House of Assembly: Vol57 - FRIDAY 13 JUNE 1975
House in Committee:
Recommendations Nos. (1) to(7) agreed to.
Resolutions reported and adopted.
Revenue Vote No. 45.—“Tourism”:
Mr. Chairman, we have come this morning to the other half of the schizophrenic political personality of the hon. the Minister, and it is my pleasant duty this morning to welcome him in his new post. I know that he will do well because he had a very good training. He had a wonderful training of this side of the House before he moved over there.
I tried to do some training on that side of the House.
The hon. the Minister says he tried to do some training on this side. I have here the latest edition of Satoursphere in which they welcome their new Minister. They quote the hon. the Minister as having said—
I want to say that I cannot think of anybody on that side of the House better equipped to do this job, because if ever I found an Afrikaner who has kissed the Blarney Stone, it is that hon. Minister. [Laughter.] Last year I had the pleasant task of welcoming Minister Heunis in this post, but this year of course I have a new Minister. Do you know, Sir, this tends to clip my wings, because it is no good fighting with this Minister about something which the last Minister did. He is only going to get away anyway by saying: “Don’t talk to me; I have just come in.” Last year I also had the pleasure of welcoming the Secretary for this department in his new post, and I said then that we hoped that we would not have a “new look” department only but that we would have a department with a new outlook. Sir, what has happened? The answer to that question is that I do not know because we have not got a report, at least not an up-to-date report. We do not know what is happening in this department. Last year I mentioned the dilatorines of the department in supplying us with a report on its activities. At that stage we had to discuss a report which only ran to March 1972. I was told last year that by the time this portfolio was debated this year, we would have all the reports right up to the end of December 1974. But what have we got? We have the report of the Department of Tourism up to 31 December 1973. It is 18 months out of date. We have had two new Ministers since then, and a new Secretary had just taken over at that time. During the debate on the Liquor Amendment Bill, when I wanted to refer to the activities of this particular department, I inquired whether there was not some more up-to-date information, and I was referred to the annual report of Satour, the board of control of the S.A. Tourist Corporation. Do you know what I found, Sir? It was up to 31 March 1974. It was three months more up to date than the report of the department concerned. I was then referred to the report of the Hotel Board, also under the control of this hon. Minister and his department, and do you know what is the latest report we have there? It is for the financial year ended 31 March 1973. This is now over two years out of date. How can we discuss the affairs of this department with any authority, what exactly it is doing and what it has not done, unless we have reports? As I say, this hon. Minister has had a good training and I believe he will be an efficient Minister, but I sincerely hope that by the time we come to debate this matter next year we will have up-to-date reports so that we will know what we are talking about.
While talking about publications of the department, I must say that I was very pleased to receive a copy of a new publication, Tourism in South Africa; Tourist Workshops and the Trade, Vol. 1, 1975. It appears that this is going to come out quarterly, and I want to congratulate the department. I believe it is a good publication, but I am a little at a loss to know exactly what it is intended for. What is the distribution going to be; at whom is it aimed; is it going to be distributed overseas as well as here, and, most important of all, what is the cost of the distribution of this publication going to be?
Last year when we discussed this Vote, we indicated our attitude towards tourism, and I do not think I have to repeat it all today. One of the important things we pointed out was that we believed there should be a greater financial allocation to this department. What do we find? We find that there has been an increase this year from R3,3 million last year to R4,8 million, an increase of R1,5 million. But what is going to be done with that R1,5 million? Unfortunately, we find that R1,3 million of it is going to the Tourist Corporation, which is going to work overseas to try to encourage more visitors to come to this country. It is a very laudable purpose to try to encourage more people to come out here in order to try to alter the position in which we found ourselves. We actually ended up with a R60 million deficit in respect of foreign exchange. I am accepting the Minister’s figures which he gave in a speech, recently because I have no other up-to-date figures I can consult. Now, that is all very well, but we did say last year that we felt more money must be spent locally to encourage the development of amenities and to encourage our local industry to provide facilities. We cannot get people from overseas to come here when we do not have the necessary facilities. I believe the hon. the Minister has to look into this. I am glad to see that there has been an increase in the staff. I presume that these are for the local boards, the National Tourist Bureaux, and I hope that he is going to extend these further. My colleague, the hon. member for East London City, will have some more to say about that later. We also pointed out last year the changes that had taken place in the world and particularly how they were going to affect tourism. We shall want to know today from the hon. the Minister and his department, in the absence of a report, exactly what they are doing to take advantage of the changes which have taken place. I refer particularly to the changes in Africa. I believe that a whole new attitude is called for. Mozambique and Angola have been closed and I do not believe that many South African tourists will go there any more. I also believe that not many people from other parts of the world will go there right now. Are we capitalizing on it? My friend will also deal with that matter a little bit later in the debate.
There is another aspect regarding internal tourism. I believe that the staggering of school terms and the introduction of a three-term school system in the Transvaal has been a tremendous fillip to the tourist industry in this country. No longer do we have the tremendous strain on our transport and accommodation facilities all at one time. I believe that there is unhappiness in the Transvaal about this situation. I think this hon. the Minister has a task ahead of him in that more publicity is needed to advise the people in the Transvaal of the advantages and the benefits of the system which has been introduced. It is in the interests of tourism that it should be done. More publicity by this Minister and by his department is needed to tell the people where they are benefiting from this system.
When I talk about a change of attitude, we have had examples during the session of a change of attitude of the Government. One is the amendments introduced to the Liquor Act and the fact that it is now acknowledged that Blacks, Indians and Coloureds must be allowed into our hotels with Government blessing. Then there is the announcement made last night by the hon. the Minister himself of the relaxation of restrictions on our Indian community. This will mean that there will be more and more non-White people on our roads, and it is the responsibility of this hon. Minister to see that they have amenities and to see that more facilities such as rest-rooms are provided at garages. Hon. members know the white rabbit sign. Perhaps the hon. the Minister’s department can design a sign which will show that there are quality amenities available for our non-White travellers at garages and filling-stations. In addition to that the hon. the Minister has to lean on his colleague the Minister of Justice to see that more hotels are allowed to accommodate our non-White people. Most important of all, I believe he has to lean on his colleague the Minister of Water Affairs. In Natal the Natal Parks Board provides accommodation facilities, holiday facilities and amenities for all people in the areas which it controls. I refer to the game parks at Hluhluwe and Umfolozi. There facilities are provided for all races, for all travellers and all tourists. In those areas which are under the control of the Department of Forestry and the Department of Water Affairs, they are precluded by edict of the department from providing facilities for Blacks. I believe it is the task of this hon. Minister to see that the Minister of Water Affairs lifts those restrictions and allows the Natal Parks Board to provide facilities for Blacks to stay overnight at Midmar Dam and at Mapelane.
At the moment there are facilities for Indians.
They can do it now for Indians and for Coloureds. My colleague says there are plenty at Midmar, but they are precluded from providing facilities there for Black tourists, for Black holiday-makers. I believe that this hon. Minister has a duty to the tourist public of South Africa to lean on his colleague to persuade him to lift that restriction. Incidentally, I believe that the Natal Parks Board will shortly be announcing the appointment of a multi-racial advisory committee wherein Blacks, Indians and Coloureds are going to participate with the board in planning and are going to advise them on the provision of facilities for their people. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, after the announcement of the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South of what hon. members on his side were going to follow him in participating in this debate, I am surprised that he did not also announce when Japie and Buthelezi were returning from their overseas tour.
I should like to get a few things off my chest, as I feel a need to do so. In the first instance I should like to express the sincere thanks of this side of the House of the previous Minister of Tourism, the present Minister of Economic Affairs. I should like to pay tribute to him because I think that he, together with the industrious Secretary for Tourism, Mr. Behrens, gave the Department of Tourism a new outlook on South Africa. I should also like to welcome the new hon. the Minister of Tourism, and if I am to judge by the exciting way in which he dealt with his other portfolio, Indian Affairs, last night, I am looking forward to a remarkable future for the Department of Tourism. Therefore, a very hearty welcome to him. The hon. member who has just sat down, said that as yet he had not seen “a new outlook”. If the hon. member had accepted the invitation extended to him during the year, as it was extended to me as well, to attend the international conference at Jan Smuts Airport, then he would have testified to a new spirit prevailing in the department, to a tone being breathed of the Department of Tourism meaning business to market South Africa abroad—“market” is the word. This was an impressive conference and it was pleasant to see how many friends we have in the tourist world outside.
Did the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South also attend that conference?
No, I have already said that he did not accept the invitation. Tourism in South Africa is becoming a very big industry. Last year, according to the latest report of Satour, 610 000 tourists visited South Africa. Approximately 11 million bed-nights were spent in South Africa and approximately R250 million was spent here. To put this matter in perspective: This is equal to the contribution to South Africa’s gross national product by the gold mines in the early sixties. Therefore, this is an industry which has tremendous possibilities for us in the future. It was interesting to learn in what terms distinguished people—here I am thinking of a man such as Mr. Guy Fortan, director of the international congress bureau—thought and expressed themselves on the possibilities offered by South Africa to this type of tourist. South Africa has this problem with tourism, that we do not want our country to be overrun by tourists and that we have to select the people because of the distances separating us and the tourists of the world. It was interesting to learn from Mr. Fortan, director of the congress bureau in London, that 6 500 international congresses were held in the world annually. This, strictly speaking, is not part of tourism but the pre- and post-congress tourist business to which people attending international congresses may give rise here, is an absolute attraction to us. That is why I am grateful for the fact that the Department of Tourism immediately jumped at the possibility and established a South African Congress Bureau within the Department under the guidance of Mr. M. J. Bester. It was also said that it was not the money that attracted people to a congress in the first place, but that it was the facilities offered, the accessibility and the services rendered. The price was only the next consideration. The congress bureau will try to provide these facilities. Further services should be rendered by the hotel industry in South Africa. The hotel industry is experiencing problems in South Africa in that we do not have a sufficient number of trained people. We are greatful for the fact that four hotel schools already exist in the country. They are at Ga Rankuwa, the Witwatersrand Technical College, the Landdros Hotel here in Cape Town and the M. L. Sultan College in Durban. Approximately 1000 people are trained for the hotel industry at these schools each year. This helps, but according to estimates the shortage of trained people in all categories in the hotel industry is approximately 30 000. That is why the Hotel Board has now started an exciting new scheme by providing in-service training at hotels in South Africa. We cannot discuss this in detail today; there is no time to do so. The problem of hotels which provide in-service training, is that the people who are being trained in this manner, are normally in the catering industry, for instance, chefs, etc., and that they are eagerly snatched up after they have completed their training, by restaurants which had no hand in their training. One wonders whether the time has arrived—I should like to hear the hon. the Minister’s opinion in this regard—for restaurants to be brought in under the Hotel Board as well so that they, too, may pay a levy to the Hotel Board and take a hand in the training in that way. This will solve many of the problems of the hotel industry.
A further apparent problem as far as hotels are concerned, is one which I should like to discuss in full, but time does not permit, i.e. that of the dual control over the hotel industry. We are concerned about the instances of dual control which we have in our country, and this matter possibly creates problems for the hotel industry as well. Control is being exercised over them by the Hotel Board as well as by the Liquor Board. I wonder whether we have not reached the stage for consideration to be given to this matter along the lines of having a single body of control for the hotel industry, so that these people may carry on their business much more effectively and smartly.
In the few remaining minutes at my disposal, I should like to bring one further point to the hon. the Minister’s attention. All tourists coming to South Africa, travel along routes which I feel inclined to describe as virtually being the stereotyped routes in South Africa. From their point of arrival, Jan Smuts Airport, they proceed to the Kruger National Park, from there to Durban and along the Garden Route down to Cape Town. I think the rest of South Africa has tremendous possibilities, and I should like to ask the hon. the Minister what progress has been made with the establishment of the development corporation for tourism envisaged by the previous Minister of Tourism. I believe this is the instrument for opening up areas in the interior of South Africa to the tourist industry. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Fauresmith made some interesting suggestions and gave an interesting dissertation about a congress bureau. I believe this is a good suggestion but I want to enfold it in a suggestion which I have which I will put to the hon. the Minister in a moment and which I think will cover the question of a congress bureau together with other requirements which I believe are necessary in regard to the tourist industry in South Africa.
We on this side of the House have a great interest in the Department of Tourism, because we realize that it generates some R250 million worth of foreign exchange and that we have as guests in our country, on average, 600 000 people per annum. These are the latest figures available to us. I am quite sure that the hon. the Minister will appreciate that we do not have all the latest information. Last year when the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs was Minister of Tourism he stated that research was being conducted by the department into vacationing habits on the domestic scene; in other words, where the people who live in South Africa normally spend their vacations. He said that this information, together with other information to establish the likes and dislikes and the preferences of overseas tourists, would be available and processed in November 1974. He believed that he would be able to advise us during this session of the results of these investigations. As my hon. friend, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South, stated a little while ago, unfortunately we do not have any reports before us. We only have the department’s report covering the period up to December 1973, the report of the Hotel Board covering the period up to March 1973 and the Satour report covering the period up to March 1974. Figures for 1974 are therefore not really available. We therefore have no report on the amount of research and the results of the research carried out during last year. This is in contrast to the availability of reports from other departments. I want to stress to the hon. the Minister that the lack of these reports hampers fluid debate in connection with this particular department during parliamentary sessions. The Department of Sport and Recreation produced a report covering the period up to December 1974 and so did the Department of Health, the Department of Community Development, the Department of Information and the Department of National Education. They are all departments which I maintain have budgets vastly superior to that of the Department of Tourism. I believe further that the Department of Tourism itself is an expert in the production of material, for example, reports giving people a picture of what the situation is like in South Africa. We expect from the Department of Tourism, therefore, a most magnificent report. We believe that their yearly calendar is an excellent one, but why cannot we have a report which is just as good? I therefore want to stress to the hon. the Minister that this should be one of his first considerations. He should ensure that in this House we are informed of the activities of the department.
A second aspect which I want to discuss with the hon. the Minister is the question of up-to-date information, a flow of information from the various centres where tourists may possibly spend their time to the department and also a flow back from the department or its subsidiaries to people who want to know what is happening in the country, what the hotel tariffs are, what the air, bus and railway fares are—because they change from time to time—and what the cost of car-hire services is. There should be a flow backwards and forwards from the industry itself to interested parties and from interested parties back to the department so that the necessary information can be supplied. I maintain that all this information should be centralized. It should flow into a central point so that the information can be available and so that everybody will know where the most up-to-date information is available. I know that we have established national tourist bureaux in the main centres of the Republic and that we have one at Jan Smuts Airport and also, I believe, at the D.F. Malan Airport. It is from these centres that the person on the spot can get the information, but if one wants information about another area, one sometimes does not know where to get it. I suggest the establishment of a travel data information centre to which all the most up-to-date information is sent and from which people can get the most up-to-date information about every corner of South Africa. Good market intelligence is an essential requirement for a national tourism agency.
I also want to know, however, why it is that a national tourist bureau has not been established at East London. At the moment there is no national tourist bureau at East London. Last year the hon. the Minister promised that early in 1975 a national tourist bureau would be established in East London. At the moment the only facility available to people in East London is an information centre run by the East London Publicity Association. The Border Regional Development Association is also operating there, an organization, as the hon. the Minister knows, which is run on a completely voluntary basis. The functions of the national tourist bureau, as far as I have been able to establish, are such that the staff—paid staff obviously—regularly undertake surveys of all the facilities and attractions in the particular area which is served. Daily information services are also provided. Daily visits are also made in the coastal towns to passenger boats which may call there, thereby rendering a further service. At the moment this service to the boats in East London is being rendered by the East London Publicity Association and this is really not their function. It is the function of these travel bureaux which should be established there. They do it, of course, with a view to encouraging people to tour the city of East London. It is not a Border Publicity Association. I believe that the bureaux ought to have a regional content so that they will be able to tell tourists what wonderful tourist facilities and vacational facilities there are in the East London/Border area, and about the incredible holiday resorts which, I think, the hon. the Minister knows well and which stretch from East London up to Kei Mouth. These resorts have numbers of wonderful caravan parks and chalets and cottages which can be occupied. There is also tremendous fishing in that area. I refer in particular to trout fishing at the Gubu and Rooikrantz dams. Furthermore, we have the wonderful Hogsback and Katberg areas. There is also the fact that East London has 20 classified hotels and I maintain that per capita East London has the highest density of hotel beddage compared with other cities. I believe also that East London can operate as a base for people who wish to see how the development is taking place in the emergent homelands of the Ciskei and the Transkei, because, after all, it is only a 1½ hour trip by car from East London to the industrial area of Butterworth. I sincerely believe that the hon. the Minister must give his urgent attention to the establishment of a national tourist bureau in East London.
I want to say a few words about Sartoc. I understand that the member States of Sartoc were five in number. They were the Republic of South Africa, Mauritius, Swaziland, Malawi and the two Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola. We are without any information, but we are interested to know how this organization is operating since we believe it is an organization which is of vital importance and use to the tourist industry in South Africa and that it can be expanded to the benefit of neighbouring countries. We want to know exactly what the situation is in regard to Angola and Mozambique. Did they attend the last conference which took place in South Africa and, if they did not, is there some or other arrangement between the hon. the Minister and, for instance, Frelimo of Mozambique by means of which the close co-operation which previously existed can continue? Secondly, I want to know from the hon. the Minister whether any attempt has been made to encourage Lesotho, Botswana and Zambia to join this particular council. Swaziland is a member and we believe that homelands such as the Transkei should also be invited to become members. We trust and hope that consultation has been going on continually to bring these countries under the umbrella of this council for the benefit of all. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for East London City referred inter alia to the potential of the area from which he comes and which he represents. We find no fault with this; everyone should be loyal to his constituency. To a certain extent the hon. member expressed his dissatisfaction at the fact that a report is not yet available on the investigation into the preferences and needs of overseas tourists. I would like to point out to the hon. member that this investigation was only launched on a really scientific basis last year, although a wealth of information has already been collected! by the department. Since it is in fact a scientific project, and one may expect a scientific recommendation to be made on the basis of a scientific analysis of the information, I want to give the hon. member the assurance that when the report is available, it will be worthy of the department. Consequently the department has so far conducted itself worthily. I would also like to associate myself with the previous speakers who conveyed their congratulations to the hon. the Minister. Allow me to add to this that I think it is general knowledge that when the hon. the Minister decided to join this side of the House, there was great rejoicing among members on this side. We want to give the hon. the Minister the assurance that with his appointment as Minister, there was the same rejoicing in the tourism group as there was among members on this side of the House. It found it interesting to note that the first two speakers on the opposite side of the House made a feeble attack on this department. One can accept that it goes without saying that there was no attack on the Minister. I do not think that one could regard this as an excessive measure of fondness for this Minister, for there was a stage when unflattering things were said about this Minister. I think this could rather be ascribed to a degree of fear, because I think this House had a foretaste last night of the qualities and characteristics of this Minister when it comes to debating.
We would like to express the wish that this Minister and the Secretary for Tourism, Mr. Behrens, may, as a team, be granted the opportunity, for a lengthy period, to allow this department to develop into one of the top departments. Should fighting skill or sound arguments ever be necessary to cause this department to occupy a position of honour in the hierarchy of departments, we have no doubt that this Minister will in fact be capable of leading that struggle for this department.
It is a fact that when we in South Africa consider tourism and the tourist potential, we have to accept that there is much on the negative side which has to be taken into account. We in South Africa are faced with the problem of a lack of local tourists. To an extent this is not only the result of a lack of numbers in our vast country, but also as a result of the fact that we have the phenomenon in South Africa that people go on holiday rather than on tour. Another detrimental factor which should be taken into account, is the long distances, not only as a result of the extensiveness of South Africa, but also as a result of the long journey which most of the overseas visitors have to undertake to reach South Africa. Another factor which may appear to be detrimental is the fact that South Africa, as opposed to many European countries, is still a reasonably young and new country. I will return to this youngness or youthfulness of South Africa again at a later stage.
On the other hand again, we are fortunate in that we also have much that is positive and that can allow this department to develop in future. I think that the elements which are in our favour, are of such a nature that there are few countries in the world that can compete with us. Our sunshine is known throughout the world. In the past we may have associated the sunshine too exclusively with the sea and the coast. We have an animal kingdom which has been preserved as a result of foresight, and which can be compared with the best in the world, if there are in fact any comparable countries. We have geological treasures which are now being developed to such an extent that we can in future expect millions of people to come to see South Africa’s geological treasures. I do not think there is a clearer demonstration of the potential of our geological treasures than that which the hon. Minister of Mining referred to the day before yesterday as being the most beautiful lead one could wish to see.
I think one of the greatest positive factors which counts in our favour, is our people and then especially the people of the past, they who formed and made the history in South Africa. Maybe the time has arrived for us to interpret the historic places and the historic buildings in South Africa from a more practical point of view, not only for the tourist, but also for the student and for the scholar. I think it is possible to obtain the co-operation of the Department of National Education, as well as other training centres, in order to develop our historical monuments in such a way that an atmosphere will not only be created for tourism, but so that the opportunity will also be offered to the youth and the scholar and the student not only to investigate, but also to enjoy.
We are at this stage very thankful for the work which is already being done by the Witwatersrand College for Advanced Technical Education, especially with a view to the tuition of people who have a future career as tour guides in mind. In one of the information documents of this college, the cultural treasures of South Africa are defined as follows—
I think that if we realize what image is being presented in Europe in particular of the history of South Africa, we shall make a special effort to make these cultural historical treasures which we have more tourism-orientated as well. Sir, when one remembers our glorious past and when one pages quickly through the attractions which are discussed in the text-books for this particular course at this college, then one realizes that South Africa is in fact not such a young country any more, and when we note that tourism in Europe is geared in particular to history and the heroes of the past, then I believe that we in South Africa are developing in such a way that we will also have something to contribute in this regard. Reference is made here inter alia to the cross of Bartholomew Dias which was erected as long ago as the year 1488. Reference is made to the King’s Blockhouse here in Cape Town which was erected in 1795 by General Craig. Reference is made to the battlefield of Vegkop near Heilbron, where 33 men repulsed an attack by 6 000 Matabeles. Reference is made to Majuba, where 150 Boers dislodged the approximately 700 men of General Colley from their position on the mountain. Reference is made to the Makapan Caves where President Kruger performed one of his first heroic deeds. I think much progress has already been made to group these historical items and events together in our national museums—in the National Museum in Bloemfontein which was built in 1877, in the Natal Museum, which was started in 1851, with particular emphasis on the nature historical collections, in the King William’s Town Kaffrarian Museum and in the snake park, which is actually not only a snake park, but in fact an oceanarium in the true sense of the word. Sir, I think it is time we in South Africa requested this department, in co-operation with other departments or other interested parties to afford the children of South Africa an opportunity to gaining an insight at the place where the historical event occurred, and of gaining inspiration there as well for the struggle that lies ahead. Sir, we in South Africa have or have had leaders who are not only known in Europe, but who commanded the respect of the world, people such as Paul Kruger, General De Wet, General Smuts, Dr. Verwoerd and, thank God, a man such as Advocate Vorster for whom appreciation already exists. [Time expired.]
I should like to congratulate the hon. member for Bethlehem on his speech, in which he very clearly displayed to his knowledge of South Africa and especially his interest in the tourist industry. Sir, it is generally accepted and acknowledged that tourism is the largest single industry in the world. This morning, during the course of my speech, I should like to stress the fact that tourism is also a powerful factor in making an area or a country known. Nobody can get to know a country or an area properly by simply reading about it or by looking at photographs, because one does not obtain an overall picture from this. I have the greatest appreciation for the various brochures of the department, but introduction on paper is not enough. We would like to have the person, the tourist, here in person, because this is essential. This immediately places the emphasis on marketing, because we so easily lose sight of marketing, while it is probably the most important component of tourism, for without proper marketing this industry cannot flourish. It is very clear to me that in many regions of the country, perhaps in most regions, much still has to be learned in connection with marketing. I said that a country cannot be published properly by simply publicizing it on paper. Nor can it be publicized properly by simply introducing tourists to its sights and attractions, because if we bring the tourist to South Africa and then merely leave him to his own devices here, to travel from place to place land view these things, we could get a spirit of coldness in tourism. I believe that this industry cannot flourish simply through the part the businessman plays in this industry, although we appreciate what they are doing. I believe that the people of the country themselves should play a very important part in tourism. In this regard I would like to draw attention to an article which appeared in Die Burger of 19 May 1975, from the pen of Dr.
Douglas Hey, under the heading (translation) “Go and show this to your visitors from overseas”. I should like to quote a paragraph from this article. Dr. Hey writes (translation)—
Then he goes on to say (translation)—
What I should therefore like to advocate during the course of this speech, is that our people should become involved in tourism themselves, and that it should not simply be regarded as the hobby or as the pastime of a few people. Too many of our people still do not realize the value of tourism. They do not realize its economic value for a particular region and for their country. Nor do they realize the social value of tourism, and least of all do they realize its publicity value. When I advocate that our people should become involved in tourism, I do not believe that this should happen to the detriment of the businessman who has invested in the tourist industry, in our hotels for example. I should like to make an appeal to our people in the rural areas in particular to become actively involved and to do as Dr. Douglas Hey requested in this article. In this regard I want to make an appeal to the Afrikaans-speaking South African in particular because they comprise the largest percentage of the rural population. It seems to me as though the Afrikaners are often a little shy, withdrawn and perhaps over-modest about receiving these foreign visitors. Many foreign visitors drive through our rural towns without getting to know our people, and all they really see are the scenic attractions. I am afraid that this could breathe a spirit of coldness into tourism. We have so many service organizations in our country that often overlap and often enter upon other spheres. I believe an opportunity exists here which these service organizations, in co-operation with the publicity association, or in cooperation with the municipalities as well, could avail themselves of to create a strong organization or association which will inter alia concentrate on receiving visitors from overseas and arranging for them to stay in the homes of our people on farms for a day or two. Now I must be honest and say that in the annual report of the Department of Tourism, on page 2, a paragraph under the heading “Private accommodation for visitors from overseas” appears. I do not think this could be regarded as being a catch question to the hon. the Minister of Tourism, because one cannot corner him with a question, but I would be very pleased if the hon. the Minister could possibly react to this and could tell us whether progress has already been made with this matter of private accommodation for overseas visitors. I should like to make it very clear that I know of cases where overseas visitors happened, quite by chance, to stay with people in South Africa. Close friendships resulted and reciprocal visits were paid. But what is most important to me is that the correct information was conveyed to these people. As far as internal tourism is concerned, I believe there should be more and better publicity. There are too many people living in South Africa who can tell you with great pleasure of their overseas visits and who, when one questions them on certain places and things in South Africa, know nothing about them, because they have not yet visited those places. We want to encourage overseas visits by our own people. We are pleased that this can take place, but I believe that every South African should also know his own country. I cannot help believing that television will also play a very important part in this regard and that it is going to bring South Africa to our lounges. Our people will have the opportunity to see some of the beauty spots in South Africa. I believe this will serve as a stimulus and an incentive to visit those places. We learn with appreciation of the radio talks which are being held and to which the report refers on page 5. We are grateful that the various regions are being publicized by means of the radio. Nevertheless I would like to request—I do not know whether it is possible—that an investigation be instituted into a national tourism news service. If this cannot be a daily news service, a bulletin of approximately five minutes could be presented, in which facts in connection with tourism would be introduced to our people. This would require correspondents to provide the SABC with the news, and I believe that our Publicity Association and our municipalities could make such people available. My reason for asking for this, is that there are often beautiful things to be seen—for instance the flowers of Namaqualand—but that our people do not always know exactly when to go there. They have to rely on the daily newspapers, but even these do not always have a complete coverage of these matters. It is also a fact that when the flowers in Namaqualand are no longer at their best, there are prettier flowers to be seen in other areas. I believe that such a news service could give our internal and overseas tourists directions which could lead to the elimination of unnecessary travelling and to people really getting to see those things which are beautiful and attractive, things which will induce them to return.
I have complete confidence in the tourist industry and I believe that in the hands of the new Minister it is in very goods hands. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I must say that I am enjoying the very quiet atmosphere of the debate today. It is somewhat different from the debates we have had during the past few weeks. I want to say that I also enjoyed listening to the last two speakers. The hon. member for Oudtshoorn talked about the marketing of tourism, and I think his ideas are pretty good. I hope that the hon. the Minister will pay attention to them. I also enjoyed the speech of the hon. member for Bethlehem. I want to say to him that I think that despite his talk on the historical treasures of South Africa, which indeed are very fulsome in our country, he will find that it is the fantastic weather that South Africa has, the beaches that we can offer, the national parks and the natural scenery of South Africa which will be the best sellers of tourism in South Africa. On the other hand, I have noticed for instance the development of the wine route since I have been down here where the very old farms have in some way been opened up to the public and have been publicized. A visit to some of these farms simply to go there for the day, is indeed an interesting venture in itself. The development of this type of attraction will in many ways assist in bringing tourists to South Africa and in showing South Africans South Africa itself. We are pleased to note the greater attention which is being given to this department, as is evidenced by the expansion of the activities of Satour and as is evidenced by the opening of the ten tourist bureaux in South Africa.
I must also wish the hon. the Minister well in the task with which he has been entrusted. This department, as we have mentioned, has suffered over the past few years as a result of the lack of continuity at the top, a lack of continuity in executive direction, and I would like to express the hope and join hands with the others who have said the same thing, that the present hon. Minister be allowed to get his teeth into the work of the department and to be able to place his personal imprint upon its endeavours.
Send him on a long tour.
This department deserves a high priority for two reasons, the first being that the fruits of its work will be the introduction to South Africa— if the figures are correct—of some 600 000 foreign visitors every year, most of whom previously had little knowledge of our Republic itself, its beauty and its people. The second and perhaps more obvious reason, is that this department serves a growing and vital industry in South Africa and is instrumental in funnelling into South Africa that scarce and sought after commodity, viz. foreign exchange. Over recent years, when this department seemed to lack cohesion and leadership, liaison between the various bodies dealing with tourists, tourism itself and the Government was dealt with very much on an ad hoc basis. Therefore, I would like to welcome the emergence in the activities of the department of what appears to be a closer co-ordination between the various branches of the department and the private sector. I look forward to the time when South Africa will compete even more successfully than it does at present with the rest of the world in the market that is available. In the plan of things, the next year should see the department moving into an area or a sphere of marketing in a far more sophisticated manner in respect of tourist areas themselves within the Republic. Reading the first issue of the new publication Tourism in South Africa, it seems to me as if this has already been planned.
I would like to say one word about national tourist bureaux, and that is that I believe that too many of these officials are still located in positions which are obscured from the public view. A second or fourth floor suite of offices is not nearly as effective in the inquiries it will elicit, as is an office which is on a major thoroughfare. I do hope that when the leases are renewed and new offices are opened, attention will be given to these matters.
I would like quickly to make three points. The first is in regard to the 600 000-odd people who come to South Africa every year, 50% of whom come from overseas, 84% of whom come for a holiday and 50% of whom fly into South Africa. In these days of rising costs an extremely important factor in choosing one’s destination, and in fact a major slice of one’s holiday costs, is the actual travelling cost, the air fares and the like. Today these are becoming so high that most people can hardly afford to come to South Africa, particularly as we are so far away, if one takes into account the nearness to one another of Europe, America and the United Kingdom. These high fares make for selectivity in the category of tourists that come to South Africa, but none the less cut us off from a large section of the bulk market of the ordinary man. Is it not time that this Minister took this matter up with the Department of Transport in order to obtain major relaxations in regard to landing rights for non-scheduled flights such as holiday charters and special flights, which by their very nature will be cheaper for the tourist? I realize that these matters are regulated by agreement and policy, but I do think that this is an area where the hon. the Minister could make some impact.
Secondly, in these days of unbelievable inflation, to go on holiday to a decent hotel is almost as financially catastrophic as it is to have your appendix removed in a private clinic in Johannesburg. It is prohibitive. Thousands of South Africans are buying caravans. Some are buying them, or hiring them, some are borrowing them and some are obtaining them by other means. This mode of holidaymaking is rapidly growing into a very big business, and yet there is almost no uniformity in regard to the facilities offered to caravanners. I know that provincial authorities have jurisdiction over caravan parks, not the department. Some caravan parks are good and some are bad, some offer reasonable facilities and some none, some are kept spotless and others are a sight for sore eyes, some provide services and others do not. I do believe that without interfering in the control of the provinces the department can do much to encourage a general improvement in standards. Perhaps some form of grading is required. An educational project for park owners may perhaps start the ball rolling. All in all, I would suggest that early meetings be held with the provincial and local authorities concerned in order to work out a scheme to improve, on a broad basis, this type of holiday resort.
My last point is that while I realize that the task of the department is largely promotional, I do think that this department can very fruitfully do more than it does in helping to establish facilities for holidaymaking. This has already been mentioned by other hon. members and can be done especially where such facilities do not exist at the present time. In particular, I think of creating facilities for non-Whites, where communities do not yet have enormous private enterprise infrastructures which could provide for this need. There are far too few places in South Africa where non-Whites can go on holiday. All over the Republic, beaches, areas and sites are set aside for non-Whites, but these, usually through lack of funds, are largely undeveloped, unexploited and often unused. Surely the department, in collaboration with local authorities, with provincial establishments and even with private enterprise can do something about opening up such areas as the demand grows? The department has not been shy to offer financial assistance in several cases where foreign or other tourists are concerned and I wonder if it could not play a role which is less than inert so far as tourist facilities for non-Whites are concerned.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Sandton made an excellent contribution to the discussion of this Vote today. That does not happen every day, and therefore we are grateful for the fact that he, too, occasionally makes a positive contribution from his side to the proceedings of this House.
There are many reasons why people come to tour in South Africa or pay a visit to the country. In a lighter vein, I can say that there probably are many people who will want to come here to view this weak shooting star of the Progressive Party, seeing that it will disappear completely soon. In a more serious vein, I want to say, before I come to my subject, that many people surely come to South Africa to see what a Government looks like which has been governing for so many years and with so much success. I think that is a sight which can be seen nowhere else in the world.
I was also very glad that the hon. member for Sandton mentioned the wine routes of the Boland. The development of these wine routes is essential. The hon. member for Bethlehem spoke of historic buildings. When one visits the Boland farms which are situated along these routes, then one can feel the atmosphere of history. If one were to stop at one of these old Boland houses and were to isolate oneself from the company and sounds around one, one would, as it were, be able to hear history passing one by. These farms in the Boland, which these people may visit, afford them the opportunity of experiencing true hospitality, which is so important to the tourist. On this Vote today, I do not want to extoll the virtues of red wine and white wine, because I have already done so on other occasions. Nevertheless, I do thank the hon. member for Sandton very much for having touched on this subject. He also spoke about the costs which the tourist had to incur. I think one of the important reasons why we shall get many more tourists in future, is the much lower cost of living in South Africa. My wife and friends toured through Europe for a month recently and stayed with private people. She told me of the terribly high prices of hotels and food. One is amazed at how people can still go to Europe to see its sights. I think the relatively low costs involved in the tourist industry in South Africa, will attract more and more people in future. They will be attracted by the thousands.
Today I want to address a word of thanks and congratulations to the department, and not only to the department, although it is its primary task to promote tourism. There are also other bodies in South Africa who try, in their private time, to attract people to South Africa to look and to learn and then to return to their various countries and win new friends for South Africa there. I want to mention the South African Foundation, in particular. I think these people are performing a gigantic task. They bring people, who are leaders in their own fields, to South Africa. They win those people for South Africa, and those new friends of ours then go back and spread the good message that South Africa is a country which is worth visiting, and not only because of its natural beauty and hospitality, but also because South Africa is a country which is worth getting to know more intimately, since experiments in national relations are being conducted here which might have a tremendous influence on the world in future.
I notice that mention is made in the annual report of the tourism workshops which were held in London and Berlin last year. Can the hon. the Minister tell us whether these tourism workshops were really successful, how the success is to be gauged and whether this idea will be continued in the future.
I ask myself whether South Africa is a tourist country. In a recent edition of the New York Post, South Africa is described as “This bit of nature’s magic”. I think that is very well put. This phrase appeared in a political article in the New York Post. The article was somewhat derogatory of us politically, but nevertheless, our country was called, “This bit of nature’s magic”. My question was: Are we a tourist country? We could well look at our country. Let us start here in Cape Town, our mother city, and then proceed over the mountains of the Boland, over the plains of the Free State, until we come to the Bushveld. Yes, our country has tremendous potential for tourism. I am afraid that we do not always realize what the potential is. I want to mention a few examples. I do not know whether hon. members have ever walked along the historic Government Avenue of Cape Town on a Sunday evening, after sunset, or early on a Monday morning. I am inviting hon. members to come and look at the mess—if I might use the word— which can be seen here on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. People wander up the avenue in great numbers, and turn it into a promenade. I have no objection to that, but I want to invite the Secretary for Tourism and the Mayor of Cape Town to walk up this historic avenue either early on a Monday morning, before the municipal workers can clean up, or on a Sunday evening after sunset, and to look at the terrible pollution there. I think it is a disgrace. I do not know whether this is a matter for the Cape Town City Council. I took note of the Cape Festival this year with great pleasure, but in spite of all the wonderful things which were done, the Mother City suffers and gets a bad name from the pollution in its streets. We need only look at Cape Town’s streets on any evening at about seven o’clock, after the newspaper-sellers have disappeared from the streets, particularly if the South-Easter is blowing. In front of Parliament, when we adjourn in the evening, one often sees how the wind blows hundreds of old newspapers down Parliament Street. I think that someone should take action somewhere, not only to discipline our people, but also to instil a sense of pride into our people. They must be told that Cape Town deserves better than to be polluted by people who do not know what to do with their litter, ice cream wrappers and old newspapers.
You should write a letter about it.
No, I am not going to write a letter, I am not the hon. member for Pinelands who writes letters and denies them later. If we drive over the Boland mountain passes, I find it a pity that there are too few proper picnic places, I would almost say there are none, along the beautiful mountain valleys and roads, where our people can stop and have a barbecue and enjoy a glass of red wine at the same time. It is true that there are a few stopping-places along Du Toitskloof pass, but if one goes there on a Sunday, one finds that thousands of people go there from the city, seeking the fresh air and beauty of our mountains. However, there are only a few stopping places. I cannot see why the department cannot make representations to or liaise with other departments with a view to having proper provision made along the Boland mountain passes for all, especially for the tourist from the interior, who undertake excursions to those areas on a Saturday afternoon or on a Sunday, It is not enough just for the motorist to be able to stop there. People want a little room. They would like to walk along mountain paths and have barbecues at the stopping-places and enjoy a sundowner in the open. I really think that we should do something in this regard. I think here of a place which is near to my heart, a place up in the Bushveld, in the constituency of my friend of Potgietersrus. I also think of a place such as Moorddrif, an extremely historical place. The motorist speeds past, but if he is observant, he will see two camel-thorn trees, fenced in by an iron railing, growing next to the road. There one of the tragedies of our national life took place. I believe that these things should be made known. We also speed past Makapan’s Caves. Those historic caves are so dark that one can virtually feel the darkness—that is how thick it is. How many people go there? I think that there are many such places which we should really put on the tourist map. I do not want to be provincialistic and speak only of the beauty of the Boland, because when one is sitting around a camp fire in the Bushveld in the evening, eating putu and drinking red wine, and one hears the jackals howling, there is nothing more pleasant. What more pleasant does one want than that in the Bushveld? In the distance, one hears the barking of the baboon and the howling of the jackal. Our country has great potential value for the tourist and goods are cheaper in our country than they are in other countries as well. Therefore, I say that we still have much to do.
I always find it such a pity to see the old historical buildings in our cities being demolished one after the other. Cape Town, which is the oldest city in our country— if Pretoria or another city was the oldest, I would have mentioned its name—once had beautiful historical buildings. Now there are only a few. If one walks down Adderley Street or other streets of Cape Town, one still sees beautiful and, seen from an architectural point of view, wonderful buildings, squeezed in between the modern concrete giants. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I should like to associate myself with the words of the hon. member for Oudtshoorn, when he spoke about snoek and sweet potatoes. Whenever anyone speaks of snoek and sweet potato, my mouth literally waters. The hon. member for Sandton referred to the wine routes and I want to agree with him that it is a magnificent route, which really rewards the effort of any person who visits it. The hon. member also asked that we should subsidize the aeroplane tickets of tourists to South Africa, but I say to that that we are not a welfare state. The hotels already provide assistance to a great extent, and so do some of our top restaurants. The hon. member for Worcester and I are great friends, and when he speaks of the “red ox blood”, then we are still much greater and more intimate friends. I want to agree a hundred per cent with what he said, with this small difference, however, that where we are dealing with pollution, I think that it would be a good idea if we were even to set the example of not throwing out cigarette stubs or empty cartons out of our motorcar windows, or litter the streets with them. The hon. member also made a plea for the wonderful scenic beauty of our country. Something which, occurs to me, is that many of our people—there are probably hundreds, if not thousands of them—tour overseas or visit African countries every year, while they do not know their own country at all. I feel that before one crosses one’s national borders to tour overseas, one should at least know one’s own country thoroughly.
I want to speak about a subject which was debated by speakers on both sides of this House during the sport debate, viz. the lack of facilities for deep-sea game fishing. However, I, in turn, want to say something about the great assets this sport entails for tourism in South Africa. In the waters around our coast, there are more than 1 500 different species of fish. There are 52 species of fish, which are recognized internationally as game fish. This recognition arises from the fact that these fish species are fighters. In our waters we have no less than 42 of the recognized game fish species, and the S.A. Anglers’ Association have added another six species to the list, for the benefit of our local anglers. Among these species, there is the leervis or the Garrick, as the Natalians call it.
Seen from the point of view of tourism, the potential of deep-sea game fishing as an earner of foreign exchange for South Africa, is simply enormous. When two anglers meet, an outsider realizes how many large fish species there are in the sea. However, I do not want to tell fisherman’s tales, but speak about the hard facts. During 1971, the Federation of Deepsea Anglers held an international tournament in Durban, and during the five days during which the tournament was held, 901 fish, which exceeded the minimum permissible weight, were caught. Their total weight was no less than 4 803 kg. Of the 901 fish, 876 were recognized game fish of 14 different species. Needless to say, many of the overseas anglers have returned at their own expense to South Africa on various occasions to fish here. However, they also returned as tourists. The international anglers who returned to South Africa as tourists are also among our best ambassadors abroad.
However, I want to come closer to home. In 1969, 11 deep-sea angling teams caught no less than 732 tunny within a period of three days, and they did that here in the vicinity of Cape Point and in the hon. member for Simontown’s part of the world. The total mass of the tunny was 19,3 metric tons. That is a world record which will not easily be equalled. In 1973, the South African Marlin and Tunny Club —once again in an hon. friend’s part of the world, in Simonstown—landed no less than 10 000 tunny in one single year, all caught with rod and reel, according to international rules. Sir, that same club landed no less than four different species on one boat in 1974, an unequalled achievement in any place in the world. Many world records belong to South, Africa. Fortunately my hon. friend, the hon. member for Simonstown, has nothing to do with this, otherwise they would never have been established.
Mr. Chairman, unfortunately I do not have time to speak about the freshwater fish in South Africa, such as the tiger fish, the yellow fish and, as they say in English, “trout and bass and what-have-you”. Sir, we have a coastline of over 3 000 km from Natal with its sub-tropical climate to the North-Western Cape with its semi-deserts, through to South West, with its barren coastline and arid, inhospitable desert, and the cold Benguela current, which flows along it. Between these two extreme poles, Sir, we have the South Cape coast from Mossel Bay, and the Cape coast, with a Mediterranean climate, where two major oceans, the cold and the warm water streams, meet each other. It amounts to this, Sir, that we have the ideal position in South Africa, in that we can hunt this big game of the sea for 12 months of the year. Once again, Sir, there is no other country in the world where one can do that. Just here, in and around the Cape coast, we have the popular big fish, which we catch, such as the tunny and the yellow tail bonito, and then, of course, the popular old snoek, without the sweet potato. Then from September to December, we catch the long-fin tunny which can weigh from 15 to 30 kg. From January, we also find the yellow-fin tunny, which can weigh up to 100 kg. and then—the very pleasant surprise which we sometimes have in our waters—the very rare bluefin tunny which can pull the scales to 450 kg and more. Fifty of these large blue-fin tunny were caught in one single season last year, only in False Bay, Sir. The South West coast is the undeveloped Mecca of the game fisherman. Sir, we have here an asset which South Africa does not appreciate every day. My plea is that Sport and Recreation and Tourism should come together and that Sport and Recreation should establish the facilities for us, but here Tourism comes into the picture; it must market this asset of ours on a world-wide scale. Just as it succeeded in acquiring world fame for our Kruger National Park, the possibilities are also there that it can make this asset of ours, these game fish of ours, known throughout the world, and put them on the map.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Kimberley South will excuse me if I do not follow his arguments. I should like to mention the fact that we are dealing here with a department which can still dream fine dreams of the future, because we are dealing with, a department which is still growing. I am very glad to be able to state that the increase in the number of tourists over the past year was 14% higher than the previous year. That is indicative of a gradual growth in this industry in our country. Sir, what are the actual attractions bringing tourists to the Republic of South Africa? We have reasonable fares, a wide variety of sights and a favourable climate, etc., but the greatest attraction to the tourist surely remains our natural assets. Sir, while I was listening to the hon. member for Worcester just now, when he spoke again of red wine, something I read in this connection occurred to me, viz. that the first wine-taster in the Republic of South Africa was appointed as early as 1811. This industry developed in such a way under the competent guidance of experts that we can export our wines today to more than 30 countries. But here is another asset. I think the growing and the exporting of wild flowers, more specifically proteas, whose exports last year came to R2 million, is an industry, the demands of which our exporters are unable to supply. But there is also another sight for tourists, viz. the large concentrations of rock paintings in the Republic. Five thousand of these paintings have already been found—an asset, unique throughput the whole world. But if we read the opinions of tourists who have visited our country, then we see that it is our animal life in particular which has aroused their attention and interest. It is noticeable that countries in Africa attract large numbers of tourists every year. In this regard I mention the case of Kenya, which attracted 500 000 visitors from America last year, while we only had 50 000 from that country. It is the tendency among tourists to give more and more attention to the animal life of the Republic of South Africa, because of the rapidly changing position in the other countries of Africa. Therefore, we may expect that people who would normally have travelled to countries in Africa to view the animal life there, will be making use of the facilities in the Republic of South Africa to an increasing extent. Now it so happens that virtually all our game reserves are situated on our national borders. It is certainly a great pity that virtually all these game reserves are situated on our national borders, and it is a pity that more game reserves cannot be developed in the interior of the Republic. Here I am thinking of areas surrounding existing irrigation dams. Why cannot we develop those parts as game reserves? It is certainly something to which we can give our attention. Businessmen and industrialists take many of our mineral riches out of the country, but all that the tourist takes out of our country with him, are his pleasant memories of a wonderful visit.
That brings me to the standpoint that we should surely devote much more attention to our tourists, especially since we, in my opinion, can use the revenue from tourism for the conservation of that which we have. It was from a desire to conserve that the Kruger National Park was developed, because you know that in 1905, according to what we read, there were only about 25 elephants in the Kruger National Park. Today there are 7 600, as a result of conservation. At the beginning of this century there were an estimated 100 buffaloes in the Kruger National Park. Today there are 21 000, again the fruit of conservation.
Then I want to advocate here that we should utilize tourism for the maintenance and development of assets which we already have. Sir, I should very much like to mention another example to you, a place of international importance, viz. St. Croix Island, approximately 20 km north-east of Port Elizabeth. It is typical of our industrialists to want to materialize everything, to convert everything into rands and cents. It is such, a pity. Here we now have a small island which a group of industrialists want to convert into an ore-loading terminal. I am so glad that the hon. the Minister of Planning is also here. They are a group of people who want to destroy an asset of international importance by establishing an ore-loading terminal there. Do hon. members know what experts say about St. Croix Island? I am thinking of Prof. Erasmus of the University of Port Elizabeth who said of the island that it was of international importance because it was the only accessible penguin breeding ground in the world, with the exception of the North Pole. In this, he is supported by a famous American travel writer who also visited St. Croix Island and who is aware of the efforts which are being made to change the island into an ore-loading terminal. Here the truth is emphasized for us that we should guard against this, because I repeat that the island is the only accessible penguin breeding ground, with the exception of the North Pole—and we know how difficult it is to reach the North Pole. Therefore, I want to make a plea this morning for the conservation of St. Croix Island as a breeding ground for sea birds and more specifically for penguins. In 1957, human activities on that island were ceased and as far as can be established, the bird life and more specifically the penguin life has been exactly doubled since that year. Our diamonds and gold can run out, but we shall always retain our natural assets if we look after them. Therefore I plead that tourism should also contribute a colossal share to the conservation and development of our natural assets, because, by so doing, it will be involved in the national attempts to preserve our heritage for posterity.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Somerset East has raised a very important point. I believe that the most important point in his speech was the fact that many of our game reserves are situated on our borders. I think that the hon. the Minister should give attention to the fact that for obvious reasons, new game reserves and parks should be established in the interior. Secondly, the hon. member spoke about the conservation of certain animal species. He referred in particular to the penguins and the danger in which they are at St. Croix. I agree with what he said. I agree that far more attention should be given to conservation in a country where there is so much industrial growth.
The hon. member for Worcester spoke about the demolition of old buildings in Cape Town.
†In this connection I agree with him entirely. I think that over the years, particularly since the war, there has been a scandalous neglect by the Cape Town Municipality and the provincial town planners of those historic parts of Cape Town which have been allowed to fall into the hands of developers, with results which everybody can see today.
Not only in Cape Town.
I should like to make the point as well that it is not only a case of local municipalities having a disregard for some of the traditional buildings in the municipal areas; it is also a case of the Government, as a result of group areas legislation, compelling them to clear up areas not only for the purposes of slum clearance, which is necessary, but also for the purpose of use by another race group, which in turn has resulted in many historic buildings being taken down and replaced by modern and very much uglier buildings.
Then we had an interesting speech by the hon. member for Kimberley South on deep-sea angling, which is a matter which is mentioned in this House from time to time. I agree very much with what he has said. We have an unrivalled variety of fish species off our coasts, and as I said recently under the Vote of the Minister of Sport and Recreation, with the development of the necessary harbour and launching facilities, we can become a sport fishing country and an angling country of international importance. I would say to him, however, that it also requires the co-operation of the local member of Parliament if one wants to get anything achieved. For many years I have tried to have trawling in False Bay stopped. I have made representations to Government departments. Various bodies have made the same representations, asking that no netting or trawling of fish should take place in the waters of False Bay. I had to use a little initiative before we were able to achieve some of the results which we have recently achieved. The results that we have achieved have been that certain areas of the bay have been demarcated by buoys where netting is prohibited and although the bay is not entirely closed to netting, there is definitely an improvement. One of the ways in which we were able to achieve that, was by getting the previous Prime Minister invited out in a boat belonging to friends of mine, the four brothers Hare. We took him out into Fish Hoek bay. Unfortunately at that time there was no fresh bait, but they managed to find an old and rotten mackerel in the scuppers of the boat. They put it on his hook and within a mile of the coast of Fish Hoek, the Prime Minister hooked a bluefin tunny which weighed something like 670 tons—I mean 670 lbs. [Interjections.] Fishermen are allowed a little licence when they tell stories, Sir! It was as a result of this catch of the Prime Minister that we have had a certain amount of activity in the department concerned, resulting in greater preservation measures. I think it is also appropriate to say that it is a pity— and I think the hon. the Minister should give some consideration to this—that many of the fish species that are caught around our coasts do not seem to be able to come on to the local market. For example, what sort of fare can we offer to the guests who come to Parliament in the line of fish species? It is very limited indeed.
I want to say a special word to the hon. Minister concerned. I have been a friend of the hon. the Minister for many years and I would like to congratulate him sincerely on his appointment. I was one of those who disagreed most emphatically with his joining the party on the other side of the House, but in his wisdom he chose to do so and I would like to say to him that in the light of his record in public service over the years, I think he has been given a well merited promotion and I wish him well.
In the years that I have been here, there has been annual evidence of the realization of the growing importance of tourism for South Africa. We have—I think it is common knowledge—natural resources second to none in the world, but I think that the point that has been made by speakers on both sides of the House is that our natural advantages and our country as a tourist Mecca have not been sufficiently publicized and that we have not sold ourselves well enough in the outside world. I think that Satour does make an effort. My travels overseas, from time to time, lead me to suppose that there is not half enough advertisement of the wonderful opportunities and facilities that we offer in this country. If one goes to various travel agencies, one seeks almost in vain for information about South Africa. The Satour offices are not necessarily located in the most advantageous places for “selling” South Africa but I think that they are making a good effort and I am pleased that further money has been made available to them. I do think that more attention has to be given by Satour and by other sections of the Department of Tourism to making available to foreign travel agencies and to our own agencies in other countries very much more information about our country. I want to agree with the hon. member for Fauresmith when he says that we have to go out and sell South Africa. I think the suggestion of the hon. member for East London City, namely that there should be a travel data bank for internal use, is a good suggestion, but I would also commend it to the department for use in countries from which we wish to attract tourists.
Another matter that strikes tourists from overseas particularly, is the antiquated liquor law system of South Africa. To me it is absolutely incredible that if one wishes to take out visitors to a restaurant, one has to go to that restaurant with a couple of bottles in a bag. That is still the situation. Not only from the point of view of tourists, but also for South Africans who want to go into cafés, it seems to me that the time has long since passed where we ought to be able to get a freer distribution of liquor than is the case today. Some years ago suggestions were made that grocery stores should be able to make available beer and wine and that they should have malt and wine licences I agree with this entirely and I think that there should be a freer supply of the liquors of the non-spirit type.
I think also that not enough attention is given by private enterprise in South Africa to selling South Africa internally and externally. I think, for example, of the lack of imagination among hoteliers, restaurateurs and others who cater for the public. They do not seem to create a South African atmosphere and, in fact, very seldom create any sort of atmosphere at all. The food may be good in some of these restaurants, but there is very little to commend them by way of a congenial atmosphere. I would have thought that with the wonderful history, traditions and various races here and with the various characteristics we have as a country and as a people, restaurateurs and hoteliers should be able to make very much more of the facilities than they are making at the present time.
I want to conclude by saying to the Minister that I think that his department must define certain areas of the Republic which are suitable for development as tourist regions. There is not enough co-operation between the department and local authorities and, indeed, between this department and other Government departments. I want to illustrate my point by saying that the area in my constituency known as Kalk Bay was in years gone by very well known as a tourist area. People came from overseas and from inland to stay at some of the best hotels on the False Bay coast. In recent years the Minister of Health and the Minister of Social Welfare and Pensions have seen fit to grant licences to some of the hotels to be turned into old-age homes and in one case into a mental institution. This is being done through using a private company, which acquires these old buildings and which provides facilities, no doubt useful, to those Government departments concerned with old-age homes or mental institutions, until such time as market appreciation of those properties has taken place. They will then close down those buildings and turn them either into luxury flats or into hotels. I would have thought that areas such as these—there are many of them throughout the coastal areas of the Republic—which have become rundown for one or other reason, very often through lack of interest and intelligent anticipation of future development by the municipality concerned, could have been put to better use. Some people are taking advantage of the situation and are harming the tourist potential of these areas. I would ask the hon. the Minister whether he would give consideration to the possibility of zoning over-all certain areas as areas for tourist development. If he does that, development such as the type I have described, would not be able to be undertaken with the connivance either of the other Government departments or the municipalities concerned. I think this is terribly important. Referring again to the same place, the hon. the Minister of Sport and Recreation is going to establish a small-boat harbour there, which is going to be the headquarters of the South African Marlin and Tuna Club and will attract international tourists. Yet, at least three of the hotels in the area have been allowed to be transformed in the last couple of years into old-age homes and institutions. Another five or six hotels in the area nearby, Muizenberg, have also been turned into residential hotels of one kind or another or into homes of one kind or another. The result is that you have one department wishing to promote tourism and to bring international and internal tourists to the coast, and you have other Government departments and local authorities working in precisely the opposite direction. I would commend to the hon. the Minister this matter for his attention.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Simonstown’s slip of the tongue that the late Dr. Verwoerd caught a 600 ton fish in False Bay, reminded me of the fisherman who was telling his friend of a large fish he had caught. He could not really explain how large the fish was, and so he told him., “Man, I had a photo taken of the fish, and the negative weighed five pounds.”
I want to congratulate the hon. member for Kimberley South on his plea for the creation of better facilities for game fishing. The hon. member for Simonstown delivered a similar plea. I think this is a sport which can attract many tourists to South Africa and make many good friends for South Africa.
The Secretary for Tourism recently informed us that one of the most important principles of the promotion of internal tourism was that one should not try to sell one’s local tourist product locally. Therefore, I should like to avail myself of this opportunity to try to sell a product to our people here. A survey by the Department of Tourism indicates that the motor car is still by far the most popular means of transport for the tourist. Therefore, for the tourist who is travelling by car, a good road with interesting milestones is an important requirement. There is a road such as this, one. I want to sell here today to prospective travellers to the north, i.e. the beautiful, broad, new, tarred road from Cape Town, a road which winds through one of the most beautiful, most interesting and most romantic parts of our country to Pretoria, Johannesburg and the Kruger National Park. Within a few days’ time Parliament will be prorogued and there are many members of Parliament and officials who will undertake the journey back to their homes in Pretoria. One of these days, the Cape schools break up, and there may possibly be a number of people from the Cape who will want to leave “civilization” for the winter holidays to go north and to explore the interior. I want to invite those to travel the “Great Road to the North” with me, although it is not the same road which Cecil John Rhodes had in mind. Last year before the prorogation of Parliament, I went to see the Secretary for Tourism to ask him whether he did not want to try this “Great Road to the North”.
Is that the one which runs through Otjiwarongo? [Laughter.]
I hope, Mr. Chairman, that you will give me extra time for this interruption in the journey! The Secretary for Tourism, Mr. Behrens, made use of the opportunity and tried the beautiful road through the North-West, through the Kalahari and the Western Transvaal to Pretoria. On that road, he told me, the distance to Pretoria was the same as the shortest other route from here to Pretoria. It is in point of fact the shortest route from here. He said it was an interesting road, and he should like to recommend it. One can travel reasonably fast on the first part of this journey, through Malmesbury, Piketberg, Citrusdal up to Clanwilliam.
There is a great deal to see.
This area, with its wonderful natural beauty and interesting sights can easily be reached during a weekend excursion next year during the session. From Clanwilliam, with its beautiful Cedarberg, one travels through Van Rhynsdorp to Nieuwoudtville. From Van Rhyn’s Pass, the traveller has a beautiful, panoramic view to the west over the Knersvlakte, which are covered in summer by a beautiful variety of flowers. When the traveller has reached Calvinia, situated at the foot of the Hantam mountains, he can understand immediately why Louis Leipoldt said in his poem ’n Handvol Gruis uit die Hartum (A handful of soil from the Hantam):
Arm was ek gister, nou skatryk.
… I was poor yesterday, now I am rich.)
From Calvinia, the tarred road lies open before one through the beautiful Karoo to Brandvlei. For people who do not know this part of the world, I just want to say that I think that there is no more pleasant aroma in the world than the mixed aroma of Karoo bushes and Karoo soil after a thunderstorm. If the traveller has time to remain in the vicinity of Brandvlei for a while, he can also pay a visit to Verneukpan, where Sir Malcolm Campbell made an attempt on the world speed record with his Blue Bird in the thirties. Possibly some of our travellers on that “Great road to the North” will want to stop at Verneukpan to test whether their cars can still do more than 90 kilometres per hour. For the information of the hon. member for Carletonville—who is not here now—I want to say that there are no speed cops. From Brandvlei, past Kenhardt …
You will have to travel at speed, because Kuruman is far!
Past Kenhardt, we find the beautiful aloe forest, the largest in South Africa. The hon. member for Faure-smith says I shall have to hurry to get to Kuruman if I want to spend the night there. After Kenhardt, we come to Keimoes, situated on the Orange River. Here one can turn off to the Aughrabies Waterfall, which is actually a Hottentot word which means “place of great noise”. I think that if we were to rename this waterfall today, we ought to call it the “Warwick-Webber Waterfall”. Travelling from there, we come to Upington and Olifantshoek, the gateway to the Kalahari. There one finds Sishen, the beautiful new town of Kathu, situated at the camel tree forest. Anglers who have their rods with them can fish in the Kaai-appel Dam. But I have to travel faster. From Sishen, beyond the Kuruman Hills, lies the oasis of the Northern Cape, viz. Kuruman, with its Oog, which yields 16 million gallons of water at the moment. There the traveller can pay a visit to Moffat’s church, where the Bible was translated and printed in the first African language, Tswana, in 1831. While we are at Kuruman, I think the tourist should stay here for a few days before travelling to Pretoria via Vryburg. He must spend at least one night here to experience the most beautiful sunset in South Africa. That is when the sun disappears behind the Kuruman Hills and the camel trees. In Kuruman, the traveller can also stop at the home of Mr. Roelf Viljoen, who has one of South Africa’s most beautiful collections of semiprecious stones. Possibly those from the Cape who are on their way to the National Park, will decide that it is not necessary to travel any further to the National Park, because he would now be at the turn off to the Kalahari Gemsbok Park, which is situated not far from there. In the Kalahari, where one can still hear the silence in the evening.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. members have hurried me along for nothing, because I still have plenty of time left. We invite the traveller to stay in that part of the world for a short time. I even want to tell the hon. member for Pinelands that he, too, is welcome in that part of the world. He must just not say that he is a Prog, because then they will feed him to the jackals. In this old part of our country, where the semi-precious stones are abundant and where beautiful collections of these stones can be viewed, I should also like you to look at the Volkskas Building in Kuruman. A whole wall of the building was constructed and decorated with tiger’s-eye. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, unlike members on the opposite side of the House, it is not customary for members on this side of the House to occupy themselves with in-fighting. For that reason I shall not enter into a dispute with the hon. member for Kuruman, who has just resumed his seat. I shall not sing the praises of the attractions of the Garden Route, because, if I do, I am afraid his road to the north will be paid scant attention. I myself have great appreciation for that part of the country of which he spoke, and therefore I should like to congratulate him on the fine speech which he made in this connection.
If one studies the Annual Report of the Board of Control of the South African Tourist Corporation, for the year ended 31 March 1974, one is impressed involuntarily by the fact that neither money nor trouble has been spared in persuading foreign tourists to visit the Republic of South Africa. That these efforts have been and are successful, is evident from the fact that South, Africa has had an increase of 181% in tourists arrivals during the past ten years, and a record of 610 172 arrivals in 1973. So it gives me great pleasure to express my thanks on this occasion, and to pay tribute to the Department of Tourism, as well as all bodies and persons who co-operated in and contributed towards making this fine achievement possible.
But, Sir, the question occurs to me: What do all these tourists see, do and experience during their visit to and their stay in our country? With what impressions and opinions do they depart from our country?
†You know, Sir, these days tourists are demanding rather more from their travels than just a glimpse of beautiful scenery or enjoying a mild climate. The idea of using their leisure time for indulging in a special interest, is making an ever greater appeal. In fact, specialist holidays are “in”, and arrangements should be made to cater for tourists who wish to devote their time to specific interests. In this regard I wish to quote the Managing Director of a leading South African travel agency which specializes in the preparation of individual and group tours in South Africa. In an interview he commented as follows—
*Sir, we can hardly impress the American tourist with our metropolitan complexes, or our technological development, or with the vastness of our country, or even with our natural beauty and golden beaches. Whatever we might show him in this connection, he will be able to allege—probably quite rightly—that they have the same, but only bigger and better, in the United States of America as well. Likewise, most European tourists do not come to South Africa to admire our museums, our churches and other so-called old buildings. Furthermore, there is little difference, if any, between a five-star hotel in any of our cities and a Hilton Hotel in any other world city, and a Wiener Schnitzel remains a Wiener Schnitzel, whether it is prepared and eaten in Europe or in South Africa.
Sir, what we in South Africa have to offer to the foreign tourist, which he will find nowhere else in the world, and which will never cease to arouse the visitor’s interest, is the people of South Africa and their real, natural way of life.
But not the Progs.
Yes, that is correct; not the Progs. Those tourists are not interested in the imitation of a European or American way of life, but in the genuine South African way of life, which is found especially in the rural areas. Therefore, it is important that we do not scuttle our foreign visitors by aeroplane or by luxury bus from one city to the next, there to stay in isolation in one international hotel after the other, until they have supposedly “done” the whole country in this way.
One of the most interesting experiences and unforgettable memories of a journey which I undertook through Europe as a tourist, were the three occasions when I spent the night on farms in France, Italy and Switzerland, respectively. There I felt that I really got to know the people of the countries concerned and their true ways of life.
A few years ago, a comfortably off British visitor and his wife were on their way, by motor car, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, when they were involved in a collision near Riversdale. Their car was seriously damaged, and they themselves were injured. The good people of Riversdale took pity on this couple, and opened their hearts and their homes to them. After they had recovered from their injuries, they stayed a while with their new-found friends at Riversdale, and became so attached to the town and friends that, after their return to the United Kingdom, they visited Riversdale every year, and eventually settled in South Africa. This couple says today that the accident in which they were involved, was indeed very fortunate for them, because it allowed them to get to know the hospitality and the generosity of the people of Riversdale, it made them good and new friends there, and they be came attached to a place which would otherwise have been no more than a name on a road map.
Sir, can we not find a method to take foreign visitors into our homes and communities and to let them get to know our ordinary people, without their first having to be involved in car collisions or being struck by some disaster or other? I believe that many foreign visitors will prefer to be accommodated by a specific community, or consecutive communities, and to get to know our country and its people in this way—even if only with, a small, but representative part of our country, rather than rushing from one end of the country to the other in an impersonal way. I also believe that our own people will be in favour of this idea and will give their wholehearted support and co-operation to the implementation of this idea.
If such an arrangement could then be linked to particular interests, such as the practising of a specific sport, art or another activity, so that people with the same interests may be brought together, it will not only be a great asset to tourism, but it can also contribute largely to better understanding and good-will in a world of misunderstanding and tension. A good example of what I have in mind, is to be found at Plettenberg Bay, where an art school has been opened in co-operation with the Beacon Island Hotel. Tourists who paint, or who would like to paint, or who are merely interested in painting, can now give expression to that interest, while they are holidaying on the picturesque Southern Cape coast in the excellent Beacon Island Hotel. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, as I did last night on another occasion, I should like to convey my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all hon. members who took part in this discussion. To me this was a remarkable discussion. I did not know that Parliament could be such a peaceful and quiet place. Of course, it is always in Parliament where the unexpected happens. I found it interesting that, in this particularly quiet time, two particularly interesting things happened which can only happen in the South African Parliament and that is, in the first place, that we heard a fisherman’s tale which surpassed all the other fisherman’s tales in the history of angling. I only wish that the story was a little more plausible, because if I could have told the world that a Prime Minister of South Africa caught a game fish weighing more than 600 tons, we would not have been able to keep the tourists out of South Africa, but the only thing is that the story is rather incredible. The second thing that can only happen in the South African Parliament is that, for the first time in the 27 years that I have been a member of this House, I heard an apt interjection from the Chair and the most interesting thing was that no one called the Chairman to order, which goes to show that we can always expect the unexpected to happen in our Parliament.
Sir, the discussions, although conducted via very calm fashion were particularly valuable, because they show clearly that both sides of the House are greatly interested in tourism, not only as an industry and a very important industry at that, but also as a means of making our country, South Africa, better known in the outside world. I want to assure hon. members that in its endeavours and in its daily task the Department of Tourism is constantly promoting these thoughts: in the first place, to make South Africa’s attractions better known in the outside world and to draw people to spend their holidays and their leisure times in this fine country of ours; in the second place, to promote tourism locally among South Africans themselves and to lend greater variety to it, to cultivate new habits among the people and to develop new parts of South Africa as tourist areas, and, in the third place—not deliberately, not as a declared objective, but as a very fortunate adjunct to our activities—to improve the image of South Africa in the world. Because, Sir, experience has taught us that any person who visits South Africa from elsewhere with an open mind and who spends a significant period in South Africa, returns to his country of origin with changed ideas about South Africa, with less prejudice and with a more profound and a more genuine appreciation of our problems and of our approach to such problems. For that reason I think—and I can say this because this has been achieved before my time—hat we should really think with appreciation and gratitude of the fine work that has been done by the Department of Tourism. Sir, I just want to mention one fact to you which is not appreciated by all of us. Five years ago the total number of tourists who visited South Africa, amounted to approximately 390 000; this figure now exceeds 600 000. This is an increase of more than 50% in five years’ time—an average of 10% per annum. This is really magnificent. In terms of foreign exchange it means approximately R250 million to South Africa. So much progress has been made that I have to rectify a statement I made a few weeks ago in all honesty and with the best of intentions. A few weeks ago I said on occasion that we still had a deficit of approximately R60 million in respect of foreign exchange on the balance between revenue from tourism and expenditure incurred by our people who go overseas. I have been informed by my Department that the latest information is that even at this stage, we are approaching the break-even point, that we have almost wiped out that deficit and now we are going to do what my little cousin suggested when his father told him: “My child, it has now rained after we prayed for rain last night; what shall we do tonight?” His reply was: “Father, now we are trying for hail”. We shall now try to achieve something else; we are now going to try to obtain a favourable balance, a large favourable balance on the tourist industry, in the interest of South Africa. Sir, I find it difficult on this, the first occasion on which I am acting as Minister of Tourism, to admit being guilty of a very serious accusation levelled at me by hon. members opposite.
The second thing I have to admit I am guilty of and of which I must say that I have been found guilty—and all I can do is to advance extenuating circumstances in mitigation of the sentence—is that the report of the Department of Tourism is late. This matter was raised by several hon. members. Sir, we had hoped to submit a professional report this year, because I think those people who have seen our other work, in particular the report of Satour, will admit that it is an excellent publication and that it is something which the Government Departments of South Africa can be proud of. We have also been in contact with the Department of Statistics in connection with the provision and incorporation of statistics for the Department of Tourism, something which is extremely important and necessary to enable us to do our work properly. The Department of Statistics amended and modified its entire system of the compilation and processing of information and the making available of statistics. The new system meant that there was a period of almost a year in which no new statistics could be supplied. These statistics are now being received in a more meaningful and more valuable manner. But for this reason, i.e. because we want to provide better services, it was inevitable that the publication of this year’s report be delayed in order to publish a far better report not only this year, but also in time for the debate next year. This is my plea for amelioration. It is because there are going to be major changes in our liaison with the Department of Statistics that it was essential that this report be held in abeyance. [Interjection.] I am very grateful to hear that the judge has decided to give me a suspended sentence!
†I should like to deal now with some of the particular questions raised by members on both sides of the House. I begin with the main speaker on the Opposition side, the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg South. Having dealt with the aspect in regard to the deficit on foreign exchange— which is now in the process of being erased —he asked me what we were doing to further internal tourism in South Africa. Here again, before we could to something really meaningful, we wanted information. He raised the fact that we promised certain information and statistics by the beginning of this year. We are co-operating, and we are very grateful to them, with the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch which is assisting us to get really authoritative, reliable statistics about tourism, the habits of tourists, the way they spend their money, from large samples of people who travel in South Africa. This was a great task and that information is now coming in very fast and will be published within the course of the next few months as it becomes available. One of the first things we did get was a report upon internal tourism in South Africa. It is a fascinating document and I am sure that all hon. members will read it with great interest when it is published. I am not going to give details of the whole document because it is quite lengthy. However, just to whet the appetite of hon. members I must say that it was interesting to find 70% of South African families take a regular annual vacation. It is much higher than I would have thought and it simply shows that the challenge to the Department of Tourism is a great one. 12% of our people take two annual holidays and another 12% only one every two years. The most popular month for vacations is December and then July follows and then January, April and June. The other months show a low ebb. It will be one of the tasks of the Department of Tourism to seek to encourage and to create attractions which will spread this more evenly over the year and lessen the burden upon the tourist facilities which are available. This will also be to the benefit of other areas which can accommodate tourists profitably because of their climate and other circumstances in those thin months. On the duration of the holidays of our people, 44% showed that they have holidays of two weeks, 53% that they have holidays of three weeks, 30% that they have holidays only one week, and 12% that they have holidays of four weeks or longer. One of the speakers said that the motor-car is the most popular means of transport for holiday-makers. 75% of the people who took vacations made use of their cars, 12% used the airways, 8% used the trains, 1,78% used ships, and 1,5% used tourist buses. So I can go on. I give hon. members these examples to whet their appetites and also to show that with this information in hand the Department of Tourism will be able intelligently to encourage new patterns of tourism and also encourage existing forms of tourism in order to assist South Africa and the holiday-makers in getting the maximum benefit out of the facilities which South Africa has to offer. That is what we are doing for internal tourism. I can also mention the opening of our tourist bureaux. They are of great importance and they are very popular. I have here the statistics of the number of inquiries which were made at only one of these tourist bureaux, namely the one at Jan Smuts Airport—a very important one. For the period May 1974 to May 1975 the lowest monthly figures that I can find was 1 289 inquiries, and that was in June 1974. The highest figure seems to be the figure for May 1975, when 4 735 inquiries were made. In one year a total of 45 000 people availed themselves of the information, assistance and guidance they could get from one of our tourist bureaux. I think that in itself shows that this function of the department is serving a real purpose and is proving to be of real help to the people of South Africa and visitors to our country.
The hon. member asked me about facilities for non-White travellers, and another hon. member asked me about facilities for non-Whites at our national parks. I shall deal with these two questions at the same time. We are aware of the fact that non-Whites are travelling more and more in South Africa. They are becoming travel conscious and they are becoming motorcar owners to a growing extent. As far as the services of the Department of Tourism are concerned, we are equally at the disposal of Coloured, Indian, Black and White in South Africa. The provision of facilities is not in the first instance our task. Our task is to maintain standards, to ensure that satisfactory services are rendered and to apply the sanctions within our means when people fail to provide these services.
And to encourage.
Yes, and to encourage. Talking about that, we liaise with the Department of Justice, for example, as far as our hotels are concerned. My friend will know that as a result of this a new type of hotel which will be known as an international hotel is to be established in South Africa. In such hotels people of all race groups in South Africa will as of right be able to seek accommodation. We hope there will be such a hotel in almost every town of any significance in South Africa. That is one example. We are also in touch with the national parks Boards and with the provincial authorities about recreational facilities. There is progress in that field. In my province, in the Transvaal, the City Council of Johannesburg is establishing vacation resorts along the Witwaters-rand and along the rivers of the Witwaters-rand. This includes facilities for non-Whites. The Transvaal Provincial Council is developing a considerable area for recreation and holiday purposes at Bronkhorstspruit for non-Whites. This is merely the beginning, anti I think we can expect real progress in this matter.
*I want to thank the hon. member for Fauresmith for his contribution. He provided particularly interesting information about our hotel industry, and I think all of us can be proud of the work which has been done for the most part by the Hotel Board in order to improve our hotel facilities in South Africa. As far as hotels are concerned, we are today in a position to withstand the test of comparison with hotels in any other part of the world. As a matter of fact, I have one problem in this connection, i.e. that our hotel standards have, to my mind, increased to such an extent that it is very difficult for the ordinary middle class family to go on holiday today, because all he expects is a simple meal and four walls around him and a bed on which to sleep. The head of the family prefers to spend his money on entertainment for his family. This is perhaps something to which we will have to give attention in due course in an attempt to provide accommodation to the middle class holidaymaker in the various parts of our country. Of course, this is the result of the excellent success achieved by our hotel industry as far as the raising of standards is concerned.
The hon. member also wanted to know what we could do in connection with restaurants in order to improve their standards and to protect the public. I want to say immediately that the Secretary for Tourism and I have discussed this matter on several occasions and I believe the time will come when we, considering the particular problems of restaurants, will be able to help and encourage them to improve their standards through means which can be compared with those followed in the case of hotels, although they may not be identical means. As in the case of hotels, we also want to grant them certain privileges when they really provide excellent services. For example, we should think in terms of making it easier for a restaurant which provides proper services to the public to obtain a liquor licence. For example, I told the Secretary for Tourism about the system which is being applied in some of the boroughs in London. If a restaurant there provides really satisfactory services to the public for a period of, say, one year as far as the provision, of food is concerned, such a restaurant would obtain its licence virtually automatically.
May I put a question to the hon. the Minister?
Mr. Chairman, I should like to put a question to the hon. the Minister in this regard. Since I am particularly thinking in terms of the grading of restaurants within hotels themselves, I want to quote a typical example.
You are not allowed to make a speech now.
Order! The hon. member is only allowed to put a question.
Ask whether the hon. the Minister is aware of it.
Is the hon. the Minister aware of the fact … [Interjections.] … I think he will be aware of the fact that in a place such as Albertinia there is a restaurant which people are prepared to visit, even though it means travelling a long way, only to have a meal there, while the small hotel itself only has eight or nine beds.
This is a very interesting thought the hon. member has raised, and I promise to have the matter investigated immediately to see what can be done, because there is undoubtedly some merit in a case of this nature. It is really remarkable what hotels such as the one he mentioned, have to offer. There are also other similar cases, for example at Riviersonderend. Also in the cities the standards of hotels with the same grading vary from one dining room to another. Perhaps it would be a good thing if members of the public who make use of hotel restaurants only occasionally and not the residents at the hotel, could have some guidance as to what they can expect in the dining rooms. It is a very interesting thought the hon. member raised, and I want to thank him for it.
My very eloquent friend of Kuruman referred to the so-called regular routes and to people who are in the habit of visiting the same place every year for their holidays and travel the same route between cities while there are many other interesting alternative routes, for example the route through the North-Western Cape to the Transvaal. It is the intention of the department—we are already doing so by means of our regional offices—to develop alternative places and possibilities, but this matter will only really take shape after we have established a development corporation for tourism, which was envisaged by my predecessor.
Since questions were raised in this connection by hon. members. I want to say immediately that the legislation to make it possible for such a development corporation to be established, has already been drawn up However, private business undertakings which are interested in this matter asked to be informed before the Bill is introduced in Parliament in order to afford them the opportunity of making suggestions. I agreed to have the Bill published in the Government Gazette during the recess. We hope that the Bill will be ready early in the session when, as the Whips will know, we are always having problems in getting work for Parliament to do, so that Parliament can occupy itself by dealing with it. I am sure that the hon. the Leader of the House will respond to this with an enthusiastic “Hear, hear”. After the Bill has been approved, we shall be able to start implementing the new plans, particularly as far as research is concerned, to determine and give publicity to some other holiday resorts and tourist attractions in South Africa.
†If the hon. member for East London City wants a job in the Department of Tourism he must come and see me, because he is a great advertiser. I know East London and I think it is a most attractive city. The remarkable fact about East London is that in comparison with Durban it is even more dependent upon tourism for maintaining and improving its standards and for increased growth. I think it is more dependent upon tourism than any other city in South Africa. I therefore want to say, too that I believe that not only should the regional publicity committees for tourism in East London be encouraged, but also that the Tourist Bureau which we intend establishing, should assist to make East London better known. We shall also undertake the education of the public to enable them to appreciate that there are new lands to conquer when they go on vacation. This may also help to attract more tourists to East London.
Business suspended at 12.45 p.m. and resumed at 2.15 p.m.
Mr. Chairman, as is the case with all hon. members, I am also subject to the Whips. They asked me to make haste because the time allocated to the financial measures can also be spent in other beneficial ways. For that reason I shall now deal with the matters which are of general concern and which I have not yet dealt with. If there are any members to whose particular case I do not reply now I should like to tell them that I am at their disposal to discuss with me personally any matter which has not been dealt with in this debate.
†Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for East London City raised an interesting point which I forgot to deal with. That was whether information about tourism and facilities throughout South Africa would be made available to individual offices and whether individual offices would gather information and make them available nationally. That is what happens. Every Tourist Bureau in South Africa gathers information, passes it on to the central office and the central office passes that information back, very often in a very attractive brochure form to the different offices. Every bureau has no fewer than 190 publications, dealing with various parts of South Africa, at its disposal. I look forward to the next two or three months when East London will have its own bureau. [Interjection.] I mean that. There is some difficulty in obtaining suitable accommodation, but that is being solved.
If you cannot get accommodation, I will find it for you.
Well, we can help each other. No, Sir, it will happen and East London will have the benefit of this service as well. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg District also asked me about our new publications, the quarterly magazine Tourism in South Africa. The information that he wants is that the circulation is 8 000 copies, and the cost is just on R2 000. It is a house magazine and not a magazine for general publication. It is directed at the trade involved in tourism, i.e. to the hotel industry in South Africa and abroad, travel agencies, tour operators and the transport sector in various countries. It is a specialized magazine to serve a special purpose.
*Mr. Chairman, I think the hon. member for Bethlehem made a very interesting speech. He referred to the tourist value of our national monuments. I am very glad that he raised this matter, because it is really a fact that we, with our historical monuments in South Africa, have something which is particularly attractive, and which is particularly valuable for the purpose of providing a genuine image of the culture of the South African people. I often wish that members of the Progressive Party, who show, through their speeches and their points of view, that they are unfamiliar with the way of life of particularly the Afrikaner, could visit Tulbagh to see how the ancestors of the Afrikaner people used to live. Or they should spend a little time in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, and see where the Afrikaner comes from.
The other day I visited Montagu where, in their main street, I opened an 18th century house which has been declared a national monument. It was very striking and inspiring to see the high standards which were maintained by our ancestors. There is also a museum which I can recommend to people who are interested. This is an excellent historical monument from the Montagu area which gives one a very clear insight into the South African way of life and where we come from.
The same also applies to our English-speaking people. I am, for example, concerned about the fact that in Port Elizabeth, in the vicinity of the Donkin Memorial, there are still some of the old 1820 Settlers houses which have not been restored yet. They deserve to be restored, because I think our English-speaking South Africans also want to show the world what their ancestors, our joint ancestors, were able to achieve when they arrived here after the war against Napoleon and when they settled here in very difficult circumstances in a manner worthy of their descendants in South Africa.
The hon. member for Oudtshoorn referred, inter alia, to private accommodation for tourists. We have investigated this matter and made certain attempts in this regard, but there was not a great deal of interest among the public. Something about which there is, in fact, great interest among the public, is that we have visitors’ societies in which volunteers, in particular ladies in the Transvaal and the Western Province, offer their services to tourists who would like to visit a South African home and want to spend some time with a South African family to meet them and to enjoy their hospitality in their own home. We are prepared to develop this service further to see what more can be done.
†The hon. member for Sandton was concerned, amongst other things, about caravan parks. It is not the function of the Department of Tourism to provide caravan parks, but we are interested and do advise and encourage the establishment all over South Africa of two types of caravan parks. The one is for the overnight visitor, the man who is travelling and only wants to spend one night in a carvan park. The other type is for the caravan parker who is becoming more and more common in South Africa, namely the man who likes to stay for a week or a fortnight in a caravan park. Some of them stay for months and we are trying to put a stop to this, because that is not the idea of a caravan park. The second type of caravan parker wants more elaborate facilities and we are trying to see to it that, having laid down minimum standards, there will be two types of caravan parks to provide for these two categories.
*The hon. member for Worcester, in a poetic speech about his part of the country, wanted to know whether South Africa was really a tourist country. I want to say immediately that South Africa is, indeed, a tourist country, but it is not a country for mass tourism. This matter was also raised by the hon. member for Bryanston. South Africa is not a country suitable for what they call overseas the “holiday tripper”, the typist and the clerk who want to go away for a week or two with a few rand, a few pounds or a few francs in their pocket, but who cannot afford to visit South Africa because the travelling expenses are too high. We cannot cater for those people because South Africa is not within their reach. On account of this we are in the fortunate position that the tourists we attract are of a more stable nature. They are not affected by matters such as temporary economic recessions. They are a stable market for South Africa. As a result of the new liaison between the Department of Statistics and the Department of Tourism I obtained statistics from them recently in regard to the tourist figures for South Africa during the first two months of 1975. During these two months 101 700 tourists visited South Africa, compared with 98 854 during the same two months of last year. It is therefore an increase of 2 846, or approximately 3%. It is very interesting that, while our aggregate tourist figure dropped by 0,28% during the preceding two years, there has been a change and we are in the process of attracting larger numbers of tourists again. This goes to show that the State and the community of South Africa have never made a better investment than the approximately R5 million per year which is being invested in the Department of Tourism. When a department, in turn, receives a yield of R250 million in new money per year and attract 600 000 people to our country and, in addition, when South Africa is being advertised and made better known overseas on account of this, it is a remarkable achievement, and I am sure that all members on both sides of this House, feel grateful towards the department for this.
What are the latest figures of the number of visitors and the amount of money spent?
I will give you the latest figures. We attract a large number of our tourists from Africa, from Rhodesia and other African territories, and I will start with them.
*The per capita expenditure by Rhodesians who visited South Africa last year— 150 000 of them—is calculated at an average of R193 per holiday in South Africa. The figure for the rest of Africa, from where we got approximately 142 000 tourists, was R233 per capita per holiday. The figure for the United Kingdom was R296 per capita per holiday. The figure for the U.S.A. and Canada, from where we had approximately 50 000 tourists, was R447 per capita per holiday. In the case of Europe—excluding the United Kingdom— from which we had approximately 114 000 tourists, the figure was R508 per capita per holiday. The figure for the rest of the world—and this includes the Far East, Australia and South America—was R430 per capita per holiday. The latter tourist sources provided us with approximately 50 000 visitors in 1974. From this it is quite clear that South Africa’s major tourist asset—or revenue per tourist if one wants to put it that way—comes from countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, Japan, the U.S.A., Canada, Brazil and others. It is for this reason that we want to exploit this source even further, and for that reason we are going to open a Satour office in Zurich this year. It was also the intention to open such an office in South America, but now we are going to open two offices there, one in Brazil and one in the Argentine, because our calculations indicate that South America has a potential of 70 000 tourists per year for South Africa. I am furnishing these figures to the House to indicate that we are in the process of attracting tourists to the best of our ability. We are carrying out scientific research to see which markets we have to exploit and we are taking active steps at a reasonable cost to the State to attract people on a profitable basis which no other industry can offer South Africa. We have to keep in mind that tourists who visit South Africa do not use our raw materials. They do not deplete our coal or iron ore resources. They do not destroy our natural scenery with their eyes. They are almost a sheer asset to South Africa in every respect. For that reason I think we should be grateful that the department is taking active steps and is doing everything in its power, with evident, tangible success, to attract tourists to South Africa.
The hon. member for Worcester, with whom I am dealing, raised another interesting point. He said that there are no suitable places where people travelling through our scenic beauty can rest. He said there are not sufficient rest spots along our fine reads. In this respect I want to reply to an hon. member who did not participate in the debate. I want to do so with gratitude and appreciation. I am referring to the young member, the hon. member for Pretoria West. He approached me with an idea whether we could not utilize our traditional outspans in the interests of travellers. He wanted to know whether we could not convert them into rest spots of various standards, particularly in places of scenic beauty. I found this an interesting idea. I have made investigations. The experts think that this idea has some merit. The outspans are controlled by the provincial authorities and we are maintaining liaison with those authorities at the moment. It is just possible that something splendid for South Africa may result from the idea mooted by the hon. member for Pretoria West. There is something that struck me in the United States. When one travels through their mountain passes and comes to their lake districts, one finds small parks of five or ten morgen, or even only a few acres, where facilities are provided for tourists depending on the circumstances. One is allowed to spend a few hours or even the night there. As far as we are concerned the idea is only in the initial stage, but we could probably also do something of this nature in some of the most attractive parts of our country.
Other hon. members referred to caravan parks. I just want to add something in this respect. I think particularly our local authorities should pay more attention to caravan parks. The caravan is becoming an increasingly popular form of traveling to the family. It also serves as accommodation. It is really a transportable house to people, in which they travel from their permanent homes to tire sea, the beaches, the mountain passes, or lakes of South Africa. I think it is really peculiar that the second most important holiday city in South Africa, i.e. Cape Town, does not have one caravan park in the whole of its municipal area. I really think the municipality of Cape Town should give attention to this matter, because there are still spaces in Cape Town available for this purpose. For example, I think that Durban, which draws the largest number of visitors of all the cities of South Africa, should not have a caravan park which is situated a mile or two away from the sea, but should have one closer to the beach. Durban can learn something from Louren-90 Marques, which has one of the most attractive and popular caravan parks at the Polana Beach which attracted people in the old days from all over the Union to spend their holiday at the sea in a most pleasant caravan park, and they were an asset to the city of Lourenço Marques.
The hon. members for Kimberley and Simonstown referred to angling as a sport to attract tourists. I am in complete agreement with them. Particularly now, in view of the changes which are taking place on the East Coast north of Natal, where it seems as if we would not have the same concentration of tourists there for a long time as we have now, it is one of the attractions of South Africa which should receive attention, and if the clubs and the relevant authorities, provincial and municipal, give proper attention to this matter, I can say now that all the publicity facilities of the Department of Tourism will be harnessed to make this project better known and more popular inside and outside South Africa. If we could be of assistance as far as advice is concerned, our services are also at the disposal of these bodies.
The hon. member for Somerset East drew my attention to the fact that it may not be a good thing that all our important game reserves are situated on the boundaries of South Africa. That is true—it was certainly true until recently—and this was the case because of historic reasons. We should be very grateful that our ancestors established the Kruger National Park along the old Sabie at that time, and that the Germans of that period appreciated the value of Etosha as nature reserves. The same applies to the Kalahari Gemsbok Park. We are fortunate to have those parks on the outskirts of our country. To imagine that one could, at this stage of development in South Africa, withdraw from human utilization such large areas in developed parts of the country and make them available to animals, is simply not a practical thing to do. But this is being done wherever it is possible to do so. The Free State Provincial Council is in the process of establishing a fairly large game reserve on the banks of the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam near the Caledon River. Something else we shall encourage and would want to exploit in the interests of tourism, is the increasing number of private game parks which are being established by some of the farmers in addition to their farming activities. But there are also people who convert entire farms into game parks for the purpose of attracting tourists. In Natal this is something which is gaining ground rapidly, and the department will do everything in its power to promote these projects.
Sir, herewith I think I have dealt with the most important matters that were raised. I once again want to express my gratitude and appreciation towards hon. members who participated in this debate, and I also want to thank other hon. members who displayed interest in this discussion for the fact that they apparently appreciate that the Department of Tourism is a lasting credit to all our population groups of South Africa, something all of us can be proud of and something all of us can cooperate with in the interests of South Africa.
Vote agreed to.
Revenue Vote No. 39, Loan Vote Q and S.W.A. Vote No. 23.—“Commerce”, and Revenue Vote No. 40, Loan Vote J and S.W.A. Vote No. 24.—“Industries”:
Mr. Chairman, it is significant that this is the last Vote at the end of an important session, and that we should today reflect upon what the debate in this House really is about. We have seen that there has been talk of détente and talk of Bantustans and of race relations and of rugby at Newlands, but the debate in which the public outside are involved is the debate on the Votes of the Minister of Economic Affairs. The hon. the Minister faces this debate for the first time. He entered this field as the second most powerful man in the country. I believe the man in the street had great hopes, but I believe that the tragedy is that here at the end of the session the hon. the Minister is seen as a Minister completely powerless to contain the cost of living and the rate of inflation. It is to the cost of living and the rate of inflation that we on this side of the House today are going to devote our attention.
It is, I believe, a fact that I speak not only on behalf of members on the Opposition benches but also of persons of all shades of opinion throughout South Africa. One only has to see the headlines in today’s Cape Times to know what the debate is about: “South African homes feel the pinch as the living standard drops.” Sir, if hon. members do not believe the words of the English-speaking newspapers, then let us see what Rapport has to say—
They continue. Mr. Hennie Senekal writes—
- 1. Dis die doodhou, erger kom—Inflasie byna op toppunt en tog kom ons nie tot die einde nie.
Regering word betrek.
- 2. Minister ingeruk in prystwis—Die
- 3. Wit en Swart kom mooi reg—Inflasie dwing eensgesindheid af.
- 4. Pas op vir die sug—Die Staatspresi-dent waarsku.
- 5. S.A. vol inflasiebrakke—Alles is anderman se skuld.
Sir, this is the attitude of the man in the street. He sees the hon. the Minister, who has taken over command of a department which governs the entire economy of the country, and he sees that the effort to contain inflation is being lost and that the cost of living is rising. The debate yesterday revolved around the principles of higher finance, but today we are talking about the things that matter to the man in the street—not the rate of national growth, not percentages but the sheer, painful fact that in recent weeks and months the price of bread, of butter, of milk, of clothing, of shoes, of transport, of motor-cars and of petrol has risen. There is no end to it. We on this side of the House subscribe to the view that South Africa has a strong economy. We believe we have been blessed by nature with bountiful assets in the form of raw materials. We believe in our manpower, although we believe it is not being fully used. We believe we have entrepreneurial skills and capital available to us. So do not call us economic saboteurs, Mr. Chairman. Let the Government realize that our complaint is that with all these assets available to the Minister, he has failed his country in the crisis at this stage. The man in the street is asking why it is that the American economy, the German economy, the French economy, and even the Japanese economy, have at last succeeded in bringing inflation to below two figures, while this hon. Minister is seen to be dragging his heels.
Do you suggest that we adopt the same remedies as they did?
The remedies are available to you. If I may say so, we have offered the hon. the Minister the remedies. If the hon. the Minister had accepted the remedies which have been put across the floor of the House by the Opposition over the years, we would not be facing the tragic situation in which we are today. We have provided the evidence. The right use of skills, the right use of labour, maximum productivity and maximum training, the things which the hon. the Minister has ignored, are the remedies which we have put forward and it will continue to do so. I want to quote the bitterness of the man in the street, the bitterness of the Afrikaner and the bitterness of the Nationalist voter. The Nationalist voter says—and I quote from Die Burger—
Those are the words of a Nationalist voter. So, in dealing with the hon. the Minister, we want to stress that our philosophy has been one of free economic enterprise to encourage maximum productivity at all times. We have attacked the Minister because we believe that there should be no price control, no wage freezes and salary freezes and that the economy should be given complete freedom in order to make the most of the assets we have in our country. We believe that if the hon. the Minister will apply himself to the remedies proposed by this side of the House, there can be a future for this country. However, time is running out. It is no good talking of the future in terms of great Sasols, Saldanha Bays and Richards Bays because the man in the street is living in the present. He is interested in what he has to face up to now. He realizes that inflation today is eroding his own savings and security. He realizes too that inflation, while it harms the rich, harms the middle class even more and harms most of all the lower class, the aged, the lonely, the sick and the non-Whites who cannot fend for themselves.
I want to deal with three other items and I hope the hon. the Minister will give attention to them. The first is the state of the motor industry in as far as it affects the man in the street. All members in this hon. House will be aware of the fact that the price of motor vehicles has risen by leaps and bounds in recent months. It has risen by as much as 10% to 15% per month. In past years we have indicated that the progression from Phase III to Phase IV of the local content programme in the motor industry could be fraught with dangers. We realize that the first, second and third of the large motor car manufacturers have been favoured with a continuation of almost 90%. However, we know and the hon. the Minister knows …
Just repeat that last statement please.
We know that the large motor manufacturers would like the hon. the Minister to persist with an increasing local content programme because, as he realizes, these three manufacturers would then squeeze out the other manufacturers. However, we know that the impact of going beyond the present stage of the local content programme is having a devastating effect on the price of vehicles as such and of local components and spare parts. We note that the hon. the Minister has indicated that he is calling for an investigation into all facets of the motor manufacturing industry. We would like him to elaborate on this because this is a request we made as far back as four or five years ago when we were discussing the original recommendations of the Franzsen Commission on this matter. We note, too, that the public is essentially concerned at the monopolistic tendencies which may or may not be having a devastating effect by maintaining unnecessarily high prices for certain commodities. We know that the hon. the Minister has indicated that he is instituting an inquiry into the possible effects of these monopolistic tendencies. Again, we would like to have his thoughts on this matter.
Finally, I come to a matter which I think I should raise, and that is the question of the image in the public eye of the S.A. Co-ordinating Consumer Council. I want to say categorically that I am not raising this as a political matter. I am not interested in the Mr. Roelofses of this world. I am interested in the fact that the S.A. Co-ordinating Consumer Council has unfortunately been brought into discredit because of certain Press publicity that has been given to it. We believe that this council can fulfil and is fulfilling an admirable function and should be kept out of politics. We believe that the public probably do not know the true function of this council which, as I read it, is to investigate the tendency towards high prices, to educate the consuming public, and to negotiate at Government, manufacturing and distributive level. The council is in fact not a complaints bureau. I think that the public should know too that in the council nine people are appointed by the hon. the Minister, seven on the recommendation of the S.A. Consumers’ Union and the Union of South African Consuming Women, one from the Department of Economic Affairs and one from the Bureau of Standards. These people carry out their work without any pay, so I think that their motives are beyond question. I believe it is only right that the hon. the Minister should come to this House and make the South African public at large aware of what his intentions were when he brought this council into being and what their functions are. If it is felt that the council should have more teeth, then I believe that the hon. the Minister should come to the House and indicate in what manner he intends giving this council the additional teeth. In fairness to the council, I believe that the hon. the Minister should have come into the matter when it became public and made the position of the council known.
I conclude by reiterating that the debate on the Vote of the hon. the Minister which we are discussing today, indicates that he has failed his department and his country consistently … [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Cape Town Gardens, of whom I am quite fond, delivered a speech here this afternoon which was typical of the kind of speech I warned against very clearly yesterday. I cannot understand how a responsible member of a responsible Opposition—I take it that is what they are— can deliver such a speech in the House. For the sake of some supposed petty political advantage the hon. member came along this afternoon and harped on a matter which, nowadays, is very much charged with emotion, and the hon. member was unbelievably irresponsible. The hon. member states that over the years, he and his party have been warning the Government that they have been heading for a condition of high rates of inflation. *
I stand by my words.
Yes, it is very easy to warn, but now we come to the so-called remedy. What do hon. members suggest as a remedy for the problem?
Just give us the opportunity; we have the solution. [Interjections.]
The hon. member’s solution is a totally free economy and the integration of all labour forces in the economy, something we are in fact doing. The hon. member spoke about countries like the United States, Germany and Japan, where the rate of inflation is under two figures. However, I want to refer the hon. member to another country where the rate of inflation is very high, namely Great Britain. In Great Britain we find an entirely free economy; there the whole labour force is integrated with the economy, and what is the rate of inflation there? Twenty-one per cent. I want to tell the hon. member why that is so. When the coal miners came along with an impossible wage demand, the former Prime Minister asked his nation, “Please, we cannot accede to these wage demands, because then our whole economy will go to the dogs.” The people rejected him and in his place they got a man who immediately acceded to the demands. The result was that after 12 months the rate of inflation was 21%. This is what the hon. member is asking the Government to do. This is exactly what I warned against yesterday afternoon. The hon. Opposition have a responsibility in regard to tile problem we are struggling with, but the responsibility is certainly not to continue telling the public that the rate of inflation is so high and that they are having such a hard time of it. I want hon. members of the Opposition to come and sit with me on the lawn next to the national road on a Sunday afternoon and just look at the unending stream of brand new motor cars that drive past. Then the hon. member can come and tell me again that the public is having a hard time of it.
I want to convey my sincere thanks to the hon. the Minister for having appointed the technical commission of inquiry into the monopolistic tendencies in our economy. Last year, during the discussion of this Vote, I most definitely asked for the appointment of such, a technical commission to go into monopolistic conditions. I want to congratulate the hon. the Minister on the appointment of this commission under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice L. C. Steyn, the ex-Chief Justice. I want to congratulate him on this, because the men on this commission inspire the confidence that they will in fact be capable of tackling this job with thoroughness. I want to express the hope that this commission will give the problem very serious attention so as to prevent the further development of monopolistic tendencies in our economy. If we want to bring down the rate of inflation, and we should of course very much like to do so, then price control is most certainly not the solution. What we must in fact do is ensure that the free market mechanism is not disturbed, because it is only the free market mechanism which can bring down prices. If the free market mechanism is disturbed, by monopolies, among other things, the free market mechanism cannot operate and then this Government will be obliged to introduce price control. Price control would be the most unproductive input factor in our national economy, because it contributes nothing whatsoever to the product itself. If we are unable to keep monopolistic tendencies in check, the free market mechanism cannot keep prices at a reasonable level and the Government will be obliged to introduce this uneconomic monster, price control. Price control creates no assets whatsoever; it simply increases the price of the eventual product, and that is why we cannot agree to it. I want to concede that in recent times, price increases have, unfortunately been very much charged with emotion. Obviously, in an emotional climate of this kind people cannot think rationally and consequently they are quick to request irrational solutions for their problems, for example price control. However, in order to make price control unnecessary, we shall be obliged to give very serious attention to the issue of monopolistic conditions.
Unfortunately there are certain sectors of our limited economy in which one cannot have more than one or two units. For the sake of large-scale production we are obliged to have only one or two production units in certain sectors of the economy. I want to suggest that in those instances we do one of two things, namely, either introduce price control, which in this case would be essential, or create the necessary competition by importing. However, it must also be borne in mind that when we wish to establish an industry, we do not wish to allow unnecessary imports which would nip this developing industry in the bud. But once an industry is well established, it will be capable of resisting the competition created by imports. However, until it is standing on its own two feet, we should prefer to apply price control in this case—-only in these limited instances, of course.
In conclusion—my time is very short— I want to refer to one small matter which, to me, is very urgent, namely the issue of rubber. 85% of the world’s natural rubber is cultivated in South East Asia. At the moment, South East Asia is fast falling under communist control. It is unnecessary for me to spell out to hon. members how dangerous this is for the West, and for us, too. In our case natural rubber still constitutes more than 50% of our total rubber requirements. You see, therefore, how dangerous the position is. That is why I want to advocate that the hon. the Minister appoints a technical commission, a commission of scientists, technologists and business leaders, to see to it that we continue to give much more attention to production of synthetic rubber, since if South East Asia were eventually to fall entirely into communist hands, the danger to its would be very great. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I don’t intend to follow the hon. member for Paarl directly. But I am concerned about inflation, a subject which runs through the previous two speeches.
I don’t think that it is possible to exaggerate the effects inflation is having on every single person who lives in this country. I think that the Government is finally—at least I hope it is so—becoming aware of it, because at least it has been reported as far back as in April of this year, that they have a plan to fight inflation. This is a recommendation of a sub-committee of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and it is reported under the heading “Collective Programme of Action against Inflation.” I just want to quote what is reported to be the initial outline of this report. It says the entire nation must be motivated towards an effort aimed at orientating everybody’s thinking towards combating inflation. Everyone involved must be made aware of his or her contribution to inflation and what he nor she can do to combat it. We on these benches have absolutely no quarrel with that statement. But what we would like to put to the hon. Minister of Economic Affairs and to his colleague, the Minister of Finance, the two gentlemen who are best in a position to do so, is the necessity to put into action something which, even if it cannot eradicate inflation, can substantially reduce it as compared with the level which will prevail if nothing is done by this Government. The time for words is long overdue. What everybody in this country is looking for, inside this House and outside, is action from this Government, action in regard to inflation.
Apart from exhortations, which no doubt we will hear again, I would like to recommend to the hon. Minister that there are four specific areas where this Government can take action and which will produce a lower rate of inflation than will otherwise prevail if it does nothing.
The first aim should be better utilization of labour. By that I mean both White and Black labour in our country, although, naturally, there is an emphasis in regard to the latter because they are greater in number and they are unskilled. But I would also like to deal with the position of White workers.
The second aim should be the cutting back of expenditure at all levels and this does not apply only to current expenditure. Expenditure must be looked at to see whether it can be justified at the present time and in the present economic situation where the rate of inflation is of overriding concern to all who live within this country. They must also look at the capital expenditure. We have said this before; we are continually saying so; we have said it over the past two years and we will continue to say it. They must look at every item of expenditure and ascribe a priority to it and remove and prune all that which is not essential.
Then. Sir, the third item that this Government must look at and must take its courage in both hands and act and not talk, is in regard to the money supply in this country. At the minimum, this should not be allowed to become excessive in relation to the expected increase in the gross domestic product.
Fourthly Sir, if they do those three things, it may then be possible to reach a position where there is some reasonable chance that the inhabitants of this country, irrespective of colour, be able to see their capital not being eroded as it has in the past.
If I can get one thing across to the hon. Minister, it is that action is now required and not words and action must not only be taken; it must also be seen to be taken. I would like to go back to these four points in regard to the hon. Minister, because if he simply comes with an exhortation, if he is not specific, then the country and the other parties to this bargain in their efforts to reduce the rate of inflation for all of us, will see it as inequitable and may well opt out as Tucsa has in the past already threatened to do. The importance of this cannot be overrated, because South Africans of every colour. White, Black and Brown, are suffering and enduring a fall in their standard of living. Let us look at these four points. In regard to the specific use and the better utilization of labour, do not let us hear from the hon. the Minister that this must be done within the framework of Government policy. [Interjections.] Let us simply hear for the sake of all the people living in this country that, in so far as labour is concerned, he realizes that it is vitally important to give skills to both White and Black workers of this country which they do not at the moment possess. I am not in any way suggesting, neither would we recommend, that Black South Africans should simply be allowed to move into jobs which are at present occupied by White South Africans. What I am saying is that instead of pushing White workers sideways, the Government must step into the breach and retrain the White workers so that they can do more and more responsible jobs. At the same time, let us simply let Black South Africans fill posts which are vacant because there are no White workers to fill them, and train them to do more skilled jobs as and when they become available. We quite understand the fears of the White workers and that is not what we are recommending. We are simply saving that we should use the whole labour force in a more dramatic and realistic way.
I come now to the increase in the money supply. Let the Government own up and be honest about it. Let us not hear any more that Revenue Account is going up by 16% and that Loan Account is going un by 25%, an overall increase of 18,5%. If we look at the increase in the money supply over the first three months of this year and the last quarter of last year, and if we read what is said in the Quarterly Bulletin of the South African Reserve Bank, it is quite clear that the money supply is running far in excess of what one may anticipate will be the increase in the gross domestic product. Let us be honest about it. That means one thing, namely, an increase in inflation. There is no other solution that can be put forward to explain that. Therefore, I want to ask the Government and the Reserve Bank to face up to this fact and to reduce the increase in the level of the money supply more in relation to what the anticipated increase is going to be. That is the crux of the matter.
There are three very simple points. Let us also see and review carefully what the effects of price control are, because they are simply producing a position where people do not earn adequate profits to supply what is put under price control. As a result there is a shortage which is again felt by all South Africans. If the Government comes with this plan to fight inflation, whichever way you look at it, it is in one sense the equivalent of what the British Government has described as a social contract. If this Government wants to have greater success than the Government of Britain has had, and if in fact that contract is going to be worth more than the paper it is written on, the Government must be seen to act and to fulfil its share of the obligations. The whole question of this Government’s credibility at the moment and whether it can reestablish it or not, will either be disproved or proved by what it does and not by what it says. Every South African is going to sit in judgment. They are going to look at what is proposed by way of expenditure in the Budget next year. They are going to look at the hon. the Minister of Finance and the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs and they are going to ask where they have cut expenditure and by how much they are asking the public to accept a lower standard of living.
Finally, let there be absolutely no mistake about this. If the Government fails to act, there are only two things that are going to happen. No longer can the Government talk about us as being one of the more fortunate countries because we are heading up the league of countries in regard to inflation. The ultimate thing, that will happen if the Government does not take this action, is that their contract with the nation will fail and in the end they will have to raise taxes. Let everybody know that if this happens the fault will lie with the Government.
Mr. Chairman, I do not want to follow up on what the hon. member for Johannesburg North had to say. I should like to make a few observations concerning certain remarks by the hon. member for Cape Town Gardens concerning the local content of cars manufactured in South Africa. I do this against the background of my unshakeable confidence in the future of South Africa, confidence so great that I do not doubt in the slightest that in the years that lie ahead South Africa will be to Africa what Detroit is today to America and the rest of the world. Because this is so, we must go forward fearlessly. Since there is not much time, I want to say in advance that it will be impossible for us to discuss this matter in detail in this House this afternoon. I can only quote random extracts from a report of an exhaustive study of the South African car manufacturing industry. I want to begin by rectifying one small matter. We must not attach exaggerated importance to the statement we hear daily to the effect that there are too many models. I am the kind of person who will do everything in his power to prevent the fragmentation of the industry. Notwithstanding the fact that there are 44 models, we must not lose sight of one important fact. Even if 20 of those models were to be taken off the marked, this would still only be equal to 2% of the vehicles being sold today. Consequently we should not over-emphasize this. I want to tell the hon. member for Cape Town Gardens and the hon. the Minister that the most important matter in South Africa today is that we should greatly extend the life of our models in South Africa. The only way this can be done is by giving South African models South African content. It is for the most part companies in South Africa with a so-called “source plant” elsewhere, companies which are not purely South African companies, which change their models every year or every two years at the most. We in South Africa simply cannot afford this. The life of our models must be longer. We can only extend the life of the models if the South African content in South African manufactured cars is as high as practicable. How many people in South Africa are aware of the fact that the dies—in Afrikaans they are called “matryse”—which are used to change models, cost R4½ million? At best, 50 000 motor units can be sold every year. Divide this by the R4½ million and it is clear that the lifetime of a model in South Africa must extend for at least five years. However, the ideal should be eight years. This we can only do if the South African content of models is increased from 66% to 85% and higher if possible. We should then find that we could not be dictated to from overseas in regard to the changing of the model. Sir, I could mention two models which were highly profitable and very popular in South Africa …
Sir, let us please discuss these matters in a serious spirit this afternoon. Notwithstanding the profitability and popularity of these models, they had to be changed. Because the South African content was only 66%, we were dictated to from abroad to the effect that these models had to be changed. Sir, I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister that we should think along these lines, because it is only if we keep existing models for longer that we shall be able to effect an enormous saving in components because then parts would not become superfluous as is the case now. We should then be able to utilize this industry in full. Since there will be a rest period for two years from 31 December 1975, after that we shall have to continue fearlessly with our programme after that because this would lead to rationalization in the industry. For want of time. I want to mention only one example. We who are in this industry in South Africa use the so-called Warner rear axles. Do you realize, Sir, that owing to this rationalization, 50% of our vehicles in South Africa, of whatever make, use those rear axles today, with minor changes? I wonder how many of our people realize that there is already rationalization among motor manufacturers today as regards the purchase of components. Do you not think that if we were to increase the South African content further, rationalization could be taken much further? Sir, there is another vital aspect which I want to mention, and this is the strategic value of a sophisticated motor industry for any country in the world, but for South Africa as well. If we could have a mature, sophisticated motor industry in South Africa, we could rise to great heights. Some people say that since we have progressed as far as a South African content of 66%, we should be able to manufacture an all-South African motor oar at very short notice. Sir, I want to put it to the hon. the Minister that that is not true, We can do a great deal, but in the whole of South Africa there is only one line for Gleason machines; viz. there is only a single line in Port Elizabeth today which is capable of machining a crown and pinion gear, or a “kroon en klein ratte”, as it is called in Afrikaans. Sir, I want to put it clearly that we in South Africa would have a very hard time of it if we were to be cut off from foreign sources at short notice. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I hope the hon. member for Smithfield will excuse me if I do not follow his line of argument. I want to bring the debate back to the burning question of inflation. I want to use this opportunity to do some pretty straight talking to the hon. the Minister. When you have an inflation rate of 14,6% and you have food going up at the rate of 19,7%, then you have a critically serious inflationary situation. We heard at the beginning of this session from Government speakers of the likelihood that the rate of inflation would flat, en off this year, or even decline. In fact, we had some encouragement from the February and March figures of the consumer price index, but then we had the April figure, which produced another substantial upward shock. What is disturbing about the April figure is that it does not include some of the more recent substantial price increases. In fact, in the April figure some of the increases that became effective in April had not yet worked their way fully through. In the April figure the two cent increase in the price of petrol had not worked its way anything like fully through. The increases as a result of the new excise duties on tobacco and liquor had not worked their way through, nor had the increased telephone charges, the increase in the price of coal, the increase in the price of steel, and increase in the cost of electricity. Since then we have had increases in the price of milk, butter, cheese and maize. There have been many increases in the prices of motor-cars and many increases in the price of clothing, footwear and furniture. The list is virtually never-ending. This is a crisis situation. I say it is a crisis situation for very good reasons. The first reason is that unless we can cure the situation, the value of our money is going to halve in under five years. The second reason is that we now have a situation, at this rate of inflation, which is distorting and eating into the very sinews of the economy. If the hon. the Minister will not take toy word for it he must take the word of the chairman of Federale Volksbeleggings, who had this to say—
Barclay’s Bank in their Business Brief this month had this to say—
Then it is a crisis situation because it is threatening the very fabric of our society. Let us face it; our society is a capitalistic society. It is based on the ability to generate and to maintain our capital intact. This is the very basis of our free enterprise system, and this is what is in grave danger of being destroyed by the present rate of inflation. Finally, it is a crisis situation because it is causing untold hardship to our people.
It is causing untold hardship to people with lower incomes and that applies particularly to our less sophisticated Black population. It is causing untold hardship to people on fixed incomes such, as pensioners. Only in this morning’s Cape Times reference was made to a report by the Bureau for Economic Research of the Stellenbosch University. It is a factual report, in which it is stated that the financial position of households is becoming tighter, that real incomes are being affected by price increases, in other words that standards of living are falling, that more people are drawing on their savings and that more people are getting into debt. There are only three categories of people who benefit from inflation. The first is the speculates who see their assets rise at a higher price than the cost of living rises, but they are predators and not producers. Secondly, there are those fortunate salary and wage-earners who are receiving salaries that are rising faster than the cost of living after they have been taxed at the higher progressive rate into which they are likely to fall.
We have had that one out before.
The third category that benefits from inflation is the State itself. It benefits because of this progressive tax scale which taxes incomes at continuously higher rates. It benefits because it is taxing paper profits of business and not real profits of business and it benefits from the continuous reduction in the real value of the State debt because of the fact that it can repay it in a depreciated currency. I would say that it is almost as if the Government has a vested interest in inflation. Contrarywise, there are three main losers. There are the pensioners and other people who live on fixed incomes, there are the investors and savers who see the real value of their investments and savings being eroded and there are businessmen and businesses themselves who have real problems in maintaining the value of their assets and replacing both their fixed assets and their current assets. If this is not a crisis situation, I do not know what is. What has this Government done about it? There has been a great deal of talk on this subject. A conference was called by the previous Minister of Finance last year where businessmen discussed their problems, there have been committees within the Civil Service and within the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and a statement was issued just before the Budget by the hon. the Prime Minister in regard to inflation. There has been a lot of talk and now we have had the reported collective programme of action to reduce the rate of inflation. It is a document which has come into my possession and which I have read. I regard it as an excellent document which, contains most of the answers which will have to be applied if we want to get anywhere with inflation. With all this talk, with all these statements and with, all these programmes we have not yet seen any effective action and that is why the rate of inflation is still at the level of 14,6%. I wonder if the Government is not influenced by its vested interest in inflation. So far we have only had one positive action that I know of and that is the appointment of the commission which will go into the monopolistic situation. That is something which is long, long overdue and something which, we have been calling for months now. I hope that this commission will treat its job as a matter of great urgency. Earlier this session this hon. Minister had the effrontery to question my patriotism. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I do not intend dealing with the hon. member’s argument on the subject of inflation. However, I want to make one remark in that connection. I think it is an unfair comment to accuse this Government of having a vested interest in inflation. Is he implying that the Government is prepared to suffer the disastrous consequences of inflation just for the sake of its so-called vested interests? I think it is a very unfair comment he made and it deserves a thorough reprimand at a later stage by an hon. member on this side who intends dealing with the same subject. I think we must see things in perspective as far as this is concerned. It is a proven fact that our average salaries in South Africa have increased at a much greater rate than the cost of living. I think that, if we do face a crisis situation, it is a crisis of spending and not of other aspects of inflation. If one visits the homes of people with, middle incomes, one sees lots of fancy goods like stereo sets, wall-to-wall carpets, etc. It has become standard practice in South Africa to own these things. I venture to say that most of the people who indulge in this kind of spending, cannot actually afford it and do not actually earn it in terms of productivity.
*I should like to express a few thoughts on the export trade and I should like to do this with specific reference to a particular industry. I should like to point out one of the other major advantages of the export of goods over and above the fact that they earn foreign exchange, namely the economic activities which are stimulated locally by an industry which was able to begin exporting. I believe that by specifically promoting export possibilities we could make a substantial contribution to reducing costs. Only then does mass production economy come into the picture and is one really able to bring down costs. The Government has a tremendous programme for encouraging exports. After commencing with an amount of R36 million in 1973-’74, of which only 36% was allocated, an amount of R33 million was appropriated in the previous financial year, of which 65% was in fact allocated. This year an amount of R35 million has been appropriated. It is encouraging to see that industrialists are therefore making increasing use of export incentives. However, one would have expected a far greater demand for these concessions.
Since South Africa itself constitutes a relatively small market, the person who concentrates on exports incurs a tremendous risk. In the first place he runs the risk of losing his export market owing to factors completely beyond his control. He is also in danger, also owing to factors beyond his control, of losing his import market. It is obvious what happens if one loses one’s export market. In the first place one then has under-utilization because that production is no longer taking place. This increases the marginal costs, which also has repercussions on the price the local consumer has to pay. In addition to this there are workers who have to be laid off. Ultimately there is a lower profit and a lower return which result in declining investment. However, one would still be able to survive something of this nature if one has a stable local market for one’s product, for then one is able to produce at marginal costs, ensure full utilization in that way and export at very low, competitive prices. This is of very great benefit to the country. When one has tremendous under-utilization, owing to the problem of the loss of one’s local market, and capital programmes are cut back, one is in fact entering a crisis situation as far as the industry is concerned, for the cyclical influences on production and marketing are usually of shorter duration than the duration of a capital development programme to get such an industry under way again. The short cycle is temporary, and may blow over, but then one is uncertain whether one should begin to invest in order to develop the particular industry.
I believe that there are two ways of overcoming this problem. In the first place such an industry must set to work itself and take the necessary remedial steps and erect for itself a structure of stabilization, but I believe that the Government could also make a contribution by means of an export aid programme. I want to refer specifically to the manufacturing sector of the textile industry, that is the yarn-spinning industry, the processing industry and then the knitters and the weavers. I am therefore not going to refer to the clothing manufacturers who make use of the final product. These people have recently undergone a tremendous crisis. At present the matter is under discussion, and I do not want to interfere, but I should just like to express a few ideas in regard to this matter. It is the manufacturing sector of the textile industry in particular which has suffered extreme hardships during the past few years after they had, in 1971-’73, gotten well under way when they almost closed the gap between the textile goods that had to be imported and those which they exported. However, if we consider last year’s figures, we notice that the ratio has once again become unfavourable.
Hon. members will recall that we adopted special measures in this House to make it possible to protect these people. However, I think the solution to this problem does not lie only in the protection of the local industry against the importing of finished material. I think that we should consider, and learn a lesson from Japan. Japan has a fully integrated industry, and insists that one buy the final product from her. Japan will supply you with any intermediary product, such as the yarn, at a tremendously inflated price, because she wants to force you to buy the finished product from her. Actually, this makes sense, for even if one is in fact exporting at one’s marginal cost, one is still exporting the cost of labour and other fundamental costs. This means that export helps to keep the people in that country employed. If we consider the textile industry, which has a capital investment of R455 million, and is provided work for 100 000 people, of whom 10 000 have had to be laid off during the past few months, I think the industry deserves a little assistance.
I want to ask in all humility whether we cannot give consideration to helping the industry by granting a subsidy on the basic product so that its product is able to compare with that of the outside world, and is able to compete with the world price. I am referring specifically to the yarn, or cotton. If we can subsidize the yarn so that it can be delivered to our own weavers and knitters in South Africa at the same price as that at which the clothing manufacturer is able to export the material, we would be giving our entire industry a tremendous stimulus. We would then be able to retain the services of these people. In addition, we will also have the position—this is specifically what I want to deal with— that there is full capacity. At this stage the capacity is less than 50%. In other words, no further capital investment is required, and there are skilled workers Who had to be laid off. We should therefore attempt, as far as the textile industry is concerned, to reverse the position so that we can persuade people from abroad to place orders here. The local industry will then be able to demonstrate to the Government that it is receiving orders, and say that it cannot accept the orders unless it is able to produce the yarn at a certain price in South Africa. At present the local price is R1-90 per kilogram. Let us make the world price R1-20 per kilogram—the price at which America is selling it at the moment. There is therefore a difference of 70 cents. If the Government is able to accommodate the industry initially, but ultimately by means of a stabilization fund maintained by the industry itself, I think we will succeed in rectifying the matter. An exporter will then be able to argue that he has a contract, but then he has to be able to produce yarn at R1-20 per kilogram. The manufacturer will then have to be accommodated by 70 cents per kilogram, and if we are able to do this, we will enjoy full capacity with, a view to the export market. The concession need not of course be applied only if the manufacturer has a fixed contract. Our local people will then derive the benefit of prices and materials which may be compared with the best in the world, and with the world price, since we are initially paying a subsidy. I believe that if we, as Japan is doing, aim at full capacity at all costs, at full utilization of the capital, we will be able to reduce our prices dramatically. Then we will also be able to apply less protection, or at the most be left with, only specialized protection.
Protection has a very detrimental effect in that there is always a gap in it somewhere through which someone can slip, and one has to take careful cognizance of open doors. However, I first wish, to argue that if we consider the subsidization of the original product, in order to make it competitive, our public will derive the benefit of that. We cannot continue to protect our public against low import prices simply for the sake of maintaining an industry, an industry which is in fact a vital one and which, if has the necessary structure and the right support, is able to supply our public with a product which is able to compete with the best in the world, and which is also able to earn foreign exchange for us.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Florida suggested measures with which we could stimulate a specific industry. I think that this is a good idea and I therefore want to congratulate him on his contribution. It is always pleasant to listen to him. However, when the hon. member for Constantia referred to the most vital issue in the country today, i.e. the increase in the cost of living, hon. members on the opposite side of the House, specifically the hon. member for Paarl, said that this was once again a political attack on the cost of living. He went further and said that when he saw the stream of motor-cars driving past his house, the question which occurred to him was: “Who is having a hard time?” Is the hon. member unaware of the suffering and the hardships of the salaried man, of the Pensioner and of the person whose money is dwindling day by day? The hon. member for Smithfield did not even take the trouble of replying to that. That just goes to show how that side of the House has lost touch with the people of South Africa, how callous an attitude they have adopted towards the people. We expect that side of the House to tell us what steps they are going to take to combat inflation. They must not merely say that inflation is a worldwide phenomenon.
But surely it is.
West Germany, as the hon. member for Constantia said, was able to confine its inflation rate to 5,9%.
What does the hon. member say West Germany’s inflation rate is? [Interjections.]
I do not have time now. The hon. Minister may ask questions in a moment. Until the year before last Rhodesia was able to confine its inflation rate to 1,2%; it is now 7%. If one calculates the figures for March over the period of a year, it would appear that our rate now stands at 18%. What is the Government doing about this? Any person can tell you what the difficulty is, and what the cause of inflation is, namely that we are not producing enough in South Africa; that our productivity is not high enough; and also because four million people cannot provide services for 21 million people. The non-Whites must receive education, and the non-White workers must be trained, so that they can make their contribution to the economy of the country. This is simple, and it is discussed in this House year after year. If the Government still does not know this by now, it will never know it.
I want to come to another matter, a phenomenon which falls under the portfolio of the hon. Minister of Economic Affairs, namely the phenomenon that the public of South Africa is being exploited in a shocking manner by certain dealers and businessmen. I want to refer them to a headline in Die Burger: “ ‘Shocking exploitation of buyers,’ states report.” The report referred to here is that of Mr. Roelofse. [Interjections.] The hon. members may laugh, if they find this funny. Mr. Roelofse indicated that a sewing machine which was obtainable everywhere for R181, was being sold for R459. Is that not exploitation? Is that something to laugh about? There is also the example of a second-hand radio which, when new, cost R100, but which was sold for R120. After the person had paid R96, he received notification that he still had to pay R430. Is that not exploitation? The hon. member for Kimberley pointed out the other day that the price of certain insecticides had increased by 400%. The CNA’s profits rose last year by 195%, from R631 000 to R1 865 000 in one year, while the volume of their sales only increased from 74 million to 76 million. The volume therefore increased by two million, while the profits increased by R1200 000. Is that not exploitation?
What are you trying to prove?
What are the earnings on that capital?
I also want to mention the example of gas. The hon. member for Sea Point pointed out last year, or the year before last, that when the Railway rates were increased by 15%, a circular was sent out the next week stating that the price of gas had been increased by 40%. The reason given was the increase in the Railway rates, but the Railway rates had gone up by only 15%. If that is not exploitation, I do not know what exploitation is. We are living in a capitalistic country, with a free economy. In a capitalistic country certain people have every right to make as much profit as they can. As the hon. member for Constantia said, we do not want price control, nor are we advocating it. However, there are ways of combating inflation and exploitation. I want to suggest that the hon. Minister should expand the Consumer Council, and give it teeth. If this does not work, the hon. Minister could even replace it with another council. In this connection I want to refer the hon. the Minister to the Food Prices Review Board of Canada. I am not advocating a food prices review board for South Africa. I am advocating a price review board—and not of food prices only, but of all prices. In Canada this body works in the following manner: It is appointed under a certain Mrs. Plumtree, with a budget of R1,8 million. This body operates with a staff of 75, and receives assistance from the universities and from volunteers. The instructions to this body are to check prices in the various shops, among merchants, etc. and then to issue a quarterly bulletin of prices in order to furnish in this way the price tendencies at the various shops and of the merchants. I am not saying that the hon. the Minister should accept this as it is, but I am suggesting this as a guide line. We can improve on such a system.
What is the inflation rate in Canada?
The instructions to such a board could also be to check the factory prices, the wholesalers’ prices and the retailers’ prices.
What is the inflation rate in Canada?
I do not have time for nonsensical questions. Listen and you will learn something. We can expand on and improve such a system. It need not necessarily cost R1,8 million, for if such a bulletin could be issued every three months, one could buy it. The housewife would be only too eager to buy it. One could set aside a space for advertisements, and then dealers could advertise in that bulletin, and in such a manner one could create competition and an atmosphere of competition for lower prices. In this way one could call upon and mobilize the entire nation to combat inflation. However, this will not happen if we continue to do what we are doing at the moment. Is the hon. Minister going to allow the present position to continue? This is suited to our free enterprise system, for as I have said, these people probably have the right to charge what they like, and probably have the right to cheat people if they wish. But surely the man in the street also has the right to know where and how he is being cheated. In this way one can achieve the same effect without price control, and yet within our competitive economic system.
There is another matter I should like to raise with the hon. Minister, namely the question of wool. I should like to refer the hon. Minister to a speech made by ambassador Dent of the American Textile Manufacturers’ Institute at Palm Beach. This is what he said—
Mr. Chairman, I want to tell the hon. member for King William’s Town that things are not going at all as badly with the people in this country as the situation he depicted here today. On the contrary. Things are going well with the people of South Africa. The Government has left no stone unturned in its efforts to remove the sting of inflation. Apart from the multitude of monetary and fiscal measures which the Government has adopted against inflation —too many to enumerate—it has also done a great deal to alleviate the effect of rising prices.
Give us one example.
The hon. member for King William’s Town said that he sympathized with the pensioners. We have even! more sympathy for the pensioners, and did something for them. Since 1960 the cost of living in South Africa has risen by 81%, but over the same period old-age pensions have risen by 148%. We have sympathy for these people in other respects as well. This year the Government is spending R146 million on subsidies to keep food prices low, and a further R50 million to help farmers so that they are able to produce food more cheaply. In this way we are trying to alleviate the position of the people in this country who are having a hard time of it. The Government has been reasonably successful in keeping inflation in this country in check, in spite of the fact that imported inflation, as certain authorities maintain, comprises more than half of the total inflation rate of this country. South Africa has not achieved the same measure of success in combating inflation as America and West Germany because it was not able to administer the same drastic remedy. America did this the hard way, and caused unemployment. In America there are today approximately 10 million unemployed persons, almost 9% of the economically active population. This we cannot, after all, do in South Africa. What would happen to our millions of non-Whites in this country if we were to do this? Today West Germany is the country with the lowest inflation rate. How did it succeed in doing this? It succeeded because it is so economically strong, as a result of high productivity, that it could bring about a gradual revaluation of its monetary unit. The effect of that was cheaper imports. However, this brings with it a delay in economic growth, and the consequential damping of inflation. This, too, we cannot afford in South Africa. As a young, developing country, we must continue to grow to be able to create work opportunities for our population and to raise the standard of living of our millions of people.
When we discuss inflation in South Africa, we should not look for scapegoats and accept complacently that the problem rests only on the shoulders of the Government. The hon. member for Constantia referred to a “crisis situation”, as if the Government had created a crisis situation in this country. The State is not able to combat inflation on its own. Everyone in our country, including the private sector and the individual, and, very important too, the Opposition, can help to combat inflation. The man in the street feels the dangers of inflation because he is involved in the effects of it every day, but he does not realize that the means of taming inflation are mostly in his own hands. The basic problem is still that people want more and more money, more and more comfort, and more and more pleasures of life without earning them, and without producing a quid pro quo. What we need in South Africa is a rescue attempt made by our people themselves. This cannot always come from the Government only. It must come from the worker, the consumer, the farmer, the dealer and the industrialist. In the years when the Afrikaner nation was on it’s knees through poverty, Father Kestell came forward with the clarion call “A nation saves itself.” We know what success was eventually achieved. This is what we need in respect of inflation in this country: That our people shall save themselves from the pernicious consequences of inflation. What we require urgently is a comprehensive information campaign, as has already been proposed, which will reach every man, woman and child and will bring home to these people and impress upon them that inflation is not a plague which only the Government can combat, but that each one of us is in the thick of the battle against inflation, and can play his part.
What should I do?
If the hon. member would listen, he would hear now what he could do in a moment. It should be brought home to all that it is in the highest interests of our country and of every individual that we have to break inflation in this country, otherwise it is going to break us. The same applies throughout the entire world. Inflation has brought all the nations to their knees, and could also harm our economy if we do not stop it in time. To be able to convey this message to the man in the street, we shall have to make use of our mass communications media. We still remember the days when Decimal Dan and the Water Year fired the imaginations of our people. It is such a campaign that we need again now. We need good talks and good slogans to bring home to the consumer that he is not completely powerless in the face of this situation, but indeed has the means of resolving it in his own hands. One of the most aggravating problems is the fact that people are buying too much and too injudiciously, that people are buying too many things on credit, and that people are saving too much of their income.
Saving too much?
I mean too little. What is disturbing, is the fact that consumer credit in this country has increased so tremendously. Within 15 months consumer credit in South Africa increased by more than R500 million to almost R2 200 million. This is a shocking figure. We do not begrudge the people the fruits of their labour, but it is food for serious thought when we hear that approximately R1 800 million is being spent annually in South Africa on liquor, tobacco and horseracing. The question is frequently put whether it is still of any use saving if the value of money is being eroded by inflation. There was never a time in the history of the world when it did not pay to save. Thrift is one of the greatest virtues of a nation. Not only does this make people economically independent, it also promotes capital formation. In our rapidly growing country capital is precisely what we need for all the major projects we have tackled. The person who saves, however, does so in the interests of his own pocket as well. When he buys, he pays cash and receives a discount. He obtains a negotiating power. In addition he can save up to 24% in financing costs if he does not buy on hire purchase. There are many spheres in which the public, through the elimination of wastage and extravagant spending, can help to counteract inflation.
However, there is one sphere which is of special importance, namely that of fuel saving. A major concession was recently made to motorists in this country. We wonder what the reaction of the public is going to be to this appeal. On our roads today we have approximately 950 000 motor vehicles, 100 000 buses and minibuses, 112 000 motor cycles and 720 000 commercial vehicles. In aggregate therefore we have just under two million vehicles, which burn up fuel every day. If each of these vehicles saved only R1 in fuel a week, then South Africa in one year would save more than R100 million in fuel. What is even more important is that this is also a saving in terms of foreign exchange. If we save this, then we are carrying out a rescue attempt in the interests of South Africa, for then we are combating inflation. This can be done by remaining strictly within the speed limits, and by eliminating unnecessary journeys, by purchasing smaller and less powerful motor-cars, and by having mechanical defects, which waste petrol, repaired. [Time expired.]
At the outset I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Bloemfontein North sincerely on a very good speech. He returned to the factual situation and did not have his head in the clouds like hon. members on the opposite side of this House. One is grateful if one listens in this very important House to hon. members expressing concern about the rising cost of living and inflation. It is a good thing that this is being done. However, there are fundamental concepts to which one should adhere. Hon. members on the opposition side, for example the hon. member for Cape Town Gardens, the hon. member for Constantia, the hon. member for King William’s Town, complained about prices. The Government is being blamed for everything that is wrong with prices, and for the high cost of living and inflation.
I found it very interesting to note that recently, when essential price increases took place in respect of milk and bread, and commodities of that kind, the Press also participated gleefully in sensational reporting. The newspapers announced in big, black banner headlines: “Milk price shock”, “Bread price shock”, etc.
But it was a shock.
It is interesting to note that the so-called “shock increases” took place in regard to the very items which were being controlled, and which are subsidized by the Government, but that no publicity was given to price increases in other commodities such as Coca-Cola and whisky, in which hon. members on that side perhaps have vested interests. They do not complain about that in the newspapers; they do not say a word about that. Sir, this is a question of priorities. How is the price of a commodity determined? There is a long series of processes which take place before one reaches the final price. In the first place there is the producer or manufacturer who produces or manufactures the food or the commodity. The hon. member for King William’s Town produces sheep and wool. He must receive compensation for his product. Is he prepared to accept less for his sheep and for his wool? No, the Government must pay him the maximum price. The money-makers want their full profit, and then they want the Government to keep the prices low for the consumers. Sir, I come now to the manufacturers. Who are the manufacturers? It is not supporters of this side who are manufacturers. The manufacturers are sitting on that side. The hon. members on that side want the maximum profit for the manufacturer, but if the product is too expensive in the end …
Are you saying that all the manufacturers are United Party supporters?
You are the biggest manufacturer I have ever seen.
Sir, if Wes-bank was part of my structure, I would not talk about exorbitant profit. As I have said, the manufacturer demands his full wage; he wants the maximum profit, but when the product reaches the consumers, the people who make the crosses—and they make their crosses for those of us on this side of the House—the hon. members on that side want to blame us if the price is too high. Sir, it is they who are making the big profits. The hon. member for Constantia was a dealer. As a middleman he received the product from the producers and the manufacturers, and he made maximum profits on it. But he had a great deal to say here about how concerned he was about the expensiveness and the end price of the product. Who are they to talk? Sir, I come now to the consumer. What we are really arguing about here is the price the consumer has to pay. Hon. members on that side profess to be the protectors and patrons of the producers. We are not concerned about them. They merely want their votes. We on this side have been looking after the consumer for the past 27 years; we have been looking after the manufacturer, and we have been looking after everyone in the economic system of South Africa. Each of the processes which form part of the end price, requires labour. The producer, the manufacturer, the dealer and the distributor of the commodity have to be remunerated for their labour. Every labourer in this entire process demands his full remuneration. From the beginning all the way through to the end. What part of the price structure does labour constitute? The cost of labour is a component of the price of the commodity. Hon. members opposite are demanding the maximum remuneration for the worker. They have advocated trade unions which constantly demand higher wages. [Interjections.] Sir, hon. members on that side are getting hurt; that is why they are protesting. They are playing both ends against the middle. But the public is too clever for them. Sir, I have the greatest respect for the electorate of South Africa. They see through all the arguments of the Opposition. But the consumer also has a duty. I want to tell you a little anecdote. In my constituency I have a manufacturer who is a very good Nationalist, and a good South African. One of his employees boasted to him that he had never paid income tax. He then asked this person whether he owned a motor-car. The man replied that he did. He then told this man: “But then surely you cannot drive home; you must walk through the veld on foot, for you have never contributed a cent to the building of that road.” Sir, many consumers are like that worker. They want to drive in motor vehicles, but when it comes to making a contribution towards the building of roads, the Government has to do this alone. But the United Party also says that the Government may not levy taxes either; it therefore has to do these things out of its own pocket. I cannot understand their arguments.
I come now to the last point I want to make. They said they do not want price control. We must hold prices in check, but price control they do not want. Strangely enough, I agree with them. In the economy there are certain laws which have to apply, and the moment one applies price control, one is disturbing those laws of the economy and they are therefore unable to take their normal course. I want to give an example. Suppose we have two factories manufacturing precisely the same commodity. We have no price control in South Africa; we have profit control. Now we go to those factories and ask them what their investment was and what their production costs are, and we tell them they are entitled to a normal profit as remuneration for that capital. The one manufacturer, because he is less efficient, receives 6% on that capital, and the other, who is more efficient, receives 35%. [Interjections.] The laws of economy have to apply. That manufacturer who is so inefficient that he makes only 6%, while the other makes 35%, must disappear from the market. I am in favour of that. Actually I should like to ask the hon. Minister again to look into the question of price determination and price control, with a view to eliminating the inefficient economic unit. The hon. the Minister of Agriculture is not here. Over the years the number of farmers have diminished from 110 000 to 85 000, if I remember the figures correctly. The uneconomic farmer has simply been eliminated by the laws of economy. Sir, you will permit me to say that in the same way as an efficient opposition dwindles after every election, so the uneconomic units should also be eliminated by the laws of economy.
Mr. Chairman, the speech of the hon. member for Germiston District was somewhat fascinating because he indicated that he was against industrialists, that he was against trade unions and that he was against workers. It is very difficult to find out what he is actually in favour of, except perhaps himself. That is the difficulty one has in understanding this kind of approach. There is also the tendency to say that all people who are manufacturers in South Africa are all members of the Opposition parties.
May I put a question?
No, sit down. This is a new and fascinating approach. [Interjections.] It is quite clear that there is a complete lack of knowledge of what is really transpiring and there is a complete endeavour to take away the responsibility from those who should bear the responsibility for what is causing inflation in South Africa. Basically one of the things which people are going to say when they are asked to make sacrifices and when they are asked to do things which are necessary in order to fight inflation—there is little doubt that everybody has to participate in the fight against inflation—is that it must not just be the small man who must be asked to make the sacrifices. The start has to be made at the top and the top is the Government of South Africa. That is where it must start.
I want to talk specifically about the consumer and consumer rights which become more meaningful when prices rise. The consumer does not need protection in respect of prices alone; there are many other matters in respect of which the consumer needs protection such as the quality of the product and the content of contracts. All of these are becoming more complex in our society and the buyers are untrained persons who need protection in this field. The result is that an inequality in bargaining position has come about in our society. The consumer is frequently faced with printed contracts which often protect only the supplier and not the purchaser, and with products which in some cases are produced for obsolescence so that they can be replaced at a relatively short interval. The consumer is faced with highly skilled marketing techniques which are designed to exploit human weaknesses, and is confronted with prices the competitiveness of which cannot be determined without considerable research. He is faced with spiralling prices which in some cases come about because there is no organized body to represent his interests effectively in South Africa. Therefore there is a feeling of frustration which will be released in some form or another. I believe that that frustration may well be directed at members of Parliament because we should be the representatives of the consumers. The members of this House might well ask themselves how well they are caring for the interests of the consumers as it is in fact the consumers who elect them to sit in this House. There is a new awareness on the part of consumers. There is a change in society from complete freedom of contract and freedom of business methods to a situation in which inequality in bargaining power must be removed. The relationship between business and the community is a social one and there is a desire today not only for the individual to have freedom of choice but to be educated and trained to enable him to exercise it so that he can exercise his own market options fairly. I believe that business as a whole and businessmen as a whole are moral and their practices are not anti-social but unfortunately there are always exceptions and they prey on those who are least able to resist. I should like to pose some questions. Should one have the right to purchase a motor-car only if there is a “voetstoots” clause in the agreement or should one, if one refuses not be able to purchase it at all? How many people actually understand fully the implications of the insurance policies that they buy and how many people consider the merits of the one against the other? How many people are unable to sue when they have been wronged because they are afraid of the high costs of litigation? Having legal rights is not enough in our society; we must be able to enforce them without the possibility of financial ruin. Do all our people have adequate knowledge of products so that they can decide which are the better and which they should or should not buy? Do all our people understand the transactions to which they put their signatures so readily at times? I believe we are entering an era of consumer rights and an era of consumer organizations as part of a process of change in our society. In order to protect the consumer I believe we require to do the following: Firstly, we must have legislation to protect the consumer. We already have a considerable volume of legislation such as the Hire Purchase Act, the Limitation and Disclosure of Finance Charges Act, etc., and I think these must be constantly kept under review in order to close loopholes where people find them. I want to say here and now that it appears that the Trade Practices Bill may not become law during the session. I want to express my regret at the fact that this piece of legislation, which I regard as an important measure, will not become law during this session of Parliament. We also need industry self-regulation and, although we have a considerable measure of it, I believe we need more of it. We also need to educate the consumers who must be well informed. In this regard much can be done. I should like to give an example. According to the report of the Department of National Education the home economics section is in fact intended to inform people of consumer rights, but I think that it is ineffective. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister to talk to the educational authorities to make the teaching of consumer rights a part of the guidance courses which are given at our schools. Adult consumers also need to be well informed. In this respect I should like to pay tribute to the services which are provided by such newspapers as The Rand Daily Mail and The Sunday Tribune in respect of consumer information, and The Star, The Argus and The Daily News in regard to the “line” concept which I believe provides consumers with speedy remedies to their complaints. They also do much in respect of the “bad buy” publicity which has appeared in the Argus group newspapers which show how prices vary and how consumers are exploited. Die Vaderland and Rapport have also done much in this regard. I believe we should in fact have the type of specialist consumer magazine such as is published overseas. These magazines examine and analyse products to enable consumers to make proper value judgements I believe that such magazines should be subsidized by the department.
The S.A. Co-ordinating Consumer Council does some of the work in this field, but it is quite obviously inadequate. A budget of R60 000 is inadequate to do an effective nation-wide job. Consumer group action in any event will have to be better organized and neither the council nor the S.A. National Consumers Union appears to have enough resources to do this job effectively. There are also some policies of the S.A. Co-ordinating Consumer Council which I think we need to deal with. I should like to quote what the chairman of that council has said:
What utter nonsense if that is the policy of this council! Surely, if one protests against price exploitation it does not mean one must be so labelled? The hon. the Minister should do something about this if this is the policy of the council. One certainly cannot expect the consumers to have confidence in a body the chairman of which makes statements of this nature.
It is also said that the council should not function as a complaints bureau. This is repeated in the annual report. One certainly wants the council to fulfil many other functions but must there not be a place where the consumer can lodge his complaints without incurring substantial legal costs? I should like to make certain suggestions in regard! to the approach to the council. Firstly, there should be consumer advice bureaux available to the public and those bureaux should not only give information but also advice and assistance. Secondly, there should be more publications sponsored to enable value judgements of products to be made. Thirdly, the council’s budget should be increased to enable its services to be expanded. Fourthly, the council should consist of a majority of persons nominated by a variety of organizations concerned with consumer interests and not only one such organization. In the fifth place, the council should be multi-racially constituted. The chairman believes, and I quote his words:
The consumer is one entity. Whatever race he belongs to, he buys in the same shop and he enters into the same type of contract. Except for the homelands, what the chairman has said is make-believe. The consumer is a multiracial being who shops in and trades with all sorts of businesses. To talk of creating separate councils when, in fact, consumerism is only just beginning to find its feet, is I think living in a dream world. Those people who lack sophistication obviously need more attention, help and guidance. To fragment consumer protection when it needs to be built up will to my mind be fatal to the entire effort of Consumerism in South Africa.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Yeoville said very little here this afternoon. I know him as a man with a good knowledge of finance and I am amazed at his poor contribution here this afternoon. He spoke about a frustration among the voters and rebellion among the voters. The only frustration of which I am aware in this House is the frustration of the hon. member for Yeoville and his few companions around him. There definite frustration is to be found. I want to say that it is not only among them, but among the Progressive Party, too, that one comes across frustration. I do not believe that this rapprochement between them is all that successful.
I can see that the hon. member for Houghton is no longer taken up with, the hon. member for Yeoville. That is very clear. [Interjections.] I am not a homeopath but I know people and I need only look into the eyes of the hon. member for Houghton to be able to state that the feeling between the Reformists and the Progressives is not a happy one. I am convinced of this, but let us leave it at that. I should like to come back to the hon. member for Johannesburg North who made an outstanding contribution under the Mines Vote. He is a person who has knowledge of mining. [Interjections.]
†I should like hon. members to give me a chance and to stop fighting with the hon. member. *
*The speech he made today, however, was very weak. The hon. member postulated four cardinal standpoints to combat inflation in South Africa, as he put it. There is not a single member of this House or of the general public who is not aware of the danger of inflation. We are all fully aware of the danger of inflation, but I want to sound the warning that although it would be easy to put a stop to inflation entirely— the hon. the Minister is capable enough of doing this in co-operation with the hon. the Minister of Finance—the country’s growth would similarly be halted if inflation were to be halted entirely. This would then cause unemployment and a crisis would develop in South Africa. Our whole anti-inflationary effort must show a balanced approach. Inflation must be combated on a long-term basis. We must bring home to our voters that they must buy more judiciously. We must concede that inflation is an extremely dangerous situation with which we are faced at the moment, and we do concede this.
However, the hon. member for Johannesburg North raises four aspects. In the first place, he states that the floodgates must be opened, and in the second place, he talks about a restriction on capital. If we were to hinder capital formation or Government expenditure in South Africa at this stage, the consequences would be far-reaching. I want to put a hypothetical question. I do not like to be personal, and consequently I do not want to put a question to the hon. member for Johannesburg North which directly concerns the companies in which he has an interest. Let us take it, hypothetically, that there is a mine in the North-Western Cape which is developing and which requires many millions of rands. Services must also be rendered in order to make the development of the mine possible. Should something of this nature not receive priority? Is it not essential to afford priority to something of this kind? Am I right or wrong?
The first thing is to reduce inflation.
It is easy to say “reduce inflation”, but if inflation is reduced to such an extent that growth in South Africa is also reduced, then we can expect enormous problems. The hon. member compares South Africa with Britain, but Britain is a static country, whereas South Africa is a young, dynamic country which could develop into an industrial giant.
The hon. member stated that we should make greater use of Bantu labour. I ask the hon. member whether he and his companies will support decentralization. There is opportunity for this, because the hon. the Minister made an announcement to which every industrialist in South Africa should give serious consideration. Concessions have been made which make the growth points in South Africa enormously attractive to the industrialist. If the hon. member wants to do South Africa a favour, he should influence the industries in which he has an influence to establish themselves in the decentralized areas in South Africa. Something that is developing very fast and which we are faced with to an increasing extent is the enormous population increase in our urban areas. Sixty per cent of our industry is in the PWV complex. When there is a massive conflux of people in a specific area, we are faced with vast socio-economic and transportation problems. Hon. members have just had the opportunity of reading the Driessen Report on transport problems. If we were to put the growth points first and the hon. member for Johannesburg North wants to make his contribution, this would afford the people, the Bantu in Soweto, whose interests he is always championing, the opportunity to live in their own homelands. It will afford them the opportunity to return to their homes every day after work. They have right of ownership and the right to practise what is theirs, their culture and their tradition. There are concessions which the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs has made and there is also legislation which is being discussed in the House at the present stage. There are industrialists in South Africa who have abused their positions at the expense of industries competing against them, by employing Bantu illegally, and action must be taken against these industrialists in the interests of South African industry. I want to mention to you some of the concessions that have been made. There are, for example, long-term loans of 80%—previously they were only 45%—for establishing industries in growth points, concessions on taxation which have been made, railway rebates which have been substantially increased, and provision has also been made in regard to transport. A Select Committee has been appointed to go into road transport. Let me give a decentralized area as an example. For a change I am going to mention my own constituency. In this regard I want to pay tribute to the Department of Planning. This area, my constituency, is a model industrial area. All the necessary services are there, for example water, power and tarred roads. The area borders on a Bantu homeland. There is an opportunity for any industrialist to establish himself there. The so-called resistance on the part of the White worker to go to the platteland is a misconception, and I speak from experience. When Government officials are transferred from Rustenburg to other places, they come to me and tell me that they want to remain in Rustenburg in spite of the fact that they can have promotion if they leave. There are Government officials, teachers, and many others who find themselves in this position.
An enormous responsibility rests on the shoulders of the local management and the authorities at our growth points. It is their responsibility to make these areas attractive and to provide the services available in the cities. This, too, is being done. Any one who comes to Rustenburg and sees what is being done in regard to education and all kinds of other essentials, would come to the conclusion that no White worker coming to this place could feel that he was isolated, that he was separated from the things which attracted him. On the contrary. Decentralization of industry is imperative. We in this country must give priority to industrial development in a balanced way over a long period. We must grow out of inflation. We must bring home to our people the fact that it is a challenge, a skill, not to allow oneself to be exploited by certain traders. It is certainly true that there are, in fact, traders who exploit the public. For the most part, these people pay fines in order to avoid appearing in court. I want to ask the hon. the Minister today to see to it that these people who pay fines to avoid appearing in court, will, in fact, have to appear in a court in future so that the public may become aware of who and what the exploiters in South Africa are. This is a possibility. There are things which can be rectified in the years that lie ahead, for example the skill among our people—and we must impress this upon them—which will enable them to avoid being exploited by exploiters. This is important. However we must give priority, with insight and purposefulness to industrial development [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member who has just sat down is also aware, in addition to the Rand Daily Mail’s reporter, of the collective programme of action to reduce the rate of inflation in South Africa. One of the main points which it makes is that there must be a cut-back. One of the first contributions they ask the Government to make towards fighting and containing inflation is a cut-back of expenditure at all levels of Government. This applies specifically to current expenditure which cannot be justified in the present economic situation and capital expenditure that is not related to the creation of productive infrastructure. I think that the hon. member himself has demonstrated the ignorance in which this House has been allowed to remain about this particular collective programme which I understand was placed before the Cabinet towards the end of last year. Save for one or two references in the Budget proposals to which attention was not specifically drawn, it has never been outlined to this House. For that I blame the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs because he has had the opportunity on more than one occasion to take the House and the country into his confidence and to indicate not only what has been done but also the action that has been taken to put this programme into operation. I understand that the relevant document is at the moment not being fully circulated but the newspaper contains a full story on it. Part of the document states clearly that one can no longer accept the explanation that inflation is purely an imported malady in this country. It may account partly for inflation in this country, but the more significant features of inflation and the greater part of the inflationary trend are due to internal factors which must be placed at the door of the government as well as that of the general economic participants in the country’s affairs. In other words, it is in regard to the internal aspect that the Government has to play a full and integrated part together with those to whom it appeals for assistance in order to fight inflation. It is all very well for hon. members on the Government side to accuse this side of the House of talking of crises and to accuse this side of blaming the Government only. That is what the entire country it doing because the entire country is waiting for relief. One has to look at all sides of the picture, not only at what the Government thinks of those who oppose it but also at what those who are alleged to support it think. Here is a statement from Pretoria which appeared in The Argus of 29 May which states—
He goes further. He does not only make a general statement. He says—
Do you know Gert Beetge?
I could not care, but I know that he represents the Confederation of Labour. A lot of people …
You would not quote him here if you knew him.
Your side of the House seems to place a great reliance on the voting capacity of the people that he represents in many spheres. He goes on to say—
That is not the only aspect. Not only have we not been taken into the confidence of the hon. the Minister but the National Development and Management Foundation discussed this whole question of inflation as well. They, with their 60 member board of trustees, are representative of the top economic organizations of this country and they came to the same conclusion. They stressed the importance of training and the gradual employment of all the resources and labour which this country possesses. They placed particular emphasis on the vast unskilled and untrained Black labour pool which South African has and which it needs so desperately in order to promote growth which is, after all, such an important and vital factor in the country’s economy. The report, which we understand contains some very interesting proposals, makes particular play of the necessity for the training and rationalization of labour, the education and industrial training of Blacks in White areas, together with the re-training of Whites and Blacks in the various capacities in which they have been engaged. It says that there should be a continuous effort made, in both the public and private sectors, to increase production and to improve productivity. Many other features are mentioned which I think are important and to which this Government has paid little heed.
You are talking through your hat now.
I know what I am talking about, because the hon. the Minister has never given us anything practical. He has told us once before that inflation is imported, but he has never yet accepted any normal and sound proposals which have come from this side of the House to deal with it, namely to take an objective attitude in gearing all resources we have to the highest level of productivity. Let me go further. When they talk in this report about Government policies being involved here, it is an obvious pointer to a lot of our ideological legislation. In fact, the report asks that certain legislation, which is of no value, should be held back. It calls for—
Good government does not necessarily mean government according to an ideology which, for example, duplicates expenditure and which has built up tremendous administrative departments, which provide duplicate services for the various peoples in this country. These are indeed the very things to which reference is made. That is why, with all the talk of the tremendous resources with which we are endowed in this country, but the benefit of which we cannot enjoy because of the Government’s stance, we find that these assets are being eroded by this policy of duplicating virtually everything we do in our country. It is common sense that any inquiry which takes place objectively must immediately draw attention to the fact that there are legislative measures in this country which should be temporarily deferred or modified in order to enable us to have some control and to hold back the galloping inflation from which we are suffering. Every form of activity is affected. You have pensioners saying: “It is difficult to save money. One week I buy an article for 22 cents, the next week it costs 40 cents. How can you keep going?” Consumers are asked, for example, to do selective buying. Women are complaining day by day that they do not have the time to do selective buying. They do not have time to go around to try to balance their budgets by looking to see where they can get things a cent cheaper, because on balance they really do not save anything. When one calls upon the Government to take action, one calls upon the Government to give a lead, because the Government, after all, represents the people of the country. The Government is responsible for the raising of taxation in the country. It is responsible for taxing people in many directions. It is also responsible for expenditure in the country. There are hundreds of millions of rand which, through indirect form of taxation, are being stored away for emergencies of the future. I am not sure that we are entitled to enjoy a luxury of that nature at a time when our job is to combat inflation and to hold something back which cannot only erode the economy, but the entire system on which our whole economic structure is based. This is a very serious matter which the hon. the Minister must take into account. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to dwell on what the hon. member had to say because I want to confine the few remarks I want to make to the Co-ordinating Consumer Council. I want to do so with reference to more general remarks made by the hon. member for Yeoville and other hon. members who spoke before him. There must be no doubt that our side of the House has every confidence in the South African Co-ordinating Consumer Council. Not only do we have confidence in them; we also have confidence in the good work they have done since 1971 on behalf of the consumer in South Africa. While I am discussing this issue of confidence, I cannot but refer immediately to the mutual confidence that exists between the council and the Government which I should like to quote a paragraph. This proves that that side of the House, too, has the greatest confidence in the Government as such. I quote—
There is, therefore, a mutual confidence between the Government and the council on behalf of the consumer in South Africa. We are very grateful for this. In my opinion, the public should take very careful note of this. Particularly in view of what was said by the hon. member for Yeoville, I think that one should consider two aspects. The first is whether this council has achieved success and, if so, what the nature of the success is. What I say now, I say with reference to the work done by that council. Protection of the consumer must not be one-sided protection on the part of the Government only. The consumer himself has a specific role to play in defending himself. There must be no doubt on that score. I shall not have time this afternoon, to go into all the details of the activities of the board and the success it has achieved. By way of summary I want to quote an extract from the document I have before me. The quotation is entitled “What, then, the lessons of the first four years were” (translation)—
I say this with reference to the work done by the Consumer Council. This afternoon the hon. member for Yeoville stated by implication that the Consumer Council as such could not answer its purpose unless it complied with certain requirements and conditions. In order to prove that it is not essential for a new council to be established, or for anything else to be called into being, but that the Consumer Counsel is in fact carrying out the function of protection, I want to refer to the council’s blueprint for the next five years. I think that this will satisfy the hon. member for Yeoville that the council is engaged in a very positive programme which complies in every respect with the requirements set by the hon. member.
No, we are coming to that, too. With reference to what the hon. member has just said, I should just like to read something to him (translation)—
Sir, I have no doubt at all that owing to the very positive programme they envisage and the determining of their priorities for the next five years, they will have to obtain the necessary funds. What are those priorities? In the first place, education and information. The council’s five-year plan now includes the following (translation)—
Sir, I think that it is as well—and I do not take it amiss of the hon. member for Yeoville that he referred to this—that one should take a look at the work done by these people, and in doing so adopt a positive approach. I (have before me a brochure entitled, “How to complain. Sound hints to assist you.” Then I have another one, “Are you a good consumer?”. Here the consumer is provided with certain practical information: “Give yourself an increment of 20%.” This is to serve as a guideline to the consumer on how to plan his budget so as to have more money in his pocket. Sir, here is another, “Read the fine print under the contracts, etc.” This is one of the matters raised by the hon. member for Yeoville. In other words, Sir, these people are fully aware of existing deficiencies and of the problems experienced by consumers, and they are providing for them. The first priority they stated, was education and information. The second is representations by consumers (translation)—
I think this is important—
They go on to state (translation)—
Unfortunately it will not be possible for that Bill to be passed this year.
We can still try.
Sir, unfortunately, I cannot go into too much detail. The next task is an educational task which the council is, and will continue to be, engaged in. I can give the hon. member for Yeoville the details.
I have read it.
In the fourth place, the council will be oriented to providing service to the non-White consumers in which it is expressly stated that the appeal the problems mentioned by that hon. member. Sir, with reference to the work done by the Consumer Council, a leading article entitled “Do we buy judiciously?” appeared in Tegniek of 3 March this year, in which it is expressly stated that the appeal to buy judiciously is being made in an attempt to check the steadily rising inflation. [Time expired.]
Sir, in the few minutes available to me, I should like to express a few thoughts about mankind’s Achilles heel, namely the energy crisis in which the world finds itself today. Man has become irrevocably dependent on energy for his survival. Man is completely dependent on energy for his food production, for his transport, for his water supply, for his sewerage and for his domestic requirements, In fact, Sir, the survival of mankind, and of nations and their welfare is bound up with energy. Man has become the slave of his own creation, the energy monster. During the recent world energy conference which was attended by approximately 6 000 delegates and experts, the world’s energy dilemma was analysed in depth. Sir, I should like us to look at two aspects which became evident from this conference. The first is that the world is faced with a serious energy shortage, an energy shortage which is threatening civilization. The second is that the world is already launching and will have to launch research programmes on an unprecedented scale in order to bring about better energy utilization and energy saving. Sir, what are the facts? The facts are as red as this document, but they are too many to enumerate. I may just summarize the position by saying that by the year 2050, the world will be faced with an energy shortage of approximately 25%, according to a very conservative estimate. Seventy per cent of the world’s energy is being used by only 30% of the world’s people. Sir, let us define the situation more closely by looking at the important energy sources of the world, i.e. oil, coal and nuclear power. By the year 2050, nuclear power will be the most important energy source in the world. Eighty per cent of the world’s energy supply will then be derived from nuclear power. If we look at coal, we see that within two decades, coal will replace oil as the world’s major source of energy, and for three or more decades after that, coal will very definitely be the most important energy source in the world. Nine countries control 90% of the world’s coal supply. The Republic is one of those nine countries. Dr. Khene, the secretary-general of Opec (Oil Production Exporting Countries) says—
Sir, the heading of an article in an American magazine on South Africa’s coal position reads as follows: “Export and die”. Sir, if we look at oil we see that by the end of the first half of the next century, oil is going to disappear completely as a source of energy for mankind. This is indeed a dark prospect if we realize that at the moment the world is dependent primarily on energy from oil: Japan for 73%, France for 66% and the RSA for 23% of its requirements. Sir, these conditions have caused an energy nationalism to arise in the world, a nationalism which is based on self-sufficiency, a nationalism which has taken root in South Africa as well.
Sir, the voters of South Africa must take cognizance of the attempts made by this Government to save South Africa from this energy dilemma, in the first place through our uranium enrichment programme which is making the Republic one of the major nuclear energy powers in the world. In the second place we have the Petrick Report and our Fuel Research Institute, in consequence of which the hon. the Minister of Mines has given us the assurance that our coal resources will be handled and exploited with circumspection. Sir, we take cognizance of the Government’s continuing programme for the search for oil. We have also taken cognizance of the hon. Minister’s announcement in respect of Sasol 2. We have taken cognizance of his sustained and intensified drive to save oil and fuel. These are certainly precautions which have been taken by a good National Government and good Ministers to safeguard your and my children’s future against the consequences of this energy dilemma. But we must also take cognizance of something else. We must take cognizance of the Opposition, which piously pretends, as it has done again this afternoon, to support projects such as Sasol and the fuel saving measures. They do this, but with distorted economic arguments, for example by suggesting to the voters that the Minister’s financing of Sasol is an inflationary measure. We must also take note of the fallacious arguments they advance to throw suspicion on the fuel saving measures in the eyes of the electorate, a monumental example of a weak and short-sighted Opposition.
This brings me to the second concept which was highlighted at the world conference, the concept of conservation. A world expert, Dr. Wright, said—
I want to suggest that 60% of the world’s energy supplies are lost or wasted. Now we ask what can be done in this connection. An example of what has already been done is the fact that in 1930, 380 million electric units were required to produce 1 kg of nitrogen or fertilizer, while in 1970 only 50 million units were required. Now we want to ask whether the time has not come for us to give serious attention to the idea of using nuclear energy directly for the production of steel, instead of electricity. Can we not utilize nuclear energy directly in order to facilitate our metal production? The following statement was made at the world congress: “Somebody must remember to switch something off.” This is indeed a philosophical approach to the conservation of our energy resources.
I conclude by making a friendly request through you, Sir, to our hon. Minister, that we should act on the suggestion made at the world conference and follow it up by launching a comprehensive energy saving campaign. It may be absolutely essential to undertake a thorough-going national investigation and to conduct research into energy saving and better utilization techniques. The scientists have calculated that if the energy generated in the world were to reach the level of only 1% of that generated by the sun, we could influence the whole world’s climate, perhaps catastrophically. I want to conclude by saying that we have to prevent energy wastage and energy loss in order to prevent an era of energy pollution which may destroy humanity.
Sir, I am not going to react to the hon. member for Wonderboom. I should like to tune in to a different energy wave-length.
†I believe that this Committee and the people of South Africa are entitled to know why South Africa is about to get the most expensive television service in the world, why sets made in this country are almost twice as expensive as in any other country in the world and why our licence fees are the highest and our rentals as high as those anywhere. It is going to cost each household in South Africa which buys a colour TV set between R1 000 and R1 200 before viewing can begin. This is made up of between R800 and R1 100 for a set, from R70 to R104 for the aerial, R36 for a licence, about R1-20 for insurance and between R60 and R70 a year for a service contract. Rentals are about R36 compared with R12 in Britain. Incidentally, for a black and white 17” set in Rhodesia the rental is precisely R6. The figures I have given are for colour sets. Monochrome sets are admittedly less expensive and will cost R350, but there are still the aerial, licence, maintenance and insurance costs, and to judge by newspaper reports, these prices are going up all the time. In case the hon. the Minister or any other member of this Committee thinks that it is only opposition-minded people who think this, I would like to quote from Die Transvaler of just a few weeks ago—
Someone pointed out a little while ago that television is in danger of becoming a luxury of the rich in South Africa when it is of course in fact an amenity which is needed by the poor. This is absolutely true. Experience the world over has shown that it is the aged and the lonely who really need this facility. It is to them that it is a boon. There is a very real danger that they will be deprived of that in this country and that the price ranges I have quoted and the whole cost of television will put this well beyond the means of the average person of moderate means.
*I wonder whether the Nationalist Party Government is really concerned about this. Are they concerned? It seems to me that they have now become the party of the rich people. [Interjections.] They are the rich farmers, the rich dealers, the rich manufacturers and the rich everythings. [Interjections.] Yes, there are rich Cabinet Ministers and rich attorneys as well. In the days when I knew the Nationalist Party in the Free State, way back when, it was the party of the poor man, the poor farmer and the poor worker. Today it seems to me that they no longer care two hoots about the poor people. They are always talking about the poor, but what are they doing about it? [Interjections.]
†Let me get back to this question of the high cost of television. Here are some of the contributory reasons. It is the Government’s fault, because they have limited local manufacturers to six, thereby creating near-monopolistic conditions, and allowing dealers a high 50% mark-up. The average mark-up is 25% in Britain. Then there is a sales duty of 20%, and finally a levy of R3 on every colour set, the proceeds going to the S.A. Bureau of Standards. What this Committee wants to know and what the people want to know is why our prices are so high and so much higher than was officially anticipated only two years ago. In February 1973 the then Minister of Economic Affairs—not the present incumbent—talked about the once of a 26” colour set being between R55O and R825. Today they average over R1 000. The other thing the public wants to know is why the Government, having consistently refused further representations from existing radio manufacturers to make TV sets, has now given permission to a Swazi TV company to sell sets in South Africa. What we also want to know is who is associated with the Swazi company; who are the directors and are there any South Africans on the board? Were any South Africans involved in this Swazi TV centre? And what we also want to know, is what will happen if Botswana tomorrow wants to export sets to South Africa, or Lesotho, or in 18 months’ time the independent Transkei. What is going to happen then? Why has this Government suddenly changed its policy of rationalization? Having dumped this policy, on what grounds has it refused to give previous short-listed TV applicants the right to make TV sets? How long does the Government think it can maintain this policy? There is one other question I should like to ask: Why did the Government restrict the manufacture of TV sets to the large sizes, the 22 inches and 24 inches? Why does it not allow them to make smaller sets as well?
I have one suggestion which should help to lighten the burden on the TV-viewing public That is that the Minister should immediately reduce the mark-up on TV sets from 50% to 30%. This should bring about a saving of many, many millions of rands on the bills of TV viewers. The fact that a 50% mark-up is already needlessly high, is surely borne out by the price war which breaks out every now and then. Only two nights ago there was an advertisement in The Star according to which sets are being retailed at R779. Look at the fantastic profits these people are making! What is needed now in this long-drawn-out saga of procrastination, indecision and policy-changing is a probing, a wide-ranging, independent and in-depth enquiry into the high cost of television. We find high production costs, high mark-ups, the high licence fee and the high rental— in fact, everything is high. Let the Minister show his faith in this Government’s policy and order such an inquiry immediately before TV starts. Give South Africa all the facts and let the public judge for themselves where the truth lies. *
Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that the hon. member for Parktown is having some difficulty and I wonder whether he can afford a television set. If he is having some difficulty, I shall borrow some money from the hon. member for Johannesburg North at 5%, and then he can borrow it back from me at 10%. I find it interesting that the hon. members of the Opposition have become a little more temperate in the way they level the charge at this side of the House that the Government is causing inflation. It is very interesting to take a look at what the hon. members of the Opposition have to say. The hon. member for Cape Town Gardens talks about the “bitterness of the man in the street”, the hon. member for Constantia talks about “a crisis situation”, the hon. member for King Williamstown talks about the “grief and suffering of the salaried man”. So it goes on from speech to speech.
I should like to discuss the role which we as politicians play in inflation. I really think that we as politicians, the Government-oriented politicians and the opposition-oriented politicans, have a very responsible role to play when we discuss this very delicate and complicated matter in the hearing of the outside world. If we incite the voters from day to day and try to make them believe that it is the Government’s fault that prices are rising, if newspapers incite the public from morning to night by telling them that they are being exploited by the traders, then surely we are undermining the real basis of the system in which we believe, viz. the capitalist system. I honestly believe that the time has come for us as Whites to ask ourselves very seriously whether we are not perhaps undermining the natural course and the necessary operation of the capitalist system through our own actions. We talk about inflation, and many causes of inflation are suggested, both foreign and domestic. One of the biggest causes of inflation is the inflationary expectation on the part of the ordinary consumer. He expects prices to rise from day to day. How, then, can we take it amiss of him if he buys before the prices do rise. One talks to the man in the street and tells him that we must restrict our purchases. He replies simply that if he does not buy today, the anticle will be more expensive tomorrow, and he is right. Looking at the Pole played in this process by our newspapers, I ask, in all seriousness, whether our newspapers are performing a service for the capitalist system in which we believe. I have before me a short report which appeared in Die Transvaler on Thursday, 15 May. I realize that it is unfair to pick on one or two newspapers, because they are all guilty of the same thing. This article reads (translation)—
They are therefore creating an expectation among the public that there are still worse things ahead. I have here another report which appeared in The Argus—
I also have an article from Rapport. It reads as follows (translation)—
Then a note is added, “The United Party supporters are poised.” How on earth can we deal with inflation under these circumstances.
But it is the truth.
I want to say that inflation is the economic problem child of the uncertain world we are living in today. If we are to make a sound analysis of it, we must begin with Ourselves. It gets us nowhere to talk about the consumer as against the trader and the businessman. We are all part of the same system. In a certain sense, the trader is also a consumer. In this way one can view the idea from different angles, eventually arriving at the truth, viz. that each of us sitting here today forms part of the operation of the economic process. When we say that inflation is the problem child of the uncertain world we are living in, we must also recognize that we as people are motivated to form part of the inflationary process because we are part of the uncertain world in which people are living today. When we consider this matter soberly, we realize that today, man is a wholly un-certain being. He has lost many of the anchors which formerly reconciled him to his circumstances. He has become the man seeking security. He finds the security he seeks in material things. He finds it there because from day to day he is continually striving to acquire new wealth in order to amass more for himself. To him, this is his anchor and the stabilizing factor with which he must try to remain stable as a person in his personal insecurity. That being so, surely we must expect the whole of humanity, all of us, to be part of this process, in which, our sole aim is to buy more and amass more with the aim of striving for a higher standard of living from day to day.
I myself went through the whole education process before entering the outside world, and as part of my education, the idea that a businessman was a scoundrel, became part of me. Now that we are engaged in a co-ordinated programme to inform our people in regard to the nature of inflation, I want to ask whether, in our education process and our schools, we are not helping to send our children into the world uninformed. Are we not undermining the process by talking about exploitation with reference to the businessman? Why do we not consider that all the businessmen, the traders and the companies play a definite role, not only in the process of provision of employment, but also in regard to the tax that is collected. We need only look at this year’s budget. An amount of R5 500 million was budgeted for. The companies paid R1 300 million, and together with the tax on gold mines, this amounts to a direct sum of R2 048 million which is paid by the businessman. Surely, then, I have every right to say that it is unfair of us as consumers simply to make wild and unfounded statements to the effect that the businessman, the trader, the man who takes a risk and who makes his way in the business world with great difficulty and sacrifice, is exploiting us. I believe that there is, in fact, exploitation, but I sincerely believe, too, that the exploitation is so minimal that we should not exaggerate it to the point that we undermine the natural and normal course of our capitalistic system. By doing so we should be doing our future generations a great disservice.
The Opposition—the hon. member for Yeoville did so here yesterday—is always making so-called pleas for the lesser privileged people. They advocate increases for the Black people, but they do not realize that with their humanistic pleas they are in some respects undermining the natural operation of the capitalist system. I have before me a report which appeared in The Argus of 26 May 1975. It was written by Mr. Derek Tcmmey, the financial editor of The Argus. The hon. members of the Progressive Parity, who are always talking about wage increases and the narrowing of the wage gap, would do well to read what this financial expert has to say about the effect of the wage increases of the past few years on the increasing food prices in South Africa. Not one of us can deny this. We do not begrudge the non-Whites their wage increases, but we should really be realistic in referring to such wage increases. When talking about things which must be done for lesser privileged people, and when talking about what we want from the State, in terms of schools, hospitals, roads, etc., we must be realistic and avoid becoming so humanistic as to pursue Socialism and, in the process, undermine that for which all of us, and the hon. members of the Progressive Party in particular, stand. It is my sincere conviction that in talking about inflation, we are subverting basic elements of the system without which we in South Africa would simply be incapable of dealing with our problems. I want to ask the hon. Minister that when the envisaged information campaign, for which we are very grateful, is launched, special attention be given to our children. We must impress on our children’s minds the fact that the capitalist system is the only system with which we in South Africa will be able, not only to comabat inflation, but also to solve our socio-economic and political questions. *
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Innesdal has just said that we should handle our capitalist system circumspectly because, if we are not careful, the system may be completely destroyed. I want to agree with the hon. member to a certain-extent, but I want to tell him that if he thinks that he can combat inflation effectively by saying that newspapers should not publish reports in which it is said that tomorrow’s prices will be higher than yesterday’s prices, he is completely mistaken. The hon. member for Rustenburg was mistaken-too when he said that the Government was perfectly aware of the dangers of inflation, but that it was unable to take countermeasures because these would have the effect of damping the economy, which would mean hard times for all of us. He was completely mistaken in saying this. These two hon. members, as well as the hon. member for Bloemfontein North, said—I cannot accept what they said—that the Government had succeeded to a reasonable extent in combating inflation. The hon. member for Bloemfontein North also said that imported goods accounted for more than half the inflation rate. This I cannot accept either. In actual fact the figure is approximately 35,6%. All three members were mistaken. The hon. member for Bloemfontein North wants to fight inflation with slogans. I ask him with tears in my eyes: how can one fight inflation with slogans? Is that all he can do? Is that all the Nationalist Party Government can do, using slogans to fight inflation? The problem lies much deeper. For a country like South Africa we have a very high inflation rate today. The hon. members on that side of the House, and especially the Government, feel that inflation in South Africa is the sacrifice the country has to make for the sake of implementing the ideology of the Government, namely apartheid, separate development, or whatever you call it.
That is the reason why the inflation rate in South Africa is so high today. In South Africa the elements of inflation follow quite a different pattern from that in other countries. I do not want to go into this now, but it is very easy to understand why this is so. In the first place we have the high administration costs in connection with the implementation of the policy of apartheid. I need not go into this in detail, because everyone knows what I am talking about. There is duplication of the work done by Government departments, etc. This is expensive administration. Group areas, too, cost a lot of money.
†The second factor is that what the Government wants to do is to build up a multiple economy. I do not want to say a “dual” economy because I believe it to be a multiple economy. The Government wants to build up an economy for the White man, for the Bantu, the Brown man and the Indian, four separate economies. I believe this is one of the root causes of our high rate of inflation. Surely, if you have to move people and industries from locations where you can have the greatest degree of productivity to areas where you have less productivity, it is costing you money and thereby inflating the price of your product? It is quite obvious to me and it must be quite obvious to the hon. the Minister that that is one of the root causes of South African inflation. It is no use talking high-faluiting nonsense about fighting inflation when he is not doing a thing about it. He knows that the only real thing he can do is to do away with apartheid. That is the only thing he can do to bring down the rate of inflation. Think of all the constraints on productivity placed on us as a result of this policy. Because of this Government’s ideological aims it has to keep on saying: “You poor South Africans, you have to pay for this. You have to make more sacrifices. You want this sort of country now you must show what you are made of. Show the stuff you are made of, and make your sacrifices. Allow us, the government, to bleed you white. We will bleed you through inflation until eventually the rand will not be worth 5 cents. That is what we will do with you, but we will give you a beautiful apartheid policy.” That is what the hon. the Minister wants us to swallow. I am not going to swallow it and members on my side of the House are not going to swallow it. He can come forward with all the most beautiful schemes in the world to fight inflation, but I do not believe that any of them will succeed if he does not go to the root cause. We have a multiplication of infrastructures and the hon. the Minister knows I am correct. It is no use his sighing like that. He must not sigh because he has a big job ahead of him and must not be tired before he even starts The hon. the Minister must realize that there is a multiplication of infrastructures. He builds a town for the Black man miles away from the town of the White man. Then he has to provide services, not only transport services but also all the other services. He has to provide sewerage, electricity, water, etc. This is all costing us money unnecessarily. It is costing us far more than it should cost us. In fact, I say that it is costing us double or perhaps three times as much as it should cost. I would like the hon. member for Rustenburg to put that in his pipe and smoke it. I believe that unless we can deal with these matters and do so effectively, unless the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs is prepared to be honest with this Committee and tell us that he can only go so far in fighting inflation because he cannot depart from this Government’s policy, we will know that he is not telling us the whole truth. Even at this late stage of the session we expect him to tell us the whole truth. He has been sitting on that report on inflation now for almost six months. Why has he been sitting on it? Because he is really too ashamed to come forward with it. He knows that he cannot put the recommendations into operation. If he were to put it into operation one of the first things he would have to do would be to deal with the matters I have just dealt with.
In the short time still available to me, I would like to make my speech. I should like to say something about television. I should like to draw the hon. member’s attention to the fact that on 27 April 1971 the hon. the Minister of National Education made the following very extraordinary statement in connection with television …
Please give me the reference.
Hansard, col. 5290. I quote:
That was on 27 April 1971. He then gives the reason:
A most amazing statement! Lower purchase prices than the purchase prices prevailing on the world market on 27 April 1971! I would like to know from the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs what he has done to give the South African public at television set at a price lower than the world market price on 27 April 1971. I believe he has not done a damn. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, when the hon. member for Wynberg kicked off, he began by upbraiding the hon. member for Innesdal for supposedly being wide of the mark. I just want to tell the hon. member for Innesdal that I support him very strongly in his appeal that we should educate our children and our people to buy correctly. The hon. member for Wynberg went on and posed as an authority in the field of inflation and the combating of inflation. He told us that if we were to demolish apartheid and do away with separate development, inflation would disappear.
What about America?
An hon. member to my right here quite rightly asks me: What about the countries where there is no separate development or apartheid? Do those people not have inflation as well? In fact, one could ask whether they do not perhaps have more inflation. The hon. member for Wynberg did not get as far as furnishing us with a reply to that.
Nor will he.
In my opinion, therefore, he dare not pose as such a great expert We also heard this afternoon that the State should spend less and that we should thereby be combating inflation. The hon. members for Jeppe and Johannesburg North stated this point very forcefully. They request that the State should cut its expenditure and stated that in this way, we should drastically reduce inflation. This is one of the steps which we could supposedly take. I do not think that is entirely the whole truth.
It is not even a half truth.
Yes, it is a halftruth. I do not think it is correct to say that we should cut all expenditure, because if such a charge is levelled at the State then this also means that a charge is being levelled at the State corporations as well. I have Iscor in mind as an example. Iscor’s primary expenditure is aimed at establishing an infrastructure for South Africa. As such, I cannot see that it is inflationary. It is very easy simply to take figures and to say that by spending a certain amount, the State is acting in such a way as to encourage inflation. But after all, that is not the whole story. In recent times there have also been rumbling here in South Africa concerning the expenditure of State funds by our State corporations, and the state has been requested by implication to make a greater effort to stay out of the private sector only to invest in enterprises in which the private sector cannot or does not wish to invest. Iscor and other State corporations such as the IDC should also, then withdraw from the enterprises they are undertaking, if private bodies were to start investing in them. Let us, just for a moment, take a closer look at this in order to ascertain whether this is really so serious that we should expect of Iscor and the other corporations to take their hats and go. Firstly, I do not think we can expect the State to be totally uninvolved in these enterprises, since this would mean that if one private enterprise were to enter the field, the corporation would have to withdraw. While on the subject of the withdrawal of the corporations—this is not such a simple procedure either; in fact, it is extremely complicated because surely there are other partners involved in the matter too. In a private company, for example, in which the corporation does not have a majority share, the other shareholders and partners must agree to a transfer of the shares. Where shares can in fact be transferred, they can be transferred to still greater advantage only when a potential for profitability has been proved. Profitability is not something which can be proved in a day or a year. This is something which takes time. What is more, the corporation must also recover what it has invested in this regard. It cannot simply give it away. What is more, the good name of such a corporation as a business partner and as a partner of stability, too, is at stake. One cannot lightly take the decision simply to pack up and leave the other people in the lurch.
Because the corporations operate in fields where the profit potential is perhaps not so large, it is not fair to leave only those sections where the profitability is small and where the possibility of a loss is great, to the State corporations. One can ask who is to pocket the bill if the corporations are only to operate in the fields where profits cannot be made. It would be other hon. members and myself! I am therefore of the opinion that the State corporations are entitled to make a profit. In this regard one can ask what Iscor has to do with its by-products. It has to market and sell them at the highest possible price it can get for them! There are by-products such as nitrogen, oxygen, waste tinplate and waste tar products. If it is reconcilable with and forms part of its objectives to do so, then in my opinion, the corporation has the right to enter the market.
We also hear the change being levelled that Iscor exports steel whereas there is a shortage of steel in South Africa. When we look at the figures, we see that 599 000 tons of steel were exported. This sounds like an enormous amount, but when we put it in perspective, we see that Iscor manufactured more than 3 million tons of steel in 1974. The prices differ considerably, too, but this in itself is misleading, because, for example, we did not import precisely the same profile products as we exported. The products we imported were more sophisticated and refined. That is why they cost more. It was simply good business. Why should Iscor export? It is a fact that steel has not always been as scarce as it is at present. Iscor has developed markets overseas and elsewhere, and they have concluded long-term contracts which they now have to honour. What is more, they must try to retain the markets. There have been reports in the Press recently to the effect that the price of steel is dropping throughout the world, and it will only be in our own interests for us to try to retain the markets as long as possible.
The charge is also levelled at the Government that we are promoting so-called creeping Socialism. Let us consider what is the policy of the Government. The basic philosophy has often been stated here by members and it is that the national economy can best be served by the profit motive as embodied in the private sector. The policy of giving the private sector free rein to make profits in their own interests, as far as is possible and reconcilable with national or public interest, has never been watered down or amended. However, this implies that the State or the Government will always, in the public interest, itself retain the right to manufacture products of strategic importance. Steel is a strategic product, and the processing and manufacture of steel is important to any country. This, too, was the reason for the establishment of a corporation such as Iscor. Its objectives are very clear—let us take a brief look at them. Basically, they are the manufacture of steel from local raw material with a view to affording the private sector further opportunity to develop. It is its duty to provide this steel to the South African consumer at the lowest possible price. However, in order to operate in this field and realize these objectives, it is essential for Iscor to operate in a number of related fields and it is extremely difficult to eliminate overlapping in this regard. I want to mention only a few instances. There is the acquisition of basic raw materials such as coal, coke, iron ore, zinc, etc. Iscor must ensure basic services. What I say about Iscor applies to the other State corporations as well. Iscor has to ensure basic services for itself. It has to provide for its employees in regard to housing and, for example, in regard to shopping facilities as well. Iscor has also to protect its market. It has to acquire property on which it can carry out these projects it undertakes. Surely we cannot take it amiss of Iscor for obtaining it at the lowest possible prices.
I want to sum up by saying that the Government’s standpoint in this regard is very clear. We believe in a free capitalist system as far as our economy is concerned and this is only limited and confined by factors of public or national interest. It is in this field that Iscor and the other State corporation operate. [Time expired.]
The hon. member for Verwoerdburg said a great deal about inflation. I do not want to react to it. I just want to return for a moment to the hon. member for Bloemfontein North, who told us that we should fight inflation with slogans. It seems to me that an obvious one would be: “With inflation there is consternation on the station—vote Nat”!
†Mr. Chairman, I want to leave the matter at that. I want to discuss several matters concerning television with the hon. the Minister. I want to say at the outset that I find these matters rather disturbing. The whole television scene is at present clearly one of unnecessary confusion and, I am sad to say, also of bungling. Several Ministers and State departments are involved with the launching of television. The hon. the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications is involved in the technical sphere of the laying of cables and the setting up of installations and so forth. The hon. the Minister of National Education is concerned with programmes, broadcasting and general policy and, of course, the hon. the Minister of Finance is involved in relation to the financial aspect. However, we come now to the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs who is directly concerned with the cost of the most important aspect of television, viz. the cost per television set. If we want to know the real reason why we have to pay more for television in South Africa than anywhere else in the world, it is only this hon. Minister with his department who can give us an explanation and he must therefore accept full responsibility in this regard. I want to say that the manner in which the hon. the Minister with his department is conducting his affairs will ultimately affect the whole television scene. I am sad to say that, judging from his present performance, he hardly inspires confidence. Once the installations have been completed, the greatest cost factor to the State will be the expenses incurred by the hon. the Minister of National Education and the SABC. Here, however, we should remember one basic fact, viz. that whether the hon. the Minister of National Education is going to provide a service for 100 000 or 800 000 viewers, the cost to the State will be the same. The onus is therefore clearly on the shoulders of the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs to ensure that there will be the maximum number of viewers.
It is worthwhile noting that originally it was estimated that 800 000 sets would have been sold by the end of 1976. This estimate has now been reduced to 520 000 sets by the end of 1976. Unless one is prepared to accept that most newspaper correspondents are liars, the indications are that the target of 200 000 for 1975 will not be reached. In all fairness, we cannot at this stage blame factors such as poor and inferior quality programmes. The reasons are purely economic and financial. It was this Government that decided that it would be the best to create a controlled monopoly in South Africa for the manufacture of television sets, hence the concessions to only six companies. Having once created this monopoly—and any monopoly is a monster—there was a duty on the shoulders of the hon. the Minister to ensure that he created an efficient policeman to control this monopolistic monster. In order to control this monster, the hon. the Minister is forced to take certain steps. For instance, the hon. the Minister guarantees the manufacturers 15% profit over production costs. This means that whatever the production costs may be, the manufacturers are guaranteed a 15% profit.
I want to put this question to the hon. the Minister: What real incentive is there to manufacturers under the present conditions to keep production costs as low as possible? The hon. the Minister cannot tell us that it will be competition among the manufacturers. If it is his view that competition from within will keep these costs down, I want to ask him whether he is satisfied that there is no cartel or arrangement among the manufacturers in relation to the question of production costs. I for one find it extremely difficult to accept the fact that one can have six different manufacturers operating under different conditions and in different localities as far apart as Cape Town from Pietersburg and Durban from Johannesburg manufacturing an article which retails at R1 000, and that the production costs come to within R20 of each other. Furthermore, within three months we have had three increases amounting in the aggregate to 16% in respect of the price from the manufacturer to the retailer. I want to ask the hon. the Minister whether this in fact is the trend to be expected in future. The manufacturers have also formed a manufacturers’ association and I should like to know from the Minister whether he in fact recognizes this association of six companies. I should also like to ask the hon. the Minister to give us the real reason, whether economic or political, for having agreed to the importation of TV sets from Swaziland. Under normal circumstances one could have expected such a step to bring about greater competition with a resultant drop in price However, we must always remember that the conditions with which we are dealing here are such that we have a controlled monopoly and a guaranteed price to the manufacturers. Under these circumstances, those sets will retail at the same price as those manufactured locally. Prices will therefore not come down. In fact, what will happen under the conditions as they are now is that we will find that prices will rise. The six manufacturers here will find that their piece of cake is that much smaller and that their profits will be proportionately less. This means that production costs will increase. However, as I have already pointed out, this is not their concern. Whatever their production costs may be, they are guaranteed a profit of 15%. Obviously what will happen is that these increased costs will be passed on to the public which will create a vicious circle. Fewer sets will be sold, the estimated revenue through the medium of licence fees will fall short of expectations and the income from advertisements, when this does come into operation, will also drop. It is interesting to note that it was originally recommended that 10% of viewing time should be devoted to advertising. I know, of course, that this is not a matter which concerns the hon. the Minister, but it is interesting to note that we are not going to have any advertising for the first two years. The fact remains that if it is found later that there is only a limited number of viewers, then, of course, the revenue derived from advertising will also be that much lower. All in all, these factors must eventually lead to higher licence fees and a greater contribution by the State to pay for a service which under normal circumstances, if not profitable should at least be self-supporting. One can still excuse inexperience but downright incompetence cannot be condoned. A case in point is the regulations regarding rental and sale. When these regulations were issued they were found to be unworkable. There was a lapse of six months before they were re-issued. Therefore, the hon. the Minister must not blame us for accusing the Government of being responsible for unnecessary confusion; neither must he expect us to close our eyes when it comes to the downright bungling of a matter of such great importance as television.
*Mr. Chairman, in the minute or so I have left, I should like to ask the hon. the Minister whether he is giving any consideration to changing the film subsidy scheme, not so much the formula, but the conditions on which it is granted. In reply to question No. 141 I was told that subsidies had been paid to 106 films under the film subsidy scheme for the four years from 1970 to 1974. However, we find that 34 different manufacturing companies are involved in this. Everyone who is concerned with the film industry says that one of the major problems is precisely that there are so many companies, or so many groups of people who to some extent are merely fortune-hunters. The carrot which actually attracts them is really the subsidy scheme. In other words, the subsidies are too easily obtainable. This state of affairs is doing the film industry no good at all.
Now I want to come back to a question I asked earlier this year, question No. 140, which is also concerned with the subsidies. [Time expired.]
I want to address myself to the hon. the Minister. Before putting my question to the Minister, however, I want to state that I am proud to say that the Republic of South Africa is the country—and I think it counts among the first eight countries of the world— which renders the highest returns on investments from abroad. I think this is a tremendous achievement and something we should guard and try to maintain to the best of our ability.
Since the Second World War, South Africa has maintained one of the highest and most stable growth rates, in spite of the lack of skilled labour, and in spite of the lack of capital which it could generate itself through internal capital formation. This is indeed an achievement.
Since 1965, our country—I do not like making comparisons with other countries, for it is very easy to make comparisons— has had a constant influx of capital from abroad, except in 1973, when approximately R112 000 000 left the country. In 1974, on the other hand. South Africa had a capital influx of R740 million, of which R600 million came in through the private sector, and R140 million through the central Government and the banking industry. This is indeed proof—considering the uncertain and confusing conditions prevailing in the world and confirmed by the figures I have mentioned here—of the confidence which lies concealed under the cloak of political bluff, itimidation and threats. We are basically sound. This is a most important consideration. This brings me at once to the second phase in the argument. While this is the basis of confidence, what is the evaluation of the growth according to the pattern presently obtaining in South Africa? The pattern presently obtaining in South Africa is a pattern and an image of growth and vigour. If anyone who does not know what is going on were to open the newspapers or to switch on his radio and to read or to listen to everything, he would grow panic-stricken when confronted by a stream of threats expressed in empty-sounding words. In the midst of all this it is the task of the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs—he is performing that task and I want to commend him for it—to determine the priorities. We have a constant influx of capital and a basic, realistic proof of confidence in South Africa—we can put that proof beyond all doubt—and now we have to determine priorities. However, what is the situation at the moment? At the moment South Africa is engaged in a tremendous number of projects. I know of no country in the history of the world in which such a large semi-skilled and unskilled population has had to be supported, guided and trained by such a small skilled population, which has still had the courage and the daring to tackle so many projects as South Africa is engaged in at the moment. I just want to mention a few of the projects. We are engaged in projects at the moment which will cost us approximately R40 000 million over the next five to seven years. When I came to this Parliament, South Africa’s national income was only R100 million. Hon. members can see that I am not so very old yet, and therefore it cannot be so long ago that I came here. Within a few years the national income has increased to approximately R5 000 million. According to projections, the projects we are tackling will cost us approximately R40 000 million over the next five or six years. I think this amount of money testifies to courage and enterprise, but it would not have been possible in any country in the world, considering all our circumstances, if there had not been such fundamental, boundless, justified confidence in the political stability in our country. This lies at the root of everything. Show me a country in the world, all those countries which are so quick to threaten and to plead for boycotts. which is able to state, as I am able to state here this evening in respect of our country, that it has projects which have to be completed over the next five to seven years and which will cost R40 000 million. South Africa has never failed to pay its bills. When I say that, I refer to a country which is known in the world to fulfil its obligations and to pay its bills. This is our achievement; this is part of our prestige image. There is something I want to ask the hon. the Minister and I know that the hon. the Minister will do it, but I want to emphasize it and I want the House to hear it from the mouth of the hon. the Minister, who can speak more knowledgeably and more authoritatively on this subject than I can. Has the time not come for us to determine our priorities very carefully in respect of our expenditure and the obligations we have to enter into?
This has been the first part of my speech. I have only a few minutes left, which I want to devote to the second part of my speech. I want to talk about energy. I want to express just a few thoughts about this subject.
†I want to say that in the present climate of awareness of the environment and its pollution, the energy crisis is rapidly raising energy costs. I feel it is essential that the Government should turn its attention to the exploitation of the enormous potential of solar radiation and solar heating systems which have recently been developed in South Africa and which are currently available.
*I could proceed to give a whole scientific account and analysis of solar energy. I had intended to sing a hymn in praise of the sun here: It is our loveliest star, our nearest star and our brightest star. It is our brightest star and the sole source of our energy. I could sing a lovely hymn in praise of our sun. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, because my time is limited, I shall not react to the hon. member’s speech. In my opinion he made a good speech, but it also took the form of a smoke-screen, for he did not deal at all with the problems of inflation and its combating. The members of the Nationalist Party have proved again today that they have no solution for South Africa as far as curbing and combating of inflation is concerned.
†The “haves” are feeling the crunch and the “have-nots” at this point in time are desperate and have been dealt a knock-out blow by the latest round of price increases. In the 1974-’75 financial year Parliament made R130 million available to Iscor. The Government has undertaken to contribute R20 million per annum up to 1980-’81 towards increasing the share capital of Iscor. In the last financial year, as the hon. the Minister knows, Iscor showed a financial loss of R37 million. Iscor is dealing to a large extent with taxpayers’ money and, as such, there is a duty on Iscor to report in depth to Parliament. We can understand that there are certain questions which the hon. the Minister for strategic reasons cannot answer in relation to Iscor. However, I want to tell the hon. the Minister that at present members of Parliament are muzzled. Indeed, we cannot even get certain questions onto the Order Paper because we are told that Iscor is a statutory body. I should like to appeal to the hon. the Minister that he should move to change this system and allow us at least to place the questions on the Order Paper. Then he can tell us which parts of the questions he cannot answer for strategic reasons.
I have handed the hon. the Minister six questions in advance, questions I could not get onto the Order Paper. I should like to ask him to answer them fully in the debate. In the short time allocated to me, I cannot go into detail on the questions, but I should like to enumerate them very briefly. The first question relates to ore trucks required by Iscor. I want to know whether the order was put out to tender. The second question relates to Iscor operating the Sishen-Saldanha railway line and its staff position. The third question deals with the land requirements of Iscor. The fourth question relates to the expropriation by Iscor of property belonging to Dr. Erich Olivier. The fifth question is concerned with whether Iscor and the IDC are selling off shares in companies they control. The sixth and final question relates to the Saldanha Bay project and Iscor’s attitude towards St. Croix.
The hon. the Minister and the Government say that they would like to encourage private investment in South: Africa. I come from a city that has the infrastructure, the water, the labour, the electricity and the people with a will to work. Our complex has the potential to become a second Witwaters rand complex. In the event of Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape being allowed to develop to their maximum potential, it will help combat inflation as it will save the hundreds of millions of rand required to develop a new area. It will increase the productivity of the Eastern Cape area, which is undeveloped. Port Elizabeth, which is tile heart of this area, has the capacity for far greater development. For five years private enterprise has shown that it has the confidence to go ahead with a major scheme in the Port Elizabeth area. This act of confidence was the construction of the St. Croix scheme, of which the cost will now be approximately R70 million. If this scheme had received the green light some five years ago, we would already have earned something like R300 million in foreign earnings. During the course of this week I received a letter relating to this matter. If the contents of this letter are correct, then Iscor has sabotaged the St. Croix scheme. I am going to read from this letter—
I am told that exporters of ore are being offered inducements by Iscor to use Saldanha. I would like the hon. the Minister to confirm or deny these statements. If my information is correct, Iscor has sabotaged, railroaded and torpedoed the St. Croix scheme, and the Government has been a party to it. This is Socialism and nothing else and the hon. the Minister knows I am correct in what I am saying. Unless the hon. the Minister can assure us that St. Croix is being proceeded with, we are entitled to believe that the Government has deliberately stalled this scheme in order to give Iscor sufficient time to wreck the scheme and to get all the contracts so as to make their own scheme viable. The hon. the Minister must tell us categorically whether he is prepared to fight for the rights of private enterprise and whether he is prepared to ensure that the St. Croix scheme is proceeded with. Private enterprise throughout South Africa will be dealt a shattering blow if the hon. the Minister cannot give us that assurance and if he abandons St. Croix after all these years. [Interjections.] The hon. the Minister must tell me whether or not Iscor has come to a secret deal with Associated Manganese. It is no use the hon. the Minister shaking his head; he knows as well as I do that Iscor gained control of the Sishen-Saldanha railway line for one purpose only, namely to allow other people who want to export, a lower tariff over that particular line. By doing that they can offer them inducements no other exporter can. If St. Croix were to be developed at Port Elizabeth, there would be every possibility of the petrochemical industry, which will spend hundreds of millions of rand, coming there. There is also the possibility of a cement industry that wants to spend R30 million and there are numerous other industries.
What about the penguins?
I only have 10 minutes and I cannot reply to any interjections. There are numerous other industries that are prepared to come to Port Elizabeth to develop the area and it will assist us in combating inflation because we have the entire infrastructure for these industries to build upon. The Department of Community Development wants to undertake a major development in the South End area. The only fly in the ointment is the ore dust that comes from the harbour at the present time. The premier beaches of Port Elizabeth are also affected by this particular ore dust and the removal of the scheme to St. Croix would solve all our problems. I want to know from the Government how long they are still going to delay this particular scheme, because the longer they delay it the more inflation is affecting this particular scheme and the less revenue South Africa is getting in the process. I am told that if the St. Croix scheme is gone ahead with immediately, one will find that by 1978 we will have earned approximately R250 million in foreign exchange if we get the additional 8½ million tons of ore. The five-year delay, purely occasioned by the Government, has brought about a state of affairs where R70 million is available, but with certain safeguards. The hon. the Minister is in a most invidious position, because he wears several hats in this matter. The Minister has three babies: Iscor, private enterprise and the interests of South Africa. If the hon. the Minister were a judge in a court of law, he would have to recuse himself, but obviously the Minister has the responsibility and cannot recuse himself. He has to take the decisions. I want to tell the hon. the Minister, if he does not want to give us the assurance that the St. Croix scheme will be proceeded with, that if anything goes wrong with St. Croix it will mean that Iscor has torpedoed the scheme and that the Government is an accomplice in the matter. Iscor, and I sincerely wish them well, is the child that has been extremely well looked after. It has enormous influence in Government circles. Private enterprise, represented in this instance by St. Croix, is the stepchild of the establishment. I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister, who is new in his portfolio, not to stifle private enterprise, but to encourage and to assist them in promoting the interests of South Africa. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, the speech of the hon. member for Walmer was one of the dirtiest speeches I have ever heard in this House of Assembly.
Order! The hon. member must withdraw the word “dirtiest”.
I shall withdraw it, Sir. In any case, it was a deplorable speech. I do not think one could have harmed the image of South Africa more that did the hon. member for Walmer. The blood of Cillié is not even dry on the hands of that hon. member. I am referring now to what the hon. member did to the former member for Port Elizabeth Central. For that reason one can expect a speech such as this from that hon. member. When one listens to him, it sounds as if he may have some professional or other interest in the development of St. Croix. The hon. member should tell us whether he has any such interests.
Order! The hon. member must withdraw the allegation.
I have no interests there.
The hon. member says he has no interests there, and I accept his word.
On a point of order, Mr. Chairman. The question was put as an insinuation and I ask that the insinuation be withdrawn. …
I understood that the hon. member did in fact withdraw it.
I withdrew it, Mr. Chairman. Earlier during the budget debate the hon. member made the insinuation that Iscor is not being managed on a sound basis. This hon. member is the person who, during the second reading debate, asked that a select committee of Parliament be appointed to investigate the affairs of Iscor. They cannot allow free play. After what Iscor has meant to South Africa through all the years, of which the United Party reaped the fruit during the war years, that hon. member makes this insolent attack on Iscor, simply because the United Party is not the Government of this country. The hon. member objects to the fact that the State provides Iscor with capital.
That is nonsense. I did not say that.
That is what the hon. member said, because he wanted to know what interest the public would have in it, what protection they would have, and whether they would know what they were investing in. The hon. member made these accusations on strength of the loss which Iscor incurred last year. The hon. member, however, did not take the trouble to investigate the reasons in the annual report as to why Iscor incurred a loss during its previous financial year. [Interjections.] I am making my own speech and I do not need that hon. member’s assistance. If the hon. member would take the trouble to read the latest annual report of Iscor, he would obtain all the answers on the allegations he made in this House. We all know that Iscor spends enormous amounts of capital at Newcastle, Vanderbijlpark and other places. We all know that the projects which were undertaken there, are not yet productive and that we cannot expect them to show profits at this early stage. Surely, we all know that during the year 1974, when we had a high inflation rate, the production costs at Iscor were higher than in other years. That hon. member, however, did not take into account the fact that Iscor’s steel prices were only increased on 5 June of that year, in other words Iscor had to shoulder all those increased production costs. They only enjoyed the benefit of the increased steel price during the last three weeks of the financial year.
This is not relevant.
That hon. member would do well to make a study of the matter. I want to tell him and the Opposition on that side that Iscor has, through all these years, supplied steel to the consumer at a very low price. Iscor, in fact, subsidized the steel consumer over the years. I want to draw a comparison between the consumer price, the wholesale price of all manufactured South African products and Iscor’s prices over the years. As basis year I take 1955 with a price index of 100. In 1961 the consumer price was 113, the wholesale price 109 and the price of the Iscor product 103. In 1973 the consumer price was 180, the wholesale price 174 and that of the Iscor product 136. At that stage the gap was 44. During all those years Iscor subsidized the steel consumer and did not get its rightful price. If Iscor had received its rightful price for its products, it would not have had a shortage of capital today, but would have been able to provide in its own needs from its profits to a larger extent. The hon. member for Johannesburg North is also a person who always likes to refer to Iscor.
Mr. Chairman …
Sit down, I do not have the time! The hon. member for Johannesburg North is also one of the people who is forever making snide references to Iscor. That hon. member also referred to this and even his corporations, as major steel consumers, derived the largest benefit from this through the years. They were being subsidized by Iscor. Let us consider the situation as far as Iscor’s capital programme is concerned. R3 220 is required to execute its projects for the period 1970 to 1979, which are being undertaken at present. R230 million has already been provided. If the Government were to contribute R800 million during the next few years, which would then amount to R1 030 million, Iscor would have to supply R2 190 million itself. What more does the taxpayer want? If R3 200 million is to be spent as capital expenditure for extension during the years 1970 to 1979, Iscor will provide more than R2 000 million of this amount itself. What do those extensions entail? That extension entails a third steel factory at Newcastle, which will provide two million tons of ingot steel; this will result in doubling the production of the Vanderbijlpark works from two million tons to four million tons of ingot steel; this will mean a new heavy rolling mill at Pretoria works; this entails the Sishen/Saldanha ore export scheme; this will mean a new coalmine in the Ellisras area; this means the extension of Sishen and other mines and quarries. If we require that capital, we should let Iscor have this as soon as possible; we should go out of our way to provide this. However, could we expect to find the capital overseas if speeches are made such as those we had from the hon. member this afternoon? If we have to postpone these projects for a further five years, it will cost an additional R4 965, and this is nearly twice as much. There is another very important factor and figure I want to mention this afternoon. If Iscor cannot extend its capacity and its production remains constant at 3,5 million tons as estimated for the year 1974-’75, this will mean that 28,3 million tons of steel will have to be imported during the next ten years to provide in the need. On delivery here the 28,3 million tons of steel will cost R115 more per ton that it would have cost if we had produced it. This will mean that the consumer will have to pay an additional R3 254 million just for those 28,3 million tons of steel. In other words, this amount will be equivalent to all the extensions I mentioned here. If Iscor does not extend its capacity the outflow of capital will amount to almost R8 000 million. This is what it will amount to. I want to plead with the Government in all seriousness today. We know that our gold mining industry will not be able to earn foreign currency for us continually and therefore we should find the capital so that we can assist Iscor. I am pleading for this to be done, because it is in the interest of South Africa that we should become a steel exporting company. We know Iscor can do this. We know that the other private steel companies, to which reference is made so often, live off the country and take the best picking. They only manufacture certain products which are popular, i.e. the bread and butter lines, but Iscor has to manufacture all types of steel which the country requires, whether or not it is profitable. Therefore Iscor needs the protection of the Government.
Mr. Chairman, we had the astonishing phenomenon that the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark defended, with the greatest indignation, a matter in respect of which no attack had been made. What the hon. member for Walmer said, was that he made certain allegations against the basis on which the St. Croix case had been dealt with and against that which took place in connection with the development of the harbour at St. Croix as a result of the support the Government gave to Iscor. In his attack the hon. member for Vanderbijlpark used words such as “dirty”, “insolent” and so on.
“Snide”. Open your ears or wash them!
Order! The hon. member is not allowed to refer to what has been withdrawn.
On a point of order! Is the hon. member allowed to say that that hon. member should wash his ears? [Interjections.]
Order! The hon. member for Vanderbijlpark was ordered to withdraw the word “dirty”. He withdrew it and therefore the hon. member is not allowed to refer to it.
I shall not mention that word, but I just want to say that that hon. member is very poor mannered. The other words he used and did not withdraw, were the words “insolent”, “deplorable”, “insinuation” and “snide”; all these words were used in a personal attack on an hon. member who simply spoke on a difficult matter and made no personal attack on any member on that side of the House. If there was any deplorable conduct in this House, it came from that side.
†So far as St. Croix is concerned, we shall hear more of it in this House. The balance sheet has yet to be drawn up and if what we believe to be true is in fact proven to the satisfaction of this House, it will be the Government who will be embarrassed and not that hon. member.
I now want to come to a matter which is new to this House and has not been raised here before, but which, I venture to say, will become a matter of considerable interest to South Africa and to this House. I am referring to the question of a special kind of air transport which, I believe, has a major role to play in the future. Distance is in fact the hurdle which South Africa has to overcome in order to achieve greater exports. More than 80%, in other words four-fifths, of our exports are at present destined for markets which are over 5 000 miles away. Initially many of them travel long distances from the interior to ports which geographically are widely separated. There is very little flexibility in our communications system because this is the nature of the structure which we have inherited. The Reynders Commission gave much attention to the question of transport and called for an urgent reassessment of the whole position because of the very vital role which transport plays in the scheme of things. Our exporters have very little flexibility or freedom of choice in the forms of transport they may use for a number of reasons which are well known. In connection with our exports and imports, in other words with our balance of trade, we are faced with certain factors such as the rapidly rising cost of transport by sea, the rapidly rising cost of cooling facilities when perishable goods are shipped by sea, and the rapidly rising cost of the packaging and redistribution of goods which are exported abroad. Coupled with all this and in addition to the great increase in costs there is also the loss of time as one goes through all these procedures and as one runs into increasing congestion and so forth. There is the question, particularly in regard to the perishable market, of the export of foodstuffs which is becoming so important in our foreign trade. There is also a deterioration of quality which must be taken into account because of the difficulty of competing in markets in Europe which are highly competitive and demand products of a very high standard. What we obviously need, theoretically, is a form of transport which will eliminate these disabilities by rapid point-to-point transport at a ton per kilometre cost that is considerably lower than that of conventional aircraft; a transit time which is not greatly in excess of that of conventional aircraft; and a carrying capacity of some hundreds of tons at a time instead of the tens of tons carried by aircraft or the thousands of tons carried by ships. This is the ideal one would look for. It sounds like a dream, but it is available today; Potentially such a form of transport is already in existence and technically it is already possible. This is the subject I wish to speak about this evening.
Some 40 years ago there was the development of the airship, the Zeppelin. It operated with astonishing success considering the state of the technology in those years. The Graf Zeppelin, for example, crossed the Atlantic Ocean 147 times before it was eventually scrapped. In the case of other airships accidents occurred due to the fact that technology was being pushed too hard in relation to what it was able to do at that time. Since then many new things have happened. It has become possible for airships to be made buoyant by the use of helium, which is non-inflammable, instead of hydrogen. There are new synthetic fabrics which can be used in the place of the very heavy canvas coverings which were used in the old Zeppelins. There are also light alloys which can be used for the supporting structure instead of the heavy steel which was then necessary. There are lighter and far more powerful engines now available. There are far better direction finding, weather prediction, radar, communications systems, and so forth by means of which the flights of these big airships can be safely controlled. There are also new aerodynamic designs; airships need no longer be constructed in the form of giant cigars. For example, they can be constructed in aerodynamic shapes like aircraft wings, flying sauces or sand sharks in order to have more controllable flight characteristics. In fact, technology has already been developed to the point where an airship could be designed and built now for a specific purpose. According to one paper which I have received from a college of aeronautical research, an airship can be built having a 5 000 mile operational range and which could carry a payload of 300 tons at a cruising speed of 100 miles per hour. This means it could fly direct from a loading point anywhere in South Africa, from the apple farms in Elgin, for example, to a market such as Hamburg or Paris. Such a trip would take three days and the height at which the airship would be flying would eliminate any need for cooling. It could unload fresh produce directly at the market. This is technically feasible today. A craft of this nature could in fact be constructed for a cost not much in excess of R15 million. Its operating costs would be of the order of R3 million per year. There could hardly be a country in greater need of such a means of transport than South Africa, which has a great role to play in the export of comestibles, of perishable foods, to Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.
The cargo ship is no longer suitable for this kind of trade. It takes too long, there is too much congestion and too much time is lost in the assembling and breaking up of cargoes and in the redistribution of goods which have to be landed in the market in prime condition. The jet aircraft is available, but it is a highly expensive form of transport. It is only really suitable or economic for high-density, high-value cargoes such as exotic berries and so forth. There are a great many things, such as the Hanepoot grape, such as apples, pears, citrus, deciduous and sub-tropical fruits, vegetables and flowers, that could be taken direct to the markets of Europe if we had a suitable means of transport.
I say again: Such a means of transport does potentially exist. There are people, whom I visited in Europe, who are ready at this moment to start designing to the order of a customer such as South Africa. They are prepared to produce, with existing technology, a machine of this kind, or a number of them, to fly backwards and forwards between South Africa and Europe and to meet this very central sector of transport which is so much in demand. I believe it is now for the Government to decide whether it wishes to undertake such a project itself, or, alternatively, whether it will leave the way clear for private enterprise to undertake the project. It is certainly needed by South Africa. [Time expired.]
Mr. Chairman, we forgive the hon. member for his excitement at the beginning of his speech, and we appreciate the contents of the remainder, in which he gave us an interesting presentation. He discussed planning, the modernization and streamlining of our transportation industry. I just wanted to warn the hon. member that his party has run aground on this dream. The streamlining in their party has done them a great deal of harm. *
I should like to express a few ideas in regard to the well-known concept of inflation. I want to begin by pointing out that someone recently said to a friend of his in the street: “Man, I wish I could afford to live as I am in fact living.” There is a great deal implicit in this for us. This afternoon the emphasis was very frequently on the contribution of the State, as though this brought about an inflationistic tendency in our economy. It was also said that the considerable amounts which were being voted for major undertakings, inter alia our utility corporations, made a great contribution to the inflationistic tendencies in our country. I think we should shift the emphasis to the very important component of the individual. I could just mention in passing that we are experiencing great problems in regard to the parking of students’ vehicles on university campuses. These vehicles had a purchase price, there are maintenance costs involved, and then there is the fuel which is used to keep that vehicle on the road. These young people who use these vehicles are economically active people, but they are not economically productive people. Arising out of this, I should like to ask whether we cannot hold out the prospect that student courses will be planned in such a way that the individual students will also be able to make a contribution in respect of the economy. We are thinking for example of engineering students, who make their contribution. We are thinking of medical students, who do very important work in our hospitals in certain years of study. We think of the nurses who, while they are being trained, give up their holidays to work in hospitals. We are thinking of agricultural students who help us with research in certain respects. These are fields which are lying fallow, fields in which we could utilize these people. If we think of the “intervarsities”, the meetings and the merrymaking of our students, then we think of great spending and considerable expenditure.
Sir, I also want to refer to another component, the housewife. The discipline in our consumer mechanism rests with the family. Here I should like to express my appreciation for a task which is being performed by the S.A. Co-ordinating Consumer Council in providing our housewives with information. To our way of thinking the housewife remains one of the most important aspects, when we consider her service and her tasks. If we have planned discipline in the household expenditure of the housewife, then we are clamping down on inflation. It is she who very definitely exercises control over the spending of money by the children. It is she who very definitely has control over the useful spending of the family’s money to feed and clothe the family decently. I could almost say, too, that she has control over the spending of her husband’s money. She will tell him where he can buy a bargain, or where he will find a good suit of clothes at a fair price. Sir, it is those people that we should reach. If we do not do so, we can make speeches here until we are blue in the face, and will not be successful. Therefore we appreciate the planning which is aimed at distributing the information documents of the Consumer Council, and we want to advocate that these should really reach the housewife in the home. She remains the planner. She also remains the person who advises her servant, who in turn forms part of another family on another level. In this way these people, too, are influenced in regard to the spending of their money in order to subsist properly.
Mr. Chairman, the only comment I would like to make on the speech of the hon. member who has just sat down, is that it seems to me that the way in which he wishes to control inflation is that the mother should control the expenditure of children. The key to the Government’s fight against inflation appears in his mind to be the control of the expenditure of children, perhaps on sweets. It is quite childish, to say the least.
I would like to point out right at the outset that, since I last addressed the House, I took the opportunity of speaking to the hon. the Minister about the Trade Practices Bill. I still feel that this piece of legislation should in fact be dealt with during this session of Parliament. We in these benches are certainly prepared to cut time to the absolute minimum to see if we cannot perhaps get this piece of legislation through. I should like to appeal to the other opposition parties and to the Government to do the same, because I believe that this piece of legislation is essential.
Then, Sir, I should like to deal with the report of the Inflation Subcommittee of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. I should like to ask some pertinent questions relating to it. Firstly, what is the hon. the Minister’s attitude towards it? Will he implement it? Will he implement it purely by administrative means, or will there be legislation? What precisely is to be done as a result of this report? We must assume that there will in fact be some action in relation to it, but what we are concerned about is that there should be action and that there should not merely be words or pieces of paper passed around. I should like to raise again some of the points contained in this report. We talk about an information campaign and we talk about there being a publicity campaign. May I remind the hon. the Minister of the last pamphlet he sent out on inflation? This sort of thing does not in fact help. It was a white-washing job. It consists of inaccuracies and contains statements in which people are told that inflation is about to come to an end. In this way you are actually leading them up the garden path. That is not the sort of information campaign which should be conducted.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No. 23.
Progress reported and leave granted to sit again.
The House adjourned at