House of Assembly: Vol3 - TUESDAY 26 MARCH 1985
laid upon the Table:
To be referred to the appropriate Standing Committee, unless the House decides otherwise within three sitting days.
as Chairman, presented the Second Report of the Standing Select Committee on Home Affairs and National Education, relative to the Human Sciences Research Amendment Bill [No 51—85 (GA)], as follows:
A E NOTHNAGEL,
22 March 1985.
Bill to be read a second time.
Mr Speaker, I move:
Mr Speaker, I took the opportunity yesterday of congratulating the hon the Minister on his appointment. May I do the same today in regard to the Director-General and the staff of own affairs in the House of Assembly as a whole. It is a new job for them as it is for everyone else concerned, and we hope, indeed I am sure, that we will get dedicated service from them. There is only one remark I should like to make. Bearing in mind the hon the Minister’s remarks about tea-breaks, I want to assure the staff that when they appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts they will get tea and they will get a tea-break irrespective of what the hon the Minister may decide at other times. [Interjections.] We will see to that aspect.
In a more serious vein, I should like to start by moving the following amendment:
One has to express a large measure of disappointment that in these times when there is so much concern about both the economic wellbeing and the stability of the country, insofar as the Ministers’ Council is concerned they have been remarkably silent in regard to their policy. The statements of policy that have been made by the hon the Minister during this debate have been largely of a general nature and seem to indicate that they are going to be efficient and good. However, in respect of the actual policy that is going to be applied there has been very little said. The reality is that the broad fiscal policy is not going to be determined by this hon Minister at all. That is going to be determined by the Minister of Finance. It is going to be laid down as a blueprint in the general affairs’ budget.
The bulk of the own affairs’ funds will come from general revenue, voted under the general affairs Appropriation Bill or by means of a formula determined by general affairs’ legislation. Certain funds so voted can, of course, only be utilized for the purpose that has been designated by a general affairs’ statute.
In the present Budget of the House of Assembly, income from its own sources is only R34 million out of a total of R2 324 million. That is 1,54%. The impact and significance of this in the actual freedom of appropriation and the limitation of determination of allocation of resources by own affairs’ administration and legislation is, I think, therefore quite clear.
I think we need to look at some figures in order to illustrate this further. If we take the total amount of R2,2 billion, which in fact is the sum total of the appropriations that we are asked to agree to, no less than R1 853,133 million is in fact made up of transfer payments. Therefore, when we look at the figure in regard to what own affairs deals with itself we find it is actually extremely small. Approximately R350 million is all that is involved, which is much less than any provincial administration’s budget. Until such time as the actual provincial administrations come under us and in fact are properly dealt with under us, until there is actually an allocation of money in regard to which we will actually have a discretion, one has to see the House of Assembly own affairs in its true perspective. It is actually a very limited operation.
Sir, I can illustrate that in respect of the hon the Minister of Education and Culture if you will give me a moment. In his case, out of R996 357 000 transfer payments amount to R937 081 000. So the actual amount of money which he directly disposes of is relatively small. To all intents and purposes what is happening to the bulk of the funds is that the general affairs Budget transfers it to the own affairs Budget and the own affairs Budget transfers it out again. So we might as well transfer it directly from the general affairs Budget instead of having it go through this particular channel. With great respect, Sir, it looks to us as if, in these circumstances, this is in fact a relatively small show and needs to be seen in that context.
The question of the division of general and own affairs is also a matter which I think requires some attention. The reality is—and we have to face it—that there is actually very little which is really own affairs in South Africa, or there is very little, if I may put it like that, which needs to be separated in South Africa. The reality is that actions and influences of one group almost in every respect affect all other groups. Unless there actually is a territorial separation or at least a decentralization, there is, in most cases, interplay between the groups as far as government is concerned. This is in contrast to private and personal voluntary group actions which can be quite separate. In other words, personal and group actions which are taken voluntarily are really the true own affairs of South Africa, whereas the rest, the governmental action, in fact affects almost everybody. I submit that the figures I have quoted demonstrate that very clearly.
Dealing with the question of the appropriation of funds, the hon the Minister pointed out to us, and set out for us in the same way as this Budget and the general affairs Budget did, where these amounts were coming from. I think some questions need to be asked about this and some comments made. Firstly, it is said that there is income from our own sources of only some R34 million, which I have already pointed out. Secondly, the formula amounts are presumably in terms of Act 120 of 1984 which the hon the Minister and I have debated repeatedly. I think today I have been proven absolutely right in what I have consistently said throughout because R1 925,932 million is actually coming to us in terms of this Act without anybody having to appropriate it at all, because that is what the statute says. Let me point to a significant aspect.
*The supplementary amounts in terms of section 84(b) of the Constitution Act, as well as the provisional allocation in terms of section 84(c), actually still have to be approved. They have not yet been approved. They appear in the Appropriation for general affairs only. The same applies also to the improvement of conditions of service falling under section 84(c). This has also still to be approved. In other words, what are we doing today? We are deciding about money which Parliament as a whole has not yet voted. What can happen now therefore is that we can proceed with our Appropriation for own affairs and approve all these things and then it is theoretically possible that when we get to the Appropriation for general affairs, that money is not approved. I must say I do not understand how we can start with the debate on the Appropriation for own affairs before the Appropriation for general affairs had been approved by Parliament because it is possible that the money will not be voted.
But the difficulty is that we are living in an age in which there are three Houses that have to pass the general affairs Budget and if the three Houses do not pass it, it has to go to the President’s Council. There is a finance committee sitting which could theoretically make recommendations to this House in terms of which that Budget could be changed. So what I am saying is that we should in fact be debating the own affairs Budget after the general affairs Budget so that there is certainty in regard to this and we do not just take it for granted that, because there is a majority in this House which will vote for the general affairs Budget, these things are going to be accepted. It is to some extent ignoring the whole democratic process of Parliament to be dealing with money that we are going to be asked to vote tomorrow or the day after where in actual fact that money has not yet been voted under the general affairs budget.
In the light of this fact and in the light of other circumstances, I think that there are other statements made by the hon the Minister that need to be examined. The hon the Minister has already requested the various departments in his administration to identify the terrains where levies can be made. This is the matter to which I referred yesterday. However, it would appear to me as though there is an irresistible urge on the part of those in power to keep on looking for new methods by means of which to extract money from the public. This hon Minister is no exception, and it is necessary for us now to look into the whole question of how far the matter of taxation can be taken if the taxpayer’s back is not to be broken by increasing sources of revenue that are being sought at every turn.
As far as general affairs are concerned, we have a whole new series of new taxation measures. Later this year we are also going to have new taxation measures in regard to the new regional authorities. There we have the hon the Minister of the Budget, and the first thing he does when he is given this job is to tell his officials to look around to see where he can tax someone. I think the hon the Minister is playing around here with a very delicate mechanism because the fact remains that if one overtaxes the taxpayer one is going to break his back and there is going to be a resistance to the whole concept of taxation.
I believe that the issue of the imposition of levies for services provided by the Government is a very serious one. The powers given in terms of paragraph 11(1) of Schedule 3 of the Constitution read with the 1984 legislation in terms of which the hon the Minister already has the necessary power, should not be lightly used. The authority is given for the imposition of levies authorized by or under any general law on services rendered over and above payments for such services, and that general law has already been passed. The hon the Minister already has that authority in terms of the appropriate legislation. However, the implication appears to be that there can be a payment by the user of the services and, moreover, a levy imposed not only upon the user of the service but also upon others. This levy will, therefore, be a form of tax, and under these circumstances I should like to suggest to the hon the Minister that he recommend that the role of such levies also be referred to the Margo Commission to be studied and recommended upon in the context of all forms of taxation in South Africa. There is no doubt at all that this is a form of taxation.
The levy and the principles underlying it should also be seen in the light of two other statements made by the hon the Minister, the first of which reads as follows:
He goes on a little later to say:
As the hon the Minister points out:
The sensitivity of this question is appreciated but it is actually an issue that lies right at the root of the new system of Government. If taxes were to be reduced and the so-called standards and norms of certain State services were to be based on a levy where the individual Houses had to decide whether or not to impose levies and, if so, at what levels those levies should be imposed, not only would the quality and extent of a particular service be an issue but the ability of the users and others in that community to pay a levy imposed over and above payment for the services would also be an issue. As a result, differential services could come about based upon both a willingness and an ability to pay, and parallel services could exist on different levels with serious social and political implications.
The principle of individuals using their own earnings to provide for their own needs from the private sector according to their own particular discretion, is part of our economic system. However, it is highly desirable that a State service should be available equally, without regard to the means of the particular community concerned. A means test for individuals has sensitive implications, for example, in the provision of services such as hospitals. However, for a community they can be regarded in a far more serious light, and I would not like to see a means test for a community because in reality, the test as concerns a levy is not only the willingness of the people to pay but the ability of the community to pay. The whole question of levies and the provision of services such as those already in Government policy for education I believe is an extremely sensitive issue. I have always believed that certain services, particularly in health and education, should be paid for by the State and be available to all on the same level, irrespective of the means of the user and irrespective of the means of the parents of the child concerned.
The same principle should apply in respect of State services as such. We in these benches have always striven for the removal of discrimination in such services. Therefore we welcome for instance the move in regard to this year’s Budget proposals concerning pensions, for which we convey our congratulations because it is a move in the right direction. It would be a pity, however, if the movement towards the removal of discrimination based on race and colour were to be frustrated in any way in respect of an essential social service by the ability or inability of the various administrations to benefit or not to benefit from higher income or lower income group levels, and if a particular community—a community that did not have the high level income groups in it—were to be disadvantaged in the process. This is an extremely serious matter. It is perhaps the most serious matter in respect of the whole issue of own affairs.
The same applies to privatization. In approaching this issue we need a meaningful debate on what a government function is and what a function more correctly performed by private enterprise is. However, the debate is not only one based on pure efficiency; it has social and political implications. Some services may be completely out of the reach of sections of the community if they are privatized, and if they are so privatized, then I believe we have a duty to make a means available so that those people are not deprived of that service if it is privatized. It is necessary to look at privatization—we have asked for it. It is desirable in certain State activities, but the reality is that it has become a kind of buzz-word and seemingly a panacea. What is needed is an open debate on this question and proper research which appears not to have been done so far.
If I may, I should just like to mention the question of spending limits and to appeal to the hon the Minister once again not to come along next year and ask for extra money in an additional appropriation in his first year in respect of matters which he should have dealt with now.
Lastly, I would like to deal with the question of living within one’s means. The hon the Minister sketched living within one’s means, and in principle we accept it. We hope that he is going to practise what he preaches. However, he has made a number of statements which I would like to debate with him in just a moment. He said:
That is a most unfortunate analogy, if I may say so. The way we see the situation is that the State must live within its means, its means being the taxes it receives and the loans it is authorized to raise. However, it must strive to improve the standards of its services and the lot of the people it serves. It is not only the individuals’ duty to live within his means but it is also his right to be able to improve his means, and it is the State’s function to make it possible for him to do so. This should not be done by handouts, except where urgent necessity and disaster require them, but by equality of opportunity. Every squatter should have the hope of a house and the opportunity by his labour and by the nature of the system to achieve his goal. That is what we require. The issue is that the population—and we talk about what can be afforded—expects and requires an assessment of the State’s functions, a need for the State to be efficient in those operations, and a relationship between the Government and those whom it governs not only as to what should be provided but also as to the means that should be given to it to finance those requirements.
The complaint we have is that this relationship does not exist in an adequate form in South Africa. It is the State that decides and the people who must accept. The people are simply expected to accept and to pay, taking everything lying down. I believe that that era is going to have to come to an end. There has to be a greater degree of consultation. There has to be a greater degree of communication if we are ultimately going to make Government work adequately in the years that lie ahead.
Mr Speaker, I should like to congratulate the hon the Minister on this first budget that he is handling in the House. In addition I should like to convey my congratulations to the Director-General and his staff. I believe that undertaking something new of this nature was a great challenge. I believe, however, that everyone who is involved in this task has succeeded very well indeed. One can almost say that this small step by them represents a great step into the future.
Mr Speaker, I now want to refer to the tea and the tea-break. Mention has been made of this. What bothers me in connection with the abolition of the tea-break, however, is that now people are going to find out when the lion at the Union Building starts devowing the Government officials. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Yeoville said that the hon the Minister had not really achieved anything; he had no objectives. I should like to refer the hon member for Yeoville, however, to what he himself said in his speech in the debate on the Part Appropriation. On that occasion the hon member said that he was against any reductions in respect of personal services taking place. In addition the hon member said that there should be relief in respect of pensions, aid and assistance should be given with regard to housing, war veterans should be assisted and free education should be provided. When we pay attention to the Main Budget for general affairs, indeed it seems that in respect of welfare and pensions there is an increase of 30% in the amount appropriated, whereas the increase in the case of public health is 11,9%, and that in respect of education 19%, while the total expenditure increases by only 11,4%. I cannot understand why the hon member for Yeoville is so dissatisfied.
As a matter of interest I have with me an interesting reference to the Carnegie inquiry, in which the following is said, and I quote:
†What we have before us today, Mr Speaker, is a budget plan for justice. I say that because in this budget the hon the Minister is indeed giving assistance to the aged. He is also giving assistance to young people. We must really thank him for the assistance he is giving to all these people.
*This brings me to the Conservative Party. I want to refer in particular to their arguments and points of view as revealed in the debate on the Part Appropriation. We with the hon member for Sunnyside begin first of all. He said that the Whites are being discriminated against.
He said the Whites are being neglected, whereas they pay all the taxes in the country. In turn the hon member for Lichtenburg said that every House in Parliament should be entitled to spend only in accordance with the taxes paid by the population group it represents. Truly, I find this a strange argument. So if that party wants to develop its Coloured homeland, they are going to give the Coloureds the Cape Flats as territory, but make it quite clear to them that they must expect no further assistance from the CP. The CP is not prepared to make any contribution to the further development of that homeland. [Interjections.] I cannot imagine that the Coloureds will be very happy and charmed with an offer of this kind. [Interjections.]
I want to take the matter further, however. We know the Conservative Party’s argument very well. They assert that the Whites are being neglected. In addition they tell the aged people everywhere that the pensions of non-Whites are being increased, whereas the pensions of those poor aged people are going to be decreased, and even taken away. We believe that we must definitely start destroying some of those Conservative Party arguments.
What you are saying there now, is absolutely untrue! [Interjections.]
This Government has an excellent record as far as personal services are concerned. [Interjections.] This Government’s expenditure on personal services even improved after the CP left. The question we must ask ourselves, is what the Whites’ share in the case of personal services is. Has the CP made a study in this connection yet, or do they simply rise in this House to spread cheap propaganda with a view to the next by-elections?
First I should like to thank Prof Helgaard van Wyk of the Bureau of Market Research at Unisa. For the past 14 days he has worked at certain statistics with me full-time in order to determine what the true expenditure is. [Interjections.] We made estimates of State payments by the central Government and the provincial administrations to the individual White—where no return is furnished by the latter. We also looked at taxation paid by the White individual to the central Government and the provincial authorities. With the figures we obtained in this way, we cover 99% of own affairs, with the exception of those amounts spent by the local authorities. It is correct to include certain expenditure of the provincial administration at this stage. The hon the Minister indicated that a great deal of this expenditure would be included in these estimates during the course of the next year or two. That means that this small step is simply the beginning of greater steps.
When we then look at the expenditure on personal services, we find that in 1960 R196 million went to the Whites. In 1985, the amount for which provision has been made in this general affairs budget, and the amount which is being allocated to the Provinces, total R5,16 billion for Whites. It has therefore increased from R196 million to R5,16 billion.
The amount with reference to education has increased in these budgets by 20,3% as against last year’s figure. Pensions and grants have increased by 31,8%, and other amounts, including hospitalization, housing, transport and food subsidies have increased by 15%. Perhaps, however, such figures do not sound convincing. Let us see what percentage of state expenditure is constituted by the amounts spent on Whites. We find that in 1980 it was 14,5%; in 1984, 15,9% and in 1985, 16,5%. These are payments by the State to Whites, in areas where no return from the Whites. These figures show us how much assistance this Government renders its people. Of course, this includes all income groups. [Interjections.] Those hon members can go and listen to the debates in the other Houses. Would they not like to go there for a while?
We must proceed, however. We must also see what the private consumer spending figures are, because this gives a further picture of the scope of expenditure—not only that part constituted by State spending, but also that part constituted by private spending. These figures have increased: In 1960 by 5,9%; in 1980 by 6,4% and in 1984 by 7,55%. This is the assistance we give our people. Go and tell that in the Free State and in the vicinity of Port Elizabeth.
I want to be objective, however. We cannot simply take figures of this kind on face value; we must enlarge on the further aspects concerned. What, for example, was the effect of inflation on these figures? What was the effect of the population growth on these figures?
Then we come to a very interesting figure. In 1960 it was R63,8 per capita. In 1980, when the CP was still with us, it was R435,1 but in 1984 it was R898,8 whereas in this budget it amounts to R1 059,7 per capita. I want to eliminate the inflation too and then I find that between 1960 and 1980—I am referring now to real expenditure per White—there was an increase of 2,65% per annum. Between 1960 and 1984 the increase was 3,04%, whereas between 1980 and 1985—that is after the CP’s had left—it shows a real increase of 7,4% per White. If that is a poor record, I do not know what a good one is.
Of course, the improved remuneration of our teachers is responsible for part of this improvement. We sit with the problem too, that our population is becoming progressively older. We shall have to guard against excessive increases in personal services. We must not go too far in that respect. We find ourselves in a multi-national country and we must take care that our expenditure on personal services does not subsequently prove detrimental to our expenditure on infrastructure. [Interjections.] In the Western world more and more attention is being given to this aspect in order to place certain restrictions on personal services. I think the hon member Dr Venter will discuss on the problem of pensions later.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development warns that one should not cut back on or curb one’s expenditure on personal services too heavily. They say one should rather pay attention to the productive spending of these amounts.
Let us now look at the taxes paid by the Whites. I am dealing here with income tax, direct tax, estate duty, excise duty, motor licences and all other smaller taxes which were paid. In 1980 the tax per capita amounted to R706 as against R1 661 in 1984. In 1985 it will be R1 883. Since 1984, therefore, there has been an increase of 13,35%. This is the increase in all the taxation payable by the Whites, whereas their expenditure increased by 17,9%. Therefore, the Whites are still in a better position. [Interjections.]
I now come to the crux of my speech. The question is whether the Whites make good for aU the State payments they receive by means of taxation. It is so that in 1983-84 20% of the Whites paid 73,45% of all taxes. They tell me—the hon member for Yeoville will agree with this—that this 20% is made up entirely of PFP’s. In reply to this someone else told me: No, there are no PFP’s amongst that 20%, because by means of good auditing and advice they see to it that they pay the minimum taxation.
As I have said, I include income tax, sales tax, excise duty, estate duty, licences, amusement tax and so forth in this. We find that the index of the real taxation per capita in the population has increased from 100 in 1960 to 329,3 in 1985-86. The question now is whether we cover all our expenditure by means of these taxes, as the average taxes per capita paid by 80% of the White taxpayers amounts to R1 059, whereas the taxpayer receives R1 016 from the State without making any return. That is for the 1985-86 financial year. It is true that the figures are not comprehensive, because we only received certain figures late yesterday afternoon.
Let us look at the 1984-85 financial year. Then State payments to the Whites were R898,8, whereas the Whites’ taxes was R906,6. Eighty per cent of the taxes paid by Whites do not cover State payments for which no return is made. This 80% falls mainly in the income tax group of R17 000 or less per annum. That is taxable income; their total income is higher. The taxpayers who fall in this group, do not, therefore, contribute more than they receive from the State in the form of State payments, in which no return is involved.
But the R17 000 means more to the country.
I should like the CP to go and use these figures in Port Elizabeth. They can tell the people that the Government is looking after them. They must not come and tell the aged that their old age pension is going to be taken away from them.
What you are saying is not true! [Interjections.]
I want to mention another group towards which the Government is particularly sympathetic, and that is our farmers. They are struggling with droughts and high interest rates. It is estimated that our farmers paid approximately R500 million in taxes last year. Most of them are in the R17 000 and less group. In addition farming companies paid approximately R100 million in taxes. Compared to that our farmers received R447 million in the form of drought and other aid. When our farmers were suffering last year, the Government helped them. I think we should assist our farmers, because last year South Africa lost R5,6 billion as a result of the drought. We must help our farmers, and the Government is doing so.
My time is almost up and I want to add only one more point. In the latest Budget the hon the Minister of Finance has endeavoured to lower the interest rates, and I think this has been happening during the past few days. This decrease in the interest rate will help our farmers and house-owners a great deal in the period that lies ahead.
I support this Bill, and I think we are on the way to great things.
Mr Speaker, having listened to the hon member for Waterkloof, I came to the conclusion that he had fired the shot prematurely. The time was not yet ripe for what he had to say. If it was intended as a devastating attack on the CP, I wish to say to the hon member that I think he fared very badly. [Interjections.]
The hon member’s words are typical of what we experience from the NP. He claims we told the people of Primrose that the Government would reduce the old-age pension. I challenge him to produce proof; it is not the CP which made this statement.
He cannot blame the voters, however, because who reduced public servants’ bonuses by a third? The hon member cannot blame voters if they live in fear of the Government’s taking away old-age pensions. He should not claim that we said that as we did not. [Interjections.] The electorate lives in fear that this will happen for the simple reason that the Government no longer has any control over the management of South Africa.
The Government tells people we still retain our own affairs and we control ourselves but the debate to be held here today and tomorrow and the entire situation in which we find ourselves is proof positive that this House retains no substantial power whatsoever.
The hon member for Yeoville pointed out that the largest amount in respect of these moneys represented transfer funds and that it had not even been approved by the general Parliament. The fact is that one of the most important means with which one should be armed to be able to control one’s own affairs is control over one’s own funds. We have had the overall Budget of the Minister of Finance which amounted to a shade over R31 billion. The Appropriation of the Minister of the Budget who handles own affairs amounts to R2 200 million. These are not the only moneys to be voted by Parliament because there is still the Post Office Appropriation which comes to R4 billion and the SATS Appropriation which amounts to R10 billion. The total amount to be voted by Parliament is R45 544 million of which R2 200 million is for own affairs, exactly 4,83%; the remainder represents general affairs. I want to give the hon the Minister the benefit of the doubt. Let us add all the funds, all the subsidies going to the provinces to own affairs although they are not all for own affairs. All funds that provinces spend on hospitals, law enforcement, roads and transport services are not all for own affairs but I am prepared to give the hon the Minister the benefit of the doubt. If one adds all these moneys for the provinces—which amount to R5 217 million—the total amount for own affairs is R7 417 million or 16,2% of the total national budget. The remainder, approximately 84%, is for general affairs.
The question now arising is of the nature of the control we have over these so-called own affairs.
What about local government bodies?
I have just said I shall regard all those moneys as own affairs moneys. [Interjections.] Today I shall not attempt to penetrate the little brain of that hon member because the time is too short for that.
The question now is the nature of the control we have over the 16% of the moneys. Item 11 of schedule 1 of the Constitution inter alia reads as follows:
- (1) estimates of revenue and expenditure, but excluding the form in which such estimates shall be prepared.
The White Chamber of Parliament is not able to change the form of these estimates. Even if we wished to do so, we do not have the power. Nevertheless there is talk of control over own affairs. I continue quoting as follows:
- (2) the appropriation of moneys for the purpose of such estimates, but excluding such appropriation of moneys for any purpose other than that for which they are by or under any general law made available for appropriation.
This Chamber therefore cannot say today that the drought has not yet broken in certain areas of the country and that certain funds should be transferred from one programme to another. It does not have the power. Even if the House were to decide unanimously, it could not be done. Is that proof of control over own affairs?
The hon the Minister is already smacking his lips. He is searching for ways of clamping down on the poor overtaxed people of South Africa. He now has his eye on certain levies. In this connection I shall read from item 11 of the Constitution:
- (3) levies authorized by or under any general law …
If the other Chambers withhold their consent, he cannot impose levies. They have to be approved by means of a general law. The hon the Minister says he is a Minister but I said on a previous occasion that he was actually an accountant. He is not even a proper one as there are better in his department. Over what do he and this Chamber exercise power? What remains over which we retain power and which is not subject to conditions? Only the receipt of donations remains. I wish to suggest that the hon the Minister, instead of examining levies, should prepare his collection list meanwhile, become a charity organization and see how much he can have collected.
This Chamber has no financial power without the consent and subject to the approval of the other two Houses of this Parliament. Then it is still said we have self-determination and that by reason of the 16%. We do not have the right of self-determination over that 16%. In addition, all matters dealt with by this House and its Ministers’ Council are subject to general legislation.
A small amount of money remains not of the transfer variety, namely interest and capital reflux which are not subject to the approval of the general Parliament. In practice the White House of Assembly has no financial power.
The Agricultural Credit Account too?
That is subject to a general law! In fact, I wish to get to the Minister of Agriculture. In his budget speech the Minister of the Budget announced that R252 million had been set aside for agricultural financing. If one analyses the Appropriation further, one realizes that only R38,2 million is available for production loans and R38,4 million for consolidation of debt. If one sets that against the distress existing in South Africa in consequence of the devastation caused by the drought, I wish to say to the hon the Minister that the costs attached to the planting of the maize crop this year are estimated at R2 120 million. The crop at present in the ground is estimated at 6,72 million tons. At a price of R270 per ton this crop will yield R1 814 million—in other words R300 million less than the costs of the new crop. That is the situation in which we have landed as a result of price escalations. They make it impossible to farm.
You did only half a calculation!
No, that refers only to the maize industry! I am speaking only of the maize industry—not even about the entire agricultural industry.
You are wrong there.
Where have I gone wrong? In the price? Are you not going to pay that price? [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker …
No, you sit down! That hon member must sit down! He is wasting time. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for Lichtenburg cannot adopt that attitude. We shall have no order whatsoever in this House if an hon member simply tells another hon member to sit down as soon as he rises. I think the hon member should leave it to me to decide whether another hon member should resume his seat or not.
Mr Speaker, may I put a question to the hon member?
Does the hon member wish to reply to a question?
Mr Speaker, I do not wish to reply to a question and I apologize that I did not wait for you.
That is in order. The hon member does not wish to reply to the question.
The new maize harvest is going to yield R300 million less than its planting costs. If one calculates the weighted average interest rate according to the composition of interest as at 31 December 1983, one finds that farmers have to pay approximately 19% interest on outstanding debt. The outstanding interest on debt at present amounts to R1 900 million. I wish to say to the hon the Minister that the provision made in these Estimates is pathetic if one compares it with the need for food production in South Africa. It is pathetic.
It is not only the State which gives production loans. What about co-operatives?
I know it is not only the State which gives production loans but the role played by the State is meaningless.
That is no answer to my question.
I say, no. The role played by the State is meaningless. We can come to only one conclusion: The State has withdrawn its support for the farmers of South Africa! [Interjections.] We need argue no further about this. We could decide unanimously today to transfer certain funds appropriated for other purposes to agriculture but we are powerless to do so. This shows us we are involved in a farce. We cannot carry it out; it first has to be approved by the other Houses of this Parliament.
We see in the newspapers that the State President says the country has become ungovernable. [Interjections.]
Where did you see that? It is untrue.
All right, it is untrue. I saw the hon members of the PFP had launched an inquiry in the riot-stricken areas. Now I wish to ask the hon member for Houghton, who was the leader of the group, whether they had police protection when they were pursuing their inquiry in those areas.
We did not need it.
The hon member says they did not need it. Did the police not escort them?
We did not need it. We got out of the car and went on our own into the township and walked about. [Interjections.]
Sir, these hon members are laying the entire blame for this matter on the SA Police, whereas they had police protection while they were conducting their inquiries.
That is not true.
I want to say to the hon member for Houghton that in the 15 years I have been in Parliament I have never heard a patriotic remark issuing from her mouth. I want to say she is enjoying these riots. She desires them. She seeks this type of thing. She thrives on it. [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: Is the hon member allowed to say that?
No, the hon member must withdraw it.
I withdraw it, Sir. I say this hon member is utterly happy as she sits there. I say she has never done anything positive in attempting to obtain control of such a situation or of attempting to prevent it. She has never done that. [Interjections.] I wish to say this hon member is not actually upset by such situations either because she regards them as beneficial to the objectives she pursues in South Africa.
We went in under police escort because that was the only way they would let us in.
I wish to say to the hon member that throughout her career whenever she has attempted to further such things she has met with misfortune. All that has changed is that she now has to do with a Government no longer capable of acting strongly and curbing this type of conduct. This is all that has gone wrong in South Africa. [Interjections.]
What would you do?
I will say what should be done. The problem is we no longer have a Government which acts and which is capable of maintaining law and order and discipline.
This thing has been a long time in coming. When pupils began burning and damaging schools last year, no action was taken but the Minister of Education and Training invited the ringleaders to have breakfast with him at his residence in Pretoria. Sir, I ask you: How does one curb ringleaders who break down buildings and wreck discipline if a Minister acts in this way? No, Sir, firm and decent action should be taken.
Yes, firm and decent action should be taken. We are in favour of discipline being maintained and that, when young children become uncontrollable and the victims of agitators, there should be firm action and they should be protected against such agitators.
I wish to say this Government has lost control entirely. It did so on the day it departed from the policy of separate development and adopted the way of integration because integration is, in fact, the breeding ground for the type of situation we are experiencing today.
We live in Africa and this Government is inclined to say it knows Africa and African conditions. Africa is full of examples of failure on the trail the Government has now taken. It has been put in writing and is there for all to see. It has even been written in Afrikaans. I wish to read a few passages from what was written in 1964 by Mr Guy van Eeden, a member of the former Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland—and he wrote it for South Africans to hear:
He points out—
Now the State President says there are people who wish to make the country ungovernable. Those were his words: There are people who want to make the country ungovernable. [Interjections.] I say it is that Government itself which is making this country ungovernable because it is using up its concessions. It is running out of concessions—it does not have many more to grant. This Government has gone and shared 84% of its budget with two other Chambers. Have they thanked the Government? No, the Government’s coalition partners are demanding the head of the hon the Minister of Law and Order. The Government has shared out 84% of its substance. What gratitude has it received for this? The poor Minister sitting on the benches opposite me—and I want to give him a bit of a warning—
I am not a poor Minister.
Yes, that is true because his time at the moment is shorter than it ever was. [Interjections.] I listened carefully to what the State President said and I now say the signs are ominous for this hon Minister. I feel very sorry for him. He has tried to do his work but I am afraid this poor man is going to be left in the lurch.
Mr Guy van Eeden also says the following:
I ask this Government if after all the sacrifices it has made it has received one word of praise or gratitude from the world.
This Government has placed its self-determination on the altar; it has made this sacrifice.
In what way?
I have just shown that the Whites have no self-determination any more. [Interjections.]
Nevertheless I wish to inform the Government that Guy van Eeden also had the following to say:
The body of that Port Elizabeth councillor who refused to resign was burnt. They danced on him. He was treated the most shamefully of all because he trusted the Government—the White man. I hold it against the hon members of the PFP for not uttering a word of censure about that atrocious conduct. It is a disgrace that the hon members who conducted an inquiry remained silent. [Interjections.] I say the Government has made sacrifices and is still doing so and not one of them has been of any avail.
I wish to read a last passage from Guy van Eeden’s book.
It is not a forgery, is it?
No, it is not. Guy van Eeden says there are only two ways which can be followed in Africa—either destruction of the Whites or partition. I say to those hon members they have chosen the way of destruction and we of the CP choose the way of partition which holds a future for everyone, also for those of colour in South Africa. [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, I wish to return to what the hon member for Lichtenburg said. I wish to say to him that arising from the performance of the hon member for Sunnyside during the Part Appropriation it is very clear that he is not the CP’s weakest speaker on financial matters. [Interjections.]
Before I deal with what the hon member for Lichtenburg said, I offer my heartiest congratulations to the hon members of the Ministers’ Council and in particular the hon the Minister of the Budget of the House of Assembly on this Budget which has been introduced. The milestone attained by this sets the seal on the sustained determination of the Government to establish own affairs in this dispensation. I want to say right at the start that we on this side of the House are proud of what has already been accomplished in establishing own affairs.
Self-determination on own affairs, a voice in what concerns our own, remains a top priority to this side of the House and the NP. We intend extending this segment of our constitutional dispensation to greater and more admirable heights in future.
It is a fact that own affairs are still an exploratory field; at present they are still in their infancy. All departments of the economy of own affairs have not yet come into their own. The hon member for Lichtenburg used this fact in an attempt to bolster his argument that own affairs have no right of existence. Own affairs are still in their infancy and naturally have to grow. If we lack the will, however, to cause White own affairs to grow and prosper, we shall be faced with the problem predicted by the hon member for Lichtenburg.
In spite of the diparagement and wilful belittlement and deliberate efforts of both the PFP and the CP to destroy White own affairs, the NP will continue to further, establish and deal with own affairs of the Whites in South Africa so that they may develop into something admirable within a framework of which we may all be proud.
What did we once again get today from the side of the opposition parties? I first wish to deal with the amendment proposed by the hon member for Sunnyside during the discussion of the Part Appropriation Bill of the Administration: House of Assembly. We should examine this with a view to its origin. The CP should never again attempt to adopt the holier-than-thou attitude that they are the so-called protectors of the White in South Africa. The Budget before us today and the elements of the Whites’ interests entrenched in it are disparaged by the CP. They are deliberately creating the impression that the Budget is inferior.
The hon member for Sunnyside proposed the following amendment:
Do we realize the complications of what the hon member for Sunnyside is proposing here? He is the CP’s chief spokesman on Finance—I do not know whether that is still the case at present—and it must be accepted that he propounds the official policy of his party. We would therefore have to do here with a tax structure comprising three or four systems. Personal tax with respect to Whites, Coloureds, Indians and Blacks would, for example, have to be identified separately. Company tax would also have to be identified with regard to the various population groups. Can the CP tell us how we shall be able to establish which are White or Coloured shareholders of a company to enable us to determine the pro rata tax for each population group? This naturally also applies to tax on mines and all the other types which the hon member for Sunnyside wants to crystallize into the facets of the various national economies. As regards customs, these different segments will consequently have to be included in the Customs Union Agreement.
Let us examine sales tax. If we were required to identify sales tax and establish how much was paid respectively by the Whites, Coloureds, Indians and the Black people, I can visualize a cash register with quite a number of additional keys. When a White pays for his purchases, a White key is depressed; a Brown key for the Brown people and a Black key for the Black people and so on. At the end of the day a calculation will have to be made and we shall have to say: “Whites purchased to this amount.” Consequently we are dealing here with an absolute impossibility which they wish to incorporate into the system which they propose as an amendment to what the Government has offered, in other words they come with a pronouncement of policy and say that differentiation should take place in this way as regards tax. This is utterly ridiculous and I think that as far as that is concerned we should leave them at that.
The CP should cease underestimating the intelligence of the White in South Africa because no sober, thinking White in this country would associate himself with folly such as I have just spelt out. It is an insult to the White voter to involve him in such a proposition. I wish to refer briefly to something else which drew my attention on two occasions when I visited Pretoria. On the first occasion there was a placard on display in the streets of which I cannot recall the exact wording but it ran along these lines: “Protes”, “Jaap Marais” and “brandstof’ or “petrol”. On the second occasion there was another placard on view in the streets of Pretoria bearing the words “Protes, A P Treurnicht, Stadsaal, Pretoria”. The question that enters my mind and truly concerns me is: What are we doing in South Africa? Where are we bound as Whites? I wish to ask specifically where the HNP and CP wish to direct the Whites of South Africa.
You are an old “hensopper” (quitter).
Do they want to turn us as Whites into a group of Jeremiahs perpetually voicing complaints and protesting? Protest contains the germ of resistance.
The hon member for Kuruman must withdraw the word “hensopper”.
I withdraw it, Sir.
Resistance can lead to rashness, processions, demonstrations and ultimately to revolt.
The next few days will see intense debating here on demonstrations, processions, resistance and protests. As Whites we are surely in a position to set a sound example in this respect. Why should the CP, the HNP, the “Volkswag” and the “Kappiekomman do”, with their distorted letters and pamphlets which they are continually sending to us as their representatives, attempt to involve the White in this small group of protesters in South Africa? They remind me of a character appearing weekly in that excellent television programme “Koöperasiestories”. They have clearly identified themselves in South African politics as the Genisses. They sit on the verandah of our White national economy totally and absolutely dispirited and see only the dark side of life. I wish to contend today that the CP is an excellent example of the Genisses in SA politics. That is not the image we should project of the White in South Africa. We in the NP are not depressed and do not feel pessimistic.
As the leaders in our State economy and as those who should set an example, we should look the world in the face and extricate ourselves from the spinelessness and pessimism which is forming a pattern in our daily lives. Let us accept the challenges of the times as they are presented to us today and by so doing move forward to achieve success. We support this Bill most wholeheartedly.
Mr Speaker, I do not propose to get involved in the usual argument between the NP and the hon members of the CP. I shall just carry on with the debate.
I would first like to congratulate the hon the Minister on his first Budget presentation. He laboured rather mightily, but it is rather a “mousie” of a Budget that he has produced. Nonetheless, that is the way it goes. Of course, this Budget is virtually a kind of prelude to what the budget will be when they have destroyed the provincial councils and taken over their functions. That will make it somewhat of a larger budget, of course. This makes it very difficult to assess this Budget properly, because, ultimately this Ministry and these other Ministers will be handling the affairs of the various Votes and thus a great deal more responsibility than that which they have now. Again it is quite impossible to compare this with any previous budget, or even with the other Budgets of the other own affairs in the other Houses. In so far as education, for example, is concerned, there is no White education in this Budget at all, except for tertiary education and other odd little bits and pieces. Primary and secondary education is not in the Budget at all, and that will amount to another somewhere between R1,5 billion and R2 billion that should be added to this Budget if one is to try to compare it with the other estimates. For that reason it is very difficult to equate this Budget with anything that we have previously had in this House.
At this stage this takes me to the question of the future of the provincial councils. I realize that this hon Minister does not have the responsibility for destroying the provincial councils; there is another Minister whose function it is to murder those very useful institutions that have served this country well since 1910. However, I do believe that it is necessary for us to know what the position is. We have been left dangling on a piece of string in this regard for a very long time. It is essential that, in the very near future, we do know what is going to happen.
The hon the Minister made the point in his speech that the functions of provincial councils must be handed over to the department quickly. As we all know, promises were made that the provincial councils would continue operating until they had finished their current term of office, which I believe to be in April next year. However, if that is to be the case, surely we should know by now what is going to happen. In my opinion it is very remiss to expect us in this House to operate without knowing what is going on, and it is almost impossible for the provincial councils as such to retain any credibility without knowing when and where and why their future is going to be resolved.
This brings me to another point, again related to this department and its future, in relation to provincial councils. When we came into this constitutional issue, we knew that there would be general affairs and own affairs. We also knew that there were going to be some very great problems in establishing what constituted own affairs and how they would work. As an example, I would like to raise an issue that was brought up by an excolleague of mine in the Natal Provincial Council—a member of Exco—in relation to hospitals. He was most perturbed over the issue of one of the hospitals being taken from the control of the provincial council and placed under the Minister of Health Services and Welfare in the House of Delegates. It is not merely a case of handing over a hospital; that would be relatively easy, but there are a number of other aspects that are very important in relation to that. There is the question of the transferability of patients from the superspeciality hospital to the own affairs hospital, and vice versa.
As far as the stores of hospitals are concerned, one has, in most provinces, major central stores which deal with all hospitals, irrespective of whether they are for Whites, Blacks, Coloureds or Indians. In the case of medicines and dispensaries a similar system applies. Major dispensaries and the packaging of certain types of medicines are administered in this way. All of these matters will have to be resolved, I believe, before these functions are removed from the control of the people who are presently in control thereof. Otherwise one is going to have a chaotic situation, which will of course be detrimental to the people whom we in this Parliament and in the provincial councils are supposed to serve. I do believe therefore that this is something that should be very, very seriously considered from this very minute.
I should like to refer now to a point in respect of this particular Budget. An amount of R16,5 million in this Budget is in respect of subsidies for children’s homes. This is of course not a new heading that is being made available. Childrens homes have been going and subsidized for a long time now. I should however like to raise this point. The hon the Minister indicated in his Second Reading speech that he would like to find ways and means of raising some money. I happen to have a couple of these children’s homes in my constituency, and I have been to visit them on a number of occasions. I have also spoken with a number of those children. A considerable percentage of those children have parents. They are put in those homes because their parents have neglected them. I believe that one of the ways in which one can raise money is by getting hold of those delinquent parents and by having court orders served on them in order to make them pay for their children’s keep in those children’s homes. If the parents are personally not prepared to look after their children—which many of them are not—one should get hold of them and make them pay. When people who are married become divorced, the parent who is at fault has to pay maintenance for the children. In the same way, I believe, a similar provision should apply here. If anything at all is being done in this regard I certainly believe it is very little indeed.
In respect of the frail aged there is a small amount on the estimates, an amount of about R19 000. I am not quite sure what that amount is in aid of. I would appreciate it if the hon the Minister could tell me what that amount is for when he replies to the debate. I really cannot think what such a small amount really could be for.
Under what heading is that?
I am not quite sure of the heading. It is in respect of the aged in hospitals, anyway. I cannot remember under what heading it is actually to be found. It does seem to me, however, that that is a very small amount, which does not seem to relate to anything else with which I am familiar.
In connection with agriculture it seems there are new functions to be performed by that particular department. There is an amount of R25 million on the estimates for agricultural extensions, training and information services. This is of course money extremely well spent. It is money spent in respect of services which we in South Africa really do need because food is of absolutely vital importance. As far as we are concerned the question is whether this is in fact enough, particularly when one gives consideration to the fact that we will have to cultivate more land if we are going to be able to accommodate the needs of our evergrowing population.
That brings me then to the subject of education. There are very substantial amounts on the estimates relating to education. Primarily, of course, these amounts relate to universities and technikons. University education is obviously of vital importance to our White community, and I do not believe that anybody can gainsay that. I do wonder, however, whether the ratio we have in respect of university funds versus technikon funds—something of the order of 4:1—is really justified in terms of the circumstances in South Africa.
You know, Sir, we in South Africa have a habit of what some of us rather irreverently call paper-chasing, particularly when it comes to university degrees. In South Africa we have a vast number of people who go to university purely for the social cachet involved. It is not necessary for their particular occupation. Many of the Arts degrees do not serve a specific need although they are suitable for many jobs and form a very fine basis on which to enjoy life and to lead a fuller life. I wonder whether in our circumstances in this country we should not upgrade the technikons substantially, even if it be at the expense of university degrees. There are technikons in my constituency and I find that they are estimable institutes. They do a magnificent job and the dropout rate is nowhere near as high as at the universities. I believe this is something to be borne in mind.
We have a situation in South Africa where there are often massive differences in the cost of the same sort of courses at different institutions. I believe this is something which must be investigated. When the cost of a course at one university is too high compared with that at another university for the same course, it should be clarified why the cost is so high. There are discrepancies, and quite recently I read an article written by a certain professor in which he mentioned that the cost of a particular degree at one university was four or five times as much as at another university. There must presumably be some reason for this and I cannot help but feel it is important that we find a solution to this particular situation.
While I am about it, there is one other thing I should like to mention in respect of education and that concerns the question of teachers. We happen to have a massive surplus of White teachers in South Africa. Some of these teachers who are highly trained, highly qualified and highly experienced are out of work and cannot find jobs. Yet we find in the other communities that they do not have enough teachers. There is a distinct shortage of skilled, experienced teachers in the Indian, Coloured and Black communities. However, in the White community there are people who have two or more degrees, who are young and unmarried, and who do not have teaching posts. If the hon the Minister wants a list of such people, I can provide him with the names of quite a number of them in Natal. This is the situation that is prevailing in South Africa today. There are people who have teaching diplomas in addition to their degrees who still cannot find jobs. I can mention the example of the wife of a previous member of Parliament, who is a young woman without encumbrances and yet she cannot find a teaching job even though she has had about ten years’ teaching experience. This is a terrible indictment of our system in South Africa where in one community we have a surplus of teachers while there is a desperate shortage of teachers in the other communities. I believe the hon the Ministers concerned must get together to resolve this problem because this is an absolutely shocking waste of teaching potential. I do not believe that we in South Africa can afford this sort of waste.
In respect of local government I have only a few words to say, particularly with regard to housing. I notice that there is a substantial amount for housing on the estimates. I have previously worked with the hon the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works and I think he and I have the same idea, namely that basically the real problem is to provide cheap, suitable, serviced land. I believe this must be the function because when the land is available, I am certain that one will find the entrepreneurs who will take up this land and build the required houses. Our function in the House of Assembly is to look after the interests of the White community. We really do have a problem in this regard because houses and flats have not been built in any quantity for the White community for a long time now. The reason therefor, of course, can largely be attributed to very high prices, but certainly, in the case of flats and apartments, it can be attributed to the rent control situation. Obviously one cannot get rid of the situation of rent control overnight but there have already been select committees and the like in respect of rent control. I really believe that we should reach some finality on this in appropriate legislation.
Of course there will always be people who require protection insofar as rents are concerned, but I believe if this is to be the case, and it is, then they should be given that protection from the community as a whole. That protection should not merely amount to a few independent property owners being penalized because they happen to own property. This has been one of the reasons why there is something of a shortage today.
Insofar as local government itself is concerned, many of these local authorities were very adamant that they wanted to get away from provincial control. This I perceive, but I want to say that those who are screaming today that the provincial councils have to go, will soon be screaming in anguish when they are under the control of the central Government because the situation there will not be the same. In the provinces they have had local contact. No matter how interested, how competent, how benevolent even the hon the Minister will be, he will not be able to be as closely associated with local government as are the MECs who in the present system are handling the situation. I believe that the hon the Minister is going to have a few headaches in trying to solve the situation of local government.
I spent seven years running local government purely in the province of Natal. At that time there were only about 105 local authorities of one sort or another. I think the hon the Minister is going to have anything from 550 to about 800 various local authorities at some stage in the future. I can assure him that he will have a few headaches.
This Budget, as I say, is a very difficult one to criticize because normally when one is critical of a budget there are two aspects. The one is the sins of commission and the other one is the sins of omission; in other words, on what is one spending the money and how one is taxing the people. In this Budget it is a question of more or less carrying on as usual and gradually picking up the strings of previous budgets and previous activities from Ministries and awaiting those of the central Government and the provincial councils.
Insofar as the estimates are concerned, of course, as has already been clearly indicated by hon members of the other opposition parties, the amount of money generated directly by this particular administration so far is very small. It all comes from the State Revenue Fund. It is therefore going to be very difficult to criticize the taxation.
What did you do in the province?
We know that the hon the Minister will eventually have to find his own systems of fund-raising for the Administration. I suppose he will also get much of the money which now goes to the provinces.
Let us hope for one thing in particular and that is that in so far as White education is concerned that pernicious proposal put forward by the hon the Minister of Education and Culture will not be put into effect. He proposed that the parents of schoolgoing children should be penalized. If it is necessary for the Whites to obtain additional funds for schoolgoing children, then I firmly believe that as all people benefit from children because they are an asset of the country as a whole, all Whites must pay and not only the parents of the schoolgoing children.
Mr Speaker, as we know the hon member for Umbilo, he once again made what I would call a constructive speech in that he gave the hon the Minister a number of ideas about the problems of own affairs. I wish to compliment him on that. He also raised the matter of the future of the provincial councils. As he knows, his Executive Committee in Natal is in constant consultation with the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. I am sure they have put to the hon the Minister some of their concerns in this regard. I agree with the hon member that this problem of exactly when the provincial powers will be handed over to the own affairs section of our Government is an important factor, and I sincerely hope it will be given due consideration.
In the hon member’s speech there was a thread of what I call “discipline” running through it. He spoke about the parents of delinquents and that they possibly have to pay to have their children cared for in homes. I like the way that hon member thinks, because this Budget concerns the own affairs of the White population group.
At this particular time in our history, with our economy being the way it is and our moving into constitutional changes, it is extremely important that we as Whites should look at our heritage and our values. We should look at the things our forefathers felt and which they used to raise our people to their present level. We should look at our value system, the belief in the work ethic, the belief in the self reliance of the individual, and not rely on the fact, as many people believe today, that the State should look after the individual.
I welcome the Budget that was presented by the hon the Minister of Finance, because it is tough in that it limits spending. It is an austerity measure and in its way it also increases taxation. I believe this is the medicine South Africa needs today. For months and months we heard people in the private sector calling upon the Government to tighten up on its own spending. When one examines the entire Budget, one finds there has been a cut in real terms in Government spending. This is to be welcomed.
It is unfortunate that this should have come at a time when South Africa is facing truly hard times. We have a high rate of inflation, we are in the midst of a recession, and for a number of years we have not had any real growth in South Africa. It is therefore a pity that the measures have come at such a time.
We must not forget what the public was calling for six months or a year ago, or even before that. It was a call for discipline. We heard over and over again that the Government must discipline itself financially. The hon member for Yeoville said—and I quote him: “There have been too many speeches about discipline.” He asked the hon Minister whether he would be able to keep within his Estimates. This is a very valid question, but I ask the hon member for Yeoville whether he is prepared to back the need for discipline in South Africa, not only in the private sector, but also in the public sector.
In the financial situation of today it is absolutely essential that all of us should discipline ourselves. It is therefore with a great degree of concern that I have read of the complaints made by certain members of the Public Service and others in regard to the economy measures that are being taken by the Government. We hear of the complaints from the Public Service; we hear of the big meeting of the workers of the SATS that will be held shortly; we hear that the teachers are upset. I want to warn the people of South Africa that there are many politicians today … [Interjections.] Yes, those hon members may groan, but this applies to them too. There are many politicians in South Africa today who are exploiting the feelings of our people on this matter of discipline. The hon member for Yeoville calls upon the Government to discipline itself, but, when it does so, those hon members of the PFP try to make political capital out of it. [Interjections.] This is not in the interests of South Africa.
I would like to add that the CP is just as bad. On the one hand they say the Government should curb expenditure, but on the other hand they are complaining and getting their people to complain about these things. [Interjections.]
The question South Africa has to ask itself is whether the hon the Minister has done the right thing for South Africa.
The hon member for Bezuidenhout says: “No”. He is one of the businessmen of South Africa; he is a fat cat. The PFP members of Parliament play the game both ways. He is a wealthy businessman. Nevertheless, a heading in the Sunday Times reads: “Business yes to Barend’s Budget”.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order, is the hon member for Amanzimtoti permitted to refer to the hon member for Bezuidenhout as a “fat cat”?
It has not been ruled to be an unparliamentary expression. It is in order and the hon member may continue.
The following is stated in a survey:
That is the message that should be going out to the people because this is necessary. We must remember that South Africa is not acting in isolation. What we are experiencing today is what Western Europe and North America went through a year or two ago. The Western World has experienced inflation resulting from the spending pattern of its people over the past decade or two.
Let us look at world experience, and this is the message I want to put across to the Public Service and SATS staff. I want to quote from Time magazine of 30 April 1984 in regard to what is said about Portugal. I want those hon members to listen for a moment to how other countries have had to bite the bullet in order to overcome inflation. Time says the following about the situation in Portugal:
That is what Portugal was going through 18 months ago.
Let us take Holland. The Prime Minister of Holland, Mr Lubbers, according to Time magazine of 23 January 1984, reacted as follows to the economic problems of his country:
Let us look at France where Mitterand was faced in Nancy with 10 000 marchers taking to the streets, in Longwy 15 000, and in Metz 20 000. These are the kind of demonstrations France had to endure. In Time of 16 April 1984 Mitterand is reported as saying the following:
Let us take the great United States, and again I quote from Time of 2 January 1984. Here is how labour in the United States has had to bite the bullet:
With regard to airlines, they say the following about Continental Airlines:
The point I am making is that it is time for our Press and our politicians to tell the people of South Africa the truth about our economic circumstances. I back the hon the Minister of Finance because he has grasped the nettle and he is trying to put South Africa right. What we need today are South Africans, politicians who are prepared to tell our people these things. I make an appeal to our teaching communities because they are protesting and I believe that they have a responsibility to the future. For too long—and I am speaking as a White parent—in recent years have White parents not insisted on their children being taught the basic values which built the Whites to what they are today. Today many of our people believe that the State owes them a living. They believe in the “gimme” philosophy of the PFP. I make an appeal to the teachers who have a great responsibility in South Africa. If they are squealing about their salaries, they must remember that the taxpayer pays those salaries; the parents of the children they are teaching are paying them. If we want a great future in South Africa, then our future generations must realize that we have to get back to the work ethic, productivity and self-reliance and forget about the Government paying our way for us and solving our problems.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Amanzimtoti will forgive me if I do not reply directly to his speech. I wish to devote my speech this afternoon to the tragic events at Uitenhage last week and to my party’s response to these events.
However, before doing so I wish to record this party’s strongest condemnation of the brutal and repugnant killing of councillor Ki nikini of Kwanobuhle and his son over the weekend. It is our wish that the perpetrators of this appalling act be brought to justice as soon as possible. Furthermore I also wish to condemn, in the strongest terms, the instigators of violence in these townships.
Last Thursday this House was shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic loss of life on the Maduna Road near Uitenhage. Six members of this party, including our spokesman on law and order and the three MPs representing constituencies in that area, left immediately for the Eastern Cape. We were briefed by our party to investigate the incident at first hand in order that we might be able to report back to both our caucus and to Parliament.
On arriving at Port Elizabeth, we made contact with Divisional Headquarters at Port Elizabeth and spoke with Brig Swart. We informed him of our presence and requested permission to interview the Police in order to get their side of the story. We were told that no purpose would be achieved by such a meeting since the Police had already issued a statement. Later when we met with Gen Genis and Brig Swart we repeated our appeal, stressing that we wanted to get both sides of the story in order to present a balanced report. Neither Gen Genis nor Brig Swart was prepared to give us any information at all. They stated that they were under orders not to do so.
What concerned us most was how, at 11 o’clock on a Thursday morning a large crowd of people could have been caught up in a situation which led to confrontation with the Police and which caused the death of at least 19 people and the wounding of scores of others. The official statement was that a hostile crowd of between 3 000 and 4 000 people, armed with primitive weapons, had been marching towards Uitenhage. The inference was clear—Uitenhage was under threat. The official report then claims that a small detachment of 19 policemen in one vehicle attempted to stop the crowd. They had been surrounded and, on being attacked, were left with no option but to shoot in self-defence. If this were true, then we needed to find out, as a matter of great urgency, what had prompted such a large and hostile crowd to march on a White town, armed with primitive weapons. We also need to find out why such a small detachment of police had been sent out to counter this threat. Then, too, we needed to find out why the police had not first attempted to disperse the crowd by means of teargas or by other less lethal means than by the use of steel bullets and heavy shot.
As a result of our on-site investigations and as a result of the willingness with which people came forward to give evidence to us, we were able to put together a report which differed in certain important respects from the official one. For example, we learnt that there was very real confusion about the funeral at Kwanobuhle. All those we spoke to claimed that they believed that the funeral there was still on. Others spoke of a memorial service which had been arranged. This was the reason given why they had congregated in Maduna Square in Langa. That square is the depot for vehicles which provide transport for the residents of Langa.
We then learnt that the reason why the crowd had started walking was that the police had prevented them from using the vehicles which had come to Maduna Square to transport them to the funeral at Kwanobuhle. It was these same police, in a Casspir, who had driven off ahead of the crowd once the people started walking, and it was these same police who had blocked Maduna Road at 15th Avenue. We also learnt of the presence of a second Casspir which followed the crowd behind the first Casspir. The official report made no mention of this second Casspir. The first Casspir, it would appear, even if it had neglected to call for reinforcements from Uitenhage when it saw a large and hostile crowd armed with weapons …
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Has the hon member taken cognizance of the regulations that have been made in terms of the Commissions Act? [Interjections.]
Yes. We have obtained a ruling from Mr Speaker.
Order! The hon the Minister may proceed.
Sir, I want to ask you whether you will allow me to address you in order to get an official ruling on this point.
What is your point?
You are wasting time.
I shall tell you what my point is. It would be all very well if the hon member were quoting the statement issued by the hon the Minister or by anyone else immediately after the events. However, the hon member is quite clearly presenting his own findings to this House. [Interjections.]
I question whether the hon member is entitled, in terms of the regulations promulgated after the Commission had been announced, to present his own findings to this House. If I may, Sir, I should like to address you on the letter of this.
The hon the Minister may proceed.
Mr Chairman, the Commissions Act… [Interjections.]
Order! The hon the Minister is raising a point of order.
He is wasting time. He is trying to suppress …
Sir, I just want to make it quite clear that it is not my intention to inhibit discussions in any way or to suppress anything. However, those who keep harping on the rule of law must also prove that they respect the spirit of the rule of law, and that is not to anticipate findings. A judicial commission has been appointed, and judging by the tone of the hon member’s speech, in which he refers to certain situations, it is very clearly aimed at discussing other facts or other situations. I ask, therefore, whether the hon member is aware of the fact that he is obviously anticipating the findings of the commission in some way.
What is your point of order?
My point of order is this: I am asking whether the hon member is acting in terms of the regulations proclaimed. [Interjections.] I have asked whether I may address the Chair on a point of order and the Chairman has granted me permission to address the Chair on that point of order. That is what I am doing. [Interjections.]
Order! I request the hon members of the opposition parties who keep interjecting to refrain from making any further interjections until the hon the Minister has completed his argument.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister a question?
The hon the Minister is speaking on a point of order.
May I ask the hon the Minister a question, Mr Chairman? [Interjections.]
Order! Is the hon the Minister prepared to take a question at this stage?
No, Mr Chairman.
(At this stage Mr Speaker took the Chair.)
Mr Speaker, before you took the Chair, I raised a point of order while the hon member for Albany was addressing this House. He referred to an official statement and then proceeded to augment it with further material. He therefore sketched different factual situations, in connection with which he used words such as “negligently”. He discussed the position of police vehicles. I then asked, on a point of order, whether the hon member had taken cognizance of the regulations which had been promulgated in terms of the Commissions Act. I asked the Chair, on a point of order, whether the hon member was not contravening these regulations.
Furthermore, I want to argue, in terms of an earlier ruling by Mr Speaker, that we are moving here on the cutting edge of the sub judice rule. I made the point that I was not here to inhibit discussion or to suppress anything. However, I submit that it would be extremely unreasonable if members who wished to maintain the rule of law every day did not uphold it on this occasion. I therefore requested permission to address the Chair on this matter. With your permission, Mr Speaker, I shall now proceed.
What does the hon the Minister allege is sub judice?
Mr Speaker, I submit, firstly, that the Commissions Act clearly provides for the making of regulations, as follows:
These were indeed promulgated on Friday night. The provision goes on to say:
Mr Speaker, the question is how Mr Speaker has interpreted this point in the past. May I point out to you that the Inquests Act contains exactly the same provision. Any person who prejudices, influences or anticipates any finding or decision by the magistrate is guilty of an offence—exactly the same wording. Now the question arises how the Chair has dealt with that situation in the past. In 1982 we had a similar situation arising from the death of Dr Neil Aggett. [Interjections.] The Chair ruled on that occasion that in the light of the inquest, the matter was sub judice.
That was not the position, you silly chap!
What date was that?
16 February 1982.
There are no “silly chaps” in this House.
You are a silly old man!
It is to be found in Hansard, Vol 99, col 1029.
Order! An hon member made the remark: “You silly chap.” This House can well do without remarks of that nature. I want to impress upon hon members that I do not condone personal remarks. Let us conduct a debate for, after all, that is what we are here for. It is not fitting for any hon member to make personal remarks.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order: That interjection was made in response to the hon Chief Whip of Parliament who called the hon member for Houghton a silly old lady. [Interjections.]
Order! What I have just said applies to every hon member in the House.
Mr Speaker, it is my fault. I started by calling the hon the Minister a silly chap.
I welcome the admission of the hon member for Houghton. The hon the Minister may continue.
During a discussion of the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Security Legislation on 16 February 1982, the hon member for Houghton entered the debate and referred to the tragic incident of Neil Aggett. In response, and apparently after a previous ruling, Mr Speaker said (Hansard, Vol 99, col 1029):
*That ruling was based on the wording of the Inquests Act, and exactly the same wording is used in the Commissions Act, which was amplified in 1967. One asks oneself why Mr Speaker gave such a ruling. In Hansard of 1 February 1962 (vol 99), column 15, it is clear why Mr Speaker referred as follows to a ruling given by a previous Speaker:
That is the key. The ruling goes on to say:
Now the question arises whether the court is involved in the case of an inquest. The court is not involved in such a case, and in spite of that, Mr Speaker gave this ruling at the time. I also wish to point out that in terms of the Commissions Act, no judgment is passed on any person’s guilt or innocence. I repeat that no judgment is passed on his guilt or innocence. The only question which is asked is what the cause of death is. It is also necessary to ascertain whether or not it was caused by the negligence of any other person. May I remind hon members of the fact that these steps are taken after the Attorney-General has decided not to prosecute.
I respectfully suggest, therefore, that we have a case here which is parallel to the case covered by the Inquests Act, with regard to which you have ruled, Mr Speaker, that the possibility does exist that a finding may be influenced. This is the essence of the matter. After all, it is logical that one cannot hide behind words in this case. I see in the newspapers that the hon members are going to hand over the affidavits to the commission and they can tell us whether or not this is correct. However, what purpose would it serve if they very correctly and obligingly handed over those affidavits to the commission, as befits good citizens, and then discussed that very same set of facts and circumstances in this House even before the commission had actually commenced its activities? I submit that this is an absolute negation of that commission’s status.
Mr Speaker, as far as the point of order is concerned, I therefore ask whether this question does not deserve the same reply as the one given by Mr Speaker in the past with regard to inquests, as in the Aggett case.
Mr Speaker, is it necessary for me to address you at all?
I am prepared to give a ruling immediately.
*I want to point out to the hon the Minister of Justice that we are dealing here with a commission which has been appointed to investigate this matter. The series of rulings given in this House so far has been limited to the judgment of a court of law, and an inquest was subsequently added to this. I find—and this is my ruling—that the appointment of a judicial commission—as in this instance—cannot be dealt with on the same basis as an inquest. There have been no cases whatsoever in which a judicial commission has in any way enjoyed the same protection as an inquest and a case in a court of law.
I want to point out to hon members that no restriction has ever been imposed on any debate on similar occasions in the past. We have indeed conducted debates in the past. I also wish to point out to hon members that the Ingwawuma matter was fully debated in this House. In fact, the State President, the then Prime Minister, used the following words with regard to that matter: “I must speak with great responsibility today, because an inquiry is in progress.” However, this did not prevent him from participating in the debate.
For this reason, my ruling is that I cannot see any objection to our conducting a debate on this matter. If I were to find—and I want to make this quite clear to hon members—that an hon member is guilty of prejudicing, influencing or anticipating the findings of the commission, I shall call him to order and instruct him to debate the matter in a proper manner. That is as far as I shall go with regard to this matter.
I also want to point out to hon members that our directions are very clear on this point:
We could not find a clearer pronouncement than that. Consequently I cannot find any fault with the making of regulations prohibiting certain actions when a judicial commission is appointed, but I want to point out once again that this does not mean that no debate is allowed. For my part, therefore, I am going to allow the debate in this case, and I shall not rule that we are not allowed to conduct a debate because the matter is sub judice.
Since I may be questioned about this matter again in future, may I refer hon members to the well-known case of The State v Sparks N O and Others, which was decided by a full Bench consisting of Mr Justice Theron, Mr Justice Human and Mr Justice Franklin in the Transvaal Supreme Court, and in which the word “anticipate”, with which we are dealing here today, was closely scrutinized. The judges in that case dealt with the matter in full—as I have said, it was a judgment by a full Bench. I just want to read to hon members the following statement by the judge:
That was the advocate appearing for one of the parties:
This is very clearly stated; in other words, it would refer to matters being anticipated by us. He went on to say:
I cannot state the position more clearly. As far as I am concerned, it is quite clear that we are dealing here with a matter which we may in fact debate, but within certain limits. My approach will be that if I find that the debate is not being kept within certain limits and that some of these words are applicable to it, I shall request an hon member to weigh his or her words. That is my ruling. The hon member for Albany may proceed.
Mr Speaker, when the point of order was taken against me, I was busy trying to determine why the hon the Minister, in his official report, had not made mention of the second Casspir, which was within visual contact of the first. What we were not able to learn with any degree of certainty was what happened after that. Evidence has been given that the Police fired without provocation from both Casspirs and that firing continued after the crowd had dispersed. We were not able to determine the veracity of this allegation, and obviously it will be up to the judicial inquiry to establish the veracity or otherwise of these claims. What we were able to determine was that not teargas, rubber bullets or birdshot were used before the Police resorted to the use of steel bullets and heavy shot. Obviously, we would like to know why this was so.
A most significant finding was that this whole tragic occurrence with its devastating consequences for South Africa need not have occurred at all. We would ask the hon the Minister why the magistrate interfered with the original date of the funeral. A far bigger funeral, held under far greater emotional stress, was conducted relatively peacefully yesterday with the minimum of Police present and the minimum of violence. We ask why it was necessary for the Police to stop the people from boarding vehicles in Maduna Square. If the funeral had been cancelled and people were going to memorial services, or even if they had been going on a wild goose chase, then, so what? Why were the people forced to walk?
Finally, the most crucial question of all is: Why did the Police not disperse the crowd with teargas or with rubber bullets and birdshot? The hon the Minister has told us that the Police in that enormously heavily armoured military vehicle which has been designed to withstand landmine blasts were so threatened by sticks and stones and half bricks that they had no option but to fire. I would like to suggest a very easy option that they could have followed which would have saved 19 lives and scores of injuries and would have saved the opprobrium of the world being heaped upon this country with all its consequences. The officer in charge could simply have told the driver of the vehicle to engage gears and drive off down the road. He could then have summoned the second Casspir which was a few hundred yards away or he could even have summoned further reinforcements from town. If he had no teargas with him this could have been to hand within a few minutes. By trying to defend the killing of people in Maduna Road I believe that that hon the Minister is trying to defend the indefensible. As long as he or this Government attempts to do this, whether it be in Uitenhage or anywhere else in this country, we have no hope of being led out of the long dark night of violence into which we have entered.
Mr Speaker, I want to ask the hon member for Albany and, indeed, all the hon members of the PFP, if they have considered whether the almost inflammatory speeches they so often make here—particularly those of the hon member for Houghton—may not be a factor contributing to the unrest among the Black people in our country.
You are talking rubbish! [Interjections.]
The PFP tends to promise the Black people of South Africa the moon, and to take the part of those who set unrealistic demands. Surely it is true, Sir, that the Black people must eventually gain the impression that they are being unjustly treated. I am a member of the Commission for Co-operation and Development, and we conduct many discussions with Black leaders in this country. In general those leaders are very sober, very realistic and entirely moderate. They are opposed to violence and bloodshed. They state bluntly that they prefer the conference table to violence. As one of them quite rightly put it: “We must speak; then we shall not fight.”
I am convinced that those Black leaders do not approve of the demonstrations and processions which are at present giving rise to bloodshed in this country. Behind all these demonstrations, however, is concealed an irresponsible and radical element which seeks the overthrow of orderly government in South Africa. I sincerely hope that the investigation that is taking place now will clearly reveal the activities of this element. In the meantime, however, I wish to ask hon members of the PFP not to act as champions of that irresponsible element as was, unfortunately, the case this afternoon. [Interjections.]
If inconsistency were a disease, the CP would be a very sick party today. [Interjections.] Day after day hon members of the CP argue in favour of separation in this House. However, now that they have had the fullest opportunity to discuss, in the course of this debate, the administration of White own affairs only, they find fault with it.
Oh really, old Gertjie, you do not understand anything about these matters! [Interjections.]
What do they really want, then, Mr Speaker? How is one ever to understand the CP?
Mr Speaker, in this debate I wish to address myself specifically to the White population group in South Africa.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon member a question?
Mr Speaker, I am sorry but I do not reply to unintelligent questions! [Interjections.]
Will you go and reply to my question at Harrismith? [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, in this debate I wish to address myself specifically to the White population group in this country and I hope that the hon members of the CP will now afford me the opportunity to continue with my speech. Whether it has to do with education, agriculture or health, there is one strong trend that comes to the fore everywhere in South Africa, viz that so many of our people display a serious lack of economic and financial discipline.
Particularly the Government itself.
So many of our people set too high demands with regard to salaries, benefits and facilities. Very often they want to fly higher than our wings can carry us. That is the reason for the constant dissatisfaction with regard to salary adjustments, and the protests now that certain sacrifices have been asked of them. The State set us an example by curbing State expenditure to such an extent that the tree has been virtually picked bare. Now the ball is in the hands of the private sector and in the hands of the ordinary man. They must now follow the example set by the State, and display greater discipline with regard to the demands they set and the money they spend. If we are to pull through, needs and demands will have to be scaled down drastically. The Whites in this country, who regard themselves as a leadership group, will have to set the other groups an example in this regard. Our people must refrain from putting the blame for economic problems on the Government, as that hon member has done once again in this House. We are only too inclined to seek a scapegoat somewhere. If our people search their own hearts they will find that uncontrolled expenditure of money, the injudicious use of credit cards and in particular, purchases on credit have made no small contribution to the high rate of inflation. It is a major cause for concern that personal savings are still at such a low level, that consumer credit is increasing uncontrollably and that all our calls for higher productivity and our efforts to bring it about are achieving such meagre results. This is disturbing, to say the least, because productivity and hard work are the foundation of all progress and achievement. Productivity is a fundamental concept which apparently still does not mean much to many Whites—to those who must give the lead. I could quote many definitions of productivity here but in simple terms, it means that everyone has to produce more. I wish to say in this House today that those who are so quick to criticize members of Parliament would probably be amazed to hear that members often work more than 12 hours per day and that there are hon Ministers who work up to 18 hours per day. With all due respect I want to point out that for all practical purposes the State President is always at work, even when he is supposedly on holiday.
I now turn to the subject of unemployment. In this country unemployment has become a very grave problem. We are now encountering unemployment at high levels of professional skill and among people with academic qualifications. Young graduates in the human sciences are no longer finding it easy to obtain employment. I wish to ask whether certain professions do not have too high a status. I also wish to ask whether salaries and wages have not been artificially boosted to too high a level. In this way people have been priced out of the labour market. We are in favour of people in the labour market enjoying protection against exploitation. However I think we have reason to ask whether we can still afford the system of minimum wages. Fixed minimum wages have become one of the major causes of unemployment in our country. Factory bosses and other employers tell us that the spiralling wage determinations are making it impossible for them to retain all their workers because their wage account is becoming too high for them. This often leaves employers no alternative but to reduce their staff.
However, the high determinations of minimum wages also have other serious consequences. Smaller factories have had to close and others have moved to neighbouring states where labour is cheaper. What is more, the prices of our export goods have in many cases been increased to such an extent by the high wage structure that in the overseas markets that we export to, those products are priced out of the market.
In all seriousness, I want to ask why we do not allow people who are prepared to work for less money, to do so. It would then be possible for more people to continue to be employed. In these times of depression that we are experiencing at present I want to make a very earnest appeal to the White leadership group to come forward and, by setting an example, help to strengthen confidence and patriotism—that are at a low ebb—once more.
There are still too many prophets of doom among us who dampen optimism and break down confidence.
Whom are you quoting now?
I wish to say to the hon member for Rissik that I am quoting myself. I am not like him, who is constantly quoting from other sources.
I had thought that you were quoting from a very intelligent man. [Interjections.]
I sincerely thank the hon member for the acknowledgment that I quoted a very intelligent man when I quoted myself.
I am trying to say that these prophets of doom are playing right into the hands of the disinvestment campaign. This links up with the call to withdraw investments from South Africa on the grounds that things are not going well here. The objective of the disinvestors is to undermine our country through its economy. We are profoundly grateful for the common front against this campaign that is now beginning to build up among all communities in South Africa. This is nothing other than economic patriotism which is beginning to catch fire. We must create an opportunity out of this quandary and convert negative into positive. We must seek to transform this grave new onslaught on our country, the disinvestment campaign, into a positive campaign to persuade and convince investors not to withdraw but to make new and bigger investments here, because South Africa is still one of the world’s best fields of investment.
Mr Speaker, very strange events took place in the House of Assembly today. The hon member for Yeoville attacked the Government and proposed an amendment on the motion of the hon the Minister of the Budget. After the hon member for Yeoville the hon member for Water-kloof stood up and attacked the CP. The hon member for Albany had just delivered a speech in which he attacked the Government, when the hon member for Bloemfontein North stood up and attacked the CP. [Interjections.]
I read that the hon Leader of the Official Opposition said last night:
It seems to me that there is truth in the following report which I read in The Citizen. This newspaper writes that Prof Willem Kleynhans, the political scientist, says:
It is also interesting to look at what was written by Mr Leon Marshall because it has new meaning for me after what I saw happening in this House this afternoon. He says:
He says further:
He also says:
Now I understand why the hon members attack the CP when the PFP takes a standpoint against them. These words now have a new meaning for me.
The NP spoke about self-determination on own affairs from platform to platform, but I understand why they evade this issue because the hon member for Lichtenburg pointed out here today that only 4,83% of the total appropriations dealt with in this Parliament, is appropriated for White own affairs. The amount appropriated in this budget for the own affairs of the Whites is equal to the amount with which the province of the Transvaal is subsidized. [Interjections.] For that reason it is very clear to me that the NP, which proclaims outside that it stands for the self-determination of the Whites, runs away from the ridiculous budget which it introduces here. [Interjections.] That party has signed away the self-determination of the White man with the new constitutional dispensation.
The hon member for Bloemfontein North said that we must help to make South Africa a good investment area for the world again. I want to remind that hon member that Dr Verwoerd said at the time of the 1960 referendum that we must tell foreign investors that the Government of the Republic of South Africa will be a White government. [Interjections.] A strong and stable government must be in power.
What is the situation today? The Republic of South Africa no longer has a White government. It is a multiracial coalition cabinet that governs the country, and that hon member is co-responsible that this happened. [Interjections.] There is no stable government. That hon member and his party promised before the referendum that when the new constitution was put into practice, there would be peace and prosperity. There is no prosperity in this country, and even less peace.
The hon member for Bloemfontein North said that radical elements are behind the agitators responsible for the riots in South Africa. If there is one point on which I agree with the hon member, it is this point. I do not, however, want to run away from it by not attacking the PFP; I will do it on his behalf.
It is very unfortunate that a budget debate on own affairs has to be taken up by a matter such as this. It is, however, essential that it be discussed. Before I do so, I should first like to make a few general comments.
Before the referendum South Africa was told to vote “yes” for a new constitution that will bring peace. It was said that if the CP were to come to power and people were to vote “no” for the new constitutional dispensation there would be bloodshed in South Africa.
In Die Vaderland of 25 May 1984 a big headline read: “Treurnicht verantwoordelik vir onluste by skole.” In the report it is stated that the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning said here in the House of Assembly that the clumsy hands of Dr Treurnicht as Deputy Minister were responsible for the riots of 1976. I want to ask the hon the Minister today: Whose clumsy hands are responsible for the riots which we are experiencing in this country at present? Who is responsible for the biggest riots in this country over the last 30 years?
Your policy, I think! [Interjections.]
When the NP stood for separate development and when we had a strong White government which enforced law and order, we did not have this kind of problem. Today we have more conflict, clashes and bloodshed than ever before. The CP says power-sharing is the best instrument that leads to conflict and clashes. The old NP also said so. Over the last three years we have warned the NP that it is dangerous to follow the same road of power-sharing that the PFP follows, but the NP and that hon Minister did not want to listen to us.
They listened to Mr Chester Crocker, and now they sit with the result. Law and order is a general affair today. On all laws concerning law and order in South Africa consensus must be reached in a multiracial standing committee consisting of 11 Whites, seven Coloureds and five Indians.
When one looks at the statements of the PFP over the last few days about the riots in the Uitenhage area, one sees that the PFP has two representatives, one of whom is the hon member for Houghton, in this multiracial standing committee. Virtually all the political parties in the Coloured and Indian Houses together with the PFP demanded the head of the hon the Minister of Law and Order for the actions of the SA Police. I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether he has thought yet how a consensus decision on this matter will look when the standing committee under the chairmanship of the liberal hon member for Krugersdorp has finished with it. I am sorry for the hon the Minister because he is placed in this position by a system which he himself helped to establish and because the political parties of two of his colleagues in the Cabinet, and of which they are the leaders, are demanding his head for the actions of the SA Police. One of them said at Somerset East two years ago: “Ek kom saam met daardie man Mandela deur die stryd”.
I want to make a second general comment. It is very unfortunate that the hon the Minister is visiting the riot area at Uitenhage at such a late stage. I think he should have been there much earlier, not to mention the hon member for Uitenhage. I think the hon the Minister and the hon member for Uitenhage should have been there much earlier to acquaint themselves with the circumstances in which the SA Police has to maintain law and order in that area. The fact that they visited the area only this morning with big announcements in the newspapers, indicates to me very clearly that their visit to Uitenhage was not to acquaint themselves with the weal and woe of the South African Police, but to gather information to defend themselves against attacks of the official Opposition, against the attacks of an irresponsible, unforgivable and “verraderende” Opposition.
Order! The hon member used the word “verraderende”, but I assume that he means “treacherous”. He must withdraw it.
I withdraw it, Sir.
Self-defence is much more important to the hon the Minister than the protection and the support of the Black and White members of the SA Police Force. I hope the hon the Minister and the hon member for Uitenhage also went to look at the extremely precarious and unsatisfactory accommodation in which the police at Uitenhage must perform their task. I hope the hon the Minister is going to do something about it.
The SA Police are accused of cruelty, inhumane and unsympathetic actions and of cold-blooded murder. Die Burger quoted Dr Boesak this morning as follows: “Dit was summiere teregstelüngs en koelbloedige moord”. The newspaper writes further:
This is Mrs Molly Blackburn, the PFP MPC:
Let us look at some of … [Interjections.] This is now very interesting. Because I am attacking the PFP, the hon member for Swellendam attacks me. He does it because I attack his brothers in the PFP. While I refer to a PFP-MPC who cries on the shoulder of Dr Boesak who says that this is nothing but cold-blooded murder, the hon member for Swellendam attacks me.
Let us look at some of the cruelties that occurred in the Uitenhage area. On Friday, 15 March Detective-Constable Setoko … [Interjections.]
Order! I cannot permit of that the hon member for Kuruman having shout at the top of his voice to be able to deliver his speech. Hon members must allow him the opportunity now to continue his speech.
On Friday, 15 March Detective-Constable Setoko was assaulted by approximately 150 people in a Black township. His chest was chopped open. Plastic pipes were broken and the sharp points were pierced into his chest. About 40 bricks were thrown on to him. My information is that this Black policeman is in a very critical condition in hospital. He was also robbed of his weapon. I did not read anywhere that Mrs Blackburn, the hon member for Houghton or any other PFP supporter condemned this cruel deed. After this cruel incident the Police started an investigation into a charge of grievous assault and attempted murder on this constable and the disappearance of his weapon. On Sunday 17 March 1985 a young Black man was arrested because he was identified as one of the possible attackers of Detective-Constable Setoko. This Black man was suspected of being one of those responsible for the extremely cruel assault on this Detective-Constable. He was handcuffed to a table leg because of a lack of better facilities while two Black constables prepared to interrogate him. Both Black detectives are very loyal members of the SA Police. The house of one of them had already been burnt down at that stage. It is general knowledge that the names and addresses of all Black members of the SA Police had been listed with the intent of eliminating them. Since then virtually all Black members of the Police Force in Uitenhage have had their houses burnt down and their possessions burnt and damaged. These Black policemen suffer under the terror of people who have no respect for law and order.
While these two Black detectives prepared to interrogate the suspect, Mrs Molly Blackburn, the MPC of the PFP, appeared on the scene. I understand that Mrs Di Bishop, the MPC for Cape Town Gardens, was also present. It is very strange that two MPCs of the PFP arrive at the police station in Uitenhage on Sunday, exactly at a time when the interrogation of suspected participants of the murder of Detective Setoko was taking place. They entered the property of the SA Police uninvited and unlawfully. Here Mrs Blackburn kicked up a big fuss and as a result, so it seems to me, these two Black constables were suspended. The suspension of the two Black constables, apparently as a result of Mrs Blackburn’s action, can only have a demoralizing effect on Black policemen in particular and also on their White companions in general. [Interjections.] While these Black detectives are busy investigating the murder of one of their companions, while their houses are being burnt down and their homes and hearths exposed to danger, they are suspended as a result of the actions and the stories of an unresponsible PFP-MPC. [Interjections.] I say again that the impression received by the outside world is that action was taken against these Black policemen as a result of the action of Mrs Blackburn and the Black Sash.
And quite right too!
The hon member says: “Quite right too”. She says the two Black policemen were suspended as a result of these people’s actions. [Interjections.] I want to say today that these two Black constables and every officer in the SA Police who is worth his salt deserves the protection of the Minister of Law and Order. [Interjections.]
We appreciate it when Gen Coetzee says:
We have appreciation for this. If these Black policemen do not receive protection from the top, in other words from the Minister, how can anyone expect them to perform their duties under these very difficult circumstances? I want to tell the hon the Minister today that he must not allow that members of the SA Police are degraded in public. I want to ask the hon the Minister, also persuant to what the hon member for Houghton said, to reconsider very seriously the suspension of these people, so that the morale of the police working there under very difficult circumstances, can be strengthened. Their hands must be strengthened and they must be protected.
The CP has the highest appreciation for Black and Brown policemen. We have the highest appreciation for those Black policemen who try to maintain law and order in that area—Black policemen whose houses have been burnt down, whose possessions have been destroyed. The CP tells the hon the Minister that he may not let these people down! Their hands must be strengthened. [Interjections.] It is interesting that a chorus of the NP is blaming me today. The hon member for Wellington, in particular, takes exception to my asking the hon the Minister today to protect the members of the SA Police and to come up for them. [Interjections.]
I want now to politely and calmly …
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon member whether those Black policemen may participate in the Government of the country?
Sir, unfortunately my time has already virtually expired. [Interjections.]
I want now to ask the hon the Minister very politely: If he wants to maintain law and order in this country, he must show that he has confidence in the White policemen as well as in the Black policemen. We say again we sympathize with the Black policemen who suffered much damage in this process. We extend our thanks and appreciation to the Black and White policemen who guard day and night in Uitenhage and vicinity in order to maintain law and order in that area.
Mr Speaker, if I am to reply to the hon member for Kuruman at this point, that puts me in something of a dilemma. It is a dilemma because he rides roughshod over events which are, in fact, of a sensitive nature and concerning which an investigation is in progress at present. Certain events are being reconstructed. The hon member states that White self-determination must be upheld and that this Government must take vigorous action. With reference to what the hon member for Kuruman had to say, it occurred to me to wonder whether, according to the standpoint of the CP, sufficiently vigorous action was taken in the circumstances.
I was not speaking about vigorous action.
Of course the hon member was speaking about vigorous action. [Interjections.] Those hon members are going to come up against that in future. After all, the CP states that it stands for vigorous action and the maintenance of the White right to self-determination. The maintenance of the White right to self-determination by way of vigorous action will eventually expose that right of self-determination to circumstances that will have to be dealt with by force, will it not?
Yes, the hon member can say “shame!”, but the problem is that the people who make the biggest fuss about force are usually the first to run away when people are asked to help exercise that force. That, after all, is true. However I do not wish to discuss that aspect today.
Enough has been said about racist action in this country; it is not necessary for the hon members of the CP to have to do so here once again. Why should they raise here the fact that a White MPC put her head on Boesak’s shoulder? [Interjections.] Why do they do so? I ask them that. Why, in such circumstances, do they always single out the racist element, the fact that White and non-White were involved? [Interjections.] I do not approve or disapprove of it. I merely ask why they bring up this example. Do they do it in order to win voters, or to be able to say in public that they said it here? Therefore this is blatant racism which is part and parcel of their standpoint, is it not? There are various facets of this.
However I do not wish to say any more about this aspect of the speech by the hon member for Kuruman. I wish to reply to the speech made earlier today by the hon member for Lichtenburg. He made a few statements about agriculture. Once again they were woolly statements. Once again he simply fired off random shots in the hope that a few pigeons would fall, but once the feathers had floated down to earth, it was clear that he had not scored a single hit. I fail to understand how people can make statements about agriculture in this irresponsible fashion. There can only be one motive for doing so, viz to make political capital out of it.
Let us look at a few of his statements. The hon member for Lichtenburg said that the input cost of the 1985-86 maize harvest is R2 100 million. Where does that figure come from? What is the basis for that figure? [Interjections.] What surface is covered thereby? How did the hon member calculate that figure? [Interjections.] One of the hon members of the CP can say so if they know how that figure was arrived at. Has this been calculated on any kind of scientific basis, or is this merely another shot in the dark?
Let us take the amount of R2 100 million. Say for example we have four million hectares under maize and this is the officially estimated and recognized figure. Then surely our input cost would be approximately R500 per hectare. If we are going to perform calculations in terms of the input costs, that is to say, the cash input costs, we calculate amounts such as R60 for fertilizer—the hon members will say that that is low, but there are reasons for that—R20 for labour, R16 for repairs, R18 for diesel and R10 for seed. We therefore calculate an amount of R124 per hectare. There are parts where input costs were as low as R100 per hectare for the present harvest. These are figures for maize in parts of the Western Transvaal. However the hon member comes up with the enormous sum of R500 per hectare. What other cash cost must be added to the input costs I have mentioned to arrive at the figure of R500? R10? R20? R30? R50? R75? Even if we add R75 we only get an amount of R200 per hectare in cash input costs. [Interjections.] This is the cash required. How can the hon member for Lichtenburg juggle with agricultural statistics in this way? Why does the hon member do this? Is this the way in which agriculture must be dragged into politics?
It seems to me that you are afraid of politics.
I am not afraid of politics. I am merely afraid that agriculture will be hurt if we drag politics into it. [Interjections.] I cannot understand why I should have to differ with an hon member in this House about agriculture when in a certain respect we share the same sentiments about agriculture. However when I have to enter into a discussion with him I find myself in the difficult position that I have to dispute the figures with which he attacks me. After all, we have the same set of facts within agriculture, have we not? We can, it is true, use those facts to advance political arguments against one another, but we certainly cannot distort the facts and say that that is politics. Let us differ on how we apply the facts but, please, let us use the correct facts in the process.
Reference has been made to the difficult problems that have to be resolved in this regard, for example agricultural financing which supposedly constitutes own affairs but is in fact subject to a general affairs law. Surely that is untrue. It is blatantly untrue. I wish to contend that that hon member uttered an untruth; why, I do not know.
Mr Speaker, on a point of order. The hon member said that the hon member for Lichtenburg was guilty of an untruth. Another hon member, however, added that he made a habit of it. Now, I should like your ruling with regard to the remark by the second hon member that he makes a habit of it.
Order! The hon member for Prieska may continue.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
When we look at agricultural financing we see that the Agricultural Credit Division as a whole falls into the category of own affairs. The revolving fund, too, is entirely under the control of the hon the Minister of Agriculture and Water Supply.
Who approves the general budget?
Within the ambit of own affairs he approves it.
The general budget?
No, that is where the hon member makes a mistake. That is entirely under the control of own affairs. [Interjections.] That is the point.
Has the hon member ever read the Constitution?
Yes, I have indeed read it, but does the hon member understand it? That is the problem. We understand it but the hon member reads it and makes political capital out of it. That is the difference. [Interjections.]
It is also said, with regard to agricultural financing—and the hon member for Lichtenburg stated this clearly—that this Government has withdrawn its protecting hand from agriculture. What do such words mean? They can mean one thing and one thing only. That is that he wants to make political capital out of this matter and that he is afraid of the true facts. I looked up certain statistics. Let us consider certain figures. The previous budget which, in virtually exactly the same way as this one, had to do with own affairs, provides us with interesting facts. How much money was given to agriculture by way of subsidies? How much money did farmers receive in the form of repayable loans? In the period from April last year to 31 January this year—a period of ten months—a total of R120 million was made available to farmers by way of loans through the Department of Agricultural Credit. R37 million was made available for the purchase of harvest production requisites. An allocation of R6 million was made in respect of soil conservation works. An amount of R46 million was allocated for the purposes of consolidation of debt. An amount of R18 million was allocated to the phased stock-feed scheme. The total amount spent on subsidies—and bear in mind that the loan amount was R120 million—was the enormous sum of R204 million. This is money given to farmers by way of subsidies. Interest subsidies on the carried-over debt of farmers in the more intensive agricultural industries—in fact this refers to the maize farmers—amounted to R125 million. By whom is that money paid? It is paid by this Government which is now being accused of having left the farmers of South Africa in the lurch. In terms of the phased stock feed scheme—which is aimed at keeping animals alive in the drought-ravaged areas—an amount of R57 million has been spent. The amount made available by the State for the conveyance of stock feed amounted to R9 million. Was the hon member for Lichtenburg therefore telling the truth—in view of the figures I have just quoted—when he said that this Government had left the fanners of South Africa in the lurch? Do these figures not prove the contrary? Has the hon member for Lichtenburg not perhaps been guilty of uttering an untruth? [Interjections.]
I could, of course, have taken this argument concerning agricultural financing further. For example, the question is asked: What about general affairs? The management of the Land Bank, of course, also falls under general affairs. A considerable portion of the financing administered by the Land Bank is utilized in own affairs. A high percentage of the interest repayments to the Land Bank is accordingly administered as own affairs and financed as own affairs. These, of course, are not insignificant sums of money. For example the dairy industry has a loan debt totalling R32 million, the interest on which is subsidized to the tune of 75%. The loan debt of the meat industry amounts to R10 million; moreover this is interest-free loan debt. The loan assistance to the maize industry in the 1980-81 financial year amounted to R75 million. The interest rate on that is 4%. In 1981-82 the loan aid to the maize industry amounted to a further R71 million, on which the interest was still 4%. This is interest paid by the State. Therefore all tax payers bear the yoke of this burden of interest. In the light of this one expects that people who discussed agriculture should act with responsibility and, moreover, should be grateful to the taxpayers of South Africa who have made it possible for them to survive.
If we do not recognize this principle, then we are going to enter an era in the future in which agriculture as a whole will suffer enormous damage.
To conduct discussions of the kind conducted by the hon member for Lichtenburg, is in my opinion a waste of time for all of us. We have by no means heard the last of that, of course. In later budget debates this will of course repeated time and again. The allocation of money to the agricultural industry represents one of the biggest own affairs budgets.
Here we have the opportunity to discuss one of the most important facets of our society without being influenced from outside, because this matter is the exclusive concern of hon members of this House. I therefore fail to understand why mention is persistently being made of general affairs. The decisions taken here are surely not influenced from outside. They cannot be influenced from outside. Do hon members of the Conservative Party perhaps want these matters to be dealt with as general affairs? Surely that could only mean that we should in part have to forfeit our say in this respect.
I really fail to understand arguments of this nature. I can only hope that hon members of the CP will in future base their conduct on facts instead of the possibility of political gain—as is the case at present.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Prieska will excuse me if I do not follow on his agricultural debate.
The shock and the horror of Uitenhage has travelled around the world. Now another police action has taken place this very afternoon which will also hit international headlines. A group of clergymen decided this afternoon to undertake a peaceful march on Parliament. They were warned that it would be illegal, but their shock and horror at the Uitenhage situation was such that they decided to go ahead. The police stepped in, almost four hours ago, and I am told that some 200 people have been arrested. These include international personalities, people known right around the world, such as Alien Boesak and Beyers Naudé. [Interjections.]
What ham-handed stupidity to compound the Uitenhage tragedy! Why not let them make their peaceful march to show their horror? But no, the police are now responsible for renewed world headlines against this country of ours, and I submit that the hon Minister of Law and Order must go. We cannot afford him any longer.
On 13 February I rose in this bench and I called for a judicial commission to inquire into allegations concerning police conduct in the Eastern Cape. I said on that day—and I quote from Hansard, col 903:
The only reply I have received from that date to this from that hon the Minister was an attack on me—there was no sympathy for the bereaved, no sympathy for the wounded, no promise of an investigation. The speech itself was punctuated by laughter and disinterested conversation from NP benches. They did not care and the history of the NP is one that says: They did not care.
Every day when one picked up an Eastern Province newspaper one found that another person was dead. One saw reports of renewed violence and death, both at the hands of the rioters and as a result of police action. And what was the result of all this? The result was Police charges being laid against the Press who reported these things—-I think it was in terms of section 27(b).
The point I am making is that the incident at Uitenhage on the 21st of this month was not an isolated incident. This dreadful happening on Thursday, 21 March, was the worst example of a whole series of incidents in which people died. It was foreseeable and, I believe, preventable. Proper consultation and negotiation, together with an open investigation, could have gone a long way towards defusing an explosive situation.
Having had no reasonable response to my speech, I took matters further. I wrote to the State President and said to him:
To that letter I had the response:
I wrote to the State President again and said:
That is what I wrote to the State President. The dossier that I sent contained 27 affidavits of which 14 came from Uitenhage itself, and they concerned police action in that area. From that day to this I have heard no word from the hon the Minister of Law and Order, and the violence continued. A report that I have here has the heading “Girl (3) among 6 unrest dead”. Headlines like this appear day after day. Still we had no response. By this time, I believe it is fair to hold the State President jointly responsible with his Minister of Law and Order. The buck does not stop with that Minister; it stops with the State President. He had the affidavits, and did nothing but pass the buck to his Minister. The weekend before, the incident occurred that the hon member for Kuruman referred to. He talked about the policemen who were suspended from duty. There are affidavits to the effect that these policemen were found, in the police station, beating a Black who was on the floor manaded to the leg of a table. That was the allegation. That is why they were suspended, and rightly so, pending a proper investigation of that event.
The next step that we took was to write a further letter to the State President, from the hon members for Walmer and Albany, and myself. That was the day before the unrest happened. We wrote as follows:
That is what we did prior to that event itself. The very next day after that letter, after a burst of gunfire some 40 people lay dead, dying or injured on Maduna Road in Langa. I believe that the damage to South Africa from this shooting is enormous. The timing, on the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville, is dangerous. Businessmen throughout the country are trying to stop the disinvestment campaign, but what happens to their efforts when this kind of thing happens? What more could we have done from these benches to warn this Government? What else could we have done to prevent this tragic loss of fife?
I have been to the site, which is some distance from Uitenhage. I do not understand why proper crowd control methods were not used, such as a loud-hailer to broadcast warnings, teargas and calling up reinforcements. We have all seen TV shots of large numbers of police involved in controlling striking miners in the UK.
On the Friday, after inspecting the site, we went to a Catholic Manse in Uitenhage where people had gathered to give us their story. We took affidavits, and these are being sent to the State President and various Ministers. I do not want to refer to the events on the day itself—my colleague the hon member for Albany has already mentioned them—but the day after, I was phoned and asked to return to Uitenhage, as police were arresting people at the Catholic manse. I went back and saw scenes that will live in my memory: The tragic aftermath of an event of this nature; people desperately trying to find out what had happened to their sons and daughters; people being taken to hospital; people being given bad news; people being taken to the morgue; a doctor treating injuries; lists and more lists being drawn up—lists of the missing and lists of who had reported the missing; lists of the dead; lists of the wounded; lists of the arrested. Into this scene the police had come, I was told, to look for wounded. They found two of the wounded, and said that they were taking them to the police station to be charged—not to hospital to be treated. The police were pleaded with to allow them to stay there to be treated, but they were taken to the police station to be charged. It appears that all wounded are charged, which is why wounded do not report as such. They took them off, and within an hour we had a lawyer representing them at the police station in Uitenhage, seeking to have them released on bail. All knowledge of them was denied at the police station. Where they were I do not know, nor could we find out.
I now wish to ask some specific questions. Why were so few police present? Why was the man in charge only a lieutenant, and had he had riot training? Were warnings given, and if so, was a loud-hailer used? Why was no teargas used? If their lives were being treatened, why did they leave their armour protected vehicle, which is the report that I have? Why use Zulu police? In a Xhosa area, this is provocative. Finally, have we not learnt a thing about riot control in the 25 years since Sharpeville? Why do these things keep happening?
In accordance with Standing Order No 19, the House adjourned at