House of Assembly: Vol3 - MONDAY 25 MARCH 1985


Mr Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity you have given me to make the following statement.

In the Weekend Argus of 16 March a report appeared under the heading “PFP fioors high-flying Nat hopes”. The article was written by the political staff of the Argus. On 16 March a report, written by Mr Bruce Cameron, appeared in The Star under the heading “Free flying not enough for the Nationalist Party”.

In a leading article in the Pretoria News the National Party was also attacked and accused of incredible favours which its Members of Parliament have claimed for themselves. The NP Members of Parliament were shocked by these false reports. I want to make it known this afternoon that to date no National Party member of Parliament has made a request to fly in the business class. These reports are entirely untrue, offensive and unfounded.

A pleasant atmosphere has prevailed in the weekly meetings of the Whips until now and therefore I am not going to make public the confidential requests of Opposition Parties unless I am obliged to do so. I am disappointed, however, that untrue reports of this nature have been spread. I furthermore expect an apology to be tendered and published by the newspapers involved, so that the truth may prevail. That is all I envisage at this stage.


as Chairman, presented the Third Report of the Standing Select Committee on Home Affairs and National Education, relative to the Universities and Technikons Advisory Council Amendment Bill [No 59—85 (GA)], as follows:

The Standing Committee on Home Affairs and National Education having considered the subject of the Universities and Technikons Advisory Council Amendment Bill [No 59—85 (GA)], referred to it, your Committee begs to report the Bill with amendments [No 59A—85 (GA)].



Committee Rooms


22 March 1985.

Bill to be read a second time.


as Chairman, presented the Sixth Report of the Standing Select Committee on Communications and Public Works, relative to the Rhodes’ Will (Groote Schuur Devolution) Amendment Bill [No 4—85 (GA)], as follows:

The Standing Committee on Communications and Public Works having considered the subject of the Rhodes’ Will (Groote Schuur Devolution) Amendment Bill [No 4—85 (GA)], referred to it, your Committee begs to report the Bill with amendments [No 4A—85 (GA)].



Committee Rooms


22 March 1985.

Bill to be read a second time.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Today we are dealing with a unique Appropriation—not only is it the first Main Appropriation of the Administration: House of Assembly to be introduced under the new constitutional dispensation, but it is also the first real opportunity to see what progress we have made with the take over of own affairs. To me this event is the culmination of a long road that has been followed since the 1977 constitutional proposals, the 1981 election, the 1983 referendum and the commencement of the new Constitution on 3 September 1984.

It gives expression to the concept of workable self-determination over specific own affairs and serves as an express ratification of the need for reform, but reform in a responsible and stable manner which the Exchequer can afford. In the implementation of responsible financing there is no doubt that our population must approach the demands it makes on the State from another angle. The approach cannot be what the population expects from the State, but rather what the Government can afford. If a specific population group or community should therefore expect or demand more than the Government can afford in terms of stipulated standards and norms, it will have to pay for those things itself. I am not, in this way, detracting from the important function of the State to look after those who are not capable of looking after themselves, but the community also has a part to play.

The Administration: House of Assembly consists of five departments constituted in terms of the Constitution, each of which has a departmental head and a co-ordinating director-general who is also the accounting officer. All the specialized auxiliary functions, such as personnel, financial and efficiency administration are amalgamated into one department, that of Budgetary and Auxiliary Services. Each department functions within its delineated sphere of activities with its departmental head as intermediary to the Minister concerned.

In its structuring the Administration undoubtedly contains the components of effectiveness and efficiency. This prevents the duplication of expensive auxiliary service components for every department and as a result is considerably less expensive and offers an improved channel of promotion for this specialist group.

To date a large proportion of the own affairs functions managed by the central Government has been taken over, and approximately 20 000 officials and approximately 9 500 daily labourers are working on the task. However, the position is still very fluid. An additional 5 000 personnel members may soon be added to the complement of officials with the transfer of five hospitals for the mentally ill and certain dental faculties. This in itself is an indication of the scope of the Administration’s activities—even at this early stage.

†I should now like to refer hon members to the accounts of the Administration: House of Assembly for the financial year 1985-86.


The object of the Appropriation Bill before this House is to appropriate funds totalling R2 200,324 million for the own affairs of the Administration: House of Assembly. The funds are required to finance the expenditure for the full financial year 1985-86 in respect of the five departments incorporated in this Administration. The details of aforesaid amount of R2 200,324 million are contained in the printed estimates tabled by me today.

The full extent of the activities for which the Administration: House of Assembly is accountable, is reflected in the 30 programmes under the five votes, excluding the vote in respect of conditions of service. From a closer analysis of the relevant programmes it appears that quite a number of important services have already been taken over as own affairs. The following will serve as examples: Medical care (with the exception of provincial hospitals); welfare promotion; plant and animal production promotion; agricultural financing (i.e. granting of financial assistance to farmers including drought relief); operation of Government water schemes; university and technikon education; post-school education and education of handicapped children and children in need of care; housing aid and area development; acquisition of land and control of State land, and provision of buildings, structures and equipment.

The question is continually asked: What is the extent of the increase in expenditure in implementing the new constitutional dispensation? The actual cost is difficult to assess, but as an example of the small increase in Government expenditure in respect of this Administration, regard may be had to the number of additional posts created. Six hundred and eleven additional posts have been created since the establishment of the Administration: House of Assembly. I must however immediately point out that more than 500 of these posts were created as a result of the implementation of the new personnel structure for teachers at colleges and schools with effect from 1 December 1984, and not as a result of the establishment of the new dispensation. This in fact means that only approximately 100 additional posts were created for the Administration as such. Most of the remaining costs are for replacement services such as office accommodation. I can state quite frankly that, after studying the estimates, hon members will find that fair and reasonable provision has in fact been made for the expenditure on the own affairs falling under this Administration. I want to emphasize that financial discipline within this Administration will, especially in the coming financial year, be a matter of the highest priority. In this regard, departments have already received strict instructions. Save in exceptional circumstances, no additional funds will be provided. In the national interest, this Administration must function within the financial means of the State, just as each individual is expected to live within his means, even if that entails occupying a controlled squatter’s hut.

I should now like to draw the attention of the House to the various votes and certain services requiring special mention.


As hon members are aware, identical improvements in social pensions and allowances for all population groups were announced last week by me and my colleagues in this House and the other Houses. It is therefore not necessary to deal with this matter any further.

Of the total vote of R679 million, R622 million is the amount required for the promotion of welfare. The largest part, namely R428,8 million, is for care of the aged. The fact that 63% of this department’s estimate will be devoted to this purpose is an indication of the Government’s grave concern for the plight of the aged. It is furthermore important to note that, while taking cognizance of the ever-increasing need for care of the aged, Government bears the responsibility of ensuring that demands on the Exchequer be tempered. The high cost of erecting and running old age homes leaves one in no doubt that, wherever possible, more emphasis should be placed on care of the aged by the community itself.


The aggregate amount which is being requested for the Department of Agriculture and Water Supply totals R421,558 million, of which an amount of R252,789 million has been earmarked for agricultural finance. I must point out that this amount of R252,789 million comprises almost 60% of the total for Agriculture and Water Supply and therefore merely emphasizes once again how essential it is for the Government to help the farmers to remain on their farms.

Hon members will observe that in respect of relief of distress such as fodder subsidies and fodder transportation only nominal amounts of R1 000 each are being estimated. For the current financial year the total appropriation in respect of the items was R86 million. The extent of the assistance in the coming financial year will depend on climatic conditions and will, if necessary, be drawn on in the additional appropriation for 1985-86.

In respect of drought aid the State has during the past approximately six years rendered assistance to an extent unparalleled in history. Better days are approaching. Like my colleague, the Minister of Finance, I therefore appeal to farmers to make repayment of drought debts, within their means, their highest priority.


The granting of subsidies in respect of capital and recurrent expenditure at universities and technikons occurs mainly in accordance with approved subsidy formulas. To a great extent, therefore, this financial assistance has already been standardized.

For the information of hon members I should like to point out that the aggregate amount which is being requested for the Department of Education and Culture totals R996,357 million, of which an amount of R792,752 million, ie almost 80% of the requisition, is being requested for university and technikon education. The development of our human resources by means of education of a high standard will continue to remain a very high priority of this Government.


Hon members will recall that on 27 September 1983 the State President, as former Prime Minister, announced a special grant of R200 million in an attempt to eliminate the backlog in White housing. This amount was primarily applied to finance housing projects, for the prescribed income groups, which had already been approved, but which could not be proceeded with owing to a lack of funds.

At the end of the present financial year R140 million of the R200 million will already have been spent. As may be seen in the printed Estimate, the remaining R60 million which will be spent during the coming financial year will be obtained by way of loans. The interest on such loans will be made good from moneys available on the Estimate. This special project will therefore be finalized during the coming financial year.

On 30 March 1983, during his Budget Speech, the former Minister of Finance announced a mortgage loan subsidy scheme. Assistance is rendered to individuals who have not previously owned a house or flat and who, for the first time, wish to purchase a new dwelling or a dwelling not previously occupied, for occupation by themselves, or who wish to have a new dwelling built. Additionally this subsidy is only paid in respect of mortgage bonds not exceeding R40 000 on a property, the full purchase price of which does not exceed R50 000. This concession is not available to persons who receive housing assistance from other sources. The subsidization of the monthly interest rate payments is calculated on the minimum applicable building society bond rate. It is an exceptional pleasure for me to announce that with effect from 1 April 1985 the State’s interest subsidy on the bonds of participants in this scheme will be raised from the present level of 20% to a level of 33,33%.

I am prepared to go out of my way to help those people who are prepared to live within their means, and I must emphasize that in particular this scheme is aimed at core housing as well. In this connection I can rely on the full support of my colleague, the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works. The increased costs of this concession are estimated at an amount of R5 million for the 1985-86 financial year, but the actual extent of the expenditure will depend on the amount of interest shown in the scheme.


This department, which is in reality a key department in the Administration, is responsible mainly for overall financial and personnel control and renders the auxiliary services which are so important for the effective functioning of the entire Administration.

The linking of several departments within one organization has necessitated numerous extensive adjustments, particularly with regard to personnel and financial administration. I do not wish to go into detail but can assure hon members that good progress has been made.

In the past few months positive results have been achieved in establishing and organizing my department. This would not have been possible without the exceptional enthusiasm, co-operation and team spirit of everyone in the department.

Hon members will note that a significant amount has been budgeted for a broad spectrum of activities. However, it is important to note that the full extent of this Administration’s activities is not yet apparent. This is mainly because the own/general division of provincial activities has not yet been completed. When one looks at provincial activities in the field of health services, education and local government, it becomes clear that there will be a dramatic increase in the estimated amounts for the Administration: House of Assembly in the near future.

Having briefly discussed the budgetary proposals with hon members, I must point out that these proposals should not be seen as a statement of Government policy in regard to fiscal and monetary matters. This can never be the case because they are concerned only with one facet of government, an important facet, nevertheless.


From the printed Estimate of Revenue hon members will observe that the Administration: House of Assembly estimates that it will collect an amount of R34 million in own revenue. This includes interest, dividends, levies, recovery of loans, etc. However, it contains no levies which I am authorized to impose in terms of section 3 of the Revenue Accounts Financing Act, 1984. Let me say at once that I do not intend to impose any levies during the coming financial year. It will require in-depth investigations before the scope of this revenue mechanism can be determined. For the information of hon members I want to mention, however, that I have already requested the respective departments within this Administration to identify areas in which it will in fact be possible to impose levies. Levies for services rendered do have a financial part to play, particularly if this can be accompanied by a lowering of the tax structures.

Furthermore, it is clear to me that this is also a method which could possibly be employed to enable a population group to collect more money, and subsequently spend it on a specific area it has decided upon, or to make more funds available from the State Revenue Fund for a specific service than can be afforded in accordance with the norms and standards of a general law. As has already been said, however, this is a sensitive area that will be dealt with circumspectly.

The Revenue Account for 1985-86 is as follows:

R million


Revenue from own sources



Formula amount in terms of section 84(a) of the Constitution

1 925,932


Supplementary amounts in terms of section 84(b) of the Constitution



Conditional grant in terms of section 84(c) of the Constitution (Improvement of Pensions and Bonus)



Improvement of conditions of service (Vote 8: Section 84(c) of the Constitution)


R2 200,324

The document which I am tabling and my own role in its formulation must therefore be seen as a reflection of the degree to which success has been achieved in negotiating sufficient funds for the realization of the own affairs ideal. The same also applies to my two colleagues in the other two Houses.

On 20 February, 1985 I drew the attention of hon members to the fact that my two colleagues and I had representation on every important committee dealing with State revenue and expenditure and financial and economic planning. This covers the entire spectrum from the State President’s Committee on National Priorities, the Committee for Financial Policy and Strategy, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Matters and the Cabinet Committee on Budgetary Matters. This joint participation and joint say, together with my two colleagues and their Departments of the Budget, are for me of the utmost importance in our search for financial consensus. I also see it as a clear role-interpretation duty which has been conferred upon us as the three Ministers of the Budget, together with the Minister of Finance, for the attainment of workable co-responsibility from a budgetary point of view.


No administration which is responsible for such important matters as the Administration: House of Assembly and which is in reality a miniature Public Service, can commence its activities without having its Minister of the Budget lift the veil on certain policy objectives which he has set himself and the organization. In this connection I should like to draw the attention of hon members to certain important policy objectives which the Administration will endeavour to achieve.

Establishment of Own Affairs

Since the Administration: House of Assembly is dealing with most of the personal services of the White section of the population in the RSA it is my objective, as well as that of the Administration, to develop these services to their full potential and also, in the process, to establish the activities of the Administration in a perceptible way.


I personally, as well as the Ministers’ Council of the House of Assembly, place a very high premium on efficiency. In the situation in which this country finds itself the maximum utilization of scarce resources is of cardinal importance and cannot be over-emphasized. Consequently efficient job performance and the concomitant increase in productivity will be one of the main priorities of the Administration.

To ensure the greatest measure of need satisfaction, continuous attention will have to be given to the following matters: Clear identification of community needs; logical classification of functions to obviate duplication; rationalization of work procedures and methods; and promotion of dynamic management.

As hon members already know, the Government recently launched a programme in accordance with which a saving on staff must be effected and measures to increase productivity adopted. This Administration has already committed itself wholeheartedly to contributing its co-operation in order to give effect to this appeal of the Government.

Thorough cognizance will, however, have to be taken of the fact that this Administration consists of departments-in-the-making which will, after all, have to be placed in a position to fulfil their role in the new dispensation. While the economizing campaign of the Government is therefore given complete support, hon members must take into account, however, that large expansions in certain spheres of the Administration: House of Assembly still have to take place.

As regards the introduction of measures to increase productivity and improve efficiency, I should like to mention for the information of hon members that the Ministers’ Council of the House of Assembly adopted specific resolutions in this connection during January 1985. The following are a few examples of these: The filling of vacancies must be motivated; supervision and control must be improved; and functions must be re-assessed.

Furthermore, I also want to mention that in my Department of Budgetary and Auxiliary Services, approximately 8% more voluntary unpaid overtime than the normal working-hours is already being worked. In the other departments of the Administration, as well, many man-hours of overtime are being worked without remuneration. In addition my personnel have, of their own accord, bidden farewell to the traditional tea-break—truly a commendable gesture.

Privatization of Public Services

I think the time has arrived to make a reevaluation of the services which the State is rendering at present, on the one hand from the point of view of whether it is in fact necessary for the Government sector to render the service and on the other from a cost-effective point of view.

I have also accepted it as one of my objectives to strive for the privatization of public services where this is possible. I am confronted with a practical problem, however, in that it is very difficult for me to give careful consideration to and investigate the matter before all own affairs services have been transferred to this Administration. My view is that although we are dealing primarily with personal services, there should be no hesitation in evaluating which services may beneficially be transferred to the private sector.

Regional Development Advisory Committees

Since the three Administrations are very closely involved in the social objectives of the regional development programme in particular, and also to a certain extent in some of the economic and physical objectives and will probably become even more involved in them in future, the Administration, House of Assembly has a definite role to fulfil in this respect as well. The matter is at present receiving urgent attention.

Devolution of Authority

The Administration is by its nature associated with the Government’s programme in regard to the devolution of powers. An evaluation will take place in this regard as well to see what can be devolved to other levels after the final distribution of functions has taken place.

Provincial Functions

The Ministers’ Council of the Administration: House of Assembly considers it to be very important that finality be reached as soon as possible on the distribution of provincial functions among own and general affairs and the future management of that portion classified as own affairs.

In Schedule 1 of the Constitution a number of subjects are classified as own affairs and in practice a large proportion of the activities revolving around these subjects are at present being performed by the provincial administrations. My colleague, the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, as well as project teams of the Commission for Administration, are at present hard at work on this exercise, and it is hoped that clarity will be obtained on this matter in the near future. In my opinion there will be an opportunity for greater saving of costs and rationalization of services, especially in the own affairs sphere, when the point is reached at which provincial own affairs functions and those already being managed by the Administration: House of Assembly, are reconciled.


From what I have said here this afternoon it ought to be clear that the Administration: House of Assembly has a cardinal role to play in the new constitutional dispensation, not necessarily owing to the extent of its activities and appropriation amounts, but as an indispensable part of a system dealing with the self-determination of groups.

Hon members will probably realize that the preparation of my Budget was for various reasons no easy task. This is the first Budget in which provision had to be made for the financing of the thirty different programmes of the Administration for a full financial year. In certain cases the activities of a large number of bodies and offices which were formerly part of “parent departments” had to be re-organized and in some cases regrouped. This made the determination of the real needs of departments within the Administration difficult. This task was made even more difficult because comparative figures for the 1984-85 financial year were not readily available.

I should like to take this opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to the Minister of the Budget of the House of Representatives, Rev the Hon A A Julies, and the Minister of the Budget of the House of Delegates, the Hon E Abramjee, for the co-operation I have thus far received from them. From our constant contact and negotiation it is clear to me that they, too, are desirous of responsible and stable reform succeeding within the framework of financial and economic realities.

Furthermore I wish to convey a sincere word of thanks and appreciation to my colleague, the Minister of Finance, for his sympathetic understanding and approach under the present extremely difficult financial circumstances. I want to assure hon members that without the wonderful co-operation of the hon the Minister of Finance, as well as that of the personnel in his department, the transitional phase would have been very difficult.

In conclusion I should also like to give hon members the assurance that without the dedicated zeal and enthusiasm with which the officials in this Administration tackled their new task, the progress which has been made would not have been possible. I convey my sincere thanks, and that of the Ministers’ Council, to the Director-General, Mr André Cornelissen, and to everyone in the Administration: House of Assembly who put their shoulders to the wheel in order to achieve so much in such a short time.

I also convey my sincere thanks to the chairman and my colleagues of the Ministers’ Council of the House of Assembly for their wholehearted and loyal co-operation.

With this budget we are breaking new ground and taking the first step on a new stage of our journey which can develop into a unique solution to a unique problem. These words of the poet are undoubtedly appropriate:

Soos perde op die dorsvloer,
Altyd in die rondte gaan
So maak nie jy my Boervolk, nee
Jy breek jou eie baan
Jy bly nie op die dorsvloer
Trap nie alles daar tot stof
Jy soek en vind jou uitweg
Jy begin jou nuwe skof.

Mr Speaker, I now lay upon the Table:

Estimate of Revenue and Estimate of Expenditure of the Administration: House of Assembly for the financial year ending 31 March 1986 [RP 6—85]. Mr H H SCHWARZ:

Mr Speaker, in the first instance I should like to take this opportunity formally to congratulate the hon the Minister of the Budget on this his first Budget Speech on own affairs. I want to say to him that when one looks at his speech of today one does so to some extent with fear and trepidation. I recall, for instance, the following words he used (p 31):

Vir die inligting van agb lede wil ek egter meld dat ek reeds die onderskeie departemente binne hierdie Administrasie versoek het om terreine te identifiseer waar heffings wel gemaak kan word.

He is learning fast. His first job as the Minister of the Budget is to look for ways and means to tax the people. That appears to be one of the things that cannot be resisted on the Government side of the House. You will appreciate, Sir, that it causes us some concern that the immediate task is seen as one of: “How can we tax the people and where can we find something to tax?” [Interjections.]

The second point I want to make is that it is fairly clear—and I hope to enlarge on this tomorrow once we have seen the detailed Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue which we have of course not seen—that there is much to be done in regard to the identification of own affairs as opposed to general affairs. I will quote some examples in that regard tomorrow. It also seems to me that the whole question of the provinces and the speed with which that matter can be brought to a conclusion, will have to receive particular attention.

The question that immediately arises, of course, is the question that applies to the main Budget, namely whether the hon the Minister will be able to keep within the estimates of expenditure which he has set for himself. The answer to that we will only know in 12 months’ time. The reality is that we have heard too many budget speeches in this House over the years in which we have been told there will be financial discipline and nothing will be allowed that is not essential, while in the end result quite a different picture has emerged.

I think I would be failing in my duty today if, in dealing with own affairs, I did not also deal with a matter which I think is concerning the whole of South Africa today. The reality is that we are not on an island. Own affairs is not something that operates by itself like a ship on a sea that is calm and tranquil so that no harm can come to the ship. The reality is that any one ship sailing in a stormy sea is as much affected by it as any other ship. Therefore, I believe that the issue which is causing the greatest concern to the public of South Africa at the moment is the general unrest in the country. [Interjections.] One cannot ignore the reality that it is not in only one isolated place, but in places in various parts of South Africa that we have seen unrest with people dying and places burning. We have witnessed a situation which is a cause of concern and worry for all South Africans. The public of South Africa want to know not only why there is unrest but also how we are going to restore peace and tranquillity to South Africa. [Interjections.]

I must say, that is the dominant theme. One may talk to anybody in South Africa today, or in the South Africa of yesterday or tomorrow about this. The dominant theme is: What is actually going wrong in this country of ours? I believe that is the question at which this debate will have to be directed. The issue that arises is what impact this unrest is having on the population of South Africa as a whole, what impact it is having on investment, on jobs, on our image abroad, on the potential of possible action against the Republic, and on the prospects of peaceful change in South Africa. I believe that if we are committed to peaceful change in South Africa, we have to apply our minds to this problem of actually preserving peace and tranquillity in our country. That is why I raised the issue immediately. It is paramount in the minds of virtually every single South African today.

As I have said, we have not seen the Estimates of Expenditure in detail. We have not seen the rest. Therefore, I move:

That the debate be now adjourned.

Agreed to.


Introductory speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 18 March


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Since the passing of the National Key Points Act, 1980, new requirements, which have not been provided for in the principal Act, have arisen and it has therefore now become necessary to amend this Act.

It became apparent that in some instances where steps, as intended by the Act, had to be taken for the security of a National Key Point which adjoins other Key Points or which is situated in their vicinity, it would be more advantageous if the owners of the Key Points in question were to take joint steps for the safeguarding of those Key Points instead of taking steps independently. In doing so considerable expense could be saved and unnecessary effort eliminated. To make this possible in future provision is now being made for such Key Points to be declared a National Key Points Complex. It will then be possible to notify the owners of the joints steps to be undertaken by them for the security of such a complex. Those owners will determine the proportion to which they will be liable for the cost among themselves. However, to ensure that finality is reached, provision is being made that the Minister may determine that proportion on their behalf if they are unable to reach agreement within the predetermined time. A sanction which is similar to the one at present provided for in the Act, where an owner of a Key Point fails to comply with an order by the Minister, is now provided for where similar non-compliance occurs on the part of owners of Key Points Complexes.

To prevent the intention of the Act being frustrated by owners of Key Points failing to effect the necessary security steps which they are obliged to take, the provision in the Act empowering the Minister to take those steps himself or to have them taken, is extended so that he will in future be able to take them without it being necessary, as is the case at the moment, for the owner first to be convicted of the relevant offence on account of his noncompliance.

To prevent an owner of a National Key Point being prejudiced by any order given by the Minister in terms of the Act which, due to circumstances, is no longer applicable, it is now expressly provided that the Minister may, at a later stage, amend any period or steps which he has ordered.

Provision is further made for the owner of a Key Point or the owners of a Key Points Complex to consent to the Minister taking the necessary security steps or any part thereof or having such steps taken. Should this occur, the Minister will be entitled to take over contracts which the owners have entered into with third parties, if their fulfilment will contribute to the security of the Key Point or Key Points Complex.

*Furthermore, a special account for the safeguarding of National Key Points is being created. It will be utilized inter alia to render financial assistance to owners of National Key Points who are financially unable to effect the steps which are necessary for the security of their enterprises. A person in the service of the State, will, with the concurrence of the Minister of Finance, be designated as accounting officer and the Auditor General will be responsible for the auditing of the account. A special account has been decided upon because the administration of the National Key Points Act is not a purely defence matter and the Defence Budget is therefore not the correct source to provide funds for this purpose. In addition owners of Key Points will also contribute towards defraying the costs of the security measures in respect of their properties and such contributions will be best utilized and accounted for if they are paid into a separate account.

Owing to the exigencies of a particular case it was necessary to begin with the preliminary work and the measures that had to be taken in order to safeguard that particular case before this amending Bill could be submitted to Parliament. For this reason the Bill provides that contracts which have meanwhile been concluded in this connection will be ratified when the Bill becomes law.

Generally speaking, these amendments are aimed at eliminating the shortcomings in the security of the National Key Points of our country which have come to light since the passing of the principle Act, and at making the rendering of financial assistance to the owners of Key Points a reality.

I can also inform hon members that the more important commercial and industrial organizations who may be effected by this measure, have been consulted and that they have welcomed and accepted the measure, although with some minor reservations in one case.

In conclusion I wish to convey my thanks and appreciation to the chairman and members of the Standing Committee on Defence for their positive approach to the measure and the good spirit in which its deliberations were conducted and concluded. Unfortunately it was not possible to accept all the proposed amendments, but I am satisfied that those which the committee did accept served to improve the Bill. My impression is that the manner in which this measure was handled contributed considerably towards fostering a positive team spirit among members of the Standing Committee, and I wish the Committee every success for the future.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Speaker, I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the chairman of the standing committee for the way in which he acquitted himself of his task and in particular, for the patience he displayed when we, in our discussion of points in the standing committee, from time to time perhaps repeated ourselves in certain instances in an attempt to convince other members in that committee of our standpoints.

I also want to express my thanks to the hon the Deputy Minister of Defence for the opportunity he gave the committee of visiting Durban where we could view the proposed key point complex.

Thirdly I also want to express my appreciation to the senior Defence Force personnel who stood by to answer questions and clear up uncertainties.

I think this is a fitting opportunity to issue a warning to the chairman of the committee—and I am not using the word “warning” as a threat; perhaps I should say that he should take note—to ensure that senior officials do not involve themselves too frequently in the debate taking place in the committee. I think that at this early stage in the new dispensation care should be taken to ensure that officials only furnish information and that the job of persuasion in the committee preferably be left to the other members of the committee. [Interjections.] I can see that the chairman of the committee is not reacting too strongly to the point I have made. He understands what I am trying to say to him. I do so in a spirit of peace and harmony. I do, however, think it is necessary for that point to be made because, in their willingness to help, senior officials do, from time to time, become a little too involved in the debate itself.

In the past the PFP has supported the principle of the protection of important industrial production and storage points. We also supported the introduction of the principal Act and the further amendments brought about in the past. The hon the Minister knows, however, that we have never blindly given our support. Last year, when an amendment of the Act was being discussed, I took that opportunity to point out that the protection of key points should rather be seen as an exception to the rule. At the time I also expressed the hope that with reform taking place in South Africa, there ought increasingly to be less of a necessity for protecting key points.

As far back as 1980, when the principle Act was passed, we on this side of the House issued a warning to the effect that the costs that would have to be incurred for the protection of key points would, in the long run, have to be filtered through to the consumer. Today I am again making that point. We must constantly be aware of, and we must have our attention focused on, the fact that the protection of key points is expensive and that the consumer—the taxpayers or members of the public—eventually have to pay for it. In regard to the amending Bill we are discussing here today, we on this side of the House have a few problems I should like to refer to.

†In clause 3 of the Bill provision is made for the Minister to determine what proportion of the expenditure should be borne by each of the owners within a Key Point Complex. This party is absolutely opposed to such ministerial power. I also made this very clear on the committee. I argue that when it comes to that kind of ministerial power—I am not specifically referring to the National Key Points Amendment Bill—this Government has an unenviable record of abuse. I think, therefore, that everything possible should be done to prevent Ministers from being given such ultimate and final power.

We believe that if in the case that I am referring to now, agreement cannot be reached by the individual owners coming together, the hon the Minister should follow the normal procedures set out in the Arbitration Act of 1965 and appoint an arbitrator to determine that proportion. There are many arguments that could be used in favour of arbitration. I think the fact that after decades we in South Africa have settled on a specific procedure that is to be followed when agreement cannot be reached, is sufficient proof that the principle of arbitration is accepted in this country and is supported by most.

Some very strange arguments were used in the committee against arbitration. Some hon members argued that because time was of the essence, arbitration could not be used to determine the allocation of costs. Of course, that argument does not stand the test of an investigation. What we are talking about now is not the determination of a Key Point Complex but how the costs are to be allocated. The allocation of costs takes place after the decision whether an area should be a Key Point Complex or not has been made. The allocation of expenses can take place days, weeks or even months after such a decision has been made. So that argument does not stand up.

It was also said by some that the cost involved when one goes to arbitration is so high that it is not worth it. That is a spurious argument if I have ever heard one. The very reason that one goes to arbitration instead of to a court is because of the costs involved, because going to court in South Africa costs so much more. The system of arbitration is the obvious alternative. So that argument falls away as well.

Thirdly, there was a very strange argument heard by the members of the standing committee. It was alleged that those senior people from the legal profession who could be appointed as chairmen of such arbitration courts, and those acting on behalf of the individuals, would be involved in a protracted argument and would waste time in order to bolster their funds because arbitration is seen by some members of the legal profession as a way in which money can be made. Quite frankly, I do not consider that argument as acceptable either, and this party, just to sum up, is not prepared to accept that provision in the Bill, and for that reason alone, even if we had no other differences, we would be forced to vote against the Bill.

We come now to clause 4 in which provision is made for a special account. I do not want to get involved in a heated argument about the creation of a special account except to say that in the times in which we live, in 1985, for this Parliament to create yet another special account in which funds may be carried over from year to year just does not make sense. There are some people in this Parliament who still do not realize that South Africa is going through extremely difficult economic times and that everything possible must be done to save money and nothing be done that may lead to a wastage of funds.

I want to exclude the particular people involved with this special account, when I say that when we look at the record of this Government we find that in the past special funds in special accounts could not be resisted in the sense that wastage and maladministration took place. I do not want to go into a great deal of detail in this respect either. However, this party believes that at the end of a particular budgetary period funds that are not expended should go back to the central Treasury and that the budget for the continuation of a particular project in the succeeding year should be planned subsequently. This is not unusual. It is nothing new. It is being done on an ongoing basis.

The second reason why we oppose this is because a special fund leads to the creation of a special bureaucracy. One of the undertakings which the present State President gave this country when he became Prime Minister was that he would do everything possible to reduce the size of the bureaucracy. I say the creation of another special account is simply going to lead to an expanded bureaucracy and, for that reason alone, I think it should be opposed.

The final reason for our opposition on this point has come from the Department of Defence itself. I want to quote from a newspaper, I think it was the Sunday Express of 23 January, 1983. This is what they say:

Most of the senior Government and army men who appeared before the 1982 Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Accounts complained of inability to comply with auditing requirements because of critical staff shortages. Among the departments experiencing difficulties with accounting under a new system introduced by the Treasury was apparently the SA Defence Force.

So, Sir, we find here that the SA Defence Force itself is experiencing difficulty in having audits done properly because of a manpower shortage. I say, therefore, to the hon the Deputy Minister of Defence: “Do not create a new account that is going to require special auditing staff. Stick to the well-tried method of placing your funds in the central Treasury and using them as and when you require them. Then, at the beginning of each year, come forward with a proper budget in which you motivate your requirements and then let Parliament make the decision.”

The third point I want to deal with is in regard to clause 9 which provides for the retrospectivity of this legislation. Once again, I believe that it should only be in exceptional cases that the provisions of legislation passed by this Parliament should be made retrospective. This is always a dangerous thing to do. I cannot say that this is so in this particular case, and I do not say so, but when provision is made in legislation to, as it were, cover the sins of the past, I think we are dealing with a dangerous precedent. This party feels that this type of provision should be highly exceptional. In regard to the Bill before us, in reply to the question as to what the situation would be if this provision was not passed, whether it would disadvantageously affect the position of a Key Point Complex and also the question of making provision for the necessary security structures, the reply is that in fact it would not. It would create some difficulty in regard to the question of accountability among the various Governments departments. However, even if it were not passed by this Parliament, the position as planned would still obtain and the money would come from another department which tentatively, so we understand, has in any event started making provision for the cost of the work carried out as well.

To sum up, I just want to say that we on this side of the House are not opposed to the concept of the establishment of Key Point Complexes. However, because of the way in which this Bill has been presented to Parliament and the particular amendments that it contains, we cannot vote for the Bill and we shall be opposing it at Second Reading.

I would be failing in my duty if I did not make use of this opportunity to raise one or two other matters in regard to Key Points and security. I believe it is of interest to this House and, in fact, to the country, to know that from 1980 when the original Act was passed up to the present, we have established no fewer than 337 National Key Points. Attempts have been made in the past by people or groups of people in South Africa to destroy certain of these Key Points, and from that point of view it is a good thing that certain security mechanisms have been created and that certain steps have been taken to protect these vital points. However, when one looks at the overall situation in South Africa, I feel that there is a tendency in our South African society to believe that by taking action to protect buildings and installations by armed men in uniform, by building walls and by making provision for other security mechanisms, one can in fact prevent violence from taking place in our society.

Just to illustrate what I mean, I would like to read to you a very short extract from a publication which is called Security Focus, dated January 1985, which means that it is fairly up to date. In this publication the editor has the following to say:

Security in all its forms—whether at national level or on the industrial and commercial front—is likely to be an area of paramount importance during 1985. Unemployment, industrial unrest, burgeoning crime, both major and petty, and the general economic situation in South Africa, are bringing aspects of security into sharper focus.

It goes on in that vein. What this editor said may be perfectly accurate, but I believe that he actually stopped short of the truth. Security in South Africa will not be brought about if, in addition to the aspects to which he referred here, we in this Parliament, and particularly that group which is responsible for Defence matters to this Parliament, do not take cognizance of the fact that we have to bring about changes in the political arena in order to bring about real security in South Africa. Perhaps, in dealing with this particular Bill, we should be allowed to devote some of our time to dealing with those matters which are a requirement to bring about real security in South Africa.

If one looks at that publication—unfortunately I cannot have this taken up in Hansard—one will see that on the front cover there are pictures of barbed wire around an electricity installation, nine to 10 foot high double mesh protection mechanisms, etc. This is only one of a series of publications that are being distributed in this country at great cost. It is true that one needs to protect installations, but unless we are going to look a little deeper, there is nothing that we can do with brick and mortar and wire which will secure this society from certain destruction.

I am only talking to those people who are interested in real security for South Africa. If they are not prepared to listen to a debate in which we discuss the wider issues of security, perhaps they need to be somewhere else.

If one looks at the principal Act, one will see that a particular place or area may be declared a National Keypoint as follows:

If it appears to the Minister at any time that any place or area is so important that its loss, damage, disruption or immobilization may prejudice the Republic, or whenever he considers it necessary or expedient for the safety of the Republic or in the public interest, he may declare that place or area a National Key Point.

By that definition, if we take into consideration the position we are in in March 1985, it is my opinion that every single school in South Africa can today be defined as a National Key Point. Every single police station has become threatened and therefore is a National Key Point. One can actually take it further. Every residence which is occupied by a Black person who, in terms of his perspective, is prepared to work within the system, should become a National Key Point in terms of this definition.

I ask you, Mr Speaker, where are we going? If this is the kind of situation which pertains in March 1985, then I believe it is long overdue for this House, for this Parliament, not only to be talking about brick and mortar and high fences, but to address some of the real issues which are facing us. How do we protect this society so that we and others can bring about change in a peaceful way? I believe that that is the issue to which we should be devoting some of our debating time here this afternoon.

I want to take it somewhat further. [Interjections.] You see, Mr Speaker, interjections of that kind show up exactly the kind of thinking that we have in this House. I am talking about the need for peaceful change, and I also call on hon members of this House to co-operate and to exchange ideas in a meaningful manner so that we can bring about a new situation. What do we hear, however? The interjection is heard: “Does that include the communists?” [Interjections.] My record in connection with where we stand with regard to the future of South Africa is perfectly clear, and so is the record of my party. We stand for peaceful change in this country. [Interjections.] We are prepared to talk with any person who is prepared, together with this Parliament and other Government institutions, to bring about peaceful change. That is where we stand, Sir. I want to make that very clear.

That is why I appeal to this House certainly to protect those production mechanisms which are in need of protection. We should, however, look further afield than that, and with that group that is responsible for defence, and therefore also for security matters, let us look to other areas in which we have to move in order to bring about change.


Mr Speaker, in the course of my speech I shall presently reach the hon member for Wynberg. From our side of the House, however, we should also like in the first instance to congratulate the hon the Deputy Minister on his promotion to this portfolio as well as on his first handling of legislation in the House.

Mr Speaker, please also permit me this opportunity of congratulating the hon member for Durban Point, who for years has been his party’s chief spokesman on Defence, on the Decoration for Meritorious Service awarded him by the State President. I believe we are all proud of the hon member for Durban Point’s receipt of this well-earned award. [Interjections.]




From my side I also wish to express our thanks in the first place to the Defence Force officers made available to us and who collected information to serve as background material. Furthermore I also wish to thank the members of the standing committee—of all three Houses—for their co-operation in this respect. Those hon members made a thorough study of the Bill in question, furnished significant contributions and carried on frank discussion and debate. They really deserve thanks and appreciation for the great task performed in this regard. I also venture to say that, in consequence of the standing committee’s handling of the Bill and the amendments passed, a better Bill has been presented to the House. From the nature of the case we were unable to pass all the amendments, but those that were passed improved the legislation.

I now come to the hon member for Wynberg. He succeeded in finding an opening in this debate for a political link-up. I do not hold this against him but he should not altogether turn a blind eye to the Government’s activities concerning changes and the consideration of including people in future development. Surely it is the order of the day! The fact remains, however, that countries and peoples throughout the world have learned one word today and that is terrorism. South Africa is not the only target area for the acts of those people. Terrorism is a world-wide phenomenon—be it in Northern Ireland, Britain, the USA, Europe or the Middle East—it is a sign of the times. Such acts simply happen. Many places are target areas.

We should read this legislation in conjunction with the original section in the National Key Points Act, 1980. Section 2 of the principal Act runs as follows:

If it appears to the Minister at any time that any place or area is so important that its loss, damage, disruption or immobilization may prejudice the Republic …

If the Republic can therefore be prejudiced in any way, the idea of a Key Point or a Key Point Complex comes to the fore.


He has made his fowlrun one as well in terms of that clause!


Yes, and he also wants to provide for security in Houghton where there are large dogs in any case! [Interjections.]

I wish to get to a few comments broached by the hon member for Wynberg in which he reprimanded the hon chairman of the standing committee for supposedly permitting officials too much latitude in providing more than information. As regards that comment I wish to say to him that in the first place he cannot accuse me of a lack of feeling. In the second place I wish to point out to him that when people are enthusiastic about their duty, when they come forward with a submission and supporting evidence, surely it is pleasant to participate in such conversations. The hon member should know that. [Interjections.]

If we examine this Bill and the background material and study that went into it, we have to put this most important question: What is the attitude of those people and owners to which this Bill will apply? What is the attitude of the people—the owners or possessors—of the complexes to which this Bill will apply? In this respect our expert advisers covered a wide field in their consultation of interested parties. I can name some of those consulted including the oil industry in Cape Town, the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut, the chemical industry, the Federated Chamber of Industries, Fidelity Guards, the executive committees of all four provinces, the United Municipal Executive, Assocom and others. These people are agreeable to the Bill. They welcome this Bill with its attendant amendments because it holds other advantages for these owners above and beyond the protection the Bill will furnish them and the activities further arising from this. In the first case there is the advantage of security. Further, when owners from now on act in concert, it is more economical for such a unit to carry out those security arrangements or activities as a team effort than making certain such arrangements individually.

Costs incurred by such an owner are also a deductible item from his statement of income when he draws up his final annual accounts. In addition: When those security arrangements have been made there, they are an asset to him. If alienation of property should take place, he can place his property on the market as a secure unit—an asset already made safe. These are advantages to the owner built in by the legislation.

The hon member for Wynberg said that provision had been made in clause 4 for powers which he did not like to be conferred on the Minister. Those rights conferred on the Minister in terms of the Bill, however, already exist in terms of the principal Act. Perhaps the hon member does not like the powers already provided for in the principal Act.

In conjunction with this, the hon member voiced the problem that no specific provision had been made in a clause of the Bill for the appointment of an arbiter. The Bill, and in particular clause 3, has been drawn up in such a way that an arbiter is not excluded. This is the case precisely in consequence of an amendment proposed by one of the hon members. Clause 3 now provides as follows:

On receipt of a notice … the owner of the National Key Point concerned shall after consultation with the Minister at his own expense take steps to the satisfaction of the Minister in respect of the security of the said Key Point.

Ample provision has been made that the acquisition of arbitration services are not excluded in terms of the legislation.

*Maj R SIVE:

That is not so.


It is true that if an arbiter were appointed, it would be a time-consuming matter and we cannot get away from that. It would result in costs and in addition be time-consuming.

The hon member’s next objection was the separate account. The service actually carried out here by the committee concerning Key Points and the directorate dealing with it, is actually not a primary function of the SA Defence Force but this function has to be carried out somewhere; it is essential. It could have been linked with another department but it has been linked with this specific one because it has knowledgeable people who can deal with this at its call but its identification and handling will be carried out in co-operation with the owners of such complexes. The costs cannot be arranged from the Defence Appropriation because it is not the primary function of the Defence Force.

I wish to point out to the hon member that the FCI, in fact, welcomes this provision and it expressly states this in its evidence.

It is also a fact that this separate account is to be audited by the Auditor-General. The statements of and reports on that account will be submitted to Parliament by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. As an instrument of Parliament that standing committee is an electoral watchdog. The hon member for Yeoville serves on that committee and this morning we once again had the opportunity of seeing that committee fully in action. If the hon member for Wynberg now contends that acts could occur for which he would not wish to accept responsibility, I say he is really insulting the hon member for Yeoville and his colleagues. I have the fullest confidence in that very watchdog, in fact, to keep a vigilant eye on the application of funds in such a separate account.

The last argument put forward by the hon member here was the retrospective force of this legislation to which he is opposed. Surely the retrospective force of the legislation has been explained to us. It applies only to a specific complex which has already proceeded with activities. The purpose is the validation of such steps and to facilitate them in order to ensure their success. I am now referring specifically to the complex we visited in Durban.

This Bill provides for an existing essential need. Two or more decades ago we completed buildings and institutions with peacetime intent. In the modem idiom every activity is aimed at foreseeing happenings which may make that case vulnerable to deeds of terrorism.

We of the standing committee are satisfied. We present this legislation to this House—as to the other two Houses of Parliament—with the utmost confidence that in it an opportunity is offered of assisting our industry and also safeguarding State activities creating energy and other facilities.

The hon member for Wynberg dragged in a measure of politics with his last thoughts. It is quite true that we have had to take many knocks in our development but it is inappropriate to intrude a political argument on this specific legislation and in this particular climate. I support the Bill.


Mr Speaker, in opening I wish to agree with the hon member for Standerton in that we on this side of the House also regret that towards the end of his speech the hon member for Wynberg sought to make a little political capital out of a Bill of this nature. I do not think it belongs there.

The hon member contended that security could be accomplished by peaceful change. Now I want to ask him what peaceful change and what situation would make such measures unnecessary in South Africa. Any change which will take place—even that possibly envisaged by him and his party—will most certainly not result in the safeguarding of National Key Points becoming unnecessary. Only one change may possibly eliminate that danger and that is the total capitulation of the people represented in this House. A Black majority government may possibly achieve that objective. [Interjections.]

We think it a good principle to identify National Key Points; in fact, in discussing the original Act in 1980 and also the amendments last year we were in full agreement. There are certain amendments in this Bill with which we have no problem, for example the National Key Point Complexes broached here.

There are certain amendments in this Bill, however, which we regard of such paramount importance that in consequence of them we cannot in principle agree to this Bill. Firstly we think the name “National Key Points” is not actually very suitable. We believe “Conservative Key Points” would be a better name. [Interjections.] The name “Progressive Key Points” would not make much difference as the words “National” and “Progressive” have become almost synonymous in present-day party politics—but that is merely by the way. As I have already said, we accept the principle of the necessity of National Key Points. We accept that there are places in South Africa such as storage points, factories, airports, harbours, etc which have to be safeguarded in the national interest. We also believe the safeguarding should be co-ordinated by the State. Whether the Defence Force or the SA Police should do the co-ordinating can give rise to difference of opinion and debate but it poses no problem to us. It appears an acceptable arrangement to us that the Defence Force should deal with the matter concerned. In any case the SA Police and other institutions such as the National Intelligence Service are closely involved as members of the various National Key Point Committees so that the RSA security family is actually dealing with the matter jointly. The National Key Point Committees appear to be well constituted, with a practical modus operandi which can lead to good results.

The Bill contains certain amendments which the hon the Deputy Minister said in his second reading speech had become necessary because new needs had arisen. I do not think they are new needs as such but rather that there was insufficient consideration initially when the existing Act was drawn up. The original Act was passed in 1980; it was amended in 1984 and now further amendment has again become necessary.

The first amendment is to join National Key Points where necessary. We have absolutely no objection to this—it appears to be a sound and practical arrangement capable of eliminating many problems.

The second amendment empowers the Minister to take steps in respect of security as soon as an owner fails to do so. The Minister no longer has to wait until an owner is found guilty by a court at some future time before he may act. One can understand that it may be essential in the interest of the country sometimes to obviate unnecessary loss of time.

The third amendment provides that owners may ask the Minister to take security steps on their behalf. The practical execution of this and the previous amendment may possibly have many attendant teething troubles yet it does not appear that serious problems will crop up regarding them and that they will actually lead to improvement.

The fourth amendment is authority for the establishment of a new account, against which the Official Opposition objects strongly.

I wish to get to the fifth amendment, however, that in clause 9, dealing with the validation of certain of the Minister’s acts. The principle involved here is the legislator’s power to give legislation retrospective force. We believe that this power of the legislator is not without justification. It is certainly necessary sometimes to pass laws capable of retrospective application but then this should be restricted to highly exceptional cases and as a rule cover only specifically identifiable cases. It cannot be a broad authorization as of a blank cheque. We think clause 9 does not comply with this reasonable test and therefore we cannot vote in its favour. In his Second Reading speech the hon the Deputy Minister gave the reasons for clause 9 as follows: “Owing to the exigencies of a particular case it was necessary to begin with the preliminary work and the measures that had to be taken in order to safeguard that particular case before this amending Bill could be submitted to Parliament. For this reason the Bill provides that contracts which have meanwhile been concluded in this connection will be ratified when the Bill becomes law”. The hon the Deputy Minister therefore pointed out the exigency of only one particular case. According to him only one contract was involved and in reality clause 9 of the Bill therefore concerned only one specific case. If one examines clause 9, however, one is not left with the impression that it concerns one case only as it reads:

Any steps taken or caused to be taken by the Minister of Defence before the commencement of this Act, including the concluding of agreements and the taking over of obligations, which he could have taken or caused to be taken under section 3A of the principal Act, as inserted by this Act, if the said section 3A were then in force, are deemed to have been taken or caused to be taken thereunder.

One asks oneself why this amendment was not introduced in Parliament before. It creates the impression here that it is a general provision for future cases which may possibly be similar. Why is the matter so urgent now that it cannot wait but suddenly has to be inserted here? One might have been able to understand better if clause 9 had addressed the specific case. It is clear, however, that clause 9 opens the door to more than one case. With the utmost respect, this does not create confidence.

A further aspect of the case naturally includes the necessity of having concluded past contracts without authority. One would expect the Minister to have taken all possible steps to attempt avoiding his acting without authority only to be obliged later to attempt to pass a law of a retrospective nature for the so-called ratification of his action—as the hon the Deputy Minister put it in his speech. In this respect there are a number of factors which should have been evaluated during this important decision-making process. In the first place one asks if this particular Act for which provision is being made is in the interest of the country. The answer to this question depends upon the degree of danger to the RSA and Key Points in particular. I wish pertinently to ask the hon the Deputy Minister who is dealing with the legislation whether an escalation of possible attacks against National Key Points may be expected at present. I do not believe that is the case. Only normal risks to which all National Key Points are subject were under discussion. That being the case, it emerges that national interest was not of primary importance in concluding this particular contract. Secondly, one would reasonably expect the hon the Minister to have introduced this Bill in Parliament last year. The question is therefore why he did not do so. Thirdly, I wish to ask what other possible reasons have suddenly invested this matter with such urgency that drastic parliamentary steps have to be taken.

We on this side of the House think the Minister has acted incorrectly and over-hastily in this case. Consequently we cannot approve his action and think the House should censure it. A case demanding such drastic parliamentary measures ought not to be dealt with in such haphazard fashion. The hon the Deputy Minister naturally finds himself in a serious dilemma—that the Government or the NP can no longer govern South Africa as it did traditionally. Under this new dispensation the time has passed when the NP could act as if it ruled South Africa. Here, in fact, we have an excellent example. Before the new constitutional dispensation became operative, the party on the other side ruled South Africa and could do as it saw fit. It could pass any law it chose and guide it through Parliament unhindered but today it can no longer do so. Why not? Let me provide an example. If 23 members of the House of Delegates, ie a simple majority in that House, veto a Bill, the legally elected Government of South Africa’s Whites, therefore the NP, is effectively shunted out of the process of legislation. [Interjections.] I shall illustrate it if the hon member will exercise a little patience. [Interjections.] This is a typical example of the new situation in which the people find themselves. The execution of the will of the White electorate therefore depends on the will of the State President and his puppet President’s Council and not on the White voters who elected these representatives. This is the practical situation which presents itself here. That is no democracy—democracy is being phased out. With respect, those were not the actual traditional powers of Parliament as illustrated in this amending Bill.

That is the dilemma in which the hon the Deputy Minister finds himself with these amendments. Now we on this side ask: What would the hon the Deputy Minister do if the House of Representatives or the House of Delegates were to veto this specific Bill? Who would then pay the amount involved here to the contractors? It could possibly be contended that the Equalization Fund for instance be applied for this, but that is untenable. If Parliament in its present composition refuses to pass clause 9, on what basis can a section of Parliamentary administration disregard the will of Parliament? How, for example, can an Equalization Fund provide finance for these unauthorized contracts if Parliament refuses to ratify them? In this case the hon the Minister is probably one of the first victims of this new dispensation as is practically illustrated by this dilemma in which the Governments finds itself. The point is: Who is going to pay some millions of rand to the contractors if Parliament rejects this Bill? Is the hon the Minister or the hon the Deputy Minister going to pay them personally? We should like to know.

To summarize, it may be said we do not support clause 9 because we are not convinced of adequate justification for a drastic Parliamentary measure to apply it. In our opinion the hon the Minister has acted incorrectly in this case and we cannot support him as regards this statutory amendment. The Bill in question also beautifully illustrates the fact that the NP has emasculated itself politically. There is no more classic example on earth of political capitulation and surrender. Because we think clause 9 holds an important change of principle, we on this side of the House will not be able to support the Bill.


Mr Speaker, I listened most attentively to the hon member for Pietersburg. Not a single clause elicited any enthusiasm and he supported them rather half-heartedly. At one stage I wanted to help him by suggesting discussion of “verkrampte” key points instead of National Key Points. [Interjections.]

It is a pity that important legislation such as this should be opposed. It appears to me, however, that the PFP connection should be sought in offering opposition to matters of national security. I think those hon members should not permit themselves to be placed in a suspect position as regards national security by ranging themselves alongside the PFP. [Interjections.] That is precisely what has happened.


You are not talking in Harrismith now, are you?


No, but I shall bruit it abroad there that these hon members are uniting with the PFP as regards national security. [Interjections.]


Will you appear with me there?


That was precisely the entire theme of that hon member’s speech. [Interjections.] Clause 9 to which he objects applies only to the Durban complex. It has been included for very good reasons. The hon the Minister will probably reply to that in more detail but I can merely say that it is to consolidate the funds in this account as the Act provides. I think that no argument or reason, however, to oppose this Bill.

*Mr C UYS:

But you are unable to give us a reply on that.


No, but I think there is certainly a different reason why hon members are opposing this Bill and that is their feeling towards the hon the Minister which is a personal vendetta.

*Mr C UYS:

What is your reason for saying that?


I say it because in the past CP speakers have said it repeatedly.

Nevertheless I wish to speak more positively on this Bill and begin by thanking the hon the Deputy Minister most heartily. I wish to thank him that through his mediation he made it possible for the members of the standing committee to pay a visit to the Durban complex.

We also wish to thank General van Loggerenberg for information furnished to us by him and his personnel. I was really under the impression that all the members of the standing committee realized the necessity that such a site with such a composition of National Key Points should certainly be declared a National Key Point Complex.

The hon member for Wynberg asked—he put the same question last year—how long Key Points would remain. We can say to him that the number of Key Points will not decrease while deeds of sabotage continue. If the hon member had taken note of newspaper articles over the past few months he would have been aware of what terrorists had attempted at National Key Points, how many of them had been shot or captured and what type of weaponry they used in attempts to destroy these Key Points. It is a futile hope if the hon member thinks that a change of policy in the NP will change this state of affairs. Sabotage of Key Points has come to stay and we should see to it that in future these Key Points receive maximum protection. In our time, however, there will be no reduction in preventive measures while those attacks controlled from overseas do not abate. While there is talk of a change of policy, I wish to say the plea for the relaxation of certain measures is an encouragement to those people to pursue their terrorism and efforts to destroy Key Points. Only the day before yesterday five terrorists were shot in an attempt to blow up some of these National Key Points by means of rockets and Russian weapons.

Sabotaging National Key Points not only harms the country’s economy; it also provides these people with publicity. Key Points and the way in which they should be protected is an extremely important security measure because this involves many facets of our country’s economy and its national security. It concerns more than that, however; it also concerns human lives. There are, in fact, established residential areas in the vicinity of the Key Point we visited. The nature of some Key Points is such that if they were blown up, many human lives in the vicinity would be endangered. It is therefore also our duty to protect the people living in the vicinity of Key Points.

With a view to improving the security aspect, this legislation now provides chiefly that where there are two or more Key Points, they be declared a National Key Point Complex. Previous speakers have already pointed out that such a National Key Point Complex holds many advantages for both the State and the owners of the Key Points such as saving on costs, uniformity, the effectiveness of joint security and tax rebates to which the hon member for Standerton referred.

The Minister does not have the power to make summary provision for the location of a Key Point Complex. Knowledgeable persons make an in-depth investigation beforehand into the effectiveness, sensitivity and location of the area. Subsequently a submission is made to the Minister in this regard. If the Minister judges that two or more National Key Points should be declared a National Key Point Complex, their owners are notified of the intention in writing. The owners have then, at their own expense and after consultation with the Minister, to take the necessary steps to safeguard the Key Point Complex. The legislation also provides that if an owner fails to do so, he is guilty of an offence. On conviction he is liable to a fine or imprisonment or both. In such a case the Minister himself may take steps with respect to the safeguarding of the Key Point or Key Point Complex. If those are the Minister’s powers and the cause of the hon member’s disquiet, I have to point out to him that the legislation already provides for them.

The amendment also provides that the Minister, with the approval of the Key Point owners, himself may undertake to safeguard those Key Points to his satisfaction but the owners will be liable for the costs attached.

Clause 4 provides that financial assistance including loans at a standard rate of interest, that is loans from State revenue, be made available by the State for this purpose. In this case, too, the Minister will determine conditions of such financial assistance. This will also place him in a position of being able to judge equitably and fairly on circumstances in which such assistance is rendered.

This, therefore, is the purpose of this amending Bill—to declare a number of National Key Points adjacent to each other a National Key Point Complex and to ensure its maximum protection and security.

*Mr W V RAW:

Mr Speaker, firstly I want to thank the hon member for Standerton for his friendly words. I sincerely appreciate that.

†While I am speaking of congratulations, I am not sure whether I have to congratulate the hon member for Wynberg on being reappointed as the official spokesman on Defence. Would that be in order?


[Inaudible.] [Interjections.]


Well, I wish it were possible to congratulate him; however, I must accept then that he is speaking as the shadow Defence spokesman in exile at the present time. [Interjections.]


You are almost being kind to me.


I have been kind to the hon member. I am complimenting him.

As the Bill has been amended, we will support it. As has happened on a number of occasions in respect of other measures, the value of the standing committee system has been demonstrated. There were certain objections to the Bill as it came to the committee. There were objections from the Federated Chamber of Industries but, after informal discussion and negotiation with the representatives of the Chamber, and discussions between it and the department, they accepted the Bill as it was finally to be amended. What was incorporated into it was essentially the following: Firstly “after consultation with the Minister” was inserted as a specific commitment; in other words before the Minister could take action, he would consult with the owners of key points. This is inserted by the first two amendments as reported by the committee. The second amendment is of importance because it deals with the objection of the Official Opposition. That amendment substitutes “determine” for “reach agreement”. As the Bill was drafted, it would have been necessary for owners to reach agreement.

I want to deal with the particular clause which is the key objection of the PFP. They intend to vote against this Bill because it does not provide for arbitration but for ministerial determination. I shall read the relevant clause. After the owners have been consulted and given notice to take certain action, they must then get together to arrange among themselves a distribution of the cost of the actions for which they are liable. It is in regard to the distribution of these costs that the objection of the PFP arises because, as the Bill was drafted, it said that they should get together and reach agreement. Now, as amended in committee, it says that they must get together and “determine” the distribution of cost. The PFP objects to that and says they must go to arbitration if they do not reach agreement. The proposed section 3(4)(b) in clause 3, the key clause, states however:

If the owners are unable to determine within the period specified the said proportion, the Minister may determine that proportion.

That is what they object to. They say the Minister should not be able to determine that proportion, but that it should go to arbitration. Before that happens, however, before one gets to the point where the Minister comes into the picture at all, the owners of the key points complex concerned must get around a table and try to agree on splitting the cost of a joint defensive action. If, in trying to determine that distribution of cost, they cannot agree, they can then go to arbitration on their own. They are perfectly entitled to do so. Let us say there are 10 to 12 owners involved in a Key Points Complex. If they cannot agree on how much each will pay towards the total cost of a joint action, they are free to go to arbitration. They can appoint an arbitrator and their won representatives and work this thing out any way they decide. However, to say that every dispute must go to arbitration in terms of the Arbitration Act is unacceptable. The Arbitration Act was designed to settle disputes between private citizens and the Government as a whole. It was designed in order to enable people to settle a dispute with the Government. Here we are not dealing with a dispute between the Government and a private owner. We are dealing with a dispute between private owner and private owner. The Government does not come into the picture at all because an instruction has been given, and all that is at dispute and has to be determined, is how much each one of those owners has to pay towards a joint project to which they are committed by instruction.

The PFP does not object to the Minister’s being able to instruct them to carry out certain work. What they object to is that, if the owners cannot agree on how they will share the cost, it must go to arbitration. If the owners agree, this clause falls away; it does not matter because it does not come into operation. If they cannot agree, I believe that those private companies, those owners, must have the right to decide that they will go to arbitration, appoint an arbitrator and abide by his decision. On the other hand they should also be allowed to say that because they do not want to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of arbitration they will leave it to the Minister to make the decision. As the Bill is worded now, they have that option to go to arbitration or to say that they cannot agree and ask the Minister to determine the proportion of the amount payable by each. That is why we support this clause. It gives a wider option to private owners of properties affected than compulsory arbitration.


Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon member if, as the legislation now stands in its amended form the owners cannot reach agreement on the determination of costs, who has the final say?


If they cannot reach agreement, the choice lies with the owners either to go to arbitration and accept the determination of an arbitrator or to say that they do not want arbitration. Then the decision rests with the Minister. However, it is an optional decision. The owners can go to arbitration but, if they do not go to arbitration, the Minister has the final say. This is quite clear and open: Nobody who has a dispute is barred from going to arbitration. Any two people who have a dispute can go to arbitration. They can appoint a person or people if they so agree, each side can appoint a referee and they can work it out any way they want. They have the ability and the right to go to arbitration, person to person or as a group of persons. That is why I referred specifically to the fact that the words “reach agreement” have been changed to “determined”. They can appoint an arbitrator who will determine the allocation of costs whereas the words “reach agreement” would have excluded the opportunity of having an arbitrator because there would have been no such agreement reached. The use of the word “determined” instead of “reach agreement”, specifically gives them the chance to go to arbitration.

The second objection is to the fund which is to be created. This is, however, purely a technical necessity. At present the Defence Force cannot spend money from the Defence budget on key points because there is no programme available to it which includes key points. This measure now provides for the coming into being of a special fund account instead of being included in a programme of the Defence vote. The difference between an account and a programme is, firstly, that the unspent balances of a special account can be carried over after the year end. This is of course what the PFP objects to; I do not know why. Secondly a special account can receive payments from sources other than appropriation by Parliament. In the Bill a whole list is given of the sources from where it can receive moneys. Those moneys can come from various sources. When money is paid to the Government—as I understand it—it simply goes into the General Revenue Fund. It is, of course, accounted for. When, however, money is paid into a fund such as this one, it is there for a purpose and it can only be spent for that specific purpose. It is audited by the Auditor-General, and therefore there is total control over it. This is not a question of a secret fund. This is not one of those secret backroom funds about which nobody is going to know anything. It is a fund consisting of public money, voted publicly by this Parliament or paid in by firms towards covering by agreement the costs of a joint programme. Everything about this fund is open and above board. This fund will therefore be founded for a specific purpose.

At the moment it is possible to pay for this but it would have to be done by way of a back-door method of payment because this is not one of the functions for which the Defence Vote makes provision. It is a different function, a function for which specific provision is not made in terms of the Defence Vote. Therefore, to make it legal, provision is now made for this function to have its own account. It will be administered by the same people who would administer it if it was handled as a subsection of the Defence Vote. I cannot see how it can entail any additional staff. The fund will be controlled by the Auditor-General. The Standing Committee on Defence was assured it would not mean the employment of extra staff and that the only difference would be that a programme in progress at the end of the financial year, and for which full payment has not yet been effected, can be paid for in the following financial year. I repeat that we have no objection to this.

The clause which is of retrospective effect covers one single contract. It is not as though this is now going to make possible payment of a host of accounts that had been illegally contracted before this Bill became law because this one account—this one contract in respect of a consultancy—can be paid for in another way. I do not want to go into it in detail now because I do not believe we ought to talk about things which will identify and pinpoint certain aspects of our security system. It could, however, be paid for perfectly legally and perfectly in accordance with the Constitution from the funds of another department. Doing it in the latter way, however, would not be correct. The correct way, I believe, is to treat it as a Defence matter and not as a matter concerning another department. It is a security matter, and therefore it should be paid for from a source under the control of the hon the Minister of Defence. We should therefore authorize that one concluded contract—brought openly to our notice before the passing of this Bill—on the basis that it was known to us in our deliberations in the standing committee, and that it cannot be considered irregular, illegal or unacceptable.

We therefore accept this measure which seeks to do nothing else than to extend the provisions of the existing Act which stipulates that a specific point, eg a factory, a project or an electrical supply station may be declared a national key point and that certain steps should subsequently be taken to protect it. All this Bill does is to say that a group of such key points can be declared a national key point complex which may have one common system of security. That is all it does and we will support this measure.


Mr Chairman, I should like to extend my thanks to the hon member for Durban Point and his party for their support of this Bill which does not, however, come as a surprise to us. I also want to thank the hon member for the constructive contribution he made, in the standing committee as well, in which he presided as deputy chairman and contributed towards the improvement of this legislation. From our side of the House I should also like to express my thanks and appreciation to the chairman for his capable guidance in which he led us and the opportunity he gave us to discuss this Bill in the standing committee. I also want to express my sincere thanks to the Ministry as well as to the officials, for the opportunity we had to ascertain what in fact is meant by the concept Key Points Complex, and the necessity of it. I think their participation contributed a great deal to the unanimity which was reached in the standing committee in regard to the discussion and improvement of this Bill.

The hon member for Wynberg told the chairman of that standing committee by way of warning that the officials should not be involved to too great a degree. This remark may possibly give the impression here that the officials or the officers who served in an advisory capacity to the standing committee, participated too much in the discussion. I do not recall even one of those officers entering into the discussion at any stage, except when the chairman put specific questions to them and they were therefore asked for their opinion. I think they only contributed towards providing clarity on what could be achieved by means of legislation. They merely participated in an advisory capacity and I certainly do not want the impression to be created that they supposedly overstepped the mark.

Key points are in fact much older than the National Key Points Act itself. In the commandos we used to speak about so-called vulnerable points, and that was probably more than two decades ago. At that time a special element was created in the commando that guarded and defended vulnerable points and was specially trained to do so. This has been a part of our lives for many years now. Then followed the National Key Points Act, 1980, which merely contributed towards greater emphasis and definition in this regard. It also brought the necessity for this into Focus. The principal Act is now being adapted once again. This afternoon the hon member for Pietersburg inquired why the hon the Minister could not have introduced this legislation sooner. Circumstances change, however, and dangers could possibly escalate. That hon member said that in his opinion the possibility of danger increasing did not exist and I think that everyone in this House is entitled to his own opinion—we do not have to quibble about value of each opinion. Here I exclude the hon Minister of Defence and others who have more information at their disposal, since they do not necessarily have to divulge all their information. The point, however, is that if we were to wait until something happened we should again have been blamed for it by the other side. The Government and the Department of Defence could then have been accused of not being capable of preventing such incidents. One cannot win against that kind of reasoning, can one? Surely we could not wait until something happened.

The arguments in regard to this amending Bill are centred around a few differences of opinion. One wonders whether those differences are really so deep-seated that the Official Opposition and the CP cannot support the Second Reading of this Bill. One consequently wonders if we are genuinely concerned about the safety and the defence of this country, because that is the issue the opposition parties are disputing today. This was also spelt out a moment ago by the hon member for Durban Point.

We have been debating in the House this afternoon as if the parties who would be affected by the legislation will be unable to find common ground and as if they were opposing the legislation, but there has not been a single organization in commerce that has come forward with objections. The organization which did initially do so is Assocom, but that objection has been sorted out with them and after consultation with the hon the Minister, they wholeheartedly agreed to it. If these people themselves say that they will be able to reach agreement with one another, why should we stipulate in the legislation that they may make use of an arbitrator? The hon member for Durban Point also pointed out that in terms of the legislation they are not precluded from appointing an arbitrator.

I now want to dwell on the creation of a special account. It could be used to assist people or companies who are at the present moment unable to meet the costs either from their own resources or by means of a loan from a financial institution. The method of repayment and the interest rates and so on at which the loan would have to be repaid are also spelled out there. The creation of the special account makes it possible for people to carry out in practice what we expect from them.

The hon member for Wynberg has said that there have been warnings that the costs for the institutions affected by National Key Points would continue to rise. He said that the taxpayer would now have to bear an extra burden too.

If we want safety in this country, if we want security and progress, the taxpayer as well as the institutions affected by the National Key Points have a responsibility to contribute to the safety of such a National Key Point or Key Points Complex. Here I call to mind the one in Durban where fuel and petro-chemicals are involved. It not only affects the company concerned; surely it affects the whole country. After all, have we not had attacks against Sasol in the past?

If Sasol had been destroyed at the time surely not only Sasol would have been affected by it; it surely would have affected every consumer of fuel in the country. Everyone therefore has an obligation as regards the safeguarding of our National Key Points. As a consequence we shall have to be prepared to pay the price.

The hon member for Pietersburg objected vehemently to the retrospective nature of the legislation but, surely only that one project in Durban will be affected by that. It also states “before the commencement of this Act” and so we know, do we not, that it concerns that National Key Point complex in Durban, while what follows would come within the ambit of the legislation. I really cannot see the sense of their objection to the retrospective nature of the legislation.

Because we are dealing with extremely sensitive matters here, I should like to reiterate that I cannot for a moment be party to any delay in so far as the safeguarding of such National Key Points and Key Points Complexes are concerned. I therefore wholeheartedly support the legislation and all its implications, and I accordingly also wish the hon the Minister every thing of the best in the administration of the legislation.


Order! The hon member for Durban Point has asked me for an opportunity to rectify something. I consequently call upon him to speak.


Mr Chairman, in the course of my speech I referred to the FCI as having objected to this Bill. I had meant to say Assocom, and I should like to correct that if I may.


Mr Chairman, we have come to the end of an interesting debate on a very important matter, viz the protection of what to this country and the people of this country are vitally important National Key Points. It was a positive debate, but unfortunately there were also two discordant notes. One came from the hon member for Wynberg as the chief spokesman of the Official Opposition, and the other came from the hon member for Pietersburg on behalf of the CP. However, I shall come back to those two hon members later.

The tragedy we witnessed here this afternoon is that the people involved in this legislation, who are affected by this legislation, the owners of National Key Points, do not agree with the standpoints of those two hon members. They support the amendments we are effecting, but two hon members from the Official Opposition and the second strongest Opposition party in the House of Assembly respectively, came and objected to the amendments. I do not know how one is to understand that. It seems to me that they are no longer concerned with reality and they do not know what is going on in the country.


We have been right before, and many times.


The hon the Chief Whip says that they have been right before—that is true—but they were wrong about this matter this afternoon. [Interjections.] In this case they do not know what is going on. I do not know what is behind their adopting this standpoint this afternoon.

By way of commencement, I should like to express a few words of gratitude. Firstly, my gratitude goes to hon members of the House of Assembly who are members of the standing committee. I think they did fine work. They came to the standing committee with sound proposals and they effected amendments which, in my opinion, improved the Bill. I also gained the impression that there was good team-work in the standing committee. This led to such good co-operation, that we were able to improve the Bill.

Furthermore, I should like to thank the chairman of the standing committee, the hon member for Standerton, most sincerely for his particular guidance in that committee. [Interjections.] None other than the hon member for Wynberg in fact confirmed that the hon member for Standerton really made every effort to reach consensus. He in fact went out of his way to obtain consensus.

The fact that we were unable to reach consensus is certainly not his fault. We can blame the PFP for that. They did not want consensus. Here is a Bill that really falls outside politics. The people affected by this Bill agree with the amendments. Yet there are hon members who do not want to obtain consensus. [Interjections.] I thank the hon member for Standerton for the good work he and his committee performed. [Interjections.]

I shall come back to the hon member for Wynberg in a moment in connection with the matters on which he disagreed.

†I also wish to thank the hon member for Durban Point, the deputy chairman of the standing committee, for the very positive role he played on this committee. As far as I know he moved sound amendments and I think all of them were accepted by the committee. I wish to thank him and his party for the positive role they played in this important issue and for their support.

*The hon member also dealt effectively with some of the arguments of the hon member for Wynberg this afternoon, but I shall refer to that again at a later stage.

I want to thank the hon member Mr Vermeulen for the kind words he addressed to me. As usual, he made a sound and substantial contribution in this debate.

The hon member for Beaufort West also made a substantial contribution. He singled out a very important point and pointed out to us that National Key Points have not suddenly come about now. This is a matter that goes way back. In the past the commandos had the responsibility of looking after some of these National Key Points. All we did in 1980, was to arrange the existing needs properly so that they could be dealt with more effectively.

Coming to the arguments per se, I want to commence with the hon member for Wynberg and tell him that it is a pity that his party does not want to support these amendments. Furthermore, it is equally a pity that the hon member for Pietersburg does not want to support the amendments on behalf of his party either.

Amongst other things, the hon member for Wynberg says that the protection of National Key Points should only take place in exceptional cases. He says that we must bring about reform in this country, and when that happens, it will no longer be necessary to protect these Key Points. He went on to say that the cost is passed on to the consumer. I shall refer again in a moment to his argument about change. Our people are experiencing difficult times; we are struggling financially. Now this hon member wants to score petty, short-term political points. That is why he says that the high cost is eventually going to be passed on to the consumer. However, has the hon member thought for one moment what the cost to the consumers would be if those National Key Points we went to see in Durban were to be destroyed? I want to ask him whether he has thought of that. It is clear to me that he never thought of that. Nor has he reflected on what the attitude of the inhabitants of the area we visited would be if an explosion takes place and the whole place burns down. What about the loss of human lives? What about all the expense in that regard? We are not seeking short-term political advantage; we look after the best interests of everyone.


Have I at any time objected in principle to the creation of National Key Points?


The hon member did not object in principle to the creation of a National Key Point, but he is casting suspicion on their creation.


Do not tell tales then.


The fact is that he does not object to the principle, but he once again came up with a “yes but” argument. He says that they are in favour of the principle of National Key Points, but we should really not do this, since it would cost the consumer too much. I have already asked him whether he has taken into account what the cost is going to be if the particular Key Points we went to see are destroyed, and what the effect would be on the consumer. The hon member must not try to gain short-term political advantages and think that the Government will fall for that. The Government has a responsibility, and prevention is better than trying to rectify matters afterwards when things go wrong. Of course it will cost money, but it is cheaper now than what it will be later.

The hon member objects to clause 3 and suggests that the appointment of an arbiter should be made possible. The hon member for Durban Point has already referred to this, and I just want to make a few remarks in this regard. After the Minister has ordered them, in terms of the Act, to determine the ratio in which each of them has to pay the cost of the joint steps, owners can voluntarily agree to arbitration. We are therefore not determining that there can be no arbitration, as the hon member for Durban Point clearly pointed out. The possibility still exists. It is only after the Minister has told the owners that something has to happen that arbitration comes into the picture. There must be finality, however, since a matter of this nature cannot drag on indefinitely. If the owners cannot come to an agreement, the Minister must have the right to say that he is doing the dividing, and that the cost has to be borne in a particular way. Time is important in this case, and we cannot allow progress with regard to this matter simply to be left to the owners who cannot reach an agreement, nor can we allow it first to be referred for arbitration. If we were to allow this to happen, and there is no time limit, the arbitration process could go on for a year or more, and the Minister’s hands would be tied. There must therefore be finality, and it must be soon, since there will be urgent cases, such as in this particular case.

The hon member says that the argument used in the standing committee concerning the high cost of arbitration is not a good one, since the legal costs would be more in any case. There is no question of a court here. The Minister gives certain instructions, and the owners can then agree on the division of costs. Like the standing committee that rejected them, I cannot support the hon member’s objection to the clause and his suggestion that the possibility of compulsory arbitration be built in. I am convinced that as the provisions read now, they will work effectively. They will work better and be cheaper for the people concerned. This is probably also the reason why the owners involved in the National Key Points Complex with which we are dealing now have expressed satisfaction with the proposed amendment.

The hon member for Wynberg also objected to the creation of the special account to which reference is made in clause 4. He says that a special account for funds of this nature gives rise to wastage of money and maladministration. However, we are in fact bringing about greater clarity with this amendment. The hon member for Durban Point also referred to this. We are dealing with a large Defence Budget, but we are now taking that money, which is going to be set aside for the safeguarding of National Key Points, and placing it in a separate account so that it can be administered more easily. In that account there will be—let us say it—State funds, but there will also be funds of the owners themselves. However, the hon member wants us to pay that money into the Defence Budget. Surely that is really foolish. We therefore proposed that a separate account be created for the very purpose of facilitating the administration of those funds.

The hon member says that we are extending bureaucracy. Who is doing the work at present? Surely it is the public servants, the bureaucracy about whom he is speaking. The standing committee heard evidence in this regard. All that is going to happen now is that the same work is still going to be done by the same officials. We are not extending bureaucracy, we are simply ordering it and making it easier to administer. Unfortunately I am therefore also not able to support the objection of the hon member for Wynberg to this special account. The standing committee also made a prudent recommendation as far as that is concerned, viz that we should proceed with the amendment as submitted to them.

The hon member for Wynberg, as well as the hon member for Pietersburg, also objected vehemently to the question of the retrospective nature of the Bill as provided by clause 9 of the Bill. Those hon members say that this should only take place in exceptional cases. We agree, but this is an exceptional case. On the one hand, the necessity for this provision is the result of a growth process, an evolutionary process, of the provisions of this legislation which has taken place over the past few years after the principal Act came into operation. On the other hand, there is the demand of national interest, once it became clear what path should be pursued to achieve the objectives of the Act at Key Points that comply with the characteristics of what will in future be known as a National Key Points Complex, to proceed without delay. We then realized that this is a case for which the present Act does not make sufficient provision. We then had a choice: Do we wait until we have gone through this whole process, or do we proceed with the work and then openly admit that we have a problem and put it to Parliament—to the sensible members of Parliament?

In the case of a certain complex which hon members of the standing committee visited, we reached the conclusion—after a lengthy struggle with the security programme, and having negotiated with the various owners and struggled to have this matter resolved—that certain security steps would urgently have to be undertaken jointly by the owners to ensure maximum effectiveness. These conclusions were the result of the advice of professional consultants who made an in-depth study of this matter. We did not simply such these things out of our thumbs.


Mr Speaker, the hon the Deputy Minister has just said that a law should only be applied with retrospective effect in exceptional cases. However, does he agree with my argument that clause 9, as it stands here, is a general provision, and that it does not only specifically make provision for this particular case?


The hon member made that point in his speech as well, and I was still coming to that.


Oh, no, man, answer the question!


Order! The hon the Deputy Minister stated clearly that he was still coming to that point. Hon members must simply wait a while. The hon the Deputy Minister may proceed.


Thank you, Sir. The fact of the matter is that we came to tell Parliament that we have this one specific case, and that contracts have been entered into in respect of which we ask Parliament to empower us to ratify them. There are not other such contracts at present. When this legislation comes into operation we will only be able to ratify the existing contracts, which have to be ratified, on the date it comes into operation. We cannot ratify contracts entered into after that date on the basis of this legislation. I cannot understand what the hon member’s problem is. I think the problem is that the hon member does not know what appears in the legislation. Someone else told him these things and that is why he has fallen into this trap. I want to tell him that at present there are no other contracts which we have to ratify. When the legislation comes into operation—and I hope that happens soon—no contracts other than those which we have on that date will be considered. I hope the hon member understands what is happening now.

The hon member also had a story about National Key Points. He said they should not be called “National Key Points”, but should be given another name. I do not know whether he said this jokingly, but he had no objection to the term “National Key Points” when the Act was passed in 1980. [Interjections.] Then he was still a Nationalist.

The hon member for Pietersburg also quarrelled with the hon member for Wynberg because the hon member for Wynberg made a political issue of this debate. What did the hon member for Pietersburg do then, however? He himself then happily made a party-political issue of this debate. I do not think the pot should call the kettle black. I have no objection to hon members talking politics here. However, the hon member must not reproach another hon member for making a political issue of this and then do precisely the same thing. What did the hon member for Pietersburg have to say to us in this regard? He asked: Are these amendments in the interests of the country? I want to state categorically: Yes, they are in the country’s interests. He also asked whether there was a danger of the threat escalating. Where does he live, Sir?


You said that if one voted “yes”, there would be peace on earth.


The hon member for Rissik has got stuck on the “yes” vote again. I can understand that it was such a shock for him that day, that he has never got over it. The fact of the matter is that the hon member for Pietersburg need only look at what is going on in this country. Surely he can see what is happening. Surely he can see what is taking place in this country. He need not ask whether the threat exists or whether there is a danger of it escalating. It certainly does exist. I want to tell him that this issue is in the country’s interests and that is why we have come to Parliament with these amendments.

The hon member for Pietersburg also said that he felt sorry for me because I was going to be the first victim of this system. Once again, he does not know what is going on. He asked what would happen if, for example, the House of Delegates were to reject this Bill. The House of Delegates has already approved this Bill. There are sensible people in that House. They have approved this Bill. They had no objection to it. The hon member for Pietersburg also spoke about the R12 million, and I appreciate that—as he put it—I am unable to pay it. It is not necessary, however. I am not the victim of this system. This system is working. As we have seen, this Bill has already been approved in that House. The fact of the matter is that we are not victims of this system, since it is working.

The hon member for Wynberg also made a fuss and claimed that we supposedly think that there will be security in this country if we give people guns and if people are armed. He then referred snidely to the fences being erected, etc. Furthermore, he said that we must effect political changes, after which these things will not be necessary. I shall come back to that in a moment. He also read the present statutory provision and said that if we implement it, it means that every school and every police station is a National Key Point. That is ridiculous—to put it kindly. That has got nothing to do with it. It is a feeble political game he is trying to play which has no foundation—and he knows that. I shall therefore leave it at that.

The hon member asked what this Government is doing to bring about peaceful change. He said that his party stands for peaceful change. I am very pleased that he said that. At least it is a positive piece of evidence. But then he still asks what we are doing! Does the hon member for Wynberg not live in this country, too? Does he not know what is going on in South Africa? [Interjections.] Was he not sitting in that bench when the State President laid down certain guidelines in his Opening Speech to this Parliament in respect of the changes that are going to be effected? Did the hon member not hear that? Apparently that hon member does not know that there are people here in South Africa who do not want peaceful change. Someone very far away, President Reagan, is aware that there are people here who do not want peaceful change. Nevertheless, the hon member for Wynberg asks: Does this Government not want peaceful change? We want peaceful change. That is why we are doing all these things to try to bring about peaceful change. [Interjections.]

How does one speak to a man who throws a petrol bomb at one, however? The hon member must tell me how one speaks to such a man. [Interjections.] Why does the hon member think that the State President’s plea to these people is that they should calm down, because we want to negotiate with them? Why is the State President leaning over backwards to bring about peace in South Africa? Are those the actions of a government that does not want peaceful change? We are prepared to work—to work very hard—to bring about peaceful change. Meanwhile, we have our feet on the ground. We are living with people who throw petrol bombs, people who would blow up National Key Points and who would do this country incalculable harm. We have a responsibility to protect those Key Points.

I therefore say that I am very grateful that the majority of hon members in this House have given their support to this Bill. This proves that they are acutely aware of their duty and that they support the Government in its efforts to ensure that those National Key Points are protected in the interests of the country.

Question put,

Upon which the House divided:

Ayes—92: Alant, T G; Aronson, T; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botha, J C G; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Clase, P J; Coetzer, H S; Conradie, F D; Cronjé, P; Cunningham, J H; De Jager, A M v A; Du Plessis, G C; Du Toit, J P; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Fourie, A; Geldenhuys, A; Golden, S G A; Grobler, J P; Hardingham, R W; Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heyns, J H; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Landman, W J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, M H; Malan, M A de M; Marais, G; Marais, P G; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, W D; Miller, R B; Morrison, G de V; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Page, B W B; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Raw, W V; Rogers, P R C; Schutte, D P A; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Streicher, D M; Tempel, H J; Terblanche, A J W P S; Terblanche, G P D; Van Breda, A; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C V; Van der Merwe, G J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, LM J; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Venter, A A; Vermeulen, J A J; Vilonel, J J; Vlok, A J; Volker, V A; Watterson, D W; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Wright, A P.

Tellers: J P I Blanché, W J Cuyler, W T Kritzinger, C J Ligthelm, J J Niemann and L van der Watt.

Noes—26: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Barnard, M S; Barnard, S P; Burrows, R; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Gastrow, P H P; Goodall, B B; Hartzenberg, F; Langley, T; Le Roux, F J; Olivier, N J J; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Snyman, W J; Treurnicht, A P; Uys, C; Van der Merwe, H D K; Van der Merwe, W L; Van Heerden, R F; Van Staden, F A H; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H.

Tellers: P A Myburgh and A B Widman.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Certified fair copy of Bill to be transmitted to the State President for his assent unless the House decides within three sitting days after the disposal thereof in all three Houses to refer the Bill to a committee.


Introductory Speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 25 February)


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

It is a long-established principle of international law that the governmental activities and property of a State are immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of another State. I emphasize the word “governmental” because at one time this doctrine of sovereign immunity extended to all activities and all property of a State—ie an absolute immunity was granted.

However, as the law developed over the years, absolute immunity gave way to a restricted immunity, and the general principle today is that activities and property of a State which are commercial in nature no longer enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts. These principles are embodied in our Foreign States Immunities Act, 1981. During the Second Reading debate on the Bill, the Minister of Foreign Affairs set out in detail the history of this development as well as the reasons for it and I shall therefore not repeat them here.

*At that stage the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs gave hon members the assurance that the Department of Foreign Affairs would carefully monitor the application of the Act and if any practical problems should arise which would justify amending the Act, Parliament would be requested to do so. Such a position has now arisen, and consequently I am proposing a minor amendment.

It has happened on more than one occasion that a private company obtained an attachment order in respect of the property of a foreign State from a South African court, in order to found jurisdiction for conducting a civil action against such a State. On two occasions such orders were given in respect of money in the Customs Union Pool that had been earmarked for such country. This type of money is clearly Government property that has nothing to do with commercial transactions. Such attachment orders are in conflict with international law, and if executed, make it impossible for South Africa to discharge its treaty obligations.

The Act, as it stands, already provides that the property of a foreign state will not be susceptible to any action in rem for the attachment or a sale of such property. It is now being envisaged to amend the Act in a way that makes it very clear that the same position will apply to attachment in order to found jurisdiction.

†In conclusion, I should point out that where a foreign State enters into a commercial transaction with an individual or a company, the effect of the amendment is not to leave the individual or company remediless should the State fail to fulfil its obligations in terms of the transaction, since immunity against attachment to found jurisdiction does not apply in the case of property in use for commercial purposes. All the normal legal remedies will still be available to such individual or company. It cannot therefore be said that the amendment will in any way operate to frustrate the legitimate claims which a litigant might have against a foreign State in our courts.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Speaker, this Bill went to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and we have no objection to the Bill. In fact, the Bill puts into law what has in fact been a ruling of the courts. There is a practical problem, however. To involve a foreign state in a court action, it is necessary in practice to have an order on which to found jurisdiction. It seems incredible that one has to go to the trouble of first getting an order on which to found jurisdiction and then finding that, in terms of the two sections of the present Act, even if jurisdiction has been founded, one is unable to act against that particular sovereign state. It means that, in the past, sovereign states have been involved in expensive legal action on the issue of whether one should found jurisdiction or not. Once the jurisdiction has been founded, one finds that in terms of the existing Act, one cannot enforce a judgment or an arbitration award, and one cannot enforce an action in rem for attachment or sale. Where the court is unable to act against a foreign state, it seems to be ridiculous that one can force the person involved to found jurisdiction on an issue on which the court cannot act. To us it is not only sensible in law, but we believe it is sensible in practice as well that this particular subsection should be added preceding the two existing provisions, so that the inconvenience and the cost of the procedure which applies at the moment, can be eliminated and the law can be applied as it was originally intended. We will support this clause.


Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon member for Sea Point for supporting this Bill.

*Sir, we support this Bill for two reasons. Firstly, it brings about security of justice and secondly, it is being brought in line with internationally accepted international law.


Mr Speaker, we take pleasure in supporting this amending Bill. Since previous speakers have already explained it adequately, I shall not elaborate on it any further.


Mr Speaker, on behalf of this party I should like to support the Bill before us.


Mr Speaker, the hon member for Sea Point commenced on a somewhat hesitant note, perhaps because he had prepared to speak on another Bill, but I am pleased to be able to say that his speech ended on a high note. I want to thank the other hon members most sincerely for their support. It is unnecessary for me to take up any more of the time of this House in this regard.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Certified fair copy of Bill to be transmitted to the State President for his assent unless the House decides within three sitting days after the disposal thereof in all three Houses to refer the Bill to a committee.


Introductory Speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 4 March


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

Section 7(3)(c) of the Natural Scientists’ Act, 1982 (Act 55 of 1982), provides that the Minister may, after consideration and approval of a relevant recommendation made by the council, prescribe the kinds of work in connection with projects, undertakings or services of a natural scientific nature which should be reserved for natural scientist. This provision, which is in all probability the most significant in the entire Act, is aimed at ensuring that the public interest and public safety are protected against the performance of advanced, sophisticated and specialized work of a natural scientific nature by persons who do not have the necessary expertise, acquired academically and through experience, to undertake such work.

The Act further empowers the council to register persons as natural scientists on the basis of the requirements specified therein and those laid down by the council itself; in other words, only those persons who would be permitted to undertake work thus reserved.

†There are two ways in which work to be reserved can be defined:

  1. (a) An all-embracing provision where the level at which work of a natural scientific nature is performed, is related to the minimum academic qualification required for registration as a natural scientist and to reserve such work for the latter; or
  2. (b) to categorize the kinds of work of a natural scientific nature that must be reserved.

Over the more than two years of its existence, the council has devoted considerable time to this problem. Efforts to find an all-embracing provision were rejected by the State law advisers due to its vagueness. Judging by experience gained, it is thus doubtful whether an all-embracing provision could be worded explicitly enough so as to satisfy legal requirements.

Simultaneous categorization of all work to be reserved, would similarly present serious problems in that it would require a clear and explicit definition of each task and even elements of a task. Regard being had to the dynamic nature of the natural sciences, each task defined would also be subject to amendment from time to time with resultant confusion.

It nevertheless remains of paramount importance that a meaningful degree of protection be created for the general public and their safety against the performance of advanced natural scientific work by unqualified persons. The council is accordingly of the opinion that this could be achieved as follows:

  1. (a) The reservation of work in terms of section 7(3)(c) be dealt with on an ad hoc basis as and when it becomes evident that public interests and safety are being threatened by the performance of specialized work by unqualified (non-registered) persons. In this way it would be possible over a period of time to create a meaningful body of work to be reserved, each facet of which could be properly identified, evaluated and defined prior to being given the force of law.
  2. (b) The protection of the public interest could be enhanced by reserving the title “natural scientist” and the names of other natural scientist professions for persons registered in terms of the Act.

*The acceptance of the foregoing premises will, after a date promulgated by the Minister in the Gazette, prohibit the unregistered person from referring to himself as a natural scientist, or as a chemist, a geologist, etc. In other words, as in the case of medical practitioners, attorneys etc., only registered natural scientists will be able to avail themselves of the titles in question after the abovementioned date. A list of the proposed titles appears in the schedule to the amending Bill.

The amendments that are being proposed in this connection are entirely acceptable to me and are aimed at confirming beyond all doubt that it is natural scientific professions which are relevant, and not the activities of laymen or amateurs.

Practical experience has also shown that—

  1. (a) there is no real need to regulate by way of legislation any professional fees which may be laid down—this is a matter which can be negotiated and determined in a responsible way by the various professional associations on behalf of their members;
  2. (b) it is not necessary to burden the Minister with the task of extending recognition to associations of natural scientists for the purposes of the Act—this is a function that can be left to the council; and
  3. (c) the question of determining the registration and annual fees can also be left to the council without intervention from the Minister.

At present section 18 of the principal Act requires that a person must be ordinarily resident in the Republic to qualify for registration as a natural scientist. This requirement was laid down inter alia because doubts existed at the time—but have now been resolved—whether the council had extraterritorial jurisdiction over registered scientists not resident in the Republic who contravened the code of behaviour. This restriction is producing considerable problems with regard to persons employed in South West Africa, the national states and the independent neighbouring states of the Republic. This requirement has already been repealed in respect of architects and building surveyors, it does not exist for professional land surveyors, and the professional engineers also intend repealing it. It is therefore desirable that the residential requirement be deleted. With this the necessity for making provision for temporary registration in the case of persons not normally resident in the Republic falls away.

Finally, in accordance with the practice in other Acts recently passed, for example the Valuers’ Act and the Town and Regional and Planners Act, it is being envisaged to relieve the Minister of certain responsibilities for the promulgation of regulations, and it is being left to the council to deal with this matter by making rules. This applies only in the case of the following matters which do not affect the public interest:

  1. (a) the convening of and the procedure and quorum at meetings at the council or committees;
  2. (b) the requirements which natural scientists and natural scientists-in-training have to comply with in the practice of their profession;
  3. (c) improper conduct;
  4. (d) the method of enquiry into alleged improper conduct;
  5. (e) investigations or enquiries made or instituted by the council for the purpose of determining the value of examinations; and
  6. (f) all matters which the council considers necessary or advisable to prescribe in order to achieve the objects of the Act.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Speaker, this Bill is an amendment of the Natural Scientists’ Act that came to this House in 1982. On that occasion there was a request from various natural scientists to have a register for the profession, to have a discipline in the profession and to have a council for the profession in much the same way as on previous occasions architects, quantity surveyors, land surveyors, engineers, medical practitioners and others obtained their own council and professional register. A review of Hansard will confirm that at that time the concept of having registration was supported all round. Many of us indicated, however, that there would be practical problems in trying to define either the profession or the work of a natural scientist. Whereas “architect”, “quantity surveyor”, “engineer” and “medical practitioner” were very clearly understood terms, the term “natural scientist” was a general phrase with no specific professional content. The Act went on to describe a whole range of occupations and trades and professions, and therefore one foresaw a difficulty in either prescribing the work or limiting the function of those people who were deemed to be natural scientists.

This has now come to a head because the SA Council for Natural Scientists has indicated, both to the standing committee and in their annual report for the year 1983-84, the practical problem they have of converting the concept of a natural scientist into a very specific legal entity; taking the general work done by natural scientists and giving it a legal status so that people who did that work or who claimed to be doing that work could be shown to be doing so in terms of the law. The annual report of the council indeed indicates this. It would appear in fact that although they have been operating for three years, they have not yet been able to apply the particular legal stipulation which reserves work or which clearly defines who are natural scientists and who not.

Therefore, while the work has gone on in connection with setting up the council and registering people, the teeth which the law would normally have, have not been given to the council because they have not been able yet to get the Minister to define specifically the work indicated by or the nature of the term “natural scientist”.

The council states that it has tried various options and that some of these options have actually been rejected by the law advisers of the department, in that in terms of the option suggested by the council the definition would not be valid in law. They add that an alternative option they have tried to exercise would possibly also not have legal status. Then they go on to say, and I quote:

The other alternative is to tackle the task on an ad hoc basis as and when it becomes evident that a particular kind of work of an advanced, sophisticated or specialized nature is being performed by persons who, in the opinion of the Council, are not adequately equipped to undertake such work.

The council has now decided that it needs more of an ad hoc basis to try to determine the legal definition of “natural scientist”. The way in which they have attempted to do it formed part of the deliberations on the standing committee. We decided to support this measure in principle although we also wanted to put it to the hon the Minister, in view of the evidence that came into the possession of the members of the standing committee, either individually or collectively, that it was our suggestion that the hon the Minister refer this measure either to the Committee of the Whole House or back to the standing committee. I say this because when we questioned the people who were giving evidence on behalf of the council we were under the impression that everybody who could possibly be involved in this issue had been consulted and that there was broad agreement on the nature of the definition of the work of a natural scientist. Since then, however, a memorandum distributed among the members of the standing committee by the Chamber of Mines indicates that a very important body of employers is not happy with the definition and points out the problems that may arise if this definition remains as it is.

Apart from this I am not aware of whether or not the Committee of University Principals has taken a collective decision on this matter. Certainly, however, there are memoranda from individual universities which point to the problems surrounding the concept of practising the profession of a natural scientist. In the past one was not able to do the work that was reserved in terms of section 7(3)(c) of the principal Act, nor could anyone who was not registered claim to be a natural scientist. The provisions of this Bill go even further in that they state that one may not then practise the profession of a natural scientist.

It is in regard to that concept that there is a problem. What is in fact meant by the phrase “practising the work of a natural scientist”? The Chamber of Mines points out that the fact of being a practitioner in a particular occupation does not necessarily mean one is performing that profession on one’s own account. They argue that one could be in an employee situation and still be deemed to be practising that profession. That gives rise to the conflict between the application of the provision contained in this clause “after six months” or the application of a similar clause only “after five years”.

The universities are concerned at the narrower definition of “practising a profession” because somehow or other this amending Bill also weakens the position of the universities. In the past they were specifically excluded from the application of these provisions. Now the clause in question has been amended in such a way that universities and teaching institutions are not excluded to the same extent as before.

I do not want to take up the time of the House unnecessarily save to say that all along all the members of the standing committee, I believe—Government members as well as Opposition members—have had reservations. We want to help the SA Council of Natural Scientists but we also want to see that the way in which we help them does not create problems for those people who are practising on their own account and more particularly those who are practising these professions via the universities, the Chamber of Mines or in other areas of industry. Therefore, while we support the principle contained in this Bill, we appeal urgently to the hon the Minister—I do not think there is a dramatic hurry to pass this Bill—also to accept our advice to him that this Bill should be recommitted to the standing committee so that the particular definition of the profession, the definition of the work which is going to be reserved, can be formulated in such a way that it gives broad satisfaction and does not lead to problems in the future.


Mr Speaker, the hon member for Sea Point referred here to certain aspects which involved practical considerations, and he was completely correct. I believe the principle of this Bill can be unanimously endorsed, and has indeed been endorsed in the standing committee. The only problem is that certain practical problems have developed as a result of the specification of, and the restriction on, the practise of their profession by these natural scientists. The principle of the Bill stipulates that there should be regulation of the professional structure of natural scientists, as is the case in other spheres, for example in respect of doctors, auditors, accountants and so on. Thus, provision is made that the practitioners of such a profession themselves accept the responsibility for the regulation of their professional community. The principle is correct, and we all endorse it. We give it our full support. [Interjections.]

In the schedule appended to the Bill, a very long list of professions is mentioned. We found, in the course of the deliberations in this regard, that there was uncertainty, for example, as to what the word “chemist” really involves. The hon member for Sea Point raised this point. In the category of the natural scientists it is actually a chemist, but the word “chemist”, according to the Oxford Dictionary, also means a pharmacist. It is a word that is in common use if I may put it that way. Therefore, as can be seen from the proposed amendments, we had the word “chemist” deleted from the list. I imagine, however, that there are certain people in some of the other professional categories who could also be affected by this. I therefore support the general idea that further investigation should be carried out before the hon the Minister, in terms of the right granted him by this Bill, proclaims those specific occupations as falling under the jurisdiction of this Bill. In terms of the envisaged new section 20 of the legislation a certain period of time will elapse before it is finally specified. I should therefore like to endorse the request the hon member for Sea Point made to the hon the Minister. The feeling in the standing committee was also that the opportunity for further attention and discussion in that regard should be afforded. Regarding the Bill itself, however, and the principle it embraces, there was unanimous support for it in the standing committee, and I therefore support it as well.


Mr Speaker, the hon member for Klip River clearly intimated that certain problems exist in respect of the schedule where, unfortunately, it was necessary to resort to a categorization of natural scientists. I say it is a pity because misunderstandings may indeed develop if one looks at the schedule, and I shall come to that in the course of my speech.

The principal Act, as agreed to in 1982, makes provision for the appointment of a South African Council for Natural Scientists and for the regulation of the activities associated with it. Just as in the case of the medical profession and the professions of architect, land surveyor and pharmacist, there is a controlling council for natural scientists with which practitioners of the profession register in order to be properly controlled. In this way a proper standard of training is assured and, at the same time, the public is protected against possible malpractice.

I want to refer to what the then Minister of Internal Affairs said when he introduced the relevant legislation in this House (Hansard, 1982, col 2093):

I believe the need for statutorily controlled professional registration of natural scientists is further emphasized by the increasing number of intermediate areas in applied science where registered professional practitioners, for example engineers, medical practitioners and veterinarians—carry out the same and equivalent tasks and pursue the same and equivalent professions alongside unregistered persons, for example geologists, physicists, chemists, biochemists, animal scientists, etc. While both the public and the persons engaged in these professions enjoy statutory protection in the case of registered practitioners, this does not apply at all to the natural sciences profession.

It is therefore indeed a question of improving the quality of research of many natural science professions, which is in the interests of the scientists as well as of the public, and that is why we, too, voted for the principal Act to be passed.

I think it is a pity that the South African Council for Natural Scientists had to report, in paragraph three on page two of its annual report for 1983/1984:

A significant feature regarding the reaction to the Natural Scientists Act, 1982 (Act 55 of 1982), is the degree of scepticism and even antagonism still being evinced by many natural scientists.

I say that it is a pity because it seems that many scientists still do not realize the value of such an arrangement. I want to point out one specific task of the council which is reported in paragraph 32 on page six of the same report.

Council has, in consultation with the Chief of the Defence Force and the various universities, devised a modus operandi to ensure that newly graduated natural scientists who have to undergo their National Service, will enjoy the same dispensation as their counterparts in other professions.

This is an important task and an advantage that ought to be welcomed by each and every natural scientist.

The amendments proposed here arose because the former Department of Planning of the office of the former Prime Minister now falls under the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. Furthermore, the Bill aims to extend the functions of the council, to further regulate the requirements for registration, to define the field of natural scientists, and to categorize it as has been done in the schedule.

I should like to ask the hon the Deputy Minister a question. Whereas section 20 of the principal Act is replaced in terms of clause 10, and the new section 20 heading is “Prohibition against practising as a natural scientist by unregistered person”, members of the recognized professional associations, as they appear in the proposed subsection (5), are exempted from any restriction, but where natural science professions such as those of bacteriologist, medical chemist, medical physicist, medical microbiologist and so on, which are probably registered with the SA Medical and Dental Council in any case, appear on the list, I want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister why these obviously medical disciplines appear on this list too.

A gratifying tendency in this Bill is that, in contrast to much other legislation administered by the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, there is a devolution of powers to the council. The determining of professional fees, the recognition and registration of natural science associations, and the announcement of rules can now be done by the council itself without the intervention of the Minister. I think this is to be welcomed. I notice that in the schedule, provision is made for various geneticists, for example, a bacterial geneticist, a zoological geneticist, a plant geneticist, and an animal geneticist. However I do not see provision being made anywhere for a human geneticist. I want to ask the hon the Deputy Minister whether he does not deem this necessary, particularly since historians who call themselves genealogists publish all sorts of findings nowadays which are misused even by hon members in this House. Does the hon the Deputy Minister not think that we in this House and the public at large need a little more scientific protection against the scientifically unfounded statements of these people? I merely ask this in passing. With these few words we support this amending Bill.


Mr Speaker, we have the same problem as the hon member for Sea Point in that, whilst we have no difficulty with the broad principle of protecting the interests and titles of natural scientists, certain additional points have come to light since the Second Reading. I have also checked a number of titles in the Oxford Dictionary and find they are in common usage. This could be a considerable embarrassment. There are four or five of these names that should perhaps be looked at a second time.

I can give an illustration of what I mean. The schedule of the Amendment Bill calls for botanist, mathematician, ornithologist, and viticulturist to be professional titles. They should not be used by some people who do use them, because that can create problems. To tie definitions such as the ones I looked up, to this Bill could, I think, create many problems.

We have sympathy with the intentions of this Bill, but rather than create trouble by letting it through, I would like to suggest that it be referred back to the standing committee to get one or two points ironed out. If I rightly remember, the hon member for Klip River said he was quite happy for the Bill to go back to the standing committee. Particular attention should be paid to the problem of people who are doing this type of work at the moment and have a certain title in their field of employment, but who are not qualified to such titles as per the provisions in this Bill.


Mr Speaker, the measure before the House deals with a very technical act, namely the Natural Scientists’ Act, 1982, which established the South African Council for Natural Scientists. In that Act, as well as in the Bill before the House, it is still a problem of who is a natural scientist and what kind of work ought to be reserved for them.

It has become apparent thus far in the debate that the matter ought to be referred to the standing committee in order to clear up some of these technical points. The chairman of the standing committee indicated that he was happy with this. I think the matter has been cleared with the hon the Minister. Any debate on this matter will therefore serve no purpose at this stage.

I should therefore like to conclude by pointing out the importance of the Council for Natural Scientists. If we all agree with the establishment of the Council for Natural Scientists, we are saying that it is necessary, in the first place, to protect the status of natural scientists and, in the second place, to protect the public when services are provided by natural scientists. It is therefore important that the profession of natural scientists be classified on a statutory basis so that there can be legal redress if people profess to be natural scientists, sell their services to the public, but in fact are not natural scientists. This is the underlying principle that everyone agrees on. The problem is to ascertain who is a natural scientist, what kind of work ought to be reserved, and what sanctions ought to be applied to persons who profess to be natural scientists. In the interests of the classification of this profession it is advisable to follow up the hon member for Sea Point’s motion and to refer the Bill to the standing committee, because it can only result in an increase in status for the profession of natural scientist. I am happy to associate myself with this.


Mr Speaker, I want to thank hon members who participated in the discussion of the Bill for their contributions. At first glance it looks like a very simple piece of legislation, until one begins to read it attentively. If one reads the schedule and takes cognizance of all the different natural science professions that exist, one discovers that it is not really all that simple. As hon members have pointed out, however, it is an essential piece of legislation. It is essential in the first place because the profession of natural scientists must be protected. That is why provision is made here for registration. In the second place, we all of course welcome the provisions dealing with the protection of the public, so that the public does not find itself at their mercy.

I want to thank the hon members for Sea Point, Klip Rivier, Pietersburg, Umbilo and Bellville very much for their support of the principle of the measure. The second reading has already been agreed to in the other two Houses. In the meantime we have received a letter from the Committee of University Principals and discussions have been held with its executive. On the strength of that I wanted to propose an amendment, but I now have a problem in this connection. I wanted to propose that the Bill be referred to the Committee of the whole House, but it now appears to me that members who served on the standing committee would very much like to have another look at the Bill. I have no objection to that and I shall propose it a little later.

The hon member for Pietersburg referred to certain medical professions listed in the schedule, for example, medical chemists, medical physicists, etc, asking why these professions appeared on the list. He wanted to know why these medical disciplines were included in the list. Answering off the cuff, I would say it is because they do not fall under the Medical Council and will now enjoy protection under this measure. I may be wrong in this respect, but if this is referred back to the standing committee, hon members can once more give it their attention.

The hon member for Pietersburg asked, too, for a human geneticist. I take it he asked this on the strength of certain documents, books, etc. I simply want to tell the hon member that one ought to be satisfied—I see that my name, too, appears there, and even one of my children’s Christian names! In the meantime I have found myself with quite a problem …


It is just 16 of one and 12 of the other!


I want to tell the hon member for Brakpan that I see that a defeated Matie does not appear in the schedule!


What was the score on Saturday?


Since we are now on the subject of natural science, could we not perhaps leave rugby out of it?

At this stage I should like to thank all the hon members who participated.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Recommittal to Standing Committee


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Natural Scientists’ Amendment Bill [No 33A and B—85 (GA)] be recommitted to the Standing Committee on Constitutional Development and Planning.

Agreed to.


Introductory Speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 11 March


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I should like to avail myself of this opportunity to convey my sincere thanks to the chairman and the members of the Standing Committee on Finance for the thorough way in which they considered the amending Bill. I understand that the standing committee also consulted with representatives of the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board, as well as the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. I am therefore certain that the amending Bill, as textually amended by the committee, meets with the approval of the majority of the parties concerned.

The Bill contains two amendments to the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Act, 1951, which were requested by the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board).

The first of these amendments extends the general powers of the Board, as set out in section 21(1) of the Act, by including the power to prescribe that every accountant and auditor engaged in public practice shall obtain professional indemnity insurance to cover any liability which he may incur as a result of negligence or dishonesty in the conduct of such practice.

Following on recent judgments given by our courts, there is no longer any doubt as to the delictual liability of accountants and auditors for financial losses suffered by members of the public as a result of their relying on incorrect statements and certificates negligently issued by auditors in respect of the annual accounts of companies. Claims in this regard can be formidable.

The Board consequently considers it to be in the interests of both the public and the profession that accountants and auditors obtain insurance cover against such claims. Such cover will not only protect accountants and auditors, but will also ensure that members of the public who suffer losses as a result of negligent or dishonest conduct by accountants and auditors, will be compensated for such losses.

Over the years the Board has endeavoured to persuade all registered accountants and auditors engaged in public practice to take out this insurance voluntarily, but was not completely successful. It would appear that the Board, by implication, may well have the power to require that the insurance be taken out, since subsection (1) of section 30 of the Act, which deals with offences and penalties, provides in paragraph (h) that—

no person who is registered as an accountant and auditor under this Act, shall … engage in public practice without carrying such professional indemnity insurance as may have been prescribed by the board;

while paragraph (j) of section 21(1) provides that the board shall have the power—

generally to exercise the powers and perform the functions and duties specified in this Act.

†In order to remove any doubt that may exist as to the Board’s powers in regard to professional indemnity insurance, it is necessary to provide for such powers specifically by law and in greater detail. The proposed amendment accordingly vests the Board with power to prescribe the acquisition by accountants and auditors of insurance cover against a stipulated risk and to determine the minimum amount of cover, the contingencies to be covered and the circumstances in which registered accountants and auditors may be exempted from obtaining such cover.

I wish to inform hon members that three members of the Board declared themselves against the granting of the proposed power to the board, and have notified me in terms of section 9(3) of the Act of their dissent from the decision to grant the contemplated power to the board. Since I was satisfied that the contemplated insurance cover would be in the interests of both the public and the accountants’ and auditors’ profession, and that the legislator, by inserting paragraph (h) of subsection (1) of section 30 in 1975, apparently already accepted in principle the obligation for practitioners to take out such insurance cover, I rejected the objection of the three members.

The second amendment in clause 2 is aimed at eliminating an abuse of a concession contained in section 25(5) of the Act. This section enables the Board to grant exemption from the obligation for purposes of registration as an accountant and auditor to pass in an examination conducted by or on behalf of the board in the Republic, to a person who has passed in an examination prescribed or approved by the board outside the Republic, provided that such person has also passed in such examination in the law of the Republic as the board may have determined. This concession was intended for persons intending to settle permanently within the areas under the control and discipline of the Board, ie the Republics of South Africa, Bophuthatswana, Ciskei and Venda. It is to be noted that the Board exercises its functions in the three lastmentioned countries in compliance with requests by the Governments of the respective states. The concession is being abused by persons from outside this area who have not intention of settling in one of the areas mentioned and who, after having obtained registration in this manner, start practising elsewhere under the banner of registration with the Board but outside the jurisdiction of and without the surveillance and discipline of the Board. The amendment proposed in clause 2 will eliminate the abuse.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Speaker, we support the Second Reading of this measure but there are a few matters to which we should like to draw attention.

Firstly, in the standing committee we supported the principle of this measure. The reason for our support is that there is no doubt that it is in the public interest that the public be protected against negligence on the part of a professional man, be he an accountant or anyone else. In this particular instance we are dealing with the accounting profession. It is quite obvious that where there can be claims of a considerable magnitude based upon negligence, insurance is what a cautious and prudent professional man should effect in order to cover himself.

However, I should like to mention that the accounting profession in South Africa has, to my mind, a high standard. Notwithstanding the fact that the hon the Minister has seen fit in some other debates to refer to accountants and certain of their practices of which he disapproves, particularly insofar as certain revenue matters are concerned, I believe that those are exceptions, and that in general the standard of the accounting profession in South Africa is high, not only judged by absolute standards but also judged by relative world standards insofar as our profession is concerned. One can perhaps here draw attention to the fact that, whereas in other parts of the world there have been numerous and very substantial claims for negligence made against accountants, South Africa has until now not been faced with this phenomenon. That may be due to a number of factors. Perhaps our accountants are more careful and less negligent than people elsewhere, but all of them are human, and comparisons in this regard are perhaps odious. However, it may also be due to the fact that our law is in some respects slightly different to the law which applies in certain other countries.

There is another factor to which I should like to draw attention. In some countries of the world such as the USA a person may sue for negligence and the attorney or solicitor concerned may take a share of the proceeds as his remuneration so that the person who sues does not actually have to put money down on the table and is not liable for costs if he loses. That procedure encourages litigation for negligence and sometimes causes lawsuits to be instituted which cautious attorneys would think twice about instituting if their clients did not have the money. In those circumstances the clients, too, would have doubts whether they should institute such a case if they ran the risk of having to pay the costs if they should lose the case.

There are at present debates taking place on this matter. There was a radio debate the other night on the whole question whether or not we should have a system in South Africa whereby a person could sue without incurring any risk and would merely pay his attorney a share of whatever he recovered. I believe that our present system is a salutary one and in fact ensures that there are not so many spurious actions for negligence as one finds in many other countries of the world. So, I think that this may well be one of the reasons why there are fewer actions for negligence against members of the accountants’ profession in South Africa.

Let me give an example of how this sort of thing is encouraged elsewhere. I have seen advertisements appearing in the Press in the USA which said, for example: “Would you like to sue your lawyer or accountant? I specialize in suing lawyers and accountants.” If we were to descend to that kind of level in South Africa, we would of course have a spate of litigation we can well do without.

As regards the principle of the insurance, as I have said, I believe that it is desirable. In view of the provisions contained in section 30(1)(h) of the Act, in my view this particular provision is actually unnecessary, because the Act provides that no person who is registered as an accountant or auditor under this Act shall—

engage in public practice without carrying such professional indemnity insurance as may have been prescribed by the board.

So, if the board had prescribed it and dealt with it, I believe that this legislation would have been unnecessary, and, in fact, in terms of this legislation the board must still do something, it must still prescribe. One hopes, therefore, that now they will actually do something in order to make this applicable in South Africa—they could have done so some time ago.

There are two points we raised in the committee, points which we believe to be vital. Firstly, as regards the legal profession, it has a form of group insurance and the attorney is automatically covered by paying his subscription. In other words, when the attorney pays his subscription to the law society, he automatically receives group cover against negligence up to a fixed amount. If an attorney considers that amount to be insufficient, he can, as a cautious person, take out additional insurance. We believed, and still believe, that that would be the best system to apply to the accountants’ profession as well. By means of a subscription every accountant would then automatically be insured up to a fixed amount of, say, R50 000 or whatever. In that way there would not be a differential in respect of the various firms, but that would be the basic amount which would apply. Quite obviously, the big international firms would take out greater insurance cover because they would be acting for larger clients and there would be the potential of greater claims for damages. In those circumstances, they could take out increased cover.

It is unfortunate that that proposal was not accepted by the majority in the standing select committee of this House, because we believe that that would have solved the major problem. We were, however, given an undertaking there by the accountants’ profession and by the board that they would endeavour to get group insurance to cover those people who wish to use that scheme so that they would get the benefit of that. I am quite sure that they will keep their word on this and that members of this profession will be able to get the benefit of group insurance even if not in the simplified way in which members of the legal profession get it. Perhaps it is because the lawyers like things simpler than other people like them, and so we do things in a simpler and more readily understandable fashion. We cannot help it, however, if they do not want to follow our good example. Nevertheless, we hope they will put their house in order in the way that they have undertaken to do.

The other matter which causes us concern is that in the South Africa in which we are living today, a number of small firms are going to be established. This is a desirable state of affairs. New people are going to enter the profession—not only from among members of this particular group that the House of Assembly represents but also from among members of other groups of people in South Africa. It may well be difficult for those people to get insurance. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with them. However, we have had the experience of discriminatory practices which have unfortunately existed. There are examples of this. One sometimes finds that there is different loading on insurance policies and sometimes one also comes up against excuses for not granting cover. Nonetheless, we have again been given the assurance that where that sort of thing occurs the organized profession will do something about it. For that reason we wanted a proviso in terms of which a person who is unable to obtain the insurance but who is regarded by the board as a fit and proper person to practise, would be exempted. It is regrettable that that amendment was not accepted. However, it does not destroy the merits of the measure as such, and we therefore support that clause in the Bill.

The Bill has of course only two provisions. The other provision relates to the fact that before one may sit for an examination, one must furnish proof that one is permanently resident in the Republic or in the BVC countries, ie in Bophuthatswana, Venda or Ciskei—not the Transkei, because the Transkei is not party to the arrangement. That is desirable in order to prevent the abuse which we understand is taking place. People write the examinations in South Africa because of our recognizing certain qualifications and then proceed elsewhere in the world using the South African qualifications since they are held in higher esteem than the qualification obtained in their country of origin. There are also reciprocal arrangements which make that kind of action possible and so lead to that abuse.

There is, however, one flaw in our doing what we are. It is perfectly proper in the legal profession for a man for instance to open an office in another country and practise as a South African lawyer. In the same way it would be perfectly proper to open an office in another territory and practise as a South African accountant. That could possibly be affected by this provision. One hopes therefore that people who want to follow this course of action will not experience problems should this sort of situation arise. At the same time it is relatively easy to become permanently resident in South Africa. Thus someone who really has no intention of remaining permanently resident here but merely comes here for the purpose of obtaining the qualification and then going to practise elsewhere, can still abuse the provision.

While all of this is possible, we have nevertheless been persuaded under the circumstances to give the measure a try and let it go through as it is. If this problem does arise in the future, however, it can then be remedied by other legislation. So although we would have liked to see an amendment to the first clause, as we indicated on the standing committee, we will for the purposes of this Second Reading support the measure.


Mr Speaker, I thank the hon member for Yeoville and his party for their support. The problem we had in the standing committee was that there were too few accountants and too many lawyers. [Interjections.]

To return to the amendment that was negatived, I merely want to say that only the two members of the PFP supported the amendment; all the other members rejected it. The proposed amendment would, in our opinion, have created a huge loophole which would have enabled people to circumvent the provisions of the Act. For that reason the standing committee felt that the council ought to be empowered to ensure that they actually did achieve their goal.

The object of the Bill is to prescribe that a person registered as an accountant and auditor and engaged in public practice shall be required to obtain professional indemnity insurance. So as to remove any further doubt about the precise scope of the powers of the board in this connection—this is also what the hon member referred to—it was desirable to set out those powers in greater detail.

This matter has been investigated for many years now by the joint committee, half of whose members were appointed by the SA Institute of Chartered Accountants and the other half by the board itself. The institute was, of course, of the opinion that the introduction of this insurance was in the best interests of practitioners. This includes, too, the small practitioners and the novices. On the other hand, the board is of the opinion that the introduction of this insurance is in the interests of the public as well. As the aim of the board is the aim of the institute, too, the standing committee supported the legislation, as the hon member has already said.

So as to ensure that novices and the smaller practitioners do not experience any unnecessary problems, the standing committee also inserted the first amendment that was proposed. So there are now minimum requirements with which they must comply. I am glad this legislation has been accepted by the three Houses.


Mr Chairman, I do not think there is any other Bill discussed this year on which so much money has been wasted and in regard to which taxpayers’ money has so recklessly been spent as on this very Bill.

What happened? At the beginning of December the hon Chief Whip of Parliament sent us a letter informing us, amongst other things:

Dit beteken dat die konsepwetgewing vooraf aan u gesirkuleer sal word en dat u minstens sewe dae voor die vergadering kennis sal ontvang. Bywoning is verpligtend soos deur die Reglement van Orde bepaal.

The hon Chief Whip of Parliament said that we should convene here on 15 January when certain Bills would be dealt with.

What happened to this Bill we had to study? At 12h55 on Saturday afternoon, 12 January, an item of mail dated 8 January, was delivered to me. The item of mail, in which we were requested to convene here on 16 January, had been sent to the Transvaal from Cape Town. I telephoned immediately, on the next Monday, to say that I could not attend the meeting since I had other commitments. I sent the following letter to Parliament:

Vanmiddag om 12h55 is die posstuk by my afgelewer waarin die kennisgewing aan lede van die staande komitees oor die betrokke wetsontwerp is. Ek is nie in ’n posisie om op Dinsdagaand, 15 Januarie, na Kaapstad te vlieg en die volgende dag weer terug te vlieg nie. Gevolglik sal ek nie die vergadering kan bywoon nie. My verdere kommentaar sal ek nou weerhou en in die Volksraad gedurende die debat opper.

The Standing Committee subsequently convened on 16 January and deliberated for only one hour and ten minutes. Amongst other things they asked the Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board to submit a memorandum. A fairly long and, I think, comprehensive memorandum was submitted by that board.

The Bill contains only two clauses, which have been implemented for many years now. There has always been indemnity insurance, but certain people did not want to obtain this cover. The institute also arranged that before overseas accountants could practise here, they first had to sit for certain examinations. So they first had to acquaint themselves, for example, with the Companies Act. One cannot simply have someone from overseas come and practise here.

Subsequently the committee convened once again. Let me just mention that if I had had to fly down for the first meeting and stay in a hotel overnight, the plane ticket would have cost the State R380, and that for an hour and ten minutes. I do not know who pays for Dr Burton, whether Parliament or his department does, but his plane ticket was also R380 at the very least, plus his other costs. Surely we cannot spend the taxpayers’ money that recklessly. The hon the Minister is specifically trying to see where he can cut costs, but then surely we cannot go on like this.

That committee then convened here again on 8 March. What happened on the morning of 8 March was heart-rending, as far as I am concerned. At the previous meeting, on 8 February, both Dr Burton and Dr Jacobs were here from Pretoria. Their plane tickets cost R380 each, and if they still had to stay overnight, that would have meant a further amount of approximately R53 each. So the cost for those two people therefore amounted to R866.

And what happened on 8 March? When we convened that morning, there were only two members of the Indian House present, and consequently there was not a quorum. We just hoped we would be able to contact the others. Eventually the committee clerks were all running around to see what they could do. After 15 minutes I told the chairman that in accordance with the Standing Orders we had to adjourn. Then a meeting would have had to be convened again for the following week. Four people had to be here that morning, and they were not just insignificant individuals. There was Dr R W Burton, Registrar of Financial Institutions, Mr H P Hefer, Mr K G Mockler and Mr F L S Salter. One of them was from the accountants’ board and the other two were senior partners from the two biggest firms in South Africa. They had come along to assist in the passage of this Bill. Apart from all the costs they incurred, those individuals also sacrificed a great deal of time and production since their own work ground to a halt. If they had been productive that day, they would have had to pay more income tax, which would have assisted the State, but we waste the money here.

We sat there until 09h53 before getting a quorum together—there were three members of the Indian House. We spoke for a short while, the hon member for Yeoville moved his amendment and we argued about it, but there was not much time available. If I only take the four plane tickets into consideration, it is already an amount of R1 520, and if all four of them had stayed overnight at R53 each, this means a further R212; in other words, that meeting cost a minimum of R1 732, not to mention any of the other costs.

I say it is the duty and responsibility of the hon the Minister and chairman of this standing committee to make better arrangements. In terms of the Standing Orders the chairman of the standing committee and the Speaker work together. Surely the Speaker is not going to convene such a meeting. That is done by the hon the Minister and the chairman of the standing committee. They are the people who, a few days before Parliament opened, on the Wednesday prior to the Friday on which Parliament opened, convened the meeting. Why? Why was the money wasted in that fashion? Surely the committee could have convened after the opening of Parliament. If Parliament is not in session, hon members are compensated on a daily basis, as far as I know—I speak under correction—to attend the meetings. I do not know what the remuneration is. I want the hon the Minister to tell us what such a member gets. The chairman probably receives a special amount by way of remuneration. I do not know what he gets.


Are you jealous?


No, if I were chairman, I would not have accepted any remuneration. [Interjections.] Let me say quite frankly: I really did support that Bill. It is a simple Bill, and in the years I have been practising, it was customary for people to take out their insurance, but this did not apply to everyone; it is a trifle. It was chiefly a matter of this one thing—just to have this one aspect included in the Act. What is it all about? Why must people take out that insurance policy? It is true, is it not, that when an accountant is negligent and submits his certificates … [Interjections.] The hon Whip of Parliament—I am sorry, I should like the hon the Minister’s attention.

I should like to ask the Minister who it is who suffers losses if there is negligence. If these accountants and auditors, for example, certify statements, the public can suffer losses. The chief object of this legislation is certainly to protect the public. I think accountants and auditors do, for example, also have a duty towards the State. I should now like to ask the hon the Minister …


You are now wasting more money talking here than all the accountants put together could waste! [Interjections.]


I knew that hon Chief Whip was worried. He wants us to cover up things in the standing committee so that the public does not know what is going on. [Interjections.] The public must know how those people are wasting money in this country, and I shall talk about it.

In recent years it is true that when clerks and accountants are called up for military service, they are seconded to the Department of the Receiver of Revenue to help with the processing of assessments, etc.


Oom Jan, you are in a destructive mood. [Interjections.]


It does happen that there are senior staff members of auditors’ firms in the Defence Force, and that those undertakings find themselves unable to complete their audit statements in time. Unless a tax-payer and his auditor are on very good terms with the department and can be accorded some leniency, that undertaking finds itself issued with a summons. That department must do its duty; I am not opposed to its doing its duty. The undertaking, however, is issued with a summons because of its statements not having been submitted in time, and yet the firm’s clerks are in the Defence Force. It could also happen, quite easily, that whilst he is working for the Receiver, he assesses his principal’s clients, or his principal himself. That is unheard of. It should not happen. My question to the hon the Minister is therefore: If someone, as an accountant or an auditor, were to inform certain clients, amongst others, not about how to evade tax, but about how to go about things in the proper way to arrange the matters in such a way that they did not, for example, have to pay extra tax, would that accountant be regarded as having been negligent? If that were permissible, would an undertaking, if it sponsored some or other sports meeting, for example, deduct this as advertising or not? If I, as an auditor, permit this, am I being negligent? Does the State have a case against me, or whatever?

It is well-known that gifts are not taxable, but that the person donating the gift does pay tax on it. The hon the Minister of Communications and the hon member for Hercules said that people have not worked for their thirteenth cheque, their bonus cheque; that is paid to say thank you. So why should they pay tax on that gift? If I am calculating a Public Servant’s tax, and tell him that he does not have to pay tax on the thirteenth cheque because it is a gift from the State, am I as an auditor being negligent? Is that interpretation correct? It has been recorded in the House of Assembly Hansard that Public Servants do not work for that money. If it is a gift, one does not pay tax on it. [Interjections.] I now want to know from the hon the Minister whether officials have to pay tax on the remaining two-thirds of their bonus, yes or no? They did not earn it; it is a gift.

I want to ask the hon the Minister to give us an unequivocal reply to this. What is the situation in regard to articled clerks now working in the Department of the Receiver of Revenue? To what extent are they accountable to their employers when negligence is involved? Who covers them when they are in the employ of that department?

In accordance with Standing Order No 19, the House adjourned at 18h00.