House of Assembly: Vol57 - MONDAY 9 JUNE 1975

MONDAY, 9 JUNE 1975 Prayers—2.15 p.m.


Mr. W. C. MALAN:

as Chairman, presented the Second Report of the Select Committee on Public Accounts.

Report, proceedings and evidence to be printed and considered.


Mr. S. F. KOTZÉ:

as Chairman, presented the Report of the Select Committee on the Electoral Consolidation Act, as follows:

Your Committee begs to report that it has given consideration to the subject matter of its inquiry and that it has taken certain evidence. Owing to the advanced stage of the session, your Committee finds, however, that it will be unable to complete its inquiry before the prorogation of Parliament.

In the circumstances it requests the House to order its discharge from further service this session and recommends that a Committee be again appointed at an early stage next session to resume and complete the inquiry. Your Committee further recommends that, in order that the names of registered White voters may be included in the automated population register as soon as possible, the Government be requested to give precedence to the inclusion in such register of White South African citizens of 16 years and older.

S. F. KOTZÉ, Chairman.

Committee Rooms,

House of Assembly,

5 June 1975.

Proceedings and evidence to be printed and considered.


Bill read a First Time.

APPROPRIATION BILL (Committee Stage resumed)

Revenue Votes Nos. 25.—“Agricultural Economics and Marketing: Administration”, and 26—“Agricultural Economics and Marketing: General”, Loan Vote C and S.W.A. Vote No. 15.—“Agricultural Economics and Marketing”, Revenue Vote No. 27, Loan Vote D and S.W.A. Vote No. 16. —“Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure”, and Revenue Vote No. 28 and S.W.A. Vote No. 17.—“Agricultural Technical Services” (contd.):


Mr. Chairman, I should like to reply to the questions that have been put to me. Before doing so, however, I should just like to announce that the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing, Dr. Claude van der Merwe, has decided to retire after 36 years of service in the Department of Agriculture. He commenced his career in 1942 as secretary to the Marketing Council, after he had obtained a doctor’s degree in agricultural economics. In 1951 he became chairman of the Marketing Council, and in 1965 secretary to the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing. When he retires at the end of September of this year, he will have occupied that post for ten years. Sir, we cannot do the work in the Department of Agriculture unless we have loyal officials. In other countries of the world I have found that a Public Service post is a much sought after post, and that there are waiting lists of people who wish to work in the Public Service. I wish this could also be the case in the Republic. Dr. Van der Merwe set the younger officials an excellent example. Loyalty is something I never had to look for in him. It was always there. One day someone said to me: “Do you know that Dr. Van der Merwe is a United Party supporter?” To that I replied: “That is impossible; it cannot be!” [Interjections.] On behalf of all the officials of the department, the Ministry and all the farmers in our country, I should like to thank Dr. Van der Merwe for the faithful and loyal service which he rendered. We trust that he will enjoy a pleasant retirement.


Hear, hear!


Mr. Chairman, I want to begin by replying to the matters raised by the hon. member for Newton Park. In the first place he said that the Cabinet had let me down as far as the maize price was concerned, and that what it amounted to was that I was a minority vote in the Cabinet. The hon. member asked of what use it was having a Maize Board that had recommended a price of R60 per ton, when the Cabinet fixed the price at R56 per ton. The Cabinet never votes on a matter. We are unanimous. This is not the Cabinet’s price or my price, or A or B’s price; it is a Government price, which I can defend whenever called upon to do so. The hon. member for Newton Park is not here at the moment. He told me that he had to hold a meeting in Middelburg. I welcome the fact that he is in Middelburg, for every time he explains the maize price in the rural areas, more people vote for the National Party! The hon. member asked why we decided on R56 per ton, as against a price of R60 recommended by the Maize Board. The hon. member said that the increase in production costs had been 25%. The increase in production costs was 21,6%. The argument of the United Party is that one should add that 21,6% to last year’s price of R50 per ton. But you would be stupid if you argued in this manner, for of that price of R50 per ton last year, R26 per ton was in respect of production costs. Now one adds 21,6% to last year’s production costs of R26 per ton and one arrives at this price. It is so simple that I cannot understand how a United Party supporter cannot understand it. It is acceptable to me and …


Most National Party supporters do not understand it either! [Interjections.]


We can discuss the details of the price determination by the Maize Board, but last year’s price of R50 per ton has already been taken into account. It is accepted that there will be an export profit. We have considered all these matters carefully, and I do not think it is necessary to go into details in this regard now. I shall deal with the questions put by other hon. members in regard to this matter in a moment. The hon. member for Newton Park also said that we were forgetting the farmers. That is why there is an amount in the estimates of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing which has been reduced by R9,6 million in comparison with the amount for last year. That amount of R9,6 million was for assistance in respect of flood damage in the Lower Orange region, which was not repeated in these new estimates. In this way I can reply to every point that hon. member raised.

I come now to his request that we pay a consumer subsidy on fresh milk. I am so pleased that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is here. The hon. member for Orange Grove cried out here: “Something must be done now.” He is crying out that we must do something now, but he does not say what. [Interjections.] He says that I am the Minister. I want to tell the hon. the Leader of the Opposition—I do not want to be personal—that he has one of the best dairy herds in the entire Republic. It is of the highest quality. [Interjections.] Of course it is not his; his father bred those herds. [Interjections.]


He is a better farmer than he is a politician.


What the hon. the Deputy Minister is saying there is true. In any case, the milk production of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has declined to the same extent—he has animals of the best quality—and there are various factors which played a part in this. Take for example the question of climatic conditions. In the summer rainfall areas we had too much rain, with the result that the farmers there had to contend with foot-rot and other diseases. These are all things which coincide with adverse climatic conditions. The hon. member said that other countries, England for example, had a milk subsidy. England is a small country with factories that have been established with public funds for one purpose only, and that is to draw off surplus milk, in times of surpluses, and manufacturing industrial milk and dairy products from it. Can hon. members opposite imagine our succeeding in the Republic, with distances of 1 600 and 1 800 km and with weather conditions which fluctuate from district to district, in establishing the machinery to … [Interjections.] Very well, I agree. The Wentzel Commission of Inquiry into Control Boards might recommend that we have one board for dairy products and fresh milk. However, it offers no instant solution to say that other countries are paying a subsidy, so why not here. We could apply a subsidy, as the hon. member for Newton Park requested. He referred to the controlled areas, to which the hon. member for Lichtenburg gave him a clear reply. What would the effect of that be? One pays a subsidy in the controlled areas. A subsidy would be paid in an area such as Houghton. This is a controlled area. There would then be a shift of emphasis, and more milk would be consumed there. But what about the less well to do areas, We want the subsidy to work through to the less well to do areas. How is one going to pay a subsidy on fresh milk in a place like Messina? How can one do that? One has to adopt a practical approach to these matters. A subsidy of one cent would cost the country R9,9 million. We shall have to pay a subsidy of at least 5 cents. This would mean an additional subsidy of R50 million. Sir, it is not that I am unsympathetic. If we could find a machine to do this, I would ask the Minister of Finance for a subsidy, but it is simply impossible to implement this in practice.

The hon. the Deputy Minister referred to the importance of inflation, and pointed out that inflation was affecting the farmer as well. I want to thank the hon. the Deputy Minister for his contribution. We speak precisely the same language, Sir. I cannot imagine the Progressive Party ever governing this country, for, believe me, they will never win a seat in the rural areas, and one cannot govern this country if one does not have the support of the rural areas. Therefore the Progressive Party will always, for all time, remain a small group that barks and snaps at one’s heels like a dog. I cannot imagine how one could have the approach to agricultural matters that the Progressive Party has. One cannot make head or tail of it.

†The hon. member for Orange Grove said, “Why not one price for the housewife? Why have two prices, one for industrial milk and one for fresh milk?” Does the hon. member know the difference between industrial milk and fresh milk? They both come from the udder of a cow, but the one is a much more expensive milk because it is produced under conditions laid down by the municipalities. The production of fresh milk requires quite a different type of fanning. In order to produce industrial milk, you can milk the cow in the kraal. Industrial milk is sold at a lower price than fresh milk. The hon. member is right. It does happen in some instances, as it did in Pretoria, for instance, because of a shortage, that municipalities say that in emergencies industrial milk may be sold as fresh milk under certain conditions, including inspection of the milk on the farm, but you cannot allow industrial milk and fresh milk to be treated alike all over the country.

The hon. member also said that the standard of living was dropping. Sir, I am sympathetic towards the pensioners and people in the low income groups. I realize their problems, but the hon. member must not make the general statement that the standard of living is dropping without having a look at the way in which people spend their money in this country. The hon. member for Prieska has already shown what increase there has been in the consumption of alcohol, for instance, not only amongst the Whites, but amongst the Blacks and Coloureds. Last year we spent R1 056 million on red meat; on grain produce we spent R715 million, on milk and eggs R361 million, on alcohol R909 million, on tobacco R327 million, and on cool drinks—Fanta and Coke and that jazz— R156 million. Sir, does that show that the standard of living in this country is dropping and that immediate action is necessary? What did we do? We gave the farmer an incentive by increasing the price of fresh milk by 21%. The hon. member for Newton Park immediately said, “Do you think this will be an incentive?” Sir, what else must we do?

*Sir, at least the hon. member for Lady-brand poured balm into the wound by saying that it was clear to him that milk production would now be boosted and that more fresh milk would be produced.

The hon. member for Parys requested that we get away from the five-year shifting average. Sir, the Agricultural Union made an announcement in this regard which was erroneous in this sense that they said that I had said that we were going to calculate the maize price on a different basis. We agreed that we would explain the basis on which the price of maize is determined to the maize producers in July, when I was back in Pretoria. We would then see whether they understand how we do this, and whether our production costs calculation was correct. Sir, I checked this in my own farming practice and I can tell you that the departmental figure is precisely correct. The idea of the talks is not to find a new method, but we shall look at the shifting average on this occasion. I want to tell the hon. member for Parys that we ought to be very careful here, for what would happen if we had a crop failure next year, and we had done away with the shifting average, and next year’s crop had to manage on its own? We have been caught unawares under the shifting average because we had two successive record years, and because the poor crop of five years ago fell away under the five-year scheme. Sir, we shall have to consider this matter very carefully. The hon. member referred to the risk attached to the production of maize. He is quite correct. Today it costs certain farmers R80 per morgen to plough, sow and apply fertilizer. If they experience a minor drought in February, they have had it. With these high production costs, they cannot make a livelihood. There is unrest, but I have the permission of the Prime Minister to tell the farmers that in this industry the Government is a partner. Consequently we have taken care of them every time. This gesture on the Dart of the maize farmer of contributing R3 from his export profit to subsidize the consumer, while the Government also contributed R3, to bring the maize price up to R50 per ton, so that it rose by only 6%, did not go unnoticed. This is a gesture, made by the maize farmer, which we shall remember when they have been hard hit.

†The hon. member for Green Point said we should have facilities in the cities for the establishment of more open markets, It all depends on what the attitude of the municipalities will be. You know, Sir, the municipalities spend fortunes on erecting new municipal markets. We can take it up with those people, but they feel that they want to have all the vegetables concentrated, at Epping Market for instance.


It may be to the benefit of the housewives.


The other problem is that we have various municipal markets in the middle of cities and the housewife does not take the trouble to go and buy on the market herself. The hon. member for Orange Grove says the standards of living are dropping. My experience is that the standard of living is so specialized today. The housewife is not prepared to look for parking for instance. She wants to park in a parking lot next to a chain store and she wants to buy her cabbage, tooth-paste you name it, they have it under the same roof. It is like the old United Party policy: “You want it, we have it.” The policy of the chain store is the same.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

But we have quality too.


The hon. member mentioned the example of a cabbage which costs 25 cents in a chain store this morning, and ten cents this afternoon. The housewife wants fresh produce; she is not prepared to buy wilted vegetables. But I want to tell the hon. member and I have tried to distribute vegetables in the retail trade. One has to compete with a person who has a very low standard of living. Besides, we are dealing here with a perishable product. In the summer months in Pretoria a half-ripe tomato is overripe within 24 hours. We therefore have problems of that kind, but we shall nevertheless look into this matter to see whether the municipalities will be prepared to establish more outlets for housewives in urban complexes.

The hon. member for Bethal discussed the possibility of a meatless day. I should like to thank the hon. member and his committee for the work they have done, and the visits they paid overseas to see how the marketing systems of other countries work. Now I want to say this to the hon. Opposition: Do not think I am standing here pretending that everything is as it should be. Why did we appoint this commission, on which the United Party is also serving? Because I wanted you to help us find a method to see where the mistakes in our control board system were being made so that we can rectify them, and the same applies to the marketing system, for there is a constant need for matters to be adjusted and rounded off.

The hon. member for Prieska was quite correct. The consumer should know what the conveyance of that sheep, the slaughter fees, amount to. Sir, we see the word Salmonella in capital letters in the newspaper, that there is Salmonella in the meat from the Pretoria abattoirs, and from other abattoirs as well. Here is my hon. colleague, who is in charge of the C.S.I.R. They have to undertake research of this kind, but you know, Sir, Salmonella was there when I was a child, but with an ever-increasing urban population we must be hygienic. There are municipalities that are now considering passing a by-law prohibiting the conveyance of meat from the abattoirs to the butcheries unless it has been cooled to below 40 degrees. Someone along the way has to pay this account. There is now a provision to the effect that a butchery may no longer deposit meat on a surface which is not of stainless steel. In this way we send costs soaring. This is right, but someone has to pay for it. We now have the position where the slaughter fees of a sheep, conveyance, etc., from Prieska, until the farmer receives his cheque, amounts to R7. This has to be deducted.


Salmonella included.


Yes, that included. I must say, with all due respect, that I have not yet heard of anyone dying of salmonella. Show me such a person if you have.

It is strange, Sir, but I am quite fond of the hon. member for Amanzimtoti. I do not know why.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

He is a good United Party man.


He says we are living above our incomes. I think he made a very good speech. He also said that the sugar price had not been increased in the past five years. That is correct as far as the consumer is concerned. What about the sucrose price as far as the producer is concerned? It increased by 68,8% in ten years. I am not controlling the price of sugar to the producer—this is a commodity which is subject to a quota system. What about the maize farmers however?

*I would have given him full marks for his speech, if only he had added that he thought it was fair and reasonable that the maize farmers also receive a little increase in their maize price. The way the housewives are taking me to task about this maize price increase, is hard to believe. The telegrams I keep getting! I am pleased that the Opposition can perceive that the farmer should also receive an incentive to produce.

The hon. member for Oudtshoorn said that the agricultural co-operatives should process and market the farmers’ products. However, hon. members should realize that a campaign is in progress—to a certain extent justifiably—for the co-operatives to be kept in check. Subsequently we shall be giving a great deal of attention to this matter, for we have to adjust the position next year. However, there are so many pitfalls in this matter—another hon. member also referred to it. He said that a “certain commodity costs R3-40 per kg —I knew it had to be ostrich biltong. In Oudtshoorn, in the retail trade, ostrich biltong costs R10 per kilo.

The hon. member for Somerset East referred to the jointed cactus problem. We are trying out biological methods of eradication. In my opinion the solution to this jointed cactus problem is similar to that in respect of prickly pears. We shall have to find cochenille, or some similar parasite, to live off it. However, the spraying programme is costing us R7 million. We are engaged in this programme intensively. The same applies to the silver-leaf bitter apple. We sent people to South America to see whether this jointed cactus does not have a natural enemy so that we can eradicate it by biological means. The hon. member referred to a person who had bought wheat seed that was contaminated with silver-leaf bitter apple seed. I want to make an appeal to that person please to buy certified seed. We cannot afford to spread silver-leaf bitter apple throughout the country. That weed is called “silver-leaf bitter apple”, but some people call it “Reform bush”.

†I was a bit disappointed in the hon. member for Constantia. He said that my reply to his question about the plot in Wynberg was evasive and discourteous. The hon. member asked me that question at the beginning of February. We saw each other several times since without him saying anything to me. I could have given him all the information a long time ago. It was not my intention to be discourteous or evasive because I thought his question referred to the fact that we did not pay that customer of his enough. In the meantime he was actually worried about the fact that we had paid the gentleman too much, and that gentleman was not even a customer of his. Perhaps that is why my response could have been interpreted as having been discourteous. What actually happened in this case? He said that our evaluator, Mr. Ward, is a highly respected person. The valuator employed by the department initially placed a valuation of R85 000 on the property. I am now speaking in round figures. This figure included a substantial amount in respect of goodwill, loss and inconvenience. After careful analysis of the valuation report, the Minister, on the recommendation of the Land Tenure Board, approved an offer of R69 000 being made to the then owner, Mr. Hymie Casper. Mr. Casper was not agreeable to sell at that price and submitted an appraisement obtained by him from an evaluator who placed the value of the land and buildings on it at R78 000. To that figure he added a claim of R28 000 for goodwill in respect of a general dealer’s business which was at that stage being conducted on the two plots; as well as for loss and inconvenience, bringing his total claim to R106 500. That was the claim. In the light of the contents of the claim and the department’s own analysis of the position, the department’s evaluator was asked to re-investigate the matter, as the result of which he adjusted his evaluation figure for the land and buildings. The Minister, on the recommendation of the Land Tenure Board, decided to increase his offer up to the last-mentioned figure, which was then offered to Mr. Casper. He still did not agree to accept the offer. It was only after protracted negotiations and finally a decision by the Government to resort to expropriation, that the offer was accepted. The hon. member asked the question in January 1975. My department assumed that the seller had approached him to re-open the matter. That is what we thought at the time. I have disclosed the valuations here, although it is not the policy to do so. We have three valuations. The one is for R85 000, the other R106 000 and the third one R177 000. It is not necessary for me to disclose these figures, but eventually we decided on this amount. I do not want to speak longer than half an hour, but I can give the hon. member all the details if he wants them.

*I thought that I would ask the hon. member, who is old enough to be my uncle, to ask me directly in future: “Hendrik, can’t you give me the right answer? [Interjections.]

The hon. member for Malmesbury asked for a wheat institute. This is a difficult matter. We have a wheat research centre at Elsenburg. There is another similar institute in Bethlehem. To create an institute specifically for this purpose, where it can now he accommodated, at Elsenburg, is not justified at this stage; the costs are not justified. We have a manpower problem, and we are doing everything we can to encourage increased production.

The hon. member referred to the bonuses of members that are taxable. When we speak of a co-operative that has to be taxed, hon. members must remember that the profit of a co-operative is a bonus in the hands of a member which is in fact taxable. If we were to begin imposing taxes on certain of the co-operatives, we must remember that the share of the co-operative member in that co-operative remains precisely what it is worth. A rand remains a rand, and he receives 8% interest on it. He can only withdraw it when he has given up farming altogether, and can prove that he has done so; only then can his share money be paid back to him. The hon. member made that point plain, and I want to thank him for doing so

The hon. member for Kimberley North requested us to encourage fish farming in the irrigation dams of the Vaalharts. As it happens, we made a start with that last year. We are undertaking a research in cooperation with the provincial administration. They have a fish-hatching station and therefore such a possibility exists. However, there is one problem, namely the marketing of the fish. A co-operative was established in the Alma area, at which the farmers went in for the production of fish on a large scale, but now they are saddled with the marketing problem. We shall have to see whether we should not perhaps market the product on a co-operative basis. But there is an additional income for the farmer here, which could be beneficially utilized.

The hon. member also said that we should give attention to game farming. I am giving the hon. member my personal opinion when I say that I am, believe me, very wary of game farming. One has to consider the trampling of the veld, grazing control, fencing, etc. To enclose a farm with game-proof fencing requires a major capital investment. In addition the buck still has to be shot and conveyed to the market, and soon one will be saddled with municipal problems. I know that there are farmers who are going in for this type of farming, but they are making a lot of money by selling the game to people who come to the farm to shoot it—say, for example, impala at R30 per animal. However, to regard game farming as an economic agricultural enterprise, pure and simple, is something we should be very careful about. The carrying capacity per hectare, and todays’ land prices, should be taken into consideration before one decides whether one can make a profit from game farming. I am pleased, however, that the hon. member focused attention on this point.

†I am now going to refer to what the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South has said and I am going to be calm. I am not going to lose my temper.


That is not possible.


I am, and I shall show you.

†The hon. member made various allegations. I do not think it was necessary. My father taught me that one is just as big as the things one becomes angry at. The hon. member said that it was a disgrace to think that the price of eggs should be increased. The floor price of eggs has gone up by 1½ cents per kilo, i.e. 1 cent per dozen. This is the floor price; the retailer can ask whatever he likes. Do hon. members realize that the selling price of eggs in the Cape Peninsula is between 38 cents and 40 cents at the moment, which is exactly the same as the retail price in 1953. I admit that the floor price was increased by 1½ cents per kilo. The hon. member referred to the enormous losses on the export of eggs. He says that we lost about R3 million on it. The only way to have sufficient supplies of eggs is by producing a surplus. What must we do with the surplus? We must export egg pulp to a very low market overseas. The yolk must be separated from the white of the egg. I admit that there was a loss of R3 million this year, a loss which was borne by the consumer by way of a levy.

*However, the situation may also arise that we shall have to tell the people that we do not have any eggs. At present we have a surplus of 10%. This is perhaps a rather large surplus for the Western Cape, which produces in abundance compared to the Witwatersrand and Pretoria, where there are shortages in some months. In any case, it is not necessary to carry on to such an extent here and to say that it is a disgrace that the floor price of eggs is being increased, while the price for the consumer today is precisely the same as it was in 1953.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Mr. Chairman, may I ask the hon. the Minister a question? When was this price increase announced?


About 10 days ago.

The hon. member said that he had asked me a question to which I have not replied. On Thursday he put a question for written reply, and he received his reply today. We only received the hon. member’s question on Thursday.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Thursday? According to the Question Paper you received it on Monday.


Well, then the hon. member has a different Question Paper to mine.

The hon. member for Lichtenburg put forward a very practical approach. One simply cannot over-emphasize the importance of the investigation and research which is being undertaken in regard to fresh milk at the institute at Irene, and at Onderstepoort.

I want to conclude by referring to control boards. There are members who had quite a great deal to say about this. As soon as there is an increase in food prices, people grab at any problem to explain this. There are people who say that our control board system is intolerable. The system is being investigated at the moment. Do hon. members know what the administrative costs of the Maize Board are, for example? They are 2 cents on a bag of maize. Do hon. members know what the administrative costs of the Milk Board are? They are 0,09 cents on a litre. What would have happened if we had not had these control boards? Let us consider the position of the Wheat Control Board. Its manager may not earn more than a secretary of a department. His salary is approved by the Minister of Agriculture after thorough consideration has been given to it by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing.

People say that there are control boards that have R200 million in the kitty. I am only sorry that it is not R600 million. The export profit of the Maize Board last year was R65 million. We are contemplating, when the export seasons ends, depositing another R35 million in the kitty of the Maize Board as a result of world prices. The Wool Board introduced a voluntary levy among its members to build up a fund. So I can enumerate every board. In most cases it does not cost the consumer a cent. It is a producer’s contribution because the farmer realizes that his bad day is still coming.

There are people who kick up a fuss about food prices. What will the Opposition say the day we have a drought and have to import maize? The year before last we had a maize crop failure, but fortunately we were able to salvage the situation by mixing white and yellow maize. But what would happen if we had to import maize today, when, the world price is R80 per ton? What would it cost us after the mealies had been landed here? We are talking about the control boards that have considerable funds. Let me say that we have wheat supplies for only two months. The Government’s policy is that we should keep supplies for four months. It is easy to kick up a fuss and to say that things in agriculture are not under control. If we do not have a record wheat crop in the winter rainfall regions in the Free State this year, the situation could arise that we would have to import wheat. Our consumption is increasing all the time. The reason I am advancing pleas for and doing my utmost for the farmers of the country, as well as for the consumers, is because I realize that within the next 28 years we will have to feed 50 million people in this country. In addition, we are losing land every day. Last year we lost 30 000 ha of good agricultural land for the construction of freeways and for urban construction alone. What is the investment of these clients of mine in agriculture? There are 80 000 economic farming units, each of which has R150 000 invested in stock, implements and land. The farmers have invested R12 000 million to produce food for the urban dwellers, who are their partners in this undertaking. There are several Opposition members who regard these matters with sympathy, and who share our feelings in regard to these matters, but every right-minded Nationalist is aware …


Are there others as well?


We are not saying that we should be over-sympathetic. There are residential areas in this country in which the average municipal valuation for the entire area is R60 000 per dwelling. But show me a farmer’s house which cost R60 000. I do not know of any. The farmers are people who have made major investments, and one should not lose one’s sympathy for them. Let us take those people by the hand and say to them: “My friend, you must help us to feed a host of people under difficult circumstances of increasing production costs, etc., in this country.”


Mr. Chairman, I must begin this afternoon by apologizing on behalf of this side of the House to Dr. Claude van der Merwe, the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing. We were unaware of the fact that he is due to retire in a few months’ time, but I hope that he will accept the few words I say now in support of what the hon. the Minister has said as being in no way less sincere than if we had commenced this debate by saying them. We on this side of the House offer Dr. Claude our best wishes for a long, healthy and happy retirement. We—myself and my colleagues—will miss Dr. Claude when we go to the department. He has always been most sincere and helpful and I repeat we will miss him when he leaves. We wish his successor luck in the tremendous task which faces him, particularly the task which is going to face him under a Nationalist Government which seems to have lost sight of where it should be going.

I am also going to remain calm this afternoon, but want to say that this afternoon there are 5 million disappointed housewives in South Africa. We had honed, and so had the housewives, that this afternoon the hon. the Minister was going to say something which was going to help them in the tremendous task they are faced with in making ends meet. He spoke about subsidies on milk. He mentioned England where factories are subsidized for surplus production. If that is what is necessary I am afraid that is what this Government will have to do. Why does the hon. the Minister try to mislead the public when he talks about having to transport milk 1 800 and more km? That is not what is necessary. I want to ask him how many milk factories are standing idle today, including the one here in the Western Cape which was established particularly to deal with the very situation which he mentioned and which has never come anywhere close to 100% production? The hon. the Minister said that he was going to tell us about subsidies but what has he said? He has said no more than he said before, namely that it is impossible to give them. I want to tell him now what we believe regarding subsidies, particularly on milk. We believe that things like bread and milk in particular must be considered as social foods and that it is the responsibility of the Government to see that these foods are placed within the reach of every person in South Africa. We must not look at these items as agricultural products and whether they should be subsidized or not. There is plenty of room for argument on the extent of subsidies, but there should be no argument whatever regarding the keeping down of the prices of staple products like these. The hon. the Minister said there were two boards and asked how he could subsidize. He also said that not the whole of the country is controlled and asked how he could subsidize. In a letter to me he even mentioned cities like Pietermaritzburg, Durban, Bloemfontein, East London and Port Elizabeth which do not fall under the control of the Milk Board.

I know that, but the hon. the Minister knows that the prices in these areas are fixed by the Price Controller anyway. He asked how he was to implement a subsidy in areas which were not under the control of the Milk Board. I want to answer him by asking him this question, namely how does he pay the winter premium on cream in all areas of South Africa which are not under the control of the Milk Board? Milk goes through a distribution channel, a dairy, whether it is in Cape Town where it is under the control of the Milk Board or whether it is in Durban, East London or Port Elizabeth where it is under the control of co-operative societies and where the price is controlled by the Price Controller. The same applies to Blikkiesdorp. In all these cases there is a distributor, a channel through which the milk is marketed. I believe it is a simple matter for the Government to subsidize at that point. The hon. the Minister also wants to know how he can subsidize the poor little Black child in the Black areas in the northern Transvaal and he also wants to know how he can subsidize the people who live in the smaller platteland towns. My answer to the hon. the Minister is that I do not believe that those people at this stage need subsidization to the same extent as the poor people of the cities.

He should not lose sight of the seven million Black, Indian and Coloured people who are living in our cities, many of whom are living below the breadline. Those are the people who should be subsidized, because of the tremendous gap between what the producer gets and what the consumer pays in the urban areas, that is ten cents. I do not believe that any consumer in any of the small towns in the platteland or in the Black areas pays 25 to 30 cents for a litre of milk. That is why I believe, as my hon. friend, the member for Newton Park, put it to the hon. the Minister on Friday, that we can start in the urban areas where the load on the consumer is the highest. The scheme can then be extended from there, but, for Pete’s sake, let this Government show some concern for the consumer and let it show its bona fides by at least establishing a pilot scheme even if it is only in the Milk Board areas.

The hon. the Deputy Minister took me to task for a statement I made some time ago. I stand entirely by that statement. The hon. the Deputy Minister completely missed the point and he misconstrued completely what I had said, so much so, that what he said was in fact in support of what I had said. I stand by my statement that a litre of Coca Cola is cheaper than a litre of milk and I believe it is a shame that the lower income group people should be compelled, through economic reasons, to buy a litre of Coke, which the hon. the Deputy Minister himself says has less nutritional value than milk. That is the very point I made, namely that the Government should help these people to buy the food with the highest nutritional value.


That is right.


The hon. the Deputy Minister agrees with me, but why will he not plead with the hon. the Minister? For R10 million we can save the housewife a cent on every litre, which means 5 cents per day in most houses with families today. Five cents per day could be saved by R10 million. Here we have a Government whose coffers are bloated with surpluses they have made from the increase in the price of gold and this Government can afford R20 million to R30 million. It will be an exercise in social security. The hon. the Minister himself said: “Food for social peace in this country.” I say: “Food for détente within this country between the Whites, the haves, and the Blacks, the have-nots”. That should be the attitude of the hon. the Minister, namely food for détente between the White haves and the Black have-nots and I leave the hon. the Minister with that thought. Instead of hearing that he is going to help us, the hon. the Minister ten days ago announced an increase in the price of eggs. What is the effect going to be on the housewife?


I spoke about the floor price.


That is right, but that must have a ripple effect through the rest of the market. I agree that there is no control over the price of eggs. However, there is an increase of one cent per dozen— I will work in dozens because the housewife understands this better—in the price which is being paid to the producer who is producing a surplus in this country, a surplus, which is being bought by the board and exported at a loss. The hon. the Minister conceded that R3,5 million was lost last year. Who paid that R3,5 million? The housewife paid it through the 3 cents per dozen special levy she is paying to the board to subsidize this. At my behest and with my support the hon. the Minister passed a Bill in 1970 allowing him to control the production of eggs. What has happened? The hon. the Minister has allowed the situation to get completely out of hand, because in 1970 permits were issued in respect of 6,57 million birds to producers with over 10 000 laying-hens. Today those hens would be enough to meet the domestic requirements of South Africa without any surplus. However, we find that up to June 1974—I will not deal with the 1974 to 1975 period—the hon. the Minister had allowed an increase of 2,2 million hens. It is those hens which are producing the surplus eggs which are costing the country R3,5 million, and which are costing the housewife R3,5 million in the levies they are paying. That is why the housewife cannot expect a decrease in price today. If the hon. the Minister had applied the provision of this Act in a manner which was intended by this parliament, and if the hon. the Minister had applied the Act in the way in which he should have done to protect the housewife in South Africa as well as the egg producer, we would not have had this surplus. The egg producer would not have been required to pay the 3 cents, nor would the housewife had been required to pay that 3 cents.


Why did you not support the legislation concerning egg production here in this Parliament?


That hon. member with his parrot-cry knows full well that I was the one who asked for the Bill in the first place and that it was I who supported the Bill on behalf of the Opposition. The hon. member knows that he is not telling the truth.


Order! The hon. member must withdraw that.


What must I withdraw?


That the hon. member knows that he was telling an untruth.


I withdraw the words “knows that”.


Order! The hon. member must withdraw the allegation unconditionally.


I withdraw it unconditionally. Coming back to the whole question, we find that we have a situation where the Government is bloated with money, because it has had greater surpluses over the last four or five years than it has ever dreamed of having. The Government has millions of rands stashed away in their coffers for a rainy day. [Time expired.]


Mr. Chairman, I shall leave Old Big Noise at that, for in his own way he enjoys the political expediency to plead for the housewives who should supposedly receive a subsidy. There are elections under way and we do not begrudge him this small pleasure he had here on a point to which the hon. the Minister replied in detail. Therefore, I have the matter at that.

I should like to return briefly to another point, and that concerns our veterinary services. Veterinary services are required over a wide spectrum. The hon. the Minister already referred briefly to meat which is contaminated with Salmonella. I agree with the hon. the Minister, for I think he aims to be realistic about these health problems. If one starts splitting hairs, one could find oneself facing tremendous problems and difficulties, especially where refrigerator trucks have to be used for transporting meat from the abattoirs to the butcheries. One can enlarge on that ad nauseam. The best example of this one can find in Pretoria, where sewerage water is purified for human consumption. If a glass containing ordinary water and a glass containing purified sewerage water are placed next to each other, I can assure the hon. member that all of us would drink the sewerage water because the drinking water of Pretoria has a rather dirty appearance. I believe one should be realistic about this. I should like to discuss briefly the shortage of veterinary surgeons. As stock farming intensifies, these shortages will become worse and worse. We shall then, as the herds improve and as farming intensifies, actually switch over, in the veterinary sphere from the so-called herd protection of earlier years to individual protection. In the more intensive regions there are more or less sufficient veterinary surgeons at this stage, but we experience our major problems in the extensive regions, namely in the Cape Province and the Southern Free State where 19 or 20 million of South Africa’s total number of sheep can be found. In the Bantu areas there are virtually no veterinary surgeons.


Only horse-doctors.


The number of veterinary surgeons necessary to render efficient services in a country, has no direct relation to the number of animals. The need is rather determined by the animal diseases which occur and the services these demands. We need veterinary surgeons over a wide spectrum of areas.

The first and most important is Government veterinary surgeons of whom there is an acute shortage, so much so that it is often expected of one single veterinary surgeon to serve five, six, seven or eight magisterial districts. Furthermore, one needs private veterinary surgeons, veterinary surgeons for research purposes at Onderstepoort and veterinary surgeons for the control of food hygiene. Sir, it is really a sad story that the control of food hygiene in South Africa is virtually completely under supervision of foreign veterinary surgeons because our people in South Africa apparently show very little interest in food hygiene. The trade requires a number of biologists; the C.I. stations require a large number; a certain number are required for training purposes; farming also requires a certain number. A large number of veterinary surgeons are also required to fill vacancies abroad. Applications for veterinary surgeons are received especially from Iran and Africa. Sir, we in South Africa have to train those people. The European veterinary schools do not train people who are suitable for conditions in Africa, because they do not concentrate on the tropical diseases and tropical parasites which are often found in South Africa. Therefore we in South Africa have to train those people. Sir, what is the extent of the shortage? The World Health Organization lays down various methods in terms of which the number of veterinary surgeons required in a country can be determined. In the first instance, one can determine this on the basis of the number of animal units which have to be attended to by the veterinary surgeon to come on a par with overseas countries. According to this method, there is a 57% shortage of veterinary surgeons in South Africa. If one applies another criterion, namely that of animal production, one finds that the shortage is 97%. The South Africa Veterinary Medical Association established that the shortage is 72%. Onderstepoort itself established that the shortage is more than 115%. Sir, we can accept that there is a substantial shortage. In which way can we provide for this shortage? The only place in South Africa where veterinary surgeons are trained, is Onderstepoort. Onderstepoort is an excellent research centre which is famous throughout the world, which was established years ago under the extremely competent leadership of the man whose monument still stands in front of the laboratory there today, namely Sir Arnold Theiler. Excellent services are being rendered there, but the number of veterinary surgeons who are trained there is not enough by far. How many veterinary surgeons are being trained there? For the entire country, from all the universities, there are only 45 admissions per year. Of all the first-year veterinary students during the past year, only 17 were first-year students academically; all the others were people who had already obtained degrees. Many of them studied agriculture through a Government subsidy. After studying agriculture with a Government subsidy for four years—and it costs the Government at least R2 500 to R3 000 every year to train one agricultural student—they switch over to the veterinary field and are lost to agriculture. The South African Medical Veterinary Association estimated that of 45 students who are admitted, about 82%, i.e. 37, graduate. Of these, 72% become active veterinary surgeons, i.e. 27. The annual loss of veterinary surgeons in the country, people who reach the age limit and retire or join other services, is 13. In other words, the number of veterinary surgeons with whom the veterinary surgeons in the country is supplemented every year is not more than 14 per year. Sir, that cannot possibly provide for our future requirements. Now, L know that it was decided by the Cabinet at least seven years ago that the capacity of Onderstepoort, the veterinary faculty of the University of Pretoria, should be doubled to admit twice the number of students. I know of this decision, but what became of it? Nothing is being done about it there. Why does the university not do something to implement the decision of the Cabinet? I think we should take a serious look at this matter. Sir, I will not ask here that faculties be established at other universities. In any case, I cannot so under this Vote. But I think serious attention should be given to that decision of the Cabinet to assure that more veterinary surgeons can be trained. I also think that considerable assistance should be provided for veterinary surgeons. In the medical profession we have some paramedical people who are trained to assist the medical practitioners in their profession. I think the hon. the Minister will perhaps have to consider instructing his department to investigate to what degree such assistance can be made available for veterinary surgeons in this country. I believe that universities which have agricultural as well as medical faculties, could be of great assistance in this regard. These universities have microbiologists and parasitologists at their disposal and they also have veterinary surgeons and immunologists and blood pathologists. I believe we could easily encourage something of this nature at our universities. I have two universities in mind, that of the Free State and of Stellenbosch, which are ideally and strategically situated to be of assistance to the Department of Veterinary Science. These people could perhaps be of great assistance by means of a mobile unit which operates from an institute at such a university in order to alleviate our veterinary problems. I think an intensive investigation into this method to supplement our veterinary services, could be of great benefit to South Africa.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

I am not going to deal with maize prices or milk prices this afternoon. I think hon. members, especially hon. members on the Government side, have dealt with these in an outstanding manner. I want to try to express a few ideas on the special role played by the primary producer in the production of food. The world population, so we are told, is 3 939 000 million today, and with an increase of 2,05 million per year, another 1 000 million will be added over a period of 10 years. That means that the same number of people will be added to the grand total in this period of 10 years as the number born since Creation to the year 1800, and that covers a period of 500 000 years. Now ecologists and scientists tell us that the world may come to an end because of the total depletion of irreplaceable basic raw materials, because of increasing pollution of water and air, and especially because of over-population. On one point, however, everyone is in agreement, and that is that there can be no population increase and no continuation of life on earth without food. The year 2020 is given by ecologists and their computers as D-year, the year when the population increase will overtake food production for all times. Food shortages, malnutrition and famine are already endemic at some places —especially in the East, as we all know— and millions of people die from malnutrition each year.

I refer to these predictions to remind the primary producers, our farmers, of their exalted calling and the responsibility of their task, for it is a tremendous challenge which is put to the primary producers of the world to continue producing sufficient food for mankind’s survival after the year 2020, which is given as D-year. It is a great honour to the farmer to think that his profession is the sine qua non for the survival of mankind. To our 80 000 farmers in the R.S.A. who already have to feed about 20 million mouths and who will have to feed about 50 million mouths by the year 2000, this represents a great challenge and a mighty task. In the second place I refer to these predictions so as to urge the consumer in our country to see the place of the agricultural sector in our national economy in the right perspective. Sometimes announcements of increased prices for agricultural products are met with harsh and severe criticism. We again heard this today from the opposite side of the House. We also hear it from consumers’ organizations and from housewives. Harsh criticism is expressed on Government subsidies on maize, bread and dairy products, and these are seen in an unfavourable light. The question is whether equally strong criticism is expressed on or attempts are made to launch boycotts against price increases of other commodities such as soft goods, footwear, toiletries, liquor and cool drink and admission tickets to places of recreation.

To my mind the agricultural industry is the most risky of all industries in this country. The farmer is concerned with nature and life itself. He cultivates, cherishes and protects the soil with its delicate composition of bacteria and fertile elements. He cultivates, develops and looks after plant life to produce grain, vegetables and fruit for human consumption. He looks after animal life—small and large stock—to produce meat, dairy products, wool and leather products, which are indispensable to human existence. The farmer does all these things with much sacrifice, exertion, dedication and love. Sometimes he does these things at great expense. He has to endure the heat of the day and the cold of night, and sometimes he hardly receives a proper entrepreneur’s wage for that, let alone a profit. When a hail-storm hits his lands, when a heat wave hits his maize crop during the delicate pollination stage or a stock disease kills large numbers of his animals, he cannot have the matter rectified by a mechanic with a hammer and a spanner. The grain or animals were living things, then it is all over, they are dead. The profits of the farmer can be destroyed in a few hours by a natural disaster.

Agriculture has its roots in nature. In many respects it is a time consuming undertaking which cannot be speeded up or changed by mechanical means. It is bound to unchangeable laws of nature. The factors of time and seasons increase costs, for the farmer has to wait for the time to sow, for the time to plant and for the time to reap the harvest. He also has to contend with high production costs. The hon. the Minister said a while ago that it cost R80 to plant maize on one morgen of land. The farmer needs modernized implements, fuel, oil, spare parts and fertilizer, the prices of which have soared sky high at this stage. He has to depend on manual labour and can never mechanize altogether. The vegetable farmer, dairy farmer, grain farmer and stock farmer can never do without manual labour; in fact, the dairy farmer cannot afford his dairy hands being absent one single day or weekend. The poultry or pig farmer cannot afford a single error in feeding his animals which has to take place at fixed times. The vegetables of the vegetable farmer have to be handled from the seed beds to the market.

Labour shortages in the rural areas affect all these aspects to a very serious degree. There are approximately 17,745 million Bantu in this country and statistics indicate that 5,606 million of them are economically active. 1,726 million of the Bantu are active in the homelands and 1,035 million are active in the agricultural and forestry industries in South Africa. 556 800 are employed in the mining industry and 422 000 in the industrial sector. It seems, therefore, as though more of the economically active Bantu have been absorbed into the agricultural industry, but the numbers give a distorted picture, for the fact is that the farmer does not have the choice of the economically active manpower of the country today. In many cases he has the aged, while the young Bantu are disappearing from the rural areas. The abolition of the Masters and Servants laws may seem justified in itself, but in many instances it is disadvantageous to the farmer in practice because in most cases the Bantu has little understanding of the real meaning and implications of a labour contract. If a Bantu leaves a farmer’s service, it is difficult to trace him, to find him and to charge him. The higher wages, which have been doubled in many cases, in our mining industry and in our industrial areas, and the increasing recruiting of labour in the rural areas have caused the agricultural sector to run dry. [Time expired.]


Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Fauresmith spoke about the shortage of veterinary surgeons in the country. I see that we have only 113 Government veterinary surgeons in South Africa. The hon. member made certain recommendations to the hon. the Minister, and now I should also like to make a recommendation to the hon. the Minister with regard to the tremendous shortage of veterinary surgeons in the rural areas. Most of the few veterinary surgeons who are left in the country live in the cities where they attend to cats and dogs, while there are no veterinary surgeons in the rural areas. I want to suggest that the hon. the Minister should make the Government veterinary surgeons in the rural areas semi-Government veterinary surgeons, for then he will attract veterinary surgeons to the rural areas. In other words, they should be Government veterinary surgeons, but at the same time they should be allowed to do private work. That would be an encouragement for the veterinary surgeons to stay in the rural areas.

The hon. member for Marico seriously outlined the problem here with which the world will be faced by the year 2000, and he indicated how absolutely necessary it is that attention be given to agriculture. Since Friday afternoon we have been hearing every speaker rise and point out the difficulties in agriculture to the Minister. I do not think that anyone has done this better than the hon. member for Green Point. He did it just as well as hon. members on that side of the House. Today we waited for the hon. the Minister’s reply to that, but what did we receive as a reply? I shall come back to that.

I should like to come to the other difficulties which have been pointed out. The first one is the gap between the price the producer receives and the price the consumer has to pay. The second difficulty which has been pointed out here is the tremendous difference between the price the farmer has to pay for his requirements and the price he receives for his product. I believe that nobody has outlined that better than the hon. the Deputy Minister of Agriculture himself. He quoted the Minister of Finance in this regard and said that the prices the producers received for their products were 11,4% higher in 1974 than in 1973, while the prices of farming requirements had increased by 20,4%. He went further and said that prices of agricultural products has risen by 16 points on the index from October 1973 to December 1974, while farming requirements, such as material, machinery, etc., had risen by 35,5 points.

It is a serious state of affairs if that is the position, especially in view of what the hon. member for Marico said when he indicated how important agriculture will be in future. The hon. the Deputy Minister outlined the difficult problems which the farmer had to face, but what did he recommend as a solution? He said that he was going to do something for the farmer and then he pleaded for a sympathetic approach, but that will not help the farmer in South Africa, will it? The hon. member for Parys said that the partner of the Minister, the South African farmer, was being forced out of business. The position is as serious as that, but we hear that something is going to be done for the farmer. I waited the whole weekend to hear from the hon. the Minister, for I thought he would have a solution which would enable him to narrow the gap between the price the producer receives for his product and the price the consumer pays for it. I also expected that he would deal with the difference between what the farmer has to pay for his requirements and what he receives for his product. I thought that he would produce a plan of action. This Government has been in power for 27 years. The Minister of Agriculture has been holding that office for some years, and I thought he would produce a plan of action, but what plan has he suggested? Are we to continue with this attitude and policy of laissez-faire? Is this the way to solve the problems with which we shall be faced by the turn of the century in this way?

What is the position?

*Mr. J. P. A. REYNEKE:

What is your plan, Boet?


I shall come to my plan. The first thing the hon. the Minister has to do is to act firmly in the Cabinet, for what has happened in this country as far as rail tariffs are concerned?


Do you think it would help?


If it does not help, another Minister should be appointed who can do his duty. The hon. the Minister has a job to do there, hasn’t he? He cannot just give in every time. What has happened to rail tariffs? During the past two years, the livestock tariff was first increased by 60%, after that by another 60%, and eventually it showed a total increase of 150%—this with regard to meat, the food of South Africa. What has the Minister done about it? The tariff on maize products has risen by 57%. Two years ago the tariff on vegetables was increased by 57%, that on butter by 39,7% and that on eggs by 59,2%. Eighteen months later the tariff on livestock was again increased by 60%; that on wool and hides, by 16,8%; on maize and grain, by 20,9%; and on artificial fertilizer, by 30%. Can one believe that, while agriculture depends on artificial fertilizer, that hon. Minister allows his colleague to raise rail tariffs to such a degree? What is the hon. the Minister doing about it?


Order! I have to point out to the hon. member that we are not discussing railway tariffs now. That has to be discussed in the debate on the Railway Vote.


I am discussing it in view of the fact that the hon. the Minister is the only representative of farmers in the Cabinet.


Order! But this hon. Minister has nothing to do with railway tariffs.


All I should like to say then is that the hon. the Minister did not explain the matter to the Cabinet as he should have explained it as the Minister of Agriculture.


How do you know?


Otherwise the hon. the Minister has no influence. This is the most important single factor which makes it difficult for the farmer today to make a living. It has been said here today that the Secretary for Agriculture has alleged that milk production could be doubled overnight if better fodder were available. I do not wish to dwell any longer on the question of rail tariffs, but I should just like to point out that a bale of lucerne …


Who said that?


That hon. member is fast asleep; he should have read the report. A 60 lb. bale of lucerne which is produced by a farmer in Richmond, is sold there for R1. If that bale of lucerne, however, is sent to King William’s Town by rail or bus, it costs 40 cents more. The rail tariff on that bale of lucerne, therefore, is 40%. Because of these high tariffs, therefore, farmers can not give their cows better fodder to raise production in that way. [Time expired.]

*Mr. G. F. MALAN:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for King William’s Town told us that he would give us a solution, but unfortunately his time expired and he was unable to give us the solution. His only solution up to now was that railway tariffs should be lowered. He probably knows that railway rates are already being subsidized by the more expensive freight and that there is strong pressure, if the transport of agricultural products at low tariffs continues, for the difference to be supplemented from tax. What is better? Do we want to pay higher tax or do we want to have a reasonable transport system and pay the rate for each product which ought, in fact, to be paid for that product?

The other solution which was offered by the hon. member for Green Point, amounted to the elimination of the middle man. We are living in a country with a free economy and I wonder whether United Party members who spoke in this direction, have given any thought to what it would mean if we were to interfere more and more in the matter of retail prices and if we were to control everything. It is simply incomprehensible to me that we must change our whole system now so as to have controlled prices in the retail trade and in all other ramifications. We have the boards of control which, to a large extent, see to production costs and prices and I believe we are on the right road. The commission of inquiry will probably come forward with ideas for further control to be applied, but we shall have to be very careful not to interfere with the situation of a free economy.

I should like to deal with a product today, fortunately, has not given rise to any increases in price to the consumer in recent years, viz. citrus. Citrus still remains the cheapest fruit in the country and the consumer can still buy his oranges at virtually the same price as 10 years ago. In April this year there were banner headings in the newspapers that the citrus industry was facing a serious crisis. I want to contend today that those newspapers had hold of the wrong end of the stick. There is no crisis in the citrus industry. They spoke about: “European Market collapse. Crisis looms for citrusmen in South Africa.” That is not true. A crisis does exist in the citrus industry, but it is not a crisis as far as fresh fruit is concerned. The only crisis which exists relates to the export of citrus juice. The export citrus juice market overseas collapsed, and it is important that we state the true facts. Last year the citrus industry paid out the best prices it had ever paid out to the farmers. Expectations are good this year that it will be another record year.

What caused the collapse of the citrus juice market? It was the simple fact that there was an enormous overproduction of citrus juice in Brazil and that they over-supplied the overseas markets with citrus juice. Over the years our citrus processors here in South Africa have built up a market abroad, but at no stage have the citrus farmers been dependent on that citrus juice market. It has only been a very convenient method of selling their second grade and inferior fruit instead of destroying it. The citrus industry and the Citrus Control Board, however, see this matter in a serious light and they will do something in this regard.

In the first instance, a huge attempt will be made to export more fruit. More money will be spent on advertising abroad and attempts are made to find markets in the Middle East.

It is known that the Citrus Exchange has succeeded in selling in the Middle East nearly three million cartons of a crop of 20 million cartons at a very worthwhile price. Furthermore, the citrus industry has decided to lower export standards for the first time, Standards relating to the internal quality of the oranges will not be lowered all of us know that an orange with a small spot on the peel tastes just as good as one which is absolutely smooth; in fact, it is often so that the orange with the spot on its peel is far sweeter than the orange which is absolutely smooth. Consequently it has been decided that second grade oranges will be exported for the first time to isolated markets where they will not prejudice our export market.

Therefore, second grade oranges will be exported this year still so as to alleviate the pressure on the domestic markets. An intensified advertising campaign will be launched here in South Africa to sell more citrus juice. We have already built up a good market, and it is a paying market in contrast to the export citrus juice market which is not so profitable at all. We shall also try to sell far more oranges to the Bantu. It is interesting to take cognizance of the fact that of all fruit the Bantu like oranges best. They like oranges very much, and we shall, therefore, make an intensified attempt to sell more oranges in this way, even at subsidized prices. If the quantities are still too high to sell on the domestic market, we shall offer them free of charge to welfare organizations which are prepared to fetch them from the farmer on the farm.

Therefore, it is my contention that the citrus industry is meeting the situation. Their plans are in order and citrus will not be destroyed, unless absolutely essential.

The citrus industry has never been dependent on the sale of juice to any large extent. The citrus industry is well organized and it needs processing factories. As I have said, the price of juice slumped overseas. World prices for six to one concentrated juice dropped from R3-05 per gallon free on board Hamburg to R1-89. After the deduction of freight charges, that means a price of R1-20 per gallon at the factory in South Africa. Unfortunately it is so that the processing costs of the factories—the gross costs in respect of drums, transport and the labour required for processing that juice—amount to R2-40 per gallon. That means that even if the farmers of South Africa were to be prepared to supply their oranges to the factories free of charge, the factories would, on the basis of the export price, still lose R1 on every gallon they produced.

That is why I should like to address an appeal to the hon. the Minister today to give very serious consideration to subsidizing the export factories. This is an exceptional case and I do not believe it can be expected that the factories make provision for such a tremendous decrease in the export price of orange juice. This is a non-recurring event and therefore I feel at liberty to ask that these factories be kept in operation so that they may retain their clients overseas. If the factories can continue operating, they will also serve as a market for second grade oranges in South Africa as a result of which we shall have a balanced citrus industry which will not have to destroy fruit. Moreover, the export of citrus juice earns a great deal of foreign exchange. [Time expired.]

*Mr. M. C. BOTMA:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburgh South objected here against eggs. Here, from the back-benches I gain the impression that the hon. member’s attitude is seemingly better towards the bull than towards the cock, and therefore I rather want to concentrate on a brief of the red meat industry.

*Mr. M. S. F. GROBLER:

May we throw an egg at him?

*Mr. M. C. BOTMA:

One gains the impression in the community that the public in general is under the impression that the subsidies which are being paid, are actually a gift to the farmers. One often hears that a subsidy of so many million rand has once again been paid to the farmer. One then gains the impression that the public, the consumer, does not realize that such subsidy is in fact applied in favour of the consumer. When the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South and members on the opposite side get so concerned about the farmer, production and the housewife, one wonders whether it would not be a good thing for them to bring this fact to the attention of the consumer and try to make a few calculations to find out what it would cost the consumer if this subsidy was not paid on their behalf. Then it will be a different picture and then they would be doing the producer and the Government that helps them so generously a favour. One often hears that the meat producer makes enormous profits from the sale of livestock and that he has bushels of money. It is a fact that last year was a particularly favourable year for the meat producers. We, however, warned last year already that meat prices should stabilize themselves on a more realistic level, and this did, in fact, happen. In general, we can say that the price of red meat, especially beef and pork, stabilized themselves on an economic price. An economic price is, after all, absolutely necessary to maintain a continued and even increased production. The major problem as far as red meat at the present stage is concerned, is to my mind due to the enormous fluctuation in price. I want to mention some examples and I refer to grade 1A meat. During the first quarter of this year the average price was 98 cents per kilogram. During the week of 4 April it was 105 cents and during the week of 14 April it was 90 cents. Last Friday the price was 81 cents. If one calculates the different prices per carcase of 200 kg, the picture is as follows: R196, R210, R180 and R162. You will agree with me that the farmer might be fortunate in obtaining the higher price on one occasion and the lower price the next—a difference of R50 per cattle carcase. I believe it would be a good thing if the department could find some method or other to control this enormous price fluctuation. Sir, we know this is not easy. This difference between the lower price and the higher price in June last year, when the price of meat reached its peak, is not transferred from the producer to the consumer, but we certainly cannot blame the Government for this and least of all the producer. Sir, in the latest Landbouweekblad there was a very informative article on this, but unfortunately time does not allow me to discuss it here. I am not going to quote to you all the figures of price increases either—the hon. member for Prieska and others have already done so—but Ï; want to point out to you that this price increase, for the average farming unit in South West Africa, for a farm of 5 000 ha, could mean a difference of between R5 000 and R8 000 per year. This difference of R50 per head of cattle means a difference of between R5 000 and R10 000 in the income of the farmer who markets 100 or 200 head of cattle per year. It is clear, Sir, that this industry cannot absorb any further price increases. Therefore the remote areas, especially in South West Africa, are concerned—and the same applies to the Northern Cape and the Northern Transvaal—about the possibility that further increases may occur. But we trust that the Minister of Agriculture, when necessary and where necessary, will see to the interests of the farmer, because the hon. Minister, together with the farmer, knows that an investment in meat production is a long-term investment which could be affected extremely detrimentally by increases on short notice. It is also of the utmost importance that economic floor prices be maintained. Therefore I want to make a plea here today that when the Minister considers it necessary from time to time to make adjustments regarding the floor price, the consumer should not regard these as an increase in the consumer price. It is not the producer who receives more; it is only a guarantee to maintain continued production.

Sir, reference was made here to railway tariffs. We are under the impression that the Minister of Transport is a supporter of carcase marketing. Carcases are, however, not acceptable to the market, and as a result of this the abattoir at Windhoek, for in stance, about two weeks ago switched over to the packing and marketing filleted cuts which are acceptable to the market. One of the advantages of this is a saving on railage, because about 150 carcases in the form of cuts can be transported per truck instead of only 50 on the hook or only 13 on the hoof. A very important advantage of this for the farmer of South West Africa is that the prevailing market price at Windhoek could be applied. According to this the highest price, be it in Cape Town or in Johannesburg, is applied to Windhoek on a daily basis. Sir, this is an excellent arrangement for the farmer in the remote areas because it eliminates bruising and loss of weight loss, and so on. We are most grateful to the hon. Minister for this new arrangement, but unfortunately it is a fact that Vleissentraal, the co-operative movement which is responsible for this, has not yet allowed the more favourable price to reach the producer. On the contrary, they decided to reduce the price of grade 1A by 5 cents per kg as from Monday, 2 June. This matter has already been brought to the attention of the hon. Minister, and we are confident that he will consider this matter favourably. Sir, South West Africa has learned, together with the farmers of South Africa, that we have a great friend in the hon. Minister. If I were to tell you what this hon. Minister did for the meat producer in South West Africa, I would have to occupy much of your time. Sir, I am simply thinking of the critical position that existed in South West Africa before the slaughtering institutions were placed on a proper basis there. South West Africa feels so strongly about that which this hon. Minister has done, that I want to give this assurance that we in South West Africa do not intend breaking down monuments. We would rather consider erecting a monument to the hon. Minister of Agriculture one day though, even it is only a small one. [Interjections.] I do not know whether the U.N. is aware of this. It might be that Mr. McBride offers him another appointment in which case we could be losing a good Minister. I would like to say that I do not want to create the impression that the meat producers are having a hard time of it. We referred to price increases, and so on, but then it is surely also right and reasonable to look at the price increases the producer received during the past years. I once again want to mention to you grade 1A meat. In 1971 the price was 68,6 cents per kg; in 1972 it was 53,3 cents; in 1973, 73,1 and in 1974, 84,6 cents. Does this look like a Government that does not take care of the producer? The figures prove the opposite. It is expected that the consumption of red meat will increase by 15% during the next 15 years. This means that instead of the present annual slaughterings of 1,5 million, it will increase to 2,25 million. If we consider the fact that this meat has to be slaughtered somewhere and when we consider the enormous projects which, are under way in connection with the erection of new abattoirs, it is also clear to us that the Government plans in advance and do not wait until the problem presents itself. [Time expired.]


Mr. Chairman, I did not speak in the agriculture debate last year, and I wish to assure hon. members, those hon. members who may be perplexed at my participating in this debate today, that my speech must not be considered as a precedent and that I probably will not speak in the agriculture debate again for a few years. What I have to say is reasonably crisp and brief, and it is derived from reading and from information which has been supplied to me. It was Wilkes, writing on the law of economic improvement who said the following. [Interjection.] Sir, we have hon. members being rather facetious to the right of me. I have a feeling for the land. You know, Sir, a few months ago I grew a carrot, a very big carrot, a juicy, luscious carrot. I am very sorry that I ate that carrot and have not got it here today, because if I had, I would know exactly what to do with it. Mr. Wilkes wrote in his book—

It has been the history of the human race that as the economic level of the population improves, the quantity of milk, meat and eggs included in the diet increases. Given the chance, man will decide his diet in the market-place, and he aspires to meat.

Our growing population today still largely uses cereals as a staple diet. But this is a changing pattern. With urbanization and an improvement in the standard of living and in the earning power of all the people of South Africa, I believe that there is going to be a rapid change in the eating habits of the people of South Africa in the years that lie ahead, as has already occurred in Europe, in Great Britain and in America. The per capita consumption of meat, milk, butter and eggs will in all probability increase rapidly and it is my submission that this will lead to the necessity of devoting even more time and energy than at present to providing the animal and vegetable proteins which are required to produce these foods the consumption of which is going to increase in the country. A surplus of protein materials in the short term is not to be feared; on the contrary, such a surplus, I believe, will prove to be strategically and politically very much to the advantage of South Africa. I say this because in the years that lie ahead the gold that lies in the ground and the oil that is to be found in the desert will not be able to feed the fast-increasing world population. I think it is true to say that one of the greatest political weapons that a country can have, one of the greatest political tools in future world politics, lies in the ability to produce food. Britain, for example, produces only 22% of its protein requirements, if I read the facts correctly. It imports the balance. The European Economic Community have only a 12% sufficiency as far as protein material requirements are concerned and have to import the rest. It is interesting to note that although the EEC protein material requirements are rising at the rate of 6% per annum—this is an approximate figure—the world plant protein production is at present increasing at a rate of only 3% per annum. I think we would be the first to admit that this is not a happy situation. Both in the United Kingdom and the EEC, eating habits are tending more towards poultry and pork. As the farmers will know, pigs and poultry are among the most efficient converters of animal and vegetable protein into meat. For example, my study tells me that 2 kg of feeding material is required to produce 1 kg of poultry meat whereas 7 kg of feeding material is required to produce 1 kg of beef. Pigs are only slightly less efficient in this conversion than poultry. South Africa, unlike many other countries, has been largely self-sufficient in protein materials this year. One cannot view this from a short-term basis, however, because we do not have consistent climatic conditions. We have irregular rainfall and we have consistently regular droughts, as we all know. Last year, for instance, I think we imported some R 000 tons of soya bean oil cake from the United States to supplement our own supplies. It seems, therefore, that despite current market trends, the largest increase in livestock production can be expected in the years that lie ahead, in poultry and pigs. The production of milk, veal, beef and mutton will increase at a slower rate. Pigs and poultry have funny tummies. They are monogastric animals and vegetable protein in a processed form is required for these animals. I read that South Africa’s protein requirements for the feeding of livestock should increase by at least 3% per annum, but at present the increase in protein production is only about 1½% per annum. The real point I wish to make is that more intensive attention must be given by the Minister and the department to correcting this imbalance. If South Africa, for example, were to be in the same position as the United Kingdom or the EEC in so far as proteins are concerned, a considerable drain on our foreign exchange would result. As the hon. the Minister knows, our sources of protein supplies fall into two categories, vegetable proteins and animal proteins. Under the animal protein heading, we find fishmeal, bonemeal, carcass meal and blood meal. If my information is correct, although we are exporting a little of our animal protein at the moment, by 1980 at the present rate of growth, the local demand for animal protein will equal the supply and there will be almost nothing available for export. The production of vegetable protein carries with it many problems. Groundnuts are a labour-intensive crop and mechanization is difficult. Lucerne is limited by the amount of irrigable land available. Cottonseed is limited by both the irrigable land and the vagaries of the market price. Much more encouraging—something I read in the report of the department— are the advances made in South Africa on soya beans and sunflower seeds. I found it most interesting to learn that these two products in fact account for more than 50% of the world’s total protein requirements. This is a fact which I did not know of.

I want to conclude by saying that the provision of adequate suopíies are essential to us. Surpluses should not create major problems as there appears to be a long-term shortage of these products in the world In this way valuable foreign exchange can be earned. Speaking as a layman, and I am a lavman, and without wishing to offend the mealie farmer, it is my distinct impression that the crops of the future in South Africa must increasingly become soya beans, sunflower seeds, groundnuts and the like and I should like to encourage the hon. the Minister and his department to give as much attention as is possible to the production of these protein materials.


For that little speech I give you nine out of ten.


Mr. Chairman, the hon. member mentioned one thing to which I paid attention, viz. when he said that food production would assume ever increasing importance in the future. I should like to thank the hon. member for the good idea, which he expressed.

Today I am going to discuss the few products I have brought along with me. Here we have some maize, some mealie meal and a few potatoes. We are experiencing an era of new evaluations in virtually every sphere. Food production is the sector in our national activity in which the largest need for evaluation exists. In the light of what is happening in the world in the political sphere, especially in the light of what is happening on the food front, food has acquired a new diplomatic dimension. It has become the all important politically stabilizing factor internally and will continue to do so to an ever-increasing extent. In Southern Africa it has become an inter-state economic and political normalizing factor of the utmost importance. It is of primary importance. We find within half an hour’s drive from our borders, even on our borders, the emergence of a new system of thought which wants to exercise political control and which is in the process of consolidation. This system of thought is the militantly imperialistic system, one which is economically interwoven with political thought and which historically has achieved unprecedented successes through the availability of food and the exploitation of the price mechanism to which the fond is subject before it reaches the have-not masses of the nation. They have succeeded in developing the methods by which the have-not can obtain his share of the food of the population as the socio-economic component of the total strategy in their ideological onslaught against us with our methods which are based on capitalism and on free initiative. The availability and the possession of food have acquired in the light of the unprecedented population explosion and the population increase in South Africa and around our borders, a socio-economic significance to which the most serious attention should be paid. Under the pressure of necessity we have agreed to new evaluations in our country. This is taking place here before our eyes every day. When the hon. the Minister of Defence requests R1 000 million for defence purposes, we applauded him. We have abandoned old concepts, and when the Minister of Defence admits non-Whites into our Defence Force, there is no debate on the matter. When the hon. the Minister of Sport and Recreation allows mixed invitation teams to take part in sport, we see a good understanding in that regard in this country. When we draw new boundaries between White and Black in South Africa we keep quiet; we accept this, and when we create new political personalities by means of our Coloured policy, we accept the logical consequences of this. One of these is that we are living in a time of new evaluations. Therefore we are faced by the relentless fact that we must ensure, in the light of the necessity of new evaluation and in the light of the significance which food has acquired, that production volume is not only maintained at all cost, but increased. This necessitates a new evaluation of the producer and of the financing of agricultural production. The concept of an ordinary, bona fide farmer is obsolete. Who can readily give me a definition of what a bona fide farmer is? The emphasis has shifted and we now have to determine: Firstly, who produces: secondly, what does he produce: thirdly, is he a stable producer; fourthly, is he a speculative gambler; and fifthly, what is his contribution to food production. In the light of this I want to make the statement today that agricultural financing, as channelled through the Land Bank and the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure, is obsolete. The beacons should be shifted, because the emphasis now falls on food. I say this in deadly earnest.

The further stimulus for food production is based on a determination of what may be regarded as “a reasonable profit”. The resignation of the farmer, bis acceptance of the price determined by the Cabinet and of reasonable profit, should be transferable to the consumer. The maize which I have with me costs R22,50 per bag. This mealie meal which I have in my hand—I eat porridge—costs me R12,80 per bag and these potatoes—these are under-grade potatoes which do not fetch a good price on the market—cost me R3,80 per pocket. The reasonable profit to which the producer agrees, should be transferable to the consumer. It may not block the producer’s endeavour to increase his production volume. It may not block this through price manipulation as is the case today. It may not block this through the over-staffing of distribution points, as is the case today. It may not be blocked by old concepts of demand and supply as regulator of the free price mechanism. These are obsolete concepts which may not stand in the way of proper control and proper measures which may be taken against exploitation. In our present-day economy no unpolluted price mechanism exists any longer.

The hon. the Minister is sitting, like a man in a train, with his hack to the locomotive; he may only look at the past. He gets no encouragement to look ahead. His efforts to stimulate the production volume by allowing a reasonable profit, are attacked in this debate. The praises of the hon. the Minister are sung and he is thanked for a large number of subsidies and he is entertained on obsolete philosophical, economic concepts. He receives the account from the price controller which he has to pay. He gets no momentum behind his efforts to increase the production volume by letting the farmer receive a reasonable profit. If ever there has been a man who has placed the producer in a new evaluation position, it is the hon. the Minister who is sitting to my left. He has evaluated food as indispensable to the diplomat, as indispensable to the socio-economic add political stability in our country. He is sitting here. What support does he get? To pay him a small compliment will be of no avail. To stroke his head will be of no avail either. To attack him, is a crime, and this does not behove this Opposition. This Minister has brought about a new evaluation dimension in respect of the producer as none of his predecessors in South Africa has done. If détente does succeed, by what will it be succeeded? By bombs? By bullets? By mixed sport meetings? No, the only permanent successor to détente, the only thing which can lubricate and maintain it, is a full granary. If I were Prime Minister and I had to send my Minister of Foreign Affairs over the borders, I would have been unable to send him with a mightier weapon than to tell him: “Go and bargain; you have the mightiest means of bargaining in your hands because you have a full granary.” Food is the thing which will close the mouth of the screaming agitator when he is confronted by starving and semi-starved people. Here on our borders we have people who will try to effect a breach. We are faced by a dangerous enemy here on our borders. The solution to this is full granaries, sustained production and the increase of the production volume, as well as dealing firmly with the exploiters who bedevil the channel between the farmer, the producer and the consumer by immoral action.

*Mr. P. D. PALM:

Mr. Chairman, as always in the, past it was a great pleasure to listen to the hon. member for Carletonville when he makes representations.

I would like to pause for a moment at wine farming in the Western Cape and the South Western Districts. Last week the hon. Deputy Minister warned that we should not play the farmer and the rural areas off against one another and I think this is a very good thing. During this session reference was, however, made on various occasions of something that all of us and the wine producer are worried about namely the abuse of liquor. Now I am afraid and worried, because there are bodies—perhaps not in this House, but outside—who want to play different agricultural sectors off against one another. In particular they want to play the wine industry off against other sectors. It would be an evil day when there are people who try to harm the wine industry by presenting it in a negative manner in an agriculture debate or in a discussion of agricultural matters. It is a fact that the wine industry has, through the ages, played a very important part in the economy of South Africa. The product of the farmers of the Western Cape and their way of living played an important part and made an important contribution to the cultural development of South Africa. I can say quite rightly that these people also made a contribution to the social development of South Africa. I said here previously—I want to say it again today—that if there is one man who resents the abuse of liquor, it is the wine producer.

I can boast when I discuss the wine industry. The wine industry is an important source of revenue to the State. From the latest figures I notice that excise duty which the State hopes to collect from the wine industry, amounts to approximately R180 million. This is not to be sneezed at. Furthermore, the wine industry also provides an income to 6 000 farmers and to thousands of people who work on the farms and also others who earn a living from this industry. This is an important industry, and it would be a pity if there are people who no longer consider it as an agricultural industry. I do not want to refer to a speech that was made here last week, but things were said by hon. members which did not appeal to me and about which I feel unhappy. However, I want to mention another point as well. The areas where this industry is being practised are intensive farming areas. Water is an important factor with us, and I am pleased that I can discuss an irrigation method with the hon. Minister today which is developing here in the Western Cape to an increasing extent. I am now referring to the micro-spraying or drip systems in our vineyards in the Boland. Hon. members will know that wine farming is being threatened by downy mildew, which is a terribly dangerous disease. The majority of our wine farmers irrigate their vineyards by means of overhead irrigation. This is one of the factors which encourages downy mildew. I have here a letter from the Department of Agricultural Technical Services—this letter is dated 19 May—which informs me (translation)—

The Department of Agricultural Technical Services supports the use of either drip- or micro irrigation in this agricultural sector.

We are very thankful for this. I also have a letter from the Department of Water Affairs, dated 20 May 1975. They state that the Department of Water Affairs is doing research on the use of micro-and drip irrigation and that they are still awaiting reports from the Department of Agricultural Technical Services, which is also investigating this method of irrigation. I would be pleased if these two departments could consult each other on this matter and that they will then jointly make representations to the Bureau of Standards, so that the Bureau of Standards can develop a standard drip- or micro irrigation system. It costs the farmers approximately R5 000 to establish a morgen of vineyard. This is from the time when he tills the ground until he has planted the last pole and put up the wire.


Does this include the price of the land?

*Mr. P. D. PALM:

No, this does not include the price of the land. This is only to prepare the morgen of land for the planting of the 3 000 or 4 000 vines. This requires a capital investment of approximately R5 000. The average wine farmer in our area has 25 or 30—I am not referring to land that cannot be irrigated; I am referring to irrigated areas—and, maybe, 35 morgen under vines.



*Mr. P. D. PALM:

Hectare, nowadays. Hon. members will appreciate that the farmer has to spend an enormous sum of money to get the vines established. The farmer then still has to wait at least three years, but normally four years, before he gets the first crop from those vines. To put a hectare of land under drip irrigation costs the farmer between R1 200 and R1 400, depending on the terrain. Hon. members can therefore see that this is an expensive process. We will, therefore, be very glad if the two departments could consult each other to ascertain whether loans and subsidies could be granted to this industry when the matter is dealt with.

Secondly, I would like to express my appreciation towards the hon. the Minister and his department for the steps they took to demarcate smaller production areas such as—perhaps hon. members do not know the names I am mentioning, but the hon. Minister will know them—the Goudini area near Worcester, the Vink River area near Robertson and the McGregor area, which have now been demarcated by the Department into smaller areas for the production of a particular kind of wine. In a year’s or perhaps five years’ time we might be hearing and reading in South Africa and possibly overseas of a typical McGregor Colombar, a typical Vink River stein or a typical Gouding hanepoot wine. This is something we are going to be very proud of in the future. I want to say thank you for the rational thinking of the hon. the Minister and his department in this regard. I think the hon. member for Boksburg, who is a good friend, and the hon. member for Krugersdorp, who often enjoys a glass of wine, will find that a good glass of wine is the real nectar of the gods as soon as these wines are familiar.

Finally, I also want to say a word on behalf of the people who grow proteas in the Western Cape. I want to say immediately that we recently had consultations with both the Secretary for Agricultural Technical Services and the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing, as well as with the Minister, and these people are very happy about what was said there, and for the sympathetic attitude the hon. the Minister and his heads of department displayed towards the protea industry. The protea industry was developed during the past ten to 11 years and the protea producers established an excellent market for themselves in Europe in this sphere, in which there is strong competition. There are many protea farmers who have no other income, and as far as I am concerned, such a man is a farmer, a bona fide farmer, and this serves as a reply to the question of an hon. member who wanted to know when a farmer is a bona fide farmer. I want to make representations to the effect that the discussions which were held will have the result that these people, who also have to incur expenditure to build labourers cottages and to buying implements to plough and cultivate their lands, will for all practical purposes be regarded as bona fide farmers so that they, for instance, will also be able to qualify for housing loans for the accommodation of Coloured farm labourers, and so that they will also be able to qualify for loans from the Land Bank or from Agricultural Credit. There are some of them who have to incur considerable expenditure to develop and establish this industry still further. I am not pessimistic as far as this is concerned, but I only hope that we will soon receive a reply in this regard.

*Mr. W. M. SUTTON:

Mr. Chairman, I hope the hon. member for Worcester will pardon me for my not reacting to his speech. I want to tell the hon. member that his wine is of no value to me as I do not use the stuff. I like wine, but wine simply does not like me. That is my problem.

†The hon. member for Carletonville made an impassioned plea for a concept which I announced a year or more ago to the effect that food is power. I agree with the hon. member and I am glad that he is supporting the hon. the Minister of Agriculture in his efforts to see that the producer of food in this country is regarded as being the front line in the defence of South Africa. I remember clearly saying precisely that in the agricultural debate of last year, namely, that the producer of food gives us a weapon which has absolutely no answer. If we have food we can distribute and with which we can go out into Africa, we have all the friends we may possibly need. I agree with the hon. member and I strongly support his plea to the hon. the Minister to state his case with great emphasis and great strength in the Cabinet committees where he has to discuss food prices and the price the farmer gets.

The hon. member for Sandton mentioned that there is a change in the food pattern in South Africa in that Black people are starting to eat more protein foods such as eggs, meat, etc. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister whether in fact the pattern of food consumption over the world is not going the other way. As a result of the tremendous increase in population the consumption of grain foods is rising much higher and much faster than the consumption of protein foods. I want to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention to something I came across in an American newspaper which dealt with the question of the feeding of beef cattle in the United States. The question was posed whether the world can afford to go on feeding grain to beef cattle intended for production for the table. The question turns on the grading of meat. In our own country, for example, meat is graded as super, prime, etc. The higher grades are reached by the feeding of grain to beef cattle. According to the closest figure I could get for the United states of America during 1974, 34 million beef cattle passed through the feed lots and in the process of being fed they consumed 40 million tons of grain, which is basically maize, 5 million tons of soya beans and concentrates and it is stated that feed to the value of $5 billion went to the feeding of that 34 million head of cattle. One pound of live-weight gain requires six pounds of grain. The statement was made that one average steer, in the process of going into the feed lot to come out as prime or super grade beef in America, consumes enough grain in that period of time to feed six people for a whole year on a straight grain diet. In this particular newspaper the statement was made that by a 20% shift in the feeding of cattle in America, from grain to grass, enough food can be saved to make up the 9 million tons of feed grain which the recent world congress on food decided was requisite as an emergency stand-by in case of crop failures in parts of the world. Mr. Chairman, I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether we in South Africa have not got much the same sort of problem, whether we should not be looking at, firstly the grade of our beef to decide whether the extra little bit of fat on meat which the housewife demands is in fact worth it; whether we should not be following the growing demand, which there is in the United States, for grass-fed beef, and whether we should not be having a very, very close look at and a detailed investigation into our methods of raising beef and bringing beef to our tables here in South Africa from the point of view of grass feeding rather than grain feeding. Let me say, Sir, that in our country grass feeding is not particularly cheaper than grain feeding, one of the problems, of course, being the high cost of fertilizer and that kind of thing, but where we can spare feed grains and specifically where we can spare maize, it may well be that our own trend will have to be forced away from the feeding of grain for three months, a practice which has not yet assumed major proportions in this country. I would ask the hon. the Minister to give earnest attention to whether in fact we should allow this process to continue; whether we should not now take action of some sort or at least have a very serious look at this process of feeding in the production of beef for the table from the point of view of sparing food which we may need in other sectors of our consumer population.

Sir, there is one other matter, of which the farming community in the Mooi River constituency is very proud, that I wish to raise with the hon. the Minister as a means of self-help, as a means of cutting costs and of bringing greater efficiency into farming operations. Several of our farming associations held a conference on farm labour, and to that conference they invited prominent members of the Zulu community in Natal to come and address them on the whole pattern of farm labour, as seen from the Zulu point of view. Sir, I must point out, as I have pointed out already, that the pattern of labour on the farms in Natal is changing. In the old days there was almost a paternalistic relationship. The key of the whole thing was Bantu-owned stock on farms. That was the key that decided your whole labour pattern. Where you had the grazing, you could allow the head of the kraal to keep a few head of stock on the farm. Sir, those days in Natal are more and more becoming a thing of the past. It is only in the outlying areas now that you find a farmer who has the grazing available to enable him to maintain that sort of relationship. Today you find that big money from outside the area is invested in farming. A totally new relationship is growing up between the farmer and the labourers on the farms. Sir, I want to pay tribute in this House to the work that has been done in this sector by Mr. Horton of the farmers’ association of Umlaas Road, who has pioneered a whole new approach which turns on incentives to the farm labour, not only cash incentives but incentives of status and of position and of leadership. Sir, I think it comes back to the old, old story, and that is that the basic local leadership that you have in any organization is what is going to determine the efficiency of the organization and the way in which that organization can go ahead. Sir, the man who pioneered this system has enabled some of his own farm labourers to gain a higher status by giving them control over eight or 10 tractor drivers and making them a sort of section boss, if I may use that phrase. He has found that this is paying him in that it gives him far closer control over the day-to-day operations in the labour field. Under this system the White farmer who because of the size of his farm cannot supervise all the farming operations on his farm is able to delegate his authority and to promote some of his Black workers to handle a large sector of the farming activities. Sir, I think this is something which could well change completely the labour pattern between the White farmer and the Black man in Natal. I would like to make an appeal to the hon. the Minister. His department is involved in this; it was very closely involved in attending at all the conferences which were held. The Natal Agricultural Union itself has been a major mover in this field. I would recommend to the hon. the Minister that he and his department have a very close look at it to see where else they can help and what more can be done from the point of view of the department to get this idea across to the White farming community as well as to the Black farming community. As I have already said, today in Natal the Black man by and large regards the man who lives on the farm as a fool, as a nut case, if he remains on the farm. From the point of view of his status, where he is so completely under the thumb of the White man, and from the point of view of the pay, on average, that he draws in cash, as distinct from time, from the White farmer. I think it is time that we should be able to take up this idea which has been propagated and I appeal to the hon. the Minister to help wherever he can.

*Mr. G. F. BOTHA:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Mooi River has made a fine contribution as far as priorities in connection with our food production is concerned. He has explained these on a sound, scientific basis and I believe his explanation has been quite informative to us as well as to the hon. the Minister. He also made a fair contribution with regard to farm labour, based on his experiences in Natal. But I do not want to follow the hon. member any further. I should like to express my appreciation to the Government, to the hon. the Minister, to be specific, for what is being done in spite of bottlenecks existing in the country, because, in spite of these bottlenecks, this Government is doing a great deal. This is accepted with great understanding and appreciation. I am referring particularly to a few matters in my own constituency.

In the first place I want to express our gratitude for the extensions which have been finalized in the Pongola settlement. These extensions greatly benefit the owners. Plots which used to be uneconomic to a large extent, are now economic. We should like to express our appreciation for the just and meritorious way in which this has been done and for the proper merit determination carried out there and we want to express special thanks to the hon. the Minister and his officials in this regard. I believe that these sentiments are shared by my voters there. I have here a letter which I received from one of my voters there who wrote as follows (translation)—

Will you please convey my gratitude to the Secretary for Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure, Mr. Steyn, for his contribution, as well as to his officials who had a hand in this matter, as well as to the hon. Mr. Schoeman, whom I regard as a wonder being, because it surely happens only once in a nation’s history that it has a Minister of Agriculture such as he.

This is the evaluation; to which the hon. member for Carletonville referred, by my electorate of the value of this hon. the Minister and his department. We also take notice with appreciation of the further developments which are being envisaged. Here we especially have in mind the additional 2 270 ha which will be offered by public auction, as I have been informed. We expect that this will stimulate further prospects there. I accept the fact that this will be offered by public auction. I understand —and I would like to receive confirmation of this—that this will only be offered to plot owners, and I also understand that the conditions will be of a reasonable nature.

The third matter I want to mention in this regard, is the position of the few cattle farms on the opposite side of the river at Pongola and the fact that these properties are now also going to be offered by public auction. I accept this situation and I also accept the procedure. I am aware of the fact that it is almost humanly impossible to handle the properties by means of private allocations. However I just want to point out that the owners and the interested parties there are afraid that these farms will be snatched up by people with more capital who might be able to buy these farms at exorbitant prices at the expense of others. Therefore, I want to make the friendly request that when these properties are offered by public auction, the conditions should be as reasonable as possible to enable the ordinary deserving person who is interested in these farms to compete with the man with the financial backing so that these properties can also be obtained by people who really need them. I understand there were literally hundreds of applications for these farms. This once again proves to us the great demand for land in the Republic of South Africa. There is a great demand as a result of the fact that the limited surface area is becoming smaller and smaller. We already have 90% utilization of our land. The population explosion is making ever-increasing demands on our land in the form of town- and city planning. There is also the land which has to be allocated to our Bantu homelands, as well as for industrial development, among others for the Sasol and Saldanha schemes. These activities are making ever-increasing demands on our agricultural land. Since this tendency will still increase even further it is to my mind only right that we should jealously try and control and preserve our soil in the future.

The allocation of private land tenure is, to my mind, not a right, but indeed a concession and a privilege which has been granted by the State since time immemorial—I mean since the days of the free burgers. Therefore land tenure is a very sought after right. Title deeds of a property in this country is in fact the highest form of security and stability for our people. Therefore I think that the allocation of land should take place with great circumspection. The soil of South Africa should in fact remain the soil of the South Africans. Therefore I want to ask whether certain limits should not be placed on the unrestricted alienation and transfer of our properties. Should priorities not be fixed which determine the ownership and control thereof, for example in the case of forestry where we have already made a start with this? In the future we will have to determine our need and necessity as norms as far as the transfer and alienation of our properties are concerned, as is being done in states such as Israel today with a view to, our food production, soil preservation and the preservation of our water resources, and so on. I believe that if we do this, we will allocate our land to those who have a love of the soil. The person who simply wants to speculate or simply wants to go hunting during the winter months, will have to be eliminated.

*Mr. J. H. B. UNGERER:

Mr. Chairman, in his speech the hon. member for Ermelo mainly dealt with matters concerning his constituency and he will pardon me if I do not react to what he said. I would like to associate myself with what the hon. member for Fauresmith said in this debate in connection with the shortage of veterinary services. It is a fact that the prices of our farm animals reflected for the first time a few years ago the importance of the farm animal as the supplier of the most important part of mankind’s most important type of food, namely proteins. The result of this was that animals became important individual entities which the farmer wants to keep alive at all costs and that the position, as it existed in the past, changed completely. In the past it was sometimes cheaper to let a farm animal die, because the account of the veterinary surgeon often exceeded the value of the animal. I say that that position has changed radically. What is the position in South Africa today? The World Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization estimate that a developed country—and South Africa can surely also claim to a developed country—should have one veterinary surgeon for every 5 000 international livestock units. They have a conversion table according to which they determine the units and as a matter of interest I just want to mention that a horse is regarded by them as one livestock unit, a head of cattle as 0,5, or half of a livestock unit, a pig as 0,20 of a livestock unit and a sheep as 0,1 or a tenth of the unit. As against that, a fowl is regarded as 0,01, in other words, a 100th of a livestock unit. In South Africa there are 983 registered veterinary surgeons at the moment, more than 100 of whom are no longer in practice. While only 88 are employed by the department, there are 36 posts—i.e. 30% of the posts—which have to be filled. This implies that the Department of Agricultural Technical Services cannot really fulfil this task, and this gives us a ratio of one veterinary surgeon for 12 000 livestock units. If we go further, we find that 60% of our veterinary surgeons are attached to urban practices. This changes the position in our country radically, because this means that we have one veterinary surgeon for 32 000 livestock units in South Africa instead of one veterinary surgeon for every 12 000 livestock units. As I have said the World Food and Agricultural Organization estimated that there ought to be one veterinary surgeon per 5 000 units. When the ratio is one veterinary surgeon to 32 000 livestock units it means in real terms that there is one veterinary surgeon for every 166 000 farm animals, both small and large livestock and for every 65 000 fowls. As I have said, one of our problems is the fact that 60% of our veterinary surgeons are attached to urban practices. The question arises whether these people are rendering a service to South Africa and mankind by attending to dogs and cats in the cities. The hon. Minister of Agriculture mentioned some time ago that 25% of the canned fish in Britain is consumed by pets.


By cats alone.

*Mr. J. H. B. UNGERER:

That percentage of fish is consumed by cats alone. I understand the figure in America amounts to approximately 15%. This is a substantial amount of food which can keep millions of people alive. In a starving world and with the ever-increasing problem of people who are dying of starvation, one asks oneself whether mankind can afford a population explosion to continue among the pets on the present scale. I say that veterinary surgeons should ask themselves whether they are rendering a service to South Africa and to mankind. I want to accept that the urban practices are quite lucrative, because people are obviously prepared to pay well for the care of their pets. This can also be the case in rural areas, a matter which I shall come back to. I also want to accept that the urban practices offer easier working conditions to the veterinary surgeons because a veterinary surgeon can equip a hospital at a reasonably low cost where he can treat pets. A veterinary surgeon can then do all his work locally; the animals are brought to him which means that he does not have to travel. The veterinary surgeon who attends to farm animals, however, has to travel long distances and often has to perform his work under primitive circumstances. Sometimes he even has to perform operations under these circumstances. There is room for pioneer work in the rural areas for the veterinary surgeons of our country. Such work is already being done in my neighbouring town of Vrede where young men with the necessary vision and initiative undertook the task of establishing a hospital for animals to treat and care for farm animals. This however took place at a high cost and I want to appeal to the organized agriculture to take the hand of the veterinary surgeons who are prepared to come to the rural areas and to be of assistance to them. In the case I have referred to, the organized agriculture, as represented by the local district farmers’ union, made available to the veterinary surgeons several thousands of rands at a rate of interest of 4%, which is a reasonable rate of interest. It is necessary that this should be done, because this could have a very good effect on the cost factor of the farmers. It is a fact that the experience of most of us is that the largest portion of our veterinary accounts usually represents travelling expenses, if we are not fortunate enough to farm near a town where there is a veterinary surgeon. It is also a fact that nearly every farmer today has the vehicle or vehicles to take his animals to the animal hospital for the necessary examinations, diagnoses and prescription of the treatment, which is in any case, for the most part applied by the farmer himself by means of after care. As I say, it could have a considerable effect on the expenses the farmer has to incur in connection with veterinary surgeons. It is going to facilitate the working conditions of veterinary surgeons. He will be able to be more productive because it will no longer be necessary for him to travel long distances and spend long periods in his vehicle. I also want to request the Minister to go into the possibility of loans being granted by the Land Bank at a reasonable rate of interest to the veterinary surgeons for the erection of animal hospitals and the treatment of farm animals. After all, this is the primary purpose for which veterinary surgeons are trained. It could possibly mean that more veterinary surgeons will come to the rural areas to practise there because it would be easier and more lucrative for them to do so. For the farmer himself it would most certainly have a favourable affect as far as the expenditure is concerned.

I want to conclude by saying that we have reached a stage where we should seriously consider the training of non-White veterinary surgeons. As a result of our enormous shortage of veterinary surgeons we cannot share our veterinary surgeons with the homelands. The economies of our homelands and also those of our neighbouring states are to a large extent geared to agriculture, especially field husbandary. If we consider the fact that détente could possibly culminate eventually in an economic community of Southern Africa we should at least also consider the fact that we shall have to provide aid of a technical nature and therefore also of a veterinary and technical nature to the other members of this community. As I have said, it will not be possible for us to provide in that need in view of our few White veterinary surgeons. Therefore it has possibly become necessary for us to pay serious attention to the possibility of the training of non-White veterinary surgeons in the near future.


Mr. Chairman, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Sasolburg on the ideas he expressed. I hope he will pardon if I do not react to them.

There are people who are under the wrong impression that bananas grow wild in Natal and that the hardest task which the banana grower has, is to walk to the bank with the cheque he received from the control board. I hope the hon. the Minister does not have that impression.

*Mr. W. J. C. ROSSOUW:

He is not so stupid.


The hon. the Minister is known as a prominent farmer. He farms in the Highveld and the Lowveld … even in the Bokkeveld. He does not, however, farm with bananas. To bring him up to date, I want to urge him to buy a small banana farm, preferably in the coastal area of Natal. As it happens, I have just the thing for the hon. the Minister. I can offer him a small banana farm, already planted, with all the necessary and unnecessary plant-diseases, bugs and pests which can make any banana farmer happy or unhappy. There is an uncertain rainfall with continuous gale force winds that tear the banana trees apart and damage the fruit. The labour position there is hopeless with itchy-fingered neighbours who steal the fruit day and night. Furthermore there is a never-ending stream of holiday makers who think that the banana trees were planted there for their convenience. There are other amenities as well which the hon. the Minister might prefer. When the hon. the Minister’s farming operation is really under way, I shall listen to him with an open mind when he bewails the difficulties of the banana farmer.

†Joking aside, Mr. Chairman, I wish to speak seriously about the plight of the banana farmer. We have heard a lot from the hon. the Minister about not criticizing control boards. I do not wish to criticize the Banana Control Board, but those who are interested in banana farming in Natal —I cannot speak for those in the Transvaal, but can speak for those in Natal from first-hand information—are very unhappy about the prices we get for our bananas. We find that when we come to Cape Town, for example, bananas are selling for 40 cents a kilo, i.e. less than three bananas for ten cents. Against that the banana farmer is only getting a maximum of nine cents a kilogram. The wholesaler pays the Banana Control Board 11 cents a kilo, which is a fair mark-up and we are not complaining about that. But why the big difference in price between the wholesalers’ price of 11 cents a kilo and the retail price of 40 cents a kilo? This is not fair to the farmer and is not fair to the consumer either. There is something very wrong with this marketing system, where there is this huge difference in price. The banana is a highly nutritive food. It can be eaten with good results by babies and old people. As the hon. the Minister knows, it is beautifully packed, each in a separate packet. It is a very healthy food, is rich in vitamins and can be used as a substitute for other vitamized foods. The first excuse the hon. the Minister is going to come with is that the price of bananas to the producer is low because there is an over-production. I know, because I have read that in the report. But if there is an over-production of bananas, why is the retail price so high and why does it keep on increasing? If there was over-production the retail price should be low, but it is not. Instead, it has kept on increasing month after month. Actually, the production of bananas has dropped. According to Landbounuus of 23 May 1975, page 6, banana production has dropped by an average of 1 500 tons a pool. This does not bear out the contention that there is an over-production of bananas and it does not bear out the fact that farmers are planting more and more acreage of bananas because it is such a paying crop. In fact, I believe that they are actually becoming disillusioned and are planting less and less bananas. Instead of this hon. Minister trying to popularize bananas and saying that we import bananas to keep the price down—we find that imports from Mozambique have actually increased last year by something like 11%—we should have another look at this industry. Bananas are the only fruit in South Africa of which the price has steadily dropped over the last three years. Three years ago we were getting R1-89 per unit, while we are now getting R1-59 per unit.

The price of everything else required for the production of bananas has gone up. It has been mentioned that the price of fertilizer has gone up from R2-52 to R6-90 per bag. The price of fuel has gone up and labour costs have also gone up. The worst problem is the price of fertilizer because bananas are completely dependent on fertilizer. The position has reached such a stage that the farmers’ associations are suggesting that the Government should set up its own fertilizer-producing plant. They feel that the two plants which are producing fertilizer have a monopoly and are overcharging on the product. In other words, this is really socializing our industry or socializing our way of life. When people speak this way, others say that the price of bananas and foodstuffs should be controlled, which is also the method of a communist or socialist State. I feel that if White people particularly are grabbing at these straws, how much more strongly must the non-Whites feel who are unable to pay these prices? If the hon. the Minister does not bring some pressure to bear on the fertilizer producers to bring their prices down he is not serving the farmers as he should.

I should just like to point out what the costs of production in Natal are. It has been found that the cost of producing bananas—in Natal they practise dryland farming as opposed to the Transvaal—is slightly higher. There they have irrigation costs as well. The producers in the Tzaneen area receive a price of 9,68 cents per kilogram which is higher than the 7,90 cents that we in Natal receive. We receive 7,90 cents per kilogram while our costs are 7,09 cents per kilogram. That gives a net profit of ,81 cents a kilogram. If one works that out per acre—and one expects a return of eight tons per acre—it gives one R64-80 profit per acre per year. On a 50 acre farm which is virtually the maximum size of a banana farm in southern Natal, it means that one receives a net return of R3 240 per year. For all that work, this is not sufficient to keep a farmer going. It is completely inadequate and nobody is prepared to invest all his money for a return of this sort of banana farming.

If we do not assist the Natal farmer, the dryland farmer in some way to get a better price for his products, eventually the Natal farmer will stop farming with bananas. We will be doing the banana industry in Natal and in South Africa a disservice in the long run. I know that the hon. the Minister tends to think that the banana industry in Natal is superfluous because we are getting such a large production of bananas from the irrigated areas in the Transvaal. To the people in Natal, particularly the lower income groups, the banana industry is a very important industry, and I would appeal to the hon. the Minister to try to evolve a method whereby there could be a better return to the farmer without increasing the price to the consumer. [Time expired.]


Mr. Chairman, according to the hon. member for South Coast it appears that it might be more lucrative to invest in golden bananas than in pre-packed bananas. I quite agree that the banana farmers have a plight and I do trust the hon. the Minister will give due consideration to the pleas that have been made to him.

*There are a few matters concerning my constituency which I want to raise in this debate. I want to ask the hon. the Minister to give this matter very serious attention. There is at present an acute staff shortage in the veterinary services in the Klip River constituency. Apart from the fact that it has already been suggested that the offices be kept open in the afternoons only, the possibility now exists that the offices will only be kept open every alternate afternoon. At the moment the veterinary service staff at Klip River has already been reduced to three members, and I want to ask the hon. the Minister in all seriousness to give his urgent attention to this matter, since it quite seriously affects the farmers in the vicinity, which is a fairly important livestock producing area.

Another matter I should like to raise concerns the transfer of State-owned land from one party to another. I want to refer to the case of a farm which has been developed as a soil conservation experimental farm and which was made available to another State institution. When I visited the farm recently I learned that mechanical improvements on the farm, such as pumps, have been dismantled to be taken back by the department instead of being transferred to another department. I am of the opinion that since this equipment, which includes pumps, has been installed and since pipelines have been constructed, it would be far better from an economic point of view and also wiser rather to make the necessary financial arrangements with the other departments in terms of which such improvements could be taken over instead of their being dismantled, a process which often results in breakages and losses. If this could be done, it would not only prevent criticism on the part of the local inhabitants, who notice this wastage, but would also eliminate unnecessary losses. If the equipment is required by the Department of Agriculture, arrangements could be made in terms of which the department which is to derive the benefit from it could rather pay for this equipment, or see to it that this equipment is replaced in order to avoid this kind of loss.

Sir, I should also like to refer to the necessity for the co-ordination of arrangements in connection with the alienation of land which is now required by the Bantu Trust for Bantu areas. My reason for raising this matter under this Vote, is the fact that the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure becomes the registered owner of the land when Bantu land is taken over by the State. In the vicinity of Klip River, 84 000 ha of productive White agricultural land have been added to KwaZulu during the past few years. In terms of the plans that have been accepted in this respect recently it is envisaged that a further 54 000 ha will be withdrawn from the productive agricultural sector and added to the Bantu area. I just want to mention that this area is responsible for 15% of Durban’s fresh milk consumption. That area will now be withdrawn from the productive agricultural area. However, there is a fairly large Bantu area in the vicinity which will become a White area in due course. In this connection I want to ask the hon. the Minister in all seriousness to ensure that there is the necessary co-ordination when it comes to the withdrawal of White farmers from their land and the provision of alternative land in the vicinity where they will be able to continue with this important production. Sir, there is no need for me to point out that the withdrawal of land from White farmers will necessarily entail a serious drop in agricultural production. Therefore, where it is possible for farmers to be re-settled productively on land in the vicinity, I want to ask that there should be proper consultation and co-ordination so that this process will not necessarily entail a drop in production.

Sir, one of the most important aspects in the training of farmers at present is the fact that the farming sector is becoming specialized to an increasing extent today. For example, we find that the small producer has virtually been squeezed out of the broiler industry, except in the domestic industries. No farmer can afford to produce chickens for the market on a small scale, because the whole market has been taken over by specialized production. This is a tendency which cannot, to a certain extent, be stopped, but it is essential that the farming sector of South Africa should realize that more and more attention should be given to efficient specialization in South Africa. But what is also needed together with this efficient specialization, is efficient control. Since the average farmer in South Africa controls capital assets to the value of approximately R150 000 today, we have to realize that the average farmer could really be compared with a fairly large business undertaking, because it is a reasonably large business undertaking that requires a capital investment of R150 000. To my mind it is extremely important that more and more attention should be given to the training of farmers so that they can exercise efficient financial and administrative control over their farming procedures and methods. The farmer has to know that his tractor costs so many cents per bag of maize; it is no use if he only knows what the total price is. He should be in a position to calculate how many cents his tractor costs him per bag of maize. He must be in a position to convert the costs of his implements into a production unit cost. Only then will he be able to exercise complete control over his farming activities. If he cannot do this, he is farming on a pot-luck basis. He is then not in a position to judge whether the machinery he wants to buy will really be an economic proposition and whether it would not be more economical for him rather to hire such machinery. I have had many problems with young farmers who are beginners, who are fairly good farmers and who are able to farm productively, but who are nevertheless persuaded by clever salesmen to buy expensive machinery which they do not really need with the result that they over-capitalize their farms with machinery they cannot really justify as far as economic production is concerned. [Time expired.]


Mr. Chairman, with an eye on the minute hand of the clock, which hangs over us like a sword of Damocles, I would like to get to the core of the matter and I will therefore not reply to the hon. member for Klip River for fear that I might stumble over his stones, or perhaps slip on the banana peels of the hon. member for South Coast.

I rise to speak about one of the greatest threats to agriculture in South Africa. Now the hon. member must not think I am referring to the wheat-louse or one of those kinds of things, but to the tremendous bush encroachment which is taking place throughout South Africa. I am speaking now of bushes such as the swarthaak, the rooihaak, the sickle bush and various others. But today I want to refer in particular to the tremendous encouragement of swarthaak in South Africa, which threatens 1¼ million ha in the Molopo region and which has already completely contaminated 5 million ha in South West Africa. When I speak of contamination, I am not speaking of broken veld, but I am speaking of veld where there are between 500 and 10 000 bushes to one hectare. It is not necessary to elaborate on the reason why this encroachment has taken place. The greatest single reason, in my view, is that we no longer have the veld fires today which we had in the past. There are also other reasons, such as periodic droughts, over-grazing and dozens of others. I do not want to elaborate on these. But what is most important is that we are dealing here with one of the greatest threats to agriculture in South Africa. Sir, in the area in which I grew up, the carrying capacity was 3 ha per head of cattle in 1930. In 1960, 30 years later, it was 10 ha per head of cattle and in the year 2000 it will be 100 ha per head of cattle. Now you know that my constituency, Middelland, produces the largest number of cattle of any constituency represented in this House. We produce half a million head of cattle every year for the controlled and uncontrolled areas. That means that without those bushes, my constituency will be able to market 2 million head of cattle per year by the year 2000, but instead of that—at such a rate does the encroachment increases—it will not be able to produce 50 000 head of cattle. That is the important fact.

And what is happening to the world population? The world population is increasing by the day. In 1850 it was 1 000 million. Eighty years later, in 1930, it was precisely twice as many, viz. 2 000 million, and 45 years later, i.e. in the year 1975, it was 4 000 million, once again twice as many, and in the year 2000 it will double again to 8 000 million, and we shall reach the position which Thomas Malthus already predicted in 1788, viz. that the population of the world will double itself every 25 years. At that time, people thought the man was insane but today it appears to be the truth.

But what is the situation in South Africa? In 1910 our population was only 6 million. Today it is already 25 million. It has increased to such an extent in this short space of time. Now I want to make a few statements. In the first place, I want to make the statement that agriculture in South Africa and throughout the world is not able to feed the population of the world. I am not speaking with contempt of the wheat farmers or the maize farmers, or of the hon. member for Malmesbury with his product of the vine, or whatever it may be. But the fact is simply that fruit and vegetables and maize and wheat cannot produce those vitamins which are essential for keeping mankind alive. The hon. member for Berea, who has just left this Chamber, will also admit, having studied pharmacology, that the most important thing which man needs today, is vitamins, and vitamins are taken from the grass and the shrubs of the veld. Now I should not like to see, when coming to town in the mornings from Acacia Park, the hon. member for Johannesburg-North or the hon. member for South Coast grazing on the veld to obtain those vitamins. The hon. member will go to the chemist and pay a stiff account for those vitamins. However, I want to give the hon. member a motto which he can make his life’s motto: Let the cattle eat those shrubs and those vitamins, and then people will simply eat the cattle. That is the right recipe. On my farm, there are areas of a quarter mile square in extent where a dog cannot go into because of the density of the bushes. There I have counted that each bush sheds at least 10 000 pods. At least 1 000 of those pods cause further bushes to grow. In other words, the increase of bush encroachment in South Africa takes place 5 000-fold. My neighbour has tried to combat the encroachment by mechanical means. He had 5 000 ha under bushes, and nothing grew under those bushes, but today, after he got rid of these bushes, the blue buffalo grass grows so high that one can hardly walk through it. Grasses which were never known in that vicinity are now growing to such an extent that it reminds one of a ripe wheat land. Five metres away on the other side of those bushes one finds only annual grasses struggling to survive. The rain which falls every year in the regions on my farm where bush ecroachment is found is sufficient to fill the Verwoerd Dam. The bushes take that water from the ground, and the grass cannot be fed. This matter is very important as far as agriculture is concerned. One is glad that the Department of agriculture has started with certain experiments. In South West Africa, at Omatjenne and certain other places, a start has been made with the application of Tordon 225, a chemical substance. They have sprayed 9 ha with it, with a certain degree of success. If the hon. the Minister only wants to spray 9 ha per year in South West Africa, however, it will take us 500 000 years to combat bush encroachment effectively. I have strong doubts as to whether the hon. the Minister and I will still be in this House by that time.

The hon. member for Somerset East spoke yesterday about jointed cactus. 22 000 ha have been contaminated by this cactus, and R7 million has been spent by the Government in combating this. If we were only to spend R1 million per year on combating this kind of encroachment, we shall be able to boast that we have achieved something for South Africa. The clock is moving fast, but I want to make one more statement. Our future in the world and in South Africa does not lie in minerals, because minerals are taken out of the ground and they disappear completely. Our future does not lie in our industries. Our future does not lie in field-husbandry. Our future lies in the production of beef. It is the only thing that can feed the population of the world. Therefore we must do everything in our ability to combat and overcome the bush encroachment which is destroying us. We must triumph. This is our only solution in South Africa.


Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Middelland has drawn attention to the problem of the infestation of land by bushes. Here in the Western Cape we have hake a which is growing all over the place. We find a similar situation in the Eastern Cape where the Port Jackson willow is causing similar problems. This is a problem with which South Africa is confronted and I must congratulate the hon. member on drawing the attention of the House to this very serious problem.

I want to discuss a matter which has already been talked about at fair length by other hon. members in this debate and that is the question of the marketing of agricultural produce and the resultant high prices which consumers have to pay for food. The hon. member for Green Point gave examples of the huge mark-ups on market prices which the consumers have to pay, and the hon. member for South Coast drew attention to the fact that people have to pay 40 cents per kilo for bananas while the producer gets less than 25% of that amount. At this stage I think it is worth while to quote again a paragraph from the report of the Secretary for Agricultural Economics and Marketing although it has already been quoted. He said—

It is not in the interests of agriculture and the country as a whole that the present sharp upward spiralling food prices should continue indefinitely.

He is quite right in this. The prices which the consumer is paying are not in the best interests of the country, not even in the best interests of the agricultural producers. Government policy seems to be aimed more at high stable prices for farmers—which is praiseworthy—at the production of a consistently high volume of agricultural goods at prices which are low enough to ensure that the poor have enough to eat. It is my contention that far too large a part of consumer prices is absorbed by marketing and processing costs.

I was interested in the results of a small-scale preliminary survey which was conducted by some individuals in the agricultural marketing research section of the department. This survey was conducted in Pretoria in February this year. Many of the facts which were brought to light by this survey were startling, to say the least. Comparisons were made between the average daily Pretoria market price and the corresponding retail price. I think they took several supermarkets and greengrocers and other outlets into consideration in this survey. The highest gross profit margin was found on gem squashes or “lemoenpampoentjies”. Here they found a mark-up of as much as 637%. The average mark-up on this particular vegetable was 211%. There were similar enormous mark-ups on onions, potatoes and many other vegetables. The investigation into the price of fruit showed a similar state of affairs in that the highest mark-up on fruit was found to be 592% on oranges. The average mark-up on oranges was 220%. The highest profit margin on grapes was found to be 400% whilst the average mark-up was 245%. The mark-up on most fruit was out of all proportion to the prices paid at the market. It was interesting to see that the average mark-up on fruit in packages was much higher than that on unpacked fruit. In other words, in many cases consumers are paying a considerable amount more for packaging. I believe that this shows a scandalous state of affairs. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister when we are going to get the report of the commission on agricultural marketing because I believe that something must be done. He says that I keep on saying that something must be done but that I do not give the answers. He is the Minister who is responsible for this and we hope that his commission is going to find some answers for us. Every day that his Government sits back and does nothing, waiting for the report, the situation gets worse. It is absolutely imperative that firstly, the farmers should be guaranteed a fair and stable price for their produce. Secondly, the consumer must be able to buy food at a price which is reasonable. Let us take meat prices as an example. The hon. the Minister drew my attention to the fact that the hon. member for Omaruru said that meat prices had dropped at this stage. I agree with him that they have dropped to the lowest level they have been at for some time but meat prices are beyond the pocket of the poor, even at the present level. In fact, I should say that meat is rapidly disappearing from the tables of many much more affluent people.

I believe that many of our troubles in respect of the marketing of agricultural produce lie in the system of control boards as it operates at the present time. Something like 83% of all agricultural products are marketed through these control boards. A massive bureaucratic empire has been built up with money from the pockets of the consumers. An article in yesterday’s Sunday Times points out that South Africa’s 21 or 22 agricultural control boards have accumulated funds totalling nearly R200 million and have investments and assets worth more than R300 million. The key question is: How effective are these control boards? After the formation of a new board, the product concerned is almost invariably increased in price. I think bananas are the prime example of that. Producers are in the majority on all boards, whereas consumer interests are heavily under-represented. Particularly the Black consumer market is not represented. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he is prepared at this stage to offer increased representation, including Black representation, to consumers on all control boards. There was some speculation in the Press some months back that there was a possibility of Black representatives being appointed to some of these control boards. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he does intend doing something in this direction. It is quite possible that the Commission of Inquiry on Marketing will suggest the abolition of the board system as presently constituted, but as an emergency measure to keep a check on rocketing prices, an increase in consumer representation would be a positive step to ensure that consumer interests are better looked after. Incidentally, I notice with some relief that after due consideration: it has been decided not to establish a canary seed control board. Canaries all over South Africa must be twittering with relief that they have been spared this threat to their existence. However, people are not canaries and food prices today are threatening our way of life and particularly the standard of health of the poorer section of our population, including the entire Black population.


Mr. Chairman, may I ask the hon. member a question?


I am sorry, but I have very little time at my disposal. I believe it is vital that the Commission of Inquiry on Marketing should arrive at decisions urgently because we cannot afford to wait. The price spiral is just too fast. The only alternative is higher subsidies for basic foods and, failing any other action, this is what the hon. the Minister will have to do because the poor people must be properly fed. It must be within their means to buy basic foods. They must be fed adequately on the incomes they are earning today. Agricultural policy, I believe, must be aimed much more at consumer advantage than has been the case up to now. The efficient producer or farmer, I believe, will not suffer.

However, to change the thrust of my speech, I should like to refer to one other matter very briefly. I want to ask the hon. the Minister about the wages paid to farm labourers. As the mines in South Africa intensify their recruiting campaigns inside the country, it is very likely that the pressure on farmers will increase to pay more competitive wages. One cannot generalize on this matter because many farmers pay good wages, but for the most part I would say the wages paid are far too low. We believe that a fair minimum wage for agricultural workers should be enforced and I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he has had a change of heart in this direction and will consider the introduction of legislation to provide for a minimum wage.

*Mr. L. J. BOTHA:

Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Orange Grove used the same tactics again this afternoon as he did last week, viz. he made certain unfounded statements, statements which he cannot substantiate in any way. Last Friday, he referred to the standard of living in South Africa, which was falling drastically, according to him, but he mentioned no norm or source in this connection. This afternoon, the hon. member made two statements again, neither of which he can substantiate. The one is that the level of health of the consumer in South Africa was declining as a result of malnutrition.


The Black people are not in good health.

*Mr. L. J. BOTHA:

Once again, the hon. member cannot substantiate that statement of his because life expectancy in South Africa is increasing every year. The hon. member levelled the further charge at the farming community that some of them do not pay the labourer on the farm adequately. Once again, it is a statement which the hon. member cannot substantiate.


Are you telling me they all pay well?

*Mr. L. J. BOTHA:

Over the past number of years, the migration of farm labourers who have been living on a farm for ten or more years, has slowed down.

The hon. member said that the farmer must be paid enough for his product and conceded that in some cases the farmer was not paid enough. He followed that, however, by saying that the consumer in South Africa was paying more every day and that prices were rising to such an extent that we could no longer afford food in South Africa. We want to agree with him that we should make food available to the public as cheaply as possible. The hon. member now fells the hon. the Minister that something must be done about the difference in the price of a product when it leaves the farm and the price which the consumer has to pay. If the hon. the Minister wants to, he can advance the excuse in most cases that hon. members are speaking under the wrong Vote. However, when we look at control boards, which this hon. member also attacked today, I want to refer to statistics in Europe where it has been found that where there is no system of control boards and there is an under-supply of 1%, the increase to the consumer amounts to 10%. If the buffer which the control boards do provide in South Africa is taken away, we shall have chaos in South Africa. I do not want to suggest by that that all control boards act in such a way that the optimal position can always be expected. Therefore, the commission of inquiry is inquiring into this. Here too, however, we cannot take a rash decision and apply precipitately what has been done in other countries, because South Africa is unique in this connection.


Is a mark-up of 632% a fair one for the consumer?

*Mr. L. J. BOTHA:

The hon. member loses sight of the fact that he is now dealing with products, the perishability of which is an important factor. These are products which have to be hygienically and neatly packed, because the housewife prefers it that way.

Now I want to come back to a matter which I think ought to enjoy more interest in the discussion of this Vote. Since Friday, it has been said on various occasions, that something should be done either by the farmer or by the Government. However, I think that we are dealing with a matter here which demands responsibility from everyone in South Africa. In the September edition of Handel, an interesting leader appeared, of which I only want to quote a few extracts. Reference is made to the fact that about 70% of the agricultural yield is produced by only 20% of the farmers. Then it is said (translation):

The main reason for this is that modern and effective agricultural techniques require much more capital, both as regards financing, and, therefore, equipment as well, than the average individual can afford, with or without Land Bank loans. We are all dependent on one another, and we must all eat, but the responsibility of feeding the whole country is too heavy to place on the already financially overburdened shoulders of the individuals who constitute the majority of our country’s farmers.

This is followed by the final paragraph, in which, to my mind, there is great truth:

I think that we owe it to our farmers and to our long-term security to invest our money in food. This must take place for us to be able to feed the country’s growing population at reasonable prices. If the multitudes are one’s responsibility, the masses, then one must mass produce, but mass production must be financed. If we are all going to eat the products which are given to us by the country’s soil, all of us ought to be prepared to provide the means for the production of that food.

I think this brings me to this important point, viz. that we in South Africa have reached the situation where we must ask ourselves whether there are not too many individuals, too many organizations or too many bodies who want to make exorbitant profits from food. I think it is necessary, for the sake of fairness, that we also include the farmer and the control board in this, but that we then also include the cartage contractor, the packager, the processor and the distributor and the retailer in this. Everyone has the right to increase his capital. When this is carried to such lengths that people make exorbitant profits from food or from land by means of speculation, we can be party to one of the most dreaded situations which can arise in any country in the world, viz. a lack of food. Have we not yet reached the situation where we see the matter of making profits as an aim in itself instead of seeing it as a fair reward for service rendered well and regarding it as the best yardsticks for measuring efficiency and productivity? We in South Africa would like to see—as would this Government and the producer—that the consumer buys his food at the lowest possible price. However, when we look at the elements over which the South African farmer has no control, we come to the conclusion that we in South Africa still produce of the cheapest food in the world. In France, the producer’s price of wheat of grades comparable with quality wheat in South Africa, is approximately R104 per ton, whereas it is approximately R92 per ton in South Africa for the best grades. In South Africa, a loaf of white bread costs 16 cents, while 69,6 cents is paid in France for a loaf comparable to and of the quality of a South African loaf, in spite of the fact that the difference in the producer’s price is approximately 12%.

The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South referred to egg prices to the consumer, which were soaring. In France, 62 cents per dozen is paid for medium-sized eggs today. If we look at bread in America, then we see that 48 cents per loaf is paid for white bread, converted to our standards of quality and weight. We on this side of the House want to concede immediately that the consumer, the farmer and the Government of South Africa are in partnership. The hon. the Minister has often pointed this out in the past. If we want food in South Africa, then it is necessary that it be produced. If the farmers have to produce, then it is necessary that it should be an economic proposition for them. In the past year, and during this debate as well, reference has been made on various occasions to the role which food can play in the establishment of friendly relations. The value of food in reducing the tension in the world has been pointed out. I am afraid that we possibly over emphasize the role of food and its value in the sense that the impression may arise among our consumers that we in South Africa have a situation where food will always be available in large quantities. We must take cognizance of the fact that, as far as maize products are concerned, if we have two consecutive crops of last year’s volume, we, with the rising demand for maize products, shall be faced by a shortage in South Africa.

I should like to discuss the question of wheat for a moment. We must take cognizance of the fact that if the tendency of an increase of 7% in the annual consumption continues, we shall consume 1,7 million tons of wheaten products in South Africa by next year. If we have the same situation as we had last year when the crop was approximately 80% of the previous year’s crop, the South African crop will be approximately 1,1 million tons this year. When we carry over 430 tons from the previous season, then we have broken even in South Africa and then we shall have no wheat. If we think that wheat can probably be bought and imported at R12 per bag, if it is available—that is R150 per ton—and if we take into consideration that Europe sowed about a third of its surface in the optimum planting season this year, a third seven weeks too late, and a third not at all, and if we think that in South Africa the summer rainfall was such that we are going to have about two-thirds of our small varieties of grain sown because it has not been possible to prepare lands and seedbeds correctly, then we realize that here is an industry which we in South Africa will have to encourage in the interests of the producer and the consumer, because the consumer needs bread in South Africa. For that reason we want to ask, when the wheat price is announced, for the risk factor as well as the costs of insurance to have been included in the calculations, but especially that it will serve as an incentive to the farmer so that there may be sufficient wheat, so that there may be sufficient bread and so that the consumer in South Africa may be able to obtain food cheaply.


Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Bethlehem will excuse me if I do not follow up the arguments of his interesting and stimulating speech. In the first place, I just want to bring a matter of parochial importance to the hon. the Minister’s attention. I refer to the question of certain irrigated land in the Fish River Valley which was bought out and conserved as state-owned land at the decision of the Government in the sixties, when the Grasrug irrigation dam could not meet all the needs and conserved as state land. On 22 August this year, the hon. the Prime Minister will open the tunnel which will let the water from the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam through to the Theebus River and we expect that a few days after that, the water of the Orange River will flow in the Fish River as well. Those lands, about 600 ha in extent, still belong to the State at this stage. There is tremendous insistence that private farmers be allowed to buy these lands. We should very much like to know from the hon. the Minister when and in which way these lands will again be made available to farmers for production purposes.

I also want to raise a second matter, a matter which sometimes causes considerable misunderstanding. I should like to exchange a few thoughts with the hon. the Minister about the National Parks Board. The National Parks Board is often seen as a body which has been established to make tourist facilitates available and to promote tourism to South Africa. Although this is one of the very important tasks of the National Parks Board, its most important task is the conservation of our heritage, game conservation, the conservation of particular ecological systems, nature conservation and all that these functions entail. All the other activities of the National Parks Board are secondary to these all-important functions. This often brings us as Parks Board into conflict with vested interests. Since we have parks over the length and breadth of the country at particular places where we are attempting to preserve the wild-life as it existed there in earlier years, it sometimes brings us into conflict with farmers it the vicinity who criticise our grazing methods and the fact that there are predators in these parks which sometimes break out and cause damage on nearby farms.

However, we succeed in maintaining good relations with our neighbours, and the people realize that the conservation of predators is also a very important task. We try to keep the predators in check to prevent them from being a nuisance to our neighbours. The task of the Parks Board is not a simple one, however, because we are dealing with animals which cannot really be brought under control. One can not apply proper grazing systems, because one cannot divide game reserves into camps and withdraw certain areas from grazing, and so on. Sometimes problems arise in this connection, and we have this specific problem in the Kruger National Park in particular. Critical questions have already been asked about this in this-House, viz. about the reduction programme which the Parks Board is applying in the Kruger National Park. For sound game conservation—this might sound paradoxical, but it is a fact—one must control some species of game drastically and, as has unfortunately proved to be necessary in the game reserve, one must also reduce their numbers drastically. I want to mention a few illuminating figures to hon. members in this connection.

In 1965, there were about 12 000 wildebeest and 7 000 quagga in the central districts of the Kruger National Park—i.e. the area near Skukuza and around Pretoriuskop. In 1974 there were only 4 100 wildebeest and 4 900 quagga. That is a considerable decline, a decline which gives cause for great concern. It is chiefly attributable to a few factors, viz. to the increasing numbers of predators in that area and to the deterioration of the grazing, because the animals gave preference to certain grazing areas, with the result that the veld was eventually destroyed to such an extent that the animals could no longer exist there. By scientific tests we established that hyenas and lions in particular had increased a great deal in those areas. For this reason, the National Parks Board decided that the numbers of the predators should be drastically reduced.

An important aspect of the Parks Board’s functions is the conservation of ecological systems. The possibility has already been investigated of establishing various reserves of this kind, and a measure of success has been achieved. The possibility has been investigated of establishing a Karoo ecological park which would have to be typical of the Karoo area as it was in the past. The Parks Board believed that such an area did not actually exist, but, with the obliging co-operation of the Nature Foundation, land which was bought by the Nature Foundation has been donated to the Parks Board. The Parks Board will administrate and develop it. An investigation was conducted recently and is still being conducted into the possibility of establishing an ecological park in the Richtersveld. It is a region with a distinctive ecological system. The rainfall there is very low, and there one still finds a certain succulent—I think it is the succulent called “elephant’s trunk”—in reduced number. Nevertheless, it is worth our while to give attention to the conservation of the specific and unique flora of that area.

Sir, in our activities in the Parks Board, research is a very, very important element, and one speaks with the greatest respect of the scientists who serve the National Parks Board. There is practically no aspect of research which is not done in the Parks Board areas. In the game reserve, research is done on everything from dung beetles to elephants and from parasites to people. There is practically no aspect of research which is not either supported, initiated or allowed by the Parks Board. Sir, this is a very important function because it is possible to produce very valuable work there, especially as far as animal diseases are concerned. In the game reserve we have the unfortunate phenomenon that foot and mouth disease is fairly prevalent there, so much so that the Parks Board, which at one stage was the most important supplier of wild animals for private game reserves and for farmers, etc., has no market at the moment for animals from the Kruger National Park, because of the fact that there is still no certainty about all the animals which may spread foot and mouth disease. At one stage it was supposed that foot and mouth disease was spread only by certain animal species, but it was later established that the disease is spread by other species as well, with the result that practically no animals except quagga are allowed out of the game reserve for sale to private bodies at the moment. Sir, this restricts the Parks Board in the sense that it has lost a source of income and that it had to take the unfortunate step of starting a meat factory in the game reserve. Sir, I say it was an unfortunate step, because there is no Parks Board official who does not feel unhappy about our having been obliged to take this step. It is certainly not the function of the Parks Board to provide tinned meat, but we had no other option, because these animals’ numbers had to be reduced as a result of natural circumstances. Therefore we were obliged to erect this “heartbreak factory” there. Although it has entailed many advantages for the Parks Board, one would rather not make use of those facilities. Unfortunately, Sir other diseases are prevalent there as well, such as splenic fever, blue tongue, anthrax, etc., which are actually endemic, but because it is a vast area, it is difficult to control and combat them. Research is continually being conducted into these diseases and methods are being found to combat them. Sir, it would be a sorry day if we were to concentrate only on food production, and if we were to have a nation which is well fed, but which is poorer in spirit, because it has neglected its nature reserves and allowed them to deteriorate. Sir, these nature reserves, these game reserves, which are maintained by the National Parks Board, are a real credit to our country and we should like to keep them that way. We pay tribute in particular to the managing director, a man who is not trained in this direction and who happened quite by chance to appear on the scene as a social scientist, but who, with dedication and hard study and human knowledge, has developed our Parks Board organization into an organization our country may be proud of. May this always be so, Sir.

*Mr. D. B. SCOTT:

Sir, the hon. member for Cradock will excuse me if I do not follow up the stimulating ideas he expressed here about nature and wild-life in this country.

Sir, in this debate I should like to mention a few bottlenecks which affect the smaller farmers, or let me rather say, the efficient small farmers. Much has already been said here about food prices and about rising costs in farming, and it will be difficult for me to raise a matter here which has not already been raised, yet I do feel that I should tell the consumers at this stage that I believe that the days of low food prices are gone for ever in this country. In a number of years, the consumer in this country will be able to speak of the good old days when referring to food prices. Figures which I recently obtained—I must add immediately these figures are a little dated—indicate that the White consumer in this country spends a very small percentage of his earnings on food and a large percentage on what I could almost call luxury items. But times have changed and I believe that a larger percentage of the earnings of the consumer will have to be spent on food, in future and a smaller percentage on luxury items.

I should like to speak about the worries of the small farmer, and in order to do that, you must allow me to identify the small farmer briefly. The small farmer is not to be recognized by the size of the land which he owns and on which he farms. In my eyes, the small farmer is a person with a net income of between R4 000 and R6 000 per annum. Now it is also true that not all farmers who have that net income are small farmers. In certain sectors of the agricultural industry these are fairly well-established farmers and they can carry on with that net income or profit. But I want to confine myself more specifically to the farmers of whom I have knowledge, and of whom there are many in my constituency—and, I believe, throughout the country. Those are the farmers who concentrate mostly on crop cultivation, maize as well as wheat, The survival of those farmers with that net income is being threatened, and that is what is giving them cause for concern. There are two sorts of problems in particular with which they are faced. The first is the labour problem. We all know that the mining industry needs a great deal of labour, Black labour which it attracts. Now I also know that the Free State and the S.A. Agricultural Union have entered into an agreement not to recruit those employees from the farms, but what really happens is that those Black people do not go directly to the mines. First they go to work at some transport company or industry, and when next one looks for them, one finds them in a mine. This is really a source of concern to this farmer, because he does not know, when he goes to bed at night, if he will have enough labourers in his employ when he gets up the next morning. Someone also mentioned here that the repeal of the Masters and Servants laws was perhaps necessary. While I do not want to criticize that, I ask myself whether our Black labourers or even the Whites are mature enough for those particular laws to be repealed. Is it not perhaps time for us to reconsider the repeal of those laws? Without labour the small farmer cannot exist. In fact, no farmer can continue without it, but it hits the small farmer twice as hard, because he does not have the capital to purchase larger implements which require less labour. It is a fact that a larger tractor with the necessary equipment, which saves labour, easily costs R30 000 or more today, but the small farmer cannot buy one, because it is too expensive for him.

On the other hand, I spoke of the cost increases, which really give this man cause for concern. He argues this way: If I have to go to sleep worried every night, will it not pay me better to leave this occupation and sell my land and put an end to my farming operations and invest my money where I can earn a very high income on my capital? We have heard here that it costs between R40 and R80 to cultivate 1 ha efficiently. Sir, if a small farmer cultivates 100 ha, it costs him between R4 000 and R6 000 to cultivate it. Then he retains no profit. The whole of the profit which he made the previous year is ploughed back in again at very great risk, but then he still does not yet have enough. Here I am pleading specifically for the sort of people whom I know. They also want a little pleasure in their private lives, after all. They also want to go and watch occasionally when the Free State shows Transvaal a thing or two on the rugby field.

I am aware of the fact that there are financial institutions to help the farmers. There are three institutions in particular. There are crop loans which are granted chiefly by the co-operatives, there is the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure and there are also private financial institutions. However, the people to whom I am referring do not qualify for assistance from the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure, because their shortage of capital does not arise from causes beyond their control. We are grateful for Crop loans, but the people have to accept crop loans year after year. If they have half a crop one year, however, or if they have a poor crop one year, they cannot catch up the backlog again. This handicap then remains and they cannot pay it off. If one falls behind one year with the repayment of the crop loan, it will be more difficult to obtain a crop loan the next year. These people’s whole profit is wiped out by production costs for which provision must be made again in respect of the following year. The number of small farmers—and I am speaking now of the efficient small farmers, because the agricultural conditions of the past six to ten years have caused the inefficient small farmer to disappear long ago —is constantly decreasing. However, there are always more and more large farmers. I have no solution for this. I think it was the hon. the Minister of Planning who announced that attention was to be given to the smaller towns at a high level. Now I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture as well. Can he not join the hon. the Minister of Planning and give attention to the smaller farmers in the rural areas as well? [Time expired.]

*Mr. H. J. VAN ECK:

Mr. Chairman, I should like to associate myself with the pleas of the two previous speakers, especially the plea of the hon. member for Cradock that the Richtersveld in the bend of the Orange River be declared a national park. People who have seen this area will not be able to help falling under the spell of that exceptionally interesting part of the country. The elephant’s trunk or Pachypodium which grows there ought really to be preserved for posterity. The only problem is, however, that there are mining industries in the bed of the Orange River where alluvial diamonds are mined. There is a Coloured community which tries to make a living there. Nevertheless, I think it is in the interests of South Africa that this area be preserved. I also feel that the National Parks Board would do well to listen to the criticism of public opinion. The opinion has been expressed that the national parks should not be so overorganized and over-commercialized as is the case at the moment. The Natal Parks Board has set a fine example. It is their policy that the tourist industry and the hotel industry must make provision for tourists outside the parks, because we are really damaging the areas which we want to preserve for posterity by letting too many people feel at home there, by making facilities such as tennis courts, swimming baths and all sorts of other facilities, which, they want in a city, available there. That should be done outside the national parks.

I read in Agricultural News that the hon. the Deputy Minister of Agriculture said in Vryburg at the opening of the local agricultural show there that a continued increase in agricultural production has become one of South Africa’s top priorities in recent times. I also read that the hon. the Minister of Agriculture said that because of the high demands which the Republic with its rapidly growing population is making on its food resources, and in view of our limited resources, no planning and exertion should be spared to make the agricultural industry in South Africa as sound and productive as is humanly possible. We should like to support the two hon. Ministers in their aims and in their efforts, and we should be especially appreciative if they could assist the stock-farmers of Griqua-land West in the same way with the problems which some of them have. Last year, on Friday, 6 September, I asked the hon. the Minister what livestock losses had been experienced as a result of the gnat and mosquito plague, in Griqualand West, Barkly West, Herbert and Hay, as well as in the whole of the Republic. At that stage no figures were available, and I understand that there are still no figures available. A private inquiry, however, which was made by the farmers’ association there, showed that 35 888 sheep had died on 137 farms in two of those districts. The area which is involved here is an area of about 309 000 morgen. The loss represents a tremendous amount of money, a loss which, to my mind, could have been combated to a large extent if that area had had sufficient services. The cause of most of the losses were diseases such as blue tongue, Rift Valley fever, Wesselsbron disease, enzootic abortion, enterotoxaemia, etc. Before the farmers were able to establish the specific cause of the death of their stock, so that they could inoculate them against it, an epidemic broke out, as it were. The farmers in that vicinity inoculated against six or eight different diseases as a preventative measure. I know of a farmer in the Lange-berg, for example, who lost 500 of his 1 5000 sheep in ten days this year, i.e. a third of his total flock. There is a farmer in the Douglas region who lost 400 sheep out of a flock of 1 200 within a few days. These farmers take samples or they take their sheep to the nearest veterinary surgeon in Kimberley, who takes samples and sends them to Onderstepoort to try to establish the cause of the sheep’s death. Often the answer is negative, and then the farmer is at a loss to know what he must treat the animals for. I know of a farmer, for example, who lost a Dorper ram which cost R1 700 and who got only 170 lambs out of a flock of 420 ewes as a result of diseases which he could not identify. Samples have to be taken and in some cases the farmers have to wait for one or two months before receiving an answer from Onderstepoort, and then the answer is that the tests are negative as regards the specific disease about which he inquired. I should like to advocate the provision of better facilities for farmers in the different regions so that they can act quickly in epidemics of this nature. They cannot inoculate their animals or take all preventative measures against all the diseases there are in South Africa. There are farmers who have made a habit recently of rushing the sick animal 400 miles to Onderstepoort themselves. Then they spend a few days there while samples are taken and they wait for the result so that they can treat the animals on their farms against the disease. However, it cannot be done in every case. I should like to advocate the establishment of diagnostic centres in places such as Kimberley and in other regions. In many areas, the facilities which are available are completely inadequate. In Kimberley, for example, the State veterinary surgeon, when he wants to hold a post-mortem examination, has to open up the sheep on the steps or on the verandah of the building, or to open up the dead ox on a truck under a tree. The organs of which samples have been taken and the opened animal, which may have serious infectious diseases, must then be transported through the streets of Kimberley in order to be buried on the farm. Often one does not know at that stage what caused the animal’s death. We know that there are about five or six extremely dangerous animal diseases which can infect man as well. One thinks, for example, of rabies, anthrax, psitticosis or parrot disease, Malta fever or brucellosis. We also know that many of the veterinary surgeons have contracted Rift Valley fever over the past two years and have been seriously ill. I should like to advocate, on behalf of the veterinary surgeons and the farmers, that better laboratory facilities be made available so that the tremendous death rate among animals can be combated.

Mr. Chairman, if you look at the five little rooms in the old Mint Building in Kimberley in which the veterinary surgeon, with his staff of about six inspectors, etc., has to continue his activities, you will realize how poor the facilities are that have been made available there for these people, who are doing a giant task in the interests of the farmers. I should really like to see an improvement to the buildings in which the veterinary surgeons have to work. In Kimberley better facilities are certainly needed. I should also like bacteriologists or even virologists, if they are available, to be given posts at such diagnostic centres, so that they can help the farmers immediately if an epidemic breaks out.


Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Benoni will probably pardon me if I do not react to his speech. I think the Minister will reply to his representations at an appropriate time.

As recently as last year a world food-conference, at which 140 nations or peoples were represented, was held in Rome. At this conference many plans were forged to try to replenish world food shortages. It is estimated that there are between 400 million and 800 million people in the world today who are starving or do not have enough food. Another estimate was that 71% of the world’s population is too poor to buy the necessary food to be able to live above the poverty datum line. Many proposals were submitted to overcome this problem, many of which sounded very far-fetched. It is in fact a very difficult problem because the developed countries v/ere able to make estimates and proposals, while the underdeveloped countries were not able to offer the solutions. A farmer can be a good farmer in a developed country where there is an economic system into which he can fit, and under which he can contribute his produce and receive all the necessary assistance in the form of knowledge, machinery, fertilizer, etc. Then he can make progress. In this context one thinks of a country such as America in which, so it is always said, the best farmers are to be found. The reason for this is that the economic system under which they are farming creates a situation for them which enables them to make progress. If the developed countries have produced all the food the world requires, there are still many problems left, for example how to distribute it to those parts of the world where there is no food, and how to despatch the food to those areas on a regular basis. It is therefore best if each country, as it develops, ensures that its farmers are able to produce under the best circumstances. As other hon. members have also stated, the hon. the Minister of Labour has, in the period during which he has occupied this position—we can say this with a clear conscience—worked day and night to this end. I should not like to be in his shops, for when he has satisfied the producer, the consumer comes down on him, and when the consumer is satisfied, the producer is again dissatisfied. He therefore has to try and strike a balance between these two major groups, and this does not only apply to South Africa, it applies to any Minister of Agriculture in any country. Farmers in South Africa have for many years been producing at the expense of themselves and their own prosperity to the benefit of the consumer in South Africa. Perhaps this went on for too long, and perhaps the increase in the price of agricultural produce should have commenced sooner, and should have increased gradually so that the consumer could become accustomed to paying for what the farmer produces. As with any industry, the agricultural industry, and therefore also the farmer, has been experiencing problems as the prices of all commodities rose. We must therefore try to create a healthy climate between the producer and the consumer, so that the consumer will not think the farmer is receiving everything and is being spoonfed by way of subsidies. Most consumers in the urban areas do not understand today with how many problems the farmer is being burdened. After all, the farmer cannot simply farm because of his love for farming. This is indeed one of the reasons for his being a farmer, but the most important reason of all is, after all that he has to make a profit from his farming. Seen in this light, we have a major task in these times to establish the necessary equilibrium, namely that the farmer should be able to make his profit and that the consumer should at the same time be satisfied. I do not think the solution lies simply in subsidizing everything, for as years go by, so everything increases, and so the subsidy will also have to increase. Eventually the farmer will have to be subsidized to such an extent that he will become virtually a State farmer. We in South West Africa are also faced with problems which are not very favourable to the farmer. In the first place, we are far away from our good markets. I am thinking in particular here of the cattle farmer in the northern areas of South West Africa. In recent times they have been hard hit by the general increasing costs. The farmers in the southern areas in South West Africa are better off for they farm with karakul sheep. They do not have very many problems as far as transportation is concerned. In any case, they are producing an article which is very light, and which is therefore easily conveyable. If it had not been for the fact that the farmers had been able to farm with this product in certain parts of the Northern Cape and in the southern areas of South West Africa, these areas would virtually have been lost to agriculture in South Africa. That is why the farmers in these areas concentrate very strictly on quality, and we can boast that the karakul farmer has conquered for himself a position in the world of which we may be very proud. The process is continuing. This is a very complicated type of farming; it is a specialized industry. The prices which are being obtained under difficult world conditions, under difficult monetary conditions, is a demonstration that we have in fact succeeded in our attempt. The quality of our pelts is the reason for this. I just want to furnish the pelt prices for the past three years to serve as proof in this regard. Throughout the entire Republic plus-minus million pelts have been produced each year during the past three years. The average price was R8-90 in 1972; R9-62 in 1973 and R9-21 in 1974. This product is being marketed by a few organizations, a few co-operative societies, and I want to spend a few minutes discussing these cooperative societies. In South West Africa there are two of them, namely BSB and ECU, which have, over the years rendered us very good services. The possibility now exists that these two bodies are going to amalgamate. The other organizations concerned in this matter, do not come into the picture as far as the South West African farmers are concerned. I am referring to the SAKK and the KBB. As I see the position, it can only be to the benefit of our farmers when the former two co-operative societies amalgamate. [Time expired.]


Mr. Chairman, I should like to settle a small matter with the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South. When I told the hon. member earlier today that he was not in favour of the Egg Production Control Act, he told me that that was not true and that I know it. I accused the hon. member of not having supported the Act and, if I remember correctly, the hon. member stated that he had proposed the legislation. I then took the trouble to go into the matter a little because the hon. member had levelled a serious accusation at me—so much so that the Chairman requested him to withdraw his words. He stated that this was untrue and that I had known that it was untrue. I looked this up in Hansard. Vol. 30 of 1970. It was during the Second Reading of the legislation, and among those who did not vote for the Second Reading of the legislation I found the name of Mr. W. T. Webber, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Did you read my speech?


Now, that is typical of the hon. member’s reaction, viz. to ask whether I read his speech. That is not the issue. I did not make a remark about the hon. member’s speech, but maintained that he had not supported the legislation. The hon. member then said that that was not true and that I knew it was not true. I then found in column 3189, to be specific, that the hon. member had voted against it.


Order! Is the hon. member referring to a statement which the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South made and then withdrew?


Yes, Sir,


Then the hon. member may not refer to it.


What I find astonishing, apart from the fact that the hon. member withdrew the statement is that the hon. member today made an accusation against the hon. the Minister by saying that the hon. the Minister was not applying the Act strictly enough as regards egg production. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South invoked the Egg Production Control Act and stated that the Minister should apply this Act or apply it more strictly. I find it very strange that the hon. member should invoke an Act for which he was not prepared to vote. At the stage when the legislation was brought to Parliament in the national interest it was not so popular. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South is always invoking private enterprise and stating that we should move away from control, etc. But when the hon. member had the opportunity of voting for the Act, he did not vote for it.

The second point I want to make about the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South is the fact that the hon. member asked for a subsidy on milk in the urban areas. When he was asked “How are you going to apply this in Messina?”—one might add: “How is one going to apply it in Middelburg?”—the hon. member stated, “No, it is only in the cities where the people are poor and where the cost of living is so high.”

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

And where the price of milk is so high.


And the hon. member added: “Where the price of milk is so high.” I am pleased the hon. member made that statement here, and I can well understand the hon. member not being a champion of the towns and the platteland. After all, it is in the platteland that the United Party no longer has any real support, nor will have in the future. I am very pleased, too, since I am going to Middelburg next week, that one can tell the public there that according to the United Party they do not require a subsidy on the platteland; they only ask for a subsidy for the people living in the cities.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Stick to agriculture and keep off politics.


I am dealing with agriculture; at the moment I am dealing with the milk prices. I now come to another hon. friend who also spoke about agriculture, namely the hon. member for Orange Grove. Before him the hon. member for Sandton spoke about agriculture. The difference between him and the hon. member for Orange Grove is that the hon. member for Sandton said in advance that he knew nothing about agriculture and that the little he did know, he had acquired through reading. However, the hon. member for Orange Grove did not say that he knew nothing about agriculture. But the fact remains that here are two hon. members who spoke about agriculture whereas neither knew anything about it. I want to agree with the hon. member for Sandton in that he insisted on more protein production in South Africa, particularly soya bean production. One could see that the hon. member for Sandton had done his homework.

The hon. member for Orange Grove proposed that a minimum wage for farm labourers be determined.


That is right.


I do not know whether the hon. member is a farmer. However I want to ask the hon. member what he suggests as a minimum wage for farm labourers.


A living wage.


Yes, it is all very well to talk about a living wage. What does the hon. member propose? He makes a general statement and advocates minimum wages, but what would be stipulated as a minimum wage?


May I ask the hon. member a question? Is the hon. member suggesting that there are no farm labourers in South Africa who are underpaid?


The hon. member should not evade the point. I made no such suggestion, nor am I as stupid as the hon. member. I should like to know from the hon. member what he suggests as a minimum wage for farm labourers in South Africa. The hon. member advocated this this afternoon and now he must tell me how much it will be. [Interjections.] I put a very fair question to the hon. member. The hon. member is fully entitled to advocate a minimum wage for farm labourers here, and no one is contesting that. If he wants to advocate anything of that kind, he may do so, but what I want to know from that hon. member— we are now in the political arena and are dealing with the facts and not with ideals —is what he proposes as a minimum wage. What is a minimum wage for a Bantu on a farm?


I am speaking about a living wage.


If the hon. member wants to tell me what he means by a living wage in terms of rands, I shall be quite satisfied. The hon. member tried to speak to the Press and the gallery and tomorrow one will read in the newspapers, under banner headlines, “Larimer asks for minimum wage for farm labourers.” However I want to know from the hon. member What he proposes; or is it that the hon. member is not quite right in his head, with the result that he makes proposals which he does not mean and knows nothing about? What does the hon. member propose as a minimum wage?


Let the mining industry tell you what their minimum wage for their labourers is.


The hon. member should not evade the point, but should tell me what his minimum wage would be for a farm labourer. I leave the hon. member at that. Apparently he did not quite know what he meant when he made that proposal. Perhaps he can think about it at dinner and reply to my question after dinner if he wants to.

We are now dealing with agriculture, which is the most important industry in South Africa. There is not one of us who can get away from the fact that we have to eat. Food is the basic source of the continuation of life and we cannot get away from it. All of us have to eat at least one or three times per day. When we look at the agricultural industry, we are looking at an industry that has to ensure that 25 million people in South Africa are provided with food every day. Last year the consumer in South Africa spent R3 314 million on the products of this industry. Up to now the debate has revolved around the amount we pay for food and whether we pay too much or too little and what can be done about it. I have not heard any of those who have sharply criticized the food prices saying, “Thank goodness there is enough food in South Africa.” When one considers What is happening in the world and in Africa, one asks oneself … [Interjections.] Did the hon. member ask a question?


You are again discussing matters you know nothing about.


If one looks at Africa …




Did the hon. member perhaps want to ask a question? [Time expired.]

Business suspended at 6.30 pm. and resumed at 8 p.m.

Evening Sitting


The hon. member for Lydenburg, who spoke before business was suspended, mentioned that he was going to tell the farmers in the Middelburg by-election some of the things that have been said in this debate by certain hon. members on this side of the House. Sir, I hope that when he gets there he will tell the farmers of Middelburg that we in the United Party have long been protagonists of an Agricultural Advisory Planning Council to take a leading part in planning the agricultural industry of South Africa on a rational basis so as to improve the farmers’ production and to reduce the consumers’ costs. I hope the hon. member will say that. I hope he will also tell the voters at Middelburg that we in the United Party have always said that agricultural financing should be extended and placed under the control of an organization which includes an amalgamation of the Land Bank and the Department of Agricultural Credit in order to improve the financial structure of agriculture in South Africa so that production can be improved and the price to the housewife of South Africa can be brought down. Sir, these are the things the hon. member must talk about. I have sufficient confidence in the hon. member to know that he will do just that.

Mr. Chairman, I want to deal with another aspect of our agricultural industry. At page 115 of the report of the Department of Agricultural-Technical Services, it is stated—

Increased efficiency and more economic milk production depend on the genetic potential and management of the national herd, but the weak link is feeding. Milk production could virtually be doubled overnight with the correct feeding and management.

I want to deal with one particular aspect of this reference here to management and feeding. I think it would be incorrect to say that due to inefficient management by our farmers, we have a low level of production in South Africa, but I do believe that we have a problem when it comes to feeding. Very often when droughts strike, as they have done in the past with regular monotony—and in spite of the good seasons that we have had, droughts will come again—there is a drastic shortage of feed available to feed the different herds that are called upon to produce the foods which our growing population so urgently requires. Sir, it is because there is going to be this lack of feed which in the past has created a low level of production on occasion, that I think we have to look at all those things which will enable us to improve feed production in South Africa. I am not talking about foodstuffs for the human population; I am talking about foodstuffs to feed the herds of South Africa. I think the hon. the Minister will agree with me that we are rapidly reaching a point where we are fully utilizing the available agricultural potential of our country, especially in the realm of feed production. Sir, to get to the point where we are today, we have had significant milestones in the history of agriculture, with special reference to agricultural production. What kind of things revolutionized agriculture and agricultural performance? The one was the Mould-board plough; that made a tremendous contribution to increased production. Then we had the rubber-tyred tractor, which also made it possible to plough vast tracts of agriculturally useful land in South Africa. Then we had hybrid seed which also increased production, and in more recent times we have had the utilization of fertilizers, which have made a great contribution to increased production. It has been said in this debate “dat ons skure vol graan moet hê” in order to improve our bargaining position in relation to countries in Southern Africa. Another gentleman spoke about food being power. Another one said food is our most valuable weapon. I agree with all those hon. members who adopted this attitude. It is true, but we in South Africa, utilizing to the full all our available resources for agricultural production, must investigate new and modern methods of increasing production. There are one or two points I want to make. I believe that this Minister must think seriously of finding new methods of improving our production. I know it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I think this Minister is an adaptable man and will think in terms of innovations. The first one I want to mention is this. I believe that this hon. Minister must at this stage take a very serious look at the possibilities of weather modification in South Africa. Other departments are involved in weather modification such as the Department of Transport and that of his colleague, the hon. the Minister of Water Affairs. I believe that at this time in the history of our country weather modification, properly applied can bring about increased precipitation. It is no longer in the experimental stage. In the U.S.A. they have made technological advances to the extent that it is an exact science.


Now you want to shoot down the dark clouds hanging over the heads of the United Party.

Mr. W. V. RAW:

The Nats use witchdoctors.


We are talking about milch-cows. It seems to me that the hon. the Minister also tried milking a bull. I now want the hon. the Minister to start on the clouds. He could make a great name for himself in the agriculture in this country.


Are you scared of the thunder clouds at the caucus meeting tomorrow?


The Minister can gain for himself the name of Hendrik Schoeman, the Rainmaker. This is the name which he can gain for himself in the history of our agriculture.

†I say to the hon. the Minister in all seriousness that it should be one of his functions to get the co-operation of interested farmers so that we can have a situation where the State and the farmers can combine in really well organized projects to use the techniques that are available today so as to improve precipitation, and in that way to improve the availability of moisture. If that can be done, we will automatically be improving the availability of fodder to feed the herds, and if we can bring down the cost of fodder to the farmer, he will be able to produce milk cheaper than he can today. It will also help the farmer to face up to some of the problems besetting him today. I commend this very seriously to the hon. the Minister. In the first week in July there will be a meeting of experts from the U.S.A. who are coming here to discuss further the success they have had at Nelspruit where hail suppression is something which is achieving great success. I think the hon. the Minister or his Deputy should be at that meeting to hear what these scientists have to say.

The second point I want to raise with the hon. the Minister is this. In the U.S.A. low tillage cultivation is making great strides. I do not believe that we in this country have experimented in this field nearly as extensively as we should have done. As far as I know, there is only one experiment in the whole of the Republic at the present time and that is at Cedara Agricultural College where low tillage cultivation is being investigated. What is the position? There is one scientist operating there. The experiment in which he is indulging is not a registered experiment and he is drastically short of equipment. I believe this is the kind of experiment which can lead to vastly increased production at lower costs. I trust the hon. the Minister or his Deputy, who knows about this matter because I have told him about it before, will give me an undertaking that this matter will in future receive closer attention from the Department of Agricultural Technical Services. I said earlier that the mouldboard plough was probably the greatest invention that we have ever had to improve agricultural production, but the hon. the Minister will agree with me that although a tremendous amount of good has been done through the use of this plough, the bad use of this plough in extensive areas of South Africa has done more harm than any ther single practice I can think of. Low-tillage cultivation means that seedbeds can be established without ploughing. Extensive use is made of weed killers. Weedgrowth and grass on the seedbeds is killed in this way. It immediately establishes a mulch. The seed is then drilled into the seedbed, protected from wind erosion and soil erosion. It has an adequate covering to prevent evaporation of moisture in the soil. In America they are doing it, and they are getting increased production at lower cost. If they can do it there, I want to know why we cannot do it in this country. [Time expired.]


Mr. Chairman, I am sorry that so experienced a parliamentarian as the hon. member for Port Elizabeth Central should have started on a political note, because he went on to make a fine positive contribution. Sir, if they expect us to go and tell the people, in a by-election in Middelburg, what champions of agriculture they are, I just want to say that the United Party is to those voters a vain hope without expectation. The United Party want to give the impression that they are vigorous champions of agriculture, but the United Party has lost all its strength. Its inner strength is spent. In fact, it does not even have the strength to disintegrate properly. [Interjections.] Sir, the hon. member referred to the fact that the cultivation of land was an important factor in our agriculture. He made a fine and positive contribution in this regard. He referred, too, to the issue of weather modification. The matter is still at an experimental stage, and one has to be careful. One has to approach the whole matter from a scientific point of view. This will have to be provided for in legislation, in order to prevent people making a business out of it. We must be very careful when dealing with laws of nature.

Sir, I am very pleased that the hon. member for Worcester broke a lance for the wine industry in South Africa. He pointed out that the wine industry played a major part in the country’s economy. Sir, I now want to refer to a related industry, something which is also a branch of the agricultural industry, namely my favourite, tobacco farming.


What do you smoke, Oom Pottie?


I smoke tobacco products, but it is such strong tobacco that if the hon. member were to smoke it, I doubt whether he would ever recover. In any event, Sir, I want to discuss tobacco this evening, and I hope you are not going to interrupt me again because the hon. member is talking nonsense (twak). I should like to dwell briefly on the tobacco industry, on the same pattern in which the hon. member for Worcester discussed the wine industry. Since 1958, excise duty on tobacco products has risen by 289%. This is an enormous increase. In 1958 the revenue from excise duty on tobacco products was R45.7 million. In the financial year 1975-’76 it is going to increase to R177,8 million.

*Mr. F. J. LE ROUX (Hercules):

That is a lot of money.


Yes, it is an enormous amount of money, as the hon. member says. This gives you some idea of the role played by the tobacco industry in our country’s economy. The Treasury is therefore a major shareholder in this industry. As against the enormous increase I have just mentioned, producer prices have risen by only 136%. Since 1958 these prices have risen from R22,9 million to R54,1 million. This is the total revenue from production or value of tobacco products. I do not say this in order to make the farmers antagonistic towards the consumers, because it would be senseless to do anything of the kind, but what I do want to prove is that whereas the total consumer expenditure on all tobacco products amounted to R323 million in 1974, the Treasury in South Africa received 50% of the retail value of the tobacco products by way of taxation. Is this not an indication that the tobacco industry is a wonderful industry? I am proud of that industry and I am proud, too, that our hon. Minister is one of those Ministers who is also a wonderful consumer of tobacco products. Hon. members can see that when he sits here facing difficulties, he has a pipe with him. When he leaves the Chamber, to return a little later, we farmers just know that the hon. the Minister is all right again and that his heart is beating in harmony with the hearts of the rural population.

I have listened to many of the speeches made here and what they have all amounted to in fact is that our farming industry is, as it were, caught in an inflationary spiral. It is as if the inflation has an oppressive, deadening effect on our farming industry. The same applies to the tobacco industry. It is generally known that we are also saddled with difficult farming conditions. We all know about the rising production costs. Hon. members have also heard about the fertilizer which is becoming more expensive and similarly labour, too, is becoming more scarce and expensive. Hon. members have also heard about the coal which is going to become so much more expensive for the tobacco farmers. The insecticides with which we have to spray the plants in order to combat certain diseases are also more expensive. All these factors add to our problems, but we are not angry about that. As long as we have a Minister who takes into account sound economic prices for the products of our farmers, we are satisfied. As the hon. the Minister knows, the Central Tobacco Growers Company, comprising the eight tobacco co-operatives in South Africa, comes to the Minister via the Tobacco Board and the Marketing Board with a reasoned, motivated and well-considered submission. I, as the representative of the tobacco farmers, want to say today that when I was addressing the 500 tobacco farmers at Brits a week or so ago and I mentioned the name of Minister Schoeman, there was fantastic applause. The reason is that the hon. the Minister bears them in mind and keeps his ear to the ground. That is why he has awarded us economic prices for the tobacco leaf and on behalf of the planters we want to thank him for that.


What Schoeman was that?


No, the hon. clergyman must not interrupt me, because one does not interrupt a clergyman. He must kindly remain silent.


I am asking whether it was the right Schoeman?


I want to put it very clearly this evening that we in the tobacco industry—a very sensitive industry— are not only faced with rising production costs, but also adverse climatic conditions, and that is why there is such a high risk factor in the tobacco industry. There are times when we have a late crop which can be ruined by extreme cold. At other times we have searing heat or droughts. Fortunately, this year we had a lot of rain, but the excessive rain also deprived us of a major part of the crop in that the crops became waterlogged.

I say that we are pleased that the hon. the Minister has taken this into account to a large extent. I have two expressions from the tobacco industry which I want to use. The first is an expression used by the North Sothos. It is as follows: “We buy tobacco along the way.” This means “As we travel along our life’s path we get good advice everywhere”. It is this hon. Minister who buys his tobacco along the way. I can remember the advice the hon. the Minister gave us when a deputation from the MKTV came to confer with him a short time ago. He furnished us with advice in regard to the hail assurance scheme we must have and he also encouraged us to increase our production to a certain extent. He also furnished us with advice in regard to research. This proves that the hon. the Minister buys his tobacco along the way. There is another expression I want to quote. They say in Afrikaans that a man is “aalwyn en tabak”, which means that he is on a good footing with his people. If there is one Minister to whom this expression may be applied, then it is the present Minister of Agriculture. In my opinion, research and extension is in fact indispensable to the promotion of the tobacco industry. The Department of Agricultural Technical Services has a very major responsibility in this regard and we are very pleased that the department co-operates so well with the Tobacco Research Institute at Rustenburg. We are acquiring extremely valuable knowledge there and if we had not had that knowledge, I believe that we would not have been able to stay in the tobacco industry. Nevertheless there is a deficiency. It is a pity that when various research stations and the institute, too, acquire such wonderful, fantastic information, they are not put in a position to convey all the information to the farmers. I think that there is still, to some extent, a deficiency in this regard, I want to say that as far as research is concerned, they are doing everything in their power to give us the right type and the right quality of tobacco. It is owing to this that we have the right kind of tobacco for domestic and foreign consumption today. At one time a Minister of Finance told me, “That is the wrong kind of tobacco you are exporting; you will never be able to find a tobacco market overseas.” Thanks to the research that has been carried out, we do, in fact, have the right kind of tobacco today. From 1959 up to the present the tobacco farmers have earned more than R49 million in foreign exchange by way of export. [Time expired.]

*Mr. P. J. CLASE:

Mr. Chairman, after the stirring plea made on behalf of the tobacco farmers by the hon. member for Brits, I am almost sorry that I stopped smoking. The hon. member will excuse me if I do not react further to his speech. I just hope that I do not talk nonsense (twak) now that he has been speaking about tobacco.

In these final convulsions of the agricultural debate for this year I want to maintain that the farmers, fortunately, are not yet at the stage of having convulsions, but that they definitely require urgent assistance. We have limited agricultural material and potential which has to meet a vast need. I therefore believe that everything possible must be done to stimulate farming and utilize agricultural potential to the full. Looking at our country’s assets, we find that only about 15% of the land of the Republic of South Africa is arable and that it meets 70% of the country’s needs. Of this 15% of our land, only 3,3% is regarded as land outstandingly suited to farming. It is true that excellent progress has been made in regard to the production on this agricultural land. We find, for example, that field production last year was 118% higher than in 1960, and that the gross value of agricultural products in 1974 was R2 341 million, viz. 26% higher than the value for the previous year.

We find, too, that things are progressing favourably as far as our livestock is concerned. According to the Division of agricultural research in question, the number of livestock in the White area increased between February 1974 and February 1975. The number of beasts increased by 4,2% and the number of sheep by 4,1%. The number of pigs, on the other hand, dropped by 2,5%. Then, too, we have more than 82 000 farming units in the Republic. It is interesting to compare this with the figure for 1937, when there were 104 500 farms. As I have said, we have limited agricultural potential which must be utilized to its maximum extent. The reason for this is that the world is experiencing a population explosion. We also have an acute food shortage to which many hon. members have referred in this debate. In my opinion, the biggest challenge to the world today is undoubtedly that of causing food production to keep pace with the population growth.

I read that at the congress “Bread for the World” on 6 October 1974, the German Minister of Economic Affairs, Egon Bahr, said, inter alia, “It was recently reported that approximately 1 000 million persons would be born in the next 20 years and that no food would be available for them”. This means that any country which can utilize its agricultural potential to the maximum extent can thereby acquire exceptional bargaining power in regard to the provision of food. Consequently it would also mean a great deal to the Republic of South Africa as regards its position in the world, particularly in Africa itself, if we were able to increase our agricultural production here. However, another reason for the importance of ensuring increased agricultural production in South Africa is the fact that peace and prosperity within our country are largely dependent on this factor.

Now, I am grateful to say that much is being done to increase agricultural production. Professor Louw estimated in regard to the training of farmers, that 60% of the farmers who entered agriculture in 1971 had undergone 12 or more years of training. This year 566 students are studying at the agricultural colleges. This figure does not include the short courses offered and the farmers who make use of them. It is interesting to note that in 1974, for example, 111 short courses were offered in 30 different fields, as well as 474 farmers’ days. We are also aware of the good work being done at experimental farms and in the field of veterinary services, although there is an acute shortage in the country as we heard this afternoon.

We call to mind, too, the outstanding credit schemes and assistance provided by the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure, among others. It is also interesting to note that between 1 October 1966 and 1 March 1975 a total amount of almost R21 million was spent on aid to farmers in South Africa. We are also aware of the substantial subsidies paid to assist both the producer and the consumer. The figure of R117 million was paid in subsidies during the year ended 31 March 1975. Then, too, there is drought assistance, the conservation and utilization of resources, etc.

However, production costs are still the bottleneck. Between 1960 and 1974, the prices of farming requisites have increased by 78%. Service tariffs have increased by 224%. Short-term requirements such as fuel have increased by 107%. On the other hand, the prices of products have also risen, but in some cases not to the same extent as production costs. I want to maintain this evening that we are not faced with a maize price problem or a wheat price problem, but that what the farming community is undoubtedly faced with is a production cost problem. We know that the answer to this is more efficient production. However, that is not so easy, because we have to do with nature and the climate, which will always remain an unknown factor. I believe that an increase in production costs must inevitably go hand in hand with the risk this involves for the farmer. With the present high production costs, the grain farmer in particular finds it impossible to afford to sow an unsuccessful crop. It simply cannot be done.

This fact, too often compels farmers to advocate that the maize price or the wheat price should also include an expected rise in the production costs. We do not always agree with that, because we know that there are difficulties in that regard. However, owing to the high risk to which the farmer is ex nosed, these demands are made. I want to maintain that although a higher price for the farmer is a very important method of combating production costs, higher prices cannot reduce the risk of an unsuccessful crop. I therefore want to appeal to the hon. the Minister to see to it that a method be found to reduce this risk. I have in mind some kind of insurance which could perhaps be made available. I am aware that there would be major difficulties involved in trying to make insurance available to provide for unsuccessful crops. However, in my opinion we owe it to the farming community to provide them with this insurance by way of some scheme so that they do not run the risk, bearing in mind these enormously high production costs they have to incur before the crop may be harvested, of eventually going bankrupt.

I believe that we must keep the farmers on the farms. Apart from the fact that they are producers of food—the task they perform is a vital one—I believe that the farmers perform a very important function in that they form the line of contact with the Black states. It is calculated that after consolidation there will be a line 12 431 km long between the Black states and the White area. It is for that reason in particular that it is also so important for our farmers to remain on the farms because they form a major part of the line of contact. It is on those farms, too, that the battle for the preservation of White civilization in the Republic of South Africa will most certainly be fought.

*Mr. W. H. D. DEACON:

Mr. Chairman, at the beginning of his speech, the hon. member for Brits alleged that the United Party were not champions of agriculture. My only regret is that the hon. member for Virginia did not speak before the hon. member for Brits, because I greatly appreciate the speech of the hon. member for Virginia. He said that agricultural potential should be utilized to a maximum for the farmer. Urgent assistance to farmers has been the policy of the United Party from as far back as the sixties. However, in replying to the hon. member for Brits, I should like to go further than that. Here in my hand I have a letter. It is addressed to Mr. Deacon, and is dated 30 May 1975. It reads as follows:

At the recent meeting of the Carlisle-Brits Farmers’ Association I was instructed to write to you and to thank you on behalf of my Association for the part you played in having the subsidy on fencing raised.

I do not take credit for this myself, certainly not, but the letter does prove that we are at least doing something. I shall not read the rest of the letter to the House. However, I want to express my gratitude to the Department of Agricultural Technical Services for everything Dr. Verbeek has done. In this connection I cannot, of course, fail to mention the hon. the Minister’s name. I must say the Minister is very fortunate in having the support of those departments. On behalf of the United Party I also have to express my appreciation towards Dr. Claude van der Merwe for the years of service he has rendered to the department. My father and I got to know him during the fifties. I succeeded my father in the Chicory Control Board at a time when he was serving on the Marketing Council. Sometimes we were a bit difficult with him, but we always loved him. He always had the interests of the whole industry at heart. In a debate such as this, one cannot fail to mention the names of Mr. Neethling and Mr. Conradie as well. They are the buffer states of the Minister. The House should also take cognizance of our expression of gratitude to them.

†The hon. member for Orange Grove raised the question as to whether control boards should possibly be done away with. He suggested that in order to improve them, consumers and Blacks should be represented. I do not think that that is a particularly important factor at the present time. I said as much in this Committee years ago. I believe that the first steps to improve the functioning of the control boards should be firstly to lengthen the period of office of the control board members so that they can be properly trained and can get to know their jobs. The two-year period is far too short, especially when one has a useless manager, because he becomes involved with elections.

Secondly, the boards should have more frequent meetings. The excuse is always that the boards cannot meet frequently because of the high costs involved in such meetings. These meetings are important, because it is in this way that the boards have control. I ask the commission to have a look at control boards under the present system. I speak from experience when I say that control boards under the present system have no method of control whatsoever. If there is a good manager and staff, the control board will function well, in fact exceptionally well. There are control boards in this country that do function well. If, however, one has a poor, empire building manager, it is impossible for the board to control that manager at all. My plea is therefore for a lengthening of the period of office of the control board members and for more frequent meetings so as to control the management of the control boards. Without doing that, one can stand on one’s head and put all the Blacks and all the consumers in South Africa on the board and the board will still not function properly. It is entirely a question of being able to manage your management and your staff.

*I listened very attentively to this debate today and it becomes more and more obvious that when one is discussing agriculture in South Africa, it is absolutely essential for the Ministers of Economic Affairs, Labour, Finance and Bantu Administration and Development to be present in this House. There we have one of them sitting over there.


What about the Minister of Railways?

*Mr. W. H. D. DEACON:

And the Minister of Railways, yes. I agree wholeheartedly with the hon. member. I am pleased to get assistance from that side. We are attacking one Cabinet Minister here. He has to put his case to the Cabinet. When it comes to production and consumer costs and the gap which exists, as well as transport costs and labour, all these Ministers are involved, as these things concern the entire Cabinet, and it is important that all the other Ministers should sit here and listen to what is said on both sides of the House. I found it extremely interesting to follow this debate and to hear the pleas from both sides of the house being delivered by members who are interested in farming. Even the hon. member for Orange Grove delivered an interesting plea in connection with u.h.t. milk. However, the hon. member did not go far enough and I want to deliver a further plea to the hon. the Minister in this regard. The hon. the Minister has a problem concerning the way in which he can apply a consumer subsidy to fresh milk. I see this u.h.t. milk as the product of the future and specially the product of our poor people, White and non-White, i.e. the people who cannot afford refrigerators. This is milk that can last a long time and which has the full nutritional value of fresh milk. The process of producing this milk, however, is an expensive one. There are problems as regards its marketing, but I shall not go into this matter any further at this stage, as negotiations are already taking place with the hon. the Ministers of Agriculture and Transport in this regard. I am convinced that we shall receive help from those quarters. If, however, a subsidy on milk has to be applied, it should be applied to this u.h.t. milk. This milk is sold in a cardboard container and not in a bottle or plastic container, the type of container polluting the country and costing a great deal of money. This milk is sold in a cardboard container which can be thrown into a fire or on to a compost heap to become compost. This milk remains fresh for months on end without its having to be stored in a refrigerator and it is also a good nutrient for babies. Is it not possible for us to start introducing a subsidy here so that the use of bottles and plastic containers may gradually be eliminated? The producers of u.h.t. milk as well as the housewife will welcome a subsidy of this kind, because the date it is produced, it can be sold at the same price or perhaps even at a lower price than fresh milk. The housewife can go and buy 10 litres and put it on a shelf in her pantry where it will be at hand when she needs it. It will also help the poor.


That is a practical suggestion.

*Mr. W. H. D. DEACON:

I, therefore, make this suggestion in this regard.

I do not want to discuss eggs this evening. I have already discussed udders and do not want to speak about that again. I did however, notice that quite a number of speakers dealt with veterinary services and the training and shortage of veterinary surgeons. During this debate, four hon. members spoke about it and I listened with interest to the hon. member for Sasolburg delivering a plea for the training of non-Whites. My first speech in this House was for the establishment of a second faculty of veterinary sciences in South Africa. I am not able to discuss this matter under this Vote, but I do want to ask the hon. the Minister to discuss the question of a second faculty with his colleague the hon. the Minister of National Education once again. The hon. the Minister may safely reconsider Rhodes University, which offered a long time ago to train Whites as well as non-Whites, as they are near the Ciskei and as they are equipped for research. [Time expired.]

*Mr. W. J. HEFER:

Mr. Chairman, in the first place we want to congratulate the hon. member for Albany on the fine letter he received and in the second place we want to congratulate him on his fine contribution to the debate under the Agriculture Vote. To be a farmer in the full sense of the word is to share in the wonderful gifts of nature. It is part of the farmer’s life to smell the fresh soil when he ploughs. It is part of the farmer’s life to appreciate and marvel at the tiny green mealie plant when it germinates. It is part of the farmer’s life to feel the fierce, scorching sun in the dry years. It is part of the farmer’s life to experience the good year when the crops are beautiful to behold. It is part of the farmer’s life to get up in the night and worry in solitude about the loans he cannot repay or when he has commitments and his crop has been destroyed by hail. It is part of the farmer’s life to go out at night to look at the stars.


And to see the lighting.

*Mr. W. J. HEFER:

It is part of the farmer’s life to worry in solitude because he does not have a salary at the end of the month to tide him over. It is part of the farmer’s life to kneel in total and deep conviction. It is part of the farmer’s life to work in his fields with faith. It is part of the farmer’s life to believe, if he is experiencing a hard year, that the next year will be better. It is part of the farmer’s life to be anchored and devoted to the soil, and he feels rich when he crumbles a handfull of soil in his hand. I now appeal to the hon. the Minister to see to it that when the State or utility corporations want to purchase land from our farmers, that they treat them properly. They must not annoy the farmers with procedure or with a formula or whatever the case may be. Our farmers are not wilful, nor do they want to stand in the way of the State’s pattern of development. Our farmers are not speculators with their land, because it is all they have. It is part of their being and part of their character. The farmers are as honest as the soil on which they live. We ask our authorities, in all friendliness, to be reasonable in their dealings with those people. It is just that the farmer does not transplant easily. Let us be fair to the farmer when finding a procedure by which to apply a formula for the evaluation of his land. We thank the hon. the Minister in advance.

We want to convey our most sincere thanks to the hon. the Minister for the increase in the milk price. This gives those particular farmers the opportunity to place their industry on an economic footing. The apparati they work with are living animals, which are very sensitive. They are animals which are sensitive to temperature—this matter has been raised a number of times in the debate—and they cost the farmer R800 each at an auction. The animal is then in full production, but if it should contract ephemeral fever the next day, then its milk production is down to nil. According to a report by Dr. Ben le Grange of the AI Station at Irene, it has been found that mastitis costs our country an estimated R30 million annually, in spite of our intensive management or those milch cows. Sir, it is as well that the hon. the Minister assists our dairy farmers because they have a more onerous duty than we have foreseen up to now, if we take into account the developing populations in the Bantu homelands which, up to now, have not really been using milk to feed their children. Sir, these people will expect assistance from our farmers in the White area. They will have to come and purchase stock from the herds of the White farmers in order to provide the people of the Black cities, such as Lebowa-Gomo, Gyani and Sibasa, with food. That would be the cheapest way for them to purchase stock, cheaper than imports from overseas. We shall have to make provision for these homelands out of the cream of our country’s herds. Sir, these farmers of ours are therefore in urgent need of assistance at this stage, and this aid which was granted by our Cabinet was timely. These people have a tremendous problem in certain regions owing to bacterial diseases, and we can expect a bigger and more intensive research programme to be launched to prepare their areas to import milk.


Mr. Chairman, I should like to reply very briefly to hon. members, because the undertaking has been given that we may proceed with the Expropriation Bill directly after this debate. The hon. member for Pietermarizburg South referred to a milk subsidy again. He asked why it was possible to pay a winter premium on cream if we were not able to pay a subsidy on milk. Sir, that is in fact a demonstration to me that the hon. member does not understand what is at issue here. This subsidy is being paid to the cream producer. A litre of milk in Messina costs more than 30 cents. The hon. member said that milk in the rural areas was cheaper. Let him buy fresh milk in the Bushveld, and see what one has to pay in the Low Veld regions in which Frisian cows cannot thrive. How does one get that subsidy to the consumer? It seems to me it is almost necessary to break the hon. member’s neck to get him to listen. He cannot understand that this is a subsidy for the consumer. The hon. member says that today, as a result of our Act, we have a loss of R3½ million on the export of eggs. Sir, the hon. member for Lydenburg is quite correct. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South opposed every clause of that Bill. What was our object? In my Second Reading speech I mentioned the name of a firm such as Tongaat, that had stated that they would introduce a million laying-hens, and that they would produce eggs 20% cheaper. We simply wanted to protect the small producer, but we did not say that a person who has less than 20 000 hens would not be allowed to expand. The object of that Act was the protection of the small farmer, and today the contrary is being proved. Those major companies are the people who are pressuring us for an increase in the egg price. Not one of the predictions made by the Opposition when the Act was passed has come true.

Sir, the hon. member for Fauresmith advanced a plea for more veterinarians. I can inform him that a start will be made next year on the training of 45 additional veterinarians, which will then give a total of 90 instead of 45, a year. The Act has also been amended now to make provision for para-veterinarian training, for a three year diploma course, to partially eliminate the shortage of veterinarians. The hon. member for Marico spelt out here the risks involved in agriculture. The hon. member for King William’s Town also referred to the shortage of veterinarians, and said that we should make use of semi-State veterinarians. This is already being done. We are already using private veterinarians on a part-time basis. The investigation into tuberculosis in cows, for example, is being done on a contract basis by private veterinarians. The hon. member then asked what I do in the Cabinet when I sit by and see the price of fertilizer and of sulphur being increased, and he wanted to know why I cannot put my foot down. The hon. member must understand fertilizer is to a large extent an imported product. It is easy to say that surely we have enough phosphates in this country, but to be able to process those phosphates, one needs sulphur. That sulphur has to be imported, and its price abroad has recently been increased on three occasions. You said that we manufacture urea from nitrogen in the air, but to condense that nitrogen from the air, ammonia is necessary, which has to be imported and which has undergone an enormous price increase. We have not had any growth in the fertilizer industry because the investor was not prepared to invest in an undertaking in which there was no profit. That is why we granted the price increase, and my colleagues agreed to it with me. I am not going to take to my heels now and say that you should upbraid this or that Minister. Our 18 Cabinet Ministers are an example to the United Party—we speak with one voice.


May I ask the hon. the Minister what profit Triomf made last year. I am referring to the Triomf fertilizer company.


I believe it was only 15% before tax.


It was something like R2,4 million.


Precisely, but what was its overall investment? No one was prepared to invest in this industry, and if its yield is less than 15% before tax, it has only 8% after tax, while any person today can invest his money at 10%.

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Could the hon. the Minister give an example of any farmer who receives 15% before tax on his capital investment?


This is an industry, not a farmer.


Yes, I can show the hon. member such farmers. Not I, but there are such farmers.

The hon. member for Humansdorp raised a very important matter here.


Is the hon. the Minister aware that the sugar farmer is allowed only a 7% return on his capital?


The hon. member was not present when I gave the increase in price to the farmer over 10 years for sucrose and when I compared that with the maize farmer. But it is so. Take today’s value of land. Farmers are not getting 10% return on their investment. That is so, but it is altogether a different type of economics when you deal with a company with private shareholders and when you deal with an individual farmer. It is altogether a different story. If I can get from my investment in agriculture an annual income of 7%, I would be happy. But you cannot compare the two.

*But, Sir, I must make haste, otherwise I shall not get the Expropriation legislation passed. I want to tell the hon. member for Humansdorp that I cannot imagine that anyone would buy a bottle of Coca Cola today if he could eat an orange. This is the cheapest fruit there is. It has not gone up in price, and if one eats oranges, one does not catch cold, but if one drinks Coca Cola, I do not know what one catches. The hon. member asked for a subsidy for the juice (sap) factory. No, this is not the factory of those people opposite, this is the citrus juice factory. In any case, this is under consideration and has virtually been approved.

The hon. member for Omaruru discussed the fluctuation in the price of beef. We introduced the support price. I want to give the hon. member the assurance that he is correct when he says that this industry, specifically the South West African cattle farmer, is no longer able to absorb many more increases in production costs, particularly if one considers their railage, their slaughter fees and their general costs all along the line. Then I should like the hon. Opposition, who are kicking up such a fuss, to take cognizance of what the Natal Mercury of 5 June had to say about the “drastic mutton price drop”. There was a drastic drop in price, and the price has almost reached rock-bottom now. The hon. member was quite correct. We shall have to consider these fluctuations, for I think in most cases the support price operates to prevent this.

The hon. member for Sandton, who is not here, made a good speech. It is a pity that I now have to praise a Reformist! It was definitely a good speech in this sense that he tried to state his case positively.

I come now to the hon. member for Carletonville. He tried to help me by raising important points here. He said I was sitting in a train with my back to the driver. Very often I do feel this way, or that one is blowing against a gale. One watches the costs increasing, and one is powerless to do anything about it. In the meantime one knows that the problems of those producers are increasing all the time, and agriculture already entails a very great risk. As regards the difference between the price paid by the consumer and the price received by the producer, I just want to tell the hon. member for Green Point that we are investigating the question of the maize price. We phoned 22 wholesalers and 21 chain stores in the Peninsula, and obtained comparative prices. A bag of maize costs R9,54 …

*Mr. L. G. MURRAY:

I was referring to one kilogram packets.


Yes, a one kilogram packet costs 13,5 cents at the chain stores. At the other stores it costs 15,8 cents per kilogram. Now I want to say that although there is no control, there is an agreement between the retailers and the Miller’s Association, and these are the prices they recommend. There is a single case of exploitation which we shall investigate, but I want to say that we do not have the inspectors to do all these things. Nor is there a fixed price. It is being said that the price should be fixed, but if this were done, we would experience other problems. My feeling is that competition should be such that the competitors will lower their prices so that monopolies do not develop.

To the hon. member for Worcester I want to say that, although I mentioned a figure a moment ago in respect of the consumption of alcohol in our country, it was not my intention to play the one industry off against the other. However, I want to say that when one is suffering from hunger, the last thing one would buy would be alcohol or tobacco. I do not want to say anything against these industries. The hon. member for Brits explained how important it is to receive an income from these sources in the form of excise duties, etc. However, I do not want to play the two industries off against each other. I want to tell the hon. member for Worcester that the Department of Water Affairs is considering paying a subsidy on that expensive irrigation system which is being used in the vineyards. We shall give attention to those matters. I may just say that, although I have not necessarily replied to each hon. member individually on every point, my department is attending to these matters. I just want to point out that the protea industry is earning us a good deal of money overseas, and we are sympathetic towards this industry.

The hon. member for Mooi River raised an important point in respect of grain production.

†The hon. member must remember that the price of grain compared to the price of beef is very important. America does not have the control system which we have in the case of beef. They do not have the floor-price system which we have in South Africa. Today we find that 20% of their feed lots are going bankrupt. We predict that within the next 18 months beef prices in America and elsewhere overseas will be sky-high because of the shock which they had in the industry.

*Hon. members must remember that we are trying to avoid such a shock. We want to avoid the position where the prices first soar and then hit rock-bottom. However, the hon. member is quite right; it is less profitable, when meat prices are low, to use grain for the purposes of meat production. Then it is far better to use grass for the purposes of meat production, because it is much cheaper.

The hon. member also referred to the question of labour. We are considering this matter. The department and the Cedara Agricultural College is investigating the question of how we can train the Bantu labourers.

The hon. member for Ermelo referred to the sale of land in Pongola by means of public auction. The hon. member need not be concerned about there having been a change of policy in that regard. We have 2 400 ha between Pongola and Swaziland. We felt that if we were to subdivide that land into economic farms, it would not be very successful, and that we should rather subdivide it into twelve 200 ha lots, for which only the lot-holders of Pongola could bid at such an auction, for we feel that all of them now have economic farmlands. In the case of Leliehoek, however, we had a few thousand ha which we were able to subdivide into eight economic cattle farms. On those farms there were a number of impala. The hon. member will know that the newspapers attacked us because game was shot on those farms. We then decided that we would make them available. We advertised and received a few hundred applications. Only three qualified. The others did not qualify. We then found that the person who received such a farm could, within a few years, recover the amount for which the farm was sold to him by simply shooting the impala. It is going to be a proper mix-up if there are eight owners to whom we say that they can begin to shoot the buck, for no fences have been erected. We were only able to show them the beacons. We would have had a proper mess. We then decided, in this specific case, to advertise it as one unit, which only one person may purchase. He should then pay 10% of the purchase price in cash, and is given ten years to pay off the rest at an interest rate of 8¼%. However, there is a condition attached to this, which is that the Minister shall approve of the buyer. There are people who feel uneasy about this and say that the money magnate will acquire four or five of these farms in his children’s names. We have a method of ascertaining how we could prevent this, and of ensuring that there is no funny business.

The hon. member for Sasolburg made a very important speech on the ratio which we have in our country of one veterinarian to 32 000 stock units. He also said that we should deal more sympathetically with the veterinarian. It is not only the veterinarian whom we should deal with more sympathetically; we should also deal more sympathetically with the extension officer, the research worker and every official of the department. Staff of this kind is becoming scarcer; in fact, they ar almost as scarce as members in the Opposition parity. We cannot get more of these people, and our farmers should therefore treat them with more respect, so that we may develop a feeling among them that there is prestige attached to the work of the Department of Agriculture.

The hon. member for South Coast raised important matters in regard to the banana industry.


Buy that farm!


The hon. member asked whether I did not want to buy a banana farm in his constituency. I would rather buy a mirror for a shilling. I want to tell the hon. member that we are looking into the price problem. However, the hon. member must bear in mind that we do not want to discourage banana production in Natal. He said that bananas which are sold there at 9 cents per kilo are sold here at 40 cents per kilo. We shall go into that point. However, the hon. member must bear in mind that the bananas are sold when green, and that the bananas still have to be ripened in the ripening sheds. After that, the bananas are then conveyed to where they are sold. There is no retail maximum or minimum price …

*Mr. L. G. MURRAY:

Unfortunately not.


It is a pity, but to apply this control at all the small shops is not that easy. The price the buyer has to pay the distributor has to do with the ripening centre, the Banana Board and all these people, who have their own systems. We cannot tell the cafe owner what he should charge for a kilo of bananas. The price of bananas has definitely gone down, but we shall nevertheless go into the points raised by the hon. member.

The hon. member for Klip River asked that when Bantu land reverts to the Whites, we should be very sympathetic towards those Whites who have been bought out so that the Bantu could be settled on their land in terms of the consolidation programme. I can tell the hon. member that we cannot pledge ourselves to that. If we have bought out a portion of a White person’s land, we cannot tell him that he now qualifies to come into consideration for the Bantu land simply because it is reverting to the Whites, nor can we say that it will specifically be in that constituency in which we have expropriated, that we will again be able to distribute land which has been expropriated. We pay that person the market value for his land. There are people who are receiving amounts of R600 000, R700 000 and R800 000. With that they can purchase a few economic units in other areas. They have no claim to this specific land. When we have land which reverts to the Whites, we advertise it and we see which applicants qualify. It is perhaps a person who was a farm manager, who is a practical person and who is not entirely without means. He has something at least, perhaps 10% of the purchase price, and a number of implements. We have a method by means of which we allocate the land. I have said on many occasions that his politics plays no part at all. These are no longer the years prior to 1948. If he is a practical farmer, it makes no difference whether he is a United Party supporter, a National Party supporter or a member of the Reform Party, although there is not a practical farmer who can be a United Party supporter.

The hon. member for Klip River mentioned an important matter, and that is the specialization in agriculture. There are people in agriculture today who can tell how many bags of mealies an implement cost them. I have been to farms where farmers told me that their pick-up trucks cost them so many sheep. These people will always be farmers, for they have paper and pencil and they work things out. This is the direction in which we are moving. Agriculture is becoming a business.

The hon. member for Middelland referred to swarthaak. I just want to say that there are so many problems because of swarthaak. We have a test in progress in the Molopo area, in which loans are being granted for the eradication of swarthaak. Experiments have also been carried out at Omatjenne experimental farm in South West Africa, where the Boer goat is being utilized in the combating of this plant. In many cases, however, it is a managerial problem. One has to make a study of one’s grazing, one must keep an eye on one’s veld all the time. We are engaged in experiments in this regard. Mechanical eradication has up to now shown itself to be too expensive. Tordon 225, to which the hon. member referred, and other chemical weed killers are also still too expensive in many cases. But as he painted the picture, we shall have to give special attention to this matter.

†Now I come to the hon. member for Orange Grove. I do not want to hurt the hon. member’s feelings, because I think he means well. The trouble is that he is not really acquainted with the problems that exist. Firstly, he said he was not happy with the control boards which have over R200 million in levy funds. Directly afterwards he said that gem squashes or “little gems” are marked up 637%. You know. Sir, we do not have a gem squash board. In other words, the marketing of gem squashes is not controlled. The hon. member must tell me whether he wants a pumpkin board. It is a question of free enterprise. Price increases on many of these commodities amounted to 11 % for the producer, but I believe the index showed that over a period of a few months the consumer was faced with a price increase of 23%. Where did all that money go? Tin, containers, transport, labour, labels, cartons and everything else went up in price but, as I have indicated, the primary producer received an increase of only 11%. I send “little gems” to the market throughout most of the year. On occasions the market agent phones me and says: “I could not sell all of them; so, tomorrow I’ll send most of them back on your lorry.” The reason is that the housewife is not prepared to buy a “little gem” that has turned yellow. It must be green and soft.

*Honestly, I cannot taste the difference between the two. It is just a fastidious habit our people have cultivated which has let to them refusing to buy yellow gem squash. First of all they did not want yellow margarine, and now they do not want yellow gem squash.

†The hon. member said the control boards have over R200 million in a levy fund and over R300 million in reserves. I said earlier that I wishes the control boards had R600 million to R800 million in their levy funds. It has nothing to do with the consumer. The Wool Board decided to impose a levy on the price the farmer gets overseas for his wool. The Maize Board, too, is making profits overseas with the result that it could pay out R65 million as an “agterskot” on last year’s crop. The amounts the control boards have varies. On one occasion they may have R200 million and on another occasion R300 million. Similarly, the Wheat Board made a profit on the export of wheat. However, if one day conditions change, if there are crop failures and the farmers are in difficulties, they will have a nest-egg to help to tide them over. Why is the hon. member against having control boards …

*Mr. W. T. WEBBER:

Then you simply come and ask for a further R40 million for the maize farmers.


I told the hon. member he should not blame the control boards because the cost of living is going up and everyone is upset. South Africa is the only country in the world where one can buy maize at R50 per ton for 12 months in the year.

That is because we have a control board. In America the price is increasing every month on account of the storage, the handling, the price for the grain silo, etc., all being included. We get a subsidy of R47 million to keep the price of maize at R50 per ton. The Maize Board must administer this. Yet we do not get anybody saying “thank you” for all these ways and methods of keeping the cost of living down.

*If we had not had these control boards the price of maize next year, before the crop is harvested, would be far higher, for the storage, handling, the interest on that bag of maize, etc., is far more. The administrative costs of the Maize Board amount to only 2 cents per bag on a product which costs us R5 per bag. On a product such as milk, the administrative costs amount to only 0,1 cents per litre.

†The hon. member also asked for a minimum wage to be paid to farm labourers. The hon. member for Lydenburg asked him what minimum wage he could suggest. The situation differs from district to district. The one farmer may give his labourer grazing for 10 head of cattle or a piece of farm land, while another farmer is prepared to give him a house with electricity, running water, while they are prepared to provide for the older as well as for the younger members of his family.

*One cannot apply a uniform system. Some farm labourers work seven days a week, on a dairy farm, while other labourers work only five days a week. I am with the hon. member when he says that we should pay our farm workers more. However, I am asking, when he says that that person should pay his labourers more, that person who also has to pay all these high production costs, that you help him, too, and refrain from complaining when you have to pay only a little more out of your abundance and affluence as compensation for the food which that person has provided for his farm labourer and the farm labourer’s family.

The hon. member for Bethlehem made a very fine contribution, and I appreciate what he said, particularly in regard to bread. Last year the subsidy on bread was more than R50 million. The current Budget makes provision for a subsidy of approximately R70 million on the price of bread.

I suggested that the price of white bread, which was 13 cents at the time, be increased to 16 cents, and that we should make the price of brown bread what the price of white bread was at the time, which would have meant increasing the price from 11 cents to 13 cents. What a protest was unleashed in this country because the price of bread was being increased! Can you imagine doing a thing like that? I the meantime the costs of the baker and the miller have increased, for example the transportation and other costs. We then said that the bread price would simply have to remain where it was and that the subsidy would be increased to R70 million. Do hon. members know what the consumption of white bread is today? It is 70% as against 30% in the case of brown bread. Are these people who are starving? Is this a starving nation? With my own eyes I have seen the Bantu in my employ refusing to buy brown bread and preferring to eat white bread. Is this a hungry nation that does this?

*Mr. W. H. D. DEACON:

Do what Smuts did, and take away the white bread.

*Dr. G. F. JACOBS:

Did you not come into power because of white bread?


I want to tell the hon. member for Cradock that it will be possible to decide on the land along the Fish River by the end of the year. The key committee met this morning to discuss this matter. Some waterworks will have to be altered, which will cause a certain degree of delay. However, we hope to be able to decide about that land before the end of the year. I want to thank the hon. member for his explanation of the culling programme of the Kruger National Park. It was very illuminating.

The hon. member for Winburg discussed the high degree of efficiency among small farmers, and their labour problems. I am very worried about those people. Their solution lies in mechanization, but if they have to mechanize at the present high cost, they will not be able to overcome any setbacks because their farming units are not big enough. They cannot, for example, afford a combine, for it will work for only eight or ten days and then stand under the willow tree for the remainder of the year while they have to pay 8% or 10% interest on that combine. I can elaborate on this matter at great length. The question of whether we cannot increase production loans from R6 000 to R8 000 per annum is now being investigated. We are discussing this matter with the Treasury. We are trying on the way to keep pace with the increases and the problems the hon. member mentioned.

The hon. member for Benoni also mentioned the problems he experienced with mosquitoes and gnats and sheep dying. He said that the sheep are being inoculated against six or eight different diseases, but the sheep are still dying. The mosquito and gnat plague is the result of the abundant rains. Rift Valley fewer also occurred as a result of this. We are looking into the problems he mentioned. The hon. member for Karas said the farmer should be able to farm economically. He is right. Subsidies are not the solution. Once again the hon. member is right. The hon. the Deputy Minister spelt it out. We can subsidize as much as we like, but then we are going to increase taxation to such an extent that we will kill private enterprise in this country. People will no longer be prepared to expand their business concern, for they are being bled dry by a 40% company tax. It is already 44%. As far as the amalgamation of the FCU and BSB is concerned, I want to say one thing only. This is a commendable idea, but if the members are not in favour of it, it will not be forced upon them from Ministerial level. This is a voluntary matter.

The hon. member for Lydenburg asked why we did not give thanks for having enough food to eat. We shall repeat those words in two, or three years’ time, and ask: What has happened now?

†I now come to the hon. member for Port Elizabeth Central. The United Party asked for an agricultural planning committee. I said that we were going to get it, depending on the recommendations of the commission. We are awaiting those recommendations

I can dwell a long time on the question of weather modification. This is a new development to which we must pay attention. There are many problems however. Some of the farmers in Nelspruit claim that modification experiments have stopped the rain. I do not know whether hon. members saw the newspapers. Some farmers said it was no use trying to stop hail because thereby we created droughts. The hon. member referred to Cedara in connection with tillage cultivation. He is perfectly right. We must resort to tilling and mulching. On the Springbok Flats about 80% of the farmers are tilling instead of ploughing. However, one cannot implement the process generality. In my area, for example, one can forget about it. We carried out experiments along time ago. The process depends on the type of soil, weather conditions, what is to be planted and the growth that is going to be ploughed back into the earth. To get maize stalks to rot one has to plough them under and one also needs nitrogen. With grain sorghum the same applies. The conditions differ from area to area. However. I do not disagree with the hon. member. We must keep pace with new developments.

*The hon. member for Brits mentioned the fact that in one year there are hail storms, in the next drought, and in the year after, floods. What is important, however, is that the hon. member was grateful for what is being done for his tobacco farmers. This almost makes one feel like saying: “Let us increase the price even further.”

The hon. member for Virginia referred to insurance against crop failures. We have given this matter a great deal of attention. The Agricultural Union has come forward with a general crop insurance scheme. I then asked them what areas they had in mind. It cannot be applied in a marginal area. We have to draw the line somewhere. One cannot cover a person with a crop insurance scheme, guaranteed by the State, and allow him to plant maize in a completely marginal area. However, this is something to which we are giving attention.

I said once that the hon. member for Albany was a decent United Party man. He did something here this evening which I do not perhaps easily do, but which I appreciate. He mentioned the names here of Schalk Neethling, Outie Conradie, and to these we may as well add the name of Sewes Bodenstein. I should like to mention the entire department. These men are sometimes wonderful lightning conductors for the Minister and his Deputy Minister. I do not want to elaborate on the work they are doing. However, they are sharing the weal and woe of life with us. On some mornings we begin when it is still dark, and we only stop in the evening when it grows dark again. Often when one goes to the office between one and two o’clock those men are still behind their desks. I want to thank the hon. member for Albany for having thanked them. We come now to this u.h.t. milk. This is a positive idea now. We shall have to look into it. I see that the Chief Whip opposite does not even know what we are talking about. We can definitely look at the subsidization of this milk, if it is possible to produce sufficient quantities. We shall have to take up this matter with the Milk Board. There is the problem of controlled areas. For example that milk will have to be brought from Port Elizabeth to the Witwatersrand, where there is local production. These are all matters we shall have to consider.

The hon. member for Standerton indicated how the farmer is constituted. He is right in what he said. Reference was made to the utility corporation and to expropriation. Through the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure we are expropriating land to the value of more than R200 million. We have not yet experienced the problems to which these people are referring. That is why I should like to come to this expropriation legislation. Our department understands the soul of the farmer. However, one should not upset a person first and then expropriate his land. One must not tell him that if he does not accept this ridiculous price his land will be expropriated. Then he is already fed-up to the teeth with you. One must adopt a tactful attitude towards the farmers, and we have succeeded in doing this.

Sir. I wish to conclude. Today we have had a total of 48 speeches here, in which we heard interesting things. Sir, this year the agricultural industry is going to export agricultural produce to the value of R1 008 million. With the material we have in the rural areas, with the type of research, extension services and officials we have, we can increase our exports. With the new techniques to which some hon. members referred we can, with the aid of Providence, increase our exports to more than R2 000 million. We can do many things if we do our work positively and cheerfully, as a farmer should. I believe that there is a fine future awaiting us, and with the spirit which was revealed here in the speeches made by hon. members on this side, and in the speeches of three hon. members on that side, I see my way clear to continuing.

Votes agreed to.

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

House Resumed:

Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.


Mr. Speaker, I move—

That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Before dealing with the Bill, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to the chairman, the hon. member for Waterkloof, and the members on both sides of the House who served on the Select Committee which has introduced this amended Bill. The proposed uniform procedures for all expropriators have long been felt as an ideal.

It is gratifying to find that the members of the Select Committee were able to reach agreement about the objectives as embodied in the Bill. The time and energy which they spent on a matter of national importance are greatly appreciated.

The expropriation of somebody’s land is a very drastic step, particularly if one considers the disruption which this may entail for the expropriated person. Nevertheless, the provision of essential services for the community in a developed country inevitably necessitates the acquisition of particular land or rights in or over land by the authorities from time to time. Where land cannot be acquired by way of treaty, the State is forced to resort to expropriation. It is under such circumstances that the interests of the individual must necessarily give way to the public interest. One principle must always be taken into consideration. This is that the person who is deprived of his property must be compensated on a fair basis in order to ensure as far as possible that he does not suffer any financial loss.

Authority for the expropriation of land was embodied in legislation of Natal, the Cape, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State as far back as 1872 to 1905. Gradually it was extended to other Acts to provide for such powers to be exercised by various Government departments and other authorities. Examples of this are the Irrigation and Conservation of Waters Act, 1912, the Bantu Trust and Land Act, 1936; the Railway Expropriation Act, 1955; the Community Development Act, 1956; and several provincial ordinances.

A lack of agreement and co-ordinated thought, as well as dissimilarity of objectives, resulted in various expropriation procedures being laid down in substantive Acts. These factors also resulted in different methods being followed in connection with the determination of compensation and in disputes being settled in different ways.

As far back as the ’fifties, the need for uniform measures in regard to expropriation matters gave rise to an investigation by Advocate B. C. Mullan. This investigation led to the passing of the Expropriation Act, 1965. However, this Act did not replace the existing Acts relating to expropriation. In fact, it specifically provided that such other Acts were to remain in force just as before. In other words, the main object of the Expropriation Act, 1965, was to enable certain Government departments and the provincial authorities to expropriate property for public purposes in terms of that Act. As a result of the discretionary application of the provisions concerned, only some departments and provinces made use of them.

The desire for uniformity has received the attention of the Government on various occasions during the past decade. In 1968 an interdepartmental committee, known as the O’Brien Committee, was appointed. This committee’s investigation was more specifically concerned with the question of whether the land acquisition functions of the authorities should be centralized or decentralized. In 1970 a further interdepartmental committee, the Steyn Committee, was appointed. The terms of reference of the latter committee were to investigate in detail the provision of efficient machinery and methods for the acquisition of immovable property and for the valuation which this entails.

The Steyn Committee investigated the expropriation aspect as well. Arising from the report of this committee, the Government found it necessary to appoint a small interdepartmental committee, known as the Van Blommestein Committee. The terms of reference of this small committee were to concentrate specifically on the provision of uniform legislation and procedures which would apply in all cases where property is acquired for the purposes of the authorities. Interested parties were offered the opportunity of giving evidence in this connection. This was followed by evidence on a high level from those Government departments as well as by Provincial Administrations concerned with the acquisition of land.

The Van Blommestein Committee acquainted itself with the approximately 60 different Acts and ordinances in terms of which powers of expropriation were given to a variety of authorities and took cognizance of the fact that a large number of those Acts contained provisions peculiar to themselves on the one hand, but laid down a variety of procedures on the other.

Furthermore, the existing powers of expropriating land for specific purposes, such as universities, colleges, the Atomic Energy Board and similar bodies, are being incorporated in clause 3 of the Bill. At the moment these powers are embodied in various Acts. Their incorporation in the new Act has the advantage of making it possible to tell at a glance for which purposes the Minister of Agriculture may expropriate land.

In the second place, the Bill provides that the proposed uniform expropriation procedure will be applicable to all expropriating bodies. This includes the procedure for determining the amount of compensation. An exception is made in respect of certain distinctive procedure which are followed by provincial and local authorities in taking or using land for the construction or maintenance of public roads. This exception is necessary because the position in this connection is not the same as that pertaining to normal expropriations. With a view to achieving uniformity in respect of the taking or use of land for such purposes as well, the matter was recently investigated by an inter-provincial committee. Recommendations made by the committee in this regard are already receiving the attention of the administrators concerned.

As far as the proposed uniform procedure is concerned, due consideration was given to the interests of the various authorities. The necessary consultation was conducted in order to ensure that the proposed measures will be practicable to all concerned.

The first aspect I want to deal with, and probably the most important, is the question of the determination of compensation. The principle of compensation at “market value” is being retained in clause 12. It is only fair that in the event of expropriation, an owner should receive an amount in compensation for his property which is equal to the price he would have received for it in the open market. Furthermore, provision is again being made for compensation in respect of real financial loss caused by the expropriation, that is to say over and above the market value of the property. In addition, provision is being made for a percentage to be added to the land value. More will be said about this later. Where a right is taken, the intention is that the holder of the right should be compensated for real financial loss and inconvenience caused by the taking of the right concerned.

During the investigations, evidence was heard from various sources concerning the disruption and inconvenience which expropriation involves for an owner of land. It is difficult to convert the concept of “inconvenience” into money. Accordingly, the courts do not really take this into account in determining compensation in expropriation proceedings. All things considered, it was concluded that the payment of an amount of money by way of solatium or reasonable alleviation was justified. Consequently it was decided to provide for an addition of 10% on the market value of the land, but subject to a maximum addition of R10 000. Clause 12(2) further provides that the addition of this percentage will be applicable throughout.

†A second principle which I wish to clarify is the recognition which has specially been given to unregistered real rights. The Expropriation Act, 1965, stipulates that all unregistered rights shall terminate on expropriation and makes no provision for the payment of compensation to holders of such rights. As a result of representations from various sources this aspect was also thoroughly considered. Provision has already been made in a few existing laws to pay compensation in certain cases for the loss of such rights. The matter is, for example, dealt with fairly widely in the Railway Expropriation Act under the concept of “damages”. In certain provincial ordinances provision has also already been made for compensation to lessees who have leased land for farming or business purposes and who have been deprived of such right.

Provision is now being made in clause 13 to pay compensation in certain identified cases of unregistered rights for actual losses as a result of the taking away of such rights. This is restricted to rights arising from (it an unregistered lease which has been entered into in connection with the lease of land for business or agricultural purposes; (ii) a right of a share-cropper; and (iii) a builder’s lien in respect of buildings on land by virtue of a written building contract. A cardinal problem which is experienced in acknowledging unregistered rights, is how to identify such rights. It can surely not be expected of an expropriating authority to accept responsibility for rights of which it is not fully aware. In the circumstances provision is therefore made for the owner to furnish the necessary documentary evidence of the rights of the lessee, share-cropper or builder within 60 days, failing which the owner will have to accept full responsibility to the holders of such rights for the loss thereof. Where a buyer of land is concerned, provision is made that, if on expropriation the existence of a purchase transaction is known, the buyer should also be advised of the expropriation. This also applies in respect of an offer of compensation. In this respect a buyer and a bondholder are treated in the same way.

The interests of a buyer and bondholder are also further protected by the stipulation that the amount of compensation or a portion thereof may not be paid out before the registered owner, the purchaser and, where applicable, the bondholder, have mutually agreed as to how the amount should be disbursed. At this stage it must be pointed out that any person who can prove any claim to the amount of compensation still has the legal right to apply to a competent court for an interdict. Provision has therefore also been made in clause 31(4) for the amount of compensation not to be paid out in case of such an interdict until such time as the dispute as to who is entitled to the compensation has been settled

A third aspect which I wish to elucidate is the question of payment of interest. The Expropriation Act provides for payment of interest on the outstanding amount where occupation of the expropriated land has been taken and the amount of compensation has not yet been paid. Interest is paid at the ruling State interest rate which is at present 9,75%. The majority of other laws which authorize expropriation for specific purposes, for example those administered by the National Transport Commission, the Railway Administration and the Department of Community Development, do not make provision for the payment of interest.

The principle to pay interest is actually based on the fact that it is only reasonable to pay compensation to a person who has been deprived of the possession and use of his property. This is a sound approach and provision is therefore made for the payment of interest by all expropriators.

A fourth and very important principle which deserves to be mentioned, is the procedure concerning the settlement of disputes in connection with the amount of compensation. In terms of the Expropriation Act, 1965, and certain other laws, disputes in connection with compensation are settled by means of an action in the ordinary courts of law. In cases where the claim is less than R10 000, a magistrate has jurisdiction, and in claims exceeding that figure, the matter is referred to the local or provincial division of the Supreme Court concerned. In laws administered by, among others, the Department of Community Development and the Cape and Natal Provincial Administrations, provision is made for various forms of arbitration. The findings of such arbitration bodies are final; in other words, there is normally no right of appeal. In this respect a lack of uniformity also exists, since each of the no less than 12 statutory arbitration bodies functions differently.

Certain bodies have advanced weighty arguments for the retention of the arbitration bodies or for the introduction of a similar body which will be able to function on a uniform basis. In particular, it is pointed out that speed is essential, taking into consideration both parties’ interests, either concerning the expropriated property or the amount of compensation. The saving of costs of litigation for those concerned should also be borne in mind.

Because of the pressure of work on the ordinary courts, it takes a long time to have a case placed on the roll. Consequently serious unavoidable delays in connection with the determination of the amount of compensation may arise. All things considered, one comes to the conclusion that the best method of settling the disputes in question would be to adopt an approach peculiar to each case. Provision is therefore made in clause 16 for the establishment of compensation courts which will possess special jurisdiction to determine the amount of compensation where no agreement can be reached between the parties. Such compensation courts, which will fall under the control of the Department of Justice, will have their jurisdiction limited to cases where the claim is less than R100 000. In cases of higher claims, the application will still have to be dealt with by the local or provincial division of the Supreme Court concerned, unless the parties agree to allow the amount to be determined by a compensation court.

The right to go to arbitration, in terms of the Arbitration Act, 1965 is not affected. A compensation court, will consist of a president who must be an experienced lawyer. In any proceedings in a compensation court the president will have the right to invoke the assistance of not more than two persons who are skilled and experienced in the matter and are prepared to sit as assessors in an advisory capacity. It is envisaged that a compensation court will be able to deal with applications for the determination of compensation rapidly and effectively. Uniform action will be ensured because of the fact that the functioning of the court will be determined by regulations. The aim is to arrange matters in such a way that a decision may be reached with the least possible delay and the lowest possible costs.

*This brings me to the fifth, point, namely the awarding of costs. In order to ensure that an owner does not go to court if he does not have a good case, thereby involving the State in unnecessary costs amounting to thousands of rand, a formula was included in the Expropriation Act, 1965, according to which costs are to be awarded. It provides that if the court rules in favour of the owner, the State has to pay all the costs. However, if the court rules in favour of the State, the owner has to pay all the costs. In order to persuade the owner to make his claim more realistic and reasonable, the existing formula also covers the cases where the compensation awarded by the court is more than the amount offered but less than the amount claimed. In such cases, the State pays all its own costs, plus so much of the owner’s costs as bears to such costs the same proportion as the difference between the compensation awarded by the court and the amount offered bears to the difference between the amount offered and the amount claimed. For example, the State offers R10 000, the owner claims R20 000 and the court awards R11 000. In such a case, the State pays only one-tenth of the owner’s costs. If the amount awarded by the court is R19 000, the State has to pay nine-tenths of the costs.

For the same reasons as were advanced in respect of the existing formula in the Expropriation Act, 1965, it is necessary to incorporate a costs formula into the proposed Bill again. Accordingly, it has been embodied in clause 15, but with, a few adjustments aimed at making it more advantageous to the owner. The adjustments entail the following:

In the first place, the awarding of costs is based on the amount of the offer and the claim one month prior to the date on which the proceedings were placed on the roll for the first time. Secondly, the existing formula is changed in respect of the awarding of costs where the amount awarded by the court is more than the amount offered but less than the amount claimed.

The proportion which is now being proposed is the difference between the amount awarded and the amount offered as against the difference between the amount awarded and the amount claimed. For example, the State offers R10 000, the owner claims R20 000, and the court awards R11 000. The State has to pay one-ninth of the owner’s costs. According to the existing formula it would have been one-tenth.

In a case where the difference between the amount offered and the amount awarded is more than half the difference between the amount offered and the amount claimed, the State will now have to pay the owner’s costs in full. Consequently the adjusted formula definitely holds greater advantages for the owner.

The sixth and last principle which deserves special mention is the new provision regarding the unilateral withdrawal of an expropriation of property. At the moment, an expropriation can only be cancelled if the parties concerned have agreed to do so. However, if the authorities were to consider it essential for some reason to withdraw an expropriation unilaterally, substantive authority would have to be obtained by an Act of Parliament. From the nature of the case, a measure of this kind is not only undesirable, but also impractical. It has been found that the authorities do in fact need to have the power to withdraw an expropriation where this is necessitated by the public interest, but subject to specific provisions. Accordingly, provision is being made in clause 23 for the expropriating authority to withdraw an expropriation where it is considered to be in the public interest. However, such withdrawal must take place before transfer has been registered and not later than three months after the date of expropriation. Any person who sustains any damage in consequence of the withdrawal of an expropriation will be entitled to compensation.

As I have already said, the proposed Bill is chiefly aimed at providing uniform procedures in regard to our expropriation proceedings. From the nature of the case, many persons and bodies were involved in its preparation. The fine co-operation received from everyone deserves special mention. For this reason it is a pleasure to me to express my sincere thanks to everyone who contributed in any way. Finally, I want to express my thanks and sincere appreciation once again to the hon. member for Waterkloof, as chairman of the Select Committee, as well as to the other hon. members who served on that Committee, for a demanding task which they performed with great success amid the pressures of other activities.


Mr. Speaker, this is an important measure which is before the House and we have listened to a rapid-fire introduction by the hon. the Minister of Agriculture. I would commend to my hon. colleagues in this House and to others a careful and quiet reading of the speech which has just been delivered by the hon. the Minister. There are important factors in this Bill before us. As the hon. the Minister has mentioned, this is in effect virtually an agreed measure which has emanated from the Select Committee. One should realize, however, that over a number of years a system of expropriation has arisen in this country which has become part of our way of life and which has involved some 24 different Acts of Parliament, a dozen or more ordinances in the various provinces, and various procedures under each one of them, conflicting one with the other. The expropriation of property is a hazard of ownership which is of serious concern to all owners of property and to persons conducting businesses.

This Bill which is now before us is an attempt, as the hon. the Minister has said, to standardize the procedures and the basis for the determination of compensation. One hopes that what is before us is going to prove satisfactory, but as with all measures of this nature, one appreciates that there will be problems which will arise in its application and which will need reconsideration in the future.

The Bill before us is an extraordinary one. It has 97 clauses, of which only 26 are operative clauses. Seventy-one of them are consequential amendments to various Acts of Parliament and other provisions which regulate the question of expropriation. I do not propose to be lengthy in dealing with the provisions of this Bill. I believe that we should support it at Second Reading so that it can be placed on the Statute Book of the Republic. I believe that this should be done for two major reasons. The one is that it introduces uniformity into the procedures and the second is that it introduces a measure of uniformity into the method and basis of the determination of compensation. I also believe it has advantages in the introduction of a compensation court to deal with matters in which the compensation to be paid is less than R100 000, and in the fact that arbitration procedures may still continue. It also has the advantage of dealing with persons who are financially affected as a result of expropriations, even although they may not have a registered right. It is also, I hope, going to obviate those delays in expropriations which have occurred in the past by making it compulsory for an expropriation to be completed within a limited period failing which it will lapse. Those are causes of irritation which I believe can now be removed.

There is, however, still a problem to which I want to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister, and that is that there is a running down of business enterprises when it is known that an area may be expropriated. I refer particularly to clause 12(5)(i), which deals with the assessment of goodwill. It is true that the Select Committee received no specific recommendations or comments on what is in this Bill but I want to say to the hon. the Minister that I think that one might find it necessary at some stage in the future to have another look at the assessment of goodwill because there may be circumstances in which the present basis in this Bill may lead to an injustice in respect of the individual whose property is being expropriated. As will be seen from the report, the hon. member for Newton Park dealt in the Select Committee with the question of solatium or payment for inconvenience. I am sorry that the hon. member is not in town tonight which is the reason why he is not in the House. He believes that the solatium should not be limited to R10 000. We on this side agree with him and we intend moving an amendment to this effect in the Committee Stage. The inconvenience and the problems which arise are not limited because of a sum of money. The inconvenience is increased by the greatness or the enormity of the expropriation which takes place and we believe that what was moved in the Select Committee should be accepted by this House, namely that there should be a sliding scale of solatium reducing from the 10% in respect of the first R100 000 to 3% in respect of amounts in excess of R500 000. We can deal with that matter in the Committee Stage later this evening.

In conclusion I want to say that having served on this Committee, one is deeply indebted to the many organizations which are listed both in the Select Committee report of this year and that of last year which assisted with a great deal of research and the preparation of memoranda for the Select Committee.

We had the fullest co-operation of the Bar Counsels of the Republic, the Association of Law Societies, the United Municipal Executive of South Africa, the Provincial Administrations and particularly the S.A. Property Owners’ Association, Sapoa. They did a considerable amount of research and they held a number of seminars in order to try to evolve a system by means of which persons whose properties are expropriated will receive just treatment. My colleagues on the Select Committee will agree that their memoranda were also of inestimable value. We also had assistance from agricultural associations and various other bodies. All these documents with the information contained therein enabled the Select Committee to reach a great deal of consensus in so far as the methods and the basis of compensation are concerned. I also want to say that we as a Select Committee are also greatly indebted to the officials of the department. I must say—it is no secret and is evident from the memoranda which were submitted to us—that in some ways we did not satisfy them; we did not accept some of the advice which came from the hon. the Minister’s department. Nevertheless, we were able to find a basis of presenting a Bill to this House which carried a great measure of their support. Even when we were a little bit contrary in regard to what had been suggested by officials, we found them most co-operative and helpful. This also applies in respect of the tremendous help we had from the State Attorney and his department.

Finally, although it does not always behove me to say these things, I want to say to the hon. member for Waterkloof who was our chairman that now that we are able to support this measure before the House, we shall perhaps forgive him the slave-driving he indulged in in getting us at meetings at 8.00 in the mornings and keeping us for long hours in order to have this measure completed. I believe that this legislation is necessary and with his guidance and assistance this measure is now before the House. We on this side of the House support the Second Reading of the Bill.


Mr. Chairman, in the absence of the hon. member for Rondebosch who served on the Select Committee, I think the attitude of the members on these benches is that we welcome the Bill. The standardization of procedures for expropriation is very necessary indeed and we support this measure at its Second Reading.


Mr. Speaker, one of the most valued rights of the individual in our community is his right of ownership, more especially his right of ownership of land. It is even described by some old writers as a holy right. Land is a commodity which cannot be manufactured, and the demand for it is snowballing, and, for obvious reasons, will continue to do so in the future. The individual’s right of ownership of land in South Africa is not only recognized and respected by the State, but is, in fact, protected by the State. As against the individual’s right of ownership there is the State’s need to take or use the individual’s property from time to time for public purposes. This is done in the course of carrying out a specific State function. The most common is the use of land. From the earliest times this right has been recognized as an inherent right of the State. Not all people in authority have always been so scrupulous about the right of the individual, nor has the right of the individual always been so respected. In this regard one calls to mind Naboth’s vineyard. As the hon. the Minister has indicated, the acquisition, or rather expropriation, of land in South Africa has been regulated by legislation for more than a century. At present, the State, the provincial administrations, local managements and certain other bodies have statutory powers and rights to acquire or use a person’s property for specific purposes. The aim of the legislation we are dealing with this evening is to consolidate and codify the number of different ways and means of expropriation and determination of compensation. As the hon. the Minister has already indicated, the final rounding off was done by the Van Blommestein Commission before the Bill was referred to a Select Committee last year. This legislation was really of a highly technical nature. In my opinion it was a very good thing that it was, in fact, first referred to a Select Committee. If it had not been referred to a Select Committee, it would have taken up a great deal of the time of this House. There was very wide interest on the part of the legal profession, Government departments, provincial administrations, local governments, agricultural unions, SAPOA—viz. the South African Property Owners’ Association—and virtually all bodies concerned with land, whether in the technical or the professional sphere. They submitted very valuable and authoritative evidence to the Select Committee. I, too, want to convey my sincere thanks to them, as did the hon. member for Green Point. Their proposals have been given careful and thorough consideration, but for obvious reasons it was absolutely impossible to accommodate all those proposals. However, I believe that the legislation we have come up with now will be understood to a greater or lesser extent by all those bodies. For my part I, too, should like to convey my sincere thanks to the officials of the Department of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure for the assistance they rendered the Select Committee. In this regard I make bold to mention specially Messrs. Piet van Blommestein, Jan Avenant and Gustav Rhode, as well as Mr. Ken Neethling, the Deputy Chief Attorney-General. They contributed vastly to marshalling our thoughts with regard to this legislation. As I have said, the legislation is of a highly technical nature. Its was a privilege and an experience to have been able to work with the Select Committee. All the meetings maintained a very high standard. The participation of members was not only valuable, but was extremely responsible at all times. I trust that this legislation will turn out to be useful and worthwhile. I do not say that this legislation is going to be perfect, because nothing one does is perfect. However, I want to appeal to everyone involved in the implementation and administration of this Act to give this Act a chance. The Select Committee could not have foreseen all possible difficulties and hitches. There are problems which will only become manifest in practice. The legislation can be rectified subsequently if necessary.

In the first place, we have endeavoured to embody uniformity in this legislation, uniformity in regard to the procedure by which land must be expropriated by the State and in regard to the way in which compensation must be determined. There are a few exceptions which are not yet covered by this legislation and I trust that the bodies and persons concerned with these cases will make it their task to bring about uniformity in all expropriation matters as soon as possible. Secondly, we endeavoured to streamline the procedures in regard to both the acquisition of the land and the determination of its value. Specific procedures for doing this, viz. how the State must go about obtaining the individual’s land, are laid down. An individual is also told how he is to react. If he and the Minister can agree on the price, the expropriation will be dealt with very quickly. However, should they differ on the price, there is the tribunal, which the hon. the Minister also spoke about, to which the matter may be referred, unless the parties agree to arbitration. Consequently there is total certainty in regard to the forum to be resorted to by the owner or the State in order to determine the compensation to be paid. This will cause the pressure on the courts to be alleviated. I believe, too, that this legislation, if correctly implemented, will save money. It will therefore be in the interests of both the State and the person whose property has been expropriated to make a real effort to determine the value and not to continue squabbling and quarrelling about the land and its value. If an attempt is made from the outset to determine the true value of the land, to offer and demand it, it will be possible for this compensation provision to be settled cheaply and quickly. As far as I am concerned, I am absolutely opposed to the idea that when the State has to pay, the person claiming compensation should hold out for the highest price; I detest that kind of thing. On the other hand, I feel just as strongly that if a person’s land is expropriated, he is entitled to receive every cent of the compensation for that land. I want to appeal to all those involved to adopt this approach in the administration of this legislation.

To conclude, I want to thank all the members of the Select Committee. It was a great pleasure to serve on this Select Committee. I want to convey my sincere thanks to the hon. members for Green Point, Newton Park, Musgrave, Wynberg and Rondebosch who contributed their share to this legislation from their side of the House. On this side of the House I want to thank the hon. members for Etosha, Bloemfontein West, Heilbron, Lydenburg, Schweizer-Reneke, the former member for Caledon— now the Administrator of the Cape—and the hon. members for Eshowe and Aliwal. It was a great privilege for me, and a highlight of my Parliamentary career, to have been able to participate in the activities of this Select Committee and this legislation. I trust that this legislation will be of benefit to the country.


Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to follow on the hon. member for Waterkloof and to tell him how much I personally appreciate the way in which he conducted the proceedings of the Select Committee. He succeeded in the end in having us agree on virtually all the clauses of the legislation before this House this evening. As the hon. member rightly said, the appointment of a Select Committee for this particular piece of legislation was something very essential. I am convinced that most of the difficulties that have arisen in connection with this legislation, have been thrashed out in the Select Committee. Every member of that committee aired his opinion and put his case. As the hon. member for Waterkloof also said, the concern of all members of that committee was to submit the best possible legislation.

In introducing this legislation the hon. the Minister told us that there were still matters pending in connection with the legislation and that it could not be taken any further at that stage. He referred, inter alia, to the provincial authorities and to the fact that the administrators of the various provinces were still giving attention to certain aspects of expropriation. It is a pity that we are not able to deal with all those aspects in this legislation this evening. If I had my way, we would have had legislation before us this evening which would have covered all aspects of expropriation and all levels of authority. Unfortunately this cannot be. However, we have heard that there is a possibility of this type of legislation coming before us in the future. I shall elaborate somewhat more on that at a later stage. In fact, I find it disappointing that we are not able to have that legislation before us this evening.

There is also another aspect about which I want to say a few words. While the Select Committee was considering the Bill, it realized that the expropriation of a farm caused farming operations on that farm to cease and the farming concern to be destroyed. The owner then finds himself in a dilemma because his plantation farm and his livestock farm is sold and he has to pay income tax on the profits of those operations in the tax year in which he terminates his farming operations. He also pays at the highest rate, approximately 63%. If one thinks of all the advantages this legislation brings about for all persons whose properties are expropriated, one realizes that the question of tax is a very big shortcoming in this legislation. I think the Select Committee realized this. The Select Committee, however, also realized that this was not in its terms of reference and that it could not extend its terms of reference either so as to have this anomaly eliminated. Now, however, we do have the opportunity. Later on, during this session, we shall deal with the Income Tax Bill. It is a pity that the colleague of the hon. the Minister, the hon. the Minister of Finance is not present here this evening. I do hope, however, that before the hon. the Minister of Agriculture departs, he will whisper a word in that large ear of the hon. the Minister of Finance and that the hon. the Minister of Finance will then take up the matter and will come forward with legislation later this session to eliminate this anomaly. It would be fair to make the same concessions for the expropriated farmer as is being made in the Act at present for the farmer whose land is bought by the Bantu Trust. In the Income Tax Bill there is a special clause which does clear up this matter, and I think it would be no more than reasonable and honest of this House to see to it that the same principle is applied in respect of expropriations. It is a difficult matter to raise here, because in the first place it is not a principle of this Bill. As a matter of fact, I wonder whether it is a principle of the Income Tax Bill. It is one of those matters in between and I think the best way of dealing with this, is to say to the hon. the Minister of Agriculture this evening that I think that we on this side of the House feel that he should use his influence with the hon. the Minister of Finance and should then introduce an amended Bill. I shall tell the hon. the Minister later on how this may be done. It is very easy, and with that the whole matter can be solved at once.

†A point which I feel very strongly about is the matter which I have referred to earlier, namely that the provincial administrations have been allowed to carry on their own investigations into expropriations and that they will, at some stage or another, consider an interprovincial committee report on that. This interprovincial committee report is, apparently, going to recommend something, although we do not know what is in it. We as a Select Committee did not know what was in this report and we were not at liberty to inquire what was in it. I myself wrote a letter to the Administrator of the Cape and asked him to tell me what was in the report, but he replied: “No, I am very sorry, but I cannot tell you what is in this report. I have got it here, but you have to find out from the Minister of Agriculture what is in this report.” I think that the Administrator was probably not correct, because I do not think that the hon. the Minister knows what is in the report. I do not believe that the hon. the Minister knows whether the Administrators have met to discuss this matter. The big trouble is that in connection with the taking of land and the taking of materials for the building of roads, the Cape Province suffers under a tremendous burden. The people who are getting away with murder in regard to this taking of land are the divisional councils. The divisional councils say that they are autonomous bodies and that they get their powers from the old days of the “landdroste en heemrade”. They also say that their powers are further strengthened by Sir John Cradock’s proclamation of 1813. Hon. members will remember what Sir John Cradock’s proclamation said. It said that the Government, the State, may take any land for routing a public road, and may take any materials found on anybody’s property in order to build this road. It was a very good thing in 1813, but nowadays it is certainly not a very good thing any more, because the land that is now being taken is very valuable land. In 1813 everybody welcomed a public road over their “werf”, but not today. Today nobody wants a public road over their “werf”; they do not want a public road over their highly intensive farming activities. Yet that is what is happening. When one asks the divisional councils how they can do this sort of thing, they say that they are the successors to the “landdroste en heemrade”, that they are carrying out Sir John Cradock’s proclamation, and they say: “We do not need to give you a cent for this piece of land we are taking, but out of the goodness of our hearts we are offering you so much.” It is not market value. What they are offering is only half, or a third, of market value. It is a disgrace that the divisional councils have been robbing the ordinary person, the ordinary land-owner of the Cape Province, for years and years, notwithstanding the fact that the provincial administration took the resolution in 1969 and said: “The divisional councils shall pay market value for every piece of land taken.” What do the divisional councils say? They say: “A fig for that! We do not care about this at all. We are autonomous bodies, and we shall do as we please. That is the position now.” Therefore, I shall move an amendment at the Committee Stage to say that this sort of rot has got to stop. In this legislation we shall now….


Order! I take it that the hon. member’s amendment will be couched in somewhat different terms!


Yes, Mr. Speaker. The wording will be almost as brief but it will not be in exactly those terms. I shall be moving that amendment and I hope that at this late stage the hon. the Minister will have the courage to take the bull by the horns—or should I say, the horns by the, bull!—and agree to accept my amendment at the Committee Stage.


Mr. Speaker, I gain the distinct impression that there is a desire that this debate proceed as quickly as possible. We are dealing with a very important piece of legislation which has very wide implications and which is tremendously important in South Africa as far as the development of the country is concerned. It is particularly important to the owners of property. We should therefore give sound consideration to all the implications and provisions of this legislation. I think that everybody agrees that where such a large number of laws and provisions apply to the extensive procedure of expropriation, it is a good thing that the Government has taken the initiative to consolidate, as far as it has done so, those laws and procedures into one Expropriation Bill. It is right and good that there is now an extensive standardization of procedures in regard to expropriation. I think it can possibly be said that despite this extensive Bill and in spite of all the good that the Bill is going to achieve, there are a large number of improvements which can still be made. I believe that these improvements can be made during the course of the Committee Stage or by way of amendment in the near future. However, I believe it is our duty to discuss the various aspects of the Bill generally during the Second Reading debate and indicate where improvements can be effected.

Unfortunately, I was not a member of the Select Committee so I did not have the opportunity of sitting in on the deliberations or studying all the documents submitted to it or hearing the evidence given before it. However, it is clear from the various documents submitted by the organizations interested in this Bill that a large amount of very interesting information was made available by those organizations. Some very good recommendations were made to the Select Committee and to the Government. I think that it is incumbent on us to express a word of thanks to the various organizations that were involved for the trouble they took to make these representations to the Government and for the value of the representations they made. It is also true—and here we can thank the hon. the Minister and the committee—that the committee did accede to some of the representations and adopt some of the suggestions that were made. However, I feel that there were a number of sound suggestions and representations which for some reason or other were not acceded to. Possibly during the course of this debate we could take another look at these representations and suggestions. I believe that the hon. the Minister should reconsider them.

The process of expropriation has many facets which have to be considered. In the first place, I think one has to consider the interests of property owners. To own property is a fundamental human right. It is an extremely valuable and important right. It is a right that is very jealously guarded and that nobody is prepared to give up without a fight if he feels that his interests have not been given sufficient consideration. The ownership of property is an emotional subject and whenever a person’s property rights are affected or whenever it appears that his property is being taken away from him for reasons which are not good reasons, or if a person feels that he is being unfairly treated in having to give up his property, that he is not being compensated properly or that he is being prejudiced in one way or another, the situation becomes very emotional indeed. Such a person will react in an emotional way and will adopt a very antipathetic attitude towards the authorities concerned. When people’s property is involved they often feel defenceless and that they are being subjected to the might of the State. They also feel that they have no or very little redress as far as that is concerned. For that reason a very special responsibility rests upon the State in all expropriation procedures. The responsibility that rests upon the State is to satisfy the property owner that the use to which the expropriated property is going to be put is essential and that it is in the interests of the State and of all the people concerned. It is absolutely essential that the State should go out of its way to satisfy the people concerned that their property is being taken for a good reason, that it is essential and that there is no alternative to what is being done. It is also important …


These are generalities we all know.


I am not so sure that these are generalities we all know. The reason is that this Government often acts as if they are not aware of everything that they should do. I have listened to a lot of generalities from that speaker and I have listened with great interest because he tells me that he is one of the enlightened members of the Government. If he is one of the enlightened members, I should like him to listen to me and give me the right to speak and to enlighten him further.

I say that the Government must take the rights and the interests of the people whose property is expropriated into consideration and make every effort to see to it that these people are properly and effectively informed as to the reasons why their property is being expropriated and to satisfy them that everything that is being done is right and above board. They must be aware of their rights and they must be aware of all the remedies that are available to them. They must be aware of the steps they can take to see to it that their interests are protected.

We come now to the expropriation itself. The Government must be careful not to expropriate at will. If we look at some of the definitions in this Bill we see that they are a little wide. In regard to one of the clauses particularly we shall make a suggestion to narrow down the definition from the very wide terms it has at the moment. There is the question of notice of expropriation. One of the arguments used in the interests of the property owner was that if the Government intended to expropriate a person’s property, it should serve on him a notice of its intention to expropriate. In the general view of things it looks as if that is the correct procedure because if a person is aware that his property is going to be expropriated he can take suitable steps to examine the situation and to look to his rights. There is, however, another side to the story. The other side of the story is that the moment an intention to expropriate is published and it is known that property is going to be expropriated in a particular area, it has a tendency to depress the values of the properties in that area. When the expropriation actually takes place the property-owners may be compensated at a much lower value than the real value of the property. A suggestion was made by the Association of Law Societies which I think the Government should have given more consideration to. They suggested that in cases such as these provisional notice of expropriation should be given, which would not be final but which would allow the owner to examine his rights and to make representations in respect of the expropriation. When this matter has been dealt with the date of the provisional notice could then become the date of the original notice of expropriation so that the valuation at that date could apply. If this is done two things are achieved. Firstly, by giving a provisional notice of expropriation the rights and interests of the property owner are properly considered. Secondly, if the matter is dealt with successfully the owner will be compensated according to the real value of the property on the date when the original notice was given.

I have already said that we welcome the fact that this Bill consolidates a number of laws and provisions. However, it is most unfortunate that it does not successfully or completely deal with provincial administrations and local authorities. This is most unfortunate. I feel that in not dealing with provincial authorities and local authorities the law has missed the major culprit as far as difficulties which arise from expropriation procedures are concerned. I think it is important, particularly at the Committee Stage, that the Government consider bringing under the purview and coverage of this measure, provincial and local authorities as well. In this connection I think it will be important for us to move a number of amendments at the Committee Stage. Obviously the House would prefer us to go into Committee to deal with the matters I have mentioned. Therefore, in deference to the obvious wishes of the majority of members of the House I shall deal with these matters during the course of the Committee Stage.


Mr. Speaker, I should like to thank the hon. member for Green Point for supporting this Bill on behalf of the Opposition. The matter of the solatium and the sliding scale we shall discuss at a later stage.

†I want to thank the hon. member for Orange Grove for his co-operation. The hon. member’s party was represented on the Select Committee and I thank him for supporting this measure.

*The hon. member for Wynberg raised two important matters concerning income tax. He also said that I should whisper it into the large ear of the Minister of Finance. I only hope that ear has a small hole in it so that what I say may penetrate! I shall discuss this matter with the Minister because it certainly is a good point the hon. member made. We usually expropriate with the idea that the expropriated person can buy another piece of land and transfer his implements and livestock to the new piece of land. If a person, however, does not do that, the money he receives is, of course, capital profit and it is taken into account for the purposes of income tax. However, a person in this position has not asked to be expropriated. The hon. member also made out a very good case in connection with the provinces. I also agree with much of what was said by the hon. member for Bryanston. He said expropriation was an emotional matter. The Government expropriates land to the value of millions of rand and it is an emotional matter. The hon. member should not, however, try to score debating points on the basis of this legislation. Here one now has the example of an Opposition which has made a positive contribution in the Select Committee, from the beginning to the end in an attempt to help us. We know that we are dealing with an emotional matter, but we do not want to offend anyone. From time to time amendments will be effected. I shall still come back to Parliament with those amendments. I shall indicate what the problems are as regards the practical implementation of the Bill. We all have a plot or a piece of land and one does not want to expropriate unreasonably. I should like to say to the hon. member for Waterkloof and the hon. members of the Select Committee that I believe that if one can have something done, one should not do it oneself. For that reason I have appointed the hon. member as my legal adviser. He will reply to certain aspects in the Committee Stage. Thank you very much for the positive support of this legislation.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a Second Time.

Committee Stage

Clause 2:


Mr. Chairman, under clause 2 I want to raise the question of the procedure by which a person whose property is going to be expropriated, is given notice of such expropriation. One of the aspects of the representations made dealt with the concept that if a person’s property is to be expropriated, a provisional notice of expropriation is fair to the property owner in that it advises him of the fact that his property is to be expropriated; it gives him an opportunity to examine his situation and his interests and to take any action which is open to him to take. But, that is only one side of the story. There is also another side to such provisional notice of expropriation, i.e. that the property of the owner concerned and other properties in the area are usually depressed in value as a result of the knowledge that the said property or other properties are to be expropriated. When property values are depressed, the value of the property is affected and hence also the compensation which is paid when the property is expropriated. This is actually a two-edged sword. In the first place it is in an owner’s interest to know about expropriation, but it is also against an owner’s interest because notification results in depression of property values. The Association of Law Societies made a recommendation in this connection which I think the hon. the Minister should consider very seriously. It would obviate both the disadvantages of the procedure I have just outlined and provide an answer to the problem. It would entail certain advantages.

A provisional notice of expropriation should be issued in order to allow the owner to examine his situation and to make representations. In respect of a final agreement reached perhaps as a result of the negotiations, the date of the provisional notice of expropriation can be accepted as the date of actual notice of expropriation. The valuation on that date can then be the valuation used to compensate the owner concerned. If this is done there are two advantages. Firstly, the person has an opportunity to consider his interests and to take the necessary action, and secondly, he will be compensated in terms of the valuations current on the day he received the provisional notification, before there is any depression in the value of the property due to the loss of public confidence and before the general value of the properties in the area can decline. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister to consider, in particular, this very good suggestion that was made by the Association of Law Societies and, if possible, to include it in the Bill.

Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No. 23.

House resumed:

Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.

The House adjourned at 10.30 p.m.