House of Assembly: Vol5 - TUESDAY 21 JULY 1925
Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at
The MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR gave notice that on Thursday he would move—
He added: I will not ask the House to remain to put this Bill through this session.
I move, as an unopposed motion—
In doing so it will, I think, not be out of place if I make a short statement with regard to this matter, setting forth the present position.
Is there no objection? [No objection.] The Minister may proceed.
The Government are to-day as deeply convinced as ever of the need of passing at an early date legislation for securing a South African national flag which shall be the outward expression and symbol of our independent nationhood and our accepted national status. In their opinion such a measure should not be delayed longer than the exigencies of proper procedure demand and in any case not longer than the beginning of the next session of Parliament. The Government flag is destined to be the link binding national flag is destined to be the link binding together the different elements of the population in one common South African patriotism and that as such it must, as far as possible, from the very commencement occupy a place above racial and political divisions. They deem it, therefore, of the utmost importance, that before the country is committed to any particular design, every possible step shall be taken to secure the greatest possible unanimity with respect to the procedure to be followed, as well as to the ultimate choice. With this end in view, the Prime Minister has approached the right hon. the leader of the Opposition, who was kind enough to intimate his acceptance of the principle of a South African national flag and his willingness to co-operate in a combined effort to obtain a unanimous and non-party decision. As a result of these conversations the Government have decided to withdraw the Bill for the present in the hope that after common consultation and the taking of any other preliminary steps which may be decided upon, it will be possible to re-introduce it at the beginning of next session in a form so altered as to embody the description of the South African national flag, the design of which shall be generally accepted as the united choice of all sections of the nation through their recognized political leaders.
Motion put and agreed to.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE laid upon the Table—
Return referred to Select Committee on Public Accounts.
asked the Minister of Finance:
- (1) Whether the rebate allowed by the British Government on taxation of dividends in the Dominions equals the combined profit and dividends tax now being imposed in the Union;
- (2) if not, what proportion of the Union tax will rank for exemption of British income tax to shareholders of companies in the Union who are domiciled in Great Britain; and
- (3) whether the Government will advertise widely in Great Britain and South Africa the full rebate allowed on British income tax to shareholders oversea on their investments in companies taxed on profits and dividends in the Union of South Africa?
- (1) No.
- (2) Not exceeding 2s. in the £. The rebate allowed by the British Government for Dominion relief is the Dominion Tax or one half the appropriate British rate of tax, whichever is the lesser. The present rate of British tax is 4s. in the £.
- (3) It is not necessary. Dividends of Shareholders in Diamond and Gold Companies.
asked the Minister of Mines and Industries whether the Government will take steps to obtain reliable information and place the same upon the Table of the House showing:
- (a) the percentage of dividends paid to shareholders in diamond and gold companies respectively living outside the Union;
- (b) the percentage of dividends paid to shareholders in diamond and gold companies, bona fide resident in the Union; and
- (c) the percentage of dividends drawn in this country on behalf of shareholders as above resident outside the Union?
I must ask the hon. member to allow this question to stand over.
asked the Minister of Lands:
- (1) What has been the annual average loss incurred by the Government in connection with the Government Wine Farm, Groot Constantia (Cape), during the past three years; and
- (2) what is the estimated annual cost in connection with the proposed supervision and maintenance of the manor, old cellar, Van der Stel’s bath, etc., on the said farm?
In the absence of the Minister,
What is my position now in regard to this question?
As the question is not answered it will appear on the agenda as standing over.
asked the Minister of Labour:
- (1) What expense has been incurred in connection with the sending of delegates to the International Labour Conference recently held at Geneva; and
- (2) what practical advantage accrues to the taxpayers of the Union therefrom?
- (1) As the accounts have not yet been rendered it is impossible to say what the amount is.
- (2) The Union, as a signatory to the Treaty of Versailles, is under obligation to be represented. The hon. member is advised to study the terms of the Treaty which enunciate the objects of the International Labour Bureau in relation to which these conferences are held. The taxpayer of the Union gets the same practical advantage as accrues to the taxpayers represented by other member nations.
asked the Minister of the Interior:
- (1) Whether the Government has received a copy of a resolution adopted at a meeting of the Durban Town Council held on the 6th of July, 1925, informing the Cabinet “that in the opinion of the Durban Town Council the only true method of solving the Asiatic question in so far as it relates to this country, and particularly to Natal, lies in the direction of a round table conference between representatives of the Union, Britain and India; and further, that the Union Government and the Union Parliament be asked to take such steps as may be necessary for convening such a conference in this country without delay”;
- (2) whether the Government is prepared to accede to the request of the Durban Town Council and tall a conference for this purpose; if so,
- (3) where and when such conference will be held, and, if not,
- (4) what are the reasons for refusing?
A copy of the resolution referred to has been received by the Government, and, as stated by me in this House on a former occasion, the matter is the subject of communication between this Government and the Government of India.
asked the Minister of Finance, what is the total amount of subsidy, including grants (apart from Loan Funds), paid to the respective provinces since Union to the close of the last financial year?
Cape, £18,383,867; Natal, £7,143,929; Transvaal, £17,215,616; Orange Free State, £7,233,548.
asked the Minister of Labour:
- (1) How many tenant farmers have been placed in the Hartebeestpoort area (b) on Government farms, (b) on private farms;
- (2) how many tenant farmers have been placed on Mr. P. H. Morkel’s town erven near Middelburg, Transvaal, and what is the extent of such erven; and
- (3) what amount has been advanced to tenant farmers mentioned in paragraph (2) or to the owner of the erven?
- (1) (a) No tenant farmers were placed on Government farms, but up to the 17th of July last the Lands Department has placed 76 probationary lessees of whom 28 were selected by this department; (b) 136 tenant farmers.
- (2) One tenant farmer. The extent of the erven set aside for the tenant farmer is ten morgen of which five are under irrigation.
- (3) No loan has been advanced to the tenant farmer, but an amount of £147 15s. was advanced to the owner.
asked the Minister of Labour:
- (1) What is the rate of pay of the appointment of Welfare Officer of the Tenant Farmers’ Scheme at present held by Mr. Bodenstein;
- (2) whether, when Col. Williams, the Undersecretary for Agriculture, was asked for a report upon the qualifications of Mr. Bodenstein, that officer was asked to report upon the qualifications of any other candidate or candidates; and
- (3) whether this is the same Mr. Bodenstein who was an officer with Col. Manie Maritz after the latter rebelled in 1914 and crossed into German South-West Africa?
- (1) Salary £500 on the scale £500—20—600; plus £69 local allowance.
- (2) No.
- (3) I have no information on the subject.
asked the Minister of Defence:
- (1) Whether, in view of the fact that revised regulations for the Coast Garrison and Active Citizen Forces are being prepared, the Minister will submit the draft of such regulations for the opinion and advice of Commanding Officers of the Coast Garrison and Active Citizen Forces, bearing in mind that the Minister has announced his intention of assembling Rifle Associations and Commando Commandants after the session;
- (2) whether the Minister is prepared to refuse assent to proposals to arrange for District Staff Officers to become by virtue of seniority or otherwise District Commandants; and
- (3) whether he will keep in mind that such proposals violate the whole principle underlying staff duties?
- (1) A conference of commandants of defence rifle associations has been called and the question of holding a conference of Commanding Officers of Coast Garrison and Active Citizen Force Units is being considered. I am not prepared to submit the whole of the revised regulations for the Coast Garrison and Active Citizen Forces for discussion by Commanding Officers, but in the event of a conference being held. I shall certainly avail myself of such a favourable opportunity to discuss matters relating to these organizations and such discussion will be a valuable guide to me in arriving at any decision. I would remind the hon. member that the Defence Act requires all amendments to regulations to be submitted for the concurrence of members of the Defence Council.
- (2) and (3) I would refer the hon. member to my reply to his question No. VIII of the 30th Tune last and would add that the matter will be considered by me in due course.
Arising out of the Minister’s answer, I would like to ask what regulations does he not propose to submit to a conference of commanding officers.
I am afraid I cannot give a specific reply to that, but the hon. member will understand that if you are going to start submitting all the regulations to a conference of commanding officers it will take a conference of two or three weeks. As he is already aware, the Defence Act provides that all regulations are submitted for the concurrence of the defence staff. I shall take the greatest care of these things, but all these matters cannot be submitted to conferences because, after all, they are the proper function of headquarters.
asked the Minister of the Interior:
- (1) Whether it is the intention of the Minister to introduce during this session the Asiatic legislation promised by him at an earlier stage of the session; and, if not,
- (2) whether he will publish the Bill for general information at an early date?
- (1) Yes.
- (2) The second question thus falls away. Union 5 per cent. Loan (1935).
asked the Minister of Finance whether the public may still subscribe to the 1935 five per cent. loan; and, if so, at what price and on what terms?
The lists were closed on the 15th February last.
First Order read: Wage Bill, as amended by the Senate, to be considered.
On the motion of the Minister of Labour the amendments were considered.
Amendments in Clauses 1 (Dutch), 3, 4 (Dutch), 5 (Dutch), 7 (English), 8, 9 and 11 put and agreed to.
On Clause 13,
This is a very objectionable clause, and even the amendment does not seem to carry it much further. The amendment does not seem to remove our real objection to this clause. I think the whole clause ought to be deleted. The amendment of the Senate appears to be with the idea of improving the position, but the objection we have has not been removed.
I am afraid the hon. member can only move an amendment to the amendment of the Senate. Consequential amendments alone can be discussed and moved.
I can only say that this clause lays down a very wrong principle in our legislation, and I wish to protest against the principle contained in this clause.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments in Clauses 15, 16 and 17 put and agreed to.
Second Order read: House to go into Committee on the Pensions (Supplementary) Bill.
House in Committee:
On Clause 1,
I would like to ask the Minister if he could give us an estimate as to the expenditure this is going to entail.
I regret I cannot. Obviously it would be impossible to do so.
Clause put and agreed to.
Remaining clause and schedule put and agreed to.
On the Title,
I have an amendment to the Title, on the Order Paper—
I cannot see where there is an amendment to a law here. I cannot find any.
The draftsman called attention to it in connection with some awards. It is not only the award of a pension, but we actually revised the provisions of certain existing Acts under which pensions were granted formerly. It is a drafting amendment suggested by the Parliamentary draftsman.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Title, as amended, put and agreed to.
Bill reported with an amendment in the title, which was put and agreed to, and the Bill, as amended, adopted and read a third time.
Third Order read: Second Reading,—Financial Adjustments Bill.
This Bill contains a number of clauses having nothing in common except financial bearing. It is therefore impossible to deal with the Bill as a whole, and I hope hon. members will see that it would be better to discuss the clauses when we reach the Committee stage. Clauses 1 and 2 arise out of the Budget; Clause 1 deals with the disposition of last year’s surplus; Clauses 3, 4, 13 and 14 contained miscellaneous financial provisions; 5, 6, 7 and 9 repair omissions and errors regarding the public service and pensions in connection with which attention has been drawn by the Auditor-General; 8 and 10 give pension privileges in respect of arrear service to a certain class of employees to whom they have been previously denied; 11 and 12 are necessitated by the Bill which we recently passed, the Provincial Subsidies Act of this session; and 15 gives a measure of relief in respect of certain irrigation loans. My colleague, the Minister of Justice, said it was impossible, this session, to deal with the Irrigation Act—the question of the permanent Commission arising out of the Irrigation Commission—and this is to give a certain measure of relief to certain debtors of the Government, in connection with Government loans. Clause 16 corrects a drafting error in last year’s Land Bank Act. I will explain that when we get to it later on. The reserve fund is now specifically charged with the writing off that took place last year.
That is Clause 17.
Yes. Clause 16 deals with directors and Clause 17 deals with the position of the Land Bank and the writing off. The other two clauses deal with miscellaneous matters concerning the Railways and Harbours, the Electricity Commission and the Treasury. I shall explain these various clauses in greater detail in Committee. I now move the second reading of the Bill.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
House to go into Committee to-morrow.
Fourth Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for second reading, Licences Consolidation Bill, to be resumed.
[Debate, adjourned yesterday, resumed.]
My attention has been called to item.7 of the second schedule where the “butcher’s licence” is extended to persons carrying on the business of selling fish. As the resolution agreed to in Committee of Ways and Means on the 24th June did not contemplate the imposition of a licence duty on persons selling fish the words “or fish” will have to be omitted from the item in question wherever they have the effect of extending the, butchers’ licence to that class of persons.
As the criticisms are really on different points, I should like to suggest that, in place of continuing this discussion, the House should go into Committee and take the items seriatim. I would suggest that to the Minister.
There is one point in this Bill to which I wish to draw the attention of the Minister. It is a pity that no provision has been made in this Bill to consolidate the laws regarding the issue of licences. The Minister will remember that the Asiatic Enquiry Commission suggested that a uniform licence law, applicable to all the provinces of the Union, should be enacted. I think it is a pity that this recommendation has not been carried out. Whilst the Minister has brought in this law which unifies the rates of the licences, he should have made provision for the consolidation of all the laws which regulate the issue of licences. The municipalities in Natal are going to be saddled with the supervision and issuing of all the licences, while the provincial council will draw all the fees from these licences. That, I think, is going to entail a very great hardship, and provision should have been made in this Bill for some recoupment to the municipalities.
On page 9 schedule 2 item No. 2 it is provided that a licence of £3 must be paid by a person who carries on business in mineral waters. I should like to know whether a general dealer’s licence will cover this. Every shop on the country-side does that and the business in it is so small that he cannot pay £3.
In section 4 it is provided that a general dealer’s licence—
The hon. member had better discuss such details in committee.
I want to draw the Minister’s attention to a matter which I raised in Committee on Ways and Means, that is the taxation applicable to natives under this Bill. I must ask him to realize the position in which his Government has placed the native. They have adopted the principle that a native shall not be considered a civilized workman, or allowed to enter those spheres of labour in the Government service where a higher scale of wages is drawn, and yet you are taxing him on the same scale as the European. The licence for an eating-house keeper is £5 and the same licence applies to a hotel keeper. If I am not in order here I will discuss the matter further in Committee.
I think that matter had better be discussed in Committee. I do not think it is necessary to go into details just now.
I want to say a few words to reinforce what was said yesterday by the hon. member for Boksburg (Mr. McMenamin). The licensing system under this Bill is going to be a serious addition to our taxation system. It is going to press particularly hard on people who are beginning a profession, and on small dealers and people like billiard table keepers and small traders like, butchers and bakers. The effect of it is going to be to drive the small men out of these trades, and drive the trade into the hands of the big interests. If a small man wants to start as a wholesale, butcher he has to find £75, or if he wants to start as a retail, butcher or baker, he has to put down £7 10s. The result will be the small man will not be able to start these things, and the whole trade will get into the hands of the trusts. I hope the Minister, when he sees his way clear to relieve taxation, and I don’t know when that will be, will turn his attention to this aspect and give relief on these licences; which are simply a system of income tax levied in an unscientific way, because they are levied irrespective of whether there is an income or not.
I want to speak about the same matter as the last speaker. I also feel that the tax of £5 for a licence will press heavily on the small dealer who, e.g., has a small grocery shop with a stock worth £200 or £250, and if a, butcher opens a shop he must pay £7 10s. per annum. This is too much for those who want to work up a business right from the beginning. I hope that the Minister will make the tax less. The law provides that dealers with a turnover of less than £2,000 must pay a licence of £5. Then there are on the Rand people who hire billiard rooms with five or six tables, and they will have to pay £12 for them. That is also very hard.
I would like to add my plea to that of the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) but I think it ought to be considered now, because the very effect of putting on these high licences before people can start in business is going to keep them out of business. Take, for instance, the, butchering trade, where the wholesale, butcher has to pay £75. It will simply mean you are going to set up monopolies. I want to refer to the dealer in futures. You put a very high licence, as if you wish to prohibit that class of business. If you were to prohibit dealings in futures you would paralyse the whole of the grain trade. That is going to affect the producer because it will run up his cost enormously. Take the wine trade, you cannot carry on the business without having dealings in futures; it would make the wine trade impossible. I use the word “prohibit” because it seems the licences have been put so high as if this was a kind of trade which should not be allowed at all.
There are several things in the Bill which we can deal with in committee. I take it from the Minister these licences were agreed to at a conference held at Durban, and are supposed to be generally acceptable to Provincial Council Executives. I would like the Minister to tell us if that is so, because it would clear us of some responsibility with regard to the amounts imposed. With regard to the dealers’ licences where there is a maximum of £100, this limitation is really a gift to the big people who are always pressing for advantages to themselves. We shall never, on these benches, agree to the principle that the bigger the trader the less he should pay. We wish the whole principle were dropped as regards attaining a maximum. It is a differential preference which cannot be defended, and when it comes to the committee stage I hope the Minister will see his way clear to take out the maximum. Then we come to the professional licences. The professions get more moderate licences than the ordinary trader, and to put these in a more favourable position is a principle which cannot be maintained. Half the amount of professional licences is only chargeable within a period of the first three years for a man who commences practice. These persons have already had the advantage of an education largely contributed to by the general taxpayer, and now they come in again, having accepted that university subsidy from the public, as a privileged class, and say they want very low licences, and for the first three years at only half rates. I ask the Minister how he defends this principle, particularly as he belongs to one of these greatly sheltered professions. No trade union enjoys a greater advantage than the legal profession. Why should these professions have this special protection in regard to the first three years. It is wrong in principle. If a, butcher or a baker starts in business he has also to struggle on for the first three years. Gentlemen in the House who enjoy these privileges, who are a superior class, and don’t forget to let us know it, come now and ask for these special privileges.
We are not asking for ourselves.
The proletariat feel they are not getting a fair deal, they are left to face ordinary competition, and these professions, already enjoying advantages, come in and say that in legislation they will take more advantages. It is a big principle, and I ask the Minister of Finance to tell us how he justifies it.
I don’t want to deal with the whole of the matters raised by the last speaker. But the charge of selfishness which he brings against us is an unfounded one. In urging that the new entrants to the profession shall be allowed to practise for three years without paying the licence is not an advantage to the gentlemen in the profession in this House, but a relief to newcomers to the profession from the impost of the taxes. It is unfair to say we urge the exemption from taxation from selfish motives. I want to point out to the Minister that the Minister will remember, when this question of the allocation of licences arose, the members from Natal raised a protest with regard to the position of the towns. The Minister said this tax would not be brought into operation until January next. Since then the municipality of Durban has demonstrated that it is not satisfied with this concession, and desired an opportunity of meeting the Minister personally to discuss the matter. A great complaint has been that no opportunity was given the municipality to state its case. I understand the Minister has turned down Durban’s application, and has told the council that the Minister of Justice will be in Durban in October and any complaints the council has to make, to make to him. Although the Minister of Justice is probably the most popular member of the Government in Natal, Durban would prefer to discuss the matter with the Minister directly responsible for the measure. I appeal to the Minister of Finance to allow the Durban Council to interview him at Pretoria during the recess.
I hope the Minister will not disregard the plea that the issue of licences in the Union be placed on a uniform basis. In the Transvaal general dealers’ licences can be issued by a clerk in the office of the Receiver’ of Revenue and this loose method constitutes a very great danger, owing to the large number of applications for licences by Asiatics. In places like Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp almost every respectable European trader has been forced out of business by Asiatic competition, and unless some revision of the present loose method of issuing licences is undertaken at an early date a very serious state of affairs will be brought about. The Asiatic trader is also becoming a danger in the Cape Province.
I wish to repeat that this is not a Union taxation measure, but is the direct outcome of negotiations which were concluded at Durban between the Union Government and the provincial administrations. The Bill has to follow on the Provincial Subsidies Bill already passed by the House. Licences are at present a provincial source of revenue. It was agreed at Durban that the provinces would not only retain the existing source of revenue in respect of licences, but it was agreed that the Union Government should make the licences uniform throughout the country. I do not know where the hon. member for Boksburg (Mr. McMenamin) got the idea that I was not after revenue, for these licences have been a considerable source of revenue to the provinces for a considerable time and they don’t want to give it up. In Committee of Ways and Means I very stoutly resisted attempts to whittle down these licences accepting amendments only in those cases where the revenue was not affected to any very considerable extent. The main opposition to these licences has come from the Transvaal members, which is very natural as the Transvaal has been in a privileged position up to the present in regard to licences. Heavy licences have been paid in the other provinces, and in my attempt to arrive at uniformity the licences have been reduced in most cases, but on account of the Transvaal having no licences before or only very light ones, the licences there have been raised to a considerable extent. Since the introduction of the Bill I have had a very strong protest from the Transvaal administration because I was not giving it sufficient revenue from this source. If the Bill is not passed the licences will put up by the Transvaal authorities to a greater extent than is proposed here, so that in any case the Transvaal will not escape taxation. The Free State also complains that I am unduly interfering with revenue which it has hitherto received because of my attempts to arrive at uniformity. Some hon. members have objected to the limitation in regard to the general dealers’ licences. That was another agreement arrived at Durban for the turnover tax had to go as it was an objectionable form of taxation. If you base the licences on the extent of the business carried on you get the same tax and then it is practically another form of the turnover tax. What we have done, more or less, has been a reasonable compromise to give the provinces the same revenue they received before these licences were made uniform. It was suggested that my minimum should be reduced. In the first draft of the Bill my minimum was £2, but objection was raised by the Cape and the Free State that on that low basis they would be losing too much money. £7 10s. is the smallest amount paid by any general dealer in the Cape, and I have reduced that amount to £5. It is unfortunate that the general dealers’ licence in the Transvaal has had to be increased from £2 to £5. Exception has been taken to wholesale, butchers having to pay a licence of £75, but up to the present he has been paying up to £300 in turnover tax which tax now disappears.
He did not pay that in the Cape Province.
There was a turnover tax here which applied to the wholesale, butcher. The hon. member for Boksburg challenged me to deny that the chemist was paying a very big amount and would now pay a less amount. The chemist paid a large amount previously in the shape of turnover tax and he is now taxed as a professional man, which of course, he is. We have made no attempt to base the amount of the licences on the extent of business done, and if you do that you have the objection of taxing people on their turnover. The hon. member for Boksburg also referred to the Transvaal hotel people, but I do not deal with liquor licences at all. The hon. member pointed out that a Transvaal hotel keeper would pay additional licences up to £196. Under *he Bill the following are the additional licences to be paid by a hotel keeper. Board and lodging house-keeper. £5; mineral water dealer, £3; sale of fish, £2; billiard table, £12; making a total of £22.
I was basing my estimate on two billiard tables.
Billiard table licences have existed in the other provinces. You must accept the present licences or the province would lose a considerable amount of revenue. Under the Provincial Subsidies Bill the provincial councils have the right to impose additional licences in respect of callings that are subject to inspection. It will be open to the provincial councils to assign any portion of the revenue from these licences to its local authorities if the provincial councils are inclined to do so. The provincial councils are entitled to legislate for local authorities, and they must have the right to take away any of this revenue from the local authorities. A baker’s licence has always existed in all the provinces, and it has been £5 in the Cape and the Free State.
I think it ought to be done away with altogether.
What we are doing is to make the licences uniform. The licence for a speculator in futures has existed in the Capp and the Free State. The hon. member’ for Pretoria (West) (Mr. Hay) has again raised the question of professional licences. Here again the principle which the hon. member objects to exists at present in some of the provinces All that has been done is that by a direct vote of this House hon. members have extended the concession which professional men who enter their profession for the first time get under this Bill.
That does not make it right.
I think it makes it right if the House is generally of opinion that this concession should be extended to our sons. No professional man in this House will benefit by this concession. In any case the hon. member knows that I did not vote for the extension. Because it did not affect the revenue to any particular extent, I said I would leave it to the House.
Only extend it to others.
The same argument does not apply to the, butcher or the baker which my hon. friend mentioned. The hon. member for Durban (Central) (Mr. Robinson) has again raised the question of the deputation which wants to interview the Government from Natal in regard to these licences. I actually did meet a deputation in Pretoria from the Durban municipality, and discussed these licences with them.
That was a long time back.
It was after the conference. What they now want to do is to re-open the question; they want to re-open what this House has deliberately decided. I told them I could not do that. I have always tried, and I do make it a rule, to meet anybody who wishes to see me, but here I came to the conclusion that no good purpose could be served by re-opening the question which had been deliberately closed by Parliament; and not only by the Government majority, but hon. members opposite have supported the Government in regard to this particular question of the licences in Natal. On those grounds I did not think it necessary to see these people for a second time and to reopen the question which has been decided. The hon. member for Newcastle (Mr. Nel) and the hon. member for Illovo (Mr. Marwick) raised the question of making uniform the manner of issuing or granting licences, rights which are at present enjoyed by the various provinces and local authorities. We did not attempt to deal with that question, and I shall leave it severely alone. In any case it is a very much more difficult question than is this one. Conditions differ in the various provinces. Natal has different machinery from the Transvaal, for instance. I hope the second reading of this Bill will now be passed, and we can then discuss the details of the schedule when the House is in Committee.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time; House to go into Committee now.
House in Committee:
The CHAIRMAN stated that in accordance with Mr. Speaker’s ruling the words “or fish” have been omitted in the 4th, 11th, 12th. 24th and 28th lines of item 7 of the Second Schedule.
On the First Schedule,
The Minister will remember that this question was discussed in Committee of Ways and Means and that he then agreed to draw a distinction between a branch and an agency. I think the Minister will agree that the position is not at present quite clear, and that by the insertion of the words “under the control of a resident manager” after “branch” it will be made quite clear. This is a matter of considerable importance in the country districts where the banks are very often petitioned by the public in the different wards of the district, asking them to commence an agency, where a representative goes over once a week to receive monies and assist the farmers in giving them money supplies for their operations. The same thing also happens in regard to small outlying townships and villages. There is no resident manager or resident representative at these agencies.
I pointed out that it was not the intention at all to bring in under this taxation those agencies where a bank representative would go out, for instance, from Pretoria to Roberts Heights and come back again. I do not know whether it is actually necessary to add the words mentioned in the amendment. These agencies would not be branches.
Put the words in to make the position quite sure. It won’t deprive you of any revenue.
I have no objection, but we must be careful that we do not limit the scope when we use the words resident manager.” I do not want to include in this taxation those particular classes which the hon. member (Mr. Krige) wants to exempt, but I am not certain of the actual effect of this wording.
There is no question that the Minister is perfectly bona fide, and no doubt his officials are bona fide, but Ministers change and head officials change, and a new man in charge of the Inland Revenue Department may take another view and say you should pay, and the case might go into court and be decided accordingly.
The question is what is a branch? The Minister at the time gave his view as to how he construes the word “branch,” and those of us who raised the question were satisfied with the construction of the Minister. Now we come along and we want to put that in actual words. As the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) has pointed out, I am quite prepared to leave the matter in the hands of the Minister, but I am afraid that when a tangle occurs with his legal advisers, they may construe the word “branch” differently from what the Minister wants to do.
If the wording of the amendment is accepted, what would be the position when you have several branches in a place like Cape Town? We want to tax those branches, but there may not be a resident manager there. I am afraid that under the hon. member’s amendment those ordinary branches or agencies would not be taxable.
Oh, yes, in Cape Town. Take the Long Street branch of the Standard Bank, they have a resident manager there. The same in Plein Street. In each of these places I should say that the branch has a resident manager.
Provided further that the duty payable by any such agent who is the bona fide employee of a duly licensed agent of a foreign firm shall not exceed the sum of £15.
That meets the case raised by the hon. member last night.
And in item 4, on page 8, in the sixth line, after “fireworks are” to insert “to be”; and, as an amendment to the amendment proposed by Mr. Krige, after “manager” to insert “or responsible official”.
I would like the Minister to give us some information with regard to item 1, agents of foreign firms. We know that for years past men have been established in this country as agents for several firms. One man may represent six or more firms. Under this clause it does not seem to be clear whether one licence covers the lot.
The licence allows representation for any number of firms.
The point raised by the hon. member for Caledon (Mr. Krige) is one which is rather ambiguous, and the Minister’s amendment to add “responsible official” is equally ambiguous. Perhaps the best way would be to say that any premises used for exclusively banking business for a certain number of days in the month, should be a branch of the bank. I should say that any premises doing banking business exclusively for more than six days a month should be classed as a branch. I think it is essential that branches should carry the full tariff of licences. I think if the hon. member for Caledon were to embody in his amendment the principle I suggest it would be more practical.
It just shows the difficulties one has to cover all these points. This practice has been in force in the Free State for I don’t know how long. It has never given rise to any difficulties. If you once start to lay down various rules as to what will be a branch and what will not be a branch, it is impossible in a Bill of this nature. I really think the best thing would be to leave it as drafted.
I quite agree. I would rather have that than the amendment by the hon. member for Caledon (Mr. Krige).
After all the House must give a common-sense interpretation to all these things.
I should like to ask the Minister whether this will really exempt savings banks, because they are banking institutions and I think it should be made quite clear here.
Last amendment proposed by Minister of Finance withdrawn.
First part of amendment proposed by Minister of Finance put and agreed to.
Amendment proposed by Mr. Krige put and negatived.
Remaining amendment proposed by Minister of Finance put and agreed to.
First schedule, as amended, put and agreed to.
On the second schedule,
I would like to ask the Minister to withdraw item 2—
This seems to be a vexatious little tax that will affect every small trader in the country.
It is not payable by anyone who has a general dealer’s licence.
It does not say so here.
Look at the general dealer’s licence. I move—
- (1) This licence shall be required by every person who carries on business as a baker, but shall not be required by the holder of a licence as a general dealer who carries on such business in his licensed premises.
In item 10, on page 12, in the second line, to omit “The holder of this licence shall be entitled to sell” and to substitute “This licence shall be required by every person who sells”; and in the seventh line, to omit “further be entitled” and to substitute “entitle the holder”; and in item 13, on page 16, in the fifth line, to omit “to be licensed”.
I would like to ask the Minister to delete the words “by wholesale” in item 3, “apothecary.” This is a hardship on a large number of traders in the country. I move—
I think the hon. member is right; the words should come out. I do not think we should apply it to the wholesale apothecary; he should come in under “general dealer.” This is a professional licence.
I wish to move—
There are small accountants in these small towns and it seems very hard that they should have to pay £10, perhaps-more than they earn. It should also include auditors, I think.
I hope the hon. member will see how far that reaches. Why should not the lawyer be included as well? A man who does not earn £10, should not practice. The principle goes so far that I think the hon. member should hesitate before pressing it. Why accountants and not other professions? It is an auxiliary to his business.
Amendments proposed by the Minister of Finance in item 2, by Mr. McMenamin in item 3, and by the Minister of Finance in items 4 and 10 put and agreed to.
Might I suggest that we take the items seriatim.
The hon. member cannot propose that now, he should have done this at the beginning.
I would move to omit paragraph 3 in item 3.
The hon. member cannot move that now, as we are past that item.
I understood you were not dealing with the items seriatim.
It is a rule that you cannot go back to some previous paragraph where amendments have been voted upon.
We have arrived at item 13.
No, item 10.
Then do I understand the discussion is closed up to item 10?
The hon. member may discuss anything in the schedule, but nothing previous to item 10 can be moved. The hon. member may give notice to move an amendment at the report stage.
I propose to move an amendment at the report stage and to discuss the matter now. I would like to call the Minister’s attention to the fact that by allowing exemption here it is grossly unfair in the country towns in the Free State and the Transvaal where you have your apothecary or druggist doing this class of work. You are going to make him pay his licence; but the doctor next door, who is encroaching on his preserves, is to be free of licence. Although the practitioner has taken out a licence as a medical practitioner, when he also wishes to share in the profits on the medicines he is prescribing and making up, he should not be free from this licence. In some of the districts there are no chemists, but even so, he should pay the tax as well as the chemist.
It seems to me that whoever framed these licences has lost all sense of proportion. In the native territories, where you have roads radiating from the native areas to the stations, there are many small eating-houses where the natives get a bit of bread and meat, but these eating-houses will now have to pay a licence on the same scale as a big tea shop in Adderley Street. I hope the Minister will see his way to leave the licence as it is to-day, viz., £1. You are going to exempt boarding-house keepers whose turnover is less than £1,000, and none of these eating-houses make anything like that; yet the native will have to pay in full without any reduction. I hope, when the report stage comes on, the Minister will reduce the licence to £1.
At present I would like to state that these native eating-houses are called “coffee shops” in the Transkei, and the licences are controlled by the magistrate. The provincial council has never legislated in regard to them, and I wish to associate myself with what has just been said by the hon. member for Griqualand. It is absolutely absurd to charge £5 for these licences, and I hope the Minister will be prepared to consider a substantial reduction in this amount. These eating-houses serve a number of poor natives who have to come into the villages to pay their taxes, attend cases, and so forth, and I question whether the gross return would, in many cases, be more than £4 or £5 a month. I would like to refer to item 15, Motor Garage. It seems to me that every hotel which has a store for motor cars will have to pay this licence. Already hotels pay very heavy licences, and it is not right to make them pay an additional licence for the carrying out of a duty imposed on them under the law. I move as an amendment—
This licence shall not be payable by any duly licensed hotel-keeper providing for the stabling or storing of motor cars, motor cycles or other mechanically propelled vehicles.
I don’t think the amendment of the hon. member for Tembuland (Mr. Payn) is essential, as the licence only refers to places where business is carried on. This licence has to be paid by a man making money out of the business. An eating-house keeper’s licence in Natal is £5, and a kafir eating-house licence in the Transvaal £2. I see it is going to be a hardship in the Transkei. I don’t think there is very much revenue concerned, and I am prepared to accept an amendment to reduce it to £2.
The chairman’s action in accepting a string of amendments from the Minister of Finance has affected our rights to propose amendments. He has stopped us from discussing amendments on items which precede the item amended by the Minister. I would like to discuss item No. 7.
The rule is that after an amendment has been accepted on any particular item you cannot go back to any previous amendment.
Is there a rule that the Minister can put 14 amendments one after the other?
He can move them.
It has been held that a, butcher’s retail licence applies to a grocer’s shop where they have a provision counter. I move as an amendment—
In the case referred to a, butcher’s licence would not be required.
The hon. member may move that amendment at the report stage if he gives notice to-day.
I have no objection to the amendment.
At the report stage an hon. member can speak only just once. I think this rule is being carried too far. A member being debarred from moving amendments because a certain amendment has been moved by the Minister. I am not blaming the Minister, but the rules.
It is not my fault.
Of course it is not your fault. I would suggest a free discussion.
It is not the chairman who made these rules, but he has to adhere to them.
Surely, if there has been a misunderstanding, it would be possible to revert?
That can only be done by order of the House. The hon. member may revert to item No. 1 and discuss it, and say he is going to give notice of an amendment, but I cannot allow any amendment to be moved to any item before No. 10, to which an amendment has already been agreed upon.
Would it not be advisable before the chairman put an amendment, for him to inform the members that if they did not move amendments then they would lose their opportunity of doing so.
The chairman assumes that hon. members know the rules, otherwise at every stage I would have to tell hon. members what the rules are, and you cannot expect me to do that.
If the Minister accepts the amendment of the hon. member for Boksburg (Mr. McMenamin) he will have to take steps to prevent a man escaping the payment of a, butcher’s licence by running a, butcher’s shop in conjunction with a general dealer’s store.
I should like to invite the attention of the hon. Minister to the exemption under item 12, hawkers, and specially to the first line on page 17. There under (a) are exempted—
Thus it must certainly be someone who owns ground. I think the intention is that a man who does not own the ground from which the produce comes, a man who hires or occupies ground, will also fall under this. But I do not find it in the Bill, and I think that the provision “his own land” is too narrow. Therefore, I shall propose an amendment and will ask the hon. Minister to accept it. Exactly the same remark applies under item 19, pedlar. Under sub-section 2 (c) the exemption of produce from his own land is also spoken of. There I want to propose the same amendment. Then I should like to propose a second amendment. On page 17, and again on page 19. I see a certain exemption about natives. Under 2 (d). on page 17, there is exempted—
I think this goes a little far. While a white man is confined to the produce of his own ground, his own farm, the native is not limited in that way, but he can sell everything that is produced in the whole district. I do not think it will do to give more exemption to native pedlars than to white ones, therefore I propose—
Business suspended at 12.45 p.m. and resumed at 2.21 p.m.
I wish to move—
“When the average value of stock in hand does not exceed £250 £2”.
This is the amount paid to-day by the small traders in the Transvaal. The Minister may object to this because it is going to mean a loss of revenue to some of the provinces. To compensate for this loss, I suggest the minimum tax be deleted which will mean that the extra import on big firms now getting off scot free will more than recompense the Minister for reducing the rates on the small firms. This morning the Minister repudiated the statement I made last night that the tax was not imposed for revenue purposes. It seems to me that the Minister must have been mis-reported. I have always got a sympathy with the man that misreports, but this time I am envious, because the man who mis-reported this with such an impress of truth will make a name for himself when he starts writing fiction. In “Hansard,” column 4,767, the Minister said—
The Minister repudiated that.
I want to move an amendment to item 9, on page 10, to add a third paragraph—
Item 10 has already been agreed to. I cannot accept an amendment on No. 9.
It is impossible to accept the amendment of the hon. member for Boksburg (Mr. McMenamin). I have here certain correspondence from the Transvaal province which I would read if it did not weary the House, and which shows how they stand with regard to revenue. They cannot get the revenue they require. Therefore, I cannot accept the amendment reducing the scale. In the Cape Province the licence was £7 10s., and I propose £5. If I accept the reduction they will not be able to get the revenue that they require.
I do not think the argument of the Minister in favour of this is a strong one. I do not care what happens in the Cape. You might just as well say that because we have, in the Transvaal, a poll tax and a second income tax, we ought to apply that all over the Union. I would urge that the amendment is absolutely just and only fair to the small trader.
Amendment proposed by Mr. McMenamin put and negatived.
On the motion of the Minister of Finance certain amendments were made in the Dutch version of item 11 which did not occur in the English.
Amendments proposed by Mr. Nieuwenhuize in item 12 put and agreed to.
Amendment proposed by the Minister of Finance in item 13 put and agreed to
With leave of committee, amendment proposed by Mr. Payn in item 15 withdrawn.
On item 19, Pedlar, I would like the Minister to agree to an amendment to the exemption under sub-paragraph (b). This provides that “any native” can be exempted by the Magistrate from taking out this licence. I would like to see that exemption extended to any person, because I do not see why this privilege should be restricted to natives. I therefore move—
I think the hon. member has not, perhaps, seen the exemption under sub-paragraph (c). A white man would come under (c).
Amendment put and negatived.
Item 20, Restaurant, Refreshment or Tea-room Keeper, refers to a public restaurant, cafe or tea-room for the sale or supply of meals or refreshments—
I do not know whether there is any special reason for retaining the words “for consumption on the premises.” If not, I would urge upon the Minister to agree to delete them. It is quite a practice up-country for farmers to come in from their farms and to call at cafes in town and take away refreshments with them. If these words are retained the result will be that this practice will be stopped, and cause great inconvenience to the travelling public.
May I appeal to the hon. Minister to accept an amendment in item 20, viz., to remove the words “for consumption on the premises.” It is here provided that a licence is required for a tea-room, etc., which sells refreshments for consumption “on the premises.” It may be that I am on a journey and want to buy something to take with me, cake or such like, and then that would be prohibited.
Amendments proposed by Mr. Nieuwenhuize in item 19 put and agreed to.
In item 21, after “(11) Law Agent” to insert “If practising in the Transkeian Territories or District of Glen Grey…. £3 15s. 0d”.
I am asking the Minister to extend the same privilege to the law agent. As the clause stands at present the law agent will have to pay £7 10s. and the attorney only £5. That is hardly fair.
I want to move an amendment—
I would like to put it to the House that it is very unfair to charge medical practitioners £10 a year. We should be very glad indeed to have them free. If there is one profession which deserves the very greatest consideration it is this one. I cannot imagine why we should put them on the same level as advocates, attorneys and others who are more parasitic and less altruistic.
Amendment proposed by Mr. Payn put and agreed to.
Question put: That the amount of “£10 0s. 0d.” proposed to be omitted, stand part of the schedule; and Mr. Hay called for a division.
Upon which the committee divided:
Barlow, A. G.
Bergh, P. A.
Beyers, F W.
Brink, G. F.
Brits, G. P.
Brown, D. M.
Cilliers, A. A.
Conradie, J. H.
Conroy, E. A.
Creswell, F. H. P.
Deane, W. A.
De Villiers, A. I. E.
De Villiers, P. C.
De Villiers, W. B.
De Wet, S. D.
Du Toit, F. J.
Fordham, A. C.
Fourie, A. P. J.
Hattingh, B. R.
Havenga, N. C.
Hertzog, J. B. M.
Heyns, J. D.
Keyter, J. G.
Malan, C. W.
Malan, M. L.
Moll, H. H.
Mostert, J. P.
Naudé, A. S.
Naudé, J. F. (Tom)
Payn, A. O. B.
Pienaar, J. J.
Pretorius, J. S. F.
Raubenheimer, I. van W.
Robinson, C. P.
Rood, W. H.
Roos, T. J. de V.
Roux, J. W. J. W.
Snow, W. J.
Stals, A J.
Steytler, L. J.
Swart, C. R.
Te Water, C. T.
Van der Merwe, N. J.
Van Heerden, I. P.
Van Hees. A. S.
Van Niekerk, P. W. le R.
Van Rensburg, J. J.
Visser, T. C.
Werth, A. J.
Wessels, J. H. B.
Tellers: Pienaar, B. J., Vermooten, O. S. Noes—27.
Byron, J. J.
Chaplin, F. D. P.
Gilson, L. D.
Giovanetti, C. W.
Grobler, H. S.
Hay, G. A.
Heatlie, C. B.
Krige, C. J.
Louw, J. P.
Marwick, J. S.
McMenamin, J. J.
Miller, A. M.
Nel, O. R.
O’Brien, W. J.
Pretorius, N. J.
Rider, W. W.
Sephton, C. A. A.
Smartt, T. W.
Smuts, J. C.
Struben, R. H.
Van Heerden, G. C.
Tellers: Alexander, M., Madeley. Walter B.
Question accordingly affirmed, and amendment proposed by Mr. Hay dropped.
Amendment proposed by Mr. Hay in part II, on page 20, put and negatived.
I would like to move the deletion of the last paragraph on page 18.
We have just voted on an item on page 20. We cannot go back.
I would like to draw attention to the item billiard table keeper. Stellenbosch is a university town in which there are certain billiard saloons which are kept absolutely separate from an hotel or from intoxicating liquor, and where the students amuse themselves. As usual these tables never pay, but it keeps these young fellows out of trouble. There is also a saloon where the coloured people can play, and it keeps them away from the canteens. I move an amendment—
The test is whether it is a public table. A public table requires to be licensed. I would point out that a licence in the Cape at present is £12, in the Free State £15 and in the Transvaal £10 and in Natal £7 10s.
I intended that it should be a public table. Usually the charge is less for a public table not on licensed premises.
It may be playing a losing hazard, but I wanted to draw attention not to billiard tables, but to billiard table licences. It is quite true that the amounts of the licences as they exist are perhaps higher than the amounts proposed, but even so, the figures as they exist to-day, for example £10 in the Transvaal, are a distinct hardship. The billiard table has become confused with a luxury of a somewhat debauched nature and there is somewhat of a prejudice against it; but to charge the same to a billiard table keeper as to a speculator in live stock, or a stock and share broker, seems on the face of it out of proportion. It is said that a billiard table within a club does not pay licence. Well, that is an amenity for a class of people who can afford to pay and it would not be a hardship to them. This amount is placing a, hardship not on the people who want to use the table, and who will continue to do so, but in the Transvaal—at least on the Witwatersrand—the people running these tables are often men who have broken down in health through working on the mines, ex-soldiers, and aged men. Where a billiard table is attached to a hotel, the hotel people do not pay the licence and let the table out for so much a month. The man has to take over the table or tables and pay the licence and have what is left for himself. Generally there are two tables, which will mean £24 per annum, whereas a pawnbroker only pays £15 and a stock and share broker £10. I know there is a distinct hardship here. Even a licence of £5 would in many instances entail hardship on these people.
I want to support the amendment of the hon. member for Stellenbosch (Mr. J. P. Louw). As for me I would rather see a total exemption. We must understand that the billiard tables are not in licensed houses. If the students go and hire their own room near the university and put a billiard table of their own there, they go and say to a person that he must maintain the room in good order so that they can come and play there for a small consideration. In the first case they need not pay anything, but now according to this a person who looks after the room must pay £10. Billiard playing is an agreeable pastime and one of the most respectable games that we have in South Africa. I urge the Minister to entirely exempt the billiard tables which the hon. member for Stellenbosch has spoken about. I have a billiard table myself and have to pay nothing in respect of it, why should the students in such a case have to pay £10? But if the Minister cannot see his way to entirely exempt billiard tables then I should like in any case to urge the acceptance of the amendment of the hon. member for Stellenbosch.
It may stop discussion if I say now that I am prepared to accept an amendment for an amount of £5 for a table not on licensed premises.
I would like to move a small amendment—
“licensed” to insert “auctioneer”.
I know the lawyers, law agents, etc., are a privileged people in this House, but I do not see why this exemption should apply only to them. In the Transvaal to-day auctioneers are paying a £5 licence and that is being raised to £20 at one fell swoop. The Minister might concede them this little bit.
I am prepared to accept that.
I should also like to support this amendment.
I have accepted it.
Good, then I am glad.
What about valuators appointed by the Land Bank and by the Supreme Court? They draw fees.
The Land Bank have a special Act and would not fall under this.
to add the following new paragraph:
At Johannesburg alone there are half-a-dozen or more of these people. Their work is confined to the municipal markets.
Would not the persons the hon. member has in mind fall under the first exemption, “Market-master or pound-master”?
I should just like to ask a question of the Minister with reference to the issue of auctioneers’ licences to partners. The practice in the Free State was that when an auctioneer was sick his clerk could do the work.
Provision is made for special cases.
If there are two partners, must they both have licences?
If both sell, yes.
But suppose that an auctioneer cannot be at a certain place, can he send his partner?
No, he must have a licence.
Amendments proposed by Mr. J. P. Louw and Mr. McMenamin put and agreed to.
Amendment proposed by Mr. Hay put and negatived.
Second schedule, as amended, put and agreed to.
Third schedule put and agreed to.
The committee reverted to the clauses standing over.
On Clause 12,
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause 14 and the title put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; to be considered to-morrow.
Message received from the Senate returning the Diamond Control Bill, with amendments.
To be considered to-morrow.
Fifth Order read: Second reading,—Railways Construction Bill.
On introducing the motion for the second reading of this Bill it will be necessary to examine where the country actually stands with reference to railway construction. Since Union there have been built 3.397 miles of railway at a cost of £12,878,000. This does not include the deviations in Natal and the present programme. The division hereof between the various provinces is as follows—
Cape Province, 1,306 miles, at
a cost of
Natal, 391 miles, at a cost of
Transvaal, 1,148 miles, at a cost of
Free State, 551 miles, at a cost of
That gives us the total for the whole Union that 1 have mentioned. As regards the programme approved in 1922, the position is as follows: 461 miles are finished and open for traffic. For the rest the position is as follows: The line Ermelo-Lothair is expected to be completed by the middle of August; Fort Beaufort-Seymour by 31st October; Frankfort to the main line to Natal by December next; Harrismith-Warden by the end of the year; Nylstroom to Vaalwater by the end of the year; Senekal-Maquard by the end of September; Upington-Kakamas by the end of the year; George-Knysna by the beginning of 1927. With reference to the line from Klaver to Kokenaap, I may say that 2½ miles of earth-works have been completed and the rails laid, and for 20½ miles more the earth-works are ready. It will be interesting to hon. members to know how our railway system compares with that of other countries from the point of view of the extent. I can state that our position is not at all unfavourable. In the Argentine there are 2.0 miles of railway for every hundred square miles of the area of the country. In New South Wales it is 1.79. Norway 1.72, South Australia.93, and in South Africa we have 2.24 miles. Hon. members can thus see that regarding our railways we are quite in a favourable position. Natal is the best served. There we have 4.26 miles for every 100 square miles of the area of the province. In the Cape Province we have 1.68 miles. If we exclude the N.C.C.R., which we are taking over, and also the railways which are being built in South-West Africa, then we find that by the present programme, together with the construction which has been carried out since the Union, approximately 4.777½ miles of railway are represented at a cost of over £18,000.000. Now that we are submitting a, railway programme to hon. members, they will understand that the proposed railways which are recommended are not the only ones which were enquired into by the railway board. Quite a number of others were also investigated, but the railway board tried, and I hone hon. members will agree with me, and succeeded, in selecting the most necessary lines. That there will be, and is, disappointment I can quite well understand. Possibly I can talk with great feeling, because I am myself disappointed, and my colleague next to me here says that he also is disappointed. I think there are others of my colleagues also who are disappointed. I think that the hon. Minister of the Interior would very much have liked to see the line from Klaver to Calvinia included. The Government and the railway board kept themselves strictly, however, to the principles of the constitution that the building of railways must be done on business principles.
Has the railway board examined the lines in the mandated territory?
Yes, partly, but I am coming to that later. With reference to the present programme the position is that the lines selected are those that will best develop the country. The railway board has tried to spread the whole programme over the whole Union according to the best of their ability with full consideration of the best interests of the country as a whole. In the report of the board, hon. members will find all the details of the various lines, the possibilities of traffic, maps of the lines and the surroundings, the production of the districts and the financial result of the line, and I do not doubt that hon. members will go into them carefully. Let me say plainly in connection with the estimate of cost of building of the lines, that the estimates have been made on a basis of civilized labour, and this means that the expense is higher.
By how much?
It is very difficult to say, but I think by five to ten per cent. I must add that the material such as sleepers and Folts are cheaper than in 1922, and we therefore, could make a lower estimate. Wages, however, are higher.
What is the reason?
It is because we can buy in a better market. The only exception, as regards civilized labour, is the line from Imvani to St. Marks in the native territory. There the estimate is based on native labour, and it is not the intention of the administration to use any civilized labour there. It is no more than right, with the exception of the supervision which naturally must be done by whites. I may just say in this connection that I tried to calculate what the extra expense would be in connection with the maintenance of railways by civilized labour. The difference on the proposed lines will be about £20.000, but I must add that the administration has already made experiments, and is still making them to see whether we cannot economize in the employment of civilized labour. We have adopted various schemes. The first is to try to increase the portion of the line which a gang has to look after. The other is to place the labourers at different points by arranging for motor lorries to transport them, and for their use as a consequence of which the area that a gang will have to look after, will be increased from 10 to 20 miles. The whole matter is still in the experimental stage. I can say in this connection that the administration not only intends to introduce civilized labour, but also to get the best service out of it. We are going to pay them higher wages, but then we also feel justified in getting value for our money, and to draw full benefit from the greater intelligence that they have. Where, under the 1922 programme, approximately £90 was estimated for maintaining a mile, we now put it at £106. As this full information is before the House, I think that I should say a word of thanks, and I do it very willingly, to the officers of the Agricultural Department, and especially to the officials of the agricultural school, for the especially valuable services they have rendered us by giving us all this information with reference to the areas through which the railways will run. Just as in the past, it has been our aim to go to work with the preparation of this programme on a scientific basis; we did not approve of the railways merely because people asked for them, but we went so far as to analyze the soil of those parts and to make an investigation in order to decide what the possibilities for development were of the parts which were being considered for railway construction. Hon. members will, therefore, see that as regards the financial side of the matter, the results will be sufficient to cover the working costs in most cases. There are some exceptions. In considering, not alone the working costs, but also interest on capital, there will be a considerable loss during the first year, because the calculation is only made for the first year. The basis of the calculation will interest hon. members. Let me make it clear. All the receipts of the branch lines for traffic on them are given to the branch line, and then we further credit the branch lines with 10 per cent. of the through traffic with the main lines. That is we credit to the branch lines 10 per cent. of the traffic which the branch lines bring to the main lines, plus 10 per cent. of the traffic which comes from the main lines to the branch lines. We did not do this in the past, because the branch lines were only credited with 10 per cent. of the traffic that the branch lines brought to the main lines. I think that this will undoubtedly contribute to improve the results of the branch lines. We do not go nearly so far as in the other British dominions. There 33⅓ per cent. of all traffic in one direction to the branch lines is allowed to the branch lines, and we do not go nearly so far by our ten per cent from both sides.
Will the branch lines pay then’
I will give the figures later. I think that we shall have to be content with a loss for a long time. But the administration think that if the branch lines are built on a sound basis, if they are not political lines, and if there are guarantees that the districts concerned will be developed, the branch lines will justify their construction and be a great advantage to the main lines. We must, therefore, enquire whether our lines are being built on a sound basis. The railway board is convinced that there is a possibility of development in connection with the lines that are being built. Let me give a few figures to show how the position has improved. During 1924, there was an increase of £97,070 in the revenue from the branch lines in comparison with 1923, and the surplus, after deducting working costs, was £76,788. The total loss, including interest on capital, was reduced from £441,472 in 1923 to £384,460 in 1924. Hon. members will thus see that the policy of the past is confirmed, and that there has been a regular decrease of the loss on the workings inclusive of interest. This will please hon. members who take an interest in the development of the country. Let me now specially invite the attention of the House to two particular lines. One is the line Ondekaremba-Witvlei in South-West. The railway board felt that there were great possibilities of development in that part of the South-West Africa. The construction of the said railway received the attention of the previous Government and this Government has also given consideration to it. The board recommended the building of the line, but felt that it would not be right to saddle the users of he railway with the losses on the line, in other words, to put the burden of the interest on them. The administration of South-West Africa has treated us particularly fairly in connection with the matter. The first part of the line to serve those portions has already been constructed from Windhoek to Ondekaremba, viz., in two portions. The first from Windhoek to Kapps farm miles, and the second from there to Ondekaremba; for the first part, that to Kapps farm, the administration of South-West Africa paid. The second part from Kapps farm to Ondekaremba was built under the 1922 programme, and now we propose continuing the line to Witvlei. The administration of South-West is guaranteeing the interest on the whole amount, excepting the section from Windhoek to Kapps farm, which they built themselves. The second line to which I particularly want to direct attention is that from Naboomspruit to Zebedeila. As hon. members know from Naboomspruit to Ceres there is narrow gauge for about 25 miles. It is a two-foot gauge railway, and is known as the Dutton railway, which is used for a kind of tractor which runs half on rails and half on the road. Hon. members will see that the railway board on page 97 says that this narrow gauge has not come up to the full expectations of the administration. But that the system has not yet been fully tested. In the circumstances, it will be premature to say that the system will not be a complete success. Our experience has not been too favourable, but we do not intend to demolish the railway. Hon. members will ask then why we are building a line there with three-foot-six gauge. The reason is this, that apart from the success or otherwise of the narrow gauge the development on the Springbokflats was such to justify all this. The railway board, therefore, proposes, and the Government has adopted it that a railway shall be built from Naboomspruit to Ceres, and that this shall be prolonged to Zebedeila which means another 31½ miles. The development is sufficient as far as Naboomspruit-Ceres line is concerned, and the Government felt that the users of the railway should not be burdened with the loss on the section from Ceres to Zebedeila. We, therefore, made an agreement with the Zebedeila Estates Company, which is growing oranges there, and the report is annexed to the report. They give a guarantee in connection with the second portion that they guarantee to the administration during the first five years, not only interest on capital, but also the working costs. I have not the least doubt of it that an amazing development in connection with the production of citrus fruits will take place, and that the loss after five years will be so small, if there is any at all, that there will be no difficulty. Hon. members will see that we have kept the costs as low as possible, and I can assure them that an attempt will constantly be made to keep them as low as possible. We are now building agricultural lines for the development of the country, and we must make the expenditure as light as possible. That was the policy of my predecessor, and I am continuing it. We are using second-hand material where it is possible and suitable, and are making the expenditure on stations, etc., as little as possible. This applies particularly to the first years. Then I should like to tell hon. members something, and I hope that it will be passed on to those who are not here, so that all will take it to heart. If they look at the brown book, they will see that we are to-day, putting down £128,030 for railway construction. We are engaged on the Klaver-Kokenaap line, and they, therefore, cannot expect that we should carry out the programme immediately. It will possibly be very disappointing, but they must exercise patience. We could not make any more money available for it this year. I hope that this Bill will be the end of all the deputations about railway construction, but I also hope that it will not be the beginning of deputations asking us to commence work at once. I do not intend detaining the House any further. Just a few words about the Bill itself. Section 1 makes provision for the building of the lines. Section 3 for the legislation of the Klaver-Kokenaap line which is now being extended to Bitterfontein. It is now covered by the report of the railway board, and all that is necessary is the approval of Parliament. Section 7 makes provision for the taking over of the railway line from Elandshoek—two-foot-six gauge—on favourable conditions, and makes provision for the extension thereof. Then I want to draw attention to section 8. Power is asked to close the line from Matubtuba to Somkele the line from Matubtuba to Pongola, and built from there for about 13 miles till it leaves the north coast line, this means that it becomes useless, and the people there are served just as well by the new line. We, therefore, ask permission to close and take up the line.
Why does it cost so much?
That is the estimate. We are here, of course, in the hands of the officials. If we can economize we will do so. I now ask hon. members to pass the second reading of the Bill.
I do not intend to take up much of the time of the House. I want to express a few words of thanks and appreciation on behalf of the electors of Hoopstad for the generosity shown by the Minister of Railways to finally give to the neglected Free Staters their just due. For the past six years I have got up here every year and pleaded for the consideration by the Minister of that portion of the Free State in so far as railway construction is concerned. I often had the feeling as if I was a voice crying in the wilderness. I remember quite well how, when the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) occupied that high office, that he was very sympathetic, but he gave us no railway. I remember that last year, before the old Government decided to resign, I had finally so far convinced the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) of the necessity of railway extension that he decided to send the railway board there. Unfortunately Wakkerstroom happened then, and when that incident took place the hon. member suddenly decided not to undertake to send the railway board there. I told him then that if he had definitely decided not to send the railway board I thanked him for his politeness in the past and that it was just as well not to send the board and to leave it to the Nationalist Government and not to have it done by the South African party Government. I am very glad that the Nationalist Government, and especially the Minister of Railways, in the first year of its government, has seen the great necessity of railway extension in our part. I can assure the Minister that I received an astonishing number of telegrams of thanks and of congratulations upon the railway since it was made known on Friday. The electors in the north-western parts feel that it has become a matter of life and death. They have had to fight against very great adversity and to that has to be added the great distances and the poor means of transport. I can assure the House that as soon as the railway is built, if there is one line which will prove that the money has been well spent, then the Hoopstad line will prove it. Of course there are mutual differences. Everyone knows that when a railway line is built, then every farmer wants the line to run over his farm. There are, however, local interests, and I, hone that when the local authorities bring their interests specially to the notice of the Minister that it will be possible for him so to divert the line that satisfaction can also be given to the local interests. I am, however, a little disappointed that the line is not given in its entirety. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) is now certainly convinced of it that the whole north-western portion must be opened up for development by the building of a railway line—
No, the member is so concerned about Bloemfontein. I think that what he said in his newspaper shows that he is labouring under quite a little misapprehension. There is already a whole net of railway lines there. We have never grudged it to Bloemfontein, and I think that it is very selfish of some people in Bloemfontein, amongst them the hon. member for Bloemfontein (North) (Mr. Barlow), to now expect that the north-western line shall also be joined up to Bloemfontein.
The hon. member is discussing a line which cannot be discussed now.
I just want to say that I am sorry that the line which the hon. Minister has now given us does not go further towards the north-western portion. Still, I can understand in the present circumstances it was possibly not practicable for the whole line to be agreed to at once. It is perhaps a little unfair to expect the Minister to immediately build a whole line, but I hope that when the hon. Minister replies to the discussion on the second reading he will be able to then assure us that it is only the first instalment of the line through the north-western districts. The people and the electors will be pleased at such a statement by the Minister that the railway board and he have laid down the principle of extension of the railway connection in the north-western districts. I thank him again on behalf of the electors for what he has done so far.
I think it would save time this afternoon if all those members who have got lines stood up together and thanked the Minister. They might even sing a hymn of praise.
Tell them to send a letter to the “Cape Times.”
That is not sufficient. They all like to stand up. Let me assure my hon. friend from past experience that he is not done with deputations. Next year you will have a deputation from the hon. member for Hoopstad (Mr. Conroy) who will want an elongation of the line. If my hon. friend thinks he is finished with deputations for two or three years he is absolutely wrong.
They are like the poor—always with us.
I want to warn my hon. friend what he has to look forward to. There is only one thing I want to seriously say and that is that it is a pity he should have introduced this Bill at such a late day in the session. He is asking for a vote of 4i millions of money and we have to get through in the next few days. It cannot get proper and adequate consideration with so much pressure. I got up to support the Bill. Let me say at once that in my opinion most of the lines are really developing lines, and I agree with the board in their report that they will largely conduce to increased production. At the same time, let me say also that I think we should look at the financial facts of the case. There are only these two lines which are set down as paying lines; there is a loss on the balance amounting altogether to £162,000 annually. I hope it will decrease, as I believe it will do. A question, I should like to ask is why cannot my hon. friend continue the publication of the results of the branch lines, which was always done when I had the honour of being in his place. It gives information and in many cases is extremely valuable. It was a revelation to me, for instance to see how certain lines paid. There is one thing which emerges very clearly from such a statement, and that is that it is the lines where you have agriculture carried on which always pay the best in the country, whereas the lines which are dependent solely or for the most part on cattle and sheep never pay. There is nothing to hide. I always acted on the policy of being glad to give the public all the information possible. If a line does not pay let the public know it does not. I would urge my hon. friend to start this publication again. It is only right the public should know which lines pay best; their money is invested in them. There is another point my hon. friend raised about civilized labour. I am not taking exception to that, but I am glad to hear he is taking steps to bring this down to the most economical basis he can. It is surprising the results that have been achieved and I hope he will continue his efforts in that direction. There is another matter to which I want to call my hon. friend’s attention. In a lot of these branch lines, where traffic, especially passenger traffic, is not very heavy, is he taking any steps to develop these rail coaches with an engine inside and say, accommodation for about 40 passengers and space for parcels, dairy produce and the like? I took a lot of interest in that; but we did not get very much “forrader.” One ran from here to Malmesbury, and there were one or two other places. I think if these were brought more into use, we might enormously reduce the expense of these branch lines. Take the line from Hutchinson to Calvinia. It is, without exception, the worst paying line on the whole system. If you could get some cheaper method of working, say, a coach running a certain number of times a week, it would reduce expenditure tremendously. I hope my hon. friend will push that. The only part of the construction programme that I want to criticize is the line to Bitterfontein. I have no objection whatever to the section of that line from Klaver to Kokenaap, 37½ miles; but I do object to the line from the latter point to Bitterfontein. The first section is necessary and I support it. It will help development along the Olifant’s River; but once you get beyond Kokenaap, you get into very dry country—right into Namaqualand. The district to be served is put down as “wheat growing.” It grows wheat; but only when the rain comes, and it does not come very often. We had a severe drought there last year, and we are always having droughts in Namaqualand.
That is to take away the population.
Is the railway going to bring the rain? It is one of the driest parts of the Western Province, and I do not think we are justified in taking this line beyond Kokenaap. The loss entailed is going to be tremendous. I do not think you will have the amount of development on that line that you will have on most of the others. It does not even pay working expenses. I see there is a loss of £4,300 in the working. I am surprised that my hon. friend has not taken the extension to Kokenaap, and turned up by Vanrhynsdorp and Nieuwoudtville to Calvinia. It is almost the same distance, and I think that would have been better. Opinions vary, and I know why my hon. friend has not done it; but there is considerable development along that route. You strike the Doorn River, and there are certain irrigation works along the river; it is also more thickly populated; whereas to Bitterfontein you do not strike a single village.
What do you get from the villages?
You get a certain amount of passenger and other traffic. The extension to Klaver has been a successful line and I am surprised at the development that has taken place. I see from one of the last reports issued that that line showed a surplus of revenue over expenditure, including the interest, in January, 1924—the last figures I could get hold of—of £3,000. I believe had you continued it to Vanrhynsdorp and Calvinia, this same development would have taken place there. It must be remembered that Calvinia is a very odd place in the Cape Province, and its natural headquarters are Cape Town. There is an extension from Hutchinson to Calvinia, but by that line you have to travel 677 miles to get from Calvinia to Cape Town.
I am afraid the hon. member cannot go into the Hutchinson-Calvinia line. That question has already been decided during this session.
I am just contrasting it with the other.
I just want in a few words, on behalf of the division of Albert, to heartily thank the hon. Minister for the railway. Just like the hon. member for Hoopstad (Mr. Conroy), I want to assure the Minister that the railway will pay, but I am sorry that the line has not been carried a little bit further to the junction at Aliwal North. While the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) was still Minister of Railways he said that the district there had very great possibilities. But I thank the Minister for what he has done, and I can assure him the farmers of all parties there much appreciate what he has done. I only hope that the extension to Aliwal North will appear on the next programme. I do not wish to go into the original scheme to Barkly, but I hope for the best in the future. I am very sorry to hear from the hon. Minister that we have still to wait so long before the line is completed, because the electors naturally urge that the line should be built as quickly as possible. Again very many thanks.
I am sorry that I cannot add my word of hearty thanks to those of the hon. member for Hoopstad (Mr. Conroy) and the hon. member for Albert (Mr. Steytler). I am, moreover, afraid that it will be quite a long time before the line of the hon. member for Hoopstad will pay, but yet I congratulate him. The hon. Minister has treated us in a very friendly way when we proposed the various lines to be constructed, and I think he was particularly friendly regarding my proposal for a line from Worcester, via Villiersdorp. I am sorry that this does not form part of the programme, nor is the line from Bot River to Stanford, via Hermanus, on the programme. I am sorry that notwithstanding the resolution of this House the development lines are not contained in the programme. I want further to refer to two points in the Bill. The first deals with the question of compensation. I think that my friend the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) is* the cause of the doctrine which is now again repeated and confirmed in the Bill under discussion. I think that the condition with reference to valuation of compensation by the administration for the expropriation of ground is not satisfactory. The hon. Minister lays down here that when the amount demanded as compensation is less than £750 that then the ordinary procedure of arbitration shall not be followed. The ordinary way is to appoint one person for the Government, another for the claimant, and these two persons then appoint a third person. The three form the arbitration court. But here the Minister lays down that if the claim is less than £750 then the arbitration court can consist of the magistrate of the district, one person appointed by the Minister, and one person by the claimant (the farmer or the owner of the ground). In practice this means that the Government appoints two persons and the owner of the ground only one. I do not think this is entirely fair. If the claim, e.g., is £800, it comes under the ordinary law, then an arbitrator is appointed by the Minister, another by the owner, and the two appoint a third, and they decide. It is anomalous when the claim is £750 or less not to follow that procedure. I do not think it is fair that landowners should be caused loss under the new provision. Then I want to point out to the Minister another provision in the Bill, which was also inserted by the hon. member for Cape Town (Central), I think. That is that the Minister takes over all the rights that the old divisional council had under the Act of 1889. I am speaking now of the Cape Province, including the rights under the proclamation of Sir John Cradock of 1813. I know of a case in my constituency on the Klipdale extension. What is happening now? The owner filed a claim of under £750. Now the Government comes and says that a board must be appointed. The farmer will have the right to appoint one man, the Government, on the contrary, actually appoints two members, but then, over and above that the Government comes and through the railway department says: “We will only pay on the removal of ground for the inconvenience that arises, but we need not pay for the ground itself, because the ground is quitrent ground, and under the Cradock proclamation of 1813 we need not pay for that ground.” What was proclaimed in 1813 was that the divisional councils have the right to take ground front land owners under the proclamation for making public roads, but in 1813 there was as yet no question of railways. I think the first railway was built in 1825, but now the Government comes and applies the proclamation of 1813 and expropriates the quitrent ground, which according to the proclamation can only be done for the building of roads. Under the proclamation a railway was not included under a road, because then there was as yet no railway and no thought of railway lines. And when the board has decided there is no appeal. If the board decided that the Government can take the farmer’s ground without further payment then there is no further right of appeal for the farmer. That difficult law point, whether property by virtue of the proclamation of 1813, if it is quitrent ground, can be taken without payment is now being decided by the board. The hon. Minister is a lawyer and is acquainted with farmers’ conditions and the ownership of ground. I think the Minister will do well if he gives his attention to this matter, which, I repeat, was caused by the hon. member for Cape Town (Central). I think that this is a new and comprehensive doctrine which is laid down in our railway system and railway construction, and it is entirely against the interests of landowners.
I did not wish to speak, because I think we are only making the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) angry every time we get up, but I feel that the public in my district would take it amiss if I did not thank the Minister of Railways and the railway board for the line they have given us. I can assure the Minister that the public of the whole western Transvaal is very pleased about the grant of this line. I only wish to express the hope that a further extension of lines in that area will not have to be long waited for. On behalf of the public and the farmers of the western Transvaal, my hearty thanks.
On behalf of my constituents I wish to join in the chorus of thanks to the Minister. I think mine is the only constituency which is to be blessed with two lines under this scheme. We have been treated very hardly in the past and are only now coming into our own. New England is the only line of the lot to be worked by Europeans which it is estimated will show a profit at the end of the first year. The Imvani line is calculated to show a very handsome profit, and that is the only railway which is to be constructed by natives. It should not be overlooked that in our cheap native labour we had the means of providing cheap railway transport if we like to avail ourselves of that labour. If we did we should be able to establish big industries and farm settlements in the interior. I regret that the Minister is not making more use of these opportunities to supply us with cheap transportation, instead of employing whites in railway construction, as Europeans could be better engaged in some other branch of development. It must not be forgotten that had it not been for the native labourers we should have had a very restricted railway system in South Africa, but thanks to the natives we are now enabled to employ 40,000 Europeans on the railway. The utilization of native labour on railway construction will be a means of developing the interior. My thanks are also due to the Railway Board for the care with which they went through the district.
I also wish on behalf of my constituents to thank the hon. minister for the little railway from Ceres to Prince Alfred Hamlet. The Minister has mentioned that only £128,000 appear on the estimates for the building of railways which are being voted to-day. It appears that part of the former railway programme to an amount of £1,300,000 must be expended, some this year, and the rest in future years. This £128,000 will not go far in the building of new railways. I have now obtained the smallest little railway on the whole programme, it is 6½ miles long and will cost £37,000, therefore the £128,000 is sufficient to build that little line, and I therefore wish to thank the hon. Minister in anticipation if he will have that little line built quickly. On page 21 of the report of the Railway Board it says that one of the reasons for the construction of the little line is to bring relief regarding the accumulation of goods at the Ceres station. The officials there cannot deal with all the traffic and the chief reason is to give relief. During the visit of the Railway Board to Prince Alfred Hamlet the roads were so broken up by the wagons going from Prince Alfred Hamlet to Ceres that one of the members of the board almost choked in the dust on the road. I therefore hope that the line will be quickly built. I also wish to refer to section 127 of the South Africa Act where it is said that the railways of the Union must be run on business principles taking into consideration agricultural and industrial development in the Union. Therefore I think that the Government when it introduced this programme showed that they are thinking of that provision of the Act of Union. I also still just wish to call the attention of hon. members that the whole railway undertaking must be regarded as one, therefore if there is a line here and there which does not pay immediately then the line is still quite justified if it can be regarded as advancing the development of agriculture and industries.
The mere fact of rising to speak in this debate means either that you have a line for your district or that you are disgruntled. On behalf of my constituents I thank the Minister for the railway which is now to be constructed, in part discharge of a promise made in 1906 by the Cape Government. This is the happy outcome of development in that area, and the constant work of my predecessors in my constituency and zealous local workers. I congratulate the Railway Board and the Minister on the thoroughness with which they have done their work. I think on the whole the lines selected indicate that they are really intended for the development of the country. The hon. member for Hoopstad (Mr. Conroy) led off rather ungenerously and in a party political spirit. The Railway Board has been working very assiduously throughout the country over a period of years. Many of these projected lines were mooted years ago, but stringent economy was necessary, and the financial position of the country would not permit of the construction desired. This Government is in the fortunate position of being able to carry out this programme owing to the generally improved financial state of the country. My constituents are very grateful for the proposed line and I sincerely believe that it will justify its construction and early extension.
I want to associate myself with what the hon. member for Hoopstad (Mr. Conroy) said in his thanks to the Minister of Railways and I agree with him that now at last a beginning is being made with the lines that we require so badly, but it is a great disappointment that so many divisions are not included. If we look at the line then we see that it will only go to the border of a constituency and this of course causes great disappointment in the part to which the line does not come. I chiefly got up to ask the hon. Minister to remove doubt on a certain point and to obviate much friction about it in the future. I take it that the intention is that the line must join up with the Bloemfontein-Kimberley line. I feel disappointed that the Government did not see its way to build it with two termini. But we would very much like to know at what point the junction will be. If the hon. Minister will just state that the line will join up to the Bloemfontein-Kimberley line then it will greatly assist in removing friction and misunderstanding. I think it is very important to do this. I must agree with what the hon. member for Hoopstad has said. I am very sorry that misunderstanding has been caused by rumours. The line now ends at Bultfontein, and as soon as the construction of this line was made known there were rumours in newspapers that the line would be connected with the Bloemfontein-Johannesburg line. We all feel that it will cause a terribly great disappointment in other constituencies who live in the expectation of a railway, and therefore I think it is of great importance to know where the junction will be. I hope that the Minister will soon be able to build the additional portion.
The Minister in his introductory remarks on the Bill said that the policy of the Railway Board and his own was to build a new line on strictly business principles and to see that they paid as soon as possible. This is very good from a railway point of view, but we must not only look to the near future, we must look a little further ahead. I grudge no constituency a railway, but railways have been granted here that will be a great convenience for the people and which will get sufficient traffic, but which will not result in a single extra bag of produce being produced.
Take the line from Hermon to Porterville. I am certain that not two thousand more bags of grain will be produced. Those parts are already developed and the railway will not provide more work for people along the country side there. But there is a large portion of the people that we call poor whites that we must put on to the country side and that is not done by this line. If we build railways in the uninhabited districts then we put more people on the land. The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) has rightly said that it does not assist to build lines where stock farming is carried on. Such parts must wait until the other parts of the country have first been developed. In the northern parts of the Transvaal there are large agricultural districts which are not served by a railway and which can carry a large white population if we develop those portions. We can prove this. When I came to Parliament for the first time my constituency was 24,000 square miles and already we have had to cut several pieces off it for other constituencies. If the hon. Minister wants to do a good thing he must give his attention to those parts. I do not grudge any member a railway, but there are great areas such as Lydenburg, Losberg, etc., which must be assisted because there is a great future for the country. Enquiry should be made into those areas before we give parts such as Porterville a railway.
The hon. member for Hoopstad (Mr. Conroy) was certainly fully justified in thanking the Minister of Railways for the railway his district is to get, but I am only sorry to see that his thanks were accompanied by a certain party political tone which I must say did not please me. He spoke as if under the former Government the interests of his district and the Free State were generally neglected, and that now the Nationalists had come into power, justice was at last being done to their interests. I do not think the hon. member was justified in making such accusations. If I compare the railway programme of 1923, that of the South African party Government, with the railway programme of to-day, then I see that 30 per cent. more railway lines were granted to the Free State then than now. That is a clear proof that, under the former Government, political considerations did not count just as little as I think they do today. I find, e.g., that in 1922 the extensions of the railway system in the Free State were 153 miles, and the cost £882,000. while the present programme only gives the Free State an extension of 105 miles at a cost of £500,000. thus almost one-third less. As for my own division, I should just like to refer to what the hon. member for Ceres (Mr. Roux) has said. He has said that the little railway line in his district is the smallest on the programme, but, in any case, it will cost £37,000, while the little line in my district under this programme will only cost about £8,000 or £10,000. In any case, it is to develop a far-off portion of my district where, for years, people have longed for better means of transport, and I know that the people there are thankful for this little consideration. I hope that next year, or a few years later, our request will be granted by a further extension. The extension to Olifantspoortje, e.g.—
The hon. member cannot discuss that now.
I shall not discuss it then. I only wish to make a few further remarks. As has already been shown on a previous occasion, it is not exactly necessary for the Minister of Railways to first have the sanction of the board to construct a railway. I hope that if it actually appears that in that portion of my constituency a railway is necessary for the development of minerals there, the Minister will have the line built, and then come to Parliament later with his indemnity Bill. We shall be satisfied with that, so long as we only get the line. The hon. member for Waterberg (Mr. van Niekerk) has said that the most important part of the Union, as regards agriculture in the future, is the north, but especially the north-east of the Transvaal. I agree with him, although I do not wish to minimize the great importance of other parts of the country. But, as regards this programme. I think that that portion of my district which is known as the bush veld will be thankful and contented, because the line to Zebedeila will be of importance to develop the portion of my district on the Olifants river, and the line from near Middelburg to Delagersdrift will help to develop the southern Steelpoort Valley, while the line to White river will assist the eastern portion. I am, therefore, bound, and it gives me great pleasure to thank the hon. Minister on behalf of my constituency.
It would be a sign of ingratitude if I did not thank the Minister for the railway in the constituency of Losberg. We have waited for years, and there is great joy now that the Minister is going to build the line. We are, however, sorry that the Minister does not see his way to have the entire line built. We are also glad that the Minister is going to have the line built by white labour, because that will give great relief to the unemployed in my constituency. One becomes unemployed chiefly because some of the diggings in those parts are being worked out, and it will be a great relief for them to get work on the railways. The Minister says that we must be prepared for a delay in the construction of the railways. I am sorry to hear this, and I hope that we shall not have to wait for fourteen years.
Well then I can give him the assurance that Losberg will make a success of the railway.
I just want to enter a word of protest against the remarks of the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger). We, in the north-west, hoped that we would also get a railway. If we look at the map of the Transvaal, the Free State, or the eastern province, then we find that especially the last named is a whole network of railways. There is hardly a village in the Eastern Province that has not its railway. But in the north-west we have not a single line. Kakamas is only about 430 miles from here, but we must go via De Aar to get to it. In times of drought we lose thousands of cattle, because there are hardly any railway facilities in those parts to carry the stock. The people have no railways to trek to better veld, and if they had them thousands of animals could be saved. I am very glad that the railway has at last been commenced to Bitterfontein. I hope that the next railway will be built from Klaver along the Doornriver. It will cost much less than other railways, because the ground is as level as a table.
The Minister of Railways and Harbours and the railway board bear a heavy responsibility in preparing the railway programme, because the development of the country depends on it. I want to ask the hon. Minister the reason for his action in a few cases. When I asked the Minister a few days ago whether he intended to extend the motor lorries, the hon. Minister tried to represent it as a little ridiculous. I was just thinking of one of the portions which is still served by transport riders from which quite a number of people make their living. What the Minister was thinking about was a deputation which came to him for the building of a railway from Nelspoort to Nauwpoort, Now it is said that if new branch lines are built, that in general the traffic over the main lines increases. We find, however, that the main lines now often have difficulty in dealing with the traffic. The traffic over the two main lines between Cape Town and the goldfields is very heavy, and the building of the line Nelspoort-Nauwpoort will help to reduce it, I hope that the hon. Minister will shortly see his way to build this line, because I think it will not only benefit a certain stretch of country, but will assist the whole railway system. But there are two proposed lines which I cannot understand. The one is Hermon to Porterville. If one looks at the map, then it looks as if the line was going to help Porterville, but why then does the line not run from Porterville station? That would shorten the line by half, and, further, this proposed line goes over three bridges, twice over the Great Berg river and once over the Small Berg river. It is said in the report that the bridges will be fairly costly. They must be suitable, and it will be difficult to build them. Over the Small Berg river three 50-foot spans will be necessary and for the two bridges over the Great Berg river 100 feet each. Why is the line not being built from Porterville station? Then only one bridge will be necessary. Another line which I cannot quite understand is that from Somerset East to Bruintjeshoogte. The line runs in many convolutions, and, as one of the members has said, there you are dealing with cattle districts, it is not so necessary to build a line as when there is a dense population, which is engaged on agriculture. Bruintjeshoogte is fixed in our memory as the place where the first prickly pear was planted. It is difficult to understand why the line is being built, unless the idea exists of extending it to Pearston, but there too there are only prickly pears, and if the line is extended to Graaff-Reinet, even then we find nothing, but prickly pears and cattle farmers. I should very much like to know the reasons of the hon. Minister for these two lines.
I feel that my constituents might think that I was failing in my duty if I did not express their appreciation to the Minister and the railway board for the proposed construction of the line from Imvani to St. Marks. In that part of the country there are a very large number of natives. They have been severely stricken with the drought during the last two years, and I think the fact that the Minister has selected that route and intends to construct the works there with native labour will be very much appreciated by the natives, and I feel it will also offer an opportunity of judging between the relative costs of native labour and civilized labour. I think the Minister is acting correctly in selecting that line for construction by native labour. It leads to the heart of the native territories, and I believe it is one of the lines that will pay, and pay handsomely. I will conclude by telling the Minister that we have a saying amongst the natives: “Unga dinwa nangomso,” which means—
I hope that when the Minister has constructed this line and he finds that it is paying he will realize that that part of the country is a rich part and will bear more railway construction, and when I ask in the future for a further extension he will remember the quotation and not get tired of doing good.
With the granting of railways it goes just as with the giving of prizes at school. Some get prizes and others not. Unfortunately I am one of those who have not got a railway. I agree with what the hon. member for Gordonia (Mr. Conradie) has said, that the north-west has been treated in a step motherly way. The Eastern Province has many railways, but in the north-west we have not a single one. With the construction of one a commencement was only made after Namaqualand had a famine. The hon. member for Gordonia has remarked that a railway is very necessary in times of drought. That is quite right. If we had not had the line from Calvinia then many sheen would have been lost in the past. With the fencing of farms against jackal it becomes almost impossible to trek with sheep, and if railways are not built then I can give the Minister the assurance that well-to-do farmers will become poor whites if a drought comes. I hope that I shall get a railway next year from Krom River to Fraserburg.
Let me say that as regards the superfluity of thanks to the Government and administration by quite a number of members, that we of course, accept them with thanks, but I should like to say that a special word of thanks is due to members of the railway board, the two who are still serving and Mr. Orr who is no longer a member. They have taken endless trouble to bring the fullest particulars to the notice of the House in connection with the programme before the House to-day. I therefore think that thanks are due to them for their industry in connection with this matter. I just wish to say a few words in connection with a few points which have come out in addition. In the first place it has been said that justice has not been done to the north-west, but I must differ from hon. members. Namaqualand was done justice to by the railway extension of 90 miles from Klaver.
There had first to be a famine.
No, after, that was over; and I just want to say to the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) that he as well as I may be wrong, but that my impression is that the connection of Namaqualand with the civilized country in the future will yet bear good fruit. It is not such a bad part as the hon. member thinks. I have been told that at least one out of five years is a rainy year. Of course, the rainfall is limited, but it is noteworthy that after a good rain of four or five inches the farmers are in a position to produce. I therefore think that the hon. member for Cape Town (Central) has drawn a very dark picture of the situation. Then I want to point out that the extension of the line proposed in the direction of Kuruman; it is very unfair to say that the north-west is neglected. The hon. member for Colesberg (Mr. G. A. Louw) asked why the line for Porterville does not run from Porterville station. The object is exactly to connect the fruitful parts of Riebeek West, Schoenmakersfontein, etc. Much fruit is grown there, and as hon. members know, to is necessary for the export of fruit that they should be carried as soon as possible. That is why the line has been built from Hermon. As for Porterville, that has fruit culture and cattle ranching also, and the extra distance of 10 or 12 miles makes no great difference in the rate. Then he asked the reason of the line from Somerset East to Bruintjeshoogte. He has clearly not read the report carefully. He practically gave the answer himself when he spoke about Pearston. That is a very well developed area and there are large irrigation works between Pearston and Bruintjeshoogte. As regards the railway, the hon. member can therefore rest assured that it will connect a very fruitful part. As for the extension of the line in the western Free State, that is a matter for future railway boards and future Ministers of Railways, but I hope that the line will be extended in the direction of Paardeberg.
In my personal opinion, I think Bloemfontein is very well provided for in connections. The hon. member for Caledon (Mr. Krige) has mentioned the provision in connection with compensation for amounts under £750. and objects to the method of arbitration in those cases I think it is a very good section. It was incorporated in the former construction Act and is included here again, namely, that a magistrate will act as umpire if there are differences. I do not see how the Government get an unfair say in this way. The magistrate is an impartial official. He is accustomed to act as chairman in various cases and he is also suitable to act as chairman in these disputes. Then the same hon. member talked about the rights which we expropriate under the proclamation of Sir John Cradbel of 1813, to acquire ground for the purposes of railway construction. I have gone into the law, and it is quite clear that we have the right under the proclamation of 1813 to take the ground under section (4). It is very strange that when people want the railways they will make any sacrifices, but just as soon as they get a line they begin to demand compensation. It is not fair. The State invests large amounts in railways, and the least the farmers and landowners can expect is that they will give the land for the construction of the railway gratis to the State.
†The hon. member for Cape Town (Central) (Mr. Jagger) has asked several questions to which I wish to reply shortly. He said he regretted that this programme was introduced so late in the session. I agree. Unfortunately hon. members are very much pressed for time and I fully appreciate their difficulty; but, at the same time, the board had difficulties, too in regard to their investigations. I am glad to hear that the hon. member is satisfied with the railway construction programme, and that he considers it proposes, generally, the construction of the best developing lines in the Union. He has asked why the statistics in connection with branch lines are not published. As indicated previously, the reason is that it leads to misunderstanding. They are not printed; but any hon. member who wishes to see them may do so. The proceeds all go into the same revenue, and as long as hon. members are satisfied that we are taking the necessary steps to run these branch lines as cheaply as possible, I think the whole purpose is served. I agree with the hon. member in regard to civilized labour and I am taking steps to see that, where we employ civilized labour, the costs are reduced. We cannot use civilized labour unless we are satisfied that he gives us the same service as the native. We must ask the civilized man with his superior intelligence, to give us better service, and our experience is that they do give better service; because it is intelligent service. The hon. member has also asked information with regard to the use of the rail car. I know what the hon. member’s difficulties were and these are my difficulties also. It is to get the right type of car. We are still in the experimental stage. If we can get a suitable car, that will largely, I hope, solve the question of our branch lines. We have one rail car running between Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Malmesbury, and there is the “Sentinel” car on the Natal system. We are now getting another type of car which we are hoping to test thoroughly: after which we hope to make a forward move in the use of rail cars on our branch lines. I hope the House will now take the second reading of the Bill.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time; House to go into committee to-morrow.
Sixth Order read: Customs Tariff and Excise Duties Amendment Bill, as amended in committee of the whole House, to be considered. Amendments considered.
Amendments in Clauses 1, 3 and 6 put and agreed to.
An amendment was made in the Dutch version of clause 6 which did not occur in the English.
Amendments in clause 7 put and agreed to. On clause 8.
I move—In lines 47 and 50-51, to omit “or treaty”.
Amendments in clauses 12 (Dutch), 15, 17, 19 and up to page 44, in the first schedule, put and agreed to.
I move —
Before formally moving the amendment I should like, sir, to give my reasons for bringing it forward. The Minister stated a short time ago that the reason he could not give a rebate of 3 per cent. on cars of British manufacture was due to the fact that the British manufacturer was not studying South African conditions, was not producing a car suitable to South Africa, and further that British cars were too heavy and of too light horse power. Since then I have gone into the matter, and I have figures regarding four motor cars of standard make two British and two American, all four being well known. These figures show that, the Minister’s contention is not perfectly correct I he horse power of the four cars I have selected are: British cars 14,4 and 15,6; American cars 23,8 and 16,9. Weight, British cars 2,350 lbs. and 2,450 lbs; American, 2,567 lbs. and 2,735 lbs. This showing that the American cars are of greater weight than the British. The other two prime considerations for all cars used in this country are track and clearance. One of the British and two of the American cars have the standard track of 4 ft. 8 inches, while one British car has a track of 4 ft. 6 inches. All tour cars have a minimum clearance of 10 inches, which the exception of one of the American cars which has 11 inches. The reason for my amendment is that its adoption will give an opportunity to the British ear manufacturer to compete with the American. The British manufacturer has produced an article which is not only equal to the American car, but is better finished in every respect. The British car is also equal to the American car in performance. In fairness to the British manufacturer he should have a small rebate which will assist him, and which will, moreover, show our sincerity in his attempt to compete with the American car. The only reason the British car is more expensive than the American car is that from 1914 to 1918 the American car manufacturers captured the overseas market, for during that period the British motor factories were devoted to more serious work, with the result that it is now very difficult for the British motor car manufacturer to regain a footing in the overseas market. Surely it is not unreasonable to ask the Minister to give this matter very serious consideration by accepting the amendment.
My hon. friend is not quite right when he states the reasons I gave for not accenting his original proposal. I said that I thought the reasons he mentioned were the reasons for British manufacturers not capturing our market, because they had not studied our conditions, and that was the reason, perhaps, why they were ousted by American cars. The real reason why the rebate was not granted is from information we had —and the Board of Trade went into the industries and selected those which most needed preference. The preference was retained in certain cases, but unfortunately motor cars did not come into that category. On these grounds I regret that I cannot, at this stage, agree to extend the scope of preference, but we will, at all times, be prepared to receive representations in regard to revising the list in future If representations are made to us by British and other industries to have the list revised the Government will give the representation serious consideration, but in the tariff now I cannot accept any amendment.
I am extremely sorry to hear the Minister make that statement. He must realize that the preferences the Union is giving are nothing in proportion to the value of the preference given before.
The Minister says that the Board of Trade made recommendations owing to certain information at its disposal, but I am perfectly certain that the information given to the Board of Trade was tainted at its source. I said the same thing when the tariff was first under consideration, that whilst suggestions were made for giving preferential treatment for British motor cycles and articles of that sort, in which preference was absolutely unnecessary, it was an extraordinary thing that recommendations were not made under which the manufacturers of British motor cars would have benefitted. During the first period of the war, before America came in, the British motor industry was entirely diverted to other work, and consequently was knocked out of the overseas market. Under these circumstances. I think it is extremely churlish on the part of the Minister, to refuse to accept the amendment, more especially when we realize that during the last month or six weeks we are getting for our produce substantial benefits from the British preferential tariff. Under these circumstances the least one would expect would be that the Minister would be prepared to restore this preference.
We took that into consideration.
The preferences we are now getting from Great Britain on our dried fruit, wine and tobacco, are going to be of very great benefit indeed to our producers. At a time when we are receiving these benefits the least we could have expected would have been for the Minister to accept the very moderate proposal of the hon. member for Durban (Point) (Maj. Miller).
Question put: That “20 per cent”, proposed to be omitted, stand part of the schedule, and Maj. Miller called for a division.
Upon which the House divided:
Barlow, A. G.
Bergh, P. A.
Beyers, F. W.
Brits, G. P.
Cilliers, A. A.
Conroy, E. A.
Creswell, F. H. P.
De Villiers, A. I. E.
De Villiers, P. C.
De Villiers, W. B.
De Waal, J. H. H.
De Wet, S. D.
Fordham, A. C.
Fourie, A. P. J.
Hattingh, B. R.
Havenga, N. C.
Hay, G. A.
Hertzog, J. B. M.
Heyns, J. D.
Louw, E. H.
Malan, C. W.
Malan, M. L.
Mostert, J. P.
Naudé, A. S.
Naudé, J. F. (Tom)
Pretorius, J. S. F.
Raubenheimer, I. van W.
Rood, W. H.
Roos, T. J. de V.
Stals, A. J.
Steytler, L. J.
Strachan, T. G.
Swart, C. R.
Te Water, C. T.
Van der Merwe, N. J.
Van Heerden, I. P.
Van Niekerk, P. W. le R,
Van Rensburg, J. J.
Van Zyl, J. J. M.
Waterston, R. B.
Werth, A. J.
Wessels, J. B.
Tellers: Vermooten, O. S.; Wessels, J. H. B.
Brown, D. M.
Byron, J. J.
Chaplin, F. D. P.
Coulter, C. W. A.
Deane, W. A.
Gilson, L. D.
Giovanetti, C. W.
Heatlie, C. B.
Jagger, J. W.
Krige, C. J.
Louw, J. P.
Madeley, W. B.
Marwick, J. S.
McMenamin, J. J.
Muller, A. M.
Nel, O. R.
O’Brien, W. J.
Payn, A. O. B.
Robinson, C. P.
Sephton, C. A. A.
Smartt, T. W.
Smuts, J. C.
Struben, R. H.
Van Heerden, G. C.
Tellers: Collins, W. R., de Jager, A. L.
Question accordingly affirmed and amendment proposed by Maj. Miller dropped.
Remaining amendments in first schedule and amendment in third schedule put and agreed to and the Bill, as amended, adopted and read a third time.
Seventh Order read: House to go into committee on the Miners’ Phthisis Acts Consolidation Bill.
House in Committee:
On Clause 3,
New sub-section (10) put, as proposed by Select Committee.
New sub-section, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 10,
I have an objection to this section. What I want to see is that the hon. Minister of Mines and Industries will cause the doctors who are at present on the medical bureau to leave office when this Bill comes into operation, and that then a new bureau shall be appointed. The Minister can re-appoint some of the doctors on the new bureau, but he must abolish the present bureau because confidence of the people in that bureau has been lost. There are at present 7,000 silicotics on the Rand. If we take five persons on the average to a family then it means that those 7,000 silicotics represent about 35,000 people. Under ground there are working about 14,000 men and this means 70.000 souls whom they represent, and who are dependent on them. In the past, great distrust of the medical bureau arose upon the action of the bureau, and on account of what took place there on the board. To again obtain confidence in the bureau I think it is no more than right that the Minister shall establish a new bureau. It is a great pity, but it is true that many things have happened in the past which should not have happened. The doctors keep the men on in the mines, and give them a further six months’ time to work, and it happened in many such cases that a man had to leave work because he was in the first stage of miners’ phthisis. Three months later, the man was carried to his grave. No one can deny that a great injustice was done to the men, and if it is a fact that the doctors are doing their duty by the men, then they should immediately order the workers to leave the mines when the disease has affected them. If this is done the silicotic still has a chance of living a long time. He can provide for his dependents for a long time and see that something is left for them to live upon. I can remember a few cases where such silicotics left the mines in 1912, and they lived until 1924. But recently the doctors have kept the men in the mines until they had so to say one foot in the grave. I, therefore, wish to urge the hon. Minister to so amend this Bill that new doctors will be appointed on the medical bureau. What makes me insist more on the matter is that the hon. member for Vrededorp (Dr. Visser), who is himself a doctor, and who was for a long time member of the medical bureau has stated that there are only three or four doctors in Johannesburg who understand miners’ phthisis. It has been proved over and over again by cases where they have left men in the mines who have already been in a bad stage of the disease. I remember a case where they gave a man another six months to work in the mines and two days later he was put under the ground. His widow asked for the case to be investigated, and the doctors found that he was in the last stage of miners phthisis. I agree that the doctors have got much theoretical knowledge, but it does not work out in practice as they expect. The doctors to be appointed on the medical bureau must be people who understand the disease.
Where are they to be found?
They are to be found on the Rand. It seems to me that the doctors do not wish to save human life, and that they just want to save money. Parliament is called upon to save human life if it is possible, and not to give the preference to money. If a worker goes underground to work, then it possibly takes seven years, but in the long run, he gets the disease.
There are only a few exceptions, and we must not forget that it is the healthiest of our young people who go to the mines. I do not wish to be unfair, but I say that what has happened in the past compels us to take care that such things shall not happen again in the future.
Clause put and agreed to.
On Clause 11.
New sub-section (2) put, as proposed by Select Committee.
Amendments put and agreed to.
Amendment of select committee, as amended, put and agreed to.
Business suspended at 6 p.m., and resumed at 8.7 p.m.
Clause 11. as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 12,
I want to know from the Minister exactly what the meaning of this clause is. Does it mean that only medical practitioners practising in the Transvaal can certify that a man has this miners’ phthisis? The position is this: Many natives come back from the Rand mines to the territories, and possibly within two, three or four months they find they have either miners’ phthisis or silicosis. I have a certificate here from a doctor of the Transkei who examined one of these natives his return from the Rand and certified that he had miners’ phthisis, and he subsequent certified that he died from miners’ phthisis. What is the position there? This man is the district surgeon, and, in spite of the fact that he gave a certificate, it seems that, under the section here, not being a medical practitioner with the necessary certificate, this certificate does not carry any weight, I want to know from the Minister in charge of the Bill what the position is of the native who has worked for 12 or 15 months in the mines, and is possibly found by the mine manager to have a touch of this disease and after he returns home, he develops miners’ phthisis or some other of these pulmonary diseases. This is an important point, I have been interested in labour recruiting up in the Transkei, and I know of my own knowledge that when there is a shortage on the mines the labour agents and medical officers will pass any natives; but as soon as there is any surplus up there, they are subject to most rigid examination: and I know of cases where 40 to 50 per cent. of the boys were turned down because of the unsatisfactory condition of their health. I want to know what the rights are of those natives who develop this disease on the mine.
This does not come under this clause. The hon. member will find the clause later on in the Bill.
Clause put and agreed to.
On Clause 17,
Clause, as printed, put and agreed to.
On Clause 24,
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 26,
On the motion of Mr. Duncan, the chairman put the amendment proposed by the select committee in lines 10 and 11, on page 32.
This is, in my opinion, the most seriously contentious clause in the whole Bill, and I recognize that this committee is at a great disadvantage in considering the Bill, because they have not got before them the report of the select committee that sat on the Bill, and I do think it is asking a great deal of the committee to take the Bill without that report before them. But I, and other members who sat on that committee, are anxious that the Bill should go through this session, and for that reason we have raised no objection to the Bill going on without the report; but I do wish hon. members to realize what is implied in this clause. To put it quite shortly, the object of this Bill is to apply the scale of compensation which was adopted by Parliament in 1919 and embodied in the Miners’ Phthisis Act of that year, retrospectively to the men who were compensated and who left the mine before the 1919 Act came into force. That is the whole object of this clause, and, I think, is the main principle or the Bill. We have to consider, first of all, what the principles of compensation are, and what are the principles of the miners’ phthisis legislation which have been passed by this Parliament. To my mind they are twofold. In the first place, they provide for compensation in the case of a man who has been deprived of his occupation as a miner owing to the fact that he is suffering from miners’ phthisis, even although he is not thereby physically incapacitated. In the ante primary stage the whole object is to get a man out of the mine at the earliest possible moment. In the primary stage a man is partially incapacitated physically and he is compensated just as under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, a man is compensated if he is incapacitated by an occupational disease. The third step is that when a man is in the secondary stage, of if he has tuberculosis. There it, is recognized that he has only a very small expectation of life and is incapacitated from working. There the law says a man must be provided with a pension for life, and his widow gets a pension during her life or until she re-marries, and allowances are provided for his children or dependents. These scales were laid down in 1919, and this Bill does not propose to make any change in regard to that, but these scales are to be made to apply not only to men who were certified after the Act of 1919 came into force, but to all men who went out before that Act came into force.
MINISTER OF MINES & INDUSTRIES:
Col. 6424.—Lines 22-27 should read: “Many of our civil service pensioners were pensioned at 55, and they go and live where they like. There are no restrictions. I know men drawing £1,500 and £2,000 per annum without restriction. They can live where they like. In many cases the health of phthisis men has been ruined…”
Col. 6425.—Lines 12-17 should read: “.. they get whilst abroad the balance of a lump sum of £750… I do not see how we can overlook these people in connection with ante-primary and primary lump sums.”
Col. 6429.—Lines 16-19 should read: “I want to point out what the Phthisis Commission reported, and this is the basis of the whole phthisis legislation. The commission of 1920 reported..;
and, five lines from bottom, should read: “We have not increased the standards since 1919…”
Col. 6443.—Line 18 should read: “It may be necessary even in regard to whites…”
An act of justice.
Is it an act of justice to the employer that a man who left the country years ago should now have, perhaps, £200 handed to him because since he left we have improved the scale of compensation? This question of levelling up was submitted to the Miners Phthisis Commission of 1920, which sat under Mr. Justice de Villiers; that commission definitely found against this levelling up because the principle was a most demoralizing one. Suppose there happens to be a general election a year or two hence, someone comes along and says—
then back they go again and everybody who has been compensated is levelled up to the new scale. I know what politics are, and it is a most tempting thing to make promises when they have to be redeemed with other people’s money. If we could have finality—some idea that the thing was going to stop—there would not be so much objection to it although it imposes a very heavy additional burden on the industry. I think that when a man has come to the stage that his life is practically wrecked, one cannot be too meticulous about scrutinizing what is going to be done for him, but what I take exception to is giving further awards to men who are compensated and who are only at a stage when compensation first applies. [Time expired.]
If the spirit which prevailed in the select committee obtains here, we shall get the matter satisfactorily adjusted. I am looking forward to receiving from the Minister an assurance that we are not going to depart from the principle of this clause.
What I am objecting to is the levelling up of compensation in the primary and ante-primary stages in the case of men who left before the Act of 1919 dame into force. I don’t want to press the matter even as far as that. I am prepared to say that if these men have remained in South Africa, let them get the benefit of the increased compensation under the Bill, but where they have left the country, and where you have to search Europe to find them, then I think the House is going a long way if it should say that they are to be levelled up too. If however, they still live in South Africa, they share our troubles with us. In the select committee the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Allen) put up a strong case for those compensated men who had gone on the land, and were having a hard struggle. He pointed out that it would be a very great thing for these men to have this additional compensation. One has a large amount of sympathy with these men. I intend to propose an amendment which will restrict the lump sum compensation to men resident in the country. We discussed this Bill for days and days in committee in a calm, impartial and judicial manner. There was never any occasion to get heated or excited, and I hope the same spirit will prevail in this committee. I want to give you some idea of what this will cost. If this Bill becomes law there will be added to the liabilities of the miners’ phthisis compensation Bill an amount of one and a half million pounds. Under the present legislation it is estimated the Miners’ Phthisis Compensation Fund, in order to meet its existing commitments, would require a present sum of £6,000,000. The total liabilities are, of course, more, but they are spread over the future. This particular Clause 26, it is estimated, will add about £800,000. Sub-section (4) of Clause 24. it is estimated, will come to just over half a million pounds, and it is divided between 1.844 cases in South Africa amounting to £304.000, and 576 cases overseas amounting to £200.000 odd. I propose an amendment to confine the benefits under this clause to those people still in South Africa. If we go on piling up these claims for compensation, we are going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. I move, in order to give effect to this—
I appreciate the standpoint of the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan), and I want to avail myself of this opportunity of paying a tribute-to the great help he was to us in the select committee. We discussed every clause calmly and dispassionately, and every member of the committee tried to deal with the question as judicially as possible. It was already indicated in the second reading that this was an important clause, and the Government had to consider the position. It certainly involves a large sum of money, £292.500. under sub-clause (3) and under sub-clause (4). £304,400 and £200,000 odd. In the olden days we had no white miners of our own. We imported a lot of miners from all parts of the world, particularly Cornishmen, are we justified morally or as a matter of justice to make an invidious distinction between the men who came from abroad and those resident in this country? Many of our pensioners were pensioned at 55, and they go and live where they like. There are no restrictions. I know men drawing £1.500 and £2.000 without restriction. They can live where they like. In many cases the health of these men has been ruined whether they be Cornishmen or Germans from Germany or Frenchmen from France. In the olden days silicosis was regarded as a curable disease, but now it appears it is a progressive disease, and in the end very often means the death of the sufferer. The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) says we will have to sweep Europe for these beneficiaries. My information from the Phthisis Board is that men who may have left the mines years ago have kept in touch with the Phthisis Board and have frequently made claims for increased compensation. A large number have been examined by the bureau both here and overseas. I want to remind the hon. member that a good deal of our dividends go abroad, and I do not see how the House will be justified in making, the distinction as suggested by this amendment. I think the suggested amendment cannot be accepted. The effect of this amendment is simply to cut out the overseas people as regards lump sums. Sub-clause (4) deals with ante-primary and primary compensation which are lump sums. The hon. member admits in connection with secondary cases it should make no difference whether they are resident here or abroad. If he admits that, then he abandons his principle. If instead of ante-primary and primary lump sums, they get whilst abroad a lump sum of £750, and if, in the case of secondary cases the proposed benefit is to be extended to overseas people, I do not see how we can overlook these people in connection with ante-primary and primary cases.
I heard with disappointment and regret the decision of the Minister in connection with this amendment. The select committee, which sat on this matter, has devoted the greatest care and attention to the points which have been put before this committee. It has been admitted by the Minister and supported by both the hon. members who have spoken, that the greatest amity prevailed, and the most sincere desire to bring this unhappy business to a definite and final conclusion, to try and reach finality and be fair all round, but I think that the reasons advanced by the Minister in this connection for refusing to accept the amendment of the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) are not cogent to the issue. The Minister referred to the question of pensions. I would like to put it to him, is that analogous to these cases? Pensioners get their pension, and quite right, but if in the ordinary course of events, as has happened in this and other countries, the scale of pensions is increased, does the old pensioner get that increase? I would also point out that there is no doubt whatever that the amount involved in this master is extraordinarily great. The 1920 commission, of which I was a member, went into this question very fully and very closely, and I would like to quote from the report of that commission some remarks which are very pertinent to this matter—
That is also a point I would like to put to the committee, that you are going to inflict upon mines which exist to-day an enormous burden, although they have had nothing whatever to do with causing the disease. There is another point which I would like to mention, and it is that in no country in the world is more compensation given in respect of a disease of this kind, and there is no contribution by the recipients. I do not suggest that there should be a contribution by the sufferers. There is no doubt that this is a terrible disease, but at the same time I do hold that no country in the world is doing so much for the compensation of the sufferers, and now to go back after several years and be required to pay out a sum amounting to about £800,000, to be oorne by mines which exist to-day in connection with the disease which was contracted on mines which have long ceased to exist, seems to me to be quite unfair. The desire was to meet the Minister and meet the whole case by giving his compensation to those who remain in South Africa. Properly the whole clause should go out, but it is an endeavour to come to an agreement that those who live and are still living in South Africa should get the benefit of it. For my own part. I would strongly desire that this clause, which is unfair all round, should be cut out, but I am quite willing to support it with the amendment of the hon. member for Yeoville.
I am very much surprised at the remarks made by the hon. member for Maritzburg (South) (Mr. O’Brien). I think, looking over the discussions which have taken place in the select committee on these clauses and the spirit in which they have been fought out, one is entitled to come to the conclusion that they may be regarded as fair to those men who are now, if this clause passes, to be compensated on the level of present-day beneficiaries. The men who are now under discussion are the men who, if I am not very much mistaken, laid the foundations of the mining work here in South Africa, and of course their work was very important work in the history of South African mining. I think it is generally acknowledged that those men were among the very best hard rock miners in the world. Not many of them are alive to-day, and I think if the hon. member for Jeppe (Mr. Sampson) were here he would tell us that we have in this country alone buried something like a whole generation, some 13,000 or 14,000 of them here in South Africa. The hon. member (Mr. O’Brien) failed to state that our miners’ phthisis legislation for the past few years has been in an experimental stage. We had not rightly adjusted our system of compensation. Before 1919 we had not come to any satisfactory basis upon which to fix this compensation. When these men were compensated let us think of the conditions under which they worked—the worst conditions in the history of our mining industry. Those of us who know anything about the conditions under which they worked in those days will know that mining to-day is a comparatively pleasant occupation as compared with what it was in those days. Those men worked under very trying conditions to health. In a few years their health was ruined, so much so that they now find great difficulty in getting any sort of work at all, and they are liable in certain types of work to very sharp attacks of tuberculosis. Some of these men received a sum of £95. The present compensation for that class of case is in the neighbourhood of £430. Is it fair that these men, who have practically taught our South Africans their mining, who bore the brunt in the trying days of the industry, who served the mines faithfully, should not be brought up at least to what is now, as we have passed through the experimental stage, considered to be a satisfactory amount for compensating an ante-primary stage man? I consider that we would be doing a great injustice to this body of men if we did not bring them up to the level of the body of men who have received a certain amount of compensation for damage done at the same stage under mining conditions which have been infinitely better than those existing when these men worked. I see no reason why we should differentiate between the men who have remained in this country and the men who have gone back to join their friends and spend their last remaining days in their old homes. It is a lump sum, it is the last award they can get, it is the final levelling up to the men who have been granted this compensation for that particular stage. I maintain that wherever these men are entitled to that amount they should receive that amount, because of the, damage done at that stage. Here in South Africa to-day the mines are practically under the same control as they were 15 or more years ago. I hope the House will do this act of justice and consent to this final levelling up. I am convinced that this is an act of justice, and I urge upon hon. members to do this for the men who have given up their lives to the mining industry in South Africa.
For anyone who was not on the Select Committee it is very difficult to talk about this Bill. I am surprised if the Minister has pushed this Bill before the House without our having the report of the Select Committee. It is unfair to put members who represent mining interests here in the House into such a position. I do not know what I must say about the matter.
The report of the Select Committee would not have helped you much.
What did the members of the Select Committee do then? I know that the hon. Minister thinks that it is only an old farmer talking here and that he knows nothing about the matter. I was a member of the first Select Committee that was appointed about this matter.
I did not say that you were ignorant about the matter.
But why then was it said that I could not use the report? We are engaged here on one of the most important industries in the country. We have here to do with one of the Bills where something of retrospective force is being pushed through the House. In the past it was resolved that persons who went overseas could get no compensation. The Nationalist party always preached from the housetop that we must abandon the people who left the country and who were foreigners. Now they ask £800,000 for those people who are oversea. If the Nationalist party had to put their hands into the pocket of the Government I wonder if they would be satisfied to do so, but they easily decided to make one of the industries of the country pay. It seems to me that the amendment of the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) is quite fair. I understand that the Select Committee agrees to make this concession to the people who are still in the country. I know there are individual cases where the people developed the second stage later. I am glad that they are being assisted although it is not quite just towards the industry because the Bill is made of retrospective force. It is however, the generosity of Parliament seeing that they are spending other peoples money. I am certain that hon. members opposite would not go so lightly to work with public money. Now all the privileges are also being given to people who live abroad and I am certain that the hon. member for Fordsburg (Mr. J. S. F. Pretorius) will not be satisfied with their getting further compensation with retrospective force. It is impossible for us to do that to give so much money to people who have said goodbye to South Africa. We saw last year that a person got £500 because he had left South Africa.. It is another of the things which is forced on to the Nationalist party by the Labour party. I ask the representatives from the country side to think of it that they should not crush the industry which means so much to the life of the country. Then there is another thing upon which I will never agree with the Minister. Why has he introduced the Bill in the last days of the session? Is it just?
It you were experienced you would not ask that.
Yes, but the Minister is clever and he ought to be able to answer this question. It seems to me that the Minister waited for a time to get this Bill through easily because many members would be absent from the House. The motion of the hon. member for Yeoville is very fair and I am certain that the largest portion of hon. members opposite agree with me. They cannot however do otherwise than support the Minister because miners’ phthisis is unfortunately also always dragged into party politics. I want the silicotics to be compensated, but hon. members must understand that one can go too far. It is said that the men have sacrificed their lives, but they always were well paid. I who have lived there all these years know that the men were extremely anxious to get a billet in the mines. Fortunately conditions now are better. I hope that the Minister will still at the eleventh hour be convinced that the amendment of the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) is reasonable just and honest. How is the Minister going to keep an eye on the silicotics abroad? Will another representative delegate have to go to supervise? This matter has often been discussed in Select Committee and the difficulty always was that it was impossible to keep control over people abroad. The Minister will probably want to appoint somebody for the purpose and he will of course have to be paid by the mines.
I would like to reply to the points that have been raised up to now. I want to point out that these Cornish miners, and miners from abroad generally served in the mines and sacrifice their health when the mines were in the worst possible condition, as compared with latter day conditions. Then the question has been raised in the House of Commons, even, in England, of the condition of these people who used to be miners in our country and are now living abroad. It was only natural that these people, when they contracted this disease, which proves to be incurable, should return to their mother country. You cannot take that amiss. I want to point out what the Select Committee reported, and this is the basis of the whole phthisis legislation. The committee of 1920 reported, on page 7 of the report—
I fully endorse that view, and as far as I remember not a single member of the Select Committee took exception to that basic principle. There is much truth, too, in the view that our legislation up to 1919 had been largely experimental. We did not know how to fix the standards of compensation. If you look back in the very earliest Acts, you see a man getting a paltry sum of £96. It is really laughable; it is tragic; it is absurd. I want to assure hon. members that we have not gone further than the standard of the 1919 Act, and that was the first permanent Act introduced. The bulk of the legislation introduced by this Bill is a repetition of the main features of the Act of 1919. As I pointed out on the second reading, we have adopted, throughout, the standard of the Act of 1919—the various standards. We have not increased since 1919, but, we say it is essentially unjust that you should not level up to the standard of 1919, the previous cases which had occurred when our legislation was fragmentary; far from being perfect, and far from having the benefit of ripe experience.
*The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Geldenhuys) seems to think that I insulted him. That was not the least my intention.
Very well, I accept it.
He has stated that he has had experience on a Select Committee in connection with this matter. He knows that the deliberations are not recorded and therefore I said that he would find that the report was not a record of the arguments. No reflection on him was intended. I do not take up my position in connection with this matter as a result of pressure, by the Labour party, I take it up as the result of my own conviction of what is just and fair. I can draw no distinction between the silicotics simply because one is still in the country and the other is no longer in the country. Then he says that this Bill is of a retrospective nature. Technically that is so, but we must surely rectify an outstanding unfairness. It is absurd and unfair that a person who got his compensation a few days before the coming into force of the Act of 1919 should have received compensation at a lower scale than a person perhaps in the same street and in the same circumstances who received his compensation a few days later. He is entirely wrong if he thinks that I wish to avoid criticism by introducing this Bill at the end of the session. He knows well that I said before hand that I intended to introduce a consolidated Bill with regard to miners’ phthisis during this session. I did so 13 days after the commencement of the session, but does he not know that it is an enormous task? We had 51 sittings of the Select Committee and I appeal for confirmation to the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) when I say that we had a great deal of trouble with this Bill. It is so complicated and technical that one cannot easily dispose of the matter. We did our best to bring the proceedings to a conclusion, but we could not do so. He asks further, what supervision there will be on the people who are overseas. There the position will be exactly the same as in the past. The Miners’ Phthisis Board has been dealing with the matter for years. We have had ripe experience in connection with the payments and the careful control of them. There are in the office of the board permanent officials of the auditor-general’s department who will carefully scrutinize every account. I think that I have now dealt with all the points that have been raised up to the present.
I think, after the remarks made by the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Geldenhuys), it is fitting that I should say something on the other side. I would preface what I have to say by saying that the assertion that there has been any matter of Parliamentary tactics, or other tactics, in delaying the receipt of the report in this House, is beside the mark. I would say this for the benefit of the House, and I think hon. members of all shades of opinion who were on the Select Committee will agree with me, that it was the indulgence of the Chairman, extended to the members of the Committee, in allowing discussion without limit, or without excluding in any way any points any members wanted to bring up, that rather protracted the proceedings of the committee. Had the Minister used his powers as Chairman, there is not the slightest doubt that this report would have been before the House three weeks ago. It is not fair to charge the Minister with rushing through the Bill when it was due to his actual sportsmanship on the committee that the Bill has arrived at the present time. The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) insinuated, or said, I believe, that this clause was the result of the pressure of the Labour party brought to bear on the Government. It is absolutely ridiculous to say so. If it had come from other than an hon. member from the Rand, it would not have been so ridiculous. I am an overseas born man, but as a citizen of this country with Nationalist outlook and sympathies, I do not yield first place to any man in this House. I am as good a South African as any individual in this House. If the hon. member had been in touch with things in Johannesburg, during the crisis two or three years ago, he would have known that very frequently the “Red Flag” and “Volkslied” were sung together by the people he referred to, and he would have found that there was no difference of opinion among the Rand workers based on the difference of origin or race. They are people with a common outlook, for they realize they have to stand together for their most elementary rights. At present 85 per cent. of the underground workers on the Rand are Afrikander born, and probably 75 per cent. of them are Nationalists. The Hon. member said retrospective legislation is to be deplored, but reactionary legislation is to be very much more deplored. He further said that Government was taking the money from private people. The amount required for compensation is, roughly speaking, £290,000 to level up these overseas people. This is the first time we have heard the theory put up by the South African party, that there is to be a preferential treatment prejudicial to the overseas people. It is a change of front with a vengeance. There are about 1.400 people living overseas, entitled to compensation, many of them having dependents and many others are widows and children. Recently a lady who derived her wealth from the Rand mining industry wore at a society function a necklace worth £250.000. £250,000 for the mineowner’s lady and £290,000 to be divided between 1,400 men and their dependents to bring a little light and brightness into their lives! The Minister has referred to the payment of pensions to public servants who live overseas. Dividends are paid to overseas shareholders, and even during the war “whilst your lads were being sacrificed by the thousand to German guns and so-called frightfulness” dividends were paid to enemy shareholders in Rand gold mines “and now it is proposed to withhold compensation for loss of life and health to the relatives of those lads incurred, in that very industry. For 25 years the gold mines manufactured physical human wrecks and created misery untold without any compensation whatever being awarded to anyone. When it was first asserted that the average life of a miner on the Rand was seven years, it was ridiculed, but when the matter was enquired into it was found that the average life was only 4.7 years. It is somewhat hard on the mines working today, that they should have to pay compensation for mines which have closed down, and which mines helped to create a good deal of disease. The control of the mines, however, is in the same hands. We are dealing with one generation of controllers and workers. The average life of a miner on the Rand is from 42 to 44 years, and if a man in ordinary occupations can work up to 60 years of age, the miner who dies at 42 loses 18 years of his earning life. Averaging those earnings at £350 a year and taking the number of men who have died at 20,000, it represents £126,000,000 which have been lost to these people in wages alone. It is a startling figure. When we talk about paying £7,000,000 in compensation in a comparatively circumscribed area, that seems a stupendous sum, but when we think of the amount of wealth produced by the mines it becomes amazing and almost incredible that any occupation should have levied such a heavy toll on the potential productivity of a nation. I have just one final word to say. The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Geldenhuys is inclined to twit us with concern for the men who have left this country. That is one of the tragedies of this country. In the early days the miners had no Phthisis Board and when they developed the disease they were not wanted anywhere, they were, if not social lepers, economic lepers, and all they could do was to struggle to get sufficient to take them home to their own people. They went not only to Cornwall and Cumberland, but to Italy, Austria. Holland, etc. The European climate, as is well-known is inimical to the lives of the people and had they been able to choose they would have lived in South Africa. [Time expired.]
I am not concerned about where these men are living, whether it is in South Africa or overseas, but I do object to the retrospective principle of this clause. The Minister of Railways, when he introduced the Superannuation Bill, in spite of pleadings from the Cross benches to make it retrospective, said that the retrospective principle was one that the Government could not accept. In spite of the ability which the Government had shown in spending money, they have refused to accept this principle where it applies to Government funds, but when it comes to spending private people’s money that principle can go by the board and the retrospective principles can apply. I have been appalled at the way we have been spending money this session. We not only spend our people’s money, but we are asked to pass a Bill which means spending private people’s money. This will be prejudicial to the industries that are so necessary for the employment of many men, and putting a burden on the mining industry which I am afraid may mean the closing down of many low-grade mines, and I shall support the amendment on the principle of half a loaf being better than no bread; if I have my own way I would see it wiped out altogether. We have been up against the retrospective principle on the Pension Committee where we have had heartrending cases coming before us, but we could not meet them because the retrospective principle was one the Government could not adopt. I suggest to the Minister that what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.
The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) says we must keep cool, calm and collected.
That comes well from you.
My hon. friend must not get excited. It is all very well asking men to keep cool, calm and collected, men who know the position in connection with miners’ phthisis and men in this House who are descendants of miners and have had to suffer owing to the fact that their parents have been miners. I am surprised that the amendment comes from the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan), because he states he is against the retrospective idea, but in order to secure support of sufficient numbers to save the Chamber of Mines a few hundred thousand, the hon. member was prepared to sink the retrospective principle and his own flesh and blood to carry on the mining business. The hon. member, unconsciously perhaps, misled the members into the idea that men have been compensated prior to the 1919 Act who came under the ante-primary stage. Having been on the select committee and having been connected with the Chamber of Mines for some years he should know—
What are you insinuating about the Chamber of Mines?
I make my statement and the hon. member can take it as he likes. But he should know prior to the passing of the 1919 Act there was no compensation whatever for the ante-primary stage of phthisis. It is not the idea of the Act to level anyone up who came under the ante-primary stage.
You misunderstand what I say and then misrepresent it.
You were connected with the Chamber of Mines for a number of years.
I had nothing to do with it.
But you have been on the Witwatersrand for a number of years.
Yes, if that is what you mean.
That is what I mean and you ought to understand the position. Hon. members on the other side are attempting to take the whole kernel out of this Bill by the amendment. Eliminate this clause and the Bill is not worth 2½d. to the mine workers. The main benefit of this Bill, practically speaking, is this levelling-up of the prior beneficiaries. Let us realize that from 1912 to 1922 over 10,000 miners have been eliminated from the mining industry suffering from miners’ phthisis —a greater number than the total underground population of the Witwatersrand. Do hon. members realize what a fearful disease this is and the tremendous suffering these men have to go through prior to the time when they die and the burden that they are upon their dependents’ Some of these men have committed suicide in order to escape from their misery in the last stage of phthisis. These benefits are being levelled up to the 1919 Act. It was only when the 1918 commission went into the whole question and the report of that commission brought home the seriousness of the position that effective legislation was passed which provided for anything approaching adequate compensation. The 1919 Act was the first Act that ever attempted to do anything in the way of justice to the men who suffered from miners’ phthisis. Over £6,000,000 has been paid out in connection with miners’ phthisis, including expenses incidental to the running of the bureau and everything else, and almost £3,000,000 of that has been paid out since the passing of the 1919 Act.
I am glad that the hon. member for Brakpan (Mr. Waterston) ended in a more calm and judicial tone than he began in. I would recommend to him that when he accuses an hon. member of being connected with the Chamber of Mines, and presumably introducing this amendment, because he is connected with the Chamber of Mines, if all he means is that the hon. member lives on the Witwatersrand, he should use other language than he did. I would like to put it to the committee that we must consider this matter not on the ground simply of sympathy. You have got to look at it from the point of view of ordinary justice, of ordinary fairness. The Minister argued that I was quite illogical in not objecting to the case of a man in the secondary stage who was oversea being levelled-up, or his dependents, who were oversea after his death, being levelled-up, while I objected to the men being levelled-up who were in the primary stage. I know it is illogical. I said so when I moved the amendment. To be logical, one ought to object to this clause altogether. That I do, because I think it is a bad principle in an Act like this to introduce retrospective effect. It is not done in any other workmen’s compensation provision that I know of. The whole principle is bad, and it is particularly unfortunate, because we have got a number of these men on the Witwatersrand, and the Government of the day is constantly being pressed to increase their compensation. As soon as this levelling-up amount is exhausted, as soon as the couple of hundred pounds, or whatever it is, is exhausted, they are going to come again to the Government and ask for a revision of the scale of 1919. I say the really important thing is to get some measure of finality, to know definitely that this demoralizing process is not to go on. I moved this amendment because it seems to me to be the extreme case to go and find men who have left this country years ago and hand them out this additional compensation. The hon. member for Brakpan talks about men who had given up their lives and sacrificed their life’s blood and so on. But these are not men who have given up their lives. They are men who are still in the primary stage, who are still in a fair measure of health possibly completely recovered, many of them. But the mere fact that years ago they were put out of the mines on compensation is going to entitle them now to a further benefit of £200. regardless of the state of their health. It is not the broken men; it is not the widows and orphans. They come under Clause 26 (3). The men in the secondary stage overseas are dealt with in sub-clause (3).
How many are there?
I will tell you. The beneficiary miners in the secondary stage are five, that is those who have not got the pension because they were living out of the country. If they were living in the country, they would have got it. There are 800 overseas. That applies to the secondary stage.
Is that up to date?
How many men are still alive?
I cannot tell you how many men. These are figures given as by the Phthisis Board before the select committee. These are practically all widows or dependents. The men themselves have mostly died, because it is six years ago. My amendment does not touch these cases. My amendment deals only with men still alive and in the primary stage, and of them there are 576 cases overseas. I move it, not because it is logical—to be logical the thing would be to object to the clause as a whole—but because this is an extreme case, a Case where compensation is being paid to men who have long ago left their country, and who have progressed beyond the initial stage of the disease.
I hope that the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) will not insist on the acceptance of his amendment. It is no more than right that the people should get compensation. In 1912 this same House considered it fair to give people compensation who had lost their health in the mines. What is the position now? The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) wants to exclude the people who have gone oversea; just as the Act of 1919 excludes the other people, so he wants to exclude these people. Is it fair? There are many Government officials who came from overseas and have done service here for years, and then returned to Europe and now draw their pension oversea. Why then should these distinctions be made? It has been proved over and over again that the people who got the disease in the mines have had their lives shortened. Other people get compensation. Where other people, at a healthy place, reach the age of 60 he gets compensation. Here men are dragged away from their wives and children as a result of their work in unhealthy places, and I think it is no more than right that the hon. member for Yeoville should withdraw his motion.
The hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Geldenhuys) has said that it is unfair. Well, he is someone who ought to know something about Johannesburg because he comes from there and represents a constituency there. I accordingly thought at first that he was right, but when he asked if it was fair, I changed my opinion. Just let me give a few figures. What is the position? Since 1886, the gold mines have produced £850,000,000. of which £177,000,000 was paid out in dividends, and only about £7,000,000 for compensation to the workers who have sacrificed their life and futures. I admit that they are paid well on the Rand. That is my spirit as well. But we must not forget that without them the owners of the gold mine would not be able to put the profits in their pockets. Are hon. members opposite afraid that those people will not be able to give so much money in the future for election purposes? In any case. I feel that I cannot vote for the amendment.
I think when we have heard the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) we are bound to remember him as he spoke 15 years ago. Listening to him to-night when he said let us not consider this on the grounds of sympathy, but rather on the grounds of justice and fairness, to me it is astounding to hear that statement made. For the hon. member to make the speech he has made to-night, and to compare it with his speeches in years gone by, the word “astounding” does not express what we feel. Further, when he says that this matter should be considered on the ordinary ground of justice and fairness and that the Workmen’s Compensation Acts do not deal with prior cases, surely he forgets this is not a workmen’s compensation Act, but one dealing with an occupational disease developed in the industry before they realized it was an occupational disease. I think it is not only an unjust, but a most cheeseparing and mean way of dealing with the position when they want to attempt to deny the benefits these few thousand pounds would mean to the lives of these few hundred people. In connection with that matter, we must certainly consider that every person who lives on the Witwatersrand who is in business is certainly connected with the mining industry; he cannot help himself. I want to be concerned with the industry in so far as it affects the flesh and blood of the people working in it. With the people who have shares in the industry I am not concerned; they can look after themselves. That is proved by the fact that the output of gold for the Witwatersrand is somewhere in the vicinity of seven hundred millions. I would follow that up by saying that of that amount there have been profits to the extent of £177,000,000 paid out in dividends, and the amount paid out in respect of miners’ phthisis benefits amounts to £7,000,000. You can see quite clearly that as far as the profit-earning section of the people connected with the mining industry is concerned, this House need not worry; they are quite safe. Therefore we are concerned with the flesh and blood that goes to produce these profits, and the men who, even to-day, are giving up hope of a long life. I could have smiled at the hon. member for Johannesburg (North) (Mr. Geldenhuys) if it had not been that his remark was so tragic when he said they were wed paid when they went into these mines.
Yes, I say it again.
Yes. I admit they were well paid in comparison with other work in South Africa, but at the finish they paid well, and their widows and children are paying today when they are dead and in their graves.
I have no objection to helping the widows.
The hon. member’s whole speech was entirely opposed to that. He showed that he was only concerned with the fact that these men were well paid and that our responsibility should end at that stage. That was the impression he gave us; but after hearing a remark like that from the hon. member, who has no reason whatever to have any objection or anything to say against the mining industry on the reef, because it has been a very kind industry to him—
And to the whole of South Africa.
Yes, but particularly to the hon. member for Johannesburg (North), who by accident of location became a very wealthy man. No one objects to that, but we do object, in view of the fact that he knows a great many of the people who to-day are working in these mines and has known the people who have worked in the past and given up their lives in the industry, it ill becomes him to make the remark he did to-night. I hope on the next occasion, that the miners of Vrededorp and Melville will be reminded of it. The actual position before this committee is simply that the 1919 Act was the first permanent Act, and we are now asking for a levelling up as far as it can consistently be done. I did not think it would have been necessary for any of us from the Witwatersrand to have had much to say in regard to this Bill, unless that the Bill did not do as much as we expected, and when I say that we were not content, but had to be satisfied with the Bill as it comes before the House to-night; but I did not think any member from the reef expected to have to get up and defend an amendment from any member from the reef, to make this Bill worse than it is. I am not altogether satisfied: I cannot go back and say to my constituents that this is an Act which they altogether deserve: still I was content to accept that position for the time being, and hoped another opportunity might crop up to do better. The hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. Duncan) once represented the constituency of Fordsburg, where I believe, there are more suffering miners and their families as a result of phthisis than in any other constituency on the Witwatersrand.
The hon. member for Lang-laagte (Mr. Christie) said the men have to enter this industry; but where is the compulsion? There are a few things emerging from this discussion which I should like to refer to. The Minister, quoting from the report of the 1920 commission, said he was quite willing to accept the view of the commission in connection with the question of industrial compensation generally. I had already quoted to him from that commission’s report, in connection with the very question before this committee, the question of levelling up, and he accepts the one, but not the other. The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Allen) brought forward the startling argument of the £126.000,000 which were due to dead men. He mentioned some other figures as that the sum involved is £290,000 but the actual amount is £494,000. He also stated that, during the war, the Germans were receiving the dividends when the miners were over in Europe fighting for their lives. That is not true.
I beg your pardon it is so.
It is not correct. With regard to the question of the life of a miner, which he states averages 4.9 years since the establishment of the medical bureau in 1916. there have been two cases of miners phthisis; that is in nine years. I think it is a commentary on the sloppy sentiment we hear from these cross benches.
Amendment proposed by Mr. Duncan, in line 11, put and negatived and amendment proposed in line 37 accordingly dropped.
Amendments proposed by the Minister of Mines and Industries put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 27,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put the amendment proposed by the Select Committee in line 16, on page 34. to omit “and”, which was negatived.
Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 28.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 31,
I don’t understand what this means. The reference to “period” is a reference to a proviso to the section which says that where a man is suffering from tuberculosis without silicosis, he will be entitled to compensation if he has not been on underground work for 12 months. We are dealing with men who went on active service, and where there has been a difference of opinion between the military medical authorities and the Miners’ Phthisis Board, where death was due to war services or work on the mine. When is the “period” to be extended.
Up to the time of examination. Otherwise a man would be excluded under the other section.
The intention of clause 29 is that a man should be excluded if the development of tuberculosis arises 12 months after working in a mine. But tuberculosis is not an industrial disease and people get it without going near a mine. Is a man to be entitled to compensation if he has left a mine for several years?
It is proposed to alter the clause so as to extend the time for the making of an application for a benefit under the Bill. On the same principle, if you have a man who, under section 23, has been working in the mines, and he had gone to the front and comes up for examination, what is the good of coming up for examination if you do not extend the time?
As regards 23 I agree. If he did not contract the disease within twelve months of leaving the mine he did not get it in the mine.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to
On Clause 33,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put the new subsection (2) proposed by the Select Committee.
New sub-section, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to
On Clause 34,
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 35,
On the motion of Mr. O’Brien, the Chairman put the amendment proposed by the select committee in lines 25 to 29.
The reason for that amendment is obvious, and I am sure the Minister will accept it.
I am afraid I cannot accept that.
I think the Minister can accept the amendment of the hon. member (Mr. O’Brien). In the case of what is called “pure” tuberculosis, that is tuberculosis not complicated by silicosis, the difficulty is that tuberculosis in itself is not an industrial disease. In the case of the white miner, it is provided that he shall not be eligible for compensation for “pure” tuberculosis if he has contracted it more than 12 months after he worked underground. In the case of the native that period is made six months. The white man who goes underground has to pass a very searching examination, which throws out about half those who come up. The native has not got to pass an examination of that kind. At the present time he is merely inspected. Therefore, it is provided that he is not subject to compensation in the case of “pure” tuberculosis unless he contracts it within six months after doing underground work. The native on the mines some times is doing underground work, some times he is on the surface; he is not so much tied to one occupation as the white man is, and he may be working for months on the surface and contract tuberculosis from outside just as any ordinary person might. There is no reason why he should be compensated on that account. He has not contracted the disease because of his occupation, but has contracted it from outside sources. The point is that he should not be eligible for compensation unless he has contracted tuberculosis within six months after leaving underground work. That is regarded by the medical bureau as a generous provision, because they said if he contracted it after more than six months the inference was almost irresistible that he got it from somewhere else. I submit you should leave out these words after “underground.” The outstanding factor is the length of time before he contracts the disease after he ceases underground work. Therefore I submit to the Minister that these words should come out.
Of course this is another instance of the many colour bars we have. The white man gets the benefit of twelve months and the native is reduced to six months. I am informed that the Native Affairs Department very much oppose the excision of these words, and I do not see why they should be deleted, because I do not see why it should not be inferred if a native has worked on a mine, even if he has not worked underground all the time, that he contracted tuberculosis in the course of his employment.
Even if he never worked underground?
We have provisions in the Bill relating to surface occupation. I am not prepared to accept this, because I do not know what the effect will be. I am prepared to consider it again, but in the meantime I cannot consent to its being struck out.
I suggest that if the Minister does not strike this out he is providing a colour bar of another kind, because, in the case of a white man working on the surface, if he contracts pure tuberculosis he gets no compensation, but the native who contracts tuberculosis or silicosis, even if he has worked anywhere on a mine, is to be compensated. That is a colour bar in favour of the native, which is unusual in this country. If he contracts it in any occupation on the mine within six months he gets compensation, but the white man does not. He only gets compensation if he has been working underground or in one of the occupations defined as underground occupation, and if he contracts it within twelve months of leaving. Why make that distinction? If the Minister wants to make them equal he should change the six months to twelve months and leave out the words after “underground.”
This is a pure instance of how the committee is handicapped by want of the report of the select committee, because the advice of the medical bureau was very striking in this direction, and I am sorry hon. members have not had the opportunity of seeing the evidence, which I understand will be available to-morrow, too late for this discussion.
Most of these natives who go to the mines are recruited for nine months, and I know from what the natives have told me, that as soon as they contract a pulmonary disease, if they are working underground, they are given work above ground, and kept on the surface work for several months, and then go home. The natives are put on the surface so that the mines will not be liable for compensation.
They are not likely to do that now.
I think the mines should continue to have some responsibility, even after the natives have been working above ground. In the native territories we have very little of the pulmonary diseases, and the only place they are contracted is on the mines. If a native is on the mines for six months, even if he is on the surface, and gets the disease. I think it is a fair assumption that he contracted it on the mines. I think the clause should stand.
Amendment put and negatived.
I wish to raise again the question of medical examination which I raised at an earlier stage and was asked to bring up later. I have had correspondence with a native whose son died from this disease. The native says that the manager of the native recruiting corporation did not show great consideration in the matter. The doctor’s certificate and all necessary particulars were in possession of the deceased native’s father, but the reply he got was not sympathetic. He was informed by the mine authorities that they wanted the lungs of his son to be sent to their doctor for examination. This was a case where Dr. Fennell, district surgeon of Butterworth, had certified that the man was under his treatment for miners’ phthisis and had died from that disease. I have been in communication with the Minister of Mines, and the reply I have received is that they cannot trace this native. My experience in the Transkei is that if a boy deserts from the mine they can always trace him. I want to know, for the information of the natives, what their position is under this Bill now before the House. Many of the boys coming back from the mines are suffering from phthisis or pulmonary disease. In many instances they have died, and their parents frequently complain they cannot get compensation. I do not think the legislation treats them unfairly, but there is a lack of knowledge amongst natives owing to the position not having been explained to them by the authorities I wish the Minister would explain what steps the natives should take to obtain compensation. Natives detest post mortems, and rather than have the lungs cut out of a corpse and sent to Johannesburg for examination the relatives of the deceased would forego compensation.
When I moved the second reading of the Bill I said our endeavour would be to give the natives a square deal. The Select Committee was unanimous on that point. I refer the hon. member to Clause 35. subclause (2). Prima facie the natives are expected to be examined by the mine doctors, but that is not a hard and fast rule. When a man, European or native, is far away from Johannesburg he can be examined under the control of the medical bureau, and the bureau can act upon the information so obtained according to its discretion. I understand from the hon. member that natives have strong objections to the lungs being removed from a body. There is a section in the Bill dealing especially with the sending of lungs for examination. The sentiment to which the hon. member refers prevails among Europeans also, but I understand that as far as they are concerned they are gradually being reconciled to the sending in of the lungs. Clause 65 deals with the question of lungs. If the hon. member will give me the details of the case he referred to I will have it gone into again and see if anything can be done. I have impressed upon the officials the necessity of watching the treatment of natives very closely, because I feel sure every member of this House is agreed that there should be a square deal over this business for the natives. I propose taking administrative steps to have a sort of circular drawn up and distributed pointing out to the natives exactly what steps to take and what their rights and privileges are. It may be necessary in regard to whites. The hon. member must bear in mind that outside doctors have not got any particular knowledge of miners’ phthisis, and" often think it is silicosis where in fact it does not exist.
Clause, as amended by Select Committee, put and agreed to.
On Clause 38,
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 39,
I cannot follow this amendment. Sub-clause (1) defines what the compensation fund is to consist of. It consists of money received and interest received in various sections, and the Minister now proposes to add a new Clause (e) for the payment of any loans mentioned in sub-section (4) of section 75 of this Act. That enables the board to make loans out of the fund to the gazetted mine fund. I cannot understand that and I don’t think it is necessary. The board has power under section 75 to lend money to the gazetted mines fund and there is no need to give it any more power. Why you should say that this fund should consist of payments made to the gazetted mines fund I do not understand.
I think this amendment is necessary.
What does it mean then?
You lend a sum of money under section 75 (4)—
I see that the loan is from the compensation fund. I think the hon. member (Mr. Duncan) is right and I, therefore, withdraw my amendment.
With leave of Committee, proposed new paragraph (e) withdrawn; remaining amendments put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 41,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put amendments proposed by Select Committee in lines 20 and 22, on page 50, which were negatived.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 42,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put amendment proposed by the Select Committee in lines 17 and 18, which was negatived.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 43,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put new sub-section (2) proposed by Select Committee.
New sub-section, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 55,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put amendment proposed by Select Committee in line 28.
Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to. Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 60,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put new sub-section (5) proposed by Select Committee.
New sub-section, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 64,
I should like to know from the hon. Minister what is meant here and why the words are incorporated “other than granted under former Acts”. If there is a pensioner to whom a pension is due under former Acts why should he then be excluded? If there are no pensioner why then is the provision made?
Because if the privilege of monthly contributions is given to a person he cannot obtain the double advantage.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put new Clause 75 proposed by Select Committee—
- (a) A fund to be called the Gazetted Mines Fund shall, for the purposes of this section, be established and shall consist of—
- (i) any moneys received under subsections (3), (4), (6) and (9) of this section;
- (ii) any interest received from investments of the fund.
- (b) The Gazetted Mines Fund shall be applied to:
- (i) the payment hereafter of any benefits granted in consequence of section sixty-one of the principal Act or of this section:
- (ii) the repayment to the Compensation Fund of any loan mentioned in sub-section (4) of this section.
I would like to make a few remarks in connection with section. 75. I admit that an improvement in the position of the outside mines has been made in comparison with the first proposal in the Bill, but I should like to point out to the Minister the words in line 20 on page 81. Now it is said that the amounts which are yearly paid into the fund may not exceed the average quarterly profits of a person, and what the profits were shall be ascertained from the returns at the income tax office. When thus an amount of quarterly average profits has to be paid then it means one-fourth or 25 per cent. of the profits for a year. It seems to me that this amount is too high. Let us take what is paid by the large mines on the Witwatersrand. I do not know the exact percentage of the profits of the big mines that goes into the miners’ phthisis fund, but I am certain that it is not 25 per cent. I suppose that the dividends paid amount to about £8,000,000. To that must be added still other profits, which are also paid out in dividends £2,000,000. So one comes to more than £10,000,000 profit, and if £800,000 is applied to allowances for miners’ phthisis then it does not yet amount to 10 per cent. I think it is not more than 7 per cent. that the large mines contribute to the miners’ phthisis fund, while the small mines may go up to 25 per cent That seems to me too high. I should also like to propose an amendment to substitute “average monthly receipts” for “average quarterly profit.” It comes out at about 8 per cent. and then the distinction between the small mines and the large mines is removed.
New clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On clause 76,
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, the Chairman put the definition of “beneficiary” proposed by Select Committee.
Definition, as amended, put and agreed to.
On the motion of the Rev. Mr. Hattingh, the Chairman put amendment proposed by Select Committee in lines 15 and 16, on page 82.
I would like to ask the Minister whether he would be willing to accept an amendment to delete the words “adopted” and “solely” in line 16 of this clause. There seems to be some misunderstanding on this matter, but it is quite clear that if the clause is left as it stands at present, although the Board may have the right to say who is a dependent or not, if an adopted child should receive 5s. a month from a small legacy and that child is not “solely dependent upon such miner” it would be ruled out of any benefits to be received under this Bill. If we amend this section by deleting the words “adopted” and “solely” and read it in conjunction with section 76 (4) the Board then would have the right to say whether these children are dependent, yes or no. I move—
The Select Committee fully discussed the matter and I am sorry that I cannot accept the amendment. I wish to point out to him that sub-section 5 page 91 reads as follows—
The discretion is, therefore, given to the board to decide whether a child is a dependent of the worker concerned, and it is fully maintained. The example that he gave of an adopted child who receives 5s. per month from another source is, therefore, not in point here.
I differ from the Minister. He is a lawyer and I am not. In the Dutch, however, it says that the adopted child must be entirely dependent. That means that he must receive everything from such a person. Suppose he receives £1 from another source if the board then decides that he is entirely dependent on the silicotic then it so decides against its better judgment. If the amendment is accepted the Bill will not be affected, but the position will simply be made plainer.
I am willing in line 8 on page 91 to insert “or exclusively” after “entirely.” It is a matter which has already been discussed in Select Committee and there are cases where children have been adopted to evade the Act. The board has been working for years and they will see justice done.
I cannot see that the amendment by the hon. Minister meets the position in 7 (b) (1). The mistake which I emphasized is that if an adopted child receives 10s. or £1 per month from another source the child must be brought before the board or under the notice of the board and the board must then in terms of the provision decide whether the child is entirely dependent or partially dependent or exclusively dependent and the board will say that the child gets 10s. per month from a legacy or from another source and, therefore, the child cannot be declared entirely dependent, because section 76 (1) says that the child must be entirely dependent and, therefore, the child is deprived of the benefits of the Act. This is the great point. I hope that the Minister will at any rate see it.
I fully appreciate the point, but cannot agree.
On page 87 there is an amendment from line 25 to 30, but it is not quite complete in the Dutch. It does not read well.
Yes, after the word “mine” I shall propose the insertion of “means”.
First part of amendment put and negatived; second part, with leave of Committee, withdrawn.
If the Minister will accept “solely or mainly dependent” that would meet me. I move—
I do not think there is any danger in accepting this. The hon. member’s intention is that genuinely adopted children should be treated on the same basis as other children.
Amendment put and agreed to.
If these words are retained a number of men who are now employed on tailings dumps will have to pass the official examination which they are unable to do. I understand that there is no risk of contracting silicosis on tailings dumps, and if these words are retained a number of men will lose their occupation.
I understand these words have been included because it has been discovered that men working on tailings dumps are liable to contract miners’ phthisis. This dust is of a peculiar nature, and there are quite a number of cases on the Reef where men are now finding that miners’ phthisis can be contracted as the result of working on tailings dumps. I think it is going to be dangerous to omit it altogether. I shall be glad if the Minister will tell us if he has got any information on this matter.
This will not prevent a man who has contracted silicosis by working on a dump from getting compensation if this definition is taken out of “underground.” If he satisfies the bureau that he has contracted silicosis by working on the mine, that entitles him to compensation, even if the dump working is taken out of the definition of underground work. If it is kept in and includes these sort of men who work on the dump, they will have to pass the initial examination and that means a number of men working there now will have to be discharged.
That is the real danger. If you keep it in, you are going to promote unemployment. We have now included the assay office assayer as well as the change house attendant. They both come under the “underground” definition. It is as well they should be kept out.
I understand the men protest against these words coming out.
I want to move a verbal alteration—
It makes it clearer and stronger and maliciously is what we intend in this case.
I have no objection. It is usually called malicious desertion.
Amendment put and agreed to.
On the motion of the Minister of Mines and Industries, certain amendments were made in the Dutch version, which did not affect the English.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 77,
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On the Third Schedule.
I would point out that under the Bill as now framed cases occur where miners in the secondary stage of phthisis will receive very much less compensation than those in the ante-primary or primary stage. I would ask the Minister to consider this question and see whether the position cannot be rectified so that a miner who is in the secondary stage shall not receive less compensation than would be paid to a miner in the primary stage.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Third Schedule, as amended, put and agreed to.
On the Fourth Schedule,
On the motion of Mr. O’Brien, the Chairman put amendment proposed by Select Committee to insert “Dumpsman”.
I cannot accept that, because we have already rejected the other amendment.
Amendment proposed by Select Committee, put and agreed to.
Fourth Schedule, as amended, put and agreed to.
Fifth Schedule and Title put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments; to be considered to-morrrow.
The House adjourned at