House of Assembly: Vol23 - TUESDAY 30 APRIL 1968

TUESDAY, 30TH APRIL, 1968 Prayers—2.20 p.m. QUESTIONS

For oral reply:

Mental Patients Accommodated in Police Cells *1. Mr. L. G. MURRAY

asked the Minister of Health:

Whether any mental patients had to be accommodated in police cells during 1966 and 1967 due to lack of hospital accommodation; if so, (a) how many patients in each race group and (b) for what total period of days in respect of each race group.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: During 1967 none was detained in police cells. During 1966: 330 Whites and 4,469 non-Whites. Particulars in respect of each race group are unfortunately not available.
Investigation of Unorthodox Cancer Cures *2. Dr. A. RADFORD

asked the Minister of Health:

Whether he has taken any steps to investigate unorthodox cancer curers; if so, what steps.
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Yes, all unorthodox cancer cures that come to the Department’s notice are referred to the National Cancer Association of South Africa which specially devotes itself to the investigation of such cures. Dr. A. RADFORD

Arising out of the hon. the Minister’s reply, does the hon. the Minister intend taking any action in this regard?


The hon. member will have to Table that question.

Committee of Enquiry into Injudicious Use of Hearing Aids *3. Dr. A. RADFORD

asked the Minister of Health:

  1. (1) Whether the committee of enquiry into the injudicious use of hearing aids has reported; if so,
  2. (2) whether he will make the report available.
  1. (1) Yes.
  2. (2) Consideration will be given to the publication of the report as soon as the departmental study of certain implications thereof is completed.
Dust Samplings in Asbestos-using Factories *4. Dr. A. RADFORD

asked the Minister of Labour:

  1. (1) Whether his Department takes regular dust samplings from asbestos-using factories; if so, at what intervals;
  2. (2) whether the Department will make the results of the examination of these samples available; if not, why not.
  1. (1) Regulations in terms of the legislation passed by Parliament last session for the protection of the health and safety of employees are still being drafted. The regulations will cover all types of dusts which may be harmful, and will also prescribe the intervals at which inspections must be carried out.
  2. (2) In view of the secrecy provisions of the Factories, Machinery and Building Work Act, the results of an examination will be made available only to the owner of the factory concerned.
War Veterans’ Pensions for Chinese Persons *5. Mr. L. F. WOOD

asked the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions:

(a) How many applications for war veterans’ pensions have been (i) received and (ii) granted to Chinese persons and (b) what is the total amount involved.
  1. (a) (i) and (ii) Nil.
  2. (b) Falls away.
Installation of Solid State Instrument Landing Systems at Certain Airports *6. Mr. C. BENNETT

asked the Minister of Transport:

  1. (1) Whether contracts have been awarded for the installation of solid state instrument landing systems at (a) the H. F. Verwoerd Airport, Port Elizabeth and (b) the B. J. Schoeman Airport, East London; if so, what date was specified in each contract for the completion of the installation;
  2. (2) whether the installation will be completed by these dates; if not, why not.
  1. (1) Yes. December, 1968 for both airports.
  2. (2) It is expected that the installation will be completed by this date.
*7. Mr. L. G. MURRAY

—Reply standing over.

For written reply:

Beds Provided for Mental Patients 1. Mr. L. G. MURRAY

asked the Minister of Health:

How many beds for (a) White, (b) Bantu and (c) Coloured persons were provided in mental hospitals in (i) the Republic excluding the Transkei and (ii) the Transkei at the 31st March of 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965, 196? and 1968, respectively.
  1. (i) (a), (b) and (c)



non-Whites (Particulars of each race are not available)



















  1. (ii) (a), (b) and (c) None.
Number of Vacant and Filled Posts in Nursing Services 2. Mr. L. G. MURRAY

asked the Minister of Health:

How many posts for White, Bantu and Coloured persons, respectively, in the nursing services of the Republic excluding the Transkei, and the Transkei, respectively, are (a) filled and (b) vacant in respect of (i) student nurses, (ii) auxiliary nurses, (iii) staff nurses, (iv) sisters all grades and (v) matrons all grades.

Particulars in so far as the establishment of the Department of Health is concerned, are as follows:






Non-Whites (Particulars of each race are not available).

















(i) Student nurse







(ii) Auxiliary nurse




Auxiliary nurse (enrolled)



(iii) Staff nurse





(iv) Sister






(v) Matron




(i) Student nurse

(ii) Auxiliary nurse


(iii) Staff nurse


(iv) Sister





(v) Matron


Military Hospitals 3. Mr. L. G. MURRAY

asked the Minister of Defence:

  1. (1) (a) How many military hospitals are there in the Republic, (b) where are they situated and (c) how many beds are provided in each;
  2. (2) how many nursing posts in these hospitals are (a) filled on a temporary basis and (b) vacant;
  3. (3) how many medical officer posts in these hospitals are (a) filled on a full-time basis, (b) filled on a part-time basis and (c) vacant;
  4. (4) whether arrangements have been made with any of the Provincial Administrations for admission of Citizen Force trainees to provincial hospitals; if so, on what basis in regard to hospital fees.
  1. (1)
    1. (a) 4
    2. (b) Voortrekkerhoogte, Wynberg, Tempe and Potchefstroom.
    3. (c)









  1. (2)
    1. (a) 7
    2. (b) 43
  2. (3)
    1. (a) 17
    2. (b) 29
    3. (c) 23
  3. (4) No specific arrangements have been made with Provincial Administrations for the admission of national servicemen to provincial hospitals. Emergency cases in areas where there are no military hospitals are admitted to the nearest provincial hospital and transferred to military hospitals when circumstances and their medical condition permit. Where the necessary facilities for specialized treatment do not exist at a military hospital, national servicemen are also referred to provincial hospitals with the required facilities. The fees paid to provincial hospitals in respect of military patients are the same as those applicable to full-paying private patients.
    • Besides the four hospitals there are 52 sick bays at various military units in the Republic.
Magistrates’ Offices: Staff Shortages and Nature of Duties 4. Mrs. H. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of Justice:

  1. (1) What was the estimated shortage of staff qualified to take charge of magistrates’ offices during 1966 and 1967, respectively;
  2. (2) (a) how many centres which qualified for full-time magistrates’ offices were without such services at the end of 1967 and (b) how many of these centres were served by periodical or branch courts during that year;
  3. (3) (a) what was the estimated number of hours spent by magistrates’ offices on extra-judicial work during 1967 and (b) what proportion of this time was spent on (i) agency services rendered on behalf of other departments and (ii) consideration of applications for liquor licences.
  1. (1)





  1. (2) and (3) In view of the volume of work involved in collecting the particulars asked for, it is not practicable to furnish the information required.
Community Development: Dwelling Units for Whites 5. Mrs. H. SUZMAN

asked the Minister of Community Development:

  1. (1) (a) How many dwelling units for occupation by Whites were built by or for his Department during 1966 and 1967, respectively, and (b) in which centres were they built;
  2. (2) whether any of these units remained unsold or unlet for longer than three months after completion; if so, (a) how many units in each centre and (b) what was the estimated resultant loss of revenue.






(b) R











Cape Town



Port Elizabeth































Cape Town



Port Elizabeth





















In so far as losses of rental is concerned, it must be pointed out that in terms of the Housing Act, such losses are covered by the revenue reserve account of the National Housing Fund which has a regular inflow of amounts specially levied from tenants of national housing all over the country, to safeguard the Housing Fund against possible losses. The ratepayer himself therefore does not bear any of these losses.

Reply standing over from Friday, 26th April, 1968

Da Gama Park, Simonstown: Repairs and Renovations to Houses

The MINISTER OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT replied to Question 1, by Mr. J. W. E. Wiley:

  1. (1) When were repairs and renovations to houses in Da Gama Park, Simonstown, last carried out prior to 1967;
  2. (2) whether tenders were invited for the repair and renovation of such houses during 1967 or 1968; if so, (a) when, (b) for how many houses, (c) what tender prices were submitted and (d) who was the successful tenderer;
  3. (3) whether specifications for the work were laid down; if so, by whom;
  4. (4) whether any estimates were made prior to the laying down of the specifications; if so, by whom;
  5. (5) whether the specifications were varied, amended or altered (a) before or (b) after tenders closed; if so, for what reason;
  6. (6) whether such variations, amendments or alterations were advertised; if not,
  7. (7) whether tenderers were notified of them;
  8. (8) (a) what is the cost per house of the repairs and renovations and (b) what is the nature of the work involved internally and externally respectively;
  9. (9) whether the materials specified for use on the walls are being used; if not, (a) why not and (b) what materials are (i) specified and (ii) being used;
  10. (10) (a) when was the work (i) specified to be undertaken, (ii) undertaken and (iii) specified to be completed and (b) when is it expected to be completed;
  11. (11) whether his Department is responsible for ensuring that the work is carried out according to specification; if not, which Department is responsible;
  12. (12) whether any guarantee period is laid down; if so, what period; if not, why not;
  13. (13) whether any penalty is imposed if the work is not in accordance with specification; if so, what penalty;
  14. (14) for what period after the completion of the repairs and renovations are these houses expected not to require further repairs or renovations.
  1. (1) The dwellings at Da Gama Park have not yet, since the scheme was completed during 1960-’61, undergone general repair and renovation.
  2. (2) Yes, during 1967.
    1. (a) The advertisement appeared in the Burger, Cape Argus and Cape Times of the 15th. 19th, 22nd and 26th September, 1967 and in the Financial Gazette of the 15th and 22nd September, 1967. The closing date of the tender was the 11th October, 1967.
    2. (b) 129.
    3. (c)
      1. (i) R66,000.
      2. (ii) R73,000.
      3. (iii) R93,921.
      4. (iv) R98,250.
      5. (v) R123,000.
      6. (vi) R168,000.
      7. (vii) R193,305.
      8. (viii) R218,982.
    4. (d) Gordon Verhoef and Krause (Pty.) Ltd.
  3. (3) Yes, by the Technical Section of the Department of Community Development.
  4. (4) Yes, by the Technical Section of the Department of Community Development.
  5. (5)
    1. (a) Yes, on the 22nd September, 1967, before the tenders closed, an addendum was forwarded to all contractors who had taken out documents, whereby they were advised that the figure 3/16 inch in the specifications in respect of the thickness of the layer of textured elastic coating which were to be applied to the walls, should read 1/16 inch.
    2. (b) Yes, after the closing date and after the contract for the work had been entered into with the lowest tenderer, it was agreed between the contractor and the Department that, instead of a layer of textured elastic coating similar or equal to “Kenitex”, one coat of plaster sealer and two coats of exterior P.V.A. would be applied.
      • For the reason here for, please refer to item 9 (a).
  6. (6) No.
  7. (7) The other tenderers were not informed of the variation 5 (b) since it was merely a matter between the Department and its contractor.
  8. (8)
    1. (a) An average of R511.63.
    2. (b) The contract was for complete external renovations to 129 dwellings. Internal renovations were not effected.
  9. (9) The material specified for the walls namely one layer of textured elastic coating, is not being applied.
    1. (a) The Department, after having invited tenders and after the contract had already been awarded to the lowest tenderer, learnt that similar material was not successful on certain buildings elsewhere in the country.
    2. (b)
      1. (i) one layer textured elastic coating similar or equal to “Kenitex”.
      2. (ii) one coat of plaster sealer and two coats of exterior P.V.A.
  10. (10)
    1. (a) (i), (ii) and (iii) The work has to be undertaken and completed within a period of nine months ending 30th October, 1968.
    2. (b) Towards the end of August, 1968.
  11. (11) Yes.
  12. (12) Yes, until 90 per cent of the work has been completed.
  13. (13) Yes, a time and penalty clause is stipulated in the contract which reads as follows:
  14. “The time allowed for the completion shall be nine months and if exceeded, a fine of 5c per R100.00 per diem of uncompleted work, may be imposed, recoverable by deduction from the money due to the Tenderer.”
  15. (14) There is no hard and fast rule, the necessity for the renovation for each building is assessed individually.

The following Bills were read a First Time:

Parliamentary Service and Administrators’ Pensions Amendment Bill.

Judges’ Remuneration and Pensions Amendment Bill.


Clause 5 (contd.).


We have here, as I said last night before the House adjourned, the short title of the Bill, which reads, as printed—

This Act shall be called the Prohibition

of Improper Interference Act, 1968

To that we have an amendment moved by the hon. the Minister to delete the word “Improper” and to substitute therefor the word “Political”. Now, what is the effect of what the hon. the Minister is asking? The hon. the Minister is in effect admitting the validity of all the arguments raised by this side of the House during the second-reading debate that this Bill does not in effect have anything to do with “improper” interference in the political affairs of one group by members of another group. But there is another effect of what the hon. the Minister is doing now. The Minister is now admitting the validity of the point I made. If the hon. the Minister would only give me a few minutes of his time, perhaps we might get further with this debate. There is an hon. member standing right in the road, and I am sure the Minister cannot even hear what I am saying. [Interjections.]




What the hon. the Minister is now saying is that he is admitting the charge I leveled against him during the second-reading debate, that this word has been included here with one object only, and that was to mislead “die volk daarbuite”, to quote my hon. friend the hon. member for South Coast; that this word “improper” was put in so that the Nationalist Party could go to the people outside and tell them that the United Party had opposed this measure and then say: You see, the United Party is in favour of having “improper” interference in the political affairs of other race groups in South Africa.


And that is true.


During his reply to that debate the hon. the Minister failed to reply to this point I raised, and of course it has now become obvious why he failed to reply.

But there is a further inference to be drawn from the hon. the Minister’s amendment, and that is that the Minister now admits that it is not only “improper” interference that he is trying to legislate against here but that he is legislating against any contact between racial groups in this country in the political sphere. The question of definitions was argued fully yesterday, and when we come to the definition of politics, once again …


Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the removal of the word “Improper” and the substitution therefore of the word “Political”.


Mr. Chairman, there is so much noise going on I am afraid I did not hear your ruling.


The hon. member must confine himself to the amendment now under discussion.


The amendment being the deletion of the word “Improper” and the substitution of the word “Political”. I am dealing with the word “political”, which is a derivative from the word “politic”, which also has a further derivative, namely “politics”, which is the noun plural. “Political” is a derivative of “politics”, and this word, as the hon, member for Prinshof will agree, is defined as being “too wide to be defined”. The point that I am getting at is this. The introduction of the word “political” here makes this matter even worse, because it makes it now so wide of application that any multiracial body in this country finds itself in the position where it might leave itself open to prosecution in this matter.

There is another aspect. If there is one word ill this whole Bill which might have justified—and I say “might have justified” with the full realization of what I am saying—this legislation from the point of view of that side of the House, then it is this word “improper”. Of course we are all against anything which is improper; particularly if it is improper interference; both words have a bad connotation,

In the result I am afraid I must add my appeal to that of the hon. member for Durban (North) when he appealed to the hon. the Minister either to withdraw this amendment of his or to amend his amendment so that the short title will read “The Prohibition of Improper Political Interference”. But he must not delete the word “Improper”.

Question put:

That the word “Improper” in line 44, stand part of the clause.

Upon which the Committee divided.


Order! I have been asked by the Whips to appeal to hon. members please to turn towards the Chair during divisions. Certain hon. members are not noticed during divisions

Result of division:

Ayes—37: Basson, J. D. du P.; Bennett, C.; Bloomberg, A.; Eden, G. S.; Emdin, S.; Fisher, E. L.; Graaff, De V.; Higgerty, J. W.; Hughes, T. G.; Jacobs, G. F.; Kingwill, W. G.; Lewis, H. M.; Lindsay, J. E.; Malan, E. G.; Mitchell, D. E.; Mitchell, M. L.; Moolman, J. H.; Moore, P. A.; Murray, L. G.; Oldfield, G. N.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Smith, W. J. B.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Streicher, D. M.; Sutton, W. M.; Suzman, H.; Thompson, J. O. N.; Timoney, H. M.; Wainwright, C. J. S.; Waterson, S. F.; Webber, W. T.; Wiley, J. W. E.; Winchester, L. E. D.; Wood, L. F.

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

Noes—109: Bezuidenhout, G. P. C.; Bodenstein, P.; Botha, H. J.; Botha, L. J.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, M. W.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Brandt, J. W.; Carr, D. M.; Coetsee, H. J.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, J. A.; Cruywagen. W. A.; De Jager, P. R.; Delport. W. H,; De Wet, C; De Wet, J. M.; De Wet, M. W.; Diederichs, N.; Du Plessis, H. R. H.; Du Toit, J. P.; Engelbrecht, J. J.; Erasmus, J. J. P.; Frank, S.; Froneman, G. F. van L.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Grobler, W. S. J.; Haak, J. F. W.; Havemann, W. W. B.; Henning, J. M.; Herman, F.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Horn, J. W. L.; Janson, T. N. H.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Koornhof, P. G. J.; Kotzé, S. F.; Kruger, J. T.; Le Grange, L.; Le Roux, F. J.; Le Roux, J. P. C.; Le Roux, P. M. K.; Loots, J. J.; Malan, G. F.; Malan, J. J.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Marais, P. S.; Marais, W. T.; Maree, G. de K.; Maree, W. A.; Martins, H. E.; McLachlan, R.; Morrison, G. de V.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Otto, J. C.; Pansegrouw, J. S.; Pelser, P. C.; Pienaar, B.; Pieterse, R. J. J.; Potgieter, J. E.; Potgieter, S. P.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Rall, M. J.; Raubenheimer, A. J.; Raubenheimer, A. L.; Reinecke, C. J.; Reyneke, J. P. A.; Rossouw, W. J. C.; Roux, P. C; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Schlebusch, A. L.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, H.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Smit, H. H.; Smith, J. D.; Stofberg, L. F.; Swanepoel, J. W. F.; Torlage, P. H.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; Van den Berg, G. P.; Van den Berg, M. J.; Van der Merwe, C. V.; Van der Merwe, H. D. K.; Van der Merwe, S. W.; Van der Merwe, W. L.; Van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; Van Staden, J. W.; Van Vuuren, P. Z. J.; Van Zyl, J. J. B.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Viljoen, M.; Visser, A. J.; Vorster, L. P J.; Vosloo, W. L.; Waring, F. W.; Wentzel, J. J.; Wentzel, J. J. G.

Tellers: P. S. van der Merwe and H. J. van Wyk.

Question accordingly negatived and the word omitted.

Substitution of the word “Political” put and agreed to.

Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.

Title of the Bill.


Mr. Chairman, the long title of a Bill, as you are aware, has a legal context, unlike the short title of a Bill. It has been decided by our courts that the long title may be looked at where the specific provision of the statute is ambiguous or obscure. If ever one could say that of a law, if this Bill becomes law in this form, I think it is this particular provision. The hon. the Minister himself has conceded that it is very vague and obscure. As regards the long title, I have no doubt whatever that, if the court has to interpret this Bill when a prosecution comes before the court, it will be obliged in view of the vagueness and the obscurity of the language used to look at the long title to give it guidance. I think there is no doubt whatever that this Bill is the result of the commission appointed on the recommendation of the Select Committee to investigate the Prohibition of Improper Interference Bill.


Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the long title.


I am saying that this Bill arose out of a desire to prohibit improper interference. But the word “improper” does not appear in the long title, whereas it should be there. Therefore, I wish to move—

In the first line, after “Prohibit” to insert “improper”.

Order! As I have already pointed out to the hon. member, I am unable to accept his amendment as it is in conflict with an amendment already agreed to by the Committee.

Title of the Bill, as printed, put and agreed to (Official Opposition dissenting).

House Resumed:

Bill reported with an amendment.


When this debate was adjourned, I was indicating that, in the case of legislation such as this, two important truths apply in so far as the Coloureds are concerned. The first of these is that the Coloureds have never yet had full political rights, and the second is that the Coloureds form neither an integral part of the Afrikaner people, nor an organic unit together with the White South African society. The pure principles of democracy find expression in clause 1 of this Bill, in that the Coloureds themselves will henceforth be able to elect 40 members to the Coloured Persons Representative Council. The fact that the Government asks for the right to nominate 20 members shows that the Government is not relinquishing is guardianship, that is to say, its responsibilities towards the Coloureds.

Clause 3 provides for a general registration every six years. The fact that a member of a community can have himself registered as a voter places him under a great responsibility. Accordingly every Coloured will in future have to become aware of the responsibility placed on him by this. At the very first registration the Coloureds will find that this is the first time they will have full political responsibilities. Every Coloured voter will, upon registering, be faced with the necessity of closer identification with his group, with the individuality of his group, with the ideals and with planning the future of his group. More than ever before his right to registration will direct him not only towards the political facet of his existence, but also to the question of how it affects his pattern of his life as a whole, because political rights can lead to continued stability only if it is aimed at the development of the Coloureds’ society structure as a whole. Furthermore, every Coloured person shall, upon registering, have to decide for himself what his talents are and how he can use those talents to develop his own group. Henceforth he will begin to bear responsibilities which the Whites have borne for centuries. In making this closer acquaintance with democracy the realization will have to come to him that the privilege of democracy not only exists in having the right to vote, but also in the realization of one’s duty to render selfless service to one’s nation in all sincerity.

Clause 4 comprises certain important aspects. Every Coloured who is a South African citizen, 21 years of age and over, and who is not subject to any of the disqualifications set out in clause 5, now has the right to register as a voter. The most important point here is that every Coloured will be able to register. With this the National Party confirms once again, as opposed to other political organizations, that it does not discriminate against those Coloureds who, as a result of social and economic circumstances, cannot meet excessively high and often unfair franchise qualifications.

Now it is the position that to the United Party and to the hon. member for Houghton this legislation may seem to be a backward measure. However, the Government will not allow the position of there being first, second or third class citizens within the identity group of the Coloureds. Those Coloureds who are still suffering to-day as a result of the old policy of the United Party of favouring only some, may disappear in the course of time, precisely because the policy of the National Party is aimed at uplifting the Coloureds in all spheres of life. All Coloureds over 21 years of age will therefore not only be able to vote, but will also find that their viability and growth have been made possible by the National Party. The possibilities offered to the Coloured by this legislation can, in the last resort, be developed only by the Coloureds themselves. Therefore I trust that the Coloureds will look for, and proudly develop, those principles which are peculiar to their own specific way of life and to their own nationhood.


The hon. member for Rissik has given us his own interpretation of this Bill as being a democratic measure extending political rights to the Coloured people, rights which they have never had before. Ido not think one can examine this Bill in vacuo; we cannot look at this measure on its own, because I believe it is part and parcel of two other measures which have been before this House recently. These three measures, taken together, are anything but an extension of democracy in South Africa. On the contrary, they are concerned with one thing only—to remove the last vestiges of any real political say the Coloureds of this country have. It is for this reason that I do not look upon this Bill as being only an amending Bill to the existing Act. Whatever the Leader of the Opposition had to say during his second-reading speech—for instance, that there is nothing in this amending Bill mentioning the abolition of Coloured Representatives in Parliament—he cannot, surely, deny in the light of the debates which have taken place that this Bill is being regarded as a quid pro quo for the removal of the four Coloured Representatives. Every single member on the Government side who has spoken, and particularly the Minister in introducing this Bill, made it quite clear that the Coloured people were getting something by virtue of this Bill to replace what they were losing by virtue of the other Bill, the Abolition Bill. Not only has this Bill been presented as a quid pro quo, as compensation for what the Coloured people are losing, but even as a Bill which gives them something more than they are losing. In other words, this Bill is not “an addition”, as the Government claims it to be; I say that this Bill is “an instead of” Bill, and therefore I am opposed to this Bill—and I am going to vote against the second reading—just as I was opposed to the other two Bills which form the trio which together represent the deprivation of rights of the Coloured people.

Sir, in 1964, when the principal Act was introduced, the United Party opposed the second reading of that Bill and they recorded the most extreme form of parliamentary opposition by moving that the Bill be read “this day six months”. The Leader of the Opposition spoke in 1964 on the principal Bill and he gave four cogent reasons for opposing the Bill. He said, firstly, that the Bill of 1964 was the first inevitable step towards the eventual abolition of the four Coloured representatives in Parliament. It is perfectly true that the Government denied this at the time, and indeed right throughout the debate on the removal of the four Coloured representatives, members of the Opposition quoted from the assurances given by government members at the time, from Dr. Verwoerd down, from the then Minister of Coloured Affairs (the present Minister of Defence) down to various other members who gave their assurances that the introduction of the Coloured Representative Council did not mean the beginning of the end of Coloured representation in Parliament. The official Opposition, rightly as it has turned out to be, refused to accept those assurances and they voted against the 1964 Bill. That, Sir, is my answer to the hon. member for Green Point who said, “Of course, we accept this Bill now because the Coloured representatives have gone and therefore the Coloured Council is better than nothing.” In 1964 the United Party was absolutely certain that that was going to be the case, that the Coloured representatives were going to disappear, and they moved “this day six months” on the principal Bill. I agreed with them; I agreed with the attitude they adopted in 1964. I agreed that that was the inevitable step that was to follow, that is to say, the abolition of Coloured representatives. But, Sir, I am going to be logical and I am going to oppose this Bill because it seems to me that there is no difference between the situation as feared by the United Party in 1964 and the situation now, when what they feared has come about, when the very worst has happened and the four Coloured representatives have gone.


There was no council then.


I do not think that what they are getting now is going to mean anything. I think it is going to mean nothing at all in terms of any real rights.


That is you opinion.


Of course, it is my opinion. I am only giving my opinion. I would not dream of giving the opinion of the hon. member for Rosettenville, because I do not think it is worth having anyway.

The second cogent reason given by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition was that the Bill was presented as compensation for the loss of common roll rights, which it manifestly was not, and equally this Bill is being presented as compensation for the loss of separate roll rights, which it manifestly is not. The third reason given by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition was that the Coloureds did not want that Council. Well, Sir, do they want this Council? Does anybody know whether the Coloured people want this Council? No test has ever been put to the Coloured people. They have not had to vote in an election on this issue and there certainly has been no referendum. They have been given this Council, whether they want it or whether they do not want it. The final reason given by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition in 1964 was that this Bill was part of the policy of creating “a state within a state”. Similarly, this Bill is also part of a policy of creating “a state within a state”, cutting the Coloured off from their political past and cutting them off from the body politic in South Africa, from real politics in South Africa. The official Opposition considered the 1964 bill a hollow mockery. Those are the very words they used. Sir, I believe that this Council, as it is being amended to-day, is also a hollow mockery. I do not believe that this amending bill makes any real difference to the Council whatsoever. The fact that the representation of elected members is being somewhat widened, the fact that the State President may—it is permissive only—give certain additional powers to the Council to consider matters other than those already laid down in the 1964 Act, in no way alters the basic lack of any real meaning of the Coloured Council.

Sir. I disagree entirely with what the hon. the Prime Minister said during the previous debate on this subject, namely that the Coloureds are now being given something they have never had before, no matter, he said, from what angle one viewed it. Well, my angle reveals something very different, of course, from the hon. the Prime Minister’s angle. My angle reveals that a say in the law-making body in South Africa, in this Parliament, however attenuated that say is, is being removed despite repeated assurances to the contrary. My angle reveals that the Council, even with the additional powers being given to it by this amending bill, still has utterly circumscribed powers—nothing like self-governing powers, exercising any real legislative or other authority that has any meaning. This Council can only exercise authority in the narrow fields granted to it by this Parliament, and the permissive rights which may later be given to it by the State President, may in any case never come about. Even where the Council may legislate, it may only legislate in matters on which this Parliament allows it to legislate. It may not, for instance, pass any laws, in terms of section 25 of the principal Act, which are repugnant to any Act of Parliament. This Council may be given certain powers to legislate that were not given to the other Council. The other Council did not have automatic powers to legislate in these specific fields. This Council does have that right. But section 21 (2) of the principal Act is not being amended and that lays down absolutely clearly that no proposed law shall be introduced into the Council without the prior consent and approval of the Minister of Coloured Affairs, and therefore these rights are utterly circumscribed. They are not rights which the Council may exercise without prior consultation with or prior permission from this Parliament or from the Minister of the Interior. I have mentioned that certain portfolios are being handed over to the Council but only within the narrow limits circumscribed by this Parliament. Those are portfolios such as education, social welfare, pensions, local government and rural communities. But, Sir, life does not consist only of education, and of social welfare and pensions and of rural communities. Life consists of earning one’s living, of the job that one is allowed to do, of trade union activities. Life consists of matters such as where one may own or occupy property; it consists of social life; of what sort of amenities one may enjoy, of sport, of recreation, of entertainment. It consists of personal choice as to whom one may marry. Nowhere in this bill do I see any powers handed to the Coloured Council which will give it the right to legislate in any matters which really affect the Coloured people’s lives—about race classification, about job reservation, about group areas, about separate amenities. Not one of those matters can be touched by this Coloured Council.

The Coloured M.P.C.s have also now been abolished, and I might say that that was agreed to by the official Opposition, not after the Council had been set up and was functioning, but it was agreed to as an acceptable principle. That is quite clear from the speech made by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition in an earlier debate. I maintain that representation in the Provincial Council is an essential corollary to representation in Parliament. It is quite absurd, in the Cape Province particularly, to talk about separating the local governmental interests of the Coloured people and of the white people. Most of the services provided in the urban areas controlled by the local authorities are closely intermingled, for the Coloureds and for the Whites, be they roads, hospitals, water services, sewage amenities, or any of the services controlled by local authorities. They are all closely integrated between the Coloured community and the white community, particularly in the Cape Province.

Clause 16 of the Bill is of course the pivotal clause of the Bill. That relates to finance. Even here it is quite obvious that no real financial autonomy is being granted to the Coloured Representative Council. This Council will be hogtied to the Government, completely dependent on the largesse handed to it by the Government. It has no tax-levying powers. If this Council is represented as being an independent or autonomous council, quite obviously it should have some say over finance. It has no such say. It can certainly have a say over the way in which the money voted to it by the Government is apportioned, but it has no say whatsoever in regard to the levying of money or the total overall amount which it is going to be allowed to administer. At best, therefore, this is an administrative council only. It is not a truly law-making council, because it cannot consider any laws unless Parliament or the Minister has approved them, and of course any laws it passes, even within the ambit of its authority, must not be repugnant to any laws passed by this Parliament.

It has no say whatever, as I said, in regard to the amount of money this Parliament is going to vote for it. It is a classic case of taxation without representation. There is no point in having any say over the interna of school curricula, syllabuses and things of that kind when one cannot have any say in regard to the total amount of money which is voted, and therefore one cannot have any say about whether there is to be compulsory education or not for Coloured children. There is no real say over the expansion of vocational education, because again this depends entirely on the amount of money voted by the Central Government. The whole policy, for instance, of admission to the open universities, to those faculties which are not provided for at the Coloured university, is something they have no say over.

As far as welfare is concerned, that is one of the portfolios which has been handed to this Council, but as long as one has no control over the amount to be expended on welfare, over the actual distribution of national income—that is really the crux of the matter—the power to apportion it is of little importance in fact. The actual detail of the allocation of Government grants is not the important thing; it is how much is allocated in toto. Parliament will even lay down the conditions cf eligibility for the various grants under Social Welfare. So in practically every way the long nose of the Government will intrude into this Coloured Council. The Chairman of the Executive of the Council, is in fact going to be nominated by the Government, and this I might say is contrary to the recommendations of the Commission; and I can understand it in terms of Government philosophy because the Chairman is a fairly important person. He is the man who has whatever control there is, over finance.

It is controlled by the Chairman of the Executive, and he cannot be removed except by the State President, although any other member of the Executive can be removed by a two-thirds majority. He and his Executive Committee will be under the constant vigilance of the Minister or his Secretary or his Deputy. These three are not bound to secrecy, but the Executive Committee, as far as I can see is bound to secrecy and cannot even divulge information to its own Council. I would say that the fact that the Government continues to nominate 20 members of the Council is further evidence that this Council is going to be anything but a really representative or legislative council. To carry any ascendancy over the 20 nominated members, any Coloured party or body which wishes to put up candidates for the Coloured Council will have to win 31 of the 40 seats in order to be able to fight Government nominees and in order to be able to represent a point of view which is contrary to the Government’s separate development plan. I wonder whether the Government will guarantee at this stage, or whether the Minister will assure the House, that any candidates who do stand on an antiapartheid platform will be guaranteed that they will not attract the attention of he Special Security Branch.


You are talking nonsense now.


Am I talking nonsense? I told the Committee yesterday—I do not know whether the hon. member was here—just what happened to Coloured people who attended such meetings. The hon. member should have seen what happened in Grahams-town when a perfectly lawful meeting was held by students of Rhodes University and they were harassed by the Special Branch of the Police from the moment their protest began, and when names and addresses of students were taken and there were obvious attempts to intimidate those students. What does the hon. member think will really happen to any member of a political party who stands in a Coloured Council election on an anti-apartheid platform? I say they will constantly be honoured by the attentions of the Special Branch.

Now the hon. member who has just spoken, the hon. member for Rissik, told us what a democratic move this was, because it involved universal franchise for the Coloured people. Any Coloured adult male or female throughout South Africa will be granted a vote for this Council.

This is in clause 4 of the Bill. To my mind it demonstrates utterly the complete cynicism of the Government in introducing this measure, and I will say why You see, Sir, when the Coloured vote had some meaning, when the Coloured people were on the common roll way back before the Act was passed in the 1950s, when they had some real say in the power structure of politics in South Africa, every difficulty was placed in their way. Coloured males only, had a vote, they had to qualify, and they had to appear before a police sergeant in a police station before they could be registered. Even when the Coloured people had a say in this House by way of separate representation, great difficulties were placed in their way as far as registration was concerned. They had to go to a commissioner of oaths who was in the employ of the State, or they had to appear before a police sergeant or before an M.P. or a Senator. Of course, again, the vote was confined to adult males in the Cape and Natal only.

But now that this vote is meaningless in the real power structure of the country, now that they have no say whatever in Parliament, either on the common roll or on the separate roll, now it is universal franchise. Every Coloured adult male or female can have the vote, and what is more, not only can they have the vote but it is made compulsory for them to register. Now registration is compulsory. Before, when their vote meant something in the power structure of South African politics, every difficulty was placed in their way as far as registration was concerned. Now it is universal suffrage and registration is made compulsory, and there are penalties laid down if Coloured people do not register for the vote once they are eligible, when they qualify by virtue of age. This Government has demonstrated its utter cynicism. If it is not cynical, then all I can say is that the word “cynicism” has no meaning at all.

I want to say, finally, that the Coloured people of course have not been given a chance to tell us whether they want this Council or not. I believe most sincerely that if they were given that chance, if they were asked to show their feelings at a referendum as to whether they want this Coloured Council, this extension of democracy, this compulsory registration and this universal franchise for this Coloured Council which can legislate only in the most restricted way and then only with the approval of the Minister and concerning laws not repugnant to this House, those Coloured people would tell this Minister and the Government in no uncertain terms that they do not want this Council as a replacement for what they have lost

I believe they will tell the Government in no uncertain terms that they do not want this “contribution towards the building of the Coloured nation”. They will tell them that they do not want to be cut off from the rest of South Africa, that they do not want to be isolated from the body politic in South Africa, that they want to be first-class citizens in the country as a whole, in a multi-racial South Africa; they want to be part and parcel of multi-racial South Africa. They want equal opportunities like compulsory education and vocational training, and the removal of all the restrictions, such as job reservation and group areas imposed upon them. I believe they do not want protection; I believe they do not want charity: What they want is an equal opportunity. And then I believe the Coloured people will be quite prepared to compete with white people, who surely by virtue of their higher culture can face up to such competition. We hear all the time of the Whites’ higher culture; the hon. member for Parow had a great deal to say, when the Commission was sitting, about the higher culture of the white people. I say the white people with their higher culture would be able to face up to such competition from Coloured people.

What I say is let us not bother about this Coloured Council; let us instead give the Coloured people equal opportunities; let us remove all the restrictions from the Coloured people; and let them stand on their own feet and compete on equal terms with the white people of this country and with the other races. I do not believe that this Council is any less of a hollow mockery than was the Council that was set up in 1964. For all these reasons I intend to oppose the second reading of this Bill. I want no part and no parcel of this measure now before us.

*Mr. H. H. SMIT:

Mr. Speaker, now towards the end of this debate one is once again struck by the manner in which those people in our politics who attach great value to equality and the fact that there should be no discrimination and all similar concepts are able to soothe their consciences when this Government takes positive steps for doing away with discrimination. To me this legislation which we now have before us is proof of the fact that the more the policy of the National Party is implemented the further it is taking us from any form of discrimination. I want to compare the statement I have just made to the inconsistent attitude adopted by the party of the hon. member who spoke before me in regard to the question of separate representation of Coloureds in this House, which is now being terminated. Her party detested such a system of separate development in all its consequences. They also detested separate development here. But when the opportunity presented itself, that system presented a good enough means of slipping into Parliament with the support of the Coloureds. Where we now have the opportunity of abolishing a form of discrimination as far as the Coloured community is concerned, the hon member is adopting the same attitude on behalf of her party. Under the dispensation we used to have and which we had previously inherited, namely that for years a small number of Coloureds were enfranchised, there was discrimination between one Coloured person and another. Why should only certain Coloureds have the vote and not others? The hon. member also referred to the fact that all Coloureds were being enfranchised under the new dispensation. This surely is an ideal position. Does the hon. member not agree? I want to point out to her that she failed to state her party’s policy in this respect here this afternoon. Her party’s policy still provides for continued discrimination, also between one Coloured person and another, as far as the right to vote is concerned.


It is not a racial discrimination.

*Mr. H. H. SMIT:

I am glad the hon. member says it is not a racial discrimination I want to concede that point to her, but I want to tell her that they have a class discrimination which her party not only wants to maintain as far as Coloureds are concerned, but also wants to introduce as far as Whites are concerned. Therefore I say it is a detestable policy.

Why should certain Coloureds not have the vote? I want to give the reply to that question. The position up to now was that the white man felt that he could not give every Coloured person the right to vote along with the Whites. The reason for that was that the white man felt that one could not give the vote to people who lived on a lower level and who had no real interest in these matters. He felt that because unscrupulous white politicians could manipulate them, as history has shown us, as we have read, heard and have also experienced ourselves, they could not enjoy the right to vote along with the Whites. Now we are getting the dispensation in which the Coloureds, without discrimination between one Coloured person and another, and without a class distinction between one Coloured person and another, will indeed for the first time be given the opportunity of participating in the control of affairs which concern themselves.

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

Mr. Speaker, may I put a question to the hon. member? Will the Coloureds on the hon. member’s farm or those on my farm have any notion of what all this voting is about?

*Mr. H. H. SMIT:

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I should like to reply to the hon. member's question. I do not know about the Coloureds On the hon. member’s farm, but I think sortie of the Coloureds on my farm will know better for whom to vote than some of the Coloureds did whom that hon. member’s party manipulated as the occasion arose and only knew on election day.

I want to welcome the fact that the United Party has at last seen the light as far as this matter is concerned. I thought we had reached the stage when we could debate the advancement of the Coloured people in an atmosphere of peace and quiet, but now the hon. member for Sea Point puts a question like this. I do not think the hon. member knows what this is about. It seems to me the hon. member is not seeking what is truly to the good of the Coloured people, and this in spite of his party’s support for this matter. The hon. member speaks of the Coloureds on his farm and on my farm. I now want to ask the hon member why, if the plain white man on a lonely farm can also have the right to vote and can vote along with the hon. member for Sea Point, the respectable Coloured person on the farm cannot have the right to vote, a right which is also exercised by the skolly in District Six?

*Mr. J. A. L. BASSON:

Why do you want to give it to the skolly?

*Mr. H. H. SMIT:

The United Party presumably supports this legislation, but when I listen to the hon. member for Sea Point I begin to feel concerned about this support.

As regards the Government’s attitude, I want to say this. It is a happy day for us that it will now be possible to do away with the class distinction between one Coloured person and another as well as the discrimination between one Coloured person and another. If we really want to assist a community that lags behind the white community, to get on in life, we must begin at the lower strata and afford them the opportunity to develop. Was any development of the Coloureds as a community really possible as long as only some of them could exercise the vote along with the Whites? Should the Coloured leaders not be placed in a position to speak to all their people down to the lowest stratum and to take them by the hand and lead them along in the task of building a nation? That is why I find this entire matter such a practical illustration of the difference between theory and practice. There are theories which some people hold on how to govern, and then there is practice, which often differs so much from those theories We may compare the Negores in America to our Coloureds here as they have been living amongst the Whites, speaking their language, etc., for several centuries. Despite the endeavours from above to integrate them with the Whites, they feel frustrated and unsatisfied. They are unhappy people, and we know what is being experienced in America at the present time. Here in South Africa we have adopted another course as we believe that the Coloured people can really be led and educated if their own leaders have and come into contact with the lower strata. When the interests of the Coloured people are to be represented in a body such as this Coloured Council, then it must be possible for these representatives to keep in contact with the Coloureds on the lowest level, and really keep in contact with them, in contrast to knowing them for one day only to get their vote with a view to influencing the political representation of parties here in the House of Assembly. What is required are representatives who will really be interested in the Coloured people, who can live with them in their problems, and who can understand them. I want to link this to what the hon. member for Bezuidenhout said about this on previous occasions. He said a representative should represent not only a constituency, but also the individual. One cannot really represent the individual voter if one is not in a position in every respect to maintain contact with him and to get to know him, and to lead, as it were, the same life as he does. The legislation before us places the Coloured leaders who are to be elected in the position to do so, as the constituencies they will represent will be much smaller than those of the few Coloured Representatives who sit in this House. This will not only be the case as regards selected Coloured people. It will not even be necessary for him to refer to lists of addresses to find out where a certain Coloured person lives. He knows that he may approach all adult Coloureds, men as well as women. Those are the people he has to represent. He may lend an ear to their problems and represent their interests in that Council in the best possible way. I believe that whereas a sense of responsibility amongst the lowest strata was what the Coloured people needed above all in the past, the Coloured leaders will, through this system which is now being introduced, be placed in a much better position to develop a sense of responsibility amongst the Coloured people. They will feel that their people are the ones who will have to account to them about the management of their affairs. They are not people whom they get to see once in a lifetime and never again. They are people who will have to face one another from day to day and from occasion to occasion. They are people who will know where the real difficulties are and who will not be shy to discuss the difficulties of their own people in that Council because they are afraid that doing so will involve them in outside political disputes. Therefore I say I am sincerely convinced that this system will not only develop a sense of responsibility amongst the Coloured people as a greater community, but also help them to develop confidence in their own abilities. If we can succeed in achieving this amongst the Coloured community as a whole, i.e. if we can succeed to develop in them confidence in their own leaders, in their own institutions and in their own ability, we will eliminate the effects of the old system we inherited, namely that a large section of our Coloured population is work-shy and is suffering from an inferiority complex. They think they are lacking in ability whereas in point of fact they are able to do many things just as any other nation can do them. Through this system, with the means of liaison with this Government and this Parliament which is to be worked out, I can foresee only the best things coming about for the Coloured population because a different course on that of the past, which produced few fine results, is being taken.

The hon. member who spoke before me complained that one-third of the members of the Council would still be nominated. If I remember rightly then this same complaint, namely that 20 members of this Council would be nominated, came from the United Party, who support this Bill. But are we not dealing here with the growth of a population group? In view of the fact that we as Whites are exercising our guardianship to help them from the very beginning, I think that this is a very weak argument. It is a very weak argument to object to the fact that initially 20 members of the Council will be nominated. I may remind members of the United Party that they established another Coloured body by legislation, namely the Coloured Advisory Council, which consisted wholly of nominated members. That was a failure because the United Party did not understand the Coloured people at that time. In spite of the support they received from the Coloured people at elections, the United Party did not understand them and their needs. I want to make the statement to-day that the powers entrusted to the Coloured Representative Council by this legislation, concerns matters in which the Coloured people have a real interest and in which they are really interested at this stage of their development. The matters mentioned by the hon. member for Houghton, are matters in which the Coloured people are not interested at this stage. The Coloureds proved that in the past when they were on an integrated Voters’ Roll by not registering of their own free will and by making use of that only where necessary. With that they showed that they were not interested in the matters concerning the higher politics of the country. They are interested in those things that concern their growth and development as a community. That is why it is no more than right that this Council should now be given a proper say in order to hold deliberations about those matters on behalf of its own people. I believe that the passing of this legislation will be a happy day for South Africa and race relations in this country.


Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Stellenbosch waxed lyrical about how the Coloured people would be developed in terms of this Bill. One must agree that the Bill when implemented certainly will be able to fulfil that function But let there be no mistake about this. Our support for this Bill is not on the basis that it is in any way a substitute for the right for the Coloureds to have representation in this House. It never can be, even if this council develops to the stage that we would like to see it developed. It could never take the place of representation in this House. I think that almost everything that could be said from this side of the House has been said to indicate our support for this Bill, but the hon. member for Houghton has also spoken and I feel that she needs a reply.


You are spiritual friends.


The hon. member for Houghton says that there is no difference between what we feared in 1964 and what has in fact happened. But the most important thing has happened, namely that the Coloured representation in this House has been removed by law. The big difference is that whereas we feared it would happen then and we were not prepared to allow this council to be a substitute, it has now in fact happened. We are debating a Bill in the light of the fact that the Separate Representation of Voters Amendment Bill has already passed all the stages of this House


You knew it was going to happen.


Whether we knew it was going to happen is of little concern. What are the facts of the matter now as we debate this Bill? The facts and realities as we debate this Bill now are that the Coloured Representative Council is the only legal forum where the Coloured people can have any political rights whatever and where they can express themselves in a political forum which has any teeth at all. Is that not the position? Of course we do not propose to abolish the only remaining lawful means for Coloured political participation. In any event, whatever the hon. member says, she spoke not for the Progressive Party. I think that she will agree with that.


You are quite wrong. I do not agree at all.


The hon. member does not agree. She says that she did speak for the Progressive Party. It is all very well the hon. member saying to us that she does not care what the hon. member for Rosetten-ville’s opinion or anyone else’s opinion is because she has given her opinion. Let her then tell us what she thinks about what the other members of the Progressive Party thought about this Bill. She says that she speaks for the Progressive Party. Now let us see whether this is in fact the position. On 18th April of this year the Progressive Party held a meeting. It was reported in The Cape Times of 19th April as follows:

At the last multi-racial meeting of the Cape Western region of the Progressive Party in Cape Town last night Coloured people were advised to make the best of the Coloured Representative Council.

Mr. J. Hamilton Russell, retiring chairman of the local council of the Party, addressed the meeting as well as Mr. Eglin. Mr. Eglin occupies a high position in the party. With Mr Russell on the platform were Mr. Eglin, Mr. Harry Lawrence, Mr. Rupert Hurley, incoming chairman of the party’s Cape Western Region, Dr. Oscar Wollheim and Mr. W. J. M. van Heerden, the two Progressive Party M.P.C.s. Addressing this Progressive Party meeting, Mr. Russell went on to say that his reluctant advice to the Coloured people, who were left with no alternative, was that—

Take what little you are given in the way of inferior political institutions, and use that insecure platform as a means for starting from the beginning to gain restitution of full political rights. Apprentice yourselves to learn something of the trade of politics and administration.

In an “inferior workshop”, I might add.

Try in this way to learn a trade you may be able to practise in some future generation. The Coloured people should elect to the Coloured Representative Council men who will defend your rights courageously and oppose apartheid and discrimination whenever and wherever it is seen

This endorses the attitude that we are taking, and that is to tell them that they have no other rights. We do not believe that these are substitution rights for the right of representation here. This is what they have got, and this is all they have got. Inferior as it is, and much as we would like to see it changed, they must accept it, use it and work with it.


You can accept it, but I will not.


The hon. member says that she speaks for the Progressive Party.


That is correct.


Does she then say that Mr. Hamilton Russell, Mr. Eglin, the two M.P.C.s, Mr. Harry Lawrence and Mr. Van Heerden do not represent the views of the Progressive Party?


They would all have voted against this Bill.


No. The point is not whether they would have voted against this Bill. I wonder whether they would have. The hon. member went further than that. The hon. member said that the Bill means nothing, and that the rights in the Bill is not worth having.


Yes, I quite agree.


Then, surely, the hon. member agrees that her party colleagues are saying exactly the opposite? They are not only saying that they are worth having, but they actually exhort the people to use it. In the Cape Times of the same date the leading article deals with this meeting. By the way the report was written by the Cape Times parliamentary correspondent, and I think the hon. member will agree that he would report it correctly. In the end the leading article reads—

In this dismal atmosphere …

That is, after describing the meeting and everything that was said—

… Mr. Hamilton Russell made his farewell speech last night to Coloured Progressives. His reference to an uncivilized and searing wrong is valid. Yet, his advice to Coloured people …



Won’t you shut up, Blaar?




I am only trying to help you.




The Cape Times went on to say—

Yet his advice to Coloured people “to apprentice yourselves to learn something of the trade of politics and administration, in an inferior workshop, is realistic and responsible, and should be heartily endorsed by all who are committed to constitutional means”.

What is left? What other constitutional means are there for Coloureds to express themselves politically? They are being invited by the Government to come forward and to take part in this Council. The hon member for Houghton does not speak for the Progressive Party then, and certainly does not speak for the Progressives of Cape Town and for the two M.P.C.s. when she takes the attitude that she does. She speaks entirely for herself, exercising her own judgment, unless she had a caucus meeting where she overruled decisions made by any other Progressives. Mr. Speaker, I think my Leader expressed our views on this when he spoke.


Bronkie, why do you not make a speech?




He expressed our view, that this is a step, however faltering a step, in the right direction.


What about your views?


This is improper political interference.


Let us have your views about this council.


My view is as follows …


Order! The hon. member for Houghton may not agree with it, but she must allow the hon. member to make his speech.


The hon member asks me what my views are. My views are that, in the situation in which one finds oneself, we have no alternative but to support the Second Reading of this Bill, to give some more strength, more power and meaning, little though it may be, to the only constitutional forum in which the Coloured people can exercise any political rights.


Hollow mockery though it be!


I would not say “hollow mockery though it may be”; I say “inadequate” though we feel that it is in many respects. We are going to deal with those aspects. Nevertheless, these are all the reasons I have indicated.

Let me go further and say to the hon. member for Houghton that, if my memory serves me correctly, the evidence which was published in the report of the commission of inquiry into the prohibition of improper interference indicated that not one single Coloured witness, not one single Coloured leader, expressed himself to be against the existence of a Coloured council.


Hear, hear!


I think that is right. My hon. friends who were on it, say that that is right.


No white witness either.


And, indeed, as my hon. friend from Transkei says, no white witness either. In other words, the hon. member is not speaking for the_ Coloured people either. They want the council.


This is “instead of’




No, this is the whole point. They want the council. Those same people said that they were opposed to the abolition of Coloured representation in this House, of course. And so are we. But the council, nevertheless, they want, although they want also, as we want, Coloured representation in this House. Mr. Speaker, make no mistake about it. We will restore the Coloured representatives to this House.


Like you restored them to the Common Roll.


This is no substitute. These snide asides by the hon. member for Houghton do not affect the case …


Order! I do not think the hon. member should take any notice of them. If he does, he will never be able to deliver a speech.


I bow to your judgment, Sir. There are aspects of this Bill with which obviously we are not in agreement. It is very difficult to know why amongst such a highly developed non-white group as the Coloured people it is still necessary to nominate one-third of all their members. We have not really had an explanation as to why this is necessary. Nor have we had an explanation from the hon. the Minister as to how long he proposes to retain this provision.

Then there is the question of the literacy test. We now have the position that every single person without qualifications at all is entitled to vote, illiterates as well. What is more if they do not register, then they commit an offence. Can the hon. the Minister explain, when he replies, how an illiterate is going to know, if he cannot read, that he has to register. We have a presumption in law that everyone is assumed to know the law. He is presumed to know the law on the basis, surely, that he should make himself aware of it. How does the illiterate make himself aware of it? Are they going to have broadcast vans going around telling everyone, and how are they going to ensure that those people who are over 21 are going to hear and get the message? Sir, this indicates how desirable it would be to have some sort of qualification even if it be simply a literacy test. But, Sir, the person commits an offence if he does not register.

Then I come to the question of the removal of the chairman. The Government has always had the power to appoint the chairman. Up to this stage the chairman could not be removed by the Government. He is a very important person. The Government now takes the power to remove him. One must remember that he must have the confidence of a body in which one-third of the representatives are in any event Government-appointed. Sir, this is not an Act, I suggest, which will instil confidence from the beginning in the minds of the Coloured people in the executive which is being created here and enlarged and given more power. I think it is an unfortunate step and I hope that the hon. the Minister, when he replies, will give us some reason why he feels that this is necessary and some idea as to whether he is prepared to reconsider this matter. There are lots of little things in the Bill we would like to change, and other things we would like to discuss and this is one of them. We hope that in the Committee Stage we will be able to change this Bill. We hoped from the beginning that we would be able to change some of the provisions of the Bill in order to make this Council look a little more like the sort of Council we ourselves have in mind for the Coloured people. We shall raise these problems when the proper time comes, that is to say, in the Committee Stage. These problems are not necessarily related to one another and this is not the time to deal with them. We shall, however, deal with them in the Committee Stage, and we hope that the hon. the Minister will give our suggestions a sympathetic hearing. At this stage, because we wish to see this Council grow and because we feel that we can build upon the nucleus that we have here, inadequate though it may be, we will support the second reading of the Bill.


This discussion on Coloured Affairs which we have been conducting during the past week or two with reference to this measure, and particularly with reference to the previous two measures introduced by my colleague, the Minister of the Interior, may perhaps prove to be the last major discussion on White/Coloured affairs in this House, and the reason for that is obvious. The reason for that is that the Coloureds are now, by means of these three measures, being afforded a new dispensation, a new dispensation in which they will be able to realize themselves and in which it will no longer be possible for white interests to be an ulterior motive, and the result of this will be that this discussion which was conducted during the past week or two will perhaps be the last discussion of this magnitude which will be held in this House. We shall still discuss the Coloureds in this House because we and they both live in this country, and their interests and their weal and woe are ours, but we shall in future be able to conduct the discussion on a much more friendly and a much more objective basis than we have done in the past.

I shall begin with the attitude of the Opposition, and here I include that of the Progressive Party as well. One’s thoughts return to a period four years ago. Four years ago, when this measure was introduced for the first time by my predecessor, Minister P. W. Botha, the Opposition fought the introduction of the measure, which was intended to establish a Coloured Persons’ Representative Council, tooth and nail. They opposed it to such an extent that they proposed in respect of both the second and third reading that the Bill “be read to-day six months”. They were not satisfied with opposing the measure to such an extent in this House; they opposed it in a similar manner in the Other Place.

Mr. W. V. RAW;

Have our suspicions not been proved correct?


What is the position now, four years later? Even before this body, which was established by that legislation four years ago, came into operation, even before its proven achievements can be judged, the Opposition come along and support this measure. Let me say this at once: In a country such as this where we have to deal with nations of different colours, one would always welcome unanimity and agreement in regard to Coloured affairs. It is good for relations in this country to have that, and one welcomes it.

Mr. H. M. LEWIS:

Why get so upset about it then?


But then that support, if the Government is expected to take it seriously and attach any value to it, should at least be given unreservedly, without any ulterior motives, and the question one must ask oneself, without any prevarication, is the following: To what should this change in attitude on the part of the United Party be attributed? Four years ago they opposed a measure tooth and nail which is fundamentally no different from the measure before this House to-day.

*Mr. T. G. HUGHES:

That is not true. This measure is quite different.


The hon. member must exercise a little patience. This measure is fundamentally the same as the measure passed here four years ago, and the Council which is being established here is fundamentally the same as the Council which was established four years ago. We have come here to expand it. We are expanding it in as far as the franchise is concerned; we are expanding it in as far as its powers are concerned. But fundamentally there is no difference between this measure and the one introduced here four years ago, which the United Party opposed tooth and nail. One asks oneself to what this change in attitude is attributable. The Opposition would like to intimate that it is attributable to the fact that we have come forward during this Session with measures to abolish Coloured representation in this House. Mr. Speaker, who can take any notice of such superficial nonsense? Did the hon. the Prime Minister not give an indication last year already that the National Party was thinking along these lines, i.e. the removal of representation for the Coloureds in Parliament and the expansion of the Coloured Persons’ Council? It was nothing new and nothing strange, and when this measure was introduced here the other day, surely it was known that Coloured representation in this House would be abolished. Therefore to attribute the United Party’s change in attitude wholly to this is patently ridiculous. No, this change in attitude on the part of the United Party must be attributed to something else. It must be attributed to the change in attitude which can be seen amongst the Coloureds in regard to this development. It is a fact that the Coloured leaders are enthusiastic about this measure. They look forward to the passing of this measure and the coming into operation of this Council. But the attitude and the disposition of Coloured leaders in this regard can also be seen in other fields. And that is what is responsible for the change in attitude on the part of the United Party which is now supporting this measure which they fought tooth and nail four years ago. They also realized that the Coloureds are to-day even adopting an entirely different attitude in respect of the present Union Coloured Persons’ Council, the last election of which they boycotted. The Opposition are also realizing that the Coloured leaders in this country, and the Coloured population as a whole, are regarding the present Union Coloured Persons’ Council with increasing respect. They also realize that the Coloureds are regarding the members of that Coloured Persons’ Council with increasing respect. I can also testify to this by virtue of my observations at numerous places where I appeared at Coloured meetings and where the members of the Coloured Persons’ Council were present. I can testify to the respect with which these Coloureds are being regarded. The United Party is not quite as blind as one sometimes thinks, because they are also noticing this. But they have noticed something else as well. They have also noticed that no protests have been made by the Coloureds against this new dispensation. Not even in the inviting columns of the Argus and the Cape Times have there been letters of protest against this new dispensation. Even the hon. member for Houghton could not succeed in setting the Thames on fire in regard to protests in this connection. Not even she, with all the assistance in regard to agitation she receives, could succeed in doing so because the Coloureds to-day accept and welcome this development, and that is why the United Party experienced one of its rare moments of insight and realized that it would no longer be of any use their swimming against the tide of Coloured opinion. That is the reason why they are supporting this measure in this debate, and for no other.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition raised quite a number of matters which I want to deal with now point by point, matters which testify to a very thorough and sympathetic approach and which have been subscribed to by other Opposition members to a man. I am going to confine myself principally to what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition said. Consequently my reply to him will cover the questions of other members which fall into the same category. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition started off by stating that this newly expanded Coloured Persons’ Representative Council was no substitute for the four Coloured Representatives in the House of Assembly. I want to agree with him. It is no substitute for them because this new Representative Council is an entirely new development It is a new development which implies far more than the representation of Coloureds in Parliament by four representatives sent here by male non-white voters in the Cape. I emphasize “non-white voters” because it was not even the Coloured voters of the Cape who sent these four representatives here; it was the non-white voters of the Cape who sent them here. That is why this Coloured Persons’ Representative Council cannot be a substitute for the present Coloured Representation in this House. Nor is it intended to be a substitute. No, this new Council is something far greater and far more important to the Coloured population of South Africa, than these four representatives for the non-white male voters of the Cape. This Coloured Persons Representative Council which is being established, which for the first time will be a representative body for 1.8 million Coloureds in South Africa, which for the first time will afford them a representative vote and which is going to afford them joint responsibility, cannot be compared with this dummy representation of Coloureds which we have had up to now in this House of Assembly. If the United Party or the Opposition does not want to or cannot realize this, then I want to give them the assurance that the responsible Coloured leaders in this country are actually looking forward eagerly and with very great expectations to the coming into effect of this Council, I now want to refer hon. members to one or two of those responsible opinions. I recently received a letter from no less a person than Mr. Fortuin, the person who appeared before the Commission. Hon. members who served on the Commission and others who read the report will realize that he was one of the most impressive witnesses before the Commission, a man to whom one can pay heed. He is the general secretary of the Coloured’s Conservative Party. Mr. Fortuin wrote to me on 4th March and said that he would like me to know how his Party felt in regard to the Muller Report and in regard to this legislation before the House. I am only going to read the following extract from his letter (translation)—

We now want, arising out of the Report of the Commission, to give you the following support in your actions in the House of Assembly.

Then he writes—

We accept the recommendation of the Commission of 40 elected members and 20 nominated members of the council.

I do not want to read the entire letter, but then he goes on to write in regard to this development—

This is the path of good neighbourliness and parallelism which we hold out in prospect to the Coloured voters instead of the limited representation in Parliament as at present.

This is what Mr. Fortuin, the important witness before that Commission has to say; but Mr. Fortuin, as a leader of some prominence amongst the Coloureds was not the only one to express an opinion in this regard. Mr. Tom Schwartz, the chairman of the Federale Volks-party and of the Union Coloured Persons Council, when he was addressing the Coloured Persons’ Council the other day at Bellville, on 8th April, said the following, inter alia

Taken as a whole, when the recommendations have been given effect to by law, it means that the Coloured people of South Africa are entering into a new phase.

That is the position. The Coloureds accept that they are now entering a new phase, and I want to inform you further, Sir, that in all this time, since the hon. the Prime Minister made his announcement last year in regard to the lines along which we were thinking, that I as Minister of Coloured Affairs have not heard an objection from a single Coloured leader in South Africa against this course we are going to adopt, and I can say, without boasting, that I am in contact with the Coloured people. Not a week goes by without my attending some or other function or meeting in some Province or other, and I am afforded every opportunity of making contact with their leaders. They have had ample opportunity, during this six to nine months period, of saying to me: "Mr. Viljoen, what are you going to do with our people now? Why are you doing this?” Not a single Coloured in South Africa has said this to me, and on those grounds I can express the conviction that the Coloureds accept this development which is intended for them, and in addition they accept it enthusiastically because they see in this a new development of their own personality.

First of all, I want to deal specifically now with certain of the questions and the reservations raised by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition asked why such a large number of members were being nominated. The last speaker on the Opposition side also elaborated on this point. It is an accepted principle in politics that when one is dealing with developing ethnic groups or nations, it is in fact necessary to appoint a certain number of people to their legislative bodies. I can only remind you of what happened in South West Africa, a matter which affects some of us very closely. Up to 1950 the position there was that 12 members were elected to that Council, but six were nominated, and it was only since that the position has changed. After all, the Coloureds are also passing through a process of development. It has been our hypothesis throughout that this is a developmental phase they are going through. That is why one must expect that it will also display those characteristics of political development. The old Union Council had 12 elected members, and 15 nominated members. The new Council will have 50 elected members, as against 20 nominated members. It is a development which is taking place, a development which also has the whole-hearted support of the Coloured leaders, as I indicated to you just now when I quoted Mr. Fortuin as saying that they have accepted this arrangement of 40 elected members and 20 nominated members. But in addition I can say that apart from Mr. Fortuin, the Coloured leaders are desirous of our having this state of affairs. They do not want us—and I should like to use this expression— to let go their hands all at once. They want us to keep hold of their hands in this respect and give them those nominated members in order to ensure further stability to that Council of theirs. I want to tell the Leader of the Opposition, and through him the Coloured population of South Africa, that if the time should come when this Coloured Persons Representative Council should feel that they want to elect all their members, that they no longer want nominated members, then I can give them the assurance that this Government will give such a request very favourable consideration.

The Leader of the Opposition and other supporters of his also expressed their regret that the franchise was not being confined to literate persons only; in other words, that we were also including illiterate persons in this measure. In this regard one should at least take the background of the Coloureds into consideration, and if one does so one realizes that as a result of innumerable circumstances, many of them have, in the past, not had the opportunity or the privilege of acquiring literacy. If one calls to mind the fact that according to the Bureau of Educational Research, there is 60 per cent illiteracy amongst Coloureds in the age group 50 to 59 years, and there is 66 per cent illiteracy amongst Coloureds in the following age group, 60 to 69 years, I think it would be very unfair, since we are now giving them a representative council, a council which has to represent 1.8 million Coloureds in this country and which will have to be a representative voice, to deny this large section of the Coloured population, who are illiterate as a result of circumstances beyond their control, a say in that Council. The hon. member for Sea Point referred to his farm labourers and those of the hon. member for Stellenbosch. I can only inform the hon. member for Sea Point in his absence that we need not be concerned about the sound judgment of our rural Coloureds. I have had the privilege of meeting them in many parts of our country, whether the north-west, the Richtersveld, or Genadendal, and amongst those illiterate persons one finds precisely what one finds in every nation in the world—sound judgment. What more could one ask for to be reflected in a legislative body than the sound judgment of people who know for whom they must vote and what the fundamentally important things are? That is why we need have no doubts to the effect that these illiterate Coloureds will upset this system. In fact, I think they can be one of the conservative elements which will have the precise effect of giving this council that stability we would like it to have.

But there is still another reason we are keeping to this illiterate franchise. One must bear in mind that when in 1963 the franchise was granted to the Transkei, it was granted to all the Xhosa in the Transkei over the age of 21. At that time none of the restrictions were imposed which are now being requested by the Opposition in respect of the Coloureds, and you can well imagine what a bad impression this would create amongst the Coloureds if they should feel that they are being less favourably treated than the Xhosa were in this regard.


May I ask the hon. member whether the Coloureds themselves have on a former occasion discussed the question of qualification, and whether they were not in favour of it?


This matter was submitted to them. This measure before you is the result of discussions with the Executive of the Coloured Persons’ Council. It may be that there are individual differences. After all, they are not all robots. But the Executive of the present Council discussed this measure and agreed to it.

I come now to another matter raised by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. In reference to Clause 8 which allocates 28 elected members to the Cape, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition asked whether we should not perhaps have a different quota system, a more equal quota system, for the country? In this regard I simply want to reply by saying that this, as well as the matter I have just replied to, is also a matter which was discussed by the present Coloured Persons’ Council. This division pattern was embodied in this way in the principal Act and this measure is merely an expansion of what the members of the Coloured Persons’ Council initially accepted. If one also takes into account the fact that the greatest number of Coloureds are here in the Cape—1.5 of the 1.8 million in the country-and if one also takes into account the tremendously expansive areas in which they are living, such as the Beaufort West area or the North-west, then these areas are such vast areas that one feels that the Cape is entitled to this number which has been allocated to it.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition also referred to the fact that the State President can dismiss the chairman of the Executive Committee, and asked whether it would not be a good thing, as in the case of the Administrator who can be dismissed by the Central Government, to furnish the House of Assembly and the Senate with the reasons for that. But there is a major and important difference between the Administrator and the chairman of this Executive of the Coloured Persons’ Council. The most important difference, to my mind, is that in the Coloured Persons’ Representative Council we are dealing with a person who belongs to another race group. If one bears in mind that such a dismissal will of necessity invite a rather prolonged debate in this Place and in the Other Place, then one shudders to think of the prejudicial effect it could have on good Coloured/White relationships. That is where the difference lies in regard to the position of an Administrator. But apart from that, this Parliament still retains its right, according to law, to discuss such a dismissal in any case. The House still has the right to do this. It is still necessary to report to Parliament in this regard, and if members feel that the Government has taken injudicious action they would still have the right to discuss that here.

The Leader of the Opposition also referred to the expansion of powers by the new section 17 (6) (a) (vi) which is being inserted by clause 11, and he wanted to know whether that expansion of powers should not rather be done by Parliament instead of by proclamation as the measure at present states. In this regard I want to inform the hon. member that the provision for the expansion of the powers of the representative council has been inserted because it is generally accepted that the powers which are being conferred with the establishment of the Council are not the final word. I want to emphasize that. This transference of functions to them is not the final word in the political development of the Coloureds. It can be understood that if other functions have to be conferred upon the Coloured Persons’ Council a discussion in the Coloured Persons’ Council on this matter is sure to take place first, a discussion with which everyone will be conversant. It can be understood that there will be subsequent negotiations with the Minister in question and with the Government in regard to the matter, and by then it would have been thoroughly publicized. But I should like to reassure the hon. the Leader of the Opposition once more that this is another of those matters which can be revised in future. If we should in future find that it is perhaps not entirely satisfactory to do it by way of proclamation, but that this addition of powers should in fact be done by way of discussion here in the House of Assembly, then this is, along with the former matter, something we can reconsider. This is not the last word on the matter.

Now I come to the question of prior consultation with the Minister in regard to legislation and finances. In this regard the hon. the Leader of the Opposition expressed the fear that the Minister could perhaps refuse to give his consent to legislation, or could refuse funds. As regards this prior consultation in regard to the supply of funds, I hope that it is understood that there must in fact be consultation within the framework of the country’s finances, in the same way as the Cabinet Ministers have to consult the Minister of Finance each year. Surely it is obvious that in a well-ordered state consultations must be held with all interested parties. That is why there is nothing wrong in providing that there should be consultation with the Minister of Coloured Affairs, and through him with the Minister of Finance, because surely we do not want unrealistic estimates to be introduced and for that reason refused.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition also referred to possible clashes with the Coloured Persons’ Representative Council, but in regard to that matter I shall say a few words when I come to the speech made by the hon. member for Karoo. He also had a lot to say about possible clashes between the two legislative bodies.

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition also wanted to know whether it would not have been better to have granted this Coloured Persons’ Representative Council the right to levy taxes. Hon. members will recall that the hon. the Prime Minister has already replied to that by saying that we cannot have two sets of taxation machinery. For obvious reasons such a thing would lead to overlapping. After all, the Coloureds do make use of the same services as we do, whether these are roads, hospitals or anything else. How shall we be able to work out their share in the utilization of roads and hospitals for example, in order to tax them accordingly? If they were to have a separate system of taxation, it would still have to cover all Government and Provincial services. It is therefore an impossible task to work out what their share would be. In any case it would be unfair towards the Coloureds to have a separate taxation system for the Coloureds over and above the taxation system for the entire country, and in this way impose two systems of taxation upon them.

The Leader of the Opposition went on to express the hope that the period during which the Minister would have to act on behalf of the Executive would not be a long one. I want to give him the assurance that it will not be too long. There is another matter as well in regard to which I want to reassure him. Because the legislation makes provision that “other person” may officiate, he is afraid that we may perhaps appoint other members of the Coloured Persons’ Representative Council to officiate, by which means we would be giving them an advantage when a new Executive has to be assembled. I want to give the hon. the Leader of the Opposition the assurance that this will not be the pattern. I shall not appoint council members, but officials of the Department.

Arising out of this the hon. member for Peninsula expressed the hope that voters’ rolls would be drawn up expeditiously. I shall now give the hon. members a sketch of the various phases whereby this work will take place. There are six phases. After this measure has become law, there will be a three months’ period for preparation and final drafting of regulations and forms. The second phase will be a period of three months, as prescribed in legislation, for the registration of voters. For Whites the period is 30 days. But because this will be the first nation-wide registration of Coloured voters, it is felt that 30 days will be insufficient time—hence the 90 days. The third phase will be a period of three months for the preparation of registration data for the delimitation commission. The fourth phase will be a period of five months for the delimitation commission to finalize its report. The fifth phase will be two to three months for the completion of the voters’ rolls, and then the sixth phase will comprise a further one and a half months for proclamation, nomination and polling day as laid down by the legislation. If one adds together the time taken by these phases what it amounts to is that after this measure has become law it will take approximately 18 months before an election can be held. In other words, it will probably be possible to hold an election between August and October 1969.

Connected with this is the question of when the Council Chamber will be completed. The Department of Public Works have informed us that they will make every effort to have this new Council Chamber completed by April 1970. I should just mention to you, Mr. Speaker, that I had a further opportunity this morning of looking at the architect’s plans of the Council Chamber and it seems to me it is going to be a very attractive building. It is going to be a spacious chamber, a chamber in which there will be room for many, a matter which I shall come to in a moment.

As regards the election itself, and the transference of functions, just this. If this election should now, as we expect, be held in the second half of 1969, a short session will then be held within ten to 14 days after the election so that the officials may be elected. The nomination of the 20 members will also be dealt with then, and after that the council will adjourn, as we see the matter now, until May or June of 1970 for its annual session when it will be possible to consider the appropriation of funds. It will then be possible to hold that short session in one of the lecture halls of the present University College which we hope will by that time have become the University of the Western Cape.

There is another aspect the hon. the Leader of the Opposition asked me about, and that is the attendance of officials on behalf of the Secretary of these Council sittings. Hie hon. Leader also referred to the principal Act which provides that the Minister and the Secretary of Coloured Affairs will be able to attend these Council sittings. Now it is being provided in this measure that the Secretary can also send a delegate. It was then asked: “Is this necessary now; should he not simply go upon request?” I do not think either the Secretary or myself or an official will go unnecessarily; after all we have other work to do. If we were to go, we would go because we felt that important affairs were being discussed which required attention. We must take into account that the Minister of Coloured Affairs is still responsible for Coloured Affairs; that is why it is probably fitting that he should be fully conversant with the course of affairs. But it will not only be he, or the Secretary, or the Secretary’s delegate who will be able to attend those sittings.

Now this ties up with the other questions of the hon. the Leader who asked me whether these Council sittings would be held in public. Yes, they will be held in public, and they will be so public that there will be a Press gallery. I saw on the plan the other day precisely where the Press gallery will be. The Press will be able to make their reports. There will also be two or three benches, just as there are here, at the back of this Council Chamber where Members of Parliament can go and sit and listen to the discussions in that Chamber. Just as Coloureds and other people can come and sit and listen to us in this Debating Chamber, hon. members can go and listen to the discussions which will be held in that Chamber of the Coloured Persons’ Representative Council.

I now come to the hon. member for Karoo. Actually I have once again marked him out as a negative thinker. I regret having to say this, but alas, in debates on Coloured Affairs, he remains a negative thinker, which I regard as a great pity, for if one dines with the hon. member one finds he is quite a decent chap. But when he discusses Coloured Affairs in this House he is a negative thinker and I do not hesitate to call him this. Once again he came forward here with a lot of imagined dangers, a lot of hypothetical questions. I do not intend replying to these questions, not now and not in the dining room either. However, I am going to reply to one relevant question he put. The hon. member wants to know whether the Commissioner will be a Coloured person or a white. The intention is that this Commissioner of Coloured Affairs should ultimately be a Coloured person. It is no secret. I have already said this to the meeting of officials I addressed when I requested their co-operation for the transference of this administration and their assistance in ensuring the smooth functioning of this transference. It is the logical solution that the Commissioner should ultimately be a Coloured person. However, it will be a long time before this happens. It is not only we who realize this; they also realize it. The Coloureds are just as eager as we are to see to it that the standard of their administration is maintained at a high level. There must be no drop in the level of that standard. Because this is so, it will be necessary for this post of Commissioner of Coloured Affairs to be filled by a white person for a very long time to come. But the time may come sooner than we think. We hope that the time will arrive sooner than it appears possible at the moment when a Coloured will be capable of taking over the work, and when that day arrives we as Government will probably be as pleased as the Coloureds themselves.

The hon. member for Karoo also wanted to know how it would be possible to bring the country towns, where local authorities are not being established, under the authority of this member of the Executive to which local government has been entrusted. In the country towns, and not only there but in the urban areas as well where there are as yet no local authority bodies for Coloureds, matters will be dealt with by the member of the Executive who has been entrusted with local government, because he will be the man who will also provide the link between the Coloureds’ interests and the provincial authorities and the white town councils concerned.

To my mind the hon. member for Karoo displayed his negative approach most prominently when he asked the following alarming questions. He wanted to know where it was all going to end. He tried to make us believe that this Council was going to be the cause of many problems for us. According to him the Coloureds were going to ask for far more than the Government could give them. I am now going to reply to this. In regard to the statement that they are going to ask for more than the Government is prepared to give them, I should just like to say the following. The hon. member for Green Point also shared in that fear. He feared that there was going to be a clash between this Parliament and the Coloured Persons’ Representative Council. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition also wanted to know what was going to happen if the Minister happened to refuse the legislation of the new Council. The implication is also a clash—and what then? I do not share in this fear these hon. gentlemen have. I do not share in the fear that there will be a clash between this Parliament and the Coloured Parliament. It is natural that the Coloureds are going to ask for more through their bodies.

One can understand that they are going to ask for more services. After all, we are doing the same thing in this House. Just think how the Opposition distinguish themselves in the Estimates each year. What is it they do not ask for! If we were to give them a quarter of what they asked for, this country would be bankrupt in two years’ time. That the Coloureds will also ask for more services is understandable. But by way of comfort I should like to say this to the hon. members: The Coloureds are a very reasonable group of people. This is one of my impressions I have of them, not only to-day in my present work, but since my childhood days, when I grew up with them here in the Cape. That they are going to suffer disappointments because we shall be unable to give them everything they want, is understandable. Have you and I never been disappointed? Now and again hon. members are disappointed in regard to something they were unable to obtain from me, and I have been disappointed because I do not always obtain what I want for my Departments from the Minister of Finance. But surely that is part of democratic development. Surely that is how one manages a democracy; after all, one cannot get everything one wants and think there is going to be a clash because of it.

This is an important development for the Coloureds. It is a constitutional development, it is also a personality development. This is development of their personality; it is training for responsibility and a development of their sense of responsibility. In this development of their sense of responsibility the Coloured leaders in this country will have to realize that the safest way of obtaining such development is to proceed step by step, to obtain gradual development, as we also developed in this country, as every developing political nation in the world develops. That more will gradually have to be given to them is understandable; their numbers are expanding. The estimation is that they will number 4 million at the turn of the century. That their services will also have to be expanded is understandable. In fact, this is what has happened during these ten years. Since we took over ten years ago, the Estimates for the Department of Coloured Affairs have expanded tremendously as their requirements have developed. Now I want to state in this House to-day—and I have said this to them on other occasions as well; it is my responsibility to say this to the Coloureds—that the Coloured Persons’ Council and the Coloured Leaders, in their entire mode of conduct and also in their demands for more services, will continually have to bear in mind the maintenance of good relations with the Whites in this country. We are very inclined to be continuously emphasizing only our good relations with the non-Whites. It is important, but I do not hesitate to say this to one Coloured audience after another: Equally important is the relations which you as Coloureds have to maintain with us. It is a matter with two sides, not one. That is why, while we as Whites with this transference of legislative and administrative functions to the Coloured Persons’ Council, are furnishing proof of the great confidence the Whites have in the Coloureds in this country, it does in fact entail a tremendous responsibility for the Coloured leaders as well. The Coloured leaders, brought together in their own representative council, will have to act in such a way that they do not administer a shock to the confidence of the Whites in them. But that is how democracy works. That is why one need not become panic-stricken or upset. This is not something which is heading for towards a conflict. As more services are requested, the Coloured Persons’ Council, the Coloured leaders in this country, will also have to think of the reaction of the White taxpayer. On the one hand the Council will have to see to and look after the interests of its own people, but on the other hand it will also have to think of how the Whites of South Africa, the White taxpayer of South Africa, will react to its demands. It is part of its development and responsibility, in regard to which one need feel no concern. The Government realizes that it is possible for problems to arise in this regard. We realize it only too well. We do not think, because we are piloting this measure through this House, that we are now going to dwell in an Utopia and that everything is going to be too wonderful for words and all moonshine and roses. No, Mr. Speaker, this Party and this Government is too realistic for that. We realize that we are still going to be presented with a considerable number of problems in this regard. But this Party and this Government has never shied away from problems in regard to race relations. We have always been prepared to face up to those problems in regard to the development of our own Coloured people in this country squarely and to try and solve them fairly, and the same will apply in future in regard to this Coloured Persons’ Representative Council.

I am making haste now in order to reply to what the hon. member for Green Point and others said, namely that we cannot see the end of the road. What is the end of the road we have in mind for the Coloureds? Some people ask: What is the ultimate end? They are throwing up their hands in the air with such a defeatist attitude as though we are embarking on a crazy venture here and that nobody knows where we are going to end up. I always find it interesting when the United Party puts a question of that nature, i.e. “What is the end of the road?” Have they any conception of what the end of their road of integration is? Do you know Mr. Speaker, what will happen if they should ever come into power and they should reach the end of their road? Their people will do an about-face when they are confronted with the ultimate end of their policy, a worse about-face than the London dock-workers have now made against the Labour Party. We do not have a precise picture of what the ultimate end of …


May I ask a question? I should like to ask the hon. the Minister to explain the nature of the machinery for consultation between this Council and the Government.


Yes, I may as well do it first then. The hon. the Prime Minister stated in his speech the other day that when the Coloured Persons’ Representative Council was established the liaison which would have to take place would be discussed. The hon. member is aware of the proposals of the Commission, which discussed the possibility of a select committee or a commission being established. In this regard we on the Government side would like to afford this new Coloured Persons’ Council an opportunity of expressing their views as well. We are to a large extent introducing a system here which is new to them. To a certain extent they are also going to find it strange. They have not had any experience of this representative set-up before. Although these four people were present in the House of Assembly it gave the Coloureds no idea of what legislative contact and liaison is. That is why we feel that we ought to afford the Coloured Persons’ Representative Council an opportunity of putting their heads together and going into the various pros and cons. If they want advice in this regard we will give it to them. But we are not going to give it to them with the intention of thrusting it down their throats. We will present them with one existing pattern after another, according to our idea of political liaison, and afford them the opportunity of going away to think it over and then making a suggestion in this regard. That is the reply in that respect. I think we must simply await their reaction to that. But there is one thing in regard to which we need have no doubt, and that is that there will be liaison. Whether it will be a commission or a select committee, or whatever you like, there will be liaison between this Parliament and the Representative Council. Nobody in this country need have any doubt about that at all.

I want to conclude by referring now to these rhetorical questions: “Where must the Coloureds go?” and “What is the end of the road?” There is one thing the Opposition, and everyone in the country and outside our boundaries, can be certain about, and that is whatever the end of this road which is being followed by this Government is going to be, it is not going to lead to a mixed Parliament. Hon. members can be absolutely sure about that. If there are doubting Thomases on the other side who say “Yes, but you, who are sitting here to-day, this Minister who is speaking now, will disappear, and the next generation will think differently”, then I want to inform the Opposition now that they should go to one very important authority, namely history. If hon. members want to know what is going to happen in future, then they must cast a backward glance at the pattern of our history. Do you know, Mr. Speaker, what the Opposition ought to see if they do that? They would see that the course of our pattern of history since the national settlement in 1652 has consistently moved in the direction of increased parallel development. One must bear in mind that in those first 30 years of the national settlement here Coloureds and white children not only sat in the same church but also on the same school benches here in the Cape. That happened during the first 30 years of the national settlement, between 1652 and 1680. They even sat on the same school benches here. If one glances at the development since that time to the present one will see that a steady development towards greater parallel development has taken place. If we will only have reached that stage in five or ten years does not matter now. We are dealing here with a development which has its roots in the history of a nation, its attitudes and its entire political thought. That is why nobody in this country need have any doubt about the fact that the end of this road will not be a mixed Parliament. The end will be greater parallel development. The Council which we are presenting to you here to-day is not the last word. It has to develop. The Coloureds have to develop in accordance with their ability and experience. As I told you, if they come forward with a request that they want to elect all their representatives, the Government will consider it. If they come forward with the request that they want more powers, it will be possible to consider this in accordance with their experience and the circumstances prevailing in the country. In this way it is going to develop in future, and that is why I am not concerned about the so-called “end of the road”.


Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. the Minister a question? Since the hon. the Minister has been dealing with the question of a mixed Parliament, will an overlapping, mixed body ever be established?


It is clear from our entire political development that a super parliament is not going to be established in this country. What may in fact develop is something to which our former Prime Minister also referred when he referred to a commonwealth of Southern Africa. It would be a body in which perhaps the Bantu nations and the Coloured nation can be brought together, as we find in the commonwealth ministers conference at present, where certain common matters can be discussed but which has no legislative authority. That is the basic difference. To think that we are ultimately going to arrive at a super legislative body is an illusion. It cannot be reconciled with our political thought, nor with our historical line of development. To build on that would be to build on sand and create confusion.

But I want to conclude by saying something else in regard to the Coloureds and their course of greater parallel development. Since this course will lead to greater parallel development in future the question is often put: “Yes, but how far will the Coloureds follow that course? My colleague, the present Minister of Defence, once said something that I want to endorse fully. It is something the opposite side is fond of ridiculing, i.e. “the sky is the limit”. It is true that the sky is the limit, but we also say to them that nothing is going to fall into their laps out of a blue sky. I am not only saying this to you to-day as Whites; this is also what I say to the Coloured leaders when I appear before them, whatever the occasion. Nothing is going to fall into your laps out of a blue sky. They will develop as far and as rapidly along this road of parallel development as they themselves are capable of doing. They will receive whatever they themselves are capable of working for. That is why we in South Africa are in such a stronger position than that other Western power America. We do not promise the people the impossible. We do not promise the Coloureds the impossible. There was talk here just now of “equal opportunities”. These “equal opportunities” which America promised its Negroes are the root of the racial difficulties there. Instead of their receiving “equal opportunities” the gap—and this is straight from the mouth of American research workers—between the Negro and the White did not diminish but became economico-scientifically greater. Instead of their having equal opportunities they found their backlog becoming greater and greater, and from that arose the disappointments, the frustrations, the bitterness and the buildings razed to the ground.

I want to conclude by saying that we are offering the Coloureds in this country this parallel opportunity, and in this parallel opportunity they have the chance to realize themselves as well as they are able. It is my conviction that this development is going to mean a tremendous amount to them and to us. It is going to mean a lot to them. The hon. member for Green Point said recently that it was a myth to speak of the Coloureds becoming a nation. For a United Party man becoming a nation is certainly a myth. However, you can simply take a look at the Afrikaner nation in this country. They also described their development into a nation as a myth 30 years ago. Amongst the Coloureds there is a growing consciousness of the need for nationhood. The week before last I paid another visit to Bloemfontein and heard the Coloured leader the Rev. Gordon speaking there. He told 2,000 Coloureds standing before him how the Coloureds must continue along this road, because they are becoming a nation. I then realized that a little plant was growing here. A Council such as this one which is for the first time going to bind the Coloureds of this country into one unit, which is for the first time going to give them a feeling of unity which is the root of nationhood. That is why these steps which we are taking to-day offer the Coloureds the opportunity in which they can realize themselves not only in their interests because it offers them an opportunity to do so and because it offers them an opportunity of developing their own self-respect so that we as white people will also be able to feel more respect for them because of their achievements, but this measure also contains the element which will stabilize good race relations in this country for all times. If one respects people then one has the assurance that there must be good race relations. If people respect one another’s right to exist, then we are complying with the basic requirements for good relations, whether it is on an international basis or whether it is between races in a country such as South Africa. That is why we and the Coloureds are entering a new era—an era in which they are now going to have an opportunity for the first time to give expression to what they have in them and bring it to full realization. By means of this measure the Coloureds are actually reaching their plateau. All that we ask you as the legislators of this time is: Let us, since they are reaching this plateau where they will see a new future, grant them that new future.

Motion put and a division demanded.

Fewer than four members (viz. Mr. M. W. Holland and Mrs. H. Suzman) having supported the demand for a division, motion declared agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.


I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

It is not my intention to give an account here this afternoon of the history of the Munitions Production Act. It is there for all to read in the annals of this House. Since that Board came into being a number of years ago, it has made considerable progress with the task imposed upon it, and in the Other Place recently I referred by way of a survey to some of the achievements we have accomplished in this field in the past few years. I also do not want to talk about that this afternoon. However, in spite of this good progress we have made, it has for various reasons now appeared necessary to revise the existing legislation in order to make provision for altered circumstances as well. I hope that hon. members will exercise a little patience with me while I describe the background to this measure to the House in order to obviate any misunderstanding and also to clarify the reasons why we are taking, and will take, certain steps.

Hon. members will recall that on a previous occasion in this House I referred to changes brought about in the structure of the Department of Defence as a result of the recommendations of a committee appointed to investigate the extent of duplication of work between the then Defence Secretariat and the Defence Force, with a view to rationalization and the achievement of optimum efficiency. The committee was known as the Verster Committee. I subsequently extended the terms of reference of this committee so that it also had to investigate and make recommendations about closer co-operation and rationalization, within the concept of logistic support, of the functions of and control over the Munitions Production Organization as it affects all three sections of the Defence Force, namely the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, as well as the matter of defence research. Those were the last instructions to this committee. After receipt of the committee’s report on this particular aspect, the Cabinet decided, inter alia, that the new full-time chairman of the Munitions Production Board, Prof. Samuels, who had been appointed as a result of recommendations previously made by the Verster Committee, had to make a further study in his full-time capacity, in conjunction with the Chairman of the State Tender Board, of the machinery for defence research, the acquisition and manufacturing of defence requirements in other countries and where examples worth following existed. This report of these two gentlemen was received recently and was also accepted by the Cabinet in broad outline. On the basis of this report the Cabinet took a number of decisions which we are now in the process of implementing. I just want to refer to a few of the most important of these decisions.

Firstly, it was decided that project planning and programme estimating should be introduced by the South African Defence Force. This is being done at the moment. This cannot, of course, take place overnight or within the space of a few months. It is a process which is being introduced gradually, but these matters are already being implemented. Secondly, the Munitions Production Board will henceforth co-ordinate research in connection with defence projects, control the acquisition of armaments, and apply cost and qualitative control where necessary. Thirdly, the Board, which will now be known as the Armaments Board, will itself in future control the functions thus far exercised by the special services division of the State Tender Board in respect of defence requirements. The South African Defence Force, through the Commandant-General and the Supreme Command, will continually deliberate about the attacks against the Republic and will make submissions to the Cabinet in this connection. In the light of these they will determine the requirements of the Defence Force to ensure that the country is and remains properly prepared. This still remains their task. But the requirements and more specifically the technical requirements will then be conveyed to the Armaments Board, whose responsibility it will be to ensure that the requirements are met in the most effective and economic way. The Armaments Board will then, in consultation with the Defence Force, and particularly with regard being had to priorities, programme the supplying of requirements. I dealt with the question of project planning in greater detail in the Other Place and I do not want to do so again here this afternoon. Because it is essential that due regard be had to the country’s financial resources, the final decision about the programme will, of course, still rest with the Cabinet.

Fourthly, because it is the Government’s policy to make the country self-sufficient in the field of defence as soon as possible, it will be the task of the Armaments Board to make quite sure whether the requirements concerned cannot already be satisfied on an effective basis by private industry in the Republic of South Africa, before purchases are made from elsewhere. Even when purchases are still made elsewhere for specific reasons, it will remain the task of the Armaments Board to continue with the necessary investigations into the desirability and practicability of manufacture in the Republic of South Africa. I think that the programming of requirements will undoubtedly be welcomed on all sides, in contrast to the present policy of item estimating, and more particularly by private industry, because it will enable the Armaments Board to bring about a more uniform distribution of loading over a longer period to the private sector. On the other hand it must, however, be stated that a special and searching investigation will be instituted by the Armaments Board into reasonable profit margins before tenders are accepted and contracts granted.

In addition, standard cost control will continually be applied to ensure that in view of advance quantitative planning the State will derive the maximum advantage. For this purpose the financial and costing sections of the Armaments Board will be further strengthened with the necessary staff. Research naturally remains essential, also as far as the development of armaments is concerned. From the investigation and recommendations made by the Verster Committee it was clear that it is not only desirable, in fact essential that it should fall under a body such as the Armaments Board, which in turn can effect proper co-ordination in this regard. However, it should be understood that the Armaments Board itself will not undertake research. The shortage of manpower, and of scientists in particular, simply makes this impossible. Besides, there are excellent facilities in our country and duplication would not be justified. Just as in the case of its other requirements, the requirements of the Defence Force in respect of research will also be transmitted to the Armaments Board, which in turn will entrust them to the C.S.I.R., the S.A.B.S., the universities and even private industry. This will in fact be done on a contractual basis and the Armaments Board will maintain the closest contact in order to ensure that the progress is as desired, and fruitless expenditure will be combated at an early stage. I think experience has taught, in other countries as well, that one can so easily continue with research projects and not nip them in the bud soon enough if it becomes clear that they will result in needless and fruitless expenditure.

After the allocation of contracts it will be the duty of the Armaments Board to exercise continual qualitative control as well and to keep the Defence Force regularly informed of the progress being made in respect of production. Perhaps it would be advisable just to emphasize here that final acceptance will naturally rest with the consumer; that is to say, the Defence Force itself will have the final say in respect of acceptance; you cannot take that out of its hands. However, there will constantly be the closest co-operation between the Armaments Board and the Defence Force, even during the production stage.

Mr. Speaker, from the foregoing it appears that the clear demarcation of responsibilities means that the task of the Armaments Board is going to assume much greater proportions than in the past. Accordingly it has been decided, also on the analogy of the position or intentions in other countries, to withdraw the manufacturing still being done by the Armaments Board itself at the moment and to place it under a separate corporation. Hon. members will notice that in the present Bill before the House provision is still made for the task of manufacture under the Armaments Board, but in the principal Act there is a provision which gives the Minister the right to entrust certain tasks to the Board or to withdraw them, and the idea is that we shall eventually reach the stage where the Board itself will no longer undertake the manufacturing. When I come forward with the legislation for this, it will be clear to hon. members what great advantages this will entail for the country. In the meantime I may just mention that this corporation will be subject to the same controls on the part of the Armaments Board as will be the case with private industry. It is the intention to introduce legislation to establish a corporation during the present session. I hope to be able to give notice within the next day or two.

Certain of these decisions to which I have referred, as well as other decisions which will be referred to later, entail certain statutory amendments. I have deemed it fit simultaneously to remedy certain deficiencies in the existing legislation which have come to light in the course of time.

I now want to refer briefly to the various provisions of the Bill and furnish certain explanations about them. I shall not go into all the details, because that can just as well be done in the Committee Stage.

I should like to refer in the first instance to clause 1 (b). While the existing legislation does, in fact, make provision for the Board to manufacture or to supply armaments, the Board has until now concentrated on the manufacturing function. However, in future the organization will be responsible mainly for the acquisition, i.e. the purchasing of armaments such as ships, aircraft, submarines, cannons, rockets, ammunition and so forth, but not items such as medicine, clothing, furniture or articles which will also be used outside the Defence Force and which, in the words of the Verster Report, entail no technical manufacturing or acquisitional problems. As far as these items are concerned, the usual tendering procedure will still be followed, and they will be purchased by the Defence Force. Production will consequently not really be the main function of the organization in future, and the present designation “Munitions Production Board” (Krygstuigproduksieraad) is therefore wrong. The proposed designation “Armaments Board” (Krygstuigraad) is a more comprehensive one and makes provision for the inclusion of the altered functions. Hon. members will notice that in English the Board will now be known as the “Armaments Board”. In my opinion this change is necessary in order to eliminate confusion in the case of certain countries with which we do business. The expression “munitions” is less common there and creates the impression that the activities and responsibilities of the Board are very limited. The word “armaments” is better understood in some circles and that is why we are using it.

Then I should like to refer to clause 3 (a). The present Act provides that the Board shall consist of seven members, of whom two shall be persons with extensive knowledge of and experience in industry, and that these two persons shall respectively be designated as chairman and vice-chairman, two shall be industrialists with special knowledge of and experience in engineering, one shall be an industrial economist and two shall be persons with special knowledge of some or other aspect of the activities of the Board. It is my considered opinion, after very thorough investigation and wide consultation, also with present members of the Board, that the restriction which the present Act places on the Minister to appoint only persons satisfying specific requirements, disqualifies other very competent persons for appointment. My proposal is therefore that the Minister should not be restricted too much in this respect. I nevertheless want to give the assurance that I shall endeavour to appoint only the most competent persons. It is essential that members of this Board have the ability, background and time to devote proper attention to the matters of the Board, and it is my intention to ensure this, as we have already done in the case of the full-time chairman.

Then I should like to refer to clause 4. Experience has shown that there are certain deficiencies in the existing section 4. Besides, the provision does not afford sufficient latitude to give effect to the recommendations of the Verster Committee which were accepted by the Cabinet. According to paragraph (a), the Board can apparently only supply armaments which it has manufactured itself. However, the Verster Committee recommended that the Board should also be able to purchase other supplies which require technical and qualitative control, for the Defence Force. Provision is now being made for this, but without reference to the specific supplies, because hardly any industrial product can be manufactured without technical and qualitative control. Giving a definition of technical supplies is therefore impracticable. According to the Verster Committee, an organization outside the South African Defence Force has no task in connection with the purchasing of standard supplies which are freely obtainable in the trade. However, if there are supplies which are not readily obtainable, or which may require qualitative control, the Board may purchase them on behalf of the Defence Force on the instructions of the Minister in terms of the existing section. In addition the existing paragraph (a) also makes no provision for the rendering of maintenance services by the Board as recommended by the Verster Committee.

Then, as far as paragraph (b) is concerned, it requires that the Minister’s approval be obtained for supplying armaments to a person or body other than the State. However, it often happens that, for example, material has to be supplied to contractors of the Board for the manufacturing of armaments. It was never the intention, nor do I consider it necessary, that the Minister’s approval should be obtained for this. It is done in the normal course of events. Provision for this is now being made in the proposed new clause.

According to paragraph (c), the Board cannot enter into any agreements for the acquisition of patent rights. On the recommendation of the Verster Committee it has been decided that this authority should be conferred upon the Board. The existing provision requires that the State Tender Board be consulted whenever any contract or agreement is entered into. This applies to licensing agreements as well. It has now been decided that in future the Board will enter into all its contracts without the agency of the State Tender Board, and for this purpose the Armaments Board will establish its own tender organization. Furthermore, paragraph (c) does not make adequate provision for agreements or contracts to be entered into in connection with the performance of the general functions of the Board, for example the erection of buildings, the concluding of leases, the purchasing of vehicles and office equipment, etc. The necessary provision is now being made in the proposed section 4 (1) (b), (c), (d) and (e).

The existing paragraph (e) in the old Act does not place it beyond any doubt that the Board may also take all the steps entailed by the varying or repeal of agreements entered into with contractors, for example payments in consequence of the varying of contracts, or the making of ex gratia payments, it is often necessary to vary contracts for technical reasons, or because the contractor cannot fulfil his obligations, which often entails additional and even fruitless expenditure. The new section 4 (1) (k) and (1) now makes it clear that the Board may vary such contracts and may make ex gratia payments, but only after the Minister has been consulted.

Then there is clause 8. The existing section 10 (1) is being substituted by a new section 10 (1) (a) and (b) because it is not considered necessary to distinguish in the Act among capital, current and other expenditure. The Board draws its moneys, voted as a contribution under subsection “S” of the Vote of the Department of Defence, as and when necessary for capital, current and production costs, and payments for armaments supplied are not made specifically by the Department of Defence as provided by section 10 (1) (c) of the existing Act. For this reason the existing section 10 (2) is also being substituted by a new section 10 (2) to make it clear what the funds of the Board are being used for. The Afrikaans wording of the new section 10 (3) remains the same as it is in the existing section 10 (3), but in the English version the word “contributors” has been added to bring it into conformity with the Afrikaans wording.

The new section 10 (6) makes it possible for the Board to retain any unspent moneys at the end of a financial year and not, as has thus far been the case, to surrender such moneys to the Treasury. This provision is necessary to give effect to the recommendations of the Verster Committee in connection with programme estimating by the Department of Defence which has been accepted.

Mr. Speaker, concern is often expressed about the question of financial control, and hon. members will recall that we have had quite a number of debates about that in this House. Let me say at once that I endorse every word aimed at achieving better and more efficient financial control in a practical way. Here I should like to emphasize that apart from the ministerial control provided for by the Act, we are here dealing with a board of responsible persons who themselves accept accounting responsibility for their actions. Over and above this, there is also the control exercised by the Controller and Auditor-General and the Select Committee on Public Accounts. I fully realize that where we are dealing with the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money, we cannot be careful enough, and I am satisfied that the control measures which will exist in future, will be completely effective. With the appointment of a full-time chairman of the Board and the proposed new dispensation, it is the intention that the responsibility of accounting for expenditure incurred by the Armaments Board, shall rest with the Chairman of the Board, as provided by section 1 (6) of the Exchequer and Audit Act. In other words, the Chairman of the Board will in future be able to appear before the Select Committee on Public Accounts, which was not the case in the past. Hon. members were also concerned about the possibility of the Munitions Production Board undertaking too much work in competition with private enterprise. I have already referred to this on an earlier occasion and I again want to give the assurance that the Government’s policy in this respect remains unchanged. The Armaments Board will, as before, make the greatest use of private enterprise, even with, and after, the establishment of the Armaments Development Corporation. I find myself in the difficulty to-day of having to explain this Bill while, for purposes of argument, we should actually have had the other Bill before the House as well. But I want to give you the assurance, Sir, that when we have the second Bill before the House, on which I do not want to elaborate now, the whole picture will clarify itself, i.e. that on the one hand one will have co-ordination of research, with acquisition by the Armaments Board, and that it will, of course, still say what is to be manufactured, but that as a board it must be divorced from the manufacturing function itself so that by means of qualitative and cost control it may ensure that even what is manufactured in factories belonging to the State at present, satisfies those stringent requirements. I think that when the second Bill is presented to the House, the whole picture will clarify itself. I move.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

Mr. Speaker we on this side of the House will support the second reading of this Bill. As is known to the House and to the country, this is a field in which there is a broad measure of agreement between the Government and the Opposition. In the Bill which is before us certain changes have been made which we will perhaps delve into a little deeper in the Committee Stage. At this stage I should like to emphasize to the hon. the Minister the vital importance of one change he is making here.

The hon. the Minister is changing the number of members of the Board and removing the limitation which is placed upon their qualifications. He has explained his difficulty, namely that by tying himself to specific occupations he may exclude persons who can make sound contributions. The aspect which I would like to emphasize is that this Board is dealing with one of the most tempting aspects of State expenditure. I use the word “tempting” in the sense of expenditure behind a blanket of secrecy with the minimum of scrutiny available to the State. It is a field in which trust is of the utmost importance. Every country in the world has had its experience of the many problems which arise from spending vast sums of money on equipment which must necessarily, by the nature of the equipment, be kept secret. Only a few people can be involved in the negotiations and an unscrupulous agent or dealer can put across a picture while only a handful of people will have the opportunity of testing the truth or otherwise of his claims. Therefore, where you are dealing as we do with R250 million expenditure per annum on defence, of which a large portion is spent on purchasing technical equipment, it is vital that this Board which the Minister appoints should carry the complete confidence of the Minister, of Parliament and of the people, because in their hands will rest the authority to buy and to sell, with very little other effective control. The Minister says they will be accountable to the Select Committee on Public Accounts and to the Controller and Auditor-General.

That is correct in the technical bookkeeping sense, but it is not necessarily correct in the sense that South Africa is getting the best possible value for the money which they will be spending. That accountability will be entirely dependent upon the Minister’s choice of personnel. He has appointed some excellent men on the present board, but he has indicated that he is not satisfied with the limitations on his choice. When he appoints the additional members and replaces members on this board, I hope the Minister will take into account the tremendous responsibility which he is placing upon them, and realize this task is a task not only affecting the security of South Africa but a task affecting to a large extent the expenditure of public funds. We will, nevertheless, support the provision that these restrictions be removed. We accept the difficulties which the Minister has to face and we will support the giving of a freer hand to the Minister. We do so, however, with a clear appeal to the hon. the Minister to take this aspect very seriously indeed.

Then we come to the powers of the board, and here I am afraid I cannot agree entirely with everything the Minister has said. He has said many of these changes are necessary to give the board greater power. As far as that is necessary we agree with the granting of the powers which are asked for. But when one studies the original Act I cannot see why the board could not have acted under its present powers in regard to some of these matters. The Minister quoted for instance section 4 (1) (a) as only giving the board permission to manufacture and supply any ammunition required by the state. However paragraph (b) gives, with the approval of the Minister, power to supply munitions to any person or body, and paragraph (c) gives power to enter into agreements to obtain or purchase certain property. On the surface it would appear that all the Minister is doing in regard to that aspect is simply to remove two controls that were there. One was that it was necessary to consult with the tender board when purchasing equipment or munitions, and the other was consultation with the hon. the Minister of Finance. The Minister has pointed out that the Munitions Board will now take over completely the functions of the special section of the Tender Board. It means that this is placing an even greater responsibility on the board, and I hope the hon. the Minister can tell us in reply a little more about how he visualizes the tender functions of this board operating, whether he visualizes the board as a whole dealing with tenders, whether he is going to appoint a separate tender board for armaments, whether the tender board will consist of officials, what representation there will be on it, as there is on the state tender board of commerce, industry, agriculture and so on. There is that representation, that interest, of the private sector in the state tender board. I hope the Minister will give us some indication of his more detailed thinking in this respect since he is removing even the consultation which there had to be with the existing state tender board.

The Minister is also removing consultation with the hon. the Minister of Commerce and Industries in one case and with the Minister of Finance in another. That we will accept, but we should like to go into it in a little more detail when it comes to the Committee Stage. I will not deal with that detail now other than to mention that it is one of the matters which we will wish to raise.

The change in the financing, namely the abolition of the capital funds, seems straightforward and reasonable. The funds will be voted by Parliament and obtained from other trading sources. The only question I should like to ask there is whether there will be any differentiation between what can be regarded as capital expenditure and current revenue expenditure, whether there will be separate accounting for the fixed assets, the factories which are owned or operated at the moment, buildings which may be purchased, in contrast to the day to day expenditure on wages, raw materials, and so on and so forth. What will be the system of bookkeeping in regard to this? Or will it all be dealt with simply as one aspect of one account?

The change of name the Minister has explained is brought about because he has to “Buig vir buitelandse opinie”. Europe apparently does not understand the language which we understand here. If that is so, we are prepared to support the Minister in this regard, although it seems to us unusual that the word “munitions” should lead to confusion.

These are aspects to which we on this side have given very careful consideration. I should like to conclude by saying that the ideal set by the hon. the Minister of South Africa being self-sufficient in its defence requirements is one which we heartily support and endorse. We saw what South Africa can and did do in the last war. In the last World War with very little resources South Africa was able to produce an incredible variety of its own requirements. It was able to make from scratch such intricate things as armoured cars and other weapons. It was able to make ammunition, it was able to supply to the forces even in the Middle East things like land-mines and other highly technical equipment. We also made our own mortars. Indeed, the list of what we manufactured during the war is endless. It was an indication of what South Africa can and did do, and so with that history of “looking after ourselves”, the hon. the Minister can be assured that this side of the House is fully behind him in aiming at that happy position where we are not dependent, except in extreme cases like submarines and so on, on the outside world to supply our defence requirements. We hope that the progress made with the streamlining which is brought about in this Bill and the Bill which is anticipated will be even faster than it has been in recent years. Therefore we support the second reading of this measure and we hope it will lead to South Africa’s greater independence in the field of munitions.

*Mr. H. H. SMIT:

Mr. Speaker, the legislation which we have before us, is an indication of the times in which we are living, of how our Defence Force and its requirements have grown, and how we have to adapt ourselves to that in all fields. In the attitude of the official Opposition expressed by mouth of the hon. member for Durban (Point), who has just spoken, there are favourable indications for the times in which we axe living, and we are very grateful for the sensible attitude which they are adopting in regard to this matter.

Particularly from the point of view of financial control the procedure laid down in this legislation, i.e. that the new Armaments Board —as it will be called now—will be responsible for virtually the full programme of expenditure on Defence requirements, is to be welcomed. I am now referring to expenditure directly connected with defence, as the hon. the Minister said. There are certain other requirements which have to be obtained in other ways. In the past it has created confusion when amounts had to be voted on an item in the Estimates and some of the articles could not be supplied within the financial year. It now appears from the Report of the Controller and Auditor-General that large amounts had to be surrendered to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which perhaps created a strange impression. Now we are getting a body here whose functions are being defined very clearly, whose tasks are being set out more clearly, and which can handle the funds made available by Parliament for defence requirements in a much better way, as is being laid down here. It will then be able to exercise better financial control.

We are grateful for the support provided by the hon. member for Durban (Point) in regard to this legislation. However, he mentioned two points about which he has some misgivings. In the first place he referred to the composition of the Armaments Board, and to the fact that the hon. the Minister does not like the restrictions on the composition of the old one. That brought him to the point that he was concerned about the ability of the Board, not to exercise good financial control, but to buy the right requirements, and at the most profitable prices I take it, for the Defence Force. That was the point that the hon. member made.

I want to say at once that we have full confidence in the composition of the Board. I think the hon. member also said it. He was apparently thinking of the future. After there has been a programming of the requirements of the Defence Force, the decision of the Board is taken in consultation with the Supreme Command of the Defence Force, who have the most intimate knowledge of and are constantly making a study and keeping themselves informed of available armaments material. The hon. member may therefore rest assured that when that sound relationship, that co-ordination between the Armaments Board and the Supreme Command of the Defence Force, is maintained, those mistakes which the hon. member foresaw as a possibility cannot be made.

The hon. member also made the point that with the establishment of a tender division of its own for this Armaments Board consultation with the Tender Board and also with the hon. the Minister of Finance will now disappear. I want to allay the hon. member’s fears in this regard by pointing out to him that this also goes together with the new dispensation of programme estimating which is being envisaged. Programme estimating is totally different from item estimating. In the case of the latter there are negotiations on every separate item with the Treasury. When it comes to programme estimating, the work covers a number of years and one’s whole view of the requirements of the Armaments Board is different from what it has been up to now.

In connection with the Tender Board I just want to say the following briefly. Experience has taught us that the operation of the Tender Board, as it normally functions, may stand in the way of the smooth working of this Armaments Board, and therefore it is to be welcomed that a streamlining of the machinery is envisaged in this regard as well. We are very grateful that the Opposition are also supporting this legislation.


Mr. Speaker, I want to thank hon. members sincerely for the unanimous support they are according this measure. I am sure that it will again serve as an inspiration to those concerned with the Defence Force and all its functions to know that their efforts to effect improvements are supported in this way by Parliament.

The hon. member for Durban (Point) referred to only a few aspects in regard to which he would like to have further particulars He referred to the composition of the Board. Let me say at once that my experience to date has been that one can get outstanding persons who in the normal course of events are known as the leaders in the fields of industry and business, but one finds that in many cases, if one has to satisfy the severe restrictions which have existed to date, those people are so busy that they in fact cannot devote their attention to the activities of the Board. I am not saying this to cast any reflection on them. But I think we are driving a certain group of people too hard. That has been my experience. The man is appointed because of his standing, but he simply does not have the time and the energies to devote attention to the activities of this Board. That is why I want to look for people, and I want to have the liberty to look for people who will be able to devote their attention to this work. I know it will be difficult, but we must simply proceed from the standpoint that for the purposes of exercising control over these millions it is essential that people must be able to devote their attention to these activities.

Secondly, I want to give the hon. member the assurance that as regards the handling and purchasing of equipment, we are in absolute agreement with each other and there must not be a shadow of doubt. The fact that the Government went out of its way to appoint a full-time chairman for the Board is proof of how seriously we regard this matter. I think I should mention here, because it is not generally known, that the full-time chairman we have appointed is a person who served on many directorates, but that the Government laid down the requirement that he must resign from those directorates and that he has done so. He is devoting his full attention to this matter and this matter alone.

*Mr. J. W. E. WILEY:

Who is the chairman?


I mentioned that. He is Professor Samuels, who is fully conversant with the Munitions Production Board, and who was a member of the Board before he became Chairman. Because I want the greatest measure of confidence to exist in this connection, I want to add that Professor Samuels became Chairman of this Board with the knowledge and the enthusiastic approval of the previous chairman, Dr. Van Eck.

Then I also want to say something in connection with the composition of the Board to the hon. member. There are useful, hard-working members on this Board. I do not want to cast any reflection whatsoever on them, but in the composition of the Board we will have to take info account the seriousness and the weight of the responsibility that they will have to bear.

Then the hon. member referred to the new section 4 (1) (a). He said that I did not satisfy him in regard to that.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

I am not against it; I just do not believe that it is necessary.


I understand. Let me just furnish some further information in connection with it As it is now framed, it is also one of the results of this investigation about which I received specific recommendations. In this case it is interesting that the Chairman of the present Tender Board specifically made this recommendation after his investigation, because in practice we have found that a great deal of time is lost under the present system, and that in the second place the danger exists—I am not saying, that it has happened—that people may hide behind the Board or the Tender Board. If, however, there is established under this Board a special division of which one of the Board members acts as chairman, while not at the same time serving on the Board—I intend to relieve him of that obligation so that he may concentrate more specifically on this tender division—then it will not be possible to hide behind the fact that there are two bodies passing the buck to each other. The responsibility for the final decision will rest with this Board alone. They will have a section dealing with the matter, but they will have to accept the responsibility in this regard.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

How will the sections be constituted?


I do not want to go into too many details now; they still have to be worked out.

*Mr. W. V. RAW:

Will they consist of officials or members of the public?


I take it that there will be officials for advisory purposes. But at this stage I do not want to say that the sections will consist of officials only. I do not think so.

Then the hon. member referred to the question of consultation with other Ministers. The hon member will notice that in the subsequent Bill we are retaining the principle of consultation, where necessary, with the other Ministers. This is of course a matter which one can debate. No Minister acts on his own; he continually consults his colleagues. But where it is necessary to make statutory provision for this, we have done so I just want to point out that one of the recommendations in the report submitted to me was that there should be unitary authority. There should be unitary responsibility. We should not divide the responsibility for these matters between different Ministers; then things would go wrong. It is also the policy pursued in other countries, and it has borne fruit in other countries. Accordingly we want to implement it here, but where necessary specific provision is made in the Development Corporation Bill that there will be the necessary co-operation between the Ministers of Defence, Finance and Economic Affairs.

Then the hon. member asked: “Will there be separate accounting systems of bookkeeping?” The reply is “Yes”. I am told that it is very easy to do it in this way. But I also have to point out to the hon member that it is in fact the idea that the factories now falling under the Munitions Production Board will be removed from the control of this Board and will most probably become subsidiaries of the Armaments Development Corporation which is to be established. In other words, they will no longer be under the control of this Board.

I think with that I have replied to the most important points. We can, if necessary, discuss further details in the Committee Stage.

Motion put and agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.


Mr. Speaker, I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

The measure seeks to readjust completely the position occupied by the Post Office in the overall setup of our Public Service. The Post Office is in point of fact a business undertaking which belongs to the State, and not a Department of the State in the sense that it is a public body, as most other State Departments are. The Post Office provides commercial services, and it is now the intention to adjust the arrangements whereby it is being financed and administered so that they may correspond more closely with the needs of a commercial undertaking. We want to place it on an autonomous basis. By doing so we think that it will not only be possible to make the Post Office more efficient, but also enable the Post Office to meet the public demand for essential Post Office services more effectively.

This Bill has a long history, and I just want to outline it briefly in order to supply the necessary background against which hon. members may see in perspective its objectives and the reasons why these changes ought now to be proceeded to.

As far back as 1911 the Commission appointed in terms of the South Africa Act to make recommendations on the re-organization of State Departments after Union, arrived at the conclusion that the Post Office was a commercial undertaking and that it should preferably be placed on a basis divorced from the other State Departments. The then Government did not accept that recommendation. Since then the question of the financing and administration of the Post Office has been cropping up regularly over all these years

For instance, as far back as 1919 the Postmaster-General once again pleaded in an annual report that the Post Office should be placed in a position in which it would be able to meet the future demand for its services more effectively, i.e. by pursuing in regard to the Post Office a policy similar to the one pursued in regard to the Railways. In 1933 the then Minister of Post and Telegraphs established a consultative committee on Post Office affairs on which, amongst others, organized commerce and industry were represented. In its report of 1936 the Committee stated that in the case of the Post Office an exception had to be made in regard to the arrangement whereby funds were to be provided on a year to year basis, and in its report of 1938 it pointed out once again that the Post Office’s existing system of financing did not meet the requirements. In 1940 the Select Committee on Public Accounts reported that it believed that the Post Office had to be organized on an autonomous financial basis as was the case with the Railways Administration. In the course of the years other commissions, committees and authoritative bodies and persons, too, referred to this matter and recommended changes.

At the time of Union in 1910 the Post Office was only a small organization. In the entire country only 13,650 telephones were in use, and all telephone calls had to be put through by operators. There were virtually no important telephone trunk lines in the Cape Province and in the Orange Free State, and in the Transvaal and Natal, too, merely a few of the important towns were connected telephonically. With their Morse keys telegraph operators had to transmit all telegraphic messages, at an average speed of only 25 words per minute. In comparison with what we have to-day those manual telegraph instruments and telephone systems were extremely primitive, and it was a brain-racking task to maintain them in any reasonable condition whatsoever. The mail was conveyed to remote areas by post-cart and horses and often on foot between small towns. The entire staff of the Post Office numbered approximately 6,000 only, and the cash turnover was a mere R41 million.

The entire Public Service, along with the Post Office, was still relatively small at that time. It is likely that at that time there may have been certain advantages in incorporating the Post Office along with the other State Departments into one organization which would be administered and financed according to the same pattern, and to place only the Railways and Harbours on a separate commercial basis. But in looking back to-day, it is only too clear that those advantages, whatever they were exactly, were short-term advantages only. With the tremendous growth of the Public Service and the country which has taken place since then—a growth which could probably not have been envisaged fully in 1910—the disadvantages of drawing together into one organization a purely commercial undertaking such as the Post Office along with other State Departments, soon became apparent and began to overshadow any short-term advantages which may have attached to that.

As the demand for the services of the Post Office grew and it developed into a major business undertaking, more and more people began to point out that in the restrictive atmosphere of a State Department there was insufficient opportunity for the development of that spirit of enterprise which is essential for the efficiency and progress of a major business concern. It was pointed out that the development of the Post Office was being impeded and hampered by the many restrictions which, however necessary they may have been in an ordinary public body, did not belong in a commercial undertaking.

In other countries where the Post Office has also been included, along with the rest of the Public Service, in one organization, the same problem resulted which we are experiencing here. In Britain, for instance, the British Government appointed a committee of inquiry in 1932 to go into the question of whether any changes in the constitution, status or system of the organization of the Post Office would be in the public interest. That committee found that one of the major obstacles in the way of greater efficiency in the Post Office was the lack of autonomous financing of the Post Office, and subsequently the recommendations made by the committee gave rise to the existing arrangements in terms of which the British Post Office is being financed autonomously and administered on commercial principles. In reply to inquiries made by our Post Office Sir Kenneth Anderson, Assistant Director-General in the Accounts Section of the British Post Office, wrote amongst other things that nobody in the Post Office or the Treasury would dream of suggesting that they revert to the former state of affairs.

At this very moment the United States of America is also making an inquiry into a proposal that her Post Office be divorced entirely from her Public Service. On 3rd April, 1967, the American Postmaster-General (a Cabinet Minister) said, amongst other things, the following in support of this proposal—

I have arrived at the conclusion that … the ultimate solution to the problems of the postal service is to be found in removing entirely the Department from its existing context … I know my proposal is a far-reaching one; in fact, it is the greatest proposal that has ever been made in the history of the American postal service. But it is my firm conviction that this is the only way … to obtain a postal service worthy of American standards.

Here in South Africa, too, the Post Office has long ago developed beyond the point where it is at all practical to finance and administer it effectively in one organization along with other State Departments. In the extent of its business the Post Office is second to the Railways Administration only. As against its staff of approximately 6,000 in 1910, its present staff numbers 50,000, which is almost a quarter of the staff of the entire Public Service with its 36 Departments. More than 1,200,000 telephones are in use of which more than half have been connected with automatic telephone exchanges. In 1910 the automatic telephone exchange was still something of the future. It was only in the twenties that the first small automatic exchanges were put into service here. To-day the whole; country is criss-crossed by trunk-line telephone routes, from open-wire routes to cable systems and the most modern micro-wave radio systems. Between numerous places trunk-line calls are being dialled directly by the public itself, without the aid of operators.

The cash turnover of the Post Office amounted to R732 million in the 1966-’67 financial year, as against the R41 million of 1910. The increase in the turnover as compared with the previous financial year, amounted to more than R57 million. In view of the increasing development of the country, major further expansion of all Post Office services are immediately in store for us if we would only keep pace with the needs that arise, and the services must still be modernized further on a large scale in order to comply with the requirements of society to-day. The Post Office has in fact developed into such a gigantic undertaking to-day that its efficiency affects the public interest very closely.

Mr. Speaker, now I should like to deal more specifically with the arrangements introduced originally, the problems they present, the steps that have already been taken to overcome those problems, and the changes envisaged in this Bill. As the Post Office forms part of the same organization which includes the rest of our State Departments, all the revenue of the Post Office has always been paid into the Exchequer Account. All the expenditure incurred by the Post Office in respect of its operation and the expansion of its services, has been appropriated annually in the joint Public Service Estimates of Expenditure to be defrayed from the Revenue Account and Loan Account and controlled by the Treasury. The Post Office staff have been public servants like those of all other State Departments, subject to the same common salary scales, staff structure and conditions of service, as recommended by the Public Service Commission. As regards those needs for which common central supply organizations exist in the Public Service—such as the acquisition of land, the provision of buildings, motor vehicles, supplies, furniture and stationery—the Post Office, as part of this single machine of State, has been exclusively dependent upon those organizations.

As regards finances, the greatest single problem has been to obtain sufficient capital at the right time for the expansion of the system of telecommunication in order to meet the steadily growing demand for telephones and other telecommunication services. In order to expand the telephone system, the Post Office has to pledge itself to expenditure a few years in advance already and has to order apparatus which takes up to three years before delivery can take place. It has to train its labour force and make arrangements to work according to a specific long-term programme. Suitable land must be found and purchased and buildings must be erected, and arrangements have to be made for the completion of the buildings to coincide with the delivery of the apparatus which is to be installed in them.

Under a system of annual appropriations of all capital funds along with those in respect of other State Departments, the Post Office has never been able to be sure in advance of the actual amounts it would receive from year to year. This has inevitably hampered long-term planning. Furthermore, the Department of Public Works, on whose estimates all the capital for Post Office buildings has been appropriated annually, could not be sure that the full amount for completing the buildings would be available at the right moment. This has hampered planning and proper co-ordination, and at times it has quite inevitably had the result that expensive apparatus, which was ordered for a new automatic telephone exchange for example, was delivered long before the building for that purpose had been completed. In such cases that apparatus lies there as dead capital, while the public has to do without the telephone services the exchange was to have provided and the State has to forfeit the revenue from the new services which could not be provided.

Moreover, the control of the Department’s expenditure by the Treasury has also brought about inevitable delays, in view of the fact that in respect of many minor matters approval had to be obtained in advance, and that as regards its day to day financial work the Post Office has not been able to act in a sufficiently autonomous manner.

As regards the staff, there have also been inevitable delays in the daily administration of the Post Office in that the Public Service Commission itself has to take decisions on so many matters of lesser importance. But a more significant problem is to be found in the fact that the Post Office staff structure—in other words, the grouping of the various levels of the staff for carrying out the work and administering the Department—must necessarily follow the same pattern as is the case with the rest of the Public Service. For the Post Office with its many divergent services, which differ so much from those of the rest of the Public Service, this arrangement could really never be an effective one.

In regard to the acquisition of all the requirements of the Post Office, such as land, buildings, motor vehicles, supplies, furniture and stationery from the central supply organizations of the State, the problems have to a large extent been the inevitable delays which were entailed by the system and which hampered the effective administration of the Post Office.

Since 1959 already a beginning has been made in respect of the planning of positive steps to overcome these problems in the only really effective manner, namely by placing the Post Office on an autonomous basis. It was realized fully that this would be a major task, because the Public Service and the Post Office have been so closely connected for so many years and have grown to such an extent in the meantime, and that for those reasons it was necessary to effect the change step by step.

In 1961 an inter-departmental committee under the chairmanship of Mr. D. H. C. du Plessis, a former General Manager of the Railways, was appointed to investigate the possibility of partial autonomy for the Post Office within the framework of the Public Service. In that year the Public Service Commission also suggested that a separate staff board should be established for the Post Office, a board which under delegated authority could take over most of the Public Service Commission’s functions in respect of the Post Office. As a result of the recommendations of the committee and the proposal of the Public Service Commission, legislation was adopted in 1963 in order to grant the Post Office its own staff board, and it was arranged administratively that the Post Office itself would accept responsibility for some of its minor construction works and the maintenance of buildings, for hiring its own accommodation and for acquiring its own furniture and virtually all of its motor transport. As regards finance, arrangements were also made administratively for the take-over of lesser autonomous responsibilities which had previously been vested in the Treasury.

This partial autonomy for the Post Office was granted as an interim measure. These arrangements contributed towards efficiency, but were not far-reaching enough to offer any real solution to the major problems.

In view of the experience the Post Office had gained in connection with its partial autonomy, and the success of these arrangements within their limited scope, the Government approved in 1966 the appointment of a new committee, under the chairmanship of Professor B. Wiehahn, to investigate the entire question of the financing of the Post Office and how it could be administered more effectively as a business undertaking. The other members of the committee were Mr. G. W. G. Browne, Secretary for Finance, Mr. J. D. Michau, Paymaster-General, Dr. P. J. Riekert, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, and Mr. M. C. Strauss, Postmaster-General.

This committee brought out its report in November, 1967, and in the main its recommendations were accepted by the Government. The recommendations embrace aspects for which legislation is necessary and with which this Bill deals, as well as administrative adjustments with which I also want to deal.

The two main principles of the Bill are the provision of autonomous financial arrangements for the Post Office, quite separate from the Treasury, and the establishment of a statutorily autonomous staff board for the Post Office which, with certain provisos, will take over all the functions of the Public Service Commission as far as the Post Office is concerned.

Financially the Post Office will be administered on financial principles as is the case with the Railways. Provision is made for this in clause 2. But since the Post Office provides an essential public service, it is not required that the business principles should be implemented so strictly that the Post Office may not provide any particular service at cost or even at a loss. Due regard should be had to the promotion of commerce, industry and agriculture in all parts of the country, and not only in those parts where the services are most profitable. Clause 2 also provides that the profits of the Post Office should only be utilized for improving the services provided by the Post Office and are not to be paid into the Exchequer Account. At this stage no direct levy, such as the income-tax paid by private companies, is being imposed on the Post Office, but the Post Office is in fact required to pay back with interest to the Treasury a burden of debt in respect of the assets which have been accumulated for the Post Office since 1910. The burden of debt amounts to roughly 50 per cent of the capital the Post Office has received from the Treasury over the years. This figure was decided on because it is the fairest one, both with a view to the major expenditure the Post Office has to incur in order to make up for the backlog which has arisen in regard to its services, and the loss of the profits of the Post Office for the Treasury. In clause 25 provision is made for the repayment of this burden of debt.

The objective is that the Post Office will pay for the major part of its development out of its own profits. As regards that part of its development for which its profits are not sufficient, the Post Office will be able to negotiate loans with the Treasury. Unlike the procedure followed in the case of the Railways Administration, these loans will be repayable to the Treasury. Clause 25 makes provision for this. As is the case in respect of the Railways Administration, the finances of the Post Office are being separated completely from those of the Treasury. The Post Office will also fall directly under the control of Parliament, and the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs will submit separate Estimates to Parliament every year. However, the Post Office will remain subject to auditing undertaken by the Controller and Auditor-General, and will also transmit to the Treasury copies of its annual accounts. Clause 3 makes provision for a Post Office Fund which, like the Railways and Harbours Fund, is separate from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Public Service. In order to establish this fund initially, an amount of money equivalent to the profits of the Post Office for the financial year 1967-’68 will be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund into this fund. In future compensation will be paid to the Post Office Fund for services provided by the Post Office to other State Departments, and services provided by other Departments to the Post Office will be paid for out of the Post Office Fund. The Exchequer and Audit Act, 1956, is amended in clauses 15 to 24 and 26 to 28 so as to make provision for separate financial arrangements for the Post Office which will be similar to those of the Railways. These arrangements are mostly of a technical nature and relate to matters such as the opening of a Postmaster-General’s Account, the introduction of a system of accounts and books of account, the keeping of monthly accounts reflecting the operating results of the Post Office, the transmission of annual accounts to the Controller and Auditor-General together with copies for the Treasury, to which I have already referred, and other lesser matters.

In this respect I must explain how the arrangement, whereby Parliament will annually appropriate for the expenditure of the Post Office on separate Estimates, may have the effect that in future the Post Office will have more certainty in regard to its funds than it has under the present arrangements in terms of which funds for the Post Office are also being appropriated annually. Hon. members will recall that I have said that under the system of annual appropriations of all capital funds for the Post Office along with those for other Departments, the long-term planning of the Post Office has been hampered owing to its uncertainty in regard to its future funds. The position will now be that Parliament will still appropriate the funds for the Post Office, but, in the first place, since all capital funds for the Post Office do not have to be appropriated from loans, the Post Office itself will be able to provide for so much more of the revenue from which its capital works are to be financed. In the second place, it will now be able to plan its long-term revenue along with its long-term expenditure, and it will now be possible for the Post Office itself to arrange matters in such a way that it will not be dependent upon loan funds for so much of its expansion that as a result it will once again have so much uncertainty in regard to its future capital that that will hamper its long-term planning The important point is that its financial system is now becoming a separate one which is autonomous in its own right and can be self-sufficient, just as the financial system for State Departments controlled by the Treasury is autonomous, too. To ensure that in the initial years the Post Office, with the leeway it has to make up, will have sufficient capital to meet its needs for expansion, the Government has decided not only to permit the Post Office over the next five years to incur minimum average capital expenditure which will be very close to or equal to its full requirements, but also to grant the Post Office the necessary bigger loans which it might require over this period for supplementing its profits up to the level of that capital expenditure.

Here I also want to say something about the increase in the tariff on local telephone call units, from 2½c to 3½c, which has already been in force since 1st January, 1967. When this increase was announced, the Government undertook to utilize all the extra revenue derived from that for the purpose of improving Post Office services. This undertaking has been honoured in that under the present financing system additional capital has already been allocated to the Post Office up to the level to which it could utilize such capital immediately, and this undertaking is being honoured further in that all the profits made by the Post Office during the financial year 1967-’68 is being paid into the Post Office Fund. The said undertaking given by the Government in regard to the provision of means for capital spending by the Post Office, will hold good for the next five years. Every cent of that extra revenue is in fact being utilized for the purpose of improving Post Office services. It does inevitably take time to manufacture additional apparatus for automatic telephone exchanges, to erect buildings to house such apparatus and to carry out other capital works which are necessary for providing additional services, and it can therefore not be expected that the effect of the increased revenue and capital spending of the Post Office should be visible at once.

I shall now deal with the second main principle of the Bill, namely the establishment of an autonomous Staff Board for the Post Office. Clauses 7 to 12 deal with this matter. The staff board which was established in 1963 and to which I referred earlier on, is not an autonomous body. It consists of three members, namely two officials of the Post Office and one member of the Public Service Commission. The latter member is the chairman of the Board. The Public Service Commission delegated many of its powers and functions in respect of the Post Office to this Board, but in terms of the Public Service Act this Board can only dispose of matters in regard to which they have reached unanimity. Other matters have to be referred to the Public Service Commission to be dealt with as though the power to deal with them had not been delegated to the Staff Board. In practice the final control has therefore always rested with the Public Service Commission. The important powers of making recommendations on the remuneration and conditions of service of the Post Office staff, were not delegated to the Staff Board The establishment of the Staff Board has proved to be very valuable in practice, and it was also cordially welcomed by the staff associations of the Post Office, since two of its members were Post Office officials who were particularly well acquainted with the distinctive needs of the Post Office. The Staff Board envisaged in the Bill, is something quite different. It is quite separate from the Public Service Commission and it acquires, in respect of the Post Office, all the powers the Public Service Commission had over the rest of the Public Service, with an exception with which I shall deal in a moment. It is an autonomous body appointed by the State President, just as is the case with the Public Service Commission. All the members are appointed from the ranks of the officials of the Post Office, since all of them must, in the first place, have a great deal of experience of the Post Office and be thoroughly acquainted with it. However, the moment an official is appointed as a member of the Staff Board, he ceases to be an official. This ensures its autonomy.

The Staff Board will play an important role in the effective functioning of the Post Office. It will be possible to expedite matters relating to all the facets of the staff management of the Post Office, and it will also be possible to carry into effect the improvement and adjustment of the re-organization of the Post Office — as may prove necessary — circumspectly and at the same time with such prompt action as is essential for a business undertaking. The Staff Board will also be able to make recommendations on economizing and the promotion of efficiency in the administration of the Post Office. Through the establishment of this body it is being ensured that circumspection and mature consideration will always be maintained in the control and administration of the Post Office. The day to day management and the administration of the Post Office remain vested in the Postmaster-General under the supervision of the Minister, and in regard to the finances of the Post Office, the Minister and the Postmaster-General are the highest authority, subject of course to Parliament and the auditing undertaken by the Controller and Auditor-General which I mentioned. That power of the Public Service Commission which is not being transferred to the Staff Board unconditionally— the exception I referred to—deals with the remuneration and conditions of service of the Post Office staff. Clause 12 deals with this. The arrangement is that when the Staff Board makes a recommendation on the salary scales, wages and allowances of the various classes and grades of officials in the Post Office, or on the regulations dealing with conditions of service in particular, it is not carried into effect unless the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs have reached unanimity in that regard. In practice it means that there will also be consultation between the Public Service Commission and the Staff Board in that regard. Consequently the Post Office will not be able to pay unilateral salaries which do not have the support of the Minister of the Interior and the Public Service Commission. This ensures that a sound ratio is maintained between the salaries paid by the Public Service and those paid by the Post Office.

In addition recommendations by the Post Office Staff Board in regard to salaries entailing increased expenditure, are also subject to the approval of the Minister of Finance. This provision is necessary because the Minister of Finance is responsible for the overall fiscal policy of the country, and it should be possible for him, in a time of inflation for example, to have the final say in regard to the exact juncture at which salary increases are to be granted. As hon. members will notice, clause 12 also provides that a recommendation by the Public Service Commission on salaries and conditions of service will, as far as the Post Office is concerned, have no force unless it has been approved by the Minister upon the recommendation of the Staff Board. This arrangement is necessary because the Post Office has to pay the salaries out of its own revenue, and also because of the fact that not all salaries and conditions of service that are being recommended for the rest of the Public Service, will necessarily apply to the Post Office.

This brings me to a matter to which I referred earlier on and of which I should like hon. members to take notice, i.e. that in terms of the existing arrangements the staff structure of the Post Office had of necessity to follow the pattern of the rest of the Public Service, even when it was not the most suitable pattern for the Post Office.

This measure establishes the machinery whereby the Post Office, as regards its staff structure, can move away from the pattern which applies in the rest of the Public Service, and will in the course of time be able to effect its own staff structure which will have been adjusted to its needs as a business undertaking. Obviously the Government as a whole will have to decide about any changes of this magnitude—the Post Office will not be able to introduce them unilaterally. But this is now being made possible and it is a matter to which the Post Office must necessarily give attention as soon as is practicable. Its efficiency is to a very large extent affected by this.

Mr. Speaker, I should also like to say a few words about administrative adjustments which are being envisaged for the Post Office and which do not require legislation. What is mainly involved here, is the use the Post Office will make in future of the central supply organizations of the State. The Government has decided that when the Post Office undertakes its own financing, it will be arranged administratively that it will to a lesser extent make use of the services of those central supply departments. The Post Office will make its own arrangements in regard to the purchasing of land and the purchasing of improved properties for its own use, as well as the registration of these properties in the name of the State. It will also have delegated power in terms of the Expropriation Act, 1965, in regard to the expropriation of properties for its own purposes. The Post Office itself will purchase dwellings for its staff or have such dwellings built. Within certain limits the Post Office itself will accept responsibility for the maintenance of all its accommodation and for any alterations and improvements to these. The Post Office itself will also continue to lease the accommodation it requires for its own purposes, as it has been doing since 1963. Care is being taken, though, that the new arrangements will not lead to unnecessary duplication. Government buildings of the size normally erected in the Public Service from loan funds, will still be made available to the Post Office by the Department of Public Works, but from now on the Post Office will bear the cost, and wherever necessary that department will also effect large-scale alterations to Government buildings belonging to the Post Office. This refers to works costing more than R15,000. In other words, use will still be made of the services of the Department of Public Works, except for those tasks which can more easily be undertaken by the Post Office with the organization it already has at its disposal.

Furthermore, purchases for the Post Office will still be arranged by the State Tender Board in accordance with the Tender Board regulations, except that the Post Office will be granted more exemptions from these regulations and will also be able to decide for itself about matters relating to tenders in regard to which the Treasury gives finality to the rest of the Public Service. In addition the Post Office will still obtain its stationery from the Government Printer, except that in cases where something is required urgently and the Post Office itself can arrange for it to be supplied more promptly, it can do so itself.The Post Office will still, where practicable, have major repairs to Post Office vehicles carried out by the Government Garage, purchase its standard vehicles in accordance with the written price quotations it obtains from the Department of Transport, and maintain the closest liaison with the Department of Transport.

Mr. Speaker, this Bill ushers in a new epoch in the history of the South African Post Office. It establishes a new dispensation in which the Department can carry out with greater freedom its task of causing postal and telecommunication services to keep pace with the fast growing needs of our country. We do not wish to suggest that the arrangements for which this Bill makes provision, will be the best ones in every respect. We shall have to put them into practice first, and after a reasonable time submit amendments so as to effect improvements where necessary.

In conclusion I wish to express my appreciation and thanks to all State Departments and officials who co-operated to make this change possible. Without the goodwill and positive support of everybody who was concerned in this matter, it would not have been possible to finalize this very great task at this early stage. I also want to record our appreciation for the services of all those people who have served on committees over the years to investigate the problems of the Post Office, and in particular I want to thank the members of the Wiehahn Committee for the great and valuable task they undertook in the midst of their own exacting duties.

Mr. Speaker, we feel convinced that this Bill can bring about major progress for the Post Office, and trust that hon. members will accord it their support.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to congratulate the hon. the Minister on introducing his first Bill. There is all the more reason for this since it is such a very important and momentous Bill. In fact, it can be said that it probably is the most important Bill affecting the Post Office since the passing of the original basic Acts. We on this side regard this Bill as a definite step forward. We regard it as more than a mere faltering, halting step; it is better than that. At the same time too we will argue, as I hope to show later on, that it is rather less than the firm and courageous forward step which could have been taken.

We find most to agree with in this Bill in the long title and particularly in the first part of the long title which reads that this is a Bill “to provide for the administration of the affairs of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs on business principles”. Sir, that is a noble resolve; it is a great and a good aim. Indeed, one wonders sometimes on what principles the Post Office was run in the past.


Do not spoil your speech.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I have not yet started my speech, and I am quite resigned to the fact that the hon. the Chief Whip will not agree with anything I have to say; he might as well leave the Chamber as he is about to do.

Sir, a business is an institution that can deal either in goods or services, and sometimes both. The Post Office is primarily an institution which provides a service. The three principles which should be aimed at by an institution which renders a service to the public are these: First of all, to give the best possible service; secondly, to see that that service is given to the greatest number of people, and thirdly, to see that that service is given at the lowest cost. These are high aims indeed in the long title of the Bill, and it is on account of these high aims that we are going to give our qualified support to the second reading. But, Sir, when we start turning the pages of the Bill our reservations grow. There are several of these reservations which I shall set out later. Our reservations grow, not so much in regard to the Post Office Fund, which seems an excellent institution, but they increase when we come to the arrangements in regard to the new Post Office Staff Board and, finally, when we come to the last page, we find the short title of the Bill, which is “The Post Office Readjustment Bill”. Sir, I think that more or less explains the attitude of this side of the House to this Bill. It has a fine-sounding long title; it has high aims; its contents are not what we would like and it ends by merely calling itself—and I hope it will be more than that—a Post Office Readjustment Bill. It can be said that this Bill starts with a roar and ends with a whimper. In between something certainly has been lost.

Sir, before dealing with all the points raised by the hon. the Minister, there are four reasons for regret in this regard. The first, and I think I am speaking on behalf of most people in commerce and industry and even in the Post Office itself and also on behalf of many citizens, is that we are sorry indeed that the very important Wiehahn report was not Tabled and, through being Tabled, made available to all members on both sides of the House. I have the highest respect for the Wiehahn Committee. Prof. Wiehahn has proved himself to be a man of administrative and accounting ability. Dr. Rickert is the Prime Minister’s economic adviser. Mr. Gerald Browne is the Secretary for Finance and Mr. Strauss is our present Postmaster-General, and the Paymaster-General, Mr. Michau, was also a member of the Committee. They are all able men and their views are of great importance to us on this side of the House and I am sure they would also have been of importance to members of the Minister’s Post Office group. I take it that it would have been highly irregular of him to make the reports available to members of his group, and not to members of my group. I am sure he would not have done anything of that nature.

We would like to know more about what the terms of reference of the Wiehahn Commission were, and what their definite instructions were. The hon. the Minister told us—I think I am quoting him correctly—that the majority of the recommendations of the Wiehahn Commission on the autonomy of the Post Office was adopted. From that it seems clear that the recommendations were not always as unanimous as they could have been. We would have liked to know more about that. We would have liked to know whether any member of the Commission did not express some or other kind of reservation in regard to the proposals made. Did the distinguished member who represented the hon. the Minister directly, the Postmaster-General, for instance agree to the overall control there will still be by the Public Service Commission in regard to the staff of the Post Office and in regard to certain restrictions which we cannot deny will still be laid on the Department? These are things we would have liked to have known and we could have known a great deal about them if we had seen the report of the Wiehahn Commission.

The second reason why I have to express regret is that a White Paper in regard to a very important Bill such as this was not made available to the House. I think it is the most important and fundamental change which has been made since Union in a Department of State. These changes are absolutely fundamental and we would have liked a further explanation in regard to this. When a similar change was made in the British Post Office and it was granted greater autonomy, even greater than our Post Office is now being given, there were several equivalents of White Papers. There were documents giving information, apart from the Bill itself. All we have here today is the Bill and the speech of the Minister, which was, as I have said, a comprehensive one, but it did not and probably could not from the nature of things give us all the answers we would have liked to have.

Recently the Postmaster-General addressed the Executive Committee of the Federated Chamber of Industries and made a statement —I hope I have it correct—that there was the possibility of a White Paper being issued. He stated it no more strongly than that. Apparently the Press stated it more strongly, but that report was not quite correct. He stated that a White Paper might be issued. Somewhere in between that date and to-day something has happened. There was talk of a White Paper at one stage, but at some time or other it was decided that there would be no White Paper placed before Parliament on this subject. The only person who could have taken the final decision in a matter such as this is the hon. the Minister himself. I should like to know why it was decided that there would be no White Paper. Commerce and industry would have liked to have more particulars, particularly before the Bill came before Parliament, and those particulars could only have been given in a White Paper. We on this side of the House would have appreciated a White Paper, which would have enabled us to study this Bill more thoroughly than I trust we have done, and I think we have done it quite thoroughly.

*Mr. J. J. B. VAN ZYL:

You have not studied it.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I do not know why I should always be interrupted by that “verkrampte” young member on the other side, for here we have a Bill which is not “verkramp” but is in fact more enlightened than anything he can ever grasp, and both sides should work together to see whether we cannot improve this Bill. There are interesting implications in regard to the statement made by the Minister, which we expected, namely that a separate budget would be introduced for the Post Office, but he dealt with that actually in a single sentence. We would have liked to see more in a White Paper about what was to happen. I take it that there will be motions to go into Committees of Supply and Ways and Means on the Post Office, as on the Railways, and at the same time I take it that there will be a debate in the Committee itself, and afterwards that there will also be the necessary Appropriation Bills. The hon. the Minister shakes his head.


If you know that, why are you asking me?

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I am assuming it, but I am quite sure that 99 per cent of the country does not yet know the answer. It would have been interesting to have heard that from the hon. the Minister, and whether there was any respect in which he intended deviating from the system adopted for the Railways and also for the general budget.

There is one matter about which I would have liked to have some information, namely to what extent the S.A.B.C. will form part of this discussion in Committee which we shall be having. Will it be part of the discussion in Committee, or will it be discussed under, say, a separate Broadcast Vote? The latter is a possibility I would like to put to the Minister without committing myself to being either in favour or against it. The matter will be a problem because the S.A.B.C. is something which is actually apart from the Post Office as such to-day.

The next point I very much regret is the following. It is that the associations of Post Office employees were not consulted directly, or officially invited to give evidence before the Wiehahn Commission. This Bill is going to make vital changes in the lives of 40,000 men and their families. They are represented by able staff associations, people who probably know more about the problems of their members than either the Minister or myself. I really think they should have been asked to give evidence before the Commission. Therefore I was shocked when earlier this year—or at least I was not shocked; I cannot be shocked any more by anything this Government does; but disappointed—when I asked the hon. the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs on 5th March whether any bodies representing employees of his Department were asked to give evidence or to make suggestions to this Wiehahn Commission. He replied that no recognized staff association or other body of employees representing the Post Office were asked to give evidence, or to make proposals to this Commission, and he added—

Alle vertoë wat oor die jare heen deur so-wel die personeel van die Poskantoor as die verenigings of liggame wat hulle verteen-woordig oor die betrokke onderwerp wat tot of die Department of tot vorige komitees gerig is, is egter ten voile deur die Wiehahn-kommissie in ag geneem en paslik in sy verslag erken.

That simply means that the Wiehahn Commission, when it went into this matter, knew that there had been certain suggestions and motions and letters, etc. in regard to the autonomy of the Post Office made by the staff associations, but it does not mean that they were directly consulted on matters such as these, with the draft proposals of that Commission placed before them before the final report was written. At the moment the report is a fait accompli; it is before them. How much they, with their experience, would have liked to have given their comments before this Commission and on its possible recommendations before it was published! I wonder whether the hon. the Minister realizes that his refusal or the Wiehahn Commission’s refusal to take evidence officially from the Post Office staff associations has been a cause of grave misgivings amongst several of them. I know that the Postal Association has expressed its doubts about the fact, and there were articles in one or two of the staff journals, asking why they were not consulted, and why they were not asked to put some of their definite knowledge in regard to this matter at the Commission’s disposal. I do not think they should have been kept out. Some of their proposals, indeed, in view of the Bill itself, might have been somewhat embarrassing but after all, that is always possible when one is striving to do one’s best, both for the public and the staff. Get as many people to comment on your concrete proposals before you come to the House with a particular Bill.

I next come to the history of this measure, which the hon. the Minister dealt with at some length. To some extent I agree with his interpretation of history, but not in all respects and in all particulars. It is quite customary that in this House hon. members on different sides of the House disagree on the interpretation of history, as we have seen in the past. To me, I am afraid it has been a history, not so much of development as of very often interminable delays over the years. Towards 1948, when this Government took over, there were already signs, as the hon. the Minister will agree, that something had to be done about the financing of the Post Office and its capital requirements. That was in 1948. We then had the first Nationalist Government, which lasted for five years, from 1948 to 1953, five long years and three Ministers of Posts and Telegraphs, who were in power for only short periods. Then we had the second Nationalist Government, and again during that period, this time from 1953 to 1958, nothing substantial was done in regard to greater autonomy for the Post Office, and to a different wage structure for the Post Office staff. In other words almost nothing was done for ten long years in regard to this matter under this Government. If you will allow me, Sir, I should like to call evidence on this from, not the hon. the Minister himself, but his predecessor, who told the annual congress of the Posts and Telegraph Association as short a time ago as the 2nd of this month: “Die posterye was in ’n benarde toestand, toe ek in 1958 Minister geword het.” The affairs of the Post Office were in a parlous state when he became Minister in 1958. That was the position 10 years after this Government had come into power; 10 long years with three short terms of Ministers.

Then, in 1958, they had another chance. There was a new Minister, a new broom, a new vision, a new frontier. And now, Sir, what happened with that new approach? Once more we had a Government lasting for the long period of five years. We had another Government following it, lasting for almost the same period. At present we have the third Government since 1958, when the whole of the Post Office was in a parlous, a “benarde toestand”. Now, ultimately, something is being attempted with this Bill. But it is only after 20 long years that we are at last getting something. Sir, the hon. the Minister himself on 2nd May of last year admitted that the people of South Africa were dissatisfied with the Post Office. I asked him: You are therefore admitting that we are all dissatisfied? and the Minister replied: “Yes,

I admit it.” This was one of the fine admissions and there were not many, of the hon. the Minister’s predecessor. No wonder, therefore, that something had to be done. And what had been done? Commission upon commission upon commission were appointed since 1960: The Du Plessis Commission, the Wiehahn Commission and two or three other commissions, the majority of them simply being grievance commissions. We had five commissions, each more or less a grievance commission or a commission to solve a grievance. It was a sign that things were not going too well under the Minister’s predecessor in the Post Office. Even the Wiehahn Commission was to a certain extent a grievance commission, for after all its task was also to investigate how the Post Office staff structure could be improved—and heaven knows, it needed improvement: Even the hon. the Minister will agree with me on that.


You have been speaking for nearly half an hour and so far you have not raised a single point of criticism in regard to this legislation.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I have a whole hour, and I am coming to it. All that time an inducement was held out to the staff of the Post Office, and they were told, “All right, sometime or other you are going to get greater autonomy.” But promises and performances did not match, and, like Hamlet, South African citizens could sadly say “ ‘Tis a chameleon’s dish: I eat the air, promise-crammed”. There have been small concessions, there have been reluctant steps along the road to greater autonomy There was the case of the right of the Post Office, which it has nowadays, of buying its own vehicles, though—and the Minister may correct me if I am wrong—there was still some doubt three months ago about whether the Post Office had the power to buy motor scooters or mopeds for postal delivery men. So that carrot of autonomy was dangled in front of the Post Office, while the promises became more insistent from that side. In December, 1966, 17 months ago, we had a categorical statement by the Minister’s predecessor issued in Johannesburg in which he said that from the beginning of 1967 the Post Office would stand on its own, financially. That was at the beginning of 1967—when this financial independence for the Post Office would have started. But it did not come. There was still a commission sitting. There were many reasons which could be found, most of them bad, why something was not done. In fact, nothing was done for a whole year. The Wiehahn Commission reported on November 15th last year. Since then it has only —and I think I should put only in inverted commas—taken six months to the present date when at last the Minister and the Cabinet decided that they should do something about this matter. I do not know why there was this delay. Is it perhaps because any Bill of this nature, if it had come before the House previously, would have raised high hopes among the staff which would necessarily, for the Government’s policy, have had to be utterly disappointed?


Order! I want to point out to the hon. member that he is dealing with a Bill and not the Vote of the hon. the Minister.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

With respect, Sir, I heed your ruling This Bill, as I am trying to point out, deals with the whole concept of the Post Office; it is an attempt to improve the Post Office, to correct those things which were wrong, which the Minister himself mentioned on which I am in full agreement with him and with his predecessor. I am dealing with the reasons why this Bill is necessary; it is necessary because the whole administration was in difficulty, because the finances were in difficulty, and also because the staff members were in trouble. These are the main reasons, and the answer to these reasons the Minister is trying to give in the Bill before us at the present moment.

The second clause of the Bill deals with the aim that the Post Office should be run on business principles. As I said, it is a good aim in theory and we are indeed interested to see how it will work out in practice. There is one thing I should like to ask the hon. the Minister, and perhaps he can tell it to us in his reply, because it may save further debate later on. To what extent does he foresee that this Bill and the acceptance of business principles by the Post Office will lead to the promotion of the Republic’s foreign trade? That phrase in clause 2 was not quite as clear to me as it could have been. I can see how indirectly an efficient Post Office can lead to better commerce, better trade, and so forth, but why should it specifically be mentioned in this Bill? I think the Minister should explain it to us.

Of course, as the Minister did state, the Post Office may have to continue some services which are not entirely business-like. It may have to continue to grant some services at cost, without any profit attached to them. There is one service which it does grant, in regard to weather reports, which costs the Post Office I believe about R122,000 a year. Perhaps the Minister could explain that to us. It is one of the free services or the services given at cost which will be affected by the subsequent clauses in this Bill. I am glad to see that provision is being made in this Bill for the Post Office in future to be paid for services that it renders to other State Departments. We feel it is important that it should be so and at the same time naturally the Post Office will be prepared to pay for services it receives from other Departments. However, as I have worked it out, the services the Post Office gives are about seven or eight times as much as what it receives, so on the whole it should benefit to a great extent. I only trust that when the accounts are drawn up the Minister will see to it that his colleagues are not going to be unnecessarily parsimonious and that they really give the Post Office value for the services that they have received

There is one thing that I was a bit doubtful about, and that was the motivation behind this Bill, the reason why actually more money was being taken by increasing tariffs, why funds were not made available in the normal way as in the past. Why I have these reservations, is this. On the 2nd May last year the Minister’s predecessor explained why he had raised telephone tariffs. If he had explained that it was necessary to compensate for increased costs I would have accepted it. He did say it would improve efficiency, but he did not quite explain how. The Minister stated the following about the problems which he mentioned, which are the problems which this Bill is trying to solve in regard to financial matters. The Minister’s predecessor said this (Hansard, column 5365)—

One cannot get money from the state …

In other words, he cannot get all the capital he needs; that is what the Minister’s predecessor said. He went on and said—

The only way to expand the Post Office … is to withdraw money which is in circulation and then to put it back into circulation … In other words, one has to get it from the people who use Post Office facilities and telephone services … to make those users pay who make most use of it, those people who are responsible for the tremendous shortage of telephones, the tremendously long waiting lists. And who are those people? They are mainly commerce and industry.

There are those who think that these were ungracious words of the Minister’s predecessor, in which he actually blamed commerce and industry for the telephone shortage, instead of saying, “Fine, you are expanding the country, you are doing a great job, we will try and keep up with you”. Don’t you think those words were ungracious? I trust the motivation of this Bill will not be, to put it bluntly, to try and “soak” commerce and industry simply to pay for services rendered by the Post Office. I trust that is not the purpose of this Bill, and I do wish to utter this word of warning at this stage.

I now come to the next important part of this Bill, and that is the clause dealing with the Post Office Funds which will take the place of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as regards the Post Office. I believe this to be the best part of the Bill. The Post Office is to be removed completely from the Treasury control which it had in the past, but, quite rightly, the Fund will still be under the control of Parliament because the Auditor-General will be auditing the books and the Annual Report will reflect the state of the accounts of the Post Office.

The difference between the R21 million mentioned in the Bill and the actual profits made by the Post Office will be paid into the Post Office Fund. I agree that the Post Office should start with a nest-egg. But were we not told last year that all the profits would be used to improve the services of the Post Office? Why were these funds not used? If some of the R21 million was used, and it will probably be R30 million in all, will the hon. the Minister indicate to us where and how it was used? Because after all, these were profits over and above the ordinary Profit and Loss Account of the telephone service. We must remember that the hon. the Minister’s predecessor had complained that he got 11 per cent less of the capital annually from the Treasury than he asked for. As a matter of fact, the position became so bad afterwards that he said he could only get 80 per cent of the capital that he needed from the Government. That was another reason why there was this big telephone shortage and the lack of services to the public at large. What I cannot understand, however, is this We now have this Bill in regard to the financing of the Post Office, yet the hon. the Minister, as I said, has had this R21 million in the past which according to his predecessor he could have drawn upon. At the same time, however, the shortages increased at the rate of almost 1,000 telephones a month. It went up from 44,000 telephones at the end of 1966 to a shortage of 56,000 telephones at the end of 1967. After all, if to-day of the 93 exchanges in the country 31 are fully loaded and cannot take a single additional line—and it might be more—then that does not show that much has been done during the past year, although those profits were there to be used.

This Bill mentions how the profits are to be distributed and states that the profits shall be used either for development or for capital purposes and there shall be no additional profits above that. The Minister made a somewhat ominous statement when he said that at the present moment, I believe I quote him correctly, it was not being considered that the Post Office should pay income tax. I trust it will not be the case in future too. I do not see why the Post Office should pay income tax or even why it should even be contemplated that it should pay income tax in the future, while the South African Railways are not doing so.

There is another point which I want to raise with the Minister in regard to the Fund. I should like some assurance from him that when the Post Office is making huge profits, profits of millions of rand, those profits will not be used solely for capital expenditure. Some of it naturally will be used for improving the staff position and staff salaries, but there is one important matter on which these profits can be used and that, as any ordinary business sense will tell one, is a reduction in tariffs. So I ask the Minister please not to keep this aspect entirely out of his mind. If the Post Office makes a profit of R50 million or R60 million or more a year, a part of that profit could very justifiably really go towards a reduction in tariffs. After all, the Estimates of Expenditure we have in the Budget provides for an expenditure of R107 million in the next year, while the Estimates of Income provide for an income of R150 million. So the hon. the Minister himself is expecting a profit of R43 million. I am quite sure, knowing how conservative (or how wrong) these Estimates are when made by his colleague the hon. the Minister of Finance, that the profit might very well be higher than R50 million in the next year. I say it would be wrong to use all those funds for capital expenditure. The Minister must remember that even under this measure he can still go to the Treasury and ask it for capital loans. He admitted that in his speech. Therefore I say let us not make the Post Office a taxing machine. If the profits are there, let us use them equitably and let us not use the vast majority of those profits for capital expenditure.


Order! I want to point out to the hon. member there is a difference between discussing a Bill which takes over the control of the Post Office and going into financial details of Post Office policy. The hon. member should come back to the Bill now.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

I am dealing now with the proposed Post Office Fund, which is dealt with in clauses 3 to 6, and in clauses 15 to 28 there are consequential amendments and they, with respect, deal with details.


Order: The application of policy can be discussed under the Minister’s Vote later during the Session.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Mr. Speaker …


The hon. member may continue; I am just trying to guide him.

Mr. E. G. MALAN:

Thank you, Sir; I shall try to proceed within your guide lines. I come to the next important provision in this Bill, namely the new Post Office Staff Board. I believe that this Board, as envisaged in clauses 7 to 12 of this Bill, is an improvement on the old one. When the old one was established in 1963 we on this side expressed our doubts whether it would be effective. We thought that the powers which the old Staff Board had were too little. The fact that we now have this Bill seems to prove our doubts to have been justified. When we told the previous Minister that we thought the Post Office Staff Board did not have sufficient powers but that we were prepared to give it a trial period, we were correct in our suspicions that enough was not being done. As a matter of fact, according to what the Minister told us to-day, the old Post Office Staff Board had indeed extremely limited powers. Its decisions had to be unanimous and it was hamstrung in many other ways through the Public Service Commission itself. In fact, it was laid down that the Chairman of the Post Office Staff Board had to be a member of the Public Service Commission itself. I think that was a wrong step. It is an improvement now that we are to have a member of the Post Office Department itself as Chairman, and all the members of this Post Office Staff Board will be from members of the department itself.

Our main reservations about this Bill centre round this Board. We wonder whether this Board is indeed going to be as effective as the Minister is trying to tell us. I admit it will be more effective than the old one, but will it indeed achieve the aims which the Post Office should set itself, and the aims which so many tens of thousands of Post Office workers had indeed justifiably hoped for? If one looks at clauses 10 to 12, I think, one sees that the Public Service Commission has indeed a vital and very strong hold over this new Staff Board, a hold which is so powerful that I doubt whether many of the dreams and ideas of the hon. the Minister will be able to be put into practice. Reading these clauses together, it appears to me that all public service regulations in regard to basic regulations, salary and wage structure, service conditions, etc. can only be changed after the hon. the Minister of the Interior has given his permission.

Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No. 23 and debate adjourned.

The House adjourned at 7 p.m.