House of Assembly: Vol57 - MONDAY 2 JUNE 1975
Mr. SPEAKER announced that a vacancy had occurred in the representation in this House of the electoral division of Caledon owing to the resignation with effect from 1 June 1975 of Dr. L. A. P. A. Munnik.
Dr. F. HARTZENBERG, as Chairman, presented the Second Report of the Select Committee on Bantu Affairs.
Report to be printed and considered.
Dr. F. HARTZENBERG, as Chairman, presented the Third Report of the Select Committee on Bantu Affairs.
Report to be printed and considered.
Mr. Chairman, as previous speakers during the Second Reading debate on this Bill have indicated quite clearly, we on this side of the House have no basic objection to this clause and we accordingly will support it. There are, however, certain points arising out of this clause upon which I believe we should receive some clarification from the hon. the Minister.
The first point is that during the Second Reading debate I made it quite clear that it appeared that clause 1 did not cover the position of citizens of Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana. During his Second Reading speech, the hon. member for Ermelo indicated that he had a difference of opinion with me in this regard. It would appear that this matter should be clarified because in his reply to the Second Reading debate the hon. the Minister made no mention of this dispute which exists between the hon. member for Ermelo and myself. When one looks at section 7 of the Aliens Act, one finds that it deals specifically with distinguished persons. It cannot possibly apply therefore to ordinary citizens of Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana. Section 5 of the Aliens Act deals with an application made by an alien who wishes to enter the country for a temporary residence permit. Neither section 5 nor section 7 of the Aliens Act which are referred to in this clause, applies in respect of citizens of Swaziland, Lesotho or Botswana. The section which in point of fact does apply is section 7bis of the Aliens Act in terms of which this country has through the hon. the Minister made certain arrangements with the governments of Swaziland, Lesotho and Botswana to the effect that citizens of those countries may come into this country with passports without there being any necessity for them to have temporary permits. This in fact is the issue between the hon. member for Ermelo and myself. I should like the hon. the Minister to confirm that this is in fact the position and in doing so he must repudiate the hon. member for Ermelo.
The second point that I want to raise is that I should like confirmation from the hon. the Minister that immigrants to this country will not be afforded any privileges in terms of this clause itself. In other words, I should like the hon. the Minister to confirm that if immigrants happen to be other than White people, they will be in exactly the same position as Black, Brown and Asiatic people living in our country today. I should also like confirmation from the hon. the Minister that in point of fact each person, be he an accredited representative of a foreign country or a temporary permit holder or a distinguished person in terms of section 7 of the Aliens Act, will have to produce proof of the fact that he has such an exemption in some documentary form or other to any hotel which is not an open hotel in this country; in other words, any such person will be subjected to the indignity of being obliged to produce proof that he is a person who has been exempted in terms of this clause. I Should also like confirmation from the hon. the Minister that in respect of those persons who are in point of fact granted the authority in terms of clause 1 will have no restrictions whatsoever imposed upon them by law in regard to the persons with whom they may dance or eat, or where they may dance or eat or swim,at any hotel licensed in terms of this Bill anywhere in the Republic of South Africa. In this I include hotels which are licensed solely for persons of other races such as Blacks, Asiatics and Coloureds… [Interjection.] I presume the hon. the Minister will reply to me because I cannot quite hear what he is saying.
Finally, I want to ask for confirmation from the hon. the Minister that sailors are not covered by this clause and that sailors, who do not carry any passports whatsoever and can in fact stay in our coastal towns for lengthy periods of time, will be prevented from entering any hotels other than the open hotels.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to reply to these two points quickly. The hon. member asked what the position was in connection with people from Swaziland etc. I think the hon. member will find the answer on page 65, question 331, et seq. of the evidence before the Select Committee. I quote the questions which were put in this regard and the replies which were given to the questions—
This, in fact, is the reply I can give the hon. member in this regard. It is possible in terms of that arrangement which Foreign Affairs will make, for distinguished people from Swaziland, Botswana and so forth to receive the necessary documentation to grant them the necessary exemption.
I also want to reply to the questions which were put by the hon. member in connection with sailors. In this regard I refer to question No. 335 of the evidence. The following question was put to him by the hon. member for Jeppe—
To that Mr. Fourie replied—
I want to tell the hon. member that there will be hotels in the coastal towns, not necessarily five star hotels, but hotels with fewer stars, which will have to admit sailors who have the necessary documents from their ships. In other words, it will be one of the conditions of the hotel’s international status that people who come off ships and who can produce the necessary documents from their ships, have to be accommodated in that hotel. This is the reply to that question.
Then the hon. member asked whether a foreign visitor—I assume he meant a foreign visitor other than a White—would have to have his documentation with him if he wanted to enter an ordinary hotel. Sir, all foreign visitors will have to produce their passports at all times if they want to stay in an hotel; and if they want to make use of the restaurant facilities, they will, of course, also have to produce their passports. I do not believe that this is unreasonable, because people who visit this country know what the policy of the country is.
Then the hon. member asked whether foreign visitors—again I assume that he meant foreign visitors other than Whites—would be able to make use of all the facilities. The answer is “Yes”. This is in the essence of clause 1, which states very clearly that nothing contained in this Liquor Act, will be applicable to these people. In other words, all the facilities which they want to use, will be at their disposal. With this, Sir, I think I have replied to all the questions of the hon. member.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention, on page 63 of the Select Committee’s report, to a statement which was made by the Secretary for the Interior in relation to clause 3(l)(v); he said—
Does the hon. the Minister envisage that with the opportunity being granted to all these people to obtain temporary permits, they are all going to make application for temporary permits so that they can enjoy these privileges?
Sir, in brief, the position is simply this: All the ordinary visitors, the workers who come here from our neighbouring states, will enter as if they are of our local Black people, but the distinguished people who want such an exemption, will in fact, according to the evidence of the Secretary for the Interior, be able to obtain such a document. We shall regard those people as international people, but this does not apply to everybody. It will depend on their application to the Department of the Interior.
Clause agreed to.
Before I call upon an hon. member to address the Committee, on this clause, I must point out that the principle contained in this clause was fully discussed and agreed to at the Second Reading. In accordance with the practice of this House, I shall accordingly permit only one member of each Opposition party to state their objections to this clause and the Minister to reply. Further discussion will only be in accordance with Standing Order No. 57 and will be strictly confined to the details of the clause and the amendments to such details.
Mr. Chairman, I move the amendments as printed in my name on the Order Paper, viz.—
Actually, the first amendment speaks for itself. It is a consequential amendment that really arises out of the amendment to be moved by the hon. member for Waterkloof. It is necessary also to mention (4) to which reference is made in subsection (1), because subsection (4) will also be an exception to subsection (1), just as subsections (2) and (3) are. If this is not done, then subsection (4) will in fact be valueless. That is why I am moving this amendment. The amendment on page 5 in line 23 is, in fact, vital in adapting the Bill to the spirit of the discussion in the Second Reading debate. In view of our relations problems, viz. the friction that could occur between White and non-White, the need that may arise to accommodate non-Whites in White hotels has in fact taken on a political hue, because the feelings of people and communities, both White and Black, must be taken into account. Then there is the validity and the appropriateness of the conditions to be imposed, which are also seen as political issues. With all respect, I do not think that the National Liquor Board is a political body capable of taking these decisions. Furthermore, in view of the evidence and the memoranda submitted to the committee, it would not be desirable to present the hon. the Minister with a fait accompli as would be done if the words “on recommendation” only were accepted. That is why I think it is imperative that the hon. the Minister be given a discretion. That is why I ask that these words be inserted. In other words, the report the National Liquor Board will submit to the hon. the Minister, on the basis of which he will exercise his discretion, will be an objective one.
I also just want to mention that Government policy must be carried out at all times, and it could just place the National Liquor Board in an embarrassing position if it had to take a decision concerning Government policy.
Lastly, I want to point out that if the National Liquor Board turned down an application for an international hotel, or perhaps did not recommend it, as the Bill reads at present the hon. the Minister would have no discretion. This could give rise to a very uncomfortable situation, because owing to the Minister’s special information, possibly extremely confidential information, it is advisable that the application be first submitted to the Minister and that he should subsequently exercise his discretion. Sir, that is why I propose these amendments.
Mr. Chairman, I move the amendment as printed in my name on the Order Paper, viz.—
Actually, the amendment moved speaks for itself. I need not, therefore, dwell on its contents. It, too, is supplementary to the proposed section 81(3)(a) in the sense that if anyone who has not obtained a licence under subsection (3)(a) for some reason finds himself in the position of being obliged or requested to accommodate someone as envisaged in this amending Bill, he can apply to the Minister for permission for that ad hoc case and the Minister can then grant him permission, subject to the conditions which the Minister sees fit to impose. That is what this amounts to.
Mr. Chairman, we will support the amendment moved by the hon. member for Potgietersrus because, as the hon. member will remember, it was we who suggested on the Select Committee that this should be changed. Indeed, when I spoke during the Second Reading I also indicated that the hon. the Minister was tied hand and foot to the National Liquor Board and that he could not do anything unless the National Liquor Board recommended it. Therefore, we obviously accept the amendment and take credit for it as well.
Why did you not move it then?
The amendment proposed by the hon. member for Waterkloof flows also from the criticism we offered in respect of this Bill during the Second Reading. We pointed out that not only were a lot of rights being taken away by the Bill, but also that provision was not being made for the hon. the Minister to meet any situation in exceptional cases which could not be foreseen. These amendments meet the objections which we on this side of the House raised, and, presumably, had we not raised these objections, those hon. gentlemen would not have moved them. [Interjections.] Be that as it may, we accept both these amendments and I am sure the hon. the Minister will accept them, otherwise the hon. gentlemen would not have dared to put them on the Order Paper.
The position with this clause is, as you have rightly pointed out, Mr. Chairman, that it is the essence of the whole Bill. The principle of the Bill is contained in it. We had thought to move amendments to it as well, but the amendments we wished to move were of such a fundamental nature that we were advised that they would be out of order. For that reason we are not moving any amendments to this clause, but I would like to say that even if the two amendments by the hon. gentlemen on the other side are accepted, we will still vote against this clause because it remains as objectionable as it was before.
I will deal with the criticism there was during the Second Reading in more depth when we come to the Third Reading, because I must abide by your ruling, Sir, and I cannot go into this matter in any great length now. However, the criticisms were all misdirected and all the criticisms, especially those from the hon. the Minister, were not criticisms which arose from any misunderstanding of what was proposed by this side of the House, but from the misrepresentation of what was proposed by this side of the House. The hon. the Minister said that if our approach were adopted, everything would be thrown open and that there would be a flooding of all hotels and bars by Blacks. That is not our approach at all. Our approach is that it should be left to the discretion of the hoteliers, the sector providing public amenities. It is a very healthy policy because it will enable the persons in the area concerned to determine whether a situation should or should not develop. Can hon. members imagine for one moment that an hotelier is going to allow people into his hotel if the possibility of a disturbance exists? Obviously the man running his hotel business is not going to allow that and never has allowed it. The hon. the Minister surely remembers the days when this Nationalist Party was not in power and when the private sector providing public amenities, for example bioscopes, was not restricted by law at all. In spite of this you did not find that the bioscopes were flooded with Black people and that the Whites could not get into them. What did you find? The situation was exactly the same as it is today, because the proprietors of the cinemas, for example in Cape Town, knew that their main clientele were White people who did not want to sit with Black people at that stage. Consequently they did not allow Black people in. But by the same token you found as well, in the small platteland towns, a situation where both could be accommodated in different ways. It was left entirely to the proprietors. The situation now, even with the improvements to the permit system being introduced, will not meet any of those requirements and will not meet the realities of South Africa today. We will discuss this further during the Third Reading debate and will vote against this clause.
Mr. Chairman, I will be brief. We will vote against this clause, but will support the amendments.
Mr. Chairman, it is my privilege to move the amendment standing on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. member for Sandton, as follows—
I think the amendment is self-explanatory. It seeks to add on to the new section 81 (3)(f) “provided that no such authority shall be withdrawn without good reason”. Clearly, if the hon. the Minister or somebody delegated by him intends to withdraw some of these rights there must be some reason. What we are saying is that the reason for doing so must be stated. If the person who is having rights withdrawn from him feels aggrieved and that the reasons are not good reasons, he will be in a position to take recourse to the courts to redress what he believes to be a wrongful act.
Mr. Chairman, I just want to indicate that in my opinion, the hon. member for Potgietersrus is quite correct in his approach to this amendment and that I shall accept it. The same goes for the amendment moved! by the hon. member for Waterkloof. The hon. member for Durban North is smiling now, because I do not think he wanted to move the amendment because he was afraid that I would reject it. Now that hon. members on this side have in fact moved the amendments, I must say that I feel better about it than I would have if I had had to grant it to them. As far as the hon. member for Randburg is concerned, I must say that if the clause is accepted as it reads at present, one can review a decision. A court will consider whether I have exercised my discretion properly and whether I have acted mala fide or have been unreasonable. What more can the hon. member for Randburg want? He proposes that the words “provided that no such authority shall be withdrawn without good reason” be inserted. At the moment a case for review can go to court for precisely that reason.
May I ask the hon. the Minister a question? Is it not so as the clause stands at the present moment, that the only redress is one of mala fides and that if my amendment is accepted, if an aggrieved party is unhappy with the reasons put forward by the hon. the Minister, which he put forward in good faith, he can then go to court and argue the discretion of the hon. the Minister?
At the moment the position is that the court has ample opportunity to ascertain my bona fides and the reasons I supply. The reasons I advance are an expression of my line of thought, and the only way in which the court can approach this is to ascertain the reasons which a person advances for his actions. The court may then determine on the basis of those reasons whether I have overstepped the mark, whether I have acted unreasonably, or whether I have been guilty of a blunder. The hon. member’s one aim in moving this amendment is to call my reasons into question and that I cannot accept. The reasons I advance will never satisfy the hon. member for Randburg. He will run to court with every application. The hon. member’s approach is different to mine. That is not a court’s approach. A court’s approach is to determine whether the responsible person has exercised his discretion properly, whether he has advanced sound reasons or whether he has been guilty of a legal blunder. They have also to consider whether the reasons advanced point to mala fides. Surely that is a far better means of review than that proposed by the hon. member. After all, this has also to be tested on review. As the legal position is at present, I think this is more desirable and consequently I cannot accept the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I accept what the hon. the Minister says, although I disagree with him completely. He is saying that if there is a case of mala fides, that can be taken to court, but that if there is a disagreement on reason, that cannot be taken to court. I think that the hon. the Minister should also bear in mind…
No, I did not say that.
… that the people who have these licences could be severely prejudiced by any action taken by the Minister or somebody delegated by him. If, for certain reasons which are totally unjust, the hon. the Minister should take certain action, the licensee who is severely prejudiced has absolutely no redress at all. Surely, if he can put his case to a court of law and prove that he has been prejudiced for no just reason, although the hon. the Minister has not acted mala fide, he should be able to have the situation redressed. I do not see what the hon. the Minister’s objection is.
Amendments moved by Mr. F. Herman and Mr. T. Langley agreed to.
Amendment moved by Mr. R. E. Enthoven (’t Hooft) negatived (Progressive Party and Reform Party dissenting).
Clause, as amended, put and the Committee divided:
Ayes—91: Albertyn, J. T.; Aucamp, P. L. S.; Badenhorst, P. J.; Ballot, G. C.; Barnard, S. P.; Bodenstein, P.; Botha, G. F.; Botha, J. C. G.; Botha, L. J.; Botha, M. C.; Brandt, J. W.; Clase, P. J.; Cronje, P.; Cruywagen, W. A.; De Jager, A. M. van A.; De Klerk, F. W.; De Villiers, D. J.; De Wet, M. W.; Du Plessis, G. C.; Du Plessis, P. T. C.; Engelbrecht, J. J.; Greeff, J. W.; Greyling, J. C.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Grobler, W. S. J.; Hefer, W. J.; Henning, J. M.; Herman, F.; Heunis, J. C.; Hoon, J. H.; Janson, J.; Koornhof, P. G. J.; Kotzé, G. J.; Kotzé, S. F.; Kotzé, W. D.; Krijnauw, P. H. J.; Kruger, J. T.; Langley, T.; Le Roux, F. J. (Brakpan); Le Roux, F. J. (Hercules); Le Roux, Z. P.; Lloyd, J. J.; Loots, J. J.; Louw, E.; Malan, G. F.; Malan, J. J.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, P. S.; Maree, G. de K.; Meyer, P. H.; Morrison, G. de V.; Muller, H.; Nel, D. J. L.; Niemann, J. J.; Nothnagel, A. E.; Palm, P. D.; Pansegrouw, J. S.; Pienaar, L. A.; Potgieter, J. E.; Raubenheimer, A. J.; Reyneke, J. P. A.; Rossouw, W. J. C.; Schoeman, H.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Scott, D. B.; Snyman, W. J.; Steyn, D. W.; Terblanche, G. P. D.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Ungerer, J. H. B.; Van den Berg, J. C.; Van der Spuy, S. J. H.; Van der Walt, H. J. D.; Van Heerden, R. F.; Van Rensburg, H. M. J.; Van Tonder, J. A.; Van Wyk, A. C.; Van Zyl, J. J. B.; Venter, A. A.; Viljoen, M.; Viljoen, P. J. van B.; Vilonel, J. J.; Vlok, A. J.; Volker, V. A.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, W. L.; Wentzel, J. J. G.
Tellers: J. P. C. le Roux, A. van Breda, C. V. van der Merwe and W. L. van der Merwe.
Noes—34: Aronson, T.; Bartlett, G. S.; Basson, J. D. du P.; Baxter, D. D.; Bell, H. G. H.; Boraine, A. L.; Deacon, W. H. D.; De Villiers, R. M.; Enthoven (’t Hooft), R. E.; Graaff, De V.; Hickman, T.; Hughes, T. G.; Lorimer, R. J.; Miller, H.; Mills, G. W.; Mitchell, M. L.; Murray, L. G.; Oldfield, G. N.; Olivier, N. J. J.; Page, B. W. B.; Pyper, P. A.; Slabbert, F. van Z.; Streicher, D. M.; Van Coller, C. A.; Van den Heever, S. A.; Van Eck, H. J.; Van Hoogstraten, H. A.; Van Rensburg, H. E. J.; Waddell, G. H.; Wainwright, C. J. S.; Webber, W. T.; Wiley, J. W. E.
Tellers: E. L. Fisher and W. M. Sutton.
Clause as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, clause 4 is extremely brief. It simply repeals section 113 of the principal Act. I think that it is important that the provisions of this clause should be seen in context. In the course of his Second Reading speech the hon. the Minister said, and I quote Hansard (col. 6564):
It is necessary for me to issue a word of warning in this regard: Licences abusing the repeal of section 113 in terms of clause 4 of this Bill, will find that very firm steps will be taken against them in terms of the system of hotel classification.
We on these benches made it abundantly clear during the Second Reading that we have grave reservations in regard to repealing section 113 of the principal Act. I should like to back up what I said during the Second Reading by pointing out that no arguments were raised in favour of repealing this section of the principal Act in the evidence which was given before the Select Committee. To give the right to refuse admission purely on the grounds of race or colour. Indeed, I should like to refer the hon. the Minister to four particular passages in the evidence given. Firstly, I want to refer to question 161, in reply to which a representative of Fedhasa said:
We mentioned that we agreed that the holder of a hotel or restaurant licence should have a stronger right than he has at present to refuse admission and to refuse use of facilities. We said that on balance, as far as that was concerned, we could therefore see some positive advantage in the repeal of section 113. However the hon. the Minister himself as well as the hon. members for Vereeniging and Bloemfontein East chose to interpret the repeal of this particular section as giving the holders of hotel licences—I say this in respect of the chain of open hotels that will be created by the hon. the Minister—and also restaurants if the hon. the Minister goes that far, the right to refuse admission purely on the grounds of colour or race. We on these benches have absolutely no time for that. We made our position quite clear during the Second Reading debate. Indeed, we can only assume that the hon. members for Vereeniging and Bloemfontein East share this opinion with us.
If one looks at the evidence, one sees there was no evidence given to the Select Committee which in any way inferred that the right of admission could be refused purely on the basis of colour or race. If one looks particularly at the reply given to question 129, one sees that towards the end of his reply the witness said:
Then, in reply to question 167, the witness said:
I want to refer finally to the reply given to question 25 by a witness who was a representative of the Department of Justice and, indeed, of the National Liquor Board. That witness said:
Our contention is that, if one looks through the evidence, one sees that it is implied and, indeed, sometimes explicitly stated that there was never any question that the colour or race of a person should be sufficient justification for refusing him the use or enjoyment of the facilities that will be provided by the open hotels as contemplated by the hon. the Minister. Therefore, to put our point of view quite beyond doubt, we have drafted and put on the Order Paper an amendment which will be moved if this clause is negatived.
Mr. Chairman, I am sorry to have to inform the hon. member who moved this amendment that we cannot support the amendment.
Order! No amendment has been moved.
Mr. Chairman, I should just like to quote to the hon. member part of the evidence on section 113 which he forgot to quote. I quote from paragraph 161 where Mr. Freedburg was asked—
†If the hon. member agrees with me— the hon. member shakes his head vigorously—why did the hon. member get up and oppose this clause? I cannot understand the hon. member bringing forward an amendment, especially in view of the fact that the hon. member signed the minority report which flies in the face of this very amendment of his or the so-called amendment…
Order! There is no amendment before the Committee.
The position is simply that hoteliers are not as strict about colour as the hon. member for Johannesburg North seems to be. The position is that at an international hotel, the hotelier will have the right of admission and he can refuse admission to any person he does not like. For that matter, it might as well be the hon. member for Johannesburg North. He might not like the hon. member’s brown eyes. The hotelier can turn around and say that his hotel is closed to the hon. member. The hotelier might not like the fact that the person is a little under the weather and as a result refuse him admittance. It might be a White man, a Black man or a person who has just come from work and who wants to come into the international hotel. The person might just have received his pay and the hotelier might say that he cannot come in because the hotel is not an establishment for people who come off the streets, from work or something like that. This is the position because we give the hotelier the right to say whom he wants in his hotel as far as this particular matter is concerned. As I have said, I cannot understand the hon. member’s attitude at all.
Mr. Chairman, I think that I have to inform the House that as far as the Opposition is concerned, we support clause 4—that is the one we are dealing with—in terms of which section 113 of the principal Act is to be repealed. We support this because we believe that section 113 is a most unsatisfactory section. It reads as follows:
Obviously, it is unsatisfactory because each magistrate in each district has a different concept as to what constitutes sufficient reason, Therefore, it is quite impossible for any case law to be built up to guide people as to what would be sufficient reason for refusing to allow people to come into hotels. Firstly, section 113 is completely unworkable and: as I understand the position, there have been no decided cases which have been published for the guidance of people in regard to its application. It has, in fact, become completely redundant. Sir, dealing with the amendment which will be moved, I presume, if the clause is negatived and which is printed on the Order Paper…
Order! That amendment has not been moved, so the hon. member cannot discuss it.
Sir, then I will refer to the speech made by the hon. member for Johannesburg North, in the course of which he said that he did not believe that clause 113 should be repealed. Sir, I am indeed surprised, as the hon. the Minister is, at the statement made by the hon. member for Johannesburg North, because, as the hon. the Minister has rightly said, in the Select Committee the hon. member for Johannesburg North in fact voted for the repeal of section 113, and now he comes along with this statement after having had a change of heart. He mentioned that he would like to deal with the question of the race of the person concerned not constituting good and sufficient cause for refusing to supply him with meals and accommodation under clause 3 which we have just passed, but he did not make any mention whatever of those people who are not White…
Order! I think the hon. member is out of order now. He is now talking about the amendment which has not been moved.
Sir, I want to refer to the speech of the hon. member for Johannesburg North, and I want to say that in his speech he made no mention of any change in the position of those persons who are not White and who come in under section 5 or section 7 of the Aliens Act. I presume that he is now going to tell us why he made no mention of the question of the race of those people who are allowed in under section 5 or section 7 of the Aliens Act.
Mr. Chairman, may I come back to the hon. the Minister. The attitude that we adopt in these benches is that ultimately those who hold a restaurant or hotel licence should be placed under an obligation to serve the general public since they are in fact providing public facilities. Sir, we accept the hon. the Minister’s perfectly valid contention that the owner of a hotel licence or a restaurant licence should have the right, if he can show good and sufficient cause, to refuse admission to any person, whether White, Black or Brown. The hon. the Minister mentioned certain examples where a hotelier might refuse to admit a person, for example where the person is drunk. We have no quarrel with that, but we certainly do not agree that an hotelier should have the right to admit a person because he does not like the colour of his eyes. We think that there is a very clear-cut line to be drawn here. If this Bill is passed, it is envisaged that a chain of international hotels will be created, and all we are saying is that the right to refuse to admit any person to an international or open hotel should not include the right to do so on the ground of the race or the colour of the person involved. Sir, I think this goes a long way in answering the point raised by the hon. member for East London City. We are not concerned in any way with the question of colour. What we are trying to make abundantly clear is this party’s attitude, which was raised and questioned by the hon. member for Bloemfontein East and by the hon. member for Vereeniging. I may say, Sir, that the only thing that we find extraordinarily interesting here is the attitude of hon. members of the United Party.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
This clause before us now permits of regulations being made in which different fees may be prescribed for different licences issued in terms of the different provisions of section 7(A) of the Radio Act, 1952 or, subject to certain provisions, licences issued in respect of different periods. Now, the Radio Act of 1952 which is also referred to in later clauses in this Bill contains a provision which makes it statutorily compulsory for there to be provision for pro rata fees for licences taken out during the period of the licensing year. In other words, a person who acquires a set halfway through the licensing year will only pay half that particular licence fee. The fees in respect of the different licences are now going to be left in the hands of the Minister to prescribe by regulation. That is to be a directive now by regulation to the Postmaster-General in regard to the issue of licences. If we go further we find there is the provision for licences to be issued to persons who own various quantities of radio or television sets. I take this to mean that a hotelier or a person who might own several sets will have that number of sets covered by a particular licence. Then there is also the power to issue licences to persons of different classes or categories, and, in terms of paragraph (a) of this clause, to issue licences to persons in different areas. As this is all being left to regulation, I want to put certain questions to the hon. the Minister. I hope he will be able to indicate what the line of thinking and the policy is in so far as these powers of regulation are concerned. The first one is in connection with the requirements for licence purposes in the case of one person owning more than one set. As the hon. the Minister knows a person may own various radio sets—I think it is five or seven—which are covered by one radio licence. Is there going to be a similar provision as far as television sets are concerned, first of all as far as the private owner is concerned? If a private owner, for example a parliamentarian, who lives in Cape Town for a certain period and the rest in another part of the country, has a set at both his residences at the same time, will it be necessary to take out separate licences for each one of these sets? There is also the question of hotels which will own television sets which will often only be used during the season, for example in Care Town. Will there be an adjustment made in regard to the fees for the retention and holding in the hotel of television sets which will not be used for a considerable period in the case of seasonal hotels? I would also like to refer to the different classes of people who will own television sets. I take it that the hon. the Minister will have regard to the classes or categories of people concerned and will make concessions to people like old-age pensioners.
The final query I would like to put is in regard to reduced fees in the case of an old-age pensioner for example, or a home of some sort or hospitals where sets are installed. I would like to know whether the licence for the full period of the listener’s year must be paid if, for example, a licence is taken out in a newly established old-age home.
I have one final question to ask the hon. the Minister in regard to the general approach. Is the hon. the Minister in a position to indicate the policy that will be followed in connection with cases where television sets are installed in nursing homes or hospitals for the patients? The hon. the Minister will realize…
The hon. member must speak up. I cannot hear him.
The hon. the Minister will realize that the TV-sets installed in hospitals will probably be installed at the cost of a benevolent society if not at the expense of public authorities. If they were to be installed by provincial administrations, the latter would probably be exempted from the licence fees. Will a benevolent society which installs a TV-set for the benefit of the patients, be treated any differently in this regard? I hope the hon. the Minister can clear up the issues I raised.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Green Point is quite right in saying that this clause is possibly connected with what he called “the way of thinking” of the SABC, and that it is connected with various provisions in this Bill. Actually, it is a pity that we have to present the matters now under consideration to this House this way. The intention was to introduce a comprehensive new Broadcasting Act, but because it is so late in the session, we could not succeed in completing it. We hope to be able to publish it for general consideration during the recess in the Gazette, and that we shall be able to deliberate on a comprehensive Broadcasting Bill next year. Against this background, and after I have furnished certain explanations, the hon. member will probably understand why the matter is being stated in the way in which we have it before us. In the first place, the whole matter revolves around the fact that different possibilities exist in respect of listeners’ licences—i.e. for the use and possession of radios. There is such a thing as concessionary licence fees for the users and owners of radios. On the other hand, there will be no concessionary licences for the users of television sets. The reasons are obvious, and I want to point out a few particulars to hon. members in this connection. The capital investment in our television service will amount to anything from R108 million to R110 million when phase 1 has been completed. It is calculated that the annual operating loss will vary from R28 million in 1976 to, perhaps, R2 million in 1979, and that only after that shall we come out even as far as operating costs are concerned. At this stage, therefore, there can unfortunately be no question of concessionary licence fees. It is provided in the clause inter alia that there will be pro rata payments according to different periods. The hon. member pointed out quite rightly that it was formerly possible to obtain pro rata reductions, while we are determining this here according to periods only. I am actually anticipating the matter now, but the hon. member should judge this matter against the right background. At the moment, radio listerners’ licences are calculated on a quarterly basis, while the intention is to make provision for television licences on a monthly basis. Negotiations in this connection have not yet been finalized, but we hope that we shall be successful. Of course, this does not preclude the possibility of continuing to deal with radio licences on a quarterly basis. But to cover the two lands of licences under one provision, we do this by only making provision for different periods. In the case of the radio, this can be done on a quarterly, and in the case of television, perhaps on a monthly basis. The proviso to which the hon. member referred—i.e. clause 8(b)—merely stabilizes the existing position, viz. that the holder of a listeners’ licence, who becomes entitled to a concession in the course of a year, cannot obtain a refund of that money. The same will therefore, apply in future. I think that I have now replied to all the questions which the hon. member put.
Mr. Chairman, perhaps I did not speak loudly enough; there were one or two other questions I put to the hon. the Minister. The one was in connection with the licensing of seasonal hotels with radio and television sets in their rooms. Will these hotels be taken into consideration so that instead of having to pay the full licensing fees for the whole year, they would have to pay only for a certain period? In the same way that a telephone can be disconnected, TV sets can also be disconnected when they are not in use. The second question was whether a licence would be required for each TV set unlike the arrangement which now applies, where one owner may have more than one radio set under one licence.
Mr. Chairman, I thought that I had already replied to the question of whether there will be concessionary licences for television. Obviously the hon. member did not understand it in that way. The intention is that each television reception set which is able to receive independently over the air, will have to be licensed. Therefore, there will be no concessions as far as this matter is concerned. The same will also apply for periods in which the set is not in use. The sets will have to be licensed and there will be no refunds for those periods in which the set is not used.
An expensive little pastime.
Yes, it is expensive.
Mr. Chairman, I want to go back to what the hon. the Minister has said. The bugbear seems to be the tremendous losses of about R28 million that are going to be incurred in 1976, coming down to about R2 million in 1979 to break even in about 1980. When one considers the tremendously large number of pensioners and other people who will be prohibited from having a television set because of the stipulations here, could one not start thinking at an early stage of making use of commercials, of having some advertising to reduce this kind of loss in order to facilitate some kind of concessionary licences, especially as far as the aged are concerned?
Mr. Chairman, the question of commercials to compensate for the tremendous expenditure of this service, has of course been debated repeatedly. The matter was also given thorough consideration by the Cabinet. The hon. member will know that the eventual decision was that during the first two years of the television service there would be no commercial spots or advertisements. The basis for this decision was in fact the representations which the Press addressed to the Government, viz. to allow them a period of adjustment. The request was made by the NPU, the organized Press body, to afford the Press an opportunity to adjust. From 1978 there will be a limited percentage of advertisements to compensate partially for these losses which I have mentioned. The income which will be derived from those advertisements, is included in these calculations which I have mentioned to this House.
Mr. Chairman, may I ask the hon. the Minister whether the envisaged television year is to coincide with the calendar year or will it be commensurate with the current radio year, i.e. 1 October to 30 September? He has indicated that there will probably be pro rata payments. The radio listeners’ licence will involve quarterly payments while the television licence will involve monthly payments. We all accept the fact that the television licence is quite a substantial one, ie. R36 per annum, i.e. R3 per month. Has he given consideration to a person or persons who may have a television set or the use of a television set on a temporary basis? That person would be responsible for the licence, but will the licence be refunded when the set is disposed of? Does the licence, in fact, pertain to the person using the set or to the set itself? As such, is the licence transferable by the individual or does it transfer with the set? Has the hon. the Minister given any further consideration to the monthly payment of licences? I appreciate that now is perhaps not the opportune time to ask him this question, but I would none the less like to do so.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to make certain that I do not misunderstand the hon. the Minister. He said there could be no question of concessionary licences. As I understand the clause, it provides that different fees may be prescribed for persons who have different quantities of radio sets or television sets or receiving points. Am I correct when I say that this clause already authorizes the introduction of the same concessions for television sets as those which exist at present for radio sets? They have the authority to draw distinctions and because they may draw distinctions, it means that they may grant concessions. All that stand in the way of a concession at this stage is a decision of the hon. the Minister or a decision which is to be taken on a higher level. The point which I want to make is, therefore, that this clause provides the authority, and to be able to apply this a regulation has to be made accordingly. Is that interpretation correct?
Mr. Chairman, this clause does grant complete authority, but if the hon. member looks at the other clauses, for example, at clause 15, he will see that the matter is put in the right perspective there. In other words, it is not the intention to grant any concessionary licences at this stage.
The hon. member for Umhlanga asks what the licence year will be. The intention is that the licence year will be the same as that for radio, in other words, from 1 October to 30 September of the following year. Anyone who takes out a licence shortly before the date of expiry, will obviously have to pay pro rata. The statutory provision in respect of the licensing of a television set stipulates that the set has to be licensed. An amount of R36 per year has to be paid in respect of every set. The person who buys a set from another person who already has the set and the licence will of course be required to take out a licence for the unexpired part of the year, if it is not a full year. Of course, an agreement can be reached between him and the seller as to whether one is going to repay the other, but the SABC will not refund this money.
Mr. Chairman, I am grateful that the hon. the Minister has given me this assurance. When we come to clause 15, we shall discuss this matter again. Then there is another problem which I want to raise with the hon. the Minister. Next year the licence fees will be payable on 1 January. The average year expires at the end of September. I have been told that provision will be made for persons who want to pay annually and not monthly. The licence fee of R36 will cover the period from January to December. Therefore, it will not mean that it is issued for the period from January to September as is the case with radios. Will this mean that a person who pays his annual licence fee of R36 in January, might have to pay R36 again in September of the same year? On what basis is the licence year calculated for a person who pays annually?
Mr. Chairman, as I have already said in reply to the question put by the hon. member for Umhlanga, provision will be made for the pro rata payment of the licence. In other words, a person who buys a set in January, may pay for nine-twelfths of the year. After that, however, he may pay for a full year and his set will be covered from the beginning to the end of the licence year.
In each separate year?
Yes, provision is being made for pro rata payments within the licence year where people prefer this.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I move the following amendments—
Looking at clause 10, one notes, in the first place, that it is a very technical clause. When one studies this clause, one has also to look at section 3(l)(b) of the Deeds Registries Act which provides, inter alia, as follows—
In other words, those documents which have to be signed or registered by the registrar must still be investigated by him. Consequently clause 10 does not derogate from the duties of the Registrar in any way in terms of section 3 of the Deeds Registries Act.
The second aspect one must consider is the fact that the proposed section 15A(1) reads, inter alia, as follows—
In this regard it must be noticed that it is envisaged that a prescribed form be drafted which would serve as a certificate to be signed by the conveyancer. Looking at the envisaged amendments under this clause, one sees that the certificate only relates to the supporting documents that must be submitted by a conveyancer. It has always been the practice for the Registrar of Deeds to peruse these supporting documents, but his obligation to peruse them was not a legal one. His only obligation in law was under section 3. The proposed section 15A(1)(a)(ii), in particular, determines that a certificate in the prescribed form submitted by a conveyancer must certify—
This places the onus on the conveyancer to certify that all possible claims in regard to the Group Areas Act have been discharged. One can hardly set a conveyancer this task, particularly if he practises on the platteland and may therefore be a long way from the Surveyer-General’s office and the Group Areas Board. Nor, in my humble opinion, is it the intention to impose this task on him. What I have in mind with my first amendment, therefore, is to put it clearly that there will be a prescribed form which will indicate which provisions of the Group Areas Act must be certified. I think that the proposed amendment is more in harmony with the spirit of the provisions of the Act.
The same argument, of course, applies to paragraph (a)(iv) which provides that a certificate in the prescribed form submitted by a conveyancer must certify—
Here again the burden or onus of proof is placed on the conveyancer to certify that all laws, or “any law”, as is stated in the provision, have been complied with. We know that conveyancers are people who uphold a high ethical standard. The instruction as it stands here is virtually impossible for them to carry out. That is why I moved my second amendment, viz. to make it clear that the acts he has to comply with will be indicated in the certificate in the prescribed form which he has to submit. I submit that this amendment will contribute towards the implementation of these provisions in practice, and will make it possible for conveyancers to submit the necessary certificate. I think that it will also expedite the registration of deeds of transfer.
Mr. Chairman, we support the amendments moved by the hon. member for Pretoria West and we approve of the clause as a whole itself. We had some serious doubts before the amendments were introduced here, because we realized that conveyancers would have serious difficulty in dealing particularly with the Group Areas Act in relation to the certificate that they were required to produce. I would like to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention to the fact that in terms of the new suggestions which are contained in this clause, the onus on the conveyancer is a very heavy one. I believe that the hon. the Minister is probably aware of the fact that conveyancers sometimes have great difficulty in obtaining from their clients their correct names. Sometimes the client does not even know what the correct spelling of his Christian name is. I want to refer to the name Frederick in particular. All those who are blessed with the name of Frederick, will be pleased to know that there are at least eight different ways in which “Frederick” can be spelt. In relation to dates of birth, too, I believe that the hon. the Minister will know that it has happened on many occasions that clients of conveyancers have not known what their correct date of birth is. It is only with extreme difficulty that one is able to establish factually what the date of birth of such a person is. It appears that the onus is now being cast entirely upon the conveyancer to satisfy himself that the facts relating to names, date of birth and status are correct. The hon. member for Preria West suggested that section 3 of the Deeds Registries Act was not being tampered with as regards the obligation of the Registrar of Deeds to examine documents carefully, but if one reads subsection (3) of the new section 15A, one will see that it states:
Faced with this, I maintain that the Registrar of Deeds, once he has obtained a certificate from a conveyancer, will say to himself that in view of the fact that these facts are conclusive proof of what is contained in the deed, his obligation under section 3 in relation to those particular facts falls away. I believe too that the wording of subsection (2) of the new section 15A is pure legalese. I must say that my feeling is that this provision is designed to amuse and will only confuse. I would like to read it to hon. members so that it can be clearly established in their minds what sort of legislation we are passing here this afternoon. Subsection (2) reads as follows:
I believe that this is a very clumsy clause. All it really means in fact is that if there is any other deed or document which the registrar is required to register and which requires the details set out in subclause (1), then those details must be set out in a certificate of a similar nature. This is all that it means, but here we find approximately nine lines of pure legalise. I would therefore ask the hon. the Minister please to discuss this matter with his legal adviser and to see, before this Bill goes to the Other Place whether it cannot be improved in such a way that it will be understood by the man in the street and by those persons who have to deal with it, namely the conveyancers themselves.
Finally, Sir, I would also like to draw attention to subclause (1)(a)(iii), which also places the heaviest onus that one can imagine on a conveyancer to establish, first of all, that any trust, society or corporation has certain powers. He has to establish also that it has authority to act; he has to establish that its name is correctly reflected, and he also has to establish that it is properly registered in terms of any law that applies to that particular trust or society. Sir, I believe that this is something which will speed up registration procedures. We are in favour of speeding up registration procedures as much as possible, but I do believe, too, that conveyancers should be protected in part and I trust that the heavy onuses that will be placed on them in the future will not lead to fewer and fewer people taking on the onerous task of conveyancing.
To begin with, I want to say that I agree with the argument advanced by the hon. member for Pretoria West and that I accept his amendments, too.
As far as the hon. member for East London City is concerned, I want to say that he is quite correct to support the amendment, since the amendment is logical and will in fact assist the attorneys. As far as his argument relating to 15A(2) is concerned, I must say that he gave a very good explanation of exactly what that sub-clause provides. I do not think it lacks clarity, but in any event, because so many words are involved here, I shall ask my department whether it cannot be stated in fewer words. Then, if necessary, I shall amend the wording in the Other Place. I just want to say, Sir, that this whole matter has been thrashed out by a departmental committee in co-operation with the law societies. The idea is not that the department wants to refuse to take the responsibility of registration, but rather that it wants to transfer the responsibility to each group which should be shouldering it. I do not think it will ever be possible to say—nor do I believe that it is said by any hon. members here—that what can be done by the clerks of the department in the deeds offices, cannot be done by an attorney. I believe that the forms we are proposing here, are forms of such a nature that the attorneys will be quite capable of tracing and certifying all the data. Sir, everyone has agreed that this procedure will save an enormous amount of time and that the attorneys will be given better service in this way because once they have completed their section of the work they will be able to obtain registration of those documents sooner. I think we shall find that there will be a vast overall improvement, particularly as regards the speed of registration. We shall, of course, come across a few problems here, as the hon. member for East London City has already indicated. We shall quite probably come across a number of problems with regard to attorneys who will still be unacquainted with the forms we shall have submitted to them. I believe that this will be solved in a very short time because, and I should like to repeat this, I believe that it will be just as easy for a qualified attorney to obtain and certify the information as it is for a clerk in the Deeds Office. In my opinion this will bring about a major improvement.
Amendments agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, we obviously welcome this amendment because it means that in future one category at least of restricted persons will have the right of free speech restored to them once the restriction on the individual has been lifted. It also, of course, makes it possible for newspapers to quote such ungaged people without running the risk of prosecution. Sir, it was always unjust, and in fact it was not only unjust but absurd, to maintain this prohibition on the publication of the views of people once they had been cleared by the law. It has never been clear to us why this should have been retained. Once a person had been absolved from the guilt which may have been attached to him by whatever administrative action had been taken, it was indefensible and obviously it was a negation of the rights of the individual to maintain this prohibition in respect of people no longer under any kind of suspicion, and one knows how wide the net was cast and what effect it had on people who, after a period of time, were absolved. I should like to say, also, that the Press will be immeasurably relieved by this provision, because in future there will be at least one category of restricted persons about whom they will not have to bother when it comes to the quotation or publication of their views. In other words, the list of gagged people who may not be quoted under any circumstances will grow shorter as a result of this amendment. Whether it will be any less difficult to keep this list up to date is a moot point. All I can say is that as a practising journalist this was one of the real bugbears in regard to the administration of this Act, to keep this list going. We know that newspapers already walk through a legislative minefield, often in a semi-blindfold state, because of the vagueness of the law, and the restriction on the publication of the views of people banned has always in our view been infinitely more trouble than it was worth. We could never really see the sense of it. When it is realized that such publication, as did occasionally take place, was usually the result simply of an error on the part of an individual and that there was nothing deliberate about it, the problems created will be more easily appreciated. So one is thankful for these small mercies. But if I am right—and I hope the Minister will tell me what the position is—it seems to me that the lifting of the restriction proposed in this clause applies only to one of the categories of restricted persons. In other words, it applies only as far as we can see to those persons who were banned from attending gatherings. Now if that is the case, what about those who were declared restricted by notice in the Gazette— I think that was under section 10quin of the original Act—as a result of the fact that they were thought to be advancing the aims of Communism? That was one group. There were two other groups, those who were placed on either of the lists referred to in sections 4 and 7. As far as I can see, this relaxation in the present clause does not apply to these categories of people. If that is right, I do not see the logic of it. It seems to me that it is going to create a situation of almost infinite confusion because, as we know, in the case of these three or four categories, there are people who fall into each one of them under certain circumstances. I wonder whether the Minister would not seriously consider some general relaxation of the restriction on publication of affected persons’ statements. My difficulty is this. There is one matter in particular I have in mind, and that is that as the law stands now, newspapers may not even publish the name of restricted person who has died. This is an incongruity which, to my mind, it would be pure common sense to change. If the hon. the Minister is confused and is concerned about the abuse of this, it seems to me that there are other remedies that he has at hand. In any case, the point I think we should make in a situation of this nature is that, if there is an offence in the publication of an individual’s views under these circumstances, attention should surely not be directed at the mere fact of publication which, as I said earlier, could take place quite innocently and in error. Surely attention should be directed at the intention of publication or to the effect of such publication. Only then will this make sense. It seems to me that the hon. the Minister is adequately covered in this sense. My concern is not only for the effect these needless restraints have on press freedom, that is, on the right of the public to know and to have access to certain facts; but my concern is also for the confusion and uncertainty which will exist in future if the law is amended in this way. I also believe that a move in the direction I have indicated, that is, a relaxation and loosening up of the restrictions under which newspapers are operating at the moment, will be something that will do South Africa’s image here and abroad a good deal of good.
While we are dealing with an amendment to section 11 of the Act, there is one other matter I should like to bring to the hon. the Minister’s attention because it is so closely related to the whole problem of publication. I am referring to the access of universities to banned books…
Order! We are only dealing with paragraph (g)bis now.
Mr. Chairman, does this not apply to publication in a broader sense?
We are only dealing with this amendment at the moment; we are not dealing with the principal Act.
I accept your ruling, Sir.
Mr. Chairman, we of course welcome the fact that the hon.member for Parktown supports this provision, but he is supporting it for the wrong reasons. He proceeds from the premise that a restriction is being lifted, and this is not the case. The attitude of the Government in this regard is very clear, it has been the Government’s attitude since 1967 that once the restrictions upon a person were removed, he could be quoted. In 1967 there was, for example, the case of a person named Mr. Curnick Ndamse who had been restricted, but whose restriction was later lifted, after which he became a member of the Transkeian Parliament. There was no restriction imposed on quoting him. I would like to refer the hon. member to a statement made by the then Minister of Justice, the late Mr. P. C. Pelser, on 12 November 1968, in which he explicitly said—
This statement was made by the then Minister of Justice way back in 1968. It has all along been the attitude of the Government that it is not the function of the Government to give legal advice, but that newspapers should obtain their own legal advice in this regard. The attitude of the Government has been very clear and there have been no prosecutions from that time up to the present in respect of people who were quoted after their restrictions in terms of sections 5 and 9 had been lifted. Therefore the hon. member for Parktown errs when he says that a restriction is now being lifted by clause 13 of the Bill. This is not so. All that is being done is that the doubts in the minds of some people about the attitude of the then Minister of Justice are now being cleared. It is explicitly stated in this clause that where sections 5 and 9 no longer apply to a party, such a person may be quoted. All that is being done is that the ambiguity which exists in the minds of certain Press people is now being cleared up. But I want to take the matter a little bit further.
*The hon. member for Parktown asked why this could not also be applicable to persons who had been restricted in terms of section 10quin. In terms of section 10quin, the hon. the Minister declares this same section 11(g)bis to be applicable to certain persons. The wording of section 11(g)bis is very clear. It refers to any person “in respect of whom the provisions of this paragraph are applicable”. It does not say to whom they were or have been declared to be applicable, but to whom they are applicable. In other words, if the provisions are no longer applicable, it goes without saying that the provisions of section 11(g)bis are no longer applicable. The hon. member now wants us to give double assurances. However, the hon. member is making a mistake. The same argument applies in respect of persons who are placed on the list and kept in custody, as provided for in section 8. As long as their names appear on that list, it goes without saying that the provisions of section 11(g)bis are applicable. The moment their names are removed from that list, of course, the provisions of section 11(g)bis are no longer applicable. The hon. member is unnecessarily asking for further amendments to the section. There is no need for them.
Mr. Chairman, with great respect to the hon. member for Bellville, I make bold to say that not a single newspaper editor in this country will agree with a single word he has said about the clarity or alleged clarity of the law in this regard. There is tremendous doubt about this matter and the fact that there has been no prosecutions under this section shows the extent to which, newspapers have gone out of their way to observe what they believe to be the law. If it was as clear as all that, I cannot see, as the hon. member for Bellville has tried to explain, why the hon. the Minister comes with this provision. I have greater respect for the hon. the Minister of Justice than to think he would come with a provision just to clear up a certain amount of ambiguity in the minds of one or two people. I would say as further proof, if anybody wants to see it, that at the time of the promulgation of this Bill, which was generally welcomed by the Press throughout the country,nobody came with the arguments of the hon. member for Bellville that it was as clear as all this.
As far as section 10quin is concerned, this, too, I submit, is not at all clear. What happens if these restrictions are lifted? I would much rather hear the views of the hon. the Minister on these issues than those of the hon. member for Bellville.
Mr. Chairman, I rise merely to say that I concede that some doubt may exist. It is true that my predecessor said in a statement what was quoted by the hon. member for Bellville. We are eliminating that doubt here and we are making it quite clear that a person in respect of whom these provisions have been lifted may in fact be quoted. I agree with the hon. member for Bellville that the reason for this was that the law advisers of newspapers took a different view of the matter. Doubt existed. There was doubt among the lawyers, and we have now rectified the matter here. At the moment this Committee is dealing only with the substitution of a new paragraph (g)bis, so I cannot reply to the other question asked by the hon. member. I do not want the Chairman to call me to order. Consequently that matter will have to be settled between us some other day.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, in reply to clause 8 the hon. the Minister told us that he did have the overall power to make a distinction, particularly in respect of the various numbers of sound radio and television sets. He pointed out to me that the restrictions on television sets are really contained in clause 15. In clause 15 we find that the proposed section 5(2) of the Radio Act provides that—
In other words, if he has a listener’s licence, he may own a certain number of radio sets. However, paragraph (b) of this subsection goes on to say—
Consequently it is true that the hon. the Minister will not make use of the overall authority he has in terms of clause 8. As a result of this provision there will in fact have to be a licence for every separate television set. I do not want to repeat the arguments which have been quoted everywhere in respect of hotels. However, it does happen that people own two houses. While at the moment a person has to have only one radio licence, for which provision is made in subsection (2)(a), a person will have to have a licence for every separate television set. We believe that this should not be so, particularly since we think that in the case of such a young industry, people should be encouraged to buy more sets. This would help the industry as such. In our opinion, the fact that a person will have to have a separate licence for every separate set will have an inhibiting effect on the industry as such. For that reason I move—
Mr. Chairman, I should like to point out to the hon. member for Durban Central that one has to take out two car licences if one owns two cars. A television set is an expensive item and if people can afford to have two separate sets in two separate houses, surely they can also afford to pay the licence fees. I just want to point out that South Africa is no exception. I have a document here in which the following is said—
This is the practice in France and in several other countries as well. For that reason I do not think that South Africa is an exception.
Mr. Chairman, in response to what the hon. member for Algoa has told us, I should like to point out that this is certainly not the case in the United Kingdom. There the individual is licensed irrespective of how many sets he possesses. While I agree with the sentiment that if a person has more than one motorcar he must pay more than one licence, I should like to point out that there is no private motor-car on the road in South Africa which carries a licence fee of R36 per annum. The smaller cars are usually the second car and they carry an annual licence fee of R15 to R18.
Mr. Chairman, I rise merely to say that I am not prepared to accept the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to know what the attitude of the hon. the Minister of National Education is in respect of the amendment concerned.
Mr. Chairman, I fully support the standpoint adopted by my colleague. Of course, the proposed amendment concerns a very vital aspect of the whole set-up we are discussing this afternoon. We cannot possibly accept this amendment. It is true that the head of the family takes out one radio licence while the members of his family—even those of them who are in school hostels or in university residences—may use radios on the strength of the licence which has been taken out by him. However, it has been decided in principle that every separate television set has to be licensed. I think, too, that the comparison with a motor-car, which was drawn by the hon. member for Algoa, is a valid comparison, in spite of the difference in the amount which is payable in licence fees. For that reason as well I am unable to accept the hon. member’s amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I am not going to say much more about this matter. I realize that it is a decision of principle which has been taken. However, I believe that the principle is a wrong one, particularly if one considers the authority granted by clause 8 for the introduction of a so-called sliding scale. This does not mean that the amount payable in respect of each licence will be the same. If that had been provided here, it might have been more of an encouragement for people to invest in the industry or to acquire sets.
Amendment negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I do not have any objection to this clause. I merely want to ask the hon. the Minister a few questions with regard to the purpose and intent of the clause. It provides that advisory councils for Bantu education be created in the place of the advisory boards on Bantu education which previously existed. I want to ask what the reasons are for the changes that are being made and whether this means that we can expect a new deal with regard to Bantu education. Mr. Chairman, as you know, Bantu education is one of the most important aspects of our country’s activities. It is an aspect which requires very specific attention and a tremendous effort on the part of the Government in order to meet the existing requirements. At the moment there is a tremendous shortage of schools and teachers. There are tens of thousands of children who do not receive an education at all and there are as many who do not receive an adequate education although they may attend school. In other words, the requirements involved in respect of Bantu education are tremendous. I should like to know from the hon. the Minister whether this clause involves a change…
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of this clause.
Yes, Sir, I am trying to do that. I should like to know whether the change in terminology involves a new deal, whether these are going to be multi-racial advisory councils, whether parents and teachers organizations of the Bantu are going to be properly and adequately represented on those councils and whether the Minister intends to broaden the base of representation and activities of the councils.
Mr. Chairman, if the hon. member looks at the Afrikaans version, he will see how little the Act is really being amended.Only the three words “vir die Unie” are being deleted from the Afrikaans version. In other legislation the word “Republiek” has been substituted for the word “Unie”. What does the deletion of these three words mean? It means that the system of advisory councils for Bantu education may also be introduced in respect of Bantu education in South West Africa.
Then there is also the question of the adjustment of words to make the Afrikaans and the English versions correspond. In the English version “council” is being substituted for “board”. This is all that this clause entails. As you have said, Mr. Chairman, the hon. member must not think that we can now discuss the entire field of Bantu education because the words “vir die Unie” are being deleted. I may just tell the hon. member that Bantu persons are, in fact, being included in those advisory councils. As a matter of fact, some of the advisory councils for Bantu education consist entirely of Bantu persons. Therefore, it has a very broad basis.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, what I really wanted to do was to put questions to both the hon. the Minister of Police and the hon. the Minister of Defence, but I see that the hon. the Minister of Defence is not here at the moment. We have no objections in principle to these clauses. There are only a few aspects I should like to raise in this connection. All of us accept that there is an important distinction between the functions of, say, the Defence Force and the Police. Their objectives are different and they are involved in different activities. The Police are for the most part concerned with the maintenance of internal order and the combating of crime, while the Defence Force is concerned with defence. Since the hon. the Minister of Defence is not here, I should like to have a little more information from the hon. the Minister of Police, against the background which I have just outlined, as to why the possibility is now being created for trainees to do their national service either in the Defence Force or in the Police Force. Is this a need which arises as a result, for example, of a shortage in the Police service? Do the Police need assistance on a temporary basis in the combating of certain forms of crime? Or was there a request from trainees themselves in this regard? The second question I should like to put to the hon. the Minister—if I remember correctly the hon. the Minister referred to “willing” persons, and this implies a certain measure of discretionary freedom which trainees allegedly enjoy—is whether the trainee is in a position to say that he wants to join the Police service for his training? Would the trainees receive such training there in such a case, or will the position be as it is at the moment, i.e. when applying for one branch or other of the Defence Force, 90% of them want to become pilots and that this is the discretionary freedom they enjoy, i.e. that they can ask for it, while only 5% know that they get what they want. I just want to know whether the same situation will apply here as well? I shall be glad if the hon. the Minister would explain this to us.
The last question I want to put to the hon. the Minister is whether the Defence Force or the Police has any particular training in mind for trainees who join the Police service for their national service? Is it going to be a particular kind of training they will receive? Is it general training in the Police service itself or are specific areas being earmarked for the purposes of trainees who join the Police for their national service?
Mr. Chairman, I shall deal with the third part of the question first. The position is that what is at issue here, is not a particular area of training as such. Persons joining the S.A. Police as trainees, are trained as ordinary policemen for a period of time. During the period of training the trainees attend the same college and are in the same team of men who have chosen the Police Force as a career. They receive the same training. In other words, once the trainees have completed their training there, they are qualified policemen and may return to the Police Force at any stage of their lives, because they can say they are trained policemen who passed out at the college and have all the necessary qualifications to resume duty immediately from the point where it was terminated. After the trainee has received the training, he performs ordinary Police work. He goes on police van patrol duty, is sent to a police station and does service as an ordinary policeman until his national service period expires. Then he proceeds to do what he always wanted to do, whether to attend a university, or whatever it may be.
During his period of training, he also receives a month’s counter-insurgency training. That is why we refer to the trainee who receives his training. Modern warfare has changed. It is no longer the conventional warfare where people range themselves into two opposing front-lines and blow trumpets to let one another know that they are going to charge. Tactics have changed completely and today the Police as the front line for the combating of terrorist onslaughts are as essential as the army which is the most important and final defender of South Africa. That is why there the entire training scheme has a reasonable, integrated purpose. The Police are incorporated as those people who are going to track down and identify terrorists. The Defence Force then comes in as the striking force. This has already happened in the field in which we operate, and we have gained experience of these matters. For that reason it is essential to use our young men in South Africa as trainees in the Police Force. These are people who know that they are not only trained to become policemen, but that they are going to constitute the front line of their country’s defence. This is really the idea. The idea is that volunteers should join the Police. Of course, the hon. member is quite right. If there are too many volunteers, there will have to be selection. In that case we will take only so many as we need. We need a limited number every year, and the Defence Force can only provide us with a limited number. Those people will then come to us as trainees. Did the hon. member want to put a further question?
In regard to the original motivation, i.e. that there is a shortage in the Police Force, I just want to make the point that it does not concern surplus volunteers here; it concerns the fact that there are too few volunteers. Will certain people then have to go to the Police Force, even though they really wanted to go to the Defence Force?
A specific number—I think 500—are designated by the Police Force, and that number must, of course, be made up. We take volunteers, but if there are not enough volunteers, that number must, of course, be made up. The motivation is twofold. There is a shortage of Police, and this will help to eliminate the shortage; that is correct, but there is also another object in respect of people who have to join the Police Force, which is this: They are placed on the Police Reserve and may be utilized in times of emergency to do what they have been trained for as the first line of defence in South Africa.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, in this clause the definition of “accommodation establishment” in the Hotels Act is amended. When we look at the explanation given by the hon. the Minister in his introductory speech as to why he is introducing this amendment, we find that he merely says—
Sir, we can agree with him in that statement. But, Sir, we find that subclause (a) provides in the definition of “accommodation establishment” that it shall not include a home for the aged. The reason for this is quite apparent. The reason is that those persons who have accommodation establishments can in terms of section 14 of the Hotels Act claim registration as an hotel. In terms of section 16 they can then ask for grouping and grading and the Hotel Board is compelled to group and grade that particular accommodation establishment. Sir, in so far as subclause (a) is concerned, we are quite prepared to accept this. We can understand and accept that old-age homes should not be classified as accommodation establishments and that they should not get the benefit which would accrue to them from that classification. But, Sir, we then come to subclause (b) which adds a new subsection (2) to the definition clause, clause 1, of the Hotels Act. The hon. the Minister went on to say in his Second Reading speech—
Sir, it is a little beyond my understanding why we need two amendments, because the new subsection (2) which is being introduced allows the Minister to do exactly that; it allows him to declare that any establishment specified in the notice and belonging to a category so specified shall not be deemed to be an accommodation establishment. I cannot understand why we need two provisions to handle one matter, and I wonder if the hon. the Minister can tell us what sort of establishments he contemplates taking action against in terms of the notice in the Gazette. I know that unfortunately the Minister of Tourism has not been able to be present, but I believe that he has briefed the hon. the Minister of Justice who is handling this matter. I wonder if the hon. the Minister can answer this question for us before we go any further with this discussion.
The position here in brief is that the problem which has arisen, was caused by the old-age homes. In order to make it quite clear that the old-age homes are being excluded even at this stage, when this Bill will become law, it is being inserted here by (a) to make it clear that this is the real problem which the hon. the Minister of Tourism has to cope with, i.e. the problem of the old-age homes. It is now being stated quite clearly in the Bill that the old-age homes are excluded. However, there may be other places which ought to be excluded as well. If it appears at a later stage that there are other institutions or establishment which have no bearing on the objects of the Act, but want to be registered as an hotel for some reason or other, for example tax concessions or whatever the case may be, the Minister is now being empowered to exclude that kind of establishment as well, which is still unknown at this stage. He is merely reserving for himself the right now to declare a place which does not accord with the objects of his Act to be an hotel. This is all it means. But the first part of the clause is necessary to state unequivocally that an old-age home is being excluded. I agree with the hon. member that, from a technical point of view, only the (b) portion is essential, but then the Minister will subsequently have to state by means of a proclamation that old-age homes are being excluded.
Or only the (a).
Yes. But it is being stated quite clearly here that old-age homes are being excluded. It goes on to state that any other place which does not accord with the objects of the legislation, can receive similar treatment.
Are there any other examples?
There is no other examples, apart from those I now mentioned.
In other words, Sir, it appears that we are being asked this afternoon to give the hon. the Minister of Tourism a blank cheque. We do not know what he wants this power for. We do not know what he is going to use it against, yet we have been asked to give him this power. We have become used to this on the part of the Nationalist Party Government. There are perpetual requests to us to give them a blank cheque. But let me set the hon. the Minister’s mind at rest this afternoon and tell him we will give him his blank cheque, but we will watch him.
Clause agreed to.
We are dealing in this clause with the Commission for Fresh Produce Market Act. The hon. the Minister wants to amend section 19 of the Act. This section provides that the Minister may fix or determine the charges which may be charged by the owner of a fresh produce market. The section as it reads at the moment is quite clear. It says that the Minister may, on the application of the owner of a national fresh produce market, from time to time after consultation or on the recommendation of the commission, fix the tariffs payable to such owner in respect of the use of or the performance of a service at such fresh produce market. It is quite clear that there are two factors which are required. Firstly, the owner must apply for the determination of a tariff and, secondly, that the commission must either be consulted or it must make a recommendation regarding the tariff to be fixed. On that the hon. the Minister has taken unto himself the right to fix the tariff which an owner may apply in respect of the use of his fresh produce market and for services which are performed by himself at that market. Now we are asked this afternoon to add an additional subsection to that section to further define the two words “service” and “use”. “Service” will now mean any act performed by such owner in his capacity as owner for consideration. Any act which he performs for a consideration, i.e. for a charge, will now be included in the definition of “service”, whether that act is in fact concerned with the workings of the fresh produce market or not. That is how I read it. My first question to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture who it appears is going to answer this, is whether this is correct. Is it his intention to include, in the definition of “service” for which he will have the sole right to determine the tariff, any service whether it has in fact a bearing on the conduct of such a market or not? When we look at the extension of the definition of the word “use” we find that it—
Once again, it looks as if this definition is being extended to include the renting of premises “for any purpose” whether or not it has any connection with the running of the market, whether or not it is necessary for the efficient running of the market, whether or not it is for the accommodation of the agents who are required for the running of the market or for any other purpose whatsoever. Those premises could be let to a doctor, because it says “for any use”. I wonder whether the hon. the Minister would answer this second question, viz: Is it his intention to want to determine the tariff at which the owner of a national fresh produce market may let premises to any person for any purpose even if that purpose has no connection with the running of the market? I do not know why the hon. the Minister has introduced these amendments. Perhaps he could tell us. Has he experienced snags or problems? When the hon. the Minister of Justice discussed this Bill he gave the following explanation—
I find this hard to believe especially if there are any services which are actually in connection with the running of the fresh produce market concerned. If the intention is solely to control the matters which effect the running of the fresh produce market I can see no problems with the hon. the Minister. If it is, however, his intention to go beyond that then I am afraid we must have further details and further particulars from the hon. the Minister.
We all know that these national fresh produce markets are owned by local authorities and not by the commission, the Government or the hon. the Minister’s department. They are owned by local authorities in their own right. The local authorities are already limited in terms of the Act to a return of 2% on the capital which they have invested. I believe that the Johannesburg market cost nearly R20 million to build. This is an investment by the people of Johannesburg. Here, however, it appears as if the hon. the Minister is taking the power to determine the rates at which they may let premises and what they may charge for certain services—even if they have nothing to do…
Is this only an investment by the people of Johannesburg?
Yes. In the case of the Johannesburg market this is so; it was only the Johannesburg people who were concerned with it.
I do not exactly know what the hon. member for Carletonville is referring to, but may I at this stage ask the hon. the Minister whether he would answer these questions for me?
Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South must try to recall what happened during the past four or five years. Before that we did not have this Act to cover the expenses of markets under the Marketing Commission. We have given the undertaking that their losses will be paid by the Government provided they are controlled and the tariffs are agreed upon by the city councils, the marketing managements and the Commission for Fresh Produce Markets together. One can see for oneself what this amounts to. We have R970 000 this year to subsidize these markets and all the municipalities including Johannesburg are very grateful for it. There are no snags in this whole set-up although there are certain matters we cannot cover. The old Act did not contain the necessary powers. I would like to give the hon. member a practical example. In the past we leased certain offices to the Post Office as well as to the Department of Health in the same building. The Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing also has offices there. We must decide on tariffs. The only thing we are asking for is the power to fix tariffs. If we do not have that power the commission paid by the farmer will be increased.
*We should find a method to cover the expenses of the market. The hon. member referred to the two words “service” and “use”. These two cases will be covered. All these things are done in co-operation with the local municipality, the Commission for Fresh Produce Markets and the management of the market. The intention behind this is that if somebody uses a part of the building, whether the Post Office or the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing, they also have to pay according to the expenses of that part of the building. The hon. member shook his head a moment ago, but I do not think he understands the matter correctly. We cannot continue subsidizing the market. The goal of such a market is that it will eventually, because of its turnover and the commission which is paid, not be a burden to the ratepayers of Johannesburg, Durban, or wherever it may be. The commission and agency remuneration, etc., are all taken into consideration in the calculations so as to put the market on a profitable basis. Big money is involved here. The Johannesburg municipal market was inaugurated recently and cost R12 million.
†The hon. member asked whether there would not be any snags in this regard. I can only tell the hon. member that in the Department of Agriculture we have no snags and that everything is above board.
Mr. Chairman, I am afraid I cannot agree with the last statement of the hon. the Minister, i.e. where he said that we had no snags in agriculture. He cannot be serious when he says that. But let us come back to the matter before the Committee. In terms of section 19 of the Act, the commission has power over the local authority as the owners of the market to determine the rental. The hon. the Minister says that the idea here is to see that an adequate rental is paid so that the commission which the farmer is asked to pay to cover the cost of the market is not too high. But my information is the contrary. What we have is that the commission is asking for control over the rental which a local authority, as owner of a national fresh produce market, may receive for the letting of accommodation, even accommodation which is let to people who are not strictly connected with the actual market operation are included. The effect of this amendment is to give the commission power to control certain charges levied by the owner for services and over the income which the owner receives by way of rent. This is a further example of the desire of the commission to control absolutely all fresh produce markets in every aspect of their operations. I do not believe that all local authorities are going to be as happy with this as the hon. the Minister makes out they are. It raises another question, namely whether local authorities should operate such markets having regard to the fact that they take all the responsibility for running them, for financing them, etc. They build them in the first place and then they have no say over them. I wonder whether the time has not come for the hon. the Minister to refer to the United Municipal Executive the whole question of these markets, because I believe we have to look at this in the same light as we did with abattoirs. Let the commission take them over; then there can no longer be the conflict which there appears to be today between the hon. the Minister, his department and the commission on the one hand and local authorities on the other hand. It appears to me that local authorities are afraid that the commission is going to compel them to charge rentals below an economic level, but the hon. the Minister says exactly the converse, namely that he wants to see to it that local authorities charge rentals which are high enough to obviate the necessity to increase the levies farmers will have to pay on the goods which are sold at these markets. There is a conflict, and I do not know where the truth lies or what the answer is. The answer is somewhere between these two.
Mr. Chairman, I told the hon. member that four years ago we did not have an Act such as this; so we could not assist municipalities with the erection of fresh produce markets. We have R970 000 on the budget. The hon. member said it was the intention of the Commission for Fresh Produce Markets to control all produce markets. That has never been the intention. The idea is to help.
No, not the intention.
A few minutes ago the hon. member referred to a conflict between the Minister and the local authorities. Which conflict is he thinking of? I have never been in conflict with any municipality. The whole aim of this legislation is to help with the erection of markets, to guarantee that the people concerned will not lose a cent of the taxpayers’ money.
*I clearly explained the aim of this legislation. I do not want to create problems. The whole matter is as clear as daylight. I do not have the power now to take the taxpayers’ money for a subsidy on a market. Some markets are sublet and I do not have the power to say that the rent should be determined in a way so as to contribute towards paying for a municipal market.
He does not really know what is happening.
The local authorities are all in favour of this. The hon. member listens to some gossip-monger who comes to him at night to talk all kinds of nonsense to him.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, clause 36 amends section 36 of the Commission for Fresh Produce Markets Act, 1970. Section 36 is the offences and penalties section. It provides that any person who contravenes certain provisions:
In terms of clause 36, it now becomes an offence to fail to comply with an order issued under section 3(f) of the Act. Section 3(f) of the Act specifies that the commission shall have, amongst others, the power to order persons concerned in the management and conduct of fresh produce markets to make certain information available to the commission. I cannot understand why we now suddenly find, after four years, that we have to amend this Act to make failure to provide that information an offence. The hon. the Minister has been at pains to tell us how beautifully this commission and his department are cooperating with the local authorities. There are no problems, he says; everything is going smoothly. Why does he now ask for this power? Why, under these lovely, friendly conditions to which he has just been referring, does he now wish to make it an offence to fail to provide the relevant information? Has he had trouble? Is he unable to get the information from the local authorities? Are they not co-operating? Why does he now want to put a person in gaol for a specific period or impose a certain fine?
Mr. Chairman, in the original Act we omitted to insert the penalty clause. That is the only reason for this provision. It is the intention to have a clause providing for a penalty of R400 or imprisonment for 12 months if a man is not prepared to give information. That is the whole reason for this small correction.
Mr. Chairman, now the hon. the Minister comes along with another story. If there was the good feeling and co-operation which the hon. the Minister talks of, this would not be necessary. What the hon. the Minister sought, when he brought this Bill before us in Parliament, was a partnership between the commission, backed by the hon. the Minister and his department, and the local authority in order to provide fresh produce markets. Not for one moment do I denigrate the markets or the good work they are doing. I believe that they have become an asset to the country. There seems to be an attitude somewhere, however, that the hon. the Minister and the commission have got to dominate everybody. [Interjections.] This is what we are objecting to today. I want to say that if there is partnership, there should be no compulsion. I am sorry, but in principle I find it unacceptable that there should be compulsion instead of cooperation and goodwill.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot do a thing like this. I should like the hon. member to mention one municipality with whom we do not have co-operation. On the contrary, we have the most hearty co-operation. He said that I had referred to partnership; I can assure him that that is the present position. There is a partnership between the commission and the municipalities, but the only thing which was missing in the Act was a penalty clause. The compulsion exists already, but the penalty clause was missing. That is the only alteration we are bringing about with this clause. Can I write to all the municipalities and quote the hon. member as saying that there is not partnership and co-operation and that the hon. member does not like this Act?
The hon. member is simply making wild allegations. We have the most hearty co-operation between the commission and the municipalities. When I was Deputy Minister, I started struggling to get something for the markets, because I did not expect the taxpayer to establish a market of, say, R12 million. Today we give subsidies of up to R970 000 in such cases, but the hon. member still remains dissatisfied. Upon my word, I do not know what I am to do. I tried my utmost with the very object in mind of stabilizing the markets, but now one has people such as the hon. member who continuously wants to snap at one’s heels and who occupies himself with nonsense while we should like to finish.
Mr. Chairman, I do not know why the hon. the Minister is getting so hot under the collar. We speak of partnership and co-operation, but why is the hon. the Minister asking today that a provision such as this should be forced on the local authorities?
†Why does he want power to compel them if he has such a friendly partnership with them?
Simply to round off the Act.
Why is he getting so excited?
*I want to say that I made no statements, but that I merely asked questions. I asked the hon. the Minister whether he was experiencing difficulties at any market.
I never said there were difficulties.
†I only asked questions, but now the hon. the Minister gets all excited. What is he hiding? Why is he hiding? [Interjections.] The hon. the Minister has brought this on himself. We had a quiet and calm debate going, in which we were trying to be friendly and in which we tried to co-operate and help just as I believe his commission should be friendly and should co-operate with the local authorities. This, however, is the hon. the Minister’s attitude and the commission is adopting the attitude of the hon. the Minister…
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the contents of this clause.
Mr. Chairman, here we have a situation where the hon. the Minister is taking the power for the commission to compel the one who is supposed to be a partner and with whom there is supposed to be a friendly relationship, to do certain things. Why does he need that power if there is such a partnership and if there is such good co-operation?
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member says that he is trying to be friendly, but if he behaves like this when he is friendly, I do not want to see him when he is annoyed.
*Perhaps I shall be shown the grace one day of being able to understand him, for in this job the wind is tempered to the shorn lamb. I can tell the hon. member that there are no municipalities which are dissatisfied. There was no penalty clause in the Act, and as far as I personally am concerned, we could have omitted it. The only thing we are now doing, is to round off the Act by the inclusion of a penalty clause, because there has to be a penalty clause if we want to make it possible for an Act such as this to be implemented in practice. There is simply no question of people not wanting to co-operate with us. Let us argue about other more important matters than about this kind of nonsense.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, clause 37 of the General Law Amendment Bill amends the Bantu Affairs Administration Act of 1971, which made provision for the cost of services rendered to the area under the jurisdiction of the Bantu Affairs Administration Board by a local authority to be charged for at a certain tariff. At the time of the introduction of this Act, the hon. the Minister asked that the cost of those services should not exceed the charges for similar services provided in respect of the area within the jurisdiction of such a local authority. The hon. the Minister will recollect that we protested against this provision when it was before the House because we pointed out that certain services were provided by local authorities at a subsidized rate. In fact, certain local authorities do not charge for certain services such as sewerage. In some cases even water was not charged for, although I believe that most of those local authorities today have been compelled to make a direct charge for water. The hon. the Minister is now asking for that provision to read that any charges made in respect of any such services shall not “without the authority of the Minister, exceed the actual cost of providing such services, and shall in any event not” exceed the charges for similar services provided in respect of any area within the jurisdiction of such a local authority. I believe it is a bit unreasonable to expect this of a local authority. In essence what the hon. the Minister is asking for here is that the charge that the local authority shall levy through the Bantu Affairs Administration Board shall be the equivalent of the actual cost of providing such services or the amount the local authorities charge ratepayers and other persons within its area of jurisdiction for similar services, whichever is the lower. I believe it is a bit unfair on the local authorities to ask them to levy charges at the lowest possible figure and, if they should subsidize out of general rates a service to their ratepayers and other persons within their area of jurisdiction, that this should be passed on to the people who fall under the jurisdiction of the Bantu Affairs Administration Board, whether such people fall within the area of jurisdiction of the local authority or outside of it. As you will know, Sir, most of these Bantu Affairs administration board areas extend beyond the boundaries of the local authorities concerned. Because I believe that that is unreasonable, I wish to move, not the amendment standing in my name on the Order Paper, but the following amendment—
The reason why I use the word “ordinary” is that I have been referred to section 20(2) of the Bantu (Urban Areas) Consolidation Act, No. 25 of 1945, which, provides that—
… to ratepayers and so on. I can accept such ordinary charges, because I believe it is only fair and reasonable that such charges should be levied. However, we are still left with a problem in the case where such charges are subsidized. That is why in my amendment I have added in brackets the words “where these exceed the actual cost”. The effect of this amendment is that the charge which can be levied, can be either the actual cost or the ordinary charge which is made to the ratepayers within the area of jurisdiction of that local authority, provided those charges are not subsidized in some way. I believe that this is reasonable and that the hon. the Minister, if he applies his mind to this, should accept the amendment I have moved.
Mr. Chairman, I have listened carefully to the hon. member. You will remember, Mr. Chairman, that the hon. member said, inter alia, that his attention had been drawn to section 20 of the Bantu (Urban Areas) Consolidation Act of 1945. I just want to say that I had a very pleasant chat with the hon. member this morning. I offered him a cup of tea as well and I am very sorry that he did not refer to that in his speech.During our discussions this morning we approached this problem and the amendment of the hon. member is a product of those discussions. Therefore the amendment of the hon. member is quite acceptable to me.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I just want to say on behalf of this side of the House that we welcome the provisions of this clause. We think that they are an improvement on the provisions in the existing Act and we will support this clause.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to make a few remarks about this clause. The clause extends regulations that can be made in terms of the Sea Fisheries Act, to the continental shelf. As the hon. the Minister will know, the continental shelf off our coast extends from approximately five miles off Cape Point to about 75 miles off the Agulhas bank. As hon. members will know the continental shelf is that area of land under the sea adjacent to our coast before it disappears into the depths of the sea. It is only on the continental shelves of most countries of the world that one in fact encounters the richest marine life. There is no substantial marine resource of any economic consequence away from the continental shelf. That is why it is most important that the resources of our continental shelf should be safeguarded and protected. I should like to say further that I do not believe this is the final step. I believe that the hon. the Minister and his department are going to have to keep careful track of what is developing in the international sphere. There was a conference of most of the states of the world at Caracas at the end of last year and a further conference has just been concluded at Geneva. Serious consideration is being given by most countries of the world to matters which I have mentioned over the years in this House from time to time, viz. that our country will have to extend its territorial sea to a minimum of 12 miles from the coast and that far larger fishery zones will have to be created in accordance with the trend in many of the South American states. Because of the rich resources off our coastline it would seem that a fishery zone of 200 miles from the coast could be an acceptable one. I mention these things because I think it is important that we do not lose sight of them even in welcoming this amendment to the Sea Fisheries Act which does definitely improve the situation.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, there is just a small point which in the absence of the hon. the Minister of Agriculture and his Deputy Minister, I should like to put to the hon. the Minister of Justice. This clause embodies a small “regstelling” of the hon. the Minister of Agriculture. In the Groot Constantia Estate Control Act which was passed earlier this session he is amending the date when the financial accounts should be submitted. He is changing that date from 31 March to 30 June. Section 20 of the aforementioned Act is being amended accordingly. He would appear to have omitted to amend section 19 of that Act which states that the financial year of the board shall terminate on 31 March in each year. We are faced with a somewhat surprising situation here in that the financial accounts will not coincide with the financial year.
Mr. Chairman, it is only logical that we should effect this change because by 31 March the harvesting activities on the farm have not been completed yet. Therefore it is impossible to finalize the financial statements. This is the reason why it is now being requested that the date be changed to 30 June.
Mr. Chairman, we have absolutely no objection to this. We just want to state that it is normal accounting procedure that one’s financial accounts should coincide with the end of one’s financial year.
Mr. Chairman, I should just like to draw the attention of the hon. member to the fact that this amendment has already been effected. The position has already been rectified.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, this clause repeals six or seven Acts. During his Second Reading speech the hon. the Minister of Justice gave us the following explanation in regard to this particular clause—
With that explanation we are today being called upon to repeal the Indians Relief Act, the Immigration and Indian Relief (Further Provision) Act, the Agricultural Warehouse Act, the Agricultural Warehouse Amendment Act, the Douglas Irrigable Areas Board Act, the Douglas Irrigable Areas Board Amendment Act and the Agricultural Products Grading Act. We have had no explanatory memorandum in this regard but we are being asked to agree to the repeal of all of these Acts. We have had no indication whatsoever as to why each of these Acts should be repealed. I wonder whether an hon. Minister or some hon. Ministers could give us some explanation in this regard. I am particularly interested in the Agricultural Warehouse Act and the Agricultural Products Grading Act. I should like particularly to know why these Acts are to be repealed.
Mr. Chairman, in the past we had the position where we did not have complete control in regard to a one-channel scheme. Take the case of maize. In the past there was no fixed price for maize. The storage of maize was handled by the Railways Silo Committee. We have found that these particular Acts are no longer necessary because we have control boards for the various agricultural products. There is no longer any reason for these Acts to remain on the Statute Book. That is the reason for their repeal.
Mr. Chairman, as far as the Indians Relief Act, 1914, is concerned, this Act was placed on the Statute Book as a result of the Smuts-Gandhi agreement. Several of the provisions have fallen into disuse in the course of time. Especially two groups of people made use of this Act in the past to return to India, namely elderly people who wanted to spend their last days in their country of origin and young people who mostly returned to India after a residence of a year. During the last number of years, applications for repatriation have decreased sharply. In respect of 1967 and 1970 only two applications were received for every year. No further applications have been received since. This state of affairs can be ascribed to the fact that the vast majority of Indians were born here and have little or no connection with India. In addition, the Indian community has been accepted as a permanent part of the South African population since 1961. The legislation therefore serves no further purpose at this stage.
As far as the Immigration and Indian Relief (Further Provisions) Act, 1927, is concerned, with the repeal of Act No. 22 of 1914—the Act to which I have just referred—there is no reason why the former Act should still remain on the Statute Book.
We have just heard from the hon. the Minister of Agriculture of what the position is in connection with the Agricultural Warehouse Act.
As far as the Douglas Irrigable Areas Board Act, 1937, is concerned, a retaining dam was built by the Colonial Government at the end of the previous century in the Vaal River as well as in the confluence of the Vaal and the Orange River. The scheme was administered by the Government until control over it was transferred to the Douglas Irrigable Areas Board in 1938. In 1973, control over the scheme was transferred to the Minister of Water Affairs. Consequently the two Acts have fallen into disuse. It is also being provided that the only asset of the board, a sum of R2 680-87 which is invested in a savings account, shall vest in the State.
Sir, I must thank the hon. the Ministers. I wonder if the hon. the Minister of Justice could perhaps give an assurance to those who have reservations regarding the repeal of the Indians Relief Act and the Indian Relief (Further Provision) Act. As the hon. the Minister says, it is some years since he last had any applications. He also quite correctly says that the majority of Indians are today South African born, but there are still some who indentured and came out from India. Since the hon. the Minister of Indian Affairs is unfortunately not here, I wonder if the hon. the Minister could give some indication as to what the attitude of the Government would be to any further application that there may be for assistance from an elderly Indian if he were to ask for such assistance.
Before the hon. the Minister replies, I wonder if I may come back to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture in connection with the Agricultural Warehouse Act, the Agricultural Warehouse Amendment Act and the Agricultural Products Grading Act, which are being repealed. Sir, I can accept that we can repeal the Agricultural Products Grading Act, because all the provisions of that Act have now been incorporated into the Marketing Act. They are being administered by the various control boards, and where they are not, they are in fact being administered by co-operative societies. When we look at the Agricultural Warehouse Act of 1930, we find firstly that that Act provided for the establishment and licensing of warehouses and for the storage of agricultural products. The hon. the Minister has spoken about maize and wheat and various other products, but, Sir, where is there provision in some other legislation for warehouses for the storing of agricultural products if this Act is repealed? That is my first question to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture. This Act further made provision for the issue of negotiable warehouse receipts as representing ownership or possession of agricultural products. In other words, before the Marketing Act and before the advent of the control boards, the position was that where a farmer delivered his products to such a warehouse he was given a receipt which became a negotiable instrument that he was able to take to one of the various banks or to any other institution where he was able to raise money on it. Can the hon. the Minister tell us whether provision has been made for a similar provision in some other Act before we decide that we can repeal this provision? Because this was a benefit which was available to farmers and which they might still want to use.
The Agricultural Warehouse Act, as the hon. member rightly says, was placed on the Statute Book before we had the control board system. Many of the provisions of that Act are embodied in the Marketing Act. There is no product under our control today which is delivered to a warehouse which does not fall under some control board. This applies to citrus, deciduous fruit and all the products which we control. The hon. member is quite right in saying that the receipt which one received in the past when one delivered one’s products to a so-called warehouse was valuable. One could take that receipt to a bank and raise a loan on it. But the practice has fallen into disuse, because one now delivers one’s products to the control board concerned, which then gives one a cheque for them. The old provisions of the Agricultural warehouse Act have all been embodied in the Marketing Act and are administered by the control boards. The producer knows that he will immediately be paid out by cheque when he delivers his product to the control board. In practice the provisions of the Act have fallen away and therefore we are now repealing the Act.
Sir, I just want to refer again to the two Indian Acts to which I have referred before. The position under these two Acts was in fact that the Government could not send those Indians out of the country. The whole idea was that they would apply to be repatriated. No more applications are being received today. The Indians themselves regard these two Acts as a source of offence to them. They even regard it as a proof of their temporariness in the country. It is senseless to keep an Act on the Statute Book which is no longer used at all by the people for whom that Act was made. These Acts have become completely obsolete.
Will the Minister be able to assist them if they apply?
There is no question of assistance, because they do not apply for assistance any longer.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Report Stage taken without debate.
Bill read a Third Time.
(Second Reading resumed)
Mr. Speaker, when this debate was adjourned I was pointing out that the Bill can be split into two major parts. One part deals with the introduction of a unitary system of budgeting and the other deals with the delegation of powers to the Minister in certain cases and to certain officials of his department in other cases. Sir, this is an extremely important Bill. It deals, as hon. members will be aware, with the underlying principles of the State’s financial system, which has hitherto been arranged administratively by custom and usage, and for which the hon. the Minister now seeks statutory authority. Sir, we in these benches differ from the hon. member for Constantia when it comes to the question of the unitary system of budgeting. The hon. member had this to say among other things—
Naturally we would have no objection to that statement. Then he went on to say—
Sir, as far as this particular remark is concerned, we must agree to differ. The hon. member went on to say—
We shall have something to say about this aspect a little later. The hon. member then went on to say—
He drew no distinction, whereas we would like to draw a distinction between domestic loans and foreign loans. Finally, he said—
Sir, I think we are at one with the Government when it comes to the introduction of the unitary system of budgeting. We welcome it. We would like, firstly, to deal with the points made by the hon. member for Constantia, because we take a rather different point of view from that taken by him, and secondly, we would like to point out what to our mind are the advantages of the introduction of the unitary system of budgeting. Sir, we cannot understand why the mere introduction of a unitary system of budgeting should be a cause for further inflation. We cannot understand how the present system of splitting the State’s finances into Loan and Revenue Accounts and loan and revenue expenditure is going to keep the rate of inflation lower than it would be under a unitary system of budgeting. The rate of inflation, in so far as Government expenditure is concerned, turns on the level of expenditure proposed by the Government, and that is common to either system and is certainly not to be presumed to arise solely from a unitary budgeting system. A unitary budgeting system is basically to look at the figures of the total anticipated revenue minus the total anticipated expenditure. One then arrives at the amount which has to be financed by the raising of loan capital. This is the position, of course, in all normal years, because I do not think it has ever been experienced, certainly not recently, that there was a surplus after total anticipated expenditures had been subtracted from total anticipated revenues. Obviously, where the question of discipline comes in, self-discipline or the discipline which the Government has to impose on itself, is in regard to the second item, i.e. the level of total anticipated expenditure. Now, obviously—we have made this point and it is not something which we wish to go on mentioning indefinitely in this particular debate—where that discipline is not exercised, it will have an inflationary effect. It will be inflationary to both systems. What is important for our country is that taking years of surpluses together with years of deficits, over a reasonable period of time, the country, just like an individual or a family unit, must live within its means. Obviously a country can go on longer, in one sense, living beyond its means than can an individual. To live within the available means that is the important thing.
Now, we welcome the introduction of a unitary budgeting system which brings us into line with modem practice throughout what one would call the Free World. This also makes it much easier—and this is what we would like to come back to—to see the impact of Government expenditure. The hon. member for Constantia has quoted the report of the Franszen Commission. I assume he was referring to the third report. If we look at that, Sir, quite apart from the quotations which the hon. member happened to choose, and which he is entitled to do, it will be seen that the fundamental point is made in the report of the commission that in deciding on the extent of its expenditure in any given year, the Government must take the financial capacity of the community into account. In order to do that the Government has to satisfy itself that the overall level of taxes and levies does not discourage the individual efforts of the worker or the taxpayer, and secondly, that its borrowing does not impose excessive strain on the capital market. This brings us to the basic question of the structure of the budget itself which is, I think—the hon. the Minister will probably confirm it—one of the reasons underlying the introduction of a unitary budgeting system. An integrated budget, which is what we have been moving towards for years—indeed I think it is true to say that we have been moving towards it since before 1953—and which the hon. the Minister is now proposing to introduce—which, we welcome—is one which covers all expenditures. It shows the deficit remaining after all the current taxes and revenues have been taken into account. As I say, this is the key figure to look at. I have no doubt it is the key figure in the hon. the Minister’s mind. Now, in the financing of that deficit before borrowing, in all normal years, it is important to make a distinction between loan receipts which originate from real savings and receipts which emanate from accumulated balances such as interest on Government balances, from the banking system or from the foreign sectors. The key purpose of any budget—as I say, we think the introduction of this new system will improve the position—on which the hon. the Minister will have to make up his mind and which we on these benches and in fact all the citizens of South Africa will have to attempt to evaluate, is to measure the actual impact of the Exchequer’s spending and financing activities on the economy and the money supply by identifying the actual net cash and income effect of the funds withdrawn from the private sector and returned to it by means of Government spending. So the introduction of a unitary budgeting system such as now proposed will make this evaluation considerably easier.
I want to refer to the argument advanced by the hon. member for Constantia who, I think, recommended the retention of the distinction between the Loan Account and the Revenue Account, both in regard to revenue and expenditure. As I have said, we do not agree with this argument primarily because firstly, the level of Government spending or the discipline exercised by it has really nothing to do with whether the money is spent on Loan Account or from Revenue Account. Secondly, as we have said, this unitary budgeting system presents a much clearer picture, and thirdly, as we have said, this issue has tended to become blurred over the years and in fact is adopted now more and more throughout the Free World as the best form of budget to be laid before Parliament. There is also a fourth reason namely, because transfers from Revenue to Loan Account require parliamentary approval. In practice therefore when the Government has been fortunate enough to have unforeseen surpluses, they have tended to lead to an increase in Government expenditure rather than to be used to reduce the amounts required on Loan Account and therefore, in turn, the pressure on the available loan funds in the country for a given expenditure programme. We have a fifth reason too, namely, that any surplus on Revenue Account may give rise to demands for tax relief when in fact the Treasury at that particular point in time is unable to raise sufficient funds from the capital market to finance the Loan Account.
The final remark made by the hon. member for Constantia in regard to a more equitable distribution between generations is to our mind confusing and inaccurate because it seems to us immediately obvious that the concept of a burden on future generations is erroneous. The real opportunity cost of any expenditure, current or capital, must be borne by the generation which is incurring the expenditure. Financing the cost by loans rather than tax simply postpones the distribution of the cost rather than the cost itself. There is, of course, a more sophisticated argument which has been used in the past, namely that if one borrows too much on Loan Account it increases the national debt. That of course is not so much, a problem as between one generation and the I next generation; it involves more the question of the transfer of income within one particular generation.
The basic task is to ensure that the difference between budgeted total expenditure and revenue will not result in such a large deficit that it cannot be financed from loans in the sense that what is required from the capital market exceeds the ability of that market to provide the money. If it does, which has happened on occasion in the past as I am sure the hon. the Minister is aware, when, looking at the matter in its entirety under a unitary budget system the Government seeks too much or the figure of the deficit before the raising of loan capital is too large, then inevitably the result in all normal cases tends to be inflationary because it means that the Government will either use accumulated balances or borrow from the banks. In both cases it means the injection of more money into the system and to that extent it is certainly inflationary. Sir, we on these benches welcome the advent of the unitary system of budgeting.
I mentioned earlier on that the other purpose of this Bill, as the explanatory memorandum puts it, is to give statutory authority to the underlying principles of the State’s financial system which hitherto were or had been arranged administratively by custom and usage. In effect, as is set out in the various clauses of the Bill which is now before us, this involves a transfer of powers primarily or most often from the State President to and in favour of the Minister of Finance and the Treasury, and in certain cases to the Auditor-General. The tenor of the explanatory memorandum in giving an explanation of the reasons underlying these requests, is that this will produce a more efficient, a more streamlined and a more administratively competent system of managing the finances of the State. On those grounds, of course, we could have no objection, but the role of Parliament in so far as the State’s finances are concerned is very important. If I may discuss that role in broad outline, it is in the first place the function of Parliament to sanction the voting of the money. In the second place Parliament must be given adequate opportunity to debate and to establish to its satisfaction that such moneys have been spent competently and for the purpose for which it was sought. In the third instance it is Parliament’s right to refuse money on certain grounds or under certain circumstances. When we come to the second broad heading of the Bill we have difficulty since in a number of cases the hon. the Minister is seeking to take unto himself, or for his department or for those responsible to him, powers which previously have fallen directly within the purview of Parliament.
I should like to point out some examples, because, naturally, we have very great reservations in regard to the infringement of the three broad functions of Parliament in relation to the finances of the State. Clause 6(1)(a) gives to the Minister and the Treasury the right to use amounts specifically voted for a certain purpose towards defrayment of any other expenditure for which insufficient appropriation has been made under that Vote. I hope the hon. the Minister will be able to advance further reasons than those which appear in the explanatory memorandum as to why he intends taking this power which previously was not his.
There are certain questions which I should like to ask in connection with clause 7, because, despite inquiries, I am not entirely clear as to what the correct position is. However, before I come to those questions, I should like to revert to clause 4. Subsection (3) provides—
This wording is repeated in subsection (4). As we understand it, in the past the situation developed that the budget and the aspects covered in terms of clause 4, i.e. the format in which the Minister of Finance delivered his budget and the type and quantity of information which he put forward, had been established by custom and usage. Furthermore, the position was that should the Minister wish to change something, he would refer the matter to the Select Committee on Public Accounts and that committee would then consider the matter and make recommendations to Parliament. All that we are concerned about— obviously this is not a question involving the Minister personally; we are concerned with the office of the Minister—is whether, in effect, the established practice will remain intact. Naturally it will be a matter of great concern to all in our country to know that the budget will contain the same information as in the past; or at least that the information will not be greatly reduced. We hope that as much information as possible, certainly as much as in the past,will be given. Therefore, what we are asking the hon. the Minister is whether his understanding is that “in a form determined by him” is still governed by the same checks and criteria which were found in the past.
If we look at clause 7 we find that the hon. the Minister here is again asking for a transfer of powers from the State President to the holder of his office. There is a caveat placed upon these powers of the Minister in the sense that they can be exercised only when expenditure cannot without serious prejudice to the public interest be postponed until appropriation therefor can be made by Parliament. Here again, if I understand the explanatory memorandum correctly, what the hon. the Minister is looking for is an increase in his discretion in respect of the amount of money which can be used by him from the order of R55 million to R110 million. This is a not inconsiderable extension of his powers.
We also seek information in regard to clause 8, where it is provided that the “Treasury may limit the granting of credits referred to in section 9(3) to the amounts which, in its opinion, are required for current payments in respect of the service or purpose concerned, or it may withhold or suspend the disbursement of moneys which has been appropriated for in respect of which authority has been granted in terms of section 7(1), if in the opinion of the Treasury circumstances make such withholding or suspension desirable.” Subsection (3) of this clause reads as follows:
Obviously, here there is a very large element of discretion granted to the Treasury. I hope that the hon. the Minister, in order to alleviate our difficulties and reservations in this regard, will give a much wider explanation so that it may be possible for us, at least, to review our objections.
The last clause we have difficulty with is clause 36. Subsection (1) provides the following:
I want to draw attention to the last three rather important words of this subsection, namely “or their representatives”. Subsection (2) reads as follows—
There is, however, a caveat in respect of this subsection. Of course, we appreciate that for the holder of the hon. the Minister’s office, there is a limit to the number of meetings he can hold and the number of questions he can resolve, but on the other hand, these powers of delegation are going extremely far. The question of state revenue and the running of the finances of the State is a matter of major importance. Therefore, while we support and, indeed, welcome the introduction of the unitary system of budgeting, we have extremely grave reservations until we hear from the hon. the Minister, in regard to the transfer of powers away from the purview of Parliament in favour of the hon. the Minister of Finance, the Treasury and officials of those departments.
Mr. Speaker, it is strange that I should have to tell the hon. member for Johannesburg North this afternoon that he made a good speech here. I have criticized him sharply in the past. I am not going to discuss the things we do not agree about, but he did come up with a few positive things. For that, at least, I am grateful.
However, I want to deal with the hon. member for Constantia. Last week the hon. member for Constantia objected strenuously to the unitary budget which is now coming to the fore. In my opinion the hon. member really failed to do his homework in one respect, although he even referred to the report of the Franzsen Commission. I myself want to quote now from paragraph 178 of the third report of that commission. In the first place I want to indicate who the members of the commission were. The commission consisted of the following members: Dr. D. G. Franzsen (chairman), an authority on finance in South Africa, Mr. W. B. Coetzer, Mr. A. J. du Toit, Prof. R. D. H. Houghton, Prof. J. A. Lombard, Mr. H. S Mabin, Mr. L. J van den Berg, Mr. W. J. C. Wessels and Dr. B. S. Wiehahn. They are people of authority in South Africa, people who can speak on finance with authority. These people unanimously—and I stress the word “unanimously”—made the recommendation I am going to quote. These men gathered all possible evidence in South Africa, including contributions from their own ranks. People who gave evidence before that commission were knowledgeable people. Arising out of all the evidence, this authoritative commission replied as follows in paragraph 178 of the third report—
I wonder, therefore, where the hon. member for Constantia got his authorities from. Where do his authorities come from? Mr. Mabin, who is an authority even in their ranks, submitted a minority report which is included in this report. However, Mr. Mabin raised no criticism of or objection to the unitary budget. I now want to debate the matter further with the hon. member. To what aspects of the unitary budget is he really opposed? The unitary budget facilitates the financing of the State. Superfluous bookwork is eliminated and we come to this House with one consolidated budget. As the hon. commission put it, there is either a surplus or a deficit. The deficit will have to be financed from loans. What will it pay us to continue as we have done thus far, viz. keeping the budget from revenue and the budget from loans separate? Precisely nothing! After all, the deficit is financed from loans in any event. Whether there is a large deficit or a surplus in the Revenue Account, the hon. the Minister and the Government will still have to continue financing their budget. This year we have before us here the revenue which we have obtained and credited to the Loan Vote. Why did the hon. member for Constantia not object to this? This is something that has been done for years. I want to quote the following figures relating to revenue which goes towards Loan Vote expenditure: Estate duty, R33 million; export duties on diamonds, R8 million; State ownership revenue, R14½ million; goldmining leases, R216 million; other mining leases, R6 million; forestry, R17 million; State diamond diggings, R3 million; and rent of State property, R8 259 000, all of which totals R305 759 000. In point of fact this is revenue, but it does not go to our Revenue Account. For years it has been deposited in the Loan Account from which capital works have to be financed. Why has the hon. member not yet objected to that? Up to now we could have transferred even more revenue to the Loan Account, but that is meaningless. The hon. member states—I have his Hansard before me here —that this consolidation could not have occurred at a more unfortunate juncture. Why? Are we worse off than we were in 1910, or what? Now the hon. member also wants to compare us with England and the United States of America. He points out that one-third of England’s annual national income is spent by the Government, whereas in our country only 20% is spent by the Government. That is quite correct, but what do we now have to compare? He states that because they are so highly developed, their capital expenditure on the development of the infrastructure—railways, roads and so on—is poles apart from our capital expenditure in South Africa, because we still have to spend a great deal on our infrastructure. If we are so far behind England in that respect, but the Government nevertheless spends a smaller percentage, why are hon. members continually saying that we are so weak? Why are they always comparing us with Britain or with the United States? Why should everything that this Government does in South Africa, and all our services, be better than those in the two mentioned countries? In my opinion we should be fair and just in our criticism and the comparisons we want to draw.
In my opinion, the only point brought home by the hon. member for Constantia was that we should praise the Minister for having come to the House with this consolidated legislation. With reference to everything that has been said thus far, I should like to convey my sincere thanks to the hon. the Minister for the White Paper that was issued. A White paper of this kind makes matters very easy for us and saves the time of the House, the department and the members when they are preparing themselves for the discussion of a Bill. When one has a White Paper to sit and read quietly at home, it is unnecessary to ask questions about matters that are not clear. There is a further consolidation of powers and also new powers which are now to be transferred to the hon. the Minister. In my opinion the hon. the Minister should always have had these powers. I think that perhaps there are more legal measures which would benefit from changes such as those being effected by this Bill. It makes the legislation more practical and streamlined and this, once again, speaks volumes for our hon. Minister and the Government. It shows once again that we must continue along the road we have been following for 27 years, because sound legislation has consistently been brought before the House.
Through the hon. member for Constantia, the Opposition has criticized this measure, but surely we have already discussed these matters between ourselves privately, and elsewhere, too. Why did the hon. member not level criticism or make suggestions at that stage as well? That is astonishing. One cannot but wonder why he should only come up with criticism now. I hope that in the future, too, when we discuss other matters among ourselves, including discussions that take place elsewhere, they will level criticism so that we may argue, debate and thrash out the matter properly on a financial basis, man to man. One cannot always argue similar matters in the open House, for it is better to argue those matters when there is discussion jointly between members. In this way we shall achieve the best for our country. We cooperate in other spheres, in the Select Committee on Public Accounts, for example, and in my opinion we could conduct arguments of this kind more fruitfully during those discussions.
Right at the outset I want to say to the hon. member for Sunnyside that he seems to be too touchy about these matters. The hon. member for Constantia has said nothing he could take exception to.
†The hon. members for Sunnyside and Johannesburg North said they disagreed with the hon. member for Constantia. By the arguments they advanced, they showed that they did not even follow the reasoning of the hon. member for Constantia. I want to deal with the matters raised by the hon. member for Constantia and at the same time show the hon. members for Sunnyside and Johannesburg North the error of their ways. In regard to the member for Johannesburg North I want to say that I am rather surprised at the way he approached this particular financial measure. He told us he had certain reservations about this Bill and that he was against the amendment of the official Opposition, but he did not tell us whether the Progressive Party as such is in favour of the Bill or not.
They are still waiting for Helen.
The hon. member for Sea Point and the spiritual leader of the hon. member for Johannesburg North, i.e. the hon. member for Yeoville, are not here tonight. Consequently the hon. member has no direction. That is why up to now he, as their main speaker, could not indicate whether the Progressive Party has taken a decision as to whether or not they are going to accept this Bill. I wonder whether the hon. member will indicate to me across the floor whether they are prepared to accept the Bill or are against it. I know what the hon. member’s problem is: They have a leadership crisis. I want to say, incidentally, that the Progressive Party and the Reform Party are so busy consummating their affair that they have not studied this legislation properly. Their support must be seen in that light and with those qualifications.
I want to support the arguments raised and the amendment moved by the hon. member for Constantia. The public are entitled to the fullest disclosure as to how the Government intends spending the revenue on Loan Account and I am certain the hon. the Minister is with me in this respect. The introduction of a unitary budgetary system means that we are switching over to a system of less disclosure and, to some extent, not proper disclosure. It will not always be possible to ascertain how certain capital works are being financed or to what extent revenue is being utilized for that particular purpose. I think the hon. the Minister is with me up to there. In a developing country like South Africa with its growing economy there is no reason whatsoever for not financing capital projects from Loan Account. It is a sound business approach adopted by all business houses. I am amazed at the hon. the member for Johannesburg North. Being involved in big business, he should know by now that they finance capital projects from Loan Account.
You do not know what you are talking about.
The Government, by introducing a unitary budgeting system, is trying to cover up an enormous backlog in capital works. The hon. the Minister knows I am correct in saying that. The hon. member for Johannesburg North never even recognized that particular point. If the Government went to the open market to borrow all the capital funds required to finance our public sector, e.g., our infrastructure, our transport system and our telecommunication system, we would require billions of rand over the next ten years. The Government is embarking on a policy of concealment of the backlog and the method of financing to be used. The Government showed, with Sasol 2 for example, that it intended financing it largely from revenue. I want to make it quite clear that the Opposition views Sasol 2 as an absolute necessity. However, we deplore the fact that the Government intends raising the bulk of the money, i.e. over R1000 million, from revenue. This is a typical example of a project which should be financed from Loan Account. It is the sort of capital project in respect of which money should be borrowed to finance it. This is the thin edge of the wedge and, as far as the Government is concerned, this is their approach to their capital programme. For this the taxpayers are going to be milked and skinned alive. I believe that through this sort of action of the Government the tax-payer is going to reach absolute breaking point. I see the hon. the Minister is amused; but, then, he is always amused when he is overtaxing the taxpayer. The financing of Sasol 2 is going to increase the cost of petrol by hundreds of millions of rand over the next few years. This method of financing will be more frequently used in a unitary budget, with disastrous effects on the South African economy. The extensive use of revenue for capital expenditure, will lead to the worst inflation this country has yet experienced. The cost of living will shoot up beyond recognition and the value of the rand will continue to be eroded. If the hon. the Minister will deal with these matters he will find that the value of the rand, when buying certain goods in supermarkets for example, compared with a year ago has dropped from R1 to 81 cents. Revenue expenditure is traditionally financed from taxation. The Government is intent on bending and breaking the economy to suit its own political purposes. This unitary budget is a gimmick which is not going to fool the electorate because they are going to feel the effect of being skinned alive with new direct and indirect taxation and these proposals are going to come very soon, in the next session in fact, because the Government is going to require a lot more money to finance their capital projects. The United Party knows that South Africa has a strong economy despite the policies of the Nationalist Party.
In the capital markets of the world our economy is respected and we can borrow in an almost unlimited fashion. We have not reached anywhere near the ceiling of our borrowing in the capital markets both abroad and internally. The United Party holds the view that we can borrow for our capital requirements both locally and abroad and that we need not, as far as the United Party is concerned, embarrass the taxpayers of South Africa by talking hard-earned revenue for expenditure on Loan Account. The Government with a unitary budget wish to milk the revenue account and they are going to widen the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots”, in South Africa. This is going to have a snowballing effect which is going to increase costs throughout the entire economy. The hon. the Minister always seems to smile when one says that he is going to increase the cost to the taxpayer but the hon. the Minister is very fortunate because he is not elected by the taxpayers of South Africa; he has a honorary appointment in this House.
I am smiling at you.
The hon. the Minister says he is smiling at me. I can only think that he sees his own reflection in my eyes. If the hon. the Minister says that for more revenue he is going to lean more heavily on the haves, he is going to kill private enterprise and initiative and stultify production. The Government has every reason to advertise our capital requirements and to borrow as much money abroad as possible. This method of financing of capital works is a reflection of the loss of confidence of the Government in its own ability to borrow money. This particular provision is going to fan the flames of inflation in South Africa, and I would therefore like to appeal to the hon. the Minister not to let this Bill go through in its present form, but to accept the amendment moved by the hon. member for Constantia. We can stick to our present system; the only thing that is required is a better co-ordination in the borrowing programme overseas and internally. The Government was influenced in introducing this measure by the Franzsen Commission. One can refer to paragraph 174 of its third report. The effect of that recommendation is that because the United Kingdom and the United States eliminated the distinction between expenditure on Capital Account and expenditure on Revenue Account we have to follow suit. The Franzsen Commission erred because South Africa is a young, virile and developing country whilst those countries have reached a far more developed stage in their public sectors. The economy of the United Kingdom has reached such a parlous state that the Government will be well advised not to follow the example of the United Kingdom in this regard. Instead of reverting to the unitary budgetary system, the Government should try to improve the existing system. The improvement that I would like to suggest to the present system is—I have raised this with the hon. the Minister in the Second Reading but he seems to ignore it—that before each item of capital expenditure he should put the year in which the particular scheme was approved. The hon. the Minister must tell us why they cannot indicate the year that a particular scheme was approved, because if the hon. the Minister would indicate the year the scheme was approved, one can immediately assess what the backlog is in relation to capital works.
In accordance with Standing Order No. 23, the House adjourned at