House of Assembly: Vol47 - MONDAY 18 FEBRUARY 1974
The following Bills were read a First Time—
Mr. Speaker, I move the following amendment—
- (a) ease the heavy burden of the high cost of living;
- (b) protect the position of the pensioner and other groups with fixed incomes; and
- (c) formulate a blueprint for economic expansion, with particular emphasis on productivity.”
In the brief moments that I spoke on Friday, I said that I feared the Greeks even when they brought gifts. I believe there is good cause for this fear, particularly if we believe that history repeats itself. What we are now witnessing is almost a complete repetition of the events of the election year of 1970. In 1970 Parliament met on 30 January and this year we met on 1 February. In 1970 the hon. the Minister of Finance introduced his Part Appropriation Bill on 13 February and this year he introduced the Bill on 15 February. In 1970 the hon. the Minister offered his gifts. There was a reduction in sales duty, there were increased benefits for pensioners and there were also increased benefits in terms of the Children’s Act. The tax allowance in respect of married women was improved. On Friday the hon. the Minister offered similar gifts, in all, nothing of any consequence. When one looks at the weekend Press, one finds that these were their comments:
And, in The Star of Saturday evening, this was the comment—
But The Star is fighting an election, that is why.
Mr. Speaker, we are very polite people on this side of the House so we say “thank you” to the hon. the Minister for the concession he has made, but we say it with caution. We do so because in 1970 the House was dissolved on 27 February …
We had the Hertzogites and you have Harry Schwarz.
… and we are going to dissolve this House before 27 February. In 1970 there was an election on 22 April and we are going to have an election this year on 24 April. Mr. Speaker, there was a Budget on 12 August 1970, a post-election Budget. What happened in that Budget? The the hon. the Minister made concessions amounting to R13½ million, but sales duties which had been decreased before the election, were increased by R10 million after the election. The loan levy in respect of individuals was doubled to take another R12½ million from our pockets and a loan levy on companies was imposed to bring in R15,5 million. In total the hon. the Minister took from us in duties and taxes an amount of R38 million in the Budget following the election. Let the public not be deluded, Sir. They received their small gift on Friday, but let them beware! The August Budget is still to come!
Now, Sir, we are holding an election in April. The hon. the Prime Minister gave his reasons for an early election. I believe there are other reasons why the hon. the Prime Minister wants an early election. You see, Sir, the economic problems of the next 12 to 18 months are likely to be of such complexity that the Government knows that if the life of this Parliament continues into 1975, they just will not win that election. Over the next 12 months the economy is going to be so delicately poised between growth and inflation that anything may happen unless the greatest wisdom prevails. Experience has shown one thing and that is that we are not going to get great wisdom from our friends opposite. The rate of inflation this year is going to be so high and the problems to merely exist are going to be so great that this Government cannot wait until 1975 to hold a general election. You see, Sir, after the election, the Government will feel free once again to take steps to try to halt inflation irrespective of whether they damp down the economy again or not. This is something for which they are famous. I doubt if their attempts after the election in 1974 are going to be any more successful than they have been since 1968. There is one thing that the Government does not seem to understand. This is that modern inflation is not a short-range, cyclical phenomenon, it is a permanent problem. The position in South Africa is aggravated because we superimpose an ideologically-based, endemic inflation. When we talk about inflation, Sir, hon. members opposite like to accuse us of being concerned only with material things. I want to say this to them. Unless we have a strong, expanding economy with a continuous upward trend in the standards of living of our people, then we are sitting on a veritable powder-keg. Unless you are going to provide work for all, unless you can curb inflation so that the people can afford at least the basic necessities of life, then all the grandiose ideas that emanate from hon. members opposite will just not be capable of fulfilment. You see, Sir, the problem is that the Government just cannot shake off its historical past. It is bound by commitments over two decades, commitments that in the context of the world today should, of course, be confined to. But, unhappily, these commitments have become permanent ingredients of our economic life, and one of the results is that we suffer from this continuous rise in the rate of inflation. In 1967 the seasonally adjusted consumer index rose by 1,8% and the Minister of Finance of the day said that that was too high. But in 1968 it went up to 2,7%, in 1969 to 3,5%, in 1970 to 4,2%, in 1971 to 7%, in 1973 to 7,4%, and this year to 10%, and if that graph continues the cost of living will go through the roof.
Give us the figures for other countries.
Where do you live?
Mr. Speaker, we have got to halt the shattering impact of the continuous upward spiral of inflation, because besides completely distorting the economy, high rates of inflation impose in equities upon large segments of our population. These sharp increases in the cost of living bear disproportionately upon the various income groups, and the lowest income group carries the heaviest burden. Mr. Speaker, the people can no longer tolerate an overall rise of 10% in the cost of living, with an increase in the price of foodstuffs of 17% in 1973. It is no good the hon. the Prime Minister saying that the ordinary salary and wage-earner is better off in real terms by 1,5%, or for the hon. the Minister of Finance to say that 10% inflation is not a satisfactory figure but it is by no means out of line with price increases in other countries. Sir, we are living here; we are not living in other countries. It is no good the hon. the Minister of Planning quoting one figure after another. What are the facts of the matter, Sir? The fact of the matter is that the lower income groups are finding it harder and harder to live because the real rise in the cost of living is far higher than the rise in the official cost-of-living index. The low income groups must of necessity spend more of their money on food. According to the report of the Bureau of Market Research of the university of South Africa of May 1973, the minimum subsistence level of a Johannesburg Bantu family of five, based on the average of all the families, is R63-79 per month. Of this amount R31-29 or 49% of the R63-79, is spent on food. The breakdown of expenditure of White families shows quite a different picture. According to the expenditure survey of 1966, on which our cost-of-living figures are based, White families spend only 24% of their income on food. From December 1972 to December 1973 the rise in the cost of living was 10%, but the official cost-of-living index is a White cost-of-living index, with expenditure on food amounting to only 24%, whereas the Bantu, as I have already mentioned, spend 49% on food. Sir, these are the facts. The rise in the cost of living of the poorest of our people, the Bantu, was not 10% in 1973, but probably nearer 15%, when you take into account the differential in the percentage of the income spent on food. This situation is confirmed by a survey conducted in October 1973 by the Institute of Planning Research of the University of Port Elizabeth (Fact Paper No. 8). This is what they say—
This is what we are faced with today, Mr. Speaker—not these statistics which are thrown at us but the hard facts as they apply to the man in the street. Because it does not apply only to the Bantu; it applies equally to the poorer sections of our people, and this cost-of-living index gives an erroneous picture. This is what Time Magazine of the 11th of this month had to say about the cost of living, and it is very interesting—
Mr. Speaker, what does that mean? That means that in so far as the poorer sections of our White community are concerned, their cost-of-living rise was not 10% in 1973, it was 13,3%, which is a vast difference. Now, unfortunately, it is going to be worse. Economists in the private sector expect that the cost-of-living index for 1974 is going to be anything between 10% and 15%; there are indeed some who are talking about 20%, but fortunately they are in the minority. Now, there are good reasons for expecting a higher rate of increase in the cost of living. The wholesale price index for 1973 was 15%, 5% higher than the retail index. The Star of 24 and 25 January carried a wide range of increases on some 350 items, increases of up to 33,8%, on a wide range of foodstuffs. On Friday, 1 February, the hon. the Minister had to announce an increase in the price of petrol of 2,7%. This makes petrol at the coast something of the order of 14 cents a litre, and in Johannesburg it has gone up to something like 16 cents a litre, or something like 68 or 69 cents a gallon. All these increases still have to flow through to the retail sector, and consequently we can expect an unprecedented rise in the cost of living for 1974. We have to have some action because the Government is sleeping on the job. I say this advisedly. Since 1972 two committees have been appointed to deal with inflation. What have their recommendations been? I have not seen any of them; I do not know anybody else who has seen any of them. What I have seen, and the only thing I have seen, is that a report has been submitted to the Economic Advisory Council. But what action has been taken?
Schoeman walked out of the committee.
Of course, we know that a very vital publication called Inflation d our Welfare was published by the Department of Economic Affairs. This little booklet raises one very important question. Whose cost of living was reduced, and by how much, by the publication of this little book? It tries to tell us why there is a rise in the rate of inflation; but that does not help anybody. Its very name is ridiculous, Inflation and our Welfare, as if it is something that helps us. Sir, we do not want booklets; we want action.
We believe a number of urgent steps have to be taken immediately, and these are the steps we believe should be taken. Firstly, a great deal more of what remains of the sales tax must be abolished. Despite some reduction in the sales tax from time to time, and after taking into account the reductions announced by the hon. the Minister on Friday, I believe there is still some R196 million which is going to be received from the sales tax for the year 1973–’74. The hon. the Minister should use some of this money. If he cannot use it this year, he should certainly use it from his income for next year to ease the burden of inflation on the public. Secondly, excise and customs duty on oil and petrol must be reduced, and this iniquitous pipeline tariff from here to inland must also be lowered. Thirdly, subsidies on foodstuffs have to be increased, even if it is only temporarily, because the upward trend in the price of foodstuffs is having serious consequences for a great number of people. Their whole eating patern is changing. That is what is happening in South Africa today among the lower income groups. Fourthly, productivity has to be increased—firstly by reducing the marginal rate of income tax to provide a worthwhile incentive for harder work, and, secondly, by reducing company tax to provide the accumulation of the investment funds needed to increase production so that unit costs can be reduced. Now, the hon. the Minister announced earlier the return to us of the 1974–’75 loan levy, which in any case we would have got back next year. Of this, R62 million will be returned to the companies. If the hon. the Minister wants to see his express hope fulfilled, i.e. that the earlier repayment of the loan levy will assist in financing economic expansion, then he should follow up this move by reducing company tax to see that there will be the necessary funds in the private sector so that we can have expansion. Each year the hon. the Minister is, without any action on his part, getting more and more income tax from us. As salaries are increased to meet the rising cost of living, the taxpayer finds that he has entered a higher tax bracket, and while he is no better off in fact, because his real income has not gone up, he is paying greater taxation. In Brazil, I know, and in Canada, I believe, taxation is adjusted to take into account the cost of living. In the weekend Argus of 2 February this year there were many examples. I wish to mention only one. I quote—
Here we have an almost fourfold increase, and the hon. the Minister of Finance does not have to come to the House with new legislation; he does not have to pick up a pen; he just sits there and the extra tax comes in. That is what is happening.
Sir, we must attack inflation at the root cause. We have got to attack it by accelerating the in-training programmes for Bantu workers in the White metropolitan areas. The Government is committed to this, but nothing is happening. We hear about places being established, but nothing is happening. We have got to define the areas of work that can be undertaken by Bantu, Coloured and Indian workers in the different sectors of industry and commerce. We welcome the increase in the number of non-Europeans employed in jobs previously filled by Whites, but too much of this falls within the category of simply closing one’s eyes to the law. We must become activists and not closed-eyed pessimists. I cannot find out from any of the organs of the private sector just who may be employed where to do what. All I get from them is: It depends on the circumstances. That is what is happening, and it is not good enough. If we want the maximum utilization of workers we at least need clarity on who can work where, doing what.
In the sixth place, we must get rid of the multitude of rules and regulations that we have to conform to in order to employ Bantu labour. Every employer is wasting hundreds of man-hours getting the Bantu legally employed in the urban areas. Every Bantu worker, too, is forced to waste manhours in this way. I wish the hon. the Minister of Finance and my friend, the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs, who after all are charged with our economic efficiency, would spend some time at any pass office in South Africa. What would they find? They would see literally thousands of Bantu each week waiting patiently in queues to get passes, to renew and to sign contracts, with some of them having already waited two or three days. They would see hundreds of White employers, males as well as females, wasting hours of their time and gallons, not litres, of their petrol, trying to finalize the details relating to their Bantu employees. They would find large staffs of White and Bantu people, helpful and courteous, I must say, spending their time implementing Government policy. If then the hon. the Ministers were to take themselves to a bus terminus or to a railway station they would see Bantu after Bantu returning to his homeland, returning to another group of public servants who would impress more rubber stamps on the contract papers, append more signatures to the papers, take more fees from the Bantu and then return the Bantu whence he came. That is what is happening. What, a waste of time, money and manpower. Mr. Speaker, during the last war the slogan was “Is your journey really necessary?” If we seriously want to fight inflation and to make was on inflation, “is your journey really necessary?” is as pertinent a question today as it was during the last war, because the war is on against inflation, if we want to do a job of work. All the paper work, all the travelling, all the fees we pay, are the result of the ideological policy of the Government.
We accept influx control in principle; do not let us have that argument again. We do not, however, accept the necessity for the way in which it is being carried out and of contract labour on a yearly basis. According to the Press a domestic servant now has to pay tax on a P.A.Y.E. basis if the salary is more than R30 per month. That has always been the case, but it is now going to be enforced. What is now going to happen? We are going to have thousands of further man-hours wasted by paying, by receiving and by receipting 10 cents per employee per month. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister of Finance a question: How much does he think it costs to send out a letter asking for the 10 cents, for the payer to send the 10 cents, for the 10 cents to be received, for the 10 cents to be receipted, for the receipt to be sent and for the records to be kept? I know that in business they calculate that to make out an invoice today costs you 89 cents. It is going to cost us much more than is being received even if it is worked on a yearly basis because we are not dealing with large groups of employees but with one, two or three servants who change with monotonous regularity. It is time we stopped some of this wasteful nonsense that keep on invading our lives. There is too much empire building and too many emperors. We have to give the married working women some meaningful tax benefits. It took us a long time before we made the hon. the Minister see that the principle of a married working woman is a good one, but he accepted that in due course. Let us make it meaningful now. Woman are not going to work if 66% of their income is going to be paid in tax. They are just not going to do that. Today, in the context of what is happening in South Africa, our watchword, our motto has to be: “Incentive! Incentive! Incentive!” That is what you have to give to people.
Whenever we discuss inflation my hon. friends opposite immediately claim that our inflation is imported. We have already heard it this afternoon. The interesting thing is that wherever I go in the world I hear the same story. The Americans tell me that their inflation is imported from Germany, the Germans tell me that their inflation is imported from France, the French tell me that their inflation is imported from England—everybody in fact is importing inflation. Therefore it is very strange that there are imports of inflation but no exports of inflation. Everybody is ducking the issue. Let us stop blaming imported inflation because it is not true at the moment anyway. I would like to quote what Nedbank said in their Economic Roundup of January this year. I hope some of my friends, the Ministers, will listen to this. I quote—
They give us the figures for the nine months of 1973, compared with the nine months of 1972. The price of South African produced commodities had risen by 13,2% whereas the prices of imported commodities had risen by 11,4%. Let us therefore stop making excuses and get on with the job.
We are never going to have a steady expansion of the economy unless we succeed in curbing inflation and unless we stop the perpetual uncertainty with which we are plagued. Of all conditions that are detrimental to economic stability and progress, uncertainty is by far the worst. At the moment the business community of South Africa is completely at sea as to what direction the Government intends to take. Last year’s Budget was an expansionary Budget and since then there has been an expansionary policy despite inflation. We have had a fair increase in economic activity, a greater utilization of productive capacity and an increase in productivity. Money has been in free supply.
These are facts and of course we can say “hear, hear”. I agree with that, but this is only the beginning of the story. Let us follow it through to the end. We have had one weak spot—the low average level of fixed investments in private manufacturing. What do we see now? We see that a radical change is taking place. The bank rate has been put up by 1 % to 6½% and deposit rates have risen in sympathy. Home mortgage rates are now up to 9¼% and money is as tight as it has ever been. The grey market is now starting to function all over the country. It seems that the Reserve Bank has had its way, for not only have interest rates been raised, but also the money in supply is being held down tightly. Despite the high gold price and the bumper crops we are expecting the concern of the Reserve Bank over the balance of payments position has apparently taken precedence over growth. It now seems that we are in the position where the Government and the Treasury are watching growth, the Reserve Bank is watching inflation and the reserves. Political and fiscal policy is growth orientated and monetary policy is restrictive, if there is a policy. I quote the words of the famous user thereof—
That is what is happening to us today. From the speeches of the hon. the Prime Minister and the hon. the Minister of Finance it seems that their policy is still to foster and to stimulate growth. But what are the actions of the Reserve Bank, particularly in a tight money policy and the punitive interest rates it is charging the banks and the discount houses which the hon. the Minister calls “assistance”? The hon. the Minister knows what is going on. It is here that the uncertainty lies and the question is being asked: “Are we still in an expansionary phase, or is the period of expansion coming to an end?” This is what we want to hear from the hon. the Minister. He knows it is worrying people. Economic comment from the banks during January show the picture very clearly and I just want to quote one or two of them. The first is from Sentak of January—
In the Barclays Bank Review of a week ago, the following is stated—
And in the report of Outwich for this month—
This is the problem, and we see what effect it is having. The Sunday Times Quarterly Review of the business mood carried out by Market Research Africa (Pty.) Ltd., shows in detail what uncertainty can do to the economic mood. I am sure the hon. the Minister read it unhappily yesterday, and this is what it says—
This uncertainty has to be removed, because the Government has an obligation to produce a blueprint for the expansion of the economy and for greater productivity. But we get nothing from the Government. I could not even get from my friend, the hon. the Minister of Finance, what he thought the rate of growth was going to be for the year when I asked him at the time of the Budget last year. The hon. the Prime Minister eventually gave it to me. The country is entitled to long-range forecasts from the hon. the Minister. In the United States of America, when the President sends his Budget to Congress, he simultaneously sends in a yearly forecast of the Council of Economic Advisers, so that they are presented with the two pictures at the same time, i.e. the Budget and the forecast of what the economy is going to do during the year. In the United Kingdom, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer presents his Budget to Parliament, he does so in the context of the economic forecast which he tells Parliament about. In Germany one has the annual forecast of what they call the “Five Wise Men”, and one also has the Government forecast. These forecasts deal in general terms with what is expected of the economy and then they deal specifically with whether there is going to be a rise or fall in the cost of living, what the position is going to be regarding unemployment, what the anticipated rate of growth is going to be, what the expected trend in interest rates is going to be, what the expected trend in wages is going to be and what the inflationary rate is going to be for the year. In this country we get nothing at all in this respect. Surely we are entitled to similar forecasts rather than these pious, optimistic generalities that we get. Surely the private sector must have this information if their programmes are to mesh with Government policy. I want to quote from the Third Report of the Franszen Commission (paragraph 361)—
It is time the Government used this information and prepared and gave to the country a yearly economic forecast and a blueprint of their intentions within that forecast. Then we shall be able to tackle our problems with some reality. We shall never have a steady expansion of the economy in this country, or succeed in curbing inflation, unless we put a stop to the perpetual uncertainty that plagues us.
You are very good this year; better than last year.
Well, one has to put them right. If we can put a stop to this uncertainty, perhaps we may look forward to a long period of economic expansion, expansion which to us remains priority number one in this country. South Africa is a country of 22 million people, people of different colours, creeds and of differing social and economic standard: There is an unbreakable link of economic inter-dependence between each and every one of these 22 million people that creates a chain of well-being or of hardship, depending on how we ourselves forge the links of that chain. Our task is to provide more and better opportunities for everybody, to ensure that there will be no unemployed—I mean really no unemployed, not the kind of unemployed we have heard about from that side of the House—and that every man and woman who wants to work, will not only be permitted to work but will be actively encouraged to do so. We must provide education and training facilities to the greatest possible extent so that all South Africans can aspire to and achieve a higher standard of living, and we must ensure that no man and no woman shall by law be stopped from reaching and exercising his or her full potential. These are not easy tasks. We know the problems that face South Africa, but we believe that these aims can be achieved. With the correct policies the economy can continue to grow. Firstly, the Government must clearly be seen to be committed to a policy of growth. Secondly, the frequent wide swings in the intensity of effort to expand the economy and then to curb inflation, must be replaced by a firm, definite policy subject to the minimum change of direction. Thirdly, we need to return to the proposition that supply and demand are the best regulators and that Government interference must be held to a minimum. If we take these steps, there is a chance of real prosperity for this country. You know, sometimes we are apt to forget that to the vast majority of our people a high gold price and a “bull” market are not prosperity, and have no direct benefit for any of them. While “to him that hath, is being given”, they are concerned with the daily struggle to make ends meet. This applies to the pensioner, who has had some little relief this year, and to the fixed income earners. They have a constant struggle to maintain some semblance of the standards which they have previously maintained. The best way we can help them, is to give some real meaning, and a constant meaning, to the local purchasing value of the rand. It is often said that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I hope it will never be said of us that the rich get richer because the poor get poorer.
Mr. Speaker, if I may misquote the title of a book a little, I want to say this afternoon: “Cry the beloved party”. Where is the fighting party of yesteryear, the party of Hertzog and of Smuts, a party which had fight in it? What do we have here this afternoon?—the most defeatist attitude I have ever seen in my life! Here we are on the eve of an election in which that party wants to take part, and what do we get from its chief spokesman on finance? He has already accepted that the Government is going to be in power again after the election; he is telling us what the Government is going to do after the election. He is entering the election with this defeatist attitude: “We are going to have an election now, but, let us face it, we are going to lose yet again.” No, really, Mr. Speaker, that is surely not the way to fight an election. What on earth has become of that fighting party of yore? I wish the hon. member would just take a leaf from the book of his leader in the Transvaal. His leader in the Transvaal is really displaying the fighting instinct. In fact, when he was in America recently, he had a lecture tour. In Pasadena, California, they have the California Institute of Technology, a technical university attended by the cream of the world. There are only 1 200 students, but they are truly the cream of the world. One day there appeared on the campus of that university a notice to the effect that a speech would be made by one Mr. Harry Schwarz of South Africa. The theme of his speech was: “Why the United Party is going to win the next election in South Africa and thereby improve the image of South Africa abroad.” Sir, at the illustrious meeting there was an audience of seven, of whom four were South Africans and three were not.
A typical United Party meeting.
One of those present was a young friend of mine, a brilliant engineering student. He and his wife also attended the meeting. When question time arrived, he stood up and said: “Mr. Chairman, I do not have a question to put, but I just want to tell the illustrious speaker from South Africa that what he tried to explain to us here tonight, is the biggest lot of nonsense under the sun, because the United Party does not have the faintest hope of winning the next election.” But, Sir, there is one thing that one must at least concede to the hon. member’s Transvaal leader, and that is that he does have the fighting instinct. The hon. member for Parktown comes along here and accepts in advance that the Government is going to win the election. No, really, Sir, surely that is not the way one enters an election! Once again the hon. member came up with the crazy story he had propagated here so many times, last Friday and this afternoon again, i.e. that as had been done in 1970, the Minister of Finance once again came along with a number of gifts to the voters before the election. But that is surely the biggest rubbish under the sun. Last year he came along with similar gifts and even bigger ones, and at that time there was no question of an election. Last year the old-age pensioner was given R6 per month more, and now he is only getting R5 per month more. I could continue in this way to show you that this Government looks after its people, whether it is election year or not.
Once again the hon. member beat the old drum of inflation here. I want to say at once the inflation here. I want to say all of us, this Government too, are deeply concerned about it. But did that hon. member come up with one single suggestion as to how inflation is to be combated?
To neutralize it, not combat it.
Let me deal with one aspect only. The hon. member complained that the official rate of inflation was not the correct one. He also said that for the less well-to-do people, for the lower income groups, food comprised the most important component of the cost of living. He also said that the food prices had supposedly risen to such an extent. Granted, Mr. Speaker. However, if the hon. member for East London North were to take part in the debate—I doubt whether he will have a chance, because I believe he is not coming back; I gather that he will not get his seat again …
You are referring to the wrong man.
… and if the hon. member for Newton Park were to enter this debate now, and this also goes for the hon. member for King William’s Town—the farmers, who always complain here that the farmers are not getting their rightful share—then I should like to hear their point of view in this regard. It is true, the farmer must receive his rightful share, but if the farmer is to get so much more for food, then how on earth can food cost less for the less well-to-do people, the lower income groups? Here once more we have the perpetual double-barrelled attack which we are so accustomed to from that party. On the one hand the farmer does not get his rightful share, but on the other hand the city-dweller, the less well-to-do city-dweller, pays too much for his food!
I take pleasure in telling you, Sir, what this Government is doing to cope with inflation and the rising cost of living. Representations were made recently to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture requesting inter alia that the price of milk be increased by three to four cents per litre. The hon. the Minister of Agriculture has not informed me as to what he is going to do in this connection, but I want to predict here this afternoon that he will not grant that increase, and for no other reason than that he wants to keep the cost of living for the less well-to-do as low as possible. On the one hand, of course, he must take the rising production costs into account, but he is not going to allow impossible increases. He does not talk; he does something so as to cope with the rising cost of living.
Mr. Speaker, this afternoon the temptation not to reply at all to the speech by the hon. member for Parktown was a very strong one. I say the temptation was a strong one, because when the hon. member displays such a negative approach to a matter and to this debate and to the election that is at hand, he does not deserve to have an answer. But he is a good friend of mine, and for that reason I do not want to be discourteous towards him.
Therefore, Sir, I would rather continue and try to make a positive contribution in this Part Appropriation debate. In 1964, when marginal gold mines began to feel the pinch of rising costs and a constant gold price, this Government came up with a scheme to keep those mines operating.
On whose recommendation?
Sir, that immediately reminds me again of the remark the hon. member made here on Friday afternoon when he said that he welcomed the concession made by the hon. the Minister in regard to university students but that it was only what the hon. member for Von Brandis had pleaded for last year. Mr. Speaker, I have pleaded for this since 1960, and various members on this side of the House have pleaded for it year after year. But a government can never hand out more than it gets in, for then it would be heading for bankruptcy, and that is why a government can hand out only as much as it gets in. Sir, I have said that the Government came to the assistance of those marginal gold mines because it regarded them as a wise investment for the future. In 1968 it augmented that assistance, with the result that to date, under the old scheme of 1963, it has poured R12,7 million into those marginal mines. Under the present scheme, which has been in force since 1968, up to 1973, it has poured R61 million into those mines. In addition it has spent a further R13 million on pumping water out of those old mines—all in all an amount of R87 million has been spent on keeping those marginal mines in operation. Sir, this was a very wise investment for the future, because once those mines are closed down and become flooded, it would cost enormous amounts to get them going again. The hon. the Minister of Finance, who has consistently handled the whole gold question with great wisdom, did of course realize that the gold price would rise sooner or later and that we therefore had to keep these gold mines going at all costs to earn foreign exchange for South Africa. These assisted mines, of which there are about 20, have produced more than R1 000 million’s worth of gold since the assistance scheme was instituted, which would have been lost if this Government had not tackled such a wise scheme for the future. In 1973 they produced as much as 12½% of our total production of gold. Mr. Speaker, I said that this was a wise investment for the future. This Government is now reaping the fruits of that wise investment, to such an extent that its revenue—and now I am not referring to the foreign exchange which gold earns for the country, but to the revenue which this Government earns from the gold-mining industry—has increased a great deal. In fact, two years ago the revenue from gold mines was almost R125 million. I predict that this will increase in the current financial year to an amount of R420 million, an increase of R295 million. The temptation is very strong simply to start handing out, and that is why the hon. member for Parktown asked yet again this afternoon that there should be hand-outs to all and sundry. Sir, I want to emphasize in all earnest that this Government has always had sympathy for the less privileged among us; it has always looked after its people. But a Government which simply goes ahead and hands out such a large increase in revenue is exactly like the man who always spends his whole income and then, when he is old, asks the Government to care for him. This Government cannot allow this unexpected windfall merely to be handed out to all and sundry. Sir, if we were to accept this policy of the Opposition, if we were simply to hand out everything, then we would be doing precisely what the Prodigal Son had done and we would be doomed to indigence and poverty; and that is why, at this stage, I once again want to bring it to the attention of the Cabinet in all earnest that we will have to utilize very judiciously this major windfall which we have had as a result of the wise, extremely far-sighted policy of the Government in the past. My proposal, therefore, is that we should apply part of this greatly increased revenue towards making an investment for the future, and in this connection I want to point out two possible ways in which we could use this greatly increased revenue as an investment for the future of this country. I refer in the first place to plastic. Sir, plastic is playing an ever more important role in our economic life. In our country the local consumption of plastic is only about 10 kg per capita of the population as against 27 kg per capita in the United Kingdom and Australia, 42 kg in Japan, 47 kg in the United States and 70 kg in West Germany. The basis of our production, as in most other countries, is ethylene, derived from naphtha out of oil. However, polyvinyl chloride—PVC, as it is known in commerce—can also be manufactured not only from ethylene, but also from acetylene, and acetylene can be obtained via calcium carbide out of coal and limestone. The other component, chlorine, can also be obtained locally from salt, of which we have an abundant supply. The exploitation of this channel of production will have to be supported by the Government. I regard this as one of the many promising forms of investment for the future which we could finance out of this windfall we have just had.
Mr. Speaker, there is a second channel which I should like to suggest and through which we could make such an investment, and that is in agricultural chemicals.
Mr. Speaker, the world is indeed facing another crisis. Today everyone is talking about the energy crisis, but I want to maintain that to a far greater extent we are facing a raw materials crisis, and this crisis is a very serious one, particularly as far as agricultural chemicals are concerned. This country has only one industry in which basic chemicals for agriculture are being or used to be produced, namely where DDT used to be, and BHC is being, manufactured. But as a result of the pressure on the part of well-meaning persons who say that we are polluting our environment to such an extent that the world will not be able to support its population for very long, the production of DDT had to be stopped. All that remains in this country is the production of BHC on a small scale, and even here the pressure is growing for the use of this chemical to be prohibited. Heaven alone knows what we are going to use to combat the next locust plagues. If these people who are so fond of shouting “pollution” were to have their way, then, one of these days, we would no longer have any BHC either, and then I wonder what we would use to combat our locusts. But without disclosing trade secrets, I want to state that orders for these agricultural chemicals, all of which we have to import, are being drastically pruned, by up to 50%. That is why I want to state, without being guilty of spreading panic, that the world is heading for a raw materials crisis, and that South Africa, which has to import the major part of its agricultural chemicals, will be facing very serious problems if we do not do something about it. That is why I say that I want to suggest, as a second channel of investment, that we speed up the local production of chemicals, particularly agricultural chemicals. I am thinking mainly of the production of one or two insecticides, and one or two fungicides, a few weed-killers, an eel-worm killer and perhaps a parasiticide. In the larger industrial countries millions are spent on the research on and development of these agricultural chemicals, and this is done by private enterprise. But I do not believe that with our limited market it would be a paying proposition for private enterprise to develop and then market these new agents. That is why I suggest that in this field, too, we should make an investment for the future. This would be just as wise an investment as was those in 1964 and 1968, when this Government made a concession to the marginal mines and hastened to their aid in order to keep them in operation, an investment which is now yielding dividends.
Mr. Speaker, I have indicated to you two courses we could pursue to make wise investments for the future instead of just handing everything out, as the hon. member for Parktown has asked. We possess very valuable and scarce raw materials, such as gold, copper, chrome, etc. It is not our intention to exploit a state of crisis as the oil-producing countries are doing, but while we are selling these valuable raw materials on a free competitive market, we should apply the proceeds towards making wise investments for the future, and that, I believe, is what this Government is doing. It is doing the one, namely aiding the less well-to-do, but it is also doing the other, namely investing for the future. Caring for the less well-to-do and investing for the future constitute a wise policy of a wise Government.
In order to do these two things I have suggested, namely to invest in the basic raw materials for the plastics industry and to invest in agricultural chemicals, we shall have to bring together the finest intellects among our scientists and economists to plan for the future. Now, I am hesitant about suggesting the establishment of yet another advisory council, since we already have quite a number, but in my opinion the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs took a very wise step recently when, with a view to this energy problem, he appointed an advisory committee comprising representatives of the State on the one hand and representatives of industry, of trade and of private enterprise on the other. If in this case, too, he could come up with a similar committee to promote the production, the basic production of these scarce raw materials in this country, he would be making a very wise investment for the future. That is why I want to suggest that the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs and the Government will in respect, too, take a very wise step by promoting these two forms of investment. With a Government like this to lead us, we shall have no hesitation whatever in going to the people on 24 April.
Sir, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, who has all my sympathy in all the problems he is facing, reminds me a great deal of an old schoolfellow of mine. He was a few years ahead of me at school. After he had passed matric, he went to university. He was a master of the art of pulling the wool over his widowed mother’s eyes, with the result that he achieved nothing at university. After seven years I ran into him again one day—because he did not attend the same university as I did—and I said to him, “Old man, are you finally getting a degree this year, after seven years?” He told me, “No, I am not getting a degree, but I am at least getting a diploma this year.” Then I said, “What, a diploma? But surely you enrolled for a degree course.” To this he replied, “No, man, this year I am getting a diploma for perseverance’.” They should confer an honorary degree for perseverance’ on the hon. the Leader of the Opposition as well. Perhaps he should, after all, give the hon. leader of Natal or the leader of the Transvaal the opportunity to lead this party further.
What about the Cape?
I do not really know, Sir; I do not really know about the Cape. As far as we are concerned, Sir, we are looking forward to this election in good spirits. I want to agree with the hon. member for Parktown; this Government will return after 24 April.
Mr. Speaker, I do not propose to deal with all the subjects which the hon. member for Paarl has raised. Particularly do I not propose to react to the somewhat laboured humour with which he started and ended his speech. I would, however, like to react to his remarks in regard to the Government’s subsidization of the marginal gold mines. I think he tried to give the impression to the House that that subsidization was an act of genius on behalf of the Government and that at the stage when they decided on it, they were able to star-gaze into the future and see that at some later stage everything would come right, the gold price would go up and the subsidization would reap rich benefits. I should like to remind the hon. member of two of the main reasons why these marginal gold mines were subsidized. The first was a social reason, to keep the economic activity in the areas of these dying mines going. The second was an immediate economic reason. It was to prevent neighbouring mines having increased pumping problems as a result of the closing down of the marginal mines. Had the neighbouring mines, the profitable mines, had these increased pumping problems and increased pumping costs, the revenue which the Government would have derived from those profitable mines would have been substantially reduced. There was therefore an economic reason as well.
I should like to say to the hon. the Minister of Finance that I studied the speech with which he introduced the Bill before us, very carefully indeed, because I was looking for clues in it that he was going to introduce some fundamental measures to apply to the economic problems facing South Africa, and that he was not merely going to paper over the cracks which these problems are causing. I should like to give the hon. the Minister credit for his thoughts in regard to the international monetary problems that exist in the world. We on this side of the House agree entirely with the hon. the Minister that a permanent solution to international monetary problems must rest on finding an international monetary medium that is based on something solid like gold, and not on paper.
There we agree entirely with the hon. the Minister. Unfortunately, in the main, the hon. the Minister’s speech on Friday followed the same theme as a whole crop of speeches we have had from members of the Cabinet in the last couple of months in which they dealt with the economic prospects for 1974. First of all, we had a crop of New Year messages, New Year statements and so forth. We had one from the hon. the Prime Minister in which he dealt to some extent with economic affairs. We had the hon. the Minister of Finance’s New Year message and then we had one from the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs and from his deputy. Then, after that, we had a series of statements from the hon. the Minister of Finance and finally we came to the no-confidence debate where we had speeches dealing with economic affairs from the hon. the Prime Minister, from the hon. the Minister of Tourism and from the hon. the Minister of Planning. I detect a common thread running through all these speeches. They are mostly what I would call “chin-up” speeches, speeches designed to boost morale, speeches designed to place the very best light on what is happening economically in this country. To me they look like the first salvos of the general election. They have confirmed our assessment of why an early general election has been called. The Government sees black clouds on the horizon; it sees the possibility of thunder storm on the horizon and it wants to hold the election while the climate is still fair.
Of course, there are highly favourable elements in the economic situation at present. The gold price itself is the most favourable, I think. It is bringing enormous sums of money into the country. It is helping in a very real way with the balance of payments situation. It is adding to the activity of the gold-mining industry which is rippling throughout the economy. However, do not let us bluff ourselves that the high gold price is to the credit of the Government. The high gold price is a reflection of the critical financial problems which are facing most countries in the world. That is why we have such a high gold price; it is not a reflection of any permanent or sound solution to international monetary problems. The next favourable element we have in the situation is the expansion in consumer demand which we have experienced and which has been greatly facilitated by the expansion in bank credit.
We welcome the revival in the growth of manufacturing output and above all we welcome the excellent agricultural prospects the country has as a result of the abundant rainfall in the summer-rainfall areas. These are the main favourable elements in the economic situation and we on this side of the House fervently hope that these favourable elements will be sufficiently strong to outbalance the unfavourable elements which exist so that we can have a prosperous and growing economy in South Africa. It is only with a prosperous and growing economy, an economy which will give our population increased standards of living, that we will also have a secure South Africa.
What I find disturbing but not very surprising is the reluctance which Government spokesmen have shown to face up to reality when it comes to dealing with the adverse elements in the economic situation. Government spokesmen have continually tended to concentrate on those adverse elements which not even we on this side of the House would hold them responsible for, elements such as the fuel crisis, such as the international monetary crisis, such as the fact that many of our trading partners look as if they may be going into a recessionary period, particularly our main trading partner, the United Kingdom, and to ignore, minimize or make excuses for those problems which we are facing in South Africa for which Government actions and Government policies are responsible. It is these problems which could have been avoided, which could have been lessened and which could still be put to rights or whose effects could still be lessened that we in this House and the country are mainly interested in. We are not interested in problems over which we have no control. We are interested in problems over which we do have some control.
Of these problems about which something could have been and still can be done I regard inflation as being the most critical and important; critical and important in its impact and consequences on South Africa and the people of South Africa. We must not minimize the seriousness of the problem of inflation. It is an enormously serious problem. Quite contrary to the predictions of the hon. the Minister of Finance and the hon. the Prime Minister made during the 1973 session, the rate of inflation has not abated. They said that it would abate. In fact, it has gone on increasing, with the result that 1973 ended with a rate of inflation of 10%, which is higher than any other year for the last 50 years and higher except for two years than any other year since Union. The two years when we had a higher rate of inflation were the two years following the First World War when we had uncontrolled galloping inflation. Apart from these two years we are now in the worst situation that this country has ever experienced since Union and it looks, as the hon. member for Parktown has said, as if it is going to get worse this year, because the effects of the increase in the wholesale price index have not yet worked through to the retail price index.
Does this Government appreciate the misery, the hardship and the barrenness of life that is being caused by inflation? Does this Government appreciate how many families are having to dip into their savings to make ends meet? Does this Government appreciate how many families are getting into debt to make ends meet? It takes a very big rise in salary to compensate for the rise in the cost of living. It is all very well for members on the other side to say that, on average, salaries have risen at a higher rate than the cost of living.
But that is true.
The figures say that, but you ask members of the Civil Service, railwaymen, or Post Office officials whether the increases that they get, which they seem to get every second year, are sufficient to keep pace with the cost of living. What about the misery of the social pensioners? I know that they got another R5 per month, which we welcome from the bottom of our hearts.
We welcome everything the social pensioner gets, but the R52 per month which he is now getting is still a pittance in relation to the problem he has of making ends meet. Does this Government appreciate that, after a pensioner has met housing and food costs, there is nothing left of the R52 per month? In the consumer price index housing and food account for only 45,5% of the weightings and those two items are the two items in the cost-of-living index that have risen most steeply. So, in effect, the cost-of-living index is no reflection whatsoever of the problems which the social pensioner has to meet. What about the private pensioner who gets no increases at all and whose pension is at a level just above that fixed by the means test, so that he does not qualify for a social pension? All that those private pensioners on fixed pensions have to look forward to is a steadily declining level in their standard of living. What about the lowest income groups, which the hon. member for Parktown mentioned, whose very subsistence is sensitive to every price increase? Inflation is making the poorest section of our population, the Black section of our population, poorer. If we are going to have the support of the Black section of our population against the threats which this country is facing from outside, those people must not become poorer but more prosperous; they must be experiencing a rising standard of living. Inflation, in short, is adding to the security risks of South Africa.
There is little evidence that I can find that this Government is applying any compassionate thinking to the problem of inflation, or any realism to the connection which inflation has with security. Does this Government appreciate the lasting damage which inflation is doing to the economy of South Africa? Does it realize the distorting influence which it is having on the economy? Inflation is damaging business confidence. How can a businessman plan forward when he does not know what the forward costs and the forward demand for and prices of his goods are going to be? Inflation is having a depressing effect on the ability of individuals to save because it is making it physically more difficult to save, and it is removing the incentive to save because it is much better to spend than to save and to see the value of one’s savings depreciate. Inflation is exerting an upward pressure on interest rates; why should anyone want to save unless he can receive on his savings an interest rate at least equal to the rate of inflation, if not higher? Finally, inflation is having an inhibiting effect on investment in productive resources because there is a strong incentive for investors to put their money not into productive resources but into those investments where the value of their money will be protected, investments such as real estate, art treasures, Kruger rands and so forth. Inflation is damaging the whole economic machine. It is weakening the economic sinews of South Africa. And because it is weakening the basis of the economic strength of South Africa, it is adding to the security risks in this country.
To say, as Government spokesmen have continuously been saying, that inflation is an imported phenomenon, that it has mainly been caused by the rise in the price of foodstuffs, which in turn has been caused by unfavourable climatic conditions; to say, as the hon. the Minister of Planning said in the no-confidence debate, that inflation in South Africa, relative to inflation in other countries, is not so bad, is merely begging the question. It is circumscribing the problem with a lot of half-truths. Inflation in South Africa is not primarily imported. The hon. member for Parktown read what Nedbank had to say on the subject. From a more official source, I would just like to quote what the Reserve Bank had to say on the subject. Referring to the period from December 1972 to September 1973, it had this to say—
I would like to ask members on the other side why it is that Rhodesia, a country whose agriculture is subject to very similar climatic influences to our own agriculture—they have their droughts the same years as we have our droughts and vice versa—a country which has to deal with severe economic problems as a result of sanctions, a country which spends a considerably higher percentage of its national income on security and defence than we do, a country that has to pay higher prices for imports—because she has to pay commissions to get them through the sanction barriers—than we do, has been able to contain the rise in prices at so much lower a level than we have been able to do in this country. I would like to quote the comparative figures. In the five years from 1968 to 1973 the consumer price index in Rhodesia rose overall by 11,4% or 2,3% per annum. In South Africa, over the same period, it rose by 33,2%, nearly three times as much. The index for food alone rose in Rhodesia over the same five-year period by 11,4%; in South Africa it rose by 36,2%, more than three times as much. The latest figure available, for the year from June 1972 to June 1973, shows that all items in Rhodesia rose by 3,5%, while the figure for South Africa is 9,9%. Food only in Rhodesia rose by 5%, and in South Africa by 16,5%. These are figures that make one’s mouth water; and they make one’s mouth water even more when account is taken of the fact that at the same time the real national product of Rhodesia has risen at a very much higher rate than it has in South Africa. Over the four-year period from 1968 to 1972, the latest figures available, the increase in the GDP in Rhodesia has been 47% and in South Africa, 20%. Rhodesia may have been forced to take measures that we in South Africa would hesitate to take, measures such as import control, but in terms of inflation and in terms of growth which are the two main things that we aim for in our economic life, the figures speak for themselves. One cannot escape the main reason for this difference and in my view that principal reason is that the Government of Rhodesia does not apply ideological methods or take ideological steps aimed at restricting the use of their African labour, restricting the skills that can be acquired by that labour, and restricting the use of those skills. That is the main reason and to my mind is tangible proof of what our policies in South Africa mean in terms of inflation. I should like to say to Rhodesia: “Well done”, and to say to Rhodesians: “How fortunate you are to have such brilliant financial management! ”
When all the half-truths with which inflation is surrounded are cut away and replaced by a modicum of realism, it is the Government’s failure to take the steps that have been necessary to minimize inflation that one points the finger at.
The cost of living really started to escalate in 1969, when it reached a level of 3½% as compared with just over 2% in the previous year. Since then it has increased progressively until it is now 10%. It is no coincidence that the year 1969 also saw the beginning of the acute labour shortage in South Africa, a labour shortage which could largely have been avoided had there been no ideological restrictions upon the use of non-White labour, had there been proper forward planning of our labour requirements when the necessary labour would have been made available where it was needed in the industrial metropolitan complexes, and had adequate training facilities for our labour been timeously provided.
At the end of 1971, prices got a huge boost from devaluation. I have never made any secret of the fact that I regard the devaluation of 1971 as having been a tragic episode in our economic history.
It was disastrous, it was tragic, because it was a reflection of the fact that the Government had allowed the economy to reach a state where it was necessary to debase the rand in order to get on even terms with other countries, particularly our trading partners. Since then, we have been in the grip of the most vicious inflationary spiral, an inflationary spiral fed from within by the rippling effect of continual cost increases, a ripple that sometimes looks more like a tidal wave, and fed also from without by circumstances from which we are not immune, such as the fuel crisis. We can only hope to break out of this vicious spiral of inflation if there is a radical improvement in the productivity of our economic machine, not merely an improvement of 4% as mentioned by the hon. the Minister because this will merely take up the slack which existed at the beginning of last year. We need a radical improvement, and a radical improvement will depend upon a radical change in our labour pattern. It will depend on a radical improvement in the confidence of our investors to risk their money in equipment and plant and so forth that will increase the productivity of our economy.
Tell us what you would do with regard to the labour pattern.
I will deal with that straightaway. We need to replace the presently reluctant trend on the part of the Government towards the advancement of our non-White labour force—the closing of the eyes of officialdom to what is actually happening with our non-White labour force—with a positive, strong lead to improve the employment opportunities and the skills of our non-White labour force, a lead which must be backed by adequate training facilities as a matter of urgency. Mr. Speaker, I regard it as a tragedy that on account of its ideological commitment to apartheid, to separate development, this Government is entirely unfitted to take the measures that we have to take if we are successfully going to combat inflation. [Time expired.]
Mr. Speaker, we are on the eve of an election in South Africa. We expected the official Opposition to tell us this afternoon how South Africa’s economy could be expanded under their policy if they were to take over the Government. Sir, it was tragic to have to sit here listening to hon. members of the Opposition. I want to tell them that the National Party has always been consistent. Today I want to compare these two parties, but it is a very difficult thing to do. I can only compare these two parties by referring to what happened in 1948 when they were still governing. Hon. members on that side wanted to know why an election has to be held at this juncture. I just want to quote from Hansard, col. 2785, of 8 March 1948, what Gen. Smuts said when they decided that an election should be held—
He subsequently furnished a precise explanation so that South Africa could know precisely where it stood; he said—
Sir, this is what we had from a United Party Government; it could not even get its voters’ lists printed. Sir, it is mid-February, and last week all the electoral divisions had their voters’ lists already.
Sir, let us go a little further with the United Party. Last weekend in Rapport I read that the hon. member for Wynberg, when Mr. Otto Krause asked her: “How would you describe the general situation in the United Party today?” replied: “The system is devouring us.” That is what is happening in their ranks. Every week one reads of heads rolling, of murder and mayhem and strife among them. How do these people want to govern South Africa? What progress are they going to make with their economic policy? The hon. member for Constantia, as well as the hon. member for Parktown, referred here inter alia to the increased food prices. Did the two hon. members not hear of the drought we had? It is not as a result of a poor Government that the cost of living rose in respect of foodstuffs; surely you know about the great drought. Or do you not know about it? It is not only in the United Party that there was a drought. In the agricultural sphere there was also a great drought in the country.
What about the railway rates?
They quoted figures here on the growth-rate of South Africa. In recent years we had a good growth-rate although it was not as high as we would have wanted it to be, but we cannot, for example, compare our growth-rate with those of the European countries because, firstly, the growth of our population is 2,4% as against the world’s 2%. if we compare ourselves to the industrialized countries, we must bear in mind that the greater increase in the White as well as in the non-White population was in fact among the less productive sectors. But one finds countries in Eastern Europe, Germany for example, where the increase is very low. The greatest increase in those countries is in the form of skilled labour which they import. The result is that those people are immediately economically active and they contribute immediately to productivity and to the expansion of those countries’ economics.
Let us consider the consumer price index. The hon. member said that everything in South Africa had become very expensive. But let us consider the U.N.’s own statistics, the International Financial Statistics of October 1973. They take 1963 as the base year at 100, against which Germany’s index was 134, that of Canada 135,7, of the U.S.A. 136,6, of Australia 139,4, and South Africa 141,1. These are industrialized countries in which one does not have such a tremendous amount of unskilled labour. Then one finds countries such as Belgium, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and Japan where there was an increase from 141 to 162. All of them showed an increase. If we consider that, we see that things are going very well in South Africa. Let us consider the various sectors in our economic life. If we take only the statistics of our retail sales as at 1 October last year, we will find that the sales for the period January to October 1973 amounted to R3 372 million as against R2 925 million for the previous corresponding period—an increase of 15,3%. Then, surely, things are not going too badly for the businessman of South Africa. Let us consider the building industry. We see that the value of buildings actually completed during 1973 was R620,5 million, as against R591,8 million in the previous year. Then we can also see that even in the building industry things went very well. In any country where there is a recession, it is as a rule the building industry which first shows signs of retrogression, of unemployment, etc. The hon. members know that we have no unemployment in the building industry. On the contrary. There is a shortage of skilled workmen, even a shortage of unskilled Bantu workers.
Reference was also made here to our oil and energy crisis. The hon. member for Paarl referred to the Government’s farsightedness in respect of our gold mines, in regard to which I may also have something to say at a later stage. But let us examine the oil and energy crisis in South Africa. It was years ago, surely, that a start was made with Sasol, and at the time this Opposition opposed it tooth and nail. A few years ago, when our Government was already ensuring that oil was stored timeously, constant insinuations and criticism were levelled at this. What is the position now? We find that we in South Africa today are only 20% dependent on oil for our energy; the remainder we find ourselves from our own sources—coal, electricity, etc. If we examine the position in other countries, such as the United States, we find that the percentage in which it is able to meet its own needs, is only 74%. Canada is the only one of these Western countries which is in any way in a strong position. Canada can supply 98% of its own requirements. Japan can supply nothing. It has no oil of any kind. The United Kingdom can only meet 2% of its own needs, France 5%, Germany 7% and Italy 6%. Here in South Africa our Government has proved over the years that it has consistently looked after the interests of South Africa. It has not merely done things with a view to coming elections; it has also looked far ahead.
Let us consider our exports. Any country worth its salt must also be able to hold its own in the world in respect of its imports and exports. As far as our exports are concerned we exported goods to the value of R2 279 million during 1973, and of these exports 56% went to Europe and 15% to Asia. To the rest of Africa went 14% and to all the other small states together 4%. The United Kingdom alone took 27% of our exports, and of that a large percentage consisted of diamonds. If we omit that, the other commodities amounted to only 19%. As against that one has Japan with its 14%, diamonds excluded. This demonstrates to us that we cannot rely on Britain alone. The last time I was overseas I saw how in respect of just about all our produce, whether vegetables, fruit, meat or minerals, there was not a single country where there were no markets lying barren, waiting for us to exploit them. I want to make an appeal today to our businessmen and industrialists to turn their eyes in that direction as well. The Government cannot do everything. If we think of the tremendous subsidies and other fringe benefits, and the encouragement which the State and the hon. the Minister have already provided in previous Budgets to subsidize and assist exports, I think that our businessmen and industrialists should see for a change where we can conquer further markets. Our businessmen and industrialists are inclined to keep their eyes directed only at South Africa, and 80% of them are supporters and spiritual compatriots of the Opposition. I want to ask why they do not encourage their own people to think in that direction for a change and to expand South Africa’s trade.
The hon. member said here a moment ago that our people are not being trained to be productive. But we are really doing what is necessary. If I think of all that is being done today at university level to train our people to play a role on the highest level in managerial posts and on the technical side, I find it astonishing. What did the Opposition spend on university training in 1947–’48? Only R1,4 million. In 1972-73 it was R72,5 million, and for the past financial year it was R88 million—88 times as much as they spent in their time. Let us also consider the number of students. In 1947 there were only 18 000; last year there were 91 205. This indicates to us that this Government is doing its share in this sphere as well. Apart from that direct expenditure there are many other steps which are being taken by the Government. For example, loans to an amount of R60 million have been guaranteed by the State for bursaries, etc.
Let us consider education in general to see what is being done to provide our people with the necessary qualifications so that they may take the lead in the various spheres of our economic life. On White education the State spent only R47 million in 1948–’49, while in 1972–’73 the amount was R440 million. This amount therefore increased ten times. The amount for the 1973–’74 financial year is R496 million. This indicates to us what this Government is doing.
Sir, let us see what has been accomplished in the sphere of university training. Out of every thousand people in South Africa 16,83 have had university training. If we compare this to the position in the United States, what do we find? We find that only 12,6 out of every thousand people have had university training there. I must add to this, too, that I am not including the colleges in South Africa when I mention these figures.
Sir, South Africa is happy with this Government. We are looking far into the future. As far as long-term planning is concerned, I just want to quote a few figures to indicate what the Government is doing to encourage and guide businessmen. In respect of the S.A. Railways, Harbours, Airways and Pipelines, an amount of R1 247 million will be spent on capital works over the next three years. Now everyone knows that there is an opportunity for expansion, and that things will go well. We find, for example, that Iscor is engaged in an expansion scheme of R2 500 million to boost its production from four million tons to 10 million tons in 1983.
Just look at our roads for example. Plans are already being made to spend R1 300 million on roads over the next 10 years. The Post Office is already contemplating spending approximately R850 million over the next five years. In the case of the Bantu homelands plans are being made to spend approximately R2 000 million by the year 1976 to create the necessary infrastructure there. Sir, this is long-term planning, and we know where we are going. In the case of our border areas I want to say that, since 1960, when they were established, an amount of R626 million has been spent towards that end.
Sir, unfortunately my time is limited; I can only speak for 15 minutes. I want to conclude by referring to what the hon. member for Wynberg said to Mr. Otto Krause. He had asked her: “Do you think any Opposition Party has a future?” She replied to that, and the last part of her reply reads as follows (translation)—
Mr. Speaker, I say, too, that this National Party is a national movement. It is from this country, of this country, for South Africa, and no one may ever allow a party other than the National Party to come into power. With this strong party, this national movement, we can all say: “Good luck to the National Party; good luck to South Africa for having such a party.”
Mr. Speaker, I have been listening very attentively to the hon. member for Sunnyside, especially to hear whether any arguments were possibly raised to which one would be expected to reply. The hon. member gave long lists of figures and facts of the kind one may read in South African Quiz or in one of those information booklets, but did not really put forward any arguments. However, I did find something I can use in my speech. The hon. member said, “The system is devouring us”. He was quoting Mr. Otto Krause. Actually this is what I want to discuss today. Today I want to refer to this pressing problem of inflation, and indicate how it has come about that the system is devouring us.
†Inflation is without doubt the greatest problem with which this country is faced at the present time. It is eroding our way of life; it is destroying our hopes and it is a very grave threat to our future. The hon. the Minister dealt very briefly with inflation in his Part Appropriation speech and said—
I shall come to those quarters later. He then said—
I shall deal with these matters in a moment. Today, in this debate, we are going to make inflation stick and we are going to make this Government realize that inflation is a problem with which they have to deal. Inflation is going to be an issue in this election and we shall insist that inflation in all its truth, in all its manifestations and in all its real causes will be understood. We shall not be fobbed off any longer by evasions and suggestions that this is an unfortunate foreign phenomenon but are going to pin this thing to the tail of the Government today.
Why have we made inflation the major cause of attack in this debate? Inflation is a hardship in this country, a particularly grave hardship to people of low income and to people of fixed income in particular. There is nothing that hits harder at the way of life of these people—at their comfort and at their welfare—than this inflationary erosion that is running like a fire through the economic life of our country today. Inflation erodes the growth rate. What do we need more in this country with its high population rise than a steady growth rate to keep ahead of the growing needs of our people and their rising expectations? If we do not grow at a sufficient rate to satisfy our population this country will run into serious social, economic and political problems. Inflation is destroying our savings; it is a devastating eroder of thrift. If we do not save, if we do not put aside some portion of our earnings, some portion of our productivity, then once again we cannot build up the kind of country that we have to build up for the future. Inflation pushes up production costs, and if our production costs are pushed up there will be repercussions not only inland but also abroad, because it will push up the prices of our exports. It undermines investment confidence in this country. In the last resort the rate at which we grow, the rate at which we invest, the rate at which we plan and the rate at which we cope with the future is a product of confidence. Once confidence is destroyed, everything else begins to break down. Inflation confuses and frustrates the whole of our planning, because while inflation runs at the unpredictably high rate at which it is running in this country, it is not possible to plan for the future on a sound and a sane basis. Inflation is playing havoc with this country. Something has to be done about it since it is destroying our rising expectations and is causing us to fail to meet the rising needs of this country. We have a fast-growing population and unless we can control inflation we will not meet these needs and our future will be in jeopardy. This problem is frequently referred to by the Government as an international problem, as something which happens elsewhere. They conclude from this either that it is something about which we need not worry because, after all, if other countries also suffer from this phenomenon, then why should we worry? How can there be international inflation unless the causes of that international inflation spring from the very countries of the world that are a part of that whole inflationary process? It is all very well to refer to such things as international trade, international settlements, unstable currencies, and so on, and to attribute to them the causes of inflation, but these are results rather than causes. Surely it must be so that if the world community is suffering from inflation and if this erosion is running through the whole of the international community, the contributors to that inflation must be the nations themselves. Individually they must be guilty of neglect, they must be guilty of bad planning, they must be guilty of protectionism, they must be guilty of selfish, or inadequate or inefficient, practices. These surely are the components of inflation. It cannot come like a cloud descending upon us from the international community. It is something which the countries themselves are producing. Waste, inefficiency and faulty policies are the causes of inflation. It is the sum of the faults of the whole world. What we need to examine is how serious is our own problem and how grave inflation is in this country. Secondly, I think we need to take a good look at this alibi. Is it due, in part or in the whole, to international causes? If it is due to international causes at all, to what extent; and if we find, as we shall find in the course of this analysis, that it is in fact largely due to local causes, what are those causes and what are we going to do about them? In the hon. the Minister’s speech he referred to the rate of increase. He said that during the second and third quarters of 1973 the rate of increase in the consumer price index was less than it was in previous quarters. The hon. the Minister is fond of this comparison; we have discussed it before. But the hon. the Minister has not yet desisted from what I consider to be a rather misleading, although not a deliberately dishonest, approach to this problem. When you talk about an increase or a decrease in a rate you are talking about something quite different from the actual rise. I would like to use the analogy which I have used before. Let us assume that a man is driving his motorcar at 50 km an hour. He drives at 50 km per hour for one kilometer. When he gets to the second kilometer, he pushes up his speed to 60 km an hour; and when he gets to the third kilometer he pushes up his speed to 70 km an hour. His rate of increase iis 10 kilometers per hour for every kilometer he travels. When he comes to the fourth kilometer he pushes up his speed to 75 km per hour; in other words, he has increased his speed by only five km on that fourth kilometer. By now he has been stopped by a traffic policeman who tells him that he is exceeding the speed limit, and not only this; he has been accelerating all the way. What is his defence? If his defence is the same as the hon. the Minister’s, he would say that his rate of increase had actually been dropping. “I have been accelerating at 10 km over each kilometer, but when I got to above 70 I was increasing my speed by only 5 km per hour.” This is a wonderful argument but it does not get you off with the traffic policeman. We are not going to allow the hon. the Minister to get away with this argument either. In his speech the hon. the Minister once again came with an international comparison. In it he referred once again to “a not satisfactory figure” and added that it was by no means out of line with price increases in other countries. In the same passage he says: “Unfortunately sharp increases in the price of vegetables and petroleum products in the fourth quarter caused this trend to be reversed”.
Well, we shall come to the question of vegetables quite soon. Let us first, though, look at the quarterly fluctuations. Since April 1970, which is the base year, to October 1973, three and a half years later, food has gone up in this country by 36,8%, services by 31,8% and commodities by 27,2%. If one looks at the statistics in the Bulletin, one sees that there have been quarterly variations. Sometimes rises are rapid and sometimes they are less rapid. These are seasonal fluctuations, due to a number of factors. I do not believe one can take very much comfort from the fluctuations as the hon. the Minister has done, because invariably and remorselessly they go up and down. What one has to look at, is the trend over a reasonable period of time. To illustrate the fluctuations, let us take the hon. the Minister’s own example, i.e. the famous vegetables. The vegetable index was 144,6 in April 1973, 140,4 in June, which is a drop, and 144,9 in September, which means that it went up again approximately to the same level as in April. The Bulletin of Statistics does show that there was a sharp rise in the price of vegetables in October. However, let us come to the joker in the pack so far as the vegetables are concerned. If one looks at the statistics, one finds that the weighting of vegetables in the composition of the whole cost-of-living index is 2,27%. These fluctuations in the prices of vegetables, affecting a commodity which weighs 2,27% in the Bulletin of Statistics, are given as the reason for the enormous rise in the rate of increase in the fourth quarter of 1973.
In fact, by April 1974, two months from now and just four years since April 1970, which is the base year for the index, I think it can be confidently predicted that the consumer price index will be 40% up over that period of four years, irrespective of fluctuations. That is the measure of what is happening. It is pointless and it is idle to suggest that, because there are fluctuations up in one quarter and fluctuations down in another, there is some miraculous or significant change taking place. The fact is that over a measurable and reasonable period in which one can observe this trend, there will be seen to have been an increase of the order of 40% over four years, in two months’ time when that period has run its course. That is a devastating figure.
The Government claims that inflation is imported. I have taken out some figures and I want to examine this allegation, this alibi, from various angles. Then we shall see to what extent inflation has actually been imported. Let us examine this claim. Let us compare food prices. We have already mentioned that food prices over the past three and a half years between April 1970 and September 1973, the period for which statistics are available, have gone up by 36,8%. In the same period services have gone up by 31,8%, and both of these are mainly domestic; we grow most of our food and produce most of our services in this country. Compare these increases of 36,8% and 31,8% with the increase in the price of commodities, which are partly imported. In the same period they have risen by 27,2%. Now, it begins to look as if imports are helping to keep the prices down rather than raising them up. In those sectors the economy where the prices have risen most, there is little interference from imports but in that very sector, commodities, where we do import, the price rise is the least. Imports appear to be helping us. Possibly this is erroneous reasoning. Maybe there is an error somewhere. Let us look further. Let us compare our total imports with our gross domestic product. Let us compare what we actually import from abroad with what we actually produce inside the country. We find that our imports from abroad are of the order of about R3 000 million per annum in round figures. Our gross domestic product is of the order of R15 000 million in round figures. While these two sets of figures are not strictly comparable, they provide very well an order of comparison, an order of size. Therefore, what we produce domestically is five times greater than what we import from abroad. If this is so—and the figures indicate it—how then can this 20% which we bring in from abroad to feed and house our people and to supply them with their commodities, have such a massive impact on our cost of living?
Sir, maybe we are still labouring under a delusion. Let us look at it from another angle. Let us compare our price rises, not with the whole world, because we do not buy from the whole world—some of the countries that suffer the worst inflation are not our suppliers—but with those of our major suppliers. I wish to quote here from a very respectable source, the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics of the United Nations of January 1974. They compare prices over the period 1963 to 1973. This is a fairly reasonable period in which to compare prices and see what has been happening. We find that over the past ten years in Austria, Australia, Belgium and Canada price rises have been lower than in South Africa. I am taking the major countries alphabetically. We find that in France and Italy price rises have been very nearly the same. We find that West Germany, Iran and Rhodesia show price rises considerably lower than South Africa. We find that Switzerland and the United Kingdom show price rises higher than South Africa. Then we come to the United States of America, which again shows price rises considerably lower than South Africa over this ten-year period. Whatever these comparisons may prove, they certainly do not show that the major suppliers from whom we buy our goods, with the exception of Switzerland and the United Kingdom, are actually exporting inflation to us. On balance, these countries are sending us goods which have suffered lower price rises than those we have suffered in South Africa. If hon. members on that side are not yet convinced, I have yet another proof which I think will persuade them.
What are you trying to prove?
I am trying to prove to those hon. members that they must never again seriously come to this House and tell us that inflation is imported. If I do not knock this thing dead today, I never will, but I am going to have a good try.
You cannot possibly say it has no influence.
When the publication International Financial Statistics of the International Monetary Fund—I quote from the edition of October 1973, which is the latest I have seen—deals with South African prices, it distinguishes between prices (a) home and imported, and (b) home only. Here you have a distinction between the price increases for home and imported commodities, taken together, and home commodities only. This provides an interesting figure. It shows that (b), home prices only, home prices unmixed with imports, have been consistently, for the last seven or eight years, 1% higher than the prices of the home plus imported commodities. Now, Sir, if the other arguments I have used have not entirely convinced the hon. the Deputy Minister of Finance, this one surely is a clincher. I recommend to him the International Financial Statistics of the International Monetary Fund.
What then, Sir, are the reasons? We are now quite convinced, I hope, on both sides of the House that inflation is a domestic problem. It is a local problem. It is something we have to do something about. While in certain respects we may import inflation, and inflationary effects from abroad may influence certain prices in South Africa—this no one will deny—in the main, taking the position as a whole, prices in South Africa are increasing faster than those abroad. In those instances where we have figures to compare, the mixture of imports with our own locally produced commodities produces a decline and not an increase in price. I have my authorities for it and many more to come. If this is so, then surely there is something grievously wrong at home? There is something seriously wrong if we are not importing this thing but have a homegrown product that is more luxuriant than inflation abroad. This is what we have now proved. What then are the reasons? What has gone wrong? My time is limited, but I should like to deal with some of what I consider to be the main causes.
The first one, Sir, goes back a short way in history. We go back to the famous debates which took place in this House in 1970 and 1971 in regard to growth versus damping down. I wonder if there is anyone in this House who does not remember those debates that went on day after day and week after week between this side of the House and that side of the House, the growth school on this side of the House and the damping down school on that side.
What happened to Japan?
As you may recall, Sir, one of the strong reasons given in favour of damping down was the fear of inflation. We were told by that side of the House that if we did not damp down, inflation would run wild. We said that inflation was coming anyway … [Interjections.] My time is limited; I am sorry. We said: Inflation is coming anyway and we shall have to grow out of this thing, we shall have to grow ahead of it. So, Sir, we won the debate but that side of the House had superior numbers and so we had damping down. What was the consequence? We have had a slow growth-rate and we have had inflation such as this country has never seen in its history. That was the consequence of that policy and we can see now in retrospect how gravely and how grossly mistaken it was.
We come to another reason. I believe that wrong priorities are a grave cause of inflation. I believe that wrong priorities, delay, wasted time, are all things which are root causes of inflation. One of the main causes of waste, of inefficiency and of unused resources is loss of time. It is not generally recognized how much loss and waste of time affect the economic scene, the influence they have on the efficiency and productivity of a country. I believe that time in the sense of money left idle, money that lies unused, is a wasted resource which is one of the root causes of inflation. Time, Sir, is an economic factor, and when we look at some of the ways in which time is being wasted and money is being wasted, we can appreciate the effect that it has. We know, for example, that vast amounts of money have been spent in this country on such things as the purchase of land for consolidation purposes. How many farms are not lying idle, unproductive, fallow, in this country because they have been bought and ear-marked for some future political purpose and are not economically productive today? That money is taxpayers’ money; it has been used; it is lying idle, and money lying idle is a highly inflationary thing. The hon. the Deputy Minister of Bantu Development wants to spend R500 million consolidating some more land. Unless that land goes into production, as efficient production as it enjoyed previously, that purchase is going to be highly inflationary. The hon. the Minister of Community Development in reply to a question by the hon. member for Port Natal the other day, said that he had R131 million worth of property in the main urban areas in South Africa. We have seen this property about the place. Go to District Six, go to Simonstown, go to Johannesburg, go to Durban and you see these vast properties falling down, eroded by the weather and rat-infested. This, Sir, is money; it is taxpayers’ money; it is money that could be used productively tor other purposes. It is money that could be used to fight inflation. It is money that could bring down the price of goods. This money is lying idle. If it does not bear interest charges, because the Government does not think in terms of interest, then the deprival of the private sector of that money means that the private sector is being deprived of the interest-earning capacity of that money, so it costs interest anyway. The amount of R131 million is in fact money that comes from the taxpayer, and if it is not used, it will not earn interest and it will not earn revenue. It will be unproductive and this, Sir, is a blow in the belly to those who are trying to fight inflation. These are the examples.
Let us come now to the Bantu Development Corporation and the Xhosa Development Corporation to see what they are doing. We had the case the other day of R5½ million being spent on a bus service. Now, to buy a bus service and transfer it from one owner to another is not new production. The great modern economist, Samuelson, had this to say—
The transfer of a bus company from one owner to another does not add one iota to productivity. It costs a lost of money; it takes money out of the system but it does not add anything to productivity. One can give endless examples of this. There is the example of Phalaborwa where R2 million is lying idle. The examples are legion in this regard.
I want to conclude by saying this: If one adds up all these things, the inefficiencies, the delays, the loss of time, one comes to the conclusion that the root cause of most of them is a political philosophy, and that political philosophy is apartheid, it is separate development. One of the major causes of inflation in this country is apartheid. There is a direct nexus, there is a cause and effect, there is a link, and so long as we have separate development as a political philosophy in this country, we will go on having inflation. It is inescapable, it is inevitable. There is a direct cause and effect, there is a beginning and consequence which we cannot break. This is a chain of logic that cannot be broken. This, Sir, is my charge today. Inflation is a grave matter for this country. Inflation is not caused by international impact. It is indigenous; it is local, and the main cause is the policies of this Government. [Time expired.]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Von Brandis is not feeling well. We know what the relationship between the hon. member for Von Brandis and the Transvaal leader is. The link between the hon. member and Mr. Harry Schwarz is common knowledge. The hon. member for Von Brandis has been selected as a candidate, but the hon. member for Orange Grove has not yet been selected officially. There is this close tie, and naturally the hon. member for Von Brandis will not be feeling well today. That is why his argument is so sporadic that his statistics are not completely accurate. I want to tell him this: When he comes with his solutions concerning inflation, he is directly touching upon the declaration of good faith of Harry Schwarz and Buthelezi. He objects, he takes exception, to the land purchases for the Bantu by the hon. the Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration. Listening to the homeland leaders, one knows that their biggest argument is specifically that they want more land. We on this side steadfastly say “No”; not an inch more land than the land for which provision was made in the 1936 Act, an Act that was placed on the Statute Book by that same United Party. But it is interesting that it now hits out at the purchasing of land. What is now happening to the so-called sincere, good relationship of its leader, Mr. Schwarz, with the Bantu? Its leader is not Sir De Villiers Graaff; its leader is Mr. Schwarz. Sir, I want to make it very clear here today: What have we had here from the three Opposition members who took part in this debate? One would have expected them to have clarified their party’s policy, as one could expect before an election, but instead of that they came along with a sharp, virulent attack on the National Party in an endeavour to make political capital. Sir, I want to state that we have a Government that grants economic stability and security to our people in the Republic of South Africa. I am stating that this Government and the hon. the Minister of Finance grant stability to the South African economy; that they make the South African economy a beacon of light in the world’s economy. I now want to ask the hon. member for Parktown whether he concedes that as a currency the rand is today the strongest in the world or certainly compares very favourably with any currency in the world.
I am glad the hon. member concedes as much. The hon. member concedes that the rand is the strongest currency in the world. What an achievement for our hon. Minister of Finance ! I know what the hon. member is now going to say. He will say it is thanks to the inherent potential of the Republic; that that is the reason why the rand is so strong. It is true that the inherent potential of the Republic of South Africa plays a tremendous role, but without the correct financial approach, and without development in this country, our economy would not have been as sound as it is today. To mention only one example, i.e. gold as a commodity.
Did you put it in the ground?
That hon. member, who does not know what he is talking about, must please keep out of this debate. Sir, just think of the role this National Party Government has played, during the past 25 years, in the development of this commodity. This Government, as a result of its faith in gold as a commodity, subsidized our low-grade gold mines. Sir, the Republic of South Africa would have had so much more respect for the Opposition had they displayed some gratitude to the Minister of Finance for the way in which he has handled the gold problem in the past few years. When the big powers wanted to write good off as a cover for currencies, it was this Minister who continually made representations and proved that without gold as a cover for currencies, one would have chronic economic crises throughout the world. Today the price of gold is $150 and it is clear to me that the I.M.F. can only make one decision, i.e. to increase the official price of gold. Look what happened in the E.E.C. countries recently with this oil crisis. They insist that the official gold price be increased. Sir, thus I could continue to indicate the economic achievements of this Government. Hon. members of the Opposition come along with the accusation that this Government is, so to speak, the cause of inflation as a result of our ideological policy. They speak against their own better judgment. They are aware of the fact that inflation is a chronic disease that has struck the whole world. They are aware of the fact that Great Britain is faced with inflation much worse than that here in South Africa, and so one can compare South Africa with other countries in the world. Sir, this Government did not hesitate to do its duty; it did not hesitate to adopt the necessary monetary and fiscal measures. But what is of greater importance is that this Government realized that the solution to the inflation problem lies in the growth of South Africa. The hon. member for Von Brandis said that in that debate it was the hon. the Minister of Finance who belonged to the damping school while they supposedly belong to the growth school. But the hon. the the Minister of Finance has repeatedly said that he believes in growth, but in responsible growth, in growth in the interests of South Africa and not in a short-term or reckless manner as they put it. That is what happened. If one were to look at Hansard one would see that the hon. the Minister has repeatedly said he believes in the growth school’s trend of thought, but this must take place on a judicious basis. But now they come along here and want to pretend that this Minister wishes to put the damper on growth. I want to say this. South Africa will become an economic giant. This energy crisis requires that countries find other energy sources. This country will produce the raw materials. This Government will establish the uranium enrichment processes, will make available the coal and create the capital to make these things possible, but the creation of capital on a responsible basis. The economic challenge is a gigantic one, but it is the only way to combat inflation, and this Government is tackling it.
I made the statement that this Government is a stable government with a stable economic policy, and now I want to ask the hon. Opposition in all fairness: “What do you expect? Is it fair to expect the South African voters to support you?”
You say, “yes”, but is it fair to expect this when one hon. member calls another hon. member a “political pip-squeak” and asks him to go jump in the sea at Fish Hoek—of all places—where he has no chance of ever getting out again? And it is not an hon. member on this side of the House who said it of an hon. member on the other side of the House. It is a member of the U.P. This confrontation is not only a simple cat and dog fight. No, this confrontation in that party is open and blatant.
Are you worried?
Yes, I am worried, because I believe in loyalty. What has happened to loyalty in their party? What has happened to the esprit de corps in the United Party? What has become of firmness of principle and singleness of purpose that tie people together in a party with the object of bringing that party into power, when they openly fight amongst each other, inwardly and outwardly? And then you find the hon. the Leader of the Opposition having said here in the no-confidence debate a week ago that his party stands behind him to a man. The hon. member for Green Point says there is no unrest in their party; there are no differences of opinion; it is the Press that is carrying on with this.
What became of Gerdener?
I want to state very clearly that the National Party has firm principles, firm ideals, firm policies and a singleness of mind; and when people do not believe in the ideals in which we believe, they get out of the National Party and the National Party keeps to its course. That is the difference. Here they are trying to reconcile the irreconcilable. I submit today that at this stage the official Opposition does not know whether they should break before the election or after the election. Whatever the case may be, the United Party will break; there is no doubt about that. Now I say this in all fairness to South Africa: We are dealing with a vicious, hostile world abroad. We are faced with an attack that is not a matter of National Party policy or United Party policy. It is a matter of the potential of South Africa. What is South Africa’s duty now? To have a strong Government in power, a Government that stands rock-fast by what it believes in and what it loves.
Why then, are you holding an election?
We are holding an election to bring the National Party to this House in even greater strength. We are holding this election to show the outside world that the South Africa people are unanimous. This is quite true: This election is a vital one.
I am telling you why. If you would just open your ears and close your mouth you would hear. [Interjections.] This election is an important one because never in the country’s history has there been an era in which unanimity has been more necessary than today. I shall state why. It is not merely a question of the National Party. The hon. member for East London North wishes to imply that the National Party is a strong party. The National Party is in my veins and I love my party, but this matter goes much deeper than that. It is much more important; it is in the interests of South Africa, and for that reason I say today that the confusion, the absolute, blatant hostility of one U.P. member to another amazes one. The hon. member for Johannesburg North is a dear fellow in the Lobby, but he is a very unhappy man. The hon. member for Durban Point—where is that old fighter, Vause Raw, whom I have learned to know in this House? He is done for. I have a great respect for the hon. member for South Coast. There he is-deeply shocked at the antics, to the detriment of South Africa, of the hon. member for Von Brandis’s leader in the Transvaal. One cannot expect the South African public to support a party who are not interested in the interests of South Africa’s future. There is only one party which gives precedence to this country’s interests, its economic interests and political interests, and on 24 April we shall see the National Party winning the election and the United Party being rejected. They will break either before the time or afterwards, but break they shall.
Mr. Speaker, we have now listened to quite an important economic speech on a high financial level. We have heard about inflation and the solution for it in South Africa. We have heard that the Nationalist Party has put our gold in the ground. We derived revenue from gold because the Nationalist Party has confidence in gold. This is just about all we heard about the economy, but we heard many other things from the hon. member for Rustenburg. Is it not strange how few hon. members on the Government side are able to make a speech on matters concerning South Africa without referring to the United Party? Had it not been for that, they would have been sitting here with nothing to say for they would have had nothing to talk about. They will have to sit there with nothing to say, “zipped”, if they cannot talk about the United Party. Do you know why that is so, Sir? Because the United Party is the most important political body in South Africa. [Interjections.] It is the United Party which is alive—it is a vital party. It is the Nationalist Party which is dead. The Nationalist Party is a dying party; it is already dead, but does not want to admit it. It is this side of the House which is alive. My hon. friend from Rustenburg referred to permanence and adherence to principles. That is what we find here, under my Leader. [Interjections.] I support my Leader as does everyone on this side of the House. I stand by the decisions taken in Bloemfontein as far as our policy is concerned. I accept every decision of our party congress at Bloemfontein as does every member sitting on this side, just as Mr. Harry Schwarz accepts it—he voted for it as did every one of us. Just as I stand for White leadership in the interests of all the races in South Africa, so Mr. Harry Schwarz stands for White leadership. [Interjections.] He is in favour of its because he voted for it and he is committed to it. Likewise I am also in favour of White leadership being used to guide the non-Whites in South African on the road ahead so that they may also share in the administration of South Africa. Likewise everyone of us on this side of the House, every one of us sitting here and everyone outside, is committed to the principles of this party and to its policy. That is why my hon. Leader has the right to say that his party supports him. He can say so because we are committed …
Is that why he went to Johannesburg?
Let us have a look at hon. members on that side of the House. Where is the hon. member for Wakkerstroom? There he is! Hon. members on that side of the House refer to our nominations, but what happened to the nomination of the hon. member for Wakkerstroom? He is not going to come back. Where is the hon. member for Pretoria District? He is not going to come back. Where is the hon. member for Wolmaransstad? Neither is he going to come back. The hon. member for Pietersburg lost the nomination contest by one vote and he afterwards appealed and asked: “Please, Boss, may I come back?” He won the appeal and he is therefore going to come back. Those are the hon. members who have so much to say about us. Those hon. members are just jealous because there is life in this party, the life of a party on the march, in contrast to a party which is dying. That is why they regard us as being so important.
Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. member a question?
Is the hon. member prepared to answer a question?
Mr. Speaker, not from the hon. member for Potchefstroom, because I know it will be a stupid question.
The hon. member for Rustenburg had another thing on the brain. He had been doing some self-analysis; he has made some psychological investigations about himself and it seems as if he has got stuck on the word “pip-squeak”. I wonder if he was not doing too much self-analysis so that that word got stuck in his brain because he knew it applied to him.
One of the two other points which the hon. member raised with which I want to deal is that the hon. member for Von Brandis has said that we were opposed to more land for Bantu reserves. It is totally untrue and I think that hon. member should have known that. What the hon. member for Von Brandis complained about was idle land. He was talking about the spending of millions and millions of rand on land which lies there idle after the money has been spent. It is that hon. member’s money, i.e. if he pays taxes, that is lying there idle, unused, wasted …
Like his brain.
Who said he has got a brain? That land is wasted and the taxpayers’ money is being used for weekend shoots. That land including irrigable land, is lying there rotting. Hon. members should go down to Weenen and have a look at the beautiful irrigation land that is lying there. What has happened to this land? This land which used to bring in between R300, R400 and R500 per morgen per annum is bringing in R15 and R20 per morgen per annum now. The furrows are silting up, and that is our money that they are wasting. That is the wastage that we were talking about. The other thing he talked about is that he said: “Why don’t you give credit when credit is due to the hon. the Minister of Finance, …” because the hon. the Minister of Finance believes in growth. Yes, let us give him credit for having believed in growth for one year. However, when South Africa needed growth for five years he believed in “demp”. He believed in damping down the growth when we needed it and now suddenly he has to be praised because he has woken up five years too late.
No, I am not going to waste time on the nonsense that hon. member talks. I have here before me the South African Digest of 1 February, 17 days ago, issued by the Government as an official propaganda rag, an official propaganda document, setting out the views and the decisions and the attitude of the Government. This is how they want the world to see South Africa, and so let us have a look at it. Under “Mining” we find the headings “Gold sales up 60%” and “Uranium future bright”. The next item is “R100 million ore export”.
True or not?
This is what the Government says is going on. Under “Bantu affairs,” you get the headings “Luxury hotel for Blacks” and “A diner for Bantu”. Under “Economy”, there is a picture with the caption “A moment of calm at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange after the wave of selling which sent gold shares into orbit”. On the next page we find the headings “Economy shines” and “R626 million for border areas”. Two further items “No petrol curbs” and “Oil crisis advantages” appear on the same page. It is stated there: “For South Africa, the world-wide energy crisis holds certain potential advantages …” The next section is “Industry” with headings such as “R11 million for factories” and “Dredging at Saldanha”. The next one is “Labour” with the heading “Accent on growth” and “Black mine pay doubles”. “Sextuplets doing well” does not really affect the economy. Then we get an article on wool, and then we find a heading “R160 million Post Office expansion”. Under “Trade” there is the heading “Shipping future assured”. Another heading reads “Exciting year ahead”. This is all true, I assume. The hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs will tell me: Is it all true? What then are we having an election for? What are we having an election for? Because of the uncertainty. Because of “uncertainty” we are going to have an election, yet in every field the future is a Utopia. In every field South Africa is doing wonderfully, but according to the hon. the Prime Minister, we must have an election because the future is uncertain. Of course it is uncertain, because you do not find cost of living mentioned there. You do not find Government maladministration mentioned there.
What is happening now is that South Africa is no longer being governed by this Cabinet. It is being governed by the Public Service. It is being governed by the Public Service because the Cabinet does not have a clue about what is going on any more. They are being told by officials what to do. South Africa is being run today by the Public Service and the Ministry is a rubber stamp for what they are told to do by the permanent administration of South Africa. Look at them. Not one of them has given us the slightest indication this session that he has a clue, the beginning of a clue, as to what is really happening in South Africa and what is happening in his own department. Airy-fairy assurances, but about the reality of what is happening we hear nothing at all. We had a Deputy Minister standing up here on Friday and telling us that they have bought a bus company. On Sunday we read that an official says: “Do not take any notice of the Minister. We did not buy the bus company, we just bought some goodwill. We paid R250 000 for some routes and we bought some buses. We did not buy the company.” That is the sort of Ministry we have.
They ask this House for R5½ million to buy a bus company. They name the bus company and give the value of the assets they are buying and then the official says: “The Minister does not know what he is talking about; he is talking rubbish; we are only buying transportation certificates.” The hon. the Minister of Transport, if he were here, would say that that is illegal, but the hon. the Deputy Minister of Bantu Development says: “No, we are not buying the certificates—I just call them certificates—but what we are buying is goodwill.” How do you buy goodwill if you do not buy a company? This is the sort of Cabinet management we are getting in South Africa, Government by the Public Service and the Cabinet does not know what is happening even in its own departments.
We have had an economic debate here, and the economic boffins have quoted us facts and figures. It is amazing how the economic boffins can make figures do tricks. They make them stand up and talk and the same set of figures produces two exactly opposite stories. It all depends on which end you are on. It depends on whether you are on the paying or receiving end of an economic boffin’s policy. They tell me inflation is a good thing if you owe money. I always owe money, so I think inflation must be a good thing, but when I go to the bank manager, he says: “No, it is not a good thing, because your overdraft is getting bigger; stop it! Reduce your overdraft.” I do not know how the boffins work it!
I do not understand one secret of higher economy. A few years ago I waved a R5 note around in this House and asked: “What will this buy the housewife in comparison with what it would have bought her two or three years earlier?”
What did they earn two or three years earlier?
I shall come to that. I went on to say what that R5 would buy. Nearly three years have passed and the cost of living, according to the official index, has gone up 20 or 25 points. Why cannot the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs and the hon. the Minister of Finance, these economic boffins, tell me why that basket of food would now cost me R10, if I went to buy it, instead of the R6-50 which it should cost according to the cost-of-living index? I cannot understand that sort of economics. I just know that the cost of normal food, which one needs to feed a family, has in many cases more than doubled. One can no longer wave a R1 or a R5 note around; one must wave a R10 note round in order to fill a decent basket of food today, in order to buy the same as one bought three or four years ago. I want to give some examples, because the only answer I get is: “Ah, but it is worse overseas”.
I borrowed R10 so that I could wave something around, but I had to have lunch and all I have left are a few dirty bits of paper, stuck together with selotape. By tomorrow there will be none of these left either, if I go shopping. That is what the Government does not understand. They talk here in terms of percentages and cost-of-living indices, but let them take that money and accompany the housewife when she goes to buy her food. Let them stand with her in the supermarket. Let them look at the prices the housewife has to pay. On 24 January, less than four weeks ago, more than 500 items increased in price by anything up to 33,8%. The list of items included tinned meats, golden syrup, Rice-O-Mix, chocolates, sweets, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and corned beef.
May I ask the hon. member a question? The hon. member must please tell me in which way the actions of the Government are responsible for the increased prices he has quoted.
If the hon. member had known the answer to that himself, he might have won his nomination again instead of retiring. The reason is that the Government has completely lost control of the economy of South Africa. They have a Price Controller who no longer can control prices. They have a Government which has just held up its hands in despair and said: “Get on with the job; we can no longer control the cost of living.” The hon. Minister of Transport, who sat on a Cabinet committee to deal with cost of living, walked out of it in disgust and despair, because his own Government was unable to deal with the situation.
The hon. member for Smithfield asked how much my salary has gone up. Well, Mr. Speaker, mine has not gone up at all. There are many pensioners who have retired from commercial firms whose pensions have not gone up. There are pensioners who have retired from the Railways whose pensions go up 2% per annum. There are pensioners who have retired from the Public Service, and there are tens of thousands of people who are living on their savings and on investments. Their income has not gone up. But the Government will prove on paper that the pensioner is so much better off. They say: “The pensions have gone up by X%, the cost of living by Y%, therefore they are better off.” So let us have a look at it. On an average, social pensions have been going up by R2 a month each year, and last year by R3 a month; in other words, by between 8% and 10% per annum. The cost of living has risen by 10% this year. Therefore the pensioners are all better off. The hon. member for Yeoville is very good at that sort of arithmetic.
He taught you that.
Yes, but now I am not going to do arithmetic, because I have learned how wrong I was to be misled by this Government on doing little sums. I want to take reality. The pensioner who was receiving R38 a month and lived in a private hotel the year before last, paying R30 per month—I could take hon. members to three different hotels which were charging R26 to R32 for a room—would now be getting R41, and after the increase, R46.
No, you are wrong.
R5 more. [Interjections.] No, R52 is the maximum. But, Sir, if you go to those hotels, you will find that the very least at which you will find a room in any of them, is today R50. So what does the pensioner have to live on? R2! Take the pensioner who was living in a private room, paying R20 to R25 a month. The rental for that room now has gone up to R25, R27 or R30. Two pensioners, a couple, living in a flat, who were paying perhaps R40 per month, will now have to pay somewhere around R60. The hon. Minister of Community Development will know that day by day almost every owner of a block of rent-controlled flats is applying for increases in rentals. Where the average increase used to be around 10%, he is now getting 20%, 25, 30 and up to 40% increases; and they are often justified. Interest rates and valuations justify them. But the fact is that the average increase is going up by 30% and 40% for every application. Then there are the rates and taxes and the wages and the other increases that come in between. So, the average increases in salary may be keeping up with an average statistical cost of living for all the people, spread over everyone, but they are not keeping up with the people who need it most. The person who had an income of R82 for a couple, now receiving an extra R10, will have lost and will have less after the increase in pension than he would have had before the increase in rentals alone. Look at housing. I do not have time to deal with it, but I just took a page at random from yesterday’s Sunday Tribune. This is a paper that is a bit of a rag, so I thought it would contain advertisements for cheap houses. Here we have houses advertised for R35 000, R27 000, R42 000—I am taking them as they come—and R55 000. These are real prices. Glenwood, R20 000, R26 000, R28 000, R39 000, R46 000, R55 000. Ask the hon. member for Port Natal whether this is really a high-class suburb. In Durban North where I live, I paid £4 200 or R8 400. You cannot get a house there now for under R22 000. These are the prices that have to be paid and then these hon. members tell me that the wages of the working man have kept pace with rising prices! Look at the prices of meat, of vegetables, of staple requirements. I say here, Sir, that the official cost-of-living index is a meaningless figure on a piece of paper to the lower income group, to the pensioner, to the person with a fixed income, to the person who is battling to keep his head above water. Take the question of clothes. I did not know that I was going to speak today so I did not dress particularly carefully. As far as this suit is concerned that I am wearing, you can see the places where I have had it invisibly mended, where it has been patched and, Mr. Speaker, I am not a poor White. What about the people who have to live on the breadline, Sir, if we have to make a suit last five or six years? I am wearing a pair of shoes that have been resoled twice. If we have to be careful, Sir, if we have to watch the rands and the cents, what about the person who has nothing to watch once he has paid for his rent and his food? He still has to be clothed.
Let us deal with the question of sales tax, the great and generous reduction that we have had in sales tax. What do we find? We have had a small reduction in the sales tax on perfume. There has also been a reduction on pyrotechnic articles. So that hon. members can let off fire-crackers! What for? Probably to throw onto the tin roofs of buildings in which the United Party are holding meetings so that they can break up those meetings. They can now buy their ink removers and stencil correctors a little cheaper. When we look at the mistakes in Government planning, we know that they need a lot of ink remover to remove the stains on the reputation of this Government. When we come to table and kitchen utensils, however, there has only been a reduction to 10%. But a bathroom wall cabinet—a vital, essential item—is down to 5%. However, a knife and fork, or things for your kitchen to feed people with are 10%. That is logic, Mr. Speaker! That is why the tax on wastepaper baskets is kept high—because they are filled up with so much junk! Personal adornment are also still 20%. Artificial furs have also come down but then we find some interesting ones. Wigs, false beards, hair pads, curls, switches and the like of human or animal hair—an important part of the cost of living, Mr. Speaker!—can now be worn by hon. members because they are subject to a 20% tax instead of a 30% tax. Then, Sir, if one has to make out so many cheques that one needs a machine to do so, we find that a cheque-writing machine has come down to 10%. A household refrigerator has also come down; that is important; but the trouble is that meat and food are so expensive that you have nothing to fill it with. We find that musical instruments, gramophone records and vending machines, television and radio receivers, mounted lenses, identifiable for use with photographic cameras and so forth have all come down. But image projectors—that is the important one, Sir—are now only 20%, so the Government can now project a new image to the people, an image of a Government looking after the people, and that is why they have also reduced the duty on machines for games of skill and chance. They may be producing an image, Mr. Speaker, but the person who votes for them is voting for a game of chance, and I tell you, Mr. Speaker, that those games of chance are so weighted against you that you cannot win. The odds are against you when you play a game of chance, and the odds are against South Africa if it should dare vote for this Government again, because South Africa cannot win under this Government. The only people who can win are the Nationalist Party Government. They will retain their seats and privileges and power, but the people of South Africa will be the losers, because the people of South Africa will find that their livelihood and their future and their children’s future are placed in severe danger. The security of South Africa is the price that South Africa will pay for this Government if it stays in power. This Government, Sir, is undermining the economic security of the poorest paid section of South Africa. It is the poorest paid section of South Africa who are feeling the pinch of the cost of living and of inflation, and when you take away the economic security of people, you create a security threat to the State. I say, therefore, that a vote for the Nationalist Government would be undermining the security of South Africa. It is creating the greatest threat that any Government in Africa can face—the threat of a people struggling under a cost-of-living burden with which they cannot cope. Sir, hon. members on that side can laugh and they can crack jokes, but I say in all seriousness that the people will be the losers if they play the game of chance and vote for this Government. They will lose their security and the security of their children. I hope that they will not take that gamble.
Mr. Speaker, I would not like to hit a man when he is down. The hon. member himself said he had not prepared himself. How can one hit a man when he is not prepared? The hon. member did have a few things to say here on which I shall have to answer him. I also want to tell him that I do not believe his speech was one of high economic quality. Sir, up to this stage four members on the other side have taken part in this debate. It was a team with one harp and one string, and they passed it on from one to the other. They spoke of one single thing, and that was inflation. They spoke of no other aspect of the country’s economy. Sir, here we have a Little Budget which is welcomed in all respects by the whole country, except the four harpists [Interjections.] No, it is accepted in all quarters of the country. But, Sir, something else has come to the fore here from the speeches of hon. members on that side. They began an attack here on the official figures that are being furnished; they cast those figures in doubt. The whole idea behind that is to intimate to the people that the official figures, which the Government issues, are not the true figures; that the Government is lying to the people. I think that is a reprehensible accusation.
What did the Minister of Transport say?
The Minister of Transport said nothing about that.
He walked out.
The hon. member spoke here of Mr. Harry Schwarz. He told us how Mr. Harry Schwarz supports that party and how he supports the policy of White leadership. But, Sir, I read somewhere in a newspaper—I think other members also read it—that Mr. Harry Schwarz said he hoped he would never again have to let the term “White leadership” cross his lips.
Where did he say that? [Interjections.]
But he denied it.
If he denies it, he is lying.
The hon. member for Durban Point complains about the fact that we are now going to hold an election. Sir, is he then afraid of an election? Would he then like to have the extra year in the House? We would in any case have had to hold an election next year. What difference does it make if we hold the election a year earlier?
Many of you would have lost your seats.
Yes, possibly; I shall come to that in a moment.
What about your nominations?
Let the hon. member go and read yesterday’s Sunday Times. I do not have to answer him. The Sunday Times itself states that they think the National Party’s method of nomination is much more democratic and much better than that of the United Party. [Interjection.] Sir, my nomination was constitutional; it was in keeping with the National Party’s constitution; there was nothing wrong with it. It was done democratically and openly. But the United Party’s nomination system sounds to me more like a horse sale than anything else. Sir, in the course of my speech I shall reply to the arguments of the hon. member for Durban Point on the purchasing power of the rand, but at this stage I want to congratulate the hon. the Minister very heartily on this Little Budget he has introduced here. The hon. the Minister is a master pilot who can beautifully manipulate the financial joystick of the country. He has a wonderful feeling for that; he has a good sense of anticipation; he is extraordinarily knowledgeable, and in addition he has very good analytical ability, and ability to make deductions, to do the right things at the right time from the data furnished to him. On the dangerous sea of economics he keeps South Africa forging ahead on a safe, even and stable course. He lets South Africa’s economy take the course he wants it to take. In congratulating the hon. the Minister on his Budget, I should be congratulating him on his Budget of last year. Sir, what were the objects of last year’s Budget? That Budget had certain objectives. One objective was to stabilize and stipulate growth. Here I just want to point out a mistake the hon. member for Von Brandis made here this afternoon. He made the accusation that this side of the House is a damping school, and he connected this with inflation. I want to tell him, Sir, that this side of the House is not a damping group, nor is it a growth group.
An inflation group.
The damping idea must be connected to growth. The statement of this side of the House is that it wants to see ordered and good, controlled growth in South Africa. But its growth goes beyond certain limits and creates bottlenecks, then growth will be quenched to bring it within reasonable limits. Hon. members on that side must not try to intimate that they are the growth school and we are the damping school; there is no such thing. Sir, the other objective of last year’s Budget was to encourage investment in secondary industries. You will remember, Sir, that last year there was an unutilized production capacity of 20%. The third objective of that Budget was to bring about increased exports, and the fourth was that the rand should be preserved as a strong monetary unit in the world, and also that productivity and the utilization of labour should be increased. A further objective of the Budget was that the price index should be properly controlled. Sir, what has happened recently? I think that the results that have been achieved are a fine testimonial for the National Party. That testimonial states in heavy print that the National Party can always be trusted with South Africa’s financial matters. This is also how the people will decide the issue on 24 April. Let us take a brief look at what has now happened with that Budget which the hon. the Minister introduced. What has happened in respect of the growth and investment objectives? The data was given in the Budget debate of the hon. the Minister. The economy has grown and flourished, and according to the Standard Bank’s survey for November 1973, the unutilized capacity has decreased from 20% to 10%, except in the food manufacturing industry, because this industry was adversely affected by unfavourable weather conditions, and they could not sustain production. Concerning exports and the strength of the rand as a monetary unit, we also have fine figures to boast of there. The rand has held its own in the midst of the world’s monetary uncertainties. It was also under pressure, but it could comply with the obligations set out in section 8 of the International Fund’s monetary agreement and be accepted as an equal member with the other monetary units of developed countries of the world. Is that not a fine achievement for the National Party and for South Africa? But we hear no word about that from the other side. No wonder voices have recently been raised advocating that the rand is so strong that it should be devalued, because having become too strong it can adversely affect our export markets. That is how strong the rand is today. All these things prove again that the National Party can be trusted at all times with South Africa’s monetary affairs.
What about the housewives?
We are coming to them. Let us now first take a look at the realization of the ideal of high productivity. The figures have been furnished—an increase of 4% on last year. Now we come to a very important problem, the matter on which the Opposition is attacking us so fiercely. They have turned all their cannon on this aspect of these rising prices. They have given their full attention to this and they want to make the people believe, as they have always tried to do, that the Government is fully responsible for this and also for everything that goes with it. But I want to warn them that this inflation story of theirs is going to fall as flat as a pancake; they are not going to manage anything in the election, because by this time the people are already informed about this problem. They are aware of the fact that grievances will be kindled in them by the United Party, grievances that do not really exist; but they are also aware of the fact that the United Party has no alternative, no answer. We listened to them today. What was proposed? [Interjections.] No fundamental plan was proposed for solving inflation; there were only compensatory proposals in themselves inflationary. Those were the only proposals. Their criticism is completely negative and destructive. They cannot give the people any hope of better conditions. They cannot hold out to the people that if they were to come into power they would ever solve the situation. Here comes the hon. member for Von Brandis with the story that apartheid is the cause of inflation. Sir, is there apartheid in America, in Britain or in France? What nonsense is that, telling us that apartheid is the cause of inflation?
We are a developing country.
Oh no, these days the people are fully aware that a cost-of-living commission has been appointed and that this committee is working and wrestling with this problem daily. They are trying their best; some of the best and smartest brains in the country are on that commission to give advice on this matter, better brains than there are on that side of that House, and the people will know that too, because they have never yet been able to come along with a practical suggestion for solving the matter.
There is no solution.
There is no solution, and you all know that. But they nevertheless use this as a point of attack. All the developing countries in the world, with a marketing economy, which are subject to a marketing mechanism, are being afflicted by this problem of inflation to an extraordinary degree. But then the hon. member says it is not international. Of course it is. If your trading partners suffer, it must surely affect you as well because you also have to import inflation. The people know these things. They are informed and they will not allow themselves to be led astray by the United Party. They know that inflation has thus far been handled brilliantly by this Government and the hon. the Minister. Those components of inflation that can be controlled have been restricted to an absolute minimum by this Government. I am now speaking of excessive local spending. There are also other cost components, for example the cost of imported goods and food, which is beyond the Government’s control due to weather conditions. The people also know about that. I say that the hon. the Minister has handled this matter brilliantly, because the hon. the Minister has beautifully kept in balance all the economic priorities for every circumstance. If the economy takes the course one has charted for it, as determined by the Government, it is surely proof that one has handled one’s priorities correctly, that one has correctly given doses of curb and stimulus.
We must remember that we must not be completely blinded by inflation and combat it with such excessive measures that we eventually bring or force the economy to a standstill. That is perhaps what the Opposition wants us to do. What happens if one forces the economy to a standstill? What is the alternative to inflation? The alternative is depression and unemployment. The misery of unemployment is much greater than the misery of inflation.
But you must control it.
Yes, but now the position is as I have explained it. The hon. the Minister has manipulated the situation as I have said. He could not bring inflation to a lower level than it is now, but he has nevertheless allowed the economy to grow as well. For this I want to give him a special word of congratulations because in the midst of it all he adopted certain inflationary measures during an inflationary period in order thereby to give the economy a proper boost and allow it to grow. Thereby he ensured, however, that the growth rate was always greater than the inflation rate, and the problems and dangers of stagflation have been warded off. He was not afraid to take certain steps; he was courageous to do so, and he has now done so gain. He has now pumped R105 million into the economy while our inflation rate is high. He did so to ensure that our future growth in 1974 would be assured. We shall indeed reap the positive results.
Oh well, if the hon. member for Parktown wants to present himself as such a prophet, let me remind him that he has already predicted many things that have never come true. I prefer to believe the hon. the Minister with his planning rather than the hon. member for Parktown, because today we already have proof of how the hon. the Minister’s planning has borne fruit. I say the hon. the Minister has done a very brave thing, but he knows what he is doing.
Hon. members of the Opposition are free to say what they want to now; they have no economic policy. They have a political policy, an ideological policy, which changes from one year to the next, and now they have a federation policy but they have no economic policy. We have an economic policy. However, our economic policy is subordinate to our ideology and we know where we are going and what we want. The United Party’s economic policy is exactly the same as that of the Progressive Party—it is the same; there is no difference between the two. I want to tell the hon. member for Parktown that if they were ever to come into power, they would be crushed by economic forces, by economic factors and realities. They would have to give themselves over completely to the Progressive Party, which is just sitting and waiting for them, because in the United Party’s federation policy no provision has been made for the economic protection of the so-called minorities which they mention in their policy.
The National Party is going to the people; the National Party is going to give an account of its stewardship and the people will return this party with greater majorities than it has ever had before.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg said the United Party has no economic policy, and also that the course we want to adopt will in the long run be the same as that of the Progressive Party. If that hon. member would just go back into this country’s history he would find that from 1934 to 1948 our predecessors in this party laid some of the strongest foundations we have ever known in South Africa for an economic boom. There is, for example, the Industrial Development Corporation. We had the greatest industrial development in South Africa in those years in which the United Party was in power.
And solved the poor-White question.
Yes, the hon. member next to me here reminds me that that was one of the ways in which the previous Government solved our poor-White question in South Africa. It was specifically by stimulating the economy in such a way that we could provide work in South Africa for the thousands of Whites who had no refuge. I want to remind the hon. member that the United Party believes that South Africa’s natural resources should be developed for the benefit of everyone in this country. That is why we believe, for example, that we must have development in the Bantu homelands. There is an area where precious little development has taken place under this Government in the past 25 years. Very little has been done to supply any form of large-scale economic stimulus. The United Party believes that this must be done so that those people can be given a chance to make a viable living. We can only do this if we are prepared, in this country, to give a greater push to industrial development. How that hon. member can say that the United Party has no economic policy, I do not know. In recent years, across the floor of this House, we have argued with the hon. members on that side of the House, and while they were thinking that the only manner in which inflation could be combated was by means of the damping of South Africa’s growth, we warned them that this is a dangerous course to take. Now the hon. the Minister of Finance and the hon. members who are with him believe that the best way the economy can be stimulated and inflation combated is by means of growth. If one looks at South Africa’s statistics, for example at the population figures, at the thousands upon thousands of Black people, Coloureds, Indians and Whites that are added to our labour market annually, it should, after all, be one of one’s foremost tasks to ensure that there will be work for those people. How can one now adopt a policy that damps the economy from time to time? The moment one damps the economy one is not combating inflation. All one gets is more people who are a burden to the State, people who are less productive and who do not have any chance of finding work. Therefore it is not only an economic principle but certainly also a sociological principle that we must provide all these people in South Africa with work.
Can the hon. member just tell me how the countries in Europe, who are saddled with inflation today, are combating it?
I am very glad the hon. the Minister is putting that question to me. The European countries do not have a similar problem. The hon. the Minister of Finance ought to know that the only labour for which the European countries have to make provision is the annual number of young people who leave the schools and universities.
They are fully-developed countries.
Yes, they are fully-developed countries. But here in South Africa we have thousands upon thousands of people who, if they were to receive the necessary upbringing, education and training, could be used more productively in the South African economy. Therefore we must not compare our inflationary problems with those of the outside world. South Africa’s potential, as far as its labour is concerned, is surely considerably more than that of those countries which are chiefly dependent on those people who leave the schools and universities annually. That is why, for example, they have to make use of the people from outside their borders. They must go and look for them, because they have a labour shortage. But here in South Africa we have the labour potential at our disposal. That is one of the reasons, one of the foremost reasons, why we have landed up with our inflationary problems in South Africa. There was a time when I was keen to listen to the hon. the Minister of Finance. I still am, because I think that from time to time one can learn a great deal from him. But the hon. the Minister of Finance said in this House when we accused him of the fact that the inflation rate was too high let us say between 2% and 4%, that this is completely normal. I wonder what the hon. the Minister of Finance now says when he sees how high our inflation rate is at present, and how high it is still going to become in the year ahead. I am glad—and I do not want to criticize the hon. gentleman on that score—that we have now reached the stage where the Government sees that economic integration is no longer a danger, but a necessity. They must now develop that further. Therefore I am also convinced that the hon. the Minister and the Government will succeed in stabilizing the inflation rate if they make more use of the available labour and if they are prepared to renounce and forget that policy they previously adopted. That is the only way they will successfully be able to do this.
May I put a question to the hon. member?
No, I am not going to answer any more questions. The hon. member for Pietersburg says we on this side of the House must realize that there is no solution to the cost of living problem. He says we must forget about that; neither is there a solution to inflation. But has the hon. member forgotten how, in the years prior to 1948, they said that they had the solution? Was the hon. member not listening to the hon. member for Parktown today when he said what could be done? The hon. member said what could be done. He said what we could do, for example, in connection with income tax, and also in respect of purchase tax. He said what could be done in respect of customs and excise duties. The hon. member for Parktown, the main speaker on finance on our side, told the hon. the Minister what could be done in connection with subsidies on certain foodstuffs and how productivity in South Africa ought to be encouraged. Are those not solutions and ways and means whereby a person could at least keep the cost of living and inflation trends stable in this country? But now the hon. member says one can do nothing about that. If the Government has reached the stage where it says there is no solution, it is time for the people of South Africa to reject such a Government. Then it is no longer meeting its responsibilities to the people of South Africa. Here they come again, just as they did in the no-confidence debate, and try to play with the so-called internal difficulties of the United Party. That is all they are doing, they are keeping us away from the internal difficulties which South Africa has today as a result of this Government. This party’s responsibility to the people of South Africa is great and we are not going to neglect those responsibilities and duties. We are not going to be put off by the hon. gentlemen on that side while they are allowing South Africa’s problems to increase and choosing to speak about what is happening in the United Party itself. It is a neglect of duty on the part of that side of the House to think they can settle the problems, which South Africa is faced with, in that way. The people of South Africa are no longer prepared to accept such political tactics. They want to see the Government in power doing its duty in respect of industry, agriculture, labour and the economy. They can read about the United Party’s so-called internal problems in all the newspapers. What the South African people also want to read—and this is the mistake hon. gentlemen on that side are making—are the National Party’s answers in respect of the race question and the economy. They do not want to know what is going on in the United Party; they also want to know what that side of the House is doing for South Africa to solve the problems. It has been said that with this Part Appropriation R105 500 000 has been poured into the economy.
The hon. member for Durban Point spoke about the concessions made in connection with the purchase tax. However, I want to know what there is in this Budget for the farmers of South Africa. I want to know from hon. gentlemen whether they think that abolishing tax in respect of the licence holders is a form of concession to the farmers of South Africa. The hon. gentlemen on that side of the House must realize that South Africa, and in fact the whole world, is experiencing a population explosion. We have a duty to our people, not only to feed them, but also to arrange the distribution of our food in such a way that every person in this country will be well fed and healthily fed. I want to tell the hon. the Minister of Agriculture that we are glad there are increased prices for certain products from our farmers in this country, but why is that increase there? Because there is an increase in the demand and because there have not been adequate stocks of late. Throughout the years we have pointed out to the hon. gentlemen that if one wants adequate food supplies in this country, one first has to take a look at the person who is engaged in that industry. Then one must see if one has trained farmers on the land; one must then see if one has enough farmers; and one must see whether the financing one can make available for those people is cheap enough. However, what did the hon. gentleman do? They were proud of the fact that 30 000 farmers had to leave the platteland annually. They had to move to the cities to find refuge there. The idea was that one farmer was to buy the other one’s land. That is the policy that was adopted. And the hon. gentlemen cannot deny that. It is strange that they told the White farmers that they should leave the platteland and come to the cities, while telling the Black people in the cities that they should not stay there, but go to the platteland, their own land. That is a contradiction. South Africa is now paying for the neglect of duty, if I may call it that, over the past 25 years. That is why our food supplies will not be sufficient for the tens of thousands of extra people born in South Africa every year. If we look at what our population is going to be in the year 2000, we realize that tremendous demands are going to be made on our agricultural industry. We as agriculturists want to do our duty. We want to ensure that there will be enough food in South Africa. But the question we put to ourselves is what motivation is there for the South African farmers to produce under these circumstances other than new conditions that have developed? It is not as a result of the activities of that hon. gentleman and the Government, not because they stimulated the production, not because they have made it financially cheaper to get by. There is now a future for the South African farmers because shortages have developed of late and because the demand for agricultural products is becoming ever greater.
May I put a question to the hon. member? I just want to know something from him. He said last year they were very dissatisfied about the increased maize price. I have it on record. Why did he not adopt this standpoint then?
Sir, I never said we were dissatisfied about the increased maize price. What we said we could not understand was that the hon. gentleman could not simultaneously increase the subsidies for the consumer so that he did not have to absorb the increased price being paid to the farmers. That is a standpoint we have consistently adopted, and that is the standpoint I am still adopting in respect of certain staple foodstuffs in this country. The farmer must get a higher price when the item is scarce and the production costs are high. But then he cannot expect the consumer to pay a higher price at the same time. The Government must automatically arrange its subsidy system in such a way that it will not off-load those increased prices onto the consumer. One must not think that the consumer of a product such as maize, for example, is only the farmer or the person who eats it. There is the farmer who uses it again to produce meat, eggs or milk, for example. Those people, too, immediately have increased production costs again. Some of the hon. members asked this question here today: “If the dairy farmers come to the Minister requesting an increased milk price, is he going to grant it or not?”
I say he will have to give it to those people.
He will have to give it to the farmers, because if he did not do so, he would find that more and more farmers, who have to produce that milk out of the bag today, will simply not remain in production; they will simply change to something else. Unless he stimulates the production by giving the farmers an improved milk price, he will not solve the problem, and that article will simply become scarcer. But if it is necessary—and I think he also made the promise—let him not be afraid to increase subsidies. Tap the hon. the Minister of Finance on the shoulder and tell him it is essential.
What do you do with vegetables? The highest cost increase was in respect of vegetables.
This side of the House understands that one cannot apply this in respect of every product. But here he can also help again. Let me tell the hon. the Minister how he can do so. He can, in the case of vegetables, for example, take another look at the distribution system and at the financing of the farmers. He can ensure that the process is made cheaper. If he were prepared to enable the Landbank and the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure to grant cheaper finances to the farmers, he would bring this about. Thus he would be helping the farmer and stimulating production. Thus he would be ensuring that those people have a decent profit margin. And in this way he would ensure that the consumer would not have to pay through his neck for the farmer’s product.
But tell us how.
Mr. Speaker, I really do not want to waste my time with that hon. member. The hon. member must stop asking that kind of question. I have made the point that unless we adapt our agriculture to the new conditions, conditions that could prevail in the next few years, we shall have food prices not balancing with consumption, we shall have food becoming increasingly scarce and the cost of living increasingly higher. Today I want to make an appeal to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture. He is now going to meet a completely new situation. The whole world is going to meet such a situation. Let us forget about the idea that if a farmer is not a good farmer he should be bought out by another farmer. Let us rather see if it is not possible to avoid expanding our agricultural production in South Africa horizontally, preferably letting it expand vertically per farm unit. If the hon. the Minister were to do this, he would not only ensure the continued presence of more people on the platteland, but he would also bring about increased agricultural production and help the consumer in South Africa. If he were to do this, he would increase the flow of the farmer’s products instead of having a scarcity develop. The second step that will be necessary in this connection is for the hon. the Minister to look at those proposals we have made, i.e. that we need an agricultural planning board in South Africa. Let him also take a look at our second point, i.e. that we should have an agricultural financing division in South Africa. The hon. the Minister of Finance recently decided, as a result of Government policy, that the bankrate in South Africa must be increased. We had only a small period in which there was so-called prosperity for the farmers. Just when this prosperity came along, there was again this increase in the bankrate. If one increases the overdrafts on agricultural accounts in South Africa by only half per cent, I want to tell the hon. the Minister that this draws millions of rand extra from the agriculturists’ pockets annually. Therefore this Government cannot say it is not also responsible for the increase in production costs. If it is to accept this responsibility, it will have to realize that one of the best ways of keeping production costs stable, is to establish the cheapest agricultural financing possible. Mr. Speaker, let us not bluff ourselves. If an industrialist or a money-lender has money available he would rather invest that money in industry. He is not much interested in our agricultural industry because the risk involved is much greater than in any other industry. Sir, who else must do this if the State does not take a bigger part? Only the Government can do it, and that was realized as far back as the early twenties. It was realized just after the advent of Union, with the creation of South African Landbank and Agricultural Bank. It was realized by the old S.A. Party Government. It was realized by a previous Nationalist Government and it was realized by the United Party Government. Where did the Farmers’ Assistance Board come from? It came into being because the Government realized that agricultural financing had to be made as cheap as possible. This Government realized it in 1967 when they created the Department of Agricultural Credit. A general request came from most of our agricultural unions that it should become a department of agricultural financing, but the request fell on deaf ears. Sir, if you were to go and talk to any agricultural leader, he would tell you that financing is one of the biggest bottlenecks when it comes to getting our agricultural industry into a sound, vital and stable position. Sir, if the Government does not do these things, they will not be able to plan for the seventies, and neither will they be able to plan for what lies ahead for South Africa in the year 2000. My request to the Government is therefore: Think a little further for once; do not think in terms of short-term solutions; think further; think of the time when we will have a population of 50 million in South Africa; let us now already plan with a view to meeting the demands of that time.
We have just been listening here to the speech of the hon. member for Newton Park. He had a great deal to say and said absolutely nothing. He is of course a person who has recently been experiencing a tremendous number of problems. As leader of the United Party in the Cape he has many problems, inter alia, with the hon. member for Port Elizabeth Central and the hon. member for Wynberg. Sir, what I find astonishing is that a political party in South Africa, when it refuses a person’s candidature, can go to the Press and commit character assassination against a member of that same party by disclosing to the newspapers that the hon. member for Port Elizabeth Central had slapped someone. Sir, what is that if not character assassination? I do not want to be a member of a party which, when they wanted to throw me on the scrap-heap, said that they were doing so because I had slapped someone. Sir, the hon. member for Port Elizabeth Central holds the South African record of course for being the first man to have slapped himself out of Parliament, but he made one mistake—he should not have slapped the party organizer; he should have slapped the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. Had he done so he would have slapped himself into the Senate for life.
Sir, I listened attentively here today to the hon. member for Parktown. As the hon. member spoke and as other hon. members followed him, a very deep feeling of gratitude began to grow in me, which was that we are so blessed here in South Africa to have a Dr. Diederichs and a National Party governing South Africa and not a Mr. Emdin and a United Party.
Order I would appreciate it if the hon. member would refer to hon. members’ constituencies.
I am referring to the hon. member for Parktown.
The hon. member for Von Brandis kicked up a great fuss here and attacked the Government, saying that the United Party had the solution to inflation. The hon. member for Newton Park also said that the hon. member for Parktown had spelled out here what we should do to keep inflation in South Africa in check. I was terribly surprised when I listened to the hon. member for Parktown. In one respect he made a very valid assertion here, which was that after the budget the National Party would introduce another Budget here; with that he was already admitting that the United Party would suffer a defeat. But, according to my notes, the hon. member’s solution is that sales duty should be abolished; excise duty on petrol should be reduced; taxes should be reduced; company tax should be reduced, and subsidies should be increased. I cannot understand how the hon. member can make such allegations. He wants to reduce taxation. He wants to reduce all the sources of revenue, and he wants to increase the subsidies. Where he is going to find the money, I do not know. It seemed to me to be a ridiculous statement to hear from a senior spokesman of the Opposition that he wanted to turn off the sources of taxation and open the subsidy taps, for where he wants to find the money, I really do not know.
A great fuss was made by various hon. members about the cost of living and the rate of inflation. Let us look at the figures. The remuneration of employees last year, in 1973, was 14,5% higher than in 1972. There was an increase of 14,5% in the remuneration of employees, and at the same time the number of work opportunities increased by 3,1%. But the important question, around which all this revolves is the following: What has happened in regard to the real remuneration per employee in this country, after provision has been made for the increase in the consumer price index? The hard facts and realities—and no one on that side can deny them—are that the real remuneration per employee in South Africa increased by 1,5% in 1973.
Equally, for all employees?
I said the real remuneration per employee increased by 1,5%, and the hon. member for Durban Point must try to swallow this and keep it down. [Interjections.] If we were to divide that matter into its component parts, we would be debating here until tomorrow evening. But let us take a further look at this. What happened to the annual growth rate, the real gross domestic product per capita of our economically active population? This is another indicator. In 1971 it rose by 2,8%, in 1972 by 2,3% and in 1973 by 6,1%. All this indicates that although we do have inflation and although it is at a relatively high level, our people are still better off and our standard of living is going up all the time. None of us underestimate the problem of inflation; we are concerned about it because the entire world is complaining about it. If one sees how many books on inflation are appearing today, how many articles dealing with it and how many economists of international standing are expressing their concern in regard to it, one realizes that it is not a local problem which exists in this country only. It is a world-wide problem, and in the world of today with increasing world trade and increasing traffic between countries and nations, it is true that the one country cannot escape the economic consequences of what happens in another country. South Africa’s trade is increasing, and world trade is increasing. In other words, we are part and parcel of the industrialized Western world, and what happens to it, will happen to us. One cannot encapsulate an economy. I do not know whether the United Party sees its way clear to doing that. But then the hon. member for Von Brandis came here—unfortunately I had left the House for a moment—and said that inflation was not being imported to South Africa. That, as far as I was able to follow it, was the gist of his statements. For, he said, the rise in the prices of imported goods had been somewhat lower than the rise in the prices of internally manufactured goods. But let us consider this aspect. We see that the prices of imported goods increased by 12,3 in 1973. Our rate of inflation was 10%. The weighting of this increase in imported goods in our consumer price index is 10%. In other words, as a result of imported inflation, the consumer price index rose by 1,23 points. In other words, inflation was imported and its contribution was 1,23 points up to this 10% increase. In other words, internal inflation was 8,8%. In addition a great fuss was made here about the entire question of the rate of inflation. It is very easy to bandy the figure of 10% about in the House, but let us consider its components as well, its composition as to what happened to cause it to develop, and then see whether the Government should accept responsibility for everything. One of the factors which made a major contribution to this 10% was the rise in food prices. Food prices rose by 17,1% in 1973. The weighting of food prices in the consumer price index is approximately 25%. In other words, the increase in Food prices alone caused the consumer price index in South Africa to rise by 4,2% of that 10%. These are the hard facts.
Was that imported?
I know the hon. member is having difficulty in trying to follow me, but he should at least pretend to know more. He could at least pretend that he is following my argument. While we are dealing with this rise in the food prices, let us consider what commodities soared. We see that the prices of grain products rose by 22,4%; meat prices by 22,6%; vegetable prices by 22,3% and food prices by 21,4%. Specifically because the hon. member for Port Natal asked what the 22 control boards are doing we have to ask whether the hon. Opposition is satisfied with this rise in the food prices. Does the Opposition accept them or not?
But surely the hon. member said so.
It was said that the prices should rise, but that if the United Party should come into power, the prices would be subsidized. With what will they be subsidized? Apparently with the sales tax which is going to be abolished by them.
Let us consider what has happened in regard to food prices in general. Let us consider what happened to grain prices in the rest of the world and in this country. I have already said that one cannot keep a domestic price in isolation and encapsulate it against events abroad. I want to quote the hard facts; also from the book from which my hon. friend for Von Brandis quoted—the publication of the International Monetary Fund. From the end of 1972 to the third quarter of 1973—September, therefore—the price of wheat rose by 180% on the Chicago market. On the same market the price of maze rose by 159%. In London the price of groundnuts rose by 92%. The price of soya beans rose by 209%.
What did the South African farmer get?
No, wait a minute; I am coming to the point in a moment. On the world market the price of rice rose by 88%. In contrast to that the price of grain products in South Africa rose by 22,4%. We have a responsible Government and we have responsible control boards that do not begrudge the farmer a better price, but at the same time also want to protect the consumer in the country. [Interjections.] I now want to state the hard facts. The domestic price which we fixed for groundnuts is R170 per ton, but on the export market a price of R400 per ton is being fetched. This price of R170 was suggested by the farmers themselves so as not to begrudge the consumer in our country a livelihood. Now the hon. members are complaining about the cost of living and food prices. [Interjections.] Let us take wheat as an example. The domestic price of wheat is R80 per ton, but you can get a net price of R124 per ton by exporting wheat. The farmer is therefore sacrificing R44 per ton.
The price abroad is now R132 per ton.
The hon. the Minister says the export price is now R132 per ton. In this way I could mention many commodities. The hon. member for Von Brandis is so concerned about the increase in the consumer price index. Does the hon. member want us to peg the farmers’ prices artificially at a level on which they cannot make a living? I shall tell the hon. members that if prices are too low, what happens then is what happened to the hon. member for Port Natal—then beans no longer cost R6 per bag, but R42 per bag, for that is what it cost when one has to import them to South Africa.
That is what we want to prevent.
I want to refer to one other commodity, a commodity which is being discussed a great deal today. I want to refer to the increase in meat prices in South Africa. We see that the price of Argentinian meat exported to the United States of America increased by 37% last year. The price of inexpensive New Zealand mutton rose by 47% on the London market last year. In contrast the meat prices here in South Africa rose by 22,7%. When foodstuffs are responsible for 4,2% of the 10% rise in the cost of living, hon. members of the Opposition should not complain about the rate of inflation, for this rise in food prices is fair to the farmer and at the same time fare to the consumer. There are various other commodities the prices of which have risen, and which also had an effect on the consumer price index. We think, for example, of the domestic prices of clothing and shoes which rose by 10%. Let us see what happened to hides on the world market. In recent years the price of hides has risen by 144%. The price of cotton on the world market has risen by 136%. If one takes this into consideration it goes without saying that that increase must in due course make its accumulative effect felt on the domestic products. Another aspect which boosted our consumer price index was the rise in the fuel price. It is interesting to note, and it really says a great deal for this Government as well as the National Party when one does take note of this, that after America, South Africa’s petrol which is being sold at 13,1 cents per litre, is the cheapest petrol in the world. As against South Africa’s price of 13,1 cents per litre the price in West Germany is 24 cents per litre, in the Netherlands 21,5 cents per litre, in France 21,4 cents per litre, in Belgium 21,6 cents per litre, in Luxembourg 17 cents per litre, etc. I do not want to waste my time by enumerating them all. The price of petrol in all those countries is approximately 20 cents per litre. In contrast to this the price of petrol in South Africa is now 13,1 cents per litre. The hon. member for Parktown kicked up a great fuss here about the tax on petrol, and so on. Let us consider the facts. Let us see how much we are deducting in tax in South Africa after the price increase. If one includes the tax levied internally, a tax of 3,16 per litre, the percentage of the price which the Government receives is 20,4%. In Britain, on the other hand, the tax on petrol is 65% while in Italy it is 77%. If we take this into consideration we have all the more reason to be grateful for the inexpensive life we are able to live here in South Africa.
I should like to touch upon another aspect briefly. Frequently the argument is advanced from the opposite side of the House that the incomes in South Africa cannot really be compared with incomes in other countries. I think it is time we took a quick glance at the taxes we are paying in South Africa and compare them to the taxes which are being paid in other countries. If one does so one can only say that we are living in a land of milk and honey. We have this National Party Government to thank for that. I want to take the example of a married man earning R5 000 per annum. In South Africa he pays 8,4% of his income in taxes; in Australia he pays 16,3% of his income in taxes; in New Zealand 20,3% of his income and in Britain 22,3% of his income. If one takes a married man with an income of R10 000 per annum, who has two children, one finds that in South Africa he is paying 13% of his income in taxes. In contrast to that a man with two children and with the same income is paying 25,8% in taxes in Australia; 26% of his income in Canada; 23% in Britain and 32% in New Zealand.
What does the pensioner get in those countries?
Business suspended at
Mr. Speaker, just before supper the hon. member for Lydenburg cited figures showing that the income-tax rate in Australia and New Zealand was lower than was the case in South Africa. The hon. member is quite correct, but what he did not say was that those are socialist countries where free hospital and medical services are being provided and that people over there even receive false teeth free of charge. What the hon. member did not say either, was that people in those countries do not pay divisional council rates either, as do people in the Cape Province. I notice that the hon. the Deputy Minister of Finance is laughing now, because he himself used to be a member of the provincial council. After all, he is the man who agreed that the average farmer in South Africa should, over and above his other commitments, also pay annually a sum of R500 in land tax in order to pay for the roads of South Africa. He is the man who forces widows who live in towns and still have large bonds to pay off on their homes and do not own their own motor-cars, to pay for the roads of South Africa. And then he laughs about it; this is ostensibly a big joke. The figures in respect of Australia and New Zealand are not comparable with ours. What is more the hon. member for Lydenburg should not conceal the facts. The hon. member went on to indicate how the price of petrol in Europe was higher than the price paid in South Africa. But, surely, petrol must be more expensive, because we are after all much closer to the oil-producing countries, with the result that the freight to South Africa is less.
The hon. member also went further and tried to suggest that this 10% rate of inflation was nothing to worry about. He attributed it mainly to the fact that he price of agricultural produce had risen to such an extent. Then he asked this naïve question which he apparently wants to go and use in his constituency, namely whether we are opposed to the farmer having to receive the higher price. However, the point is that the farmer did not get the higher price. The hon. the Minister of Agriculture told us the other day that a 25 kg pocket of potatoes was selling at 40c. [Interjections.] Very well, make it 15 kg. But what does the consumer pay for potatoes?—23c per kg. Just work that one out; multiply it by 15 and see what the profit is on a pocket. But this is what our Minister of Agriculture has to say. Not so long ago we had to pay 10c for a tomato in Cane Town. What farmer has ever received 10c for a tomato? While bananas had to be ploughed back elsewhere, we paid 10c for three bananas here. Do you want to tell me that the Government, which has been in power for 26 years, has never been able to work out a marketing system?
Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. member a question?
No; I do not want to answer your questions. Last week I had to pay R2-28 per kg for mutton.
It has become even more expensive.
Yes, it has become even more expensive, but what farmer has ever received R2-28 for a kilogram of meat? The highest price which a farmer did get in an abnormal time was R1-30 per kg. On an average he gets approximately R1 per kg. The floor price is only 71c.
Very well then, let it be 70c. The housewife has to pay R2-28 per kg. The hon. the Minister is giving out that the farmer is getting this, but surely this is not the case. This is the position as a result of the fact that that hon. Minister has never had a distribution policy in South Africa. Does he want to tell me in these times of computers that this is the price which the housewife of South Africa has to pay? Last year the hon. the Minister sat there and looked on as the hon. the Minister of Transport raised the railage on meat by no less than 60%. On vegetables it was raised by 57%, on butter by 31,7%, on eggs by 59,2% and on maize by 36,4%, maize which is the staple food of the Bantu. Do you now want to tell me that the Government has not been able to do anything about the rate of inflation?
What should they have done?
This Government is responsible for the rate of inflation. As a result of the maladministration of this Government the housewife has to pay what she does today.
Who pays for the railage?
It is immaterial whether this is paid for by the farmer, the housewife or who ever; it is still being added to the cost of living. That is why the cost of living in South Africa is so high. We have now had a cost-of-living increase of 10% but the hon. member for Lydenburg says that wages have at least shown a bigger increase and that this is, in any case, a world phenomenon.
Has that hon. member given any thought to what it means to the pensioner if the cost of living rises by 10%? Has he given any thought to what it means to the man who has saved his money if that money depreciates by 10% per year? If he invests his money, he may perhaps get 7%. In addition he still has to pay income tax on it, and then it depreciates by 10% per year. So, who is going to save? According to the hon. member this is a mere trifle.
I did not say that it was a trifle.
What I found so astonishing here tonight was that the hon. member for Pietersburg had said that they had never been against damping. The hon. member for Rustenburg went further by saying that they had found the solution and that the solution lay in growth. It is true that the hon. the Minister of Finance said last year that the economy had to grow now, but that was only after we had had to convince that side of the House for five long years that the solution lay in growth. We had to drag them by the hair to let this country grow. Let me just remind hon. members of what was said in this House. No less a person than the hon. the Minister of Planning said that the United Party was turning growth into a golden calf. He reprimanded the hon. member for Parktown and said (Hansard, Vol. 32, col. 125)—
Sir, even the Prime Minister said that it was an overheated economy for which measures had to be taken, and that this would be done. Do you remember how the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs said here that the people had to be disciplined? Higher taxes had to be levied to drain away the money from the people. The hon. member for Sunnyside said: “We shall have to hit hard, so that the people may see that the Government has taken effective action.” The people have to be hit; they have to be given a thrashing. Sir, do you still remember how the hon. the Deputy Minister of Agriculture said here that it was the women who were responsible for inflation in South Africa? Surely it is not the women who raised the railway rates and the taxes. Surely it is not the women who are responsible for the fact that there has been no effective distribution. Surely it is the hon. the Minister. But he is the one who says it is the women of South Africa. Those are the words with which this House rang. Now, all of a sudden, they are the people who have seen the light, i.e. that growth is the solution. For five long years we have had to drag that side of the House by the hair, but just consider the damage caused to South Africa !
You will recall, Sir, that the hon. the Minister of Transport said here last year that a loss of R38 million had been suffered on the Railways. He said that was the case because the cooling-off phase had been too long and too drastic. The Minister of Transport himself attributed this to the policy of this Government. And then the railway rates had to be raised. What is the result of that step? We have to pay the higher cost of living. But that side of the House says, “No, this was not caused by the Government.” Sir, I want to take you back to those years. Hon. members should not think that the memory of the people of South Africa is such a short one. They will remember what was said in this House, that inflation meant too much money and too few goods. We said that if there were too much money and too few goods, the solution was simply to increase the goods. One had to encourage the farmers and industrialists to produce more. If that were done, goods would become more plentiful and cheaper. But not that side of the House! The hon. the Minister said there was too much money for too few goods—he had to drain away money from the people. Sir, you will recall that they curtailed bank credit at the time. How can one lower the cost of living by curtailing bank credit? If that is done, the industrialist, who has to expand and needs the credit, cannot obtain the necessary credit for expanding his undertaking. The population is increasing, but the business undertakings are not expanding at the same rate. There are fewer goods on the market and they are becoming more expensive. That is how simple it is. Then the Minister said that he had to increase taxes in order to drain away money from the people of South Africa. Now, how can one lower the cost of living by raising taxes, when the greatest single factor in the rise of the cost of living is in fact taxes? If one increases taxes, surely one increases the cost of living as well. Then the Minister said that interest rates had to be increased. How can one lower the cost of living by increasing interest rates, when every farmer has a bond on his farm and every house-owner has one on his home? If one increases the interest rates, surely one increases his cost of living; surely one is not lowering it. The rich man who benefits by those higher interest rates is enriched, and the poor man, who has to pay them, is impoverished. That is what this Government has done, but it has had no effect. Sir, if the people cannot make ends meet, they ask for higher wages. Wages have to be increased every time, and so one has the perpetual spiral of higher wages, higher costs of living, higher wages, higher costs of living in this country. Let me just remind you, Sir, of what the hon. the Minister said at the time. This is what he said in the Senate (translation)—
The uncertainty which the Minister wanted to create—
Now, that is the Government which wants growth! Mr. Speaker, a slower expansion of new undertakings must promote inflation. That is why we do not have goods in the country today. One cannot get a thing. One cannot even get a pipe or a piece of steel. That is the price we have had to pay for the maladministration of this Government over many a long year.
Should the price of milk be increased?
Let me go further now. Let us have this on record. The hon. the Minister went further, and on 18 June 1969 he said the following—
Can you imagine, Sir, that one wants to get rid of one’s capital? At that stage there was just a shortage of labour. Over the years we have been telling the Government, “Train the non-Whites”. If we had only had the labour during those years—we did have the capital—where would South Africa have been today? Where would our infrastructure have been today?
Ask Ben Schoeman.
Now we have to build railways. How much have we not lost on our coal exports? How much have we not lost on our iron ore? Two years ago we could not even export our whole sugar crop. Let me remind you that the then Deputy general Manager of the Railways, who is General Manager at the moment, Mr. Loubser, said at the time, “When they talk about these huge iron ore exports, I throw my hands up in horror because we simply have not got the facilities”. Why do we not have them, Sir? We had the money, but the Minister wanted to send the money out of the country, and now, when interest rates are so high in countries abroad, we have to create that infrastructure. This country is 26 years behind as a result of the actions of this Government, because it has to operate within the framework provided by this Government. A very good friend of mine on the Nationalist Party side told me this, “Separate development can never work, for in order to make it work one has to develop the areas and one has to have the money to have them developed. To have that money, one must have a higher growth rate in one’s metropolitan areas. That is not something which one can have under this Government, because to have that one needs more Bantu labour, and that is against the policy of this Government”. The country finds itself in a cul-de-sac, a blind alley, under this Government. It simply cannot grow under this Government. If one consults the Physical Planning Act and the Riekert Report, one sees that it is said in them that we may only keep two Bantu for every White person. There are farmers sitting on that side of the House. If one were to tell the farmers tomorrow that for every White person they have in their employ they may only keep two Bantu, then every single farmer in South Africa would be bankrupt. Then that hon. Minister would also be bankrupt. Sir, I believe that he is going to speak in this debate, for he has after all been neglecting the farmers. He must tell us whether he agrees with that Act. He must also tell us whether he agrees with these high interest rates.
I am referring to the Physical Planning Act, in terms of which one is to have one White person for every two Bantu in the industries in South Africa. That is why one can never have growth in South Africa.
Where is that stated in the Act?
As long as this Government with its “verkrampte” outlook is in power, one will never have growth in South Africa. [Interjection.] Sir, this side of the House has said a thousand times what the solution to the problem of inflation is. We have said that one has to grow out of it. Sir, you will recall that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition said that we had to grow as fast as we could. What does one need in order to grow? One needs natural resources in order to grow, and South Africa has all the resources one can think of.
No, oil is the only thing it does not have, but it has all the necessary raw materials. Japan does not have any oil either, and it is the second largest industrial country in the world, in spite of the fact that it was flattened by bombs in 1945. It is importing its raw materials from South Africa.
What is its growth rate?
Over the years its growth rate was higher than that of South Africa.
What is its growth rate now?
Its growth rate has, admittedly, declined as a result of the oil crisis, but what was its average growth over the years? It was more than 13%. Sir, for growth one needs the necessary raw materials, of which South Africa has an abundance. There is no other country in the world that has a greater potential than South Africa has. Secondly, one needs capital. As I have indicated, if this Government would only give free rein to the economy, it would raise so much capital that the Minister, in turn, would not know what to do with the capital. Thirdly, Sir, one needs labour, and one needs the necessary infrastructure, and if one has a good Government it will create the necessary infrastructure, but the bottleneck is labour. We do not have enough trained people in South Africa, and this is also a result of the policy of that Government, because it is that side of the House which undid the immigration policy of Gen. Smuts. You will still remember, Sir, how Dr. Dönges said the following in this House on 18 June 1948 (translation)—
Fine words which do not mean a thing.
Sir, there are difficulties, but the United Party will surmount them. We have said that we shall extend our immigration policy, but what is even more important is that we shall train our White children. We shall see to it that any needy child will be able to go to university, and we shall train and re-train our older White workers; we shall introduce short courses in the railway service in order to train the people and to enhance their productivity.
When we come into power. Sir, as one uplifts the White worker, so one also uplifts the non-White worker. We shall train our non-White workers, and in this way we shall bring prosperity to the whole of South Africa. This means that one will then have more taxpayers, which will mean less tax. This means that one will have a greater incentive for increased production, and increased production means lower production costs; and lower production costs together with a higher wage mean a, lower cost of living, and a lower cost of living together with a higher salary means a higher standard of living for the entire population. Sir, in this way the United Party will initiate industrial development in this country such as the world has never known before; and then there will be markets for the products of one’s farmers. One will not be saddled with surpluses and the Minister will have no problems. There will be money for the aged in South Africa. We shall introduce State lotteries in South Africa; we shall introduce free hospital services, which will only cost R7 million in the Cape; this is just about as much as that hon. Minister lost in connection with the Agliotti affair. Sir, there will be television in South Africa—new ideas for the new age. These are what the United Party is offering the people of South Africa. But what hope is there under that Government? Their policy is: Rather be poor but White, and damp the economy. Under this Government there are no prospects, no future, for South Africa.
Sir, these are what the United Party is offering the people, and that is why I believe that what ever difficulties there may be on this side—and let hon. members on that side exploit those difficulties …
Are there difficulties?
Yes, there are, for if one has highly intelligent people, there must be a friction of ideas. But if one has never thought, one cannot differ. Sir, there are a few thinkers in the Nationalist Party. Now I want to put a question to the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development. He heard the hon. the Prime Minister saying here the other day that the Coloureds allegedly formed part of the White sovereignty in South Africa. Does he still remember that he said this not so long ago (translation)—
Two days after this speech by the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development the hon. the Minister of Information asked the Rapportryers of Brakpan (translation)—
Now I want to put this question to the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, because he is a man with courage: Has he gone and lain down or is he prepared to get up and to say what he believes in, as we on this side are prepared to get up and say that we believe in White leadership in the interests of Whites and Blacks? Sir, in this Party everybody must submit to that.
And Harry Schwarz?
If steps have to be taken against any person in the United Party, that will be done, but then it will, in terms of the policy of the United Party, be done in a fair and reasonable manner and the necessary proof will have to be adduced, unlike what happens in the Nationalist Party. You will recall, Sir, that when they wanted to get rid of Jaap Marais, they sent the Security Police to seize his briefcase here at the airport; when Dr. Albert Hertzog told a lie by saying that BOSS would cost R50 million and not R5 million, they appointed a security commission and dragged the old man before the courts; and when the hon. the Prime Minister was asked a question at Springs by a Mr. Van Vuuren, the Security Police was sent to him. No, Sir, this is not the way the United Party operates. This mighty machine of justice will take its course. Steps will be taken when they have to be taken, but the necessary proof will have to be adduced.
Mr. Speaker, it is always very interesting to listen to that hon. member. After the hon. member for Durban Point he is probably one of the biggest jokers in this House. Sir, I already foresee what the main election slogan of the United Party is going to be. It is going to be: False teeth for everyone. There will be a wailing and gnashing of teeth, and these teeth will be provided by the United Party.
Sir, the hon. member reminds me of a very good auctioneer. He was selling generalizations here. He began with 25 kg, and then came down and asked “Who wants 5 kg?”. Then he began again at 71 cents and came down to 70 cents. But the hon. member did not give us a single recorded fact to refute the facts mentioned by the hon. member for Lydenburg. He spoke of teeth and goodness knows what else. But he did not substantiate it. I wonder whether the hon. member made a survey of how many people in Australia and New Zealand wear false teeth. Probably very few, but now he holds it up here in the most important Council Chamber of South Africa as the big thing in Australia. Perhaps I shall come to the hon. member again later on.
The hon. members opposite termed this Budget an election Budget. Actually it was very stupid of them to have done this, but we expected them to do so and the public of South Africa expected it, but the public of South Africa no longer pays any heed to that prattle of the United Party. Economics and finance are of course growing, living sciences, and they are not isolated or rooted to one specific spot. We must give special attention to uncertain world circumstances as well. Our economy depends on that of the world. We trade with the world. We are not isolated in South Africa. Good leadership and farsightedness is, after all, what the public look for. That is what inspires confidence, and not mere platform talk. They look for sound guidance. Leadership is after all the key to all success. The wrong guidance, for example, could perhaps have resulted in exactly the opposite Part Appropriation to the one we had here today. After all, one does want equilibrium and balance in one’s finance. It is for that reason and that reason alone that one has to take certain steps at certain moments, but the next time when conditions have changed one may perhaps have to adopt other measures.
I challenge the Opposition to prove to me that the hon. the Minister of Finance ever said that he was at all times opposed to growth. Surely the hon. the Minister never said that. But at that specific stage he did not place the emphasis on growth because it was not in the interests of South Africa’s economy. That was the simple reason. But when we think of a Budget and we want to achieve our object, we must always realize that there are other factors which have to be taken into consideration. There are competitive economies in the world which may perhaps want to level off and force down our economy. Take gold for example. We have speculation which is constantly in progress; there are interest rates overseas and interest rates here, and money flowing from this country to take advantage of higher interest rates in other countries. One must pay attention to that. Perhaps it has created illiquidity in one’s own country and then one has to inject money into the economy to try to achieve that liquidity again. Attention has to be given to all these matters. Ours is not an isolated economy in the world.
If we consider the Budgets of the past few years, I should like to point out that the hon. the Minister has taken effective steps against inflation throughout. Just cast your minds back to a few years ago when our rate of inflation here in this country was 4%, and that in Japan 10%. We can only be grateful that timeous steps were taken in those Budgets of the hon. the Minister. Now the Opposition comes here and kicks up a great fuss about higher productivity as if this were the first time it has been mentioned here in the House. I want to remind them of the Budget of two or three years ago when the hon. the Minister placed special emphasis on increased productivity, and when he placed emphasis on the stimulation of our industries in order to encourage exports. Increased productivity is of course always a good thing, and we encourage it. When we come to increased productivity I want to refer to a few matters in particular.
In the first place, apart from the fact that the hon. the Minister himself said this, we also placed emphasis on increased productivity in other spheres. I am thinking for example of Bantu Administration and Development, which introduced in-service training. This is a matter on which insufficient emphasis is perhaps being placed, i.e. that our workers should be trained to produce more and to become better qualified to increase production. Increased production always leads to larger incomes, and large incomes lead to a higher standard of living, which brings growth.
Does that apply to agriculture too?
And to the non-Whites?
As regards the non-Whites, I shall reply to that hon. member. Let him make a work-study, a survey, on his own farm of his Bantu labourers. Then he may perhaps be cruelly disillusioned. If he were, for example, take a stop-watch and make a work-study of those labourers, to see how many hours they work and how many hours they rest and how many hours they spend in the bush, he may perhaps be cruelly disillusioned and he may perhaps get rid of a lot of dead-wood and train his people to produce more.
Do you want to see my figures?
Even a man like Mr. Harry Oppenheimer hinted at increased productivity. It is therefore not the first time that these people have come to light with that. In Die Burger of 12 February it was reported that he had welcomed the establishment of homelands. He had said it was a very good thing, but at the same time he said he attached to that the requirement that our people should be better trained, for he felt that the homelands would not offer them a livelihood unless they were better qualified to work there and develop the homelands. The Opposition should not, in a year or two, say that they were the people who advocated increased productivity, just as they are now saying that they were the people who advocated increased growth. I think they were caught napping, and are only now waking up as far as this matter is concerned.
I come now to a different matter which also has a bearing on the United Party. It is all very well for the United Party to advocate “the rate for the job” and land tenure rights for the non-Whites here. It is all very well, too, to speak of equal amenities for the non-Whites, as the hon. member for Florida advocated here the other day. He said that there should not be separate entrances to post offices, and that everything should be equal. It is all very well for them, too, to come forward with their federation policy. It is probably the biggest deception ever proclaimed in South Africa.
Then the hon. members dare talk about a Trojan horse. If there were ever a Trojan horse in South Africa, it is this federation policy of the United Party. It seems to me there are so many horses in the United Party today, scabby horses and saddle, chafed horses, that they are no longer able to distinguish between a Trojan horse and another kind of horse, but the time will come when those people will be cruelly disillusioned by their own Trojan horse. I think that they themselves are subject to a Trojan horse. I think they are deceiving the public and are creating a Trojan horse for the public, but it will still boomerang on them. It is all very well, too, for the United Party to raise a cry for mixed sport, cries of theirs and to explain them in the but I challenge those people to utter those cries of theirs and to explain them in the rural areas. I do not think they will do so in my part of the world, for then they will not only lose their deposit again as they did last time, they will not receive a single vote. They are not always, as far as this is concerned, honest with their policy. We ask them whether they can by means of their policy eliminate all friction in the long term. I cannot foresee it. On the contrary, I believe that with this policy and these cries of theirs they will in future create even greater friction in South Africa.
To that hon. member who is shouting “White baasskap” there, I want to say that it will lead them to White baasskap; whereas with this policy of theirs their will be friction and a bloodbath such as the United Party has never before seen in South Africa. This policy is in its essence dishonest, and the future will prove that it is dishonest, as the hon. member for Carletonville proved so effectively the other day.
The hon. member for Parktown said this afternoon that when we meet again in August this side will once again introduce a Budget in which taxes are increased. The presents which are now being dished out will be taken back again by means of that Budget. I think the hon. member did not know what he was saying at that moment, for they have been telling the public all along that they are the party which will be in office after this election. However, the hon. member admits himself that they do not have the slightest chance of winning the election and that the next Budget which will be introduced will once again be a Budget of this side of the House.
It is all very well, too, for the hon. member for King William’s Town to advocate that taxes should be reduced and that further concessions should be made to the public. He also had a great deal to say about price increases. However, are these people being absolutely honest when they advocate those things? Do they not think of the future of their country? Why are they not discussing the security of their country in this debate? Why are they not discussing water affairs and water conservation in their country in this debate? Why are they not discussing the judiciary and police of this country in this debate?
These are matters of real concern to the public of South Africa—their peace, security, future and prosperity. These are matters which those hon. members are not discussing. However, they are coming forward with this bread and butter policy with which they will not achieve anything, for it is not the fault of this Government that prices are rising; it is a world-wide tendency. The best way of proving one’s case, is always to draw comparisons. One cannot get past that. Compare with other countries; prove in black and white what the actual position is. This was done very effectively by this side of the House, specifically by the hon. member for Lydenburg. Up to now the United Party has not been able to give any replies to the facts quoted by the hon. member for Lydenburg.
The hon. Opposition is known for its errors of judgment. I think their leader is the father of those errors of judgment. The hon. member for Durban Point alleges that they form a unity; they are unanimous in that party under their leader. However, one asks how unanimous they are in this party. One asks what happened during that congress in Bloemfontein, and during other congresses and subsequent meetings. I should like to quote from the Sunday Express of 11 November last year—
They shouted and carried on to such an extent, and were so divided that they could not proceed with their meeting. The other day a very interesting meeting was held in Johannesburg, and at that meeting it happened, inter alia, that the hon. member for Turffontein clashed with his Transvaal leader. In the Sunday Times of 27 January the following is staged—
One asks oneself how there can be unanimity in that party. After all, we all know what is happening there. It is of no avail their concealing it. One knows what happened the other day in their caucus when the leader of the Transvaal participated. How did they not disparage him! It is no wonder that that party had to give the hon. the Leader of the Opposition dictatorial powers, disciplinary powers to be able to take action in his party, and that the hon. member for Bezuidenhout objected to those dictatorial powers which had been given to his leader.
We are approaching an election, but it seems the Opposition has nothing it can present the public of South Africa which will constitute stability for the future of South Africa.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Potgietersrus has endeavoured by means of quotations from newspapers or extracts from newspaper articles to indicate that the United Party has no chance of winning this election. I can assure the hon. member and all hon. members of this House that we are determined to do so. He spoke of our federal plan and federal approach as being something like the Trojan horse. I believe that the most dangerous Trojan horse that has to do with the safety and the security of the State, to which he referred, is the policy of separate development and its ultimate aim as expressed by the hon. the Prime Minister himself in this House on the 4th of this month. He spoke about an economic power bloc in Southern Africa of which a State can only become a member after it has attained independence. The hon. the Prime Minister went on and said that he could not imagine such a power bloc without Rhodesia, Malawi, Botswana, Swaziland and other such countries being members of it. If this is the policy of this Government, namely that a State has to attain independence before it can become a member of the economic power bloc, I believe the Government and the next speaker in this House should tell us clearly and in no uncertain terms what steps they have taken to establish that economic power bloc with those countries that are already independent, especially those countries on our borders. It is essential that the public of South Africa should know this before going blindly into an election. Can anybody give an answer as to what steps have been taken in this regard? Ours is a policy that will lead South Africa into a direction of one economic unit.
We shall give you the answer tomorrow.
During the past few years one has heard and read much about the desire for change and the need for change in the political, social and economic structure of this country. Some of what we have read and heard has been responsible and some has been irresponsible. However, never before has this word been more constantly or more widely presented to the public of South Africa, and never before have so many minds been directed towards a serious consideration of our manifest and serious problems. I believe that any experienced politician who is worth his salt, will agree with me that finality is not the language of politics, that politics is in fact the science of perpetual change and that the primary duty of governments, politicians and parliaments is to ensure that change continues to take place in a peaceful and evolutionary manner and to the satisfaction of the people who are under their care.
That is why you change your policy every couple of months.
Do not exaggerate; they change it every couple of years.
Any attempt by politicians to arrest or accelerate this process beyond what is acceptable to or desired by the people leads either to a change of government or to chaos, anarchy and revolution. I believe, and I shall endeavour to prove to this House, that the Government is guilty of both these crimes.
Are you sure?
I think you will be very sure when I have finished speaking. The crimes of arresting the process of change on the one hand and of dangerously accelerating it on the other hand has come about through the abject and stubborn failure to accept the geographic unit of the Republic of South Africa as one indivisible economic and political unit to which all its people should have a common loyalty and a common patriotism. It has come about through their failure to find a logical conclusion to the policy of separate development which, while it may have many merits, has become an organized and dangerous hypocrisy through the Government’s blind adherence to an incomplete plan which fails to satisfy the mood of the people.
Who wrote that?
If you will come and look you will find it is written in my own handwriting.
*The question now arises: What is logical and acceptable to the people outside? The answer is very simple: One undivided South Africa in which there will be room for the differences in race, culture and background within the framework of the federal approach and where, through consultation …
Surely this is a purely racial policy; surely this is no national policy.
That hon. member can make his speech later. Through consultation and dialogue a common patriotism towards South Africa and a mutual trust will be able to develop between White, Black and Brown. This is the level of separate development on which the Government has come to a standstill and simply will not move forward, from inefficiency or from stubbornness. Sometimes it seems to me that they are moving backwards. They have accepted that the urban Bantu will be in the White area permanently. They have accepted that there is such a thing as friction in petty apartheid, but on the constitutional level they stand firm by the antiquated and impracticable plan of separate, sovereign independent states, which may later become members of an economic bloc. But nothing has been done to make those states that are already independent part of this wonderful dream of a power bloc.
But what you are saying is not true.
It is true. But they continue, knowing full well that there is no homeland for the Coloureds, the Indians and the Bantu without homelands, knowing full well that the economy of the country cannot support such a policy—and that hon. little Deputy also knows it—and knowing full well that there is no Black leader who is eager to become the leader of a destitute state, even though it be independent. They also know that this policy is not being accepted by the Western world and especially not by the Third World of Africa. The Government will have to move on this level and prove to the electorate that it is prepared to move on this level. If it is not prepared to do so, it will have to bear the responsibility of being blamed by future generations for their grief and distress.
†That is the sphere of separate development in which the Government is changing too slowly for the mood of the people. I now come to the sphere in which they are moving too fast and with reckless disregard for the mood of the people and the requirements of the future, namely the consolidation of the Bantu homelands. In considering these proposals, the proposals approved by this Parliament over the last two or three years, one must accept the fact that any consolidation is inextricably bound up with our future agricultural policy and that that agricultural policy is inextricably bound up with the future economy of Southern Africa. Let us for the sake of discussion examine a few real facts. Some of them have been quoted in this House before. Our present population of 19½ million is expected by the year 2000 to be in the vicinity of 50 million. By the year 2000 our basic food requirements will be 100 million bags of maize, 24 million bags of wheat—I am not referring to the new, smaller metric bags—4 million slaughter cattle, 11 million slaughter sheep and 1 200 million gallons of milk. These figures do not include poultry, vegetables, fruit or fodder. It is quite obvious, then, that the task of agriculture in the next 26 years must be regarded as a phenomenal one. The Bantu homelands already possess very nearly 90% of the total surface of South Africa which receives more than 500 mm of rain per annum. Farming in those homelands is not yet geared to production for the national market, but remains subsistence farming. In 1970 I asked a few questions in this House with relation to the gross national product of farmers. According to the replies I received from the hon. the Minister of Agriculture and the hon. the Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration, White farmers in South Africa in the nearest financial year to the time when I asked the question produced R1 283 million of the gross national product. The Black farmers in the homelands produced R33,2 million. When one considers the problem of feeding a nation of such increasing numbers, one wonders whether we are being wise. The present consolidation proposals amount to the handing over of 1 287 000 ha of productive agricultural land to the homelands for the purpose of this type of farming. In the Cape this involves 180 000 ha, in Natal 453 000 ha and in the Transvaal 654 000 ha. We believe, too, that there are further proposals to be made when Parliament reconvenes after the election—that is, if this Government is still the Government. In none of the proposals that have been made so far, however, has ground been purchased for the establishment of an industrial growth point and in no case has the effect on the gross national product in agriculture been taken into consideration. In addition, in no case has any provision been made for extra housing of the Bantu.
*These are facts we have to bear in mind when we discuss and deliberate on this matter. These proposals are causing the already impoverished agricultural land to be artificially exhausted even further, just at the critical stage when food production will have to show its greatest increase. I want to make it very clear to the House that, although I mention these facts here, it definitely does not mean that the United Party is deviating from the provisions of the 1936 Act. To my mind the hon. member for Transkei stated our position in this regard very clearly to the House last year. However, we must pay regard to the needs of these people, not only to the needs of the Whites, but also to those of the Blacks. Just take the cost of this expropriation. I see in this popular and well-known supporter of the Government, the Sunday Times, that the hon. the Minister says that it will eventually cost approximately R500 million and that the cost is increasing by R12 million per year. This is a tremendous amount of money and when one realizes that not a cent of it is being spent on economic growth or the production of food, one shudders when one thinks ahead to the year 2000. How much better it would have been had the Government spent this money on the establishment of infrastructures, on education, especially the education of Bantu farmers, and on urban housing! How much better it would have been if the Government could have told the Bantu: “We are working on a positive plan to provide gainful employment for everyone in South Africa and to guarantee that everyone in South Africa will be entitled to be trained to take his place in the economy of the country!” Instead they are telling the Bantu: “We are buying you land, and there you may realize your political destiny and your starvation.” This is exactly what is happening. In this field the Government is moving too fast and with a lack of wisdom which shocks one to the core. What is the use of creating separate states which will remain irrefutably bound to the industrial, mining and agricultural economies of South Africa? Is it not foolhardy to implement such a policy? What will happen if, through the withdrawal of production land and through one of those serious droughts, agricultural production is unable to keep pace with the ever-increasing population of South Africa? Is it not a fact that the first to suffer under such circumstances of starvation and want in South Africa will be those very people in the homelands? It is no use telling me that steps are being taken to improve the agricultural production in the homelands. I know steps are being taken. But today the Bantu male prefers industrial labour to agriculture. Until such time as the communal ownership of agricultural land in the homelands has been abolished, until such time as trained Bantu farmers have been settled on their own productive units, and until such time as soil conservation laws and other agricultural laws are have been made applicable to the whole of South Africa, it is not only foolish, but dangerous to define or declare any further land under the Act of 1936.
Take a few examples from my part of the world. Take, for instance, the Quamata scheme beneath the Lubisi Dam. Last summer the State spent approximately R16 000 on ploughing, technical aid and fertilizers to keep the Bantu farmers going. A crop to the value of R50 000 was expected. When the final crop had been harvested, it was worth a scanty R400. Take, for instance, the citrus farms in the Tyumie Valley, where production on one farm dropped from 18 000 cartons of oranges to 2 000 cartons within a year, and on another farm from 16 000 cartons and 8 000 pockets to 2 000 pockets and no cartons. This is mismanagement.
It was the drought.
It was not the drought—these are irrigated farms. Sir, I can take you to farms that were beautiful grazing farms five and ten years ago, where it would be difficult to find one clump of grass today. I can take you to irrigated farms where the water-furrows are overgrown with prickly pears and thorn trees, to vegetable farms where not a single bean grows and to pineapple farms which are overgrown with bushes and trees. This is what happens, and what kind of solution is this? I have visited the resettlement towns in the Eastern Cape, and the most common question one hears from the Bantu there is: “Ndizisele ifektri, nkosi yam, andiqheli ukuba ngaphandle ngomsebenzi.” This means: “Bring me a factory, my King, for I am not used to being without work.” I should like the Minister of Agriculture to enter into this debate now and to tell us clearly and honestly—he is an honest man—to what extent he can agree to this consolidation and to what extent he and his department were consulted before the statements were made by the cartographers from Pretoria.
†We have a duty, Mr. Speaker, not only to the White electorate, but also to all the people under the care of this Government and this Parliament. We shall have to think very carefully before we release further ground for occupational destruction by people who, in most instances, do not wish to be sent there anyway and are not trained for productive farming.
I believe, Sir, that I have satisfactorily proved that the Government are dangerously arresting change in the sphere of constitutional development in relation to one indivisible South Africa and are recklessly accelerating it in the field of occupational consolidation of the homelands.
In conclusion I wish very briefly and very simply to put the alternative federal framework which we offer the people of South Africa. We all believe that a policy has to be applied that will bring about maximum consultation and co-operation immediately, a policy that will protect minorities and will re-educate South Africa to the concept of one indivisible unit in which there will be room for difference within the whole. The United Party’s constitutional proposals achieve this very simply and very positively in the following manner: Firstly, they will accept and consolidate those representative authorities established by this Government at local, regional and territorial levels.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order …
I am not prepared to answer questions. You are wasting my time.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is reading his speech. I just want to ask whether he is entitled to do so.
Mr. Speaker, I was engaged in explaining the United Party’s constitutional proposals to the House. Hon. members opposite are so afraid of the term “sharing of power”, but what they are doing under their policy is jettisoning power. We want to keep South Africa united. Secondly, Sir, we will establish standing statutory committees of this Parliament to consult with the various homeland governments. We believe, Sir, that through these committees we shall be able to lift race politics out of the political arena. Thirdly, Sir, we will establish a federal assembly, a federal assembly in which all races will be represented and for which a rough formula has been accepted by the party in regard to the constitution and powers of that assembly. The final details, however, will have to be worked out by the standing statutory committees over a period of time. I believe that it would be arrogant and premature on our part to spell out in detail what the powers of that assembly will be. Fourthly, this Parliament, as it is presently constituted, will act as the regulator and devolver of powers over a period of time. The greatest criticism levelled at us is in regard to the powers and the constitution of this federal assembly. I have just said that it would be arrogant and premature for any political party to spell these out before consultation can take place at governmental level. The other criticism is about this Parliament. On the one hand we are asked when we are going to phase this Parliament out and on the other hand we are asked whether we are going to keep this Parliament for ever. I want to make it quite clear that the future history of South Africa and the attitude of its people will decide that. This Parliament will devolve such powers and delegate such powers as it may deem fit. The phasing out of this Parliament will only conceivably take place at such time as this Parliament and its electorate are satisfied that that moment in time has been reached when race relations are on a satisfactory basis and when there is a mutual trust and respect between all people in South Africa. I believe that this is a safe policy and I believe that this is a safe road to follow. I believe that it is high time that the Government told us clearly what they foresee for the future.
You are living in a fool’s paradise.
The hon. the Prime Minister spoke about economic power blocs and separate states. Mr. Speaker, the electorate, and especially the young electorate, who have to live in this country, and bring their children up in this country and who love this country, want to know what the Government has to offer. So far in this debate nothing whatsoever has been offered by the Government benches in this regard.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Albany raised various matters here. However, he displayed a total ignorance in respect of some or all of the matters he broached here so loquaciously. I want to refer to his reference in connection with this economic bloc of States. He mentioned this and he also referred to the hon. the Prime Minister’s reference to it. The hon. member ought to know what is coming into existence in South Africa today. He ought to know that customs agreements exist between the Republic of South Africa and our neighbouring states—Swaziland, Botswana and others. They apply in respect of imports and exports. They apply in respect of the marketing of certain goods, and in this regard I have in mind timber, meat, etc. Therefore, Sir, it is really amazing that the hon. member for Albany should be capable of coming here and, without a blush, making the remark that to date nothing of this kind has been established. I also want to refer him to this, in my opinion, scandalous remark of his, made while he was discussing separate development.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, may the hon. member use the expression “scandalous remark”?
Order! The hon. member must withdraw the word “scandalous”.
I withdraw the word “scandalous”, Mr. Speaker, and instead I want to say that he made a deplorable statement here in branding separate development as “dangerous hypocrisy”. I cannot think why the hon. member should be guilty of this. I want to say this: If ever there has been “dangerous hypocrisy”, it is this federal concept of the United Party is trying to dish up to us. That, Sir, is indeed so much “dangerous hypocrisy”. It is extremely dangerous and on 24 April it will again be exposed by the electorate of South Africa as the greatest “hypocrisy” there has ever been.
I say that is a lie.
You say that that is a lie …
What is a lie?
Order! What did the hon. member for Ermelo say?
Mr. Speaker, to accuse the United Party of hypocrisy is a lie.
He said that your policy was hypocrisy.
He said that it was a policy of hypocrisy and I say that to say that the United Party has a policy of hypocrisy is a lie.
Order! The hon. member for Durban Point must withdraw the word “lie”.
Is the hon. member entitled to say that our policy is a policy of hypocrisy?
Who used the word “hypocrisy”? [Interjections.] The hon. member for Albany must withdraw the word “hypocrisy”.
Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that I originally used the word “hypocrisy” I shall withdraw it. In view of the fact that I originally used the expression “dangerous hypocrisy”, I withdraw the expression. However, I was referring to a policy only.
Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member for Ermelo will withdraw his remark, I shall withdraw mine.
Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it unconditionally. Sir, I now want to indicate how absolutely unsubstantiated such allegations are. It is totally unjustified to maintain that that is in fact the policy of that side of the House. I quote to you something which appeared in the Sunday Times, in which there was mention of “plans to bring South Africa to her senses. U.P.’s federal policy is the best in 25 years”. Sir, a whole diagram of it is printed here. They quote the Leader of the United Party, Sir De Villiers Graaff, and as far as I have been able to make out, this report has never been repudiated by him or by any member on that side of the House. Let me quote to you what stands here—
And then this—
That is precisely what the hon. member said there a moment ago—
Sir, here is a flagrant admission that this will occur in time. And listen further—
Sir, I do not want to repeat that word I am not permitted to use, but this is really the wool which this United Party wants to pull over the eyes of the voters of South Africa. They know as well as you and I, Sir, that the eventual aim is to gradually strip this Parliament of its powers and transfer them to those bodies.
As the Whites may determine from time to time.
No, that is not your policy.
If hon. members on that side are accusing us of political dishonesty, let them search their own hearts, because whatever may be said of our policy of separate development, we have a set pattern; we have a definite diagram; we have repeatedly explained it to the nation; it is clear and everyone grasps it.
But, Sir, I also want to go further. In this debate the United Party tried very purposefully to divert attention from that vulnerability they suffer from and tried to concentrate on this one single idea of inflation. Every speaker, one after the other, stood up and that has been the only point they have raised so far. But last year, and again this year, we were asked from time to time by the hon. member for Orange Grove: Where is your diagram, where is the plan you are presenting to the people? Now, Sir, I think I must tell you that this party is the party which has compiled one diagram after another during the 26 years they have been sitting in opposition, and which has thrown one diagram after the other into the waste-paper basket without ever having formally withdrawn them. I want to draw your attention to only a few of these so-called plans or diagrams which they have presented to the nation from one election to another. Sir, I do not want to go back as far as 26 years, because then I come upon “Vote for the right to vote again” and such things, but I do want to go back to 1963. They know this booklet, Guide to Improved Race Relations. What appears in this booklet they published in 1963? Let me read it to them and let me read it to the voters of South Africa. They must tell me whether they have ever repudiated, withdrawn or cancelled this. They say—
Now, let us tell the people of South Africa what the United Party intends to repeal or amend, and let them come and tell me this in the Ermelo constituency. They talk about the Separate Universities Act. Let the voters of South Africa know that if the United Party comes to power, there will only be mixed universities in South Africa.
That is untrue.
It is printed here. The next Act they say they will repeal, is the Group Areas Act. And next the Suppression of Communism Act. [Interjections.] Let them deny it. They next Act they want to repeal, which the hon. member for Bezuidenhout calls “barbaric”, is the Immorality Act. Here it stands in black and white. [Interjections.] The next Act they say they will repeal is the Industrial Conciliation Act, in particular those portions relating to job reservation and the distribution of trade unions. [Interjections.] But now I come to another diagram. Shortly afterwards, in the 1966 election, they came along with the pamphlet “You want it? We have it! ” with the United Party orange tree on the cover. Sir, this is really worth reading. When one opens it, one sees “Eendrag maak mag”, and if one reads further, they ask. “But how?” and then it is stated—
Remove the Black spots.
That would be Harry Schwarz.
If one turns to page 1, it is stated that—
If that were to be restated, it would probably be “it was what it was”. Then it is stated—
Only for major squabbling.
They go even further with this declaration of faith of theirs and say—
They they say—
All of it compiled by the hon. member for Yeoville.
I come to a third diagram, and this is not a diagram compiled by the hon. member for Yeoville. This is a diagram compiled after his departure, by the Transvaal leader of the United Party in the provincial council, Mr. Schwarz. Let us read what he says here. He says (translation)—
But then he says—“We have the right policies …”
Yes, policies. Let me read further—
Really, this sounds to me very much like “pick and pay”; you buy it at cost price at 10 cents wherever you like. These are the diagrams of the United Party; this is what they present to the voters of South Africa. This is what they have presented throughout the years. If one tells the voters now that the United Party claims to be the alternative government, the voters smile; they do not want to believe it. In my constituency a leader of the Hertzog Party came to me the other day and told me: “You know, I feel terribly guilty. If I see two chaps on the corner laughing, I imagine that they are laughing at me because I have made such a fool of myself.” The public of South Africa has begun to feel like that about the United Party.
I think that as far as this election of 24 April is concerned, we can go back to the days when we voted for a Republic in South Africa. When we voted for a Republic—which the United Party opposed so strenuously; which it disputed so vehemently; which it now accepts wholeheartedly however—the voters of South Africa, United Party supporters as well as Nationalist, realized in their wisdom, in their good sense, that a republic was the right thing. There was one exception and that was the hon. member for South Coast. At that stage he started marching and he is marching still. [Interjections.]
On 24 April of this year the voters of South Africa are going to realize that with this rummaging around in the United Party, this confusion, the chaotic condition which exists at present, there is only one party which can govern South Africa with success, which will provide stability and security, i.e. the National Party. That is why I want to predict that on 24 April the National Party is going to have the biggest victory it has ever had. This prediction includes Wakkerstroom and Ermelo.
Mr. Speaker, one of the most peculiar things in the whole of this debate is the shiver of fear which passes through the whole of the Nationalist Party when they hear the name of Mr. Harry Schwarz. [Interjections.] I should like to give the hon. members on the other side a guarantee that we, who are sitting on this side as Whips, shall be in control of our side of the House. I want to give the hon. members the guarantee that we shall not let Harry Schwarz loose on them every day to play havoc with them. We shall let him loose only now and then, because it is not our intention to annihilate the whole of the Nationalist Government. One can well understand their being somewhat afraid of the name “Harry Schwarz”, because look what he did with the hon. member for Yeoville. He drove the hon. member from our Party and there he is sitting now next to my good old friend, the hon. member for Carletonville. I give hon. members the guarantee that we shall keep Harry Schwarz in check here, and shall let him loose only now and then to go and wreak havoc in the Nationalist Party. [Interjections.]
†The hon. the Minister of Information said to the hon. member for Albany that he was living in a fool’s paradise. Of course we are living in a fool’s paradise and it is being governed by the Nationalist Party. It is our intention to change it. That is the whole point of this debate.
The hon. member who has just sat down came with great solemnity and quoted from a report in the Sunday Times written by Mr. Stanley Uys. I had occasion in this House before to remark on the remarkable coincidence between the Old Man of the Mountain, who in the old days governed that sect of people known as the Assassins and who sent out his hired killers to stab the people he did not like, and the old man who runs the Sunday Times. There is a very distinct likeness between them and the methods they employ are very much the same. I do not think we should pay a great deal of attention to what was said about them.
Then there is another Young Turk in charge of the Sunday Times.
Well, he may not be a Young Turk, but an Old Turk. The methods which he is using are very much the same. What has struck me about this debate, and not only this debate but also the previous debate, was that the Nationalist Party which is going into an election on 24 April has not said a single word on what they intend to do with the future of South Africa. They have said nothing of that kind.
We are doing it.
An hon. member says that they are doing it. It gives anybody in this House and in this country the absolute creeping jitters to think of what the Nationalist Party is doing to South Africa. Just think what they are attempting to do. They are attempting to divide up, to cut about, to break down and to tear asunder the fabric of South Africa, this country of ours. They are not succeeding; yet they go on in the blind persistent hope that they are going to achieve something. Yet they do not have a snowball’s hope of coming anywhere near carrying it out. This world we are living in is dangerous. What admission did the hon. the Prime Minister make? When he was asked by my friend, the hon. member for South Coast, as to the Nationalist Party’s policy with regard to Coloureds and Indians, he said that it was just the same as the United Party’s federal policy. What have we been arguing about all these years if our policy and their policy in regard to the Coloured and Indian people are exactly the same? Go and ask the Coloured people what they feel about the Government. Go and ask those people of whom a former Nationalist Cabinet Minister said “Five million hearts beat as one”, whether those hearts are still beating as one as they were in those days. There is not a single thinking person in this House who does not say that this situation is far more serious than it was in those days.
The other day the hon. member for Carletonville said that in the year 2020 40 million Black people will be living in the White areas. However, he says it is not a problem because they are going to shunt and tumble them backwards and forwards across the borders of White South Africa night by night, weekend by weekend and month by month. He says that they will not constitute a problem for us here in White South Africa. That is what I would call “a moving scene”. At present we are experiencing an energy crisis. Are we now going to move 40 million people night by night, weekend by weekend, backwards and forwards across the borders of White South Africa to solve a political problem which the Nationalist Party refuses to face and refuses to accept? I want to qualify and say that that remark by the hon. member …
Your construction of what I said, is false.
… was something which went out and died with the dodo, the whole story which the hon. member was trying to put across. If ever I have heard any second-hand, third-rate, fourth-dimensioned, fifth generation balderdash it was the tripe that was spoken by that hon. member for Carletonville.
I never said what you are saying there!
Well, it sounded very much like it. If the hon. member goes and checks up what he has said he will find out.
In other words, we are to look at the country in which we live, at South Africa, one of the biggest …
That hon. member says that I must stop looking. The biggest political confidence trick that has ever been perpetrated in this country is the one that is put across by that Nationalist Party when there is a debate between English-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking South Africans, when there is a debate between Black and White, when there is a debate between everybody in this country except between the people who support that Nationalist Party, the Nationalist Afrikaner. That is where the real debate ought to be. Where is this Nationalist Party taking the Nationalist Afrikaner? That is the question that has to be answered on 24 April. What have they done in 26 years of Nationalist Party Government?
Since when are you concerned about the Afrikaner?
Yes, I am very concerned about the Afrikaner and I shall tell hon. members why. [Interjections.] Wait a moment. The people of Natal are not at all different from other people in the country. We are equally good South Africans; just as good as any hon. member who sits in this House.
†I want to say to the hon. members on the other side that while they have been sitting there over all the 26 years that they have formed the Government, the river of time has flowed and they have found themselves, together with the Progressive Party, cast up high and dry on either bank. The stream of time has passed them by, the same stream of time which put four million Black people permanently in the urban area.
It is better to be cast up dry than to be drowning.
That is also true. The Nationalist Party does not have anywhere in its policy for South Africa today any answer to the fact that there are today four million Black people permanently in the White areas. This is the stream of history. You cannot trifle with it and you cannot bluff yourself. Time has left the Nationalist Party cast up high and dry upon the bank and the Progressive Party in the same way, because the idea of group consciousness amongst the Black people, I believe, has rendered the policy that they espouse one that has no real connection with reality in South Africa at all. On that river of time the ship of the United Party is sailing with full sail with the flag of federation at its foretop. We are going down that river and we will go out on the long swells of the ocean, because we have an idea which is the answer to South Africa’s problems. It is an answer which is being debated by every single thinking person in South Africa, by White and Black. The idea of federation is being debated now, earnestly, in an attempt to find a solution to what the Nationalist Party has failed to find in 26 years of government. Victor Hugo said there is no power of history like that of an idea whose time has come. In this country the idea of federation is the idea whose time has come. Nothing hon. members can do can stop it; the idea is there.
You are bluffing yourself.
I am not bluffing myself. People are thinking about it. Go to your own Press, go to the Black people who are thinking, to every person who is thinking. All these people are looking to the idea of federation as a solution to the problems which you have failed to solve in 26 years. The problem we have, and this was said by one of the Nationalists’ Deputy Ministers, is that the word “apartheid” has become a “vloekwoord”. We must not use it any more. I believe the problem is that the Western world, the world from which we draw our inspiration, the Christian Western world, is a world today which finds itself on the defensive. It is being rocked back on its heels.
Because we in South Africa are being used as ammunition by the communists, by the Third World, by the OAU, and everybody else. The things we stand for have been twisted and perverted and used against the idea of the Western world, which even today has a great deal to contribute to the world. The Western world stands for the idea of freedom, of development, of growth, of progress and of the individual. In the world in which we find ourselves today that idea of the individual is something of absolute priceless value, because you see mustered and marshalled against that idea the forces of collectivism, communism, socialism, tribalism—all these things which are a threat to the concept of the individual, a concept which is something timeless and which has come to use from the dimmest past. One of our problems is that where the West has so much to give, it finds itself on the defensive today, set back and unable to go out to attack. But history is a thing which ebbs and flows. Today I believe the tide is right for the Western world to go out and to attack, because communism, which purported to offer a solution and a panacea to the problems of the problems of the world has failed. Nobody, not even that hon. Britisher, the hon. member for Waterkloof, can say that the idea of communism has proved a panacea to any of the ideas and problems with which we are faced. What we want is a world in which leadership, guidance and a new spirit will be seen. The hon. member for Rissik, a great friend of mine, asked whether I was “bekommerd oor die Afrikaner”.
*My answer is yes, I am very concerned about the Afrikaner. If there is one people in the world today that is inspired with the spirit which the world needs, it is the Afrikaner people of South Africa. I want to tell the National Party to its face that there is one thing which is depriving the Afrikaner people of the opportunity to step on to the world stage, and that is the Nationalist Party, the polecat of the world.
†The problem that we face is that, while you have a people with all the spiritual qualities we need, qualities that the world is looking for, that the Western world wants desperately these days for its counterattack on the idea of communism, they are prevented from going out into the world and from taking that step upon the stage of the world, the step the world is waiting for. The reason for that is that the Nationalist Party hangs like a millstone around the neck of the “Afrikanervolk”. That is the simple truth. The debate which should be going on in South Africa today concerns the question: “Where are you going?”
*The question is, as I say: “Where is the Nationalist Afrikaner going under this Nationalist Party which hangs like a mill-stone around the neck of the Nationalist Afrikaner?” If ever anybody has bluffed his own people, it is this Nationalist Party who has done this to the Nationalist Afrikaner. They do not give the Nationalist Afrikaner the chance to step forward as leader in the Western world.
†We are people who are experienced in handling other races. We are ourselves in the midst of a developing population setup; we have the ability and the knowledge, but the National Party, because they are negative, inward-looking and incapable of moving off their base, of clutching to themselves everything that is “Nasionale Afrikaner” and pushing away everything else, they are incapable of taking that step which will bring this country, South Africa, to the place where we ought to be, i.e. in a position of leadership “out there”. I want to say to the Nationalist Party and to everybody in South Africa that we stand in the breach for the Western world.
Who is “we”?
We, South Africa, stand in the breach and there will be loosed upon us the attack of the communist world and of the Afro-Asian world, but in that breach we will not give way. However, the battle is not won in the breach, but out on the plain. On the plain our allies are assembling. There there is help for us. There there is a place of honour reserved for us at the point, the forefront. However, we cannot go there because the Nationalist Party of today is incapable of taking the necessary step. Nowhere in their philosophy is there any idea with which they can go out into the world, with which they can make a contribution and cause that vital spark that is necessary.
Do you believe that Bill?
Mr. Speaker, that hon. member can joke about such a matter which concerns our people, is absolutely disgusting. He is a typical cynic. I think that people could at least take it seriously when I say that this is something which affects the future not only of South Africa, but of the whole of the Western world. That hon. member sits there and grins like a Cheshire cat but I do not think it is very funny at all. I want to make an appeal—and I do so over the heads of all the Nationalist Party members in this House—to the Nationalist Afrikaner to look at the cul-de sac into which it is being led by the Nationalist Party. I want to ask the Nationalist Party what they have achieved after having been in power for 26 years. They have achieved nothing: they have gone as far today as they possibly can go and for the Nationalist Afrikaner they have come to the end of the road. The next step is one they are incapable of taking. I say to them, as they sit there in their serried ranks, as they sit there in the cushions of power, drunk with the power that they have: There came forth the fingers of a man’s hand and wrote in the plaster over against the wall “Me, mene, tekel ufarsin”—“Your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians”. That is the fate awaiting that Nationalist Party. They talk here about us and our divisions and everything that is wrong with the United Party, but not one single word we ever hear about what they see for the future of South Africa, except some vague kind of an idea for the future when everybody will be independent and happy. This kind of jazz is all we hear. They say we are going to get together in some kind of a customs union which is going to give us some kind of unity. Mr. Speaker, the United Party accepts now, today, in the light of the diversity of our people, the necessity of creating a unity of purpose. For that very reason we have come with the policy of federation, that policy which gives this country a change to go ahead together, with all the people together. There is no other alternative. They can knock it as much as they like. They can say what they like. They can ask for details. They can mutter and carry on about it. But one thing we do not get from them, which is an alternative to the fact, the reality, of South Africa today. There are four million Black people now, today, in the White areas, a growing population, and the graph goes up, more and more every single year. Not one single answer do they have. I say that Nationalist Party is counter-productive in that they forbid this country, all of us—English- and Afrikaans speaking people together—to go out and take the place we deserve to have in this world.
What contribution are you making to that?
I am trying to get Nationalist Afrikaners to chuck that Nationalist Party out as a Government. That is what I am trying to do. And the sooner they chuck them out, the better it is going to be for South Africa and for the world. That is the contribution I am trying to make.
Mr. Speaker, it is a long time since I have listened to such an interesting speech. Quite obviously, this is a speech by a very dejected man. The gist of his speech is expressed in these words: “Leadership, guidance and a new spirit is needed”. It is very clear to me that the hon. member is worried. I think he has good reason to be worried. But I think the hon. member is trying to project his worry on to a party which is not responsible for it. I think the hon. member is worried about South Africa. As a member of certain commissions, perhaps he has reason to be. That is why he is actually looking to the National Party for that “leadership, guidance and a new spirit”; because he has completely written off his own party. Sir, I do not blame him in the least, because if he looks at the tragedy around him, he cannot but be disconsolate. Here he is sitting in a party, and what leadership has he had so far from his party since this session of Parliament began? He is saddled with the problem that their leader in the Transvaal went to conduct an interview. I do not want to express an opinion about that. There was a major sensation about the interview and dissatisfaction in his own ranks. What does his leader do with that leadership he so longs for? He catches fish at Blombos. I do not know whether he had a telephone there. He returns from there, and what does he do? He does a little appeasing; He taps Harry lightly a little to that side; he gives him a kurper as a present and the other people say: “Yes, but he is right after all”. But, Sir, that hon. member and his colleagues on that side will continue to be saddled with those problems they have today, because they do not perceive the basic problem in South Africa, namely that one is dealing with a multi-national country; because they do not see the basic problem that here in South Africa one is dealing with various peoples. Therefore they will continue to be saddled with that problem, and they will search and continue searching for that leadership, and they will never find that new ray of hope in that leadership. They will continue and come along with federations; and then the proposal will be made that the White Parliament should retain the final say—“baasskap”. Then there will be others who will speak about White leadership. The hon. member for King William’s Town spoke about White leadership all evening. If one asks the U.P. leader in the Transvaal, Mr. Harry Schwarz, what he thinks of White leadership, he replies: “Ask Marais Steyn what White leadership is; I believe in a sharing of power. I shall never let the words White leadership pass my lips again.” Sir, I share the hon. member’s concern, because to me it is very clear that he is suffering from remorse of the spirit.
He is in conflict.
I want to tell the hon. member …
His heart is in the right place.
Yes, his heart is in the right place. If he is looking for leadership in the Western world, then he can get it nowhere else in South Africa but in the National Party. But what does one find in the United Party? At their congress in the Transvaal and at their youth congress in the Cape the United Party adopted a so-called Act of dedication. It sounds fine and lovely. Take, for example, the first few sentences: “The protection of the rule of law”; that sounds very fine. Number two is the freedom of the individual, which the hon. member also advocated. Number three is freedom of speech, and number four is freedom of religion. These are all fine-sounding aspects.
They are things we all have.
The next one is free education for all; and a home for everyone. Sir, this is praiseworthy; everyone strives for that. But now comes the key sentence (translation)—
What do you have against that?
They are pleading for everyone to have a say in the State—a unit state. They have conveniently forgotten about federation. They have conveniently forgotten about the White Parliament which would supposedly be dominant and which would delegate certain powers to the federal parliament, as it wished and in its own time. They have quite forgotten about the referendum that must be held. What they are advocating amounts, quite simply; to shared power between Blacks and Whites; it is no more than that. If you ask them: “What, then, of White leadership and what has now become of the White Parliament and White leadership?” the leader in the Transvaal says that he will never let those words pass his lips again. Sir, can you therefore see the ambiguity and double-talk of the United Party? I wonder if the public at large realizes what it is. But certain members, the Turks in Transvaal, found out almost too late that certain other people, amongst whom are the hon. member for Bezuidenhout and Mr. Harry Schwarz, have very skilfully turned this double talk on the part of the United Party to their own advantage.
Tell us about your power bloc.
That is the leadership the hon. member longs for, the leadership he has been seeking. He is sitting here in a party and here, before our eyes, for two weeks and more, frontbenchers, shadow ministers of that party, have been sitting in this House as nothing more than political hostages. Sir, if there is such a thing as political terrorism, then you have seen it here before your very eyes. It is pathetic, too cruel to be true and too pitiful to behold in a South African Parliament, that the nominations of hon. members sitting here should be held in the balance until other possible candidates which they want to have nominated in the Transvaal, are nominated. I say again that it is clear to me that the hon. member is looking for leadership, but what does the hon. the Leader of the Opposition say after this whole episode in the Transvaal? He says that it puts new heart into him that they should be progressing so well with this new movement and he already sees the Promised Land.
How fine it is when brothers live together!
Yes. But there is yet another stumbling block in this whole episode before seeing and entering Promised Land. Before that day can dawn, the National Party is still in the way, and what are the hon. members doing now? Now they are doing the following things. They are now inviting the non-White leaders to address their congress. Let us now understand one other well. I have not the slightest objection if you go and speak to the non-White leaders. My leaders are speaking to these people all the time. It is just that they never make a song and dance about it.
You speak to them like M. C. Botha speaks to them.
We speak to them all the time. That is not the problem. But if a party holds a congress, then it holds a congress to iron out its private affairs there and to determine its policy for the future. What the hon. member for South Coast told the Minister of the Interior applies then, namely: “Connie, I would not even invite you to address the United Party congress.” He is correct. Nor do I think the hon. the Minister of the Interior expects to address the United Party congress. If a party holds a congress, then it holds it to work out its own policy, with its own people too. Then it conducts a dialogue with its own people. I wonder whether it has got through to the United Party yet that one can conduct a dialogue with one’s own people too. But now we have here this very significant matter. Two days after the United Party congress, on 22 August 1973, this highly significant editorial appeared in The Star, and if one compares it with the interview the hon. member for Wynberg gave Rapport over the weekend, the matter becomes even more significant. It concerns the fact that these people are saying—
Then there is this highly significant sentence—
That is what these people intend.
The Star and the United Party supporters of the hon. member’s friend, Harry Schwarz, and his so-called Turks—let me rather call them “henchmen”—in the Transvaal. With them is the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. These people say that the onslaught on the United Party can only be successful if common cause is made and the attack is launched in conjunction with the non-White parties.
That is their plan.
Why are these hon. members worried about the small measure of protocol which was upset by the by-passing of the Leader of Natal when the hon. the Leader of the Transvaal went to speak to Chief Buthelezi? I cannot quite understand this. After all, it is precisely concerned with their policy. Surely the United Party Leader in the Transvaal can say that he is only engaged in carrying out United Party policy. The point is that this Opposition sees South Africa as a unit state and in pursuing that course they want to establish a federation. However, they forget the statement which the hon. the Leader of the Opposition himself made in 1961. He is recorded in Hansard as having said that in a unit state, where everyone has the franchise, the majority—the people who comprise the numerical majority—must be dominant. There is no alternative and then, surely, there is no problem here. This infighting is not concerned with policy; it is concerned with the fact that the hon. member for Newton Park is afraid for his person; it is concerned with the hon. member for Simonstown who is being threatened; it is concerned with other hon. members who are afraid that they will be dominated by the Leader of the Transvaal, but surely it has absolutely nothing to do with policy. There I can agree with the hon. member for Mooi River.
Say one word about your policy.
He is seeking leadership. He will never find leadership in his own party. He cannot. It does not surprise me that he addressed the National Party the whole evening to try to estrange the Afrikaner from the National Party. He says: Just get rid of the National Party and then you, the Afrikaners, can lead the world. I say to him: My friend, you do not understand the Afrikaner. The Afrikaner is the National Party and the National Party is the Afrikaner. Have you then never finally learnt the Oudtshoorn lesson?
Mr. Speaker, it has really been amazing to listen to the Government speakers tonight and this afternoon in reply to this debate on the Budget. We have heard nothing of the policy of the Nationalist Party and no defence against the accusations levelled by this side of the House against the administration of government by the hon. the Minister of Finance and by the other Ministers. All we hear from them are discussions on certain difficulties we may be experiencing, some differences of opinion in the nomination of candidates. One would think they have had no differences on the nomination of candidates, that they have had no difficulties and that they have had no appeals by candidates who have lost their nominations on that side of the House. I think it is to the credit of the United Party that there are so many candidates who are trying to represent the United Party, because the thinkers realize that it is only in the United Party that salvation can come for this country.
Listening to the hon. member for Fauresmith, who has just spoken, I wonder what contribution he made to this debate. He was talking about our leader who did not have a telephone down at the seaside. I wonder whether the hon. the Prime Minister has a telephone at Oubos. If he has, the Government has put it up for him, but we do not have those facilities. We cannot call for a telephone where we want one.
The hon. member asks why not when there are nearly 100 000 people who are waiting for a telephone in this country. The hon. member for Fauresmith, in reply to the hon. member for Mooi River, said: “Die Nasionale Party is die Afrikaner en die Afrikaner is die Nasionale Party.” I see that the hon. the Minister of Indian Affairs has gone out of the House. How does he feel about this? He has walked out. That is the problem we have in this country. The Nationalist Party consists of one section of the population which is the majority group and as long as its members play on the prejudice of race the Nationalist Party will stay in power. The only hope for the country is that the younger people, people who are now going to vote for the first time, or the people who have voted for the first time in the past ten years, do not have these prejudices which the hon. members sitting opposite have. The only hope is that they will vote the other way. What we ask is that the younger people who will not have these prejudices will not allow themselves to be used as the older voters have been used by the Nationalist Party.
That is all it is. Black and White racialism is all that keeps them in power. Talking about numbers, I should like to remind the hon. member for Fauresmith that under their policy, the Nationalist Party policy, the White people will never be in the majority in what they like to call the White area. There will never be a White majority anywhere in South Africa. That is what hon. members must remember. This is where their policy falls down. The Achilles heel of their policy is what happens to the urban Africans. I do not intend to deal with the urban African side of their policy tonight.
I am sorry to see that the hon. the Prime Minister and the hon. the Minister for Bantu Administration and Development are not here. I see that one of the Deputies of the Minister for Bantu Administration and Development, namely the Deputy Minister of Bantu Development is here, but I want to address my remarks to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development. I hope that the hon. the Deputy Minister who is here will convey my remarks to them, because I want certain assurances from the Prime Minister.
I want to address the hon. the Prime Minister on the position which has recently developed in the Transkei. This position arises because of certain recommendations that have been made by the Department of Bantu Administration and Development to the Minister. These recommendations have now been submitted to the Bantu Affairs Commission for their report. The recommendations deal with the acquisition of land for Bantu occupation for addition to the Transkei. It concerns the land at Port St. Johns and the districts of Elliot, Maclear and Matatiele. These recommendations have been made in terms of the 1936 legislation. Because of these recommendations which are being considered by the Government and also because of speeches which have been made recently by the Chief Minister of the Transkei, there is certain disquiet in that area. The history of the land claims made by the Chief Minister of the Transkei is as varied as the number of occasions on which he has made them. I am not going to trace the history of all these demands as it would take far too long. But probably the most ambitious of his claims was reported on 29 May 1972 when he claimed that the original land that belongs to the Xhosas stretches from the Drakensberg mountains on the border of Lesotho, down from the Umzimkulu River to the Gamtoos River and northward to Sterkstroom.
People living in this area remember that the Chief has made other claims in the past, plans which seemed unrealistic and which were rejected by Government spokesmen at the time. What worries them now is that the department itself has now made certain recommendations which have in the past been rejected by this Government. The hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development has stressed that these recommendations have not been considered by the Cabinet and that they have been submitted to the Bantu Affairs Commission for it to take evidence and to consult with the people in the area concerned. He said that the Cabinet would then consider the recommendations, but he stressed that the Cabinet is in no way bound.
Unfortunately this assurance by the hon. the Minister has not allayed the fears of the people living in that area, more especially of the property owners. These property owners have invested there, secure, as they thought, in the assurances given by this Prime Minister, this Minister and previous Prime Ministers. It is incredible that an official of the department, knowing that these assurances had been given, would deliberately recommend that the promises given by previous Ministers and Prime Ministers should be broken. What is even more pertinent is that they never thought that the Minister in charge of the department would countenance such recommendations being made public. The least they expected was that the official would be admonished and that the Minister would make it quite clear that the recommendations were to be rejected outright. One would expect him to say that that was out of the question, that he and the Prime Minister had given promises and that Dr. Verwoerd had also given promises. The fact that the Minister has allowed these recommendations to be considered, even to be submitted to the Bantu Affairs Commission, is an indication that he is considering breaking his promises. If his word and that of the hon. the Prime Minister mean anything at all he would have indicated to the department that the mere suggestion was out of the question.
We hear so much about the word of the White man and the promises made in the past. What the people in the Transkei and in East Griqualand are asking is why promises made in 1936 should be of more effect than promises made as late as 1970. Dr. Verwoerd at a meeting in Umtata on 10 April 1951 made if not a promise, a statement, that East Griqualand would remain White. This was subsequently confirmed by a letter from the department which is lodged for safe-keeping in a bank in Kokstad. This letter was published in a newspaper in July 1951. It was written to the East Griqualand Farmers’ Congress. I am not going to read the whole letter. This is what Dr. Verwoerd had to say—
In that letter Dr. Verwoerd indicates that I am responsible for his having to tell the country what his policy was. He blames me for it. I should have kept quiet. If I had not asked him; there would not have been any concern, but because I asked him and he was compelled to reply to me and say what the likely consequences were going to be, it is now my fault. He assured East Griqualand that they would remain White, and that is why he could not understand why they were worried.
I want to give more examples of the type of assurance which was given. I want to start with the late Prime Minister, Dr. Verwoerd, who is regarded as the author of the present policy. As Prime Minister, his memory is honoured more than that of others by virtue of the fact that a multitude of institutions, towns, dams and buildings are named after him. He wrote, as Prime Minister, to the farmers’ association of Port St. Johns in reply to a letter which they had addressed to him asking him what their position was. They wanted some assurance. He wrote—
I am glad to see that the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development is here now. His department then did add something. On 21 September 1962 the Department of Bantu Administration and Development wrote to the secretary of the farmers’ association and said—
In the succeeding two paragraphs he goes on to detail the reasons why. He says that it is made quite clear by legislation that Port St. Johns is to be White. He goes on to say—
The letter then goes on to deal with other matters. That was not the end of it. A further letter was written to the farmers’ association in 1964. In this letter the secretary for the department said—
Then it goes on to deal with other matters. Those assurances, then, were given by the department. Then the present Minister on 25 August 1970 wrote the following—
It is his secretary writing—
Then he goes on to say how the position has been further entrenched by certain steps the Government has taken. After this letter had been written, further steps were taken to entrench the position of Port St. Johns. Last year the provisions of the Transkeian liquor proclamation were repealed as far as Port St. Johns was concerned, and Port St. Johns was brought under the jurisdiction of the Liquor Act of the Republic. The Prime Minister, who unfortunately is not here, has given assurances too.
My appeal on behalf of Port St. Johns and the affected areas of Matatiele, Elliot and Maclear is that he assures this House that he will honour the promises of the past and not allow the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development to proceed with the recommendations of the department. If he does not do so, the word of the Minister and of this Government will count for nought, especially bearing in mind that the Deputy Minister of Bantu Development has actually been quoted in the Press as saying that—
The hon. the Deputy Minister the other day said these were not his actual words, although they were quoted. He denied the correctness of the report, but that does not alter the tenor of his statement, because he added—I have it here in Hansard—that it does not mean to say that if a promise has been made, we should adhere to it at all costs. He also said that the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development would elaborate on the promises. Now, what did the hon. the Minister say? He admitted that promises were made not only in respect of Port St. Johns, but in respect of other areas as well. But he said that the circumstances had changed, because many years ago Port St. Johns and other areas had been offered as “detached units”. Those were the words he used. The Government refused the acceptance of those areas as “detached units”, but now it is different, because the department has recommended consolidation. In going through this correspondence one finds no instance where units were offered to the Government. At one stage certain farmers wanted to sell to the Government, because they were uncertain about their position. But as far as I know, in the town of Port St. John itself no separate plots were offered to the Government. In any event, the representations made by the farmers’ association and by the municipality to this Government were made in trying to get clarity as to what their position was. Then the hon. the Minister said he wanted to reiterate that the White area of Port St. Johns would remain White and would never form part of the Bantu governmental area of the Transkei, what did the word “never” mean? He used the word “never”. Why did he not say “in the foreseeable future” or “in the present circumstances”? Then we could have understood the situation. But, Sir, he gave the assurance that it would never take place.
In accordance with Standing Order No. 23, the House adjourned at