneration for overtime, leave and sick leave can be negotiated with the larger mines which have representation in central organizations such as the Chamber of Mines, the Natal Coal Owners’ Society, De Beers, etc., but that in respect of the smaller mines there are no such organizations with which matters of this nature can be negotiated. The position is therefore that, although the larger mining organizations have, in respect of these matters, proper agreements which have been laid down in the conditions of service, the workers on the smaller mines have no protection in this respect. The arrangements differ from mine to mine, and I am told that there is exploitation at times when it comes to remuneration for overtime, leave and sick leave. I say that I am told that this is the case.

The grievance of the trade unions is that their workers are the only group of workers in the country that have no statutory protection in respect of these matters. The usual labour legislation, and in particular the Factories, Machinery and Building Work Act of 1941. does not apply to the mining industry. Provisions in connection with the remuneration for overtime, for work on Sundays and on statutory factory holidays, leave and remuneration for ordinary leave, sick leave and remuneration during sick leave, etc., are contained in the said Act of 1941 in respect of other groups of workers. The trade unions are requesting that as far as their members are concerned, the same statutory protection should be granted, and looking at the matter as a whole, this is a reasonable and fair request, and that is why I am submitting this amendment to the House.

As far as the Government is concerned, there is no reason why there should be any discrimination against the mineworkers in this respect, and the provisions as contained in clause 4, are intended to accommodate the mine-workers in this regard. However, since the Department of Labour is more specifically concerned with the conditions of service of the workers, I should like it to go on record that the amendment is being effected with the full knowledge of my colleague the Minister of Labour, and that reference is also being made to him in the legislation before the House.

As regards working hours: the present section 10 of the Act, in terms of which the working hours on mines and works are limited, do not apply to coal mines and other mines to which exemption has been granted; the working hours on those mines can be laid down by regulation, and this flexibility is handy. The circumstances on the various mines differ and are also different from mine to mine. That is why you will see, Mr. Speaker, that it is being suggested that the general determination of working hours should be done away with and that it should instead be left to the Minister of Mines to lay down the working hours. This will have the advantage that it will from time to time be possible, without much trouble, to meet the demands of changed circumstances and needs. Therefore there was a special reason for making the scope of the proposed new section wide enough to grant the Minister the power to determine different hours of work for mines and works or for different mines or works or for different classes of mines or works or for different working places in or at mines or works, and also for determining the working hours for different classes of employees, age groups, classes of occupations or different circumstances. Provisions of this nature will be made in respect of all mines, whether or not wage agreements do normally exist in respect of them.

As far as the general conditions of service are concerned—which include matters such as remuneration for overtime and work on holidays as well as the number of days of paid and sick leave—it is by no means the intention to interfere in any respect with the right of the mines and the trade unions to negotiate in regard to these matters. In this way there will, for instance, be no authorization for determining the actual wage scales, but only for determining, as is the case in terms of the Factories, Machinery and Building Work Act, the minimum remuneration for overtime, for instance one and a third times the normal remuneration of the employee. The number of days which must actually be granted as paid leave and sick leave will not be prescribed either, but only the minimum number of days.

In respect of the larger mines where conditions of service and wage agreements are normally arranged by means of an agreement between the employer and the employee, there is no necessity for introducing a provision in regard to the minimum wage scales for overtime and work on holidays and for the minimum number of days of paid and sick leave. In cases of dissatisfaction about these aspects, the persons concerned can and must appeal to the Industrial Conciliation Act, and it would therefor be wrong also to vest in the Minister of Mines the power to lay down minimum requirements in that regard. Nor is this the respect in which the trade unions have been experiencing a deficiency. As I have already pointed out, their concern is with the smaller mines where collective bargaining is not possible. I want to emphasize that the concern here is with the employees at the smaller mines where there is no machinery for negotiation between the employer and the employee. For this reason it was necessary to make it clear by way of a proviso that the powers of the Minister of Mines are limited so that he may not make determinations in regard to minimum wage scales for overtime, etc., and minimum leave privileges on the larger mines as well.

It is deemed advisable to afford beforehand to the owner of a mine or work to which any determination by the Minister will apply, or to the workers, the opportunity to submit representations or to motivate objections if he or they feel themselves aggrieved by such a determination; hence the proposal that the Minister should publish first a preliminary notice in order to furnish particulars in regard to any proposed determination.

It must be possible for the Minister to prescribe penalties for the non-compliance with any determination made by him.

As regards restrictions upon the employment of juveniles and females—with reference to clause 5 of the Bill—the position is that the provisions of sections 11 (2) and (3) of the Act, which deals with the working hours of persons under the age of 16 years and the restriction upon the employment of females and juveniles, will be unnecessary if the provisions of clause 4, which I have just explained, are adopted. This is merely a consequential omission.

Then, in respect of the power to make regulations—as regards clause 6—the position is that section 12 of the Act, which invests the State President with the power to make regulations, has to be amended in a few respects. The first is in connection with the transport of explosives—and it deals with the transfer and transport of explosives—and is aimed at eliminating confusion and possible misinterpretation. When the Act was drafted in 1956, it was the intention that the regulations in connection with the transport of explosives should not apply in respect of certain quarries owned by the Railways but worked by private bodies on behalf of the Railways and under their direct control. The words “excluding quarries worked by persons for and on behalf of State Departments” were therefore inserted. It has now become apparent that the Railways no longer follow such a procedure and that the wording may also be misinterpreted to mean that the activities of private contractors on behalf of the State, at the Fish River Tunnel for instance, have also been exempted from the regulation in question. The words quoted are therefore being deleted so as to obviate this possible confusion and misinterpretation.

As regards welfare measures: the second amendment in clause 6 is also consequent upon the representations made by the Federation of Mining Trade Unions for the purpose of effecting uniformity, particularly on the smaller mines. Just as in the case of safety and health, welfare measures ought to be prescribed, and to make this possible it is necessary to extend the provisions of section 12 (1) (g) of the Act by including the welfare of persons employed in or at mines or works as an aspect in regard to which the State President may make regulations. What is envisaged by welfare measures, is things such as cloakroom facilities, toilet facilities, rest room facilities, protective overalls and measures in respect of healthy and hygienic working conditions in general, more or less on the pattern of the provisions of the Factories, Machinery and Building Work Act, 1941.

In respect of clearing the surface area upon the closure of a mine, it is necessary to extend the State President’s powers in terms of section 12 of the Act so that he may also prescribe regulations in terms of which it will be possible to compel a mine-owner, after he has terminated his operations and before he closes the mine and leaves the premises, to do clearance work above ground so that ruins and all sorts of unsightly structures may not remain or develop. This last provision is substituted for the provision in terms of which the State President may make regulations as to underground work in coal or other mines in respect of which exemption has been granted from the provisions of the existing section 10 of the Act, and which will be unnecessary if the proposed new section 10 is incorporated in the Act.

The following is important:

As you will notice, Mr. Speaker, it is not proposed to write into the Act any provisions in connection with the welfare measures and aboveground clearance work when mines close down, but the intention is merely to create the machinery so that suitable regulations may be made by the State President. From the nature of the case there will be full consultation and deliberations with all the parties concerned before draft regulations of this nature are submitted to the State President.

In conclusion, just a few words about the date of commencement. The reason why it is proposed that the amendments which are being proposed now, will come into operation on a date to be fixed later, is that the provisions of the present section 10 in terms of which there are restrictions upon underground work on mines and works, cannot be repealed before the Minister has formulated the appropriate determinations to be applied to the different mines.


We on this side of the House will facilitate the passage of this Bill and give the Minister our support. However, there are one or two observations that I would like to make. They are really in the form of questions. Let me deal with them seriatim. I take it that the new definition of “boiler” will in reality make the handling of such appliances much safer for persons who either handle boilers or who are in the vicinity of them. Of course, we have no fault to find with that. Then I want to come to the new section 2bis where we also have an alteration in the definitions. Perhaps the hon. the Minister will be good enough to tell me whether the new Deputy Government Mining Engineer, who in terms of the proposed amendment, must have a specialized knowledge of mining, will have to have a specialized knowledge of machinery as well as a specialized knowledge of mining. In other words, would he be a mining engineer or would toe be a mechanical engineer? If he is going to be a mining engineer with specialized knowledge of machinery, I take it that there will be no bar to his advancement and that he would eventually be able to become the Government Mining Engineer, but would he be able to advance if he did not have the qualifications of a mining engineer? In other words, would A be able to become the Government Mining Engineer but not B? They are both very important persons in the mining industry and I think that point must be clarified. The position is not clear from the Bill as it reads now. The question of advancement is important. We would not like to see a bottleneck right at the top which prevents people from reaching the highest rung of the ladder.


Both can be promoted.


Both should be able to be promoted and they should both have qualifications in mining.

Sir, I was very interested to hear the reasons for the amendments contained in clause 4. In my view these provisions which deal with workers on the smaller mines are long overdue; they should have been brought in many, many years ago. It seems to me that the miners on these small properties have been getting the shorter end of the stick, to put it mildly. They have been getting a very rough deal.


The two of us should have come to Parliament much earlier.


That is right. The question of overtime is one which I think both the hon, the Minister and I will watch with interest. The question of overtime in small mines, where there is very often a shortage of mineworkers, becomes important. I am afraid that some of the smaller mines are expecting the mineworker to do too much overtime. The mineworker, of course, is only too pleased to work as much as possible so that he can supplement his income and earn as much as possible, but I would like those people who are interested in overtime, overtime in all walks of life, to correlate the amount of overtime worked over a period of, say, two years, with the health of the individual after those two years. We must watch this point very carefully. We should not allow persons who do strenuous work particularly to do too much overtime. I would suggest to the Minister that he should get advice on this matter to see how we can regulate the amount of overtime allowed so that it will not impair the health of the worker. This applies particularly in some of the smaller mines like the asbestos mines which are now being brought into line. If I was the Minister I would not allow any worker in an asbestos mine to work overtime. I think it is dangerous enough for workers in asbestos mines to work the regulation number of hours. I think I said here a year or two ago that in asbestos mines we should not allow a person to work for a longer period than four hours without having a Test for at least two hours so that his lungs can be cleared of dust. I would go so far as to say that penalties should be instituted for people who work in a dangerous atmosphere, such as one finds in an asbestos mine, if they do not adhere to the safety measures which are imposed upon them for their own good. If we find a man working without a mask, for instance, he should be penalized. If we find that people discard their protective clothing while working, they should be penalized. In the new recreation rooms or rest rooms which are going to be provided in these smaller mines, I would suggest that no person working in an asbestos mine should be allowed to wear the same protective clothing that he wore the previous day. It must be cleaned of all dust, because the dust accumulates to a great extent on the clothing. The hon. the Minister probably knows as well as I do how dangerous the inhalation of asbestos dust is after it has settled for a short while. One can just imagine what happens during, say, the lunch hour when a man is having his lunch in his protective clothing. He takes off his mask, and while he is eating a sandwich he is breathing in the fine particles of dust on his clothing. I think we must watch these points because the incidence of lung cancer amongst asbestos miners is becoming a little too high, and we must make every effort to give these people who work with asbestos, either in mines or in works which will be covered by this Bill, every possible facility for protection.

Then I want to ask the Minister whether the new provisions of the Bill dealing with hours of work and overtime mean that in future once the hours of work, sick pay, leave, etc., have been settled, they cannot be altered without the Minister’s permission? Let me put it this way: Let us assume that the hours of work have been agreed to by the Minister and that the question of sick pay and annual leave has been settled. What will happen if at a later stage there was an application to the Minister for an alteration of the terms that were settled a year or two previously? Would it mean that the Minister would automatically call these people together again and give them the required extra pay or extra sick leave or would he have to alter the regulations. As I read this, these people would have to come to the Minister every time they wanted an alteration to their pay or to their hours of work. They could not do it by negotiation between themselves and the employer. They would have to come to the Minister first before they could do that. Would that be necessary?


They do not come to me personally.


Well, they would come to the Minister indirectly. What would be the position then? I should like to have that point clarified. Could they fix new rates of pay simply by negotiations between themselves and the employer and would the Minister only act as an arbitrator between the two parties? That is a point which I think must be cleared up.

Then I want to refer to paragraph (g) in the new section 12 on page 9. This paragraph will now read as follows—

The safety, health and welfare of persons employed in or at mines or works and generally the safety and health of persons, property and public traffic.

The English there seems to be a bit peculiar. How can you have “health of public traffic”? I think the wording is bad and I would advise the hon. the Minister to try to get this phraseology altered before we come to the Committee Stage so that if an amendment is necessary we can do it immediately. This does not sound good English to me. What is meant by the safety and health of “property and public traffic”, for instance?


It is the same in Afrikaans, you will notice.


Yes. I wish the Minister would have a look at it to see whether it cannot be altered. I now come to this question of explosives. This is a very important matter. I think the reason why we have had a long accident-free period in the handling and distribution of explosives is the care with which explosives are being handled. The regulations in this connection are strict and we must make sure that we carry on in this way. I am pleased to see that State Departments are being brought into line with persons who previously were under regulations. I am sure that from now onwards we shall have an almost impeccable record when it comes to the handling of explosives.

With these few words I want to say again that we hope that what is proposed here will benefit the miners. We wish this measure every success.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

You will pardon me Sir, if I do not deal further with the points raised by the hon. member for Rosettenville. because the hon. the Minister will probably reply to them. In spite of all the approval this measure has received so far, I nevertheless want to express my disappointment at a deficiency from which, I think, it suffers. To my mind this deficiency is to be found in the fact that the proposed new paragraph (h) of section 12 of the principal Act or clause 6 (c) of this Bill is not wide enough in scope. Let me read the proposed new paragraph (h). It deals with the clearance of premises after the cessation of operations. It reads as follows—

(h) The cessation or abandonment of mining operations, and matters incidental thereto, including the removal from the land on which such operations were conducted, of buildings, walls or other structures, foundations, and rubble resulting from the demolition of buildings or other structures on such land.

It is obvious that the point here is simply and solely the procedure to be followed and the requirements to be laid down for the removal of buildings and installations upon the cessation of operations by mining companies for the purpose of restoring the surface area as nearly as possible to its original state. This is truly an important improvement of the existing Act, and it will assist in restoring such premises to their former state. But the deficiency I see, is to be found in the fact that the excavations and the damage caused to the surface area in the attempt to reach the treasures underground are being overlooked in this legislation as a whole and specifically in this paragraph.

This is the deficiency I want to bring to the notice of the hon. the Minister. The restoration of mining premises to their original state is welcomed, but I find that in terms of this paragraph the deficiency will still exist. To my mind the restoration of the area defaced by the excavations, where the actual operations took place, should also have been included amongst the provisions in respect of clearing the above-ground area. In the absence of regulations or legislation the abandoned excavations are left to the tender mercies of Che mining companies and further to those of the elements. Examples of damage left behind in this manner, are to be found all over our fatherland. Man is an indomitable creature when he strives after material gain. He penetrates to the foundations of the earth in order to extract gold and other riches there. He even penetrates to the bottom of the sea. He levels mountains and dries up rivers. But more often than not he fails to attend to the damage he has left behind and to restore those Darts; he merely moves on. Those aspects of the mining industry which relate to the restoration and conservation of the soil, as well as the co-responsibility of mining companies for soil conservation and restoration, I have already submitted on several occasions, also by means of memoranda, to the Department of Mines, the Department of Agricultural Technical Services and also to other bodies. I have also done so across the floor of the House.

I should have liked to have seen my suggestions incorporated in the Mining Rights Act which was tabled last year. However, the bodies concerned pointed out to me that what I desired did not belong in that Bill and that it would be incorporated in the Mines and Works Act, and that an amending Bill was being drafted in that regard. What I as well as other bodies in my district expected, was that what I had proposed would in all probability have been embodied in this measure. That prospect was held out, and we had reason to entertain the hope that this would in fact be done. I have here a letter from …


Order! Is the hon. member perhaps discussing something which does not appear in this measure?

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

No, Sir.


The provisions of the Bill are all that is before us now.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

I want to suggest an amendment to be considered at the Committee Stage, and I want to motivate my statement concerning the deficiency in this measure.


I think the hon. member must do so during the Committee Stage. All the House has before it now, is the proposed legislation.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

With respect, Mr. Speaker, I nevertheless feel that during the second reading I can give a general indication of what I consider to be a deficiency in the Bill. I would appreciate it if I were permitted to elaborate on this. I just want to point out …


Order! I hope the hon. member will not go into too much detail, because these amendments to the law are all that is before the House at the moment.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

I just want to prove that I definitely expected to find soil conservation provisions in this Bill. I want to prove this by reading a letter written by the Chief Government Mining Engineer of Johannesburg subsequent to a meeting responsible bodies had had with him in regard to this particular subject. He wrote as follows (translation)—

It has been decided that the Soil Conservation Act will not be applied directly to persons who are prospecting or carrying out mining operations, but that consideration will be given to the making of a regulation in terms of the Mines and Works Act which will grant me the power to apply to mining such obligations as may be deemed to be in the interests of soil conservation.

This is the point; it is very brief—

The necessary preparatory work …

Why did the hon. member not read this point only, instead of reading the whole long letter?

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

“… is in progress at the moment, and until such time as the desired legislation is published, I have requested all my inspectors …”


Order! I cannot permit the hon. member to read too much correspondence concerning a matter which is not before the House.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

But it is not too much, Sir …



*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

… it is only one single letter.


Order! The hon. member must come to the point now.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

The point is the following. I should like to suggest that in view of the fact that this deficiency does exist in respect of the soil conservation aspect in our legislation, there are certain questions which are still suspended in mid-air. With your permission, Sir, I want to refer briefly to everything I have already tried to do in order to have this matter straightened out. On a previous occasion I raised the question of this deficiency in our legislation during the discussion of the Mining Vote; I was called to order and it was pointed out to me that this belonged under the Agricultural Technical Services Vote. When I pleaded it there, I was once again called to order and told that it belonged under the Mining Vote. The questions I put and the representations I made are therefore still suspended in mid-air. Here I am, trying to bring up a very topical matter during the second-reading debate of the Mines and Works Amendment Bill—where I am convinced it belongs but it seems to me as though I shall not be able to plead this matter here either. This deficiency continues to exist while the Department of Mines does not want to shoulder any responsibility. Here the Minister prescribes directly what action is to be taken in regard to the restoration of the premises where the complex of buildings existed, but no provisions can be drafted and regulations can be made in respect of places where mining excavations took place and the soil was damaged. Now I am pleading that a suitable amendment be effected at the Committee Stage. If the hon. the Minister wants to give favourable consideration to my request, he may in the meantime consider an amendment or an addition to the proposed new paragraph (h). My modest and urgent request is that consideration be given to an addition to the new paragraph (h) so that the paragraph will also include soil restoration in the sphere of mining operations, and will grant authorization for soil conservation regulations which must be implemented while mining operations are being carried out and also upon the cessation of such operations. With your permission, Sir, I should like to quote from a letter addressed to me in order to draw attention to the practical implications of the absence of such legislation. The letter was written by Mr. G. D. Haasbroek of the farm Turfbult , where chrome is being mined on a fairly large scale. Here I have photographs which he sent me to show how irresponsibly they are setting about things. There are enormous excavations and it is possible to use the loose top soil and stones that are being removed for filling in the excavations that are no longer being mined. Lorries are being used to dump the soil over large parts of the best grazing on the farm, not in dumps, but spread out. Mr. Haasbroek is doing his level best to prevent this, and he has already negotiated with the mining engineer and the chief mining engineer of Klerksdorp, but he has been unsuccessful so far. In this letter he puts a few extremely topical questions, questions that must be replied to at some stage or other. With your permission, Sir, I shall read them (translation)—

Owing to the disregard of mining companies for any soil conservation measures and the lack of enforcement of such measures, I would appreciate it if the following questions could be replied to in writing.

I do not want written replies; I am merely reading what he wrote. He asks only four questions, which are as follows—

  1. (1) What moral grounds are there to the effect that soil conservation is the duty of a certain section of the population of the Republic of South Africa only?
  2. (2) I am a member of the Soil Conservation Committee of the Dwarsberg area. How can I be expected to reprimand my fellow farmer and, if needs be, to institute legal proceedings if he refuses to implement soil conservation, whereas on my own farm these principles are being disregarded to this extent?

In these photographs I am holding in my hand, it is clearly indicated what he means. He writes further—

  1. (3) If the top soil has to be removed from the quarries by means of lorries, why can the soil not be dumped into the quarries which may then, even if it is only partially, be filled in?
  2. (4) The soil conservation plan in respect of the farm was served on me by registered mail. What is my position now? Have I been exempted from implementing the soil conservation plan?

Order! I think the hon. member has said enough about the matter now. He must make those representations directly to the hon. the Minister, because they relate to a matter which is not before this House at the moment.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity you finally afforded me to call attention to the said deficiencies in this Act and in our mining legislation in general.

*Mr. J. J. G. WENTZEL:

Mr. Speaker, I want to say at once that we should not think that the reason for this amending Bill is a deficiency in our existing mining laws, and that the legislation now has to make provision for weaknesses. In actual fact the need for this amending Bill resulted from the tremendous expansion in the mining industry, i.e. more specifically in respect of the smaller mines. We are aware of the fact that prospecting for minerals is continuously taking place in our country. Scientific development and the needs of industries continuously require new minerals to be mined. Consequently the situation has arisen that throughout the country there are small mines with small yields which differ essentially from our existing larger and more intensive mining industry, as we came to know it over the years. In our best known mining industry, i.e. the gold-mining industry, good order and arrangements prevail between the employer and the employee in terms of the Industrial Conciliation Act. Through all these years the negotiations between employers and employees could therefore take place on a very orderly and organized basis.

But, Mr. Speaker, as these smaller mining activities expanded further and further, this matter became more and more essential; hence the representations made by the Federation of Trade Unions to the hon. the Minister. Subsequenly it has also become necessary to pay attention to the welfare and the wage agreements of the workers in the smaller mines, and particularly in respect of their minimum scale of wages and the minimum number of days of paid leave. Those mines do not have negotiation as is to be found in the existing, organized, larger mining industries. But what is very important to me in these amendments, is that this Bill qualifies the powers that are being granted for the determination of conditions of service, since the clause in question states very clearly that this has to be done in the same way negotiations between employers and employees are being conducted in the existing larger mining industries.

The hon. member for Rosettenville wanted to know what the position would be if, after two or three years, the circumstances should change to such an extent that the conditions of service determined by the Minister would no longer apply. Mr. Speaker, I do not see any danger in that. I assume that the hon. the Minister will reply further to this matter, but in view of the fact that the conditions of service are connected with existing agreements in terms of the Industrial Conciliation Act, negotiations and changes in these conditions of service are taking place all the time. In other words, after two, three or four years a situation may arise which will no longer correspond with that in which the existing conditions of service were negotiated. As I understand it, the Minister would, as it were, be obliged to review those conditions of service so that they might be adapted to the existing circumstances of these smaller mines. Mr. Speaker, this clause is also important in that it makes it possible for a more uniform system of conditions of employment to be created between the various and different mining industries throughout the country. This is a very important aspect.

I want to pause at another principle embodied in this Bill, namely the question of the welfare of the worker employed in or at the mine or work. The hon. the Minister explained to us that the point here is more specifically the question of the hygienic conditions and proper accommodation of office and mining operations on the premises. I trust, and that is the way I read it in this clause, that it will also make provision for coal mines. I am sorry that I have to specify certain mines, because in the coal mining industry the position is that as soon as a coal deposit is exposed to the air, chemical reactions take place. Gases escape from the burning mine dumps. The House will know that when one drives through the coal fields one smells this sulphur dioxide. But what is important, is that this gas is heavier than air. When it is calm outside, when there are no strong winds, these gases settle on the surface and the workers and the office staff in and around that mine, must inhale that gas. I have proof in my own constituency that the state of health of these people must necessarily be affected by it. Now I hope that in places where new coal fields are being mined—and there is talk of mining new coal fields in my constituency—this aspect will also be taken into account and that the placing of the workers and the facilities for the workers at coal mines will be such that they will be affected by these gases as little as is practicable. I think that as far as many of our coal mines are concerned, this has been a deficiency in the existing planning so far. I am referring specifically to the Witbank-Bethal-Middelburg area.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to touch briefly on the principle raised by the hon. member for Marico, namely the question of clearing up mining operations as soon as a mine has become defunct. I think this is a very important amendment, because as I understood the principal Act, the main emphasis was always placed on safety when mining operations were abandoned and clearing up took place. It can happen in practice that while a mine is in operation, large and heavy structures may be erected on the premises. Once such a mine has become defunct and the operations have been abandoned, and certain things laid down by regulations, have been made safe, such as holes that have to be blocked, large, heavy concrete structures are still left on the premises. A great many of these mining operations take place in the vicinity of urban areas. It is important that regulations should be made in terms of which these heavy structures are to be removed so that the land may once again be used for housing, and so forth. We know that land, particularly in our urban industrial areas, is becoming scarcer and scarcer. We cannot allow land to be wasted in this way. To me this clause also contains the most important principle, namely that the mine authorities or the mine operators will be obliged to give very serious consideration to being more careful in connection with the construction of heavy structures which may be unnecessary and not directly connected with the work and the extraction of the mineral. It will also prevent them from wasting land in that way. Let us be very honest now. In the past we did not give such serious consideration to the use of land in South Africa. We acted rather injudiciously. I am sorry to say this, but many of our mining industries, as well as other industries, were guilty of that. To me this is the important principle in this clause.

Mr. Speaker, I should like to support this amending Bill. I think that it is in the interests of the entire mining industry in South Africa.


Mr. Speaker, in the first place I want to thank those hon. members who took part in this debate. I do not think that one could fail to notice that there was profound interest in these matters which concern our mines and particularly our mine workers.

†The hon. member for Rosettenville raised a number of points. In the first place he referred to the definition of boiler. He is quite right in saying that the change is being effected with the sole object of improving safety where men work with boilers or in the vicinity of boilers. We make provision for the inclusion of every possible advancement in the construction of boilers to-day. Secondly, the hon. member raised the question of the Deputy Mining Engineer and the two definitions included in this Bill. He is quite right in saying that a government mining engineer must have special knowledge of mining. In this particular case both the engineer with special knowledge of machinery and the other engineer will be government mining engineers qualified in both mechanical and electrical engineering together with the necessary experience of mining. Once a man qualifies as a government mining engineer, he will have these qualifications. Both these posts will be filled by men who will be eligible to be promoted to the higher position. I can assure the hon. member that the qualifications are already laid down when a man is appointed a government mining engineer. The hon. member then referred to overtime and said that perhaps less overtime should be worked in certain mines. I want to point out that this is strictly speaking a matter for the Minister of Labour. In this particular Bill we are merely laying down the maximum times for overtime. This whole matter of overtime therefore, as it is agreed upon between the employer and the miner, is really not one which falls within the field of the Minister of Mines, but the Minister of Labour. I do not think that this is quite the right time to discuss this. I shall return later to the point made by the hon. member in regard to the hours of work, sick leave and paid leave.

In connection with asbestos mines I may tell the hon. member that his views that there are certain dangers attached to working in asbestos mines are shared by the department. I do feel, however, that at this stage we should not make a big issue about what is going on in asbestos mines. I can assure the hon. member that we are giving special attention to the position in asbestos mines. We have already drawn up regulations for respirators and other equipment which protect the health of these people. I will in due course inform the House when these regulations will be published.

Then the hon. member referred to hours of work, sick leave and overtime. He wondered whether it would not be a long drawn out matter if the parties had to return to the Minister every time the provisions in this regard have to be changed. I want to point out that in regard to the hours of work we lay down the maximum times that may be worked in order to provide protection. In regard to leave and sick leave minimum times are laid down which, as the hon. member knows, do not vary too often. I therefore do not think that there will be any difficulty in this regard. We also have experience gained from the administration of the Factories Act which has proved that there will be no undue difficulties in the administration of this Bill. I am in full agreement with the hon. member that the deletion of the provision relating to the exclusion of explosives handled by the Railways and the companies working for the Railways is also an improvement.

*The hon. member for Marico raised the question here of the damage left behind owing to mining operations, particularly in the rural areas. I know that he has been exerting himself for years to have something done in this regard. I just want to say that I understood the hon. member’s argument fully. It concerns the excavations and the unsightly earth-dumps that are being left behind, but it also concerns injudicious roads that are being built to reach these smaller mines, and so forth. This is largely a matter concerned with soil erosion. It is therefore a matter that belongs with the Department of Agriculture Technical Services. I also know that for several years already, also as a result of representations made by this hon. member, there have been correspondence and discussions between the Department of Mines and the Department of Agricultural and Technical Services. I want to assure the hon. member that I am once again going into this matter and that in the not too distant future we shall consult my colleague the Minister of Agriculture about this matter to see whether we can do something in this regard. The fact of the matter is that if something can be done to combat the erosion of our soil, I feel that the Department of Mines should not stand in the way. At any rate, I want to give the undertaking that we are giving attention to this matter at the moment. In this regard I may just add that all excavations, for instance those for alluvial diamonds, do not necessarily mar the landscape. The hon. member himself knows that where some of these excavations are being done, grass is growing now, which greatly improves the retention of the water that falls there. I merely mention this in passing.

Then the hon. member for Bethal spoke about the matters contained in the Bill in great earnest and with understanding. He is quite correct in saying that it seems as though these amendments are being introduced at a very late stage. They are actually consequent upon the tremendous expansion that has taken place in the mining industry, particularly in the widely spread smaller mines. I just want to mention two figures which I consider to be wonderful. In 1948 the total yield of the mining industry in the Republic was R262 million. Last year it was R1,319 million. The hon. member will also appreciate the fact that last week we had a detailed discussion in this House of the question of the smaller mines. Then he also raised the question of gases at coal mines. Strictly speaking that falls under the Atmospheric Pollution Act, but in terms of his obligations under that Act, the Government Mining Engineer is at the moment giving attention to the combating of gases, and so forth. As I am saying, it really falls under the Atmospheric Pollution Act.

Finally, the hon. member raised the question of clearing up. I am very glad that he made this important point, namely that when the regulations are known in respect of the clearing up that has to take place, when a mine ceases its operations, mine owners will be in a position to plan better. They will then know what their obligations will be when that mine has to cease its operations. It can also help them to relieve the burdens which will be imposed on them towards the end of the period.

I want to thank hon. members for their contributions to this debate. I also want to thank the hon. member for Rosettenville for his support of this Bill.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.


I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The object of the Census Act is to provide for and legalize the rules and procedure for the decennial population census. The Act was formerly administered by the Minister of the Interior, but upon the establishment of the Ministry of Planning it was assigned to that Ministry. Since section 1 of the Act still describes the responsible Minister as the Minister of the Interior, it is necessary to change this to the Minister of Planning.

The Census Act is not applicable to South West Africa, but in the fulfilment of the Republic’s responsibility towards that territory, it is necessary for regular population censu ses to be taken in the territory as well. Earlier censuses in the territory were taken in terms of the provisions of the old Census Act, 1910 (Act No. 2 of 1910), of the Union of South Africa, and the regulations issued thereunder, which were made applicable to South West, as well as to the “Rehoboth Gebied”, by way of a proclamation issued by the Administrator of South West Africa. (Proclamation No. 52 of 1920). During 1957 the old Census Act, 1910, was substituted by the existing Census Act, No. 76 of 1957. This Act, however, was not made applicable to South West Africa, neither can it be made applicable by the Administrator by way of a proclamation, because the Administrator no longer has the power to do so. (vide section 22 of the South West Africa Affairs Amendment Act, 1949). This Act also provides that Parliament alone can make legislation of the Republic applicable to the territory, and the 1960 population census was taken there under the provisions of the Administrator’s proclamation No. 52 of 1920.

It is desirable, however, to bring the legal and administrative position in respect of census-taking in South West Africa into line with the position that applies in the Republic, and this can be done only by making the relevant Act, namely the Census Act, applicable to the territory, including the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel and the “Rehoboth Gebiet”. Such a step will also be in accordance with a decision taken by the Administrator-in-Executive-Committee of South West Africa.

Censuses are taken at regular intervals in virtually all countries of the world, usually decennially. They are extremely valuable in that the size and characteristics of the population and its geographical distribution and social characteristics are determined in this way. Furthermore, they are indispensable for administrative purposes because the formulation and planning of policy, both economic and social, are to a very large extent based on the census results. Without this information it is difficult to determine the need for new schools, hospitals and roads, to mention only a few examples.

It has already been approved in principle that the next population census in the Republic will be taken during 1970. It is an enormous undertaking requiring a large amount of preparatory work. The processing of census data collected is also a major task. To perform these two tasks, namely the preparation and the processing, it is necessary to make special administrative arrangements. A large number of additional officials have to be appointed for this service and additional office machines have to be hired. If the population census is undertaken simultaneously in the Republic and South West Africa, naturally the whole task will, of course, be considerably simplified. For this purpose it is necessary to make the provisions of the Census Act, No. 76 of 1957, applicable to the Territory of South West Africa before 1970.


As the Minister has said, this is an administrative matter and he has indicated to us that it has the support of the authorities in South West Africa. For that reason we are prepared to support the Second Reading and to see that it has a safe passage.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.


I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Since the year 1914 statistics were collected in the Union of South Africa, later the Republic of South Africa, in terms of the provisions of the Statistics Act, 1914 (Act No. 38 of 1914), and the regulations issued thereunder. In 1920 this Act was also made applicable to South West Africa by way of Proclamation No. 51 of 1920 issued by the Administrator of the territory. This is a similar situation to the one we discussed a moment ago. During 1957, however, the old Statistics Act was substituted by the Statistics Act, No. 73 of 1957. This was done because as a result of modern requirements it had become necessary for matters in regard to which statistics could be collected to be expanded considerably.

The new Act, however, could not be made applicable to South West Africa by way of a proclamation issued by the Administrator as in the case of the old Statistics Act, because the Administrator’s power to issue such a proclamation had been repealed by section 22 of the South West Africa Affairs Amendment Act. 1949 (Act No. 23 of 1949), which provided that in the future only Parliament would have the power to legislate for the Territory in regard to those matters on which the Legislative Assembly of the Territory was not competent to legislate.

In the meantime, however, statistics were still compiled in South West Africa under the Administrator’s Proclamation No. 51 of 1920, as well as on a voluntary basis. However, it is not desirable to continue on this basis, because full justice cannot be done to South West in this year owing to the fact that the provisions of the new Statistics Act, 1957, cover a considerably wider field than the old Act of 1914. For example, effective and comprehensive statistics are a necessity to-day in making the administration of any country run smoothly and in undertaking advance planning, which has become so indispensable.

The collection of statistics is necessary in the Territory, as in virtually any country, for determining the extent of the economic activities and the development. For policy, planning and administrative purposes it is necessary for the authorities of the Territory itself to have at their disposal particulars of, to mention only a few, activities relating to manufacturing industry, construction, agriculture, fisheries, new vehicles registered, prices of commodities and the wholesale and retail trades. Statistical surveys in regard to all these matters are already carried out regularly in the Territory, mainly on a voluntary basis. Not only is it necessary for the authorities to know what is happening in the various economic and social fields, but the private sector also requires this information for planning, business and investment purposes. In addition it is necessary, in so far as the collection and the processing of statistics are concerned, to bring the legal and administrative position in South West Africa into line with that of the Republic. This is necessary because the work is performed by the same staff so that overlapping and wastage of manpower are eliminated. This object can be achieved only by making the Statistics Act, 1957, and the regulations framed thereunder, applicable to the Territory as well. The Administrator-in-Executive-Committee is in agreement with this.

The Administration and the people of South West Africa deserve praise for the way in which they have been prepared to co-operate with the Bureau for Statistics in the past in furnishing particulars in regard to their activities voluntarily and without there being any legal obligation upon them to do so. I think the House will agree with me that it is desirable that this amendment should be effected.


We support the Second Reading of the Bill. As the Minister has said. this is an administrative matter. I would however draw the Minister’s attention to clause 3, which provides that the Minister may enter into arrangements with the government of any neighbouring territory to carry out the provisions of this Act. Does the Minister contemplate making such arrangements with Botswana and the Portuguese territories to the north? The Minister did not deal with that matter and I ask him at this stage to elucidate that clause further because I think it is important.


We do not contemplate at this stage doing anything of the sort, but as hon. members know, Botswana lies in between the Republic, South West Africa and Angola. It may be necessary, but at the moment we are only taking this precautionary step to make it possible, should it become necessary, to have certain dealings with a neighbouring State.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.


Report Stage taken without debate.

Bill read a Third Time.


Bill read a Third Time.


I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The proposed amendments which are contained in this Bill and which are consequent upon the Act we passed two years ago, are designed to provide for the following:

  1. (a) That the principal Act shall not apply with reference to the business carried on by any person of selling on behalf of another, or receiving for such sale, slaughter animals, meat or by-products of slaughter animals if the giving of security in respect thereof is required by the Livestock and Meat Industries Control Board and if such security, in the opinion of the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing or an officer designated by him, is sufficient;
  2. (b) That designated officers of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing will have the right to inspect the books of auctioneers, agents and factors in order to determine the volume of their business in respect of the sale of livestock and agricultural produce as far as is necessary to establish the correctness of the amount of the security which has to be given to the Department; and
  3. (c) Necessary consequential amendments to the penalty clauses in the principal Act.

In order to give hon. members an idea of the purport of the various amendments, I shall now proceed to deal with the various clauses. I shall first deal with the exemption of certain types of business from the provisions of the principal Act.

Clause 1: In terms of section 6 (1) of the principal Act auctioneers, agents and factors are compelled to give security to the satisfaction of the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing to fulfil any obligations which may arise towards any person in respect of the proceeds of agricultural produce and livestock sold or received for sale by them. The amount of the security is calculated according to the volume of the business transacted by the auctioneer, agent or factor during the preceding 12 months. When calculating the amount of security the amount of the proceeds in respect of slaughter-stock, meat or by-products of slaughter-stock sold on behalf of producers, is at present included in the turnover of the auctioneer, agent or factor as a matter of course, notwithstanding the fact that securing in respect thereof has already been given to the Meat Board.

This entails that such auctioneers, agents or factors are compelled to give security to two bodies in respect of the same turnover. Consequently, the Federation of Livestock Auctioneers made representations to me recently that the double burden in this connection which rests on those concerned should be removed. In the cases under discussion security should only be required by one body, and it is obvious that such body should be the Meat Board rather than the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing. The matter will be put right by the provision embodied in the proposed new section 5A. Both the Meat Board and the S.A. Agricultural Union approve of the proposed amendment. In other words, the safety factor as far as the farmer and the producer are concerned is not affected in any way. They are still quite safe.

Then I come to clause 2, which deals with the designation of officers who may have the right of access into the books of auctioneers, agents and factors. For the purposes of exercising control it seems to be advisable to give the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing, who is responsible for seeing to it that the necessary security is furnished to him in terms of the Act, the power to determine for this purpose the volume of the business transacted by any auctioneer, agent or factor. Provision is, therefore, being made for this in the proposed new section 6 (3).

The proposed new section 6 (4) contains the customary powers granted to persons who are designated for purposes of this nature and is necessary to enable them to carry out their duties in this connection effectively.

I then come to clause 3, which amends the penalty provisions of the principal Act. In order to render the provisions of the proposed section 6 (3) and (4), mentioned in clause 2, enforceable and to protect auctioneers, agents and factors against persons who may falsely pretend to be officers designated in terms of section 6 (3), it is necessary to extend the penalty provisions of the principal Act. The proposed new provisions and the amendment of the maximum penalty which may be imposed on conviction, are in keeping with the penalty provisions of the Perishable Agricultural Produce Sales Act, 1961 (No. 2 of 1961), which applies to commission agents.

Mr. Speaker, I think this measure is a very desirable one in order to facilitate matters for auctioneers and factors without affecting the security required for the protection of the farmer, and I shall be glad if the House will give this measure its support.


I want to tell the hon. the Deputy Minister that we on this side of the House will vote for the Second Reading of this Bill. The hon. the Minister explained to us that this measure was being introduced particularly at the request of the Federation of Livestock Auctioneers and that the S.A. Agricultural Union also approved of it. It was quite unnecessary for auctioneers to have been compelled to give some form of twofold security in terms of the Livestock and Produce Sales Act and for such security to have been given to the Meat Board as well. The amendment which is being effected here is, therefore, a good one and we agree with that. Clauses 2 and 3 merely contains consequential amendments. I should like to put a few questions to the hon. the Deputy Minister in connection with clause 1. Does he and his legal advisers feel quite satisfied with the amendment which is being proposed here and which provides—

This Act shall not apply with reference to the business carried on by any person …

Section 5 of the principal Act provides—

When agriculture produce is sold by auction by any auctioneer or other person entitled so to sell, the provisions of paragraph (b) of section 3 and of section 4 shall mutatis mutandis apply in respect of the transaction.

What does section 3 provide? Section 3 of the old Act provides quite clearly that there are certain requirements with which auctioneers undertaking the sale of livestock, should comply, in addition to the question of security. We just want to know whether the hon. the Minister and his Department are certain that, when this clause is adopted, such an auctioneer, apart from the security aspect, will not be exempted from other provisions of this Act as well? We should just like to be assured on this point and if the Minister is not sure of this, one can, of course, move an amendment in the Committee Stage. We do not want to find once this Bill has been passed that auctioneers are also being exempted from other obligations imposed on them in terms of the Livestock and Produce Sales Act. If the hon. the Minister can give us that assurance, we shall, of course, not move an amendment in the Committee Stage.


I think this House is indebted to the hon. member for Newton Park for having studied this Bill so scrupulously and for having gone into the matter in order to get certainty. Like him, I also had misgivings and I asked the legal advisers to make sure what the position was. I promise to let the hon. member have their reply when we come to the Committee Stage, because the hon. member is quite right. Considering the enormous turnover and the vast amounts involved in the stock trade and stock industry, it is necessary that one should be absolutely certain that the system of security provides adequate protection to the farmer and the producer. It is necessary for the Meat Board, which is now going to require security on behalf of the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing, to exercise careful supervision and to see that the security is sufficient for the sake of ensuring stability in the meat industry. But hon. members will see from the Bill that we are not going to place the full responsibility on the Meat Board alone. We are providing in the Bill that the Secretary of the Department must also satisfy himself that the security required by the Meat Board is sufficient to protect the industry. For that reason we are providing for a person to be designated by the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing to examine the relevant books from time to time and then to make the necessary recommendations to the Meat Board if he finds the security required by the Meat Board to be inadequate when compared with the turnover as the business transacted by the agent increases. This is necessary because we must take all steps to give the necessary protection to the meat farmer, who farms on a long-term basis. The meat farmer, who has to invest a lot of capital, has to be certain that the State or the Government body concerned will see to it that he will not sustain unnecessary losses. The losses our poor meat farmers sustain as a result of droughts as well as other causes are quite large enough.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.


I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

I think this is a measure of great importance and one that will be welcomed very much by hon. members. I think that it will be welcomed not only by hon. members, but also by the Soil Conservation Board and by the whole of South Africa, which is having a Festival of the Soil this year, because in this Bill we are making provision for further Government aid for soil conservation.

First I should like to explain the provisions of the Bill to hon. members. The Agricultural Credit Act, 1966, which came into operation on 1st October, 1966, makes provision for uniform and comprehensive measures as regards the provision of credit facilities by the Government to farmers on a continuous and purposeful basis. It has accordingly put an end to the unco-ordinated action of the past, which was not only inefficient but also promoted overlapping. We have therefore made some progress in this regard.

The increase in the funds spent by the Agricultural Credit Board for purposes of assistance, makes it clear, that this source of finances has become indispensable to a large part of our farming community; the demand for agricultural credit therefore indicates that the machinery created by this Act is functioning efficiently. I think that South Africa and we may be very proud of that machinery. However, the application of the measures in terms of this Act has brought to light certain flaws that have to be eliminated. It has furthermore become necessary to extend the powers of the Agricultural Credit Board so that loans for soil conservation, the supply of water and the housing of non-White farm labourers may be granted to all owners of land on which farming operations are carried on. I say “all owners of land on which farming operations are carried on”. In other words, this does not refer to land that is not in use, but to land on which farming operations are carried on. An entirely new facet enters into this financing, i.e. the provision of loans for non-White housing. We have often heard, and the hon. the Minister again appealed to the farmers yesterday, that non-White housing and working conditions should be made as attractive as possible so that the farmers may compete on the labour market and obtain the necessary labour resources. This measure will help them in that regard. The object of the Bill now before you is to make these additions.

Except in the case of certain forms of emergency assistance it is a condition of the provision of assistance that the applicant must provide security. In the granting of assistance for the purchase of means of production, for example, the condition is laid down that the means that are purchased, the crops grown by means thereof and all subsequent crops produced by the applicant remain the property of the State until such time as the debt is redeemed or otherwise exempted.

As the Act now reads, crops that are already in the ground at the time when the assistance is approved of, cannot be taken as security, as such crops are not included in the definition of movable property. If one’s movable property is included under a mortgage loan or any other kind of loan, then the security exists. But we have often come across cases where a crop farmer, for example, had a beautiful crop of maize or wheat or whatever kind of crop it may be, but where it could not serve as security for a loan in terms of the present Act. This measure now provides that such crops may serve as security in the same way as livestock, i.e. sheep, goats, cattle, etc.

In a certain area that was recently stricken by floods and where the farmers had to set about levelling their lands and re-establishing their crops immediately after the floods had subsided, assistance in meeting the costs in connection with the re-establishment of crops could only be granted after the crops had been put in and could therefore not be considered as being movable property for the purposes of the Act. The object of clause 1 is to extend the definition of movable property to include such crops and also fruit, whether harvested or not. The intention here is to make it possible to accept crops as security where the State in fact finances the means of production employed, even if this is done only after the crops concerned have been planted. I want to make it quite clear that existing pledge rights of, for example, an agricultural cooperative or the Land Bank will not be interfered with at all, as a farmer is not authorized by law to cede to the State the right of ownership in respect of crops which are subject to a statutory pledge.

Section 10 limits the powers in terms of which assistance may be rendered to a natural person; this consequently excludes companies and other corporate bodies. As a result of the amendment of the Soil Conservation Act of 1946, the Agricultural Credit Act is now the only channel through which Government assistance in respect of the construction of soil conservation works or the application of soil conservation measures may be granted. As regards this matter the approach differs from that applied in regard to assistance in respect of other farming activities where the accent falls on the farmer. In the case of soil conservation the accent in actual fact falls upon the conservation of the soil for posterity. We therefore have a different approach. The soil itself is also involved here, and not only the farmer.

As the State has the power to enforce soil conservation measures on a land owner, it follows that State funds should be readily available for this purpose. In the case of, for example, corporate bodies such as public companies and local authorities which are able to obtain funds from other sources, the financing of soil conservation should be no problem. It may, however, be a different matter in the case of a private company, for instance that of two brothers who practise farming exclusively and where they, in fact, fall in the category of farmers that are dependent upon the State for assistance. Clause 2 therefore proposes to authorize the Agricultural Credit Board, where necessary, also to grant loans for soil conservation to a company or to some other corporate body which owns land on which farming operations are carried on. Furthermore, the authority of the Board is being extended so that loans for supplying water by means of, for example, boreholes or irrigation works in the interests of farming or for the erection of dwellings for non-White farm labourers, may, within the limits of Government policy, also be granted to any owner of land on which farming operations are carried on.

One of the objects of the Act is to establish a farmer on an economic unit. This is also the object of the old Act. It is therefore essential that the unit should not be subdivided into pieces later on, thus frustrating this objective. Accordingly the Act provides that conditions prohibiting, inter alia, subdivision and, if there is more than one part, separate alienation without the Minister’s approval, may be registered against the title deed of the land.

I just want to explain briefly that, with the idea of consolidation, there are sometimes two units which do not border upon one another but are at a distance from one another, but which have been consolidated as a farming unit. If a person then cultivates those two separate units as a unit to enable him to farm economically, then we go out of our way to help that person. That is when there are separate pieces of land.

If separate pieces of land have already been mortgaged when assistance is granted, such a prohibition of alienation would indeed prevent a mortgagee from having the land in which he has an interest, judicially sold, for then it would at the same time have to be sold along with another piece or pieces not subject to the mortgage of such a mortgagee. Therefore such a condition cannot be imposed on land encumbered to the advantage of another person (that is to say, not the State). It is, however, desirable that such a restrictive condition should nevertheless be imposed in all cases if the rights of an existing mortgagee are not involved. The rights of the existing mortgagee are still being protected. After redemption of the existing bond debt, however, the condition will remain in force in perpetuity. Then we succeed once again in consolidating an economic unit. The reference as contained in clause 3 is therefore intended to make the restriction enforceable in all cases, except when the land is sold by order of the court at the instance of a mortgagee whose mortgage bond had existed before the condition was imposed.

It is foreseeable that circumstances may arise where it is desirable to separate properties subject to a prohibition on separate alienation, and possibly to join them to other properties. In other words, the purpose of the separation is to join the land to other properties. Further provision is therefore being made that the Minister may agree to such a separation. However, if it is deemed necessary that such a separated property be joined to other land or that some other restriction be imposed, the Minister is being authorized to grant conditional consent, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any law contained.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

Mr. Speaker, this side of the House supports this Bill. I am glad that the hon. the Deputy Minister said in advance in his speech that the co-operative organizations were not affected by clause 1. We accept this. If the reverse had been the case, we would have created the position that our farmers would have been able to get less instead of more credit. As far as the next clause is concerned, this side wants to congratulate the Deputy Minister on its inclusion. There are a few small objections to the clause, but we are glad that he has at last listened to the United Party’s representations in including companies as well. We want to thank him for that. It seldom happens that this side thanks a Minister, but I think that the Deputy Minister really deserves our thanks in this case. There is also a second point for which we want to thank him. This probably sounds funny. We want to thank him for also including non-White farm labourers in cases where loans for dwellings may be granted. This is quite correct. The urban labourer is assisted by means of public funds lent to local authorities and other concerns at very low interest rates. The Minister then is quite right in making such provision in this measure as well. But why does the Minister discriminate against Whites in the rural areas? Why does he refer to non-White labourers and not merely to farm labourers? Whites are now being excluded. What about our farm foremen? The rural districts are today becoming drained of farm foremen and managers, and I do not think the Minister should now become “verlig” (enlightened) to such an extent and carry on in this way. I think it will be a good thing if he moves an amendment in the Committee Stage to delete the word “non-White”. Then the clause will only refer to farm labourers, which will include both Whites and non-Whites.

I do not want to say much more about clause 3, because another hon. member on this side will give a little more attention to it. I quite understand the explanation which the Deputy Minister gave in respect of the consolidation of land, and we are not opposed to that. On the contrary, we are in favour of it. According to clause 3 the words “not encumbered in favour of any other person” will appear in the new section 35 of the principal Act. It refers to land which has not yet been encumbered. One may gain the impression that this is intended to serve another purpose as well. I shall therefore be glad if the hon. the Deputy Minister will elucidate this further. This original intention of the principal Act was to consolidate all the debts of a farmer. We were under the impression, rightly or wrongly, that when a farmer with an existing first mortgage bond takes a second mortgage with the State, the State will then also take over the first mortgage bond and consolidate both mortgage bonds, with the State as mortgagee. It would appear as if the insertion of the words mentioned may to some extent be used to extend the mortgage of a private concern which already has a mortgage bond on such a piece of land. I shall be grateful if the hon. the Deputy Minister will give a further explanation of this particular point. We feel that the Minister may say that there is not sufficient money to take over and to pay for the existing mortgage bonds and that the existing mortgage bonds will therefore simply have to continue in existence. Without this change it will of course not be possible for the Minister to do both. However, the proposed amendment will make it possible for him to assist the farmer and to retain the mortgage bond of the private concern temporarily. I shall be glad if the hon. the Minister will clear up this aspect for us.

We are in favour of consolidation in cases where there are uneconomic units, or where two separate units can be better cultivated and more economically farmed as one unit. This side accordingly supports this measure.

*Mr. M. J. RALL:

Mr. Speaker, we on this side especially welcome this legislation. Right at the beginning of my speech I want to express my appreciation to the hon. Opposition for now being so sensible as to support this legislation. If one has studied the principal Act—not only studied it, but if one has also noted its implementation in the rural districts and how it has helped the farmers—and if one has had to deal with it in practice every day, one has come to the realization that certain flaws do exist in the principal Act. With this legislation which we are now piloting through the House, we are able to supply those deficiencies and to bring about a better implementation of that Act.

Before continuing, I first want to mention the fact that this side of the House has a proud record as far as assistance to destitute farmers is concerned. I do not think that there has ever been a government which has done so much for the destitute farmer as the National Party Government. If one considers that there are between 90,000 and 100,000 farmers in South Africa and that since 1948, when the present Government came into power, 30,000 of them have received some form of assistance from this House in difficult circumstances, we can really be proud of it. It is a record held by no other government. We believe that we are at present going through times which make changes to the principal Act absolutely necessary. Large areas of our country are experiencing serious drought conditions and it is not only the poor and destitute farmers who are dealt further blows by it, but also those who were reasonably well off in the past, are literally being forced to their knees by these circumstances. No matter how industrious one may be and how much confidence one may have—whatever one may do—if the rain stays away one may be as clever as one may; one is eventually cornered! I am now thinking, for example, of a region such as the grassveld, this side of the Langeberge, which is well known to many members of this House. It was probably one of our most stable regions, but with the drought which has already lasted about seven months, there are some farmers who would normally flourish, who are having a bitterly hard time under these conditions and who will shortly be forced to apply to the State in order to receive further assistance under this Act.

Let us now consider our grain farmers. Mr. Speaker, we know that to grow wheat and to make a living from it is one of the most uncertain ways of making a living on earth. To put in a good grain crop costs a great deal of money. The farmer is very fortunate if he can say, when his crop has been harvested, that he is able to make a profit of 12 per cent to 15 per cent on the total turnover. Then one comes to the poor man—the man who is specifically going to ask for assistance under this Act—who although he has put in a large crop can do nothing with it; he cannot go to the co-operative society with it to meet his obligations. However, the Government is now accommodating him to such an extent that even the crop which is still on the land may be taken into account. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this is worth a great deal to us and that it will be possible to assist many farmers in this way.

But this Act actually contains and extends two principles, which I should like to see extended so as to include the entire field of agriculture. The first principle is the assistance which is going to be rendered for the building of houses for farm labourers. At many of the agricultural congresses we have made this request to the Government, i.e. that the Government should in some way or other enable the farmer to provide decent Coloured housing in the rural districts. We who know the rural districts all agree that Coloured housing there leaves much to be desired. We do not like saying so, but we must accept for a fact that it is the case. Now I do not want to do an injustice to the farmers who have gone as far as spending a great deal of money to build good houses for their labourers. We appreciate their efforts. It is to their own benefit, because I believe that by supplying better housing for their labourers they can obtain better labour. But the poorer man must of necessity also have labour, and if he is left to his own devices, the accommodation which he provides there is not as desired, since he has no other choice. He must have the accommodation, and because he has no money, he builds it as cheaply as possible. We want to express our special thanks and appreciation for the fact that this legislation now makes provision for the State to intervene there and rectify matters. We hope and request that this principle will in future be applicable to all our farmers throughout the country.

I shall come to the other principle, that of subdivision, at a later stage, but I first want to say how important it is that we make extra provision here for water conservation. If one thinks of the stock areas—and I am again thinking of those parts I know well, namely south of the Langeberge—one of the problems there is that one does not have sufficient drinking water for one’s livestock. If one sinks boreholes or digs wells, the water in large areas is found to be completely salty. One farmer said that his water was so salty that he could catch a kob in it. Now it is a fact that in times of drought one can keep the livestock going if there is an adequate supply of drinking water. That is very important. I believe that one can double the number of livestock in many areas if the water supply is adequate. Now that sheep are fed on dry grass, all kinds of additional feeds and balanced diets, one would be able to keep them going through a drought for quite a considerable time, if one could only succeed in giving them good drinking water. Since this Bill now makes provision, for example, for the water to be pumped out of a river and laid on over a large distance to supply the livestock, I want to express my special appreciation. I believe that the effect and influence of this provision will in time be very important to our farmers, especially our stock farmers. We have to rely all the more on our livestock because our crops so often fail us.

The other principle contained herein is that of the prohibition of subdivision. Mr. Speaker, we know that small units, of which we unfortunately have so many, are in fact a great disadvantage in our farming set-up. The farmer is inclined to keep as many livestock there as possible, because, Mr. Speaker, he must make a living on that unit. He must extract every cent from it that he possibly can. Then he keeps as many livestock there as possible. In times of drought, such as now, the livestock trample the pasture land. The surface layer is later turned to dust. When the heavy rains come, it is this valuable surface layer that is washed away. Then that piece of land is poorer than it ever was before. Because we can now prevent this subdivision and can further extend the application of this provision, I believe it to be one of the most important points in this legislation.

Then there is also the following phenomenon, which is really to be regretted. If the poor farmer is placed there on a small unit and cannot earn sufficient from it to ensure a decent living for himself, his wife and children, he does the following. He does what is so often done. He goes to the Department of Social Welfare and says: “My income is so much and I cannot provide for my wife and children on this.” We can prevent this in future if we ensure that those units are not too small. I want to make the statement here that it is humiliating to any farmer, if circumstances do not allow the man to live from his land and by hard labour, to go hat in hand to the Department of Social Welfare to ask for support so that he may live decently. We believe that the two principles contained in this Bill, especially that relating to subdivision, will in the course of time be extended to our other agricultural legislation and be applicable to the whole of the country. I am convinced that it can only be beneficial to our entire farming community and to our country as a whole.


Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mossel Bay has discussed the aspects of agricultural financing fairly widely. I do not wish to reply to all the observations he has made. He did say that that side of the House is proud of the efforts it has made to assist the farmer over a period of many years. I do not intend to quarrel with the hon. member on that statement. I do want to say that a large portion of the Karoo and the Eastern Cape is in the midst of a very serious crisis, a crisis that has been brought about by a prolonged drought, probably unequalled in the history of those areas. There is no doubt that the Government will have to ensure that it is well-informed about the position there. I do hope that in the course of the next two months they will be able to maintain the reputation that the hon. member suggested they have. If they do not come forward with generous assistance, there is going to be an agricultural debacle in those areas, the likes of which we have never seen. I do not want to elaborate on that subject at this stage, but I do want to impress upon the Minister the seriousness of the matter. It is an urgent matter and demands immediate attention from this Government. I want to refer to the amendments contained in this Bill. As the hon. member for Sea Point said we on this side of the House support the amendments contained in this Bill because we feel that it improves the original Act. It provides for assistance for farming projects which would otherwise not be possible. For that reason we consider it a good measure.

I have certain reservations about clause 3. It is not quite clear to me what the implications of this clause will be. I am a little concerned that it may be that the farmer’s credit-worthiness is impaired when he wants to borrow money from the private sector, rather than the State, as a result of the amendment contained in the Bill. We will have a good look at the hon. the Minister’s second-reading speech. When we have studied his speech and satisfied ourselves that that is not the case, we will probably accept the Bill without any amendment. If, however, we find that the creditworthiness of the farmer, his ability to borrow money, is in any way being impaired we may have to move an amendment in this regard. I say this advisedly because I must emphasize that the farmer in South Africa today finds himself in an extremely difficult position to-day when it comes to credit. Several such cases have been referred to me recently. Comparatively wealthy farmers to-day find themselves in the position that they cannot borrow a penny from any source whatever. They are either too poor to obtain credit from the normal sources of agricultural credit, or they are too rich to get it from the Land Bank. They find themselves between the devil and the deep blue sea with no credit facilities available to them at all. It is for this reason that we on this side of the House will examine clause 3. If we are satisfied that it is not impairing the creditworthiness of the farmer, we will be happy to support it. If not, we shall be obliged to move a constructive amendment.


Mr. Speaker, we would like to thank the hon. the Deputy Minister for and congratulate him on this legislation. The Opposition says once again that this is one of those matters they have been advocating for a long time. This is the old story we have been hearing from them over a period of many years. They hold forth on any topic under the sun. One has to accept, seeing that they are constantly changing their policy, that they would have spoken about virtually every matter without their having formulated or elaborated a proper scheme in regard to such matters. It is the task of the Government and, especially the Department and the Minister who carried out this work and introduced this Bill, to see to the essential things created by circumstances in this country. In the light of the tremendous developments in the country, and especially the increases in the population, it definitely is a matter of the utmost necessity to make provision for the necessary agricultural credit facilities. As long as the population continues to increase, it remains a matter of urgent necessity to make provision for the three aspects of the essential credit facilities, i.e. long term, middle term and short term credit. I do not want to elaborate on this now, because this is not the opportunity for doing so. I do want to say, however, that we welcome this legislation and the fact that the Minister, after all the discussions in connection with this matter, has come forward to amend certain of the provisions of the existing Act, as required by the problems now facing us.

We are also pleased that the Minister, especially in view of the fact that the Government is at present engaged in providing housing for the urban and rural non-White population, sees his way clear to make this step in regard to the problem of the provision of housing for labourers in the rural areas. I should like to learn a few more details from the Minister as regards the loan facilities for the provision of housing for labourers in the rural areas. I should like to know whether he lays down in his regulations what the nature of such housing is to be. In view of the fact that he is making provision for credit facilities under these circumstances, I should like to know whether he will present an over-all plan in this regard, as far as the standards which will have to be met are concerned. This is one of the problems in respect of which we should like to obtain more details from the hon. the Minister. I think this is a fine policy the hon. the Minister is now adopting and we welcome it.

The second matter on which I should like to elaborate is the lien which the hon. the Minister has in respect of products. We are glad to hear that this does not interfere with the lien of the co-operative societies. There are, however, even at this stage, certain matters which, as far as agricultural credit is concerned, make the position difficult as regards the lien in respect of means of production provided by the Department of Agricultural Credit and those provided by the co-operative societies. I admit immediately that the Department is very accommodating and that an acceptable solution is always found between the co-operative societies and the Department. The Department grants a production loan and consequently the Government has the first lien in such cases. Notwithstanding section 96 of the Co-operative Societies Act, the Government has a first lien in respect of these products, so that the Department of Agricultural Credit may rightly maintain that the crop standing on the field is its crop. But this is not where the matter ends. Although the Department has provided the means of production, one arrives at a stage when this farmer has a good crop and consequently has to incur further expenses in respect of such things as bags and spare parts in addition to the things provided by the Department, and in this case the respective liens of the two bodies, which have both provided credit, clash. We shall greatly appreciate if if the hon. the Minister will give us more details in regard to these matters relating to the lien. The hon. the Minister also said, and we welcome this, that he would also take the lien in respect of crops. We know that problems have arisen as a result of private creditors and that possession has been taken while the crops were still on the fields. It happens that private creditors take possession of the farm as well as the crop just before a crop worth between R50,000 and R60,000 is to be harvested. Consequently I hope that this legislation will safeguard the farmer against these vultures who simply wait until a farmer has a crop before striking. But this lien of the hon. the Minister will prevent that.

There are other matters as well in respect of which we should like to have more details. The question of the consolidation of farms and properties is a major problem as regards development in the future. We realize that there are good, average, and bad farmers. I want to show what may happen. One farmer was the owner of a large farm but his farming operations failed. Another man then came along and bought a small portion of that farm. He made a success of the farming operations and gradually purchased the whole farm. In other words, here one is not concerned with the farm but with the farmer. We now have to find a definition for defining an economic unit. The essence of this is to determine when one has a farm which is an economic unit. One of the biggest problems as regards farming units is to determine what an economic unit is. There are small and poor but good farmers who start their farming operations with many debts but who develop these farms and buy additional land. Then one finds the poor farmer who cannot make a success of farming operations on that same piece of land. Therefore we must find a way of defining an economic farming unit according to the livelihood of the average farmer. What is a livelihood? This is another problem in respect of which we must obtain clarity before concentrating our attention on the question of the consolidation of farming units. In order to determine these economic units, we must take care not to subdivide land in such a way that it will result in uneconomic units. We do find cases, and I think that there are no existing powers in our present legislation for preventing the subdivision of a farm in a totally foolish way. Recently we had the case of a farm which was in the shape of a long strip. One of the heirs was a city dweller while the other heir had to live on that farm. In point of fact, I think the farm is not an economic unit as it is. The outsider wanted to subdivide that farm from one corner to the other in order to achieve his object. If that is to be done the farm will be destroyed. There is no power to prevent this, unless the hon. the Minister takes steps in that direction by means of this legislation.

We must get clarity in our own minds. What is an economic unit? How is that to be determined or defined? After that has been done, the question arises, what income does one expect a family to have in order to make a proper livelihood on such a farm? How is one going to determine what the income of such a farm has to be in order to enable the family—consisting of, say, the husband and wife and two or three children—to make a good livelihood on that farm? Only when these aspects can be defined, will we have clarity in regard to this type of legislation. A further step which ought to receive consideration in this connection is the distances between farms. At times we find that the one farm is situated a short distance from the other piece of land. But what distance between two pieces of land does the Department regard as reasonable with a view to consolidating them as a unit? I take it, for example, that the distance between units in the case of the cattle farmer may be greater. In such a case, consolidation is in fact necessary and it ought to work properly. There are, however, other types of farming where consolidation will be difficult. I trust the hon. the Minister will throw more light on these matters and indicate how we can facilitate them in the future.

We should like to have clarity in regard to these few matters. In view of the development which is being envisaged for the agricultural industry, one of the major things we have to guard against is the fragmentation of our land. And if we continue with the subdivision of one farm after the other as has lately been the case, the matter becomes impossible. I do not want to say, as was stated by the Van Eck Commission in the time of the United Party, that the State has to be the only purchaser of land. That would kill agricultural credit. This was one of the most foolish things ever said by the United Party in its time. It would be fatal to the development of the agricultural industry. If we had accepted that recommendation by the Van Eck Commission under the rule of the United Party—the White Paper of General Smuts—the entire question of credit in the agricultural industry would have been dealt with by one body only, namely the State. With that we can never agree. In other words, I am hoping that the National Party will never and under no circumstances lend itself to that kind of policy. I repeat that we are grateful for this legislation and support it wholeheartedly. I want to wish the hon. the Deputy Minister well as regards the tremendous development which is in store for us and upon which he is now venturing.


Mr. Speaker, when we passed the Agricultural Credit Act in this House two years ago, we were very grateful for that legislation and cherished high hopes of the new Department into which other departments had been absorbed. The legislation actually consolidated other then existing departments which used to provide credit. I say we cherished high hopes of that Department. We also expected that it would become necessary from time to time to introduce amendments. We expected adjustments having to be made from time to time, because that was an entirely new Department which would be experimental to a large extent. But in that we saw the establishment of a Department for eliminating patch-work and for creating stability in respect of the provision of credit to farmers in the rural areas, something which is extremely important to South Africa. Here we now have a Bill in which provision is being made for the necessary adjustments and amendments to which I have just referred. We want to tell the hon. the Deputy Minister in a sense of deep appreciation that South Africa and the farming community of South Africa are taking cognizance of these amendments, which are to the advantage of the farmer and the agricultural industry and consequently to the advantage of South Africa as well. Therefore we are grateful to see that this amending Bill is making provision for this Department to spread its wings and for loans to be made available for soil conservation by the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure as well. The rates of interest on loans granted by this Department have been fixed and cannot soar. This enables the farmer to serve as an instrument in the hand of the South African nation as regards the conservation of our soil to the advantage not only of present generations but also of future generations. Consequently we are grateful that this amending Bill is now making provision for loans at a low rate of interest to the farmer for the conservation of soil for the sake of South Africa. I agree with the statement made by the hon. the Minister in his second-reading speech when he mentioned the fact that we were being enabled financially, by means of loans which can be obtained henceforth, to apply soil conservation, something which is so essential, in this very year which we would come to call the year of the “Festival of the Soil”. In terms of this amending Bill loans at a fixed rate of interest will also be granted to the farmer henceforth for irrigation purposes. That irrigation must be carried out judiciously has become a matter of urgent necessity in South Africa in order to enable us to produce food for our ever-increasing population. We are pleased that the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure is now being enabled to grant loans for this purpose as well. Then there is the question of boring for water. We are also very grateful that provision is being made for that. I think we are all in agreement as far as this is concerned. Hon. members opposite also expressed their appreciation to the Minister because money will henceforth be made available for these essential services. No provision is being made in this amending Bill for private boring contractors, but as I have said, we shall come to this House from time to time for adjustments to be made. I foresee that we shall have to go further in granting loans to farmers and that we shall have to make more use in future of private boring contractors— contractors boring for water—in order to meet the tremendous demand which the State with its limited resources of manpower and limited number of boring machines simply cannot satisfy. I may not discuss this aspect any further under this amending Bill.

It has been a red-letter day for us to learn that loans for housing purposes in the rural areas may now be granted. To my mind we cannot over-emphasize this. In this regard I want to agree with the hon. member for Sea Point. Although he does not often have reason to thank a Minister, he has done so to-day I have as little reason to agree often with that hon. member. In this case, however, I think we are dealing with a matter which is of great common interest and I support his plea that we should not make these loan facilities available in respect of non-White farm labour only. I make a very friendly appeal to the hon. the Minister, however, to ascertain whether he does not see his way clear to extend this to loans for housing in the rural areas and for the farmer. I shall come back to this again, but I first want to raise another point. The money to be given on loan will not be lost. It is not a donation. It is a loan and increases the security of the farmer and the value of that farm and land. In view of the fact that this amending Bill is now spreading the wings of the Department even more, it will be necessary for us in the future to ask that care should be taken of farmers in other categories than those which now qualify for assistance. We must prevent a farmer from sinking to the level of a category 3 farmer, who now qualifies for assistance. We shall have to take measures in order to prevent him from sinking to that level. This, I take it, will be done in the future. Allow me, in terms of the provisions of this Bill, to point out that we in South Africa should not overlook the rural areas and the farmer in our overall planning. This we did not do in the past and we are not doing so now, and this Bill is opening the door wider for the rural areas to be brought into our future planning. A day or two ago a motion dealing with our population explosion was discussed in the Other Place. We often hear about this. We are grateful for the increase in our population.

The hon. member for Christiana referred to economic units in the rural areas. Nobody wants to dispute that. But, we shall have to develop the rural areas and the carrying capacity of the rural areas to the absolute maximum along the lines we are now adopting. We shall have to do so in order to ensure that the increase in our population will not simply flow to the industrial areas. We shall have to create attractive points of growth for Whites on our farms so that they may go there to occupy and utilize our soil, without their exhausting the soil but leaving it in a good condition for generations to come. It is a matter of absolute necessity for us to lay the foundations of a sound growth in the rural areas along these lines and on the basis of this Bill under the guidance of this Deputy Minister and the hon. the Minister, the Government and this House of Assembly, so that the farmer may always, as in the past, occupy his rightful place in our national economy. We have confidence that this Bill will open the door for us to enter this field, to apply soil conservation, to promote irrigation, to farm more intensively, to care for our farms, to provide housing, to create points of growth, and to make things attractive for a strong white population with a strong backbone, the conservative element in our national economy. I say that this Bill is making these things more and more possible for us. In saying this I express my appreciation for this Bill.


That makes it the third time you have done so.


Three times or not, that does not make this less essential. I am not, politically speaking, stealing a march on anyone. That hon. member is the last hon. member who should say this kind of thing. I should also like to refer to what the hon. member for Sea Point said in connection with the redemption of private loans. He said that he was under the impression that the farmer would be able to consolidate all his debts in terms of this Bill. That would have been an ideal condition but I think the hon. member agrees with me that this is not practicable. We shall need millions of rand for the redemption of all private loans and for placing all agricultural debt under the Department.

Although that would be the ideal condition, I do not think it is possible in practice but this is something to which the Minister will probably give a further reply. I want to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister to the fact, however, that as a result of the drought, which really hit South Africa very suddenly, farmers have been obliged to take up loans and because of the conditions of inflation they have been obliged to do so at very high rates of interest. In view of the fact that these people are again suffering severely because of drought conditions which, from the nature of the case, will make it impossible for them to meet their financial obligations, we shall have to give very sympathetic consideration to assistance and the consolidation of a great deal of those debts, which they were forced to incur, in order to keep the agricultural industry of South Africa going. But we do not want the protection which we may give to be instrumental in destroying the farmer’s ability to obtain credit. We have to guard against that as well.

Allow me to refer to the appeal made by the hon. member for Walmer. He referred to the speech made by the hon. member for Mossel Bay when that hon. member mentioned the assistance which had been given to farmers in the past. We are aware of the fact that large areas of the Karoo, as he said, have been severely afflicted by drought. I think we all have a great deal of sympathy with those people who have been so severely afflicted by drought but I think the hon. member need have no fear that they will be treated unsympathetically by this Government or by this Minister.


I should like hon. members to keep the original Act in mind during my reply. Hon. members must realize, and I am saying this to the hon. member for Sea Point in particular, who tried to create the impression—one which they naturally want to take to the public outside—that specific provision was being made for loans in respect of non-White housing to the exclusion of Whites, that any individual farmer qualifies, in terms of the Act as it stands, for any loan on a basis of merit. There is one basic fact we should not overlook, however, and that is that no matter who the person is who wants to negotiate a loan, we first have to see that the security is right; because it is not going to pay the Department or the Agricultural Credit Board to grant loans for houses or for barns or for silos if that means that that land will be over capitalized and cause the farmer to go insolvent. We must remember that we have a Controller and Auditor-General and that the Secretary for the Department is the accounting officer. If loans were to be granted without regard having been had to security and the State were to suffer losses as a result, the Controller and Auditor-General would have to report such cases and the accounting officer would have to account for them before a Select Committee and the Minister might be held responsible. In other words, the policy of the Minister, as embodied in the original Act, is that loans are available for building houses, barns, silos as well as anything connected with agriculture. This Bill is now making provision for certain bodies corporate to obtain loans, something they have been unable to do under the principal Act. But these bodies corporate cannot obtain a loan for just anything; they can now obtain loans for certain specific things. This Bill makes provision for that and I want us to see this clearly in that light.

The hon. member expressed the idea that he was under the impression that we would take over all mortgages on consolidation. The hon. member for Wolmaransstad replied to that in part. Let me explain this as follows. Several applications come to us from a farmer who has a mortgage at the Land Bank, but now he wants to obtain a loan for soil conservation, which he can get at 5 per cent and for which provision has been made in the principal Act, or he wants a loan in order to supply himself with water, etc., and this he can obtain by means of a second mortgage. It has never been the idea to take over and consolidate the Land Bank mortgage in such a case, because we have the unfortunate problem in South Africa that the ordinary financial concerns are always taking the best from the agricultural industry by lending money to people and when they possibly land themselves in difficulty, sometimes as a result of injudicious loans but also as a result of drought, or when the ordinary financial concerns see a better field of investment, they turn on the screws. If our Department or the Land Bank were to take these people over, the ordinary financial concerns would simply seek the best for themselves in other directions only to burden us with those things at a later stage. We must have regard to and prevent this.

I am pleased that the hon. member for Mossel Bay as well as the hon. members for Wolmaransstad, Christiana and Walmer mentioned the problems with which the farmers are faced. We know that these farmers have those problems. But I do want to sound a small warning in regard to one matter mentioned by the hon. member for Mossel Bay. The hon. member said the number of livestock might be doubled as a result of this system in terms of which we may now grant loans to a person for supplying his farm with water. I just want to sound this warning. It is true that if one has water one is able to keep one’s stock in a better condition, because water represents more than 50 per cent of the feed of such stock. We must not adopt the attitude, however, that we can double our stock in number if we have water alone. The danger is that we may completely destroy the natural grazing as well as the soil. Bushmanland is an example. If there had been water for watering places, Bushmanland would probably have been a desert to-day. We must always be judicious. But the hon. member was right in saying that we would be able to increase our stock if there was water for them. I shall refer to this again in a short while when I shall deal with what the hon. member for Christiana said in connection with subdivisions and small units.

The hon. member for Walmer expressed the fear that many of the farmers in a large area of the Karoo and in the Eastern Cape would be caught up in this crisis and he expressed the hope that we would be able to render assistance within the next two months. Let me tell this House that the Minister has already had discussions with the Agricultural Advisory Board as well as with the Minister of Finance, the Land Bank, the Agricultural Credit Board and his Department, and that he will be meeting them one of these days to take special steps for retaining these farmers on their farms as self-supporting, self-respecting farmers. We are taking the necessary steps. The hon. member feared that clause 3 would destroy the farmer’s credit and he consequently said that they would have another look at it. I want to tell the hon. member that I said very clearly in my second-reading speech that the rights of another first mortgagee in respect of any encumbered land would not be affected. We shall take meticulous care that his rights will remain protected in the first place.

I want to thank the hon. member for Christiana for the very valuable ideas expressed here by him. He posed a few important questions. Seeing that we have now spotlighted the fact that loans are available and must be available for the housing of non-White labourers—loans are always available to ordinary individual farmers if they want them—and seeing that we are affording this opportunity to other bodies corporate, such as those I have mentioned here, it is obvious that when such an application reaches the Agricultural Credit Board, the Agricultural Credit Board will want to know from the farmer what labour he has and what type of house he intends building, because we cannot grant loans for housing just like that. We shall have to talk to the farmer in order to ensure that the right kind of housing will be provided at the right places in an attempt to remove those unsightly black spots in South Africa.

The hon. member for Christiana quite rightly put a few questions to me in regard to the lien. As I have said, this will not interfere with the lien of the co-operative societies. The hon. member asked what would happen in cases where we had granted a production loan for fertilizers, seeds and fuel, etc., to a farmer to enable him to produce a crop and his cooperative society, or some other body or person, then had to give him a second loan for bags and for repairs, etc. I want to tell the hon. member that we will be prepared to waive that lien to the extent of the assistance rendered by the co-operative societies, because we realize that the lien will be of no value to us if the farmer cannot harvest his crops, and if he has to obtain a loan from a co-operative society in order to buy bags, etc., we shall waive that portion of the lien. The hon. member also raised another important matter. He said that it often happened that a private money-lender suddenly took possession of a farmer’s crop when such a crop was ready to be harvested and he knew there could no longer be any damage to the crop. The present position is—and that is why we are rectifying it in this Bill—that when we have granted a loan to a farmer to pay for the means of production for a crop still to be harvested, such a crop is not included in the lien. On the basis of this amendment we are now making provision that we may in fact take such a crop as security.

The hon. member then asked what the definition of an economic unit was, because in this Bill I mention economic units, prohibit subdivisions, etc. I think, without going into the finer points, that we should see an economic unit as a farm which is large enough to enable a farmer of average managerial ability to make a livelihood and derive the same average income from that farm as the other farmers in the area where he lives, without his destroying the farm by applying overcropping. I have made an analysis of a few farms in South Africa. I have taken the Molopo and I have found that there is one head of cattle to 12 morgen of land on farms measuring 5,000 morgen or more in extent. Where the farm measures from 2,000 to 4,000 morgen in extent, it already carries much more stock, namely one head of cattle to 8.7 morgen of land. In the south-eastern regions of the Free State there is one head of cattle to eight morgen of land on farms measuring more than 3,000 morgen in extent, but if the farm is less than 1,000 morgen in extent, there is one head of cattle to 4.5 morgen of land only. In other words, the smaller the farm is for making a livelihood, even for a short period, the greater the tendency on the part of the farmer to apply overcropping on the farm by putting everything on the farm and by taking everything from the farm. I can mention other examples to you and I want to mention the following interesting one. There are certain parts in Aliwal North. There I have found that conditions on farms measuring up to 1,000 morgen in extent were bad in 35 cases, reasonable in 17 cases, and good in the case of one farm only. On farms measuring from 1,001 to 1,500 morgen in extent conditions were bad in 18 cases, reasonable in five cases and good in one case only. But when we come to farms measuring more than 1,500 morgen in extent, it has been found that conditions were poor in seven cases, reasonable in 15 cases and good in one case. This proves that the smaller a farm is, the more it is being destroyed by cattle from the point of view of soil conservation. These are all factors which we shall take into consideration.

I believe an economic unit should be large enough to afford a farmer of average managerial ability the same average income as that of the local community without his having to ruin his farm. The hon. member spoke of farms which are situated some distance from each other. I agree with the hon. member that the further the farms are situated away from each other, the more difficult the task becomes. They may, of course, form an economic unit for a cattle-farmer but if cattle-farming were to cease and be followed by another type of farming, those farms might be situated too far from each other to form an economic unit jointly. We must always regard these cases as being the exceptional ones. The tendency should be to consolidate land which can be consolidated.

The hon. member for Wolmaransstad also raised a number of matters and I want to deal with one or two of them. I have already spoken about housing. In existing legislation provision does exist for white housing, but we cannot make provision for housing for companies and other bodies corporate. The hon. member asked us to ensure that category two farmers would not become category three farmers and asked that we should render timeous assistance in order to do so. We have often heard that a stigma allegedly attaches to obtaining a loan from this Department because, it is said that a person then has to furnish details. But if I want a loan from a bank I simply have to submit a statement of my assets and liabilities to the bank. I am not ashamed to do so. Consequently a farmer need not be ashamed either to submit a statement of his assets and liabilities to the Department. The Department is striving to maintain the farmers in the rural areas on an economic basis. Consequently we want to assist them as far as we can and consequently we want to assist farmers who cannot get assistance elsewhere, even if it is in respect of soil conservation works only, because here we are dealing with the soil.

With these words, I think, I have replied to the debate. I want to thank hon. members once again for their support. I believe that this measure is a new step in the right direction in that it seeks to render positive assistance to the farmer in South Africa.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.

The House adjourned at 6.34 p.m.