House of Assembly: Vol23 - THURSDAY 28 MARCH 1968
Bill read a First Time.
Committee Stage taken without debate.
I consider it to be a very great privilege today to be able to move the second reading of this Bill which seeks to expand the Coloured Persons Representative Council, a development which I sincerely believe will make an important contribution towards establishing the Coloured population as a nation and towards their happiness. When my colleague and hon. predecessor, Minister P. W. Botha, introduced here in 1964 the Bill to establish the Coloured Persons Representative Council, he rightly referred to the fact that no nation’s course of political development was in a final form at any particular stage. He rightly said on that occasion that a nation was a living organism undergoing new processes of development from time to time. And, Mr. Speaker, has there not in the past four years, since those words were used, been evidence of an amazing development in thought and in attitude amongst the Coloured population of South Africa? Instead of the prejudice that existed against the Department of Coloured Affairs at that time, there has been evidence of a feeling of appreciation for the Department’s upliftment work amongst the Coloureds throughout the country. In general increasing understanding of the positive aspects of parallel development has also been evident amongst the Coloureds in our country. This new disposition towards parallel opportunities and establishment is also being reflected, inter alia, by the change in attitude to the existing Coloured Council. Whereas in the past Coloured leaders looked down upon the Coloured Council and those who were members thereof, this Council and its members have to an increasing extent risen in esteem amongst the Coloureds. In short, it can be said that at present the Coloureds are favourably disposed towards parallel development and very favourably disposed to the Whites.
But this favourable disposition amongst the Coloureds, to which I can bear witness because of the contact I have had with them over the past two years, could only have developed, inter alia, because it is rooted in reciprocity—yes, in reciprocity, Sir, because subsequent to the removal from our political sphere of the possible element of preponderance of the Coloureds, the Whites have also developed a different attitude. After the removal from our politics of that possible element of preponderance, we find that the Whites viewed the political development of the Coloureds and their progress in the economic, rural, educational and political spheres in quite a different light, and that they no longer saw them as constituting a threat to the survival of the Whites. In turn this new disposition amongst the Whites has had the effect that in various spheres and in various ways the Whites actively assisted in allowing the Coloureds to develop in these fields within the framework of this parallel development, and that, particularly since the Coloured votes were transferred to a separate roll, a quite different attitude towards the Coloureds has been in evidence amongst the Whites. I have no hesitation in describing this as an attitude of goodwill, goodwill which is not at all foreign to us in South Africa; on the contrary, an attitude of goodwill which is peculiar to us in South Africa. Out of this white goodwill there developed amongst the Whites a stronger and stronger desire to see the Coloureds developing into people with national pride. Since I as an Afrikaner realize what national pride means to me and my people, my people and I are prepared to grant this to other people as well. In fact, I cannot imagine how any nation without national pride can assert itself, how it can reach maturity without having national pride. But it is equally true that no nation can reach maturity without accepting responsibility. Without responsibility no nation in the world can reach maturity. Just as a child or a minor may reach maturity by accepting responsibility, so it may also be with a nation, and the same applies to the Coloureds in this country.
But unfortunately the Opposition in this country and in this House begrudges the Coloureds such development. No, as far as the Opposition is concerned, the Coloureds must simply remain immature. They must permanently remain dependent upon the Whites. In their attempt to try to explain away this attitude towards life, we must always hear, as we did again in this House the other day, that our white population is so small. We always hear that in view of our small numbers as compared with the black masses in this country and on this continent, and as compared with the large numbers all over the world, we as Whites should draw in the Coloureds as an ally in this numerically uneven struggle. Let me say this at once as far as this ally concept is concerned. As one who is coming into contact with the Coloureds more and more and who is present at many of their functions, I am impressed time and again by the gusto with which the Coloureds sing the National Anthem and by the way they respect the Republican Flag. As a result of that I have this absolute conviction that the Coloureds of South Africa are the ally of the Whites in the struggle for South Africa. But to advocate the incorporation of the Coloureds with the Whites, an incorporation which must necessarily also be biological in the long run, is after all no solution to our race relationships and race pattern in this country. On the contrary, such a development would after all simply be destructive of good relations, because where in the world has such an incorporation, of one group such as the Coloureds with another group such as the Whites, ever succeeded? After all, the history of peoples shows one that such a development merely results in racial tensions and clashes. Must South Africa walk into such a morass with open eyes?
No, Sir, I think our primary duty is to realize that we are living in a country of diversity, and I think it is our primary duty to notice this diversity that exists in our country. We must notice this diversity and we must accept it. I think we have yet a further task in this regard, and that is not only to notice the diversity that exists in South Africa, but we also have this task, namely to respect everybody according to his particular nature and personality. Then there remains an extra task for us as the more privileged Whites, the more privileged people in this country, and that is that we with our superior knowledge and insight should help the others so that they may also help themselves with self-respect in the future. The 1,800,000 Coloureds of South Africa can never experience that essential self-respect as long as they have to be represented in this House by four, or possibly six, representatives. It can never give them that self-respect. To think that the Coloured population which is receiving more and more education and which it is estimated will number four million at the end of this century, will be satisfied with four or six representatives in this House, is an illusion, surely. To think that they will be satisfied with dummy representation, is an illusion.
No, there is only one morally correct and logical way, and that is to grant the Coloureds that opportunity and that form of government within which they will in future be able to realize themselves to such an extent that they may also face the world with self-respect. It is that pattern, that form of government, which has already prospered here in the Coloured Council and will do so now in the about to be established Coloured Persons Representative Council. That is why the only logical and morally correct way is for us to develop that form of government further for them.
I now want to proceed to dealing with some of the most important aspects and provisions contained in this measure. The rest may profitably be discussed during the Committee Stage. As is indicated by the name of the Council, i.e. the Coloured Persons Representative Council, we should like to see that this Council will in all respects be representative of Coloured opinion in South Africa. In order to make it properly representative of Coloured opinion in South Africa, it will be necessary to afford to those Coloureds who in the past did not receive sufficient education at school for them to qualify to-day to be registered under the present electoral laws, that opportunity to make themselves heard in their own Council. With a view to such a necessity, illiterate Coloureds will also be given the opportunity in terms of this measure to register for participation in these elections. But if we consider that in this respect we are dealing with a population group the vast majority of whom have never in their lives voted or been registered, then one realizes how impracticable it is to allow such registration to take place voluntarily. In order to enable the Coloureds in this country, these masses who have never been registered and who have never played an active part in politics, to have and exercise such active participation in their own governing organization right from the start, it was felt that this registration should also be made compulsory. On the basis of these two provisions it is expected that approximately 700,000 Coloureds in South Africa above the age of 21 years will be able to register in terms of this registration. If one compares these anticipated 700,000 male and female Coloured voters above the age of 21 with the present 33,000 male Coloured voters in the Cape, one realizes what a much more satisfactory representative say the Coloureds of South Africa will be granted in terms of this measure. But in order to serve such a large mass of voters properly, particularly if one takes into account the extensiveness of some of the rural areas, I think it would also be unfair to expect these Coloured representatives to have to serve exceedingly extensive constituencies. In fact, it would be unfair—if one bears in mind that many of the candidates would probably not have the necessary means—to expect them to look after extensive constituencies. With a view to these practical problems the Government accepted the recommendations of the Commission to increase the number of elected members from 30 to 40 members and the number of nominated members from 16 to 20, which means that the new Council will consist of 60 members.
I now want to refer to the powers of this Council. As the existing Act reads, it would only be possible for the Council to make laws in respect of the following matters, after the State President has transferred these powers to them by proclamation, i.e. finance, local government, education, community welfare and pensions, rural areas and settlements. However, the Government is satisfied that this restriction is no longer necessary and has therefore accepted the Commission’s recommendation to grant the Council the right to make laws ab initio in regard to the above matters. But because the Government also regards this Council as an instrument which can develop in accordance with the needs and experience of the Coloureds, the Government has also decided to afford them the opportunity of also exercising in the future more powers than provision has already been made for here. Hence it is being proposed in this Bill that following on what I have just mentioned to you, Sir, this should also be added: Such other matters as the State President may from time to time determine by proclamation in the Gazette.
As regards the extent of the administration, I want to say the following. The Government has already announced that it will transfer the bulk of the work of the existing Department of Coloured Affairs to the Administration of the Representative Council. It is expected that this will initially amount to approximately R50 million per annum. In addition it is also necessary that this machine be kept in the same gear it is at present, and that the same level of efficiency should be maintained. With a view to that, Mr. Speaker, most of the officials of the present Department of Coloured Affairs will be seconded to the Administration of this to be established Coloured Persons Representative Council whilst retaining their rights and privileges as public servants. As the Coloureds are being trained in course of time, they will of course be able to replace the white officials in the Administration of their own Council. But I want to avail myself of this opportunity to-day to express my appreciation to the white officials in the Department who are prepared to go over to do this work there, for their loyalty to South Africa and for the fact that they are serving this cause with such dedication and that they are prepared to contribute their share to making this phase of development function so smoothly.
This brings me to a few new designations in this measure. The first one to which I want to refer, is the remaining Department of Coloured Affairs, i.e. the present Department. Although the present Department will survive in a diminished form, actually as a department maintaining liaison between the Administration of the Council and the Central Government, it stands to reason that its survival is actually indispensable for liaison and for ensuring that matters function smoothly. Since its functions are now being changed to a large extent, it was felt that it would be appropriate to refer to the parent department in future as the Department of Coloured Relations, because it will actually be its task to assist in facilitating Coloured relations between the Administration and the Central Government.
As regards the designation of the head of the Council’s Administration …
And the Minister?
The Minister still remains the Minister of Coloured Affairs. The designation of the head of the Administration will be the Commissioner. Hon. members will recall that initially this was also the designation when the Department came into existence, when Dr. I. D. du Plessis was appointed as the Commissioner of Coloured Affairs. It was felt that this was an appropriate designation to introduce again.
It is a very descriptive word. It is a term which also finds favour with the Coloureds, and we have found that it is quite an understandable, practical term. The Commissioner will also be the accounting officer who will appear before the select committee of the Coloured Persons Representative Council. If necessary, the Commissioner will also accompany the Chairman of the Executive when he has to appear before the Select Committee of the House of Assembly in regard to the spending of the funds appropriated for the Council. In the same way it has also been decided to change the designation, as was recommended by the Commission, of the Executive Committee to “Executive”.
Then there are a few other clauses to which I want to refer briefly. Clause 11 is one of them. This clause substitutes section 17 of the principal Act. The provisions of section 17 of the principal Act are being extended so as to provide, inter alia, that the State President may remove the chairman of the executive from office. This step is regarded as necessary, since a case may arise where the chairman, who will also be responsible for handling the finances of the Council, fails to fulfill his task properly, or may be deemed to be unfit to remain in office as a result of a personal action.
Or if he does not say “yes, master”.
No, fortunately we do not have a United Party mentality in this matter. In addition it has also been provided in the principal Act that the members of the Council may by resolution of a majority consisting of two-thirds remove from office the members of the executive elected by the Council, but no provision has of course been made in connection with the chairmanship to which I have just referred. In terms of the existing section 17 (1) (b) of the principal Act, it is possible for a member of the Executive, with the exception of the chairman, also to be the chairman of the Council. Such a possibility is as undesirable as it is in the case of the chairman of the executive. For instance, it may happen that functions that were entrusted to a member of the executive may come up for discussion in the Council, in which case the impartiality of his actions as chairman of the Council may be prejudiced. That will be undesirable.
Then I still want to refer to the proposed procedure in regard to submitting the estimates of expenditure of the Council. Clause 16 which amends section 22 of the principal Act seeks to make provision for the procedure in regard to the submission of the estimates of expenditure of the Council, for appropriation of funds by Parliament for a particular financial year. It is being provided that the appropriation by Parliament will be done in a lump sum. However, within the limits of the lump sum allocated to it, the Coloured Persons Representative Council will have the right to appropriate the estimates of expenditure by way of resolution; in other words, the Council will accept responsibility for the appropriation of funds allocated to it. I want to express the conviction that this proposed administrative and legislative arrangement, which affords the Coloureds this great opportunity, really has the following meaning, i.e. that the Whites in South Africa are expressing their confidence in the Coloureds in no uncertain way. For the first time in our history the Coloureds of South Africa are being granted not only political authority, but also administrative responsibility in a form and on a scale such as they have never had before. However, since we are living together in this country, we realize only too well that there has to be a liaison between our respective legislative bodies. As the hon. the Prime Minister has already announced, this liaison will be discussed with the Coloured Persons Representative Council to be established. The Government would like to hear their views in this regard. What the exact form of liaison will be, the future will have to show, but one thing is certain: there will be liaison between that Coloured Persons Representative Council and this House of Assembly.
May I put a question to the hon. the Minister? Will the proposed liaison take place between the House of Assembly and the Coloured Council or between the Government and the Coloured Council?
That is one of the matters we wanted to leave to the to be established Coloured Persons Representative Council for suggestions. We should like to afford the Coloured Persons Representative Council the opportunity to put forward suggestions as to whether they would like the liaison to be with the Government or with the House of Assembly. We must leave this matter to the Coloured Council for suggestions. Why does the hon. member want to think for the Coloured Council in this respect as well?
With this measure and everything it embraces, the Coloureds of South Africa are now being placed on a course which can enable them to be themselves—yes, for the first time in their existence they are afforded the opportunity to contribute in a manner worthy of human beings, to South Africa’s development, progress and happiness. I have no doubt that the Coloureds will avail themselves of this opportunity and appreciate it. This was also the impression that was gained when this Bill was discussed with the chairman and executive of the present Union Council for Coloured Affairs. They did not only promise their full support to this measure, but also welcomed it as an important development in the course they are following. Since it is also our conviction that this measure is an important development for the Coloureds as well as for South Africa, for their progress and happiness as well as ours, I take pleasure in moving the Second Reading of this Bill.
This is a most important piece of legislation and at the same time very involved. It reached us for the first time only yesterday morning. However, I am happy to be able to say that there has been agreement between the Whips that this debate be adjourned at this stage in order to enable us to study the speech just delivered by the hon. the Minister which includes matters which we found rather obscure. Accordingly I move—
Mr. Speaker, I move—
That the Bill be now read a Second Time. The Commission of Inquiry into Improper Political Interference and the Political Representation of the various Population Groups has recommended that the present system of representation for Coloured persons in this Parliament and in the Cape Provincial Council should be discontinued after the termination of the term of office of the present representatives. As the hon. the Prime Minister announced during the discussion of the Report of that Commission in this House, the Government accepts this recommendation. The Bill, the Second Reading of which I have just moved, is now giving effect to that resolution. But it is important that we do not regard this measure, which is seen by the Opposition as a negative one, as an isolated measure, but that we should read it in conjunction with the Coloured Persons Representative Council Amendment Bill, the Second Reading of which the Minister of Coloured Affairs has just moved. Because better provision than ever before is being made in this Bill for the political representation of Coloured persons, we must not lose sight of the fact that what we are now proposing to remove here is going to be replaced with a much more efficient system. The discussion of the Report of the Commission in this House lasted four days. During that discussion the recommendations of the Commission were placed under a magnifying glass and thoroughly scrutinized. Nothing which the Opposition put forward during that debate made such an impression on the Government that it felt that it should change its attitude in respect of the political representation of Coloured persons, as set out in that debate by the Prime Minister.
And you say that without blushing!
Consequently I am coming forward with this legislation, which is aimed, as I have already said at doing away with the present form of political representation of Coloured persons in this House, as well as in the Cape Provincial Council. Stated in other words, we are bringing the political representation of the Coloureds as it has existed up to the present into line with the new phase which the Coloured population is now entering in the political sphere.
It is probably not necessary for me to deal in detail with the history of the political representation of Coloured persons in our country.
Because it is too ugly.
I am not surprised that it should be the hon. member for Houghton who is making an interjection in this regard. I think this history is a disgraceful one, and the contribution to it by the Progressive Party has, I am sure, not been insignificant. For many years it was a bone of contention in this Parliament. In the meantime the Coloured policy of the Government has developed and taken shape to such an extent that we are today able to come forward with this Bill. We can, if we want to, divide the political representation of Coloureds in this country into three phases. Firstly, the representation which they had under British Colonial rule in the Cape and Natal; secondly, from Union in 1910 to 1951; and thirdly, from 1951 up to the present. Broadly speaking we can say that under the British Government, and particularly during the approximately 75 years before Union, a policy of equality between the Whites and the non-White races was followed, as only the British could do it and did in all their colonial territories for many, many decades. The result was that the political rights of the Coloureds, in so far as one could call them rights, were also cast in this mould. That was, as I have said, the policy, but what actually happened in practice proved very clearly that the Whites did not accept the policy because they were, as we all know, opposed to political and social equality since they saw in that a clear threat to the survival of Western civilization. Noninterference or apartheid, in the political sphere as well, is and has always been our traditional philosophy. We can therefore say that it was a false policy, because on the one hand the Coloured persons believed that it would lead to equality and possibly to political domination here in the Cape, and on the other hand the Whites were continually opposed to it. We can but pay tribute to-day to our predecessors who stood guard there and in that way retained our white heritage for us. Since Union the Opposition of the Whites to political equality in particular has become increasingly clear. Social equality or integration was at that time not yet a real problem. Consequently there was increased movement in the direction of political separation of the races. The Native legislation of 1936 which was passed by the Coalition Government, consisting of the then South African Party and the National Party under the leadership of General Hertzog, in order to find a solution in this way to the threatening political danger presented by the Bantu, to my mind is clear proof of the statement I have just made.
Despite fierce resistance and opposition by the Opposition, the National Party continued along that course until we came to 1951 and put an end to political integration of White and non-White as reflected in the joint voters’ roll and representation in Parliament, by placing on the Statute Book the Separate Representation of Voters Act which gave the Coloured voters who had the franchise in the Cape—and I emphasize “the Coloured voters who had the franchise in the Cape—representation by Whites in Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, one cannot help calling to mind the great fuss which the Opposition made and the accusations, the abusive language and the smear campaign which followed. It was so bad that it would cause even the greatest Boer hater to blush to-day, and to-day even the Opposition acknowledges that that step of the Government only brought greater advantages and satisfaction and happiness to the Coloured population. It was a tremendous improvement on what had existed. [Interjections.] Now the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is asking: “And why are you doing away with it?” Sir, we are used to taking the lead, and having to endure the onerous task of bringing about better things for South Africa, and dragging the United Party reluctantly behind until we have proved that the steps we took, were steps which would be most beneficial ones for all population groups in South Africa. Only afterwards do the United Party come forward and praise and pay tribute to those steps, which they originally opposed, to such an extent that one would swear they had been the mothers and the fathers of that baby.
Why are you now doing away with Coloured representation?
I am doing away with it because I want to take them further along a better road, a road leading to happiness in the future. For them I see a happy road lying ahead here, but I do not see the same for the United Party.
Mr. Speaker, the Separate Representation of Voters Act, as I have already said, was a tremendous improvement on what existed, so much so that even the Opposition to-day is pleading for the retention of representation by the Coloureds by Whites in Parliament. They have thrown overboard with promises and all their policy to return the non-Whites to the Common Voters’ Roll, and are now also accepting the principle of separate representation of Coloureds in Parliament and the Provincial Councils. Only their policy is worse than the one we introduced and which still exists at present, because they are declaring openly that they want to expand and enlarge the Coloured representation in the Provincial Council and Parliament and want to introduce political integration of White and non-White into this Chamber as well, by means of representation of Coloureds themselves, if the Coloureds so choose.
Mr. Speaker, the world does not stand still. Nobody stands still. Even the Progressive Party does not stand still, because there was a time when they had more than one representative in this House, and now there is only one here, and that hon. member who is sitting here to-day is not sitting here as representative of the Progressive Party. I say this to her with the necessary deference.
You are wrong.
She is actually sitting here because of her attractiveness and personal influence in the constituency she represents here.
Flattery will get you nowhere.
I am convinced that if the leader of the Progressive Party, Dr. Jan Steytler, were to stand in Houghton and the United Party nominated a candidate against him, the United Party would win that seat. I admit that the composition of that constituency is such that a Nationalist would perhaps for the next five years not have a hope of winning the seat, but that we are ultimately going to win is as certain as that the Opposition is sitting there and as certain as that the hon. member for Houghton is sitting there. It would be just as hopeless to nominate a National Party candidate in Houghton, in view of its present composition, as it would be to send the hon. member for Houghton to Oudtshoorn to oppose me there. Even the women there would not vote for her. I have said that the world does not stand still. The Progressive Party does not stand still either. Did the United Party stand still? Oh no, they did not. The United Party has covered a tremendous amount of ground in the past few years, particularly in the past 10 years, and we have also covered a lot of ground, but the difference between the National Party, the governing party and the United Party, is that we have moved forward whereas they have moved back. It is almost impossible to see them; that is why I keep my glasses on when I speak.
I have said the world does not stand still, and the Republic of South Africa is not standing still either, and even the Opposition is not standing still; they are becoming weaker by the day. But South Africa, under the guidance of the National Party in particular, has shown itself to be resilient and full of life in all spheres, and in the political sphere as well there has never been stagnation and complacency. If there are people to-day who think that the National Party, because it is powerful and strong, is sitting back complacently and is not keeping its eyes firmly fixed on the ground and its heart open to the needs of the country and the nation, he is making a big mistake. That is why, apart from that fact, the National Party has never been satisfied that the constitutional development, which had of necessity to take place from time to time in our history, and in order to give expression to its policy of autogenous development, which it accepted not only for the white man in South Africa but for all population groups in the country, had, in respect of the Coloured political representation, come to an end; and this was said by the late Dr. Verwoerd in 1962.
What did he say?
What he said has been quoted, and I know that hon. members will quote even further. I have seen the hon. member for Houghton studying Hansard, but there are other people here who also know their Hansard, and for every piece you quote from Hansard you will be furnished with a reply.
Tell us what he said.
I shall tell you what he did not say. Dr. Verwoerd never gave the Coloureds or the Whites or this House or the country the promise that this separate representation of Coloureds in this Parliament, as we have it to-day, would be the end of political rights for Coloureds in South Africa. That he never did. I maintain that what we are now doing is to do the right thing at the right time.
What did Dr. Verwoerd say?
Wait a minute. Let me make my own speech now. You have a lot of time in which to speak. But fortunately I shall have an opportunity of replying to arguments. Since I am talking about doing the right thing at the right time, I cannot help saying something in passing. I think the greatest disadvantage which the Opposition labours under, is that they are always doing the right thing at the wrong time and the wrong thing at the right time. I know that if one does the right thing at the wrong time, then we have in our own personal lives had the experience that it may perhaps have had more prejudicial results than doing the wrong thing at the right time. But that lesson they will never learn. I maintain that we have not stood still to implement National Party policy. We have not done so at the expense of the Coloureds and their development. In fact, it is the National Party which established a Department of Coloured Affairs and which brought into being the present Coloured Persons’ Representative Council. And how has that Council not been detested and belittled and exploited as the “stooges” of the Government! Actually I do not want to return to these things and drag unsavoury things into this debate, because I have said that even the greatest progressive or liberalist to-day ought to blush at what he said at that time if it is taken into consideration what has become of it and what status and what service has since been given to the Coloured population as a result. I maintain without fear of contradiction that such a great thing—and ask the Coloureds; do not ask people who know nothing about the Coloureds—has never before been done for the Coloureds. You can ask the liberals and you can ask the progressives, or any other person you care to ask, but 99 per cent of the Coloureds of South Africa will admit to you that, from 1951 up to the present, they have actually obtained more than at any other time in the history of their existence in South Africa, and this was done as a result of steps taken by the National Party Government.
These Parliamentary representatives we now have, were elected to have a seat here. By whom? By a small group, approximately 33,000, and their numbers were far less before the Progressive Party got to work and registered them in large numbers, as many as possible, as voters in order to win seats in a struggle which they were waging with the United Party. They succeeded in obtaining two seats in the Provincial Council, and even after their attempts, there are to-day only approximately 33,000 Coloureds who have the franchise, and they are Coloureds who only qualify in the Cape. In other words, it is a heritage from the past for a small group of Coloureds who I maintain do not have the right to make themselves heard. What is important, is the franchise of the Coloured population in the Republic of South Africa as such. The Minister of Coloured Affairs has just introduced a Bill for a new dispensation for them, where we are now going to give Coloureds, both men and women above the age of 21 years, the franchise to elect for the first time in the history of South Africa at least 40 representative members.
On an advisory council.
Yes, but a controlling and managing advisory council, and not merely an advisory council, but one which will at least have control over those matters which are near to the Coloureds’ heart, and which mean everything to them. These hon. members on the opposite side want to intimate that the Coloureds were only concerned with their political rights and that the Coloureds attach tremendous value to their political rights, the little they had, but is that the case? If it had been the case one would have expected those Coloured voters, who were entitled to vote when they obtained separate representation on a separate Coloured voters’ roll, to exercise that right; but you cannot tell me that there are only 33,000 qualified voters in the Cape. For all we know, 80,000 or 90,000 might have qualified, but that shows their lack of interest in politics; and why is their interest in politics so deficient?
It is because they gained nothing or very little by it. It is actually the white political parties that exploited the so-called political rights of the Coloured persons for their own selfish purposes. We have a responsibility towards our white population group, but we have an equal responsibility towards our nonwhite population groups. It is our duty and our task to see to it that the relations between our various population groups are improved as much as possible, and that sources of friction and irritation are eliminated; because the more irritation, the more friction one has, and the more unhappiness, not only for the non-Whites, for what one then has is the unhappy coexistence of both Whites and non-Whites. This is the real reason which gave rise also to the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry into Improper Political Interference and the Political Representation of the Various Population Groups. Now that we have ascertained what is being done here, now that we have ascertained what has been announced in i the Second Reading speech held here by my colleague the Minister of Coloured Affairs, we have achieved a new milestone along the road of autogenous political development of the Coloured population. For the first time in the history of South Africa they are being afforded the opportunity of electing their own political representatives for their own people in order to manage their own political and other important matters in the best interests of their own people and their future. In addition, as my colleague has said, after this Council has been established, possibly in the last half of next year, after consultation with that Council, a channel of communication will be created between this Parliament and the Coloured Persons’ Council. This is also the reason why the Government feels that this Coloured representation, as it now exists, here in Parliament and also in the Provincial Council should be terminated.
Here, in clause 2, section 1 of the Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Act, 1966, is being substituted by a new section 1 which provides that the life of the present Coloured representative members of the House of Assembly and Provincial Council members should accordingly be lengthened to a period which ends on the date of the dissolution of this Parliament or of the termination of the period of the Provincial Council. In other words, they will not be able to stand for re-election and there will be no more direct elected representation of Coloureds here or in the Provincial Council after the lives of the said two councils have terminated.
If the various population groups in our country wish to realize themselves and promote the growth of their national pride, then it is not only to be found in separate development in the social sphere, but most certainly too in the political sphere, which may truly be regarded as the corner-stone for the promotion of national pride. The Coloureds realize this only too well, and it is consequently for that reason that with only a few exceptions the Coloureds no longer want White representation in this House.
I am absolutely convinced that upon the termination of Coloured representation in the House of Assembly and in the Provincial Councils we are going to take a tremendous step forward in the interests of the Coloureds themselves and also in the interests of the Whites, because we are giving them far more in return than we are now taking away, and this will lead to greater prosperity, more happiness, more living space, yes, and even more responsibility for the Coloureds than at any time in the past, and which will obviously be conducive to the very best and closest relations between the Whites and the Coloured population groups of the Republic of South Africa.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is a long time since last we in this House have had a piece of legislation introduced by a Minister who said so little about the Bill which he is introducing. This is one of the most important pieces of legislation which has been before this House for some time in the effects that it can have upon race relations in South Africa. When one looks at the Bill one finds that it contains certain principles which are anathema to this side of the House and which cut right across our idea of the future blueprint for the Republic of South Africa. Our idea has always been that in this House there should be a representation of some kind of all those groups whose destiny this House controls. This legislation removed the representation of the last of the other groups which once were represented in this House. In view of that fundamental cleavage of opinion there is only one amendment which I can move to this Bill, and that is the following—
I believe that with the introduction of this Bill … [Interjections.]
Mr. Speaker, there seems to be a private sitting of the Assembly down in that corner. [Interjections.]
I believe that the introduction of this Bill is just another tragic chapter in the somewhat sordid history of Coloured political rights in South Africa under the Nationalist Party. Some of us still remember the days when with the Coloureds in the Cape on the Common Roll and the Coloureds in Natal on the Common Roll, our Nationalist friends most assiduously cultivated the votes of the Cape Coloured people. I can remember the days when their leader at that time spoke of votes for Coloured women on a Common Roll.
Order! Does the hon. member for Krugersdorp want to make his speech now, or later?
I am sure that hon. gentleman can recall with me the days when their champion, Bruckner de Villiers, was carried up the steps of Parliament by his Coloured supporters after winning a by-election in Stellenbosch. [Interjections.]
Then came the search for new policies. You see, Sir, the Coloureds were not supporting the Nationalist Party so well at that time and we heard they were to be given something better, something new which would really be meaningful to them in the political sense. They were to be given four representatives elected on a separate roll in the Cape Province. I think the hon. the Minister and I well remember the Minister of the Interior of the time saying if he were given the choice he would say “better four winners than 50 also-rans”. Where are those views to-day? In Natal registrations were terminated but those on the Common Roll remained with the right to vote. It just slowly faded out. They are not even also-rans. Some of us can remember the debates of that time; some of us remember how, when challenged as to whether those representatives were destined for extinction, as was designed for the Native representatives in Parliament at that time, Dr. Dönges, then Minister of the Interior, in an unguarded moment said: “If they did not behave themselves, they would have to go.” Well, under this Bill they will have to go. But what is the measure of their misbehaviour? According to the Government they have been exploited by another population group.
But if a group is exploited, it seems very hard to understand why the group that is exploited should be penalized while those who did the exploiting go off scot-free. When one asked what that exploitation was, the only evidence we were offered was in respect of irregular and false registrations on the electoral roll which could quite easily have been dealt with under the Electoral Act if it was properly and strictly applied. That indeed was the finding of the minority on the commission appointed to investigate the question of improper political interference of one race group in the political affairs of another. We heard from the hon. the Prime Minister that the representation which the Coloured people have in this House at the present time and which we were told was so much better than that which they had in the past, which leading Nationalists have told us so often has worked so well and done so much to promote good race relations in South Africa, is nothing but a bluff. In fact, he said it was merely representation of a section of the Coloured people. Let us examine this. The hon. the Minister did not advance that argument but that was the argument advanced by his Leader in this House not so long ago. It is of course true that the Coloureds in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State have never had the right to vote on the Common Roll. They had no political rights at all except during the period when the 1936 Native Representative Act was in operation. They then had the right if they were prepared to be treated as Bantu for the purposes of that Act, to participate in the election of senators to the Upper House. It is also true that at the present time, as a result of the laws put on the Statute Book by the other side of the House, no new registrations are allowed to take place in Natal. It is also true that the Coloureds in the Cape who vote have to have certain qualifications. I am the first to agree that the whole system could be improved. In fact, in this House on other occasions, I have indicated in what manner it could be improved and how much better it would be if the plan which we have advanced could be applied instead of the one which the Government is advancing through this Bill. But at least the representation which exists at the present time is representation in this Parliament, the Parliament which controls the destinies of the white people, the Coloured people, the Bantu people and the Asiatic people of the Republic of South Africa. Even if it is only representative of a section, that is a section in the Cape and Natal which can speak for the vast majority of the Coloured people in South Africa. It is representative of approximately 90 per cent of the Coloured population of the Republic. They may not all be registered, but those who are registered have a far better idea of the wishes and needs of the Coloured people than I believe we get from any of those who are at present speaking on the Government side in respect of these matters. I want to suggest that in trying to come to a conclusion in forming a judgment on this legislation which is before us now, one cannot help asking oneself whether this system would have been regarded as being so bad if the Coloureds had continually returned good Nationalists to this House. Would it have been regarded as being so incapable of rectification and would the whole system have had to be abolished if these people were supporting the Government? There was a time when they did support that side of the House.
Do you think that we need it?
I think that it would do the other side of the House a great deal of good to have a few representatives of the Coloured people in their caucus. I believe that they will hear a few home truths which they do not hear in this House. I believe that they would get a far better idea of the injustices they have committed in regard to the Coloured people in the 20 years that they have been in power.
Do you say that because your party follows the leadership of the hon. member for Karoo?
Mr. Speaker, I do not think that that interjection is really worth replying to. I think that the hon. the Minister knows very well that we on this side of the House have taken a great deal of trouble to try to keep in touch with the Cape Coloured people. When it comes to the removal of these representatives, the hon. the Prime Minister said to us that regard must be had to what is to be given them instead of what they have at the moment. When he introduced this Bill the hon. the Minister went to great pains to say that it is running in double harness with the Bill introduced by the hon. the Minister of Coloured Affairs this afternoon. Although that Bill has not been in our lockers for long, we want to get some idea of what that Bill is giving them. Let me say at once that the hon. the Prime Minister said to me in this House that he believed that what he was giving was better than what they had in the past because for the first time he was granting political rights to all the Coloured people in the Republic of South Africa. But did we not do that in 1964? Mr. Speaker, do you not remember the Bill we discussed in this House which became an Act whereby we created a Coloured Council, whereby we laid down how many members were to be elected and how many to be nominated and whereby we laid down that every Coloured man and woman over 21 years of age was to be entitled to vote for those representatives? That was in 1964. There was no question then of it being a quid pro quo for the removal of the Coloured Representatives in this House. In fact, at that time we were given very definite assurances by the present Minister of Defence on behalf of the then Prime Minister that those Coloured Representatives were staying in this House. There was no suggestion then that there was to be an exchange. We were told by the Minister of Defence, who was then the Minister of Coloured Affairs, that we could be assured that it was not part of their planning that with the establishment of the Coloured Persons Representative Council, the representatives of the Coloured people in this House would be removed.
Now we hear from the hon. the Minister that they are getting something better. How are their rights to be increased to compensate for the removal of the representatives of the Coloured people in this House at the present time? As I say, we have had sight of the legislation introduced by the Minister of Coloured Affairs this afternoon. Although it would not be right for me to discuss it in detail at this stage, I know that, in the light of the Minister’s statement, that this is the compensation, Mr. Speaker, you will allow me to make one or two remarks about that Bill. How much more does it give than was given in 1964? It gives a greater proportion, now the majority, of the Coloured Persons Representative Council as elected members as opposed to the majority being nominated members, as was the case in the past. It gives the power to legislate over a few additional matters. It gives the State President the power to direct that certain other matters shall come under the control of that council. It remains essentially, nonetheless, an advisory and an administrative body. The Coloureds are to have no say whatever in this central Parliament which, as I say, controls the destiny of the whole of South Africa. They are not even to have a say in what powers are to be given to their council. I know that hon. members opposite will say to me that this council will be able to be developed. It may indeed, but it can never aspire at any time to have a say in this Parliament. The Central Parliament will decide what powers it will have. The Central Parliament will control the residual powers—the most important powers which affect the destiny of these people. The Coloured people and their council will have no say in decisions on those residual powers. The Bantu people have been promised sovereign independence as a possibility of their development. The Coloured people, however, the most civilized non-White group, the group closest to the white people, the most advanced group, the group with the longest political experience, are being placed in a position inferior to that of the Bantu in South Africa. It was interesting that the hon. the Prime Minister said that he was prepared to consult with that council, as to what liaison there should be between that council and Parliament. The hon. the Minister to-day, in introducing another Bill, said that he was prepared to consult with that council whether the liaison should be with the Government, or whether it should be with Parliament. The hon. the Prime Minister refused point blank to discuss with that council whether it wanted representation in this House or not. That is the one thing on which he was not prepared to take their advice. In spite of this they tell us that it will be the authentic voice of the Cape Coloured people. They tell us that this will be, for the first time, representative of all the Coloured people in South Africa. Yet the one matter on which they are not prepared to consult them, is whether they think it is right, or whether they desire, or whether they wish to have representation in this House, which controls their destiny on most important matters in South Africa. If there is belief in the development of this council, surely the right thing will be to leave the representatives of the Coloured people here, in order to be able to consult and discuss matters in respect of the development of that council. They can then discuss each stage of development with us. What is going to be the result of this legislation before us to-day? The sole link with the Coloured people is going to be the hon. the Minister of Coloured Affairs. That will be the sole link this House has with the Coloured people. No other member will have any say, and most probably, no knowledge of them. The sole link will be that hon. Minister. In the light of what has happened in the past …
You are talking a lot of clap-trap.
In the light of what has happened in the past, and the ignorance which that hon. member shows of Coloured affairs, what guarantee do we have that if this council persistently votes against Government policy and refuses to co-operate, it will not also be abolished? Or will their source of funds be cut off?
Order! I think the hon. the Leader of the Opposition should come back to the Bill.
I will leave that, Sir. I have been told by the other side that, in view of the development of that council, it is not possible to keep representatives of the Cape Coloured people in this House, because there will be conflict between them. What worries me, is how there can be a conflict, because the council has certain powers which Parliament has given it. The members of this House decide over these powers. They also decide on a host of other residual powers which never come near that Coloured council. How can there then be a conflict? This is one of the reasons advanced for removing the representatives of the Coloured people from this House. They say that members of the council will not be so highly regarded if representatives are retained in this House. We heard it from the hon. the Prime Minister. Why? You and I, Sir, both represent constituencies where there are provincial councils. Are they less highly regarded because we are their Members of Parliament? We have one function, and members of the Provincial Council another. The representatives of the Coloured in this House have one function, and the members of the Coloured Council will have an entirely different function. I cannot, for the life of me, see how it can affect their development at all. The essential thing is that the Coloured people must have some say in this Central Parliament, which is the sovereign Parliament for the Republic.
That is why we find that it is not possible for us to support this Bill. There are other reasons as well. You will remember, Mr. Speaker, that there was a commission appointed which sat on a question of improper interference, and which inquired into the political rights of the Coloured people. Now, Sir, you know also that that commission reported to this House, and we have that report available to us here. If one goes through that evidence, as we have done in debates in this House before, I have no hesitation in saying again that the legislation which is being introduced to-day to remove the representatives of the Coloured people is not only contrary to the weight of evidence given before this commission, but it is contrary to the wishes of the Cape Coloured people.
There is an hon. member down there who always denies it. Let me remind him again, because he has never been able to produce evidence to the contrary, that of the 47 individuals and groups that gave evidence before that commission 27 demanded that representation of some kind be retained in this Parliament. Only nine were in favour of the abolition of this representation. The others seemed inconclusive. Who were the nine? They were the following: A member of this House who gave evidence; a former Secretary for Coloured Affairs; various party individuals, people in no way representative of a responsible body of opinion amongst the Cape Coloured people. The former Secretary for Coloured Affairs, Dr. Du Plessis, who gave evidence in favour of the abolition of the representation of Coloureds in this House, was forced to the conclusion that because Whites and Coloureds live together within the same territorial area, sooner or later some body would have to be established, some umbrella Parliament, in which both Whites and Coloureds would be represented. Sir, if one is forced to that conclusion, why abolish what there is now, if one knows you have to recreate it in some other form? Why do away with it at this stage and place oneself in the difficulty of losing the goodwill of a large section of the Cape Coloured people and set about once again to build up a new body, an umbrella body, a federal body, as he said it might be, which will have to be reconstructed to ensure that Whites and Coloureds can consult and take joint responsibility for decisions on the future of South Africa? I know that there will be differences of view as to the value of evidence that was given before that commission. But I cannot concede and I know that the minority on that commission could also not concede for one moment—that anyone could conclude that the weight of evidence given before that commission was in favour of the removal of the Coloured Representatives in this House, and yet the Government is going ahead.
The hon. the Minister of Coloured Affairs himself admitted that there was a large body of opinion amongst the Coloured people who wished to retain representation. He said himself that when you studied that evidence it is quite clear that we may possibly hurt a section of the Coloured people by removing their representatives from this House. But the Government is going ahead and they are going ahead not only contrary to the weight of the evidence, and not only contrary to the wishes of the Coloured people but they are going ahead contrary to the policy of the Nationalist Party as laid down by Dr. Verwoerd, as it was explained to us by the hon. the Minister of Defence in this House in 1964 when he introduced the legislation creating the Coloured Council, which has not yet been elected but the authority for which stands on the Statute Book. Sir, I know it has been quoted before but I want it on record again in this debate, because this is what the hon. gentleman said—
That is the one we created in 1964. It was never elected but the authority is there on the Statute Book, and it is going to be given certain greater powers under the legislation introduced by the Minister of Coloured Affairs to day. According to the Minister of Defence, the then Prime Minister went on to say—
The late Mr. Barnett then interjected: “For how long?” The then Prime Minister went on to say: “I have said that it will remain in existence. Must I say “For ever”?
The then Prime Minister said—
Sir, that was in 1964.
What is wrong with it?
Does the pledged word not mean anything?
The hon. the Minister says: “What is wrong with it?” I can assure him that what I have quoted here is absolutely correct, word for word. There is no mistake in it; it is absolutely correct. Sir, in 1966 Mr. Allen Drury was out here and he subsequently wrote a book about South Africa. He wrote of an interview which he had had with the late Prime Minister. Sir, that must be placed on record too because this was in 1966, fairly late in the year, just before the then Prime Minister was assassinated so tragically—
Mr. Drury then said—
Sir, I know we have been told by the hon. the Minister of Defence, who was then Minister of Coloured Affairs, that although he and the late Prime Minister represented that the continuity of Coloured representation in this House was their policy, it was not in fact their intention to maintain it. I think I am stating that fairly.
I will reply to you.
Although they represented that continuity of that representation was part of their policy, it was not in fact their intention to maintain it, and they merely said it—to paraphrase—for propaganda purposes because of what they feared the Opposition would say about it if they came out with a plan for the removal of Coloured representation. This means that the late Prime Minister, in fact the Nationalist Party at that time, was guilty of one of the greatest pieces of political deception and fraud that we have ever seen perpetrated in South Africa. I want to say, Sir, that I do not accept that.
You wanted to place them on the Common Roll; what about that?
Sir, the hon. the Chief Whip can try to draw as many red herrings as he likes; he will not divert me from my purpose. To put it at its lowest, this means that we cannot now accept the assurances of the hon. the Minister of Defence in respect of any matter, because we are now faced with the fact that he will be telling us one thing but in his mind he is intending to do something else. He gave us assurances in this House that were unequivocal.
You are merely besmirching yourself by using tactics of this kind. I did not expect this of you.
The hon. Che Minister is entitled to get up. I think he made a very big mistake when he got up the first time to speak on this matter. He is entitled to get up and defend himself and I hope he will succeed. I have known him for a long time. It is most disturbing to think that this hon. Minister tells this House that that was their policy while all the time he was scheming behind the scenes with the then Prime Minister to ensure that it was not carried out.
His secret weapon.
As I say, I do not want to accept that. I believe that the public is entitled to be told to-day that what the hon. the Minister of the Interior is doing in removing these representatives from Parliament is contrary to the policy of the Nationalist Party as explained to us by the late Dr. Verwoerd and that we are now to move in a new direction under this Bill. Sir, in what direction are we going to move?
A little further in the same direction.
The Coloured representatives are to be removed from this House. What is the blue-print for the future? We know that the Nationalist Party is against the diminution of the political rights of the Coloured people. We have been told this afternoon that we must take this Bill and read it together with the legislation in respect of the Coloured Persons Representative Council, but where are we to go from here? What we have difficulty in understanding is what developments there can ever be of that council as a result of the powers given it and the powers which the State President may give it on the advice of the Cabinet, which could ever take the place of representation in this House? You see, Sir, no representation here, as the Minister of Defence puts it, means that there is a growth point elsewhere. Where is that growth point going to lead? Can it possibly lead to the harmony and the cooperation which we could get as a result of having representatives of the Coloured people here in this House and giving them a say in decisions about the future of South Africa? I do not believe it, and I do not believe it because this Parliament controls the destiny of the Coloured people just as much as it controls the destiny of the Whites and they may never know in this Parliament what the Coloured people are thinking. I believe that the Minister of Coloured Affairs is most zealous in his work and I believe he will do his best to let us know what the Coloured people are thinking, as communicated to him, but will that always be so? We certainly will not know if the Minister at the time does not want us to know. We will have no way whatever of finding out, because that is the only link with the Coloured Persons Representative Council and if that link does not want us to know, we will not know what the position is. Sir, is that going to fulfill the political ambitions of the Cape Coloured people? I believe that we are running into great danger of removing the safety valve here from this House and leaving a hotbed of dissension which may cause us a great deal of ill-feeling in the future.
Sir, this Bill not only provides that the representatives of the Coloured people shall be removed from Parliament; it also provides that the representatives here at the present time shall continue in office until the dissolution of this Parliament. I do not believe that I am misquoting the Prime Minister when I say that he once said that I would have a case against him if he simply abolished Coloured representation here without putting anything in its place. He said that while we were waiting for the dissolution of this Parliament, the Coloured Persons Representative Council would come into existence and we would have many opportunities of weighing up opinions and weighing up the efficacy of the council and the Coloured Representatives in Parliament, one against the other. Sir, what happens if Parliament is dissolved for some unexpected reason before that Coloured Council comes into being? Are we going to have those opportunities? Would it not be wiser to say that the representatives of the Coloured people will remain here until that Coloured Council comes into existence and has been elected and is functioning properly? Parliament has been dissolved suddenly on more than one occasion in its history, and we know that registration and delimitation for those elections are going to take a long time, perhaps as long as two years. We may easily find ourselves losing those Coloured Representatives before we have a Coloured Persons Representative Council. We also have another problem. There is already a vacancy caused by the death of one of the representatives of the Coloured people. Under this Bill that vacancy will not be filled. The Prime Minister has given his reasons for that. He said—
That is the reason for not filling the vacancy. But let us examine that statement. I want to draw attention to the fact that a vacancy could occur in the Senate and that vacancy would be filled by a nomination by this Government. But filling a vacancy in the Senate is also banned under this Bill. How can there be improper interference in a nomination by the Government? Or does the hon. the Prime Minister regard his nomination of nominated members for the Coloured Persons Representative Council as improper interference? Sir, I can see no possible reason why a possible vacancy in the Senate should not be filled. How can it be improper interference? It would be the result of a nomination by the Government.
Let us return to the position of a possible vacancy in this House. I supported a provision of this kind in September, 1966, when the Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Bill was before Parliament to prolong the lives of the representatives of the Coloured people and to prohibit the filling of vacancies. On that occasion I said this, and I want to quote it—
That is the one which prevented the filling of vacancies—
In that same debate we had a speech from the hon. member for Peninsula, dealing with irregularities in respect of registration and the state of the roll at that time, of which he gave us a very clear indication. Subsequent to that, the hon. the Prime Minister and I entered into an agreement concerning the Prohibition of Improper Interference Bill of 1966, and in the discussion of that matter in the House I said—
Note the emphasis, Sir, on the false registrations and the state of the roll. The motion for the Bill to go to a Select Committee was defeated because there was an objection and the Bill came up again, and the hon. the Prime Minister himself put what I had said, on my behalf, because I was not here. Last year, in May, we extended the lives of the Coloured Representatives for a further two years, and in supporting that measure I said—I
Did the Prime Minister dissociate himself from that?
Now, these are the statements I made. When the hon. the Prime Minister said the other day that he was not going to fill those vacancies because of the opinion he shared with me that there was improper political interference with the Coloured people, I believe I was entitled to conclude that what he was referring to was the false registrations and the state of the roll at the time. That was one of the reasons for our coming to an agreement, and for extending the lives of the Coloured Representatives, and that was one of the reasons for our agreeing not to fill vacancies.
The hon. member for Houghton is understandably sore on this issue because she has never yet answered the hon. member for Peninsula adequately in respect of the allegations he made in this House. [Interjections.]
If the disturbance is over, we can perhaps go on. May I point out that we are now in a different position. We now have the Minister coming to this House and saying the Coloured Representatives must be removed at the dissolution of this Parliament, no vacancies must be filled, and that the lives of the present Representatives must be extended. Sir, we do not want to see the Coloured Representatives removed; we want to see them stay here. We believe there should be new elections now. These people have already served their time. We believe it is the duty of the Government to see that that roll is dean. We believe there is no excuse for not filling vacancies because of the state of the roll, as I believe to be the real position, when this Government is going to have at least one constituency unrepresented for nearly three years in this House if Parliament runs its normal life.
Then the hon. the Minister said nothing in his speech about the Coloured people in Natal. As the Minister knows, they are still on the Common Roll in Natal and they still participate in elections. But he said nothing about them. This Bill removes them from the Common Roll. There have been no irregularities there. There has been no trouble there. What justification is there for the removal of those people?
Then there is the removal of the Representatives of the Coloureds in the Provincial Council. That is part of our policy, when the communal council which we envisage for the Coloureds is established and is given adequate power. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether that removal is justified at present, when the powers to be given to the new Coloured Persons Representative Council have not been decided by this House. We believe that is in accordance with our policy and we will therefore not oppose that part of the Bill.
The hon. the Minister, in introducing this Bill, made some extraordinary statements. He said that apartheid in the political sphere was the traditional policy of South Africa because although in fact another policy was applied it was falsely applied and produced different results. Sir, if it was falsely applied and produced different results, where was the danger of it? Why all this trouble about it? He went through the history of the political rights of the Coloureds, but he never told us a word about the unconstitutional actions which he and his Government tried to take to get rid of those people. He told us that we were making progress, but not at the expense of the Coloureds. Is he really prepared to tell us that there has been no diminution of the political rights of the Cape Coloured people and that they are not more hardly pressed upon by petty apartheid to-day than they were, that there are not jobs which they used to do but which they cannot do to-day, and that they are not getting many of the opportunities which they had in the past? He said he did not believe that representation in this House meant anything to them because only 33,000 Coloured voters were registered in the Cape. He knows, or ought to know, as well as I do why so few were registered. He knows how frustrated they were when they were put on the separate roll. He knows the difficulties in respect of registration. He knows that there was a boycott at the original elections for the Council. He should know why there are so few. He says he is giving them more than he is taking away. Sir, what is he giving them in the place of a say in the one body which really controls the future of South Africa? And this is the group of people which is closest to us, which very largely speaks our languages and which has never let us down in any war or in any difficulty we have ever been in. He says to them: I am going to give you a Council whose powers are as yet unspecified, but over the important things in South Africa that Council will have no say and the voice of the Coloured people will not be heard. I think that is a disregard of the political development of the Coloured people which we have seen over the last 100 years, a cynical disregard which bodes ill for the future of South Africa. That is one of the main reasons why we are opposing this Bill.
If the hon. the Leader of the Opposition had not sought refuge behind my person, he would not have had subject matter for a speech to-day, because we saw him behaving extraordinarily here to-day, i.e. how a responsible frontbencher and the Leader of the Opposition went out of his way to create the impression that the conduct of political opponents was not honourable, and cast reflections on the trustworthiness of one’s word, and that to try and defend his own poor case. I just want to put one question to the Leader of the Opposition, who is such a high priest of righteousness and integrity. When his representatives on this Select Committee made the proposal, which is recorded in the report of this Committee, that the common roll should be restored, was his Party already busy on the new policy? Had his Party then already decided to accept separate representation as a policy? Their commission, at any rate, was busy on it, and he proclaimed a policy to the world as being the official standpoint of his Party, knowing that he intended to change it. But for this side of the House and for me as Minister of Defence, who had to deal with facts, with a factual situation, at the time, it is dishonourable, and it casts the reflection on me that my word cannot be accepted, and that there must be serious doubts about my honour. But this exalted gentleman, with his righteousness, can chop and change as much as he likes as far as his conscience is concerned. I now want to say this to the Leader of the Opposition. The two of us have known each other for a long time. We have clashed severely in the past, to his detriment, but I think we can say to each other that we have always accepted each other as honourable opponents. Now I want to say this to the Leader of the Opposition, and I am not talking to the yappers around him; I am talking to him as an honourable person. I am now asking the Leader of the Opposition as an honourable person whether he wants us to place ourselves on the basis in future that we do not accept each other’s word. Does the Leader of the Opposition want to suggest this afternoon that this will be his attitude towards me in future? I am asking him a very straightforward question, because this will determine my course of action towards him. I am asking the Leader of the Opposition, if he has the courage he has always had, to answer me.
Is this a threat?
I shall give him a chance, if I do not lose my turn.
Will the hon. the Minister please proceed?
I want to tell the Leader of the Opposition that he must be very careful whom he chooses as his leader, because he has in fact taken the lead given by the Cape Times. The Cape Times started this story of this casting such a serious reflection on my trustworthiness. This is where he has taken his lead from; he has not thought it up himself. This Cape Times is the very paper which still owes me an apology since the general election for a blatant lie they told about District Six. That paper still stands accused to-day of haying put out a lie which it has not yet corrected since the general election. This is the kind of ally the Leader of the Opposition chooses for himself. I say that I am prepared to make this accusation against the Cape Times outside this House, i.e. that it told a lie about the handling of District Six. [Interjections.] To-day the Cape Times still stands accused of not having corrected that lie which it told. This is the kind of company in which the Leader of the Opposition finds himself. Now, what are the facts with regard to his accusation? What did I say?
What did you say! [Interjections.]
I earnestly appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, to appeal to the hon. member for Yeoville to behave like a decent person for once. What did I say in my speech? In the first place I said that originally the present form of political representation was not the policy of the National Party, but that it was the result of a compromise. No one can deny this, because it is history. In the second place I said—I have the Hansard report of my speech here before me—that there was a second important consideration in discussing this matter, i.e. that at the time of Union in 1910 one of the foundation-stones was that only Whites would sit in this Parliament, and because there were people who wanted to interfere with this principle, the attempt at Union nearly failed. Now the Opposition want to do the same thing.
In the third place I said that we never saw the present form of Coloured representation as a point of growth in terms of our positive policy. This being so, Dr. Verwoerd and I adopted the attitude at the time that we first had to give shape to the positive side of our Coloured policy and that this compromise would fall away as these positive things were brought about. At that point of my speech an hon. member on the opposite side asked me by way of interjection whether we had not said that the Coloured representatives would remain here. I said yes, we did say that. It stands here in my speech. We said this because we first wanted to develop the positive aspects to a point where they would overshadow the present dispensation and as a result cause it to fall into disuse. Surely it happens every day both in private and in public life that when one has any particular instrument which is not perfect and one wants to create a more perfect instrument, one carries on with that imperfect instrument until one is able to replace it by a more perfect one. What is dishonest about that? [Interjections.]
What did you promise?
It is clear that hon. members on the opposite side do not want to hear my explanation—that is why they noisily follow their leader like a lot of tappers. They do not want to listen; they are not interested in the facts. Because, you see, Sir, what they really want is to keep the four representatives here so that they may also tamper with the voters’ rolls, as the Progressive Party did, in order to obtain support for their poor party. This wailing about the Coloureds on the part of the Cape Times, the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Yeoville, and others, is not because they are interested in the Coloureds, but because they and their predecessors ever since the days of Queen Victoria wanted to exploit the Coloureds for their own political ends. That is why they tried to buy votes by distributing slaughter sheep; that is why they did the rounds amongst the Coloured settlers with barrels of wine with which to buy the Coloureds’ votes. That is why their candidates in Bredasdorp and Caledon did the rounds with barrels of wine, slaughter sheep and cattle with which to buy the Coloured vote. These are now the high priests of righteousness! Yet they know in what manner they loaded voters’ rolls-—to such an extent that objection had to be lodged in the courts. There was a time when we had to lodge objection in the courts against the registration of Coloured voters. The National Party had numerous Coloured voters deleted from the roll because according to the law they should not have been there. After that the United Party organization came along again and with these double-dealing methods of theirs, with these treacherous methods of theirs, bought those Coloureds back onto the voters’ roll. They established night schools and there incited the Coloureds against their fellow Whites for political gain. This is the high priest of righteousness sitting there now; this is the man who is so concerned about the word of honour.
It is a lie.
Order! Will the hon. member for Newton Park withdraw those words?
Speaker, it is not true.
Order! Will the hon. member withdraw them?
I withdraw the words, Sir.
The hon. the Minister may proceed.
Evidence has been furnished in this House of persons supporting that Party who appeared before the court for illegal practices in connection with the registration. That side must not abuse the Progressive Party. The Progressive Party learned their methods from the United Party. These sanctimonious gentlemen who now want to talk here about justice and the honour of one’s word must not think they are bluffing us. I am telling the hon. the Leader of the Opposition that if he wants to hit out at me, I shall hit back at him in language he will understand. We know how in his time he packed voters’ rolls with Coloured votes in order to try and save his own political skin.
Now I want to go a little further. This Opposition of ours had the opportunity to prove their good faith and goodwill towards the Coloured people of South Africa when they were in power. But they let the Coloureds live in slums; they let them live in their shanties and hovels, and every five years they used the Coloureds as voting cattle. This is what we want to prevent. We do not want to give them another opportunity to begin a campaign and to sow bitterness. That is why Dr. Verwoerd and I adopted the attitude that positive work first had to be done in order to convince the Coloured people of the sincerity of this Government, and this I said in my speech. What is wrong with that? But we went further. We said that the future would have to determine what forms of consultation would be created. I want to read what I said, as recorded in Hansard. When I introduced the Representative Council legislation here in 1964 I said the following, as recorded in Hansard—
This I said here in 1964. I read it in my last speech. It was in agreement with the standpoint we consistently adopted, namely that we could not see the end of the road and that we would therefore follow that road step by step. Where is the dishonourableness then, except for people who have lost their own conscience behind the door? But I went further in this speech and asked why the Opposition did not tell the whole story and the whole history. Because, I said, at a certain stage a change came about in the Opposition as well. While they were prepared to allow their Coloured representatives, though United Party members, to sit here as a group that would not be subject to the discipline of some political party or other, they allowed the hon. member for Karoo to misuse the Coloureds in order to enter this Parliament. From that moment the United Party gave a different turn to this Coloured representation.
Can you prove outside what you are saying here?
But of course. Let the hon. member for Gardens tell the hon. member of the nomination methods they applied to get the hon. member for Karoo elected. [Interjections.] But what happened then? After the United Party had the hon. member for Karoo carried in here on the Coloured vote, the Progressive Party suddenly came to a new realization. They saw that, although they had been rejected as a political party by the Whites of South Africa, they could, by employing the tactics of their old masters, namely abuse and manipulation of the voters’ roll and false registrations, ride into this Parliament. Then the Leader of the Opposition took fright, and then he was suddenly prepared, because he knew the pupil was outdoing the teacher. Then he discovered that his pupils were having greater success in using the Coloureds for their own political ends than his own Party, which had fallen into disfavour.
Now come to the point.
I do not know where that hon. member comes from—somewhere in Natal—but if only he will keep quiet, I shall be able to make my speech in my own way. He can reveal his ignorance next time.
Give us the proofs of your statements.
The Leader of the Opposition then agreed that an investigation should take place. I then dealt with that position in my speech, and I said that we had concealed nothing. Because in 1965, with the knowledge of the late Dr. Verwoerd, I made a speech before the congress of our party in which I warned that this Coloured representation, as existing in Parliament at the moment, was being endangered as a result of the exploitation by opposition parties. I said this before the congress of our party. What is more I had said this shortly before in a speech at George, in which I warned the Coloureds not to let themselves be exploited. What did the Leader of the Opposition do?
Then Daantjie Scholtz lost.
He drove to De Dooms and attacked me there about my warnings. After that he served on a Select Committee, this gentleman who has so much respect for one’s word. In other words, the Leader of the Opposition himself repeatedly changed his point of view over the past months and years. The Leader of the Opposition has changed his point of view repeatedly. They made a court case about the common voters’ roll. In the name of justice they called on the world to break this Government, because it was committing a crime against the Coloured people, for the sake of the common roll. There the party sits which in the name of justice made a court case, and now it is proposing a separate voters’ roll. It called up Christendom to fight on its side against this Government for the common voters’ roll. While its representatives made that proposal on the Select Committee, namely that they wanted to return to the common voters’ roll, they had a different plan in their inside pockets all the time, i.e. to propose a separate voters’ roll here. This is the exalted lord of righteousness, the high priest with his cloak. I now say to him: He is the last man to talk about a word of honour. If he wants to slander me I shall slander him in return. I want to tell him further: Neither he nor his Press will succeed in preventing this Government from doing what we believe is right for South Africa. I shall issue a challenge to him now. I challenge the Leader of the Opposition to appear with me on the same platform, in the by-election at Swellendam, on this specific matter of separate representation of Coloureds and the Coloured vote. I challenge him this afternoon. [Interjections.]
Order! I want to point out to hon. members that they must maintain order now, otherwise I shall take sterner action.
My party will pay for the hall; I shall guarantee him an audience; we can speak under two chairmen. I want to meet him in front of the voters of Swellendam on the United Party’s chopping and changing and their hypocrisy in connection with the Coloured vote. I issue this challenge to him, this high priest of righteousness, as he is sitting there. [Interjections.]
Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of becoming involved with the hon. the Minister of Defence in his dispute with the Cape Times or indeed with his dispute with the Opposition. I have listened very attentively to the answer that he has given to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition when confronted with what he said in this House some ten days ago. I am afraid the Minister of Defence has evaded the point completely of a very simple issue, which called for an explanation and a public explanation, may I say, because the public outside are very doubtful as to whether the so-called true story can be proved.
About you, not about me!
The issue is a very simple one. During the course of the previous debate the hon. the Minister of Defence was confronted with a number of public statements made by him in his capacity as Minister of Coloured Affairs at that time and by the late Dr. Verwoerd, who was then Prime Minister, to the effect that it was not the Government’s intention to abolish Coloured representation in this House.
You did not listen; I have dealt with that.
My time is limited and I cannot repeat these statements. I have no time to deal with them fully. They are reflected in Hansard, statements which I, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition and others have quoted.
Why do you not resign your seat? You have been sitting here by the mercy of the Government for years!
Just a moment. Do not lose your temper. I shall deal with that now. If you undertake to fill the vacancy, I will resign now.
Order! Order! I want to point out to hon. members that I shall take action if there are any further interjections. The hon. member may proceed.
Mr. Speaker, let me just answer the hon. Che Minister. He has asked me why I have not resigned. It has been my wish to resign for quite a long time, and I all deal with that presently. I want to repeat now, publicly, Chat if the Government says that it will fill a vacancy created by my resignation, I will resign this afternoon. Now I ask the hon. the Minister whether he is prepared to accept that position. [Interjections.]
Order! I have issued a warning to hon. members. This is final.
Now, Mr. Speaker, let me come back. The hon. the Minister is trying to run away again from the very simple issue with which he is confronted. He was told repeatedly of public statements made by himself and the late Dr. Verwoerd of the Government’s intention with regard to Coloured representation in this House, in which both of them declared publicly, in this House and outside of this House, Chat it was not the Government’s intention to abolish Coloured representation in Parliament. Then, when confronted with that, in the course of a lengthy speech in this House, the hon. the Minister went on to say that “I should know”—he admitted having made these statements, by the way—“because I had the confidence of Dr. Verwoerd and what we said really was not our intention”. I can quote from the hon. the Minister’s own speech in this regard. He poses a question to himself—
In other words, he went on to try and explain to this House that every statement he made in consultation with the late Dr. Verwoerd, and that what he said publicly, and what Dr. Verwoerd said publicly, was not the real intention of the Government. Now, that is the crisp issue. I am going to leave the hon. the Minister alone for the time being. This is far too important a debate to become involved with personalities like the hon. the Minister, because the political future of a very large section of our population is involved in the outcome of this discussion this afternoon.
It is well known that the basic purpose of this Bill is to repeal the Separate Representation of Voters Act, and to provide that from the date of the dissolution of this Parliament the Coloured people of the Cape will no longer have any form of parliamentary representation. The other provisions of the Bill are merely incidental to the main purpose. I want to say this in regard to the incidental aspects of this Bill. In the first instance, provision is made for a further extension of the period of office of the present sitting members representing the Coloured people, and secondly, to prohibit—and I want the Minister to listen to this—the filling of any casual vacancy in the House of Assembly or in the Senate. I want to come back to the interjection made by the hon. the Minister. Speaking for myself, I do not look forward to any further extension of the period of office of the present Coloured representatives in this House. I would much rather—and I say this advisedly—the Government allow the vacancies to be filled. This would relieve me personally of a responsibility, a responsibility which I tried to get away from some two years ago, when I made representations in this House for new elections to be held for Coloured Representatives. I personally am finding it more difficult to get out of Parliament than to get into Parliament. It is well known that I indicated a few years ago that, having served in this House for over 23 years, I would not be seeking re-election to Parliament. But in view of the Government’s determination not to fill any casual vacancies, as indeed this Bill prescribes, I feel that I have a duty to the Coloured people I represent, to remain one of their mouthpieces in this Parliament, until such time as they can no longer be represented in this House. I am prepared to carry on that responsibility in view of the Government’s attitude. I repeat again that, if the Government is prepared to meet me in this matter and allow a free election to take place and the vacancy to be filled, I am prepared to resign forthwith from this House. I repeat that the main purpose of this Bill is to terminate finally any representation in Parliament for the Coloured people of the Cape. The rest is merely supplementary.
I now want to deal with the main purpose of the Bill. This Bill will have the effect of ending an epoch in our South African parliamentary life. For well over 100 years the Coloured people of the Cape have enjoyed some form of parliamentary representation; originally through the Common Roll system, and subsequently, as a result of this Government’s actions, through the Separate Representation of Voters Act. Whether we like it or not, and whether the Government likes it or not, this representation, even in this emasculated form, has been appreciated by our Coloured people. In the words of one of the witnesses, who gave evidence before the Muller Commission, “the Coloured people have come to attach much importance to this representation. Through the years they have come to accept it as a matter of goodwill and good faith between Whites and Coloureds and Coloureds and Whites”. That is part of the evidence of one of the Coloured witnesses, the Coloured leader, Mr. Fortuin, and appears on page 138 of the report of the commission. On page 149 of the report Mr. Tom Schwartz, a supporter of the Government and chairman of the present Coloured Council, had this to say in answer to the following question:
This comes from a man who is a public leader of the Coloured people and a supporter of the Government. It now appears from the Bill before the House that unless the Government undergoes a change of heart, the Coloured citizens will not have any further representation in the Central Parliament of their own country after the next general election. As I see it they will be relegated, together with the Bantu and the Indians of South Africa, to a subordinate citizenship which will carry the duties and responsibilities of ordinary citizenship while they will have no say whatsoever in the sovereign Parliament of their own country which will continue to control and direct their destinies. That is the plan the Government envisages as regards the future rights of the Coloured people. I repeat that they will be subjected to having to accept a subordinate citizenship which will carry the responsibilities of ordinary citizenship. They will be responsible to the Government as ordinary citizens but they will have no say whatsoever in the sovereign Parliament of their country. This then appears to be the Government’s final answer for the future of the Coloured people as far as political rights are concerned. When I talk of their future rights in this country, which is their only country because they know of no other country and they have no other country to go to—South Africa is their country as it is yours and mine—these are the rights envisaged by the Government for this very large section of our westernized population. This appears to be the Government’s reward to our Coloured citizens for their loyalty over the years to successive governments of South Africa—not only to the Nationalist Government but to all governments of South Africa—and generally to the white people of South Africa. This is the recognition that they will receive for helping to maintain law and order in South Africa and for allying themselves at all times to their fellow white citizens and resisting the threats and intimidation with which they were confronted over the years from other sections of our multi-racial population. This is the reward and the thanks that they are going to receive from this Government.
The Government in its wisdom thinks that the future political rights of the Coloured people can be solved by removing them from the political scene and by giving them an enlarged Coloured council with limited powers to deal with the comparatively minor matters relating to their own affairs. If this is the Government’s thinking on this important matter, the Government is in for a very rude awakening. The Government will soon realize that the Coloured people will not be satisfied with being kept in a political vacuum—and that is what is intended for them—and to be isolated from their fellow citizens in their own country. As sure as night follows day there will be a clamouring by the Coloured people for representation in the sovereign Parliament of their own land as long as that sovereign Parliament continues to control and direct the destiny of the Coloured people of this country. We know, because the Prime Minister and other Government speakers have said so time and again, that it is the Government’s intention that in respect of all vital matters affecting the Coloured people, this sovereign Parliament will continue to legislate for those people. I was interested recently to read a leading article in Die Burger, which we know is also a mouthpiece of the Government, and which contained something to this effect, namely that the solution to our Coloured problems lay in the Coloured people disappearing from the parliamentary scene. I am convinced that this could never be the solution to this very important problem.
We will not solve the problem merely by pushing them into the background and removing them from the parliamentary scene. That is no answer to the problem with which we are confronted. I am quite satisfied that no section of our Westernized citizens will tolerate a situation where they are denied a voice in the sovereign parliament of their own country where most of our time is taken up by discussing and legislating on matters which affect their own interests. Mr. Speaker, if you go back in the records to the time when this Government came into power in 1948, you will find that almost three-quarters of the debates which have taken place in this House have been on matters affecting the Coloured people and yet they are going to be denied any voice in this House and are going to be relegated to the background to have their affairs dealt with by this council of which the hon. the Minister of Coloured Affairs spoke this afternoon. I am quite convinced that whilst in the beginning, in order to enable some of our Coloured citizens to climb onto the bandwagon of being nominated to this enlarged Coloured council, they may be prepared to accept the Government’s decision for the time being, but in the foreseeable future there will be a terrific agitation for the restoration to them of representation in some form or other in the Central Parliament of their own land. To my mind the situation cannot be otherwise. Surely the Government must realize that the Coloured people will continue to live among us as an active part of the South African nation. They are part and parcel of the South African nation.
Surely the Government must realize that there is a measure of interdependence between the Whites and the Coloureds which cannot be eliminated from the South African scene. It is something that cannot be eliminated. The economic prosperity of South African depends upon this interdependence of the Whites on the Coloureds as well as the Coloureds on the Whites. The Coloured labour force will continue to play an increasingly important part in our South African economy. At the same time the Coloureds realize that they are dependent upon the enterprise and the goodwill of the white people. This interdependence between the Whites and the Coloureds, and vice versa, must inevitably manifest itself in some political recognition. Surely the Government must realize that what it is doing under this Bill to the Coloured people is infinitely worse than what the Government has done and intends doing to the Bantu.
I agree wholeheartedly with what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has had to say this afternoon in this regard. Under the Government’s plan the Coloured people will in future be reduced to a status lower than that of the Bantu. In terms of the Government’s policy the Bantu have been told that they can look to the reserves as their future homeland. The Bantu have been told that in those reserves he will be encouraged and helped by the Government to develop to full maturity, politically and otherwise. Under the Government’s policy the Bantu can be territorially separated from the rest of the country. Whether that is in fact possible or not does not matter for the time being. At least provision is made for this territorial separation. Whether or not the Bantu will ever develop to political maturity for the moment also does not matter. The fact remains that the Government under this policy is leading the Bantu to believe that he can develop to maturity in his own homeland. But surely this cannot apply to our Coloured people. The Government surely know that as far as our Coloured people are concerned there can be no separate homeland for them. They have no national home in any particular part of South Africa. They are a product of all South Africa. We cannot regard them as a homogeneous group whether by virtue of common economic interest or any particular way of life.
Through force of circumstances which cannot be changed—and the tragedy is that the circumstances are such that they cannot be changed—and through the economic circumstances of our country the Coloured people must at all times live in close proximity to the white people and their place of employment.
There can be no separate homelands for them, yet the Government thinks that it can satisfy the future political aspirations of the Coloured people by giving them a council which will administer their own affairs, to a limited degree, in respect of matters which will be entrusted to the council from time to time by this Parliament. Sir, can that by any stretch of imagination be regarded as equivalent to a parliament in their own country? Does the Government really think that the Coloured people are going to be satisfied with this situation for long? Does the Government really think that our Coloured citizens, who know that they are an inseparable part of the Republic of South Africa, will be satisfied for all time to accept subordinate citizenship without any say in the Parliament which will continue to control and direct their destiny? No, I do not propose to quote again this afternoon the assurances which have been given to our Coloured people from time to time by past leaders of the Nationalist Party.
I have quoted them in this House repeatedly and other members, more particularly the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, have repeatedly quoted the assurances given by former Prime Ministers of this country, particularly by former Prime Ministers of the Nationalist Party and by every responsible leader of the Nationalist Party, that there will be no interference with the continued representation of the Coloured people in this sovereign Parliament of our country. After all, Sir, it must be remembered that the Act this Bill seeks to repeal was an Act brought in by the present Government itself, and whilst it was acknowledged at the time that it represented a diminution of the political rights of our Coloured people, it nonetheless reserved for them some form of continued representation in our Central Parliament. That form of representation was vouchsafed to our Coloured people by every responsible leader of the Nationalist Party.
The present Bill will be seen by our Coloured people as a repudiation of the pledged word of our white leaders in this country. Many of them have already spoken to me in the most frustrated terms about this Bill. They regard this step which the Government is now taking against the Coloured people as a repudiation of the pledged word given by former Prime Ministers of this country. They will regard this as a further diminution of the political rights which they have enjoyed for so long. They will regard this as a betrayal of solemn assurances given to them over the years by white leaders of this country. They will not accept—and I am sorry that the hon. the Minister of Defence is not here—the explanation which was proffered in this House by the hon. the Minister of Defence that the late Dr. Verwoerd did not mean what he said when he gave public assurances that Coloured representation in Parliament would not be abolished. However much they differed with the late Dr. Verwoerd’s political views—and Heaven knows they did differ—they regarded him as a scrupulously honest man and they are convinced that he would never have been a party to any questionable standard of political conduct. They came to accept the solemn assurances given by the late Dr. Verwoerd and his predecessors, the late Mr. Strijdom, the late Dr. Malan and the late Mr. Havenga, as honest assurances coming from honest leaders of the nation, and to-day they realize what faith they can place in those solemn assurances. Does the Government not realize that in the light of what is happening to-day no solemn assurance given by the Government will be of any value in future?
Sir, what have our Coloured people done to receive this treatment? If in fact they have been exploited, as has been suggested by some of the Government speakers, why should they be penalized? If in fact the vast majority of them do not support the Government’s policy of apartheid, can they be blamed? Can they be blamed when we realize that practically every facet of the Government’s apartheid policy over the last 15 years has been aimed almost exclusively against the Coloured people? Can they be blamed when they get up and speak against it? Is this the reason why they are now to have no say in the only worth-while political forum in this country, and that is this Central Parliament? No fair-minded person could possibly say that the Coloured people deserve to be dealt with in this unjust way or to receive the treatment which the Government envisages for them in this Bill. I am sure the Government will rue the day when they took the step envisaged in this Bill. They will rue the day when they broke faith with our Coloured people.
I say that the step envisaged in this Bill is in defiance of the overwhelming evidence and the appeals made to us by the Coloured people in the Muller Commission. I support the well-chosen words of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition that the action of the Government is contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence which emanated from the Coloured people who gave evidence before the commission. I say that this is a step which is being taken in defiance of the wishes of the vast majority of the Coloured people and it is a step which must inevitably bring our national honour into disrepute, and I ask the hon. the Minister even at this stage to have second thoughts as to whether the Government is wise in going on with what I regard as a reprehensible and retrogressive step.
The hon. member for Peninsula said that this Bill was ending an epoch. So it is, but it has without any doubt been an unsavoury epoch for both Whites and Coloureds. I do not think there is one single population group in South Africa that has or will have pleasant memories of this epoch, and this was also proved by the evidence given before the Commission. The hon. member for Peninsula has calmed down a lot in recent years, but I am sorry to say that he has once again spoken with bitterness to-day. Once again he really tried to make an inflammatory speech to-day. He did his best to prompt the Coloureds to agitate against this legislation.
No, that is not correct.
I should like to address a few words to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. It is very clear to me that the United Party do not want to give prominence to the positive steps. They want to concentrate on the negative aspects. The first Bill before the House this afternoon was tabled along with this other legislation which they have now to discuss. In the case of the previous Bill they objected to the positive aspect. They thought that the Bill should have been tabled at an earlier stage and they said that they had not had time to study it. But it was not necessary for them to study it so carefully, because the United Party members on the Commission had supported those steps in their minority report. I would think that that Bill could have been discussed first, for then they would have had more time to discuss this Bill, which they consider more important. But the Bill now before the House gives them the opportunity of riding the racial horse, of creating bitterness, of seeing whether they cannot activate the Coloureds, because the hon. the Prime Minister announced more than two weeks ago what the Government’s plans were and there was little or no reaction on the part of the Coloureds. Notwithstanding the fact that the Coloured population have known for more than two weeks now what legislation was coming and that their representation here was going to be abolished, there has been no reaction from them whatsoever.
What did you expect?
The United Party, in a debate that lasted five days, could not even succeed in activating them. They need more time. Sir, I found the amendment moved by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, i.e. to omit “now” and to add at the end “this day six months”, an interesting one. History repeats itself. In 1964, when the legislation concerning the Coloured Council was discussed in this House, the hon. member for Gardens was the principal speaker on that side and he moved the same amendment on that occasion (Hansard, Vol. 10, Col. 4085, 13th April, 1964), i.e. to omit “now” and to add at the end “this day six months”. Then these are the people who keep talking of breach of faith and a change of front. In 1964 they fought the introduction of a Coloured Persons’ Representative Council tooth and nail, and in 1968 they support it. They supported it on the Commission, and therefore they should support it here as well. Sir, they talk of breach of faith. What did the hon. member for Gardens say on behalf of the United Party in 1964? They fought that legislation tooth and nail and then the hon. member for Gardens, who is also leader of the United Party in the Cape, stated his party’s policy in the following terms (Hansard, Vol. 10, Col. 4089)—
What is wrong with that?
A pledge, Sir. They go as far as to say that they are prepared to negotiate with the Coloureds, but they are not prepared to negotiate with the Coloureds on a basis other than their return to the common roll.
What did Dr. Verwoerd say?
Order! The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) must contain himself.
Do people who stand behind the door have the right to accuse other people of breach of faith? Has there ever been a worse breach of faith in history than in this case? One must not stand behind the door and keep on trying to find other people there. What we heard here from the Leader of the Opposition to-day was the rehashing of old, cold food which has been ruminated over and over again. Nothing happened here. After all, the subject of this discussion is a matter of history; it caused a constitutional struggle in South Africa. In the previous debate I reminded them of their United Front and of the R2 million trust fund which they established. The United Front and the trust fund were established to keep the Coloured vote on the common roll and for no other purpose whatsoever. I can understand the attitude of the United Party and of the Leader of the Opposition very well. You see, Sir, when they had made all these promises to the Coloureds, the United Party devised a new policy after 1964, the policy of federation. This suits them better now, and that is why they no longer stand by the common roll. That is why they have switched to separate representation, and that is why they have switched to direct representation of Coloureds by Coloureds in this Parliament, as this is a step towards their federation. But this, of course, is in direct contrast to the policy of this side of the House.
We on this side are convinced that the Coloured people as a whole welcome the various steps that are now being taken. I repeat that the United Party are very anxious to emphasize the negative aspect. They want to hide the positive aspect the way they wanted to hide it from the Coloureds in 1964, because they knew very well what was going to happen. They knew that the Coloureds were going to fall in with separate development to an ever-increasing extent, and they know that the Coloureds have done so. The Coloured people have accepted separate development. We believe that the Coloured people, having welcomed it in the past years, will welcome it even more in future, as they are receiving more powers now. They are going to support our policy to a greater extent in the future.
I should like to return briefly to the matter of breach of faith. In 1960 I served on a party commission appointed by the then leader of the party in the Cape, the late Dr. Dönges, in order to reconsider and reassess the Coloured policy of the National Party. I am sorry I have not brought the report along with me, otherwise I would have quoted from it to-day. I did not think this debate would come up to-day. The report says that Coloured representation should remain for the present, until we have proceeded further with our own positive steps. This is a report drawn up by members of the National Party of the Cape in 1960, and I want to say to-day that it has always been my innermost conviction that Coloured representation must disappear from here. Accordingly I have nothing whatsoever on my conscience for signing the majority report, as I have always been convinced that once the positive aspect culminates, the Coloured population will accept it, and I am convinced that they are in the process of accepting it.
I want to deal with the evidence briefly. I was deeply impressed, on the grounds of the evidence given before the Commission, by the desire among the Coloureds to participate and to have a share in the socio-economic programme envisaged for them by the Government. As far as I know, the most important and most prominent political leaders of the Coloureds gave evidence before the Commission. There are only three existing Coloured political parties in the entire Republic. They are the Conservative Party, the Federale Volksparty, and the Labour Party, and these leaders are the acknowledged Coloured leaders in the political sphere to-day, and nobody can deny that. All these leaders appeared before the Commission. I should like to refer hon. members to the evidence submitted by Messrs. Fortuin and Petersen of the Conservative Party. You may read it on pages 129 to 133. I do not want to weary you by quoting it. They gave an explanation of their memorandum before the Commission, and Mr. Fortuin presented what almost amounted to a manifesto, as I want to call it, on their view of the matter. I would recommend every hon. member of this House to read this evidence, because it is extremely illuminating. I found it to be a statement of the sentiments of these people and their attitude towards themselves and their own affairs, and this also applies to Mr. Tom Schwartz and Mr. Sanders of the Federal Party. It has become dear to me that these people are developing a national pride of their own and that most of them are seizing the opportunity now being presented to them by the Government. It is furthermore quite clear to me that by far the most of them do not want a duality within a unity. Practically all of them reject the “snob” voters’ roll on which the representatives in this House of Assembly are elected. This is what Mr. Fortuin says on page 132—
This political party pleaded for only one voters’ roll. They do not want two. I can quote a great deal from this. This was a strong plea they made. They are very keen to have a link with Parliament. They proposed that experts be appointed to guide them, and I shall come back to this later. All the Coloured leaders who appeared before this Commission, with the exception of Dr. Van der Ross, reject direct representation. Not one of those Coloured witnesses wants to be represented by Coloureds in this Parliament. Where does the United Party get that decision from to say that Coloureds must be represented by Coloureds? The Coloured leaders rejected it. According to their evidence, they said that if representation in this Parliament was to be retained, it must be by Whites. This was with the exception of Dr. Van der Ross.
Everybody sees the Coloured Council as the mouthpiece of the Coloureds. All are agreed that the Coloured Council cannot be successful without White leadership and advice. This is true. Without exception all the witnesses set great store by the valuable services rendered by the Department of Coloured Affairs. Those Coloured leaders feared, and all of them did, that Coloured representatives in Parliament would be abolished and that they would then have to forgo white leadership. They fully realize that they need white leadership. Therefore I think there is much peace and quiet as far as the Coloured population is concerned, and therefore I believe that the United Party will not succeed in stirring them up. It is this link which has been announced by the hon. the Prime Minister. This is what the Coloureds want. Most of them expressed dissatisfaction with the representation here. They want something different. Not a single witness, with the exception of a few confirmed old progressive liberalists, pleaded for the existing system. Everyone wanted a change. Now I think it is only reasonable, in view of the announcement made by the hon. the Prime Minister that the link will be discussed with the elected Coloured Council, that we let the matter rest there. I have convictions on the matter, but I am prepared to let it rest there.
I am only saying that I think it is reasonable that the Government discussed this matter with those people. But I am convinced that they are not satisfied with this representation. I am convinced that they are proud of the establishment of a Coloured Council, and one after another they are calling it the Coloured Parliament. They view it as a parliament. In this evidence the terms “White Parliament” and “Coloured Parliament” are used. The only thing they do not want to forgo is the leadership of the white man. I think that after the announcement by the Prime Minister it is only reasonable that we should let the matter rest there until that Council is elected and those negotiations can take place. It is my firm conviction that the Coloureds are receiving more to administer. I have always thought so, but after serving on this Commission and getting to know them better, I am convinced that the Coloured people are in fact receiving more now than they are able to cope with, and much more than they themselves expected. They are receiving much more than they themselves expected, and it is for the very reason that they are getting so much to deal with and to digest that we are not going to have agitation. I am also convinced that these new arrangements are going to bring about general satisfaction amongst the Coloured people. Diversity is after all an acknowledged and accepted phenomenon in our country; therefore it is our duty and our task to create proper channels of consultation. I believe that proper channels of consultation will be created. We have a duty as well. Sound race relations must constantly be promoted in a spirit of goodwill, due regard being had to biological, historical and other differences. Under the old dispensation the Coloured people received nothing. That side makes such a fuss here about and attaches such great value to the common voters’ roll. The United Party attaches such great value to that roll. But no Coloured person has ever entered this House, and what is more, in this country no Coloured person has ever had the opportunity of becoming a mayor. That is the reason why the Coloured people are keen to accept the new dispensation—they are eager to make progress. I think we have done enough and we have given enough. We are not prepared to do more for them than they are prepared to do for themselves. We only create the opportunities and the channels, as we are doing now, and we expect them to seize these opportunities that are being created for them, and to win their own place themselves.
But there is not one side only to the matter. The U.P. is putting the case of the Coloureds only. This matter does have two sides. Surely the white man also has rights that must be protected. The N.P. has said for many years that this is the Parliament for the Whites. Once this series of legislative measures has been passed, this will be the position according to the letter and the spirit. Then this will be the Parliament of the Whites. The Coloured Council, with the developments that may come in future, will be the Parliament for the Coloureds. Whatever changes or new arrangements may come in future, this will always be and remain the Parliament of the Whites. No agitation on earth that may be launched by inflammatory speeches here will change the position. It is time that everybody in South Africa took note of this. The Coloured population must take note of it. It is also time that the U.P. and the Progressive Party took note of it. The N.P. is determined and will remain determined to make this the Parliament of the Whites and to keep it that way.
Mr. Speaker. I would have perhaps reacted a little more vigorously to some of the conclusions which the hon. member for Malmesbury deduced from the evidence given before the commission if he had not been frank enough to tell us that he had forgotten to bring some of his papers with him. He quoted at great length to try and show that the Conservative Party, led by Messrs. Petersen and Fortuin, were in favour of the abolition of representation of the Coloured people in this House. That is not correct and I will ask the hon. member to read that evidence again. For instance, the recommendations of that party were that the representation should not only be maintained but should be extended to the northern provinces. Then the hon. member for Malmesbury says he can accept, and we must accept, that the policy of the Government is acceptable to the Coloured people because there has been no reaction to the statements by the hon. the Prime Minister as to what he intended and what the Government intended to do following on the report of this commission. If there is reaction, and if an honoured and respected member like the hon. member for Peninsula gets up and expresses, as he does, the feelings of the Coloured people, then he is accused of agitating. What are the Coloureds to do to express their views if when an elected member of Parliament representing them expresses those views he is called an agitator.
I think the hon. member for Malmesbury took liberties with logic when he said the policy of the Government was accepted by the Coloured people in South Africa. However, I will agree with him that this is a serious matter which we have to deal with to-day. I am sorry the hon. the Minister of Defence is not with us after his adolescent exhibition of tantrums here this afternoon. I want to say right now, and I hope what I say will be conveyed to the Minister, that there is no point in him issuing challenges to my hon. Leader to appear on a platform with him, he will appear on a platform with the hon. the Prime Minister. The hon. the Minister of Defence might just understand that. Let me go a little further. The Minister of Defence is so keen on justifying the attitude which he adopted that, in trying to explain away the words which he used in this House, he has condemned himself even further. In the speech he made here to-day he forgot what he said a few years back. I am looking now at column 1502 of Hansard for 1968. This expediency of telling half the political truth was adopted before, and he says so himself. He refers to the negotiations with Mr. Havenga, when Mr. Havenga insisted that the Coloured people should still be entitled to be elected to the Cape Provincial Council, and this Nationalist Government said, yes, we agree with that. But when they were able to do without Mr. Havenga’s support in this House they went ahead and did away with Coloured representation four years later in 1955, they did away with the right of Coloureds to sit in the Cape Provincial Council. But the Minister goes further. He said in this House, and I look at column 1506 of Hansard, where I see the following—
What can be more unequivocal than that? I go further and quote what he said when he spoke to the Nationalist Party Congress in 1965, and he told us this himself. He only offered us one reason why these representatives should be removed from this House, the reason being that “if this limited representation by Whites is abused by the Opposition and integrationists to an ever-increasing extent to attack the policy of the National Party and present it as illogical, the time will come when that basis of representation will have to be reconsidered”. He gives that as the only reason why it might be necessary. He went on and said—
The hon. the Minister of the Interior has not motivated this Bill in that way. He has motived it by saying that the Coloureds are now going to have these full and glorious rights in a separate council, and therefore there is no need for their representation here. The contact can be maintained, so he says, through the consultative machinery which will be set up. But then the hon. member for Malmesbury says: Oh no, the reason is not even that. The reason is that we want to maintain the purity and the whiteness of this Parliament. That is the reason we get from the hon. member for Malmesbury. What is the motivation?
I believe we in this House are to-day faced with a grave responsibility as far as this legislation is concerned. It is a responsibility which we cannot evade because of its consequences for the future of our country. We must face up to the fact that we will decide during the course of this debate a very important aspect, namely, the future relationships between two of the racial groups in this country. I believe it is our duty to find, if we can, a modus vivendi—a way of life—whereby the two racial groups who have lived in harmony to this stage can continue to live in harmony and that they can at the same time and in that modus vivendi continue with the growth and expansion of our country in which each plays its part. Each group must have the maximum opportunity to accept responsibility. That is why we on this side of the House have said we believe that the maximum degree of responsibility in matters which are peculiar to the Coloured people and which are their concern should be entrusted to them. The history of this matter, the history of the Coloureds, their political history and their relationships with the Whites of South Africa, has not been a happy one. I think we might remind ourselves of what has happened over the past 20 years. We had that period from 1951 after the Separate Representation of Voters Act was passed until 1955 when there was that unhappy period in the political relationship between the Coloureds and the white people. It was not because of the policies or because of the Bills that were being discussed, but because of the manoeuvres which were introduced into the political life of the country at that stage. You will be aware, Sir, that the Act was declared invalid and we then had the mechanism established of the High Court of Parliament in an attempt to push through the views of the party which now governs this country, and that also was declared invalid. We then had the mechanism of the enlarged Senate which was appointed and which eventually enabled the Government to pass this legislation. But, as I say, even with those steps being taken, the Coloured people of the Cape—and this, the Cape Province, is their home—were still entitled to be elected to the Provincial Council. They were entitled to sit there and represent their own people. They had that right until 1955. When there is this great fear as to what will happen if they come into contact with legislative bodies which are predominantly White, one only has to look at the history of the Cape Province as far as councillors are concerned to realize that those who did sit in the Cape Provincial Council contributed greatly to local government in the Province during the period they were in the provincial council. Only three were elected over the whole period since Union. I refer to Dr. Rubshana, Dr. Abdurahman and Mr. Reagan. But that period has gone. We have been told that this separation must be made between the voters to remove points of friction. If one removes points of friction, then one must be certain that in isolation we are not causing the possibility of greater misunderstanding than was present when friction existed. We have today the isolation of the separate voters’ rolls. The problem which we have to-day is isolated from the Bantu aspect, and we have to find the role to be played whereby the Whites and the Coloureds in this country can fulfill their political destiny. The role in co-existence of these racial groups must be found, because Providence has placed them in this country as inhabitants of South Africa and whether we like it or not, they are a factual reality.
This short Bill which is before us will in future be looked at in retrospect as a historical setback in the relations between our white and Coloured people. It is a matter which has been raised frequently by members on this side of the House. I find this further difficulty namely that if we are to suggest that the Coloured people should have no say in this Parliament, we are denying them that aspect of nationhood which is most important. That is a say in the sovereign Parliament which governs them. This matter has been raised, but there has been no reply from the other side of the House. Perhaps the hon. the Minister, who is handling this Bill, will enlighten me when he replies to this debate. Sovereignty cannot be first class and second class. If this is the sovereign Parliament that governs South Africa, there is perhaps logic in saying that the Bantu can find their sovereignty in their Bantu homelands, in a sovereign, independent Parliament. But where is that right of nationhood, the participation in the sovereign parliament, being given to the Coloured people, who are a large part of the population of South Africa? Where are they going to exercise the rights which are essential to nationhood? And we have heard so much, apart from separate development in the past, about nationhood.
The hon. member for Malmesbury, towards the end of his address made the statement that the interests of the white people must also be considered. I agree with him wholeheartedly. I agree that one has to look at this position as to how this Bill will affect the future of the Coloureds relationship with the Whites, and how it will affect the position of the Whites, as much as how it will affect the position of the Coloured people. I think the hon. member for Malmesbury will not go as far as the hon. member for Moorreesburg, who said that, if there were representation in this House by the Coloured people, by themselves or by Whites, it would lead to integration. I do not believe myself that that is a necessary result of their having representation in this House. I do not believe it and I do not believe that it is acceptable to any thinking South African that that will necessarily result in integration. It is a useful political argument or pep talk which is used, namely that there is either integration or separation. But I want to say that I believe one also has to look at the dangers of isolating the Coloured people who are part of our Western group in this country, of isolating them politically from the white government of the country. We must ask ourselves whether the danger is not greater and whether the pressures are not going to be greater, from a group which is developing to nationhood in isolation without the ultimate hope of a national homeland. Because that is what we will be doing. We are creating a political force which has no ultimate homeland ahead of it. I believe that the danger to the Whites in South Africa from isolating the Coloureds from the Whites is far greater than from allowing the Coloureds to participate in the central Parliament which governs the country. I believe the approach should be to find the policy which is the guarantee and protection of the development in this country as we have had it up to now and as we hope it will continue. We on both sides of the House, I believe, are united in one principle, that is, as I have already said, that in respect of local and essentially group interests, with increasing tempo responsibility must be given to the Coloureds and the nonwhite groups to control those aspects of their lives. But we are denying, in terms of the Bill before us, if it is to become law, the right to these Coloured people of the country to participate in the sovereignty of Parliament.
These people are people who have been described in various ways. I make no apology for repeating some of these quotations, because it is necessary that we should bring them to mind in debating this Bill before us to-day. They were introduced by the then Minister of the Interior, Mr. Naude to the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Macmillan, when he was out here and visited the then Union Council for Coloured Affairs. They were introduced in these words:
That was the method in which they were introduced to the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The Minister of Defence, agitated as he was to-day, made this statement. He said: “The white man and the Coloured man need each other. Let us face the next 50 years with a feeling of goodwill, understanding and trust. The bonds of friendship are strong, and the policy of the Government is not only to ensure that these good neighbourly bonds are maintained, but are made stronger.” [Interjections.] I accept those words. But is one making bonds stronger—and those words were used when the Coloureds had representation as they have now in this House—when you are now taking the representation away.
It is meaningless.
Well, now we have a fourth suggestion. Now it is meaningless. We have had these various suggestions. We know the history of our country. The Coloured people have contributed to our culture, our language and our sciences; they are bearing a great responsibility towards the extension of education in this country of ours. They are carrying a heavier responsibility towards their people than the Bantu is bearing towards his own people, because they have advanced to the stage where they are entitled to be given those responsibilities to discharge. And the progress of these people towards obtaining and enjoying this participation in the Government has been a difficult one. There have been references to quotations and assurances which have been given to the Coloured people at various times. The assurances which were given by the hon. the late Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, have been quoted here this afternoon. The Minister of Defence also gave assurances. There were no ifs and ands about the assurance which I want to quote to you, Sir, when in 1963 the hon. the Minister of Defence who was then Minister of Coloured Affairs. (Hansard, column 7328), said
This was in 1963, by the Minister. But he does not say “It is temporary; we will evolve something else. This can go on for the time being”. “It is utter nonsense” to say that he has ever thought of it. In 1964 they brought in an amending Bill, dealing with the representation. He goes on to say:
But he said that it was complete nonsense that the representation of the Coloured people in this House would be abolished. It is inconsistent with the development to take away representation in the central Parliament when a group is being given far less effective rights. I believe that we will never secure the complete co-operation and goodwill of the Coloured people if we go on as we have been giving assurances as a sovereign parliament, assurances which are eroded year after year by changes of policy. I believe that the basic principle on which we have now to decide as far as this Bill is concerned, is whether or not the Coloured people are to be entitled to representation in this House. I believe that hon. members opposite should realize that when they embarked on a programme of separate representation, they embarked on a programme which they are now not prepared to see through to its logical end, namely that separate representation means separate representation. It means representation in this House and nowhere else. It means representation on a separate roll and the logical consequences which the late Dr. Verwoerd acknowledged in his letter to Mr. Menzies, namely that the logical end of the road of separate representation is that the Coloured people should be entitled to come into this House to represent their own people elected on that separate roll. I believe that the Government members realize that that is what is facing them. There is now this political somersault of trying to get away from the road on which they set out. This is the road on which they set out in 1951. Nobody told them to do it. They put the Coloureds on the road of separate development and they are not prepared to let them go the whole length of that road to its final conclusion and to give them the powers which must flow from the principles of separate development. For those reasons I believe that it is right that we should reject this Bill. We must reject it because it is a negation of our obligations towards the Coloured people in this country.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who spoke just before me, made the statement that it was wrong to isolate from the Whites a section of the population which he regards as part of Western civilization in this country, and that his Party in fact regarded it as wrong. But if one looks at the attitude adopted by his Party towards this particular group, i.e. the Coloureds, one finds them doing everything except what he advocated here. Mr. Speaker, is it necessary for me to remind you that the members of the Opposition, even in the days when the Coloureds were still on the common voters’ roll, took care that they were only registered in large numbers in those areas where their votes could help to win a seat for that party? At that time the high moral values of those members were not of such importance that they saw to it that they came onto the voters’ roll in all areas. But I want to go further and say that even as far as the future is concerned, with the new plan which that party holds up for the future, a plan of separate representation for the Coloureds in this House by their own people, members of the Opposition are still making the same discrimination as regards these people, who, according to the hon. member for Green Point, are members of our Western civilization and may therefore not be isolated. They are still making a discrimination in the sense that they are pegging them down to six representatives. What justification is there on the grounds of, as the hon. member maintained, Western civilization and Western standards that the Coloureds, even if they should exceed the Whites in number in the Cape, should still have only six representatives? But then they also have the other story of holding a referendum if pressure is exerted for an increase in the number of members. I now want to reiterate to hon. members of the Opposition and to the hon. the Leader that that story of a referendum is the biggest bluff as far as both the Coloureds and the Whites in this country are concerned. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition has repeatedly stated here, when asked what his standpoint in such a referendum would be and what he would advise the voters to do, that their standpoint would be: No further extension. This brings me back to the hon. member with his Western standards. There will then be no further extension, but why then should any referendum be held up to the people at all? On the one hand they are bluffing the Coloureds and on the other hand the Whites of this country.
Did you not advise the public when they voted on the question of a Republic?
This hon. member is now asking what he considers to be a very clever question, namely whether we did not advise the people about a standpoint in regard to the establishment of the Republic. Of course we did. That is why we cannot understand why the hon. the Leader of the Opposition wants to hold a referendum about the question of larger numbers of non-white representatives in this House. If he does not want any more of them, why must he hold a referendum at all? I began by pointing out the inconsistency of that side of the House in respect of the Coloureds as a population group. They say that they are members of Western civilization, and therefore may not be isolated from the Whites. But everything that they have done in the past, and that they envisage doing in the future, bears the stamp of isolating the Coloureds, even if in a partial sense.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Peninsula also said here that the Government’s plans in regard to this legislation are actually aimed at penalizing those people who have been exploited, that is to say, the Coloureds. Precisely the same argument was used when the original legislation was introduced in 1951. When we on this side pointed out that the way in which the Coloureds were being exploited at elections was an untenable situation, we were also asked why we were penalizing the Coloureds. But I want to reply to that by putting a question, while at the same time denying that the Coloureds are being penalized. I want to reply to that with this question: Why are hon. members of the Opposition to-day prepared to proceed to that step and introduce separate representation for Coloureds? They have now come to such a pass of sophistry that they are being ensnared in the arguments which they used in earlier debates. The same applies to the one which was slung across the floor to-day at the hon. the Minister of Defence, namely that one could no longer in future accept any assurance from the Government in regard to the Coloureds’ franchise rights or other matters affecting them. I should like to say a few words about this matter and also to deal with the words of the previous Prime Minister which were quoted here this afternoon. But I first want to ask hon. members of the Opposition that if their standpoint is that no assurance of the Government can be accepted because another standpoint is now being adopted than was adopted a number of years ago, what value can the Whites or the Coloureds of this country attach to the assurances which the Opposition gave them? At one election after another since the Coloureds were placed on a separate roll, that is to say in the elections of 1958, 1961 and 1966, not only an assurance, but also an undertaking was given to anyone in the country who wanted to believe it, that if the United Party was returned to power, it would restore the Coloureds to a common voters’ roll. The hon. member for Outeniqua also agrees with me. He is a former member of the United Party. At election after election that assurance and that undertaking were given. That undertaking has been cast to the winds. If, then, you reproach us with not standing by our undertakings, do not adopt such a sanctimonious air. If a political party can no longer adhere to a previous standpoint or undertaking, it has been brought to that by certain circumstances.
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
The hon. member for Paarl quite rightly remarks that people who live in glass houses should not be quick to throw stones. I now want to come to the challenged words of the late Dr. Verwoerd which were used here. He is supposed to have said that as far as he was concerned the representatives would stay here. I do not want to argue about that. I was in the House the day he said it. I heard it. However, I know very well under what circumstances he said it and what his standpoint was in actual fact. I think that every Government member who is here to-day and was here at that time, knows what his personal view was in regard to the representation of Coloureds in this House. They know that his view was that he was not very much taken up with the idea, but that for the sake of the period of adjustment and the peaceful state of affairs which was necessary, the representatives could remain here. The hon. member for Outeniqua shakes his head, but I do not think I am speaking out of the caucus if I say that Dr. Verwoerd repeatedly adopted this standpoint in the caucus. His motive was not primarily to have Coloured representatives in this House, but to have the representative body of the Coloureds outside expanded.
Why would he have adopted a different standpoint in private?
He did not adopt a different standpoint in private. If the hon. member would listen closely to what I say, he would understand. The late Dr. Verwoerd’s standpoint was that for the sake of having a proper adjustment and a state of peace, he was prepared to accept the Coloured Representatives here, representing a small group of Coloureds, almost as part of a heritage which we had received. He said on occasion that they merely represented a small group of Coloureds, and that on his part he would take no steps to remove them from here. He honoured that undertaking. Other circumstances then arose. He was succeeded by a new Prime Minister and other circumstances arose which focused the attention of this House, not only the Government side but the Opposition side as well, on the fact that some plan would have to be devised or else this dispensation would be worthless to the Coloureds. This was as a result of the fact that a political party which had fallen into disfavour among the Whites wanted to make use of this system to regain lost ground in this Parliament. Did the hon. the Leader of the Opposition not agree that such a situation had developed? Did he not agree with the hon. the Prime Minister that this matter was so serious that it had to be referred to a select committee?
You are frightened very easily, is all I can say.
I am not busy frightening the hon. member for Houghton. I just want to say to her, as has been said before in this House this afternoon, that her party definitely learned those lessons from the United Party itself. If a situation has gradually developed as a result of improper interference and other causes, the United Party is to a large extent also responsible for it, in the sense that when separate representation for Coloureds was introduced in this House—something which they are also offering now—the United Party continued to put up persons as United Party candidates in those elections, If it is improper to-day, then I think that at that time it was, to say the least, imprudent. They were put up as United Party candidates, and admittedly some of them later withdrew from their caucus. However, most of them remained members of the United Party. What is more, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Danie Scholtz stood in a recent by-election …
He is still a Nationalist.
Yes, but he did not stand as a National Party candidate. [Interjections.] Wait a moment. Let us be honest.
Who handled his postal votes?
His agents. For all we know, the hon. member for Outeniqua also assisted with that.
That is an untruth.
Let us get clarity for once. Mr. Danie Scholtz positively did not stand as a National Party candidate; as a matter of fact, he adopted certain standpoints in that by-election which did not meet with the support of the National Party. Not only did the United Party put up candidates for Coloured seats in this House, but they did not allow the Coloureds to nominate candidates. The white members of the United Party nominated the candidates for the Coloureds. I want to remind the hon. member who spoke before me, with his appeal that we should treat the Coloureds as a Western group, as part of us, and not isolate them, of how the United Party dealt with the Coloureds. On paper the Coloureds could at that time become members of the United Party. However, was a Coloured ever allowed to attend a congress of the United Party? This is the way in which discrimination was practised, while the United Party machine was nevertheless utilized to get people here. Therefore I say that the first offenders in that respect were the United Party. They are the ones who set the bad examples. In the days when there was a Common Voters’ Roll; or subsequently, when they put up candidates under the system of separate representation of the Coloureds, did they do anything to uplift the Coloureds and to prevent them from becoming isolated from the Whites, as the hon. member who spoke before me said? Did they do anything to teach the Coloureds administrative skills? Did they attempt to give the Coloureds a sense of responsibility by registering them in all constituencies and at all times? Or did they only know the Coloured at certain places where it was necessary, and at certain times, only to forget him completely afterwards?
I now want to mention another point. I want to refer to a matter touched upon by the hon. member for Bezuidenhout on a previous occasion when he said that the question of representation in this House was an important matter because it not only concerned the representation of a constituency, but also the handling of individual problems. The present dispensation, namely that of having four white representatives for the Coloureds, although well-intended, fails in the sense that it is impossible to establish contact with each voter, on account of the size of their constituencies. I will say this much to the credit of the hon. member for Outeniqua, that although his constituency is not the smallest, he has nevertheless established the largest measure of contact. I think that the hon. member has had more contact with his constituents than for example the hon. member for Peninsula, or the hon. member for Karoo. It is impossible in practice to have proper contact between the representative and his constituents in so large a constituency, even if the number of voters is as small as it was recently. You must pardon me, Mr. Speaker, if I refer to the second-reading speech made by the hon. the Minister of Coloured Affairs in regard to other legislation this afternoon, but it is related to the legislation which we are now discussing; in fact, it bears as much relation to this legislation as do the United Party’s future plans for the Coloureds. We therefore cannot but discuss these two pieces of legislation in the same context. We know that a possibility now exists for the Coloureds to be represented on their own council when the time comes. The constituencies will be smaller, and as their representatives will be Coloureds, they will have real contact with their constituents.
Is that political rights?
It is definitely political rights. I do not know what else the hon. member would call it. I foresee a much better dispensation for the Coloureds, and far greater possibilities. Apart from this, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition said that he rejected this Bill on the grounds of the weight of evidence before the Commission which investigated the matter. I do not know how he weighs that evidence, and how he judges whether a person or a responsible Coloured leader who gave evidence, truly spoke on behalf of his people or whether he was merely expressing his own feelings. I do not know how he determines the weight of evidence, but after having studied this report I gained the impression that certain things had become noticeable in the Coloured community after a number of years under the dispensation of separate development, the policy of this Government. In the first place the Coloureds attached greater value to their own council, even prior to the present expansion, than to representation in this House. The Federale Kleurling-volksparty said that its view of the matter was brief and clear and boiled down to the fact that they could not see of what use the present white representatives in the Republican Parliament were to them.
No one dares say that in public.
The hon. member for Outeniqua is furnishing me with the very reason Why we should introduce this legislation If it is the position that the Coloured may not voice his honest opinion in public, it is so late in the day that the dispensation which we have here, should be replaced by representation in their own bodies sooner. I am grateful for the support which the hon. member for Outeniqua has now given me here. The evidence submitted by the District Six Association reads as follows—
Apart from this, one gains the impression from the evidence that these people attach value to a council of their own. They already have a high regard for their own council. If one compares this with the days when there were all sorts of protest movements against the Department of Coloured Affairs and against any proposed separate bodies for the Coloureds, one sees what progress has been made. From the evidence it is further clear to me that there has been a growth in leadership and independence amongst the Coloured population. There are some of them who advocate the retention of the present representatives in the interim period “for a decade or so”, as some of them expressed it. But this was only an argument of expediency because, as the hon. member for Outeniqua intimated here just now, they would not be able to say in public “remove the representatives in Parliament”, because then they would be rejected by their own people. However, inwardly they are of the opinion that it is no use to them to have the representatives in this House. One gains the impression that the Coloureds are beginning to become a nation and that leaders are being formed among them. The Coloureds are beginning to become a nation, as Mr. Tom Schwartz recently wrote in an article, thanks to the Government’s policy of separate development. In 1951, at the time of the Separate Representation of Voters Act, when we discussed the representation of the Coloureds in this Parliament, a select committee was appointed. I want to make a single reference to the evidence submitted by a person who appeared before that committee, namely Professor Wild. He said that since 1910 the political rights of non-Whites had been moving in the direction of separate development. There is no such thing as a static position in history; there is continual development and evolution, and the trend must therefore be either in the one direction or in the other, he said. We have to-day reached the point Where we must decide in accordance with this expert observation of political trends in this country, whether we should follow the road of the United Party with its policy of direct representation of Coloureds in this House, or the Government’s road of full development of the Coloured in his own spheres; and also whether we should do away with representation in this House, which on account of circumstance has become, as it is called, a token representation. I want to express the opinion, with reference to the view held by Professor Wild, that there cannot be a static position in history and that there is continual evolution, that the stage which we have now reached and the dispensation which we are now on the point of creating for the Coloureds, will be to the greater benefit not only of the Coloureds, but also of the sound relationships between Coloureds and Whites in this country. Our country, as a Western country, will only benefit by this step. An hon. member who spoke before me, also said that along these lines we would achieve greater peace and greater sympathy among the Whites towards the Coloureds. The Whites would also gain a greater understanding of the Coloureds, and the Coloureds would in this way progress on the road towards true nationhood.
Mr. Speaker, never have I listened to more nonsense than that talked by Che hon. member for Stellenbosch. I want to say that the standard of argument maintained by Nationalist speakers to-day, was not very high. I do not think that I have listened to a weaker case being made for a reprehensible action which is in the mind of the Government to do. I want to say right at the beginning, in reply to what the hon. member for Stellenbosch said, that no Coloured leader of any Coloured political party can appeal, need appeal or dare appeal to his own people for election to this council, if he advocates that Members of Parliament representing Coloured persons be done away with. Even Mr. Tom Schwartz, who has been quoted so often, had Co say that he might as well disband his party …
Because he is scared of agitators. That is the point.
Mr. Tom Schwartz himself had to admit that he would have no political future, nor would his party have any political future, if he agreed that the white representatives in Parliament should be done away with. The mere fact that the name of Mr. Tom Schwartz falls so readily from Che lips of the Nationalist speakers, condemns Mr. Schwartz immediately in the eyes of his own people. In simple language, he has had it. The only hope that that gentleman has of getting into this new council is if he is a nominee of the Government. That is the only way he will get there.
I want to say that the Coloured people are very conscious politically; they know what is going on, and they intend to put parties and candidates in the field for this new council that is to be set up. I can assure hon. members on that side that they are in for a shock. The scrapping of Coloured representation by Whites in Parliament is not the end of the road. We are going to create a machine where frustrated men will have no other alternative but to argue in public and to tear the Government’s policies to pieces, because that is what the Coloured people do to-day; they do not accept the policies of the Government no matter what a few renegades may say or do. [Interjections.] The Coloured people do not accept the Government’s policies and hon. members had better get that into their heads right now. Sir, it has been said that the four representatives who sat here, one of whom is now deceased, and earlier on the late Mr. Le Roux, were, and are, inadequate. Well, if the representatives of the Coloureds are inadequate there is one simple test. Let them fight an election and let the Coloured people decide. If they do not want these hon. gentlemen sitting here, let them elect somebody else. It is as simple as that. Sir, we have had a lot of challenges thrown out here to-day. I would also like to throw out a challenge, and I am only sorry that the Minister of Defence is not in his seat, but then bad news travels fast. I want to say that I am prepared to resign my seat immediately if the hon. the Minister of Defence will oppose me at an election. I might even excuse him; perhaps they can find a better man
What about the Minister of the Interior?
No, that would really be unfair competition. You cannot use small arms in a big fight. No, the Minister of the Interior is no candidate to stand at such an election.
We are dealing here to-day with the scrapping of representation in this Parliament for the Coloured people. It is a great tragedy, a closing of a chapter in a long and sordid story, because the fact of the matter is that these four representatives here are the product or the result of the system which the Government itself introduced. I take exception to the suggestion that any hon. member representing the Coloured people here, has misused his position in any shape or form, and I deny emphatically that the hon. member for Stellenbosch knows anything at all about my activities or the activities of any other member in the interests of the Coloured community, in their constituencies. He has no knowledge whatsoever; he is making allegations which are quite wild. They are not true. Sir, even my enemies admit that the one job, which I do do, is to look after the Coloured people in my constituency. It is a big one; that is conceded. It is not easy to cover the whole constituency but the remedy is simple. Let the Government make the constituency a bit smaller and put in another representative.
The hon. the Minister of the Interior made the statement in his introductory remarks that only 33,000 Coloured persons were sufficiently interested to get themselves registered on the voters’ roll. This is the sort of half-truth which is creating an impression, which is quite inaccurate and not in keeping with the facts. For a Coloured man to register as a voter is an involved procedure. He has to appear before a commissioner of oaths, who is usually a first-class sergeant at a police station. He, the Coloured voter, simply refuses to go there.
All policemen are now.
I know they are to-day but that has not always been the position. Sir, the Government is deluding itself and presenting an illusion to its own people in suggesting that the substitute council, which is going to come under discussion, is a substitute for Parliament. Political rights are rights which are won by hard sweat, experience and good behaviour, and I challenge any Government member to say, that the Coloured community as such have ever abused their rights or privileges in any shape or form, at any election since they were first granted the right to vote at parliamentary elections. They are the most law-abiding citizens we have. They have never been involved in any revolts, disturbances or things of that kind. They go about their daily business, they do their jobs and they have had this right, as has been said before, for over 100 years. To suggest that a council, which is not much better than a town council in a small town on the platteland, is a substitute for their present political rights, is absolutely wrong and, what is more, it is wickedly wrong. The rights they will now have will not be political rights at all. From the dawn of history mankind has been fighting for political rights, and this Parliament, which is the product of the Mother of Parliaments in Britain, came into being because of the campaigning and work or the agitation, if you like to call it that, of men for nearly 2,000 years for representation in Parliament on the principle of “no taxation without representation.” Every taxpayer, no matter who he is, is entitled to a say in the Parliament of his country, the Parliament which spends his money. This council which is going to be a substitute for political rights which the Coloureds enjoy at present, is merely an administrative body. It is nothing more and nothing less. The proof of the pudding is that in 1964 when the council, which is now being reconstituted in another Bill was created by Parliament, it had five functions. In four years the only improvement that has taken place in those functions is the addition of one more item—“whatever the State President may decide”—which means in fact, that the Government has been unable in four years to think of anything in addition to the five simple items which were provided for in the 1964 legislation. Sir, that is a sad state of affairs. On that basis I want to ask the hon. the Minister what this new council can achieve, that will bring it parallel with and equal to this Parliament, and, give its members the status of the hon. members who now represent the Coloured people here. These hon. members have rights and privileges which are equal in every respect to those enjoyed by every other member of Parliament. I want to know at what stage and when, the members of this new council will have the same standing, the same privileges and the same status, as any hon. member sitting over there. I would like to ask hon. members on that side whether they would care to exchange their privileged position for that of a member of this new council? That would be the proof of the pudding. I am absolutely certain that for all the fanfare, that we have had, and all the protestations that this is something to which the Coloured people can look forward, and which can grow, this council will stagnate, as all advisory councils do. They are no substitute for Parliament.
By no stretch of the imagination can anybody in this House persuade the Coloured community that the taking away of the people who represent them at the present time, and the setting up of another council for them, will compensate them for the loss of the privilege that they have enjoyed for years, of participating at the highest possible level in the affairs of the State, and of supporting political parties or opposing political parties. The great crime of the Coloured community, of course, is that they have never supported the Government. They have never supported the Government and the Government to-day is merely entrenching itself a little more and pushing these people back, or suppressing them, if you like. They now have to go right back to the level of a local authority and start once more trying to make progress in this land which is their own. We also hear talk about their being a Coloured nation. Let me assure the House that the Coloured man knows what nationality he is now; he is a South African. That is all he is, and he does not want to be anything more or less than that. This is his home; this is his country, and this is where he intends to stay; this is where he wants to be recognized; and this is where he wants to be appreciated. This is where he wants to share in the goodwill and the bounty with which this country is endowed, and he wants to have a say in the distribution of the taxes so that he will get a fair share. Under this new system which is envisaged, everything will depend on the Minister. The Minister of Finance will say he cannot give the money, and the Minister of Coloured Affairs will say this is all there is to spend, and, when they have spent that, it is the end of the matter; there is no more. That does not make for a happy Council. Various quotations have been made and can be repeated, but I do not propose to do that. There is no question of giving them taxing powers. Dr. Verwoerd himself said that—I have the quotation here—and the Prime Minister himself has confirmed it. So what sort of a Council can it be, which will be a substitute for their representation in Parliament, when they have no powers, no sinews, no money with which to conduct their own affairs?
These are aspects of the action we are participating in to-day, and which we are opposing, which can only bring unhappiness and frustration. I think the hon. member for Stellenbosch, to a degree, is correct. When one gets a congregation of men in a council of this kind, and they get to talking they are going to ask questions and they are going to make demands. If their demands are not met, I think the Government must expect plenty of trouble from them. That is the simple essence of it. There is no other way in which the matter can be approached. I do appeal to the hon. the Minister to think again—I think it is in vain, but I make the appeal sincerely. Even now it is not too late. When the previous Council was set up and the lives of these members were extended we protested and I voted against it, the same as I am doing now, because, I do not want to sit here in the bounty of the Government; I want to sit here at the pleasure of my electors. These are the people I want to go home to and face. If they do not like me, let them put somebody else here, and I can probably occupy myself more profitably. The showpiece, the Union Council of Coloured Affairs, was never consulted. We hear statements about what the Coloured people think. There is no recognized body of public opinion, in any organization, of any consequence, or standing, that supports this proposition, or who initiated it. The Government has never talked to these people and asked for their advice. They have not spoken to them in any way.
At the time of Union it is well known, if one reads the proceedings and the diaries of the elder statesmen who brought about Union, the Coloured vote in the Cape and in Natal was the controversial point. I think you will find, Sir, that the Transvaal was persuaded to come in on condition that the extension of the Coloured vote was left to the future. I want to use this phrase, because I want to speak on it for a little while, namely the extension of the vote.
Political rights are earned. The Coloured people have earned them. One does not take away political rights. Political rights are won by mankind, either by the sweat of their brow or by their blood. That is how we acquired the political rights we have; we got them in no other way. Nobody handed it out to us and said that we could have this, that, or the other thing. We said: Stand and deliver. That is how it went, and the Government is going to be faced with that soon enough, because the Coloured community are going to say the same: We want more. And more they will have to get.
The only four points that I gathered from this debate as the reasons why they want to get rid of the Coloured Representatives and put the Coloured people on their own were, firstly, to have a white Parliament. That is a logical argument, but the fact remains that the Coloureds have worked and given service in all sorts of bodies, including the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church, and nobody was contaminated there. So why should they be contaminated here? That is not a valid argument. The second point advanced is that we the Coloured Representatives, are inadequate. The cure for that is simple. Let us fight an election and we will either have the same people back or we will have new faces here. The third one was that they, the Coloureds would get a better deal. I submit that it is not a better deal at all, but a very much worse deal. They are being relegated to a subservient position, with no power, no authority, and at the bounty and goodwill of whoever the Minister may be. And of course, the last one is in regard to interference.
Sir, we have heard a lot about interference and many innuendoes have been made as to who did what, with what, with which, to whom, and when. Sir, I challenge anybody on that side to deny that they were equally as busy among Coloured persons in the old days, getting them on the voters’ roll. The Minister of Defence used to do it himself. In those days he was a party organizer. He was a young, ambitious man, and very energetic. So, do not let us run away with the idea, that all this criticism can be directed only at the United Party and the Progressive Party. To my knowledge, the National Party has done just as much. What is more, it was all done within the law. If there was anything done which was outside the law, the Electoral Act was there. What crime is it to get a man to sign a card to get on the voters’ roll if he is not on the roll? We have heard a lot of nonsense about exploitation, that the Coloured man has been a political football and that he has been exploited, in season and out of it, by the United Party, and now by the Progressive Party, but the point is that he liked to be exploited, because these are the people he voted for. He did not vote for the Government; he did not vote for any of their candidates, even if they stood as Independents. So let us put aside all this hypocritical thinking, that the National Party is on an ivory tower in running elections and in dealing with voters and voters’ rolls. I still say that the electoral laws are sufficiently tight and comprehensive, and offer such severe penalties, that anybody transgressing the Electoral Act knows what he is doing and must accept the consequences. It is the duty of the Police to deal with offenders and to see, that malpractices are stopped and that any injustices are put right. People have to be charged in the courts properly, and these innuendoes should not be cast across the floor of the House.
In conclusion, I want to make one final appeal. What have the Coloured people done to earn the opprobrium and the ire of the National Party? Why is all the legislation directed at them? They are plain, straightforward, ordinary, decent folk, good people, seriously handicapped because by God’s grace they were born brown. How many of us have any control over how we are born and what our colour is? Yet, because these people have this disability, we insult them, we offend them, we discriminate against them and we treat them like dogs.
The hon. member who has just sat down, concluded his speech in the tone which is really peculiar to himself. He put forward the type of argument that is devoid of all truth but represents an old stereotyped statement, namely that what the National Party, or a National Government, has tried to do for the Coloureds over the years, has always been to their detriment and has always amounted to the fact that, as he just put it, these people have been treated like dogs. Mr. Speaker, this comes from representatives of a party who are not saying this to-day only, but who have been saying it over the years, I may almost say over the centuries, i.e. that the Afrikaners are the oppressors of the non-Whites. I may only remind hon. members of the notorious “sjambok pamphlet” that was only one of the many ways in which the Nationalists and the Afrikaners have been presented to the non-Whites over the years as their oppressor, as the people who despised them, scorned them and trampled them underfoot. I just want to repeat the following to the hon. member to-day. That kind of remark is not only indicative of poor political taste, but is also devoid of all truth. I grew up in this part of the country, in the Western Cape, among the Coloureds. I must emphasize the fact to-day that neither I nor my contemporaries, nor the Afrikaners in general in the generations preceding ours, have been oppressors of the non-Whites. As a matter of fact, the history of South Africa bears witness to the fact that the people who oppressed the non-Whites, the people who enslaved the non-Whites, were not Afrikaners. They were English slave-traders who came from abroad and bought people all over the world for money. This is what history teaches us. Some or the oldest documents in South Africa bear witness to this. I want to remind you of the manifesto of a man such as Piet Retief. He said on occasion at the beginning of the Great Trek: “In leaving the land of our birth we declare explicitly that we will not tolerate slavery.” This was the first time that Afrikaner people with national sentiment, leaders in the development of the Afrikaners’ political consciousness of their own nationhood, had the opportunity of declaring a policy. In this document it is explicitly stated that “We are resolved to tolerate no slavery”. What the hon. member said here to-day, is the opposite. I say that this is the false cry that has always been raised against the Nationalist, the Nationalist-minded Afrikaner, namely that this is his attitude towards the non-Whites. We reject it with contempt. It is the lie against which we have had to fight over the years. This lie forms part of what is happening here in this House to-day and of the opposition to the legislation before this House. But in spite of that allegation that has been made from the side of the Opposition against the Afrikaner and against the Nationalist over the years, we shall continue opening up a new world to the non-Whites in South Africa, both to the Bantu and to the Coloureds, and creating new opportunities for them, opportunities which they have never dreamt of creating for these people. If the hon. member for Karoo is wailing here to-day, then he is not wailing because he is concerned about the Coloureds, but he is wailing because he will sit here only for a few more years. If he refers to-day to the Coloureds who do not support him and the views of his Party, as a few renegades—he spoke of “a few renegades”—then there are quite a number of them. If he uses those words in regard to the Coloureds who are beginning to think for themselves to-day, who are beginning to think in a positive way, who are thinking about the future of the Coloureds, then I want to tell the hon. member that the “few renegades” were quite a number in the case of his election, because he only entered this House on a very small majority. I shall leave the hon. member there.
I want to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that we have in fact had a prelude to the legislation now before the House. A few years ago, and we all remember it well, there was an occasion on which the hon. member for Peninsula, who spoke in great earnest here to-day, attacked the hon. member for Houghton very sharply in this House. He was very concerned then about the progress made by the Progressive Party in the provincial elections and he made a very severe indictment of the conduct of the P.P. The hon. member for Houghton hotly denied the allegations, but he had nevertheless produced documentary evidence here, for what it was worth. At that time he was very concerned about this new development. At that time hon. members on the other side as well as the Coloured representatives were very concerned about the fact that certain White politicians were capturing the Coloured vote, and they wanted the Government to do something about it. They described it as an unhealthy development. Everybody, except the hon. member for Houghton, felt that those actions were not in the interests of the Coloured population or in the interests of South Africa. That is the main background to the legislation now before us. On that day the hon. member for Houghton several times repudiated the evidence that was read out here. I want to read to the House a brief portion of the evidence submitted to the commission, evidence confirming the evidence quoted here by the hon. member for Peninsula on that day.
I am reading from the evidence submitted by Mr. A. J. Brink in reply to questions put by the hon. member for Peninsula. He was not replying to questions put by any other person, but to questions put by the hon. member for Peninsula. I quote from page 136 of the report of the commission of enquiry—
It is hard for the hon. member for Houghton to listen to this.
It is a lie.
Let me tell the hon. member for Houghton that this evidence was given after the hon. member for Peninsula had explained to Mr. Brink that he would be submitting evidence to the commission in a protected capacity, that he might speak freely and that nobody was allowed to prosecute him on the grounds of what he had said before the commission. I quote from the report to show what the background to this legislation is. On account of those conditions and developments a commission of enquiry was appointed, all those matters were considered, a great deal of evidence was taken, and the commission brought out a report. The conclusion to all this is the following. Until now the political interests of the Coloureds have been looked after by the Whites over the years. The Coloureds have never yet had the right political representation. They have never really had the opportunity of developing their own Coloured leadership. They have never really had the opportunity of formulating and taking up their own political standpoint. They have been a kind of political appendise to the political struggle of the White parties over the years, and in that process they have had to content themselves with the crumbs falling from the table. We cannot deny the fact, in spite of what the hon. member for Karoo said here, that in this limited participation of the Coloureds in the politics of the Whites, there has always been an element of corruption. The Coloureds admit this. In their evidence before this commission responsible Coloureds said, “You must remember that one can buy a Coloured’s vote for five cents.” This is the amount that was mentioned, and a responsible man such as Mr. Fortuin said this. It is not I who say so, it is Mr. Fortuin who said so before the commission. It is this hard truth that caused the Coloureds to become the football of White politicians in White politics. Over the years high bids were made for the Coloured vote, but low ones for the interests of the Coloured people. This leads me to the conclusion that where we are seeking a new dispensation for the Coloureds, it will be of no avail to us to hold a referendum amongst them. The Coloureds have no developed political opinion, they do not have responsible political leaders. Let us admit this. They have never had the opportunity of developing such leadership. Consequently, if we were to do this, we would be delivering these people into the hands of those White politicians who have the least conscience and the most money.
Let me mention an example to the House. It was decided before the referendum a few years ago that the Coloured people would not participate in it. However, I want to make the statement here to-day that if they had participated, certain politicians would have prevailed on the majority of them to vote against a Republic. And this when the Coloureds are in fact people who know no other loyalty than that towards South Africa. The Coloured people accept the Republic to-day and acknowledge it to be a good development. They acknowledge to-day that there is nothing wrong with having become a republic. As a matter of fact, even the hon. the Opposition accept the Republic to-day. They admit that one of the great mistakes made by the United Party was to oppose it. [Interjections]. Let me tell the hon. member for Transkei that a man such as Major Van der Byl, who was a highly esteemed member of the United Party, is one of those who accept the Republic wholeheartedly. He almost became a Nationalist before he left politics.
I therefore want to say this to-day. This legislation is the end of a dispensation, and it is the end of a bad dispensation. Personally I have nothing against the Coloured Representatives who are sitting here. I think they have done their best. Let me say this in all sincerity. They have done their best, even when they have differed with us. But the Coloureds got very little out of this dispensation, except that they were made to believe that as long as they had a representative in this White Parliament, it was their highest good. But it never was their highest good. In fact it is the basis adopted by the National Party, the policy of separate development, that has opened up new avenues and new possibilities to the Coloured people, in spite of what hon. members have said here. It has indeed created a new world for the Coloureds. This was not in the first instance a new world of political rights, but development opportunities, employment opportunities, leadership opportunities and educational opportunities not only at the school level but even at university level, have been created for them. I say it is the National Party and the National Party Government which have done all these things. We did not ask the Coloureds beforehand whether they thought it would be good for them. At first they were very much biased against what we were doing, but they acknowledge to-day that they have been able to make a new start. They acknowledge to-day that their true interests have been served.
Where we have now reached a new phase, I want to stress the fact that this is the end of an old dispensation that brought little good to the Coloured population. A new dispensation is being announced here. As a matter of fact, I have the impression that the hon. the Opposition have had rather a struggle in leaving the positive legislation on the Order Paper and first discussing this matter, in regard to which they could act a little more fiercely. I say we are opening up a new world to the Coloured people. Until now they have developed no political leadership, but henceforth these people will be able to stand in their own right as representatives of the Coloured people, albeit on the Coloured Persons Representative Council. Allow me to add this. This council will not be a purely administrative body. On the contrary. It will be developed gradually and will to an increasing extent become a legislative council. I say, to an increasing extent. The Coloureds have had very little political development. The Coloureds have very little administrative and political development at this stage. It would be foolish if we introduced them to a new political dispensation by granting them full responsibility right from the start. This they say themselves. However, we may state with certainty that the process of affording the Coloureds the opportunity of representing their own people as Coloureds, is being started. The Coloureds have until now had to be content with the fact that a White man, for example the hon. member for Karoo, had to speak on their behalf. We can imagine, and this is also evident from the evidence submitted before the Commission, that the thinking Coloureds do not see a good future for themselves in that. They also have a desire to accept responsibility for their own people. They wish, as Coloureds, to speak on behalf of their own people. If we put an end to the White representation, then we hold out the prospect of the day—and that day is near—that the Coloureds will stand there either as elected or as nominated representatives, and speak, make requests and take decisions on behalf of the Coloured people. [Interjections.]
The hon. members cannot get away from that and for that reason they will cling to the negative aspect as long as they can. As long as the Coloureds are represented by Whites in this Parliament, it will be a second-rate representation for the Coloureds. It will be evident in future when this Coloured Council has developed, when they have developed their own Coloured leadership and responsibility, that this step taken by the National Party Government was a positive step and not a negative one, as hon. members on the other side would like to make out. This is a step on the road of the development of their own leadership, their own nationhood, and a step on the road of accepting co-responsibility for the government of this country.
Where does this road lead to?
The hon. member has never seen any road in South Africa. That side is a party without a direction or a road, and that is why they are still asking where the road is leading to. We foresee the day when the Coloureds will prove that they can also accept co-responsibility for the interests of the Coloured population of South Africa in a civilized and responsible manner, not only as regards the administration but also as regards the governing of the Coloured people. When that day arrives, hon. members opposite will again say that they accept it, as they now accept separate representation sixteen, seventeen years after the time. They always come along after the time.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No. 23 and debate adjourned.
The House adjourned at