House of Assembly: Vol57 - TUESDAY 10 JUNE 1975
as Chairman, presented the Report of the Select Committee on Irrigation Matters.
Report to be printed and considered in Committee of the Whole House.
as Chairman, presented the Report of the Select Committee on the subject of the Road Transportation Bill, reporting that the Committee had been unable to complete its inquiry.
Report, proceedings and evidence to be printed.
Clause 2 (contd.):
In connection with the statement which I made earlier in connection with this clause, I would like to have further information from the hon. Minister in connection with the following matter. Provision is being made here that where a portion of a piece of land is expropriated the remainder of that piece of land could also be expropriated if it has become useless to the owner as a result of the nature of it or the size thereof and if the owner succeeds in convincing the Minister that this remaining portion has in fact become useless to him as a result of the nature of it or the size thereof. But there are no instructions here of what an owner has to do to convince the Minister of this. In certain cases it may be a difficult thing to convince the Minister, and what is the owner to do if he does not succeed in convincing the Minister that the piece of land has become useless to him? There may be a difference of opinion between the hon. Minister and the owner. Therefore, the question is what the owner has to do when he does not succeed in convincing the Minister that his land has become useless to him.
Mr. Chairman, in his speech on this clause last night the hon. member made the allegation, inter alia, that the Association of Law Societies of South Africa had made certain recommendations. I just want to ask him: Did he read the report of the Select Committee?
The hon. member says “yes”. Is he saying that the law societies made representations to the Select Committee in this regard? I am just asking. He can simply say “yes”, or “no”. This is all I want him to do.
I had access to and studied all the documents and papers which were submitted to the department and, I take it, to the Select Committee as well. In those papers I found a recommendation of the Association of Law Societies where they made such a recommendation. If the hon. member wants me to get hold of the papers and read them out to him, I will do so.
The Select Committee devoted the whole of Tuesday, 8 October 1974, to the law societies and the Bar Council of South Africa. The law societies were represented by Mr. Malherbe and the Bar Council by Advocate van Dijkhorst. Their evidence appears on page 127 to page 151 of last year’s report of the Select Committee. No mention is made of that in this evidence, although they emphasized the most important aspects of their representations by means of oral evidence. The law societies informed the Van Blomenstein Commission briefly what their ideas were in this regard. They said that it would be a good thing and for the same reason the Act should also provide for a provisional notice of expropriation to be served, which enables the owner to object within 30 days to the expropriation of his land. The hon. member asks for provisional notice of expropriation, but he does not motivate this as being aimed at giving the owner the opportunity to object. His motivation amounts to the following—
This aspect was discussed very thoroughly in the Select Committee, not with the law societies, but with the Association of Property Owners of South Africa. The discussions in the Select Committee took place between people who, technically and through practical experience, are very well acquainted with matters of this nature. There were representatives of the United Party and there was a representative of the Progressive Party.
The marriage is going to be wrecked.
This seems to be the case. There were, of course, also representatives of the National Party on the Select Committee. Last year those hon. members were still members of the United Party and this year they are sitting with the Progressive Party, but I do not know what their relationship with the Progressive Party is. The result of the activities of the Select Committee is that a very highly technical Bill was thrashed out by the Committee. All the members of the Select Committee participated fully in the discussions and also in the discussions on clause 2. The hon. member for Rondebosch took part in the discussions very intensively. We discussed the matter from all angles.
Before I continue, however, I want to ask the hon. member whether he has read the Bill which was submitted by the Select Committee. I do not think the hon. member has read it. Does he know that provision is being made for the owner to have sufficient time to react after receiving the notice of expropriation? Does he know what is contained in clauses 7, 8 and 9 of the Bill? I am quite sure that he did not read it. All he is doing, is to delay the legislation and the business of this Committee. However, I do not want to quarrel with him about the matter, and therefore I would rather proceed.
The hon. member wants the hon. the Minister to accept an amendment. It would have to be a very drastic amendment if the hon. the Minister accepted it. I think this is a particular compliment to the Select Committee that he was able to deal with the Bill on a non-party-political basis. It is a compliment to the Select Committee that the hon. Minister of Agriculture accepted the Bill without any amendment. I think the hon. Minister can not even consider accepting such a drastic amendment after he received a unanimous finding on this aspect from the committee. If the hon. Minister himself were to propose such a drastic amendment a great fuss would be made on that side of the House because the hon. Minister would then be acting contrary to the wishes of the Select Committee.
I now come to the practical aspect. Firstly, there is the question of time. It is my absolute conviction that, in terms of the provisions of the Bill, an expropriated person is granted sufficient time to consider his position and to react after he has been given notice. For the majority of people who are expropriated, the notice of expropriation is in any case not the first news they receive of the proposed expropriation. Such a person sometimes knows weeks, sometimes months and sometimes a few days before receiving the notice that something is going to happen. Such a person can, therefore, start re-orienting himself as a result of this. Clause 7(2)(b) provides that the notice should state the date of expropriation—
In clause 8 mention is again made of the period of 60 days and subsection (3) reads, inter alia—
to be taken in possession within a shorter period. Clause 9(1) provides specifically—
certain information, among other things, whether he accepts the price offered to him, and, if not, what his claim amounts to. Once he receives the notice, he can ask for a further period of 60 days within 30 days and then the Minister has to grant him a further period of 60 days. In addition, there is a provision in terms of which the date of expropriation may not be later than 180 days after the date of the notice. This, therefore, gives the expropriated person sufficient time. If the hon. member want to imply—I think he possibly interpreted his instructions incorrectly—that it concerns the objection which the expropriated person wants to lodge against the decision which the hon. Minister has taken to expropriate, I want to point out in the first place that the Bill does not deprive the expropriated person of his common law remedies to object, i.e. in cases of ultra vires actions, fraud or mala fides, and so on. There are common law remedies available to the expropriated person which he could resort to. If he wants to object because the Minister decided to take a particular piece of land and if he prefers the Minister to take his neighbour’s land, in other words, that he objects to a discretion which was exercised bona, fide, we can not make provision for it in this legislation, because this would cause the activities of the Government to collapse completely simply as a result of the time which will be wasted in this process. Finally, the hon. member alleged that expropriations “invariably depress the value of land”. Only a Reformist can talk such nonsense in this House, no one else. Experience has taught us that even rumours of a proposed expropriation have precisely the opposite effect, i.e. that land prices escalate.
Mr. Chairman, the party of the hon. member for Bryanston was not represented on the Select Committee and therefore it is reasonable of him to put these questions. However, it will be difficult for me to be able to accept amendments, because this legislation comes from a Select Committee which was practically unanimous about this matter. The hon. member quite rightly asks what there is a person can appeal to if the hon. Minister were to decide that there could be no compensation for a small piece of excess land. When it comes to agricultural land, it has always been the practice to consolidate such small pieces of land with adjoining farms. If a person has a piece of land on which he cannot produce economically, we buy it from him. The hon. member for Waterkloof is quite correct that the common law still affords such a person some protection. He can appeal to the court should the Minister be difficult and say that we are not going to buy such land. In practice, however, it simply does not happen in this way. To save time, I would like to appeal to the hon. member. I do not blame the hon. member for the attitude he adopts, but I thought the relationship between him and his mother company, the Progressive Party, was better. The grandmother has just left the Chamber. She could have asked the hon. member rather to try and meet each other instead of hampering the passage of this Bill. This Bill has 97 clauses. Last night I also told the hon. member that should problems be experienced with the implementation of this Bill we would come back to Parliament. We do not want to prejudice anybody in this matter; we are trying to please everybody. Expropriating is an unpleasant task and therefore we want to accommodate everyone in this regard. Therefore I am also grateful for the attitude of the hon. member for Orange Grove and the hon. member for Green Point, that we had a Select Committee which made recommendations and that, should any problems arise in connection with this legislation, at a later stage, we could amend it here again.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman. I will obey the request of the hon. the Minister. I just want to put a few questions to the hon. Minister in connection with a few clauses of the Bill.
†The next question I would like to ask deals with clause 3(2)(H) where the definition of a juristic person is given. It reads as follows:
I think this is a very wide definition indeed. It refers to any juristic person established “under any law”. I would like to know from the hon. the Minister whether this applies to organizations like building societies, cooperatives, pension funds, friendly societies, etc. If it applies to all these organizations, this is an extremely wide provision. Surely, it is not acceptable in terms of granting the right to expropriate even though a resolution in the Senate and in the House of Assembly is required for such proceedings to be carried out.
Mr. Chairman, I can refer the hon. member to clause 3(2) in which reference is made to universities, technical colleges, the Atomic Energy Board and the National Monuments Council. These are the kind of juristic persons or institutions which are meant. They are, in fact, specified in clause 3(2).
Clause agreed to
Mr. Chairman I once again just want to put a question. The question relates to clause 7(2)(a) where it is provided: “… a sketch plan showing the approximate position of such portion, and state the approximate extent of such portion …”. There are, however, no technical instructions for or a definition of what the nature of such a sketch plan should be. There is no indication of how accurate or inaccurate such a sketch plan should be. There is no indication either of how accurate the approximate extent of a portion should be indicated. A sketch plan indicating the approximate extent, could be misleading and could create the wrong impression with the owner. Would it not be better if the Act provides for an accurate, acceptable plan so that the extent of the land could be shown accurately.
Mr. Chairman, difficulties arise when expropriation, for instance, has to take place for a dam basin. The dam has be built very speedily. It has been determined where the dam wall will be, but water level could create problems, depending on the height of the dam wall. Sketch plans have to be drawn very quickly and without much disruption to the farmer, because he can normally continue with his agricultural activities until the dam wall has been completed. The position, however, exists that a final plan should be submitted to the farmer within 180 days. In practice it is, however, not so easy to ascertain precisely where the level of the water of, for instance, the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam will be. Sometimes engineers come along afterwards and say that the dam wall should be raised by five feet, or they ask that the surface area should be extended. The matter should, however, be finalized within 180 days.
Mr. Chairman, the problem here is quite clear. When it comes to township planning however, there could be tremendous delay and cost to township developers because they do not know the exact configuration of a piece of land which is to be expropriated. Could we have an assurance from the hon. the Minister that if a situation such as this were to crop up, i.e. if a person were really being prejudiced in that he could not go on with his planning because he did not know the exact configuration of the land being expropriated, some mechanism or other could be implemented to put matters to right?
Mr. Chairman, there was very explicit evidence before the Select Committee to the effect that it was impossible in all instances to give an exact map or sketch beforehand of the land to be expropriated. That is why there is a proviso here. I do not know whether any of the hon. gentlemen on that side have taken the trouble to read the whole subsection. The proviso reads as follows—
In other words, he could obtain further particulars to enable himself to identify such property in a proper manner.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, the suggestion is constantly made from both sides of this House that we in these benches have not read the legislation or examined all the evidence and documents which were submitted to the Select Committee. If that is the approach of hon. members we shall take the time to discuss every clause and all the evidence in detail. We did study the legislation. We did study every single clause. We are asking for information from the hon. the Minister concerned and from the other members of the Select Committee because we believe that it is important to have that information [Interjections.] I know the alphabet, but the hon. member is too stupid to know it. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon. member must come back to the clause.
I should like to ask a few questions in regard to the interests of mortgagees in respect of this particular clause. We should like to know this particularly as far as building societies are concerned because they are the bodies which mobilize the funds of the public and make them available to people to purchase and to develop properties. In terms of clause 7(4) a mortgagee does receive notice of expropriation. He is fully aware of the fact that expropriation will take place and he is in a position to look to his own interests. The question I should like to ask is why no provision is made for the mortgagee to participate in the expropriation procedures. In other words, I believe that a mortgagee who in fact can have a more direct interest in expropriation than even the owner of the property, should have the opportunity to submit a statement or a claim independently of the owner. The mortgagee can then put his case to the authorities as far as his particular interests are concerned. No provision is made in this clause for an independent statement or a claim and no provision is made for direct participation or intervention by the mortgagee. I think it is very important that the mortgagee should at least have the opportunity of contending that an offer is inadequate and proving that the compensation to be paid will not cover the amount of the bond and outstanding preferent claims such as are owing to local or other authorities. We also believe that the mortgagee should have the right to refuse an offer and enter into further negotiations. As I read the clause, it does not provide for these fundamental interests of the mortgagee which I think should be considered.
Mr. Chairman, this clause is a completely new insertion. It did not exist previously. I should just want to tell the hon. member that I did not say to him that he did not study the Bill.
It was I who said so.
It was this hon. member, my junior legal adviser, who said so. But that is definitely not my point of view. The hon. member is entitled to ask questions. I only appealed to the hon. member because of the time factor. Perhaps we could meet each other privately to discuss the matter. I should just like to tell the hon. member that clause 19 covers most of the questions the hon. member has posed. The hon. member has to admit that there was no protection previously for a sharecropper, a lessee, a mortgagee or a builder who started building operations on a site before the owner decided to have the land expropriated or alienated. We are providing for those problems now. The replies to the questions he asked, are therefore spelt out in clause 19. There is a time factor attached to this clause, but I think it is to the advantage of the unregistered and registered rights that they should be covered by this clause.
Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. the Minister must realize that all clause 19 does, is to say that the bondholder and the owner must come to an agreement before the money is paid out. This poses a problem if they should not come to an agreement, but we can deal with that later. The problem here is that, if a building society gives a person a bond on a property, the building society has the protection that it will always be paid out since, if it is not paid out, it simply will not release the bond. In terms of this provision the owner can come to terms with the Minister and agree to the compensation which is being offered. That can prejudice the bondholder such as a building society, because in this case it cannot hold on to the title deed or its bond as it is automatically cancelled. The only question settled by clause 19 is the question of whom the money will go to. If one refers to clause 19, one sees that there is no provision if the parties do not agree.
Mr. Chairman, I just want to say that the whole basis on which the Select Committee decided was that the market value of the property would be paid to the owner. I cannot believe that there is any building society in South Africa that has given an advance to an owner which exceeds the market value. Consequently I do not know what the purpose is of these deliberations and of the questions being put by the hon. member behind me. I would certainly be speaking for all building societies in South Africa if I said that none of them has advanced more than the market value of a property.
Mr. Chairman, I regret having to get involved in an argument with the hon. member for Green Point, but building societies have in the past been prejudiced as a result of the provision contained in this clause.
Building societies have never advanced more than the market value.
If the hon. member who sat on the Select Committee, had cared to look at the evidence which was submitted to him by the attorneys to the Building Society Federation, he would have seen that they take this point very seriously. What upsets us is that this is a matter which could have been catered for. We do not understand why the Select Committee did not cater for it. If the reason why they did not cater for it is the one suggested by the hon. member for Green Point in his reply, I want to say that I do not think the Select Committee did a good job in this respect at all.
It was contravening the rule of law, no doubt.
Mr. Chairman, I agree with what was said by the hon. member for Green Point. We gave careful consideration to the evidence of the building societies, but one cannot place them in a position which differs from that of other mortgagees. Mortgagees are mortgagees. I know of no building society which would grant a bond which exceeds the total value of that land. In fact, the opposite is true. Building societies attach conservative valuations on land. It is their duty, for they are not allowed to deal with their money in an irresponsible way. It is their responsibility to see that the fair value of the particular land is not less than the amount they advance. Therefore, they can recover their money because the Government will not pay out less compensation than the fair value of the land. Then clause 19 comes into operation, and the money is not allowed to be paid out to anybody else than the person who is entitled to it.
Mr. Chairman, there is just one point I want to make. There have been many cases in which the offer that was made to the owner was less than the bond he had on the property. I can mention many cases in which such expropriations have taken place in recent years in respect of local authorities with which I was associated. In other words, it is not as if it could not happen, because it has happened and it does happen. It is no good the hon. member for Green Point saying that these things cannot happen, because these very representations were made by the building societies themselves. The hon. member for Green Point says: “I know more than the building societies; I know what is good for them,” That may be the attitude of the United Party, but it is not the attitude of responsible legislators in dealing with the interests of organizations and of people.
Mr. Chairman, I cannot think of any such cases. I think the hon. member is exaggerating. I cannot think of any case where a bond on a property is greater than the price we offer a man when we expropriate. The hon. member says there are many such cases, but I cannot think of any. We expropriate daily. We have always found that the bondholder is very conservative. In that respect he is like a Nationalist: He is not prepared to go hell-for-leather. We have not come across such problems in practice. I do not think there is any problem with this clause.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief. I only want to point out that where a dispute arises and the matter goes to a compensation court, provision is not made for the mortgagee to become involved. I think he should be involved. Even: if it is argued that the bond will never exceed the amount offered in expropriation—this is something I reject because I know of cases where this has happened—I believe that the mortgagee should become involved in the interests of the owner to whom money has been lent in order to purchase or to develop a property. I believe the mortgagee has the right to appear and to be involved in the deliberations in the court, that he should have the right to make representations and the right to become involved in any decisions taken or any concession which could be made by the owner. The point I am making is a simple one, namely that I believe that the law should be amended in order to make provision for this so that the mortgagee’s interests and rights in this regard are properly looked after as well.
Mr. Chairman, in clause 19 the same aspect is set out. After all, one is able to subpoena a person as a witness if problems should arise. If the hon. member for Randburg interprets clause 19 correctly, he will see that most of these problems are covered. I do not think that these problems will arise in practice.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, during the proceedings of the Select Committee, we had a problem with this particular clause. If hon. members look at the report of the Select Committee, they will see that the different parties had problems about allowing solatium, although not about the principle of solatium as it is a good thing for provision to be made in law, once and for all, that over and above the amount at which a willing seller will sell to a willing buyer, the principle of solatium be laid down, for when the Government has to expropriate for public purposes, for the inconvenience involved. When we have to expropriate for the purposes of the Bantu Trust, 20% solatium is paid for an amount of up to R250 000, although this is not statutory. I myself have never had any experience of this, but this is what I am told. 10% solatium is paid between R250 000 and R500 000, and no solatium is paid on amounts exceeding R500 000. Evidently this was the practice without there having been any reasonable justification or authorization for it.
From the evidence submitted to us in the form of memoranda, it appears that most of the South Africa agricultural unions have said explicitly that, although they welcome solatium being paid, they would like to see that it should be 10% on all amounts and that the amount payable in the form of a solatium should not be limited so as not to exceed R10 000. We thrashed this matter out in the Select Committee, and we moved an amendment on behalf of the United Party, which we regarded as a good compromise in the circumstances. I understand that, in terms of the rules, I am not entitled to move the amendment appearing in my name on the Order Paper, and therefore I want to ask the hon. the Minister to take this amendment over. Since there was a cardinal difference of opinion on this point in the Select Committee, I think that I should read this amendment out for the information of hon. members. The amendment reads—
Sir, it might sound complicated, but apparently that is how it has to be stated in legal terms. If the words “not exceeding R10 000” are omitted, it will mean that a concurrent solatium of 10% has to be paid, and, that of course, will bring about tremendous additional expenditure for the State. Let us take an amount of R600 000 as an example. Suppose that the State has to expropriate and that the amount paid is R600 000. If the solatium is kept at 10%, then it will cost the State an extra R60 000, but in terms of our amendment, if the hon. the Minister accepts it, the solatium will amount to R33 000. Sir, it is a far better proposal than the original proposal which was made, for example, by the South African Agricultural Union. Although I am not opposed to the principle of the 10% solatium, and although we shall not vote against the clause, I want to tell the hon. the Minister that if he does not take this amendment over, there are certain things which he will have to consider. The first point which must be remembered, is that the rate of inflation in South Africa, as throughout the world, is going to increase even more, and the more it increases, the more the State will have to pay out from time to time for property which it expropriates. The farmer whose land is expropriated, will have to acquire land at some other place, and just as the State will have to pay ever higher amounts for land which it expropriates, so that farmer will have to pay a higher price for the land which he buys. Furthermore, Sir, the person from whom he is going to buy knows that that man has been expropriated. Usually a small amount is then added, the seller adopting the standpoint that since that person has been expropriated by the State, he has plenty of money and that he can therefore charge more. In the second place, it is a generally known fact that the more one’s country expands, the larger the urban areas become and the larger the towns become; the smaller the agricultural areas become, and therefore, as a result of the scarcity of land, this results in the farmer who is expropriated simply having to take into consideration the fact that, if he wants to buy again, he will have to pay much more. I do not think that it is a question of people simply wanting to make money out of the State, or get something for nothing, but in terms of clause 2, the hon. the Minister is given the right to expropriate for public purposes. The expropriation which usually takes place, is not for the present generation; it is done for an ordered, prosperous society in the future. That is why we expropriate and for that reason I believe that a man who is expropriated actually renders a service to the State, to society and for the future. It is not of his own free will that he puts his land on the market. It is not of his own free will that he wants his land to be expropriated. It is the Minister who does this, and every one is in agreement with the principle of clause 2. The Minister must expropriate in the interests of public purposes. Now, when one must do so in that case for future benefit, then we say that we should also protect the expropriated person properly, so that he may be given a chance in the future. In terms of this clause as it stands, if one expropriates someone for R10 000 and the solatium is not to exceed 10%, then one gives him R1 000 extra. That is appreciated. But when one comes to the man whose property is valued at R200 000 or R300 000 or more or, as there have been cases, at millions, that man is then offered a solatium of R10 000. One cannot look a gift horse in the mouth; it is appreciated, but it seems to me to be rather ridiculous to leave that limit as it is. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I just want to make one point clear. We are dealing here with cases of expropriation. Expropriation takes place in a minimum of cases. For example, I cannot think of cases in which the Department of Bantu Administration expropriated. There are transactions between a willing buyer and a willing seller. There are negotiations, and in this connection they have always found each other. But the ideal is that our valuation should be such that it is correct according to market value. Then one does not need something like a solatium. It only applies in these heart-break cases. Sir, this is the first time in our history that something like a solatium has been written into our legislation, and everyone was consulted. You must remember that the Railways, the Atomic Energy Board, Sasol and everyone who has powers of expropriation has now been involved, and they had to agree to this 10%. But these people were not in favour of it. They act on the premise that our valuation is equal to the real value of the land, and it was only with great persuasion that one could convince them to make it 10%, or a maximum of R10 000. I can understand that the hon. member is sympathetic, but in practice, when we go so far as to expropriate and apply this Act, the two poles are too far from each other. However, when we negotiate with someone normally, then it is not necessary. The hon. member said that our agricultural areas are being reduced and that land will become more and more expensive. That is correct, but then the price of the land which we need will also rise. Appraisers take the real market value and recent transactions in the immediate vicinity to find an indication of what the land values are. If land becomes more scarce, then land becomes more expensive.
Do hon. members know what our criticism is? The hon. member for Constantia was very dissatisfied the day before yesterday, because we paid a man in Wynberg too much. Hon. members know what the criticism is and they must remember that it is taxpayers’ money which we use. My experience is that our sympathy always lies with the man from whom we want to buy land. I feel that no matter how much I should like to help the hon. member, the hon. member must not hold it against me if I cannot accept his fine amendment, having considered the advantages and disadvantages. I can see that the hon. member wants to co-operate to protect the individual. He made the fine gesture by saying that we will not divide on this point. But having weighed everything up, I cannot accept his amendment.
Order! Before I give hon. members a further chance to discuss this clause, I just want to point out that since the proposed amendment cannot be allowed, I cannot allow further discussion of the proposed amendment either.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to discuss briefly with the hon. the Minister the effect of two subsections of this clause. One is subsection (2) regarding the …
Subsection (2) of clause 12 regarding the solatium. The point is that as this clause is worded at the moment, the 10% extra will be paid in the case of immovable property only. I do not know whether this was intended by the Select Committee. I believe that it was not really intended by the members of the Select Committee, but it seems to have come in during the drafting. I know that we cannot do anything about it now. I cannot move an amendment, because it would not be competent, but I believe that the hon. the Minister should apply his mind to this point to see whether that 10% cannot be applied to the whole amount of compensation. It should not only be limited to the compensation for immovable property.
I want also to refer briefly to subsection (5) where we deal with the question of compensation for goodwill when businesses are expropriated. I know that the Select Committee must have received a lot of evidence from various bodies. I also know that if I was to get five accountants together now, they would give you five different formulae by which they would determine what the goodwill of a business is. But I believe that the hon. the Minister has to take certain points into consideration and I believe that the hon. the Minister should look at these in the future. I am not asking him to do it now, because I do not believe that it can be done now in a hurry.
I would like to meet the hon. the Minister later, but I want to place it on record that I believe that he has to take other matters into consideration. The first one is the question of super profits. It is a principle in business today that certain firms do make super profits and I believe that compensation for what is called super profits in business should be considered in this particular Bill. There is also the question of growth—there is no provision here for any compensation for potential growth. A man has worked for many years and has built up a business quietly and slowly, his object being that he is going to take his profit in the future years, but all of a sudden he is expropriated. All his concessions over the years are lost. The third point that the hon. the Minister has to take into consideration, is the question of managerial costs, what has been the cost of managerial skills which have been applied to the firm and which amount is not reflected in the balance sheet as part of the net profit. The fourth point is particularly in regard to private companies. Very often it is in the interests of the directors of those companies for income tax purposes to take out the profit as salary rather than to take it out as profit.
It is not reflected in the balance sheet. As the Bill is drafted the Minister is tied to the amount which is reflected in the balance sheet as net profit. These are matters which I believe the hon. the Minister and I should discuss later. We cannot amend the Bill now, but I commend to the hon. the Minister’s favourable attention these points which I have mentioned.
Mr. Chairman, we shall pay attention to these points. Most of these things are built into the goodwill when we expropriate a business or a company. However, it is very difficult to determine the value of growth, because anything may happen. In the goodwill we can make allowance for growth, but there may be a depression the very next year. It is a difficult matter. But we will pay attention to the points raised by the hon. member.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention to the fact that where mention is made of minerals in legislation, that concept is usually defined. Now it strikes me that in clause 12(5)(g) the word “minerals” is used, but that there is not a definition of “minerals” in the Bill. Deposits such as limestone, dolomite, quarries for gravel and clay—there was the well-known Agliotti case about clay—marble for tomb stones, etc., may be present in the ground. These are all mineral deposits which are of value. Therefore, I want to suggest that the hon. the Minister should consider inserting the words “and related chemical elements” after the word “minerals”, or including a definition which defines the word “minerals”.
Mr. Chairman, actually I have no objection to this. Paragraph (g) was included in this Bill on the insistence of the hon. member for Etosha. The Select Committee was of the opinion that everything under the surface, everything which is not visible and which could possibly have an effect on the value of land should be included in this paragraph. In this way, the Minister of Agriculture will be protected by being obliged to consult his colleague, the Minister of Mines. Therefore, I can see no objection to the hon. the Minister’s accepting the suggestion of the hon. member for Etosha.
Mr. Chairman if my legal adviser recommends it, I shall do so.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, clause 19 provides inter alia that no moneys may be paid out until agreement is reached between an owner and a mortgagee, but it does not provide for what is to be done if agreement cannot be reached. I believe it would be a good thing if there were a provision for such a matter to be taken to court and that the court’s decision would then be the one on which the authorities would act.
Mr. Chairman, in clause 21(4) provision is being made for matters of dispute or doubts as to who should receive any compensation to be paid in terms of this legislation. The Minister also pays the amount of compensation to the Master with regard to the issuing of the interdict for such compensation to be paid, or if the owner and mortgagee or a purchaser have not notified the Minister in terms of clause 19 as to the paying out of such compensation. The Minister cannot become the arbiter. The persons involved then have to start litigation to settle the matter.
Mr. Chairman, I just want to query that argument. It is stated here: “If there is dispute or doubt as to the person who should receive it.” In clause 19 it is stated that the mortgagee and the owner must come to an agreement.
Mr. Chairman, that refers to the person. The compensation is therefore linked to the person.
Clause agreed to.
Mr. Chairman, I move the following amendment standing in my name on the Order Paper—
I foreshadowed this amendment last night, during the Second Reading debate on this Bill, when I said that the Bill should be amended so that provincial administrations, divisional councils and other local authorities could be compelled to pay the market value for land and materials taken for the building of public roads. I also said then that there was an argument that we should not proceed with my amendment and leave this matter over until such time as the inter-provincial committee’s report had been dealt with by the administrators and the administrators had decided whether they were going to enact legislation or not. For the reasons I furnished last night, it seems to me that this is the wrong attitude to adopt. Hon. members will remember that I did sketch them briefly. Divisional councils, in particular, believe that they are the successors to the Landdroste and Heemrade, and they believe that because that is the case the administrative powers of the Landdroste and Heemrade have fallen on their shoulders and that they really administer what is left of Sir John Cradock’s proclamation of 1813. At that time the sovereign authority, the State, had the right to take building materials and land, and also to route any public roads over land which was granted under quitrent tenure without paying any compensation. That is an attitude to which divisional councils still adhere to today. I have here a file of letters—which I am not going to bore this Committee with—from divisional councils to various landowners telling them that it is no use their brushing aside certain offers of compensation made to them. It is stated that it is not necessary to give the farmers one cent for the road being built over their farms or to give the farmers a single cent for the materials that are going to be used to build the road, materials which would also be taken from their farms. The divisional councils state that they do so because they are the successors to the Landdroste and Heemrade and because the powers of the Landdroste and Heemrade have fallen upon their shoulders. They state that they are now administering Sir John Cradock’s proclamation as if they were the sovereign State. That is the attitude they adopt. If one goes to the provincial administrations, which are supposed to supervise local authorities, and divisional councils in particular, what answer does one get from them? They merely say that they are very sorry, but divisional councils are autonomous bodies. They can do as they please and the provincial administration has no say over what they decide to pay in compensation. That is the official attitude of the Provincial Administration of the Cape of Good Hope. I have even taken the matter further. I have taken the matter to the Administrator and the members of the Executive Committee. I believe that they adopt that attitude as well. They have on occasion said that market value is being given. They state that they adopted a resolution in 1969 in terms of which all land taken, whether it be quitrent land or land subject to Sir John Cradock’s proclamation, has to be paid for at market value. Having taken that resolution, they state that they do not have to bother with the matter anymore. However, this is still going on. I have letters here which were written this year and in which the farm owners have been threatened in exactly the same way. We have in this Bill a saving clause, namely clause 26, where it is stated in subsection (2)—
I believe that that is a retrograde step because we are trying to arrive at just compensation according to market value for all expropriations, but we leave these cases out in the cold and say that we are not going to deal with them. The excuse we have for this is that there is a report, but we do not know what is in the report, we do not know what the administrators are going to do with the report and we do not even know whether they are going to amend the ordinance. I believe that it goes further than this. I do not believe that a provincial administration, and particularly a provincial council, has the power to amend the conditions of tenure attaching to land granted under Sir John Cradock’s proclamation. I believe that hon. members as well as the hon. the Minister will agree with me. It is certainly not within the power of a provincial council to do this. This is not a power which has been given to the provincial councils. This power is not delegated to provincial councils in the Constitution Act or in the Financial Relations Act.
Jack, we understand what you want to say.
I am glad that the hon. member has reminded me that this is the attitude which I adopted in the Select Committee.
*I should like to tell the hon. member that I am consistent in any case. What I said there, I still say in this House today. I believe in every word I said and I still believe in it today, as I believed in it at that time.
†If you look at page xxviii of the Select Committee report, you will notice that when subsection (2) was put, although the rest of the committee agreed with subsection (2), I dissented. I was so certain that I was correct and that the rest of the Select Committee, including the hon. members from the United Party who were sitting with me were wrong, that I dissented as far as subsection (2) was concerned. I want to make this point very clear, because when I look at the hon. the Minister from this distance, it does not appear that he is going to accept my amendment. He is being advised by two hon. members who were on the Select Committee. They have been whispering to him all the time. I believe he is not going to accept the amendment and therefore, if I do not proceed with this amendment, I shall proceed with another one which is not on the Order Paper. The amendment with which I shall proceed then will be, on page 32 between “law” and “relating” in line 30, to insert “(save and except the provisions of Sir John Cradock’s proclamation of 1813)”. I must admit that I drafted this amendment very hurriedly, but I shall move it at a later stage. If this amendment is accepted, subsection (2) will read as follows—
The amendment which is on the Order Paper and the one which I have just mentioned are really contradictory and if the hon. the Minister says that he refuses to accept my amendment as it appears on the Order Paper, then I shall move the amendment to which I have just referred. If I hear from the hon. the Minister to that effect, I should like to take my argument in regard to the second amendment a little further.
Mr. Chairman, I told the hon. member for Wynberg last night that I agreed with him wholeheartedly. The practice he has just referred to, is something monstrous. In the Transvaal one will not succeed in taking a person’s land for road construction purposes without his being paid for such land. To make a gravel quarry on vineyard land in De Dooms and to tell the owner of the land that he will not be paid for that land, is something unheard of. I have no argument with the hon. member as far as that is concerned. He has all my sympathy.
There is, however, a commission of inquiry of the provincial administrations which is considering this matter at the moment. We must take the Provincial Administration of the Cape Province along with us in this regard. We are giving attention to this matter, and I should like to tell the hon. member that we shall not leave it at that. Actually the John Cradock Proclamation refers to quitrent land and in terms of the title conditions the Government may construct roads without its paying compensation, etc. The hon. member is more familiar with this than I am.
If I do not accept the amendment of the hon. member, he is not to think that I shall leave the matter at that. I have not had an opportunity of going into the second amendment to which the hon. member referred. Could we not allow this clause to pass as it stands? The Select Committee was unable to take the Provincial Administration along with it in this regard. If we do allow the clause to pass, we could come back afterwards and amend through the proper channels as far as the position in the Cape is concerned. I shall do my best in this regard and I shall ask the agricultural unions to submit draft resolutions on the matter, so that we may amend this provision so as to effect uniformity among the provinces as regards the hon. member’s fair plea, i.e. that if a person is deprived of his property, he is to be compensated for it. If the hon. member believes he has to convert me in this regard, he is making a mistake. He may bring ten evangelists, but I agree with him 100% that he is correct. The only problem is that I cannot accept his amendment now. I think the correct thing to do is to allow the clause to pass as it stands and that we should then endeavour to rectify the matter with the province.
Mr. Chairman, with the leave of the Committee I withdraw the amendment I have moved. I do so as I can see that the hon. the Minister has certain difficulties with regard to that amendment.
Amendment, with leave, withdrawn.
In lieu of that amendment I move as an amendment—
I believe that the hon. the Minister can, in fact, accept this amendment. When the provincial administration here in the Cape Provinces wishes to build a main road and has called for tenders—the example I am mentioning is in fact one of the most serious cases—it may happen that the successful tenderer in his tender has had to have regard to the fact that the type of sand he needs, is not available in the area where the road is to be constructed, but will have to be carried there from, say, 250 miles or approximately 400 km away. What happens then? The tender has been accepted and the successful tenderer receives a letter from the provincial administration in which the following is stated: “Since we, as provincial administration, have the right in terms of Sir John Cradock’s Proclamation to take any material needed for the construction of roads without compensation, we now cede that right to you, the tenderer. You may now exercise that right as though you yourself were the provincial administration.” I know of numerous cases where this has happened. I should just like to mention a case which came to my attention just recently, one which I regard as being the worst. In this particular instance a certain tender was accepted and the tenderer thought he would have to carry the sand suitable for road construction purposes over a distance of 400 km. He was then approached by a man whose property was situated approximately 15 km from the route of the highway. This man said to the successful tenderer, “You need not fetch the sand from there; you can fetch it from me. I have discovered this sand and you may fetch some of it from me. I have had the sand analysed and I have been informed that it is the best sand one can find for road construction purposes, so is there any reason why you should not buy this sand from me?” Sand for which they would have paid R1,50 per sq m at the distant place was now available to them at 75 cents, but what did they say to the poor man who had offered them the sand? They said, “It is fine sand and we shall take it without our paying you anything for it. We shall not pass on the benefit of our getting the sand free of charge to the provincial administration either, because in terms of our contract we need not do that and because that is the basis on which we tendered.” Is this not terrible? The sand of this poor man is taken without payment and the taxpayers of the Cape Province derive no benefit from it. This is done under cover of Sir John Cradock’s Proclamation of 1813. Surely this is sufficient reason for saying that we can no longer apply Sir John Cradock’s Proclamation. Whatever the hon. the Minister may say, the provincial administrators and the provincial councils of the Republic of South Africa cannot annul Sir John Cradock’s Proclamation of 1813. Only a sovereign authority can do that, i.e. this authority, this House. Therefore I ask the hon. the Minister to accept the second amendment I have moved in lieu of the one I have withdrawn.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member said with reference to the instance he mentioned of the sand that it was terrible. I say that it is scandalous that one may do that. However, the hon. member must also understand, that it was a Select Committee of Parliament which investigated the matter. Shall I satisfy the hon. member if I tell him that we can ask the Committee to give expeditious consideration to the matter, and, if the Committee finds the amendment to be capable of implementation in practice, that the amendment may be moved in the Senate? Unfortunately I shall not be able to be here, but the hon. the Deputy Minister will move a suitable amendment in the Senate after the Committee has made its recommendation and has established whether the problem in this regard can be eliminated in practical terms in law. Will the hon. member be satisfied with that? I cannot say at the moment that we accept the amendment, as I first have to consult the Committee. The hon. member for Wynberg is a member of that Committee himself and the members can be brought together quickly to go into the matter. It seems to me as though the hon. member for Green Point wishes to say something.
Does the hon. the Minister accept the principle of the amendment?
I am prepared to accept the principle of the amendment, but I should just like to know whether we can write it into this Bill in practical terms. If so, we can rectify the matter in the Senate.
Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased that the hon. the Minister has reacted in the way he has. I expected he would and he has. I should like to tell the hon. the Minister that in doing so, he is doing exactly what the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs did the other day when he came to us in the Committee and said: “I have grave doubts about the fact whether the Bill in regard to the procurement of national supplies is within the terms of reference of the Act and I wonder whether it is not ultra vires. Perhaps some of it is wrong and if it should go to an appeal court it could be thrown out.” I believe that in acting as the hon. the Minister is doing, he is doing what the hon. the Minister of Economic affairs did, and that is to make quite certain that there can be no loopholes. I thank the hon. the Minister for accepting this amendment in principle. He has said that he is not going to accept it now, but will see whether he can move it in the Other Place. I am very happy that that is the case. I thank the hon. the Minister for being so helpful. In the circumstances, Sir, I withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, with leave, withdrawn.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Mr. Speaker, I move subject to Standing Orders No. 49.
Sir, I shall not detain this House for very long at the Third Reading, but since we have now reached the Third Reading and since appreciation was expressed the chairman and members of this Select Committee, I should like to associate myself with what the hon. member for Green Point said on a previous occasion. I should also like to express the appreciation of this side of the House to all the officials, especially the officials of Agricultural Credit and Land Tenure, and the many other officials of other departments who assisted us in this legislation. Sir, this legislation has a fairly long history. I believe that this Act in its amended form today for the first time supplies a long-felt want for uniformity in our expropriation legislation in South Africa. We should like to express the hope from this side of the House that this legislation, especially if the hon. the Minister is going to accept the advice of the Select Committee with regard to the point made here by the hon. member for Wynberg and if he effects the necessary amendment in the Other Place, will satisfy all people who become involved in expropriation. I have to say, Sir, that I am sorry that the hon. the Minister could not have been somewhat more indulgent in regard to my proposal under clause 12 as well. I believe the hon. the Minister has improved his image to a large extent on more than one occasion because he accepted proposals from this side of the House from time to time. Therefore it is a pity, indeed, it brings discredit to him, that he did not accept this proposal of ours as well. But in spite of that flaw, I should like to say that our best wishes go with this legislation and that we trust that it will be a very long time before it will be necessary to amend the legislation again.
Mr. Speaker, I should like to associate myself with what was said by the hon. member for Newton Park. The officials with whom I dealt were Mr. Van Blommestein, Mr. Avenant and Mr. Rohde under the head of the department, Mr. Steyn. I know for how long they have been working to get this legislation on the Statute Book. I shall not easily forget the work done by the Select Committee either. They definitely did a fast job of work. I should also like to thank the chairman, the hon. member for Waterkloof, and the other members, and express my appreciation of the attitude in which this Bill has been piloted through this House. This Bill supplies a long-felt want. We have knowledge of the very many sad stories in connection with expropriation and we wanted to enact legislation which would be to the satisfaction of everybody. I should like to tell the hon. member for Newton Park that I should very much have liked to agree with him, as a member of the committee, as regards the solatium problem. He says my image would have improved considerably if I had done that, but here is a whole Committee. However, one does not want one’s image to be such that it eventually lands one in difficulties. I should always have an opportunity to improve next time.
I told that hon. member that I would give him half a litre of milk if he kept quiet but now he keeps on talking. I should like to thank everybody for the spirit in which this Bill has been disposed of.
Motion agreed to.
Bill read a Third Time.
Revenue Vote No. 22, Loan Vote P and S.W.A. Vote No. 14.—“Mines”:
Mr. Chairman, we come to this Committee to debate the Vote on Mines in somewhat unhappy circumstances. I say unhappy because we come to this House to debate a Vote which in fact has to be discussed on the basis of practically no information at all. The last report available to this side of the House, and presumably to anyone in this House, on the Department of Mines, was the report for 1973. Since that report appeared many things have happened in the field of mining in South Africa. Many important developments have taken place. The end of 1973 was virtually a watershed. We have had from the hon. the Minister no report whatsoever on his department’s activities, on his programmes, on his policies since 1973. This, Sir, is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. After all, the mining industry in this country is very largely a private enterprise industry. There is no point in coming to this House and discussing at any great length the achievements of private enterprise. We are here to discuss with the Government the money it has demanded for this particular department, the amount on the Vote, and we wish to have justification from the Government in regard to its administration, the control it exercises in relation to the mining industry and its forward policy. We have had none of these things. We hope that at the end of this debate we shall hear something from the hon. the Minister, but we have literally nothing to go on, and I think this is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. We would be grateful for an explanation from the hon. the Minister as to why it is that we have available to us only a type of document which might fall into the category of Africana, collectors’ pieces. We have no report for 1974 and we do not expect one for 1975. The latest issue of the quarterly bulletin on mineral statistics at my disposal is dated September 1974.
Having made that protest, I should like to deal with certain aspects of the mining industry on which I hope the hon. the Minister will give us some further information. I refer first of all to the question of coal. Since 1973 coal has assumed a new importance in the economy of South Africa. This, obviously, as all hon. members will know, derives from the oil crisis. The oil crisis is prevalent throughout the world as a major factor in economic development, and we in South Africa who produce something like 90% of all the coal produced on the continent of Africa, are in a key position in regard to the production of this most valuable fossil fuel. We have to look at our reserves, at the quantities of coal available, at our price structure, at reinvestment and at the development of this most important source of energy. Once again I regret to say that we have been waiting for quite a long time now for the Petrick report. This commission was in fact appointed to investigate and examine these very matters, these very policies, these very questions which are so vital to the future planning of South Africa’s economic development. But we have to take part in this debate without the benefit also of the Petrick report. Once again I can only express our regret because the debate would have been so much more valuable, so much more enriched if we had had before us the Petrick report on the coal situation in South Africa. We hope that in the absence of this report and the others, the hon. the Minister will englighten us at least to some degree on what the effects will be on the development of coal reserves, on the future prospects for our coal industry of the policies now being adopted in respect of coal. We realize that the coal industry has for some time been extremely unhappy. It has been unhappy because of the nature of the price controls which have applied to it. These price controls have been based on a number of factors, or have been conditioned by a formula which rested on certain bases which were working against the interests of a strong and healthy coal industry. One of these was the obvious one that the price formulae were based on historical capital investments. The erosion which has taken place in the value of money since some of these mines were started some 20 years ago, has in fact led to a situation where the allowances made for the original investment have been entirely eroded by the effects of inflation on money. The profits allowed to coal companies, consequently, were quite insufficient to enable them to redevelop mines or to open up new mines. There was another question which disturbed them a great deal and that is that in assessing the value of mines, the calculation of assets was made on the basis only of the machinery and implements, the capital equipment, on the mine, but not on the value of the coal resources. This again led to the calculation of profits on a basis which is really unrealistic in terms of present conditions and which worked very strongly against the interests of developing our coal resources. There has now been an increase in the price of coal. I would say that from the point of view of the producer, it must certainly have been a very valuable relief and of great assistance to the coal mines. But we have no indication as yet of whether this is sufficient, whether it is the end of the story or whether, in fact, further adjustments will be made in policy in respect of the export of coal, etc. I will not repeat it again, but I want to stress that we are conducting this debate in an atmosphere of mystery, because there is so much we wish to know and which we want to discuss and we greatly regret that the information we require has not been supplied.
I come now to the gold-mining industry. There are, of course, enormous prospects lying ahead for the goldmining industry in consequence of the very substantial increase in the price that has taken place. It may well be—I see that the best pundits are already predicting it—that there will be further increases in the price of gold and that by the end of this year or shortly after, the price of gold will exceed 200 dollars per ounce. We must all devoutly hope that this is the case, because close on the tail of the gold price is another very menacing threat, namely that of rising working costs. In 1972 the average working cost per ton milled was R8-79. In 1973 the average rose to R10-51 per ton. Therefore, the increase from 1972 to 1973 was 19,6%. Worse was to follow, because from R10-51 in 1973, according to information obtained from sources other than the hon. the Minister, namely the quarterly bulletin of the Chamber of Mines, the average working costs for 1974 rose to R13-18. This means an increase of 25% in working costs in just one year. If working costs are to increase at this rate, they will rapidly overhaul the increase in the price of gold. If this rate of inflation is sustained in the mining industry, all the advantages we gain from increases in the price of gold, will be eaten up by this ravaging inflation which follows so closely on the tail of the gold price. The gold-mining industry is obviously deeply concerned about this matter. It is giving every possible attention to the methods it may employ to save the industry from being destroyed by these rises in working costs. We would be glad to know from the hon. the Minister what attention has been given to this problem from the side of the department and the Government. There are various possibilities in relation to tax, etc., whereby further incentives or help can be given to the industry as it incurs expenditure and achieves success in cutting down the very high increases in the working costs which are taking place and eroding the goldmining industry. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Von Brandis spoke mainly about coal and gold. Today I want to talk about oil, about the hon. the Minister and about the mineworker.
Our mining industry is developing into a colossus in the South African economy. I say this because it is predicted—and this is a scientifically based prediction—that in 25 years’ time, taking into account possible insignificant gold earnings, mining will be earning approximately R6 000 million for South Africa. Already the amount earned, including gold earnings, is approximately R4 000 million per annum. Now I want to mention a very interesting fact. In 1947-’48, when the National Party came to power, our total mineral sales yielded R251,4 million. In 1965 we passed R1 000 million. The amount earned at that time was R1 152,9 million. In 1973 the amount was R2 844,5 million. Incomparable! From 1972 to 1973 there was an increase of almost R1 000 million. A colossus is developing here. However, taking into account minerals in the Northern Cape which are to be exploited, we have not even scraped the surface of the vast resources and potential which our bountiful Creator has stored away for us in our soil. My first question should really be addressed to the hon. the Prime Minister; I know that. However, this is a question which forces itself on one’s attention more and more. Is it not time that we should have a full-fledged Ministry of Mines? We are spending a great deal of money on our search for oil. I do not want to go into the strategic importance of oil now. Everyone is aware of it. Although to date we have not yet made publicized, spectacular oil finds, we should not lose courage. Nor should we allow old established ideas relating to the incidence and origin of oil to make our search inflexible. I have before me a book written by Leonid Shinkarev. The title of the book is The Land beyond the Mountains. This is an extremely interesting book, which I have borrowed; it was only published recently. I have to return the book shortly. This book is about the amazing discovery of oil behind the Ural Mountains in Siberia. I want to quote a few extracts from this book. The following is stated on page 128, in the chapter “On the Shores of the Cambrian Sea: The Discovery of Oil”—
That is in Siberia—
At the time the cry in Russia was, “Coal-based oil is the thing!” I quote further from the book—
The exploration for oil in Siberia lasted for 20 years. It was said that there was no oil in Eastern Siberia. Then Fyodor Pudalov published a book, The Pilot of the Cambrian Sea, in which he wrote about the young geologist Senyukov. In this book he advocated the acceptance of the young geologist’s ideas, but the book was re-regarded as science fiction. On 18 March 1962, while the elections in the Soviet were taking place, and after Yefimenko, the man in charge of the oil drilling, had been there and seen the discovery, oil gushed out. I want to quote to hon. members from the book. It is a romantic story.
I regret that the hon. member’s time has expired.
Mr. Chairman, I rise to give the hon. member the opportunity of completing his story of oil.
Thank you very much. I am going to quote further extracts from the book to hon. members. I mention this because one day, when we discover oil in our country, it will be just as romantic an occasion. I quote—
In other words, this was on the banks of the Lena River—
He wondered whether he had drilled into the sea—
I could go on and read how the oil gushed out and how Yefimenko was overcome by the gas which accompanied the oil, and died. A tragedy. Now I can imagine what would happen if we were to discover oil here in South Africa and this hon. the Minister of ours, being the romantic figure in politics that he is, were present. What would he do? He would run and become enthusiastic. In this way oil was discovered in Siberia after 20 years, notwithstanding the old concepts which had prevailed, to the effect that there could not be oil in Cambrian rock structures.
We have another example here in South Africa. I refer to the Phalaborwa complex which is just as practical an example of such a clash; of the upsetting of old concepts and the fact that we should not allow ourselves to become hidebound by such old concepts. The discovery of the Phalaborwa deposits confronts us with a few interesting questions, and the man who was responsible for the reply to one of these questions, is my colleague sitting here in the House, viz. the hon. member for Etosha, Dr. Brandt. I went to the University of Stellenbosch to borrow his thesis on the Phalaborwa complex. In it he contested the old established views on the origin of rock formations in the mineralized complex of Phalaborwa. After careful field study he came to the conclusion that the old-established view that the rock formations, for example the marble which forms the core of the Phalaborwa mine, at the moment was a primitive inrusion by a near-surface primitive granitic system, was an incorrect view. After making a field study there, my respected friend upset the old-established ideas and stated that it was a depth intrusion of magmatic hydrothermal origin. I just want to read what is said about Phalaborwa in the report—
That is what is stated in Foskor’s annual report for 1974. When my respected friend and colleague Dr. Brandt came up with those ideas, he was ridiculed. When he was working at the Geological Survey Division, his publications were politely refused. However, in 1948 he made a speech at the London congress during a symposium on carbonatites. That speech was taken up in France in the annals of that congress and inspired new interest in the Phalaborwa complex, and there we have Phalaborwa today!
Let us consider the position as regards uranium enrichment. Who could have thought that our scientists would have come up with a uranium enrichment progress which went beyond old-established ideas? I just want to say today that we should not lose courage as far as our oil search is concerned and that we should not allow ourselves to become hidebound through the influence of old-established ideas or let those ideas have an effect on our new prospects as regards the incidence and the origin of oil. I could have discussed this at great length; ten minutes is not enough.
I want to dwell briefly on a second point and make a plea for our old mine-workers, the old mineworkers who left the mines before and after 1949, the year we established the mine pension fund. I want to say in all seriousness that those mine-workers’ pensions are so small that they are living below the breadline. I think I am speaking for all those who represent mining constituencies. My appeal is based on humanitarian considerations and I want to ask the hon. the Minister to use his influence with the Chamber of Mines to be so good as to lend a sympathetic ear to the plea of the old mineworkers. The average pension these people receive is about R54 per month. How can one live on that? Throughout their working life they performed risk work. In our latest pneumoconiosis legislation we recognized “risk work” and accorded recognition to the risk factor. I want to make an earnest appeal that the lot of these people be seen to and reconsidered. I could quote figures to indicate how many of these people there are. I could convert the problem into an emotional appeal, but I want to say once again that these old mineworkers are not being fairly treated. You and I sitting here as representatives know them and we are aware of their distress.
I want to conclude and ask the hon. the Minister, who is an understanding and approachable man, whether we could perhaps consider placing the mineworker in a separate category which would allow him to retire on pension or with a lump sum award after 25 or 30 years of loyal service. The mineworker is undoubtedly in a different category to all the other workers in South Africa. He never sees the clouds or the lightning and he never sees nature in its fullness. He struggles under the surface of the earth and performs a giant task; and it is dangerous work. These people have done their duty within a mining framework which, by the end of this century, may be earning South Africa R6 000 million per annum. Could we not consider rewarding this mineworker for his risk work, his dangerous work; for his isolation and for what he has forfeited, what the ordinary man experiences every day, by telling him: “We are giving you a pension or an amount. Take your hat, old man, and go; you have done your duty.”
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Carletonville will forgive me if I do not seek to gild the lily by trying to emulate his poetic language in respect of both the oil discovery in Siberia to which we listened with enormous interest and, of course also his heart-felt plea on behalf of the mineworkers. I should like instead to continue with my own argument in regard to the gold-mining industry where I dealt with the two major problems now facing the industry, viz. the high increase in the working costs and the problems concerning labour.
We are all aware that in recent years and months problems have arisen in connection with the engagement of foreign labour. There have been problems in relation to Malawi, there have been further problems in relation to Lesotho, and certain problems are feared in connection with Mozambique. Sir, these are important sources of mine labour in South Africa, of that labour which has been so essential so far to the successful conduct of our gold-mining operations in South Africa. The mining industry has responded to the challenge, as it has so frequently done in the past, with the most imaginative efforts of research and development. The mining industry is going to spend something between R100 million and R150 million in the next 10 years to try to overcome the difficulties arising from the shortage of labour. This research and development programme will be the largest of its kind ever undertaken in the history of South Africa, and this is being done with a view to finding an answer to the difficulties which now threaten the mining industry in respect of labour.
The mining industry is making a three-pronged attack on the problem. The first is by mechanization, mechanization in the sense of creating machines which will work underground and to some extent do the hardest and most difficult work which is being done by human hands underground. Already, Sir, some remarkable inventions have taken place, photographs of which have appeared in the daily Press. The second object, Sir, is to create better working conditions underground. The hon. member for Carletonville spoke with feeling about the conditions to which the older miners became accustomed. It is most important, if we are to improve mine labour from resources available to us within South Africa itself so that we may be less dependent on foreign mine labour, that the working conditions themselves should be greatly improved.
A great deal of research is being done into methods of creating more comfortable, more modern and more civilized working conditions underground—another important contribution to the solution of the problem of mine labour. Thirdly, Sir, a great deal of attention is being given to the question of creating better working relations, better communications, better negotiating machinery, better wages and generally better conditions of employment for Black workers who come to work in the gold mines.
Sir, the mining industry envisages a sort of pyramid structure, in which the skilled workers, the responsible workers, the people who will carry a large part of the administrative load and the technical load, will in fact form the top part of this pyramid and will be stabilized in or around the mine areas by being granted permanent conditions of employment and housing, with their wives and families, in order that this section of the mine labour may be converted into a permanent and stable factor of our economy. In the lower half of the pyramid, they will probably continue for many years still with migrant labour—there is no alternative—but even in that sector an attempt will be made to stabilize labour by maintaining a degree of contact with workers, so that the skilled ones who have been trained may come back and resume employment and so forth.
One only hopes, Sir, that having regard to the enormous amount of effort that is being put into the preservation of our mining industry against the ravages of inflation and the threat of withdrawn labour, the Government will play its part by assisting the mining industry, in spite of perhaps obsolescent policies, to recognize the real need of these changes and these improvements in order that our very economy may in fact be maintained and safeguarded. We would be glad, Sir, to hear from the Minister in this regard.
In the short time available to me I should like to put a few more questions to the hon. the Minister. The first is in regard to oil. We have heard reports, firstly, that the search for oil on the land surface of South Africa has been virtually abandoned. If that is incorrect, we would be glad if the Minister would explain what the future programme is. Then, as regards the oil drills off the coast of South Africa, in the region which can be described broadly as the mouth of the Orange River, we have been informed that the Texaco Company proposes to leave the Esso-Swakor Consortium. I do not know whether this has yet happened. What has happened about the Getty Oil Company, which is also reported to have withdrawn; the Phillips Petroleum Company; and the Continental Oil Company which was said to be ready to withdraw last October? One reads these bits and pieces of information in the Press and one picks up odd pieces of information from other sources, but they do not form a coherent picture. We would be grateful if the hon. the Minister would to some extent take us into his confidence and tell us how he sees the oil-drilling picture and what the prospects are for South Africa.
Lastly, in the field of energy in general, once again, perhaps the fourth or fifth time since it is that I speak on this subject, I want to make an appeal to the hon. the Minister to try to do something about coordinating the various organizations, departments, councils and committees which have to do with the overall energy picture in South Africa. It is not possible for the energy problem as a whole to be dealt with successfully if it is in fact fragmented between a number of Ministers and departments and councils. In America and in many other countries they have set the example, in view of the importance and the urgency of the energy crisis, of creating a centralized administration where all these matters are co-ordinated.
There is, for example, in America the Energy Research and Development Administration, which commands an enormous budget for research, development and co-ordination. We still regret to see that in South Africa these various matters are dealt with by various Ministries. That hon. Minister, for example, deals with coal. He is largely responsible for the programme in respect of coal, but when it comes to extracting oil from coal it falls under another Minister. These are merely two obvious and simple examples of how our whole energy programme is fragmented. That hon. Minister is responsible for uranium and for atomic energy. Nevertheless we have Iscor contemplating the development of an atomic energy programme, and that matter does not fall under that Minister but under another Minister. So I could give numerous examples. This is no way to handle one of the most urgent and important problems of our time.
I think that we in South Africa must look at the matter more seriously, must co-ordinate it better and give real proof to this House and to the public outside that we are in earnest about this matter and that we know how to co-ordinate the many aspects of the energy problem and to bring them under one roof, under one head and under one guidance in order that we may show real progress, which so far has not been entirely evident in our approach to energy programmes.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to identify myself with what the hon. member said in connection with the various portfolios and branches of the Department of Mines. He could also have added the Fuel Research Institute, which is an anomaly to me as well. It should not be where it is at the moment, viz. under Economic Affairs. I think it is a matter which really belongs under the Minister of Mines. There is much to be said for the point made by the hon. member for Carletonville in connection with, a separate Ministry for Mines, because mining is the backbone of the country. People can say what they like, but it remains the economic backbone of the country, and in this connection I speak from experience. The hon. member for Von Brandis referred to the coal industry. I want to agree with everything he said in connection with, the coal industry. In fact, I want to add that if attention is not given to the coal industry, it is going to have serious repercussions. What I find strange about the coal industry, is that one has a fixed, controlled price for one’s product, while other aspects in this connection are not under control. One’s production costs may rise, but the price of coal has remained static for a long time. I think it is R5-40 a ton at the moment, and what does this mean? Elsewhere in the world I have heard of prices as high as R32 per ton of coal. To me this anomaly is alarming, and, with reference to the problems in the coal industry, and especially its marketing and export, I just want to add that this is a matter for a detailed inquiry by some body or other, because I foresee stagnation in the coal industry at some stage or other.
As regards the labour matters to which the hon. member referred, I am unable to see what better conditions can be created for our workers underground. In this connection I have considerable practical experience. Whenever I went with other people from abroad, I always found them to be most complimentary about the conditions created for our underground workers. To me this is very significant, especially if one has been abroad and one compares circumstances there to those of one’s own country. Then one does feel very proud of the fact that those conditions are not found in the underground works in South Africa. People from abroad have assured me that we can be very proud of that. The hon. member will have to specify where conditions are to be improved, because as I know the officials of our Department of Mines, they are out to see to it, wherever possible, that better conditions are constantly being created for our workers underground.
I found it somewhat embarrassing when the hon. member for Carletonville referred to my thesis of years ago. It reminded me of the time when the thesis of the hon. the Minister was also raised here at the time when he was still Deputy Minister of Bantu Affairs. I must say that my thesis may be of a more scientific nature, because it deals with factual matters. It is merely a report on objective observations. It is most interesting that the hon. member for Carletonville referred to it in pursuance of the annual report of Foscor.
Now, this brings me to the point the hon. member for Carletonville raised in connection with the search for oil. An oil congress has just taken place in the Far East. It was a world petroleum congress which was evidently attended by more than 6 000 delegates from various authorities and from far and wide. Virtually all the foremost oil experts were gathered there. There was an interesting report by one J. D. Moody, a well-known oil expert. He referred to certain aspects of future oil reserves and said, “The world’s fuel tank will be empty during the next 77 years.” What it amounts to if one reads between the lines of his report, is that the large oil reserves for the future will only be found in China and in the hinterland of Russia, i.e. Siberia. In the Western World only a small percentage of oil will be discovered. To me this was a very important report, and I have to point out to hon. members that we are justified in giving much more attention to our search for oil, to examine our energy resources and to expand our research work much more in this connection. In this respect I found it significant to have learnt from another source that the “United States Geological Survey will spend $246,7 million in the fiscal year 1975. This is $74 376 000 more than in 1974, with the increase aimed at strengthening the Survey’s ability to provide information and analyses on the land, its fuel, energy, minerals and water resources”. Now, compare this to the modest amount of R2½ million for Geological Survey here in South Africa. We always regard Geological Survey as an organization that should be there. The organization is always referred to only when there is a crisis or an emergency situation.
†I would like to show that the Geological Survey is not a crisis institution. It should be looked upon father as the authority which conducts a continuous research into the secrets of nature. It should be a continual process. When the Geological Survey asked to be granted in the 1959 Budget the amount of approximately R40 000 for the oil search it was considered to be redundant and consequently the money was refused. Today the situation in the world is of such a critical nature that we have to do everything in our power to promote research into all directions of possible energy resources.
*There is another matter in connection with Geological Survey to which I want to refer, especially in connection with South West Africa, viz. the question of statistics on the mining industry and the publication of the results of the research, work done by the various divisions of Geological Survey. Since 1966 hardly any publications of this body have appeared. Recently, however, I received a book from the pre-Cambrian unit of the University of Cape Town in which a magnificent geological map of an area in S.W.A. appears. This year a geological congress is to be held at Stellenbosch and several foreigners will read papers on that occasion. Publications also appear from geologists of large companies in South West Africa. In the past similar reports were published in respect of South Africa as well. At the moment nothing official is published on South West. I have already referred to this on a previous occasion. The bulletin of the University of Cape Town to which I referred is No. 17. Therefore, 16 others, on South West Africa, in particular, have been published. Geological Survey, however, publishes nothing. When one makes inquiries at Geological Survey, one is referred to open files, etc. Particulars in this regard cannot be obtained from the Government Printer. Some of the publications of 1939 are available, but the results of the work being done at the moment are not readily available. Any company taking options on mineral rights or having a concession in South West Africa, ensures that the published data on such an area is studied. If such information is available, it is easy to follow it up, and this consequently means a saving of manpower. At the moment an enormous amount of work is being done, but everything is put on the shelf and nothing is published. This really does cause a loss of manpower. In these times in which a shortage of manpower is being experienced, it is high time that the hon. the Minister and the department pay attention to this aspect. This is something which has a hampering effect on the industry, especially in South West Africa, as the annual reports of the various mining companies and all the necessary statistical data have to be traced with a great deal of difficulty so as to determine what is being produced in a certain region. Only then can the necessary planning be done. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Etosha made a very interesting and illuminating speech and I am sure that the hon. Minister will reply to it in full.
I should like to raise another matter here. The fights that took place last year between Black mineworkers at the Western Deep Levels Gold Mine at which 11 people were killed, are, according to a United Nations committee, entirely the fault of the South African Government. The United Nations committee concerned came to this conclusion on the basis of a journey to certain states in Africa undertaken by members of the committee, without a visit being made to South Africa or any Black state of which the mineworkers themselves were citizens. Surely that makes an absolute farce of this so-called investigation. But apart from that, the accusation is untrue as well. After all, we know that Xhosas, Zulus and Malawians do not fight each other about apartheid. On the contrary. They were fighting against each other precisely because there was no apartheid between them at our South African mines and because there were such major differences between them as regards tribal customs and practices. The very fact that there are such major differences in tribal customs and practices is the reason for the fight. The reason lies in the ethnic differences and the fact that there is no apartheid between the various ethnic groups. That is why there are circumstances at our mines which the agitators can turn to their advantage; circumstances which can be more than dangerous, even deadly, as became clear from the recent uprisings. It is so easy to lay the blame for these uprisings at the door of this Government and to blame the policy of separate development for riots which were sometimes intentionally fomented by agitators at our mines. It is time every interested party, and everyone who is really interested in peace and progress for Southern Africa and its people, began to grasp the true facts. In this regard I should like to express my utter condemnation of, and, in fact, my protest against the fact that hundreds of thousands of rands’ damage is being done to the property of our mines every time this violence breaks loose. When this happens there is no possibility of holding anyone responsible for it or recovering the damages from anyone. After all, when it happens it is easy to loot and to destroy. The riots which have occurred in recent times are no longer peaceful demonstrations relating to some grievance. They have consisted of violent action with the aim of causing serious disruption, chaos and damage which can border on sabotage of our mining industry. Why should this be so? After all, we are not dealing here with people who are serving prison sentences and hard labour in our mines, as is the case in Siberia. Surely they are voluntary workers who come to South Africa voluntarily from independent states and neighbouring states and who work voluntarily on the mines under favourable circumstances, with competitive salaries, and reasonable care is taken of them. Why, then, should they act like prisoners breaking down the place where they are kept prisoner, and loot and commit murder into the bargain. We simply cannot allow this to continue. That is why I am very grateful for the hon. the Minister’s announcement that he has appointed a commission of inquiry into this. I should like to express the hope that this commissioner’s report will be available soon.
What is more, it is a source of deep regret to me that our policemen—White and Black—have so often to expose themselves to danger and even reproachful criticism and that they also have to risk their lives to calm these bloodthirsty hordes, because that is precisely the emotional state which these agitators whip them up into. At the same time I want to express the greatest admiration for and appreciation of our policemen for their courage, discipline and sound judgment, but also for the fearlessness and bravery they have displayed on each of these occasions. Without these traits, which are characteristic of our policemen, together with their outstanding discipline, there would have been far greater loss of life. That is why it is cause for gratitude that a neighbouring state such as Lesotho should have recognized the fact that our policemen acted with sound judgment and discipline, and that if that had not been the case, there would have been far greater bloodshed. In the past, our mines have provided work for hundreds of thousands of citizens of Lesotho, and will continue to do so in the future. We appreciate the fact that Lesotho was prepared to make such a significant statement in public. Our enemies and critics would do well to take note of it, because that is precisely how our policemen acted during those riots. They did not act with the aim of intentionally shooting to kill, as was alleged by the United Nations Committee. As a preventative measure, to prevent a recurrence of this extremely unfortunate situation which occurs periodically at our mines, our Bantu mineworkers should be offered training. This should form part of their normal training at the mine schools. A course on the prevention and combating the riots must be offered. Our mines should also consider giving a bonus for a riot-free year which could coincide with a competition for an accident-free year, something which already exists at our mines. Such a bonus could then be paid to all Black mineworkers working during a given year at a mine where there had been no riots: This is a process of education which must be tackled quickly and purposefully by all interested parties. The riots at our mines must be eradicated root and branch, because it is in nobody’s interests that these unfortunate and also dangerous events should recur at our mines from time to time.
To conclude, hon. members would probably agree with me that no one in the financial, monetary, or political spheres has displayed greater confidence in gold as a currency than our highly respected State President when he was still our Minister of Finance, with the nickname of Mr. Gold. I should therefore like to see the biggest gold medallion which has ever been or will ever be struck in the history of South Africa, awarded to Mr. Gold, our highly respected State President, in appreciation for his services, and in appreciation for his confidence in gold at a time when virtually the entire world wanted to move away from gold. The dedication to gold which he displayed in his capacity as Minister of Finance did not disappoint him, and because it did not disappoint him it did not disappoint our industry or our economy either. I should like to see such an award being made to our State President.
Mr. Chairman, in the short space of time allocated to me, I want to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister to the accident and death rate on the mines. It seems strange that in spite of the present approach of the mine authorities and mine owners, in spite of the regulations which have been propounded and set in motion, in spite of the precautions which have been taken and in spite of the research work which is continually going on, we still find that the death rate and the accident rate is absolutely alarming. Over and above the accident rate, as we know—I am talking about serious accidents such as accidents which put people off work for at least 14 days or more—we still have a large number of deaths because of miners working in dusty atmospheres; in other words, doing risk work. I want to say at this stage that I am grateful to the Secretary for Mines for allowing me to see some of the figures for 1974, but I am afraid that these figures are not very satisfactory. In the year 1974 there were seven gold mines, two coal mines and one platinum mine which were absolutely accident-free. There were no deaths at those mines. That is a very high record. There were a million man-shifts which were taken into consideration at these mines and no accidents took place during these shifts. In the rest of the mining industry, however, we find that 791 persons died and 28 607 people were injured in accidents on the mines. If we work out these figures per thousand workers we find that for every 1 000 workers 1,19 persons died whilst 42,9 persons were injured in 1974. These are very, very high figures indeed. They show little if any improvement on the figures for previous years. This is in spite of all the money and all the research that has been done in this field. In the previous year, in 1973, 1,09 people per 1 000 died and 43,0 per 1 000 were injured in the mining industry. Let us see what was said in the annual report for 1973 of the Department of Mines. The report dealt with accidents on mines in years prior to 1973. I quote from page 15 of that report:
All of them together could not do anything to reduce the death and accident rate on the mines. The report went further:
Together with that, I want to quote from the report of the Stilfontein mine. Under the heading “Future prospects”, the report deals with the question of labour, a matter that has just been touched on. I quote from the report:
The following sentence is especially important:
Clearly, they are concerned here with production. I would be far happier if another line had been added to this paragraph to the effect that, with the anticipated improvements, the safety of the mineworker underground would be further ensured. I find it rather upsetting to read that they want to improve the conditions underground for production purposes. What about the mineworkers? Are they being forgotten? It is all very well to say you are spending this money, but I am concerned as to whether the direction that research work is taking is the right direction. How is it that year after year we find the same pattern of accidents taking place? Surely, there must be some way of bringing the high accident rate down. Why should 792 mineworkers be killed in a year? I think that that is dreadful. I think that, unfortunately, these people are not warned beforehand of what may happen to them. In addition to the deaths caused by accidents, there are also the deaths caused by the dusty atmosphere and so on. When one adds all these together, the figure runs into thousands. Can we go on like that? Can we have an industry in this country that brings thousands of millions of rands into our coffers while one still finds that the mineworker is subjected to these continual dangers year after year, month after month and day after day? Something must be done urgently in this connection and I look to the hon. the Minister to start taking a greater interest in this particular branch of the industry.
If one goes into a little more detail, what sort of accidents does one find taking place? One finds that in many cases the accidents could surely have been avoided, and in nine cases out of ten the accidents concerned caused multiple deaths. The report for 1973 of the Department of Mines also dealt with accidents in which six or more lives were lost. I refer to page 15 of that report. At a certain mine—
Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Chairman, that that type of accident could not have been avoided? Look at the danger to 2 500 persons underground through an accident of this kind. At another mine an overwind occurred on a winding plant. As a result five Bantu and one European were killed and two Bantu were injured. I quote from the report:
The winding plant on which the accident occurred … is not equipped with automatic retarding devices, and retardation must be effected manually by the winding engine driver. The winding engine driver admitted that he had fallen asleep and had failed to retard the winder.
There is no provision there for two men to look after something of this nature. This man was allowed to fall asleep. Why did he fall asleep? I would not mind betting pound to a shilling that this man had been working overtime for hours and hours.
That is not true.
That is what has been happening and we have got to try to avoid this thing. The hon. member for Johannesburg North says it is not true. I go by the report. If this report is wrong, then I want to ask the Secretary for Mines to investigate that allegation that has just been made.
I’ll take your bet of a pound to a shilling.
Right. When I look at the figures for the past ten years, I can find little or nothing that the mine management or anybody else for that matter has done to improve the position. As I say, the Secretary’s report gives us the figures for the past ten years. There is really very little improvement. At this stage I want to say that large sums of money must be set aside to provide for preventive measures to be taken. We cannot allow this sort of thing to carry on any longer. Let us see what has happened over the past ten years. In 1964, 1,23 persons per 1 000 were killed and 48.46 were injured. The position in 1974 had improved, but by how much? According to these figures, 1,19 persons per 1 000 were killed and 43,02 were injured. Moreover, in regard to the 1974 figures, we must take into consideration the improved conditions under which these people were supposed to be working.
They are also working at far greater depths nowadays.
I know they are working at a greater depth; that is the danger. Working at these greater depths they are subjected to all sorts of other dangers. What happens there? In the next report of the Department of Mines we will find that there will be more people suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke. We will also find that more people will have suffered because of the changes in regard to refrigeration that have had to be introduced. Modern refrigeration is of a far greater intensity than was previously the case. All these things are going to have their effect on the mineworker. During the discussion of the Labour Vote I said that man was being expected to adapt himself to the conditions which are now being created in order to produce one substance or another. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Rosettenville mentioned a most important matter, viz. the question of deaths and accidents in the mines. He made a most valuable contribution and I am sure the hon. the Minister will reply to him in this connection. I should just like to ask the hon. member for Rosettenville whether he has had the opportunity of examining the Mine and Works regulations. If he has had the opportunity, he will have realized that very strict regulations are laid down by the authorities which miners have to comply with. I think we should have another look at these regulations, especially in view of the fact that work is undertaken in the mines at a greater depth.
My subject is related to the subject of the hon. member for Rosettenville and is also, to a large extent, concerned with the interests of the miner. When President Kruger spoke on an occasion in 1886, when mining had just commenced in the Witwatersrand area, he referred to the lot of the miner with great concern even then. He expressed his concern about those people working in the belly of the earth and about those who would follow them. It is gratifying to know that the interests of miners today, 89 years later, enjoy high priority with our Government. This is also the case on the part of the hon. the Minister of Mines, who is always willing to consider matters referred to him. In this connection I speak from personal experience. I want to say that the hon. the Minister listens to the problems of miners with devoted attention. We are grateful to him for doing so. In the same breath I want to pay tribute to the Mineworkers’ Union as well as the fine co-operation existing between the Mine-workers’ Union and the Government. If these two parties, are not on good terms, the interests of the miner cannot be furthered. I think it is necessary and important that there should be a reference at this stage to this fine co-operation which can only be to the advantage of the miner.
However, I also want to mention with appreciation the work being done by the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases. When I was invited to pay this Bureau a visit, I must honestly say that it was an experience, a voyage of discovery to me to see what an enormous task this Bureau performs. If one considers that there are nearly a million files in respect of miners at this Bureau and that there are a further million files dealing with X-ray reports and that nearly 500 files are handled daily, one can imagine what an enormous amount of work is being done by this Bureau.
Although this work being done by the Bureau deserves great praise, there are, however, irritations I want to point out. In the first place I want to say that although the Bureau devotes an exceptional amount of time to the examination of miners, there are still complaints that these people are perhaps examined too perfunctorily in certain cases and that these peoples’ complaints are perhaps not listened to with the necessary interest. This may create the impression that the examinations are not as thorough as they really are. It could also be said, perhaps, that the examinations are not done in an atmosphere or in circumstances similar to the atmosphere and circumstances existing underground. A second complaint is that it often happens that people are not certified as suffering from any form of pneumoconiosis during their lifetime, but that it is in fact ascertained after death. Therefore it is interesting to read in the report of the bureau, on page 3, that a reason which should receive greater publicity is given for this condition. Here it is said—
It is good that this should be noted. It also is significant to note that the number of new certifications during the six months from 1 October 1973 to 31 March 1974 increased by 64,7%. This is the result, Sir, of a sympathetic application of a good Act. But we also need the co-operation of all these branches of the community for the advancement of the mining industry. We were grateful to learn that another increase in wages, which is going to cost approximately R16 million per annum, has been granted to miners.
I should also like to focus attention on the enormous shortage of mining engineers, metallurgists and geologists in South Africa. Prof. Von Biljon, professor in geology at the Rand Afrikaans University, gave it as his considered opinion that the shortage of geologists and mining engineers and metallurgists will become a greater crisis for our country than the oil crisis which is afflicting the world today. We know that only three countries in the world, i.e. the U.S.A., Canada and Australia, are food exporters. All the other countries import food to a greater or a lesser extent. Twenty-five years ago this was not the case. But the United States, a seller of food, has become a buyer of natural supplies. In 1970 the United States imported all its chrome, mica and tin, 90% of its aluminium, antimony cobalt, manganese and platinum, more than 50% of its asbestos, nickel and zinc and more than a third of its iron ore, lead and mercury. We here in South Africa, Sir, have untapped, nearly inexhaustible supplies of these raw materials available, but we do not have the manpower to capitalize them. Prof. Plewman suggests that South Africa will need no fewer than 80 university-trained mining engineers per annum for a vigorous mining industry up to the year 2000. The actual number has been only 15 per annum over the past 17 years. Sir, this is not a promising picture; it is not even enough to compensate for natural losses. As far as metallurgists are concerned, the requirement is 50 per annum and for geologists and geophysicists it is 20 to 30 per annum. The total number of these people employed by the Government sector and private industry and those who are self-employed are as follows: Metallurgists 52, geologists 227, geophysicists 14. For this reason, Sir, we have great appreciation for the work being done in this connection by the SABC, the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut, the National Institute for Metallurgy, the Chambers of Mining and the universities, but it is the task of every South African to propagate this cause, especially in the high schools. Sir, I just want to refer briefly, as far as the universities are concerned, to the good work that has been done in connection with the Phoenix project. I have here in front of me the programme of the University of Pretoria’s effort as from Sunday, 20 April to Friday, 25 April. This was the fourth project of its kind and the first project that had been undertaken by an Afrikaans university for Afrikaans science teachers. Eighteen teachers attended this project. They were split into three groups of six and were actively assisted and instructed by the staff of the university. They listened to lectures on the mineral riches of South Africa, research in connection with metallurgy and mineral processing, etc. Sir, this is a long-term project, but in Britain this Phoenix project gave excellent results, and we trust that it will have the desired effect here in South Africa too. [Time expired.]
The hon. member for Brakpan made an excellent, positive contribution and also referred to various deficiencies, in respect of which matters could possibly be improved, and to which the hon. the Minister will undoubtedly give his attention. Sir, yesterday and the day before we had an agricultural debate in which we were able to take cognizance of problems in agriculture but at the same time could note with appreciation that the situation as regards agricultural production was favourable. I want to maintain this afternoon that we in the Republic of South Africa are just as fortunate as regards both our minerals and our mining industry.
South Africa’s mineral wealth is its most important natural resource. In fact, South Africa is dependent on the mining industry for more than 60% of its earnings in foreign exchange. Our soil is one of the richest sources of minerals in the world. It is interesting to note that although we only have 6,8% of the world’s surface and the population of the Republic of South Africa comprises only 0,5% of the world population, the Republic, after the U.S.A. and Canada, is the biggest producer of minerals in the free world. As far as production is concerned, South Africa is the biggest producer of a number of minerals, including the following: Gold, gem diamonds, platinum, antimony, chrome, manganese and vanadium. Furthermore South Africa is also the second biggest producer of asbestos, the third biggest producer of uranium, the fifth biggest producer of tin, the sixth biggest producer of nickel, the seventh biggest producer of copper and the eighth, biggest producer of lead. It is also important for us to know whether we have large reserves, apart from what we have produced in the past.
Now, it is very encouraging to know that South Africa also has vast reserves of many of these important minerals. South Africa has large reserves. Only gold and diamonds have been exploited to a reasonable extent thus far, but the peak of mineral production in the Republic is still a long way off. When we compare our reserves with the known reserves throughout the world, we find that we are exceptionally fortunate. The Republic possesses a very large percentage of the known reserves.
For example, we find that we in South Africa have 70% of the known gold reserves of the world, chrome, 74%; platinum, 80%; and our iron ore is virtually inexhaustible. The soil of the Republic of South Africa contains 30% of the world’s uranium. Next to the U.S.A., we have the biggest reserves of uranium. We have the biggest reserves of vanadium, crocidolite, amosite asbestos, vermiculite, fluorspar and gem diamonds in the world. We have the biggest reserves in Africa of coal, antimony, titanium and zirconium. I believe that we do not always estimate these exceptional assets we possess at their full value, particularly if we also take into account these minerals which have not been exploited to any large extent. One example of these is chrome.
It is known that South, Africa’s reserves of exploitable chrome are more valuable than all the gold and the diamonds and the platinum that have ever been exploited up to now or that will probably ever be exploited in the future. Dr. William Bleloch found, inter alia, that there were more than 4 000 tons of exploitable chrome at a vertical depth of 1 500 metres; that by using ferro-nickel for the exploitation of chrome, about 200 000 tons of chrome nickel steel could be produced annually which, at present prices, could be worm R250 million per annum. For the same reason, chrome and chrome vanadium steel could become the steel which, it would be to our best advantage to export.
These tremendous reserves and assets we possess in regard to minerals also involve a major responsibility for the Government. Now it is known that the mineral resources of Europe, Britain and Japan are virtually exhausted. This therefore places a trump card in the hand of the Republic of South Africa, In order to utilize these minerals and this trump card to the full, however, it is necessary for us to have the necessary manpower as well. The biggest single problem as far as our exploitation and these fine reserves we possess, are concerned, is still the acute shortage of skilled labour. In my opinion, therefore, what the mine owners and the Government must do is deal with the mine-workers in such a way that they will be happy in their work from day to day and that they will feel safe as well. The fear among the White employees that their work is in danger, however unfounded it may be, cannot be reasoned away or ignored. In fact, it is known that Black workers are at present doing work which was previously done by White workers only. This, of course, is owing to a lack of the necessary White labour.
However, in view of the circumstances I have briefly sketched, I do think it is necessary for certain steps to be taken by the Government and by the mine owners as well, and I want to mention a few of these steps. In the first place, I believe that all Whites must be trained and developed to carry out the advanced management functions. However, it is of importance, too, that the mineworker should declare himself to be prepared to accept the greater responsibility and devote his full talents to mining and the exploitation of our rich mineral resources. It is necessary, too, that the Black employees develop in their present posts, so that their labour and abilities, too, may be utilized to the maximum. In the third place, I believe that technical research should be expedited in order to develop mining methods which will make the work more attractive to the mineworker and make mining, in general, less labour intensive as well. I believe, too, that owing to the manpower shortage, mechanization should be expedited so that in that way, too, labour may be saved. It is also important to me that the White and Black employees be combined into an efficient labour force in order that efficiency may be increased and the maximum productivity achieved in that way.
It is clear that there are three partners in the mining industry, namely the mine owners, the mineworkers and the Government. It is very clear that all three partners benefit from the mining industry. It is true that the mine owners strive to get the biggest profit, and certainly we cannot take it amiss of them for doing so, as long as it is not done at the expense of the employees and our country. It is pleasing, too, to know that there is a good relationship between the Government and the mine owners and, on the other hand, between the mine owners and the employees, too, and that a great deal is achieved through negotiations.
On the other hand, the Government profits greatly from our mineral wealth and our mining. It gives our Government exceptional bargaining power. In addition, the Government often mentions, with the greatest appreciation, the work done by the mineworker. The Government is aware of the difficult working conditions and it is therefore gratifying to know that our hon. Minister has an open heart as far as the problems of the mineworkers are concerned. Because this is the case, it is often with regret that I learn of certain people having behaved irresponsibly when addressing mineworkers. I am referring specifically to a speech made by a very well-known person before the general council of the Mine Workers’ Union on 28 and 29 January of this year. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I have listened with interest to the hon. member for Virginia and I enjoyed his guided tour around the Aladdin’s Cave in which we are fortunate enough to find ourselves in this country. I also agree with a great deal of what the hon. member had to say about the treatment of workers and for the necessity of a good relationship between the Government, the management of the mines and the workers. I hope that the hon. member will excuse me if I leave that over until I deal with the gold-mining industry.
I would like to make two other remarks before I come back to the topic of this particular speech. One is that I cannot agree with the hon. member for Parys in regard to what he described as the causes of the tragedy at Western Deep Level. Of course we regret it deeply but we cannot subscribe to what he thinks the causes were. In regard to the hon. member for Rosettenville, we simply say that in so far as we are concerned, we are by no means satisfied with regard to the level of safety. Money, of course, is not an object when it comes to the safety of miners. I would direct him to the fact that our record of safety on the mines in South Africa, as the hon. the Minister will be aware, compares very favourably with, that in the United Kingdom, the United States of America or in Russia.
Who are “we”?
We on these benches and in other capacities and if you cannot work that one out, you are more stupid than I thought you were.
I would like to come back to a question which was touched on in a variety of ways by the hon. members for Carletonville, Etosha and Von Brandis. This is the question of energy. There are three important elements in the generation of energy, namely uranium, coal and oil. I would like to address myself primarily, in the first instance, to the question of coal. The hon. the Minister will be fully aware that this spills over with implications into other fields. In reply to a question put to the hon. the Minister on 8 April 1975 whether the Commission of Inquiry into the Coal Mining Industry had completed its report and, if so, when the report would be laid on the Table, he stated that the report had been completed, that it was being roneoed for preliminary submission to him, whereafter the translation and printing thereof would receive urgent attention and finally, that as soon as the report came to hand the Government would decide on the tabling thereof. That was fair enough at the time, but I would like to ask the hon. the Minister whether in his reply he will tell us in view of the urgency he himself attached to it, and rightly so, where we now stand. Has the report been put into the hands of the Cabinet, have they considered it and have they made their decision as to whether it will be tabled or not? The reason we ask is that the present and future development and welfare of our coal-mining industry are questions of great importance to all of us who live in this land in a strategic sense firstly, in its potential to earn foreign exchange through exports and secondly, in practice it is also the primary source of the generation of electricity which warms so many people and which drives our industries. In those circumstances all of us would want to know that the state of such a basic resource is healthy and, equally important, that the Government will take appropriate action now and as and when required to keep it in the best possible condition, at least until the last decade of this century when it is likely that it will be phased out from its pre-eminence as a source of energy.
There are a number of aspects in regard to our coal mines which I would like to touch on. Firstly, as the hon. the Minister will be aware, we are indeed fortunate that at the present time we have an overall abundance of proven reserve of this natural resource as well as the potential to increase these reserves. It is of course true that this is not the case to the same degree in so far as good quality low cost cooking coal is concerned, which is naturally of particular importance to Iscor, but even here it may be possible to overcome that shortage to a considerable extent by the development of export markets for steam coal with the production of washed fractions. I will come back to the question of exports a little later.
Much has also been said, and rightly so, of the fact that we have been particularly fortunate in that our reliance on oil is only to the extent of some 25%. The corollary therefore is that coal supplies other the 75 % of our energy requirements. This is true, but it is no use sitting back and simply expressing satisfaction if we do not take steps, as I have said, to maintain this industry in first class health. There has been and is, as I am sure the hon. the Minister is aware, growing evidence of the development of a shortage in supply in the domestic market. This has been particularly true on the Witwatersrand and in Natal. Confirmation of this was given by the hon. the Minister of Transport in reply to a question whether there were any shortages of trucks for the conveyance of coal and anthracite from collieries to the various distribution points, when he replied:
Those problems may have been temporary and may now have been overcome, but they are surface implications of what can and will become a problem of the utmost gravity unless the Government takes remedial action. We have said that South Africa has more than ample reserves to supply domestic needs and to develop a lucrative export market. Why then are the problems of supply for domestic consumption beginning to surface? Why is there a developing preference for the export market? The answer is simple and the hon. the Minister knows it: It is the price. The coal mining industry is, of course, subject to price control and as a result prices have been kept down, below the level which would otherwise prevail and which indeed prevail elsewhere in the world. Hence the understandable attraction to export rather than to supply the domestic market. Let us leave aside the question of price control itself. On that question I suspect that the hon. the Minister and I will disagree. I want to put it to him, however, that it is imperative that the prices for coal be raised to the level which will permit the producer to earn reasonable profits for his shareholders and to allow the industry to equip itself for expansion both to meet the increasing domestic demand and to take advantage of the potential markets overseas. The hon. the Minister will also be aware that in one sense the coal-mining industry always has been, and still is, a poor relation in comparison with the gold-mining industry. That is certainly true as far as profitability is concerned. At the same time it cannot stand apart from developments on the gold mines in particular, and less directly from commerce and industry. The hon. the Minister will be aware that the wage gap between the coal-mining industry and the gold-mining industry cannot be allowed to widen. That in itself has rightly involved very substantial increases. Wages have already quadrupled, and by the end of this year they will have increased fivefold since the beginning of the free market for non-monetary gold. However, its employee facilities, such as hostels, etc., are not of the same standard. As a result of lower profitability it has not yet reached the degree of mechanization which the coal industry can still achieve and which the gold industry cannot. Very large sums of money will be required to put matters right, not only to develop the new mines that will be required to meet the requirements of Escom, Iscor and the domestic market, but also to maximize the opportunity to earn very large amounts of foreign exchange, not to mention the production of oil from coal. At the same time very large sums will be required to renovate and modernize the mines at present in operation so that the process of declining production can be arrested and efficiency can be maximized. There is the added advantage in the method of strip mining in that it permits a far higher degree of extraction. To achieve all that—and it is within our power to do so—a much more realistic or higher price is required. Admittedly the additional cost will have to be borne by the purchasers. This should, however, be seen in context. The Prime Minister has stated that the oil import bill in 1974 was R700 million more than in 1973. The pithead price of coal, certainly in the Transvaal and the Orange Free State, the principal markets —even after the latest increase last month— is around R4-50 per ton as compared to international producer prices of around R30 per ton. The hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs in replying to a question on Friday, 21 March, stated that the total domestic consumption of coal in South Africa in 1974 was about 62 million tons. He said that 12,8 million tons were used by private consumers and 48,9 million tons were used by public bodies. To raise the price of coal to say R5-50 or R6 a ton, from the present price of R4-50 per ton, would cost from R22 million to R33 million. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Johannesburg North has asked the Minister to remove price control on coal. I find it very interesting that the hon. member for Johannesburg North is asking for relief as far as the price of coal is concerned because the price control on coal has a direct effect on the lower income groups. The hon. member for Orange Grove made a terrific fuss about the increase in the prices of certain agricultural commodities.
I am not finished yet.
Oh, you are not finished yet. I am very pleased that the hon. member has learned to speak Afrikaans in the meantime. I just wanted to show him the courtesy of addressing in a language which he could understand. I hope that he will rectify the statement which he made on the removal of price control on coal. Such a step will hit the lower income groups in South Africa extremely hard. In addition, if I understood him correctly, the hon. member said—he did not say what the reason was—that he did not agree with the hon. member for Parys in regard to the events which occurred in the compounds of specific mines. I want to tell him that if he should say what the reason was, I trust that it is not the same reason that was furnished by the U.N., for if that were the case we would have exchanged harsh words in this House this afternoon.
In my opinion, the mining industry in South Africa is the finest industry in the country. I also believe that it is an industry of which every citizen in the country ought to be proud. I think there is a deficiency in this respect in that our people in this House and the people outside do not fully realize what the value of this industry is to South Africa’s future. If one considers the statistics and the contribution to the gross national product in the year 1948, you will see that the contribution of the mines amounted to R262 million. In 1964 the contribution was R1 000 million and ten years later, in 1974, it was R4 000 million. In 1974 the real increase as far as the mining industry was concerned, was 36%. This is an exceptional achievement, and I want to make it very clear today that the mining industry in South Africa is not a static industry. When minerals are mined from the earth, they cannot be replaced as we replace maize by planting it and harvest another crop the next year. When gold is removed from the earth, it is removed permanently and it can never be replaced. What we ought to be exceptionally proud of is the fact that we have no fewer than 65 different varieties of minerals in South Africa, which can be fully utilized for the expansion and development of the economy of this country. Let us consider the mining industry in its correct perspective, and let us see what is happening in certain areas of the Republic. Recently, wonderful discoveries were made in the North Western Cape, so much so that the prospects are that the value of the minerals which will be exploited there before the end of the decade will not be less than R1 000 million per annum. This is an achievement, particularly when we compare our mineral wealth with countries such as the USA, which already has to import 50% of its mineral requirements, the European Common Market Countries, which have to import between. 70% and 100% of their requirements, and Japan which has to import virtually 100% of its mineral requirements. If we take this into consideration then the nurturing of the mining industry in South Africa is the key to the future. The mining industry has to be nurtured in this sense that we should attempt in all earnest to make capital formation possible not only for the exploitation of the minerals, but also for the enrichment and the processing of those minerals. This capital formation should take place on a sound basis. I have unshakeable confidence that our economic future can be closely geared to the processing of minerals. If we consider uranium and our wonderful uranium enrichment process, then we have to take cognizance of the fact that this process is far cheaper in this country than in any other country in the world. This is an achievement of which each and every South African ought to be proud. If we are able one day to share our wealth with well-disposed Western countries—once again I am stating this hypothetically—we could also be of assistance in solving the energy problems of other countries. Economic ties, economic integrity and economic stability require that other countries should have respect for us. I foresee that the mining industry will go from strength to strength in future, despite one of our greatest problems, namely the instability of prices. This is closely tied up with economic recessions in other countries. As soon as an economic recession occurs in the USA we also experience a local drop in prices, for example in the platinum price. I maintain however, that the platinum price will recover fully. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Rustenburg was discussing such an interesting subject that I should have liked to let him continue, but I think the hon. the Minister will probably have the opportunity to reply to him in that regard and to go into more detail.
When we discuss the exploitation and utilization of mineral resources, we find three schools of thought. Firstly one gets the optimists, like the hon. member for Etosha—with whom I agree—who has scientific training and who believes that every community has the resources with which to fulfil its own requirements. Then one gets pessimists like the hon. member for Bryanston, who thinks that what we have here is a diminishing asset, that we are exploiting it in a wasteful fashion and that the result will be that the world will eventually go to rack and ruin. Thirdly, one gets the practical people who have to do with the exploitation of the mineral resources. We are living in a time of change. I believe that it is chiefly owing to the policy of this Government that we no longer have in the position we were in about 10 years ago when our mining industry could depend on cheap labour. Developments in Africa have made it doubtful whether we shall be able to continue to obtain labour as we have done in the past. Until recently we have been drawing 70% of our Bantu labour from areas outside South Africa. In my opinion it is to the credit of the mining industry that they have been able to continue producing on the same large scale with 70% of their normal supply Black labour. In the report on our mineral resources, to which reference has been made, we read that in 1974, gold to the value of R2 616 865 000 was produced, as against a yield of R208 698 423 in the third quarter of 1973.
Since we have a labour problem in the mining industry, the Chamber of Mines, as the hon. member for Von Brandis pointed out earlier, has come up with a programme to convert this labour-intensive industry into a capital-intensive industry. An amount of R150 million was set aside for this purpose. Now we are faced with the problem that if we were to convert from a labour-intensive industry to a capital-intensive industry, we should need more specialized people, particularly engineers. Unfortunately we find that in 1974, the number of students at all our universities was as follows: 15 metallurgists, 15 mining engineers and three mine geologists—a total of 33. The number of third-year students enrolled at the universities for these three courses is 24, whereas there are only 19 second year students. It is very clear, therefore, that whereas our requirements are going to increase in the future, there is a definite deterioration in the situation as regards the number of students at our universities. The number of students at the 12 Government training colleges was 671 in 1974 as against 1 053 for 1972. Thus in this case, too, there has been a gradual deterioration. These problems must be tackled somehow. It is true that an intensive recruitment campaign has been launched. The radio and the Press are assisting in this regard and there is even advertising in the schools to inspire interest among our young boys in this important industry. However, there is another problem as well. As the demand for engineers and scientists amounts in our mining industry and our manufacturing industries, more and more qualified; teachers are being drawn from our schools. In fact, that is where our problem starts, namely at the school, at the basic training of the child which must prepare him for his university training. Whereas the mines spend about R20 million annually on direct training of White workers and have voted R150 million for the new programme, one wonders whether a method could not be found to make a contribution in regard to the teacher in the so-called scarce subjects, namely mathematics and the natural sciences. Possibly a contribution could be made in order to afford financial assistance to the teachers who are interested in and have an aptitude for this field, to qualify themselves further. Even more important is the necessity to assist in order to provide, the teachers with the necessary aids for the training of the young boys. It is true that the mines contribute enormously to the schools in their areas. However it is not only in those schools but in our other schools as well that children are trained to eventually occupy these important posts, and perhaps it is possible that they could make a more effective contribution in this field.
It is imperative, too, that the workers in the mines be made as happy as possible. We are grateful that in recent times, substantial benefits have been made available for them, not only through legislation, but also by the mines themselves as far as salaries for Whites and non-Whites are concerned. Where a mine develops, other development must also take place immediately. For example, houses must be made available immediately to the new workers who come to that specific area. However, in the process we are inclined to build a rather uniform house for the Whites which only fulfils his basic requirements in part, with the result that the worker is never really interested in actually owning that house. Furthermore, these houses are made available to the workers at such a low rental that as long as they work there, there is no motivation to purchase the houses. The time has come for the mining companies to give attention to the question of building better houses and motivating the mineworkers to buy their houses so that they may become permanent inhabitants of that area. In general, the mineworker is an asset to the community he lives in. What we should like to see is the family, when the breadwinner is no longer there, being able to remain there and take an interest in the community they live in. 1 600 White employees of this mine live in the mining area in my constituency, near Western Deep Levels. Only 4% of them, viz. 64 out of 1 600 possess their own houses. One day, I happened to ask the mining group whether they could not paint the houses different colours since they were so uniform in design. The reply was, “You can choose any colour you like—as long as it is white.” [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the extra three minutes and I thank the hon. member for Johannesburg North for having agreed to this. I made the statement that the fluctuation in prices causes instability in the mining industry in so far as minerals are concerned. I mentioned platinum as an example, because I am directly concerned with that industry. It takes a great deal of capital to start a mine. Workers have to be attracted to the mine, and then there is an economic recession in America which is followed by a drop in the price of minerals. Sir, I feel that South Africa must accept the challenge of the future and cause mineral exploitation to take place on a large scale here, but I fully believe that whereas America has to import 50% of its minerals and the countries of the European Economic Community have to import between 70% and a 100% of their minerals—and I mentioned Japan, too— a contractual connection between these countries and South Africa will have to be formed on some basis to stabilize the price of minerals. Sir, my time has expired.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Rustenburg mentioned the question of the price of gold in relation to those mines which are in the poorer bracket. I shall come back to that in a minute. The hon. member for Losberg mentioned the special problems which arise in the mining industry because of our heavy dependence on foreign labour, and I would like to come back to that as well in the course of my speech. Sir, when my time expired I was pointing out to the hon. the Minister that to raise the coal price to a level which would encourage expansion and ensure the maintenance of the present level of production would cost of the order of R22 million to R33 million if one assumes a consumption of some 22 million tons in the domestic commercial market. In so far as the public corporations and other users are concerned, it has been estimated that the cost of coal and electric power to our country is less than 3% of their total costs. Sir, we certainly would not deny that the figure of R22 million to R33 million for the commercial market—let us take the larger figure—is a significant figure, particularly in the light of the present rate of inflation, but to our mind this must be seen —and I hope that the hon. the Minister will see it in the same way—against the increased cost of oil and as a reasonable price or insurance policy to keep our country, now and in the future, in the fortunate position in which it now finds itself. Special measures could also be taken to leave the price of coal used by Black and Brown South Africans at or near its present level. Sir, I know that the hon. member for Von Brandis has already mentioned the question of split responsibility. I know that the hon. the Minister is not responsible for the price of coal, but as he is responsible for the mining industry I hope he will give his support to this plea to look after the health of the coal-mining industry because, as I have said, the alternative is to forfeit both the security and the foreign exchange that the coal-mining industry could and would otherwise give us in this country.
Mr. Chairman, I should like now to turn to the question of the gold-mining industry in South Africa. The second half of 1974 and the first quarter of this year have served to re-emphasize and underline yet again the importance of gold to our economy. Indeed, in one way or another its impact has in fact been reinforced by the realization and the recognition that for the current health of our economy, let alone for the growth of our economy, we now need to realize a very much higher price for gold than would have served even in the comparatively recent past. It is comforting or reassuring, therefore, to know that there appears to be the prospect, at least in the short-term future, of a relatively narrow range in the fluctuation in price of gold. Sir, this possibility arises on the one hand from the decision of the French Government to revalue the official reserves of gold held by that country at $170,40 and, on the other hand, the sales of bullion by the general services administration of the United States. One auction has already occurred in the past and they have announced another and indicated that there may be more in the future. This action of the American Government appears to be designed to keep the price at or below $200, if not, to put a finer motive to it, to depress the price of gold. If that is how it turns out in practice, Sir, then at least for some time we can expect the price of gold to fluctuate between much narrower margins than was the case last year. In the longer term it is important to note that we still have with us the same economic and political uncertainties, the problem of inflation, the threats of war in the Middle East, the oil crisis and international monetary and financial instability, and therefore there is no reason to believe that the denigrators of gold will have any greater success in the future than they have had with their efforts in the past to discourage investment or speculation in the metal. As the Americans and those who support them see the position, they may be able for an interim period to contain the situation, but as of now we can see no reason for remaining other than cautiously optimistic that people will continue to put their trust in gold rather than in politicians. Sir, the hon. the Minister is, of course, fully aware of the expansion which is already under way in our gold-mining industry. We think, for example, of the launching of Elandsrand, of Deelkraal and of the expansion at Free State Saaiplaas as some of the projects which have already been announced and are already underway. Sir, huge sums of money are required not only in this sphere, but in the other spheres of our economy in the years to come, and I hope therefore that the hon. the Minister will consider this matter with an open mind and recommend to his colleague, the Minister of Finance, a relaxation in the exchange control regulations in respect of new capital coming to this country to subscribe for equity capital. I do not think it can be denied or gainsaid that if this relaxation were allowed, certainly in so far as a subscription for new equity capital was concerned, overseas investors would have a much greater incentive than they have at present to invest here if after a reasonable period, as is implicit in my suggestion, they were allowed to sell their shares and remit the proceeds. As the position now stands, they normally receive blocked rand, which is a comparative disadvantage, or which at least makes more complex the ownership of South African securities by a foreign investor as opposed to the ownership of securities elsewhere. As I say, the Government could restrict this relaxation in the first instance to new capital. We naturally appreciate that the Government would want to protect the financial strength of our economy and of our country and would certainly wish to minimize the possibility of any run On the reserves through such a device at a time awkward to them, but if a balance could be struck along these lines, then I would recommend to the hon. the Minister that it would greatly enhance the chances of attracting the future capital requirements not only for the gold-mining industry but, indeed, for all the other very substantial investments.
Sir, I would like to turn to the question of the supply of labour to our mining industry, more particularly on the gold mines. Obviously this is a matter of the utmost importance not only now for our present mines but for the future expansion not only of the gold mines, but for future expansion elsewhere as in the North-Western Cape, for example. This matter cannot be seen as a separate issue from the wages offered by industry and commerce in South Africa. Sir, whatever faults could be laid at the door of the gold mining industry in the past—and it was by no means perfect— the recent progress, taking into account the fact that this is a continuing programme, is very encouraging. Since the price of gold floated from the official price of $38,50 and was allowed to find its own level, it has increased fourfold and now stands a $165. Wages in the same period have actually risen by 440%, and it can indeed be anticipated that that process will continue. Let us be clear about this, there is still some way to go before they will be comparable with those prevailing in commerce and industry. We must realize and it must be recognized that we are dealing with a moving target, because wages in commerce and industry do not stand still either; they are rising as well.
The hon. the Minister will no doubt recall that I pointed out last year that the long-term answer for us in South Africa is to move to the situation where, if possible or to the greatest extent possible, our requirements for labour are met from within our own borders, together with Lesotho which is included for the purpose of this definition. It is encouraging to be able to give the following figures which relate to 30 April this year and can be compared with those of 31 March 1974. For that year, to 31 March 1974, the principal source of labour was 33% from Malawi, 26% from Mozambique, 22% from Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and only 20% from South Africa. The corresponding figures for 30 April this year show that South Africa is now the largest source of labour with 31%, followed by Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho with 28%, Mozambique with 25% and Malawi with 15%. Three points need to be made about the present figures. Firstly, let us be grateful and thankful for a very significant rise in the percentage of our own people. It is still not the ideal, but it is a very significant increase over the period of twelve months. Secondly, they highlight that no solution has been found in so far as the continued independence of the gold-mining industry on labour from Mozambique is concerned. Thirdly, it has to be noted that the actual standard complements on the mines have been reduced by 10%, so that the percentages which I have quoted are of a smaller total. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I am rising to draw the attention of this House to the mineral potential of our Bantu homelands and to the significance which its exploitation already has, and may also have in future for the economies of those homelands. Sometimes criticism is levelled at and questions put on the viability of many of our homelands. There are many factors determining the viability of our homelands. The primary fact is probably that all of them have been endowed with excellent to good agricultural land, with a high to average rainfall. This is probably one of the most essential factors in determining the viability of any state or young country. Of additional concern to our homelands is probably the fact that they are all bounded or surrounded by a good neighbouring state, viz. the Republic of South Africa, on whom they could, economically, probably lean very heavily in future if there is sound co-operation, which we expect and anticipate.
I want to point out that a large variety of minerals is present in most of our Bantu homelands. I also want to refer to the contribution which this is already making to strengthening the economies of those countries—as I have already mentioned. We think here for example of Lebowa and Bophuthatswana, which at this stage definitely have more extensive mining projects than most African states to the north of us. The Bantu Mining Corporation has already, for quite a number of years, been acting as an agent for the Bantu Trust in respect of mining development, and is already well established. Prospecting and mining rights are being granted on an agency basis, and promising progress is being made. The rich mineral belt which stretches from the Northern Transvaal to the Northern Cape, extends over a very large area of some of our North Western Transvaal and Northern Cape homelands, which have great mineral potential.
But let us consider for a moment the mineral deposits which occur, and which are already being processed, and which are already making a considerable contribution to the economy of the revenue of these homelands. From Lebowa we have, over the three-year period from 1971 to 1973, had a total revenue of R37,946 million, and this was increased in 1974 to R21,202 million, in one year. This indicates that progress has been made and that there is a promising growth rate, which is proved by the fact that last year the revenue produced was more than half as much again as the aggregate for the previous three years. The minerals which are inter alia being mined in Lebowa, according to the figures for 1974, are: Andalucite, 44 506 tons, which gives them a revenue of R1,504 million: asbestos, 93 000 tons, yielding R16,473 million; chrome 196 300 tons yielding R2 727 000.
In addition there is magnesite, and we also know that scattered platinum deposits occur, which could still be exploited. Another Bantu homeland with numerous deposits is Bophuthatswana, which in the same period, from 1971 to 1973 made mineral sales to an amount of R19,000 million, and which in 1974 alone earned an amount of R13,019 million in this way. This consisted of asbestos sales yielding R2,250 million, chrome yielding R482 000, manganese yielding R1,032 million, granite yielding R3,373 million and limestone yielding R1,6 million. So I could continue to furnish statistics for the other homelands as well, but I do not think this is necessary. Perhaps I could also refer to Vendaland with an income of R1.523 million, Gazankulu with R352 292, and KwaZulu with R1.570 million. These amounts may appear to be small in comparison with South African’s mining revenue, but it is definitely a considerable revenue for the homeland governments. In addition the mining activities are an important source of labour for their own workers within their own homelands, and if they avail themselves of the opportunity of training their own people there and incorporating them in their own mining industry, it could mean a great deal to them, and if they were in future to concentrate on exporting the refinable low-grade ore in a refined form, you could understand that their revenue would increase, while the labour opportunities for their people would also be far greater.
In general, mining in South Africa has over the years meant a great deal to the Bantu. If we consider that since 1886, when gold was discovered, tremendous development has taken place, and consider the labour market which our mining industry has created in South Africa for the unskilled Black labourer, even in Southern Africa, and if we take cognizance of the millions of rands these labourers have been able to send back to their families to keep them alive in difficult times, then it becomes clear what the mining industry has meant to the Black man. Statistics prove that in 1970 a total of 556 800 Bantu were working in our mining industry, this is 14,4% of the economically active Bantu of the Republic of South Africa. If they are at present earning an average salary of approximately R80 per month, it means that they are earning an amount of R533 760 000 every year, which they are able to send to their families to be ploughed back again into their homelands. [Time expired.]
The hon. member for Marico made a very interesting and positive contribution on the mineral resources of the homelands. This is certainly of great importance, but I think the hon. member will pardon me if I do not take it any further now. Sir, I, as a former manual labourer in Iscor, an industry which now falls under the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act, Act No. 78 of 1973, and as a person who has many mineworkers in his constituency, and who counts many mineworkers among his friends, am very annreciative when our extremely competent Minister of Mines discuss mining and the mineworker with so much insight, enthusiasm and conviction that it almost makes agriculture look like a Dot-bellied pet calf. I say I appreciate this and I want to tell the hon. the Minister that the mineworkers also appreciate it. I have great respect and appreciation and I am certain the Government does, too, for the responsible and disciplined manner in which the mineworkers trade unions are co-operating with the Government to the benefit of our country. In this regard I want to refer to only one aspect.
†On 25 April 1975, a joint statement was issued by the Chamber of Mines and the Council of Mining Unions in regard to salary increases, inter alia, as follows:
*This is discipline, and we have appreciation for it. I should like to ask the hon. Opposition, and here I include these half-formed retrogressives, who are so fond of saying: “Leave the sports policy to the sportsmen”, and that the control of pornography and newspapers should be left to the “writers and publishers”, and the control of students at universities to the “university authorities”, why they do not then want to leave work reservation in the competent hands of the Mineworkers’ Union? Of course I know what the answer is, and so do the mineworkers. They know what to do with these retrogressives.
Nowhere is the high price which the Government sets on promoting and protecting the interests of the mineworkers better demonstrated than by Act 78 of 1973. When one goes into the history of this kind of legislation since 1948, with all the statutory amendments and the various commissions of inquiry, parliamentary as well as scientific, until one reaches the great milestone, namely Act No. 78 of 1973, one sees very clearly implicit in this the extent to which this National Party Government is in earnest about promoting and protecting the interests of the mineworker. In the period from I October 1973 when this Act came into operation, and the present, we have had time to gain experience, and it would perhaps be a good thing if we were now to pause and consider how it operates, and whether there are any snags in it. Time does not allow me to go into this matter in depth, but I should first like to make a general and irrefutable statement: This Occupational Diseases in Mines and Industries Act is the best piece of legislation of its kind in the entire world. At present I am making a study of it, but this has not been completed yet. However, I have up to now consulted very good sources. From these sources the following three facts appear. South Africa is the only country in the world in which tuberculosis per se is recognized as an occupational disease in mines. Secondly, South Africa is the only country in the world where payments are made in respect of pneumoconiosis, diagnosed before or after death, and even without it having contributed to the worker’s death. It can be microscopically diagnosed without the worker in any way suffering from a disease and without his having any disability. I shall return to this point again. Thirdly, South Africa is the only country in the world in which chronic air passage obstructing diseases, without any additional form of pneucononiosis, is also regarded as being a compensatable disease. As further proof, the hon. member for Brakpan mentioned that subsequent to this 1973 Act we have already had a 65% increase in the number of first certifications during the first six months after its commencement. Mr. Paulus said in his memorandum to the Select Committee that the mineworkers gave this legislation their full support. However, one never reaches the point at which one has a perfect situation, a Utopia. Therefore there are difficulties in this legislation and it would pay us to give constant consideration to these. I have enumerated five points here but time will not allow me to go into all of them.
The hon. member for Brakpan mentioned the first point, namely the question of posthumous certification. This goes hand in hand with the considerable emotionalism and, I am afraid, they very often with a lack of knowledge and considerable misunderstanding. I think it is the duty of members of the House of Assembly, of the doctors concerned, of the Department and of the Mineworkers leaders to eliminate these existing misunderstandings. I want to explain the position briefly. Under the old 1962 Act any person who was less than 20% affected, was not certified at all. Between 20% and 50% he was certified, but he was not yet considered to be ill. He still retained his red card. In the case of persons who were affected to an extent of up to and including 50%, they still continued with their normal work. Under the new Act, as the hon. member for Brakpan pointed out, even if a person is only ¼% affected, if it is therefore possible to indicate the slightest lesion with the aid of a microscope, the person is certified, and from the nature of the case the certification frequently takes place posthumously, for such lesion cannot be determined in any other way. However, the person was not ill. There was no question of disability. The greatest percentage of the posthumous certifications should therefore not be regarded by the mineworkers as a complaint. It must be pointed out to the mineworkers that this is no reason for dissatisfaction, but a benefit unique of its kind in the world. No mineworker in any other country has this benefit. As far as posthumous certification is concerned, I want to indicate another aspect. Sometimes a person was not certified at all while he lived, but after his death was suddenly certified in the second degree or more. It is these cases that are creating real problems. Of course, if a person did not undergo an examination for a long period, it may in fact be found after his death that he is certifiable in the second degree. In the eyes of an ordinary doctor, a person with microscopic lesions from both tuberculosis and pneumoconiosis has not really been ill, but he is nevertheless certified in the second degree. However, there are a few isolated cases of persons who did in fact have serious lesions, but who were not diagnosed at all. It is those isolated cases which are causing real difficulties, for certification is very important to that person and his family. Then he does not receive the R13 200 which he should have received while he was living; however, an amount of just over R19 000 is paid out after his death, and that is important to his family. Other mineworkers could perhaps feel that they, too, will find themselves in the same situation, and this could create a lack of confidence. However, medical science is making progress. In South Africa we already have the best equipment in the world as far as this matter is concerned, and I am certain that those isolated cases which may in fact still occur, will also be eliminated.
Mr. Chairman, I shall not attempt to pursue the arguments advanced by the hon. member for Krugersdorp because he was speaking about a highly technical subject, i.e. that of health, or more precisely, death, about which I do not feel qualified to say anything. I should like to go back to where I left off in my previous speech. I was speaking about the second factor in regard to the figures of labour supplied to the mines. I said that the figures highlighted the fact that no solution had as yet been found for the continued dependence of our mining industry—certainly the goldmining industry —on Mozambique. When I saw Mr. Chissano, the Frelimo leader, in March of this year, this was one of the questions discussed. It is gratifying to be able to report that at least as far as he was concerned at the time, there was no intention on the part of Frelimo at present to prevent labour from coming from that country. At the same time it is clear that the new government in Mozambique will want to renegotiate, in certain respects, the terms and conditions of their employment and that is indeed likely to happen. It seems to me that in future years the question of the confidence that can be attached to the continuity of supply will depend both on the economic development within that country and how the relationship between the newly emergent government of Mozambique and South Africa will fare. The one other factor that I think ought to be noted about those labour statistics is that the actual complements have been reduced by 10%. This has been reflected, and I am sure the hon. the Minister is aware of it, in the level of the production of gold in South Africa. That is obviously not the only factor because there is also the question of grade. In the end, to achieve both the stability and the skills which we will require in our mines, we shall have to move to a position where we provide all the facilities at or near the site of the mines which will encourage and allow the establishment of more or less settled communities. In short, we shall need to offer a way of life to families although single men always play a more important part in the mining industry than in many other industries. If we want to succeed in this we will need both the combination of and the closest co-operation between the Government and the industry as both have an important role to play in moving towards that goal. I hope that the hon. the Minister will be sympathetic to and in favour of any representations made to him for moving in this direction and that he and his colleagues will support them.
There are only two other topics which I should like to touch on very briefly. I want to refer to uranium and platinum. We should like to add our congratulations to those already expressed to all those people who have been concerned with the successful development of the uranium enrichment process. It is a notable feat by any standard, from which presumably—I hope the hon. the Minister will enlighten us on this—will flow a substantial increase in the domestic demand for uranium from the producing mines in our country. I hope, too, that the hon. the Minister will give us an assurance, if I am correct in my assumption, that any such purchases from domestic producers will take into account the prevailing free market price from time to time.
In so far as platinum is concerned, it remains the best oxidizing agent known to man. Unless the day of Armageddon arrives it will surely reap substantial and increased benefits—this will no doubt bring comfort to the hon. member for Rustenburg—as and when the American economy and particularly Detroit, recovers from its present depressed state.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to begin where I left off the last time, and that was at Geological Survey and its staff. They do in fact publish data on South Africa, and I want to confine myself in particular to that data they make available on South West Africa. I should like to point out briefly that any official who is proud of being an official of Geological Survey, will always anticipate that if he does research work of some kind in a region, his work—if it is original and objective work, and he has attached certain interpretations to it which could be to the benefit of the country—will be published in some form or other, even if it is only the annual report of the department. When I was an official with Geological Survey, it was one of the most frustrating things to hear that a project on which one had worked with dedication, could not be published. Such a person then feels completely frustrated and immediately seeks a livelihood elsewhere and when he receives a bursary, he then goes to the Pre-cambrian Unit of the University of Cape Town or to any other university in South Africa, or even to another university abroad, where he proceeds with his research work, and where his work is then published. In this way a person then obtains his post-graduate qualifications, or even his Ph.D. or D.Sc. degree. Hon. members can imagine for themselves how much manpower Geological Survey has lost since 1967. It is no wonder there is always a shortage of officials on the staff of Geological Survey.
There is another matter to which I want to refer briefly, and that is the Press report that implied that certain bodies in South West Africa were going to use the Tsumeb mine as a kind of bargaining power in regard to an independent Owambo. It may be said that the boundary of Owambo can be shifted southwards or northwards and when a final decision is reached at the pending constitutional discussions, the Tsumeb mine may be within the Owambo boundary. These are Press reports which are being bruited abroad by a certain Caroline Clarke. I just want to say that this is a sensitive way of prejudicing the mining industry. Of course there are two aspects to this matter. Firstly, it creates an uncertain situation among the Whites in that area, and secondly, it also creates an uncertain situation in the mining industry itself. It is characteristic of the mining industry that any political or social upheaval and any form of instability prejudices the economic aspect of the industry, with the immediate result that stagnation sets in. I just want to say that if any person wishes to use the Tsumeb mine as a form of bargaining power, that person is perpetrating a fraud in South West Africa. I would rather suggest that Caroline Clarke use all his or her persuasive powers to induce all the foreign bodies to which reference has been made and which are allegedly in favour of the Tsumeb mine being included in Owambo, to utilize their capital to develop other potential resources in Owambo and in the Kaokoveld for example. I am thinking here of the rich iron ore deposits in the Kaokoveld. A splendid infrastructure, including a harbour could be established there. All the benefits of an iron and steel industry could be developed there for the people of South West Africa. In addition there is the promising oil potential of Owambo. In this regard an oil concession has constantly been maintained since 1958. What effect would it not have on South West Africa and the Bantu homelands if there were the necessary confidence and the capital were made available for drilling a borehole which then turned out to be a borehole such as the one in Siberia, in respect of which the hon. member for Carletonville quoted to us from a book.
I want to make haste to return to the ossification in the scientific outlook, to which the hon. member for Carletonville referred. In this regard I want to refer to a few papers presented at the ninth World Petroleum Congress. You know, Sir, most scientists consider the origin of oil to be organic. Then there are also scientists who believe that it is inorganic. According to scientists the organic material has been altered over the years by a process of diagenesis, which is attributable to temperature, pressure, etc. Allegedly this has happened only in the younger formations. According to the book from which the hon. member for Carletonville quoted, this process allegedly took place only in the Cambrian period. In that period there was, of course, no organic life on earth. It is interesting to note that at this world congress, to which I referred, there was a long discussion on the origin of petroleum. On that occasion it was said—this has to do with organic material and hydrocarbons from the chlorophyll of plants—and I quote from Special Paper No. 1:
These isoprenoids are considered evidence for the organic origin of petroleum and for life forms in Pre-Cambrian times.
Now it goes even further, and these people have found that there was life even prior to the Cambrian period and this, as the hon. member for Carletonville said, overthrows the scientists’ fixed views in this regard because the theory that there was no life in the Pre-Cambrian period implied no oil. According to these scientists at the congress, therefore, there was life in the Pre-Cambrian period, so that one might even find oil in the rocks of the Pre-Cambrian period.
I remember that approximately six or seven months ago I had an interview with members of the geological profession, and when I raised the idea of the inorganic origin of oil, they said that the people propagating this were mad. At this congress, however, a paper in this connection was presented by a Japanese, Mr. K. Miyamori, who gave an account of the oil industry in Japan and the progress they had made in technological development in that regard. I quote from Review Paper No. 1(a):
If one tells South African geologists that Japan’s oil is being drawn from the lava in that country, they will tell you that, according to the theory of the organic origin of oil, which is accepted by most scientists throughout the world, this is impossible and attribute it to migration from another source.
Mr. Chairman, in the first place I want to thank all the members who participated in this debate cordially for the high standard of the debate up to now. In my opinion this has been one of the best debates on mining we have had in recent years. I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for this. In the second place I want to avail myself of this opportunity to welcome Mr. Viljoen, the new Secretary for Mines, very cordially to our department and to this discussion, the first discussion of this Vote which he is attending in his capacity as Secretary. Mr. Viljoen is an outstanding person with a brilliant record. He has a university degree, and on 15 June 1975 he will have rendered 39 years of uninterrupted and dedicated service to the department. He is therefore a man who is eminently suited to the position of Secretary. We are very grateful to be able to have a man of that calibre in this position and we wish him good luck, success and prosperity for the years which lie ahead for him as Secretary to this important Department of Mines.
I find myself in the position of a Father Christmas when it comes to the wonderful Department of Mines, in this sense that there is so much to dispense that it is truly a joy and an unalloyed pleasure. I want to remind hon. members that the revenue from minerals in South Africa last year amounted to the record total of approximately R4 000 million. The contribution of the Department of Mines as exchange earner is approximately 60%, and its contribution to the national economy is 15,4%. This represents a considerable increase in comparison with the previous year, 1973. I could also just mention that in this country of ours more than R20 million was spent last year on the training of White mineworkers alone. With this I want to indicate that when we discuss mining in South Africa, we are discussing one of the most brilliant enterprises in the Republic of South Africa. It is an unalloyed pleasure and privilege to hear with what high praise, respect and appreciation reference is made in other countries, which have already begun to develop or which have already reached an advanced stage of development in respect of mining, to the Republic of South Africa as a mining country with an exceptional background and knowledge. When I tell hon. members that the starting wages of Bantu mineworkers increased by approximately 500% between 1 June 1973 and 1 June 1975, then hon. members know that they are dealing with an industry that has a very splendid and proud record. Over the past year, from 1 June 1974 to 1 June 1975, Bantu starting wages on the mines rose by more than 150%. When I tell hon. members now that the Bantu labour complement on our mines today, in the midst of the problems which have encountered, is 91%, then I am furnishing hon. members with an important piece of information, namely that the mining sector in South Africa has under very difficult circumstances, through mechanization and other methods, successfully made an almost unbelievable effort, so much so that I have been able to provide you with the figures I have just furnished.
Hon. members in this House are aware of the difficulties with which mining has had to contend, for the hon. member for Hillbrow introduced a motion here at the beginning of the year which was discussed to good effect here. I want to mention another exceptional achievement here, namely that in the period from January 1974 to March 1974 the number of local Bantu workers on our mines totalled 32 483. In the period from January 1975 to March 1975 this figure rose to 50 093, and it rose even further in April and May. This is an increase in the employment of local South African Bantu, compared with the corresponding period for the 1974 and the 1975 financial years, of 54,21%. This is a very important fact. I endorse what the hon. member for Johannesburg North said, who mentioned the fact that for the first time now the mines are attracting the majority of Bantu from South Africa itself, and no longer from other areas. This holds out very great promise for the future.
I can therefore say with justification and honesty—I am grateful to be able to do this—that things are going well with mining in the Republic of South Africa. There are almost unprecedented possibilities and potential in the next 25, 30 and 40 years. I want to do one thing in particular, and at the same time endorse what was said by various speakers who mentioned this, namely to appeal to our young South Africans to take a completely new look at mining, because in South Africa, owing to historical and other circumstances, all kinds of misconceptions have unfortunately arisen in regard to mining. They should take a completely new look at this matter, from the point of view of the possibilities which mining offers. In the technological era in which South Africa finds itself at present, and in which it will be inextricably involved for the next 50 years, there are almost unbelievable possibilities for young people in the South African mining industry. I want to mention one example of many. We have outstanding advance planners, and we have the National Institute for Metallurgy. Every hon. member here will know that if one does not have a metallurgist or a chemical engineer one could have the most abundant and best mineral wealth in the world, but would not be able to do anything with it. The fact of the matter is that at present all the universities of South Africa are jointly producing only 35 metallurgists and chemical engineers per year. I reiterate that one can do nothing with minerals if one does not have the people. It has been calculated that the number of graduated chemical engineers and metallurgists required up to the year 2050 is 200 per year. Experts in this field warn that if South Africa does not wake up and realize the importance of this matter, we will in 15 or 20 years’ time find ourselves in a situation of stagnation in respect of our greatest wealth, and in my opinion it would be a very unfavourable reflection on the Republic of South Africa if this were to happen. However, I am grateful to be able to say that as a result of attempts made by myself and by other bodies with the aid of the Press, the radio and other media, we have the position that while there were only approximately 19 first-year metallurgical students at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1973, for example, there were 44 first-year metallurgical students in 1974 as a result of these efforts. This is very good progress. The number has also risen considerably at the University of Pretoria. We are therefore making very good progress. But the fact of the matter is that we were only getting 35, while the number required up to the year 2050 was calculated to be 200 per year. I would be able to wax lyrical if I had to inform this House of what I saw with my own eyes in the North Western Cape at Aggeneis and Gamsberg. Mr. Gibbs, a man aged 60 years or more, accompanied me on this visit. He has been a Government mining engineer for many years, and has been attached to the Department of Mines for more than 30 years. On the evening after the visit he told me that he had never thought he would experience the day when he would see such a wealth of minerals as he and I saw under the beams of our headlamps in the galleries of Aggeneis. In the rock there I saw pieces of lead as big as the ball of my thumb, finer than I had ever seen before in my life. In the same source rock, as they call it, one finds large quantities of sulphide, copper, silver and zinc. Once one has seen this there in the bowels of the earth, one can never get it out of one’s mind; it is engraved there for all time. Our nation must still wake up to the almost unprecedented possibilities of the mining industry.
This brings me to the three cornerstones on which our mining in South Africa has been established. No other country in the world can boast of this. What are those cornerstones in a young, developing country like South Africa? The first cornerstone is that mining in South Africa is left in the hands of the private sector, and I believe that this should remain the case.
Other enterprises as well.
It is extremely important that this should be the case. It is one of the cornerstones, and I am pleased if the hon. member on the opposite side agrees with this. Complete trust and mutual co-operation between the mining sector and the Government must therefore be maintained and stabilized. In so far as the utilization and marketing of our minerals are concerned, I believe that there should only be intervention or guidance on the part of the Government when the actions of the mining sector could be detrimental to the national interest. In this regard I could, without mentioning any names, refer to many examples in the world where mining development has not taken place along these lines, to the detriment of those countries. I would hurt those countries if I were to mention them by name, but I know what I am talking about when I say this. The second cornerstone on which our mining industry in South Africa rests, is the realization of the Government that both the prospecting for and the exploitation of minerals are accompanied by great risks and heavy capital expenditure. For that reason we must under no circumstances deviate from the basic principles which have been built into our mineral and taxation legislation. The hon. member for Krugersdorp said we had the finest mining legislation in the world. This is not an exaggeration; what that hon. member mentioned was a fact. On what principles does this mining legislation rest? We realize that it is accompanied by great risks and heavy capital expenditure. The principle therefore is that any person who has risked his capital on prospecting, and has been successful—we must bear in mind that this is the exception, not the rule— should have a legal claim to exploitation rights, provided he complies with the normal basic requirements. Secondly, he must have the certainty that his rights will be respected by the Government, but he must also know that he will be expected to exercise his rights properly and not to act in a manner in any way detrimental to the national interest in this regard. Thirdly, it must be admitted that he has the right to recover his capital expenditure before the State shares in the proceeds of his enterprise by way of taxation and in other ways. Fourthly, he must enjoy special concessions in respect of the processing or refining of the minerals he takes from the earth. It is with a measure of pride, although also with modesty, that I now say that South Africa’s image throughout the world is one of a reliable, stable and honest mining country on whom it is possible to rely at all times. I want to pledge myself to ensuring personally that this image of South Africa will not be prejudiced. It is not for nothing that I am saying this now. In the world in which we find ourselves today a reliable mining country, a reliable partner in the field of minerals is of absolutely inestimable value. No country in the world can buy this. That is why I am stressing it. I am not exaggerating when I say that South Africa’s mining industry offers the world an absolutely unique and excellent field of investment. I see a smile on the faces of hon. members who know something about this. It is true, absolutely true.
I am enjoying myself.
The third and last aspect of the mining industry is that it is and will remain the premise of the Government that in the sphere of exploration, mining and refining it must and shall render the mining sector every possible assistance, and shall continue to do so. This is the basic principle on which our mining rests. On these cornerstones this country will for many years to come be able to develop this wonderful industry successfully and I also believe beneficially.
Various matters were raised here. After all, I did say I was like a Father Christmas. I have quite a number of things to dispense. The first thing I should like to dispense is the report of the Petrick Commission, which was touched upon here by the hon. member for Von Brandis, the hon. member for Carletonville, the hon. member for Etosha and several other members. This commission’s report reached me approximately three weeks ago. I submitted it to the Cabinet the following day. To me it read like a novel. It was a splendid report. The Cabinet decided that this report would be tabled. The report then went to the State President. The State President was so interested in the report that he read through every page of the report himself. The report has just reached me again. It is now being translated and will be tabled here but unfortunately not during the present session and as a result of the fact that it was received late. Owing to the importance of the report we shall release it to the public during the recess, as soon as it has been translated. I am giving the House this undertaking. The commission was appointed on 12 May 1970 by the State President. Therefore the commission has been engaged in its investigation and the preparation of the report for almost five years. The commission was given very difficult terms of reference and had to cover an exceptionally wide field. As a result of various factors the submission of the report was delayed, and I want to say at this juncture already that this report is of such interest that it will require an exhaustive study by experts before it will be possible to reach any final decisions in regard to it. In the course of the report the commission recommended, inter alia, that an energy planning and coordinating board be established to advise on the recommendations contained in the report. I know that it is very difficult to furnish an extremely concise summary of the report, but I should nevertheless like to attempt to do so.
The coalfields of South Africa are situated in the following regions: Limpopo, Waterberg, Zoutpansberg, Pafuri, the Springbok Flats, the Western region (Wesrand), Springs, Vischkuil, Witbank, Komatipoort, Vierfontein (in the Orange Free State), Old Springfield, Vereeniging, Sasolburg, South Rand, the Highveld, the Eastern Transvaal, Klip River, Utrecht, Vryheid, Zululand, Molteno and Indwe. The commission found that our black gold is located in these areas. Coal, together with uranium which I shall have more to say about later on, is our most important energy unit. The Petrick Commission estimates that South Africa has 91 767 million tons of exploitable bituminous coal available in situ between 15 and 400 metres below the surface of the earth. I want to tell the hon. members that exploitable coal in situ is coal which can be exploited by means of present techniques. The commission estimates further that only approximately 24 915 million tons of bituminous coal can be exploited under the prevailing economic conditions. According to the mining statistics of the Department of Mines for 1973, the local sales and exports of bituminous coal in the year 1973 amounted to approximately 60 million tons. Of this approximately 1 000 000 tons were exported. It is also interesting to note that approximately 36 million tons were used for power supply. The report indicates further that according to an estimate made in 1975 we will be consuming approximately 179 million tons of coal per annum by the year 2000.
Further statements and recommendations are made in the report which, in my opinion, are of importance. The commission found no evidence to indicate that there will be a reduction in the demand for coal by the end of the century—on the contrary. As a result of the oil crisis it now appears that the demand for coal will increase more rapidly than was previously estimated. The commission therefore arrived at the conclusion that South Africa would in the foreseeable future have to continue to rely on coal as its main source of energy, that our coal reserves, although very large, are not inexhaustible, that the present coal in situ which we are able to exploit under present technological and economic conditions, is relatively small and we must be careful that our own coal reserves do not become depleted too rapidly. It is therefore essential that we take every possible step to conserve our coal. Conservation is of special importance when the resources which are being exploited are minerals. Minerals are dwindling assets which cannot be regenerated. The commission found that according to the present conventional exploitation methods, it is unlikely that it will be possible to extract more than 40% of the coal in situ, even if the price is increased considerably. In the case of the opencast mining method, a far higher percentage could be exploited, provided that a balance is struck between the rate of exploitation, and demand. The application of the latter mining method is necessary where it is feasible. According to the commission one of the main reasons for the low percentage of coal which is being extracted is the present price control system. This stems from the present cheap energy policy which has until recently been followed, not only in South Africa, but also in most other industrial countries. The commission recommended that the system of price control for the coal mining industry be reviewed that the price of coal be increased considerably to make provision for the expansion of the industry’s productivity, that steps be taken to enable the coal mining companies to acquire the surface rights of coal-bearing land at reasonable prices, and that every possible step be taken to eliminate wastage of coal in South Africa.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No. 23.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.
Bill read a First Time.
The House adjourned at