House of Assembly: Vol3 - TUESDAY 23 APRIL 1985

TUESDAY, 23 APRIL 1985 Prayers—14h15. QUESTIONS (see “QUESTIONS AND REPLIES”) APPROPRIATION BILL (Committee Stage resumed)

Vote No 21—“Agricultural Economics and Marketing” (contd):


Mr Chairman, during the course of my speech this afternoon I shall be returning to one or two of the issues raised by the hon the Minister yesterday afternoon. I should, however, like to say at this stage that a few of the hon the Minister’s comments, especially the comments he made about production costs being no basis on which to determine prices, were like a breath of fresh air through the agricultural debate.

During the course of the past few months this party—and the agricultural group in the NP—has been fairly extensively lobbied by the National Maize Producers Organization regarding the implementation of a quota system.


Order! I did not issue an open invitation to hon members to start a general conversation. Hon members who must talk, must please not talk so loudly.


Sir, as I was saying, we have been lobbied regarding the implementation of the quota system for the maize industry in South Africa. It is the right of Nampo and, indeed, it is their job to negotiate the best terms they can for maize farmers, but we in this House have a far wider constituency to which we are responsible and I should like to make the views of the Official Opposition known today regarding such a quota system.

I must tell the House that we are completely against the implementation of such a system. I should like briefly to cover the reasons why we are opposed to such a system. In the first instance, a quota system is completely against the principles of the free enterprise system. In a free enterprise system it should be prices which help one to decide what to produce and how much to produce. They also help to determine the allocation of resources to the production of those goods. A quota system completely distorts the price mechanism and makes it ineffective. Secondly, with the quota system local consumers will be subsidizing overseas consumers. If we bear in mind that local consumers of maize products are the lower-income consumers in South Africa who will be paying an artificially raised local price to subsidize any export losses which may occur—I am not saying they are going to occur every year—there can be no moral justification at all for expecting local consumers to subsidize overseas consumers. Thirdly, with the quota system one obviously has to prevent leakage between the two different markets. One must, for example, prevent maize for the export pool being sold in the local quota market where the price is higher. To do this is, for a start, a complete administrative nightmare because there will always be an incentive for any farmer who produces over quota not to deliver to the export pool but rather to sell to his neighbour who may be fattening beef, have chickens or something like that. This is a completely rational arms-length transaction which takes place in business every single day, but it is envisaged by the proponents of the scheme first of all that they are going to police it and, secondly, that a criminal will be made of the man who sells his over quota production to his next-door neighbour. Otherwise we are going to get a proliferation of all types of schemes to bypass this, for instance companies, partnerships and so on.

Those who have read up on the subject will also know that quotas have a dismal record in other countries. I do not have time to elaborate on this, but they certainly do, and I hope that, before a decision is taken, an intensive study will be made in this regard. Another point is how the overall national quotas are going to be set. There is always going to be a conflict between the consumers of maize products, who want the quota set higher so that prices will be lower, and the producers of maize products, who in fact have a vested interest in limiting the quota because they are now the insiders. A final point is that quotas will, of course, be extremely cumbersome and difficult to administer. In the limited time at my disposal I cannot go into that, but the administration of such a scheme, involving registering quotas, transferring quotas, shifts between yellow and white maize as far as quotas are concerned and even silage deliveries which are going to come into the determination of quotas, is going to be a complete nightmare. For these reasons we are against the quota scheme.

Going hand in hand with the quota scheme there is, obviously, the one-channel fixed-price scheme, because this is what is advocated. As far as quota maize is concerned, it is envisaged that the one-channel fixed-price scheme will continue to operate. We do not have any serious problems with a one-channel scheme, but fixed-price schemes in terms of which prices are determined on the basis of production costs are a different matter.

There is no rational economic justification for using this method to determine prices. I will not go into the other reasons. The hon the Minister spoke about this himself yesterday and I think we are in agreement that we have to look to something else. We must, if possible, move away from administered prices as far as agricultural products are concerned.

What we would like to advocate, having stated our objections to quotas and to fixed prices, is a floor price scheme for maize. We do so for a number of reasons. First of all, a floor price scheme could be …


A floor price for maize?


Yes. A floor price scheme could be implemented fairly gradually so that it would not harm any farmers. The floor price could be set at a fairly high level in the initial year so that no one would necessarily be harmed in the first year of implementation. Secondly, a floor price scheme for maize allows the market to work in the longer run. It will provide an allocation of resources for the production of maize. There is general agreement that there must be a shift in production patterns in South Africa, and it is unlikely that many of the marginal areas would continue to produce with the operation of a floor price system. We therefore believe that a floor price scheme will also result in a change in production patterns, something which the proponents of the quota system argue the quota will also achieve.

Finally, another advantage of the floor price scheme is that in poor production years, because the market determines prices, prices will rise so that in a bad crop year one will find prices increasing. This means that there will be income stability for farmers, whereas up to now we have only aimed at price stability. I would like to argue that what a farmer really wants is income stability. He needs it more than he needs price stability. For this reason, we think a floor price scheme would also be to the benefit of agriculture.

Our final plea—and we have made it in this House in the past—is for the investigation of a futures market. We are not making a plea for its implementation next year or even the year after that, but a floor price scheme could be the introduction to the implementation of such a market if studies proved it to be at all feasible.

One last plea which I have to make in the very short time at my disposal this afternoon relates to the maize price which the hon the Minister is no doubt deciding on and negotiating at the moment. We have all heard about the extremely difficult position in which the farmers find themselves. We all know there must be considerable pressure on the hon the Minister to set the price at a level that is going to provide relief to farmers. At the same time, however, we think that it is in the interests of the country as a whole, in the interests of combating inflation, that whatever price the hon the Minister does approve, he should keep the increase at or below the inflation rate.


Mr Chairman, the hon member for Pietermaritzburg South talked about quota systems and about quotas for maize. I do not want to react to that, except to say that if they deplore the system of quotas, perhaps it would be worth their while to invite the directors of the KWV, at a small fee, to explain to them how a quota system works. [Interjections.]

No one doubts the fact that high production costs have an adverse effect on our farmers as well as the extension of our farmers, namely our co-operatives. But with effective planning and proper management positive results can still be achieved under these circumstances. I should like to refer hon members to the KWV again, which is subject to the same factors and yet is able—we looked at their financial statements this morning—to pay out a bonus of R17 336 000 to approximately 6 000 wine farmers this year.

Having said this, in a certain sense I am now also addressing the hon the Minister of Finance. I want to ask him to follow the golden rule in future; ie to help those persons who want to help themselves. [Interjections.]

I now want to say a few words about labour as a production resource in the agricultural industry. We are so inclined to talk about seed, fertilizer and fuel, those factors over which we have no control. But we forget the role that labour plays, a factor we do indeed have control over as regards its effective utilization as well as the remuneration paid to labour. We must consequently also give attention to labour and not simply be obsessed by the other factors over which we have no control.

In the North West we have decided to erect a monument to the donkey. In this way we want to acknowledge the role played by the donkey in the establishment of agriculture in that region. I do not think it would be very far-fetched if I were to say today that consideration could be given to erecting a monument to the contribution the Coloured farm labourer had made in that region to bring the agricultural industry to where it was today.

In the early days of the establishment of the agricultural industry in that region the Coloured labourer worked for a meagre wage. As a matter of fact it could not be otherwise because the employer, the farmer, was unable to pay higher wages. But as the farmer’s position improved, the labourer’s position also improved. In the process a special relationship developed between the Coloured farm labourer and his employer, the farmer. To illustrate this I want to tell hon members about one incident. Frans, a Coloured labourer on my farm, rendered good service for many years, but one day he told me that he wanted to go and work for somebody else. When I asked him whether I had not treated him well or whether his wages were too low, he stared down at the ground and said that that was not the case but that he simply wanted to move. I then assumed that it was simply the old story of “ieder woelt hier om verandering”. Another Coloured with a lorry helped him to move to a neighbouring farm, but ten days later he was back on my farm. When I asked whether he could not get on with the other employer either, and whether that was the reason why he had come back so soon he replied: “Baas, ek wou net sien hoe lyk ’n Hotnot se trek agterop ’n lorrie”. [Interjections.] This is typical of the sentiments and the relationship which exist between the farmer as employer and the farm labourer. This relationship has been a breeding ground for good relations which also took shape in the new constitutional dispensation we have in South Africa today.

It is alleged that the Coloured does not make any contribution, particularly as far as income tax is concerned, but that he receives quite a bit of money in terms of pensions and allowances. But one’s contribution to the country’s economy is not only calculated on how much tax one pays. I maintain that the labour input made by the Coloured farm labourer, makes as great a contribution to the economic prosperity of our country as many taxpayers probably do.

Another statement which is not correct either, is that the Coloured farm labourer is being neglected. As I have already said, the position of the labourer improved as that of the farmer improved. I should like to support this statement by referring to the steps which have already been taken by both the farmer and the State to improve the position of the Coloured farm labourer. In 1980 there were 1 242 858 labourers in the agricultural industry, of which almost half were regular employees, while the rest were casual employees. Their total earnings for that year totalled R678 582 000. This amount is 36% of R2 471 589 000, the total production costs or current expenses of farming during that year. If one takes the families of the farm workers into consideration, it is clear that the agricultural industry, therefore, also looks after a large number of people. Agriculture is also productive as regards the creation of employment, because for every R1 million in capital which is invested in agriculture, employment opportunities are created for 178 employees compared with 110 in the factories.

As far as housing is concerned, I want to refer to the North-Western Cape again, where quite a number of community establishments have been erected by the local authorities to provide accommodation for pensioners as well as casual workers. The farmer is supposed to look after his permanent employees himself and in this respect the State has also come forward and sold State land to the farmers at moderate prices to erect the necessary housing. The State went further and also made moderate subsidized loans available to farmers, repayable over a maximum period of 20 years. In 1984-85 an amount of R4 482 646 was paid out for this purpose while in 1983-84 an amount of R5,3 million was allocated for this purpose.

As far as training is concerned, quite a number of inputs have also been made by the State, farmers and organized agriculture. When we talk about training, we think of Kromme Rhee where Coloured labourers are being trained. We think of the creation of the rural establishment which is aimed at improving the quality of life of our labourers. Already 38 of these areas have been developed in our country and 10 000 families are involved.

In this short speech I merely tried to demonstrate the important role the Coloured labourer, in particular, played in the past and will continue to play in future, in spite of mechanization. I also tried to single out the efforts made by the State and the employers to improve the quality of life of our labourers. In conclusion I want to say that we must not overlook the role of labour in agriculture, because its effective utilization is important and decisive in the net result we achieve in agriculture.


Mr Chairman, the hon member for Gordonia made a very interesting and very valuable speech. Yesterday we made quite a number of observations concerning inputs in agriculture, and we all talk about various inputs. The hon member succeeded in proving that labour was certainly one of the most important inputs, to which one must give very thorough consideration.

Among other matters, the hon member discussed sound relations between employer and employee. He mentioned various examples in his area and also mentioned one example to whom he wished to erect a monument. Sound relations between employer and employee in agriculture, as in many spheres, depend solely on the training one gives one’s employees. A person who has not been well trained struggles to build up a sound relationship with his employer because he cannot in that case produce the amount of work expected of him. I therefore think that the hon member raised a very important point to which we in agriculture will certainly have to give very serious consideration.

I just want to reply briefly to the hon member for Pietermaritzburg South. The hon member referred to the two-market system proposed by Nampo, and objected to the quota system which also forms part of this proposal. The enlarged Jacobs Committee, which also included members of Nampo, proposed the two-market system with the object of effecting a process of rationalization in the maize industry, which includes among other things the elimination of marginal lands. Hon members will realize that the maize industry is a very big industry. Almost 4 million of the 6 million hectares of cultivable land in the summer grain areas are being utilized for the production of maize. One must therefore tread warily when one is dealing with such a big industry.

I want to tell the hon member that at this stage my standpoint in respect of the two-market system is that since the Jacobs Committee has accepted it—it was also accepted almost unanimously at two successive congresses of maize farmers in South Africa—I am not in a position to say without further ado that it is not acceptable to me. I did, however, make it very clear at Ellis Park, on the occasion of a special congress on this matter, that although we were prepared to investigate a two-market system with a built in quota system, it would depend on the feasibility of such a system. We know there are many problems attached to it. Hon members must not think that maize farmers do not know what problems are attached to it. I know what they have to say about it. In addition I am constantly receiving letters in this connection. However, the present position is such that I am provisionally going to approve a scheme which is at present before the National Marketing Council, so that the scheme may be published. Then every farmer and every organization in South Africa which is involved in this industry will be able to put forward their objections and their criticism. After we have received the objections and the criticism, I shall refer the matter back to the National Marketing Council, after which the council can convene central meetings and then submit the objections to the meetings so that all parties, including the farmers, can decide whether or not they want this scheme. Therefore, we shall come back to this system at some time or other.

As regards the question of the internal market, I do not want to reply now by saying that it should be a pool scheme, a floor price scheme or a one channel fixed price scheme. I have certain preferences and certain problems with these schemes, but we can argue about that when we come to the schemes themselves.

As the hon member for Gordonia said, quite a number of ideas were exchanged in regard to the question of input costs in agriculture. This is one of our most general problems and the one which is also most frequently discussed in various agricultural circles. At this stage I just want to say that just like all other financial organizations in South Africa, agriculture is also subject to the problems of inflation. We are part of this process and therefore we are trying by means of various measures, such as the interest subsidy, to render a little assistance. The hon member for Barberton, for example, proposed that instead of our making the amount of R450 million available for food subsidies, we should rather utilize that amount to subsidize the input costs. This might sound like an easy or quick or instant solution, but it will also have its aftermath of problems. There are a lot of administrative problems attached to it. As soon as one begins to subsidize the input costs, for example the fertilizer input costs which are very high, it means that one will again have to introduce control, for surely one cannot allow the fertilizer companies a completely free hand in determining prices. As soon as the State channels certain funds into such an industry by way of a subsidy to the farmer, it must investigate the costs involved. Then one has a whole new series of cost investigations which entail an enormous number of administrative problems. Consequently there are many problems attached to this.

The point I want to make is that I do not think we can solve the problem of inflation by adopting short-term measures only. Agriculture itself will have to investigate its problems and how it should cope with the problem of inflation. In this connection every farmer will have to look into the productivity of the various branches of agriculture which are being practised on his farm. There is the question of the elimination of marginal lands and animals that are poor producers. We shall have to take a far more careful look at the productivity of the various agricultural resources on our farms so that we can produce far more effectively.

We shall also have to investigate the question of diversification. Because farming lends itself to a certain branch of production the farmer on his farm has in recent years been inclined, for example, to plant only maize and not to apply his energies to stock farming or to the dairy industry. He only plants maize. Then he ploughs up his land from one boundary fence to another. This causes a great measure of risk which becomes a built-in factor in the production system. The present tendency in farming in this country is that farmers are beginning to diversify more and more, so as to eliminate this risk to a great extent. It is true, though, that the more branches of the industry that are successfully established, the greater are the managerial requirements on those farms.

The other facet we must also investigate is bargaining power. We shall have to increase the bargaining power of the agricultural community. That is why the Co-operatives Act is at our disposal. I think our agricultural co-operatives should put their heads together around a conference table to see to what extent they have been successful in negotiating better prices in respect of certain basic inputs. I see the hon member for Bezuidenhout shaking his head. Yes, the co-operatives will certainly make things hot for you. [Interjections.] He is afraid of the cooperatives. I do not know whether the hon member has a guilty conscience. It is an instrument and a means which has been placed at the disposal of the South African farmers by means of the Co-operatives Act, and he must be in a position to use it effectively.

Yesterday the hon the Deputy Minister of Agricultural Economics elaborated on the effective use of capital. He mentioned a wonderful example when he asked whether it was always necessary for a producer to purchase a new implement while an old one could still perhaps do the same work or which could, with a little trouble and some repair work, continue to serve its purpose for quite a number of years? I thought that was a wonderful example. I have been guilty of that error myself. If one drives through town and sees a beautiful new tractor, one is far too inclined to buy it. They tell me one can still buy a good tractor these days—all it requires is the gesture of a deposit! [Interjections.]

The hon member for Smithfield and the hon member for Fauresmith also raised a very important point here, namely the credit grantors who, in their provision of credit, do not try to ascertain the ability of that particular client to meet his payments. The normal practice is simply to investigate the person’s security. They make enquiries into the quantity of land he owns and to what extent it is encumbered. If his land is not heavily encumbered, they simply give him another mortgage. I think this has to a very large extent contributed to the problems of many of our producers.

Another aspect which was mentioned here by the hon member for Ceres and the hon member for Fauresmith was the question of capital formation in agriculture, which in the short term, and probably in the long term as well, constitutes grave problems for us at the moment. We are aware that the Margo Commission is at present instituting an enquiry into proposals for investments by farmers at the Land Bank, which then become taxable in the year of withdrawal. We trust that investments of this kind will to a very large extent contribute to eliminating risks, and what is more that they will strengthen the funds of the Land Bank considerably.

At present, too, there are proposals for occupational succession from father to son in agriculture, which is a very important kind of succession. We have the position in agriculture that there is a kind of tradition that a father should like his son to inherit his land and that his son should become the future farmer. We must try to make this easier for them. At present aspects such as the transfer of land from father to son, and of course the question of estate duty, are also being considered by the Margo Commission. We are looking forward to that Commission’s recommendation in this connection.

†Both the hon member for Mooi River and the hon member for Bezuidenhout made certain comments in relation to our system of control boards.

I agree with the hon member for Mooi River that attacks are still being launched against the system of marketing boards. Some of those attacks are based on untrue assumptions. It is alleged, for instance, that the boards are wasting the taxpayers’ money. That is only one of numerous allegations made. The fact of the matter is, however, that most, if not all, administrative and marketing costs are paid by the producers themselves. Some of these boards have over the years built up strong stabilization funds which have enabled them to make certain investments, for instance, in immovable properties such as their own buildings. This is mostly farmers’ money. These assets must be regarded as the sole property of that specific industry but, as I have pointed out, the money is mostly that of farmers because the levy is imposed on the primary product.

I agree with the hon member that the Marketing Act has helped in the process of providing stability in agriculture, which was not in any way evident before its introduction in the 1940s. I also agree with the hon member that although the Act is of great importance to agriculture, it does not mean that all the various schemes which are in practice under the jurisdiction of the boards today are in line with modern marketing systems. In fact, Sir, I believe some of those schemes are old-fashioned, and it was for that reason that I instructed the National Marketing Council to investigate all the current schemes. The council will undertake this task in collaboration with the boards themselves because they are specializing in the marketing of their specific commodities.

*The hon member for Bezuidenhout raised his usual problem in regard to marketing. He said the National Marketing Council was incorrectly constituted and that the position was that the control boards controlled the Marketing Council instead of the Marketing Council controlling the control boards.

The National Marketing Council is a purely advisory body, which advises the Minister on decisions which control boards take. That is its only function. The board itself takes no decisions. It merely advises the Minister on decisions taken by control boards. Consequently it has nothing to decide about if it does not have the decision of a control board before it. That is its function. That is the way the entire structure works.

However, the National Marketing Council has another important function. It has a co-ordinating function for effecting a balance in the price structures of the respective agricultural products. It has to take the entire economic position in South Africa into consideration. That is why the National Marketing Council is not poorly constituted. I want to reassure the hon member for Bezuidenhout in this respect. Serving on the National Marketing Council, besides members of the department, are other members as well, most of whom are economists.

For example we have a member on the Marketing Council who is appointed under contract; a person from the private sector who has a thorough knowledge of the processing and milling industry, the stockfeed industry, and so on. We also have three farmers on the Marketing Council who are experts in their own respective fields. One of them is a grain expert. Another is an expert on deciduous fruit and on fruit in general. The third is an expert on animal products—meat, dairy products and so on. Therefore we have specialists in that sphere as well. In addition the chairman of the National Marketing Council is now also a member of the Competition Board, so as to effect liaison with other sectors of the industry. This is important, because in this way essential contributions can be made to the functions and activities of the National Marketing Council. The hon member really need not concern himself about the National Marketing Council. Our entire problem at the moment is not the Marketing Act and the National Marketing Council; our problem is the schemes. We must rectify the schemes, and once we have done that, our problems ought to a great extent to have been solved.

The hon member for De Aar, as well as the hon member for Mooi River referred to the White Paper. The hon member for Mooi River said that we should now spell out a long-term policy for agriculture. Last year, in co-operation with the department and with the South African Agricultural Union, I tried to table a policy document. If the hon member were to look at page 5 of the document he would see stated very clearly there “Goals” in regard to the agricultural policy. It is probably easy to formulate such a policy document, but I made it very clear last year that we would also have to work out a strategy for implementing this policy document. That is why we laid down certain priorities. It is certainly not possible to attain all these goals over a short period. It takes time, and that is why one has to pick one’s priorities. So we decided last year that we were going to devote attention to three priorities. The first priority was to give attention to the Marketing Act, which I have just dealt with; the second was a reconsideration of the financial policy in the agricultural industry, and the third entailed a strategy in respect of the protection of agricultural resources with special reference to our natural grazing lands. When my hon colleague deals with the Vote of his department, which in this respect is the operative department, because the regions fall under him, he will probably be able to debate this matter at considerable length with hon members.

Apart from the fact that a shift in responsibility has taken place among the separate Ministeries of Agriculture, it is still the responsibility of the Ministery of Agricultural Economics and of Water Affairs to be accountable for the various schemes under the Marketing Act, and partly, too, in accordance with the financing policy. After last year’s budget debate, as hon members will recall, the National Marketing Council was directed to institute an investigation into this matter. Perhaps I could just say that reasonably good progress is being made. In talks with the National Marketing Council I told them that we must complete this investigation within 18 months at least. If they do not have sufficient assistance we shall—if necessary—obtain outside assistance for them. This investigation is therefore still continuing.

In the meantime the expanded Jacobs Committee has also completed a report in respect of the maize scheme. This is one of the schemes that has already been investigated, and the report is ready for final consideration. In the same way there is a scheme in respect of the dairy industry. At present we are looking into the meat scheme. We are considering, for example, whether one should incorporate a floor price scheme or a pool scheme into the system, but that will still be decided. The matter has been referred to the producers, and it seems as though they want to have nothing to do with a pool scheme. In any case, when the final submission is made, we shall see what the outcome was.

In regard to the reconsideration of the existing financial policy in respect of agriculture: At present the policy falls under separate Ministries. The assistance which is given to the co-operatives on an industry basis is the responsibility of the Minister of Agricultural Economic and of Water Affairs. It will be understood that the type of assistance required by the agricultural industry can hardly be planned in advance because it is a specific set of circumstantial factors influencing a specific industry or industries at a given time or in a particular way, and according to which a specific aid programme can be justified. The accusation which this gives rise to is that the financial forms of assistance given to the farming community occurs on an excessively ad hoc basis. There are in fact certain aspects of financial assistance which can be granted by way of general schemes, but there is also that assistance which must be granted in a specific way according to the circumstances. Into this category falls the existing assistance to the maize industry, namely R250 million for subsidizing the price of maize, and of maize products for local consumption. An amount of R3,1 million is going to the sugar industry, in order to help that industry bear its losses in its weakened economic state.

What also comes to mind are the national fresh produce markets for which we have also made funds available to help municipalities to renovate their markets. In this way there are various industries to which we are rendering assistance. I can think, for example, of the subsidization of interest on loans granted by the Reserve Bank and the Land Bank to the Maize Board, the Dairy Board, the Meat Board and Langeberg-ko-operasie. There is the R2 million subsidy in regard to the price of lime. There are various other items, too, which fall into this category. The agricultural industry is a dynamic industry which to a great extent is influenced by factors beyond its control—economic as well as physical factors.

In order to maintain a sound financial policy throughout, as well as to provide sound financial assistance to the agricultural industry according to circumstances, it is essential that a well-planned agricultural economic research programme be maintained to determine tendencies in respect of land prices, farming debt, farming income, the sources of credit provision, debt redemption ability, the influence of interest rates, capital assets, profits in agriculture and so on. The hon member for Barberton also touched on on this point yesterday. I think it is terribly important.

The only function we perform in this sphere these days is that we simply collect facts and statistics, and these are published in documents which are available, for example, Kort Begrip van Landboustatistiek, but in reality no agricultural economic research is being done in this connection. This is a great deficiency which we are looking into at the moment. This research ought to form the basis of the decision-making on financial policy, financial assistance, statutory amendments, alterations to schemes and so on.

It is also essential that the research which is in progress in various agricultural economic spheres should be co-ordinated and that attention ought to be devoted to the determination of long-term as well as short-term agricultural economic research programmes.

The tendency in so far as the planning and co-ordination of agricultural economic research programmes is concerned will, if the research is there, become one of the primary tasks of my Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing. It is the intention to expand that part of the department which is primarily responsible for this satisfactorily so that it is able to comply with the expectations. We are already working in this direction.

We have various other functions to which I want to refer briefly. There was the matter raised by the hon member for Barberton, the question of liaison throughout the entire operation. I can point out that we established a ministerial liaison committee consisting of myself and my colleague the hon the Minister of Agriculture and Water Supply. We have a bi-monthly programme where we and our departments hold a meeting with the Department of Water Affairs at which we ensure proper co-ordination in regard to financing programmes, assistance programmes and so on. There is very good co-ordination between these two departments.

From time to time we also liaise with our colleagues in the other two Houses on problems which they may have. I should like to point out that when one looks into financing in agriculture, particularly at financing to render assistance to individual farmers, one is venturing into an absolutely specialized sphere. One does not provide White, Coloured and Indian farmers with finance in precisely the same way, because their farming systems differ.

The hon member for Wynberg, who is not here at the moment, discussed the problem of protection. He said we should try to break down all tariffs. But it is really not all that simple. Hon members will remember that we made the statement last year that we should be self-sufficient in agriculture. I should like to point out an example. If one produces a basic food product such as wheat or maize in South Africa and one is primarily dependent upon one’s inputs in order to produce that basic product, then one is not self-sufficient. If one has to import fertilizer, fuel, herbicides, insecticides and even seed, that is not self-sufficiency. We must realize that there has to be a degree of protection for certain basic industries which provide us with agricultural inputs. Then one can talk about self-sufficiency.

I conclude by presenting the following idea to the committee: At the moment things are not going well for agriculture and grave problems are being experienced. However, it is an exceptionally dynamic industry, because agriculture produces indispensable products for the South African society. Consequently there will always be State assistance in some form or another. This is no exception in the Western world; in all modern agricultural countries in the world, even in the mighty USA, where so-called private enterprise reigns supreme, assistance is given to agriculture, in some respects on a far larger scale than in South Africa.

The criterion against which the efficiency of agriculture should be tested is not to say that the percentage of the agricultural budget in 1949 was so much and that it is now far less in relation to other votes. That is not a criterion. The criterion for efficiency which one should use is to see what the physical growth in agricultural volume has been over the past number of years. It is approximately 4% per annum. I think it is a major achievement that South Africa is one of the few food exporting countries in the world. We have no famine in this country, and I think that is a very good criterion for measuring South African agriculture.

There is another particularly important commodity—if one can call it a commodity—and that is the people who are engaged in agriculture in South Africa. I am referring to the South African farmer. I believe we have the best farmers in the Western world. [Interjections.] They have to produce under difficult circumstances, and yet a volume growth rate of 4% is being maintained.

Why is this the case? It is because there is a built-in tradition in South African agriculture and particularly in the South African farmer that this difficult industry must be kept going. It is the tradition of “Because my father was a farmer, I also want to be one. Because my uncle is a farmer and I spent a lot of time on the farm, I also want to be a farmer.” There is a great love for this industry; there is a great love for the soil. This is what keeps South African agriculture alive and well. It is not necessarily because agriculture is a good field of investment; on the contrary, I do not think it is the best field of investment in which one can invest one’s capital. The reason for the vitality is the tradition and the love for the soil which is inherent in the South African farmer.

Vote agreed to.

Vote No 22—“Water Affairs”:


Mr Chairman, this is a very big debate and one is dealing with a very large Budget. We are, of course, subject to a time limit; as a party we have only 10 minutes. Water affairs will, of course, be discussed again under own affairs. I must say, I fail to understand how water could be an own or a general affair, because surely all of us have to drink it and use it. Surely the Afrikaans expression “Gods water oor Gods akker laat loop” implies that the water belongs to everybody. I fail to understand how any chairman can decide which should be own and which general affairs in respect of water. I see that even the hon the Minister of the White House is present because he realizes that although it is a general affair many aspects of own affairs will also be highlighted.

†Mr Chairman, I would like to thank the hon the Minister for his courtesy in sending the chairman of our group a copy of the annual report of the Department of Water Affairs before it was published so that we could have advance notice of it. I must say that it is a very good report. It is important that Government departments submit good annual reports because they handle public money, trust money, and accountability to the Parliament of South Africa is a fundamental principle of democratic government. I compliment the director of the department on what I believe is a good report.

On 10 April 1985, the State President, in speaking at the opening of the Rand Show at the new showgrounds at Crown Mines, raised the question of the PWV area and its water resources. He asked whether “we should continue applying so much capital in the big, existing metropoles, while people in distant towns and areas left behind, cannot enjoy the benefit of it. Should we not contribute substantially to make those areas economically viable and self-reliant in their own right?” What he was raising, is the whole question of regionalization and whether the development of particularly the PWV area and its water resources, should take place at the expense of other parts of the country. I believe we need clarification from the hon the Minister on what his plans are in terms of drawing water from Natal in particular for the PWV area. Mr Claus Triebel, Chief Engineer: Department of Water Affairs, quoted in the Financial Mail supplement on water, says:

The Tugela has a surplus of water. We have tried to assess demand. We have asked which areas could be irrigated in Natal, what minerals could be developed, what human resources are available in the catchment area. We have concluded that we can expand on this transfer scheme.

In other words, transferring water from the Tugela to the Vaal:

We intend building a number of dams downstream …

On page 51 of the department’s own report, it talks of a National Water Management Strategy. I believe the hon the Minister must make clear to the public, of Natal in particular, how much water they intend removing from Natal, so that we can know what the cut-off point is. We are having constant revisions of the Tugela/Vaal Scheme. I think there have been seven White Papers in total on the Tugela/Vaal Scheme to date. I believe that we have to know what is going to happen. Surely it is time that a study was made once again of the Tugela Basin development potential. This basin is an ideal area for development, and I venture to suggest that at minimal capital cost, if that is what the State President is concerned about, we can create more opportunities for the people of South Africa in the Tugela Basin than we could in the PWV area.

In paragraph 4 on page 45 of the report it is made quite clear what the Government intends doing, because it is stated:

Because increased reliance will be placed in future on the importation of water to the PWVs area from the Orange River and the rivers of Natal.

This introduces a new concept because it is going to involve more rivers than just the Tugela. Furthermore, we see that the capacity of the Driel Barrage to Jagersrust Dam Canal, according to paragraph 3.2 on page 58 of the report, is to be increased from 11 m3 to 20 m3.

I want the hon the Minister to pay careful attention to this. I am sorry to see that the hon the Minister of Agriculture and Water Supply is absent from the House because it is always good to have his peppery contributions. I want the hon the Minister to listen carefully. When one looks at page 150 of this report of the department one sees that it states that 1 062,2 million cubic metres—that is a billion and 62 million cubic metres of water—were extracted from the Tugela/Vaal Scheme for industrial use in one year. It also states in that same table that the income from the Tugela-Vaal Scheme was R23,5 million and the loss on the scheme was R13,8 million. According to figures given on page 11 of the Financial Mail the Rand Water Board pays the State 20c per cubic metre for raw water from the Tugela/Vaal Scheme. If all the water that is extracted according to the report is going to the Rand Water Board—I am not suggesting that it is—that would produce an income of R212 million.

In reply to a question I posed, question No 318 on 4 March 1983, the Minister said the State received 11,2c per cubic metre for the water sold under the Tugela/Vaal Scheme. On that thousand million plus cubic metres it would mean that the State should earn R119 million from that water sold and not R23,5 million as is suggested on page 150. I believe we need an explanation because that is an enormous discrepancy. Who is paying for this water? How much water is being paid for? What is going on? I do not know whether there is perhaps a discrepancy because some of that water is extracted, is then used again in the pump storage scheme and is then pumped up again. However, I think there must be clarification because enormous sums of money are involved.

More important, this money should be spent back in Natal, particularly in the Tugela Basin and the Tugela catchment and on rural development. The Tugela is an important river. The headwaters are severely over-populated. This is in a large measure the result of Government policy. Surely this money, if it is some R100 million or R50 million a year, could be used to settle the people in those areas in urban environments which are decent and proper, offer them cash incentives if necessary and so protect the headwaters. Furthermore, if one is going to take Natal’s water, it is one thing to pay for it and give Natal back that money; it is another thing entirely not to pay for it at all. Indeed, that is nothing more than plain theft. In fact, it is nothing less than a scandal.

The PWV has exploited and impoverished Natal’s rural areas by utilizing its single-male labour and leaving the wives in overcrowded, depressed and impoverished rural environments. Msinga is a good example. Msinga is right in the Tugela Basin catchment area and I believe it should benefit from this money.

One last point. Could the hon the Minister tell us why the administration expenses of the Tugela/Vaal scheme are R5,8 million? This figure is given on page 142 of the annual report. [Time expired.]


Mr Chairman, I should prefer not to refer to the speech by the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North because I want to talk about something else.

The Commission for Administration is at present carrying out a function-oriented investigation of the Weather Bureau. I feel the directive to the Weather Bureau should read “to optimize the influence of the weather on the country’s economy.” I also contend that the Department of Water Affairs is the department with the greatest interest in the activities of the Weather Bureau.

In South Africa the old Department of Irrigation was responsible for meteorological services for the period 1912 up to 1938. At the outbreak of the Second World War, this responsibility was transferred to the Air Force in regard to shipping, aviation and for other military purposes. After the war, in 1948, the two branches of the Meteorology Division were merged in the Department of Transport. It was given the name of Weather Bureau” in 1949.

I want to dwell briefly on the weather forecasting service of the Weather Bureau. I want to state that the Weather Bureau does excellent work in the field of short-term forecasts, that is to say, forecasts from one day to the next. A very important development during the past year—this is also something we had requested—is that the Weather Bureau was very successful in its venture into the terrain of medium-term forecasting, that is to say, forecasts projected a few days ahead—in our case five days ahead. In the Northern Hemisphere, in which there are large landmasses and where a lot of meteorological data is available, reliable weather forecasts can be made up to approximately 10 days ahead at present. In our case we have the privilege twice a week of being able to watch weather forecasts for periods of five days ahead. I want to thank the Weather Bureau for this and I want to congratulate its staff on their success.

I really want to devote the main part of my contribution today to climate analysis. Long-term weather forecasting or climate analysis is a subject in which I have been interested since my childhood days as a farm lad.

We fanned in the Western Free State and my late father, who like most farmers was a careful observer of nature, frequently expressed his opinion on the weather that could be expected in the season ahead. I can remember that he was remarkably correct in forecasts such as the following: “I have been watching the weather for the past few months and expect a very dry autumn.” As I was saying, he farmed in the Western Free State. I found it interesting to read on 22 March 1983 in Die Volksblad that Dr Jopie van der Walt of the Geography Department of the University of the Orange Free State predicted that the autumn of 1983 would be a dry one in the central Free State. He said he had processed all the data available since 1874 and could postulate the following for the central Orange Free State region with 95% correctness:

As die somer se voorseisoen—tot einde Desember—’n totale neerslag het wat laer is as die drempelwaarde van die streek, dan gaan die neerslag in die na-seisoen nie hoër wees as dié van die voorseisoen nie.

An unseasonably dry spring is therefore, with a certainty of 95%, likely to accompany an unusually dry autumn. The value of such scientific findings for planning purposes is obvious.

Numerous reports on meteorological forecasts on a seasonal basis have appeared in our newspapers in South Africa during the past few years. One gains the impression that all the forecasts of experts concerning the drought we have recently experienced, were substantially correct.

I firstly want to refer to the well-known South African writers, Dyer and Tyson, of the research group for climatology at the University of the Witwatersrand. They, for example, had predicted as long ago as 1977 that the summer rainfall areas in South Africa would have a lower than average rainfall in the period from 1981 to 1990.

I also want to refer to forecasts published by the Diagnostic Branch of the Centre for Climatic Analysis in Washington DC headed by a certain Dr James Rasmussen. On 20 September 1982—I have the publications in my possession—this branch issued a special bulletin on the unusual weather conditions that were busy developing at that time. In that bulletin they drew attention to climatic deviations that had begun cropping up during the period from June to August 1982. Various bulletins which further described the development of the so-called El Nino phenomenon were subsequently issued.

I also want to quote from Die Burger of 17, March 1983 in which it was reported that Dr Rasmussen had said that the unseasonable weather phenomena were starting to subside but as far as South Africa was concerned, the weather conditions would only start returning to normal after the winter of 1983. What this amounted to was that we could not expect significant precipitations in our autumn rainfall areas during the autumn period of 1983. This, of course, is exactly what happened. I want to point out that this was said in March 1983, before the planting season for wheat in the autumn rainfall areas.

The recent drought has emphasized the importance of forecasting climatic conditions. The sectors of our economy which, I think, have a primary interest in the forecasting of climatic conditions are the Department of Water Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, all the farmers in the country and also the fishing industry.

I also want to refer to the work of Prof Fölscher of the University of Pretoria. For example, he made a statement in the August 1984 edition of the magazine Mielies indicating:

Dat daar weinig, indien enige, verband bestaan tussen die hoeveelheid bemesting toegedien en die mielie-opbrengs … Ander faktore (waarskynlik hoofsaaklik klimaat) is verantwoordelik vir goeie oeste.

We do tend to have such fashions in our country: We had a red wine fashion and in the last decade fertilizer became the fashion. People thought they would produce better harvests merely by administering increasing amounts of fertilizer. The primary prerequisite for good harvests is climate. It has been said that there is virtually no relationship between good harvests and the application of fertilizer.

I also want to refer to weather modification. Weather modification is undoubtedly the second important activity in the sphere of meteorology. Falling under this heading are rainfall stimulation and hail control. Chapter 3A of the Water Act of 1965 is entitled: “Control of activities which may alter the natural occurrence of certain types of atmospheric precipitation.” In other words, these activities have already been entrusted to the Department of Water Affairs in accordance with legislation. I do not want to bore hon members with details which they may have read in recent newspapers—it has also been mentioned in this House by the hon Minister of Transport Affairs—but I just want to say that the success achieved with weather stimulation in Israel should serve as a tremendous incentive to us in South Africa. It is the cheapest way of supplying additional water.

In regard to the meteorological service I want to state that it is important that the Weather Bureau’s services be extended so that it becomes a fully-fledged meteorological service. Further provision must be made for an advisory control body that would have to be representative of all interested bodies to ensure that the requirements of various institutions in the country in respect of meteorological information are satisfied.

In conclusion I should like to contend that the Department of Water Affairs is the natural home of the meteorological service. Continued control by the Department of Transport is simply not acceptable to me. There are other institutions in the country with a far greater interest in meteorological services than the roadbuilders and transporters of the country.

*Mr C UYS:

Mr Chairman, the hon member for Pretoria East made a very interesting speech and I am not going to follow up on what he said in that respect. I want to mention, however, that when I went to the farm of my wife’s brother-in-law for the first time—it was in the autumn and he had just happened to mention how his father was able to make a reasonable forecast of how dry it could be in autumn in the Western Free State—I said to him: “Man, I should very much like to see what this part of the world looks like when it has had some rain.” He replied: “No man, we had 75 mm of rain barely two weeks ago.” I replied: “Then I don’t want to see this place at all when it is dry.”

The hon member for Pietermaritzburg South intimated that he was somewhat concerned about the large quantity of water from Natal that was evidently being used in the Transvaal. I want to suggest that we really should not become provincial about this matter because, if I look at the part of the world I come from, the South Eastern Transvaal, and I observe the tremendous amounts of water being utilized there to generate electricity for the rest of South Africa—the whole country—I think one should view one’s country more holistically; in other words, we must take into account where water can best be utilized in the interests of the country as a whole. But at the same time I want to say that I think it is high time we considered—and I think we are already doing so—for how long South Africa can still afford to convey water over long distances to the large metropolitan areas. The question we should then also ask ourselves is whether it would not be preferable if the development took place the other way around.

If I may express criticism of this Vote—I believe the hon the Minister will agree with me here—I think that in actual fact we have a reduction, in real terms, in the amount budgeted for the construction of Government Water Works. The danger exists that South Africa is in the process of building up a backlog in this regard. We all know that as far as economic development is concerned, oil and water are two commodities of which there is a particular shortage in our country. A lack of water could possibly be the greatest retarding factor in future on the further development of South Africa. Although the present budget shows an increase I find it somewhat disturbing that there is a decrease in real terms in the amount budgeted for Government Water Works. I therefore hope the hon the Minister will do his utmost—and I think he will—to rectify this matter in the next budget.

A matter which intimately affects my part of the world is the negotiations which are at present in progress with our neighbouring states on the water supply to the South-Eastern Transvaal in particular. I am referring specifically to our negotiations with our neighbouring state of Swaziland. It is imperative for my constituency in particular that finality is reached on this matter as soon as possible. During the past decade we have had one proposal after the other from the authorities for possible dam schemes, the stabilization of the Crocodile river as well as the Komati River and Southern Lowveld.

We are grateful for the Braam Raubenheimer dam that will to a great extent bring stability to the Crocodile River. However, there is uncertainty about what the final state of affairs lower down the Komati and Lomati rivers will be. In that area we probably have some of the finest irrigation land in South Africa. It is, in fact, probably the last remaining frost-free area in South Africa that is still owned by Whites and it is of the utmost importance to tropical and sub-tropical agriculture. I therefore make an earnest appeal to the hon the Minister to do everything in his power—I know through which channels negotiations are in progress and for all I may know the matter may perhaps have been disposed of already—to reach a final decision.

A great deal of the water from the Komati River in our area is not being utilized in the interests of agriculture. The two dams that do exist there are utilized entirely for generating power. I therefore think the time has also arrived for the authorities to consider the interests of our farmers who are entirely dependent on the water from that particular river. The year before last, farmers had to watch their sugar cane and other crops shrivelling up because the government had no other choice but to utilize the accumulated water to generate power in the interests of South Africa.

I realize that a sound balance has to be maintained in the interests of the economy of the country as a whole. It is particularly essential for my constituency, however, that finality should be reached on this matter. I therefore hope that this will happen soon.


Mr Chairman, the hon member for Barberton mentioned how essential water was to the agricultural industry. He referred, amongst other things, to the fact that the farmers in his region were particularly affected by this. I have no fault to find with that.

I want to refer briefly to the hon member for Pretoria East’s interesting prediction regarding the Weather Bureau. I just hope he is not going to do a weather forecast for us on television because then I am going to stop farming. He was saying, amongst other things, that we would only be receiving a normal rainfall once again in the year 1990. I sincerely hope that weather forecast of his was incorrect.

Several speakers referred to the importance of water, whether for production or human consumption. It has also been mentioned that climate is the primary factor involved in production costs. I find this quite logical, because one may fertilize and cultivate as much as one likes, but without moisture one cannot expect a yield.

If one looks at the annual report of the South African Agricultural Union one sees that of the total water consumption in South Africa, approximately 70% is utilized for irrigation and the remainder for urban, industrial and mining purposes. I do not think anyone could find fault with such an apportionment, and we also find it quite satisfactory. If one examines the schemes more closely, however, one sees that certain schemes are unfortunately being more heavily burdened than others by being employed for industrial and mining purposes. In the annual report of the Department of Environment Affairs one sees that drastic restrictions on water quotas from certain Government water schemes once again had to be introduced. One can appreciate this, because if there is no water, there is no water. Unfortunately it does happen, however, that when restrictions are introduced this is done on an ad hoc basis and agriculture usually finds itself with the thin end of the stick.

Both the hon State President and the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North referred to the availability and the abstraction of water from the Vaal River, the latter saying that he was concerned about it. I want to state that even the irrigation farmers in the Vaalharts scheme are directly affected by it. They really have the worst of the bargain when it comes to this restriction. However, I do not want to speak on their behalf today because they have a representative here who will put their case.

I want to turn to a scheme in my constituency known as the Sand-Vet Scheme. At the moment the two dams that feed into the scheme, the Allemanskraal Dam and the Erfenis Dam, are respectively 23% and 18% full. The irrigation farmers in the area below those dams have once again had their quotas reduced to approximately 32% of their normal consumption. This is the third year in which these people have had their water consumption reduced. I conducted a survey amongst 70 of these farmers and found that their financial position was appalling. Due to the restriction on water from these schemes, they cannot achieve optimum production and in consequence have eventually fallen behind in meeting their obligations. I want to venture to say that the future of this scheme is in the balance. A socio-economic problem is developing at the moment. One gets the impression that not sufficient water available for irrigation in a normal year.

I am aware of the fact that the Raubenheimer Committee was appointed to investigate the water projects. I should like to ask the hon the Minister this afternoon if one could not instruct the Raubenheimer Committee to conduct an investigation into a back-up scheme for the irrigation farmers who are subject to water restrictions. I would appreciate it if the Raubenheimer Committee could also investigate this aspect.

I also think that further investigation should be instituted into whether the water-supply requirements for the existing dams, whose water quotas are so regularly restricted, are not too high at present and also with a view to the future. What I mean by this is that I wonder whether too much irrigation land has not been scheduled under those dams. If the Raubenheimer Committee, or any other committee, should in fact find this to have been the case, if that land is going to be withdrawn from irrigation, let me ask whether the owners of that land will receive preference when irrigation water from the P K le Roux Dam is made available.

In conclusion I have noticed, in the report of the Water Research Commission, that tests are being conducted into the reclamation of underground water in mines. We are aware of the fact that large quantities of water are pumped out of the mines. It is usually pumped into dams where it evaporates. According to the report substantial progress has been made in reclaiming that water. I think this has been reasonably successful. The possibility exists that this could enable the mines to become self-supporting as far as their water supply is concerned. If this could come about, I predict that the burden on our dams would become considerably lighter. We trust that this research will be expedited and will prove successful.


Mr Chairman, the hon member for Winburg has touched on a matter which is an important local affair chiefly as far as he is concerned. I am aware of the problems he has in that area. He made a very important point when he said that he suspected that there was not enough water, even in normal years. He asked whether too much land has not perhaps been scheduled. I am afraid that this is the problem with quite a number of our older schemes. This just goes to show once again that thorough planning in regard to our irrigation schemes is very important. If I have the time I shall perhaps return to the whole issue of farming units that are under irrigation.

I do not want to reply to all the hon members who spoke, but I cannot but refer to the speech of the hon member for Pretoria East. He spoke about hydrometeorology, that long word that appears in the report of the Water Research Commission. It is a tremendously long word—a jawbreaker. I am particularly interested in weather modification or rainfall stimulation. That is why I should like to refer to the very interesting speech of the hon member. It would appear from a report of the Water Research Commission that we spend no less than 18% of the entire budget of the Commission, that is R37,5 million, on hydrometeorology. That is to say, that money is spent on rainfall stimulation and research on drought occurrences and precipitation statistics. I have been informed that in Israel, for example, a real increase in the rainfall figure was brought about as a result of the technique of rainfall stimulation. It is therefore possible. I think that if we were to continue with our research—I really would not like to see us curtailing the budget in this regard—we could one day possibly increase our average rainfall figure in South Africa as well.

The drought we have experienced has once again emphasized the importance of water. It has, in fact, also emphasized the importance of the Department of Water Affairs. This department—as the hon the Minister said—is a department that serves to create infrastructure. Naturally it is a department that is seldom in the limelight, either here in our debates or in the outside world. One therefore first becomes aware of the tremendous job this department has to do when one takes a look, for example, at the annual report to which the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North referred as well. One then becomes aware of the many functions of this department. It would take up my entire speech merely to attempt to give hon members an indication of everything embodied in the functions of the Department of Water Affairs.

What particularly strikes one when one has dealings with this department—as I myself have been involved with the department recently—is the scientific approach that one detects in the department. I think South Africa can be very grateful that over the years we have brought together a group of men who approach their job with great dedication and enthusiasm and do it on a completely scientific basis.

In the first instance this department probably does have the function of storing and providing water—of ensuring that water is in fact available. One does, of course, have a very keen appreciation of the problems this department has to deal with in this endeavour of providing the country with water. It was my privilege last week to make a tour of the Verwoerd Dam, all along the Orange River system right down to Augrabies. There I observed the gigantic structures erected to retain the water and prevent it from flowing away into the ocean. They are imposing monuments that will remain there for posterity.

When one regards those imposing monuments, however, one wonders for how long they will serve the purpose for which they have been built. One aspect I am particularly concerned about is that dam’s degree of siltation. We know the Orange River bears heavy deposits of silt. This silt, of course, has always been carried down to the sea. A great deal of it, however, is now being left behind in the Verwoerd Dam. This is a problem the Department of Water Affairs will still have to deal with, even in the distant future, and I think we shall now have to plan our veld management, our veld control and our soil conservation activities, in the agricultural sphere as well, particularly in the upper reaches of the river—in the areas fed by that dam—in such a way that those tremendous structures which have been erected there—those gigantic dams—will continue, into the far distant future, to fulfil the function for which they were originally built.

Today I should also like to refer to the policy of the Government and of the department, that of giving the private sector as much of a say as possible, not only in regard to the construction work that is undertaken, but also in the management and control of the water supply. I should like to refer hon members to the system of water boards, thirteen of which have now come into being. This excludes the Rand Water Board which has functioned for many years now in terms of legislation specifically relating to it. These water boards have a particular function, that of distributing the water supplied by the Department of Water Affairs. However, it is not only a matter of distribution. In the first instance these water boards have to abstract and purify the water—I shall return to that presently—because this untreated water is extremely polluted. The water therefore has to be purified, subsequently entering the distribution network which frequently branches out to different municipalities. These water boards actually serve the purpose of a regional services council, a body we will probably be hearing more about in the future. A central board therefore undertakes a joint function for individual local authorities.

Once this water has passed through the networks to the various towns, the flow-off has to re-enter the public streams. One actually gets a shock when one considers that about 60% of the water which has entered the municipal system once again flows into the rivers. These water boards therefore also have another function, that of purifying the water once again for re-use. After the purification process they return the water to the streams. On various occasions I have had the privilege of opening the purification plants of certain water boards. It has also been my privilege to open large, central regional sewerage works. It is indeed very interesting to note that if the process is carried out scientifically, the water which eventually flows back into the public streams is much purer than it was when it was abstracted from them.

The advantage of a water board is that people from the area which the board serves also serve on the board. They are appointed by the hon the Minister because of their particular interests. The Department of Water Affairs is also represented on that board and outstanding co-ordination exists between the individual municipalities and the department. What is also important, however, is that these water boards generate their own funds. They borrow money on the open market and are responsible for their own budgets.

Our control of water pollution in this country could never succeed unless the public specifically played its part. I should like to quote what I said on a certain occasion:

No amount of legislation can effectively prevent water pollution or improve water utilization.

It is our attitude and approach that will eventually have to decide the matter. This is just the way things are, because one can make laws and try to exercise control, but without the co-operation of the public one cannot ever succeed. I have been informed that pollution caused by seepage or wastewater from waste dumps situated in the wrong places, is ten times worse than that caused by untreated sewerage. It is a frightening thought that we have polluted our environment to such an extent that that effluent gives rise to ten times more pollution in our rivers than untreated sewerage does.

Let me say once again that we can have all the regulations in the world, but if we do not have the co-operation of the public we will not succeed in keeping the streams that are so invaluable to us, our water of which we have so little, clean and pure.


Mr Chairman, at the outset of my speech I would like to refer very briefly to a point made by the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North. Coming from the same province as he, I share to a very great degree some of the sentiments which he expressed. The population density in Natal and kwaZulu makes the question of the availability of water and water conservation one that is very sensitive indeed. We accept the fact that there is an urgent need for improving the water facilities that are available in the rural settlement areas in Natal, kwaZulu and the South African Development Trust areas. It is no secret that the availability of water is a major problem and that greater consideration will have to be given in the future to the reticulation of much of the water that emanates from the adjacent White areas to parts of kwaZulu and vice versa.

One notes with a sense of relief that the excellent rains that were experienced in many summer rainfall areas during January and February have ensured that adequate water supplies for the foreseeable future are now available. The fact that dams in Natal are close to full capacity is reassuring in the light of the hardships experienced in Pietermaritzburg and the Durban metropolitan areas in 1983.

Memories tend to be short, and the extravagant use of water is once again increasingly evident. At the same time the demand for water is also on the increase, particularly in respect of the agricultural sector. The expansion of Escom in the rural areas, combined with attempts to reduce the risk factor in farming, has resulted in greater demands on available water supplies. It is therefore essential that greater attention be paid by this sector to the more efficient utilization of water.

It is here too that the activities of the Water Research Commission can play an important role. While on the subject I would like to compliment the Water Research Commission on the excellent report that it has presented on its activities during the year 1984.

The more efficient use of water also applies to those living in the urban areas. One asks oneself whether local authorities are doing sufficient to educate people to use water sparingly at all times because there is going to be ever-increasing competition for water between the various sectors.

I just want to touch briefly on a point which was referred to by the hon member for Barberton in his comments relating to the inadequate provision in this year’s Budget for this department. We accept that in the case of this year, due to the economic climate, it is essential that cutbacks must take place, but I must point out that this has been the tendency over recent years. One questions whether we are not building up a backlog which could have serious long-term effects for which we may have to pay the price at a later stage because of the increasing demand for water and the possible shortages that may follow.

Storage and supply can only be increased at considerable expense over a period of years. It is therefore essential that warnings relative to the wastage of water should be kept before the public, even in times when adequate supplies are available. We in this country can no longer afford to ignore the predictions and warnings that have been made in regard to the inadequacy of water resources for future generations.

The limited time that I have had at my disposal today precludes me from making any further comment.

*Mr H M J VAN RENSBURG (Rosettenville):

Mr Chairman, it is always a pleasure to follow the hon member for Mooi River, but I shall return to him later.

I want to refer to a report which appeared in yesterday evening’s edition of The Star. The heading reads: “Government pushes ahead with Transvaal water plan”. It was written by the newspaper’s parliamentary staff, and it reads:

The Government was pushing ahead with its programme to transfer water from Natal to the Transvaal.

It goes on in this vein, but the concluding paragraph is very interesting:

The expansion of the scheme came under fire in the House of Assembly from Mr Graham McIntosh (PFP, Maritzburg North) who said on Friday the pumping of water over the Drakensberg could stunt industrial growth in the Tugela Basin.

Of course what I find extremely interesting is that the English Press is so all-knowing. They knew five days beforehand when an hon member was going to say in this House, and they also let a debate take place five days before the time. One can only have the greatest respect for such a Press, because it has wonderful powers of prediction. [Interjections.]

I want to get back to what the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North said …


I spoke about something completely different; I spoke about money.

*Mr H M J VAN RENSBURG (Rosettenville):

No, I just want to get back to what the hon member has said. I want to tell him that the supply of the Vaal River is the most important aspect in our total industrial and domestic consumption. One has to take into account that 50% of all locally-produced products are produced in that area.

Five and a half million people or 42% of the urban population of South Africa resides in the Pretoria/Witwatersrand/Vereeniging area. One has to take into account that 78% of the mining production takes place there. The area covers only 1,4% of the total surface of South Africa, but it represents 17 000 square kilometres. The demand for water in this area is growing by 5,5% annually. One also has to take into consideration that 58% of our industrial production and 34% of our agricultural production takes place in that area.

The water of the Vaal River is absolutely indispensable for the generation of power for the whole of South Africa, as well as for the preparation of synthetic fuel. An area of 62 000 hectare has to be irrigated. We cannot but realize that this area is of the utmost importance to us.

In view of this I want to put a few questions to the hon the Minister and I would be glad if he could give us replies. What progress has been made with alternative sources, such as the Tugela/Vaal Scheme, the Lesotho Highlands Project, the Oranje/ Vaal Scheme and of course also the Usutu Scheme as regards the Tugela River, which was started in 1974, as well as the Usutu/ Vaal Scheme to pump water from the Usutu River to the Vaal River. We would be very glad if the hon the Minister could give us more information.

I also want to ask the hon the Minister how water can be saved more effectively at power stations and industries. I have here a beautiful report on the research project in this connection, but I should also like to get more information from the hon the Minister. I also want to ask: How can the department assist in encouraging water conservation in the urban areas specifically.

I wonder whether the time has not come for a second Water Year to be planned. The previous Water Year was in 1970 in the time of ex-Minister Fanie Botha. All the communities can be involved in this. During the Water Year in 1970 the largest water organ in the world was erected in my constituency. I hear that a second organ is being planned in Verwoerdburg.

What is the department doing with a view to the Johannesburg centenary celebrations in 1986? Is this not perhaps an opportunity to have a large water exhibition at the Easter Show at Crown Mines, for example? What about a water mill which grinds wheat to illustrate the power of water? What about the establishment of a water museum?

Water has played a big role in the history of South Africa. Many poems and songs have already been written about water, for example the well-known “Kinders moenie indie water mors nie, die oumense wil dit drink”.


“Swem, Jannie, swem!”

*Mr H M J VAN RENSBURG (Rosettenville):

As the hon member says, there are many such interesting examples.

I have tried to do quite a bit of research and I am very grateful for the information Mr Le Roux of the department gave me. But I found a shortcoming in the Rand Water Board. Why can the department not make an effort to establish a public relations section there? Yesterday I tried to contact Mr Oberholzer, a board member, but he was not available. I tried in vain to contact the Rand Water Board. Has the time not come for a public relations section to be established for this Board?

The PWV area stretches from Pretoria in the north to Vereeniging and Sasolburg in the south. It also includes Bethal and Rustenburg in the west, as well as cities such as Pretoria, Johannesburg, Germiston and Roodepoort. Then there are also all the municipalities on the Rand. The area also includes places in the Orange Free State such as Parys and Welkom, and other places such as Bloemhof, Klerksdorp and Barkly West. The population of the area is increasing annually and will eventually be 12 million. Why can there consequently not be better liaison?

In an old annual report of the department it was said that 83,5% of our water was used by agriculture in 1965. Now the position is completely reversed and the largest part of our water is at present used by industries. This can be ascribed particularly to the increasing population numbers in our metropolitan areas.

One of South Africa’s biggest problems is that it is situated in a drought belt. The problem of droughts cannot be solved easily, but we can learn how to make the best use of our water supply. Our water resources are unevenly distributed geographically, but how can we utilize our water better? How can the loss of water through evaporation be reduced? How can we have better control over floods, which now occur regularly? The creation of new water resources requires a great deal of capital.

A matter I am very serious about is soil conservation. It is of even greater importance than soil erosion. Large tracts of land are completely stripped of top soil. We destroy trees and plants, but must we not plant more trees and plants, particularly on the Witwatersrand, to protect our soil surface better? How much of our water is lost before it flows into a river or stream? How much water flows uselessly into the sea?

Nowadays regional planning in this connection must be done in the national interest. I can understand the sentiments of hon members from Natal as regards water, but sentimental reasons can no longer be decisive. Co-ordination with regard to the development of our water resources is essential. It must keep pace with the economic development of the country.

Future needs of different sectors must be planned effectively, and that is why I am grateful for the intensive research plan for the conservation, utilization, re-use, desalination and storage of water. On the Rand water pipes burst regularly, which leads to water being wasted. [Time expired.]


Mr Chairman, kindly allow me to place on record that I feel exceptionally honoured to be able to deal with the vote of a department which, as the hon the Deputy Minister said, is probably one of the most important departments, especially at this particular stage of development in South Africa, because we are responsible for the planning in regard to and the supply of water. It has been an exceptional experience and honour to have been in charge of this portfolio since September.

As result of climatic conditions, which also caused problems in other spheres, this department experienced particularly grave problems in meeting the need for water in the recent times, not only for irrigation purposes but also for industrial purposes. My predecessor, who occupied this position with great distinction, had to initiate very important emergency projects. I have been informed that an emergency project, inter alia to supply water to the Grootdraai Dam from the Vaal Dam to stabilize the position of our power stations, was completed in the nick of time. If that had not been the case, we would have had very grave crises in this country. He dealt with those crises, and with the help of the department he solved the problems. I think he deserves every honour and profound thanks for the task which he performed in this respect as well.

Perhaps it is also important that I make a certain announcement on this occassion.

†Mr Chairman, I want to make the following statement as regards the management of our water resources in South Africa.

For public information the Department of Water Affairs is preparing a comprehensive report on the management of South African water resources which are shared to best advantage with the independent, the neighbouring and the self-governing national states. The report is being prepared in close consultation with a wide range of representative user groups as well as corporate and individual authorities in the private, semi-private and public sectors. The draft edition is being revised for publication and for use in the preparation of a White Paper outlining the department’s policies and viewpoints.

The report also considers research priorities, it gives expectations regarding the future development of South African water law and also suggests the order of funds likely to be required for the appropriate development of water resources.

*They have already made a great deal of progress with this White Paper, and many inquiries and criticism in this connection are already streaming in. We hope to table this White Paper next year and that we will be able to conduct a very fruitful debate on this matter.

The hon member for Rosettenville asked me to reply to certain questions of his, and I should like to deal with his first question, namely whether we would consider having another Water Year, as we did a few years ago in 1970. One of my predecessors, Mr Fanie Botha, was very enthusiastic about this at the time. It also produced good results. I have been informed, however, that that Water Year cost the department more than a half million rands. As I have said, that was in 1970. If we are to consider doing this again, we shall have to look at the costs involved. It appears as if the costs will now quite probably amount to R2 million to R2,5 million if we want to hold the same kind of Water Year, with all the publicity involved, etc.

As one is bound to learn lessons in life, we have learned important lessons from the drought of the past few years. I think the drought taught us to use water very sparingly in South Africa. The department also launched various information campaigns to promote water conservation in South Africa. I want to give an example. The hon member asked me about water conservation at power-stations. Schemes have been worked out in this connection by means of which certain power-stations are now able to use far less water. In this way we are able to save a great deal of water. With the new process only 0,8 litres per kilowatt hour of water is required instead of 2,5 litres per kilowatt hour for wet cooling purposes. This is a tremendous saving. Unfortunately the dry cooling process is very expensive. In certain cases where water has to be conveyed over great distances, the cost saving in regard to water compensates for this. It therefore depends on where the power-station is built.

We have the position in South Africa that industrial development and other water consumers are not always situated close to the water sources. The pumping of water is becoming an increasingly expensive facet. Expensive pumps have to be used. The PWV area, for example, is situated high above sea level and most of the water which is brought to that area, for example the water from the Tugela basin, is conveyed by expensive pumping systems. This makes water tremendously expensive. It therefore depends on where the power station is built. In a remote area it is worthwhile building the dry power-station, as it is called, because the water saving is such that it can compensate for those costs.

The hon member enquired about the progress that was being made with alternative supplementary sources for the PWV area. I can only say that we expect the Raubenheimer Report at the end of May. I here that this is a very valuable report. The department, too, has made its inputs and given evidence. The report will give us a very good indication of the future position in respect of the entire Vaal River water system.

Progress is also being made with the Tugela/Vaal scheme. The construction division of the Department of Water Affairs is at present engaged in increasing the supply from the Tugela/Vaal project from the existing 11 cubic metres per second to 20 cubic metres per second. One third of the work on the canal enlarging project has been completed and the necessary pumps have been ordered. Escom is prepared to make additional capacity available at the Drakensberg project to enable the water to be lifted over the watershed. It is the lifting of water over watersheds which causes the heavy costs.

The raising of the Sterkfontein dam has virtually been completed and the dam can now store more than twice as much water than before. This is a very effective dam. I have been told that because it is an exceptionally deep dam, the evaporation there is far lower than at the Vaal Dam for example. The Vaal Dam has a tremendously high evaporation rate.

In the meantime a start has nevertheless been made with a study of the Tugela River basin to determine the needs there and how much water may still be available for export. In future further plans for the expansion of the Tugela/Vaal scheme will be devised.

Provisional figures indicate that the Lesotho Highlands project, which is a very dramatic and also a very expensive development, will cost approximately R2 000 million. Feasibility studies are at present being made and these ought to be ready next year. Hon members will understand, however, that this is an international scheme. Consequently it is necessary to liaise on an international level with international agencies, such as the World Bank, in order to arrange all the financing and guarantees. Quite a number of matters still have to be ironed out in this connection.

Consequently the Orange/Vaal scheme is at present only an alternative to the Lesotho Highlands project and will only be commenced if the Lesotho Highlands project does not succeed. The department is keeping an eye on developments and if things go wrong, this project will be undertaken. Perhaps it is not as effective, but it is in any event an alternative to the Lesotho Highlands project.

Various measures are being adopted in regard to water conservation. I have already referred to these briefly, but perhaps I should mention a few of these measures. There is for example loss control over leaking distribution systems in cities and towns, water saving methods in industries to be able to reduce water consumption per unit product manufactured, and then instruments are being manufactured to enable water consumption in individual flats to be measured. As hon members know, blocks of flats only have one central water meter, but thanks to new developments we now intend to install a water meter in every flat so that the water supplied to large blocks of flats can be properly monitored. [Interjections.]

However, we are also moving in the direction of installing a water monitoring system throughout the Republic, even in the river systems. The statistics of the Department of Water Affairs have been kept for 80 years. According to the present statistics at our disposal the recent drought was the worst in 80 years. No one could therefore have foreseen that these problems would assume such proportions. However, we intend to manage the water systems in South Africa more and more effectively. We are therefore going to install water meters in every possible sphere to collect further statistics so that we can have a scientific assessment of water development, water distribution, etc in South Africa. I think that complies more or less with the hon member’s request.

The hon member for Mooi River also made certain observations about the reticulation of water in areas under the control of local authorities. I just want to say that the Department of Water Affairs has nothing to do with that. It is the function of the local authority.

The hon member for Winburg stated his problems with the Sand/Vet irrigation scheme. I just want to say that the risk norm which is applied for the supply of water for irrigation is as follows: For seven out of the 10 years a full quota is provided; and for three out of the 10 years restrictions are applied. The present drought falls outside this normal risk. We have statistics for 80 years, and this is the first time in 80 years that we have run this kind of risk. No one would have been able to foresee it. So I do not think we should scale down the amount of scheduled land unnecessarily. We hope and believe that things will return to normal, and then we will perhaps have restricted certain irrigation schemes unnecessarily.

The hon member for Barberton’s problem is that the amount budgeted for Government water works has been reduced in the latest Estimates. As a result of costs and Government expenditure, however, there has been a gradual reduction in the amounts appropriated for the Department of Water Affairs since 1974. In fact the same also applies to all the other departments.

With the development of certain projects the Government decided to give greater priority to the development of the Orange River Scheme, for example, particularly in regard to the available water which is at present not being utilized. We can therefore foresee that over the next ten years—it takes considerable time to complete the schemes—more money will be appropriated for Government water works.

Water development is playing an increasingly important role in the decentralization policy of the Government. In fact, the State President announced in the House of Representatives this week that it was being planned to develop irrigation schemes on a large scale, and that approximately 75 000 ha of land were available for this purpose. It will, however, take quite a number of years to develop these irrigation schemes. Coupled to this, other infrastructures will also develop, inter alia for the supply of additional water to places such as Port Elizabeth and to other parts of the Eastern Cape that are experiencing water problems. We can therefore expect that considerably more money will be made available for the supply of water.

The hon member also referred to the position in his constituency, and mentioned the Nkomati and Lomati rivers. The Driekoppies Dam is being planned, but because it is a river with which other states, including Swaziland, are concerned, certain negotiations still have to take place. Agreements have already been reached in connection with the negotiations and as soon as they have been finalized we will be able to announce the Driekoppies Dam project. At present certain matters still have to be ironed out, but I hope to be able to make an announcement in this connection next year.

The hon member for Pretoria East made a very interesting speech. I wish we could make further progress as he envisaged; that is to say instead of a weather prediction for the next 24 hours, the weather may be predicted for longer periods. We have already made progress in this connection, though. Even now the latest weather prediction extends over the next five days and that is of great assistance. Now, at least, one knows when one can dip one’s sheep, or when one should do something else.


What about the angora goats?


Periodically something is said about angora goats as well.

The hon member envisaged that we might subsequently have seasonal weather prediction. With the development of modern technology and satellites circling the earth it might perhaps be possible at a later stage to evaluate all the climatic changes, including heat stress in the oceans. This will probably be very valuable, not only for water exploitation in South Africa, but it will also be possible then to apply water conservation in time. It will also make it possible for us to urge the agricultural industry, on a seasonal basis, to be careful as far as their planning for the next season is concerned. Be careful with the fertilizer you apply, be careful with your capital outlay. It is possibly an indication of what awaits us in future. I agree that we shall have to undertake more research in this connection.

As the hon member said, however, accurate weather predictions and particularly long-term predictions, affect various sectors of our society. For this reason it is necessary for consideration to be given to where the Weather Bureau is situated, so as to determine the best place to establish such a service organization. Such a function-orientated investigation is at present being undertaken by the Commission for Administration, and I want to assure hon members that if it should be recommended that the Weather Bureau should be incorporated into the Department of Water Affairs, I would give my wholehearted support to such a recommendation. At this stage, however, I do not wish to comment on the merits of the various possibilities. The hon members will understand why.

On this occasion I should like to thank the personnel of the Weather Bureau, who are already rendering a service to the Department of Water Affairs as well as the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing, and who are also actively engaged in research into rain stimulation at Bethlehem, for their contribution and unstinting service during the past few years.

In conclusion I want to talk to the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North. It is a pity that the hon member could not give me a copy of his speech, for then I could perhaps have replied to him in greater detail. Apparently he had given it to the Press five days before.


No, that is not true.


I had to make this inference from what the hon member for Rosettenville said, but I concede that a little mistake must have crept in somewhere The hon member objected strenuously to the abstraction of the water from the Tugela.


Too much water.


Why may we not abstract water from the Tugela Basin to strengthen the Vaal Scheme? What does the hon member want to do with the water? Should it flow into the ocean? [Interjections.] Does he want to isolate Natal from the rest of the Republic of South Africa? The exploitable water potential in the Tugela Basin is at present approximately 2 500 million cubic metres. It is just as much water which is not being utilized at present as the present PWD area consumption. We have not touched the water potential of the Tugela yet.

While we are considering the Vaal Scheme now, I just want to say that we do not want to deprive Natal of water, because there are major development possibilities there. There is a great potential for development and there are millions of people in that area who are in need of development. The Government realizes this, and that is why we view the matter in a serious light. But surely it is sound if one is able to link one’s various water catchment areas when an interdependence in respect of water exists. Natal cannot isolate itself from the remainder of the Republic in this respect. Water is a shared resource.

We are negotiating at present, by means of permanent water commissions with the national as well as independent states, because rivers do not flow only through provinces, but through countries as well. That is why there is a need for joint planning.

The hon member mentioned certain figures, inter alia that the sale of water from the Vaal River for domestic consumption was 1 062 cubic metres. The fact of the matter is that only 300 million cubic metres of that water came from the Tugela. At present the water tariff for domestic purposes is only 5,8 cents per cubic metre. However, I shall go into the objections raised by the hon member and get into touch with him again. I just want to make the point that we should not assume that if we have large quantities of water available in a specific area, we should reserve that water in a way that is detrimental to the arid parts of South Africa. The PWD area is extremely important for economic development in South Africa and since the department is constantly taking measurements in rivers and making a proper determination of water requirements, we shall never find ourselves in the position where we are going to retard our potential development in an area in which water is locally available. That is not the policy of this Government.

Vote agreed to.

Chairman directed to report progress and ask leave to sit again.

House Resumed:

Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Universities and Technikons Advisory Council was established to advise, inter alia, the Ministers responsible for the universities and technikons for Whites, Coloureds and Indians on the following matters—

Any provision of any law in terms of which a university or a technikon is administered or which is applicable in respect of any such institution; the establishment, development and extension of universities and technikons; the academic fields in which universities and technikons should be active; degree, diploma and certificate courses offered at universities and diploma and certificate courses offered at technikons or which should be so offered; the granting of subsidies to universities and technikons in respect of capital and recurrent expenditure, the basis on which and the conditions subject to which subsidies shall be granted, the purposes for which such subsidies shall be used, and the requirements of each university and technikon in this respect in relation to the general requirements of higher education in the Republic; any other matter relating to universities and technikons which the Minister may refer to the advisory council, or in respect of which the advisory council may deem it necessary or expedient to advise the Minister; and in general, all questions of policy arising out of the provisions of laws in terms of which universities and technikons are administered, or which are connected therewith.

Under the new political dispensation Ministers of Education and Culture of the House of Assembly, the House of Representatives and the House of Delegates were appointed to be responsible for the said institutions. It is therefore necessary to amend the definition of “Minister” accordingly.

*According to the present provisions of the Act the advisory council advises the Minister of Co-operation, Development and Education on the second, third, fourth and fifth aspects that I mentioned. The definition of “Minister” is being further amended in order to extend the powers of the Advisory Council to advise the Minister, so that in future all the matters I mentioned will be included.

A further amendment to the Universities and Technikons Advisory Council Act, 1983, is also necessary so that the advice of the Advisory Council to the hon the Ministers whom I have mentioned will be given with due regard to the policy determined by me in my capacity of Minister of National Education in terms of the National Policy for General Education Affairs Act of 1984.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Speaker, I am sorry that the hon member for Innesdal who is the chairman of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs and National Education is not in the House at the moment. I had not realized that the position in Harrismith was as serious as it seems to be, but it seems to explain the emptiness of the Government benches in the House. They are involved in two by-elections. Heaven help this Assembly if they had been involved in three by-elections—there would not have been a quorum! [Interjections.] We are capable of holding our own against you!

In the absence of the hon member for Innesdal who has been appointed chairman of the standing commitee, on behalf of the PFP I would like to congratulate him on that appointment. We are pleased that he has been appointed in that position. We are looking forward to working closely with him and to co-operating with him in the search for consensus on matters of education which are of such outstanding importance to our country. To date his performance in and his handling of that committee has been very good indeed. If we can smooth off some of the rougher edges, we shall make an outstanding chairman of him yet.

I would also like to take this opportunity of saying just this about the standing committee system: There is no doubt whatsoever that if the standing committee system is correctly used, if all the potential which exists within the standing committee system is exploited, it can be of great value to the parliamentary system and it can make a major contribution to the production of sound legislation in our country. It has been our experience thus far that members in the standing committee are prepared to speak very sincerely and very openly. They are prepared to debate with one another openly and sincerely about the matters that are before those committees. It is possible there to persuade people that their points of view are not necessarily the only points of view, or the only correct points of view, and it is possible to find consensus on matters of importance. I am particularly impressed with the potential of these committees. I believe, if there is one aspect of the new Constitution which is worthwhile, it has been these standing committees. I hope they will in fact fulfil the promise which they hold out for better legislation and better parliamentary procedure in the future.

The Bill we are debating at the moment is a very short one. The hon the Leader of the Official Opposition made an appeal to the State President the other day that, where we deal with legislation in respect of which consensus has been reached after the processes of the standing committee, we should not indulge in the long, dreary, and sometimes very boring speeches which are experienced in the Second Reading debates. I should like to try to make a contribution to this debate in the spirit of that particular appeal.

One thing I want to state in respect of this particular piece of legislation is that it is most unfortunate—really most unfortunate—that when the hon the Minister had the opportunity of removing the aspect of racial segregation from the particular level of education with which this measure deals—tertiary education at technikons and universities—he failed to do so. When he had an opportunity of stating that as far as universities and technikons were concerned he was going to begin right there, at that level of education, to remove apartheid by way of introducing legislation which would provide for bodies such as the one with which we are dealing now that would in no way be racially based, he failed to make use of that very appropriate opportunity.

At the tertiary level of education there remains really no justification whatsoever for racial segregation. When one looks at the spirit that is apparently pervading the thinking of the National Party Government at the moment, when one looks at the objectives which we are all aspiring to achieve in South Africa, namely to move away from discrimination and to create a unity of purpose among the peoples of our country, then to separate people at that level of education at which the leaders of our society in all fields are being prepared in order to face their responsibilities, I believe, is extremely unwise and counterproductive. The simple reason why this is so is that the moment these people qualify they are expected to be able to communicate with one another; expected to be able to understand one another; expected to be able to co-operate with one another in the accomplishment of common goals in the interests of South Africa and its whole society. That is after all the very purpose, the essence of tertiary education, namely to produce the future leadership of a society at all levels and to ensure the security, the prosperity and the progress of that society, all of which depend on the success with which the members of that society can accomplish effective co-operation in relation to the achievement of their goals.

Here we have a situation in which the young men and women of our country, while they are receiving tertiary education, are separated from one another. They are not given the opportunity of learning to understand one another by way of effective communication. As soon as they leave those institutions of tertiary education and go into the wide world where they have to deal with one another either on a government, industrial or commercial level or on any other level, when they then fail to understand one another or to communicate with one another, when there is an absence or a lack of co-operation, when there is distrust and a lack of mutual confidence, when there is in fact that sort of conflict which at times can lead to confrontation, we are extremely surprised and we wonder why this has happened. The simple reason for this is that when we had the opportunity of producing that understanding among these people we did not take to. Instead we made use of legislation such as this measure now before the House in order to create and to perpetuate these divisions among people, these most unnatural divisions among people, and to build walls that would separate people and prevent them from communicating with one another.

The debate on this piece of legislation is unfortunately not the proper occasion for us to demonstrate our opposition by voting against it because it is a purely technical measure seeking to change the terminology used in existing legislation in order to bring it into line with the needs and demands of the new constitutional dispensation.

There is in fact one small concession or improvement, and I am very pleased to say that that was the product of consensus among ourselves on the standing committee. As a result of representations that were made there, the functions of the Universities and Technikons Advisory Council were extended towards advising the hon the Minister of Co-operation and Development and of Education on precisely the same basis as in the case of the hon Ministers of Education and Culture. For that reason we in the PFP will support this legislation.

I want to end off by making a very serious appeal to the hon the Minister although I do not even know whether he is listening to me right now. As I said the other day, the hon the Minister is in the National Education part of his present portfolio in a position to make an extremely important and valuable contribution to reform, namely by reforming education in such a way as to remove racial segregation from education. We can all understand the sensitivity of the Government with regard to making primary and secondary schools open to all race groups in South Africa. It happens to be the policy which we believe in, but we can understand the difficulties and the sensitivity of the Government in this regard. However, that is no excuse when it comes to tertiary education and I really believe that the Government should start there in order to bring about reform in this field.


Mr Speaker, it is a long time since the hon member for Bryanston made such a long speech without saying anything, because what he tried to say here was—with all due respect—not applicable to the Bill before this House. But I also understand the hon member’s problem. He was abroad for quite a while and I think he is probably still a little confused, and I can understand that. Consequéntly we shall excuse him on that account.

What is at issue in this amending Bill is an amendment to the Universities and Technikons Advisory Council. With the point the hon member for Bryanston discussed, he tried to deal with the provisions in the Constitution Act as well as the provisions in the National Policy for General Education Affairs Act. That is what he tried to discuss in his speech. If one looks at Schedule 1, this is probably the matter he should have dealt with if he had wanted to make this point, and the same applies to the National Policy for General Education Affairs Act. But what the hon member said here definitely did not apply to the amending Bill before this House.

In the main the amending Bill now before this House is merely a consequential amendment, which has become necessary owing to the establishment of own Education Ministries. I think this has also been very clearly set out in the explanatory memorandum to the amending Bill. We also discussed it in this way in the standing committee. I must say that this is purely a national education matter. The hon member for Innesdal, who was the chairman of the standing committee, has apologized for the fact that he was not going to participate in this debate because this was a national education matter, and consequently he left it to us to discuss it. I therefore apologize on his behalf, and I am sorry that he did not personally hear the kind words addressed to him by the hon member for Bryanston. However, I promise to convey them to him. I take pleasure in supporting this measure. I believe it is in the main merely a consequential amendment. There is no change in principle at issue in this respect, and I believe that this is merely a good consequential amendment which is being built in.

Perhaps I should raise one further point, and this concerns the important amendment which the standing committee itself made. This is also a consequential amendment to the effect that what applies to the other Ministries, is now also applicable to the hon the Minister of Co-operation, Development and Education as regards the advisory aspect. In my opinion we have no reason to quarrel with this either, in any case not with the hon member for Bryanston as far as that aspect is concerned. Consequently I take pleasure in supporting the Bill.


Mr Speaker, we on this side of the House will support this legislation partially. As far as clause 1 is concerned, we just want to point out that no mention is made of which population group the Minister will belong to. This actually caused us a few problems, but we do not mind supporting the remainder of clause 1.

Under the old dispensation the said advisory council actually advised three Ministers. These were the Ministers responsible for White education, Coloured education and Indian education. They were advised on the administration of universities and technikons and also on the establishment, development and expansion of universities and technikons. This also covered the academic field as regards courses for grades, diplomas and certificates. Advice was also given on the allocation of subsidies as regards the basis and conditions for such allocations as well as the purpose for which they were allocated. The requirements of each university and technikon must take the general requirements of the country into consideration, and advice in this regard was also given to the various education departments which existed under the old dispensation.

The points and requirements I have just referred to, vary and differ from people to people depending on each people’s culture and everything that goes with it. Under the new dispensation this now becomes general affairs, but we do not want to make our own White education subservient to general legislation. That is why we oppose clause 2. We are opposed to a mixed advisory council. All advisory councils are now becoming mixed councils, and as everyone knows, we cannot support those councils; we are opposed to them.

A people’s self-determination is jeopardized by this, and we will not have anything to do with it.


Mr Speaker, the hon member for Bryanston will probably wonder what is happening this afternoon because I am going to speak in his defence. He will probably feel that it is a little like a kiss of death. I think the hon member for Johannesburg West is being a little unkind when he suggests that the hon member for Bryanston was not present during the deliberations on this piece of legislation. He was, and I think he made a very valuable contribution at that time. I hope that was not what the hon member for Johannesburg West sought to imply.

We in this party support entirely the thoughts of the hon member for Bryanston as regards racial discrimination at the tertiary levels of education. I think this is something that must be given urgent attention because it is something at which we in this country ought to look. I agree that this is not a subject which is contained in the Bill. It is, however, a matter of extreme urgency. If we are to achieve anything, then I believe that that is an area that has to be looked at very, very carefully.

I think the hon member for Bryanston motivated his case very, very well when he suggested that we had to look at a whole new cadre of people who have to come out into the world at a certain level of education to mingle with all the other citizens of all races, colours and creeds. People should not be put in the difficult position in which they may find themselves if we continue with the present system where we have this discrimination at the higher levels. For obvious reasons I do not want to talk about the school level.

The Bill amends firstly the definition of “Minister” in order to comply with the provisions of the new Constitution. It then goes on to amend certain other aspects of the present Act but merely to bring it into line with the requirements of the new Constitution.

We have absolutely no problems whatever with the content of the Bill so the NRP has much pleasure in supporting the Bill.


Mr Speaker, I should like to thank all the hon members who have participated for their support of the Bill. I should like to associate myself, too, with the thanks expressed to the chairman and members of the standing committee. This is the first product of their toil and sweat that we are debating here. I should like to convey my cordial thanks to them.

†I agree with the hon member for Bryanston on the value of the new committee system and the obvious new dimension it has brought to the input of our MPs. Considerable talent is harnessed in this way to improve our legislation. However, I find it a pity that the hon member does not acknowledge that the role of the Opposition has been enhanced by the committee system instead of being depleted as the PFP argued during the referendum and afterwards in their criticism of the new system when they were still worried whether they had a future in democracy.

*The hon member seems to have Harrismith on the brain. I believe that there are two schools of thought in the PFP; one is afraid that the NP will not fare well, and the other hopes that the NP will not fare well. The hon member had better inform us, on some other occasion, as to where his sentiments lie in the Harrismith by-election. [Interjections.] It seems to me that it is a favourite pastime of the PFP to stand on the sidelines, not taking part in by-elections, and then having a great deal to say for themselves at the elections when they have not had the courage to participate themselves.


If we had put up a candidate in Harrismith, you would have lost.


The hon member knows that their only motivation in not putting up a candidate in Harrismith is their awareness that they would emerge from the struggle empty-handed and humiliated, both there and in the rural areas of the entire South Africa, because they are a small urban party. [Interjections.]

The hon member made a plea once again for tertiary education to be detached from the concept of own affairs and subjected to a form of diversified control. I do not wish to argue the point with him all over again that we had in the discussion of my Vote, but with reference to the legislation I just wish to point out the wilfulness of the hon member and his party in stating only one side of the case when they argue this matter.

If the hon member lays such emphasis on “separate, separate, separate”, why does he not say in the same breath that the Department of National Education is a department which serves all population groups in regard to the fundamental aspects mentioned in the Constitution? Why does he not say that we find a link, specifically in the UTAC, whereby to co-ordinate the interests of the various insitutions at the tertiary level as well? Therefore what we have here is a joint institution which furnishes advice, and at the same time serves all population groups, with regard to the areas of contact. The hon member’s version of how our education system works is not correct. He makes it seem as if our education is divided up into so many separate compartments that there is no interaction.

Once again there is the old issue of differing interpretations adapted to one’s own theories and propaganda. We do not get the full support of the CP for the same Bill because they say that there is too much integration in the legislation. On the other hand the hon member says that his essential objection is that it is pure segregation. The two parties say this about the same matter. The standpoints of both parties reflect only part of the truth. [Interjections.]

I wish to reply to the hon member for Germiston District. Each of the separate educational institutions and education departments are fully empowered to look after the culture and national identity of the relevant population groups. That which is common to all must be co-ordinated in South Africa. Even if the CP were to come to power—that will never happen—and even if they were to succeed in realizing their policy, I want to ask the hon member: Will you, in terms of your own vision, permit—and can we in South Africa afford this—that people from various educational systems enter the labour market in the absence of mutual co-ordination as regards certificates? Even if the CP’s policy were to succeed they would be obliged to sit round a table with Coloured, Indian and various Black leaders in education and find a way to standardize the certification of qualifications.

As hon members can see, there must be co-ordination. This would also have to happen with regard to a purely Afrikaans education policy—I am speaking now in their terminology—for their policy to succeed in ensuring that total chaos did not develop because the people enter the same labour market from different systems. Therefore it is necessary to have the approach, with regard to the areas of contact, of saying: We here enter a sphere of common interest and we should have structures to provide for that. In our case that structure is the Department of National Education, and the advisory body is UTAC. However, there is own interest as well and this is not limited to the primary and secondary levels. There are also important facets of tertiary education that have to do with national identity. That is why we are right in thinking that there is a linking of tertiary education at the own affairs level.

However, because as far as universities are concerned—and I believe this will to an increasing extent apply to Technicons as well in future—we are dealing with autonomous institutions, it is different to the school level, and the emphasis in regard to the area of contact with Government decision-making—if I may put it that way—at the tertiary level lies specifically with the Department of National Education. The main areas of contact are the certification of standards, which is a general affair, the norms of financing, which is a general affair, and the profession of educator, their conditions of service and everything that that entails, which is also a general affair. With regard to these matters there is a direct line to the Minister of National Education and there is also a direct line to the UTAC. Therefore I do not feel that we need make too much politics out of this. The time has come for us to say to one another that it would not be heaven on earth and would not solve all problems if we were ever—we dare never do it, but for other reasons—to have the situation advocated by the hon member for Bryanston. Integration of education will not resolve the shortage of well-trained teachers in the Black educational system. It will not resolve existing differences in standards of facilities. Decentralization in accordance with demand is an important principle and in South Africa we simply cannot have geographic decentralization of control because owing to differences in circumstances, cultures and for many other reasons that I do not wish to argue afresh at this point, differentiation and decentralization of decision-making with regard to groups as well is a wise approach not only politically but also educationally and otherwise.


At the tertiary level too?


Yes, there too.

I think I have already dealt with the objection advanced by the hon member for Germiston District, but I do wish to thank the CP for supporting clause 2. We shall gradually get them to be sensible and also to approach the clause 2’s, which are in the interest of South Africa and entail no threat to the security or the group rights of any group, in a better way. I thank all hon members on this side for their support of the measure. I have already replied by implication to the hon member for Umhlanga and I shall let these few remarks suffice.

Question agreed to (Conservative Party dissenting).

Bill read a second time.

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

HUMAN SCIENCES RESEARCH AMENDMENT BILL (Second Reading) Introductory Speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 15 April The MINISTER OF NATIONAL EDUCATION:

Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time

As I shall indicate, there are quite a number of shortcomings in the Human Sciences Research Act, 1968.

No provision was made in that Act for the Human Sciences Research Council to delegate its powers to its executive committee, an auxiliary committee or even to the president. Nor is the president able to delegate any of his powers to officers or employees of the council. Consequently the Act is being suitably amended in order to promote more efficient administration. The Act is being further amended to provide that the president is the accounting officer of the council, with the responsibilities pertaining thereto.

†A shortcoming which I must also point out is that the Act does not provide for losses or damage resulting from negligence on the part of an officer or employee, or on the part of a former officer or employee, to be recovered. A provision is therefore being inserted in the Act to empower the accounting officer to determine the amount of such loss or damage and to recover such loss or damage from the person concerned. The rights of such a person are protected. Any person who has been ordered to pay an amount may, within a period of thirty days from the date of such order, appeal against such order to the council. The council is empowered to investigate the matter and it may dismiss the appeal or exempt the appellant wholly or partly from the payment of the amount for which he is held responsible. Instead of appealing to the council, a person who has been ordered to pay an amount may also apply directly to a competent court of law for an order setting aside the order made by the accounting officer, or reducing the amount which he has been ordered to pay. If the court is not convinced by the accounting officer on the merits of the case that the order was rightly made or that the amount is correct, it may set aside the order made by the accounting officer or reduce the amount to be paid.

Provision is also made in this clause that a person who feels himself aggrieved by a decision of the council may apply to a competent court of law for an order already outlined by me.

At present section 4(4)(a) of the Act stipulates that the president and not more than two other members of the council constitute an executive committee. This implies that the executive committee may in fact consist of fewer than three members, which is an unsatisfactory state of affairs. The section referred to is, therefore, being amended to put it beyond any doubt that the executive committee must consist of the president and at least two other members of the council. Section 4(4)(a) of the Act is being amended further to indicate the functions of the executive committee.

Clause 2 provides for the insertion of the objectives of the council in the Act. The wording, as inserted, is already being used by the council in all its publications.

A provision is also being inserted in the Act to regulate the transfer of the staff of the National Institute for Personnel Research to the council. The staff referred to was seconded to the council as from 1 July 1984. Provision is being made for their transfer to take place with retention of their existing conditions of service.

*In clause 1 the definitions of “officer” and “employee” are being amended to give expression to a new employment philosophy. An “officer” is regarded as a person who is in the full-time or part-time service of the council on a permanent basis for an indefinite period. An “employee”, on the other hand, is a person who is in the part-time or full-time service of the council on a temporary basis for a specified period.

The existing definition of “research” as meaning “research in the field of the human sciences in connection with all national groups” is being amended by the omission of the words “in connection with all national groups”. In this way the universality of the research activities of the HSRC and of science is being confirmed.

The amending Bill makes provision for the deletion and substitution of obsolete designations and provisions. In clause 6 such an obsolete provision is being substituted to provide that any person in the permanent service of the State or an institution receiving financial support from the State may, with his written consent and with the concurrence of the head of the Government department or institution concerned, be transferred to the service of the council.

It has become necessary to extend the Minister’s powers so that he may make regulations to exercise control over psychological and scholastic tests and other aids. This has become necessary owing to the repeated misuse of the council’s standardized psychological tests.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Chairman, when the Government introduced the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act and section 16 of the Immorality Act some 30 years ago, we did not think it would take us that long to persuade them to change it. When it comes to the legislation we have just dealt with, and other legislation which we shall be dealing with in the future with regard to education, I do not think it is going to take 30 years to persuade the Government to remove apartheid from education. But, however many long years it may take us to persuade them, we shall never stop arguing with all the conviction and all the competence at our disposal to try to persuade the Government to remove apartheid from education. We know that the hon Ministers on the opposite side or the Government will argue with equal determination, seriousness and conviction that such a step must not be taken. However, we know that all the arguments we are now putting in Hansard will be needed by the Government in a few years’ time to justify removing apartheid from education. So, I should like to recommend that the Government make a note of our arguments appearing in Hansard, take them out and put them in a file, because in a few years’ time the hon the Minister opposite may in fact need my arguments in order to persuade the rest of Parliament that he should remove apartheid from education. [Interjections.]

The hon member for Innesdal has returned. I hope that the work that he did in Harrismith will in fact be of some value. I am not going to repeat the nice things I said about him. It is always easier to say nice things about a person in his absence, than when he is present. He can go and read Hansard to establish the nice things that I said about him.

With regard to the legislation before us at the moment, we shall support this legislation once again. We believe that the HSRC fulfills a very, very vital function in the developing reform situation in South Africa. The HSRC is a large, well-staffed, highly competent organization which has already carried out some very significant and very substantial investigations in South Africa. I refer to the De Lange Report, to the Eloff Commission inquiry and to various other investigations which have either been completed or are in the process of being completed, all of which are vital for the reform process in South Africa in that they provide South Africa and the Government with a scientific basis for the work which they are doing. For that reason we have great admiration for the work that the HSRC does and they can depend on our support when that work is truly objective and truly in the interests of South Africa.

It so happens that our appreciation for the work of the HSRC is strengthened by the fact that their reports, almost invariably, support the point of view of the PFP—not that that is their intention when they start out. Their intention when they start out is to seek the truth and to establish the facts objectively and scientifically. Inevitably, when they find the truth and publish it, they find that that is in fact the point of view of the PFP.

There is one thing that the HSRC must guard with its very life and that is its objectivity. Objectivity is absolutely essential for the success of its work. People should always be able to trust the objectivity of the HSRC. Particularly when it operates in the very sensitive field of race relations and inter-racial attitudes, it is essential that everybody—not just the Whites but the Blacks and everybody else concerned—should be able to trust its findings. Its objectivity should never be in question.

We were very fortunate in the standing committee in that a large number of the amendments we moved were in fact accepted by the chairman and the Government. Therefore, we are now in a position to say that the legislation as it stands, with one or two minor exceptions which are not important, was amended on the basis of discussions, of negotiation and of finding consensus in that standing committee with regard to a number of aspects. It is with pleasure that we can consequently support the legislation at this stage.


Mr Speaker, if the hon member for Bryanston wanted to bring the standpoint of his party regarding the education policy into the previous Bill, I can understand that. But he must go and read what his hon leader said the other day in this House with regard to legislation of this kind about which there is unanimity. Then the hon member must really try to refrain from getting a word in somewhere about the PFP’s view of matters. He knows what the deep-lying differences between us are and I suppose we can argue about them, but this does not apply to this specific piece of legislation.

I should like to express the sincere thanks of this side of the House to the chairman of the standing committee, the hon member for Innesdal, for the way in which he also dealt with this legislation. He gave us a free hand to hold wide-ranging discussions. We could get sufficient inputs from outside bodies. We were privileged to have Dr Garbers here in person to give us guidance regarding the Human Sciences Research Council’s views on this matter. This was illuminating and enjoyable.

We are also grateful that after due consideration the hon the Minister saw fit to allow the Bill to go through with the minor amendments we submitted, in order to pass more polished and enriched legislation.

I should also like to say from this side of the House that I think that the standing committee system is going to contribute to very good legislation being passed. The confidence of the Government to allow legislators to sit down together and speak freely about the implications of clauses of proposed legislation is going to be of very great advantage to us. We also want to convey our thanks to everyone who participated, including the way in which the opposition parties stated their standpoints, and the way in which we could deal with this legislation. We take pleasure in supporting this legislation and in this way also give form to our good wishes to the HSRC and the wonderful group of scientists there who are doing important work for South Africa. We also convey our good wishes to them for the important and even more valuable work they are going to do for our beloved fatherland in future.


Mr Speaker, we on this side of the House have little fault to find with this Bill. It is clear that the idea is to make the existing Act more streamlined and to substitute certain expressions, with which we agree. As far as clause 1 is concerned, it is provided that the president is the accounting officer of the council. We agree with that. The hon the Minister also referred to this in his second reading speech.

As far as clause 2 is concerned, we want to give it our qualified support. We want the hon the Minister to give this House the assurance that this specific body will never be instructed to promote or to undertake political matters on behalf of a political party for example. It must be a body which will be above the politics of this country at all times. I believe that every right-minded person will expect this in any case. But as it stands in the Bill in the proposed section 2A(a) to (f), it looks very innocent. Consequently we support the legislation in this regard.

As far as the recommendations in clause 8 are concerned, we like the provision which reads as follows:

… if any person referred to in section 9(1), as a result of any research undertaken by him, ascertains any fact which was previously unknown, he shall report the appropriate particulars thereanent to the council and shall not without the consent of the council disclose it to any person other than the council.

Consequently we give our qualified support to the contents of the Bill. We hope that the hon the Minister will give us the assurance we have asked for.


Mr Speaker, I, too, am sorry that the hon member for Innesdal is not here at the moment. I think that in respect of this particular piece of legislation that gentleman deserves high praise indeed for his chairmanship of the committee because he exhibited, during the discussions we had on this, the lengths to which he is prepared to go to ensure that his committee at all times has everything it needs in the way of information, assistance and advice. For that I think he needs to be commended.

This Bill produced some very interesting debate in the standing committee and I think it needs to be highlighted that one of the more interesting moments occurred when we had to look at the definitions and when we had to look at the meaning of the word “research”. If ever there was an attempt to over-define a word, we had it in the attempt to define the word “research” in the first draft of this Bill. Obviously, in trying to express exactly what “research” means, somebody got completely carried away. I think we all appreciated that there was a need to explain it. However, the explanation had been overdone.

We then had to deliberate on and decide what exactly “research” means. This was quite fun, really, if I may put it that way, because we eventually decided that the bulk of that particular paragraph just did not help us at all and that “research” means research in the field of human sciences. This is interesting because so often in legislation one can go beyond the pale and one can over-define either a situation or a particular aspect.

The Bill before us can only improve the efficiency and in fact the effectiveness of the HSRC. We trust that this is what they are looking for. We believe it is in fact what they wanted, although we did in our committee move certain amendments and some amendments were accepted. Dr Garbers was present and he knew and understood what we were doing. So I think the amending Bill has their blessing. We wish the HSRC well in the future and we hope they will not have to come back to us too soon in order to point out any pitfalls we may have inadvertantly created for them.


Mr Speaker, I want to thank the speakers for their support of the Bill. I also want to express my thanks to all the members of the committee, to the HSRC for the assistance they rendered the committee, and to the department.

From the hon member for Umhlanga’s speech it was interesting to get a glimpse of what took place in the committee. I think that, if there is one negative aspect of the committee system it is that the rest of us who do not sit on a particular committee miss the interesting, more technical arguments which we used to have here in the Committee Stage and which both tested our debating capabilities and improved our insight into a Bill. That is the one negative aspect of the new committee system, namely that the rest of Parliament is denied the privilege of participating in that sort of debate. On the other hand, the smaller, more intimate debate makes, I think, for better legislation and so the plus points outweigh the negative aspect. In my opinion, therefore, the system is a wonderful one.

I should like to agree with all the members who stressed the necessity for objectivity with regard to the operations, investigations and research of the HSRC.

*I am grateful that not one of the hon members made any innuendo to the effect that that objectivity was suspect, because my experience is that in the case of the HSRC we are dealing with a council, staff and research team who are absolutely geared to investigating only the facts with regard to important matters affecting South Africa’s interests and making the results of the research available to all decision makers, but at the same time making them available to all those engaged in research who wish to equip themselves with the facts.

*Mr C UYS:

Will you tell that to Deputy Minister Badenhorst as well?


I wish to express the hope that careful note will also be taken of their reports.

Sometimes one is compelled to take a decision knowing that an opinion survey at a specific juncture gives an indication of standpoints. Of course, we have other ways of carrying out opinion surveys too. If the hon member is correct then they ought to do very well in the coming by-election, because we decided against opinion polls. This by-election, and the one which will follow, are therefore important tests that lie ahead. According to information I have received, the campaign the hon member wishes to launch as a result of the decision to which the interjection referred, fell flat. It appears as if there is widespread general acceptance of the wisdom of the Government’s decision in this regard.

I believe that the HSRC has an exceptional task to perform. In the phase of development, in the process of reform and adjustment in constitutional development, the new economic circumstances relating to the problems of urbanization and the tremendous complexity of our problems in the socioeconomic and social spheres I believe that this body is of key importance for good decision-making on the road ahead. To conclude, therefore, I wish to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the great and fine contribution that the HSRC has already made. I thank hon members for their support. May the Bill result in the HSRC achieving still higher standards of effectiveness in its work and in its handling of its task.

Question agreed to.

Bill read à second time.

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

CONTROL OF ACCESS TO PUBLIC PREMISES AND VEHICLES BILL (Second Reading) Introductory Speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 15 April The MINISTER OF LAW AND ORDER:

Mr Speaker, I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The control of access to public premises and vehicles is in practice being applied to an increasing extent and the proposed legislation merely serves to confirm the application of such control measures.

The necessity for the control of access to public and vehicles is contained in the security threat which the Republic has experienced over the past number of years. Public premises occupied by Government institutions remain the target of terrorist attacks. Damages caused by such attacks amount to millions of rand. Such occurrences have far-reaching and demoralizing effects on the population who for many reasons have to enter public premises or vehicles daily.

The high premium placed on human lives necessitates effective measures to ensure a sense of security among people.

The application of the proposed legislation is not aimed solely at the application of control measures in respect of Government premises and vehicles. Institutions such as community councils, Black local authorities, development boards, municipalities and other “statutory bodies” and vehicles which are being used by those institutions also fall within the ambit of the proposed legislation. In terms of clause 1 (viii) (c) The Minister has the authority to declare any other council, board or body a statutory body by notice in the Gazette.

Apart from the definition in clause 1 (vii) of a “public vehicle” it is also a requirement that such vehicles are to be used for the transport of the public.

Clause 2(1) authorizes the owner of public premises or a public vehicle to take steps which he may consider necessary for the safeguarding of that premises or vehicle and the contents thereof as well as for the protection of the people therein or thereon and he may direct that those premises or that vehicle only be entered or entered upon in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2).

An authorized officer in terms of clause 1 (i) may require from a person concerned to adhere to the provisions of subsection (2) and grant permission to such person to enter public premises or to enter upon a public vehicle.

The content of clause 2(2) is self-explanatory and needs no detailed explanation. I want to refer, however, to some of the subsections which are aimed at creating effective control. Paragraph (e) provides that a person concerned, and anything which he has in his possession or under his control, be subjected to an examination by an electronic or other apparatus in order to determine the presence of any dangerous object. Paragraph (g) further provides that a person concerned may be searched by an authorized officer. The search of a woman in terms of this paragraph shall in terms of clause 2(5) be carried out by a woman.

Clause 2(3)(a) imposes further conditions on a person concerned after an authorized officer has granted permission to enter or to enter upon a public premises or public vehicle. These conditions entail the carrying or displaying of proof that permission has been granted, the persons on or in a premises or vehicle which may not be contacted, the section of the premises or vehicle which may not be entered upon, the duration of the presence of a person concerned on or in premises or vehicles, the escorting of a person concerned while he is on or in the premises or vehicle, and such other requirements which may be considered necessary.

Subsection (3)(b) also empowers an authorized officer to remove a person from the premises or vehicle under specific circumstances.

Clause 4 creates offences if the provisions of the proposed legislation are contravened, which offences are punishable with fines or imprisonment or both.

In conclusion I wish to state that the proposed legislation is not a substitute for the provisions of any other law relating to the protection of people or property, and nobody is exempted from complying with any obligation required to enter or enter upon public premises or a public vehicle.

Second Reading resumed


Mr Speaker, we had the benefit of the second reading speech of the hon the Minister some time ago. In the course of his speech he emphasized the need for the control of public premises and vehicles as a result of the security threat that had been facing South Africa over the past number of years. I must say that in the absence of any really fundamental changes in this country which will remove ongoing grievances and will redress, for instance, the imbalance in living standards between the White population and the Black population, I do not think there is any reason to believe that we are likely to be relieved of the sort of security threat that the hon the Minister referred to in his second reading speech.

As he pointed out, public premises occupied by Government institutions are the main targets of attacks. Damage has amounted to many millions of rand. I asked a question earlier this session as to how many incidents of sabotage, armed attack or explosions had occurred in the Republic in 1984, as at the latest specified date for which figures were available. The hon the Minister told us that there had been 58 such incidents in 1984, and up to 21 March 1985. Most of these attacks were on offices occupied by State departments and foreign missions, while some were on police stations, private property etc.

As I have said, I do not hold out any hope that in the immediate future we are going to see a decrease in this sort of incident unless the Government takes really fundamental steps to institute change in South Africa.

We had a very full discussion on this Bill on the Standing Committee on Law and Order and reservations were expressed about some of the clauses. I am glad to be able to say that the one clause about which we felt particularly strongly has in fact been omitted from the Bill which is now before the House. That, for the benefit of the House, was clause 6 of the Bill which was submitted to the standing committee and it stated that—

No person, including the State, is liable in respect of anything done in good faith in the exercise of a power or the carrying out of a duty conferred or imposed by or under this Act.

In other words, it was an indemnity clause, which we did not like. Whether the act was performed in good faith or not is, I think, a matter very difficult for the courts to decide. Therefore we moved that this be omitted and as a result of the discussions in the standing committee the clause has, I am glad to say, been omitted. That was our main objection to this Bill.

So, there is liability for anything done which goes beyond the powers that are conferred in this Bill, and I may say that those powers, in any case, are pretty wide and the powers of the Minister in delegating his authority are unrestricted, and this is something that we objected to. We felt that the Minister should not have the right to delegate any powers under this Bill in an unrestricted way. We were unable to get that accepted because it was pointed out that there would be very great practical difficulties if such a restriction were introduced into this legislation. So, we have agreed to accept that particular clause though we did have considerable reservations about it.

I think that covers the main debate that we had in the standing committee. There was one other clause in respect of which I moved that an exemption should be restricted. That, I think, rather surprised even the hon the Minister when he was told about it. I did not want the exemption to apply to any person in the service of the State—that is an exemption under clause 2(2) which in fact gives wider powers, if anything.

The other thing I should like to say before sitting down is that I very much hope that the hon the Minister will exercise considerable control over the use of the powers given to the authorized persons who may be controlling public premises or public vehicles, because included in the powers of search are powers of body search and this can cause considerable harassment of the public if such powers are abused. So I hope that the hon the Minister will make it clear, from the beginning, that there is not going to be any condonation from the top of any excessive use by the authorized persons of powers of search or indeed of any other powers given under this Bill.

With those words I want to say that we are accepting this Second Reading and we are satisfied that we did get the deletion of the clause containing our major objection.


Mr Chairman, I want to thank the hon member for Houghton for her support for the legislation on behalf of her party. It is just a pity that, while we are dealing here with the safeguarding of buildings, the hon member for Houghton had to take this opportunity to put forward her political philosophy. Standards of living, etc, have nothing to do with the matter.




This legislation was thrashed out thoroughly in the standing committee. I should like to take this opportunity to congratulate the chairman on the patience he showed. Every objection that was raised was accommodated, even the objections of the hon member for Houghton.


I agree.


I now want to ask her to make me a promise. The next time we accommodate all her objections in the standing committee, she must not come back to this House and try to make politics out of the matter. [Interjections.]

This legislation made us all aware again of how essential it is for our public buildings to be safeguarded, particularly in the times in which we live. I think this is a good piece of legislation, and this side of the House supports it.

*Mr C UYS:

Mr Speaker, the CP takes pleasure in supporting this legislation.


Mr Speaker, we shall support the Bill. We have no objections to any of the principles contained in it. As the hon member for Houghton said, there have been improvements made in the committee.

There is only one small point I wish to mention which is not one of principle. I would have liked to see it changed but I had to miss one meeting of the committee. I refer to a nonsense phrase which says that a person may be granted permission to enter a building, but excluding persons on or in the premises or vehicle with whom he may not come into contact, who may be indicated on the form of proof that such permission to enter the building has been granted. Of course, that is quite meaningless. No one can say that a person may not come into contact with somebody because one might bump into him in a lift or a passage. That is why I call it a nonsense phrase, but I am not going to make an issue of it if they want to include phrases like that. I did ask that it be reconsidered in the committee. Even in Afrikaans it means the same thing, viz: “Die persone op of in die perseel of voertuig met wie hy nie in aanraking mag kom nie.” No one can say whom he is going to meet when he gets into a lift or walks down a passage. It should have been phrased differently.


Which clause is that?


It is at the bottom of page 4, clause 2(3)(a), where it says that one must carry a form of identification, and one may define or limit the persons with whom he may come into contact—“die persone op of in die perseel of voertuig met wie hy nie in aanraking mag kom nie”. It obviously intended to mean that he may not interfere with or approach certain people. However, the phrase is there now, and we will support the measure.


Mr Speaker, I thank the hon members for their support of the legislation. What the hon member for Durban Point said is true, viz that except, perhaps, for this minor technical point, there is nothing else in the legislation that is troublesome. The matter could perhaps have taken a different course in the committee, but it is now a little late and the hon member is merely drawing attention to the matter.

†He is not pressing the issue for any form of amendment at this stage.

I want to give the assurance as I have already done in both the other Houses as far as this Bill is concerned that the principle that nobody is above the law must be applied at all times, and that any member of the public, irrespective of race or colour, must be treated equally and in a civilized manner. Whoever is responsible for the control of such a building or vehicle, whether it is the State, the SA Police, the Defence Force or any official in any other department, those three principles must be applied at all times to any member of the public who may wish to enter that particular building or that particular means of transport.

*I do not think there is anything else I need to come back to.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

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


Mr Speaker, I move:

That the House do now adjourn.

Agreed to.

The House adjourned at 17h58.