House of Assembly: Vol29 - THURSDAY 6 AUGUST 1970
Heads Nos. 1 to 15 and 17,—Railways, R818,139,000 (Revenue Funds), and Heads Nos. 1, R18,455,700; 2 (a), R83,478,500; 3, R24,699,200; 4, R119,900; 8, R13,528,900, and 9, R800,000 (Capital and Betterment Works) (Continued).
Just before this debate was adjourned yesterday, the hon. member for Bloemfontein (District) dealt with the manpower shortage towards the end of his speech. We shall probably go on talking about the manpower shortage during this debate, for this is a shortage amongst the Whites, and not amongst the non-Whites. I want to make the statement that there is no manpower shortage in this country at all; it is more probably a case of surplus manpower. Time and again it has been said on the other side that we on this side only want to talk about the manpower shortage. But you know, Sir, it is unfortunate that it has to be this Minister whom we have to blame under his Estimates at this stage—because he is responsible for the functions and the activities of the Railways—owing to the fact that he himself is experiencing this manpower shortage. I want to point out why it is a pity that we have to blame him. It is because this hon. Minister is the one and only person in the whole Cabinet who has the courage of his convictions to meet a manpower shortage, where it occurs, by making use of the surplus manpower we have here, i.e. by employing non-Whites. He is not afraid of doing that, nor is he afraid of saying so. Yesterday the hon. the Minister cast doubts on what he had in fact said last year, and I should like to read out a passage from Hansard, Vol. 25, col. 2341. The hon. member for Yeoville had asked the Minister, “And if the trade unions refuse to lend their co-operation in this regard?”, and these were the words of the hon. the Minister in this regard—
That is why I say that this hon. Minister is not really the person with whom we should fight, but his Budget came first. Unfortunately he finds himself in the vice of the ideology of the Government in regard to their job reservation, which lays down that in so many subordinate posts Bantu may still not be appointed, but in his own judgment as a sound businessman and as head of the organization which is the largest employer in the whole Republic, the hon. the Minister knows just as well as does any man on this side of the House and just as well as does any man on that side of the House who wants to admit it, that the wheels of his trains will not roll if he does not meet this shortage with Bantu and the other Colour groups. [Interjections.] Time and again we have heard the statement being made on the other side that this is a temporary facet; this is a temporary shortage. One of the hon. members opposite referred to the temporary difficulty in which the Railways are finding themselves. I want to know, in all fairness, whether the hon. the Minister or any hon. member opposite, unless they want to strangle our economy, can foresee a period in the future during which we shall have sufficient white manpower in his Department. I cannot foresee it. How can we expect that in a country with this economic tempo, even with the growth which is now being indicated by the Government? And let me state at once that this side of the House is not content with that kind of growth. We say: “Let the country grow as much as it can grow.” We have enough people here to do the work. There is no reason here why we should smother or hold back the economy. Why should we hold it back if we do have the manpower? Why can the country not prosper as it has the opportunity to do? Do we want to subdue the tempo of the economy because we have a manpower shortage? That is why I say it is of no avail to say that this is a temporary facet.
What does Douglas Mitchell say?
This is something that will go on as far as I can see, and it will become worse all the time. [Interjections.] We were grateful for the speech made by the hon. member for Maitland in which he told the hon. the Minister that he had displayed the conviction and had had the courage to bring about this change, irrespective of whether it was within the framework of the policy of his party or whether the trade unions agreed with it. If it is in the interests of the country to do it, then it has to be done. It is not possible for us to import immigrants at such a rate that it will meet the acute manpower shortage for the next five or ten years. That is why I say, as the hon. member for Maitland did, there we have a man who has influence in the party; there we have the man who has the courage of his convictions to do what he has to do, and the time is arriving for him to convince the other members of the Cabinet that the policy being pursued by him, is the correct one. [Interjections.]
Like other hon. members, I also want to proceed to talking about matters in my constituency, and when we come to the “Harbours” Vote later on, I want to speak about it, too. But, in the first place, I want to start with the grain elevator which we have in East London. It is a very modern grain elevator, and we are proud of it. It is a grain elevator which is capable of loading ships just as well as any other grain elevator in the Southern Hemisphere does. But there are problems involved. One of the difficulties is this acute shortage of trains, the cancellation of trains and the shortage of manpower, which result in the grain not being brought to the grain elevator in time for it to be loaded into the ships. In such cases the ships lie there for days, and it is costly for a ship to wait like that. But I do not want to talk about it at this stage, for we all know what it is attributable to. There is a shortage of manpower and a shortage of wagons for conveying the maize to the grain elevator. It is regrettable that that facet does exist, and I suppose there is little that the Minister can do about it at this stage.
But then there is another matter in regard to the grain elevator. I do not know whether the Minister knows about it; he has probably received complaints about it already. But the grain elevator with its conveyor belt which has to feed the ships when they are being loaded, gives off a very fine powdery dust all the time. When the south-easter is blowing, it makes the living conditions of the people in the residential area on the West Bank, and on the East Bank as well, just about impossible. I was asked to enter certain homes. Those people are keeping their doors and windows closed, but after two days of the east wind their homes are covered with dust and there is nothing they can do about it. Many people have signed petitions requesting that something must be done about decreasing the amount of dust. It is not for me to say what is to be done, but I am quite sure that if proper research is carried out in regard to ways and means of laying the dust, even after it has left the conveyor belt, it will be possible to get rid of the dust to a large extent. I want to bring this very pointedly to the notice of the Minister as it is something which is very serious in East London and a matter which causes a considerable amount of annoyance to the people living in that area. I am sure there must be a possibility of combating that problem, if not 100 per cent, then to a much larger extent than is the case now.
Then I want to go a little further and talk about the Railways. I looked at the Estimates for the Betterment Works, and I saw that nothing had as yet been voted for enlarging the East London station. If there is one station in the whole country, in any fair-sized city, which has almost become Africana, then it is that station. Perhaps we should keep it for a historic monument and build a new station. It is not only antiquated, with a shortage of platforms and with only one overhead bridge for passengers, but also hopelessly inadequate for the traffic going to East London. I understand that somewhere in the planning it is the idea to enlarge the station at the expense of the goods shed or goods yards situated next door to it. [Time expired.]
Since my time is very short, I shall refer to the speech of the hon. member for East London (City) in passing, if time allows. However, there are two matters I should like to bring to the attention of the hon. the Minister and the House. The one is a representation and the other a statement to which the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) referred in this House. He alleged that the Afrikaans Press had described him as a “cliff-hanger”. I have tried to determine what a “cliff-hanger” is, and the nearest equivalent I could find was “cliff monkey”, because the way he carried on here he was jumping from one matter to another. He said: “He saddled his old pet horse,” the disciplinary code, and from that he jumped right into the plastic cup on the Orange Express, but I shall come back to him. The first matter I want to raise with the hon. the Minister is this: The House is well aware that in the decade that lies ahead Iscor is going to spend approximately R1,200 million on expansion. This is the largest expansion programme since Iscor’s inception.
With this expansion large sums of money are also going to be spent on the expansion of Vanderbijlpark and on certain other layouts. This means that Iscor will also employ more Bantu in future, and the matter I appositely want to raise here is the question of the transport of Bantu to and from Vanderbijlpark. As you know, Sir, a Bantu township called Sebokeng was founded to the north of Vanderbijlpark. The purpose of that township is to accommodate in future all the Bantu from the Vaal Triangle, Meyerton and those peri-urban areas. At the moment about 61,500 Bantu are already being accommodated in the new portion of this Bantu township. Those are the Bantu that were in compounds at Vereeniging, in the service of Stewart and Lloyds and “Usco”, Bantu from Meyerton and elsewhere. At Vanderbijlpark one has two Bantu townships, i.e. Bophelong and Boipetong with about 26,000 Bantu. One also has Sharpeville with about 50,000 Bantu. The future plan is to transfer those Bantu to the Sebokeng area as well. One would then have an overall Bantu population there of about 168,000.
Sir, we appreciate what the South African Railways is already doing in connection with the transport of these Bantu to Vereeniging, but we sit with the problem that, since Iscor is one of the largest employers in that vicinity, and employs a very large number of Bantu— and that applies to the other industries at Vanderbijlpark as well—there is no transport by train for the Bantu to and from their jobs. We appreciate what the Railways is doing to comply with these requests. I hope that a start has already been made with this planning. My plea to the hon. the Minister to-day is to give priority to this project, and also to introduce for us a Bantu train service to and from Vanderbijlpark. The roads are at present overloaded with the tremendous volume of bus transport, and then we also have all these pirate taxis which are hopelessly overloaded. Sir, I should be glad if attention could be given to the matter, and if the planning could be expedited.
To come back to the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (City), the hon. member made two allegations here. In the first place he said that the working conditions on the Railways were such that people no longer wanted to work on the Railways. He referred to two applicants who had just completed the matriculation examination and had then applied to the Railways for employment, but who had found that the working conditions were such that they subsequently decided to go and work for a financial institution where the working conditions are much better. I want to ask that hon. member: Who created this climate in South Africa which is so favourable that the youth of our country may today pick and choose where they want to go and work? The Railways made a tremendous contribution to the development of the economic conditions we have to-day. Sir, had the hon. member wanted justice to prevail, he should have expressed his thanks to the Minister and to the Railways for what they did to create this climate, instead of coming along here with criticism.
What was the position in the United Party days? I am incidentally myself an ex-railwayman who worked on the Railways in the Sturrock days. I know what the conditions were then. The hon. member has the audacity to refer here to a disciplinary case in which an apprentice or a pupil was charged with the theft of tools and fined. The hon. member insinuated here that that staff member was charged because of the name he bore. Why does the hon. member not say what his name was? What is he insinuating? In the United Party days one dared not open one’s mouth. If one opened one’s mouth they threatened one with internment camps. I speak from experience. One just had to agree with them. Those were the conditions in the Railways at the time. Members of the staff were transferred at random. If one wanted training in those days one had to attend classes after working hours in one’s own private time. What are the Railways doing to-day? They are creating facilities for the young employees to qualify themselves. The hon. member for East London (City) ought to know what the conditions were like in those days; as you know, he was an O.B. General at the time. The railway officials were even forbidden to play jukskei, because they would have been practising to throw handgrenades. In those days Afrikaans students from Afrikaans institutions could not risk travelling by train, because they were thrown off
Sir, that hon. member symbolizes the greatest jingo you could ever find. Hon. members of the Opposition are now complaining about the manpower shortage. Does the hon. member for South Coast agree with what the hon. member for East London (City) said here a moment ago? The one United Party member comes along here and preaches “the rate for the job”; the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) advocated it here in the censure debate; that, then, is the solution. However, the hon. member for South Coast does not want “the rate for the job”. No, we must appoint white men to certain posts, and then he still makes the ridiculous statement that the wage scales for those specific posts should be increased; I am referring here to permanent way inspectors.
Sir, in no decent undertaking is the wage scale for a certain post simply increased. Surely there is such a thing as a salary structure. A post surely has a certain value. The hon. member for South Coast now wants to bring back the white platelayers again and place them there on the out-stations. What right have those hon. members to speak about conditions on the Railways? I think the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (City) is quite presumptious in referring to that.
Hon. members on that side also referred to infringements and the application of the disciplinary code. Sir, only the smallest percentage of members are affected by that, and it is being exaggerated here out of all proportion. It is outrageous. It is very clear to us that officials who left the service of the Railways will now want to return as a result of the wage and salary increases the hon. the Minister announced. We hear time and again of cases where people who have resigned now want to return to the service of the Railways; they come along and ask us for testimonials so that they may reapply for employment. We appreciate what the hon. the Minister has done, and if the United Party members want to be fair, they ought also to thank the hon. the Minister instead of putting forward foolish criticisms in this House.
Sir, the speech of the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark was like a sandwich. It was not a very palatable sandwich although I must admit that the filling was almost most palatable. Let me say here and now that I support him in his plea that the hon. the Minister should provide transport for the 168,000 Bantu, approximately, who are going to be settled at Sebokeng. Sir, the hon. member started in a most unsavoury manner. I want to say to him that in English we have a saying which goes like this: A polecat smells its own hole first. If he considers that what my colleague, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (City), had to say was unfortunate, let me say that that is because of a guilty conscience on his part and a guilty conscience on the part of the whole party that he represents in this House. I want to go further and say that if the cap fits they can wear it, but they must not moan on that side of the House when we draw these things to the attention of the House. The hon. member also referred to internment camps. If he was threatened with a stay in an internment camp, what was he doing to subvert South Africa? That is the question which must always be put to every person who raises this question of internment camps. Let him call me a jingo, Sir. I am no jingo. This party here is the living symbol of national unity in South Africa. There is no jingoism here; there is no narrow sectionalism on this side of the House.
Sir, having dealt with him, let me get on to something more constructive. There has been lots of talk about manpower in this debate and there is going to be a lot more before this session is over. The hon. the Minister referred to a manpower shortage in his reply to the Second-Reading debate. He referred to the fact that there was no unemployment. But I want to ask the hon. the Minister why he does not amplify these statements? Why does he not say, when he talks about a manpower shortage, that he is referring only to the position amongst the white population group in South Africa? When he gives the figure of unemployed in South Africa as .5 per cent, why does he not say “amongst the white people only”? What about the unemployment amongst the other population groups in this country? Those are people who could be absorbed by that hon. Minister in his organization. They could also be absorbed by his colleagues in that Cabinet if it was not for their pig-headed stubbornness, because of their ideological nonsense.
The hon. the Minister referred to the shortage of truck drivers at Kazerne. I want to repeat what I said by way of interjection during his speech. I challenge the hon. the Minister to deny what I am going to say. I say that this shortage of truck drivers is something which is deliberately artificially created by this Government in the carrying out of their ideological claptrap. Unfortunately the hon. the Minister for Bantu Affairs and the hon. the Minister for Planning are not here. However, those are the people to look to. It is no good the hon. the Minister of Transport talking to us about the shortage of drivers at Kazerne. I want to say with regard to the shortage of manpower that those of us in this country who are prepared to apply a rational use of the available manpower in this country have no shortage of labour at all. Those of us who will take non-Whites, train them, educate and employ them have no shortage of manpower. In fact we have a glut of manpower. There is no shortage of manpower in this country. If we were to really get down to basic facts, and if we could get figures out of the hon. the Minister of Labour, the unemployment rate in this country would be shocking. In fact it is shocking. But of course this Government in its “wisdom” does not keep those unemployment figures.
While we are dealing with manpower I should like to refer to another aspect of this matter as regards the available staff that the hon. the Minister of Transport has in the Railways and particularly the white staff. I want to pay tribute now before anybody misunderstands my motives, to the efficient railway worker. I want to pay tribute to those railway workers who under the most difficult circumstances have kept the Railways of South Africa running, i.e. the efficient railway workers.
Who are those?
The hon. the Deputy Minister must wait. He will hear what I have in mind. I am referring to the efficient railway worker, the railway workers who have kept the Railways running.
What about the inefficient ones?
Those are the ones I want to ask the hon. the Minister or the hon. the Deputy Minister about. Is the hon. the Minister satisfied that he is not carrying any passengers? Has he consulted with the senior members of his staff to find out whether they are satisfied that all the railway workers are pulling their weight? Has he had the experience which I have had of senior railway workers saying that there are too many white employees in certain posts who do not pull their weight, and that they could do with less staff provided they were all efficient and worked. This is why I say that the hon. the Minister must look further into the staff position. He should not hide behind the statement that he made, namely that there is a manpower shortage. He must look into his staff position and see that all the members of the staff are pulling their weight. Those who are not must be suitably dealt with. He has the power.
However, I want to leave that subject for the moment. We had a reply to a question that was put a few days ago in this House in regard to the number of services that were cancelled through shortage of manpower. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether any services have been cancelled through shortage of trucks. If certain services have been cancelled, could he give us some indication of how many services were cancelled during the last six months because of shortage of trucks? I want to refer in particular to my constituency. We had the hon. member for South Coast yesterday pleading with the hon. the Minister of Transport and giving him ideas which have come from the timber industry of how to help that industry and to convey more timber with less trucks, we have had the reply of the hon. the Minister —and I welcome that—that he will give private growers preference. I want to plead with him that he should please send some trucks immediately to Richmond in Natal to clear what is becoming a dangerous situation on the station of Richmond. On this station timber is stacked to the point where to-day it represents a hazard to the national road. If one of those stacks were to fall it would block the national road that goes through Richmond. That is apart from the fire hazard which is represented by this position.
While I am dealing with the timber farmers in the Richmond area I should also like to refer to the sugar farmers. The hon. the Minister knows that a short while ago they were forced to take a 40 per cent cut in trucks for a short period. However, they have now been told that they would have to take a permanent 25 per cent cut in trucks. Does the hon. the Minister realize what this means? This means a 25 per cent cut in income. It means a 25 per cent cut in output of the sugar mills which are receiving the cane from the farmers. Surely something could be done about this.
While we are dealing with the shortage of trucks, I should like to refer to the question of coal. The hon. member for Brakpan pleaded yesterday that coal yards should be moved from the centres of the towns. Those coal yards are lucky to have some coal. Many of the centres do not have any coal. That is not because there is no coal in South Africa but it is because the hon. the Minister does not have the trucks to move it; or he does not have the engines to move the trucks to move the coal; or he does not have the manpower to drive the locomotives to move the trucks to move the coal.
Like the house that Jack built.
Yes, like the house that Jack built. But the matter goes even further. Because we have not been able to move coal we have had to import coal, and the hon. the Minister knows it. Or does the hon. the Minister deny that we have to import coal through our harbours from foreign countries, and not only for the bunkering of foreign ships but also for consumption by housewives and factories at the four main ports of South Africa? All this because of the lack of foresight and initiative on the part of the hon. the Minister and his Department, a Department which has been controlled by the Nationalist Government for 22 years now. And at the end of this 22 years we have this shocking situation where a country which has vast deposits of coal, more than enough to supply our needs, has to import coal and that because this hon. Minister cannot move coal. Is this what the hon. the Minister would like to call efficient administration? I do not think he must blame the staff because they have kept the Railways going under very difficult conditions. As long as this hon. Minister fails to provide the wherewithal for them they are going to become “moedeloos”. [Time expired.]
After we have listened to the hon. member for Pietermaritz burg (District), it has once more become clear to us how speakers on the Opposition side succeed in bringing this debate down to an unpleasant level. That particular hon. member has already gained himself the reputation of someone who cannot open his mouth without being personal or insulting to some Minister or other, I think that we should bring to the attention of hon. members opposite that the personal attacks they make on leaders on this side are a two-edged sword. I wonder whether hon. members opposite realize how vulnerable they are if we on this side also wanted to be personal. I think they are playing a dangerous game, and if they pretend that they want to govern this country it is good advice for them at least to come to light with something constructive. I have now been waiting for three weeks for something constructive from their side, but I have not yet heard anything.
The tremendous economic growth of our country is reflected in this Budget of more than R1,000 million. But all we get from the Opposition are trivialities. This rapidly growing economy of our country demands a lot from the Government as far as the provision of the necessary infrastructure is concerned. Furthermore, it brings about conditions of full employment and also labour shortages. Of course, it also entails the danger of inflation. It is the Government’s job to try to retain the balance and not to spend excessively, thereby encouraging inflation. However, at the same time the Government must provide for the essential needs of the growing economy. The availability of capital is another important factor, also in respect of the Budget we are now discussing.
In spite of the fact that in Natal we have the largest economic growth in South Africa, we cannot actually complain. For the record I may just mention that in the past year we have had a growth rate of 9 per cent. In Newcastle, in particular, we have maintained a growth rate in recent years of as much as 14 per cent, and we did so even before the third Iscor was announced. Natal is heading for tremendous prosperity within the next 10 years. It is calculated that the population growth will be about 100,000 people a year, and that by 1980 we shall have 4½ million people in Natal. In Newcastle alone it is expected that the population will increase from 22,000 to 167.000. Those are the calculations of the town planning committee. We have at our disposal 38 per cent of the Republic’s water potential, and water, as everyone knows, is one of the decisive factors for economic growth. Hence our happiness that the Government has, particularly in the past five years, supplied a particular need in so far as the promotion of Natal’s infrastructure is concerned. The same applies to the S.A. Railways. In the past five years R40 million has already been spent on the construction of a railway line to Richard’s Bay, and R25 million on extensions to Salisbury Island quay. The private sector also made its contribution by putting R137 million into Natal in the past five years. The next phase is the development of the third Iscor at Newcastle, which it is estimated will cost R400 million. Therefore we want to appeal to the Minister and his Department to-day to look after the infrastructure of that immediate vicinity.
There are other factors we must take into account in the employment of capital for the provision of an infrastructure. Since in Natal we have the raw materials, the water, the power and the labour, development could take place reasonably cheaply by comparison with other areas, as a result of the concentrated, compact development.
As far as Newcastle is concerned, the Department of Transport will have to make provision for the development which is now taking place there. The present station is caught up between on the one side the developing town and on the other side the Incandu River. Therefore no expansion worth speaking of could take place there. We know that the Railway Administration is already investigating this matter, but we ask that it should enjoy priority since the planning of the Newcastle project is already in an advanced stage. Thus the steering committee which the Department of Planning appointed to investigate the provisional planning of the town has, for example, already issued a provisional report. And the town planners of the Newcastle City Council have, for example, already drawn up plans for submission. However, we cannot proceed with this planning before we know what the Railways envisages in respect of the new station and the new expansion, because the new railway line will cut through the middle of an existing industrial area. Land has already been sold to industrialists there, and that is why the delay of this planning on the part of the Railways could result in considerable delays as far as the general development of that town is concerned. We are very grateful for the facilities already made available there, i.e. the doubling of the railway line and the centralized traffic control system. The United Party, which is making such a fuss over this very question of the manpower shortage, would do well to come and look at the tremendous saving this mechanization on the Railways and centralized traffic control entail for the country where they are in full operation. Mr. Chairman, I content myself with making this request.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Newcastle who has just resumed his seat, started his speech by accusing the Opposition of bringing this debate “na ’n Iae peil”. Ever since the debate on the Railway Budget started, we on this side of the House have been quoting from the hon. the Minister’s Second-Reading speech. If the hon. member for Newcastle considers this debate to be on “ ’n lae peil,” it must have started on the standard set by the Minister of Transport. I do not believe that it was a bad speech. I believe that the Minister of Trans port set a high standard in his Second-Reading speech and this standard has been maintained by this side of the House throughout this debate. We are naturally taking extracts from the hon. the Minister’s speech which concern not only this side of the House but the whole Railways Administration. A point the hon. the Minister stressed in his speech, was that the Railways at one stage faced a state of near emergency. He added that the position was aggravated by the acute staff shortage which seems to be a hardy annual in this House. He referred to the staff shortage in the bread and butter grades, to use his very words. This is a burning question. We have come here from far afield hoping that we would hear the answer to this question. Many Railway people have told me that they expect Parliament to find the answer. If that side of the House cannot give us the answer, the public will have to give it to us at the very next election. It is not for us to discuss these questions here day after day, and then tell that side how to run the country. We maintain that they are doing a bad job and there is only one answer, namely a change of Government.
The hon. the Minister went on to say that the near emergency was brought about by the serious flu epidemic. I agree with him. We all agree with him. He said furthermore that it was the result of a high traffic demand on the Railways. We know this, but at the same time he mentioned that it was as a result of and due to the lower growth rate of the economy of South Africa that the Railways were to a measure, able to meet the traffic demands on the Administration. It was because of the lower growth rate that this demand could be met, but the hon. member for Newcastle said that we were enjoying a particularly high growth rate. I do not know where he gets his figure from because his own Minister said that there was a low growth rate. We therefore have here a division of opinion from the other side. Coming from the Eastern Cape I can say that we were not merely faced with a near state of emergency. We were in fact in a state of emergency. We were faced with a flu epidemic and what made matters far worse was the fact that we had no coal to bum in ordinary home fires. The Eastern Cape is one of the coldest areas in the whole Republic. With the long winters it becomes very, very cold indeed. One only has to listen to the radio to hear how many passes in the Eastern Cape are snowbound. The people living there have no coal. We were told that this was because there was a shortage of trucks. We accepted this, but has the Government found a solution to this problem? We are going to have another winter following the next summer.
But perhaps not a drought.
Yes, there was and still is a drought too, which aggravated matters. We in that part of the country were in a state of emergency.
There is another problem which concerns us, and that is the amount of overtime which has to be done. Sir, I frequently visit railwaymen in the workshops and the yards. The hon. the Minister said that one will find a dissatisfied railwayman wherever one goes. I do not, however, believe that I should have to find dissatisfaction before I complain in this House about these matters. We should have the necessary knowledge and know-how so that when we see things going wrong, we do not have to wait for the people to complain and become dissatisfied. I have seen when matters are not right in the railway workshops. In my own area, in the yards at East London, I do not hear many complaints, but my common sense tells me that those people are being strained to the limit physically and mentally. They have very long working hours. Those men start work when the hooter sounds at seven o’clock in the morning and they leave work at 4.30 p.m. Including short breaks for tea and lunch, this means that they work for 9½ hours. Very often they are called upon to work overtime as well. I believe it is time for the Government to find a solution to this problem. There is a shortage of trucks and the Railways have had to cancel no less than 13,545 trains during the last 18 months. This was possibly due to a certain extent to the fact that trucks and general rolling stock were not readily available. They could not be moved on to the lines. I know that these trucks often have to wait for long periods before they can receive attention. This is one of the results of the shortage of staff.
Something which causes great concern to us in the Eastern Cape is that, as the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) said, there is really no manpower shortage at all. In the Eastern Cape we have thousands upon thousands of Bantu who have no work at all. They are unemployed. Apparently there is no solution to this problem. I have been here since the beginning of the session and I have not heard one word coming from the Government side which has suggested that there might be a solution to this problem of unemployed in the Eastern Cape, the areas bordering on the Bantustans. This is the so-called “show window”, yet it is a very poor show window, displaying as it does, thousands upon thousands of unemployed. Unfortunately not all of those people are to-day seeking work. We find that the younger Bantu in that area are becoming accustomed to do no work. When the day comes for this side of the House to take command and we then decide that these people have to work, I wonder whether they will know how to go about it. The potential is there and it is for us to decide here to train as many of those people as possible to fill the lower grade jobs, and so possibly allow our white railwaymen to undertake better jobs, at higher wages.
I want to refer to another matter which has not been probed during this debate. That is our road transport service, the R.M.T. First of all, I want to pay tribute to the drivers of those very heavy vehicles. They do not only have to control the vehicles, but they have to drive these vehicles with heavy loads and with long trailers coupled to them. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the people whom I represent in this House to-day, I want to convey my sincere thanks to the Government for the recent announcement that a railway line for the mass transportation of iron ore from Sishen to Saldanha has been approved in principle. This decision by the Government opens several new opportunities for development in areas which thus far have been isolated. Moreover, it immediately highlights the immediate advantages for the north-west Cape in particular, but also for the Republic of South Africa as a whole, of a direct rail link from Sishen to Kuruman and from Kuruman to the Rand. The implementation of this idea means that a new railway line from Sishen via Kuruman will be linked with the existing railway line in the vicinity of Vryburg. From this junction, goods can be transported on the following existing railway lines to the Rand. Firstly, from Fourteen Streams via Bloemhof to the Rand; secondly, from Schweizer-Reneke via Ventersdorp to the Rand; and thirdly, from Vryburg via Mafeking to the Rand. The question whether there will be enough freight for such a railway line, immediately arises. Most of the iron ore and manganese for domestic use will in future be transported from Sishen to Pretoria and Vanderbijlpark. At the moment 43,800 tons of iron ore are transported every week from Sishen to Pretoria and Vanderbijlpark. It is calculated that eventually 10 million tons will be transported annually. This can be transported along this shorter route.
At the moment the Kuruman area is the world’s largest producer of blue asbestos. Of the plus minus 100,000 tons of blue asbestos produced there annually, plus minus 5 per cent is processed domestically, especially on the Rand. The plus minus 95,000 tons exported annually, can be transported on this new line, i.e. from Kuruman via Sishen to Saldanha, from where it can be exported. The northwest Cape also makes a very important contribution towards the provision of red meat to the Rand complex. From the Kuruman district alone, approximately 15,000 head of cattle and 60,000 sheep are sent annually to the controlled markets on the Rand. Indirectly, i.e. from local stock fairs, approximately 25,0 head of cattle and 75,000 sheep go to the Rand market annually. A total of between 3,500 and 4,000 trucks is required for the transportation of this livestock. It must also be borne in mind that half of the approximately 191,000 head of cattle and 153,000 sheep which South-West Africa markets in the Republic, is sent to the Rand. This livestock is transported in approximately 5,000 truck loads, and these can be deflected between Upington and Prieska onto this new route to the Rand. This will not only shorten the distances, but will also mean that the livestock reach their destination much sooner. It does not apply only to the areas from where the animals come, but also to our farmers of the Northern Cape, whose animals must be transported via a long detour to the markets on the Rand.
It has already been mentioned that between 28 and 38 per cent of the farmer’s profit is taken up by railage charges and losses in weight. By the use of this railway line, this loss can be limited to a large extent, if our livestock can be conveyed to the market in a shorter space of time along a shorter route.
Consignments of stock-feed, for example roughage, maize, phosphates and salt are essential for efficient farming in the Northern Cape. These feeds come mainly from the Vaalharts and the Western Transvaal. A direct line such as the one mentioned will save approximately 120 miles in bringing these stock-feeds to Kuruman and other Northern Cape areas. I just want to mention that at present Kuruman’s bus station handles approximately 80 trucks of roughage a month. In addition to this, there are the normal consumer goods as well as supplies for the mines and agriculture. There is also the possibility of new freight. Within a radius of 10 miles from Kuruman there are unlimited quantities of limestone which is very pure and which has a CaCo3 content of 90 per cent. Limestone can be mined economically only if it is done within 10 miles of a railway line. Because of the generally rapid economic growth of our country, and particularly that of the building industry, water schemes and the chemical industry, there will be an increasing demand for limestone. Kuruman can meet this need on condition that a railway line can be provided. Kuruman also has the raw materials to start an asbestos cement industry if such a railway line can be provided.
I also want to mention that Kuruman is situated next to a Bantu homeland. At present this Bantu homeland has a population of 65.0 and it is estimated that by the year 2.0 approximately 126,000 Bantu will be living in the vicinity of Kuruman. The area being set aside there for these Bantu is not large enough to enable everyone to make a living out of agriculture. Employment opportunities will therefore have to be created for these people. If a railway line which can provide the necessary infrastructure can be built there, border industries could also develop there. In this connection I have in mind the asbestos cement industry, for example. Employment opportunities could then be provided for all these people. If there were such a railway line, the Bantu of Kuruman would be enabled to sell their labour at Sishen, where major developments are expected and which also falls in this constituency, and even at Saldanha. Water is not the greatest problem in Kuruman and its vicinity. The VaalGamagara scheme will pass close to the town. In addition, I want to mention that the famous “Eye” at Kuruman provides 4.2 million gallons of water a day at the moment, of which only .4 million gallons are taken up by domestic consumption. I believe that such a railway line, which holds tremendous advantages for us in Kuruman and its surroundings, will, because of its link-up with the Kimberley-Vryburg-Mafeking railway line, result in our neighbouring states, namely Rhodesia and Botswana, having a connection with the harbour on the west coast.
We in that region are grateful for the announcement of the proposed railway line from Sishen to Saldanha, and we see it as a glimpse of the future that this railway line of which I have spoken, may possibly become a reality. We also believe that this region; which at the moment is making great contributions to the economy of South Africa by means of its iron ore, manganese, diamonds, asbestos and limestone, will be further developed in the future.
Mr. Chairman, it is my pleasant duty to congratulate the hon. member for Kuruman on the maiden speech that he has just made. I am sure we all listened with interest to the pleasant delivery which the hon. member accomplished, the extent of research which he had done for the purpose of his speech and the evident knowledge that he has of the constituency which he represents. I hope that he will have a long and pleasant stay in this House.
I want to take a little further the point raised by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) in regard to the allocation of trucks to the sugar industry in Natal. The hon. member mentioned that earlier on in this current season the sugar industry experienced a 40 per cent cut in trucks, a cut which was subsequently reduced to 25 per cent. That is to say, the whole industry in Natal—I speak of the growing section of it—is at the present time receiving 75 per cent of what it requires to deliver to the mills the current cane crop being grown in Natal. This brings about hardship and inconvenience which goes beyond a mere inability to deliver at the present time the whole of the current crop. Cane is delivered to mills over a defined period, which runs from roughly May until December or January. It is bound to be delivered to the mills during that period. What is more, a grower is obliged to deliver at a rateable quantity over the entire season. He cannot do otherwise in terms of the legislation governing the sugar industry.
Now, Sir, there are three sources of feed to any mill in the industry. There is delivery by road, by tramline and by S.A.R. trucks. Because there is a defined length of the crushing season during which the mills are open for the receipt of sugar cane, where one of the sources of delivery to a mill is reduced, as is the case with South African Railways’ trucks at the present time, mills, in order to keep going and to maintain their crushing rate, are obliged to double up or to increase their intake from the other sources, that is to say from those who deliver by road and by tramline. Now the industry is such that if a grower has his farm geared to delivery by one method, that is to say by road, for example, he cannot during the season change to any other method of delivery. This brings about a lack of flexibility in the industry, which is unavoidable. The result of this is that with a cut in rail deliveries at the present time of the season, if it goes on for too long, it could bring about a situation where the alternate sources of supply dry up. A stage could be reached towards the end of the season where the S.A.R. deliveries alone could not supply sufficient cane to keep the mills open. If that stage were reached, the growers who rely on the Railways to get their cane to the mills, would be left with cane on their hands. The varieties of cane grown to-day, by and large, are not such that they can be left to stand over for the following season. If the cane has matured, it has to get to the mills the same season. If it does not, the grower suffers a very substantial loss.
There are other difficulties involved. At the present time the industry is experiencing a high sucrose period. That is to say, the sugar content of the cane is high. Farmers being paid, as they are, on the sugar content of their cane, this adds to the loss which they are suffering, because at a time when they ought to be able to be getting to the mills the maximum permitted, they are being able to deliver, when it is most advantageous to the grower, only three quarters of what they would normally be entitled to deliver. That is not the only difficulty with which the grower is faced. There is the question of the comparative inflexibility which is in the very nature of sugar farming. It is farming which involves a high capital outlay in machinery and equipment and it is labour intensive. One of the difficulties which one meets when one has a cut early on in the season of this kind is that the sugar farmer, in the nature of things, cannot later in the season suddenly double up his production and reaping rate to make up for what he has lost during the present period of a 25 per cent cut. As soon as it rains in the spring—and the rains in Natal come towards the end of September —one finds that the labour tends to go home. There will be a shortage of labour, and the labour will simply not be available to the farmers should the present 25 per cent cut then come to an end. The labour will simply not be available to enable the farmers to make up in the latter half of the season the 25 per cent cut which they are experiencing at present.
Furthermore, because this is farming which in the nature of things is capital-intensive, one simply cannot, if one’s farm is geared through tractors, trailers, lorries and such equipment to a given delivery rate to enable one to deliver rateably over the whole of the seven or eight months’ cutting season, suddenly produce from nowhere additional vehicles, which are expensive, to enable the delivery rate to be doubled up for the latter half of the season in order to make up for what one has lost earlier in the season. The cut at the present time is for an indefinite period. It is causing considerable hardship and the longer it goes on, the greater that hardship will be until the stage might well be reached where it cannot be put right for this season, which means that you will be left with the situation where cane-growers, that section of the industry which relies on S.A.R. deliveries, will suffer irreparable loss. This is material and it is important to a large section of the industry. I hope the hon. the Minister in his reply will be in a position to indicate that he appreciates the seriousness of this matter to a large section of our community and that he will be in a position to give an indication that this state of affairs will very shortly come to an end.
There is one other factor I should like to raise in regard to the sugar industry, and that is the supply of the lattice-work trucks which the Railways are slowly bringing into use, the type of truck which has a metal lattice-work which replaces the loading poles now currently used in the industry. The use of poles for loading causes endless trouble, both to the farmer and to the hon. the Minister’s Administration, particularly where there is electrification involved. The new lattice-work trucks, which are a great success from everybody’s point of view, are coming in at much too slow a rate, and I wonder whether the Minister could not bring about the state of affairs whereby these trucks are brought in at a much faster rate than is the position to-day. Indeed, could such trucks as are available at the present time not be diverted to the lines where electrification is involved? Because it is where there are overhead wires that the industry and the Railway Administration experience untold trouble from the old-fashioned method of using wattle poles for loading. I should like the Minister to give directions that the presently available trucks of the latest lattice-work variety be used not indiscriminately throughout the industry but in those sections of the industry which make use of electrified lines.
Finally, before I sit down, there is at the present time great activity, through the Reserves running from Empangeni to Vryheid, with the building of the new Empangeni-Vryheid line. I wonder whether the Minister will give us an indication as to how that development is going, whether the time schedule is being adhered to and when Empangeni will eventually be linked with Vryheid by a line which is in fact working.
In a country such as South-West Africa, with its magnitude and vastness, transport of necessity plays a very great role. Not only that: in recent years, particularly in the last decade, South-West Africa also developed tremendously, and where development takes place, transport must of necessity also develop. South-West Africa is not only a large area, it is also a remote one. In recent years, as South-West Africa developed, the Railways played an important role there. The Railways also had to keep pace with the rate of development; the Railways had to take the long distances into account and make provision for the larger and the more numerous loads that had to be transported. I am glad to be able to say that the Railways did, in fact, adapt its services to the changing circumstances. I am thinking particularly of the days when the steam locomotives were replaced by diesel locomotives and the rails had to be adapted accordingly. As a result loads could be transported at a greater speed, passengers could be transported more rapidly, and a smaller staff was necessary for this purpose. In that respect the Railways also adjusted itself to the development of the area. Sir, in our age time (has become an important factor. For more than the 50 years I have known South-West Africa—and that is a long time—the Railways have served it. In the days of the old locomotives it was no rarity for the train to be not merely hours late, but days late. In those days it did not make much difference, because there was plenty of time, and we did not mind as long as we could just get that transport. Motor cars were scarce and train transport, particularly passenger transport, was a luxury transport for us. I remember those days, and when I compare the conditions there at that time with the amenities of to-day, I can appreciate the development that has taken place. At that time it was not strange for a train with a heavy load to come to a standstill on an incline. Such difficulties were eliminated by the introduction of heavier and stronger locomotives. For those of us living in remote parts, the trains and the Railways have always been a sign of civilization. We have just heard an hon. member making a plea here for a railway line which he would like to have built. The Railways and its trains carried civilization to the remote parts of our country. For us there the Railways are a definite sign that civilization has reached the point where the train stops. But South-West Africa also places heavy burdens on the Railways. as a result of the distances, and as a result of its changeable climate. Particularly in the southern parts, which I represent here, drought conditions are almost a permanent phenomenon. However, we do not have permanent drought conditions throughout the entire area. The northern part of South-West is indeed the area with the best rainfall, but even here there is a tremendous drought to-day. In fact, the entire area—and it is a large area— has been declared a drought-stricken area today. I cannot remember, in the past 30 or 40 years, ever having seen so much cattle fodder being off-loaded at small stations. There are other contributory factors. For example, today farmers get much greater financial assistance in the form of subsidies and railway rebates. This enables them to purchase more fodder, but at the same time it places greater obligations on the Railways.
But it is not only the Railways that are more heavily burdened; the officials that man the Railways are also more heavily burdened. I am thinking here with appreciation of the officials of the road transport services and of the station personnel of small, remote stations. In my area it is nothing new for road motor carrier drivers to knock farmers up at 5 o’clock in the morning to help them unload. These people are carrying out another service for their country; they do not mind getting up at 4 o’clock in the morning. They do their work themselves, and one can only have a sincere appreciation for the fact that among our people there still work and serve the country without regard to the hour of the day. With them I can appreciate the fact that the hon. the Minister thought of them by increasing their salaries. They are welcome to it because they work for it. I am thinking here of the staff on small, remote places, even in the Namib Desert, where extreme climatic conditions prevail. However inappropriate it may be, I want to quote here what a poet wrote of the Namib Desert. He had this to say—
Mr. Chairman, it is my privilege to-day to congratulate the hon. the member for Karas on his maiden speech. I am sorry that I am not congratulating him in his language. However, I believe that he will accept my congratulation in the language I am speaking, because we all have two languages. What I did appreciate in his speech was the knowledge of his territory, the knowledge of his constituency and his love for poetry which he displayed. I wish him a happy stay in this House for as long as he will be here.
Mr. Chairman, representing the constituency I do, there are certain matters which I must bring to the hon. the Minister’s attention. I can assure him that I will not speak about a harbour at Port Alfred or about a railway line along the coast. We have in that area a large number of Bantu and a particularly large number of unemployed Bantu. The constituency of Albany is a unique constituency in that it is in fact two constituencies. We have the white area and a large portion of completely black area, the Ciskei where it goes down to the sea and on the other side the white area of East London. This debate has lead us to know one fact. That is that the Railways must look to the future for the development of South Africa. Since the Xhosas came down from the North in that area, the Border areas have been the key to the stability of South Africa. It will continue to be so for many years to come. I believe that the Minister should now consider assisting that area in forming an infra-structure that will attract industries in the whole belt between Port Elizabeth and East London. My plea is that the railway line which already goes as far as Grahamstown from Alicedale and then down the coast, should be diverted from Grahamstown through Committees and Peddie to join up with King William’s Town. This is a much more reasonable proposition than the old idea of taking the line along the coast. Taking it along the coast will involve the building of 17 expensive bridges. The coastal area is essentially a farming area because of its high rainfall. There is very little level ground for industrial purposes. The line I am proposing in this request will go through a fairly dry area with a high Bantu population and with a good deal of level ground that is suitable for industrial purposes. It may be argued that there is already a railway line in the form of the Cookhouse/Blaney line. However, there we again go through a basically farming area which is a higher rainfall area than the area through which this proposed line will go. I know that at the moment we have problems as far as water is concerned. But these problems can be overcome. The electricity will be available. The undertaking by Escom to establish electricity supplies between Port Elizabeth and East London will be very easily completed. The Port Elizabeth electricity system will also be connected with the national grid system from De Aar. Therefore the electricity supply will be sufficient. It is highly important that we look to the future and establish our main communication systems there first. I believe that this line would be very important in that we would have direct access to both the ports of the Eastern Cape from which goods manufactured from our own raw materials could be exported. At the same time raw materials could be imported and processed in the factories along this belt. From there they could be forwarded to the main market of South Africa, which is the Reef, along the two main lines. I would earnestly ask the hon. the Minister to consider this question and to consider it very favourably. I believe that the whole future of the Republic of South Africa rests on the stability of providing labour in the Eastern Cape area. I do not want to be misunderstood when I plead for industry in the Eastern Cape area. We on this side of the House have repeatedly said that we stand for decentralization of industry and that industry should be taken into the reserves. We in fact began doing this with the Good Hope Textiles. But, whatever policy is followed in South Africa, this line and this industry will be essential to the economy of this country. It is not only essential for the non-Whites but also for the stability of the white people and the whole of this Republic. If our economic system collapses in the Eastern Cape and the Border the safety of South Africa is in jeopardy. I believe that one of the main essentials to this development will be this railway line.
I also believe that in the new flyover that is being built in Grahamstown near the railway station, provision is being made for a double line whereas at the moment there is only a single line. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he has perhaps foreseen my request and begun planning in this direction. It would be a great thing for the area to know whether or not this is happening.
The old idea of a coastal railway line is completely out. This is accepted by the whole area and the Albany constituency because the Cape Province is building a tarred road along the coast named Trunk Route No. 45. From this road there will be communications with the national road to the North and this proposed line. There is also the proposal of starting a Bantu settlement at Committees where at the moment nothing exists, not even a tarred road. If we could take the line through there it would certainly provide an incentive and a method of transport for moving those people towards industries in the already populated areas such as Grahamstown. Grahamstown, as you know, has been declared a border industry area. Labour has however to be employed from within the Ciskei. The nearest point at the moment is Committees, which is approximately 19 miles away, of which 15 miles is dirt road.
What we had in this Railway debate were the typical methods of attack on the part of the Opposition against the entire transport system, labour and wage structure, the hon. the Minister and the officials. This is an old technique but a technique which does not always work out successfully for them. It is no easy task to demolish the person of the hon. the Minister and the officials which he has at his disposal. In everyday existence it is known that when one is demolishing a building or structure one can injure oneself if the instrument or implement which one is using is not handled carefully. In this connection I want to refer to what happened yesterday and how the United Party, in its demolition attempt, did itself a grave injury. It is psychologically true that when a person finds himself in a position of uncertainty, frustration and doubt in respect of himself, his policy and his conduct, he begins to flounder about. He begins to talk incoherently and grasps like a drowning man at every straw to save himself. Then he unconsciously betrays the feelings which lie hidden in his deeper self. That is what we found yesterday. For me the significance of what the hon. member for South Coast said yesterday lies therein that it was a spontaneous admission of a underlying realization on his part that the integration policy of his party is wrong and dangerous, and particularly so in respect of the employment of non-Whites on the Railways. It was an outpouring of a suppressed conviction which was uttered yesterday in an unguarded moment. It was the incorrect handling of an implement which was intended to demolish and which boomeranged. It proves indisputably that a senior frontbencher of the party, the Leader of the Party in Natal, is opposed in his heart to the employment of non-Whites on the Railways. I want to read out to hon. members precisely what he said: “This is not work which we can place on the shoulders of one of our Bantu”, and he added: “… regardless of how good or how responsible they may be”. I want to congratulate the hon. member for South Coast for his fine leadership of that right wing, and for having indicated to us what some of the people on that side really feel in their hearts about non-white integration.
Mr. Chairman, I have very little time at my disposal, I want to come to one or two matters affecting my constituency. In the first instance I want to thank the hon. the Minister and his Administration for the way in which they have handled the change-over from steam locomotives to diesel. Since Zeerust has an old locomotive yard and we addressed representations in this regard, we appreciate the fact that the change-over is taking place gradually.
I want to express my appreciation in respect of a second matter as well, and by so doing also indicate that excellent service is being rendered. From time to time it happens that a serious shortage of trucks for the transport of fluorspar ore occurs at Lusern station. It sometimes happens that only one day after the matter has been referred to Head Office it is reported by the bodies concerned that the trucks have been supplied. Thank you very much for that wonderful service too.
I come now to matters which I have already submitted to the hon. the Minister but in regard to which a negative reply was received. I am referring to the replanning of Zeerust station. Between the goods yard and the passenger platform there are installations which can easily be removed thus linking the platform of the goods yards to the passenger platforms in an easterly direction. This will entail far greater and more efficient facilities for the loading of trucks out of the goods yard. I would be pleased if attention could be given to this matter.
Then, too, I just want to bring the necessity for a weighbridge at Zeerust station to the attention of the Minister again, because it is extremely important. Representations in this regard have once again been addressed to me after the reply of the Minister was made known. It was put to me that the principal commodity transported from thence is chrome ore. Chrome ore is so tremendously heavy that an overloading of an inch or two can make a difference of tons on a truck, with great losses. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to become involved in an argument with the hon. member for Marico or to refer to the desperate grasping for straws that we have seen on the other side of the House nor the misinterpretation of the speech made yesterday by my colleague, the hon. member for South Coast.
It is not a misinterpretation.
I would advise my friend from Marico, if he can, to read this afternoon’s newspaper, The Argus. Perhaps it will clarify his mind. If necessary, we can deal with this matter later. The hon. member was quoting from a newspaper report which was not an accurate report of what was said. I will deal with that question when I have more time. I cannot do so on this occasion because I only have 10 minutes but there will be another opportunity for me to do so. I also intend to deal later with the question of discipline, but at this stage I want to refer to my challenge to the hon. the Minister in regard to dissatisfaction amongst Railway employees. We have listened for 3½ days to speech after speech from member after member on the Government side, saying that there is no dissatisfaction except from the part of a few people who have been punished and are therefore disgruntled. Generally, hon. members have said, there is no dissatisfaction. I have again to-day received evidence to the contrary from as far afield as Durban and Pietermaritzburg and also from the Cape Town area, by telephone and by telegram. I want to repeat my invitation to the hon. the Minister to put to the test his view against our view. His view is that the only dissatisfaction comes from a few people with grudges and our view is that there is widespread dissatisfaction both over the allocation of the R60 million Langlaagte increase and over service conditions generally. The hon. the Minister has said time and again that there is no dissatisfaction, but yesterday he said—and I have his Hansard here—that he could not appoint a commission because it would sit for years listening to complaints. Then his excuse was that all railway-men have complaints. If they do not have complaints, he said, they are not good railwaymen. What sort of answer is that? Either there is dissatisfaction, in which case we demand that it be investigated, or there is no dissatisfaction, in which case it is difficult to understand how the hon. the Minister can say that he could not appoint a commission because it would sit for years. Does the hon. the Minister deny that he said that it would sit for years? I have the Minister’s Hansard here. There was an interjection by Mr. T. Hickman, as follows: “It will sit for many years.” Whereupon the Minister replied: “Yes, it will sit for many years. Obviously there are railwaymen who are dissatisfied.” Then the Minister goes on to try to talk it away. In this extract the hon. the Minister has admitted that there is dissatisfaction. If there is dissatisfaction, surely we are entitled to demand that it be investigated. Let us get to the root of the dissatisfaction. I shall give him a few examples of the sort of dissatisfaction there is. Is the hon. the Minister aware, for instance, that a clerk gets 26 days leave from his very first year of work, while a driver, after 20 years, gets 21 days leave? I may be wrong; this may not be a correct report, but it is this sort of anomaly which gives rise to dissatisfaction. The hon. the Minister may be able to prove that I am quite wrong, but he must explain to the driver who, after 20 years, gets 21 days leave, why a clerk should get 26 days with far less service. Similarly, a clerk gets a first class free pass whereas a driver has to work for 10 years before he receives a first class free pass for his holidays. I know the Minister is in some difficulty in regard to the shortage of staff in Natal, but how do you think a staff member feels when, working alongside of him, is a man who has been brought in and receives a special allowance of R80 per month more than the man working together with him on the same job? This special allowance is paid to a man who is brought in from outside to work in Natal. They regard living in Natal as such a punishment on workers that they have to pay them a special allowance as “punishment-pay” for living in Natal. This allowance used to be R60, but I believe it has now been increased to R80. The Minister must accept that, while there may be need for an incentive —they get paid this allowance for two years —it creates dissatisfaction when two men work alongside each other, have the same service, the same seniority and do the same job, yet the one earns R60 or R80 more than the other. What is being said is that the middle group, men with six, seven or more years of service are married to the Railways and cannot get a divorce. Therefore the hon. the Minister can afford to treat them with contempt. He can afford not to look after their interests, because he knows they are married to the Railways and cannot get out. These are the things which create dissatisfaction. Now I repeat my invitation to the hon. the Minister and that is to test it with an inquiry.
Then there are some things which to me show a complete lack of logic. I have no time to quote figures, but the hon. the Minister knows that there is a shortage of mechanical transport drivers in Durban. Firms sometimes have to wait because there are no drivers. They have to wait for goods to be collected to be taken to Bayhead. However, if the firm delivers its own goods and hands them over to the platform from its own lorry, with its own driver and with its own labour, then the Government charges it the full rate as though the railways had carted the goods. They do not say that you cannot bring it, but they say that if you deliver the goods to Bayhead, to the goods yards, you will still have to pay the cartage fee as though we had come to fetch it. Therefore, if a firm tries to help the Railways and also save time, they still have to pay for doing the work which the Railways are unable to do because of the shortage of drivers.
Then there are other anomalies. There is no hon. member for Bellville in this House; he is now planning railway lines from Sishen instead of telephone exchanges, but I had a call from Bellville only this morning. The person who ’phoned me pointed out that there are 20 drivers and 20 stokers who have no facilities for themselves except for a dirty little hokkie where they can change. There are facilities for shunters, but for 40 drivers and firemen there is only a little hokkie. There they have to wash in their issue basin; there are no facilities for them at all. Where has the hon. ex-Minister, who was the representative for Bellville, been all these years?
What has he been doing? Has he been talking on the telephone? These are the grouses which one gets time after time. Then there is the question of modernization. Time and again the hon. the Minister says, and the General Manager’s report refers to the fact, that we are modernizing and that we are bringing in new ideas. However, when we suggest new ideas, like conveyor systems which are important equipment in any modern industry to-day, we hear that it is coming. I happened to pass through the tarpaulin sheds at Durban recently. There you have dozens and dozens of people who cart around the tarpaulins by hand where a few simple conveyors and a bit of mechanisation could halve their job. Mechanisation could cut the cost of luggage handling and all sorts of things where, without spending millions, a little bit of expenditure could save a lot of money and give a great deal more efficiency.
I also want to refer to the question of housing at Richard’s Bay. A railway line is being built because there is going to be a harbour. Can the hon. the Minister tell us what steps have been taken to provide housing for the railwaymen who are going to be stationed there? Here I have numerous cuttings which show that the price of land is going up, that housing is going to become impossible in that area and I just want to quote a few: “Zululand prices to soar,” “Housing: Big land deal at Empangeni for housing,” and so on.
What has the Railways done to ensure that there will be housing for the railway employee who is going to be posted to Richard’s Bay? Or, like other railway employees, are they going to go on a 500-long waiting list, hoping for the best until—maybe—some time in the distant future they will be able to get a house? It is not only the public that is being inconvenienced by many of these things, but also staff members themselves. Is the hon. the Minister, for instance, aware that school children on outlying Natal stations, who used to travel by train in the guards van can no longer do so in terms of the System Manager’s staff order reference T.P.2/250 of October last year? Those railwaymen with children at outlying stations in Natal must now either put their children in a hostel and somehow find the money to keep them there, or there must be enough to apply for a school bus, or they must cart the children to school themselves and get the Provincial Council’s allowance for it—neither of which cover it. Here an additional load is placed on the railwayman because they do not have the people to do the job. And who suffers? Not only the users but the railwaymen themselves and also their families. I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether he is prepared to compensate these people living at outlying stations who have to find R40 or R50 per term to keep their children in boarding schools as they are no longer able to send them by train, because there are no guards to serve on those trains, apart from the safety factor. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I understand hon. members want to discuss harbour matters and I will therefore reply to other questions now. I will start with the hon. member for Durban (Point). The hon. member said that the United Party demands that dissatisfaction amongst railway-men be investigated. Again I want to say unequivocally that the staff organizations are quite capable and competent to look after the interests of their members and not necessarily hon. members opposite. I want to say to railwaymen outside that it does their cases no good to run to members of the Opposition and to have their grievances aired in this House.
Is that a threat?
It is not a threat. I only say that it does their cases no good. In other words, if they think that I can be persuaded to take their side by having their grievances aired in this House, they are making a very big mistake. The hon. member can tell them that and I hope that they will listen. The staff organizations are quite competent to look after their members. I take notice of what staff associations tell me, but I take little notice of what hon. members opposite say, because their information is usually wrong. I hope the hon. member will keep this in mind in future.
It is a shocking thing to say.
It is not, and I will say it again. The hon. member can tell railwaymen and they can read what I have said in Hansard. If the hon. member wants to make political capital out of that he is quite welcome to do it.
It is a political statement.
I say again that if the hon. member wants to make political capital out of it he is welcome to do it. I am sick and tired of hon. members opposite making unsubstantiated statements, putting only one side of a case, and airing all grievances, imaginary or otherwise.
*I want to tell the hon. member for Marico that we know nothing about the changes at the Zeerust station. The Management told me that they have received no representations in that connection. My advice to the hon. member is to write a letter in order to bring the matter to their notice. I have already replied to the hon. member on the question of a weigh-bridge.
†The hon. member for Albany asked for the building of a line from Grahamstown to King William’s Town. In regard to the building of new railway lines the position is as follows: No new lines are built unless they are economically justified. That means that the revenue must be sufficient to cover all costs including overheads and interest on capital. Otherwise lines must be guaranteed against losses. We have numerous applications for new lines, but owing to a shortage of funds and manpower we cannot build any new lines, unless they are economically justified or guaranteed lines. That principle, I am afraid, has been, is being and will be applied in future.
*I want to express my appreciation to the hon. member for Karas for his fine words about the railway officials. I appreciate it, and I am sure they will also appreciate it.
†The hon. member for Zululand complained about the shortage of trucks for cane growers. I quite agree with him; there is a shortage of trucks, not only for the cane growers, but for many other loaders as well. I can only give the assurance that my people are doing their utmost to rectify the position as far as possible. It is an extremely difficult period we are experiencing at the present time, for many reasons, which I do not wish to mention again. There are many loaders who are short of trucks. It is not so much that there is a shortage of trucks. In some cases the line capacity is insufficient. The other cases I have already explained. Many trains have to be cancelled owing to a shortage of staff. But I can give him the assurance that everything possible is being done to meet all the loaders and consignors as far as possible in regard to the supply of trucks. In regard to the lattice work trucks, I have just been informed that there are 200 bogies being altered by the Chief Mechanical Engineer. The material is being acquired to execute the work as speedily as possible. I explained in my Budget speech that the Empangeni-Vryheid line is expected to be completed by March, 1975.
*The hon. member for Kuruman also asked for a new railway line to be built from Sishen to Vryburg. What I told the hon. member for Albany a moment ago, applies to this as well. I know it will be a very important line. It will be of great benefit and use to that particular community, but unless it is economically justified, in other words, unless the traffic on that line is sufficient so that the revenue can cover all the expenditure, such a line naturally, cannot be built. But it is something which can always be borne in mind for the future.
†The hon. member for East London (North) spoke about thousands and thousands of Cape Bantu who are unemployed. He said we must train as many Bantu as possible to fill the lower grade jobs. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) dealt with that as well. He also said that there are so many. I think they must first try and convert the hon. member for South Coast.
He is not running the Railways.
No, but he is a very important member of that party. He is the leader in Natal, and of that hon. gentleman. After what he said yesterday, I think that they should come together, if they have not done so this morning. I think that they probably had a caucus meeting this morning. [Interjections.]
Mr. Chairman, just look at the consternation on that side of the House. The saying goes, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”. I think that hon. member must have been on the mat for what he said yesterday. If it was not in the caucus, it was probably somewhere else. Yesterday he attacked me for employing a Bantu as a patrolman on the lines. He said that is not a job for a Bantu, but a white man’s job.
Why did you not accept (his challenge?
The challenge that he would show you where there are decayed sleepers.
But even if there are decayed sleepers, it makes no difference to the principle. What is the hon. member laughing about? What is so amusing about that? He is dealing with the principle.
I am not laughing.
Is the hon. member not laughing? He is making some funny noises. I am speaking about the principle of employing a Bantu to do a certain job. That is what we are concerned about. If that particular Bantu was not able to do his job, he could be replaced by another Bantu, who is more efficient. But he did not ask for that. He said it is a white man’s job.
He said there are white men available.
The hon. member can twist as much as he likes, but he cannot get away from the fact that the hon. member for South Coast attacked me for employing a Bantu in that particular job, as a patrolman, as a ganger. He said that white men could be got if I paid them sufficiently. In other words, he does not want the Bantu to do the job; he wants the white man to do it. Why deny that? When the hon. member was speaking there was a look of consternation on their faces and they did not say a word. I looked at the hon. member for Yeoville and I have never seen an expression such as that on his face. [Interjections.] I say they should first now convert the hon. member for South Coast. He might have put his foot in it. He might have spoken without his book. He might have spoken without getting instructions from the hon. member for Yeoville, but the fact of the matter is that he attacked me for employing Bantu on a certain job. They can deny that as much as they like and they can twist it as much as they like, but that is the fact of the matter, and that is how it was reported even in their own newspaper this morning, in the Cape Times.
That is not a United Party newspaper. It is a Progressive Party newspaper. [Interjections.]
I wonder whether the hon. member will tell me which English-language newspaper supports the United Party.
They support us on some things when they want to, and on others they do not support us. They are all independent newspapers.
Are they all Progressive newspapers? [Interjections.] I said some time ago that the editorial offices were filled with liberals and the hon. member attacked me. Now the hon. member says those newspapers do not support them, they are Progressive newspapers. But whether they support them or not, does the hon. member contend that this report in the Cape Times this morning was a deliberate distortion of what the hon. member for South Coast said? And Die Burger had the same report. They are two separate newspapers—one English and one Afrikaans.
Die Burger contained lies. Die Burger contained factual lies.
Does the hon. member contend that the report in this morning’s papers was a deliberate distortion of what the hon. member for South Coast said?
It did not give a true reflection of what the hon. member said.
When I replied to the hon. member for South Coast yesterday afternoon after he had spoken, why did those hon. members remain so quiet then? Why did they not tell me then that I was misrepresenting what the hon. member said?
He kept on saying that he was referring to a specific instance.
The hon. member was talking about the bad sleepers, but he was talking about the principle. That hon. member apparently does not know what the definition of a “principle” is. That is his trouble. The hon. member for Yeoville is the last man even to talk about principles. I have told him before that I have never met such a slippery member in my life. He will always wriggle out somewhere.
On a point of order, Sir, is the hon. member allowed to say an hon. member is slippery? There must be some limit to what can be said here.
The hon. the Minister may proceed.
I did not know that “slippery” was uparliamentary. [Interjections.]
And that is what you are.
Of course he is slipperty. I said that before. This is not the first time. I said the hon. member was like an eel; you can never get hold of him because he always slips out of your hands. What is wrong with that?
You are trying to get away from it because we called your bluff.
Let me come back to him. I know the hon. member is very concerned about what the hon. member for South Coast said. I know he has upset the apple cart completely, because they had been attacking me for days about the manpower shortage; the hon. member said that there are thousands of Natives unemployed and why do they not get the better-paid jobs? And he said it to-day again. The hon. member for South Coast yesterday attacked me for employing Natives as gangers and as patrolmen. It was the principle he attacked, and if he were honest he would admit it.
It was not the principle and you know it.
It was the principle. [Interjections.]
The hon. member cannot get away from it now. I know he was on the mat this morning.
I shall show you my Hansard; here it is.
I know he was on the mat this morning. I know what he said.
You are a coward.
Order! The hon. member must withdraw the word “coward”.
I withdraw it and I say that the hon. the Minister is a man without any principle in the matter.
Well, I am talking about the hon. member’s principles now and he is running away from it. The hon. member said yesterday afternoon …
Here is my Hansard. Do not talk politics.
I am going to read his Hansard. I call the House and the Press gallery to witness …
Here is my Hansard.
that I was attacked yesterday afternoon for employing Bantu as patrolmen and as gangers.
From Durban to Port Shepstone.
Will the hon. member be quiet for a few minutes? After all, he is an old man; he should know how to behave himself. Let him try to behave himself.
Order! Hon. members must give the hon. the Minister an opportunity to make his speech.
The hon. member is an old, respected member of this House. Does he not know how to behave himself?
Who is misbehaving? You. You are setting the example. You behave yourself and I will follow your example.
Sir, I repeat that that hon. member yesterday unequivocally attacked me for employing Bantu as patrolmen and as gangers.
On the South Coast.
His excuse was that the Bantu could not be trusted because the sleepers were in a bad condition and he wanted to know if I would take the responsibility if there was an accident and I said, “Yes”.
I said I would show you where.
Yes, he said he would show me where and he then asked me whether I would take the responsibility if there was an accident and I said “Yes”. But his whole argument was that I was employing a Bantu. He said there were platelayers who were getting three times the wages of railway gangers from private companies, and he said that they were available if I would pay them more. His argument was that I should not employ Bantu on those jobs. Sir, hon. members opposite must first of all convert the hon. member for South Coast. They must not on the one hand attack me for not employing Bantu in better jobs and then allow one of their members to attack me because I do that.
*I am saying this to the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) and to the hon. member for East London (City).
I am entirely with my party’s policy.
They must not again talk of thousands of Bantu being unemployed, whom I could employ. They must first convert that hon. member.
You will play politics even if it leads to railway accidents.
That is not politics.
Yes, you are playing absolute politics.
Order! I want to appeal to the hon. member for South Coast to make no further interjections.
Tell him to behave himself too.
Is the hon. the Minister prepared to employ Bantu in a signal cabin at Johannesburg station?
If it is necessary and I have the concurrence of the trade unions …
Why the “Oh!”? I have said this before. Why does the hon. member make such a silly ass of himself? I say if it is necessary and I have the concurrence of the trade unions and if they were trained.
If they were trained— that is the whole point.
The question is whether they are capable of doing it. They are doing it in other countries. They are doing it in different African States.
Will you do it here?
That has nothing to do with it; this is a question of principle. That hon. gentleman was complaining and attacking me for employing a Bantu in a certain position. That was the crux of his argument.
*I want to tell the hon. member for Newcastle that improved yard and private siding facilities are being planned at the moment, in collaboration with the municipality, Iscor and other interested parties. A new station and goods depot will also be provided.
†I have already dealt, I think, with the speech of the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District). He said there were no shortages of manpower, but a surplus. He wanted to know how I arrived at the figure of less than 1 per cent unemployment. He said that that only applies to Whites. But the Department of Labour keeps a record of unemployment amongst Whites, Coloureds and Indians. They do not keep records for the Bantu. The employment figure I gave was in respect of Whites, Coloureds and Indians. In other words, there is no unemployment at all according to the figures of the Department of Labour.
Does the Department of Labour also keep unemployment figures for the Bantu?
I believe so; I do not know—you had better ask them. The Department of Bantu Administration deals with Bantu labour and if the hon. member wants to know what the unemployment figure in respect of Bantu is, he should ask that department.
*The hon. member for Vanderbijlpark spoke about the conveyance of Bantu by train to and from their work. This is a matter which is at present being investigated by an interdepartmental committee which consists of representatives of various departments and has to make recommendations in connection with the building of railway lines. As the hon. member knows, those railway lines are guaranteed by the Treasury—in other words, the Railway Administration is compensated for all losses suffered by it on those services.
The hon. member for East London (City) spoke about shins waiting at the grain elevator for grain. The reason for that is not always that there is not enough maize. It often happens that ships accumulate because they do not always arrive at the appointed time, so that on many occasions quite a few arrive simultaneously. This leads to delays. At present we are experiencing difficulties in getting all the grain to the harbour. I understand, however, that the position has improved considerably and that there are no more delays. As regards the dust given off by the grain elevator, I am informed that tests have been carried out and that quite a number of improvements have been made. For example, air purification has been installed at the conveyor belt in order to extract the dust. But apparently dust comes off the ship where the maize leaves the chute to fall into the hold of the ship. Although this causes less dust, it does cause inconvenience. But we can do nothing about it.
Furthermore, the hon. member again tried to play me off against my colleagues as regards the employment of non-Whites. Let me make it clear that what I am doing is in accordance with Government policy. The controlled employment of non-Whites in certain jobs for which Whites cannot be found is Government policy. Probably my colleague will also announce this in his Budget speech, because it is a fact. In other words, what I am doing on the Railways, is Government policy and not only the policy of the Minister of Transport. We take joint responsibility for that.
We are glad to hear that.
Heads put and agreed to.
Heads Nos. 18 to 25.—Harbours, R29,924,000 (Revenue Funds), and Head No. 5, R6,018,200 (Capital and Betterment Works).
Yesterday the hon. Minister gave me a fairly full reply to certain points I raised in connection with the ore exporting business in this country. I thank him for that because this matter has tremendous interest for many people in this country. Hence, the more clarity we have about this matter, the better it will be for all concerned.
Looking through the Railway Budget at the appropriation for Harbours, I see from the Brown Book that there is a very small allocation of funds for the development of the Port Elizabeth harbour. The total estimated expenditure is in the region of R1 million. Mr. Chairman, with this port working very near to 75 per cent of its capacity, I think the time has arrived that the Administration should give us a clear idea of what plans they have in mind to keep this port in a position to deal in the future with the additional traffic which it may well be called upon to handle. The Port Elizabeth harbour serves a very important agricultural area in South Africa. It is the biggest wool exporting harbour. The deciduous fruit industry in the Langkloof area is expanding very rapidly. We have every hope that with the completion of the Orange River project the water that comes down the Fish River and the Sundays River valley will greatly contribute to expanding the citrus industry in that area. Despite Government policy and due to the ingenuity of our manufacturers, the manufacturing industry is also expanding and the motor industry is going ahead. I expect that the growth rate of exports from the Port Elizabeth harbour will exceed 2 per cent and it may well be in the region of 4 per cent. Since already 75 per cent of the capacity of that harbour is already used, we are interested to know what the Administration has in mind for the future development of that harbour. In his reply yesterday, the hon. the Minister told me that the present ore terminal will remain for a long time. Does the hon. the Minister visualize that the ore berth in the Port Elizabeth harbour will continue to function despite the Saldanha Bay harbour being in operation when it is established? I am not sure what the hon. the Minister meant in his reply in this regard. Does he perhaps intend that that berth will be used solely for the export of manganese which normally is exported in smaller vessels? I should like to pose a question to the hon. the Minister. In the event of there not being sufficiently big orders placed in respect of iron ore overseas, which are necessary for the Saldanha project, will private enterprise, if it so wishes, have the Government’s blessing if it decides to go ahead with developing the St. Croix project as has been so often discussed? There are people who are very interested in this project and I presume that they will enjoy the Government’s blessing if they undertake this project. In developing our ore trade with Japan and also with the Western countries one poses the question whether it may not be a sensible arrangement to develop the relatively cheaper St. Croix project. With a ready-made harbour that will be in a position to export ore on a far greater scale than the present terminal, it may be that it is sound argument that we will be in a stronger position to bargain with overseas buyers of iron ore. If the St. Croix project is brought into operation, we can be involved in a very short space of time, say in a matter of two years, in big business in respect of this ore export trade. On the other hand, if we were to wait for the Saldanha project, it may well be that we will have to wait five or possibly 10 years before we can involve ourselves in exporting ore in any great quantity. This makes a very strong case for developing the St. Croix terminal as a medium term project while we await the bigger project at Saldanha Bay. I therefore think that a very strong case can be made out for this in the country’s interests. I believe that this is a matter that should be dealt with entirely on the basis of what is in the best interests of the country. As I see it, it is in the country’s interests to have a medium term project which St. Croix does offer at very little expense to the State. The position would then be, that is when the St. Croix project is developed, that the present ore terminal would be used to export ore up to about 5 million tons per annum, which, with the available capacity we are getting on the rail lines of Port Elizabeth, that terminal can well handle. It is well in keeping with the demands we have for our ore at the present time. But when we have orders for more than 5 million tons, we may phase in the St. Croix project which could deal with ore exports in the region of 15 million tons. It appears to me that at that stage the new line from Sishen to Saldanha may be completed and it will then be the appropriate time to phase in the Saldanha project. I hope that the Administration, in the country’s interests, takes a further look at the benefit which the St. Croix project can well mean to the whole economy of the Republic.
There is a further matter which I should like to raise with the hon. the Minister. In the event of the St. Croix project being developed and there is no further need for the present ore terminal in Algoa Bay, will the Administration not give serious consideration to developing the present ore berth or converting it to a berth suitable for the handling of containerized traffic? I am led to believe that Algoa Bay or Port Elizabeth is not being considered at present for containerized traffic. I do feel that Port Elizabeth has a very definite stake and a very definite claim to be considered for containerized traffic. When this present ore terminal is no longer needed for the export of ore, because of the development of the St. Croix project, the Administration may well consider using the present ore terminal for containerized traffic. I think it is correct to say that the fruit and citrus industries in the Langkloof are to be considerably expanded. These are products that lend themselves very well to be exported in a unitization or containerization system. I therefore believe that the need for containerization facilities at Algoa Bay are in fact very necessary. I feel that these matters deserve consideration. I do not think that Port Elizabeth has really benefited from Government policy. In fact I think it is true to say that we have suffered considerably as an area and as a region as a result of Government policy. I want to be circumspect and to say to the hon. the Minister that there are matters to which he could give consideration in order to help build up the economy of that particular area. *
Mr. Chairman, I cannot agree with the hon. member for Walmer that Port Elizabeth and its environs have suffered so greatly under the Government’s policy. A moment ago he himself admitted that there has always been good progress. If a state of uncertainty among our people really was created about industrial expansion, I want to blame that party and their Press because of their sustained campaign against this Government’s attempt to protect our large centres against engulfment up by a black flood-wave. Their sustained attempt created a psychosis which makes people un certain about the future. It was not the Government’s policy that did it. This Government’s policy has always resulted in people having confidence in this country and in industrial expansion taking place.
I should also like to come back to the question of the development of Saldanha Bay as a future harbour for the export of ore. I must say at once that I was very disappointed when that announcement was made, because, as a propagandist for the St. Croix scheme, I tried very hard to ensure that the choice fell on St. Croix. However, I reconcile myself to that because I know that this decision was only taken after very mature deliberation and a thorough investigation, and that it was taken in the best interests of this country as a whole. The members of that party must still realize that this Government does not think small. This Government is not limited in its thinking. This Government thinks big and has vision for the future, and therefore it will still become apparent that the country will benefit greatly from this development at Saldanha. Saldanha is the loveliest and the best natural harbour on our coast. For almost three centuries it has been lying and waiting for development. We believe that it could mean a tremendous amount to us. However, in all humility I also want to point out that Saldanha is not a natural growth point. It will cost a tremendous amount of money to develop Saldanha. Yesterday the hon. member for Yeoville waxed lyrical here about the Japanese who will now develop Saldanha for us. In an article that appeared in the Cape Argus of 5th August, Mr. L. A. Barac, a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town, expressed certain misgivings about the scheme. He specifically pointed out that a tremendous amount of money would have to be pumped into Saldanha if the Government thinks that it should be developed as a growth point. This is a matter that must also be taken into consideration. Although the Government has given preference to the development of Saldanha, there are two requirements that must be met. Iscor must find sufficient long-term contracts to make the scheme worthwhile, and sufficient capital must also be found, i.e. more than R300 million for the construction of the railway line and the development of the harbour. The question is whether Iscor can meet this requirement, and if so, how long will it take before such a scheme will be completed. According to the reports we saw in yesterday’s newspapers, and in this morning’s Burger, it does not look as if the deputation met with immediate success in Japan. We read that Mr. Coetzee said that the contracts would possibly be signed before the end of the year. We who know Orientals and the Japanese know that they are very slow negotiators who tax one’s patience. It may yet be much longer than the end of the year before those negotiations are concluded. But let us suppose that those contracts are concluded and that the necessary capital will be found for this gigantic scheme. We must remember that this is a tremendously big development scheme. The country has probably not yet grasped the enormity of the project. Even if those contracts are concluded, and the necessary capital is found, we must still ask: How long will it take before the railway line is constructed, before the Saldanha harbour is developed and before the first load of ore can be exported? I do not know, but I think it will be more than 10 years. The question now arises: What must be done in the meantime? In recent years there has been tremendous expansion in the international ore trade. In 1950 the international ore trade was a mere 33 million a year. In 1965 it was already 188 million tons a year. By calculation it will be about 400 million tons a year in 1980. With the tremendous increase in international steel production this ore trade will constantly be increasing. International steel production is to-day calculated as 600 million tons a year. By 1977 it will, by calculation, be something like 780 million tons a year. Because of the fact that Japan, which is the third largest producer of steel, has to import every ounce of its ore, it will become a very great purchaser of ore. The indigenous ore resources of Western European countries are gradually becoming exhausted. They will have to buy more ore as well. At present we have nearly inexhaustable ore resources. It is calculated that we have about 10,000 million tons in the Postmasburg area alone, but we must also remember that there is a tremendously competitive market in the world. This is not the only country that has ore of good quality for export. In Australia the ore is very much more conveniently located. The ore mines are situated very much nearer to their coasts. According to reports Australia has already concluded contracts with Japan for about 400 million tons of ore for the next 15 years. Brazil, Peru and Chile, all South American countries that have already, since 1966, supplied Western European countries with 10 million tons a year, have already concluded contracts with Japan, for the next ten years, amounting to something like 300 million tons. As a result of the fact that our ore must be transported long distances by train, because our loading installations are limited and also because at present the ore quay at Port Elizabeth cannot take ships with tonnages exceeding 45,000, our delivery price in Japan is about 3 dollars a ton higher than that of Australia and the South American countries. The question now arises: Must we now continue with the present set-up until Saldanha is developed one day? This may take a long time, and I do not think that we shall be able to conclude competitive contracts, as a result of the price at which we have to export our ore, and particularly as a result of the fact that we cannot accommodate large ships in the Port Elizabeth harbour. The greater the tonnage of the ore ship, the lower the price at which that ore can be transported. Therefore we shall have to expand, either the present ore quay or the St. Croix scheme. I want to associate myself very seriously with the hon. member for Walmer. I want to ask that the St. Croix scheme should in any case be considered for development, notwithstanding the Saldanha scheme. This could then be done as an interim measure, because it may take from 10 to 15 years before that scheme is completed. According to calculations very large ships will be able to moor behind St. Croix Island. The ore could be transported from the coast to the boats on a 2½ mile long conveyor belt. Very large ships could therefore be loaded. We shall then be able to supply cheaper ore. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, if a maiden speech by a new member of this House may be described as an ordeal, then let me say that I found considerable solace and comfort from the words of the hon. Leader of the House which he wrote as a foreword to a book of maiden speeches which have been made in this House, namely “Oes van ses-en-sestig”. The hon. the Leader of this House said, inter alia: “I have a great deal of sympathy with a member making his maiden speech. He is warned in advance what he may say and what he may not say. He is warned that the contents should not give offence and should not be contentious. His wife may be sitting in the gallery, his constituents will be listening with interest to what he has to say. The new member indeed has to face an ordeal by fire.” I am sure that it will not be out of place if I say that to-day I am filled with a sense of occasion and a sense of humility, and that it will be my earnest endeavour to maintain the high dignity of this great South African institution at all times. It is also a privilege to say that I have taken the place of Mr. Jack Connan and to pay tribute to my predecessor, who, I believe, was a great Parliamentarian and who still is a great South African. We all wish him well in his retirement.
To-day I wish to plead on behalf of a growing industry and the large body of yachtsmen in this country for improved facilities in the major harbour complexes of our South African coastline. In case it may be thought that this is a parochial matter, may I immediately put it in its right perspective by saying that yachting throughout the world and the industry connected therewith, is one of the fastest growing in the Western countries? I want to give a few vital statistics. In the Americas 43 million people are yachting to-day. There are 8 million yachts, 600,000 of which are oceangoing yachts, and the expenditure in 1969 on yachts and co-ordinated facilities was 3,300 million dollars. It was Sir Francis Chichester who, on his epic voyage around the world, and his rounding of Cape Horn, drew the attention of the world at large to the capabilities of modern sea-going yachts, but in South Africa it was a small group of South Africans, all of whom are yachtsmen, who built a yacht in this country, financed it, and one of whom skippered it in the single-handed trans-Atlantic ocean race in 1968. This was the race in which Bruce Dalling, that great South African sportsman, came second and brought lustre to the name of South Africa by his integrity, his endeavour and his achievements. It was this that caused the population explosion in this country in yachting. To-day it is an industry where more and more people are finding recourse to the sea as an outlet for sanity in a world which is becoming more and more over-populated.
However, if I may say so, there is an additional factor which draws the attention of South Africans to this great industry. When this House reassembles next year, a race will have started between two of the most lovely cities in the world, namely Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro. This race is organized by South Africans and it is drawing so much attention that there will be competitors from the cities of Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and even Windhoek. Indeed, sportsmen from all over the world will be sailing in this classic, when men will be pitting their integrity, their endeavour and their ability against the wild Atlantic waves and against the elements themselves.
I know that the incidence of this race will bring to South Africa increasing support by way of tourism. May I say that private enterprise having recognized the need for these yachting facilities, there will be a yacht harbour constructed on the False Bay coast in the foreseeable future together with a marina which will provide for some 10,000 persons and for the mooring and harbouring of up to 1,700 yachts up to 75 feet in length. Yachtsmen from all over the world will come to us to enjoy these amenities, but yachtsmen are restless souls. They want to spread their sails and to visit far horizons. These yachtsmen will want to use the ports that we have around our coast. They will want to winter in Saldanha Bay and they will want to anchor in Richard’s Bay. It is unfortunate that to-day. with this great race about to take place off the Cape coast, the harbour facilities which we have to offer are pathetically inadequate despite the wonderful support which is being given by the harbour authorities, by the Cape Town City Council and by the Navy. It is for that reason that I put forward this plea on behalf of the yachting industry for a recognition of their needs in all the ports in this country. If it is thought that I am merely pleading on behalf of a privileged few, such as press barons, industrialists, Parliamentarians and politicians, let me say that in yachting, although the skippers may have to be men of means and money, they sail side by side with office boys and mechanics joined in a common endeavour to beat the elements and to survive. *
Mr. Chairman. I want to avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate the hon. member for Gardens most sincerely on the maiden speech he has just made here. What we have in common is that we both live in the Peninsula, and I have known the hon. member for some years. He is a man who has proved himself in the business and industrial world, and I think he has an intimate knowledge of the conditions in Cape Town harbour. I think as far as this matter is concerned, he will be able to make a special contribution in this House during the years which lie ahead. I think he acquitted himself well of his task here to-day. The hon. member has an easy manner of putting his case. We know from experience that he is a man who is a ready speaker. He has the talent and the aptitude, and we believe that he will also be able to make a contribution for this area in this regard in this House. I cannot praise the hon. member too much, because I may come to regret it later! [Interjections.]
As a representative of this area and as someone who grew up very close to the sea, I think it is my duty to point out that our harbours are an important factor and play an important role in our entire system of transport and that theirs will be an increasingly more important share in future. When we look at the results of the past financial year, we find that although the transportation of goods showed a very small increase on that of the previous financial year, our harbour traffic was the deciding factor in balancing the Budget and in enabling a surplus of R27 million to be shown. This can be ascribed to the fact that our imports resulted in an increase of 2.2 million tons in our harbour traffic over that of the previous financial year. This harbour traffic is high-rated traffic and this resulted in an advance of high-rated traffic of all the services to such an extent that it again exceeds 16.6 per cent. This small percentage of high-rated traffic is very important, because so much revenue is derived from it that it helps the Railways to a certain extent to balance its books. In addition, I want to point out that over the past few years up to the present time, we have spent R136.4 million on capital investments in our harbours and that we spent R4.4 million in capital expenditure on expansions to our harbours in the past financial year. This is worthwhile, because we see that revenue derived from our harbour traffic amounted to R46.6 million for the past financial year, as against expenditure of R27 million. This means that we derived a valuable surplus for balancing the books of our services.
I want to say how grateful I am for what is being done to expand our harbours and to create facilities in our larger harbours, like Durban, but also in Cape Town in particular. In the new dispensation which will come about as a result of the establishment of the complex at Saldanha, Table Bay harbour will not become less active in future. Table Bay harbour will play an even larger role in shipping than before, for the very reason that this new traffic point is being created at Saldanha. I just want to point out that the Minister, with the vision he undoubtedly has, is creating the necessary facilities in Cape Town harbour. A tanker berth has just been completed at an estimated cost of R12.4 million. This is a very important factor, especially for the larger tankers which sail round the coast. A repair pier from Berth N was completed at an estimated cost of R1.6 million. The first stage of the new harbour scheme is at present under way. The costs of the work will be approximately R14 million. As far as pre-cooling facilities are concerned, changes and improvements were made at Berth B which amounted to no less than R2.8 million.
It is essential that we do not overlook the strategic importance of Table Bay harbour. Even in times of military activity Cape Town harbour will play an important part in respect of our exports and imports in future. I want to point out that our Administration and Management should see to it, with the coming developments which we hope will take place at the right place, namely Saldanha, that Table Bay harbour will benefit as well. I disagree with my hon. friend from Port Elizabeth on this point. Saldanha is the place. Saldanha will be a new growth point and a new stimulus in the Western Province. But it will give Table Bay an injection as well. Therefore we must not fail to ensure that the facilities at Table Bay harbour are adequate. I foresee that we shall make more provision in Table Bay harbour for smaller repairs to ships, also to bigger ships. Our Management should give timeous attention to these matters. But I want to express my appreciation of the fact that in this whole project, capital appropriation for the expansion of Table Bay harbour is not being withheld.
Mr. Chairman, it is not often that we on this side of the House have the opportunity of approving of a speech of the hon. member for Parow, but on this occasion he was both courteous and factual. It gives me great pleasure to say that I approve of everything that he said, and more particularly the last portion of his speech, where he pleaded for additional facilities in Table Bay Harbour.
I should like to refer to the Minister’s Second-Reading speech, the Hansard of which I have had an opportunity to read. I should like to thank him for the clear statement that he has made, to the effect that if a consortium of ship repairers and ship owners is formed in Cape Town and in Durban, he will, if possible, make space available to them to enable them to erect dry drock facilities.
Not in Cape Town, in Durban.
Well, I should like to make an appeal to him to consider Cape Town as well for the reasons that I will now give him.
Yes, but there is no space in Cape Town.
Before doing this, Sir, may I refer to his statement that I quoted incorrect figures regarding harbour developments when I spoke during the Second-Reading debate. The figure that I quoted, was actually that of R55 million spent over a period of 13 years. I said R55.8 million. In fact, I should have said R58.5 million. Those figures he will find on page 79, in paragraph 634 of the Marais Report, where it is stated that over a period of 13 years only R58.5 million has been spent on major harbour repair work.
We have been spending more than R50 million in Durban alone on the two piers.
Mr. Chairman, as to his remarks about its being uneconomic to spend R40 million or R50 million—his figures —on providing dry dock facilities in Cape Town or in Durban, I would like to say to him that his supposition that in Cape Town there would have to be a deepening of the waters in Table Bay is factually incorrect.
If a loaded tanker comes in for repairs, we have to do it.
That is exactly my point. A loaded tanker does not come in for dry docking facilities. It is an unloaded tanker which comes in for dry dock facilities.
The Minister said further that big tankers use their terminal ports for repair facilities, and here again he is incorrect. It is not done in the terminal ports. The tankers actually use Singapore or Durban. They do not use their terminal ports. There is a reason why repairs, for example, cannot be done in European ports, namely that they take some 10 to 14 days to get “gas free”, as they call it, after unloading and that is why Lisnave is now proving popular for repairs and dry-docking facilities for tankers, because it gives them five or six days’ grace between their European port and the Portuguese harbour. It would be far better if facilities were provided for dry-docking for those tankers and the provision of repair facilities here in Cape Town because it is some 10 to 14 days before a tanker can be degassed and that would be the period approximately they take from the European ports to get to Cape Town.
I should like to bring one or two other matters to the Minister’s notice. The first is that there is no set berth in Table Bay Harbour where ships requiring fuel get any form of priority. That is why over the last two weeks we have seen that the San Duval has been waiting for three to five days, the Rox-borough Castle for at least four days and the Reza Shah the Great for 5½ days, waiting for fuel out in the roadstead. I would like to ask him whether there is any reason why an oiling barge cannot be provided similar to the one provided in Durban. I know what his answer is going to be. It will be that the oil companies must provide this oiling barge. But I wonder whether he has taken any steps to ask the oil companies to provide this very necessary facility. In addition there is no oil storage tank near the tanker basin which ships could use if the berths were empty. Once again I suppose he will say that the oil companies should provide the oil storage tank, but I would like to ask him what steps he is taking to encourage the oil companies to establish such an oil storage tank.
They just sell the oil.
As to tug boilering, the Minister will be aware of the fact that in the John X. Merriman the four coal boilers have recently been condemned. This was a wonderful opportunity for the John X. Merriman to be modernized and brought up to date, particularly if a pair of bridge-operated diesels were to be installed. But instead of that, what has happened? Tenders have been called for the installation of three new oil-fired boilers.
Otherwise you will have to change all the machinery and take everything out.
Those boilers will only be installed after an 11-month delay in South Africa and a 15-month delay if they are ordered from the United Kingdom. I would like to ask him also whether he has given consideration to the possibility of diesels being put into the two pilot tugs, the R. A. Leigh and the S. G. Stevens. I believe it is correct to say that their usefulness would be doubled if diesels were installed.
In conclusion, I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to the coal ship, the Johan Hugo, which brings coal from Lourenço Marques to Durban and to Cape Town. Its carrying capacity is the equivalent of 300 trucks of coal. He knows that it was designed and it was built in Japan about six years ago to S.A. Railways and Harbours’ specifications, but does he know that the Johan Hugo at the moment in inclement weather is reduced to five or six knots and in the most favourable conditions possible it can only do nine to ten knots? It only has a horsepower of 2,850, and this is really only half the engine power required for the carriage of coal. Does he know that coal is loaded into the Johan Hugo in Lourenço Marques in approximately 36 hours when the coal is available and the trucks have brought the coal to Lourenço Marques, and does he know that to unload the same coal here in Cape Town takes five or six days?
You only have grabs with which to do it. You cannot do it any other way.
I would like to ask him whether it is not possible for there to be in Cape Town some form of mechanical discharging system for the coal in the Johan
There is no system.
Does he know also that the Johan Hugo in Lourenço Marques on its last voyage had to be brought alongside by tugs and by pilots no fewer than five times, because the coal was not available, because it had not been brought to the docks at Lourenço Marques to be put into the ship, and what delay and expense it caused? Does he know that in the ship’s company of the Johan Hugo there is no continuity of service, that there are masses of resignations, especially among the engineers, and as a result the engine plant of that ship is hammered by new and inexperienced engineering staff? Does he know that there are no spares available for the Johan Hugo and that three valves have been made up by local engineers because spares on order from overseas take up to a year to be delivered? Does he know that there is dissatisfaction with the pay and the working conditions, and does he know that one of the causes for dissatisfaction is the fact that Europeans are having to do the work of deckhands, and if it were possible for that work to be done by non-Europeans that would be welcomed by the crew? It is the sort of work which is done in Port Elizabeth and in Durban by non-Whites, so why can it not be done also in the Johan Hugo?
The Marais Commission Report has recommended that Harbours should be separated from Railways and Airways. I think that one can say fairly that perhaps more detailed consideration could have been given to this matter by the commission. I would like to make an appeal to the Minister to consider the appointment of a commission specifically charged with the responsibility of ascertaining Whether it would be wise or unwise to divorce the Harbours from the Railway Administration.
I do not wish to quarrel with the hon. member for Simonstown in connection with his pleas for dry docks. He seems very sure of his facts and I like a man who is sure of his facts. But I read in the newspaper that the hon. member once made a serious mistake during the election when he was also sure of his facts, and now I only hope he made very sure of his facts to-day.
That was the court’s decision.
I am just standing up to complete my speech of a while ago. I just want to point out the advantages of the development at St. Croix to the hon. the Minister once more and I again want to emphasize that we find no fault at all with the development of Saldanha. I personally, and my colleague from Port Elizabeth (North) who is sitting next to me, think that it is a wonderful opportunity for development in this country, a very ambitious scheme which is equal to the Orange River scheme and other great schemes and which will also be a monument to this Government until the end of time.
There is another argument, however, that this scheme must not and cannot be tackled over-hastily because it will require a tremendous amount of capital, because it must create a new growth point and because there must be very thorough planning and will therefore take a long time to complete. This St. Croix development scheme can take place much sooner, according to the calculations of the company which made the survey, i.e. 40 months or 3 to 3½ years. In other words, at this stage already we will be able to conclude contracts of up to R15 million tons a year for delivery in three or four years’ time. This scheme will be relatively cheap too; R28 million is not really very expensive and as far as I can ascertain, the Railways, with the new type of truck which they are taking into service and as a result of the straightening of the railway line in the Noupoort area, can already deliver 10 million tons annually. If the loading installation is improved and if there is accommodation for large ships, we can export iron ore at a competitive price and earn foreign exchange. This scheme will not be labour-intensive either, because it will mainly be a mechanical conveyor belt that will be used and not much labour will be involved. All that will be necessary will be to build a railway line of approximately five miles long from the present one to the coast. An important aspect of this scheme is that it is far removed from the present residential areas, because this ore dust is a nuisance and dirties everything in the vicinity. St. Croix is quite a few miles outside the city and there is enough storage space, while we at the moment have a serious lack of storage space at the ore quay. Sir, as the hon. the Minister said, this matter has not yet been investigated in all its details; models have not yet been built, etc., but a very thorough survey was carried out by the firm Soros Associated International Engineering. I have a very bulky report which contains details about tides, water depths, wind, waves, ocean currents, silt, etc. The initial work has therefore been done and the underwriters of this scheme are absolutely convinced that it will work—it is working in Australia and elsewhere—and that it can be implemented to the great advantage of the country. Even if Saldanha comes into operation in a few years’ time and can export ore, a loading berth such as this would always be very useful on our long coastline. Since the closure of the Suez Canal our harbours have all been overloaded and ships lie and wait outside, and since one can virtually load and unload ships on the open sea here, it can always be used to great advantage.
I want to reply to the hon. member for Algoa immediately. It will be useless to build the St. Croix scheme as well as Saldanha for the simple reason that Saldanha can provide many more facilities than St. Croix. Most of the ore will therefore go through Saldanha. It is estimated that just building St. Croix, i.e. the conveyor belt to the island and the berth there, will cost R28 million. In addition, the carrying capacity of the railway line will have to be increased. At the moment a maximum of about 3½ million tons can be transported. By means of the larger ore trucks which are now on order, it will be possible to transport 6 to 7 million tons on that line, and once centralized traffic control has been introduced between Noupoort and Cradock, the capacity will be increased to 12 or 13 million tons a year. But if one has Saldanha as well, it will be useless to have two ore harbours which make special provision for the loading of these large mass-shipment vessels. If Saldanha is not built, St. Croix will come into consideration again. As far as the ore facilities at Port Elizabeth harbour are concerned these will still be used for some time after Saldanha has been built, but they will be used less and less in the course of the years, because the heavier the demand for ores and manganese becomes, the more they will be transported through Saldanha, for the Saldanha Bay railway line has the advantage that there will be very little other traffic on that line. There is not much other traffic which can be transported there. Consequently it will be mainly ores which will be sent down in block loads to Saldanha Bay. The turn-around time will be very short, much shorter than in the case of Port Elizabeth. Moreover, much heavier trains can be run there with fewer staff. For example, to run a 6,000 ton train to Port Elizabeth, you need about four electrical units, while in Saldanha one needs only three. In other words, if you take Saldanha and you run trains of 8,000 to 10,000 tons, you will need fewer staff than you will need for a similar tonnage to Port Elizabeth, because more trains will have to run in the latter case. Saldanha Bay also has many other advantages over Port Elizabeth. The Port Elizabeth line is already quite busy, because we have a lot of other traffic on that line as well. It would therefore be useless, as I have said, to tackle both schemes, i.e. St. Croix as well as Saldanha. As far as Saldanha is concerned, once the contracts have been concluded, the finances are available and there are enough contractors, it should not take longer than four to five years to complete the scheme from the day on which they commence building the railway line, the bridge and the harbour, and not 12 or 13 years as my hon. friend over there said, i.e. if the contractors can be obtained, if enough contracts are put out and if they can all start immediately. It will of course take much shorter to build the St. Croix scheme. With the centralized traffic control I think it will be possible to complete the line between Cradock and Noupoort within about two years, and if they start with the ore loading facilities at St. Croix, these will not take so long to complete either. But there is one difficulty in connection with St. Croix, and that is that it would be a calculated risk to use St. Croix for the loading of ore ships. No hydrological tests have been made yet, and before a harbour is built, tests usually have to be made by the C.S.I.R. over a long period in order to establish where the best place is to build it, where the entrance of the harbour must be, where the breakwater must be and what the use of that particular harbour or berth will be. Take Richard’s Bay, for example. They have been carrying out tests for more than a year already. We expect to receive the report in August next year only. Nothing like this has ever been done in connection with St. Croix. The consulting engineers said that there would be approximately an 80 per cent occupation of that berth, but this is doubtful. As hon. members know, Port Elizabeth sometimes has a very stormy sea and very strong winds, and they do not know what effect these will have on the conveyor belt as well as on the berth. St. Croix will not be a protected harbour. It will merely be a berth with a short breakwater to deflect the strongest waves. As I have said, it is a calculated risk which has not been tested at all. If one had to switch over to St. Croix, it would be essential that the necessary tests first be carried out with models before any decision was taken, and this has never yet been done. I myself do not know whether that conveyor belt will be able to withstand the heavy seas; the whole undertaking is a calculated risk, but nevertheless I say that if the Saldanha Bay scheme should fall through, it must be very clearly understood that the Government does not have the money to finance the building of that line.
We need our capital—at least I do—for the normal expansion of the Railways and I cannot obtain enough for this. I need much more capital than I can obtain, and it is not the Treasury’s fault. My colleague just cannot obtain more capital. To-day one cannot borrow overseas any more. Overseas countries such as Germany from which we were able to obtain capital in the past are now themselves borrowing from other countries. We must fall back on our own country, South Africa, in order to obtain capital. When my colleague obtains capital, all the other Departments also lay claim to it. I cannot take all the capital for the Railways. Take my colleague, the Minister of Posts and Telegraphs, for example. His work is just as important as the Railways, because communications are absolutely essential and the infrastructure must be expanded. He is struggling as much as I am to obtain capital. Therefore we cannot spend capital on an ore harbour and a railway line to Saldanha. I said from the start that it must be financed by Iscor. They must provide the money; I shall operate the line for them once they have built it. This much as far as St. Croix is concerned. As I have said, I should have liked to see Port Elizabeth benefit, because of my association with Port Elizabeth. My hon. friend over there is a member of the University Council and I am the Chancellor. The two of us therefore have common interests.
†In regard to improvements to the Port Elizabeth Harbour, a matter raised by the hon. member for Walmer, I should like to tell him that the planning for the roll on and off berth has been completed and that a site has been selected in the harbour for a possible container berth. The introduction of that depends, of course, on the report of the committee in regard to containerization. This is expected to be available shortly. Obviously, once the ore berth is no longer necessary, it will be used for other purposes.
The hon. member for Gardens asked for improved facilities for yachts. In so far as Cape Town Harbour is concerned, the yacht basin there will in the near future be taken over by the S.A. Railways. We need it. We have to fill the basin up and additional berths have to be built for ship repairs, but another harbour for yachts shall have to be provided. That I think will be at Granger Bay. But the whole matter is still under consideration at present. In regard to facilities at Richard’s Bay Harbour, that of course will be taken into consideration when that harbour is built, which will be in four or five years’ time. I do not control the harbour at Saldanha Bay. It is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Defence, I think, and I think he is sympathetically disposed towards yachtsmen.
The hon. member for Simonstown wanted to know whether dry dock facilities cannot be provided in Cape Town for large tankers. I said yesterday that it was an uneconomic proposition. These huge tankers passing the Cape only come in for repairs when absolutely necessary. Furthermore, I believe that Bethlehem Steel is building a large dry dock in the Persian Gulf. Moreover, it will pay tankers to have their repairs done at their loading ports instead of half way between those ports and their destinations. As it is, we are losing money on the Sturrock Dry Dock and now to provide a huge dry dock to cater merely for the possibility of repairing tankers is an uneconomic proposition. It may cost in the region of from R50 million to R60 million, and that we do not have. Where are we going to get it from?
Will you not allow the consortium to build it?
But there is no space available in Cape Town Harbour. Once the new harbour has been built, there may be space, but in the Duncan Dock there is no space at the moment, and the hon. member knows that.
In regard to ships requiring priority for bunkers, that is a matter for the Management. Whether they can do it or not, I do not know. They can go into it. The hon. member also wanted to know why we could not replace the steam boiler of the John X. Merriman tug with diesels, and also the pilot boats. To replace the boilers and the machinery with diesel means removing all the present machinery, including the boilers, and redesigning the tug itself. Then we shall have to buy diesels almost second hand to replace them. This will be such an expensive operation that it would be much better to build a new tug altogether. The same applies to pilot boats. I do not know anything about the complaints about the Johan Hugo; neither does the general manager. We have received no complaints. In any event a note has been made of what the hon. member said and it will be given attention.
Mr. Chairman, I think the time is almost up, but I think I have replied to all the points raised.
Head put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Omission of clause 4 and new clause 4 put and agreed to.
Clause 1 (continued):
Mr. Chairman, I have the following amendments I wish to move on this clause—
To insert the following as a paragraph (a):
- (a) by the substitution for the definition of “Bantu Affairs Commissioner” of the following definition:
The definition of “Bantu Commissioner” does not include a Native Commissioner in South-West Africa. For this reason I am now moving that the definition should be amended to include such Commissioners as this measure will be applicable to South-West Africa. The same consideration applies to the other amendment, i.e. as regards the definition of “Minister”. At present the definition does not cover all Bantu nations of South-West Africa for whom the Minister is responsible. The definition I am now moving, is in agreement with that contained in other legislation. As hon. members know, the Nama nation is the responsibility of the Minister of Coloured Affairs.
Mr. Chairman, it seems at first blush that the amendment the hon. the Minister has moved broadens the effect of the Bill as accepted at the Second Reading, because it makes provision for a much wider definition of Bantu Commissioners. In other words, it increases the number of people who can be marriage officers. That was not contained in the Bill which was adopted by this House during the Second Reading. I raise this point for your consideration, Sir, as a point of order. I should like you to consider whether in fact that amendment is in order. If it is in order, we on this side of the House have no objection to it.
I had hoped that the hon. the Minister would deal with a question which was raised by this side of the House when this clause was last before the Committee. We asked why it is that the Minister is now giving the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development the power to appoint marriage officers in respect of Natives in South-West Africa. He said that it was in fact part of the policy of the Government to give the Minister of Bantu Administration, for example, the power to deal with matters which concern the Bantu. That is indeed the policy. We have seen this happen in regard to all sorts of things. We have seen it happen in the case of education. We saw it happen when Indian education was transferred to the Minister of Indian Affairs and when Coloured education was transferred to the Minister of Coloured Affairs. Here we find, again in terms of the policy of the Government, that it is only the Minister of Bantu Administration who is going to appoint marriage officers for the Bantu. The Minister of Indian Affairs is not being given the same power in respect of Indian marriages and neither is the Minister of Coloured Affairs being given this power in respect of Coloured marriage officers. This is the question we hope the hon. the Minister will answer.
The last time this matter was discussed, the answer the Minister gave was a completely unsatisfactory one. He said that the only reason why this provision was being included here was that it was merely an administrative matter and that they have this power in any case. The hon. member for South Coast asked him pertinently, while the hon. the Minister was speaking, in what section of what Act that authority was to be found. The hon. the Minister did not answer. I realized that the hon. the Minister’s speech was interrupted by the adjournment of the House while he was attempting to reply to that question, but I do hope that he will reply to that question now.
Mr. Chairman, as the hon. member has just said in all fairness, the question of the hon. member for South Coast was put shortly before the end of the sitting day. I did not have an opportunity of replying to it then, and I should like to do so now. The hon. member for South Coast wanted to know pertinently in terms of which measure this delegation may take place. It may take place in terms of section 2 of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Registration Act of 1963. In terms of section 2 of that Act an officer of the Department of Bantu Administration may act as a marriage officer. This is what has been happening in practice in terms of that measure.
Mr. Chairman, the reply which the hon. the Minister has given deals with one aspect only, and that is the aspect concerning the registration officer. This falls under the Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths Act, to which he referred. This provision goes much further now. Although the Minister said that this provision was merely an administrative measure, it actually vests in the Minister of Bantu Administration the further powers which the Minister of the Interior has to appoint marriage officers, and deals with various other matters incidental to the marriage contract itself. My difficulty, which I raised with the hon. the Minister when we last discussed this clause, is simply this: If he divests the Ministry of the Interior of the right to appoint a marriage officer for Bantu people, and that right is vested in the Minister of Bantu Administration, the Minister of Bantu Administration can then only appoint marriage officers to deal with the Bantu people. Who then officiates over and how can a marriage officer be appointed for a marriage between a Bantu and a non-Bantu, other than a white person?
There is no prohibition on a marriage between a Bantu and a non-Bantu who is not a white person. If this power is vested in the Minister of Bantu Affairs to make the appointment, he cannot then appoint a marriage officer to officiate when one of the parties is not a Bantu. Similarly, the hon. the Minister will find himself in this position. He cannot function in the appointment of a marriage officer to deal with a marriage when one of the persons is a Bantu. This is an exclusive power that he is giving. The hon. the Minister made that clear in his introductory speech at the Second Reading of this Bill as well. The hon. the Minister then said that what he was doing now was in accord with what has been done administratively. But if the hon. the Minister appoints an official in the Department of Bantu Affairs to act in any manner, that official is acting for him as Minister of the Interior. He is not acting for the Minister of Bantu Affairs. One appreciates that it could be much more convenient to do that. By adopting this clause as it is he will divest the Ministry of the Interior of any control or any administration of the Marriages Act in so far as it affects the Bantu people. I believe that this is something which is undesirable. Apart from other reasons it is undesirable in that it could lead to that situation where there will not be a marriage officer properly appointed, who can officiate at a marriage between a Bantu and a Coloured person, if they wish to marry. They could go in for some other form of marriage, but they certainly could not contract a marriage in terms of the Marriages Act of South Africa if this particular clause is adopted.
If the measure is adopted the position as far as delegation is concerned, will be that an official of the Department of Bantu Administration will, in terms of the provision which I mentioned to the hon. member for South Coast, be authorized to nominate marriage officers for solemnizing marriages between non-Whites. The hon. member’s difficulty is how this function is to be carried out when one party is a Bantu and the other a non-Bantu. In terms of the power requested in this measure, the position in practice will be that the officer will have the power of solemnizing that marriage if the male party is a Bantu. It is not a case of relinquishing something which we practised previously. This power has always been delegated.
It has been delegated to the Department of Bantu Administration for many years. This gives rise to the departmental problem of this power having been delegated by us to another Department which has to exercise it, while we are not in a position to exercise the control over it, which is expected of a Department. Now they are being given the power in law to solemnize marriages. In the case where the male party is a Ban‘u they have always been doing it in this way. If it were to be necessary for the Department of Bantu Administration to issue other regulations in terms of this provision, it may do so in terms of the Marriage Act.
Section 3 of the Marriage Act provides that the Minister may designate any officer in the public service authorized thereto by him, a minister of religion or any person holding a responsible position in a religious organization, for the purpose of solemnizing marriages in general, or within a specified area or for a specified period—and now I come to the important provision—and between persons belonging to a specified race. The delegation has been practised in terms of this in the past. In terms of this the Department of Bantu Administration will now have the same right of designating its marriage officers.
Mr. Chairman, what we object to is the surrendering of these powers by this Minister to another Minister. As we said the other day, this is all part of the policy of building a state within a state. The Minister of Bantu Administration and Development is taking over complete control of the Bantu. If we go on like this, eventually no other Minister will control any aspect of the Bantu’s life. He will not be controlled as a citizen of this country. Every action of his will be controlled by one Minister, the Minister of Bantu Administration. The hon. the Minister says that he is only putting into law what in fact has been carried out in practice in the past. That is not so. What he did in the past was to delegate to the Minister powers to register certain births and marriages. He is now giving to the Minister of Bantu Administration the sole power to appoint marriage officers for the Bantu.
In the past the Minister has appointed marriage officers and those marriage officers could act for any couple. It is true that he had the power to appoint marriage officers for certain people only. I should like to give an example of this. A Bantu Affairs Commissioner is appointed a marriage officer for Bantu, but he is a marriage officer for other groups as well. The same applies to the case mentioned by the hon. member for Green Point. If a Bantu who wanted to marry a Coloured woman appeared before him, he was empowered to marry them because he was a marriage officer for all groups. If this Bill is passed giving the Minister of Bantu Administration the power to appoint marriage officers for Bantu, those marriage officers will only be able to act for Bantu. I think I am correct in saying that.
The hon. the Minister says that that is correct. The marriage officers appointed by the Minister of the Interior will not be able to marry Bantu. I submit that the line the Government is taking now is quite wrong. We protest against this further division and the building of a state within a state.
Mr. Chairman, in his reply to the hon. member for Green Point, the hon. the Minister mentioned that if the man contracting a marriage is a Bantu, then the marriage officer whom it is now envisaged will be authorized to contract marriages for Bantu, will be authorized to contract that marriage irrespective of the population group to which the woman belongs. I should like to know whether I understood the hon. the Minister correctly.
That is correct.
Could the hon. the Minister tell us where provision is made for this, because I do not see such a provision in this Act at all. Perhaps the hon. the Minister can advise us which clause provides for this and enables him to make such a statement, because I am afraid that I am unaware of it.
The Minister gave me a different answer just now.
Yes, he gave the hon. member a different answer just now.
There is another point with which I should like to deal. Both the amendment contained in the Bill as originally published and the amendment now proposed by the hon. the Minister—and we have indicated that we will not oppose these additional amendments which the Minister has put forward because we have no objection to them really—pass on to the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development various powers which he did not have before, even by regulation. If you go through the Bill, you find that the Minister of Bantu Administration will not only have the right, as the hon. the Minister pointed out, to designate an official to be the Registrar of Marriages as in the past; he will also have the right to nominate the officials who ex officio will act as marriage officers.
He will also have the power to appoint ministers of religion as marriage officers. He will have the power of revoking those appointments. He will now also inherit from this hon. Minister with regard to the Bantu people in the Republic and the Natives in South-West Africa, the right to consent to the marriage of a boy under the age of 18 or of a girl under the age of 16 as the Act stands to-day. Is this the power that the hon. the Minister is handing over? In other words, the full control? Is my interpretation correct?
Mr. Chairman, we are now handing over in law to the Department of Bantu Administration the power of solemnizing marriages because this is in agreement with Government policy, i.e. to give the Bantu peoples the rights and powers of self-government. We must accept this as a difference in principle between this side of the House and that side of the House. Marriages contracted by Bantu men are still subject to the provisions of section 22 of the Bantu Administration Act as well. This is the provision dealing with Bantu customs, their succession, etc. The Department of Bantu Administration has always administered these provisions, which we are discussing now, according to that Act. Surely it is understandable that in transferring these powers to them now, they will continue to administer these provisions according to that Act. In connection with the appointment of ex officio marriage officers, I just want to say that this is not a power which is included in this transfer. It is being retained in section 2 (1) of the existing Marriage Act.
For the Bantu as well?
The powers in connection with solemnizing Bantu marriages are being transferred in terms of this measure.
Mr. Chairman, with respect, the hon. the Minister is not correct in saying that this is a matter of differing policy between the Government and this side of the House. During the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill, I mentioned that if there was an intention to hand over power to, for instance, the Transkeian Government, to regulate marriages within the area of the Transkei, it would be an entirely different matter. We would be prepared to support the delegation of that power of self-direction to the governing body of a Bantu people. However, that is not what is being proposed in this clause. This clause is an entirely different matter. This clause is delegating that power within this Republic of South Africa from one ministry to another. The Department of the Interior has unlimited powers at the moment to define the scope within which ex officio or church marriage officers can operate. One does not have to say that it is only for Whites marrying Whites. It is an open authority. But what worries us on this side of the House is that— and this the hon. the Minister will concede is correct—if the control of marriages in which Bantu are involved, which will now be prescribed, is in the hands of the Minister of Bantu Administration, then he has no power as the Minister of Bantu Administration to appoint a marriage officer with authority over any other section of the population. Eventually this hon. Minister will find himself unable to give power to a marriage officer to perform a marriage in which a Bantu person is involved.
Let us come to the second objection which we raised and which I should like to repeat firmly and definitely. In so far as marriage laws in this country are concerned, we are not divided in separate race or population groups. The citizens of South Africa are in one group and governed by a Central Government in regard to the marriage laws. The only restriction in marriage laws is the prohibition of mixed marriages between Europeans and non-Europeans. We believe that that control should remain vested in the one central ministry, the ministry of the Interior. For this additional reason we cannot accept this clause as it is printed.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw your attention to a point of order which was raised by the hon. member for Durban (North).
I have considered the point of order, and I have to inform the hon. member for Durban North that the amendments proposed by the hon. the Minister are in order
Amendments put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put, and the Committee divided:
AYES—90: Bodenstein, P.; Botha, G. F.; Botha, H. J.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, R. F.; Botha, S. P.; Botma, M. C.; Brandt, J. W.; Campher, J. H.; Coet-see, H. J.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, S. F.; Cruywagen, W. A.; De Jager, P. R.; De Wet, C.; De Wet, M. W.; Du Plessis, A. H.; Du Plessis, G. F. C.; Du Plessis, G. C.; Du Plessis, P. T. C.; Du Toit, J. P.; Engelbrecht, J. J.; Erasmus, A. S. D.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Grob-ler, W. S. J.; Hartzenberg, F.; Hayward, S. A. S.; Henning, J. M.; Herman, F.; Heunis, J. C.; Hoon, J. H.; Horn, J. W. L.; Janson, T. N. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Key-ter, H. C. A.; Koornhof, P. G. J.; Kotze, S. F.; Langley, T.; Le Grange, L.; Malan, G. F.; Malan, J. J.; Marais, P. S.; Martins, H. E.; McLachlan, R.; Morrison, G. de V.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, H.; Nel, J. A. F.; Otto, J. C.; Palm, P. D.; Pansegrouw, J. S.; Pelser, P. C.; Pieterse, R. J. J[.; Potgieter, J. E.; Potgieter, S. P.; Prins-Ioo, M. P.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, M. J.; Raubenheimer, A. J.; Reinecke, C. J.; Reyneke, J. P. A.; Roussouw, W. J. C.; Schlebusch, A. L.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, H.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Smit, H. H.; Swiegers, J. G.; Van der Merwe, C. V.; Van der Merwe, P. S.; Van der Merwe, S. W.; Van der Walt, H. J. D.; Van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; Van Staden, J. W.; Van Tonder, J. A.; Van Vuuren, P. Z. J.; Van Wyk, A. C.; Van Zyl, J. J. B.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Viljoen, M.; Viljoen, P. J. van B.; Vorster, L. P. J.; Wentzel J. J. G.
Tellers: G. P. C. Bezuidenhout, P. C. Roux,. G. P. van den Berg and W. L. D. M. Venter.
NOES—44: Bands, G. J.; Basson, J. A. L.; Basson, J. D. du P.; Baxter, D. D.; Bronk-horst, H. J.; Cillie, H. van Z.; Deacon,. W. H. D.; De Villiers, I. F. A.; Emdin, S.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, A.; Graaff, De V.; Hickman, T.; Hopewell, A.; Hourque-bie, R. G. L.; Hughes, T. G.; Jacobs, G. F.; Kingwill, W. G.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Mitchell, M. L.; Moolman, J. H.; Murray, L. G.; Oldfield, G. N.; Oliver, G. D. G.; Raw, W. V.; Smith, W. J. B.; Stephens, J. J. M.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Streicher, D. M.; Sutton, W. M.; Suzman, H.; Timoney, H. M.; Van den Heever, S. A.; Van Eck, H. J.; Van Hoogstraten, H. A.; Von Keyserlingk, C. C.; Wainwright, C. J. S.; Webber, W. T.; Wiley, J. W. E.; Wood, L. F.
Tellers: R. M. Cadman and J. O. N. Thompson.
Clause, as amended, accordingly agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, clause 2 of this Bill deals with the ex officio marriage officers who are appointed, as the law now stands, for a particular race group. This clause proposes to replace the word “race” with the words “population group”. In his Second Reading speech the hon. the Minister explained that this particular measure was intended to apply to South-West Africa and the Caprivi Strip, that there are no race classification laws applicable to those areas and that it was therefore regarded as necessary to use the words “population group” and “bevolkingsgroep” instead of “race” and “ras”. We on this side of the House are somewhat puzzled as to what the significance and need for this change is. As far as I am aware there is no provision anywhere in our law where there is defined what is meant by a population group. There is no definition as to what a population group is. As far as I know, there is no definition anywhere in our law as to what is a race or a racial group. One definition says that a white person shall mean this, a Bantu that and a Coloured something else for the purposes of the Population Registration Act. What does the hon. the Minister have in mind by this reference to a population group? Does he intend it to be the broad basis which is applied under the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, namely the European and the non-European groups, which can well be termed “population groups”? Or does he intend it to refer to groups which may be urban or rural population groups? Does he intend it to mean groups which have language differences among them? If it is intended to mean the White, Coloured, Indian and Bantu groups in the general sense, does it include ethnic grouping, or what the Prime Minister calls “national” groups among the Bantu people? We would like to know what is intended by this distinction in the field of activity of marriage officers in respect of population groups. I should like to remind the hon. the Minister of the considerable difficulties which have arisen in this country with regard to the application to the Race Classification Act because of a laxity of expression or of a lack of distinction among the different racial groups in the past. The hon. the Minister and his Department will certainly be aware of the difficulties created by the use of the words “mixed race” in the old days in South Africa, when various meanings were applied to it. It may have meant “mixed” as regards colour, but there are many birth certificates which have turned out to be “mixed”, because they related to nationality. The marriage between a Frenchwoman and a South African man appears on the certificate as “mixed”. That is the danger when we talk about a “population group” without a definition. It has been difficult enough with the term “race” without a definition. What is intended? What is the significance? I do not think that there is any escape by merely saying that it is because the race classification laws do not apply in South-West Africa. In South-West Africa, as the hon. the Minister will be aware, having just moved the amendment to clause 1, the Native people are referred to as people of aboriginal tribes of Africa. He now has reference to them in this Bill. Is the intention that there should be a population grouping, in South-West Africa, for instance, as regards the application of this measure, into the broad categories of the Whites, the Namas, the Hereros, Ovam-bos, and so on? I would appreciate it if the Minister could tell us what he has in mind and give us some clarification as regards the expression “population group” for the purposes of this legislation.
Mr. Chairman, I want to reply firstly to the question of the necessity for this term. In fact, the necessity for this term was stated by the hon. member himself in his speech. The reason for it is that this marriage law is now going to be made applicable to South-West Africa, and because there is no race classification in South-West Africa. Surely we thrashed this matter out in the debate we had on the same issue the other day. Because race classification does not exist there, the term “race” does not appear there either. Incidentally, it is rather significant that the term “race” is not defined anywhere in the Marriage Act, but when one comes to the meaning attached to a term such as “population group”, the meaning applied in the administration of our State is that we do regard, inter alia, the Whites as a population group. The Bantu are a population group. Of course, they consist of ethnic groups too. The Coloureds are also a population group. This is the generally accepted term which is applicable here, and not language groups or Natal or Cape groups. This concerns the population groups as indicated by the terms “Whites,” “Bantu” and “Coloureds”. That is exactly what is being envisaged in this measure.
I appreciate the hon. the Minister’s explanation in so far as South-West Africa is concerned, that the words “population group” are used because the Bill which was passed the other day and which may become law in fact refers to population groups and not to races. But this is an entirely new term and the hon. the Minister’s advisers will appreciate just how much litigation there has been already over what the definition of the expression, for example “of European descent” or of “the Coloured race group” means. The word “race” itself has some sort of meaning in all the decisions of the court, but what does “population group” mean? It is something different from race or otherwise we would not be changing it. It is all very well the hon. gentleman saying this is required for South-West Africa, but he does not say that it is only in respect of South-West Africa that the question of the population group is taken into account, whereas in the Republic the question of race is taken into account. The Act itself reads, in so far as this clause is concerned, that the Minister or any officer in the Public Service authorized thereto by him may designate any officer or employee in the Public Service or the diplomatic or consular service to be by virtue of his office and so long as he holds such an office, a marriage officer, either generally or for a specified race or class of persons or country or area. Now that is being altered in respect of the Republic, so when the Minister appoints someone he is going to appoint him in the Republic in respect of a certain population group. Now, what is a population group? But the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration is sitting here; he also is a Minister, and this is being altered for his benefit, according to the hon. the Minister of the Interior. He says it is for his benefit in applying it in South-West Africa. Is he going to apply it in the case of the Bantu here? He is being given the power not to appoint them in respect of a certain race but in respect of population groups. Why does he want that power, why does he want it changed, and does he want it confined only to South-West Africa and if so, why does not the Bill say that it is only in respect of South-West Africa?
I suppose that we in this Chamber are a population group and can be defined as such. So are the people in Durban a definable group, and that is what a population group is. It is quite a different thing from race; so what does it mean? It is all very well the Minister saying that this is how he will administer it and then to say that he is giving the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration the power to deal with it, but we would like to know how and why he wants to deal with it in this way. We will have litigation about this; and we will have litigation about every word connoting race unless you define that word in the Act. There is sufficient evidence about the word “race”. We know that in ‘Trial by Jury” by Gilbert and Sullivan we find: “I am the parliamentary draftsman and I make the country’s laws and of half the litigation I am undoubtedly the cause”. Let me say that in respect of this there is going to be litigation. As a lawyer I should not complain, but I do not stand here in my capacity as a lawyer. If this is only to be in respect of South-West Africa then let us say so. If it is a population group in respect of South-West Africa, why not leave “race” there and insert “or population group in South-West Africa”. Then we will meet the Minister’s difficulty and will not have the uncertainty that there is now. This Act has stood the test of time, worded as it is. Everyone knows what it means. Everyone knows where he stands, and I suggest as a constructive suggestion that that is what the hon. the Minister should do.
I am rather surprised that the hon. member who, at other times is so opposed to race classification and makes such a fuss about race, should to-day be such an ardent advocate of its retention. But we have seen that the United Party is capable of taking many devious routes here to-day and saying two different things at the same time, and this must be one of those devious routes of theirs. This Act is being made applicable to South-West Africa and for that reason it is a good thing and advisable that we should use this expression throughout this legislation and not make an exception in respect of South-West Africa. The term “race”, which the hon. member got so worked up about, is not defined anywhere in this Act. The word “race” is not defined anywhere in the Act and because it is not defined, it can now be substituted for a term such as “population group” which (a) will be uniform throughout the Republic and South-West Africa, (b) is sufficiently meaningful because everyone in South Africa knows what a population group is and (c) will be used in the appointment of marriage officers to indicate that those officers are being appointed for the White population group, or, as in the case of this measure, for the Bantu population groups, while Bantu Administration will make its own mutual arrangements. They may also do so on an ethnic basis, but that is up to them. When appointments are made, however, it will be clearly indicated whether the marriage officers are being designated for the White population group or for any other group. I really do not know what hon. members are so unhappy about. These words “population groups” are a satisfactory term which can now be used for both the Republic and South-West Africa and nobody will have any doubt in his mind as to what a White population group is when it is stated in this way.
The hon. the Minister is no doubt being facetious in suggesting that there was a change of attitude as far as this side of the House is concerned in regard to race classification. That will be the day when we change our attitude regarding race classification! But the point is that the hon. the Minister in his reply has told us exactly what we feared would happen. If we put “population group” into this Bill, the Minister of Bantu Administration will start dividing the Bantu into ethnic groups, and he will be the sole judge as to what it means. That is the power that is being given. No wonder the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration is blushing and pretending that he is not hearing what is going on. His sovereignty over the Bantu people grows day by day and his colleagues in the Cabinet extend powers to him which he blushingly accepts in his capacity as Minister of Bantu Administration. But that is exactly what we feared would happen, that instead of this being a wider term than “race” and suitable for use in South-West Africa, it can in fact and will have a far more restricted connotation than the present wording. We are then giving powers here for ex officio marriage officers to be compartmentalized even more than they are now. This is an amendment which is entirely unnecessary to achieve what the hon. the Minister has mentioned as his objective, and that is to deal with South-West Africa. If there is some reason for the suggestion that “population group” is more suitable to affairs in South-West Africa, then let us say so in this Bill and let us say that the expression "population group” is acceptable in South-West Africa. But to apply the term “population group” to the South African population will only lead to more confusion and misunderstanding and can lead to a greater degree of compartmentalization of the population than we have at the moment. This is neither necessary nor desirable.
The hon. the Minister in his reply said that as far as he was concerned “population group” was quite clear and he mentioned Whites, Indians, Coloureds and Bantu. Sir, is this a subterfuge to subvert the provisions of the Mixed Marriages Act? Is that why the hon. the Minister has brought this amendment? As you know. Sir, in terms of the Mixed Marriages Act there is only a definition of “European” and “non-European” and that is the one reason why we have not been subjected to the pressures to which we could have been subjected and why this Act has at least been accepted. The hon. the Minister now comes here with a subterfuge to appoint marriage officers for a population group —one of four population groups. My colleague, the hon. member for Green Point, has referred to the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development who can now go further with his various ethnic groups. I want to put it to the hon. the Minister: Is it his intention in terms of this amendment to appoint marriage officers for Coloureds only …
Order! That point has been raised before.
Well, I have not heard a reply from the hon. the Minister. If that point was raised—and I accept your ruling. Sir—may I ask the hon. the Minister whether he will now give us a clear reply and tell us whether it is his intention in terms of this amendment to appoint marriage officers for (a) Coloured, (b) Indian, and (c) White persons in the Republic of South Africa, not in South-West Africa. We accept this as far as South-West Africa is concerned, and if the Minister will bring a suitable amendment to apply this only to South-West Africa we will reconsider our attitude towards it. That has been made clear too. I want to know whether this is his intention because if it is, it is nothing more than a subterfuge to subvert the provisions of the Mixed Marriages Act.
A magistrate may, of course, marry people who appear before him and who qualify, but the ex officio marriage officers can be defined; it is possible to define which persons may be married by those marriage officers. It can be stated clearly in the definition whether they may marry Coloureds or whether they may marry Whites or whether they may marry anyone.
Am I to assume from the hon. the Minister’s reply that it is his intention to appoint marriage officers who will only be able to marry Coloureds?
That is not our intention.
Does this amendment mean that he can appoint a marriage officer who may only marry persons defined as Coloured in terms of the Population Registration Act?
That can be done in terms of the present provisions, but neither I nor the Government intends doing it the way the hon. member has suggested here.
Clause put and agreed to (Official Opposition dissenting).
Sir, this involves more or less the same point at the last clause. The section which is being amended here provides for the appointment of marriage officers from amongst responsible members of the various churches. It provides that the Minister may appoint these persons as marriage officers for the purpose of solemnizing marriages according to Christian, Jewish or Mohammedan rites or the rites of any Indian religion. With regard to the designation of these persons, the Act provides that a designation may further limit the authority of any such minister of religion or person to the solemnization of marriages between persons belonging to. a “specified race”. That is to be changed to persons belonging to a “specified population group”. In terms of clause 1 “the Minister” in the case of the Bantu means the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development and I do hope that he is going to give some attention to this debate while he is sitting in the Chamber presumably listening because he is now being given a power here. I appreciate that the hon. the Minister of the Interior cannot answer for what the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development wants this power for and how he is going to apply it. It is quite clear that he is being given a power in respect of “population groups”, whatever that might be. As it is, it is confined to a “specified race”. Does the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development consider that all the Bantu can be regarded as a population group or does he feel that all the Bantu are in fact a race? You see, Sir, the section says that in making this appointment, in designating ministers of religion of all the various faiths which are mentioned, he must have regard to this and he may limit it to a specified race. This is what we would like to know: Is he going to have a separate one for the Zulu’s, a separate one for the Tswanas and so on, or does he regard the whole of the Bantu people as being a population group, or does he regard them as a race? These are things that we would specially want to know from the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development.
Clause put and agreed to.
There are one or two aspects of this clause on which we would like clarification from the hon. the Minister and certain assurances which I hope he will be in a position to give us. First of all, let me deal with the question of the abolition or the nonessential aspect of banns so far as a marriage is concerned. In other words, it is no longer obligatory for banns to be called for the purpose of a legal marriage to be entered into in South Africa. I understand from the hon. the Minister’s earlier remarks that the repeal of these provisions in the Act does not and will not interfere with the procedures which may continue to be adopted by specific churches, that is to say, the custom of calling banns as part of their religious rites. I understand that that may still continue and that there is no objection to the churches continuing to call banns, although there is no legal necessity for that to be done.
The second point with which I want to deal is the change which is being introduced in the clause requiring the production of an identity document or, if a person is not in possession of such a document, an affidavit in a specified form. The hon. the Minister in the Second-Reading debate made it clear that the purpose of the production of the identity document was purely to settle the numeral attaching to the individual for use in the registry in Pretoria; in other words, that the identification documents are required in a marriage purely to establish the identity number of the individual so as to link him or her with the registry in Pretoria. I think it should be made clear in the regulations that all that the marriage officer is concerned with is the identity of the person and not any race classification under the race classification laws because they are of no application in so far as marriage laws are concerned. I would like to know if that is the intention of this particular provision which is now being introduced here? I take it that that is the intention because, as I mentioned earlier, the hon. the Minister, in dealing with this clause during the Second Reading, made it clear that the provision for an affidavit was there to cover the case of a person not having identity documents. If a person does not have an identity document, there will only be an identity number and, as is done at present, that number will be given for identification purposes. I would appreciate it if the Minister would deal with these two aspects, so that we can have clarity in regard to this particular clause.
Mr. Chairman, in the first place I want to say something in connection with the arrangements made by the churches. The position is as stated by the hon. member. The churches may continue their normal practice as regards the calling of banns. They need not deviate from that practice at all. As a matter of fact, the idea was even voiced that this procedure may be encouraged even further. Personally I should like to see that these fine religious practices be continued. These practices need not be discontinued at all as a result of this provision.
It is, of course, necessary for the identity document to be produced. Apart from the fact that it will be used for identification purposes and to obtain information from it, for example, the date of birth of a person, etc., the identity document has to be produced so that the marriage officer can add the marriage certificate to it. That is a most essential instruction in the Bill. As the hon. member presumed, this measure has nothing to do with race classification.
Mr. Chairman, I rise to express my indignation and my regret that, in this clause, there is a somewhat presumptuous and contemptuous attitude towards Parliament. One finds in the new section 12 (a) that there is firstly a reference to the Population Registration Act of 1950, which would include the “Book of Life” amendment introduced this Session, and secondly that there is a reference to “the Identity Documents in South-West Africa Act, 1970”. That must presumably be a reference to the Bill which was before this House, passed through this House and then went to the Other Place. As far as I am aware that Bill is still being dealt with, or still has to be dealt with in the Other Place. It still has to receive the signature of the State President before it becomes an Act. It is not an Act yet, and I think it is somewhat presumptuous and contemptuous of Parliament itself to assume in this Bill that it is going to become an Act. It might not become an Act.
There is something else I should like to point out. Presumably it is intended that the “Book of Life” amendment to the Population Registration Act of 1950 comes into effect here, and that these new documents will have to be produced when one gets married. What happens if the State President signs this Bill first, assuming that it passes through the Other Place? If this were to happen, these references to two other Acts in this clause would be incorrect. The Book of Life certainly would not be required. One would merely have to have those documents which are required now, as the new amendments have not yet come into effect. Sir, this situation could well occur. [Interjections.] The hon. member for Potchefstroom says that this would not happen. When we deal with matters of constitutional law and practice anything can happen under this Government. I wonder whether he knows about what happened in the Other Place during the last session? This Government can do anything, even to the extent of possibly prejudicing certain Bills which were passed in this House.
You are really just being technical now.
Technical! Sir, the hon. member says I am being technical. Parliament is a place which is technical in the sense that Bills have to be passed by this House, by the Other Place and by the State President. If this is just technical, will the hon. member explain to me why it was that the whole of the Other Place had to assemble in order to say: “We wash out everything we have done before. It is all pro non scripto. Now we are all coming back to start all over again.” If it was just technical, why did they go to all that trouble? Sir, this illustrates the “unwisdom”—if I may use a word which was, I think, invented by the late Senator Pilkington-Jordan—of not obeying the proper practices and the proper traditions of Parliament. In other words, this Bill should not have come before us until the other two measures referred to had in fact become Acts. It is presumptious and it is offensive. I do hope that the practice will be discontinued.
Mr. Chairman, I want to express my regret that these Bills have come up for discussion at the same time and that this could be interpreted as damaging the prestige of Parliament. This is not the intention. I am sorry if that was the impression that was created. It is the last thing which I, or this side, will want to do, i.e. to damage the prestige of Parliament. It is only because of practical considerations that these two measures which I am handling at this moment, should be dealt with one after the other. I want to assure the hon. member that it was not the intention to damage the prestige of Parliament. I any event, these measures will become Acts only after they have been signed by the State President. This will take some time still, and by that time, I think, the objection of the hon. member will fall away.
Mr. Chairman, we cannot accept this explanation given by the Minister. There is no immediate hurry for this Bill to go through this Chamber. It could be held over. Supposing an amendment were to be made in the Identity Documents in South-West Africa Bill. That will mean that we will have passed a Bill here which will in fact be binding on another Bill which has not yet passed through the Senate or which may be amended in the Senate. The Minister may agree to some amendment in the Senate. That means that we in the Assembly will have passed a law while we do not know what its final terms are going to be. I submit that it is quite wrong to do this sort of thing. If the Minister agrees to some amendment in the Identity Documents in South-West Africa Bill, will he then come back and ask us to amend this Bill again, after we have already passed it? I submit that the Minister should reconsider this matter. There is no reason why this matter cannot be held over and other matters be proceeded with.
Mr. Chairman, if the Opposition wanted to be consistent in their argument, they should have objected to this reference under the previous clause …
Order! The hon. member cannot go back and discuss clauses which have been disposed of.
Sir, I am only saying that if they wanted to be consistent, they should have objected to the reference in the previous clause, to the “Marriages Amendment Bill, 1970” which is merely a Bill at this stage. As good lawyers they should know that, if something like that should happen, it would also be pro non scripto.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. gentleman who has just resumed his seat says that we should have objected to the words “Marriage Amendment Act, 1970” in the previous clause. That is, however, a reference to this very Bill. The Bill can refer to itself. If the hon. member were correct, we should have to object, in the case of every single Bill, to the last clause or short title, which says: “This Act shall be called the Marriage Amendment Act, 1970”, for example.
That points out the absurdity of your argument.
No, of your argument. The hon. member does not seem to appreciate just how contemptuous this is. Perhaps he can answer the points raised by the hon. member for Transkei. That point was that …
Order! I do not want the hon. member to repeat that point. We have already heard it.
Sir, I just want him to answer it.
Hon. members must stop this repetition.
Very well, Sir. What we are doing is to point out that we are now passing a Bill having application to two other pieces of legislation.
Order! The hon. member has already said that in his first speech on this clause.
No, Sir, this is a different point I am coming to. In this clause reference is made to certain other legislation. It is not legislation yet, although it is called legislation. If, as the hon. member for Transkei pointed out, one of those Bills is in fact amended in the Senate and comes back to this House, as happens all the time and as happened here to-day, then we are applying our minds to something quite different. It illustrates once more the undesirability of this practice.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot see the point of the argument advanced by the hon. member for Transkei. These two Bills are being handled by the same Minister, and they are quite closely tied up as far as this point is concerned. Let us assume the other Bill is amended by the Minister in the Other Place. This Bill has to go through the same procedure, and the Minister will then see to it that this Bill will also be amended there accordingly.
Clause put and agreed to. (Official Opposition dissenting.)
Mr. Chairman, we have here a clause which repeals sections 13 to 21. inclusive, of the principal Act. Most of this is consequential upon the amendment which has just been approved by this Committee, namely the amendment to section 12 of the Act. I want to draw to the attention of the hon. the Minister the provisions of section 16 of the Act. This is one of the sections now being repealed. This section provides protection for our South African women. It provides them with protection against foreigners who come to this country and marry them bigamously. In terms of section 16 of the Act as it stands to-day, some form of certificate of “banns of marriage or a notice of intention to marry” has to be produced to a marriage officer before a person resident outside the Republic could marry a South African citizen within the Republic. This is the section that was inserted in the wisdom of the administrators of old to protect our South African women. This hon. Minister is withdrawing that protection completely. He is throwing the doors open to every Don Juan and every person from overseas who wants to come to this country to seek out the beauty and the flowers that we have in this country. I am afraid that I cannot wax eloquent enough to describe the women we have in this country who are now going to be thrown completely at the mercy of these unscrupulous people from outside who can come into this country and marry our girls without any protection being given to our girls at all. I wonder whether the hon. the Minister has taken this matter into consideration. I should like to know whether it is his intention to provide some form of protection for our womenfolk somewhere else because as the father of a daughter I think that our womenfolk in this country deserve some such protection. I should like to hear from the hon. the Minister what the position is in this regard.
Clause put and agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to state my attitude towards this Bill. I will oppose this Bill because I am against clause 9. I have read the hon. the Minister’s speech, but I do not think that any good case was made out for lowering the age of a girl for the contraction of a valid marriage without the Minister’s permission. From the figures he quoted in this House during that debate I understand that many hundreds of applications were made to the hon. the Minister. I daresay that this involves a fair amount of work on behalf of his Department and probably on his own behalf. I can understand that he would like to shed this additional burden, because he has got more than enough on his shoulders; I think of population registrations, passport applications, exist visas, and heaven knows what else he has to deal with. I can understand that this is an additional burden which he would gladly get rid of. However, I do not think that this is good sociological practice. I think the Minister must take the responsibility of considering these cases of the applications for marriage of girls under the age of 16. I think he should not lower the age to 15 as is being suggested.
I have done a little research to see what the position is in other countries. I find that in the United Kingdom the age is 16 for girls; in Australia it is 16, in Germany it is 18, and strangely enough, in Sweden with its permissive society, it is 18. In America these laws do not fall under the federal law, but of the 50 different states only in 13 is marriage without the consent of the courts under the age of 16 allowed. I think that every authority has the problem which the hon. the Minister has to meet. There is the problem of girls who become pregnant and the idea is to try and legitimize the children, but I think one has to look a little further than that. It is hopeless to believe that these marriages are going to be successful. I think all the statistics of the marriage guidance clinics, social welfare associations and so forth, have shown that the chances of successful and happy marriages where girls marry as young as 15—and indeed as young as 16, and to that I might even add the ages of 17 and 18—are very poor. There is a very high number of marriages which break down where these very young women are involved. They are not sociologically adapted to the responsibility of marriage. It is difficult indeed where pregnancy is involved. However, I still do not think that the answer to this problem is to allow marriage, which is very unlikely to last any length of time, at that age. The girl is then left with the responsibility of the child and the same position obtains as it would have done had the hon. the Minister not permitted marriage and had other arrangements been made in connection with the child. Therefore I personally cannot agree with this measure. I do not think it is a good idea. Then I would like to ask the hon. the Minister something else.
Two anomalies have struck me. I may be misunderstanding the situation in law, but I am sure that the hon. the Minister will be able to answer me in that regard. We are now making the age of marriage without ministerial consent 15, while there are other laws where the age of consent remains 16. I gather that most of these cases of application to the hon. the Minister are when the girls have become pregnant and are about to have an illegitimate child. I think it is extraordinary when one allows girls of the age of 15, who presumably have consented, to get married. The age of consent..
They can only get married with their parents’ consent.
The parents’ consent has got nothing to do with it. I am talking of the culpability of the male who has had relations with a girl under the age of consent. Now, that situation is legitimized by allowing him to marry the girl, although technically speaking he is guilty of a crime under another law. Therefore, if you change this law, you should too, in terms of logic, change the age of consent. I do not suggest it, because I am not in favour of amending that law. There may be a legal flaw in my argument, but this is how I see it.
The other question is the school-leaving age. At the moment it is 16, or Std. 8—or whatever it is; it varies in the provinces. Certainly, 16 is the school-leaving age, and what an extraordinary position will it be when schoolgirls of the age of 15 can marry without the Minister’s consent and then afterwards some arrangements have to be made with the school authorities for them to allow these young women not to attend school. I think we must try to rationalize our laws; otherwise we are going to make a complete laughing stock of ourselves. There is one marriage I can trace which was contracted involving a girl of 13 named Juliet and which I do not think had a very happy ending. I am against this, because I think it is sociologically a bad thing. What the hon. the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions should devote his attention to is, the moral education of very young people, to try to prevent the cause, namely illegitimacy, which ends up as an application to marry on the part of young girls of 15 years.
Mr. Chairman, I find myself in the position that I am going to avail myself of the privilege, in the voting on this clause, of not voting for it. In this regard I should like to thank the hon. the Minister and the Government for the opportunity they have afforded hon. members on this side of not voting for a clause which they do not feel they can vote for.
All I want to do on this occasion is to indicate very briefly my reasons for not wanting to vote for this clause. In the first place marriage bestows a new status in life on a person, and in particular on a minor. To put it in a nutshell: It bestows on him the status of one who has attained majority. When the Act was introduced in 1935 and the present age at which children could get married was laid down, one of the considerations was in fact that child marriages should be combatted. Exceptions were made where it was in fact necessary for some reason or other to allow such marriages to take place. I do not think that the position has changed to such an extent since 1935 that an opportunity should necessarily be created now to bestow the status of a married person upon minors of 16 years and over without the consent of their parents. What the 1935 Act actually wanted to counter was set out very well in the speech made by the then Minister of the Interior. In Hansard, 1935, Vol. 24, Col. 1002 following, he stated that there had at the time been a disturbing increase in the number of marriages of persons under 16 years of age, and that he wanted to combat this. I believe that that tendency still exists to-day and that he must still try to counteract marriages of persons under the age of 16 years. There is in addition a further reason as well. I am afraid that we are not going to solve the problem because we are now in fact going to place the fourteen-year olds in the position where the fifteen-year olds have been up to this stage. I am already aware of the fact that this is going to be regarded as meaning that “we can now get married at the age of 15”.
I have other reasons as well, but the last reason I want to mention is one which the hon. member for Houghton has already mentioned, i.e. that the age of consent remains 16 years. From 1935, when the Second-Reading speech of the Principal Act was made, the norm was in fact found on the basis of the age of consent as to why the minimum age for marriage should be 16 years and not younger. The reason was apparently that nowhere in the world, and up to the present not here in South Africa either, was the age of consent higher than the age at which marriage could be contracted without ministerial consent, i.e. the age at which they may not get married without the consent of the Minister. Mr. Chairman, I do not think, in the light of everything I have said, that factors have now presented themselves which justify bestowing on 15-year olds a status which they have been unable up to this stage to attain without the consent of the Minister. I am not going to participate in the voting on this clause. I cannot vote against it. The reason for that is that the Opposition do not for their part want to allow their members a free vote. [Interjections.] Well, I shall leave it at that.
Mr. Chairman, to set the mind of the hon. member for Waterkloof at rest immediately, let me assure him that we on this side of the House have a free vote on this clause and that we will be freed of the Whip. Hon. members on this 9ide will vote as they feel individually on this particular clause.
I asked you that yesterday and you said “no”.
The hon. member must bide his time; he will be told in good time when the voting will take place. If he chooses to enter the debate before there has been an opportunity for one of us on this side of the House to inform the House of that fact, it is perhaps just unfortunate that he should have spoken so early. I trust that this will encourage him to return and to express his views in regard to this matter when it comes to voting.
We had a full discussion during the Second Reading. I think the points which the hon. member for Houghton has raised and those raised by the hon. member for Waterkloof, were dealt with fairly fully during the Second-Reading debate, and it is not my intention to continue, elaborate and repeat in the Committee Stage those arguments which have been dealt with. There are certain members who have other points to raise. At this stage I just wish to say that we on this side of the House will vote without the compulsion of the Whip in dealing with this clause.
Personally, I support the arguments put forward, particularly by the hon. member for Waterkloof. I believe that the age of 16 years has such legal significance so far as life in South Africa is concerned. Once one starts tampering with that age and changes it, there will be all sorts of difficulties and attitudes which will arise in regard to the persons who will be concerned by any such change. I agree with him, too, that the position is that by a reduction in age one is in fact, if not by intent, conveying a degree of liberty to young persons. One will indicate a degree of approval of such action by young persons.
The hon. the Minister has been quite frank with us in this House. The sole motive, I think, he has proffered here, was the administrative problems.
No, no. Not mainly administrative problems. There is the human aspect too.
Well, there were the long delays which resulted from the investigations which had to take place. Does the hon. the Minister feel that there is a reason for this change as regards the human aspect? I think that there again it is a question that is open and requires very deep thought before one can merely say that there is a justification from the human aspect. I cannot believe that by the reduction of the age limit one is going to reduce the number of cases in which there are transgressions of normal codes and conduct. Personally I am therefore opposed to this clause and will vote against it.
Business interrupted to report progress.
The House adjourned at