House of Assembly: Vol57 - THURSDAY 12 JUNE 1975
Mr. Speaker, I move—
- (1) the hours of sitting shall be:
- (a) Monday, Tuesday and Thursday:
10 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.
2.15 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
8 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.
- (b) Wednesday:
10 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.
2.15 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
8.15 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.
- (c) Friday:
10 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.
2.15 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
- (a) Monday, Tuesday and Thursday:
- (2) the provisions of Standing Order No. 49 (Stages of Bills) shall be suspended for the remainder of the session.
Mr. Speaker, it is customary for motions of this nature to be moved towards the end of the session. This type of motion makes provision for extraordinary hours of sitting in order to complete the work of the session. It was because of these extraordinary hours the term “legislation by exhaustion” was coined.
To be fair to the present hon. Leader of the House, I want to say that the hours of sitting he is now proposing are not nearly as drastic as the hours of sitting we have been accustomed to in the past. The hon. the Leader of the House has also managed either to keep the controversial legislation at the bottom of the Order Paper or to discard it altogether. The present usual hours of debate were introduced after discussion by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders and by all parties. We agreed to these hours on a trial basis. It was hoped that we would not in future have to resort to abnormal hours of sitting. It was first suggested that perhaps the rule itself could make provision for the fact that there would not be these abnormal hours of sitting but it was finally decided that we would merely record in this House what the arrangement was. In this connection I should like to quote what I said earlier in the session when the new sitting hours were agreed upon. I said—
I do not wish to say that this motion which has now been moved by the hon. the Leader of the House will mean legislation by exhaustion as we have known it in the past. In the first instance there is only one measure which we will contest and that is the Physical Planning and Utilization Resources Amendment Bill because there is no involved interpretation of the Act. In the second instance, we have had ample time to consider the measures which are still to be discussed which we did not always have in the past. As I say, the hours of sitting have already been extended to allow for sittings on Monday and Thursday nights. We did not oppose that provision because we felt it was reasonable in the circumstances as there had been no proposal for morning sittings. Now, however, the hon. the Leader of the House is proposing that we have morning sittings as well for the remainder of the session starting on Monday. The hon. the Leader of the House has not given us any reason for having moved this motion. We understand that it is hoped to complete the work of Parliament by Wednesday …
The Ministers have all gone home.
… but if we had abided by our normal hours of sitting, I think we could have finished the session by Friday. In fact, this was the original intention. The hon. the Leader of the House has given us no reason why we should in fact resort to morning sittings and, without that satisfactory reason having been forthcoming, I must lodge my protest. [Interjections.] I hear some hon. members say “mors tyd”. I should like to know from the hon. the Leader of the House when time was wasted.
Only when the Ministers were speaking.
I think it can only be said that in regard to possibly three measures was time taken which had not been bargained for. I am referring to the Expropriation Bill, the Exchequer and Audit Bill and the Land Bank Amendment Bill. However, the official Opposition had given notice of the amendments which it intended moving and we certainly spent no unreasonable time in discussing those amendments. Everyone in the House knew the line that we at any rate were going to take in regard to those Bills.
I do not want the hon. the Leader of the House to get up now and say, as his predecessor always did, that he expected a protest from this side of the House and that if he had been in opposition he would have done the same thing. The circumstances now are different. There was an understanding among the parties that there would be no morning sittings when the changed hours of sitting were adopted. I realize that these new sitting hours are being tried by way of an experiment and we only started with them half-way through the session. I hope that the work will be arranged differently next session. In any event, I want to say to the hon. the Leader of the House that we have worked very well with him. I also want to say that he has managed to exclude controversial legislation to a very large extent and this is a fact which we greatly appreciate. Although we want to work with him as closely as possible, I want to record our objection to the fact that morning sittings are being resorted to when in fact there was an agreement that this would not be done.
Mr. Speaker, it is probably not necessary to reply at length to what the hon. member said. I shall not say what my predecessor said. Apparently the hon. member did not like that. My hon. colleague, who acted on my behalf last week, said he expected, so I understand, that we would introduce this motion.
That is no excuse.
This was after there had been proper deliberation. The hon. member will recall that during the past four weeks I have raised this matter every week in consultation with the parties. I said that we must finish up. What has happened now—I am not saying this as a reproach—was that there was a general tendency here to speak when it was not necessary.
What about the Ministers?
The hon. member has asked: “What about the Ministers?” I do not know why interminable speeches have to be made merely to indicate that hon. members agree to a measure. If we agree to a measure, surely we can simply accept it. In the second place —I am not saying this as a reproach either; I am merely mentioning this as a phenomenon here—there was considerable competition in this House during this session! [Interjections.] That competition took up a great deal of our valuable time.
Competition between the verkramptes and the verligtes.
I am not saying that this was good debate. Good debate is necessary. I am merely saying that there was considerable unnecessary competition. I do not like this haste either. Hon. members know that. I told the Whips explicitly that I do not like a rush at the end of the session, and that we should try to avoid it. However, we did not have the opportunity during this session of applying the new rules throughout. We only began to apply them at a late stage. I think that if we apply the new rules from the beginning of the next session, matters will improve next year. In this regard I just want to say that it is not the task of the Government party alone to ensure the smooth functioning of the session’s business. In this regard I want to express my thanks for the measure of assistance and co-operation I have received. I have great appreciation for that. But I do not think that we are imposing too much of a rush on Parliament by using the last few days to do a little extra work. The hon. Chief Whip asked me what the reasons for the motion were. Sir, I explained the reasons to them in our negotiations. I told them that Parliament has not once sat longer than more or less half-way through June. The reason for that is that people make provision for the winter holidays, not only members, but the officials as well, and we have to take the children of officials and members into consideration. In the second place, we have a staff that has for almost six months now been working hard here on a full-time basis—this includes the Hansard staff—and we have to take these people into consideration. These reasons were explained to hon. members. They were told that since we used to adjourn in the past between 7 and 15 June, we should try to dispose of our business not later than the 18th. I think that we should try to adhere to this pattern next year; that we should ensure that we have disposed of our business by 15 June. I do not think that it is right to delay the business of this House simply because we want to remain here a day or two longer. I think that by co-operating and by not speaking unnecessarily, we can finish up at a time which also suits the Opposition, for they are just as eager as we are to end the session.
Motion agreed to.
Revenue Votes Nos. 32.—“Treasury” and 33.—“Public Debt”, Loan Vote A.—“Miscellaneous Loans and Services”, and S.W.A. Vote No. 20.—“Miscellaneous Services”:
Mr. Chairman, may I ask for the privilege of the half-hour? I will not use the full quota, but I would like to have longer than 10 minutes. I want to start this afternoon by throwing a bouquet to the hon. the Minister and his department for the manner in which he and his department have supplied us with explanatory memoranda on the measures which have been proposed by his department to this House this session. These memoranda have been given to us in good time. They have been very useful in their contents, and I would like to say to the Minister and the department that we on this side of the House appreciate very much the extension of this practice that has occurred this year. Not all of us are readily familiar with the wide spectrum of subjects that are covered by the Department of Finance, and it is therefore extremely useful to us to have memoranda of this nature. Furthermore, Sir, I would like to say how much we on this side of the House appreciate the ready manner in which the senior officials of the hon. the Minister’s department make themselves available to discuss and to explain measures which are placed before this House so that we can come to this House fully equipped to debate them.
Mr. Chairman, I think it is a pity that so little time has been allocated to the Votes of the hon. the Minister, because, after all, he is in charge of seven different departments, and in the time of two hours which has been allocated to this debate, it is quite obviously impossible for us on this side of the House to do full justice to the operations of all seven departments or to discuss their operations in any sort of comprehensive manner. I propose therefore, in what I have to say, to concentrate my remarks on certain aspects of the operation of the Treasury. I am very conscious that one of the main functions of this Parliament is to control the receipt and the spending of the citizens’ money. Therefore, although this Treasury Vote deals only with a sum of less than R4 million to run the Treasury Department, I recognize the key role which that department plays in the whole machinery of government as regards planning and control and as far as the whole structure and much of the mechanism relating to all the money that is collected and spent by the State is concerned. I think it is therefore appropriate in this debate to say something about the overall planning of the State’s Budget.
Sir, it is now nearly five years since the Franzsen Commission brought out its third and last report on fiscal and monetary policy. That was an extremely comprehensive document and it appears to me that the Government in the past five years has been very largely guided by what was contained in that commission’s recommendations and still continues to be guided by it. Some of the recommendations which were made, such as the suggestions relating to a sales tax and to a unitary budgetary system, have already been adopted and put into force, or will be put into force. Others are contained in measures that are still before the House, such as the Financial Institutions Amendment Bill. Others have not been accepted by the Government, such as the recommendation for a capital gains tax. In the light of the importance which the Government obviously places on these recommendations I want to make what I consider to be some pertinent remarks in regard to these recommendations and how they apply to present-day conditions.
When the Franzsen Commission’s third report was published in 1970 the inflation rate in South Africa was 4%, a figure that makes one’s mouth water these days. During the period when the commission was at work—and it was at work for the period 1967 to 1970—the average rate of inflation over those years was only 3,1%. I believe that when you have an inflation rate of 3% to 4%, as prevailed at the time when the commission was doing its work, your whole thinking on economic strategy is different from when you have to contend with an inflation rate such as we have today of between 12% and 15%. At a rate of between 3% and 4% one can afford to think along classical lines of economic theory and one can think of controlling the economy by classical fiscal and monetary measures. When you need to damp down the economy you can afford to raise taxes in order to reduce demand to dampen the economy. Conversely, in slack times, a reduction in taxation will pump more money into the private sector and that can be used as an instrument for stimulating demand and for stimulating the economy. But when you get into the higher bracket of inflation such as we are in today you are dealing with an entirely different phenomenon, a phenomenon in which the element of cost-push is inevitably much greater than the element of demand-pull. Cost-push inflation at the high levels we are experiencing reacts quite differently to fiscal, and to a lesser extent, to monetary measures than does a demand-pull inflation at lower rates. Cost-push inflation requires fiscal measures which are essentially aimed at reducing costs. If that is applied to fiscal measures, it means reducing taxes such as sales tax, excise tax and income tax, rather than increasing them. Increasing them in these circumstances can only be inflationary. I believe that one also has to draw attention to the inflationary manner in which certain indirect taxation is levied. I refer in particular to sales tax and excise tax which are levied at source with the result that during the whole subsequent chain of distribution those taxes are having costs and profits added on to them. As a result, the consumer pays far more by way of increased prices than the Treasury receives by way of revenue. I do not think that this inflationary aspect of taxation was fully taken into account by the Franzsen Commission in its report and I do not blame them because when they were working on the report this was not a factor which was as serious as it is today. This is particularly evident from the recommendation of the commission that taxation policy be used as a main instrument to promote economic stability and economic growth. The commission came to the conclusion that indirect taxes should be the main instrument of fiscal stabilization policy because the side effects of varying indirect taxation would be less than the side effects of other varying elements in the economy. I believe that this conclusion of the commission is largely invalidated now by the high rate of inflation. If indirect taxes were to be used in an attempt to cool the economy, i.e. to take money out of circulation, the effect would only be to push prices up further, add to inflation, induce wage demands, push up costs and again push up prices, I think therefore that it has to be realized that in these circumstances the whole tax structure is part of our inflationary vicious circle. That is why we on this side of the House are so very strongly opposed to the two cent petrol tax because that just pushes up costs. That is why we will propose, later this session, that sales taxes included in the Customs and Excise Amendment Bill be reduced. I think that the whole rate of growth of the economy is increasingly being influenced by the investment plans of the public sector, i.e. of the public and state corporations. In view of that trend, a need develops for greater correlation between public sector investment and private sector investment, the reason being that much of the public sector expenditure on investment involves requirements provided by the private sector. For this reason a much more precise knowledge and analysis of public sector investment plans would help the private sector to make its own plans. In doing so it would greatly assist in the aim of stability and economic growth. All this requires far-sighted planning by the Treasury, it requires the setting of priorities so that when expenditure is cut back it should be cut back on the items of lowest priority, and it requires the closest co-operation between the Government and the private sector. Above all, it needs a clear identification and listing of public sector investment plans. That includes not only the plans of the State for capital works, but also the plans of the public corporations for expansion. It therefore becomes necessary, especially now that we are going on to a unitary budgetary system, to schedule our capital expenditure in such a way that they can be readily identified and properly programmed. All this points to using variations in public expenditure rather than variations in taxation as the main weapon or main instrument for achieving stability and growth in the economy. I should like to say to the hon. the Minister that I can find very little evidence that there have been any attempts at all over the past few years to correlate the level of Government expenditure with the level of activity of the private sector or with the gross domestic product. If we look back over the past 10 years, we find that there have been only two years of high real growth in the economy. The first was 1969, when the rate of growth was 7,8% and the second was last year when the rate of growth was 7,2%. In 1969 State expenditure amounted to only 19,9% of the gross domestic product, but last year it stood at a hefty 24,2%. It is clear that last year the State was competing with the private sector for scarce sources of production such as technically skilled, labour and capital. It is quite evident to me from this that there has been a lack of long-term planning, or if there has been long-term planning, it has not been very effective in keeping a reasonable pattern between State expenditure and the product of the whole country. I think this is a matter which requires very careful attention from the Treasury.
In the few minutes available to me, I should like to make some remarks in regard to savings. I have no doubt whatsoever that if we can achieve and maintain a reasonable level of savings, on the one hand we shall be able to provide the finance for the investment which is so necessary for the expansion of the economy, while on the other hand we shall have a very powerful tool for fighting inflation. I do not think that the hon. the Minister will deny that inflation itself is a great discouragement to savings, although he is, I think, influenced by the fact that we had a good savings performance last year. It is a fact, however, that the high level of inflation makes it more difficult to save and when savings are losing their value and the prices of everything are increasing, there is every incentive to spend rather than to save. In these circumstances, I believe that the hon. the Minister should not be leaving our thrift programme in the hands of the Post Office alone. The Post Office programme of attracting savings is having the effect of taking savings away from the building societies rather than creating new savings. I believe there is room for more tax-free bonds to be issued by the Treasury. Two of these bond issues have recently been repaid, or are being repaid, namely the bonus and the jubilee issues. These are being repaid without the offer of any conversion issues. I do not believe that such a step is at all conducive to encouraging saving because, by paying back without offering an alternative investment, one never knows what is going to happen to the money that is paid back.
I also strongly believe that more imaginative saving programmes are needed. One such programme I have in mind is the index-linked bond which I first proposed in this House two years ago. The State as such is one of the parties that benefit from inflation. One of the reasons why it benefits is that it pays back its loans in depreciated currency. I think it is only fair and right —and if this were to happen the State would not be the loser—to offer a bond that will be paid back in the same real worth as when it was borrowed, and not in depreciated currency. I believe that such a bond would be a popular one. I believe it would stimulate saving, because that has been the experience where index-linked bonds have been offered. If it should prove to be a popular bond which does stimulate savings, it would be playing a considerable part in combating inflation. It would also mean that, in the long run, it will not cost so much to repay such an index-linked bond.
Mr. Chairman, we did not really hear anything new from the hon. member for Constantia this afternoon. I want to say immediately that I am in complete agreement with him as far as his remarks are concerned about the changed economic and financial thinking as a result of the much higher inflation rate in comparison with the rate which prevailed during the drafting of the Franzsen Commission report. Of course, as far as the remedy is concerned, I cannot agree with him. I agree with him in so far that if we want to combat inflation, the State will have to play its part, but the citizen or the individual will very definitely have to play his part as well. Therefore, I want to place on record this afternoon my appreciation for the recommendations of the economic adviser to the Prime Minister, who, of course, also falls under the Treasury Vote. Hon. members will find it on page 255 of the Budget. He recommended that the State should launch a full-scale education campaign to inform the general public of the dangers of inflation. As I have said, I do not agree with the hon. member for Constantia that only the State has a task in the combating of inflation. If only the State were involved, I am convinced that this Government could have ended inflation very quickly if it had wanted to, but then at a price which no Western Government would dare to ask. It is very easy to damp the economy in such a way that bottlenecks will not arise in respect of scarce means of production such as labour and capital, but the result of that will be that we shall then experience a large-scale unemployment problem, which, of course, we do not want. Therefore, I want to appeal this afternoon to everyone who is up against this problem, viz. the State, the private sector, industry, commerce and the ordinary consumer, to co-operate to overcome this tremendous problem, with which the entire Western capitalist world is faced today. The hon. member for Constantia made it clear that we are living in a time in which cost pressure problems are the greatest factor in causing the rate of inflation to rise. I agree with the hon. member that at this stage cost pressure problems exercise the greatest influence. We, as well as the entire Western world, were suddenly faced with a four-fold increase in the oil (price in November 1973, which was the basis of a tremendous series of price increases in the whole Western economy. This is a factor over which we have absolutely no control and which we can in no way influence. This four-fold increase in the price of oil made it completely impossible for the whole economy, especially for our manufacturing economy, to keep the cost pressure problems under control. Because we were unable to restrain this cost pressure factor, which was the result of the four-fold increase in the price of oil, and had no control over it, we had to try to keep other cost pressure factors under control Here lies the problem with which we on this side of the House are faced, because it is true, after all, that from 1963 to 1973 the salary and wage spiral rose by 120%, while the consumer price index only rose by half that percentage, i.e. 60%. Here we have a factor over which the public does have control or ought to have control. We have no control over the tremendous increase in the price of oil, but we ought to have control over excessive wage and salary increases. In the light of the figures which I have quoted, it is very clear that wage and salary increases have exceeded the increase in the consumer price index. Here we can all play a part. The most important part in this connection, however, can be played by the hon. Opposition. When the Government tries to apply discipline in this connection, it is the easiest thing in the world for the Opposition to keep on drumming it into the public that they are not receiving their fair share as far as salary and wage increases are concerned. Even if the Government were to apply stricter discipline by not increasing salaries in the public sector, i.e. the Public Service, as quickly, it still has to deal with the problem that the private sector lures away the State’s employees. Recently we heard from the Postmaster-General again that his department is experiencing a tremendous problem, because the private sector is luring its technicians away. We find this throughout, that when the Government tries to apply discipline, one has to deal with the private sector, urged on in many cases by the Opposition, which does not apply the same discipline. The Opposition can play a much greater part here by encouraging the necessary discipline. If we cannot achieve this, I am afraid that we are heading for a very rapid slide into Socialism and into the destruction of the Western capitalist system, because it is becoming almost impossible to generate capital. Nobody will want to save anymore, because his savings will depreciate too rapidly. Where will the Western capitalistic system acquire capital if nobody wants to save? Therefore, all of us will have to cooperate—each one of us. The State, the private sector and the consumer, must each make a contribution, and the Opposition is also an important factor in this, so that we can overcome inflation.
What can the State do and what can every individual do to overcome this, the greatest of our present economic problems? My first answer to this is a negative one. The solution is not price control. Have we not already found that the 20% of our economy which is in fact burdened with price control, has often shown higher price increases than the portion in which there is not price control? In the second place, we must ensure that there is full competition. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, because of the very short period one has to speak in this debate one has to choose one’s subject quickly. I would like to deal with the major function of the hon. the Minister, viz. the function of providing money for the machinery of the State and the use of the fiscal and monetary tools which are available to him in order to ensure that the economy is in as healthy a state as (possible. There are very many imponderables over which the hon. the Minister has no control, for example, the world economy, the question of commodity prices, the question of the gold price, the question of political stability in Southern Africa, the possibility of social developments which are likely to take place and many more other factors. On the other hand, however, there are many matters in regard to which the hon. the Minister has the ability to influence events. What worries us on this side today is that it is not so much what the hon. the Minister has done that should be criticized but what the hon. the Minister has in fact not done in regard to matters which require attention. There are some very important ones. I would like to deal with the most important one first, viz. that there must be a reassessment of the rational priorities in South Africa. What is, in fact, the most urgent matter? What are the matters of urgency which arise? I would like to deal with some of these because I think there is a need to re-assess the priorities in South Africa.
Firstly, there is the question of creating employment opportunities. I need not enlarge on this because we all know that there are going to be tens of thousands of people who will be coming on to the market seeking jobs. The question that must be asked is whether enough attention is being paid to the creation of employment opportunities. Secondly, there is a need for some re-assessment as to how we should in fact apply our capacity in the construction industry in South Africa. There are most pressing and urgent housing problems which not only have social implications but also political ones. Are we devoting enough of our national income to this? Thirdly, there is the need to raise the real standards of living and incomes at the lower end of the wage structure. It is all very well to talk about endeavours to control inflation but the fact is that we really have inflation. In many cases at the lower end of the scale there is not enough increase to keep pace with inflation at the present rate. What is important in South Africa is not merely to keep pace with inflation, but actually to improve the real living standards at the lower end. The fourth point is whether we should not expend more capital on amenities for a section of the community which has been short of those amenities for a long period of time. Growth in itself is not enough and is not adequately meaningful. What is needed is growth in the right sectors of the economy. However attractive the figures might be in respect of last year’s growth in the gross domestic product, the real issue is: Has there been the growth in the sectors in which South Africa requires it? It is not only the size of the cake which is important; it is the distribution of that cake amongst the community which is important. What I believe is necessary in South Africa at the moment is not only an Economic Development Programme, but a complete re-assessment of the priorities in South Africa.
The next question that I wish to deal with is also a matter which I think the hon. the Minister should attend to, namely the question of the strength of the rand. Our adjustment appears to have regard mainly to our export activities. We appear to be adjusting the rand bearing in mind the basket of currencies which we have chosen, and my difficulty is that some of those currencies are sick currencies. We in South Africa should have a strong rand which reflects the intrinsic strength of the economy, as, for example, the German mark reflects the intrinsic strength of the German economy. We should have greater regard to the cost of our imports into South Africa, because of the effect of those imports on inflation and the indirect costs which again affect the export costs of our economy. Our balance of trade is affected more by the wide fluctuations in commodity prices, as for example in copper, than it is by currency changes and adjustments. I believe that we have to look very seriously at the ever-escalating imports, which at the moment are said to be tailing off, and the fact that we are importing more, not in actual quantities, but by reason of price increases. We cannot have a balance of trade and a situation in South Africa which is to a large extent dependent upon windfalls. The windfalls of the weather in relation to our crops and the effects of the gold price are things that we have relied on in the past. I think that we need to have more strength through the economy rather than to rely on windfalls. I believe in and plead for a strong rand to reflect the strength of South Africa’s economy, which I believe is strong. We must safeguard our exports with a greater degree of marketing expertise and where necessary, we can subsidize exports out of what we would save from cheaper imports if we had a strong rand. We should also consider whether there should not be a form of export insurance against escalating costs in respect of long-term contracts which are concluded. This sort of scheme is already in existence in countries like France and Britain, where it is so essential for imports to be improved.
There is another matter that I want to draw attention to, which may perhaps not be as broad from an economic point of view, but which is very important in relation to the situation in South Africa. What is the hon. the Minister going to do about building societies? Has the hon. the Minister any plans in respect of what is becoming an urgent situation? What is the hon. the Minister going to do in respect of participation bond companies where finance is needed for particular projects? What is the hon. the Minister going to do in respect of the plight of people, for example those whom I represent, people who are elderly tenants and who are hit by increases in rentals at regular intervals? One finds that in the case of old buildings, where the aged who are not rich live, rents are going up or one finds that the buildings are going down and these people have to look for new accommodation. There are people who are living on fixed incomes and they are being hit the hardest. The new buildings which are going up are blocks of luxury flats which are being privately built. Hardly any blocks of flats of this nature are being built by the private sector for the lower income group. Sir, there are concession schemes for all sorts of people in South Africa, schemes of which I approve, but there are no concession schemes for the low income group flat dwellers. They are left out in the cold. Sir, there are rental subsidy schemes which exist in some Western countries such as the Netherlands for example, of which I am sure the hon. the Minister is aware. I find it difficult to appreciate the logic of paying a subsidy in respect of mortgage bond interest when you refuse to give it to aged tenants whose needs are just the same. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he cannot give a subsidy which is equivalent to, say, 2% on mortgage bonds to tenants in a particular category over a certain age and earning below a certain income. If this is not done, then I believe that the State will have to face an ever-increasing burden in providing housing for the lower income groups in South Africa and in particular for the aged who require and desire a degree of independence in the South African community. Sir, there are other matters to which I think the hon. the Minister should be asked to give his attention. Let me mention, for example, the training schemes which exist for Blacks, where certain tax concessions are given. Is the Minister not going to have similar schemes for Coloureds and for Indian people in order to provide the same kind of tax incentives? Sir, this is what is really needed in South Africa. [Time expired.]
Before I call upon the hon. member for Sunnyside, I want to remind hon. members that I have put the first part of the Finance Votes, i.e. Treasury, Public Debt and Miscellaneous Services, but for the convenience of hon. members I also want to put the balance of the Finance Votes. In other words, I also put Revenue Votes No. 34, “Provincial Administration”, 35, “S.A. Mint”, 36, “Inland Revenue”, 37, “Customs and Excise”, 38, “Audit”, and S.W.A. Votes Nos. 21, “Inland Revenue” and 22, “Customs and Excise”.
Revenue Votes Nos. 34.—“Provincial Administrations”, 35.—“S.A. Mint”, 36.—“Inland Revenue”. 37.—“Customs and Excise” and 38.—“Audit”, and S.W.A. Votes Nos. 21.—“Inland Revenue” and 22.—“Customs and Excise”:
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Constantia stood up here and told us that this debate was tremendously important. I agree with that. Then he complained to us because so little time had been allocated to this debate that he only had half an hour. Sir, we are not to blame if the hon. member’s party and his Whips only gave him half an hour. He is the chief spokesman of the United Party on financial affairs. Could he not have said to his Chief Whip, “Look, this an important debate; give me two hours”? The hon. member now complains to us. Sir, we cannot help him. The times allocated to the different Votes are arranged by the Whips on both sides. Therefore, the hon. member must not complain to us. The hon. the Minister cannot help him. He must complain to his own party. Sir, here I have the times before me. There is only one Vote for which the Opposition asked for 20 minutes. For this one they asked for 30 minutes. That is the interest which the Opposition shows in the finances of South Africa. That is as much time as they want to allocate to a discussion of the Minister’s policy and to raising other financial affairs. Sir, we are aware of the fact that our finances are in a sound position, and that is why the Opposition has asked for so little time for this Vote. We thank them for the respect they have for the sound administration of this country.
Sir, the hon. member for Yeoville stood up here and asked more questions within the space of ten minutes than any Minister could answer within the space of an hour. He said that we should re-assess our priorities, and he complained that insufficient employment opportunities were being created. The hon. member knows that it is not true to say that insufficient employment opportunities are being created. We already have a tremendous shortage of technicians and other trained people in South Africa. We have no unemployment among the Whites, nor among the Indians. As far as the Coloureds are concerned, we are struggling to get them to work. One employs a Coloured on Monday, and he leaves on Thursday. And where is the dreadful unemployment among the Bantu? Surely this is not the position There are adequate employment opportunities here for everybody who wants to work. On the contrary; the farmers, the mines, the industrial sector and the building industry, about which the hon. member spoke, all complain that they cannot find employees. Therefore, sufficient employment opportunities are being created.
Then there is the question of the standard of living. The hon. the Minister and the Government have done a great deal to raise our standard of living. We in South Africa have one of the highest standards of living in the world, and that of our Bantu is of the highest in the whole of Africa. There are few countries having a standard of living anywhere near that of South Africa’s Bantu, and that hon. member knows it. Does he want the standard of living of the non-Whites in South Africa to be higher than that of Sweden or America? He must give us a norm. What one says should not simply be up in the air. I want to tell him now what the world outside thinks of us. It so happens that I have a document of the S.A. Foundation here in which the following report appears about what Dr. Jan Marais said (translation)—
We are living in a golden era. The report continues—
Surely, Sir, one cannot treble or quadruple standards of living, if these are at rock bottom. This Government has done everything to bring this situation about and to ensure us of a tremendously high growth and a high standard of living for all. The hon. member knows that.
He also said that more capital should be made available. Sir, where is that capital to come from? In the first place, we can obtain it from savings and that is what the hon. the Minister has already done in this Budget, viz. to encourage savings. We must try to persuade the private sector as well as the public sector, the companies, etc., to save in all respects. If we can increase savings from, for example, 25% to 30% of gross national product, then we shall have enough money for capital purposes. As a result of the policy of this Government, we are one of the few countries in the world whose credit-worthiness is held in high esteem by money-lenders abroad, so much so that, in spite of the fact that those hon. members tell us all day long that the rest of the world are our enemies, they are prepared to lend their money to South Africa. If we look at our foreign debts and South Africa’s proud record as far as its foreign loans are concerned, we realize that we are as fortunate as this in this respect, because there is no country which has money and which will not lend it to South Africa. Of all the oil importing countries of the world, there is not one country whose credit-worthiness is as high as South Africa’s. Why is this so? It is the result of our sound policy. Let us look at these statistics which were made available to all of us by the hon. the Minister at the beginning of the year. Perhaps the hon. member has not looked at them, or otherwise he knows them off by heart: I do not know. On page 35, under subhead 5, Public Debt, we notice that the public debt was R2 962 million at the end of 1963-’64, while it was R7 761 million in 1973-’74. It increased a great deal, but what is the percentage? In 1963-’64, it was 42,7% expressed as a percentage of the gross national product. At the end of 1973-’74 it was 35,8%. As a result of our sound finance policy, this Government succeeded in bringing our public debt down to 35, 8%, and as a result of that, the rest of the world is prepared to advance money to this National Party, this Government, South Africa—all of us. It is also as a result of this policy that even private bodies, Anglo-American included, the Post Office, the Railway Administration, Iscor, etc., can borrow money overseas, because South Africa’s credit-worthiness is tremendously high. Let us look at what our debt is. I want to divide it here into internal and external debt. In 1963-64, the external debt was R139 million as against an internal debt of R2 823 million. That is a good and sound ratio. At the end of 1973-’74, it was R397 million externally as against R7 364 million internally. Therefore, one can see that any country in the world will advance money to a country such as this, and we have tackled many large projects as well. The hon. member says that we should make more capital available. The projects which we have tackled, are so large that we speak in terms of milliards of rand when we speak of these projects. We need only think of Sasol, Sishen-Saldanha and other projects. The Government is going to make so much money available for capital expansion in the next seven or eight years, that men such as Dr. Dawie Marais and others have even become pessimistic and are wondering whether we shall get the necessary money to finance these projects. The hon. the Minister has already made it very clear that it can be done, and therefore the hon. member cannot ask that still more capital be made available. We know that the Opposition wants to finance everything from loans. We know that the hon. members expressed criticism during the Second Reading debate of the Appropriation Bill by saying that more should be financed from loans and less from revenue. However, we cannot do this. We in this country are still in a favourable position. Our income tax is not as high as in other countries. In the circumstances, the hon. the Minister is doing the best he can.
Let us compare our income tax with that of other countries. I use 1974-’75 as the year of comparison and refer to a married man with two children who has an income of R30 000 per year. In South. Africa, such a man pays R10 500 per year in income tax, or 35% of his income. In the United Kingdom, that man will pay R14 790 per year, i.e. 49,3% of his income. In Australia, a comparable country, that man pays R14 496, i.e. 48,3%. In New Zealand, that man pays R13 092, i.e. 43,6%. In Rhodesia, the black sheep of the world, the man pays only R8 537, i.e. 28,4%. In Canada, that man pays R12 690, i.e. 42%. These figures show that we pay very little in this country. In this connection, I should like to appeal to our hon. Minister. I think the public is somewhat ignorant about taxation. Our people tend to think that we in South Africa pay a great deal of tax. I wonder whether we cannot bring these facts to our people’s attention by means of publicity, whether by giving talks over the radio or by any other means. There are many of our people who earn R30 000 per year or more. Many of them will turn around and say that they are not prepared to work harder and would rather play golf on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I want to appeal to those people. If they earn so much money as professional people or businessmen, they are charging their clients too much and exploiting the public. They should rather charge less and be prepared to make a smaller profit. In that way they can do something good for South Africa. Indirectly, those people will then also be able to make a greater contribution to the welfare of South Africa and all its people. Of course, everybody would like to earn as much money as possible, and spend the least time possible doing so. However, if we can make the above mentioned facts known, we shall, in my opinion, achieve much thereby.
Mr. Chairman, I shall come back to what the hon. member for Sunnyside has said about savings and capital because that is actually the main thrust of what I want to say. I think everybody is well aware of the huge expenditure which is planned for projects within our country in the years that lie immediately ahead of us. They lie predominantly in the Government or the public sector though the private sector also has an important role to play. Naturally these projects are to be welcomed both as a reflection of confidence and as a reflection of the attraction of investment in the future of this country. When these projects come to fruition in time they will no doubt greatly enhance the strength of our economy either by the earning of foreign exchange by exports or by saving the expenditure of foreign exchange by substituting for imports. Though that will undoubtedly happen in time, they will impose an additional strain on our foreign reserves in the immediate future un less we are successful in attracting the capital required to finance them. Even in that case we shall have to repay that capital in time in so far as it comes from outside the country. Let there be no mistake. This is not going to be an easy task. Let me also say that it will not be made any easier for those who are engaged in it to maintain our financial standing in the world capital market if a number of people continue to bandy these figures about irresponsibly. That is hardly going to improve the terms and conditions on which South Africa can borrow. Here as everywhere else, those who borrow above a certain level will find it more expensive than those who do not have to borrow so much.
In these circumstances it is appropriate that the Government is making the transition to an integrated budget as it highlights the importance of the figure of the anticipated deficit before borrowing. That is neither more nor less than the figure of the amount of capital which still has to be raised after revenue which will accrue to the Government by way of taxation in any other form—either direct or indirect, personal or corporate—has been taken into account. In our circumstances and at our stage of economic development, to put it simply, there seems to be no case for a general increase in taxation. Indeed, the Government has particularly over recent years received substantial benefits from the effects of progressive taxation on rising money incomes. It also goes without saying that, just as they have in the past, the origins of the need for capital in the future lie in the decision to approve of the various expenditures. There is no substitute for prenatal discipline, if I can use that word, at that point and we must realize that we as a country have to live within our means. If we do not, the Government will either have to curb the rate of increase in its expenditure or it will have to raise the level of taxation. As I have said, the deficit before borrowing represents the amount which the Government will have to seek to raise by way of loan capital either domestically or overseas. In both those spheres it will have to compete with public corporations and with private enterprise. The Government has of course somewhat stacked the odds in its favour by compelling financial institutions such as insurance companies and pension funds to invest a substantial proportion of their funds in approved stocks. That is quite another question. It is extremely important that both these sources of finance, namely the domestic and the overseas market, should be seen in context as they do of course hang together. If we look at the decade ended 1974 there were only four years, the years 1966, 1968, 1972 and 1973 when domestic savings were sufficient to finance domestic investment. On average, foreign capital inflow exceeded the average deficit on current account reflected by that average shortfall of savings. The actual averages for that period have been calculated from the South African Reserve Bank Quarterly Review. The average deficit on current account for the period of ten years was of the order of R297 million per annum and the average net capital inflow was of the order of R318 million per annum. This implies that there was an average positive change in the reserves of the order of R21 million. I appreciate, of course, that the use of averages conceals the wide variations which occur from year to year. Further, the figures given in the latest S.A. Reserve Bank Quarterly Review show that gross domestic investment had risen from R1 758 million in 1964 to R6 826 million in 1974. The corresponding figures for gross domestic savings were R1 710 million in 1964 and R5 990 million in 1974. Clearly, in size the potential in the market of domestic savings outweighs the inflow of funds from abroad. The breakdown of the figure of R5 990 million is therefore of great interest. It shows that personal savings accounted for R1 583 million, corporate savings for R1 406 million and depreciation for R1 802 million. The fastest grower since 1967 has been corporate saving and the slowest has been personal saving. This is a matter for grave concern in the light of the need for capital in the future. Broadly, it can be assumed that both corporate saving and depreciation will be firstly concerned with the maintenance and replacement of our present productive capacity, particularly with the present rate of inflation. Indeed, the present rate of inflation is such that it calls into question the adequacy of the depreciation allowances and there is a real danger, certainly if compared with the past, that the ability of the corporate sector to finance its own expansion from retained earnings will be severely impaired, though there will still be an element for expansion left over. If then we assume that, as I have said, corporate saving and depreciation will be concerned firstly with the maintenance and replacement of the present productive capacity, the importance of personal saving in view of the need for capital in this country is clearly underlined. It is interesting that personal saving rose last year despite inflation. However, I think that simply reflects the success of the farming industry.
If we are to maximize our chance to raise the capital or finance required, or to minimize the chance of this Government’s coming forward with a general increase in the rates of taxation, we should like to make certain recommendations to the hon. the Minister. Firstly, it must be realized that there is no substitute for self-discipline in the decision-making process which results in the approved level of expenditure for any given year. Secondly, in order to attract finance from overseas, which will be required to a much greater extent than in the past, he should abolish non-resident tax on interest which in any event is in all normal cases passed on to the South, African borrower. He should also abolish non-resident shareholder’s tax on dividends, thereby enhancing the attractions of equity investment in South Africa as compared with elsewhere. Finally, he should amend the exchange control regulations so that new money subscribed for equity for a stipulated period shall be free and not blocked rand upon sale. Our third recommendation is that, domestically, the hon. he Minister should review the levels of depreciation allowances, that he should maintain and adjust from time to time the interest rate structure to encourage personal saving and to keep it in line with that prevailing overseas, and that he should review the income tax surcharge on companies and the loan levy to see whether they cannot be removed in view of the importance of corporate saving. Fourthly, he should review the imposition of undistributed profits tax in view of its importance more particularly for private companies and he should look at the distinction, for undistributed profits tax purposes, between public and private companies. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Johannesburg North must excuse me if I do not react to his speech today, because I want to deal with a matter which, in my opinion, is of public importance. I should like to point to a shortcoming existing in one of our Acts, one which is used, in my opinion, to exploit the public in a legal way, and which makes it possible to claim more money from the public than ought to be claimed. I should like to refer to the Limitation and Disclosure of Finance Charges Act, Act No. 73 of 1968. I should like to illustrate a problem existing in this connection. To do that, I want to refer to the South African Law Reports, 1975 (1) C.P.D., page 260, where the case Greater Services (Pty.) Limited v. Du Toit, is reported. I should like to quote Mr. Justice Burger’s judgment in this connection. Referring to the transaction between the plaintiff and the defendant, he said the following—
The above-mentioned Du Toit borrowed R54 000 from the company concerned on 1 November 1973. On 1 January 1974— i.e. two months later—he was summonsed for an amount of R116 000. As did the judge, I say “Somewhere, something is wrong”. I can quote many other similar cases from the Law Reports to illustrate this point, but I do not want to take up the time of this Committee any further with this matter. Now, the question which immediately presents itself to one, is how a person can borrow R54 000 and be summonsed for R116 000 within two months’ time. He signed a promissory note for such an amount, and is liable for payment in law. In passing, I just want to mention that this amount, is made up, inter alia—heaven alone knows how—by “an amount payable to a company, Guaranteed Property Prices (Pty.) Ltd., for an option” of R7 700, which Du Toit signed. I do not want to dwell on this question of the option fee, but as far as my knowledge goes, it is surely the case that if I take up an option with someone, I pay him to obtain that option and I need not pay anyone to take up an option with me. The second factor which plays a role in these tremendous amounts for which people are summonsed, is insurance premiums. The Limitation and Disclosure of Finance Charges Act provides that when one borrows money from a money lender, an insurance policy may be demanded of him to insure the borrowed amount and that the premium for the policy may be added to the so-called “principal debt’’, as it is called in the Act, viz. the amount which is borrowed. This is completely legal, but I should like to mention a few examples of what happens in practice. Someone obtains a loan and is then obliged to take out an insurance policy for which the premiums amount to, say, R10 000, over the loan period of, for example, ten years. That borrower is now supposed to pay R1000 per year over that period. However, what happens now? We notice from various cases, which I do not want to quote now, because time does not permit, that the premiums which are payable over a period of ten years, are added to the principal debt immediately after the conclusion of the transaction. Interest and finance charges are charged on that.
But that is unbelievable.
As the hon. the Minister says, it is indeed unbelievable that something like that can happen. When that person is in default, he is summonsed for the full amount which is payable over the period of ten years. When the case comes before the court, it appears that the premiums have only been paid up to date. What is the effect of this? Sections 1A(3)(bb) and (cc) provide that those premiums, as I have just said, may be added to the principal debt, but what really happens in practice, is what I shall illustrate on the basis of an example. Let us suppose that a person has taken out a policy for R10 000 for which the premiums will amount to R10 000 over ten years. The whole R10 000 is capitalized and interest is charged on that at 14%, the maximum rate which is permissible in terms of the Usury Act. After one year, the person is in default, and he is summonsed to pay. Let us look at the picture then. Premiums have only been paid to the amount of R1 000, but that person has paid interest on R10 000 over a period of one year. That means that the R1 000 which the finance company has paid to the insurance company in that year has earned interest on an amount of R10 000 and that means that the R1 000 has earned an amount of R1 400 in interest. If my arithmetic does not let me down, that means that interest has been earned at a rate of 140%, which, of course, exceeds the usury profit limit completely. I think that if one looks at it properly, one can come to no other conclusion but that the whole matter is illegal, in terms of the provisions of the Act.
I should like to point out where there is a weakness in the Act, and why such action is possible. I refer to section 1A(3)(bb) which clearly refers to premiums which, in connection with the principal debt, have actually been paid or are to be paid by the lender to an insurer who is properly registered. I assume that it was the intention of the legislature that this should refer to a lump sum premium due to be paid before long, but in practice we find that the reference to “to be paid” is interpreted as though, it applies to payments which have to be made over periods of ten or 15 years. The lender has to pay the premium over the period of ten or 15 years, while the person who has borrowed the money pays interest on the full premiums which have to be paid over that period as though the premiums have already been paid. This is the point which I want to point out to the hon. the Minister, and I want to ask him to take a very serious look at the Act and at the irregularities which arise from the Act.
The second point which I want to make relates to the question of advanced payment. I have already referred to what happens if someone makes a loan, but there are two ways in which he may proceed to advanced payment. “Advanced payment” means that the loan is paid off before the time. In the first place, it is possible for the debtor to effect advanced payment if he has sufficient money to pay off the loan. When the debtor fails to honour the promissory note and is summonsed and taken to court, the question of advanced payment also arises. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Lydenburg referred to serious problems which occur in the financing of transactions in the private sector, but because I want to discuss a different matter, I shall not react to his speech. In its report, the Franzsen Commission mentioned the fact that there is a deficiency on our tax structure, in that consideration ought to be given to a tax on capital profit. I note from Press reports that the Secretary for Internal Revenue also expressed certain opinions concerning the same idea recently. I do not want to express an opinion at this stage as to whether a tax on capital profit would be a good idea at the juncture, but perhaps it would be interesting to speculate on what its effect could be on our present inflationary spiral if it were in fact introduced. I make bold to say that if it were to be introduced, it would undoubtedly aggravate the present inflationary situation. The fact is that there is sometimes much uncertainty as regards the determination and ascertaining where the line is to be drawn, and as regards how to demarcate between what may be classified as revenue in the true sense of the word, and what are purely capital profits. There are standard norms which have been applied in this country through the years and there have also been applicable judgments by our courts, whose utterances on the matter have been characterized by a high degree of uniformity. However, I want to mention the fact that there is already one industry in the country which comes very close to being taxed on capital profit, namely the forestry industry. Where plantations are realized, sometimes over a period of 20, 30 or 35 years, the yield from those plantations is taxable, in other words, the yield realized is therefore regarded as profit. My submission is that where there has been distribution over a period of many years, what the whole position in that regard in fact involves, essentially, is an appreciation of the land, of the property, as such. In my opinion it is wrong to maintain that it is distinguishable in such a way that the yield of that plantation should be regarded as profit. Here we must differentiate between the yield from plantations and the yield from ordinary crops which are harvested from year to year. I want to maintain that in fact there is sometimes a depreciation of land value in this regard owing to trees having been planted there. The reasonable question which, in my opinion, occurs as a result of these circumstances, is whether one could not possibly reason that when such plantations are realized, at least a part of the yield should be regarded as a capital investment, as part of the capital, instead of regarding the total revenue which accrues, as profit. I say this in view of the fact that this is an investment which, as I have already indicated, extends over a period of 10, 20, and sometimes 30 years.
I want to refer to another aspect in this connection, viz. whether it would not be advisable to give consideration to estate duty concessions in this regard. I shall put the matter as follows. When one is dealing with a company which operates on this basis, estate duty is never an issue since there is continuity. No death of a natural person takes place. Where it is a natural person who dies, it means that the total value of that plantation, irrespective of the stage it has reached, is subject to estate duty. It is possible that such a proposition could be valued at an extremely high amount, whereas in fact it might not yet be possible to sell or realize it. Sir, you can imagine how much hardship would be caused in such cases, where the heirs or successors are saddled with a property on which there is a plantation which is perhaps valued at R1 million, but which cannot be converted into cash—because the trees are only between two and ten years old—and for which cash must be found to pay the estate duty, which could run to thousands of rands. Consequently I feel that certain concessions should be considered in this regard.
Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. member for Ermelo has been dealing here with, a hot potato. Of course, he agrees wholeheartedly with the hon. member for Constantia in respect of capital gains tax, but when he comes to estate duty in connection with forestry, it is, according to him, the thin end of the wedge, and he wants this type of taxation to be abolished so that, eventually, no tax will be payable on capital gains. I want to suggest that the hon. member should find a sworn appraiser to value the plantation of his estate. I think this will solve most of his difficulties.
Sir, the hon. member for Sunnyside said that this Government had encouraged savings. I think that statement is in contrast to what was said by the hon. member for Paarl, because the hon. member for Paarl said nobody wanted to save. I do not know how one can reconcile these two statements. The hon. member for Paarl says nobody wants to save, and the hon. member for Sunnyside says savings have, in fact, been encouraged by the Government. To my mind these two statements do not tally. I do not know either how one can encourage thrift when the money one saves is worth so little within a few years’ time that one cannot do anything with it. Unless the suggestion of the hon. member for Constantia is accepted and steps are taken to ensure that the investment of the person who wants to save will have the same real value when he realizes his investment, I do not see how we shall be able to encourage thrift.
Sir, the hon. member for Sunnyside also spoke about the wonderful credit-worthiness of South Africa. He said this was thanks to Government policy. I just want to tell him that it is not thanks to Government policy; it is in spite of Government policy. Sir, why are we credit-worthy? We were creditworthy long before the Nationalist Party came into power. We are credit-worthy because of our gold and our natural resources. We have natural resources in this country very few other countries have; that is why we are credit-worthy. The fact that our national debt is so small, that we have paid off so much, has nothing to do with this, nor does it have anything whatsoever to do with Nationalist Party policy.
†I have very little time and I am afraid I cannot deal with the other speakers who have taken part in this debate. I want to deal with a particular subject, and that is the way in which the provinces are subsidized. Up to a few years ago the provinces were allowed to tax of their own accord, and in addition they were given a certain amount of subsidy. Then a few years ago it was decided that the needs of the provinces would be measured by some sort of yardstick and that this Parliament would then vote enough money to cover the needs of the provinces. I would like to know from the hon. the Minister exactly how the needs of the provinces are measured. As I understand the position, I believe that the Minister himself measures with his own yardstick what the needs of the provinces are, and he does not get this from the provinces. He does not give the provinces an opportunity of saying what their needs are. He decides before the time what their needs are and gives them just exactly what he believes they should have. The point I should like the Minister to clear up is whether, because he now has the whip hand and he now pays the piper, he is calling the tune in every provincial administration. I would like the Minister to reassure me that that is not the case, but I think he will find great difficulty in doing so. You see, Sir, one of the matters which worries me is that I believe there is a lot of ad hoc financing being done in so far as the provinces are concerned, particularly in regard to capital funds. It is a problem which has been going on for many years. There is no long-term planning in regard to capital projects in the provinces, and the reason for that, as has been said over and over again by the Administrators of the provinces, is that they cannot have long-term planning because they do not know what capital funds will be available from year to year. I think it is time that that was stopped. I think the Minister should now tell us that, as far as the provinces are concerned, they will receive a certain amount every year over a period of, let us say, five years in the short term, and give us an indication of the amount we hope to give the provinces in the long term, say over a period of 15 years, so that each province will know more or less what its capital loan programme can be. Then the provinces can plan accordingly. If the provinces can plan accordingly, it will mean that the expenditure of money will be done in an economic way and not in an uneconomic way as is now the case. In many cases elaborate plans are prepared for capital projects, and then all of a sudden they cannot be proceeded with because there is no money available. That money comes from the hon. the Minister of Finance and he is the man who has the opportunity of attaching all the strings he wants to attach in regard to the amount of money he gives to the provinces. When I talk about the attaching of strings, I believe I am correct because I have noticed how this authoritarian interference takes place year after year. One of the main ways in which one can judge this is by seeing how the powers of the provinces, such as they were when they first started off as provincial councils and provincial administrations, have been whittled away. Every year a little more is whittled away. After all, the whole idea of a provincial council is to bring government in certain matters of an intimate nature to the individuals living in the provinces, as close as possible to those individuals. What the Government policy —if it is a policy—is doing to the provinces is to concentrate power right away from the provinces and to give them fewer powers every year. We find that in regard to education in schools, planning in the province, town planning and road traffic, there have been very vast inroads. I think we on this side of the House all believe that this is as a result of the strings which are attached to all the payments, the subsidy payments according to a particular formula, and the amounts of money voted for capital works. Strings are attached to those works and that is the effect it is having, because not only does the Minister say they can only have so much to run the province, and they can only have so much to invest in capital works, but he is saying now that when they do this, he wants them to bear in mind this, that and the other thing. This is what has been happening. In the case of education, what do we find? Every province, before it introduces an education ordinance, must submit it to the Minister of National Education and get his consent. What is the use of having a provincial council if you are taking away their autonomy? You can only introduce an ordinance in a provincial council regarding education once it has been approved of in principle prior to its introduction into that provincial council. You are making a complete rubber-stamp of that provincial council. The same applies to industrial development. The Minister of Planning decides where everything must be situated. For instance, the Minister of Planning decides where the oil berths at Saldanha will be situated. He does not consult the provincial authorities. I know he did not because I asked that particular question when I was a member of the Cape Provincial Council. I asked whether the Minister of Planning had approached the Executive Committee and I was told that he had not. I asked why they did not do something about it and they said they could not because the Minister had all the power and he did exactly as he pleased. When he has done it, he then tells them what he has done and they then have to like it or lump it. The same applies to the planning of routes of national roads. Because the province receives all the money, the National Transport Commission is doing all the planning. One remembers what happened as a result of that. It is quite clear to us that since this power of planning national road routes has been taken away from the provinces, the National Transport Commission has run into difficulties. Look at the difficulties they ran into with the roads running through the Garden Route, through those beautiful lagoons in that area all along the coast. That has made it quite clear that the powers which the province had before are now being implemented by the National Transport Commission simply because the Minister of Finance is providing all the funds. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Wynberg said that South Africa had been creditworthy before the National Party came to power. The potential to be creditworthy was probably there, but before 1948 it was just that the books were in a very confused state. It was the National Party which reorganized the State enterprises and put the State’s house in order. It was the National Party which was responsible for South Africa’s present sound financial image. The hon. member also referred to the position of the provinces under the new subsidy scheme. I do not wish to comment on that. However I just want to mention that in my opinion, the provinces are financially better off than they were before.
This is a very interesting debate. It is a debate which lends itself to the debating of various points of view. The members on the Opposition side are not necessarily all in agreement in regard to all financial aspects. Nor are all the members on this side necessarily in agreement in regard to financial aspects, because everyone has his own prejudices and likes to approach finance from his own point of view. The Government is often charged with furthering inflation through excessive spending. That is not necessary the case. In fact, in many instances the State’s expenditure amounts to a recirculation of funds or a transfer of buying power from one sector to another. When the State spends money, it recovers the money from the people. This amounts to a recirculation of funds. It need not necessarily be inflationary. When the State borrows money abroad, this can in fact be inflationary because this constitutes an addition to the total funds. That is why I am pleased that the hon. the Minister has thought fit to finance one of our largest projects, Sasol 2, not from overseas loans but rather from revenue. When I say this, I do not want to give the impression that the State should not use loan capital. On the contrary. But in the light of the world’s economic situation and the economic situation in South Africa, I think that this was a very wise decision on the part of the hon. the Minister.
It is also maintained that the State interferes too much in the private sector. The other side of the House has already criticized the Government for this and there are often complaints from the private sector, too, about so-called creeping socialism. It is only right that we should guard against this, but the question is: To what extent is the State forced in this direction by the demands of the national economy? It is easy to make out a good case against State interference in the private sector, but the question remains: To what extent is the State compelled to act in this way? As far back as September 1908 the following was stated in The Economic Journal—
That is precisely the point. Modern development often makes it necessary for the State to accept new responsibilities which the private sector is not able, or often is simply unwilling, to accept. It is a matter of concern to me that socialistic ideas are gaining ground among many of our people. Twenty-three years ago, when I, as a penniless teacher, married, the thought that the State should provide me with accommodation, never crossed my mind. Today, however, this is an idea which is generally accepted among many of our young people. The day they marry, they regard it as the State’s duty to provide them with housing. In the same way, people are looking to the State to an increasing extent to provide new services. If there is something in the economy which is not functioning properly, the fault is laid at the door of the State and the Minister of Finance. In times of inflation, people are quick to say that it is the State, the Minister of Finance and his colleagues—the Minister of Economic Affairs, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Transport—who have to combat inflation. The fault never lies with the people of the nation.
I believe that one way to combat inflation is to increase productivity. I want to refer to an article by Mr. Attie de Vries, chief economist and deputy director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Stellenbosch, an article which appeared in the May 1975 issue of Tegniek. He writes inter alia that the production per head during the past decade has increased by 1,7% whereas wages have increased by 7,3%. To me this is one of the major causes of inflation, viz. that production is not keeping pace with the increase in wages. Mr. De Vries states that in 1973 there was an increase of 3,6% in production, but that in 1974 it declined to 1%. He states that the tendency to decline is continuing and that salary concessions cannot be made now. If there is time, I shall come back to this matter. The fact is that inflation cannot be combated with sweet medicine. The remedies that do exist are, for the most part, unpleasant. The question is the extent to which the State can stimulate production through its fiscal policy, if one bears in mind that stimulation of production is an important remedy in the combating of inflation. Then, too, we say to ourselves that tax must be imposed in such a way as to hinder production as little as possible, whereas on the other hand, Government expenditure must stimulate production as much as possible. This is where the problem lies. It takes the wisdom of a Solomon to maintain the correct balance. The former hon. Minister of Finance expressed it in these terms last year: “To tax and to please, no more than to love and be wise, is not given to a man”. As I said at the beginning of my speech, much State expenditure involves merely a transfer of buying power within the community. The payment of interest on domestic loans and the payments in regard to pensions can hardly be regarded as tending to increase production, but expenditure on education and public health can undoubtedly have a favourable influence on production. There are also innumerable other examples which one could mention of production-stimulating expenditure, but if there is no quid pro quo in the case of certain of these expenditures incurred by the State, production will not be increased. Here it is salaries, in particular, that I have in mind. It is true that 60% of Government expenditure is in respect of wages and salaries. Today, wages and salaries comprise about 58% of the gross domestic product. I am the last person who would want to say that we should now restrict and peg salaries, because that is unnecessary. At the present juncture, increases are probably undesirable. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I hope the hon. member for Malmesbury will not mind if I do not react to his speech. I think all of us here are concerned with inflation and from time to time give it a tremendous amount of thought.
The hon. the Minister is responsible for the fiscal and monetary policies of the Government. As the hon. member for Yeoville said, there are many aspects which are totally beyond his control and which he has to take into account when he decides what fiscal and monetary policies to implement. On the other hand, there are aspects that are under his control. The hon. member for Yeoville mentioned some of these and I want to stress one particular one, viz. the responsibility that rests with the hon. the Minister to see that the Executive does not spend more than the economy can afford. If we look at what has happened in the past in other countries where the Executive has spent more than the economy could afford, we can see how disastrous this is not only for the particular economy and the particular country, but for the whole of the Western capitalist system. When there is a petrol crisis, everyone is immediately aware of it and steps are taken to reduce the consumption of petrol and to see that the petrol that is available is put to the best possible use. However, if there is a money crisis or a capital crisis, Governments do not tend to react in this way. I think the reason is that petrol is limited in that one cannot make any more out of what one has, while in the case of money or capital the hon. the Minister has very powerful tools. First of all, he has the fiscal tool to tax and he has the monetary tool to create credit. Instead of acting as one would act for instance in the case of a petrol crisis, demands are still made on Ministers of Finance and, unfortunately, they mostly give in to those demands and use the powerful tools at their disposal to allow this enormous expenditure. What we have to guard against—and this is one of the tests which the hon. the Minister should use when he judges whether the Executive is spending too much money or not—is the level at which this excessive public expenditure is working through in the form of debt into the private sector. If one looks at the position in the United Kingdom at present, one can see that an enormous volume of debt is being acquired by the private sector, basically as a result of over-expenditure by the various British Governments over a period. This has risen to such absolutely enormous proportions that it presents a tremendous problem. In a very interesting debate which took place on 26 November in the House of Lords, Viscount Watkinson, who is chairman of Cadbury Schweppes, gave the following statistics—
As we know, during 1974 it did become much worse. British industry and commerce are loaded with this enormous debt, and how they can ever possibly repay it, is the 64 000 dollar question. The situation in America is a very interesting one. One can see that America is quickly going the same way. For the five-year period 1949 to 1953, by increasing new credit by 25 cents, the people who controlled the American economy could increase the real gross national product by one dollar. In the following five-year period it went up to 35 cents for one dollar, and during the next it remained constant at 35 cents. Then, for the period 1960 to 1965, it went up to 68 cents. In other words, you needed 68 cents of new credit to create one new dollar of real gross national product. In the years 1966 to 1968 it went up to 1,31. In other words, you had an adverse situation, $1,31 in new credit was required per new dollar of real gross national product. For the years 1970 to 1974 it shot up to 2,88. Apparently, so the experts tell me, in order for America at the present moment to get its economy out of this recession and to get 1 new dollar of real growth in its gross national product, it will have to pump in 6 dollars of new credit. This is an astronomical figure. In fact, it works out at something like 700 billion dollars in order to get a situation of full employment in the United States again. We are in a very fortunate position, because we do not have these particular problems at the present moment. But these problems are beginning and are starting to appear. When they start to appear I think it is time that the hon. the Minister should consider them as an early warning system. When certain areas of the economy get so loaded with debt that it becomes highly unlikely that they will be able to cater for that debt. I think the hon. the Minister should take notice of this. In The Star of Tuesday, 10 June, an article appeared under the heading “The Alarming Money Gap”, written by Dr. Johan Cloete, the chief economist of Barclays National Bank. He presented a graph, and in this long article quite a few interesting factors come to the fore. He deals with a sample used by the Department of Statistics, in the manufacturing industry. It shows that in 1969 the total internal savings of this sample as about R300 million, while their total capital commitment was about R200 million. They therefore had in hand about R100 million in real savings. In 1970 they lost that and the figures were about equal. In 1971 there was a deficit and a negative gap of about R100 million developed. In 1972 that gap was perhaps a little bigger than R100 mil lion. In 1973 it shot up to R220 million and in 1974 it shot up from R220 million to R604 million. This was just one small sample that the Department of Statistics used. In 1969, this little sample had R100 million in excess capital savings, and now they are in debt to the extent of R604 million. This is the same kind of trend that we saw in Britain and the United States. Here one has a very vital section of our economy which is becoming overladen with debt. I would like to quote what Dr. Johan Cloete says—I shall not quote it all, because time does not permit me—
We must remember that a debt has got to be liquidated. It has either got to be liquidated out of real savings, or by bankruptcy or by hyper-inflation, where our currency becomes valueless. When the hon. the Minister sees sections of our economy moving into a situation where they have acquired so much debt that they are actually incapable of paying that debt out of real savings, the hon. the Minister must know that if not tomorrow and if not the next week, at some stage that debt will be liquidated either by bankruptcy or by hyper-inflation. My suggestion is that when these areas occur in the manufacturing industry, he must see this as an early warning signal that the excessive expenditure of the Executive is coming through into certain areas of the private sector in the form of debt which they will be unable to repay out of real savings.
Mr. Chairman, in theory the hon. member for Randburg probably made a very interesting speech here, but I think that as the hon. member for Malmesbury indicated, in practice it does not always work out so easily. I do not want to follow up on the hon. member’s speech any further, because I want to discuss mechanization in agriculture and then associate myself with what the hon. member for Paarl had to say about inflation and the retail trade.
I do not intend to re-emphasize the importance of agriculture in our economy here. I think that this has been very clearly stated in the recent debates by other hon. members. The increasing importance of the production of food in our country, not only for our country but for the rest of the world, too, has also been very clearly stated. As far as our country, in particular, is concerned, we have the change that has been brought about in regard to unskilled labour and the elimination of the wage gap. The other day, the hon. the Minister of Mines said in a speech that the wages of Bantu mine workess had increased by 150% over the past two years. As Bantu become more trained and skilled, we can expect this to be the case in all sectors of the economy. Agriculture, in particular, will be very hard hit by this. It is generally known that agriculture is a labour-intensive undertaking which, for the most part, utilizes unskilled labour. Although one accepts that the training of Bantu in the agricultural industry has become imperative, this applies specifically in regard to mechanization, too. It is necessary now, if we are to bear the future in mind, to make provision for the agricultural sector to be in a position to mechanize as rapidly as possible. I think that now is perhaps the time to start encouraging agriculture to mechanize as rapidly as possible. In 1972, the expense incurred in the purchase of machinery, implements and vehicles in agriculture was R114 million. In 1974 it had already risen to R171 million. In terms of the Income Tax Act is the custom that value depreciation on agricultural implements and machinery can be written off to provide for the actual wear and tear on the implements and the machinery. The percentage usually allowed varies between 10% and 20%. However, we find that the increase in the prices of agricultural implements, particularly tractors, has been no less than 20% over the past year. As a result, after the amount allowed has been written off, the farmers’ position remains exactly the same. I should like to refer to what the hon. the Minister said in his Budget speech concerning the industrialist and capital investments in this regard. I quote from column 3401 of this year’s Hansard—
In column 3402 the Minister goes on to discuss this aspect with regard to the industrial sector—
I should like to propose that something similar be done in regard to agriculture, since we realize that we are dealing here with a vital sector of our country’s economy, because next to gold, agriculture is the biggest earner of foreign exchange for South Africa.
I want to refer briefly to what the hon. member for Paarl had to say in regard to free competition in trade. In recent times, a great deal of publicity has been given to the fact that prices have been rocketing. Some newspapers have adopted the sound practice, if I may say so, of indicating how prices vary from one business concern to the next. I have before me an extract from Die Burger of 7 June 1975, and I want to refer to one item, viz. toothpaste. The price at Clicks is 51 cents, at Checkers 621 cents, at a chemist in Sea Point 89 cents, at Grand Bazaars 59 cents and at Ross Chemist 89 cents. With all the publicity given to inflationary increases and to the control which the Government can exercise in this regard. I think that there are a few aspects which one should refer to, particularly in this instance, where differences in price are before the public at the drop of a hat. There is, of course, the difference that some businesses provide service whereas others do not, but the unfortunate practice of giving the bigger businesses a bulk discount has become current among our manufacturers. The following bulk discounts are given on tinned soup: 2½% on 100 cases, increasing to 121% on 2 000 cases. If this were delivered to one address it would be understandable, but one finds that a chain store places one order for 2 000 cases, for example, which is then delivered in smaller quantities at the various branches of their business. The chain stores are therefore in the favourable position of being able to make a profit of 121% even if they ask the same price as that charged by the retail businesses. The chain stores do not buy for each separate business in bulk as is generally thought to be the case. I just want to point out that in the third quarter of 1974, a total of 298 400 workers were employed by the retail trade. The wages and salaries they paid during this quarter were as follows: R83 476 000 to Whites, R9 243 000 to Coloureds, R6 476 000 to Asians and R21 521 000 to Bantu. Sir, we take it that in a capitalistic system one must allow free competition in one’s country’s economy, but this is a dangerous tendency, because if these retail businesses, which are usually one-man concerns and which provide employment on this scale, were to disappear as employers, then this would have an incalculable effect on our entire economy. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman. I must say that I have listened with great interest to the debate. It was quite clear that all the hon. members who participated in the debate tried to deal objectively with the matters they raised here. I think there was one exception, i.e. the hon. member for Wynberg, who is not here at the moment. [Interjection.] This hon. member made a fine party-political speech. The hon. member for Walmer says that he will protect the hon. member’s interests here. I am sorry the hon. member for Walmer did not participate in the debate, because he can make interesting speeches. I think he would have made a responsible speech if he participated in the debate today, because he is in a very good mood. Perhaps I shall come back briefly to the hon. member for Wynberg at a later stage.
In the first instance, I should like to refer to the speech made by the hon. member for Paarl. He had some fine things to say to the economic adviser, particularly in connection with his recommendation that an efficient and national educational programme should be launched against inflation. I am very glad that the hon. member mentioned the name of the economic adviser here. The hon. member for Paarl also made it quite clear that if we want to succeed in really containing inflation, it would demand a particularly efficient and joint attempt, a joint attempt not only as far as the private and the public sectors are concerned; and here I include industry, commerce, the trade unions, and the consumers, and so on. Also as far as the Government is concerned, there would have to be a joint and co-ordinated attempt on the part of all the departments which are closely concerned with this problem. Of course, it is in particular the Departments of Labour, of Economic Affairs, of Finance, of Agriculture and of Transport. I am sure my colleague, the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs, will have more to say about this matter when his Vote comes under discussion.
As far as the hon. member for Sunnyside is concerned, I must say that I agree with him wholeheartedly when he referred to the very high standard of living which many of our people are enjoying in South Africa today. I think that as far as the majority of the Whites are concerned today, we can say that our standard of living is one of the highest in the world. This did not come about of its own accord. One can only reach that standard of living when one has worked hard. I also wanted to make this point here today—the hon. member for Sunnyside raised a very good point here when he asked that the public should be informed in a very efficient and systematic manner about the income tax situation in South Africa and how our income tax compares with that of other countries. I think we can definitely do some more in this regard, and this will receive our attention.
The hon. member for Lydenburg referred to a deficiency in one of our Acts, the Limitation and Disclosure of Finance Charges Act, and I must say that I find the facts he mentioned in that respect disturbing. I want to give him the assurance that the matter he raised with us, will receive our urgent attention during the recess. I should like personally to discuss this matter with him further, because this is a particularly important matter.
The hon. member for Ermelo referred to capital profits tax. He also referred to estate duty, particularly in connection with the forestry industry, and to the position of plantations in this regard. I just want to point out to him that as far as plantations are concerned, they are, of course, planted to earn an income. He will have to agree that when the trees are felled, there can be no argument about the fact that this does render an income. However, the owner of the plantation could beneficially start felling trees even before they are ready and could claim in respect of the expenditure involved in this, or he could sell the plantation as a whole. Of course, he is free to do anything of this nature. Therefore, the sale of existing plantations could also be regarded as revenue. What we are considering now, is of course the taxation aspect of the matter. There are concessions with regard to the rates of taxation to avoid taxes from being levied at abnormally high rates. He is really being taxed at the rate which is applicable to the revenue he derived from his plantation for the previous three years. Therefore, if he has had no income from such a plantation for the previous three years, the profit on the plantation would be taxed at the minimum rate, provided of course there is no other income. Estate duty is being levied on the net value of the estate. A plantation property is valued at the market value at the date of death, and this entails that the appraiser would value the property with the growing plantation thereon as at such date and not at the value the plantation would eventually have when it is mature. I am just mentioning this matter. I think the hon. member will be aware of this, but we may probably discuss this matter further at a later stage.
The hon. member for Malmesbury made a very interesting speech. He referred. inter alia, to the financing of Sasol 2. If I may say so, he advanced very sensible arguments and I quite agree with him. I shall come back to this matter when I deal with the speech of the hon. member for Constantia. I should like to read the hon. member’s speech very carefully, because I think he made a very constructive speech.
I hope I have not omitted to reply to anyone. To my mind the hon. member for Losberg raised very important points. He referred to the importance of agriculture, to the burden of inflation and to certain important policy considerations. I can give the hon. member the assurance that the matters he referred to will receive the attention of my department during the recess. I shall inform him about the progress we have made in regard to these matters.
†The hon. member for Constantia made, I thought, a careful and constructive contribution to the debate. I am glad that he appreciates the explanatory memoranda which my staff are able to produce. I agree with him. I, myself, find the memoranda extremely useful. Frequently when one is pressed for time, one wonders how one would manage without them. That has been my experience. He did say that he thought we should have more time for the discussion of the Finance Vote as a whole. I think that is an interesting point. I agree with him, of course, that there are some very fundamental issues here. On the other hand it is true that there are some unusually good opportunities throughout a session to discuss finance. The hon. member will agree, I think, that on the whole there is pretty generous time allowed for financial measures. However, I take his point. I do not wish to make an issue of that.
The hon. member spoke about inflation and pointed out that it was essentially a cost-push inflation. I think that his argument in reality was that this requires fiscal policy aimed at reducing costs and not increasing them. I think I can agree entirely with that general statement. On the other hand, in practice one must retain a clear perspective. I do not want to go into the matter in detail. I think the hon. member will agree that if Sasol were to be entirely financed from loan funds, the interest burden on that amount of capital would be enormous. That must immediately affect the price at which Sasol has to sell its products, of which petrol is a very important one. One can say that a levy should not be imposed upon petrol because that makes petrol more expensive and to that extent the consumers have to pay more. I fully agree. However, I have tried to maintain a balance. We have allowed for loan capital of more than R200 million, which will be the amount involved by the time Sasol 2 is built. We have made a considerable allowance for export credit financing. The greater part of the financing, of course, comes from the levy on petrol. That was a very considered decision. In the circumstances I certainly believe that it was the right decision to make. The hon. member spoke about indirect taxes, for example sales taxes, excise taxes, and so forth. The fact is that indirect taxes have declined as a proportion of total taxation in South Africa. In fact, the figures are quite interesting. In 1971-’72 indirect taxes constituted 36% of total taxes; in 1972-’73, 32,8%; in 1973-74, 30.3%; in 1974-75, 27,7%; and in 1975-76, 26%. That is the estimate for this year. There is therefore no question about it that indirect taxation has, relatively, declined fairly substantially. I wanted to point that out to the hon. member.
I would also just remind the hon. member that the Standing Committee on Taxation is making a very careful review and study of a number of important aspects of our tax system, and I am sure that we all look forward to seeing that report. Then the hon. member said that variations of State expenditure were more important as a policy instrument than variations of tax rates. This is very difficult in practice. For one thing, much of the State’s expenditure is contractual and we do not have the flexibility and manoeuvrability which we might like to have. We certainly cannot change these aggregates at short notice. That is one of the big practical difficulties which we have here. There are other difficulties as well. I must say that changes in tax rates and the amounts of tax will continue to play a very big part.
He also said that there is a lack of long-term planning as a means of keeping State expenditure within bounds. I am just summarizing the points he raised and I hope I am not misinterpreting him. If one looks at the figures which appear in the statistical summary which was issued with the budget, one finds that consumer expenditure as a percentage of the gross domestic product was as follows: In 1967, 10,9%; in 1968, 11%; in 1971, 13,4%; in 1972, 12,6%; in 1973, 11,9%; and in 1974, 12,6%. These are figures obtained from the Reserve Bank originally. I think that these figures clearly show that expenditure of general government as a percentage of the GDP has, in fact, declined over that period. It is not a great decline, but nevertheless there was a downward trend.
The hon. member referred to index-linked bonds to stimulate saving. There are practical difficulties, and one of them is that to have such bonds in order to protect the real position of the saver, you could very easily be landed with extra taxation. Obviously one will have to pay to have more current money available in order to meet the decline in the purchasing power of the currency as the result of inflation. We shall give more attention to that suggestion and we shall see how far we can take it.
The hon. member for Yeoville spoke about the Minister of Finance’s functions generally and he suggested that not enough attention was being paid to certain things. One of them is employment opportunities. The whole policy of protection, the whole decentralization policy in South Africa is directed precisely to the provision of more employment opportunities. That is a very quick answer but one can go into all the details of the matter and of other fiscal measures which have the same aim and which I think have succeeded very substantially.
He raised the question of the construction of housing. I can point out that the Stale expenditure on housing has risen very substantially over the last couple of years. Perhaps one should make these figures known to the public more often than we do at present. We shall certainly look at that. The amount that is involved in the provision for housing is a very big amount and it has been increasing substantially.
He also referred to the building societies. As the hon. member will know, a commission of inquiry is going into the various aspects of the housing situation which directly affects the building societies, among others. I want to repeat the assurance I gave in my Budget speech that this is an issue which is receiving the closest attention of the Treasury and the Department of Finance. Quite recently we had discussions with senior representatives of the building societies and we are certainly watching the position. I can assure the hon. member that, as far as the Government is concerned, we are very conscious of the need to have adequate funds directed to housing and in this respect the building societies play an extremely important part.
The hon. member also referred to the economic position of the lower income groups. He said that he believed their position should be improved. I daresay one van find instances of hardship amongst the lower income groups, particularly in this time of continued inflation. I think there is no question about that. However, I would draw the attention of the House to the fact that the average wage of non-White employees rose by 9,2% in 1974 while the average wage for all employees rose by 4%. I think the general conclusion one must draw is that the lower income groups have not really, relatively speaking, suffered, although I agree it depends on where you start from. However, if you say that the average wage for non-Whites has risen by 9,2% and the average wage for all employees by 4%, obviously the former must have risen proportionately far more.
Are those figures expressed in real terms or inflationary terms?
These figures are in real terms. I would also draw the hon. member’s attention to the fact that the gross national product per head of the population rose in 1973 and again in 1974 by 7% per annum in real terms. That is an enormous increase which is spread throughout the economy. I think if one puts those two together one has to admit that the lower income groups have certainly had their share of prosperity as well.
Then the hon. member mentioned that more capital expenditure on amenities for those population groups which need them most, might be provided. I agree that that is very desirable. Within the capacity of our budget we certainly do this, but the hon. member will agree that all this requires very considerable funds. On the other hand, we are constantly being enjoined to hold down Government expenditure as much as we possibly can. Therefore, once again, one has to see this in perspective—to see what is possible.
The hon. member referred to a very important point when he spoke of the exchange rate of the rand. He said that, in determining the exchange rate of the rand, greater weight should be given to the cost of imports. He seemed to feel that we were placing too much emphasis on exports. I spoke at some length on this point in, I think, the Part Appropriation debate. What I said there would still be my considered view. We do not slavishly fix the exchange rate of the rand in terms of a basket of currencies. Obviously, we study this aspect very closely. We do not necessarily follow the trend of any grouping of currencies. We take everything into account, including our trading position, which is very important. The hon. member will agree with me that in our country we could not possibly play down the importance of exports. Consequently, we must try to maintain a balance. What makes things very difficult of course is, for instance, the present weakness of sterling. That has a considerable impact and causes many difficulties. Without there being any deliberate devaluation, sterling has in the course of trading devalued by well over 5% in the last month.
You must not let it drag you down.
No; that is why I say we take all the relevant aspects into account with great care. We realize how important it is that the rand should remain a strong and sound currency. The hon. member also suggested that we should extend the subsidy on mortgage loans to tenants of lower-income flats. This aspect was examined very closely a few years ago and as a result of that inquiry, it was found to be so fraught with administrative difficulties that my predecessor felt it was quite impracticable. I agree with the point made, but it is a very difficult thing to carry out in practice.
Will you look at it again?
We will. We always look at suggestions when it comes to alleviating the lot of the less privileged section of the population. I can assure him that we will do that and if the hon. member would like to discuss that with me or any of my officials, he is very welcome to do so.
The hon. member for Johannesburg North was in a fairly abolishing mood. He said that we should abolish non-residents’ tax on interest and non-resident shareholders’ tax on dividends, and I think he also said that we should review the undistributed profits tax on private companies, was it not?
Yes, both; including the distinction between private and public companies.
To abolish the non-residents’ tax on interest and the non-resident shareholders’ tax on dividends would not in fact assist lenders or foreign shareholders. I would point out to the hon. member that all our major trading partners have tax agreements with the Republic. Lenders and shareholders consequently receive tax credits in their countries. If these taxes were abolished, it would not be the lender or the shareholder who would benefit, but the fiscus of the foreign country as it would not have to give credits for the Republic’s tax. That is the problem in practice. As far as the undistributed profits tax is concerned, the hon. member of course knows that in the Budget we brought about a substantial improvement in the position. The plough-back was increased, which virtually had the effect of abolishing this tax for all operating companies. I would point out again that the whole question if company tax, including the undistributed profits tax, is being looked at this moment by the department and by the Standing Commission on Taxation. A very careful inquiry is being undertaken by them.
The hon. member for Wynberg is back with us. I am pleased to see him here. He was at the same school as I was. I do not know if he holds that against me or whether I should hold it against him, but I think that in the interim, since those happy days, some funny things have happened to him.
*Nevertheless, I am glad to see the hon. member here and to be able to speak to him across the floor of the House. The hon. member also talked politics and he wanted to know how one could save today, because the cost of living is supposed to be so high. Of course, the fact remains that when one considers the statistics for last year, one would see that our savings were particularly high last year. I think it was one of the highest figures we have ever had.
No, not incidentally, but on account of good government. The hon. member also referred to credit-worthiness and said that the sound credit-worthiness of South Africa has nothing to do with the Government. I think the hon. member is alone in saying this, because one cannot possibly make a statement such as this. The financial policy of the Government should, inter alia, be kept in mind when credit-worthiness is discussed. Credit-worthiness does not simply come from nowhere, and it is something one has to build up through the application of a sound policy and the maintenance of sound relations with your own people and with other countries.
†Then the hon. member came to the provinces. He said that the financing of the provinces was an arbitrary thing. The provinces do not have a say and, apparently, the Minister is riding rough-shod over them. The hon. member has really missed the boat. The hon. member surely knows that the financial needs of the provinces are not assessed arbitrarily but are, in fact, carefully assessed according to a formula worked out and set out in the White Paper on the Schumann report. This formula was drawn up after very careful study. Basically the total expenditure of all the provinces for a base year is added together and then standardized—as we say—for each province in accordance with objective criteria which are, in fact, stated so that anyone can examine them. In the case of education, for example, an average expenditure per child in the primary school is worked out with due allowance for such different factors as urban and rural school population and others. This standard expenditure is adjusted from year to year for such things as price changes, population changes, and so on. It is extremely carefully done and we have in fact seconded an extremely able senior official from the Reserve Bank to the Department of Finance who is concentrating almost full-time on provincial finances, and I believe that he is doing a splendid job. One has only to speak to him, to see the way in which he approaches this and how he keeps in constant touch with the provinces, to realize how seriously this matter is being deal with. How the hon. member can say that the provinces do not have an opportunity of putting their cases, I fail to understand. We are in constant touch with the provinces. The hon. member may be interested to know that a week ago I saw a deputation from the Cape Province, the new Administrator plus his whole Executive Committee, to discuss the Cape Province’s finances. It is true that when it comes to capital we have not quite reached the same objective criteria. However, we are working on that and the senior official to whom I have referred is giving a great deal of time to this, in order to put the capital budget of the provinces on a carefully worked-out and systematic basis. He is doing it in very careful co-ordination with all the provinces. I would like to point out to the hon. member that if he looks at the figures, the Cape Province will receive on Revenue Account this year R440 million, in round figures. That is an increase of 15% over last year. Natal will receive R183 million which is an increase of 14,2%. Transvaal will receive R509 million, i.e. an increase of 11,1%. The Orange Free State will receive R121,8 million, i.e. an increase of 13,2%. This gives a total amount from revenue for the provinces of R1 254 million, which is something between 13% and 14% up on last year. Obviously these things change a little from year to year, especially if one takes into account the criteria which have been accepted by the provinces. The planning is there, the constant co-ordination and contact is there and the communication is there. Therefore I must say that the hon. member has rather missed the point when it comes to provincial financing.
*I want to make haste, because I do not want to speak for too long. However, there are one or two other aspects of my various Votes I want to refer to. The first is the S.A. Mint. Hon. members will be aware of the enormous increase in the sale of coins, and I just want to refer to the scope of the activities of the Mint, because I believe people often do not have a clear picture of what is going on. I should also like to draw attention to the extent to which the production programme was expanded in particular during the past year or two. When one considers the minting of coins during the year 1975-’76, i.e. the present financial year, we find that the position as far as Republic coins are concerned, is as follows: 10 million half cent coins will be minted, 50 million one cent coins, 35 million two cent coins, 20 million five cent coins, 10 million ten cent coins, 10 million twenty cent coins and 5 million fifty cent coins. Therefore, altogether 140 million Republic coins will be minted in one year. If the 18 million Rhodesian coins which will be minted, are added to this, altogether 158 coins will be minted in one financial year, which is an enormous increase compared with previous years.
What is also being envisaged in addition to the minting of the above-mentioned coins, is the minting and packing of the following numbers of proof and collectors’ coins and coin sets for sale to coin collectors: 10 000 kruger rands—i.e. gold coins of proof quality—6 000 gold proof sets containing R1 and R2 gold coins, 12 000 gold R2 coins of proof quality—i.e. coins of a slightly poorer quality than coins of proof quality, although there is not a marked difference—22 000 gold R1 coins, also of proof quality and 10 000 long-proof sets containing R1 and R2 gold pieces and the R1 silver pieces as well as fifty, twenty, ten and five cent nickel pieces together with two, one and half cent bronze pieces. The coins contained in the long-proof sets are packed in a container of imitation leather, and all the coins in the set are sold at R80 per set. Furthermore, there are also 4 000 short-proof sets, containing a whole number of coins, and 20 000 uncirculated sets also containing various coins. I think hon. members will agree with me that these figures are an indication of an enormously active department. I also want to refer to other coin statistics.
†The number of Kruger rand coins supplied by the S.A. Mint in 1973-’74 was 859 000, in round figures, but in 1974-’75 3,204 million were supplied. There was therefore a tremendous increase, which is mainly attributable to a great increase in the number of coins sold abroad. In fact, in 1974 more than 3 million were sold overseas. When we come to look at the value of the sales, the point I want to make is that the total income from the sale of the Kruger rand overseas yielded R342 million in 1974. I want to make it clear that this income of course goes to the Chamber of Mines and not to the Government. The yield during the previous year was R49 million. The sale of these coins in South Africa yielded R21,7 million last year compared with R4,6 million the year before. The extent to which the S.A. Mint has increased its activities in a short time is quite remarkable. I think we owe a very great debt of gratitude to the tremendous efficiency with which this department is carrying cut a highly technical operation. I do not know whether there are finer, better quality coins in the world. I have been told overseas by people who know, that they regard the gold-proof Kruger rand as the finest gold coin in the world.
*As far as this matter is concerned, I just want to point out that the particularly large number of R1 banknotes in circulation demands that these notes have to be replaced regularly. We have now reached the stage where it is being seriously considered to replace the R1 banknote with a R1 coin. The proposed R1 coin will replace the existing silver rand and will be smaller in size. We feel that the present R1 silver coin is slightly too big. The precise specifications of the new coin are being investigated at present, as well as the way in which the R1 banknote will be replaced. Sir, I think this is going to be a major improvement. As far as I am concerned, when I have money on me I prefer to have a coin rather than a note in my pocket. I do not know whether this also applies to hon. members on that side of the House.
†The last point that I want to refer to briefly, if I may, is the question of gold. Gold has become extremely topical again, especially in the last few days. An interim committee of the IMF has just been sitting in Paris. This interim committee has tried very hard, particularly under American pressure, to reduce the role of gold as a future monetary asset. The communiqué which came out in the last day or so is, to my mind, quite a remarkable document. It is certainly a very equivocal document in important respects. One does not quite know in all respects just what they have agreed on and what they have not agreed on, but what I think does come out is that there is still a substantial disagreement on the future role of gold as a monetary asset, particularly between France and the United States. We will obtain more clarity, Sir, but as I say, there is a very substantial disagreement. You will find that the communiqué, for example, contains many phrases such as “an appropriate formula should be found”—they have not found it yet—and “There should be broad enabling powers” to do all sorts of things, so apparently they have not got those powers yet. Then they say that “the director-general should study various aspects”. From the wider international point of view, it is to my mind regrettable that after all these years of discussions—and these discussions have been going on for a very long time—there should still be no real agreement on gold and the place it has in the international monetary system. When I say that, I want to add that as far as we are concerned, we have no doubt of the place it has; we never have had, and I certainly have no doubt at this moment that gold will remain at the very base of the international monetary system, no matter what attempts are made to force it out. I would like to say further, Sir, because this is such an important subject, not only for us but clearly for the whole world because we are dealing now with the whole international payment system, that if you look at the communiqué you would conclude that there has been no agreement apparently regarding the sale on the private market of the gold held by the Fund itself. Hon. members may know that the IMF itself holds something like 150 million ounces of gold. The Americans talk about that gold being used to give aid to the developing countries; the French want that gold returned to the member countries who own it, at the official price. There was great disagreement on that, and that disagreement apparently is still there. Any new decision on this aspect will of course require an amendment of the articles of agreement of the Fund itself. Secondly, it appears that the United States is now endeavouring to subject gold transactions by monetary authorities to a whole number of conditions. We will get the full details, but it is quite clear from the communiqué that that is so, and a very revealing sentence, I think, in the communiqué is the one which says—
That is collaboration between member countries and the Fund to reduce the role of gold—
It is not just to reduce the role of monetary gold, but of the reserve currencies as well. The clear implication of this is that some other countries did not feel that collaboration should extend to the reduction of the role of reserve currencies. Now, the position is now only that a reduction of the role of reserve currencies has been agreed upon in principle by the IMF; it is also clear to an impartial observer, I think, that reserve currencies have for many years injected great uncertainty and instability into the international monetary system. I would like to say that whatever gold’s imperfections as a monetary asset may be, there can be no doubt whatever that the tremendous expansion of dollar holdings since 1970 has probably done a good deal more harm to international monetary stability than anything that gold could possibly have done. You only have to think of the huge Euro-dollar balances lying footloose in Europe and Japan and these different places to realize what a disruption that has caused. But now some countries asked members to collaborate with the Fund in reducing the role of gold, but not that of reserve currencies. That is what some members are now saying. It is quite clear that what these countries want is a return to a permanent inconvertible dollar, or rather a dollar standard, which I think holds very grave risks for the international monetary system. I personally have said several times, and I repeat it, that I believe the world needs a strong dollar, but this is not the same as accepting the dollar as the basis of the international monetary system. I cannot see the dollar displacing gold in any sense. If gold were really so inferior, as some people suggest, as a monetary asset, why do you have to resort to these elaborate devices to force it out of the system? Surely it would then simply disappear of its own accord. I think that is something which requires answering. The only possible conclusion is that those countries which seek to promote the dollar, or even the SDRs, or Special Drawing Rights, as the principal reserve asset obviously are very worried about the competition of gold, because I think they are undoubtedly aware of the very high regard in which gold is held by central banks generally and by millions of people all over the world. That is why I think these people are trying to force gold out by adopting all sorts of devices year after year. My view, for what it is worth, is that they are not going to succeed. They have not succeeded over a long period, and I do not think they are any nearer to success now. But even if they should reduce the role of monetary gold, I do not think it will harm gold. There is the demand for gold for fabrication and industrial purposes; there is the demand for gold coins which has risen enormously; and there is the speculative, investment and hoarding demand for gold. These can and do fluctuate. The industrial or fabrication demand has weakened in the last year or so on account of the very high price of gold. There has been some consumer resistance on the part of manufacturers of jewellery, but people become accustomed to these things. I personally expect that the demand for gold for jewellery, which is a very substantial part of the total demand, will come into its own again quite soon, and it will make a very big difference to the price. I therefore do not think it is a case of harming gold. By doing this sort of thing, what one is harming is the international monetary system. How much better would it not have been if this interim committee, as we urged in a memorandum which we succeeded in placing before the committee, although we are not members of it—through the good offices of certain people we managed to place our considered memorandum before that committee—had recognized realistically that be cause of its long tradition and universal acceptability, gold can continue to make a valuable and, I believe, indispensable contribution to world financial stability.
Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether the hon. the Minister would indicate to us why South Africa does not revalue its gold reserves and show the greatest possible confidence in gold as the hon. the Minister has been illustrating by what he has just said.
Mr. Chairman, I am glad the point has been raised. As a matter of fact, I dealt with that in a speech I had to make to a congress last night in Durban. I pointed out there that it made a lot of sense to me, under these conditions, that gold reserves be revalued. I said that South Africa was giving very careful attention to this issue. As a matter of fact, we have been doing so for at least a couple of months. I would not like to go further than this at this moment, but I can give the hon. member the assurance that we are having further discussions at the moment. There are a number of quite complicated practical implications affecting various parties. We want to do the equitable thing. I assure the hon. member that I take his point. We are looking at the matter at the moment.
*I want to conclude by conveying my sincere gratitude to the various officials of my department for their devotion and the hard work they are doing year after year, not only for the benefit of the Public Service, but also for the benefit of the Republic as a whole. I am not in a position to mention all the names now. However, I should like to refer to the Department of Finance, the Department of Inland Revenue, the Treasury, the Department of Customs and Excise, the Office for State Purchases, the Auditor-General, the Economic Adviser and the South African Mint. I apologize if I have omitted to reply to anyone. It is not the intention to offend anyone.
I thank the House for the opportunity that has been granted to me to be able to say what I wanted to say.
Votes agreed to.
Revenue Vote No. 44.—“Indian Affairs”:
Mr. Chairman, in order to facilitate matters and to make the discussion of this Vote meaningful, I should like, with your permission, to make a short statement on a matter which is mooted every year, namely the restrictions to which members of the Indian community are being subject in respect of their residence in the various provinces of the Republic. I am of the opinion that the statement will save us a considerable amount of time at this stage. These restrictions are of an historic and traditional nature, and for that reason it would perhaps serve a good purpose if, by way of introduction, I briefly sketched the historical background to these restrictions.
After Union the position was that Natal, into which Indians had been brought since 1860 as contract labourers for the sugar industry, had by far the largest Indian population, that in the Transvaal there was a limited number of Indians under strict control concerning their place of residence and entry into trade, etc., that the Orange Free State had a handful of Indians who, with special permission, were granted residential rights there, and that there were a relatively small number of Indians residing in the Cape. With a view to maintaining the status quo and to exercising control over the further influx of Indian immigrants, the Immigrants Regulation Act, 1913—Act No. 22 of 1913—was placed on the Statute Book. Section 4(1)(a) of this Act empowered the Minister of the Interior—at the time Gen. Smuts—to declare any person or class of persons who for economic reasons or owing to their standard of living or their customs were deemed by him to fail to comply with the requirements of the Union or of a specific province, to be a prohibited person or persons. On 1 August 1913 the Minister of the Interior issued the so-called “deeming order”, in terms of which Asiatics were confined for residence to their province of domicile, and a prohibition was placed on their movement to other provinces. The admission of Asiatics to the Union was also regulated by this “deeming order”. Act No. 22 of 1913, the one to which I have been referring, was subsequently substituted by Act No. 59 of 1972.
The residence in and admission of Indians to the northern districts of Natal, i.e. the magisterial districts of Vryheid, Utrecht, Paulpietersburg, Babanango and Ngtoshe—formerly Louwsburg—was restricted by the Asiatics in the Northern Districts of Natal Act of 1927—Act No. 33 of 1927. This Act provided, inter alia, for the registration of Indians who had been domiciled in the northern districts at the time of the commencement of that Act on 1 January 1928, and were actually present there, and this Act granted residential rights to such registered persons.
In terms of Proclamation 93 of 1928 Indians were prohibited from entering the Transkei unless they were in the possession of permits authorizing them to travel through the area between sunrise and sunset.
Chapter XXXIII of the Statute Book of the Orange Free State, which is still in force, provides in section 1 that an Indian may not sojourn in the province for a longer period than two months without the prior approval of the State President.
Since 1961, when the Indian community was accepted by this Government as permanent part of the population of the Republic, and the policy of repatriation that had been followed by successive Governments since Union was abandoned, various concessions were made to facilitate the movement of Indians. Many of these concessions were made on the insistence in the first place of the South African Indian Council which, from the very outset, after its establishment in 1964, sought to bring about the complete abolition of the restrictions imposed on Indians by the deeming order. The concessions have an interesting history and amount, in brief, to the following. Firstly: The educational certificate issued to an Indian who had been lawfully resident in one of the provinces prior to or on 1 August 1913 and had been able to pass an educational test, gave him an unassailable residential right in the Cape Province and in Natal, but not in the Transvaal. These certificates, which were initially valid for three years and could subsequently be extended for two further periods of three years each, have since 1962 been made valid for an indefinite period.
Secondly: Until recently a visiting permit in terms of the provisions of section 39(1) of Act 59 of 1972 was a prerequisite for an Indian if he wanted to visit another province. Until 1961 the position was that a deposit of up to R40 had to be paid on such a permit, and that every member of a family had to call at the issuing office, where a separate permit was issued to each person. Upon their return every person was required to hand in his own permit personally. An amount of 25 cents had to be paid in respect of each permit.
During December 1961 the regulations concerned were amended in such a way that the payment of the deposit could be abolished; the permits were amended, and provision was made for one permit to be issued per family. Thenceforth, too, it was only necessary for the head of the family to call on the issuing office for the issue and return of the permit. With effect from 1 January 1965 the payment of 25 cents for a permit was also abolished.
Thirdly: Relaxation of the inter-provincial restrictions was made possible during May 1973 when Act 59 of 1972 was amended in such a way that the Minister of Indian Affairs could exempt a category of persons from the provisions of section 13(l)(a) of the Act for a definite or indefinite period, either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as he may have determined. On 14 September 1973 the Minister consequently signed an order releasing Indians from the obligation of acquiring visiting permits if they wished to enter another province for a period not exceeding 30 days at a time for a bona fide holiday and/or business purposes, family visits or for purposes relating to cultural, religious or sporting matters. Exemption was also granted to the Indians to undertake a direct journey through the Free State and the northern districts of Natal without permits. In addition Indians are now able to travel directly through the Transkei from Natal to the Cape Province, and back, without first acquiring a permit for this purpose.
Fourthly: Change of domicile is now being granted more readily. In terms of the provisions of section 19(1) of Act 59 of 1972, the Minister of Indian Affairs may grant to an Indian the right to establish himself permanently in another province on condition that he relinquishes all his residential rights in his previous province. Formerly applications of this nature were granted only in exceptional cases, but during the past few years this matter has been dealt with far more leniently, particularly when reasons of health, humane considerations, personal deprivation, etc., were at stake.
Pursuant to a serious plea by the executive of the S.A. Indian Council, when they met the hon. the Prime Minister on 24 January 1975, the entire matter has once again been reviewed. In the light of the progress which has already been made with the implementation of the group areas legislation and the consequent establishment of separate residential areas, as well as the problems which are being experienced with the application of the deeming order under modern conditions, it was concluded that the restrictions placed on the Indian community in terms of the above-mentioned order are obsolete as far as their inter-provincial movement is concerned.
Consequently it has been decided to abolish this measure and for that reason I am now declaring that all South African Indians who have residential rights in the Republic, shall with effect from this day no longer be deemed to be unauthorized persons in respect of the provinces of the Republic for the purposes of section 13(1)(a) of Act 59 of 1972.
The result of the abolition of this measure is that all Indians may move freely from the one province to the other, and they may settle without approval in any other province, except the Orange Free State. This concession is therefore not detracting in any way from the provisions of chapter XXXIII of the Statute Book of the Orange Free State, nor from those of Act No. 33 of 1927. As in the case at present, however, Indians will still be able to travel freely through the Orange Free State and the northern districts of Natal.
However, I want to make it clear that this statement in no way alters the position in respect of the admission of Indians to the Republic, and that there is therefore no question of immigration of Indians from abroad.
This very important concession which has been made to the Indian community will undoubtedly meet with approval in wide circles; it is a further demonstration of the Government’s sincere endeavour to make the happy and peaceful co-existence of the various population groups in our country possible. I trust that the Indian community will obey the letter as well as the spirit of this new dispensation.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to begin, in the short time that is available to me, by congratulating the hon. the Minister on his elevation to his new post as Minister of Indian Affairs. I hope that his tenure of that office will be enjoyable and fruitful, both for himself and for the community for whom he bears the responsibility. I hope that his tenure of this particular portfolio will be for a longer period than that of his predecessor. I think everybody will agree, whilst Ministers themselves do not have control over the length of time they spend in any particular office, no Minister can do justice to his department and his portfolio if he is there only for a very short period of time as was the case with the predecessor of the hon. the Minister.
I was very glad that the hon. the Minister, in the very first speech he has made under this portfolio, was able to make the announcement that he did. As I understood it the crux of the announcement was that except for the Orange Free State and the northern districts of Natal there would be free movement among the provinces.
And the right of settlement.
Yes. This is something that has been desired by us and has been a desirable thing to achieve for a long time. I am very glad that it has now been brought to fruition.
Before I go on to the matters that I wish to deal with. I should like to repeat what I said last year about the report of the Department of Indian Affairs. I had pleasure last year in complimenting this department on a report which was both interesting and comprehensive. I should like to say that that applies again this year. Once again the report of this department is comprehensive, it covers the entire subject, it is intelligently drawn up and is an interesting document to read. It is a pleasure to be able to say this having regard to some of the reports of other departments.
Last year the hon. the Minister, who was then the present Minister of Economic Affairs, when we dealt with his Vote, indicated that the policy in regard to the Indian Council was a three phase policy. Firstly, there would be a fully appointed body: then there would be a body which was half appointed and half elected and finally there would be a fully elected body. At the present time even the 15 elected members are not elected in the ordinary way. They are elected by means of electoral colleges in each province. I think the hon. the Minister will agree that it is desirable, as soon as possible, that those 15 be elected in the normal way and that we proceed thereafter, as soon as possible, to a fully elected council. I would like to hear from the hon. the Minister what his plans are in this regard and why we cannot have elections by an ordinary vote as opposed to an electoral college vote at the present time. As far as I can see there is no impediment to that taking place now.
Then there is the question of the expansion of the powers of the Indian Council. Again last year, in reply to what I said during the discussion of the Vote, the hon. the Minister said that he hoped to be able to expand the powers of the council and to give them increased powers in the field of education and welfare services. In fact his words were that he was moving towards the handing over to the council of all the powers the Minister had in those two fields. That means, and it was something I mentioned in my address then, not only the control of all Indian education, but the control of the necessary appointments, and powers in respect of the Indian university as well. These are considerable powers and I believe these are powers which the Indian Council could legitimately and properly exercise at the present time. I would be grateful if the hon. the Minister could give us his views in that regard later in the evening when he replies to this debate.
I come now to the question of land which in some ways touches on the announcement which the hon. the Minister has made. I recently had the privilege of giving evidence before the Group Areas Board in regard to an area called Cliff dale in Natal, a very substantial tract of land situated midway between Pietermaritzburg and Durban. I know that the hon. the Minister does not control the activities of the Group Areas Board. However, he does have influence, and I want to ask him to use his influence with the other departments and the boards concerned in having Cliffdale declared an Indian area. I do not wish to go into detail now. The necessary details will be available to the hon. the Minister from the various departments. I think that I can say that all the evidence placed before the Group Areas Board at that hearing —and it was considerable—was to the effect that this area was ideal for settlement by the Indian community and should be declared as such. It is largely settled by that community at the present time. I believe that it is also capable of expansion.
This brings me to my next point which is the expansion of these areas so as to provide agricultural land for the Indian community not only in Natal but also in the other provinces where it is envisaged that they can legitimately be settled. Once again, quite by chance, shortly before the group areas hearing I have just referred to, I attended a symposium in Nal run by the Natal Regional Planning Commission. One of the most interesting papers delivered at that symposium was delivered by the head of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services in Natal. He was dealing with the question of the use of land from the point of view of his department. He made a point which I thought was most significant. He said that Natal supplies a mere 10% of the vegetables that are consumed in that province. The balance is imported from the Transvaal. He attributed this very largely to the decrease in the amount of land available to Indian farmers and market gardeners. In the province of Natal they are the principal producers of vegetables. I want to say in all fairness that it is not merely a question of the operation of the Group Areas Act. There is also the question of the price that is being paid for development. A large proportion of the land previously under vegetables in the hands of Indian owners is now under bricks and mortar. I am referring to housing schemes such as at Chatsworth, industrial development as in the Bayhead area or Durban or, of course, the operation of the Group Areas Act which one finds in areas like Queensburgh and Pinetown. These are mostly areas of low-lying or flat land, well-watered land which was heavily cultivated and produced food for the main urban areas of Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Where this sort of position obtains I believe endeavours should be made to provide additional land for those members of the Indian community who know no way of life other than agriculture or horticulture. I believe that efforts should be made in all provinces to enable this community to carry on a useful field of endeavour in which they are highly skilled and for which they have particular attributes. I should like to suggest that not only in Natal but also in the other provinces where there are established Indian communities which are legitimately settled there, the hon. the Minister will investigate the expansion of those areas so as to include areas where agricultural communities can be settled.
In the moment or two that is left to me I want to deal finally with the question of the large growth point at Richards Bay. As the hon. the Minister knows, there is tremendous development there. I know that the hon. the Minister knows that area from personal experience. There is an enormous Indian population there of skilled and semi-skilled workers who are working on the development of that port. However, there is no area adjacent to where they work where they may legitimately settle. They are situated temporarily there under social conditions which are in many ways highly undesirable. I need not dwell on this fact because it is probably known to the hon. the Minister. I should like the hon. the Minister to investigate the possibility of establishing in the vicinity of Richards Bay a permanent group area for the Indian and the Coloured communities. I know that the Coloured community is not the responsibility of this hon. Minister. However, these people are working there now in large numbers and will continue to do so. I cannot foresee the time when they will not be a useful adjunct to the working force in that area. That area is growing by leaps and bounds. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, before coming to my own speech I have something to say on a personal level. In the first place, I want to convey a word of thanks on behalf of this side of the House to the former Minister of Indian Affairs, Minister Heunis, in regard to the period in which he served as acting Minister of Indian Affairs. He did a good job and I trust that he will do the same in his new post. I want to convey a word of thanks, too, to the former chairman of the Indian Affairs group, Dr. Hans Otto, in his absence. We want to thank him in his absence for the many years of good service, not only in the debates, but also in the study group of the National Party.
I should like to associate myself with the words addressed by the hon. member for Zululand …
The hon. member for Umhlatuzana.
I want to associate myself with the words addressed by the hon. member for Umhlatuzana—it seems to me that some of the members of the opposition move around rapidly from place to place—to the hon. the Minister in regard to his particular appointment and in regard to the way in which he handles this particular post. The hon. the Minister has been a well-known figure in South Africa politics for many years. He is one of those who has gained a great deal of experience through the years and in recent times I have come to know him as a person with an exceptional knowledge of the portfolios he has to manage. He has an exceptional grasp of the problems which flow from his portfolios. In recent times he has shown himself to be a person with a vast store of knowledge, and a very conscientious worker. I trust that he will serve in this portfolio for many years, and on behalf of the study group of the National Party I want to give him the assurance that we shall assist him most willingly with his great and responsible task.
The hon. member for Umhlatuzana made a very interesting and objective speech. However, there are a few things which the hon. member has mentioned which I want to come back to. He adopted certain standpoints in regard to the Indian Council. I want to tell the hon. member that the principles on which the National Party policy of multi-nationalism are based are so basically sound that every population group in South Africa has the fullest opportunity for development. Perhaps the hon. members of the Opposition are sometimes overwhelmed by the fruits of the National Party’s policy, quite probably because a very long time ago, they did not want to recognize the realities and the facts of Southern Africa, or were perhaps ignorant in many respects as far as the National Party’s policy was concerned When the hon. members of the opposition make arch and playful references to the fact that the National Party is taking over their party’s policy, I want to tell them that I am grateful when I realize that the vigour of the National Party’s policy is such as to carry along with it even the members opposite. I should like to say this to the hon. member for Umhlatuzana, who discussed Richards Bay, among other things. A statement was issued to the Press by the Department of Information, in which, inter alia, the following was said about Richards Bay or the Empangeni complex—
In other words, I want to tell the hon. member that there is continual discussion and that the National Party listens attentively to the problems of the Indian community. Sir, in order to give an indication of the growth of the policy of the National Party in regard to the Indian and his place in South Africa, I want to quote certain passages relating to the changing attitude among various population groups which has occurred in Southern Africa, specifically as a result of the policy of the National Party. Sir, if you are a student of the presence of the Indians in South Africa, then you, too, will be acquainted with this work by P. F. Joshi, Struggle for Equality, in which he provided an exposition, in the early ’fifties, of the presence of the Indians in South Africa. Towards the end of his work he wrote, inter alia, the following—
He said this in the early ’fifties. I now want to quote from the work of Prof. Pachai on The South African Indian Question: 1860-1971, in which he writes as follows:
Then I should like to quote the following, perhaps not so much for the information of the Hon. member for Umhlatuzana as for the information of the group of hon. members in front of me here; it is in fact they who are the people whom I want to deal with. He writes, inter alia, as follows—
Then, in the third place, I want to quote from an article which appeared on 3 January this year in a periodical, Himmat, published in Bombay. The article was written by a Mr. Gandhi who, if I am not mistaken, is a descendant of the well known Mahatma Gandhi. I do not want to quote his article out of context, but in view of the two passages I have just quoted, the concluding words are very important. Under the heading “Curse or Blessing”, the author writes as follows—
You lost a chance.
Unfortunately. Sir, in a 10 minute speech one cannot really make an analysis in depth of the coming of the Indian community to South Africa and its history here under the Various policies adopted, but the fact that Joshi could write in 1948 what he wrote here, the expectation of what was going to happen in South Africa, the fact that after 10 to 15 years, Prof. Pachai could have written what he did, and that a man like Mr. Gandhi should have written in 1975 what he did after so many years of this supposedly cruel policy of the National Party, tells one a very interesting story, and that is why it is necessary, not only for the National Party and the members of the National Party, but for the members of the opposition parties, too, to be fully acquainted with the history of the presence of Indians in South Africa. But it is necessary, too, for the Indian community in South Africa also to consider the problems and the issue arising out of their presence and the presence of my people. I want to make an appeal—and I hope to have an opportunity to discuss this again, later in the debate —for the leaders of the Indian community, in view of what is inherent in the policy of the National Party, to give the fullest possible consideration, in the most responsible way, to what the National Party has to offer them. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, at the outset I would like to say how pleased we are in these benches at the start the new Minister of Indian Affairs has made in his portfolio. We very much welcome the moves he has made. I must admit that the start of my speech this afternoon was going to be to make a request to the hon. the Minister to take exactly the action he has taken. He made sympathetic noises a little earlier this year in the Other Place when he explained that he was looking at the situation. We hoped that he would take this sympathetic action and we are very pleased indeed that he has done so. We notice that as yet the Free State has not come into line, but I think that when the Minister was talking about this matter in the Other Place he described the situation in the Free State as being peculiar, saying that it had a peculiar history.
But not in the sense of being funny, ha, ha.
No, not funny, ha, ha, but peculiar peculiar. Perhaps this peculiar or strange situation in the Free State, and also that in Northern Natal, will be resolved in the fairly near future. We do believe the hon. the Minister has made a good start in this portfolio with his new broom. Before getting on to the rest of my speech, could I just say to the hon. member for Rissik, who seemed to lay at the door of the Progressive Party the blame for the sins of a previous British administration, that I wonder why he does that. As far as I and others in these benches are concerned we are not responsible for those circumstances.
I want to raise with the hon. the Minister this afternoon the question of the shortage of land in Indian areas. I know that this is not totally his responsibility but, as the hon. member for Umhlatuzana has said, he obviously has influence in these matters. If we take Chatsworth, the most populous Indian residential area, as an example, we find that the overcrowding is absolutely appalling. The position at present is reaching the crisis situation which obtained in the early 1960’s, from about 1960 to 1963, when the old United Party’s Asiatic Land Tenure Act, the notorious “pegging Act” of 1946 was still in operation. This had resulted in a shortage of living areas and the accommodation position was becoming completely intolerable. At that stage the Government was forced to make available more areas for Indian occupation. However, we are again in a situation where this overcrowding is reaching serious proportions—in fact I would say crisis proportions. We have the situation where, for example, Indian married couples have just no hope at all of getting houses for themselves, and overcrowding in the available houses has reached disgraceful proportions in some areas. Perhaps the hon. the Minister could tell us of his plans together with the plans of the hon. the Minister of Community Development, to open up additional townships. We have had a request from the hon. member for Umhlatuzana in the Durban-Maritzburg area for an answer on Cliffdale. The hon. the Minister did make some remarks about Cato Manor earlier this year in the Other Place when he suggested that he was taking another look at the situation. Perhaps he could say what is going to happen in regard to Cato Manor. There is also the situation in the Transvaal with regard to extensions inter alia to Lenasia and Grassmere, Perhaps the hon. the Minister can tell us what is happening there. Today thousands of Indian people are denied a normal family life because conditions of overcrowding are so serious that sleeping and living accommodation is cramped to the point of being almost like an old-time army barracks. Chatsworth, which houses something like 200 000 people at the moment living in about 20 000 very small houses, is absolutely bursting at the seams. The figure of 200 000 is an estimate. I think the official estimate is somewhat less, though I think it very fair to say that Chatsworth at the moment has something like 200 000 people. In reality it ought only to accommodate about 120 000 people. Much of the land made available for Indian occupation in the Durban area is not particularly good land in that much of it is badly drained and some of it is on eccashale while other areas, particularly those in proximity to the Palmiet River and the Umgeni River, are very hilly and expensive to build on. They are expensive as far as drainage is concerned and do not constitute ideal building land, especially not ideal cheap building land, whatever else they may be. Perhaps the hon. the Minister could tell us about the plans for Phoenix.
The plans for what?
The plans for Phoenix. That is another suggested township. I find it very difficult to discuss the whole situation of the Indian community in South Africa without straying into the field of community development and group areas. The life and future of Indian people in South Africa is ruled by where they are allowed to live and trade. This is why this one move is so welcome. I know of many cases of individual Indian people, born and living in Natal, who have wanted to work in the Transvaal and who have in fact actually been offered jobs in the Transvaal. In the past they were denied a sympathetic hearing by the department, and this is why we welcome this move. On the matter of trading, I would like to ask the hon. the Minister if he would be prepared to discuss the position of a very small Indian trading community with his hon. colleague. I am referring to the Indian traders in Grahamstown. Like many other communities, these Indian traders rely on a White clientele for a lot of their business. They have shopped at the existing premises there for years.
The hon. member for Albany has already taken up this matter with me in detail.
Has he taken it up in detail? Well, I am glad because it is felt that a move to new premises would affect the businesses of these Indian traders. The suggested new area is as small as the existing one, allowing no room for expansion. My suggestion to the hon. the Minister is that he make both areas available for Indian trading operations. I certainly think this would have the support not only of the Grahmstown Town Council and the local Chamber of Commerce but also of virtually everybody in Grahamstown. In so many areas the Indian trading community has been virtually destroyed because of group areas. I think it would be a major step in the right direction … I see the hon. the Minister shaking his head, but he knows as well as I do that the plight of many Indian traders in many Transvaal towns has been too terrible for words in recent years. They have been moved out of old shopping areas and their businesses have virtually been destroyed. However much the hon. the Minister shakes his head, I am afraid that this is true of many South African Indian trading communities. Many of those trading communities still have this sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. They cannot build or plan for the future. It would be a major step in the right direction if the hon. the Minister could use his influence with his colleague, the hon. the Minister of Community Development, in order to halt this sort of thing.
Another matter I should like to raise with the hon. the Minister is the cause of great upset to sections of the Indian community. I am referring to the non-South African wives of certain South African Indians who are kept out of South Africa. Over the years this question has been raised with successive Ministers without any results. Surely the time has come, with a new Minister in charge of affairs, for change to come about? The religious difficulties with regard to marriages for our small Parsee and Gujarati communities make it almost impossible for South African Indians to find husbands or wives in this country. The number of people involved is very small indeed and if the hon. the Minister would give his interest and attention to this matter I believe he could save a considerable amount of heartbreak and unhappiness.
I should like to make one final small point. Why are White families allowed to employ living-in domestic servants of another race group while the same facility is not given to other communities in South Africa? This seems to me totally unreasonable.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Orange Grove dealt with the shortage of land as far as the Indian community of South Africa was concerned. This is a matter which I also raised last year although, perhaps, in a different context. I shall make further comments on this matter later in my speech. He also raised the matter of the Indian traders to whom I shall also refer in the course of my speech.
*The key to political stability in any country in the world, and more so in South Africa, lies in the removal of areas of friction between the various cultural groups which would from the nature of the matter represent conflicting interests, and which could, as a result of the distinction which exists between the ethnic groups, lead to conflict. It is situated, moreover, in the fact that the political and social frustration of a particular population group should be restricted to the minimum. During the debates on Indian affairs during the last few years, I have to a large extent confined myself to the positive aspects of the Indian policy of the Government. Much progress had indeed been made and I was therefore able to discuss this aspect quite readily. Progress has been made in all the spheres, and not only in the political sphere. Progress has also been made on both the economic and the social levels. Nobody can deny this and in any case, if we have to listen to the negative aspects of Indian affairs in South Africa all day, as it is presented by the various Opposition parties and the English-language Press, one cannot help stressing the positive aspects. Perhaps it is also necessary that we consider any problem which exists at an occasion such as this. The muttering that is heard from certain Indian leaders from time to time, might at times be justified, but in many cases it is in fact neither justified nor in the interests of the Indian community in South Africa. The fact of the matter is that we should take note of this.
Therefore. I want to consider a few of the problems tonight, and I want to call Mr. Joosub, the previous chairman of the Indian Council, as witness. I am referring to an interview which he had with Gerald Riley of the Rand Daily Mail in November last year. What complaints do these people have? I would like to refer to this interview. The complaints are—
I think it is necessary that we should look at this, because Mr. Joosub is a reliable witness. I got to know him and had a very penetrating discussion with him on these problems. The first matter which he mentions, deals with the wage gap. I think members of this House will readily agree that the Government has already demonstrated in recent years that it is paying serious attention to this matter and that a great improvement has already set in in this regard.
The question of housing is not a problem which is unique to the Indian community. This is indeed a world problem. It is therefore not a matter which we can regard as a problem among the Indians only. I think that an enormous amount has in any case been done in this regard by the Department of Community Development. We should simply accept the fact that much has still to be done. We do not wish to argue with Mr. Joosub on this matter. What can be done is in fact being done.
Then there is the matter of the Indian traders. Has it not been said repeatedly by this Government, and also carried out in practice, that Indian traders who were uprooted as a result of the Group Areas Act, are re-established economically and that they are only moved if it is in fact possible to re-establish them economically. Mr. Joosub also mentioned that the traders should be allowed to trade with all racial groups. In more than 80% of the cases this is what happens, but just as the Whites are not allowed to trade in certain specific areas of South Africa, so the Indians should also accept that certain restrictions are being imposed upon them in terms of the policy of this Government.
Then he raised the matter of the Indian market in Durban. This might sound hackneyed, but I want to say that the whole problem of the Indian market in Durban which burnt down, rests squarely upon the shoulders of the United Party City Council of Durban. If there is any institution that has done something to save that situation and to accommodate Indians in South Africa, it is in fact this Government.
In connection with Cato Manor, I immediately want to make the statement that I believe—this was also said to me by Indian leaders—that they accept the Group Areas Act in essence because they are just as jealous of the preservation of their own identity as what this side of the House is. Therefore, if we accept the principle of the Group Areas Act, we should also know that there are of necessity certain specified areas on which differences of opinion might exist. I believe that the hon. Minister, with reference to questions which were put here, will further elaborate on the matter of Cato Manor.
As far as the matter of provincial boundaries are concerned, I do not want to say anything further. I think that the statement which the hon. Minister made here tonight, is already an answer to this matter.
Then there is also still the matter of naturalization certificates for stateless Indians. This already occupies the attention of this Government and has already been solved.
As far as a fully representative Indian council is concerned, I only want to say that I advocated this myself last year during this debate. We should, however, accept the fact that Rome was not built in a day. This Government did in fact clearly indicate what its eventual intentions are. All we therefore need in this regard, is a little more patience.
Before I conclude I want to return to the positive aspects as were also clearly spelt out by our hon. Prime Minister when he opened the session of the Indian Council last year. It was also spelt out by him earlier this year in the No-confidence Debate, that new vistas have opened up for the Indians in connection with they own national and political development, things which we simply cannot ignore.
I want to conclude by mentioning that the hon. the Prime Minister this year said: “I want to say, as I said to the Indian and Coloured leaders when they raised the issue with me and said that they wanted meaningful political power in South Africa, that they have every right, not only to ask that from me, but also in fact to demand it from me and that I shall have no quarrel with them whatsoever when they say that to me”. I think it is clear what the political future holds for the Indians in South Africa, not only in terms of their expectations, but in terms of the new horizons that have been created for these people. I believe that we will have the full co-operation of responsible Indian leaders in this regard.
Mr. Chairman, I am not quite sure whether the constituency of the hon. member for Newcastle includes or merely adjoins the area of Northern Natal which will still suffer certain restrictions …
It adjoins it.
If that is the position I look forward to the hon. member for Newcastle using his undoubted eloquence and persuasive powers to persuade his “verkrampte” friend from Vryheid to seek some relaxation of the restrictions which have existed in that particular area for a long time. I was also very pleased to hear him say that he felt the time had come for a revision of certain aspects in regard to the naturalization of certain stateless Indians. There are some who are very deserving cases and I trust that the hon. the Minister will take note of the fact that there are people on that side of the House who also feel that the time is overdue for restrictions in these very worthy and worthwhile cases to be lifted.
I want to deal with a matter which has been indicated to me as concerning quite seriously a certain section of the Indian people. I refer to the question of text books at Indian schools. This matter was dealt with previously by means of question and answer in 1973. The answer I received to a question at that stage as regards certain aspects of the distribution of text books indicated that as far as the authors were concerned, some authors were officials of the Department of Indian Education. The particular posts mentioned were those of the Deputy director, the Chief Education Planner, the Chief Inspector and the Subject Inspector. The answer given to me also revealed that the use of these books was compulsory, that the range of subjects which they covered was a broad range and that when it came to consultation in regard to the choice of these books committees were set up representing both Whites and Indians who discussed the proposed choice. But when it came to the matter of a final decision only the Indians themselves were allowed to exercise a vote. On the surface that seemed a very reasonable situation, but it also evoked a comment in 1973 and I wish to quote from some of the comments that were made. Firstly, as a reply to this question and answer, Indian teachers do not choose books for use in their schools. Generally they are informed of the choice in the course of a meeting. At no stage were books in manuscript form given to teachers for study with a view to approval. The books in some cases cost more than similar ones available to White and/or Coloured students Reference was also made to an article in the local Press in February 1973. Finally, the comment was that no one has been able to assign a reason for the increased cost to Indian pupils.
What was the date of that article?
It was written in 1973. I appreciate the fact that Indian scholars have the advantage of free books now, but I submit that if their books cost more, then obviously it comes from the global sum of money voted and it must mean in some way a curtailment or a restriction of other services. As far as I know the position in regard to books is virtually the same, but I want to quote a particular case which has been brought to my notice. It concerns two particular books. The authors of the one are members of the staff of the Department of Indian Education and it is not my intention to disclose names across the floor of the House. Take the first book, Modern Mathematics for Std. V. Apparently this book was compiled by five White authors, who appear to be teachers, for use in Coloured schools. We have a similar book Figuring It Out, a new syllabus for Std. V. The authors of this book are two officials in the Department of Indian Education. If we turn to the page beyond the flyleaf in this book we read—
This is the book to which I have just referred. What is interesting is the fact that the same firms have been involved in respectively, the publishing, cover design and lithography of each of these books. As far as the adaptation is concerned, I have only been able to find three factors which are of any significance at all. The first is that there has been a change of author. The second is that there has been a change in the cover design. The third is that there has been an increase in the selling price. As far as I can gather, the increase on average amounts to 15 cents over the price of the previous book to which I have referred, viz. Modern Mathematics for Std. V, which, as I have said, is for use in Coloured schools.
Are they identical?
I am coming to that. I want to ask the hon. the Minister what the motive is for the adaptation? Do officials in the Department of Indian Education benefit? Are they entitled to benefit financially as a result of this book or through the publication of any other prescribed book? I have a certified statement which indicates a significant similarity between the two books. This person says—
The statement goes on to indicate that on page 5 there is an error in each book viz. 35 = 3 X 7 x 5, whereas, of course, it should read 35 = 7 X 5. On page 136 there is what seems to be a printer’s error which appears in both books. It had been suggested to me that such behaviour could be regarded as being unethical. I want to ask the hon. the Minister what the adaptation is intended to imply. Is it intended to imply that the book has been specially adapted for the use of Indian scholars? The only adaptation that I can find is what I have mentioned and, of course, the two obvious errors and the question of the difference in price. I believe that it is a situation such as this which engenders dissatisfaction and suspicion in the minds of the teaching profession in the Indian community. I trust that the hon. the Minister will clarify the position and also dispel any doubts which may exist in the minds of these people.
I also want to deal with another matter which has been the subject of controversy. This is in regard to the non-appointment of an Indian as Director or Deputy Director of Indian Education. I want to make it clear most emphatically that what I have to say is not a personal reflection on either past or present incumbents of these positions. This is entirely a matter of principle. The Indians believe that the undertaking given ten years ago by the then Minister, Mr. Maree, in dealing with the Indians Education Bill in this House, has not been given effect to in terms of his remarks at that time. They also believe that the pace has been too slow. They suggest that the progress is not in line with the statements made by the hon. the Prime Minister in regard to improvements in the situation of the Indian people. They interpret his remarks as a speeding up of all matters whereby the Indians will be able to take over more responsible positions in their own facilities. I am disturbed about this, and in the few minutes left to me I want to refer to a question tabled by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg North when he asked specifically whether Indians with suitable experience and the necessary qualifications were going to be appointed to these two positions. The answer was that there were no Indians with the necessary experience and seniority who could at that stage be considered for promotion. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I am one of the members of this hon. House who, when I have strong feelings about a matter, really experiences difficulty in stating and motivating my case properly in the short space of ten minutes. In the light of this, I take it that the hon. member for Berea will forgive me for not going any further into the matter which he raised. I want to tell hon. members that when my time expired in this debate last year, I was dealing with the social welfare aspect, and I was explaining certain aspects of the matter to this House. I should now like to proceed from there. [Interjections.] The first aspect I was explaining, was in fact the importance and the enormous scope of social welfare in general and also in relation to the Indian population in particular. Hon. members will know that permissiveness—the destruction of family-life, etc.—is taking its toll in that community. The importance of social welfare is set out in a neat and concise manner in the first four paragraphs of page 31 of the annual report. I think hon. members who have not read this as yet, may well go and do so. Finally, in regard to the importance of this matter, I may just say that we open proceedings in this House by prayer every day, in which we ask for guidance to rule to the welfare of society.
In the second instance I indicated in brief last year that there was a difference among people. I said that the one was no better or worse than the other, but that the one was different to the other. We find, for example, that the White and Indian communities have a great deal in common, for instance that we form a permanent part of the South African population. I personally have good Indian friends and very good acquaintances among the Indians, but I am not part of that population group as such. Now I say: The expression “similar but not identical” is, in my opinion, applicable in this regard. I think that when it comes to social welfare and welfare work, due regard should be had to this difference. Therefore, as far as I am concerned it is obvious and logical to me that welfare or social work can best be done by the members of a particular population group themselves. For example, a South African Indian with his personal knowledge of the differences of their religions and his personal knowledge of their culture, customs, family relations, etc., can most certainly do that work more successfully than I shall be able to do.
†The very important principle that information is “giving out” but that communication is “getting through” is also applicable here. I believe that the South African Indian himself supports this principle of self-help. I am told that when a man called on the Prophet Mohammed for alms, the Prophet gave him an axe and instructed him to go and earn a living for himself on his own. It is therefore with appreciation that I read the following in the report before me—
The fact is that the Indian community is fulfilling its duty to a much greater extent than some of the other communities in this specific respect. I also have a copy of a very interesting and informative lecture, namely “The Social Welfare Concept in Islam” written by Achmat Davids, director of social services of the Muslim Assembly in the Cape. In this lecture he points out that Azkaat, that is the compulsory poor tax of approximately 2½%, is one of the very cardinal principles, as a matter of fact one of the five pillars of Islam. I point this out to show that there is a difference of approach between different people, but that the Muslim as well as the Hindu sections of the Indian community has a very positive approach to the question of social welfare.
*It is a fact that the Department, i.e. the Government, and the private welfare organizations in the Indian communities themselves are co-operating excellently in order to promote this matter. There are, of course, problems as well. At the moment, for example, there is an acute shortage of Indian welfare workers, partly because the Indian welfare workers are mostly women who leave the service when they get married and start a family. Another reason is that the University of Durban-Westville extended its period of training from three to four years, as a result of which nobody qualified at the end of 1974. The South African Indians, however, were not deterred by this. In fact, the enrolment is so high that we think a record number of welfare workers will qualify at the end of 1976 and, what is more, will be better qualified. What I actually want to say, is that the welfare task continues to increase in extent, that the various population groups are different and that the task can be better performed by the particular population group’s people themselves. The Indian community is contributing its share, and we appreciate this. The Department and the Indian communities are co-operating very well in this regard.
This brings me to the last point I want to raise. I am convinced of the fact that things are going far better with the White population group in South Africa than they are going with their counterparts in the countries from which their forefathers came. I am convinced of the fact that things are also going far better with the Blacks in South Africa than they are going with their counterparts in the population groups from which their forefathers descended. I am likewise convinced of the fact that things are also going far better with the latest addition to our population, i.e. the Indian population group, in South Africa than they are going with their counterparts in their countries of origin. I do not think it is necessary for me to prove this statement seeing that it is obviously correct. I do not think there will be any contradiction in this regard. Perhaps I shall have time next year to prove this, [interjections.] As I have already said, one never finds an ideal or perfect situation, an Utopia. Therefore we cannot sit back now and say that we are not going to do anything more. When we look at pages 20 to 24 of this report where community development, housing, the provision of facilities, etc., are discussed, we see that a tremendous amount is being done. The hon. member for Newcastle also referred to this. One should, however, see this social welfare task as a whole, in general. The welfare of a person, a household, a family or population group is related to housing. I want to point out to the hon. the Minister by way of repetition that as far as Indian communities are concerned, i.e. in areas such as Krugersdorp, this is not simply a question of the provision of economic and sub-economic housing for people who qualify, but also an aspect of resettlement. Therefore I want to ask the hon. the Minister to use his influence to do even more in a shorter period as far as the provision of facilities, and housing is concerned, so that we may make a monument of a township such as Azaadville in Krugersdorp not only to the progress of our policy but also to the co-operation existing between White and Indian in South Africa.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.00 p.m.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to raise a matter that has already been raised by the hon. member for Berea, whose speech was cut off in mid-sentence, and that is in regard to the question of the appointment of an Indian person as Director of Indian Education. I would like to stress also at the outset that this is no criticism, implied or otherwise, of any of the White individuals involved. There is no question of no confidence in them, but I regard what has been done as a gratuitous insult to our Indian community. It appears that the hon. the Minister does not consider that any Indian is qualified to hold down this post. I realize that as a new Minister he might not have been in a position yet to take responsibility for this at this stage. However, I feel that he will probably get very hot under the collar if it is suggested that an Indian can aspire to this or any other top position. Sir, there seems to be no action in this direction. I am absolutely certain that there are many Indians capable of holding down this job, and I regard this refusal to make such an appointment as highly insulting. At a time when the Government has finally decided to improve the rate at which it is building Indian schools—I think it is doing very well in this direction; the amount of money that is going to be spent over the next five years is very praiseworthy indeed—I believe that the implied suggestion that Indian aspirants are inadequate for this post is completely inexcusable. Unfortunately this is not only the situation with regard to Indian education, because it appears from the reply to a question which I asked the hon. the Minister on Tuesday, 4 March, of this year, as to how many Indians and how many Whites respectively were employed in each class of post in his department, that virtually all senior posts in the department are still held by Whites. Why is this the situation, Mr. Chairman? I do not believe that there are no Indians available to fill these posts, and surely it would be logical for the Government to allow Indians to run their own affairs to a greater degree. After all, they are always talking about giving Indians the right to run their own affairs, but it seems that they are not really sincere even in this.
Who is not sincere?
I would say that at this stage you do not appear to be sincere, judging by your actions.
Only you would say that.
I believe that there are plenty of Indians who are qualified for this post. The hon. the Minister might well be in a position to convince me of his sincerity tonight. If he says that he is going to make some of these top posts available to Indian people, I shall be very pleased indeed and quite happy to withdraw my words. But it is action that we want to see. I must say that I personally dislike this whole talk of sectionalizing, of Indians in Indian Affairs and of Coloureds in Coloured Affairs and that sort of thing.
What do you want?
Well, as long as we have a Department of Indian Affairs in this country—and I look forward to the day when the necessity to have a Department of Indian Affairs will disappear, when a department like the Department of Indian Affairs will be a thing of the past and when people will be regarded as people rather than ethnic communities—I see absolutely no reason at all why Indians should not be appointed to the top positions in the department. I see absolutely no reason at all why these positions should go to White persons. I look forward to hearing from the hon. the Minister on this, because it would certainly appear from his earlier statement that things are changing in this department and this is to be welcomed, but I believe that the situation at the moment is not only illogical but very unfair. Perhaps the new Minister with his new broom is going to alter it, but his record as far as the appointment of a Director of Indian Education is concerned has not been very encouraging at all. I am sure that we are going to hear a lot of words on this subject, but I believe that it is deeds that count, not words.
Sir, let us turn from this and take a look at the situation at the University of Durban-Westville. There is considerable amount of discontent on the campus which manifested itself in a partial boycott by students of the university’s recent graduation ceremony. I may say that I had a letter from the director of development at the university, in which he claims that there has been no real boycott, and this seems to belie the reports in a number of newspapers which reported this partial boycott. They also reported considerable unhappiness and intimidation. The Sunday Times published an interview with the rector of the university, Prof. Olivier, but his views were questioned by a student in a subsequent letter to that newspaper. I believe that many students wrote in answer to the publication of this interview. The student who wrote this letter claimed that the interview reflected the distorted and biased account of the problems experienced by students at an institution which he described as being both abhorrent and distasteful. Sir, this letter contained a chapter of grievances which indicated to me that all was not well. I should very much like to hear from the hon. the Minister exactly what is going on at the University of Durban-Westville. Incidentally, it has been brought to my attention that certain students were refused re-admission to the university in 1973 after the 1972 boycott, a time when there was considerable unrest at the university. This would seem to indicate that there is a very real possibility that the accusations of intimidation of the student body by the university authorities have some substance. I should like to hear from the hon. the Minister about this as well. I am not in a position to be totally informed on this. He obviously is in a much better position to know and I would very much like to hear what exactly is going on there. At the same time I should like to go on record at this stage as telling the hon. the Minister and his colleagues that as long as they continue with their policy of apartheid institutions at university level, there will be student unrest. To many students the whole concept of apartheid is completely unacceptable and, frankly, Sir, I agree with them.
Mr. Chairman, it has become an unwritten rule in this House that before supper one has to deliver a very dignified speech, as if one had donned a tophat and a frock-coat before speaking. After supper, however, one pulls out the stops a little, and then one talks politics. If the hon. member for Orange Grove is not deviating from the rule, who am I to do so? Before supper he made what was probably the most dignified speech I have ever heard him make, but after super he talked unadulterated politics. He made the absolutely shocking statement here that we “do not regard Indians as people”. He was talking unadulterated politics. [Interjections.] In addition the hon. member, as the hon. member for Berea did, reproached the Minister for not having appointed an Indian as Director of Education. The hon. member for Berea said a moment ago that this Government had broken a pledge to the Indians, for he said that Mr. Willie Maree had, when he introduced the Act in 1965 promised that an Indian would be appointed Director of Education. Sir, I went through the Hansards during the supper break, and what he said was correct. Mr. Maree did say that. I shall read to you what he said, and I am quoting from Hansard of 1965, column 4547. Mr. Maree said—
[Interjections.] Then the following interjection was made by Mr. Moore: “It will take a hundred years.” Sir, this Act has been on the Statute for only 10 years, and already it is being urged that an Indian be appointed Director of Education. This is progress. [Interjections.] I want to lay the blame for this on the United Party, for the United Party is directly to blame and responsible for our not yet being able today to appoint an Indian as Director of Education. Between 1910 and 1966 the United Party and its predecessors controlled Indian education in Natal. During that time they built up no hierarchy in Indian education. There were virtually no promotion posts. The only promotion posts available for Indians were vice-principal of a school, a school principal, and then half a dozen overseers. Actually they created a new word in education terminology—overseers —because they were too afraid to call these persons inspectors. [Interjections.] The word is actually supervisors. There were only six or seven of them when the Department took over Indian education in 1966, but today there are a total of 22 Indian inspectors, trade inspectors, planners and assistant planners. We are building up a hierarchy. We have established a new examination division, which entails that the possibility exists that Indians may become moderators. Other posts were also created for the Indians. In this way a senior assistant post was created. This did not previously exist. Indians are now becoming heads of departments at the colleges of education. A whole series of posts have been created, i.e. planners, assistant planners, inspectors, etc., and it will eventually be possible to appoint the incumbents of senior educational posts from among the ranks of those people. There is a second reason, too, why it has up to now not yet been possible to appoint an Indian as Director of Education and the blame for this should, in the same way, be laid on the United Party. The reason is that the Indian inspectors are not bilingual. Do you know that in 1966, the last year in which Natal controlled Indian education, only 7% of the 1 300 Indian matriculants offered Afrikaans as an examination subject— i.e. fewer than 100 of the 1 300 matriculants. One day, when the United Party is dead and dishonourably buried …
That will not be long now.
… and all the reasons for that party’s downfall have to be enumerated, one of the reasons will be the boundless contempt of those people for Afrikaans. Over the years there was a tremendous insistence on the part of the Indians …
To horse, men! The English are coming! [Interjections.]
There we have the attitude of that side—when one pleads for Afrikaans then it is: “To horse, men …”
As an Afrikaner you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
Order! The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South must contain himself.
As I said a moment ago, it is now ten years since the Act on Indian Education was placed on the Statute Book. On 1 April 1966 the Department of Indian Affairs took over Indian education from the Natal Provincial Administration, and a year later from the Transvaal Provincial Administration as well. I read the debate which was conducted when the Bill was introduced ten years ago. I found it striking to see how vehemently the United Party objected to this Bill at the time. They used three times as many speakers in that debate as they used the other day when they debated the question of the Christian Institute. The United Party of ten years ago had far more energy and fighting spirit than it has today.
The rules have been changed completely since then.
In both the Second as well as the Third Reading debate they moved that the Bill be read this day six months. When one reads that debate, one notes how, on the one hand, they waxed lyrical on the excellence of the education Natal had been providing through the provincial administration under the control of the United Party. They spoke of high standards and adequate facilities. On the other hand, they sowed tremendous suspicion against the proposed take-over.
Mr. Chairman, may I put a question?
I really do not have time for that.
Is the hon. member not prepared to reply to a question?
*Mr. P. CRONJE, No, Sir. I really do not have the time to do that. [Interjections.] They sowed tremendous suspicion against the intention of the National Party Government to take over Indian education. If one reads the speeches they made at the time, one notes that they are interspersed with, expressions such as “inferior education” and “an immoral deed”. Their main speaker, Dr. Louis Steenkamp, said that it was “a cruel gesture” towards the Indians. He said that the Bill was a demonstration of the hatred of the National Party for everyone who was non-White. He said that we wanted to kill the Indians economically. Perhaps this is a suitable time now to see whether any of those prophecies of doom came true. I do not think it serves any purpose to compare the United Party of today with the United Party of 27 years ago, for it is not a fair comparison. What one can do, however, is to compare three bodies that have dealt with Indian education over the intervening years with one another. In the first place there was the Transvaal Provincial Administration, in the second there was the United Party Provincial Administration of Natal, and in the third there was the Department which has existed for the past ten years. Let us compare the number of pupils in secondary education. In the Transvaal there was an increase of 16% over a period of eight years.
Is that all?
It is not worth mentioning, but the Government was unable to improve on what the Transvaal Provincial Administration had done. Do hon. members know what the position in Natal was? There was an increase of 78%. These are the adequate facilities and high standards which hon. members waxed so lyrical about. Do hon. members know that 28% of the Indian population are today receiving primary, secondary and tertiary education? I wonder whether there is a place in the Western world, or anywhere for that matter, in which these figures have been equalled. The average percentage for Africa is approximately ten. Surely this is something to write home about, and an achievement which should be told to the world. These are the people who are suppressing the Indians!
Then there is the question of teachers. In the Transvaal there has, during the past ten years, been a slight decrease in the number of Indian teachers in secondary schools. In Natal, however, there was an increase of 109%. This figure more than doubled, for Natal had neglected those people shamefully as far as teachers in their secondary division were concerned. Let us refer to the question of lecturers’ posts. In the Transvaal colleges of education the number of lecturers’ posts increased over the period by 8%, while in Natal the number increased by 182%. What a deplorable backlog they are making up in Natal! Let me refer to moneys appropriated. In 1965 Natal voted R7 million for Indian education. Today we are voting more than R40 million for this matter. Nowhere in the history of education has so much been done within such a short period for so many as this Government has done. And then the hon. members speak of a cruel gesture towards the Indians. I think that this is the kindest cruelty that has ever been displayed to any other person. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, we have just heard a speech by the hon. member for Port Natal which has, quite simply, proved to us that he is a National Party speaker who does not simply stand up and make a noise across the floor of the House for the sake of cheap politics as the speaker before him did, but a man who has made a study of his subject and a man with a thorough knowledge of the background of the Indian and his problems. I am sure that the Opposition parties would give a lot to have a chief spokesman on Indian affairs like the hon. member who has just resumed his seat. [Interjections.] There were clamorous complaints and grumbling from that side when the hon. member mentioned the naked facts concerning what really happened. The racket, the grumbling and the shouting on the other side when the hon. member mentioned the facts, had to be heard to be believed. It is true that it is when a person is hurt that he shouts the loudest.
I should like to avail myself of this opportunity to discuss a subject which many people complain about with their tongue in their cheek, namely the removal or resettlement of Indian traders or businessmen from White, Coloured and Bantu residential areas. The reply to this kind of tonge-in-the-cheek complaint is obvious. Are we in earnest in regard to separation of residential areas? I want to say at once that this Government is in earnest in implementing the Group Areas Act in the utmost detail in spite of the Opposition’s continual complaints, as if it were only the other side which suffered. If he Government is in earnest in this regard—and it is in earnest —then surely we cannot tell the Indian who is forced to live in an Indian residential area that he can trade in the residential area of any other population-group. We must be consistent. If the Indian must live in an Indian residential area, then surely he cannot trade in a White residential area. He is as little able to do this as a White is able to open a greengrocer’s or a café in a Coloured, Bantu or Indian residential area. If, therefore, the Department of Planning and the Environment or the Department of Community Development should tell an Indian trader that he has to move his business to another area, it is only right that the department concerned should make other facilities available at which he can carry on his business. There must be an alternative area where he can continue with his kind of business. The hon. the Minister is fully aware, not only of the problems in my constituency, but of similar problems which exist in other parts of the country and which may still develop.
We have an unusual case in Kimberley. In the first place I want to say that we are grateful that a new Indian business complex is to be established. It is at present being built and is almost finished.
Which group area is that?
If the hon. member for Green Point also wants to take part in this debate, there is ample time for him to make a speech. The new Indian complex at Kimberley is a good thing. It is being established in terms of the Government’s policy and we are grateful for it. However, I foresee certain problems in regard to the resettlement of Indian traders from their existing businesses to this new complex. I foresee problems in the sense that there are, for example, Indians trading in wood, coal and anthracite. I am only mentioning an example. These Indians, too, must be transferred to the new shopping complex. In all fairness, it is surely totally impracticable for that man to carry on that kind of business in this new complex. It is simply impossible. I could mention other examples. I have in mind, for example, a specific case in my constituency of an Indian butcher selling offal to the Bantu population.
What kind of offal?
It is not the offal of the United Party supporters, but animal offal. It is the offal of cattle and sheep, etc. I want to say in all fairness that if that kind of business were to be transferred to the new shopping complex, it would be a disgrace for the business complex. I gained the impression that the Department of Planning and the Environment carries out planning, which is also right, and the Department of Community Development performs its functions correctly, too, but that subsequently, Indian Affairs is saddled with the sad tidings. I want to suggest that in future, when other such complexes are built, and resettlement of businesses has to take place, the Department of Indian Affairs should determine the needs of the Indian traders, in the first place, and also the type of business conducted, so that the business concerned can be adapted to the shopping complex to which it has to be resettled and so that the business can in fact be conducted in the specific shopping complex. The needs of each of these businessmen can then be properly considered, according to personal requirements and according to the nature of the business he conducts. I am convinced that there would then be no sad tidings, nor would unnecessary speeches be made in this hon. House. Allow me, too, to convey a final word of sincere thanks and appreciation, particularly to this new Minister of Indian Affairs. In all fairness, I must say that I entered the hon. the Minister’s office for the first time at very short notice, accompanied by a certain Mr. Naidoo, the elected member of the Indian Council for the northern Cape, when the hon. the Minister granted us an interview. I was proud of me hon. the Minister purely for the way in which he received us and, in particular, for the understanding he displayed of the problems of the Indian community, not only in Kimberley, but in the whole of South Africa. The hon. the Minister can rest assured, once again in spite of what hon. members of the Opposition say, of the sincere thanks and appreciation, particularly among the Indian community of South Africa, tor what he as the Minister and this Government are doing for the Indian community as a whole.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Kimberley South has waffled an awful lot here for ten minutes. The only thing with which I can agree with him is that it is the task of this hon. Minister, or it should be, to look after the interests of the Indian people. Quite obviously, from what the hon. member for Kimberley South has said, this hon. Minister and the department have not been doing so. I want to come back to my friend the hon. member for Port Natal. The hon. member for Kimberley South said that he produced the “naakte waarheid”, but I want to say that he was never further from the truth than he was here this evening. If he had been preaching a sermon, as he has done in the past, he would have been talking about the wicked United Party and what they did in Natal over the past years. I want to remind the hon. member that he and the members of his party are the ones who accused us in 1948 of doing too much for the Indian people when we offered them seats in the Natal Provincial Council and when we offered them representation in this House. Now he comes with the untruths he uttered tonight. The hon. member dealt with education and blamed the Natal Administration for the failure rate in Indian education and the fact that Indian education is at such a low level. I want to say that now after 15 years of direct control by this Government through the Department of Indian Affairs, the failure rate among Indian children in Matric is the highest in the country and that the pass rate in Matric among Indian children is the lowest in the country. Is that what the hon. member is proud of under this Nationalist Government? I want to support my friend from Berea in attacking the hon. the Minister and the department. They had the opportunity to appoint an Indian as head of the Department of Indian Education, as director of education, and of carrying out the undertaking given by two of the hon. the Minister’s predecessors and repeated again this year. I quote from the Natal Mercury:
Not some time in the nebulous future, but now. I want to say to the hon. member for Port Natal and to the hon. the Minister that we have in the Department of Indian Education Indian persons who are fully qualified to occupy that post and to do the job, without in any way denigrating the present incumbent of the post.
Help me now. How do you know that?
Because of answers given in this House. Because we find that in his department he has an Indian who is capable of doing the job. Does he deny the fact? [Interjections.]
Answer my question first.
Mr. W. T. WEBBER. No, he will not answer me. What does the hon. member for Port Natal say? Is there an Indian in his department who is capable of doing the job? I am addressing this question to the hon. member for Port Natal. He will not deny it either. In the department there are ten Indian persons who are occupying lower-graded posts. They have a combined total of 67 years experience in the Department of Indian Education and among them they hold 28 academic qualifications. Let us compare them with the top nine White employees of the hon. the Minister’s department. They have only a combined total of 38 years service and have among them only 22 academic qualifications. I am sorry. The hon. the Minister and his department had the opportunity to show their bona fides to the Indian people and they failed. They failed because of people like the hon. member for Waterberg, the hon. member for Sunnyside, the hon. member for Carletonville … [Interjections.] … and the hon. member for Port Natal, this albatros that is hanging around the neck of the Nationalist Party. [Interjections.] These verkramptes will not allow them to do all the nice things which I accept the hon. the Minister as an individual would like to do. He is not going to be allowed to do them because of the albatross which is hanging around his neck. [Interjections.]
I now want to come to the hon. the Minister and the statement he made when he introduced this debate this evening. The hon. the Minister forestalled me. I was going to ask him to do exactly what he did tonight and to ask him why he had not done it earlier. His speech reminded me, however, of a story book I read when I was a little child. The story was called “Eric Or Little By Little”. That is the Nationalist Party exactly. Little by little they have comes with advances, and even now the hon. the Minister still has not had the courage to grasp the nettle wholly and to go the whole hog. Why not? I want to point out certain shortcomings in the statement he made this evening. Firstly, what about the Indians in Zululand? They have been completely left out of this. What is to happen to them? What is to happen to those who are north of the Tugela, those who in terms of the Treaty of Annexation of Zululand of 1877 are subject to permits, at the request of the Zulu people admittedly. That was a condition the Zulu people put into that treaty many years ago. The Indians may have no property ownership rights and no trading rights. As recently as 1969 the then Minister of Planning issued a proclamation in terms of which every one of those Indian people had, and still has today, to carry a work permit and a residence permit. Even at Richards Bay with the tremendous influx of Indian people who have been taken there to do the necessary work for the development of our country —theirs as well as ours—every one of them has to carry a permit. I now want to ask the hon. the Minister what he is going to do about them. Will he go into their position? Will he give this House and this Committee an assurance this evening that he will go into their situation and alleviate those shortcomings?
The plans for KwaZulu have been completed. The Black areas have been demarcated. I am not asking for any relaxation as far as those areas are concerned. I believe that that is the prerogative of the KwaZulu Government. However, in respect of towns such as Empangeni, Mtubatuba and Richards Bay itself, I believe that the time has come for this Minister to use what influence he has in the Cabinet to see that the proclamation of 1969 is revoked so that these Indian persons need no longer suffer the indignity of having to have permits to live and to work in those areas. The Theron Commission has been up there and investigated the position of the Coloureds and they will report in time. This hon. Minister, however, has not even bothered to send anybody to investigate the position of the Indian people. I believe that those men who are up there at the moment as contract workers, as “trekarbeiders”, and who were unable to take their families with them, should be allowed to take their families right away. I would like to see a proclamation by this hon. Minister allowing them to do so. Just think of the unemployment figure among the Indian people. In the past year the figure averaged 1 300 Indian people who were unemployed every day. The work opportunities that are there for them in Zululand make it necessary for the hon. the Minister to allow these people free access to Zululand in exactly the same way as they now have free access to the Transvaal and to the Cape. I will not even talk about the Free State because I believe that that province is a blot on South Africa and that it is an absolute disgrace that this should still apply in this year of 1975.
That is the first point the hon. the Minister left out, but there is also a second aspect he left out, namely the small communities, the Indian communities in the smaller towns. I will deal with Southern Natal because that is the area I know best. In Harding, Ixopo and Richmond, there are Indian communities which have been integrated into the society of the village or town concerned and which are also integrated into the economy. They provide the skills and the workers in these places. The Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads because they do not know for how much longer they are going to be allowed to remain there. This hon. Minister’s predecessor notified them that they were all going to be moved and that he was going to make a completely urbanized community of the Indian people. He also said that he was going to make them live in large towns which he was developing round Durban near Port Shepstone, and Ladysmith in Northern Natal. Will the hon. the Minister as part of his new deal, give those communities who are providing a service, who have developed skills and abilities and who have been integrated into the communities concerned, the assurance that he will see to it that his colleague, the hon. the Minister of Planning, will hurry up and proclaim Indian areas in each and every one of those towns so that these people can stay there? I believe that today is a red-letter day for the Indian people because of the concessions this Government has finally made and because they have now finally been accepted officially by the Nationalist Party as citizens of South. Africa. It now only remains for this Government to give them full citizenship rights.
There is another aspect the hon. the Minister has not touched upon and I hope he will tell us more about this later on. I am referring to the question as to how far the hon. the Minister is going to allow these people to develop. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the bark of the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South is often worse than his bite. When one has got to know him as well as I have through the years, one no longer takes fright when he talks. In fact, we can place the hon. member in the same category as the other hon. members on the Opposition side, because I must say that up to now the members of the United Party have conducted a very restful debate. However, looking at the major questions of South Africa and listening to the official Opposition, one cannot help reaching the conclusion that there is a disturbing lack of true insight in depth among the United Party. In the past debate the hon. members grasped haphazardly at matters here without really having exposed to us the weaknesses in our standpoint and in our policy as we have stated it through the years. Nor were they able to say how they would handle the alternative based on their federal policy. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South did! not reply to the statement by the hon. member for Port Natal to the effect that even our Government was not able, through the department, to improve much on what the National Party had done in the Transvaal, where they were governing, whereas we did in fact improve 78% on what the United Party had done in Natal through their provincial council. The hon. member must reply to that.
I want to come back to the subject of my first speech and refer again to my hon. colleagues sitting opposite me.
You just love the Progs.
I must say that you are rather interesting at times.
*I said originally that when the National Party came to power in 1948, our standpoint in regard to the Indians was depicted in just as pessimistic and depressing terms as in the case of the other population groups. The same language was used when we became a Republic, at which time it was said that we would deprive the English-speaking people of their rights and privileges. This standpoint, which was adopted by the liberal integrationists and their propaganda media, did in fact place a barrier between the National Party and the non-White population groups in South Africa for many decades. The astonishing fact that we have succeeded, after 25 years, in holding discussions with these people, and that those hon. members’ predictions have not come true, is proof of the integrity and sincerity in the heart and mind of the National Party as regards solving the population question of Southern Africa, as was stated by the respected professor whom I quoted. The important thing which hon. members must know is that the National Party is prepared to hold discussions with the non-White leaders, and consequently with the leaders of the Indians as well.
That is a very new development.
That is no new development. From the start this was inherent in the National Party’s political policy, and we are succeeding with it. [Interjections.] That is why the hon. members are becoming so excited. I want to tell you that there is not a single aspect of the National Party’s policy in respect of the Indian communities which they cannot discuss with the leaders of the National Party, at the highest level, through their leaders. I know that the Progressive Party and the Reformists are in fact talking to the coming young generations of the various population groups and are injecting into our young people a false science and a false philosophy. The hon. member for Orange Grove stated that there were many students who despised the policy of separate development and held it in contempt. It is quite true that there are many young people throughout the world who have that attitude towards it. At the same time I can say that the number of students who still believe what the hon. members says, is dwindling, it is dwindling every year. [Interjections.] I want to tell the leaders of the Indian community of South Africa what I tell myself and my own colleagues who are the leaders of our national community, viz. to beware of the so-called White liberalists. Beware of the people who want to approach your young people, because what is the method? I ask them to make a very clear analysis, as I must do in my community, of how the so-called White liberalists approach the coming generations, particularly the academic youth. That is why the hon. member for Orange Grove was able to refer to students of the University for Indians.
To the Pretoria University.
I know that hon. members, too, are giving attention to our students. As far as the English-speaking students in South Africa are concerned, for how many years have hon. members been trying … [Interjections] After all, we know what methods are employed by the hon. members. It has become important for the leaders of all the population groups in South Africa—I include the Indian leaders—to take a look at the methods of the so-called: White liberalists in South Africa. Hon. members can try to deny it, but nevertheless it remains a hard fact. They will have to consider the kind of people who approach them. Together with the Indian leaders, we shall have to take a look at the methods which the Reformists and the Progressive Party employ among our studying youth in particular. The method they usually apply is to question certain basic facts within a national community, to express doubt about them, so that coming generations will themselves display contempt for those things which are peculiar to their own specific group. If there is one thing which the National Party has always recognized, then it is the identity and the distinctness of each specific group. This goes for the Indian community as well, and although we are different to them and will perhaps he different to them for various reasons we have never questioned their right of existence as a distinct group with its own specific identity. If the Progressive Party and the Reformists continue to question the philosophy of life of young people and that which has given them their specific norms, causing them to reject them, what does one put in its place? What does this group of so-called integrationists offer, not only to my people, but to the other national groups as well?
Are you prepared to test their opinion by way of a referendum?
I want to tell that hon. member that I shall deal with him when I am able to make a speech of more than ten minutes. Sir, we, together with other responsible leaders in Africa, will not only watch these people’s methods, we shall also keep a careful watch on their aims. Why do the Progressives and the Reformists want to convert these young people to their way of thinking? Not for the benefit of that specific group, not with a view to meaningful coexistence, but because basically, they are striving to obtain a powerful grip on the hearts and minds of these young people. They want to use the young people for their own benefit. That is why ray appeal to the Indian leaders in South Africa is that they consider the situation in Southern Africa with the greatest degree of responsibility. We on the National Party side are prepared to conduct discussions with them and to listen to them. Sir, you have seen what growth has occurred in recent times since the National Party has created a certain order in South Africa. We have held discussions with these people. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I am sorry that the hon. member for Rissik took the line that he did take. I think it is a very negative line, and I think a lot of it he must have said with his tongue in his cheek because he himself knows that it is not true. The hon. member for Rissik said that this side of the House had not shown the weaknesses in the Nationalist policy. I think if the hon. member for Rissik were honest, he would admit that the weaknesses of the Nationalist Party have been discussed many times in this House and that it has been accepted by the hon. the Prime Minister himself that his dilemma is that he does not know how to give the Indian people sovereignty within the framework of one geographical area. Is this not a weakness, or does the hon. member for Rissik not consider that to be a weakness? Secondly, Sir, he made all sorts of allegations with regard to our motives in having dialogue with young Indians. Sir, we have dialogue with all sorts of people, right across the whole spectrum of the population, and the purpose of our dialogue is to find out their views. Does the hon. member for Rissik think that that is a bad thing, or does he think it is a good thing? I want to tell the hon. member for Rissik and other hon. members on that side that there is in fact a tremendous consensus amongst a lot of South Africans, irrespective of their colour. That consensus is being articulated and is being presented not only for South Africans to see, but also for the world to see that there is this consensus. I do not know whether the Nationalist Party is frightened of this consensus. The impression that I get from what the hon. member for Rissik has said is that there is a great fear of the kind of progress which we are in fact making not only with members of the Indian community but with members of all other communities. Sir, I wish I had more time to discuss constitutional matters, but unfortunately my time is limited.
I would like to congratulate the hon. the Minister on his appointment.
I would like to hear what you say. Will you speak up a bit?
I say that I would like to congratulate the hon. the Minister on this appointment. He is our only Minister. I would like to wish him well during his period of office. I should also like to associate myself with what the hon. member for Umhlatuzana said. I hope that the hon. the Minister’s stay in this office will be a prolonged one. I think there have been too many changes in the political head in the Department of Indian Affairs. I think it is a credit to the officials of the department that they have managed to do such outstanding work for the Indian community when their political heads have been changing so rapidly. There are a fewer matters I should like to deal with. The first matter concerns the Press release handed out by the Department of Information at the request of the chairman of the executive committee of the Indian Council. I would like to say that I think it is a tremendous advance to have a Press release like this. It Shows many things. It shows that there is real dialogue between the executive and the Government. I do not want to go into all the matters mentioned here, but I would like to ask the hon. the Minister to tell us something about these matters in his reply. I think they are all matters which in the normal course of events we would have raised with him, but since they have been brought up by the members of the executive themselves, I will just leave it at that.
I think you should be more specific.
Well, let me be more specific. As far as the resettlement of Indian traders is concerned, the Minister, after considering the submissions made, said that the representations would involve a change of policy and that it would therefore have to be considered at Cabinet level. Has there been any discussion in the Cabinet as to this change of policy in regard to the resettlement of Indian traders and, if so, could we hear what the thinking of the Cabinet is? The position at the Richards Bay/Umgeni complex has been raised by the hon. member for Umhlatuzana, as has the question of Cato Manor. Then there is the position at Fordsburg and at Page View, which I dealt with in the last debate. I know the Minister is well acquainted with the position at Page View, because it goes back many years. The Minister of Community Development has asked for representations to be made by the Indian community for urgent consideration, and I may say that this has raised tremendous hopes among the people of Page View. They are very hopeful that something will happen there, as happened for the Coloured community in District Six. I shall be glad if the hon. the Minister can inform us on that. Then there is the matter of the additional group areas in Cape Town. Perhaps the hon. the Minister could react on that matter. Then there is the question of the Indian market and the stallholders there.
Those matters have already been raised with me by the hon. member for Johannesburg North.
Yes. Then there is the question of the delegation of powers to the Indian Council. It was agreed that the whole matter would be examined in consultation with the executive committee. Would the Minister, when he goes into that, care to go into the question of what the hon. the Prime Minister said, namely that the Indians would get the same as the Coloureds would get? What is his thinking on those lines? Is the thinking that there will be combined Cabinet councils and certain statutory bodies, and that certain action can only be taken with the consent of this council? We would like some information on these points. Mention was made here about local government. The Indian community called for representation on various local government bodies, arguing that their communities were too small to be viable. The Minister replied that he would ensure that these areas were viable. It seems very difficult to make an area that is not viable, viable. Perhaps the Minister could inform us how he intends to go about that.
Then there is another important matter which I would like to bring to the notice of the Minister, and that is the plea concerning residents affected by the Durban city corporation’s Western Freeway. There are about 250 people concerned.
I am sorry, but I cannot hear. Where is this?
In Durban. They are residents affected by the Durban city corporation’s proposed Western Freeway spar in the Pine Street complex. There are about 250 people concerned in this. They are being asked to move. They are quite happy to accommodate the Minister, but their complaints are as follows. They say that the housing offered to them in Chatsworth will mean that they will be forced to travel a total of 50 km a day to and from work and that the minimum cost will be R36 a month for public transport to each family. They will thus as a family be spending more in transport now than the rentals which they used to pay where they were. Secondly, they say that the houses are jerry-built and are designed to give no privacy, and that they are quite unaccustomed to the type of ablution facilities provided. They say that all these houses are an affront to their dignity. Thirdly, they maintain that the houses are sub-economic while they can afford economic houses. Quite clearly these people are not being treated properly and they have requested me to bring their plight to the attention of the hon. the Minister.
The last point that I want to mention in the short time available to me concerns a memorandum which I received from the Page View Chamber of Commerce concerning their rights, a memorandum from which I should like to quote since they are better equipped to speak for themselves than I am—
Perhaps the hon. the Minister would like to reply to that suggestion. They go on to say—
I want to suggest finally that the hon. the Minister should make it a milestone in his present capacity to create an Indian Industrial Development Corporation. [Time expired]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member who has just spoken put more questions to the hon. the Minister than he made contributions to the debate. I shall not react to the questions which he put, except perhaps to the one question which he put on the Indians, who are being affected by the Western Freeway through. Durban. A considerable number of Indian families are involved in this matter. This matter was raised by means of a memorandum submitted by Mr. Desai and others, and I brought it to the attention of the hon. the Minister by means of a letter dated 21 February. I received a reply from him to the effect that the matter had been discussed by the officials of the department with the city council and the Indians concerned. I was also informed that the Indians had been offered temporary accommodation until they were able to find permanent accommodation, but that they had not accepted this offer. Furthermore I was informed that in spite of this efforts had been made to make other satisfactory arrangements. I am only mentioning this to indicate that the matter is being dealt with, and that attention is being given to it.
Actually there are two matters I want to raise tonight. The first is a plea which I want to make on behalf of the Indian community and the second is that I want to level criticism at the behaviour of Indians in regard to certain matters. I shall deal, firstly, with, the plea I want to make.
As Christians it is probably very often our ideal that with the mission work we do we would like to see as many non-Christians as possible being drawn into the Christian religion. This is to us as Christians an ideal which we seek to realize and which, can only be condoned. There is however an aspect in respect of the Indian community which I should like to deal with. In many cases that community adheres scrupulously to its own religion, be it the Hindu or the Moslem religion. Then I want to view this matter from a political point of view. Seen from this point of view it is always of very great value to the country, to law and order and to the well-regulated community that the citizens of the State shall be true believers, of what ever religion, because this contributes to the stability and the orderliness of a community. I honestly want to say that the Indians who adhere strictly to their own religion, be it the Hindu or the Moslem religion, are a very law-abiding, orderly and decent part of the community in South Africa. I am not aware of the existence of anything of the nature of a Hindu Institute or a Moslem Institute among the Indian communities. Neither have I ever heard of people with the name of Beyers Naidoo or Mr. Theo Kagee for example. [Interjections.] I am therefore convinced of the fact that those members of the Indian community, be they Moslem or Hindu, who take their religion seriously, live a community life that is not inclined to become superficial.
I want to make a plea for the Indian community. The Indian believers have a shortage of spiritual leaders and the Moslem community has been trying for many years to find properly qualified Moslem priests locally to transmit the religion in their mosques to the believers. They were unable to find such people and then addressed a request to the department to be allowed to find qualified, trained Moslem priests who would come to this country from overseas for a number of years on a temporary residence permit basis to bind their youth, their congregations and their community to their religion. I want to advocate that sympathetic consideration be given to this request. Personally I think the State has a responsibility to help a community, in its variety of reli-religions and its variety of nations, to become bound to and absorbed in the religions of which they are members. This is for the sake of the State and it contributes to stability and a healthier society which is preferable if we take into consideration what the results are when a community becomes superficial and uprooted from the tenets of its religion. I want to advocate that sympathetic consideration be granted to this request. I am personally in favour of the principle that if the people who are considered for this purpose, are suitable, and would other wise be acceptable and would not interfere with political affairs in this country and make themselves guilty of subversion, they should in fact be granted permission to come to South Africa on a temporary residence permit basis to be able to serve their communities on that level.
I should like to refer to another matter. Reference has already been made to one of the complaints which, Indians have. It deals inter alia with the wage gap and the position of the Indians in the economic community. Perhaps there is reason for dissatisfaction, but I would like to put the following question: What example do Indian entrepreneurs set in this regard? There are many Indians who are well-to-do, who have large enterprises and who are owners of large buildings and large properties, but who are unscrupulous in their behaviour towards Indian tenants. In many cases they charge an unreasonably high rental because the tenants cannot obtain other properties in the area concerned. Then there are many cases which have been brought to my attention where the Indian owners demand so-called “key money”, which often amounts to R5 000 or more, for the right to extend a lease.
I want to deal with, another aspect. Several years ago, when I was still in Durban, many Indians complained to me that, when they received their wages or salaries, whether weekly or monthly, they in fact received a pay packet on which a certain salary was indicated in terms of a wage agreement and in terms of the Wage Act, but that they were then expected to pay back a certain amount after they had received their money. I want to address a plea to the Indian community in this regard, namely that those of them who are themselves entrepreneurs—there are many of them— should behave decently and reasonably towards their own employees before they reproach the Whites in any way of injustice to the Indian community.
Mr. Chairman, in chapter 3, “Economic Development”, of the annual report of the Department of Indian Affairs, we read—
This is followed by a table indicating a variety of professions and occupations, and the number of Indians employed in them. Very significant particulars are furnished here. The particulars are significant for more than one reason, which we cannot perhaps go into now. However, if one looks more closely at the different numbers indicated against the various professions or occupations, one finds that there is in fact sufficient manpower available for a greater measure of self-employment among the Indians, and particularly among the coming generation. If one pages a little way further in the annual report, one sees that there are also an entire series of industries which are already in the hands of Indians, after the Indians had themselves displayed the necessary initiative. I see there are dry cleaning concerns, bus services, garages, a scrap yard, retreaders, upholsterers, clothing and textile factories, tailors, furniture manufacturers and even a coffin manufacturer. I just wonder whether it is not time we had more of the latter, mindful of what is still going to happen to the United Party. Consequently I want to advocate that more entrepreneurs should come forward from among the Indians. I want to add that what is very interesting is that this report also mentions the relatively limited unemployment among the Indians. These things should not simply be allowed to go unnoticed. I think it is of importance to all of us to take cognizance of this. Consequently I am referring to these matters to indicate that the Indians are in fact a progressive and industrious national unit. I reiterate that this is something for which we may be sincerely grateful, and which we should encourage as much as possible through our actions.
Having said this, one immediately comes up against what one reads on page 17 of the annual report of the department, where reference is made to the shortage of adequate industrial sites in Indian group areas, a factor which is delaying the establishment of new industries. I think we should take cognizance of this, and I should also like to bring this to the attention of the hon. the Minister, i.e. that this shortage of industrial sites must very definitely have a damping effect on the enterprise of the Indian community. Something will have to be done about it. I shall return to this presently.
Together with this problem of insufficient availability of industrial sites for the establishment of industries, there is also another problem which we should consider, namely the question of community development. To my way of thinking these two matters are related matters. Industrial development and viable communities are, to my way of thinking, synonymous. Every Indian community ought to be strong enough to support its own establishment of industries. Since this is the case, it causes one concern when one notes in the annual report that it is to an increasing extent becoming the practice not to settle Indians in a region, but to settle each White community’s Indians with that White community. Consequently we read on page 20 of the annual report of investigations, inter alia, at Alberton and Springs on the East Rand, which were undertaken during the year under review by the Groups Areas Board. I concede that this body does not fall under the hon. the Minister, but it is nevertheless mentioned in the report of the department. I should now like to know whether the Indians of Alberton and Springs —I am mentioning these places specifically because the problem which I have is very thoroughly illustrated there—are going to be established in those places, while there is already a strong Indian community on the East Rand at Actonville? In other words, are at least three Indian communities going to be established on the East Rand, to mention only one example? What is going to become of the Indians in Nigel? What is going to become of the Indians in Germiston? What is going to become of the Indians who are still living in Boksburg? Where are they going? If this is going to be the point of departure, can there, under the circumstances, be any possibility of the establishment of meaningful industrial areas or any form of economic development? If the answer to this question is “yes”, then I ask whether we can afford an unnecessary duplication of services, for example of health services, social services, educational services, technical services, cultural services and even political development? We can say what we like, but as far as health services are concerned, Indians insist on having their own hospital. They do not want their wives and mothers to go to other institutions when a baby is going to be born, to mention only one example. Each one of those fragmented Indian communities will in due course have to receive these services. I am asking again whether we are able to afford this. Do we have the manpower to be able to do this? As far as professional services are concerned, one notices from the report that the Indians themselves will not be able to meet these needs. If this were to be centralized now, there is a chance that these services will at least be provided in a certain form. Is it right in regard to a responsible national unit such as the Indians to limit their future in this way? I now want to make a plea. The policy which has been maintained up to now, namely that the Indians should be established on a regional basis, must purposefully be implemented further in the best interests of the Indian community, a community which is a responsible community, and in the best interests of the White community, which will for a very long time to come, for various reasons, have to watch over their interests. If we do this, I think we can develop a fine future for the Indians here in South Africa.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Springs, who has just sat down, has put his finger on one of the great problems affecting the Indian community in South Africa. The problem involves numbers and the scattering of communities about the larger White urban areas. I should like to draw the attention of the hon. the Minister and the House to the approach that is being adopted by the United Party Provincial Administration of Natal which was so totally wrongly castigated earlier on by the hon. member for Port Natal who did not know what he was talking about.
Today, on a pragmatic basis, arrangements are being made whereby the small Indian communities can be worked into the larger organization, social services, etc. of the local White community. He is quite correct. This is something about which the Indian communities feel very strongly indeed. I think that we in Natal have pioneered in so many ways the relationship which has got to be followed, a relationship in which one has to cope with pockets of people who have to be worked into a larger scheme and where it is impossible to have a viable entity for those smaller communities. I support the hon. member for Klip River very strongly indeed in the plea he made to the hon. the Minister about the priests for the Moslem communities. I am sure the hon. the Minister is going to give us a favourable answer and that he will consider this matter very seriously indeed.
I now want to come to the main body of my speech. I would like to draw the attention of the House to several ironies which emanate from this debate on the Indian people in South Africa. One of the ironies is that one has ten minutes in which to try to make some worthwhile contribution to a debate of this nature where there are so many problems seeking solution. That, of course, is irony of the highest order. The second irony is that we should be having some sort of political discussion about the Indian community and their future here in South Africa, yet we are debating this matter in a vacuum. I say this because all we know about the Government’s policy in relation to the Indian people is that it is going to be the same as that for the Coloureds. Nobody here can really tell us basically what the Government’s policy for the Coloureds is. All we know is that somewhere or other there is going to be an “oorkoepelende” link—if I may use the phrase—between the Coloured Persons Representative Council and the Cabinet. We presume that this is also going to ensue for the Indian community. How can we discuss the matter however, when all we have is some vague hint which has been given us by the Nationalist Party. We cannot have a meaningful discussion on that basis. As far as the parties to my left are concerned, there are prospects of a marriage. I do not know quite which is which in this marriage, but I am reminded of those words from Shakespeare when the man turned to the dolly-bird next to him and said: “Well, ‘tis a poor virgin, but my own.” [Interjections.]
On the technical status of the person I am not prepared to pass judgment.
Why don’t you learn your Shakespeare?
The parties there have told us that they plan some sort of a federation.
Let us get off the virgin.
The party over there has told us that they plan to have some sort of federation, but they have not spelled it out. We do not know quite what they intend. Sir, when it comes down to matters of policy, the United Party has a very definite policy in relation to the Indian people …
But it changes every year.
… based on the Indian Council and respect for the sovereignty of the Indian group in that council. The biggest irony of everything here this evening is that one of the greatest exponents of federalism who understands the idea behind the United Party’s policy, sits over there in the very position of Minister of Indian Affairs.
It is because he understands it that he is sitting there.
Sir, when the hon. the Minister replies to the debate I am sure he will be able to give us some indication, from the federal inside which we all know he has, as to what the future political development of this country holds for the Indian community. We had the question raised here of the Director of Indian Education. The problem apparently is that the policy of the Nationalist Party just has not “ontplooid” enough so that we can have an Indian Director of Indian Education. We have got it as far as the Coloured people are concerned but there is a Black director of education in the Transkei. I am sure the hon. the Minister will tell us later on of his programme and how he sees the future in this connection, and what his time-table is likely to be. Sir, there are many practical problems. This is one of the problems that we have in relation to timing. The hon. the Minister and I went to an evening entertainment held by members of the Indian community here in the Cape, and there it became very clear that there is tremendous concern on the part of one of the Indian communities, the Moslem community, over their whole status and standing in the larger Indian community in South Africa. They were very concerned about the question of education, the question of culture and the whole background of the Indian community. I was wondering whether the hon. the Minister could give us some indication, when it comes to elections and fully elected members of the council, whether he has any kind of plan in his mind for representations to be made in that Indian Council for the retention of what is a very real group identity or group interest in the Indian community. Sir, you might very easily find that there is something there which needs protection and which would have to be protected inside that Indian Council. I think that the hon. the Minister must give his attention to this on some basis or other.
Sir, turning to the question of relaxations in travel which the hon. the Minister announced this evening, I want to say that this announcement could not have come at a more opportune time, because I read in the paper yesterday that the Mozambique authorities have virtually closed their doors to tourists from South Africa. Mozambique has been, as correctly stated by the paper, one of the places to which Indians from South Africa have been able to go on holiday. If that door is closed to them, they will be forced to seek places in South Africa were they can go on vacation.
Mozambique and Swaziland.
Yes, perhaps Swaziland also, but I understood from the article that Lourenco Marques was the prime area of resort for the Indian community here in South Africa. Sir, I would make an appeal to the hon. the Minister, since he has made this concession now, to interest himself as Minister in charge of the affairs of the Indian people in seeing that hotels are made available for Indians in all areas which can be areas of a popular resort and holiday areas for them because there is not much point in relaxing travel restrictions without making sure that there are places in those areas where they can stay. I may be encroaching here on the next Vote; I do not intend to do so, but I am convinced that this is a matter which deserves great attention from the hon. the Minister. With regard to the question of hotels and the part that the Indian Council can play in promoting tourism, I think the hon. the Minister could well give us some kind of indication as to how he sees that particular development. I leave it to him to decide whether we should raise this matter under the next Vote or under this Vote, but I think it is a matter that deserves a great deal of attention.
Sir, then I wish to come to a matter in the report. I must say that I am not particularly well qualified to speak on this particular matter. My hon. friend, the member for Umbilo, is the one who usually talks on these things. On page 39, in chapter 7, the report deals with the Valley View place of safety and detention in Durban. Apparently this is an institution where the children of unwed mothers are taken from babyhood until the age of 18. The report says—
I would like to ask the Minister whether anything is being done to remedy this situation at this tremendously sensitive institution where, according to the report, the average number of children detained during the period under review was 81 per month. The report quite rightly states that this particular time of their lives is a tremendously formative time in which they can very easily go wrong by reason of the very fact that they have been committed to an institution.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Mooi River started off by making a number of quite sensible remarks, which is quite surprising coming from that side of the House, in sharp contrast to quite a bit of “bawling blasphemy and incharitability” which we got from the other side during the course of this debate.
On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, is the hon. member entitled to refer to an hon. member on this side as “bawling blasphemy”?
I withdraw that remark, Sir.
You should apologise as well.
The hon. member referred to the so-called political policy of the National Party with regard to the Indian community in South Africa. I think we have already dealt with this matter at length, during the course of this debate. I think the Prime Minister earlier this year made our policy perfectly clear. He admitted that with the existence of two Parliaments, a White Parliament and an Indian Parliament in South Africa, we are really facing a certain political dilemma. We are quite prepared to admit that in the further development of the policy of separate development, certain adjustments will have to be made. I think the Prime Minister has conceded—and I cannot see why the Opposition cannot see it—that further political development up to the level of the Cabinet Council is already envisaged. In any case, I can tell the hon. member who has just spoken that federalism on the basis of United Party policy is a dead duck, anyway.
*Sir, I should like to continue with certain remarks that I made in regard to Indian land-ownership in South Africa. The hon. member for Umhlatuzana also referred to this matter. I think he touched on a few very topical points. Sir, we cannot completely ignore certain representations in regard to Indian land-ownership, coming from the Indian population, but when we look at the problem of Indian land-ownership, it is also necessary for us to look at the problems existing at the moment. The fact is that the Government has been giving attention over a period of many years to group areas, mainly in urban areas and in the towns. The result is that the rural areas are still unplanned to a large extent. In Northern Natal in particular, there are large numbers of scattered farms, and we cannot disregard the fact that these farms do create problems for us. I do not want to label all Indian farmers with the same tag, because there are some of them who are operating properly economically and who are following all the rules of agriculture. We do gain the impression, however, that a large number of Indian farmers are not paying much attention to the matter of soil conservation. Moreover, many of the farms are being used as Bantu squatters’ farms, something which is creating major problems and much embarrassment in the vicinity. We cannot ignore the problems arising from these conditions, such as theft and trespassing on the farms of other farmers. I raised this matter in the House last year, and I believe that we, as far as the various population groups in South Africa are concerned, shall have to give attention also to the planning of the rural areas in the near future.
I should also like to refer to another aspect, and that is the ownership of other property by the Indians, and I believe that attention should be given to this matter and that it should be raised in this debate. Lately this matter has often been brought to the attention of members of Parliament representing the areas concerned. This concerns to a large extent indirect land ownership through the agency of companies, the shares of which are mainly in the hands of Indians. These companies, however, operate through the intermediary of Whites in White areas. We cannot ignore this state of affairs altogether. I believe that these methods are being applied so as to circumvent the Group Areas Act. If we investigated this matter, we should be able to suggest a solution to terminate these practices. If this situation were to continue indefinitely, justice would not be done to the objects of the Group Areas Act in White urban and business areas. We cannot ignore this fact.
Finally, I should like to refer briefly to another matter, and that is the pressure which has lately been exerted by certain Indian communities and leaders for representation in White city councils. I am very grateful that the hon. the Minister of Community Development as well as the hon. the Minister of Indian Affairs issued a statement on this matter on 9 June 1975. The point of view of the Minister of Indian Affairs was that the establishment of separate municipal bodies for the various South African communities was an essential and fundamental part of the Government’s policy. The Government is not prepared to deviate from this. This makes the matter very clear. We are very pleased about the fact that the Minister confirmed and underlined the policy of the National Party once more in this statement. Sir, reasons are given why these separate municipalities sometimes experience problems, as a result of economic considerations, inter alia, and it is, therefore, the policy of the Government that where separate municipalities are established, a thorough investigation has to be instituted into the matter beforehand so as to see whether separate municipalities will be economically viable. My personal opinion is that if they find that a particular Indian township is not economically viable or unable to stand on its own feet, such areas have to function under the system of local government committees until new methods are found to enable those areas to stand on their own feet. National Party policy is very clear on this matter. I think this underlines the fact yet again that we in this Parliament, as far as the National Party is concerned, do not believe in political power sharing, no matter on what level. We believe that in terms of our policy the political development of each population group is to take place to its full realization within the framework of that particular population group. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I want to say at once that it has been quite an experience to me to listen to this discussion on the affairs of our South African Indian community tonight. I want to express my sincere thanks to members on both sides of the House for their constructive and realistic contributions to this discussion. I think that this kind of discussion can only give rise to something positive, something which must help to promote the interests of the community we are dealing with and to give the Government a very good chance to state and to justify its standpoint and the policy on which its actions are based.
†I say most sincerely that I think that every hon. member, almost without exception, made a fine contribution to the debate. The one exception was the hon. member for Orange Grove. But I make allowances for him. He was excited, he was stimulated and he was very lonely. The tremendous Progressive Party in this Parliament, which increased sevenfold at the last election, did not seem to have one of their members here to support him, and therefore he had a very lonely and difficult task to perform. But, Sir, you know we who are experienced in this House know that in the evening the debates are sometimes a little more stimulated, if not stimulating, than before dinner. It seems as if the Opposition has a sudden excess of courage in the evening, and that interests me. I wonder where that courage comes from. Not many of them have Dutch ancestors. [Interjections.] But this is simply in passing. I think we have had a remarkable debate.
I want firstly to express my appreciation to the several hon. members who congratulated me on the fact that I now occupy this position. I want to assure them all that in spite of the innuendo of the hon. member for Orange Grove, I shall, as long as I have this task, try to perform it sincerely in the interests of the people concerned, with the support of a remarkably able and dedicated permanent staff of public servants and to promote the interests, the happiness and the progress of the Indian people within the framework of Government policy. Because it is necessary that it should be repeated, I want in a few sentences to summarize Government policy in these matters so that the actions of the Government and of my department can at all times be tested against these principles. These principles are very simple.
The first is that we believe that each community in South Africa with a separate identity is entitled as of right to that identity, entitled to cherish it, maintain it and to retain it. That is cardinal. Nobody can deny that. I hope another occasion will arise when I can speak about this in more detail. This is not the occasion for it. After all, the right to separate identity is cardinal to the thinking of most parties, at least of the majority of the parties in this House, as it is cardinal to the declared policy aspirations of the entire Western world ever since the days of Pres. Woodrow Wilson and, indeed, since the days of the Conference of Vienna after the Napoleonic Wars. We must accept that and nobody can criticize one if one says that it is one of the cardinal corner-stones of our policy. The second point is that, having accepted the separate identities of our people, we believe in their development, in their progress, in their self-realization as individuals and as communities. That is another cardinal point against which the policies of the Government should be tested. In the third instance we should—this is equally important—in whatever we do, either as a Government or as a White community towards other communities, at all times strive to avoid race friction and to prevent unnecessary bitterness and suspicion from developing between the various communities in South Africa. We should try to inculcate—I hope that in this at least I shall have the co-operation of the Opposition—in all our peoples an attachment to South Africa and a desire to serve South Africa in order to promote the happiness of all in this country. I think that if we accept that, our debating here will have more substance, will be based more upon principle and reality and we shall be able to judge and evaluate to greater effect each other’s attempts to achieve things in this country. [Interjections.]
I was particularly impressed by the contributions made by various hon. members on this side of the House.
I was also impressed by the contribution of hon. members on the other side, but I should like to reply first to hon. members on this side and later to hon. members on the other side of the House and I may have equally nice things to say about them. As I have said, I was particularly impressed with the contributions of the hon. members on my side of the House.
*I was very impressed by the fact that more than one of them—the hon. members for Rissik, Newcastle, Krugersdorp and others—came back time and again to the basic philosophy of the National Party, explaining these to the people and to Parliament. I am glad they did this, because we must keep doing it. I have come to the conviction—it is a very deeply held conviction—that we may argue as much as we like, but that we have to accept as practical people that the future of South Africa will be determined by the policy and philosophy of this side of the House. [Interjections.] We may argue as much as we like, but the mere fact that the Opposition is in shreds today, that the Opposition cannot keep together in its great and powerless endeavour to develop an idealism and an ideology, but is ruptured as a result of petty considerations and personalities, and is really becoming ineffective in the Parliamentary sense of the word, is a symptom of a significant phenomenon. That phenomenon is that only this side of the House has the insight, the idealism and the determination to lead South Africa to a solution of its problems in regard to its various peoples. It is no use arguing about this, because history and the events from day to day in Parliament and among the Opposition parties prove what I say. Consequently I want to express my special thanks to hon. members on this side for constantly focusing the attention of the people on that philosophy, insight and endeavour, which are very honest and sincere, as is proved by the actions of this side of the House.
Special matters have been raised and I have already expressed my thanks to the hon. member for Rissik, the chairman of the Indian group on this side of the House, for his two constructive contributions on our philosophy. He also raised specific matters which I shall deal with in the course of my reply to the other hon. members.
I come now to the hon. member for Newcastle. He quoted certain problems and complaints on the part of Indian individuals from the Press, and he also quoted statements which had been made in response to these. The reaction was interesting. The reaction showed once again that the answers are there, provided that we can develop the communication to be able to understand one another. When we come to matters such as the wage gap, one has only to look at the facts. Look, for example, at the latest increase in the Public Service, particularly in the more senior educational posts, which are important to the future of all our people. There it is no longer a question of arguing about the wage gap, but a question of having to show appreciation fir what is being done. It is no longer a question of words; it is a question of deeds.
The hon. member also spoke of housing. The hon. member for Orange Grove also asked me a question, and I want to deal with his question with the measure of respect which any question by an hon. member deserves. He asked what was going to become of the Indians near Durban, near Chatsworth, where the potential for expansion has become inadequate. He should know, because the figures are available, that the Department of Community Development made an amount of R14 million available for the development of Phoenix a year or so ago. It is being done. I should be the last to say that there is not a problem as far as Indian housing is concerned, and that they are in fact housed according to the standards to which people are entitled. Steps are in fact being taken as far as these matters are concerned. Steps are being taken by way of sacrifice on the part of the White tax-payers of South Africa. They are contributing millions and millions of rand, and this is making it possible to build thousands of houses. I do not think that the Progressive Party could say in their most conceited, moments that they would do better if they came into power. They might spend more money, for who knows what the value of money will be in 200 or 300 years’ time, when they come into power? [Interjections.]
The hon. member for Newcastle mentioned the problem of the traders, as did several of the other members, and since I cannot reply to every hon. member separately. I shall deal with the matter straight away. It is the policy of the National Party as well as of the United Party that there should be separate residential areas.
You ought to know.
It is the policy of the United Party and the policy which Mr. John Cope, who later became a member of the Progressive Party, was particularly instrumental in formulating and expounding. When people live separately, there is a tendency to feel that they want to do business separately as well. However, this is not a law of the Medes and Pensians. The Government and the Johannesburg city council co-operated in building the Oriental Plaza in the White area to give Indian businessmen the opportunity to do business there. I was in Port Elizabeth recently, and there the town councillors spontaneously expressed the wish to build an Oriental Plaza there as well. This has the full support of my Department and they will assist in bringing this about, provided that it is suitable and provided that it will really enable the Indians to make a decent living. I have said that if the Durban city council were to express a similar wish, they would have the wholehearted support of the Department of Indian Affairs. Where it has been necessary to notify certain Indians that they are not doing business at suitable places at the moment, they have all received the assurance from the Department of Community Development—this is endorsed by everyone on this side of the House—that none of them will be removed in a way which will mean that they will be deprived of their living. This must be clear to hon. members. This is indeed the basis of the National Party’s standpoint. We want to avoid injustice at all costs in the implementation of our policy. There are a small number of Indians in Port Elizabeth who feel uncertain about their future. We have given them the assurance that they can go on doing business and that they will not be removed before a suitable alternative has been found for them. I am able to say on the authority of the Minister concerned that if they were to be removed, we would have to have the certainty, a certainty which we hope they would share with us, that their future would be assured. A week or so ago I was privileged to accompany the executive of the South African Indian Council—a remarkable body, which itself answered many of the doubts that some people had about the body—to the Ministers of Planning and of Community Development. I shall come back to that interview, but amongst other things they mentioned the question of the Indian traders. They feel very strongly about the matter. They say: “Look, we have been in South Africa for more than 100 years …” I may just say that they accept separate residential areas. This is very interesting. They are grateful for the separate residential areas. However, they ask: “Why must we as South Africans be forced to leave the business centres which other communities are able to share? Why must we as South African citizens be removed from our business premises and see those premises being taken over by immigrants who have been in the country for only a week or two?” That is their argument. After they had stated their point of view and advanced other arguments as well, the Ministers concerned undertook to reinvestigate the whole matter, and, if they should find that changes are necessary or possible, to refer the matter to the Cabinet. We shall have to leave the position at that for a moment.
Many members, including the hon. member for Newcastle, raised the question of the stall-holders in the Durban market whose stalls had burnt down. In this regard I have made it clear in the Other Place as well that we want to help these people. The Durban City Council also wants to help them. But now a problem has arisen. The Durban City Council says that it has a site which it wants to make available to these people, but that it does not want to develop the site. The city council wants to sell it to a private entrepreneur to develop it as a business centre for the Indians. This is a matter of concern to those people and it is a matter of concern to me and my Department as well, for the development of the Government policy has given rise to an artificial shortage of business premises, especially for Indians. Although I strongly believe in private enterprise, I believe that it would be wrong to enable a private entrepreneur to make excessive profits from a shortage which has arisen from Government policy. I am going to negotiate with the Provincial Council of Natal and with the Durban City Council to see whether it will not be possible to avoid a situation where people will be burdened with an unfair capital debt burden.
The hon. member for Newcastle, supported by other members such as the hon. member for Orange Grove, raised the question of other group areas. My good friend, the hon. member for Springs, approached the same matter from a different angle. I do not know whether we shall ever be able to reach ultimate, decisive finality on group areas, because populations are not static; relationships between populations do not stay the same for ever. Changes may take place and changes are taking place at the moment. In this way, for example, it is quite clear that bigger areas will have to be developed, as has been said. Phoenix, for example, is being developed. It is quite clear that Actonville—perhaps the hon. member for Springs should listen too—is quite inadequate for accommodating all the Indians on the entire East Rand, as the original intention was. The result is that conditions have developed at Germiston, for example, of which one has to be ashamed, because unfortunate conditions have developed there. We are drawing very close to a solution there, but unfortunately the solution is not to cram all the Indians from Germiston into Actonville, for then one would only be creating problems at Actonville in turn. We shall soon be able to announce what is going to be done in the Alberton/Germiston complex in consultation with the members concerned, in order to bring about conditions of which we may rightly be proud.
Other areas have their own problems. In this way, for example, Lenasia was mentioned. There is enough land available at Lenasia for several extensions which will be able, once our planning has been completed, to meet the needs there for years. But now Indians come to us who say: “We do not all want to live in Lenasia, but we want to have a prestige township as well in which our wealthier people can live.” I may say that there are many prestige houses in parts of Lenasia. Nevertheless these are matters one can consider. One cannot say at a particular moment: “Look, the curtain has come down and the whole play is over.” There are always changing circumstances when one is dealing with people and one has to be flexible and to keep an open mind in this regard. I am grateful to be able to say that the Departments of Planning and of Community Development and their Ministers are aware of these matters and that their thinking in this connection is clear and right. [Interjections.] The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South, who is interjecting there, is really my favourite character in this House.
I thought it was I.
No, you are politically a little too bitter and twisted these days.
*After I had announced that the movement of Indians between our provinces was going to be made infinitely easier, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South interjected, “You are accepting United Party policy”. It is hardly credible that I, who was a follower of Gen. Smuts from childhood and still supported his ideas even late in my life, should have to join the National Party in my old age and rectify the mistakes he made in 1913 and 1914, and then it is said that I am taking over Gen. Smuts’s policy! No, Sir. Surely we must think straight and we must know what is going on in this country.
The hon. member for Newcastle also spoke of land tenure in the rural areas. This is a very interesting matter, because many of our Indians are farmers by nature. The hon. member for Umhlatuzana made a very strong and convincing plea for Indians in a particular area. It is true that the population of that area already consists for the most part of Indians. However, this is a matter which must receive attention. As the hon. member for Newcastle indicated, there are problems in this regard. This is really a matter for the Departments of Planning and of Community Development. The Department of Indian Affairs is acting there as an agent for the Indian community. We are being consulted, and we can only say, along with the hon. member for Umhlatuzana, that the best will be done in the interests of the Indians, if not at the place which the hon. member mentioned, then elsewhere. The need for farming opportunities which exists on the part of our Indian population is something of which we are in fact aware and which receives constant attention.
I have already thanked the hon. member for Krugersdorp for his philosophical approach and I just want to add that this is the first time in my life that I have felt that it was worth while waiting for a man to finish his ten-minute speech which he began a year before. It was really a constructive and stimulating contribution, something which was worth hearing.
The hon. member for Port Natal breathed a little life into the ranks of hon. members opposite, because he put up a very heated but valid defence against the criticism which was expressed by many hon. members in respect of Indian education, and particularly in respect of the appointment of an Indian director-general of education. I want to thank the hon. member for this contribution and I want to confirm that his facts were correct. Unbiased people should give attention to those facts. Let me now tell all the various members who raised the question of a deputy director and director of education what the position is. It is very easy, when it is one’s aim in politics to throw suspicion on the constructive actions of the Government, to take up a very superficial, seemingly clear and over-simplified standpoint, as some hon. members on the other side are doing by saying that Indians should be appointed and that there are Indians who are qualified. I am asked why they are not being appointed, because the Indian failure rate is higher than that of other communities. The argument is then advanced that there is an Indian who is qualified and that promises were made.
†We did make promises, and those promises are still valid today. In actual fact, they were not promises; they were undertakings, viz. that under the policy of the National Party the director of Indian education, the deputy director and all the other senior Public Service Commission appointments will be Indians in due course. But we, and I personally, have a responsibility which hon. members opposite do not share, viz. the proper education of the Indian child. My philosophy is that the key to the future of South Africa depends upon the quality of the education that we give to the children of all races in South Africa. If ever there can be a reproach levelled at many of us, it is that we have been guilty of neglect as far as the education of the children of the peoples of this country is concerned.
I believe that my friends on this side of the House who criticized the old Natal administration were right to do so. Facts cannot be denied. I remember driving with Gen. Smuts through the platteland of the Transvaal. He told me many interesting things, and what he said was not confidential. One of the things he told me was that the people of Natal were interesting. As far as the Zulus were concerned, they were a generous, liberal people. When it came to the Indians, however, they had a blind spot; they were ultra-verkramp. He did not use that word, but in effect that is what he said. When I was at the graduation ceremony of the University of Durban-Westville the other day, a prominent Indian educationalist—and he is not a racialist— was talking to me about the achievements of Indian education over the past seven or eight years, achievements of which we are all proud. He said things were different from the days during the war when the Government subsidized Indian education in Natal to the tune of £5 per year per child and still showed a profit! I do not know whether the fact is accurate, but that is how they feel about it. I do not have time to give figures now. They are in the report of the Secretary for Indian Affairs. The achievements in Indian education are absolutely spectacular. There is, for instance, the training of teachers and the introduction of compulsory education. In spite of that, we get this grumbling about failures. There is a professor in Natal who has conducted an academic investigation into Indian education over the past 20 years. I shall get hold of his book and lend it to any member who is really interested. He examined Indian education over the past 20 years, and do hon. members know what he found? He found that until the Department of Indian Affairs took over—in 1966 or 1967—the pass mark for the very few matriculants that there then were was only 40%. Now the pass mark is over 70% in both A and the B grades. I try not to be prejudiced, but I call that progress. According to the hon. members opposite, however, this is a screaming example of a most dreadful retrogression.
Because of the retirement of Mr. Prinsloo, the Director of Indian Education, I had to fill his post. The policy of the Government is to try to fill all the posts with Indians. I try to do that. There are Indians in Indian education in South Africa who have the academic qualifications for that position. There are many who also have the teaching qualifications for that position, and as far as appointments within the Indian education departments are concerned, they will get every recognition for their sterling services. However, for those appointments made by the Public Service Commission, which are the most senior appointments, I could not find an Indian man who, in spite of his qualifications and experience as a teacher, had the experience of the administration of a State department required for that job. I was keen to do so, however, because amongst other things it is my job to justify Government policy. I was keen to appoint an Indian. If I had done so, however. I would have done an injustice to the children of Natal, not because the Indian educationalists are not potentially capable, but only because of the fact that only a few years ago there was not a single Indian inspector in Natal. One of my friends, the hon. member for Port Natal, referred to that fact. The Natal Provincial Administration thought that no Indian was fit to be an inspector; so they gave them some inferior sort of auxiliary job and called them supervisors. They consequently have not had the necessary experience; so what must I do? It is said that the Transkei has a Black director of education. That may well be so. After all, the Government took over the education of the Blacks mostly from missionaries. But we took Indian education over from the Natal Education Department and obviously the missionaries did a better job. [Interjections.] I want the hon. members opposite to note that in appointing the new director of education, I requested the Secretary for Indian Affairs to instruct him that one of the major tasks entrusted to him was to expedite the removal from the education of the Indian people all vestiges of tutelage. That is the policy. In spite of the unfortunate insinuation from a member whom I am sure is not himself …
The hon. member must not doubt my sincerity. I now announce it as the policy of my Department that we shall try to achieve it. In future, hon. members must criticize me on my Hansard and stick to what I have said. I want to tell hon. members that in the very near future I hope to make appointments in the vacancies in the Department of Indian Affairs which will show and prove the sincerity of my intentions. I have spent a lot of time on my hon. friend for Newcastle, but he made a very good speech. He anticipated—as hon. members have noticed— almost everything that anybody had to say on the other side of the House. Hon. members on the other side of the House complain that 10 minutes is not enough, but the hon. member for Newcastle did the whole job in 10 minutes. [Interjections.]
*The hon. member for Kimberley South raised quite a number of local problems affecting Kimberley.
May I ask the hon. the Minister a question?
In terms of Government policy, are the newly elevated inspectors of education which the hon. the Minister has been referring to, the Indians, able to walk through the front entrance of the Durban railway station? [Interjection.]
No, as far as I know, not. However, they will be afforded decent transport to anywhere in South Africa where they wish to go. [Interjections.] But this is a sort of catch question and it is not my responsibility to answer. I merely have to explain the affairs of the Indian Affairs Department. [Interjections.] The hon. Opposition must test me on the attitude of my Department and the policy of the Government as far as education is concerned, as I have said before. I was speaking to the hon. member for Kimberley South about conditions in and around Kimberley. *
*I am grateful to the hon. member for having raised this matter. I just want to tell him that the Secretary for Indian Affairs will pay a special visit to Kimberley and its environs shortly after Parliament has been prorogued in order to investigate this specific matter and others as well. I should be grateful if the hon. member would draw the Secretary’s attention to this matter, so that he can go into it and investigate it thoroughly. I think the hon. member has rendered a service to his constituency by raising these matters.
The hon. member for Klip River asked us about a sympathetic attitude towards the matter of bringing in persons to serve the various Indian religions. This is a matter which the hon. member should please raise under the Department of the Interior. I can give him the assurance, however, that where many of these applications come to us in the first place for our intercession, they are treated with the greatest sympathy, because we quite agree with him that every community in South Africa is entitled to have its own religion and to practise that religion and that every community is also entitled to the co-operation of the State in that regard. The hon. member may be assured of our sympathetic approach, and if there are special cases, it would be a good idea for him to bring these to the department’s attention.
Speak up. We cannot hear.
I am sorry. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon. the Minister should address the Chair.
Very well, Sir, I am sorry.
The hon. member for Springs spoke of the problems of Actonville and of the Indians on the East Rand. I have dealt with this in the course of my reply to hon. members opposite. I want to ask the hon. member to approach this problem with sympathetic understanding. According to the experts it is clear that Actonville cannot accommodate all the Indians, certainly not the Indians of the entire East Rand. There are other problems which have been referred to, particularly in the Germiston complex, which urgently require to be solved. As he said, even Nigel has problems. We shall do our best, in consultation with him and with other interested parties, to solve this matter and to find a way out of this difficulty. However, it is primarily the task of the Departments of Planning and the Environment and of Community Development to handle these matters, and we can only make representations, just as he can, to see what can be achieved.
†Mr. Chairman, I come now to what remains to be answered of the questions raised by my hon. friends opposite. I want to thank the hon. member for Umhlatuzana who is apparently the main United Party speaker on this issue—apart from the question he put to me which I thought rather irrelevant—for his attitude towards and his contribution in respect of this problem. I want to assure him that we will continue to do our best to present an annual report to this House which will be significant and of real assistance to members to enable them to conduct a constructive debate on Indian affairs.
I should like to tell the hon. member something about the South African Indian Council because he asked some very pertinent questions about it. One of my first tasks on taking over this office was to go to Durban and to meet the Indian Council in person and to speak to them publicly and privately. I told them publicly that it was the intention of the Government to raise the status and to enhance the functioning of the South African Indian Council. I also told them that it was not our intention to force something ready-made, something inflexible, upon them with a “take it or leave it” attitude. I suggested that they, who are very intelligent people, should give consideration to the type of Indian Council they wanted, what the constitution of that council should be, who the electorate should be to elect that council and what the powers of the council should be. I made it perfectly clear to them that I could not bind the Government in advance to accept all their suggestions but that those suggestions would certainly form the basis on which we would operate in order to reform that council. Up to the present moment they have come forward with only two suggestions. The one is that the Indian Council should consist of 45 members and the other is that the council should be an elected council. However, they have issued Press statements in which they stated their appreciation for the fact that they faced this challenge and said that they were working on their submissions to the Government in regard to the future of the South African Indian Council. I hope that the hon. member for Umhlatuzana is now satisfied on that point. I have already replied in regard to the question of agricultural land. My hon. friend also raised the question of land tenure north of the Tugela River. This was one of the matters we raised with the hon. the Minister of Planning and the Environment and the hon. the Minister of Community Development when we took the executive of the Indian Council to interview them. That is also being reconsidered. It might interest the hon. member to know that the executive of the Indian Council were particularly concerned about their position in the future community of Richards Bay. The hon. Ministers concerned undertook to look into the whole problem with specific reference to the position at Richards Bay. If necessary, changes in previous decisions can be made. Although they are not committed, they are investigating the matter to see what can be done.
The hon. member for Orange Grove raised a number of questions but I think he will agree that I have answered many of them in the course of my speech. The one which is still outstanding is the question of Cato Manor. My hon. friend may recall that when the hon. the Prime Minister met the executive of the Indian Council, this matter was raised. The hon. the Prime Minister instructed the departments concerned to have another look at Cato Manor to see whether, if any injustice had been done, that injustice could be rectified. That work is being done at the moment. We are re-examining the position in Cato Manor.
Then there is the question of the trading community in Grahamstown. The hon. member for Albany, who apologized that he could not be here this evening, brought me a petition from the people and all the community in Grahamstown who are concerned with this matter. We have referred the petition to the Department of Community Development, which is the department concerned. That matter is under consideration and I must emphasize that it is being done on the initiative of the hon. member for Albany.
Then the question of non-South African Indian wives was raised. As hon. members will know, we do not allow Asian immigration into South Africa, for obvious reasons. We do not want to complicate our communal or race problem in South Africa any further. When people come to me and ask me to go to the Minister of the Interior, as it is his responsibility and not mine, and to ask him to allow the entry of Indian wives into South Africa, I get a little bit nervous. We know that the proportion between Indian men and Indian women is a fairly normal one in South Africa. It was abnormal some years ago …
You know, you have learnt so quickly to pass the buck.
I cannot pretend that I am the Minister of Community Development and I cannot pretend that I am the Minister of the Interior; nevertheless I am dealing with the question in so far as I can. [Interjections.] The hon. member must please keep quiet for a minute; he has had a fair chance. If I am asked to intervene, I have to accept the fact that there is a fair ratio of men to women in the Indian community, with the possible exception of small minorities. I cannot say that we are going to allow a special relaxation on the entry of Indian women, because what am I going to do with the spinsters which will result from a policy like that? I do not think that it would be fair to the Indian women who are in South Africa to open the doors for immigration only to Indian wives and not to Indian husbands. I think this may lead to an imbalance. That is common sense.
Some do not marry outside their religious group.
I said that there may be small minorities and that we are always willing to consider individual cases sympathetically where a real case can be made out. Each one, however, will be an exception in the highest degree. I may say that I know from my friend, the hon. the Minister of the Interior, that the question of Asian immigration is being reconsidered in his department, but I cannot speculate about it and I can give hon. members no further information on it. That then deals with the question which was raised by the hon. member for Orange Grove.
I now come to my good friend, the hon. member for Berea, who had a sniff of corruption. Quite rightly he raised this matter because I think if he and I have ever had one thing in common, then it is that we will do what we can to eradicate any suggestion of malpractice in any department of State with which he or I are concerned. He raised the question of a textbook in mathematics which was prescribed by various educational bodies in South Africa. He thought that there was something wrong with that, and although I did not know then about it, I had it investigated very quickly. To me the answer seems fair. In the case of publications on mathematics the publishers have a panel of experts, who do happen to be associated with education departments in South Africa. I do not think that we could ever deny teachers their right to produce textbooks because they are the people who are best qualified to know what the problems of the pupils are in practice. They know what the problems are in the classroom and I think they should be encouraged to produce text books to assist younger teachers and others with practical problems. The publishers have a panel of say six authors—in this particular case I think it is six—of various race groups, including Coloureds and Indians. I know that there is a prominent Coloured person in this particular panel. They then write the book. They all make real contributions to the book in discussions and they write it in concert. Then they submit it to the various departments and they put it on the title page, I understand, or they have been putting lately, “written by a panel including’’ certain persons, who may be connected with a particular department. That is what the publisher does. Whether that is ethical or not I cannot say, but it is not the responsibility of the authors, nor is it the responsibility of the education department. It is a genuine book. It is either a good book or it is not and for that we have a committee to which my hon. friend referred. If that committee finds the book to be the best book, they will prescribe it. They may have alternatives in the form of other good books, but it is their duty, irrespective of any other consideration, to prescribe the book which is most suited to the educational requirements of the children concerned. That is what has happened in this instance.
Would it not be possible then for the cheaper book to be prescribed because it is the same?
I want to point out, in answer to that, that the costs of books in particular have risen quite amazingly over the past years. Books that I bought in my lifetime for a half-a-crown you now pay R4 to R6 for. The other day I saw a legal dictionary I bought years ago for 15 shillings and that the same book, slightly edited and improved, now sells for R24. That is what happens to books and all I can think is that the two books to which the hon. member has referred must be two different editions and that the later edition reflects higher costs on the part of the publisher. I do want to say, however, that I have not had a chance to investigate the matter fully. I will investigate it further and let my hon. friend know what the position is. Although this may be a clever practice on the part of publishers, I am satisfied that this is not anything for which the authors or the education department can be blamed. They are genuinely seeking the best textbooks for our children.
I come now to my friend, the hon. member for Randburg, who surprisingly had some very nice things to say, which I appreciate very much indeed. He raised the question of traders in general, to which I have replied. He raised specifically the question of the Fordsburg and Page View complexes. That, too, as a result of discussions between the Prime Minister and the elected leaders of the Indian community, is under review with the Department of Planning. All I can say is that on the initiative of the Prime Minister, carried forward by the Department of Indian Affairs, the matter is being reconsidered. He also raised the question of 216 Indians near Pinetown who have specific problems. I want to be frank with the hon. member. As far as we know they have not approached the Department of Indian Affairs and I am therefore really at a loss to tell him what the position is. But we will go into the matter and in due course I will let the hon. member know what the position is.
*The hon. member also raised the question of Indian industries, which immediately brings me to the question of the viability of separate town councils for our Indian population. I do not want any misunderstanding in this connection. There are people who are encouraging some of our Indians today to plead for representation on common town councils. This is contrary to Government policy. The Government’s policy is that the Indians should have every right to organize, administer and control their own town councils. There would always be the danger, if one were to have a town council in which the Indian members were in the minority, and the majority were to take a decision which is not in their favour, that it might be said that the decision was motivated by a racial consideration and not by the merits of the case. In Natal in particular, it may also happen the other way round, i.e. there may be town councils with a majority of Indian members. The same danger would then arise that the Whites might feel, rightly or wrongly, that the decisions which are taken and which they do not like are founded on racial considerations. I have already said that one of the corner-stones of our policy is to avoid points of racial friction in South Africa. I believe that common municipalities in South Africa can and almost certainly will lead to racial friction. In reply to the hon. member for Randburg, we have to concede that we cannot establish town councils which would from the nature of the case be indigent. Personally I feel that one cannot establish a town council in respect of houses only, because that town council would not have the powers of taxation to administer that town. In particular, one cannot administer a town if most of the houses are State property, which is the case in many Indian townships, because then they are not taxed at all. We can only establish town councils which will mean something, i.e. they must have their own commercial and industrial centres as well. This is one of the problems which we have today and which have to be overcome. There is not enough industrial land in South Africa today for these things to be achieved in the immediate future. For this reason we are making representations to the Department of Planning to investigate the matter once again and to see what can be done. Now I want to pay the Indian community a compliment. With the limited amount of land available to them for industrial purposes, they have, in a few years’ time, made industrial investments and established extremely successful business enterprises to the value of R30 million since the Government appealed to them to take an interest in industrial development in South Africa as well, as can be seen from the report of the Secretary for Indian Affairs. Under the present circumstances our prognosis is that that R30 million will be doubled within the next decade. This will mean that the Indians will have invested R60 million in the industries in South Africa. This gives me hope for the future.
Mr. Chairman, may I ask the hon. the Minister a question?
Just let me finish my sentence. This makes me hope that it will in fact be possible to establish viable separate town councils for the Indian community.
Are there any plans on the part of the Government to form an Indian development corporation on the lines of the Coloured Development Corporation?
That is one of the questions which the Indian Council executive has discussed with me. At the moment I cannot see it happening, although I have not closed my mind to the idea. I think the Indians are a sophisticated population group and can easily, on equal terms with the Whites, avail themselves of the services of the existing Industrial Development Corporation. As I say, I have not finally closed my mind to the idea. There are very difficult problems surrounding this matter. However, it is under examination.
I think I have tried to the best of my ability as a novice in this department, to deal with questions raised by members on both sides of the House.
Is the hon. the Minister giving any consideration to the particular position of the Moslem community as far as elections to the Indian Council are concerned?
I have not given that any consideration yet. As hon. members will know, we are in close contact with the Indian community and the Indian Council, half of the members of which is elected. The other half is appointed on the grounds of representativeness and ability. But this question has never been raised with me. If they were to raise the question, I would go into the matter, but if they are not concerned about the matter, if would be strange if we were to take the initiative.
I have tried my best to deal with as many of the matters raised as possible.
Mr. Chairman, I asked the hon. the Minister a question about the situation at the University of Durban-Westville.
The unhappy situation there, because of boycotts.
Oh, yes. I can talk about this from first-hand knowledge. I spoke at the graduation ceremony which was supposed to be boycotted. I can only say that the graduation ceremony was crowded out. In fact, it was one of the most inspiring experiences I have ever had to see these keen, eager, young intellectuals of the Indian community receiving degree after degree in subjects which are constructive as far as the future is concerned and spell hope for the future of the Indian people. I believe Prof. Olivier in preference to a student agitator who writes letters to the Press. I know from experience on the Schlebusch Commission that there is 2% or 3% of the students who are agitators and an evil influence, but I do not accept that they are significant to any greater extent than at the White universities. At the University of Durban-Westville they are insignificant. My friend would be wise to accept the word of a most honourable and experienced gentleman like Prof. Olivier and ignore the utterances of guttersnipe and amateur politicians in the newspapers.
Vote agreed to.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No. 23.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.
The House adjourned at