House of Assembly: Vol66 - WEDNESDAY 26 JANUARY 1977
Mr. SPEAKER announced that he had appointed the following members to constitute with himself the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders: The Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Labour, Sir De Villiers Graaff, Dr. P. S. van der Merwe, Mr. S. F. Kotzé, Mr. T. G. Hughes, Mr. J. D. du P. Basson, Mr. W. V. Raw, Mr. C. W. Eglin and Mr. D. M. Streicher.
Mr. Speaker, prior to the adjournment of this House last night I said that I was sorry for the hon. the Leader of the Opposition but that it was not possible for me to save him. From now on he will just have to try and save himself.
I notice that the hon. member for Houghton is not present at the moment.
She is in Soweto!
I mentioned last night that there were many female Bantu servants who were not treated well by their employers, especially in certain parts of our country. I also pointed out that I had personal experience of such cases. Complaints about this had been made to me in the past. When I was talking about this last night, the hon. member for Houghton said to me, “You talk a lot of rubbish!” I should like to read a letter here this afternoon with the leave of the hon. House. This letter was published only the other day, on 23 November 1976, in The Star. It was written by a Bantu woman and concerns the treatment she received from her female employer. In reading this letter hon. members may rest assured that this is the type of treatment which a servant has received from someone who is probably a supporter of the PRP.
The letter reads as follows—
I shall give this letter to that hon. member. He can reply to her. [Interjections.] Mr. Speaker, she continues—
Mr. Speaker, please note how well this Bantu woman behaved. She did not leave her employer just like that, but went to the trouble to find another one to work in her place. The letter continues—
Now hon. members must listen to this!—
[Interjections.] Oh, will you please keep quiet! Just give your mind a chance!
[Interjections.] If any of the hon. members doubt the bona fides of this letter, they can get the letter from me, obtain the address of the servant and write to her. It will even be possible to arrange an interview with her. What is more, the letter appeared in The Star, not in one of our Afrikaans-language newspapers, but in one of the papers which supports the Opposition. The Star gave this letter the following caption—
But that is discrimination.
I should like to put it to the hon. member for Houghton that I said yesterday that the experience which I had gained was not a lot of nonsense, but was based on facts. However, she has to have more regard to these things. To the hon. member for Mooi River I should like to say that the Afrikaner has always acted honestly in his politics, even if the hon. member does not understand him. The Afrikaner did not flee from Kenya; it was other people who fled.
Mr. Speaker, naturally I shall not reply to the speech of the hon. member for Stilfontein. Never before in the history of this Parliament has a motion of no confidence in the Government been more justified than it is this year. There is not the least doubt that South Africa is faced with the most serious crisis in its entire history as far as its existence is concerned. The chief elements in that crisis were stated clearly and fearlessly by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition in his no-confidence speech. The elements may be summarized in five points.
In the first instance a critical point has been reached in the internal relations between White and non-White. The occurrences since 16 June last year represent a massive rejection by the Black populations of our country of the Government’s policy and of the political, social and economic dispensation which has been created for them. The large number of people who have been killed, the thousands who have been wounded, the houses and other buildings which have been destroyed by fire, the large number of people who have been detained and the damage which amounts to millions of rands, all testify to the Blacks’ resistance to the existing order, to their lack of confidence in the Government of the country, which is their country too, and to their disbelief in the present system being able to satisfy their needs and aspirations adequately.
Mr. Speaker, every one of us who loves this country and who makes constructive co-operation among its population groups the first priority, rejects violence as a means of protest and as a means through which change can be effected, because nobody with any common sense can believe that better understanding and improved co-operation can be achieved across the dead bodies of people, from the ashes of buildings destroyed by fire or in front of the barrel of a gun. Indeed, every person killed or wounded, whether that person is Black or White, merely reinforces the bitterness, the distrust and the hatred …
Who are the inciters?
… and the Afrikaner himself knows this. As regards the exact contributary causes, the course and handling of the riots, we shall have to wait for the report of the Cillie Commission, but there need not be any doubt about the fundamental underlying causes which brought about the estrangement and alienation between White and non-White. If I have time, I shall deal with this matter later on in my speech.
One would be making a complete blunder and would be misjudging the occurrences over the past seven months if one were to see them simply, or even primarily, as an attempt on the part of communist agitators to incite revolution. I would readily accept that there were such agitators, as I do accept the evidence in this regard presented by the Minister of Justice to this House yesterday, but it would be extremely tragic if we were to try and explain away the bitterness and frustrations which exist amongst the non-Whites, by adopting the point of view, as is being done by some of our fellow countrymen, that the dissatisfaction and resistance amongst the non-Whites would not have existed were it not for communist agitation.
In one particular respect the occurrences of the past few months have probably ushered in a new era in our history. For the first time Black youths have taken the law into their own hands on a large scale, and asserted themselves, sometimes even to the extent of terrorizing and intimidating the adults in their own community. On the basis of my own observations it is clear to me that their general conduct, seen as a form of protest against and resistance to the White authority and the dispensation which has been created in South Africa for non-Whites, enjoyed large-scale support from the adults in their own community. Here I am referring specifically to the Black parents and other adults who are permanent residents in the urban areas, as well as to the reaction in the Coloured community. In their resistance the youths succeeded to a considerable extent in mobilizing at least the sympathy and the passive co-operation of the adult community. Even more illuminating is the fact that many of these youths intimated that they felt so embittered about the present set-up that they would even be prepared to die, and that they would no longer be intimidated by the fear of action on the part of the authorities. It is general knowledge that fairly large numbers—I do not know the exact numbers—have left the country, some of them with a view to furthering their studies and others with a view to undergoing military training. We ought to take due cognizance of the conduct of the Black youths in this regard, because if it were to happen that these youths were to become totally alienated from the system, this could cause nothing but the most serious problems for all of us on the road ahead. Furthermore, it would appear that the Black youths in our urban areas have become convinced to an increasing extent that the necessary changes will not be brought about by means of peace and reason, and that violent action consequently constituted the only alternative. In this connection they are prepared to accept support, wherever it may come from.
There is hardly any doubt as regards the feeling of mutual solidarity which exists between them and the Black peoples of Africa. Equally alarming is the degree of solidarity between the Black and Coloured youths which emerged during the riots. There is no doubt at all in my own mind that drastic improvements will have to be effected in our political and economic dispensation if we want to counteract effectively the negative possibilities of Black consciousness and of Black power. If these changes and improvements are not effected as soon as possible and in a planned fashion, the position of the moderate non-White leaders—fortunately there still are a considerable number of them at present—is going to be hopelessly undermined and we are running the risk of the leadership of the Black masses falling into the hands of reactionaries and revolutionaries. What I find absolutely amazing and inexplicable, is that the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development and his hon. Deputy Ministers—in particular those who deal with urban Bantu affairs and with Bantu education—were so completely out of touch with the feelings and frustrations of the urban Black population that they did nothing at all over the years to allay these frustrations and feelings of bitterness. If we bear in mind the fact that the hon. the Minister has been occupying this portfolio for more than ten years, then the occurrences which have taken place since June last year, must be seen as an absolute motion of no confidence in his handling of Bantu affairs. If I were in his position, I would have realized this and tendered my resignation. The fact that the hon. the Minister and his deputies were so unaware of what was happening amongst the Black urban population, or if they did know, were unwilling or unable to do anything about it, makes them, in my opinion, incompetent to remain in charge of these vitally important portfolios any longer.
It was an extremely unfortunate remark which the hon. the Deputy Minister of Bantu Education made, viz. that we as Whites provided the money for Bantu education and consequently had the right to prescribe what the medium of instruction should be. I hope that I am quoting the hon. the Deputy Minister correctly in substance. It was nothing but fuel on the fire in the particular circumstances which prevailed at the time. What is more, it testifies to a premiss, to an approach and to a mental attitude, an insensitivity which, in my opinion, make him unsuitable for the work which he is supposed to be doing. We expected the hon. the Minister and his hon. Deputy Ministers to be the vanguard in restoring peace and calm to the Black residential areas and in creating effective communication channels. We could have expected of him, of all people, to have been able to convince the Blacks that the Government had a plan and the intention to remove their legitimate grievances and to create a new dispensation, one which would take also their wishes and desires into account. It would obviously have been so much better if we had built up that attitude of mutual trust and co-operation over the years. However, the riots hit the hon. the Minister without his having any effective means of communication with the Black urban population. Nor did he have the means of bringing about calm and hope in the Black residential areas. We do not have to look far for the reason for this because it is to be found in the ideological pre-occupation of the hon. the Minister and some of his hon. colleagues in this House and outside, as well as in his continued refusal to accept the urban Blacks as permanent parts of the population structure outside the homelands. His vacillating between “permanent-temporary” and “temporary-permanent” also contributed towards this, as well as his approach that the Black man in the city finds himself in a so-called “secondary” capacity in that city, that the only claim of the urban to Bantu rights is to rights in the homelands and that only the homeland leaders have the right to speak on behalf of the urban Blacks.
It is in the implementation of that ideological prison that the Prime Minister too has never taken the trouble himself of developing a corps of responsible Black leaders outside the homelands and of remaining in touch with them. If there is one lesson which we have probably all learned from these riots, it is that the established Black urban population has shown very clearly that they do not regard the homeland leaders as being competent to speak on their behalf. What I have said in respect of the Bantu in the city, applies as much to the Coloured population. The only possible difference is that the present Minister of Coloured, Rehoboth and Nama Relations have been occupying that portfolio for a short time only.
Among the Coloured population, however, as is perfectly clear from the Erika Theron report, we have the same degree of bitterness and alienation and we also have the inability of successive Ministers, including the Prime Minister himself, to allay that bitterness and frustration.
The second element in this motion of no confidence, is that whereas the riots, evaluated at this moment, have had the effect of further polarizing the relationship between Whites and non-Whites—and no doubt can exist in this regard—they have also caused a large number of Whites to question the future of our country and the expected course of events. The occurrences since July—whether we like it or whether we agree with it is not relevant—have caused many Whites to ask themselves to an increasing extent whether they have to accept that violent racial conflict has now become unavoidable in South Africa and to what extent they and their children are going to be involved in it. You and I, Mr. Speaker, as we are sitting in this House, do not fall into that category of people. Our overriding loyalty towards our fatherland and the belief that accommodation and co-operation is possible between all our population groups and that these will be found, leave us no choice. However, it would be foolish to deny or underestimate the widespread anxiety and doubt which exists amongst a relative large section of our White population.
Now you are looking for your salvation in the ranks of the Progs.
They do not want to land in a situation of violence in which they may be obliged to take up arms against South Africans of a different colour and against their fellow man. They probably do not doubt that the Whites, at least for quite some time to come, will be able to hold their own here in the military sphere, to them the outlook is dismal, however, if the Whites have to rely on action of that kind in order to safeguard their position and future. All these months they have been waiting anxiously for the hon. the Prime Minister and the Government to bring them a message of hope, an assurance that the future will be one in which White and non-White together will be able to face the possible dangers which may threaten us from within and without. They have been hoping to get a plan from the hon. the Prime Minister, a new vision in terms of which it would have been possible for such tolerance and mutual loyalty to be realized. I am sorry to say, however, Mr. Speaker, that we and they got nothing. All we got was the New Year message of the Prime Minister in which he said that South Africa was being threatened, that South Africa was standing alone and that we must gird our loins to face the struggle.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition and other speakers on this side have already dealt in detail with the third aspect of this no-confidence debate, namely the desperate economic position in which the country finds itself as well as its implications for race relations. The potential explosiveness which will be created by large-scale unemployment will immediately be realized by any person with normal intelligence and insight. Already we find that young Blacks and Coloureds are crowding the streets in search of jobs.
Where are they crowding the streets?
If our tense racial situation gets unemployment and famine as allies, it can only strengthen the forces of isolation and revolution. Therefore it is obvious that if we want to start removing the legitimate grievances of our non-White groups and to create a better quality of living for all, we will need considerable amounts of money as well as an economy which is strong and dynamic. Furthermore, it is essential that we should at least open the doors within our economic system, so that everyone in our country is given the opportunity to make full use of his individual abilities. Therefore, in my opinion, it is urgently necessary to implement plans in this correction immediately, bringing in organized commerce and industry and other groups of employers. Therefore it is entirely inexplicable to me that neither the hon. the Minister of Labour, nor the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs, nor the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, nor the hon. the Minister of Coloured Affairs, has come up with positive suggestions in this connection.
Give us your plan.
The connection between our racial situation and foreign investment confidence has already been expounded by my hon. leader and therefore I need not go into the matter any further.
The fourth aspect, which has been growing even more evident than ever before in the past few months, is the increasing international isolation in which South Africa has been placed. The sobering fact, as the hon. the Prime Minister has indicated himself, is that even in the case of an armed attack against South Africa, it is practically certain that even our erstwhile Western friends will not aid us directly or openly. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for Bezuidenhout have sketched the full implications of this situation for us. What the hon. the Minister of the Interior said concerning the fact that our domestic policy has become an embarrassment to our Western friends, if I understood him correctly yesterday …
… is unfortunately only too true. However, I am amazed to hear so often from the ranks of the party on the opposite side words which imply that the situation of isolation is apparently something to be proud of and not something about which we have to be unduly concerned. Let me state very clearly and straightforwardly that there is no merit at all in isolation, whether we have chosen that isolation ourselves or whether it is forced upon us. The implications of such isolation are much too far-reaching and dangerous for us.
You prefer capitulation.
Obviously no responsible South African will ever argue that we should adapt or change our domestic policy merely to gain the favour of countries abroad, not even of other countries in the Western world. However, it would be highly irresponsible for us not to take serious note of the reasons why they will not associate themselves with South Africa. No one asks that we should go out of our way to satisfy the communist countries. But it is completely erroneous and misleading to allege or believe that all the Western powers are interested in, is to bring about Black domination in South Africa and in this way to endanger the survival and safety of the Whites. Our first consideration must always be to create a dispensation here by means of which co-operation and peace may be brought about and frustration and bitterness may be eliminated and by means of which human dignity will be recognized and respected, in terms which will be acceptable to the Western world as well. In other words, we must have a domestic dispensation which will eliminate the possibility of confrontation and conflict. Once we have this, I believe that we will be able to look forward to better understanding and co-operation in our foreign relations as well.
In conclusion I should like to dwell on the manner in which the riots were handled by the police. Let me begin by saying that we all have the greatest understanding for the difficult circumstances in which the police sometimes have to take action. Indeed, in the recent riots there were many cases where the police acted in a manner which was not only highly responsible, but also extremely human. There were cases in which their actions served to defuse potentially dangerous situations. It is also obvious that in times of tension and where serious situations arise in which the police have to deal with a hostile and disorderly populace, when lives and property are threatened and the police themselves are in danger of their lives, it cannot be expected that it will be possible to avoid loss of life entirely. But having said all this, I should be neglecting my duty if I neglected to say that many of us in the Cape Peninsula have serious misgivings about the manner in which the riot police conducted themselves here in the city centre.
That is a scandalous remark.
… and also in certain cases in the Coloured and Bantu townships. I can say quite honesty that to the best of my information and insight, their conduct in those case caused a great deal of bitterness in the Coloured community and among the settled Black population. I am referring, inter alia, to the action taken by the police against children in school grounds. In this connection I want to point in particular to the riots which arose during the Christmas season between the settled Black population and and the contract labourers in Nyanga and Guguletu. The fact that so many people lost their lives, that a whole number of people were wounded, that houses were burned down and that people were left homeless and lost all their possessions, simply serves to emphasize the fact that the authorities failed in their duty and responsibility to maintain law and order in those townships.
Did you give evidence before the commission?
The hon. the Minister is aware of the fact that some of the settled Black residents of the townships are convinced that the riot police, or some of them, some individuals, incited the contract labourers and that the police stood by and did not intervene to avoid the contract labourers from taking action against the lives and property of others. I am not in a position to confirm these accusations straight away, but what is important …
Then surely you are gossiping.
… is not only whether the allegations are true, but that there are large numbers of people who believe that they are true. This is the point.
Therefore I say it is highly desirable and necessary for steps to be taken to prove the correctness or otherwise of these allegations. It is in the light of this that I have asked for the appointment of a judicial commission of inquiry in order to investigate these particular occurrences. On this occasion I want to repeat this request to the Government. It is clear that there were special circumstances here which justify special enquiry. The fact that the Cillié Commission was not able to come to Cape Town during those riots or immediately afterwards in order to investigate matters locally supports my conviction that a commission of inquiry is essential. The police have an extremely difficult task under normal circumstances because they are expected to enforce legislation and regulations which are unacceptable and irritating to a large section of our urban Black population. This fact alone has brought about a great deal of alienation between the police and a considerable portion of our non-White population, and we shall have to make a special attempt to eliminate that mistrust and create better relations.
In conclusion I want to make just two remarks. Often in history revolutions have become unavoidable because the rulers did too little too late in order to allay the bitterness amongst their subjects and to meet their aspirations. I trust that we will have the wisdom to prevent a similar tragedy in South Africa.
May I ask you a question?
I am afraid not; I am at the end of my speech. The whole population, White and non-White, expects Parliament to give guidance and to create a new vision for South Africa and its people. The conduct so far, I must admit quite honestly, of the first three senior Ministers who participated on the Government side and who occupied themselves with petty party-political games, has been completely out of place in the times in which we are living. I sincerely hope that the hon. the Prime Minister, in the unique position which he holds, will indeed give us, our country and his people a message of hope and good expectations which will create a new vision of mutual trust and co-operation.
Mr. Speaker, I think that in listening to the hon. member’s speech this afternoon, we were forced to witness a pathetic spectacle. The speech amounted to nothing more than an attempt, reinforced by a batch of unproven stories, which he himself admitted to be unverifiable, to qualify for admission to the PRP. That is what the speech consisted of. I and many other hon. members on this side had thought that, as a result of his credors and all his about-faces and political somersaults the hon. member had long since qualified for membership of that party. But it seems to me that some doubt still exists in that party as to whether they do, in fact, want him. I think it is pathetic that the hon. member should have delivered such a speech in this House.
I just want to react to a few points, aspects which relate more specifically to my work. Afterwards I shall return to the splinter parties on the opposite side. I want to say to the hon. member that when, referring to the recent riots, he speaks of resistance among the Black people as a whole aimed at what he terms the existing order in South Africa, he has, in my opinion, committed a grave injustice, especially against the general Black masses of South Africa. Yesterday the hon. Minister of Justice himself gave evidence here on the basis of sound information that only a small gang of people had been involved in the riots. The hon. member, however, alleged that the Black masses as a whole had identified themselves with the riots. That indicates to what extend the hon. member is out of touch with responsible circles in the Black masses. I have been in frequent contact with them over the years, and during the past six or seven months as well; I have been in contact with the leaders’ corps of the Black masses. They are responsible people, and there are many of them. All their organizations are just as shocked by the goings-on, inflamed by agitators and other elements, as we as Whites are, or at least as some of we Whites are. I think it is pathetic of the hon. member to do such a thing and then on top of it, in the same breath, so to speak, to exonerate agitators—communist agitators as he himself terms them— completely from the incitement which took place. Yesterday, in this Chamber, he beheld weapons and other instruments or murder, objects displayed by the hon. the Minister of Justice. And then the hon. member still maintains that it was not attributable to agitation but to the resistance of the Black masses as a whole. In my opinion, anyone who speaks this way, is an irresponsible person, one who does not qualify to occupy a seat in this the highest Council Chamber. [Interjections.]
You should have resigned long ago!
Mr. Speaker, …
In a similar manner the hon. member attempts …
Mr. Speaker, I hope you will give that hon. loudspeaker on the opposite side a chance to speak but please, not at the same time as me. [Interjections.] The hon. member for Edenvale lays all the irresponsibilities and the uprisings at the door of the schoolchildren. I can say that the schoolchildren were to a great extent the victims of intimidating agitators. That is how things were. The hon. member will still see this. We will receive, at a later stage the reports of a proper judicial commission of inquiry. Then we shall have at our disposal an objective report on the matter. For that hon. member to say that I and my deputies and departments are out of touch with the Black people, that we are unwilling to help from leaders’ corps among them, is utter nonsense and proof of the hon. member’s absolute ignorance. He is supposed to be an authority on the Bantu and therefore ought to know about these things. He ought to know that many different bodies—I am not referring to the homelands now—have been established among the Black people, bodies through which they can fulfil their aspirations.
A few months ago, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition came forward in South Africa with his slogan: “Save South Africa!” According to him a “Save South Africa” campaign had to be launched, and he consequently embarked upon it at once. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition said that a broader and effective Opposition had to emerge and even offered to remove himself from the scene in order to assist in the formation of that broad, effective Opposition. Yesterday we witnessed here the pitiable joke of the hon. member for Durban Point who actually boasted of that offer of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition to remove himself from the scene so that a broad, effective Opposition might emerge.
Mr. Speaker, in that way, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition succeeded only in demonstrating that the implications of his admission were twofold, viz. that his party—as it had existed until recently—would be in the future what it had been and still was, a totally ineffective Opposition in South Africa, and that he considered himself to be incompetent Leader of the Opposition. That is what he admitted. All that I can say about it, is that we have known it for a long time. In fact we have always been secretly thankful for it. But South Africa deserves a better Opposition and a better Opposition Leader and it is a pity that up to now she has not had one. South Africa has a good Government and has a good Government leader. That is the fortunate aspect of the matter. [Interjections.]
The energy expended on the “Save South Africa” campaign was, in actual fact, directed more towards a “Save the UP” campaign, a “Save Graaff” campaign. It was a more personal matter. But what has happened now? Those hon. members have put their heads together. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, the hon. leader of the PRP and Mr. Theo Gerdener have, as leaders, put their heads together. I think we can indeed refer to them as “the three front-line leaders” of South Africa. [Interjections.] They discovered, however, that there were more than three “front-line leaders”, so they then acquired a fourth. They acquired ex-Judge Kowie Marais to go and work out matters for them. The result is the so-called 14 points.
Let us now determine what the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has in the meantime achieved with his campaign. Firstly, he himself condemned the UP as being too ineffective to engineer any salvation for South Africa; that is to say, if South Africa in fact needs salvation. In the second place, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition caused his own party to split. He has once again caused a rift in his party. This is the third time that something like this has happened. I am not talking about individuals who have left his party in the past. What we are dealing with here is the third split in the UP and it is obviously not the last. Earlier today we heard that five members of the Provincial Council had left the Leader of the Opposition and had joined the group of the hon. member for Newton Park. This is certainly not the end of the story. We shall have to watch the rift widen. All these things have happened to the UP, and yet the hon. the Leader of the Opposition spoke of the short-sightedness of the hon. member for Sea Point. Although all these things have taken place, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition declares that it does not discourage him in the slightest. He says: “I intend to press on”. He is carrying on with his task and he says he shall do so with “vigour and resolution”. Just listen now to whom it is he allows to support him—
It is no use getting jealous about it.
Although it is not such a very large heart which supports him so “whole-heartedly”, it is at least a whole heart.
He was a colleague of yours.
Yes, “was”. The Opposition is welcome to him. It is very clear that the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has now found himself in a “swop shop”. What did he get in that “swop shop”? He got Mr. Gerdener in the place of Mr. Boet van den Heever, but he had to give away five other members into the bargain to be able to get that one. And there is more: Today he lost five members of the Provincial Council as well, and that is still not the end of it. He will have to forfeit even more.
In the third place, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has divided the Opposition which he wanted to strengthen against the Government, so that now there are already three groups and little hope remains for their unity. Where is that supposed unity which he strove after now? In the fourth place he has advanced the cause of the PRP tremendously. So far nothing has happened to them. In fact, they sit with hearts aflutter from expectation, their eyes fixed on the people who will still join them. [Interjections.] They expect Mr. Basson to come to them and I can tell them that he probably will join them; and he, in his turn, is only waiting for enough followers to support him. That is all.
You have been saying that for 10 years now and it has not happened yet.
In the fifth place, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has not had success whatsoever in his attempts to jolt or sway the Government and the NP. He has not succeeded in that at all. [Interjections.] The hon. members may feel free to leave the House if they do not feel like listening to me; but they must leave me alone. I say that the Leader of the Opposition has not jolted or swayed us in the slightest. The Government continues to deal with everything unflinchingly and with insight and our leader, the hon. the Prime Minister, displays his international stature as the adviser of world leaders. That is the position of the Government compared with that of the Opposition. Those are the errors of judgment of the Leader of the Opposition, a man who wants to “save” South Africa. He wants to do that but he cannot even save his party or himself. He and his party look a sorry sight. They have indeed abdicated or capitulated; he did so personally, firstly by abandoning his party in that way and secondly by rendering South Africa a disservice as Leader of the Opposition, because an Opposition ought to be effective. An Opposition ought to know the path it is treading and to keep its destination in view, but the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is completely lost. And then we have to listen to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition saying, as he said here the other day, that his party has never failed to serve South Africa as an Opposition. I tell you, Sir, that they have failed miserably. And that is the salvation that he offers South Africa.
But, Sir, if South Africa must now be saved, how does one save it and by what means does one save it? Let us now consider how and by what means the Leader of the Opposition wants to “save” South Africa. We have already seen how he failed in his attempts. With who else is he now associating himself? First and foremost, he is associating himself with the Progressive Reformist members. They will either act as co-workers or there will be a new party. They are now arguing with one another about whether there should be a new party or an amalgamation or whatever. This association with the Progressive Reform Party now causes many questions to emerge. I ask in the first place: Do they agree on matters of cardinal importance? All sorts of issues are referred to in their 14 points, and I shall come back to this shortly. However, we have already read how the United Party makes right-wing statements in connection with these 14 points whilst the PRP makes left-wing statements about them. They cannot even agree on that score. They cannot even reach a consensus on the interpretation of the concept “plural society”, as is the case with so many other things about which we probably do not yet know. Then there are the so-called principles of the PRP. Does the United Party agree with all those principles? The PRP tells us that their principles are beyond reproach. I now come to the question of leadership of this new grouping. Are they going to agree about that? Can the Leader of the Opposition tell me whether he is going to accept the hon. member for Sea Point if he is elected leader of this new formation which they want to establish as the Opposition? If the hon. member for Bezuidenhout were to be chosen as leader—and I know he is itching to be chosen—will they accept him? Sir, they say nothing; they do not hear me. I know what is going to happen. There is going to be such squabbling among themselves over the leadership as we have never seen in a political grouping before. But, Sir, who are their friends?
Tell us about your portfolio.
Sir, the hon. member can feel free to have the pip there where she is sitting; I do not mind. I shall answer the hon. member in my way and she will hear everything. Why did the hon. member over there not tell us a little about this when she spoke yesterday? Who are the colleagues now?
Are you going to talk about Bantu affairs at all this afternoon?
The hon. member will hear it all, if he will just wait. [Interjections.] I ask again: Who are the friends of these people? I read in the newspaper recently that one of the groups with which they are making friends is Inkatha-KwaZulu. We know that Mr. Ray Swart is concluding agreements with them. But that is not all, Sir. A few weeks ago the leader of Inkatha-KwaZulu, Chief Buthelezi, extended an invitation to the PRP, the UP and everyone who wants to follow him, to join and go along with his Inkatha-KwaZulu to form what he calls a “shadow government” with him. As the newspaper report reads—
They were to join him in what he had called a “shadow multi-racial body which would be a foretaste of things to come”. What was the reaction to this? The hon. member for Sea Point nearly lost his breath in the rush to be the first to say: “Yes, I am prepared to accept such a conglomeration in Inkatha-KwaZulu. ” I now ask the hon. the Leader of the Opposition: Does he agree? I ask the hon. member for Umhlatuzana: Does he agree? He is the one who made so many objections in this House a few years ago to the antics of the hon. member for Yeoville concerning the Mahlabatini fracas which had taken place. I want to ask the hon. member for Durban Point if he is going to join the Inkatha movement. The hon. member cannot speak because he has lockjaw. The leader of the Inkatha movement said—
Does the hon. Leader of the Opposition agree with that “dictum”? The hon. member for Durban North said a few months ago in Durban that the time has come to use extra-political structures to bring the Government to a fall, and I now want to know if the United Party agrees with that. However, they remain as silent as the grave. [Interjections.] Those hon. members can discuss this later and give us an answer in this regard. We can spend a whole day discussing the 14 principles, but I do not want to go into this any further, because I should like to deal with more positive aspects … [Interjections.] Yes, I realize that all of them, from the hon. young member for Rondebosch to the oldest hon. member opposite, are only too grateful if I leave the 14 points alone. I should like to have an opportunity to discuss these 14 points later on and I hope that my colleagues on this side of the House will also do so. From first to last those 14 points are vague on fundamental matters and I can mention many examples of this. There are anachronisms on related matters, ambiguities and contradictions on concrete matters, while it remains silent as the grave on many important matters. Consider for example the “Bill of Rights” which we hear about there, their constitutions, the consultation of population groups, etc. On these matters they remain as silent as a sealed grave. Those 14 points include quite a few idealistic matters, but—I should like to dwell on these for a while— they also contain some very dangerous elements with regard to very cardinal issues for South Africa. In point No. 4, for example, mention is made of sharing of political rights which South Africa ought to have. It passes smoothly over the manner in which this sharing should take place, whether there are safeguards, whether there are electoral qualifications, whether there is formal representation, and whether there are all kinds of political checks and balances. Nothing whatsoever is said about these very practical matters. That is why I maintain that those 14 principles are dangerous and are becoming more dangerous because they are in the hands of dangerous people. They are unrealistic and extremely unacceptable to South Africa.
If South Africa does need to be saved, the NP has been working on this concept for many years. The greatest rescue operation ever performed in South Africa was performed by the National Party Government when it recognized the Bantu to be a diversity of peoples and did not treat them as one great mass of people, as the hon. Leader of Opposition is advocating by implication. We recognized each nation, and helped it on its way to its own destination. We did not allow them to be swallowed up by other nations. Thus we help each one of them, each in its own sphere of national life, whether this concerns agriculture, education, their natural resources, their infrastructure, their health, economic development, or whatever it may be. We assisted them, in every aspect of national life, and last but not least] we helped them with their own constitutional development to expand their own Governments and their own administrations, to such an extent that the Transkei has already become an independent country and Bophuthatswana is rapidly on its way to becoming one. This is the rescue operation, not of individuals, but the rescue operation with which the National Party is helping the peoples of South Africa to come into their own. Yes, the hon. member for Johannesburg North is shaking his head about this because these are things for which he does not care a jot; the position of the peoples of South Africa does not matter to him. He has a home to which he can flee if he has to. We also have our future programmes for the other Bantu peoples. Legislation will be introduced during the present session of Parliament to enable other peoples to accept internal independence and autonomy, if that is what they want, even before they accept international independence.
Mr. Speaker, in this way the National Party and its policy in terms of which it recognizes the separate peoples, in that way respects the desire for self-realization of each of these national groups so that our Bantu people are entities on their own today, people with self-respect, with their own voices and aspirations, their own homelands and their own inalienable spiritual and material assets. With this we comply absolutely with the constitutional emancipation, the constitutional devolution, which is so popular in these modern times that we even find it in Britain, where Scotland and Wales are being allowed to apply devolution so that they can form their own Governments. That is what causes such a creature without context as the hon. member for Johannesburg North to roar with laughter.
This motion of the Leader of the Opposition is an absurdity, especially when gauged in terms of the political situation in which he finds himself. We will take these affairs of the Bantu peoples still further until, as we have said so often, we will before long achieve an association of peoples, White as well as Bantu, which will be associated with one another here as States, countries and even independent nations, on the basis of their interdependence as externally or internally autonomous countries, a great constellation of peoples with each of these peoples in their own orbit. In this, as we have said so often, there will be the most comprehensive consultation and contact with one another without a central legislative authority over all, for that would restrict the right of self-determination of the Bantu and White people. In terms of the same principle of national unity, we shall also keep the ties of the exiles, the diasporas of the various Bantu peoples in the White areas of South Africa, with their own homelands and with their own Governments and with their own people alive. We have already done this to such an extent that already they have drawn members of their Cabinets and Chief Ministers from the White areas, according to their own political set-up, in the process of awareness which is situated around their own homelands and within their own homelands. According to this same principle of national unity which is being realized with regard to the Bantu, we have already succeeded in establishing organizations of their own for Bantu communities in White South Africa and in developing those organizations into stronger unities, notwithstanding the ravings of the hon. member for Edenvale here this afternoon. We shall also, during the present session of Parliament—that is what I hope and intend to do—introduce legislation to create even further possibilities for the development of these bodies of the Bantu in the White areas to enable them to conduct all their affairs in their communities themselves, within the framework of our policy of course. [Interjections.]
Are those members on the other side of the House so childish as to believe that we shall work within the framework of their policy? That is sheer childishness! People like that should not be sitting here. As the hon. Prime Minister said yesterday, that is indeed “stupid”. We shall do it within the cadre of our policy. [Interjections.] Yes, of course. Even if it upsets the now sleeping hon. member for Edenvale, I must say this: It will happen here within White South Africa where the Bantu are secondary to the Whites, as the Whites are secondary to the Blacks in the homelands. The hon. members will have to accept this. That former reverend from Pinelands will just have to accept it. He must realize that if he wants to argue with us, he cannot expect us to accept his liberal political standpoints. All these things are happening here in South Africa, as I say, in an evolutionary way, because we are not a static party or Government. These innovations are also taking place in regard to obsolete processes or methods. Some people call this discrimination. Perhaps some of the things were in fact discrimination in the past, but what we do, we also do on the basis of principles, because we have to deal with a large heterogeneous mass of people. This dynamic, in other words the elimination of these obsolete, possibly irritating measures, we are realizing with the following principles as basis: That law and order between groups and people be maintained throughout, that friction be eliminated and prevented, that the identity of peoples and groups be respected and preserved, that unnecessary discriminatory or irritating measures based solely on colour be condemned and that it is essential to make specific services available to specified groups of people. Finally, I want to mention the very important principle that there must be no sharing of political power among the various groups of the various peoples within one government. This Government functions according to this principle and this Government has—as other members have already mentioned—brought about great changes, changes which could always be explained in terms of our ethnic policy. However, that does not count with the members opposite, because the changes which so many people in South Africa advocate, are changes based on integration or changes which reveal Marxist tendencies, and this is not the way in which we see matters. South Africa, however, will throughout and permanently be saved by a National Party in power, and the present period in the dispensation of our Government will increasingly be regarded—as I predicted five years ago—as the dynamic third decade of the National Party.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Minister who has just resumed his seat normally speaks in quite a reasoned tone of voice … [Interjections.] … but today he suddensly found himself shouting throughout the whole half-hour he had at his disposal, and one had the feeling that here was a man who had something on his conscience which he did not really want to have come before the House. What he did was to devote two-thirds of his speech to attacking the 14 points presented by the former judge, Mr. Justice Marais, and also to attacking the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.
I like the way it was delivered.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition can look after himself. He does not need me to defend him. [Interjections.] I think, however, that there has never been a more disgraceful performance by a man who is, in point of fact, responsible for a large amount of the trouble that existed in South Africa in 1976 and who, in the whole of his speech, did not once refer to the troubles that have occurred in South Africa, pretending that they never happened.
Order! The word “disgraceful” has been used in this debate on quite a few occasions and I have allowed it; so I am not going to ask the hon. member to withdraw it. However, I appeal to hon. members to refrain from using the expression.
Very well. I will then say that he spoke without grace and filled me with disgust. There is something I do not understand about the hon. the Minister. He is the man who is responsible for all the trouble. He is the man who only acted under pressure when it came to problems about the language medium.
When the trouble occurred, he sat trembling in his office in Pretoria and left everything in the hands of the Minister of Justice. He is the man who has to put matters right, but he sits trembling in his office and does not say a word. After everything was over, he said there had been a misunderstanding about the whole matter. What the hon. the Minister does not understand is that when he makes concessions afterwards, when he makes them under pressure, he demonstrates his weakness and his inability to deal with the situation. He should have told us why he did not deal with the leasehold situation and the position of the businessman earlier. He should have told us all of these things. But no, he acts under pressure and that shows what his weakness is. He is the Minister who had the audacity to get up in this House and say that if the Blacks would give up their citizenship and their birthright, they were likely to get better hospital treatment. Does he remember saying that? He said it not once, but twice. Those are the sort of things that hon. Minister says and he is the man who, more than anyone else, is responsible for the unrest that has occurred in South Africa during the last year. If the hon. the Prime Minister wants to do South Africa a service, he will throw that man out of his Cabinet and do it as soon as possible, because that hon. Minister is a danger to race relations in South Africa. Therefore, the sooner he goes, the better it will be.
Why did he not tell us about his discussions with Chief Minister Mangope, whose attitude on the question of land is apparently now resulting in threats of war against South Africa? Is that true?
Well, Sir, in an article which appeared in The Citizen, a newspaper upon which I make no comment, it says—
This article appeared on 25 January 1977. The Chief Minister was further reported as saying:
Is that untrue?
He never said a word to me about that.
In that case either he is not telling the truth or The Citizen, Mr. Louis Luyt’s paper, seems to get its facts somewhat confused.
And Die Burger.
Die Burger apparently also got it wrong. I think that if the hon. the Minister, who is concerned with this matter specifically, wants to do his duty—he presumably reads Die Burger—he should have got up today and said: “This is untrue; there is no threat of war.” I think a threat of war is serious for South Africa.
Let me say why I find this debate so remarkable. We first had a trio of Ministers who put on a song-and-dance act for us. They were followed by this Minister and all had apparently decided to distract attention from the facts. We find ourselves in the situation that there is a motion of no confidence to which, no doubt, there will be moved some amending motion of confidence in the Government, in some form or another, when the hon. the Prime Minister gets up …
Are you going to retire or vote?
I shall vote; I shall be here to vote for a long, long time. I shall be here to vote long after that hon. Minister has gone. We are going to be asked to vote to give our confidence to this Government. Confidence is given on the basis of past achievement and what you are going to do in the future. So far we have not heard much from the Government benches, but what are their achievements in 1976? They led us into Angola and they led us out again, as a result of which they brought our foreign relations into a state of disaster. We have experienced a situation where the economy of the country deteriorated more rapidly during 1976 than it has for decades before that. We had a situation of unrest in South Africa, but hon. members opposite do not explain any of these things. They will get up and ask proudly for confidence in themselves. Is this not the height of cynicism?
Then, with respect, I should like to address myself to the hon. the Prime Minister. I took the trouble, together with many other South Africans, to watch the hon. the Prime Minister on New Year’s eve and to listen to him. I was full of expectancy as to what I was going to hear, and felt that now we would be told how we would be led out of the morass in which we were. Here would be the leader who would tell us where we were going. What did we see? We saw a dour pessimist, a man who in fact came to tell us how bad things were, and that we found ourselves in a position of isolation in this world. That is the message which we got from the hon. the Prime Minister on that night. Isolated we stand. The question that I want to put to the hon. the Prime Minister today is: Does he, in addition to wanting to be isolated in the world, want to be isolated in South Africa? I speak to him as an Opposition member of Parliament, as a man who is in the Opposition, and who knows how Opposition voters are thinking. In South Africa we who represent Opposition people, represent about 40% of the White population. [Interjections.] If you challenge it we can have an election and we shall see. If hon. members cannot count, that is not my problem. We make our contribution to South Africa.
We pay our share of the taxes. We make our contribution to industry, to finance, to commerce, to farming, you name it. Opposition people make their contribution. Opposition voters and their sons serve in the forces the same as anyone else. We believe that we make as big a contribution to South Africa as anyone else. We do not pretend that we make a bigger contribution, but we take second place to no one. In so far as South Africa is concerned, there are two things I want to point out. The first is that we do not know where we are being led. We are not told where we are going to end up. The second is that we are allowed to play no part in the shaping of our own destiny. The truth is that we find ourselves in a situation in South Africa where today thousands and thousands of opposition voters are asking where in fact South Africa is going. Is it going to be a war that is going to last for ever? Are our soldiers in fact expected, indefinitely, for the rest of their adult lives, to fight? What is the end of the road? The hon. the Prime Minister, neither in his New Year broadcast nor on any occasion, has been able to set out for us where South Africa will be in five years’ time and thereafter. We are entitled to know. The South African Opposition voters, and I think very many people who support the Government, have been waiting with expectancy for the opening of this Parliament and this debate so that they can be told where South Africa is going. So far not one of the hon. the Prime Minister’s members of the Cabinet has given the slightest indication as to where in fact we are going. That is what we expect, and we hope that when the hon. the Prime Minister speaks on Friday he will give us an indication as to where in fact we are going.
I cannot vouch for you, because I never know where you will go.
The hon. the Prime Minister need not worry about where I will go. I will be around here to watch him, Sir.
We talk about change in South Africa. The issue in South Africa is no longer whether there will be change or not; that is an accepted fact. The issue with which we are faced is whether the hon. the Prime Minister will give the lead in South Africa to make sure that there will be peaceful change and that there will not be violent change. The issue is solely one of whether the change will be peaceful or whether it will be violent. The hon. the Prime Minister has the key to that. That is what South Africa is waiting to hear. We Opposition voters, who see ourselves as people who have a stake in South Africa, who are here and want to remain here as a part of South Africa, find ourselves in a position as if we were in an omnibus. We are obliged to pay for the ticket. We are obliged to get into the bus. We are obliged to take those who are dear to us in with us. We are obliged to have our belongings in that bus. The hon. the Prime Minister is the driver of that bus and he takes no notice of where anybody is telling him to go. He is heading down the hill for a crash, and we have to be in that bus; we have to go with him down that hill. [Interjections.] That, Sir, is the tragedy of South Africa. That is why we find ourselves, as Opposition voters, as people in the Opposition, with a high degree of frustration. The hon. the Prime Minister speaks of self-determination. With respect, Opposition voters are not even allowed to decide for themselves with whom they want to go to school, not even when it affects no one else. Surely, we are entitled to have some say in respect of the determination of our own affairs, when it affects no one else. However, we are to have no say in South Africa. We are to play no part.
In other countries … [Interjections.] We do not have to join the NP. We are entitled to our political beliefs. We are entitled to differ, Sir. However, in other countries, for example the USA, Germany, Israel and elsewhere, the structures of government and the committee systems which they have, enable everyone to participate in the machinery of government. Here in South Africa we are allowed no say. The hon. the Prime Minister speaks mockingly of the plight of the UP.
Mr. Speaker, the whole problem of the Opposition voter is his frustration. He knows that, in fact, the Government is doing wrong, but he can do nothing about it. [Interjections.] He can do nothing about it. [Interjections.] Hon. members can laugh at this. They can mock it, but it is reality. The test for the hon. the Prime Minister is not only whether he wants to be isolated internationally; it is whether he wants to be isolated in South Africa. Does he want to maintain the unity of his NP in South Africa, to maintain Afrikaner unity at all costs, and to do it at the expense of the survival of White South Africa? That is what is in effect taking place. The hon. the Prime Minister knows—he knows it, as well as anybody else sitting in this hon. House— that he cannot bring about the changes which he would perhaps like to bring about, because he is afraid. He is looking over his shoulder. [Interjections.]
The hon. the Prime Minister knows it, Mr. Speaker. [Interjections.] However, he puts the unity of Afrikaner nationalism above the survival of Whites in South Africa. If he goes down in history as having sacrificed the Whites in South Africa because of that, he will certainly not go down in history as the great Prime Minister he would like to be in these circumstances.
When we talk about isolation, it is not exclusive merely to Whites in South Africa. The hon. the Prime Minister knows better than anyone else in this House what the problems of Rhodesia are. Today, five minutes before midnight, Mr. Ian Smith is looking for new Black political parties, for moderate Blacks, to help him. Why do we not profit from other people’s experiences? Today there are still moderate people among the Black, the Coloured and the Indian communities, who will co-operate in South Africa, but will they be there tomorrow? Will they always be there? Will they always be available? Is the hon. the Prime Minister not making the same mistake which Mr. Smith has been making in holding on while he can and then at the 11th hour seeking to find the friends he needs? Isolation in South Africa is disastrous for all of us. It will be a disaster if we become isolated in the world. It will be a disaster if the hon. the Prime Minister becomes isolated from the White community as an entity. It will be a disaster if he allows himself to become isolated from the Black community as such. I therefore appeal to him not to leave it until it is too late. We know that the things which we ask him to do today will have to be done tomorrow. We know it and we are sure that he knows it as well. The difference is that we believe he should act when he is not under pressure, but as has been demonstrated by the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, the NP waits until it is under pressure and then the effect of what it does is utterly and entirely lost.
The message which the hon. the Prime Minister delivered on New Year’s eve was also a message which related to the economy and the question of confidence. He pointed to the fact that the economy was virtually—if one were to paraphrase what he said—on a war footing. He said that there was fear of external aggression and internal disorder, that we would have to have a larger army and that a period of no economic growth awaited us when in fact we need growth more than ever. He also predicted a drop in living standards, high inflation and eroded savings, a reduction in overseas investment and higher unemployment. It is a new kind of South Africa to which the hon. the Prime Minister showed the way on New Year’s eve. In this debate the only comment so far on the economy has come from the hon. the Minister of Justice, who said that the economy was not affected by the disorders that have taken place. Even the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs must smile at that statement, because it is really so ludicrous. We all know and the hon. the Minister of Finance himself has said how the erosion of overseas confidence has affected our ability to get funds overseas.
The position in South Africa is far more serious than merely the lack of adequate long-term finance. The truth is that the political problems of South Africa cannot be solved without an economic solution and our economy cannot be put right without a political solution. That is the truth of the matter. If we look at the economic scene, we find inflation at a rate which erodes our savings. We find no per capita growth in the economy at all. We find, in fact, that the living standard of the average Mr. South Africa has dropped by over 10% in a period just in excess of two years. In other words, every South African is on average 10% worse off than he was just over two years ago. One can refer to the balance of payments problem. One can refer to the unemployment which has come upon us, to social unrest, bankruptcy, Government debt increasing at over R6 million per day and foreign debt getting shorter and shorter while the repayment terms are also getting shorter and shorter for us. It is an interesting statistic that while over a year ago local debt had an average length of two years and six months to redemption and overseas debt an average length of five years, today we are borrowing mostly at 12 months with the occasional loan which we manage to get at three years and perhaps sometimes even a little longer. Prices of food and other household requirements go up and up and we now have in South Africa the really remarkable economic phenomenon that for butter and cheese, of which there is a surplus, the price goes up. Yet no one thinks of the solution of putting dairy products, so rich in protein, within the reach of the under-privileged. The tragedy is that now is the time that South Africa in fact needs to be economically strong. The threats of external aggression and internal disorder will cause greater commitments to service on our borders and greater commitments to service inside. A drop in the living standard of the White community will cause wage pressures which will accentuate inflation when we can least afford it. Quite obviously, rising Black expectations must necessitate greater expenditure on social services, including education.
What is needed, therefore, is a completely new look at South Africa’s priorities. Firstly, I believe we have to take a look at our capital programme. Not only need it be more flexible with regard to economic fluctuations, but priorities must be re-examined. We cannot continue with capital programmes which are above our means. I want to put this question to the hon. the Minister of Finance: What comes first in the priorities in his mind—new opera-houses, new buildings for the SABC, new buildings for provincial administrations and local authorities and for statutory bodies who have to have office palaces, or do we need street lights in the Black townships, money to build houses and to remove squatter camps, roads in Black suburbs, a hospital in Lenasia and technical training facilities for Black youth? Which is the urgent one? If we are to survive, luxuries and ideological projects must be abandoned—not sacrificed, for that is the wrong word—in order that the backlog for the underprivileged may be made up. Higher spending power for lower income groups needs to be generated and as we know, more production will bring more prosperity for the whole country, so that if the lower income groups earn more, it means prosperity for all.
Secondly, there must be action in respect of unemployment. Under-utilization of capacity means not only that people are out of work; it also means higher unit costs and so more inflation. We are running short of capital in South Africa and yet we have a labour surplus. We must stimulate labour intensive activities and industries which bring about import substitution.
Thirdly, we have to deal with our balance of payment problems. Industries need to be stimulated which are export orientated. We should give incentives to industries which are near our ports in the same way as we have given incentives to decentralized industries. Export rebates, the same as have been given in respect of steel, should be given in other fields and there should be further encouragement for the beneficiation of raw materials. Inefficiency, which shelters under colour protection, has to be eliminated. Fifthly I believe, that one of the industries which should be stimulated is low-cost housing, because not only is it labour intensive, but it helps to fight unemployment and so solves social needs. Sixthly, there must be greater encouragement to the public to save, and the public …
Whom are you quoting?
I am quoting myself, an authoritative source, I assure you. The public must be protected in their savings against the ravages of inflation. Savings will not increase until this is done or until real disposable income increases and the fear of inflation is reduced. Seventhly, public expenditure must be rigidly controlled and current expenditure must not be allowed to rise at a greater rate than that of the GDP. Eighthly, basic food requirements must be kept within the reach of all, and ninthly, where defence expenditure must increase, other non-productive State expenditure must be cut back.
Confidence must be restored by ensuring stability and by making political changes which indicate that in the long term our problems can be solved. New investment has to be encouraged and we need to look again at the issue of only allowing a 15% return.
There are many things that can be done to put our economy right, but I stress that if we do not put our economy right, political solutions alone will not be the answer. The two go together, and we must work together to achieve them in order to put South Africa right.
Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member for Yeoville ought to be the last man in this House to adopt such a superior attitude as he did in the first part of his speech, when he reacted to the speech made by the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development. The hon. member for Yeoville will never in his life even qualify to stand in the political shadow of Minister Botha, a man who has given 25 years of excellent service to South Africa and this House, a man who has given 16 years of excellent service to the Ministry of Bantu Administration. The hon. member will not even be able to stand in his shadow. Mr. Speaker, then the hon. member has the temerity to say that the hon. the Minister sat trembling in his office in Pretoria. The hon. member read here from a report in which Chief Minister Magope spoke of possible war confrontations on consolidation, and he just about trembled out of his pants in this House. Why does the hon. member want a change? Is the hon. member prepared to introduce a Black majority government in South Africa today?
A federal system.
I think I am speaking on behalf of everyone on this side of the House in saying that the tirade delivered against the hon. the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development this afternoon by the hon. member for Yeoville was not worthy of him or of his party. We on this side of the House are grateful and proud of the fact that the Afrikaner people has produced a man such as Minister M. C. Botha to render this service to the country. I shall leave it at that.
I should like to refer to the motion moved by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. Before doing so, I want to say to the hon. member for Newton Park that his conduct yesterday, as the leader of the new group, was well-judged. He made a good impression. We listened to him, and the appeal he made to the hon. the Prime Minister and to other hon. members on this side of the House will certainly not go unheeded. However, I want to assure the hon. member and the majority of other hon. members who have remained in the UP that we are not rejoicing at what has happened in the UP. I personally regard it as a major political tragedy which is being enacted in South Africa. We derive no satisfaction from the situation in which the hon. member and some other hon. members of the UP still find themselves today. The motion moved by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition states that this House has no confidence in the Government because, it is alleged, in a time of crisis in South Africa, a situation in which a new political dispensation is required, it has failed to adopt policies capable of creating a permanently peaceful society which can give a new deal and new hope to all our peoples. That is the essence of the motion.
In considering the first part of this motion, one must bear in mind that South Africa has a plural community, a community consisting of eight different Black peoples, a Coloured population group, an Indian population group comprising approximately 700 000 people—it is the biggest group of Indians outside India—and two White population groups. There is no plural community in the world in which a majority governs without dominating the minorities. There is no plural community in the world in which a minority group governs without the use of armed force. Neither of these two alternatives is acceptable to the NP in South Africa, especially when we consider the numbers of the Black people in South Africa. For this reason, we on this side of the House consider the basis for a permanent and peaceful community in South Africa to be the policy of separate development. To us, this is the basic reason. The Black population groups in South Africa still occupy the territory which belonged to them historically, and we are adding another 714 million morgen, which we are buying for them with our money. The fact is that our Black population groups are flourishing and rapidly developing after 200 years in South Africa. This is more than what some other countries in the Western world could say of their indigenous populations. Some of them cannot even show us an indigenous population any more. In spite of this, they have the temerity to meddle in our affairs and to work for a Black majority government in South Africa.
The political development of the homelands is an acknowledged and accomplished fact, and this is the recipe for a permanent and peaceful community in South Africa. The Government’s standpoint in connection with the political development of the Coloured people and the Indians is clear. The CRC and the Indian Representative Council are recognized concepts and institutions in terms of constitutional law and each one must be developed to its full potential by these two population groups themselves.
What is the full potential?
Any enthusiastic student in constitutional law would be able to figure that out for the hon. member. I do not think it is incumbent upon me to waste my time by giving the hon. member a lecture on this subject. What must be realized in connection with these two councils is this: No one walks before he has crawled. But some people in South Africa want to run even before they have crawled or walked. This is creating unnecessary frustration for them. The White people in South Africa followed the long political road and with very good result. However, the Government does not content itself with the present dispensation as the final answer. For this reason, Mr. Speaker, and I believe that this answers the hon. member’s question in part, the Government has already nominated a Cabinet Committee which is considering the possible future remodelling of the present system with regard to the Coloured Persons Representative Council, the Indian Representative Council and the political dispensation for the Whites in South Africa. Responsible Coloured and Indian leaders accept the good faith underlying the actions of the Government. Considering these basic principles, the Government has succeeded in creating a permanent, peaceful community in South Africa. However, one must expect that there will be leftists, radical elements in South Africa which would like to disrupt this peaceful community. This is exactly what they have tried to do over the past few months, but the fact remains that the Government’s policies, which are criticized by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, are succeeding. A further proof of this is the independence of the Transkei, the approaching independence of Bophuthatswana and the fact that the vast majority of the non-Whites had no part in the riots and that some of them even rose in revolt against the lawless elements. Approximately 490 000 foreign Bantu are legally present in South Africa every day and approximately 40 000 are in South Africa illegally every day. Do these people come here for no good reason, to a community which is not peaceful? Surely they come here, Mr. Speaker, precisely because they can make a living in a peaceful community in Africa.
The second accusation made by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, is that the Government has failed to give a new deal and new hope to all our peoples. No new deal is required, because for 29 years, in seven general elections, the Whites have been saying in greater and greater numbers that they are satisfied with the present dispensation. Why should the Government now consider a new deal if the White electorate has already given its opinion on the matter and continues to give its opinion? The second point I want to mention is that the majority of the responsible non-White leaders have accepted the basis of the policy of separate development. Thirdly, the majority of non-Whites are satisfied that the present dispensation holds the greatest number of advantages for them. If anyone denies this, and I see that the hon. member for Griqualand East is shaking his head, the hon. member must tell this House where the millionaires in Soweto come from if this dispensation does not hold the greatest number of advantages for them. Where does the advantage come from when we consider that in 1955, approximately 8% of the Black population was at school, while the figure stands at approximately 21% today? Are these not advantages? The standards in the educational sphere are not inferior to those of the Whites. In fact, and there is more than enough proof of this, the university education at our Black universities is comparable with the best provided at our White universities. Go to Turfloop and see what the situation is as far as Turfloop students are concerned. These students are snapped up by the private and public sector in this country. Why? Because the people obtain such good qualifications at this university. Those students, in respect of whom we so often have to listen to criticism, go overseas and obtain fine post-graduate qualifications. If a new deal is required, and if all is not well under the present circumstances, how do hon. members opposite explain the fact that 20 years ago, there were approximately 500 registered Black nurses in South Africa, while today, under a dispensation which they criticize, there are approximately 25 000 registered, qualified Black nurses in South Africa? Therefore, we have no problem in replying to a motion which basically consists of these two points.
However, discussing a motion such as this one involves more than that. Discussing a motion such as this one means analysing the Opposition standpoints as well. These are equally relevant. What do we have here today? We have a UP which has capitulated. The burden has become too heavy for them. They accept Mr. Justice Marais’ 14 points and in so doing they accept Black majority government in South Africa. As early as last year, during a discussion of the previous policy of the UP, the hon. member for Von Brandis indicated that that policy of the United Party would have led to Black majority government in any event. Last year the UP tried to deny this, but now it is an accomplished fact, and I do not think the hon. member for Hillbrow, who may speak after me, can deny this. Only the year before last, the hon. member for Bezuidenhout said—
Today he says that the Opposition in South Africa will achieve real unity even during this session, not a loose coalition of irreconcilable elements, but behind and around clear objectives. He also says that one of those objectives is the creation of a new Republic in which all population groups of South Africa will be able to close their ranks. He was speaking officially on behalf of the UP. Will the hon. member for Hillbrow be so kind as to tell us what his Transvaal leader meant by saying “they will be able to close their ranks”?
He does not know himself.
Then he goes on to say that when this happens, they will demand a constitutional conference such as the one in South West Africa, in which the new opposition will act as an alternative Government and in which the various peoples of a multi-national South Africa will be brought together to draw up a new federal and confederal constitution for South Africa, moving away from the present Westminster system. This is very interesting. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout speaks of a “multi-national South Africa” and not of a “multi-racial South Africa”, while the PRP speaks of a “multi-racial South Africa”. The PRP is now speaking openly of “Black majority government”. The hon. member for Houghton is sitting there getting a kick out of it, for she is the one who brought this about. However, only last year they were still denying it. Last year Senator Bamford said during the Durban North by-election: “The Progressive Party stands for a Black majority government.” However, the hon. member for Yeoville categorically denied that during a debate in this House last year. The hon. member for Durban North, who is sitting over there at the back, fought an election in Durban North and was politically honest enough to say the following in an electoral letter, dated 27 April—
That letter was signed by himself. What does the hon. member say now? What does the hon. member for Durban North say now? Does the hon. member for Durban North still say he is against a Black majority government? The hon. member for Parktown said in July last year—I quote from Die Vaderland—
Now the PRP says openly, by the mouth of the hon. member for Houghton, that they advocate a Black majority government.
That is not what I said.
She need not keep on cackling. She has admitted it herself. She has admitted it to the hon. the Minister of Labour and she has said it herself in The Citizen as well.
These various groups are now pleading for a national convention or a constitutional conference. This is nothing new. They have been asking for this for two or three years. However, the difference is that when the hon. member for Hillbrow requested this at the beginning of 1976, he said, as reported in The Sunday Tribune—
No word was said then about political rights or a Black majority government. The question may now be asked: Who should be represented at that national convention? The hon. members must tell us. Is Swapo to be there? Are the ANC and the PAC to be there, and if they are to be there, who is to represent them? Is it to be Mandela? Is it to be Sisulu? The hon. member for Houghton says—the hon. member for Sea Point has confirmed this—that if they were ever to come into power, the South African Communist Party would be allowed to operate legally in South Africa. Is the South African Communist Party to be allowed at that conference table? Is the Christian Institute to be allowed there, led by Mr. Beyers Naudé? Is he to be allowed there, even though he propagated a general world boycott against South Africa only this past month, together with the World Council of Churches, and other clergy and churchmen? Is Mr. Sonny Leon to be allowed there?
Mr. Sonny Leon is the man who, on 5 October 1976, made certain statements on CBC television in Canada. I listened to him personally and made notes personally; so he cannot deny it. The lady who introduced the program said the following—
He has never been there, but he would like to go there.
Yes, and he stands there smiling broadly while this lie is being told about him. I quote again—
Then Mr. Sonny Leon was called upon to speak and he said—
That means you and I—
I listened to this programme. Now I ask myself: Is this the type of leader with whom members of the UP want to sit down around a conference table? This does not apply to all the members, but to some of them. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout and his henchmen will do this. Is this the type of leader with whom certain members want to sit down around a conference table? This is the tragedy of this whole situation.
This is the sort of hatred you have brought to South Africa.
The PRP and the UP are playing right into the hands of Buthelezi. He is the foremost advocate of Black majority government, and in one revolutionary, inflammatory speech after another he propagates these stories, and the Prog leaders and Prog representatives run after him like a lot of terriers and confirm every word he says. I think it should be put on record here what he has said on occasion in connection with the subject. He is the man whom hon. members on the other side accept as the leader at this conference table of the future. In November last year, this man said in Johannesburg—
He makes no secret in his speeches of the fact that he propagates a Black majority government as the only final solution in South Africa. He makes no secret of the fact that it will be brought about by revolutionary methods, unless the White man is prepared to capitulate. We are not prepared to do that. What did he say in Soweto in March 1976? He said—
Mr. Speaker, I should like to place on record this important point made by this gentleman in a speech before the International Affairs Group in Nigeria. In November last year he said the following—
This is what is said in Nigeria, Mr. Speaker. This is the leader with whom the hon. gentlemen on the other side want to sit down around the conference table to determine our future. He makes no secret of the fact that the ANC and PAC are his real friends in his so-called struggle for liberation. On 8 November he was in Washington again, and there he addressed the Black Washington Technical Institute Confrontation. There he pleaded with the Blacks of the USA for their help in the so-called liberation struggle of the Blacks in South Africa, and he asked them to bring pressure to bear on the USA Government—
Then he made this statement quite clearly and said the following in To the Point. It was said during a conversation he was alleged to have had with Dr. Kissinger and is identified as being his own words. I quote—
Is this still your friend?—
Hon. members on the other side can reply to these things and they must tell this House how far some of them are prepared to go along this road. This is the political division which is taking shape at the moment, and it is an extremely dangerous political division which is developing in South Africa.
The hon. member for Bezuidenhout is absorbing a part of the UP, together with the Progs, into this united Opposition in South Africa, an Opposition in which the radical leftist leaders of the Coloured population occupy a prominent position of leadership. This is making the real choice for the White people in South Africa very clear. This is what is going on at the moment, in this House as well. Is this what responsible UP members want? I doubt it. I know of many hon. members on that side of the House who do not want this. They are not people who want to have any part of terrorism. They do not want to have any part of Black majority government, nor of the use of violence. Why are hon. members allowing themselves to be led by the nose into that situation? It is for them to reply to this question.
What is our reply? Our reply is that the National Party represents conservative thinking in South Africa. The conservative White people—English as well as Afrikaans-speaking—are the ones who will govern South Africa in the future, just as they have done in the past. The choice for a responsible voter is clear. We are not prepared to be dictated to in our own country and to sacrifice our constitutional identity. To everyone who is prepared to listen, we say quite frankly that the possibility of a majority government in our part of South Africa will not even be considered by us. Moreover, we are prepared to fight for the retention of our constitutional identity. I believe it is necessary for some people in South Africa to realize this.
This Government is implementing its policy in a responsible manner and it accepts the results of its policy. It does not run away from them. In our own country this Government will occupy a position of strength, and it will maintain law and order. The Government will see to it that we will not lose our constitutional identity, but in the process it will also ensure that a constitutional system is established in terms of which everyone in White South Africa will be given his rightful place.
However, we shall determine our own pace. That pace will be a responsible and well-considered one. The NP has both feet on the ground, and for that reason it will continue to govern in South Africa indefinitely.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to say at once that I found it a welcome change to be able to listen to the restrained contribution of the hon. the Deputy Minister. All thinking South Africans realize that our moment of decision has arrived. Our people outside know intuitively that we are on the eve of clashes, of conflict and trials of strength. In view of these circumstances, what a spectacle we have been witnessing here during the past two days! One senior Cabinet Minister after the other indulged in cheap politicizing here. But I must exempt the hon. the Minister of the Interior. He and his hon. Deputy Minister were the only two who tried to talk on the basis of the motion now before this House and who tried to state a point of view. Apparently the other hon. members on the other side are only interested in showing us how strong the Government is. I have never in my life seen a Government that is so strong yet still feels so insecure that it constantly wants to become stronger and stronger. However, the stronger the Government becomes, the deeper the quagmire into which they are plunging this country. [Interjections.]
The hon. the Deputy Minister started off quite well. But I must point out that, to my way of thinking, he committed two fatal blunders. He kept telling us about the success the Government is achieving with its policy and how more and more people were voting for the National Party. We have already told him that this does not mean a thing. This does not prove that the Government is right. All the Germans voted for Adolf Hitler, but today one cannot find a German anywhere who was ever a supporter of Hitler. What the Government is doing is to win all the battles. That is true; but it is losing the war—the war for the survival of South Africa. [Interjections.]
Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Deputy Minister went on to say that the non-Whites and the Black leaders support Government policy. Then he devoted a good two-thirds of the time at his disposal to criticizing Chief Gatsha Buthelezi. If he is such an ardent supporter of Government policy, why is it necessary to criticize him in this manner? Mr. Speaker, the Black leaders accept it, but what is their motivation? They say they accept the Government’s programme, because at present that is the only way in which they can achieve something for their people, and they are going to use the present eystem of apartheid to break down apartheid. That is their motivation. The kind of argument we have had from hon. Ministers up to now has been common or garden politicking. They referred to the Marais principles and said that these were too vague. I happen to be looking at the Government’s policy now, particularly its sports policy, something which is dear to me. I am reading the English version for it is stated better there than in the Afrikaans version. It is pointed out that the Government established a Department of Sport and then it goes on to say—
What does that mean? [Interjections.]
Now I am asking how they correlate this with what is happening at the moment? If they want to ask questions like little Crown prosecutors, as the hon. the Prime Minister did, I ask them: Whose interpretation of the sports policy do they accept? The interpretation of the hon. Mr. Koornhof, or that of the hon. Mr. Andries Treurnicht? [Interjections.] Surely everyone can play at this little game, but the situation in South Africa is too serious for that.
As we see it, we are on the eve of a crisis of survival. I want to say at once that there are only a few tiny rays of light for us. The first is that there are at least hon. members on the Government side who are starting to say what must be said. Recently there were quite a number of them who were not prepared to associate themselves with the verkramptheid of Mr. Treurnicht, and they were prepared to state this in public. We are delighted to see that there are now senior newspapermen who no longer see themselves as mere propagandists for the Government, as one of them put it. They no longer follow slavishly, but are themselves starting to say what has to be said. We are also delighted to see that there are businessmen, Afrikaans-speaking businessmen, who are also starting to say what has to be said. Then we again witnessed the spectacle of the hon. the Prime Minister climbing into them and reading them the Riot Act. He forgot about his image as the African statesman. Then he read them a lecture as Big Daddy Idid Dada would have done to his people. [Interjections.] Give me a chance.
The hon. members still have lots of time.
Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. member whether he has read the speech to which he is referring or the newspaper report on it?
Of course I know what he said, and he only showed how vulnerable he is. What did the businessmen say? They said he must make changes, he must do away with apartheid and this is why he went for them. The Government cannot make these changes. A little window-dressing, a few peripheral changes, yes, but they cannot change the basic structure, because we have a tangle of acts, ordinances and regulations that have been intertwined over the years. Let me give an example to illustrate this. These days everyone is saying that the Immorality Act should be abolished. It was a big blunder and it should never have been placed on the Statute Book. That is what the Erika Theron report says. However, if the Government wants to do away with the Immorality Act, surely it must immediately repeal the Mixed Marriages Act as well, for how can people be allowed to be together in the same bed, but not be allowed to marry? However, if they repeal the Mixed Marriages Act, they must at the same time repeal the Group Areas Act, for how can people marry, but not live together? If the Government has repealed the Group Areas Act, they must of course grant full civil rights to everyone, for you cannot give such rights to one group on one side of the street and not to the people on the other side of the street. No changes are going to take place, except, as I have said, only a minor change here and there. It is precisely because of its perseverance with this policy that the Government has brought us to a position which is at variance with the rest of the world. This is what hon. members of the Government side do not understand and this is the essence of the motion of my hon. Leader. The old order is past and the present political structure has becone an anachronism. The blueprints which did exist, have gone up in the flames of Soweto. What is at stake is the survival of South Africa and we must now concentrate on certain limited objectives. We must enlist the full national potential and all the national energy in the struggle to ensure South Africa’s survival. If we do not do this, we can prepare ourselves to start making the funeral arrangements.
Now I come to the hon. Minister who has such a lot to say. I should like to talk to him. The first thing we require is to ensure our survival is a strong economy. The road ahead will be long and steep and dangerous and we will not reach the summit unless we travel on the back of a strong economy.
I should like to state certain requirements for having a strong economy, and then ask hon. members to indicate to me to what extent the Government has managed to fulfil those requirements. In the first place, one must have foreign confidence. Today we all know that there is no foreign confidence. South Africa needs risk capital, but the capital is leaving the country; it is not entering the country. The so-called “securities rand” is at a premium of 40% overseas. This shows the lack of confidence in South Africa overseas. Jan Marais was in Germany recently. He says a country like Mexico can borrow money in Germany at 9%, while South Africa, if she wishes to borrow money, must pay 14%. What is the position with regard to governments and business concerns in the outside world? We only have to read what is going to happen under the Carter administration. Initially the outside world adopted a neutral attitude towards us. Then they became indifferent and now they are becoming more and more aggressive and antagonistic.
The second important requirement is internal confidence. There is no confidence internally. At the moment the amount of private investment will not even assure us of a growth rate of 1%. It is not only that we are not growing; we are regressing. A sensitive barometer is the building industry. This year the building industry did not expand; in fact, it laid off more than 50 000 people.
A third requirement is the maximum utilization of our economic resources. I am referring in particular to capital and manpower. Surely there is no maximum utilization of our capital, because there is already a shortage of capital, and the Government takes by far a too big share of it for itself. Last year we established that the value of development projects amounted to R28 000 million. When one does this, surely there is not enough left for the private sector, and when a government does what this hon. Minister did the other day, viz. to tax the petrol consumer and to impose duties on petrol in order to pay for capital works which will be enjoyed by future generations, it is the worst economic short-sightedness one could possibly imagine.
I should also like to refer to the optimum utilization of manpower. Instead of the Government helping us in this regard, they are doing the opposite. Here I can refer to the dozens of regulations and acts with regard to physical planning and job reservation, which are specifically aimed at restricting the optimum utilization of manpower. Once again the Government is the big competitor. At the moment the Government, with its wide ramifications, is employing almost one million people. The annual pay-out to all the people employed by the Government and all its ramifications every year, already amounts to R10 000 million. Surely what remains cannot be sufficient for private enterprise. As far as that is concerned, therefore the answer is also a negative one.
In the fourth place, there can be no progress unless there is a minimum of interference by the Government in the economic process, and here in South Africa there is more interference than in any other free enterprise country. Once again the Government competes with its form of State capitalism and its public utility companies. We all know that that form of economic process is the most uneconomical.
Sir, there is a fifth factor which I wish to mention, and that is that the management at Government level is so poor. They have a number of people with academic qualifications, but they have no one with any business experience. It has become so bad that Afrikaner businessman recently went to the Prime Minister and asked him please to include one of the leading Afrikaans businessmen in the Cabinet. The rationale was that they would at least like to have someone in the Government who knows something about business. If we want a good example of poor management at government level, I should like to refer to the recent butter fiasco. The world has been in existence for 5 000 million years, and we had to wait 5 000 million years before that Cabinet invented a new economic law. Their law states that if one has a surplus of a certain commodity, one copes with it by increasing the price! Now I should very much like to know what has become of the principle of joint Cabinet responsibility. What did the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs do in the Cabinet when his colleague proposed this absurdity? Surely he is also responsible for this. The problem with this Government is that they never want to take a look at themselves to find out where the problems are, they always want to rationalize. The fault is always something that has blown over from abroad. We do not create inflation here; it is blown over from abroad. So, as an example I have chosen the island of Hong Kong and I have done this precisely because Hong Kong has no economic assets or raw products of its own. Hong Kong is situated on the route between the east and the west and if something can be blown, it is blown there. What was the position in Hong Kong last year? Their growth rate was 16% while the growth in South Africa was 2%. The inflation rate in Hong Kong was 2%, while it was 12% in this country. One can borrow money at any bank in Hong Kong at 7% interest. The maximum taxation per person there is 15% and the maximum taxation of a company is 17%. I would suggest that the Government strongly considers sending the hon. the Minister of Finance and the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs to Hong Kong so that they may go there and learn something.
†Mr. Speaker, to summarize: Nearly all the economic indicators in South Africa are negative at the moment. South Africa’s currency, the rand, ought to be the strongest in the world, yet it is one of the most vulnerable. As a matter of fact, I am surprised that the hon. the Minister of Finance has not devalued our rand once more. The House will remember how eulogistic he became last time. He gave us so many advantages of devaluation that we thought he was going to do it every second month. Perhaps the hon. the Minister has also learned a lesson.
I should now like to deal with the unemployment situation in South Africa. To ensure full employment in South Africa we have to create 1 500 new jobs every day, and I want to know what the hon, the Minister of Economic Affairs is doing about it. When we want to know the unemployment figures, they can never give them, because they have not got them. My information is that to get a reliable estimate of the employment situation as far as the Black people are concerned, would cost the country R25 000 a year. I want to challenge the Government that if it is only this amount, they are either bankrupt if they cannot afford it in order to give us one of the most vital statistics that we require, or else they are deliberately withholding this vital information from the people of South Africa. However, I think the answer to this whole question was given to us recently by Mr. Len Abrahams, who is not a man that snatches figures out of the air. He said that South Africa’s national product could have been more than double its present figure, it could have been R63 000 million instead of R27 000 million, on one condition, viz. that we eliminated apartheid. The Government might query this and say that it is not so. But again we challenge the Government, because this is so vital to South Africa, to appoint a commission of inquiry. After all, the Government appoints commission at the drop of a please Appoint a commission of inquiry, therefore, to determine for South Africa the cost of this farce that we call “apartheid.”
The second thing that we in South Africa require to ensure our survival, is peace and stability on the home base. Think of the metamorphosis, of the change that has come about. I can remember the hon. the Prime Minister standing up there and saying that South Africa is an example of peace and tranquillity to the whole world. He even invited everybody to come to South Africa to come and view the situation here. According to him all this peace was apparently brought about by this new invention, this magnificant piece of inspiration called “apartheid”, which came from the NP. Who would he invite today to come and look at South Africa, at the peaceful situation that we have here?
We saw the tragedy of the situation when the hon. the Minister of Police went into action yesterday with his bombs and his guns.
What we have seen so far, Mr. Speaker, is only the tip of the iceberg. When young Africans in their dozens come up to the police, stand there and say: “Shoot us if you want to,” you are not just dealing with terrorists who have infiltrated from the outside; you are dealing with a situation of fundamental importance. The Government’s reaction has been a characteristic one. They have appointed a commission of inquiry. No sooner had they appointed a commission to find out what had caused the riots, when one after another, Ministers stood up to tell the commission what they were appointed for in any event. What use is it? We know the Government’s record on this score. We have had the Tomlinson Commission, the Snyman Commission, the Erika Theron Commission. They always appoint commissions of enquiry but when these commissions come forward with recommendations that are unpalatable they toss them overboard. [Interjections.] The important thing is, and this is what they do not realize, that these are merely the first stirrings. The next classical stage, unless immediate steps are taken to remove grievances, will be what we call “urban terrorism.” The Blacks have learnt another lesson, and this is vital to South Africa. They have learnt, and they put it this way: If you want change in South Africa, it can only come about as a result of violence. It is true that the number of casualties has been small because the clashes have been between the police, a disciplined force, and between groups of activists. It is equally true if one does not do something about this situation, it will degenerate into urban terrorism. Then the public on both sides will become involved, deep-seated human emotions will become involved and then your casualty figures will start escalating. Yet the answer is so simple: Give the non-Whites a meaningful role in the political decision-making process in this country and do away with discrimination.
Look at the Government’s sad record on this score. We all remember the “Give us six months and you will be astounded” initiative. That was two years ago, and what has happened since then? For example, the Minister of the Interior came back from overseas recently and was interviewed by that faithful ally, SATV. He was asked to give examples of how the Government was eliminating and breaking this problem of discrimination. He said: “Sure,” and he gave us three. He said, first of all, that we must look at the Government’s sport policy. All right! The Minister is making progress and he is losing popularity, even with his own people. He now even has Dr. Koot breathing down his neck. But how many non-White people will take advantage of it? How many are going to play rugby at Newlands? Is it a thousand, is it five thousand, is it ten thousand? It is an infinitesimal portion of the total. The second example the Minister gave was when he said: “Look at our new mixed hotels policy”. How many Blacks are going to get into the Mount Nelson Hotel? If they go there, the chances are there that they will not go through the front; they will go through the kitchen door and will be washing the crockery. The third example he gave was when he said: “Look at what we have done about throwing open parks and throwing open libraries in our big cities.” Mr. Speaker, do you remember when the Prime Minister came rushing in here, red in the face? It was at the time when the city council of Johannesburg threw open their parks and their libraries. He came here and threatened them. The things he was going to do to the Johannesburg city council; of that you have no idea. Now his own Minister has the temerity to come here and to quote to us this example of how his Government is breaking down discrimination. What more can one say? What is true, is that there will be no move in this regard because the Prime Minister himself has said that there is no discrimination in South Africa. He said: “If I were to wake up tomorrow and find my skin is black, nothing would be different. I would merely find myself in a different environment.” If the big boss, the makulu boss, says that what can you expect from the lesser lights? In fact, nothing is going to happen in this field, because how can even this so-called Cabinet of all talents possibly remove something if it does not exist?
The tragedy in South Africa is that when all of us should have been building connecting bridges between our population groups, the Government set out to erect dividing walls. When we should have sought to look for common factors, they concentrated on seeking differences. When they should have made apartheid something that is voluntary, they made it mandatory. When in the question of human relationships we should have given each one a personal choice, they sanctified it in law. That is why we have been brought to this situation.
There is, however, also a third factor necessary for our future survival, i.e. support in the outside world. Hon. members will remember how we questioned this. Time and again we drew attention to our isolation and were given every assurance by that side that there is a greater understanding, in the outside world, of our problems! In fact, they even said there was growing support for the policy of separate development. Then, over the New Year, came the anti-climax, the dénouement in this sad saga, the pricking of the bubble. We were told we stand alone. Even if the communists attack us, there is not a single nation in the world that will lift a finger to help us. That is the message that came from the hon. the Prime Minister. What he does not realize, however, is that the Western world will still go along with him at the moment because they are using him. They want him to lean on Ian Smith more and more and they want him to bring South West Africa to majority rule, and once there is majority rule in those two places, his position will be different. Then he will have no bargaining power. He will have no diplomatic leverage, and South Africa, in every sense of the word, will become expendable.
We are drifting into an abyss, and that is why it is so tragic to have had the kind of reaction we have had from senior Ministers on that side. The hon. the Prime Minister has, until recently, had a choice. If he had opted for an outward movement—not only diplomatically, but outward in every sense of the word—he could have saved South Africa. What did he do, however? He threw in his lot firmly and irrevocably with the verkramptes. I regret it, but my message, as far as South Africa is concerned, is a gloomy one. I think it remains only for certain hon. members—and there are still some of them there on that side—to see what is happening. We on this side have gone through the motions. We are discarding what is irrelevant. We are trying to renew and change the whole political structure in this country. However, these muted mutterings we have here from time to time from that side are not sufficient. They must now also take action. They must stand up so that they can be counted, because if they do not do this, I regard the chances of saving South Africa as being one in a thousand. Unless we take this chance now, the vengeful wrath of all future generations will be heaped upon us for having led South Africa and its people to this disaster.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member began his speech by hurling reproaches at this side of the House. He alleged that all we were supposedly doing was scoring political points and not getting to the heart of the matter. The hon. member has been in Parliament long enough to know what to expect if a UP which has been cut to ribbons comes to a parliamentary session and says that they have broken themselves down in order to form an entity which does not yet exist, if from the outset its members start trying to qualify the 14 point plan of ex-judge Mr. Kowie Marais in order to suit their own interpretation. After all, he must then expect us to deal with that same aspect, too. Surely it is relevant to the political scene, because after all, they are here, or do they want to conduct a one-sided discussion with us? Is the hon. member for Hillbrow, with his new-found courage, not prepared to subject this great deed of theirs to the test of debate? If we want to do so, it is petty politicking but he makes 20 jokes in the course of a half-hour speech, then he considers that he is advancing sound constructive criticism. Let us just look at the way in which they have been trying right from the beginning of this debate, to get away from certain logical consequences of the 14 point plan of Mr. Justice Marais. I want to make the statement that the 14 point plan of Mr. Justice Marais is heading towards majority rule and is founded basically upon a unitary state. I shall read the three points which support this. The first point is—
Now come the key words:
That is to say, a unitary state.
The next point is—
That is to say, the Central State. Even though it is called a federation, and even though there is a degree of decentralization, it nevertheless remains a unitary state.
You cannot be that stupid, so do not try to be.
Furthermore I want to point out that nowhere in this 14 point plan is the word “identity” used. The hon. member for Mooi River concluded his speech with the emotional assurance that for him and for the UP, the maintenance of identity will ever remain the firm basis of approach. The hon. member for Durban Point confirmed this.
Read the fifth principle.
Read the ninth principle.
Nowhere in this 14 point plan is any mention made of “identity.” The ninth principle reads—
Mr. Speaker, may I ask the hon. member whether the word “identity” appears in the NP’s programme of principles?
It appears in that little document from which the hon. member for Hillbrow has just quoted. It is the programme of principles which was distributed at the time of the last election. If he sends it to me, I shall look it up and read it to him. The maintenance of identity does not affect only “a cultural and religious heritage”. In a heterogeneous society like South Africa’s, the maintenance of identity basically has to do with political rights and their secure entrenchment. There is nothing about that in this 14 point plan.
Read the fourth principle.
The hon. member for Pinelands, with whom the hon. members opposite will soon be joined in the same party, said at the end of last year’s session:
Then I leave out a few pieces of rhetoric. He went on to say—
It is, therefore, a unitary state. They cannot get away from this. But they want us to ignore it. They want us to let the capitulation of the UP in respect of its central standpoint that it advocated a federation of peoples, to go by unaccounted for and unanswered. Does the UP still advocate a federation of peoples? I do not have an answer because there is no mention of a federation of peoples in that 14 point plan. It was the cornerstone of their policy. It was not a cornerstone which materialized from nowhere—it was also the result of a “new deal” which they wanted to work out, the new deal of a study committee with the best constitutional experts as the hon. member for Mooi River said in his speech. The advice of those constitutional experts, which the hon. members have defended so hotly over the past two or three years, has now been thrown overboard. The party has forfeited its essential character by accepting this 14 point plan.
The hon. member for Hillbrow made a lot of statements and I cannot go into detail in respect of every one of those statements because then I would not be able to make a positive speech as well, something I should very much like to do because they want me to do so and because I need to do so. I just want to make a few brief statements. He made a statement about the extremely high rates of interest. I dispute his allegations and I am sure that it will be shown later in the debate that not all loans are obtained at that extremely high rate of interest. He made the statement that in terms of our system we shall not have optimum utilization of manpower, and after that he fell back once again on the old story of job reservation. Surely he knows that labour peace is a prerequisite for optimum utilization of labour. I say to him, and he will not be able to dispute it, that were job reservation to be lifted, were the Government to say that control over labour was to be suspended, the industrialists and businessmen would themselves be forced to apply it just as strictly as it is being applied at the moment, otherwise there will be chaos and labour peace will fly out the window. Surely he knows that labour control is a mechanism which is applied even in a country like America, because there is a large majority of Whites and a small minority of Blacks. There is a degree of job reservation, possibly for reasons other than those which apply here, and they compel their employers to maintain certain ratios. Labour control, as embodied in our legislation, ensured that there was economic growth and ensured labour place to such an extent that all is well in the field of labour in South Africa. Our record of peace and of good co-operation compares favourably with any other Western country in the world.
He says that there is too much interference and too many Government corporations involved in the economy. But how else are we going to provide the necessary infrastructure in a developing country? How are we to expand the railway network? Where would our steel industry have been if Iscor had not been formed? What would our position have been now in respect of the rising oil prices if we had not come up with Sasol and Sasol II? What would our export potential have been if we had not come up with Saldanha Bay and Richards Bay? But he, such a great economist in his own eyes, alleges that it is State interference which is bedevilling our economy.
Then, Mr. Speaker, to crown it all, a man like him wants to compare us with Hong Kong. I find it strange that he did not also compare us with Monaco and Liechtenstein. After all, we expect more from him than that. We expect him to compare us with comparable economies with comparable circumstances. A scientist does not argue in this way. Then he goes on to say that we have bad management and that we should look at Hong Kong. I wonder, looking at the state of that party over there, to which country I should refer them in order to learn how an Opposition should be formed and injected with life. Zambia, or perhaps Idi Amin’s country?
The hon. member spoke about unemployment. He said that this was the fault of separate development. Surely this is a non sequitur; surely it is not a logical conclusion. Unemployment is a problem which is being experienced throughout the world during the recession. Even the figures he mentioned are not quite correct because people who are not bona fide seekers of employment are also involved. But even the figures he mentions and expresses as percentages, do not compare so unfavourably with the unemployment figure in Japan, America and elsewhere. He does not give all the facts; he simply gives a few facts and then quotes them out of context. He mentions discrimination and says that we have done nothing. Then he brushes the new development in the sport policy aside as if it is nothing. He makes us laugh. Then he mentions the case of the hotels and tells us who really goes to the hotels. He acts as if it is only the Mount Nelson—a five-star hotel—whose doors are open. I can mention one, two, three and four star hotels whose doors are also open. [Interjections.] Then, in conclusion, he tells us that we are building walls. Yes, we are building walls, but there are doors in those walls. There is a growing exchange, which is steadily becoming more vigorous. There is discussion; there is consultation; there is growing contact. The refrain which was also audible in this hon. member’s speech, is the call of crisis, the cry that separate development has failed and that we need a new plan, a new dispensation, a new strategy. Even though this cry is uttered by a confused and fragmented UP, by a party in liquidation, and even though the hon. member for Bezuidenhout, who always reminds me of Shakespeare’s wise words:
… even though the hon. member for Bezuidenhout is in the forefront of the desperation brigade, and even though the hon. member for Sea Point—the leader of a party who has drawn up a blue-print for the destruction of the White man—complains, it is surely necessary, nevertheless, for us to give an answer; an answer which, as we know, will not fall on fertile ground with them. In spirit they have already capitulated. However, we give them an answer in which we once again try to underline the fundamental truth of the NP’s policy and to indicate the alternatives clearly. Many answers have already been given and many aspects have been clearly illustrated. Against this background—without repeating—I first want to make the statement that the speakers on the Opposition side have been guilty of sketching a caricature of separate development, a caricature of what it is, of what it has already achieved and brought about and of the benefit it involves for White, Coloured and Black.
Separate development—despite what the hon. Opposition wants to give out—is a liberating policy. It is a policy which aims to guide peoples to full political self-realization, rapidly but on an evolutionary basis. It is a policy which has already succeeded in a relatively short time in creating meaningful rights, platforms, forums and power bases for every people and for every population group in South Africa. Every homeland leader and government constitutes living proof of this. The independent Transkei is an undeniable fact and the Cabinet Council—something which they so often disparage, something which is still in its infancy—is already affording the Coloureds a more meaningful platform and forum than this Parliament ever afforded them in the past. Separate development has already created and brought into being more political freedom for the average Black man—for the Blacks in the city, too—than is enjoyed by the greater majority of Blacks in the rest of Africa.
This brings me, in passing, to a very drastic statement made by the hon. the Leader of the PRP. In a prepared speech, with regular references to his written notes, the hon. member for Sea Point said—
What does this mean, Mr. Speaker? In simple terms, the hon. member is saying two things here. Firstly he says that Marxism and communism do indeed offer security and prospects to the Black and Coloured people. Secondly he says that even the status quo in South Africa—let alone the future fruits which separate development offers the Blacks—offers the Blacks fewer advantages and less security than do Marxism and communism. The hon. member is thereby saying that the Marxists and communists are preferable to separate development. Does the hon. member believe this?
Mr. Speaker, then they are irritated. The hon. member is now shaking his head, but he should have listened from the beginning. At that time he was sitting and talking. If he had listened, he would have been able to follow my argument. Then those hon. members are amazed when we say that they are the party of evil and that they are dangerous.
I said that separate development was a liberating policy which created opportunities and prospects for everyone in South Africa. The Opposition’s argument to this has throughout this debate been twofold. They said that this might be so, but that it fails for two reasons. The first reason why it fails, is that it is not acceptable to all and especially not to the urban Bantu. In the second place they say that even if the policy were a good one and even if we were to apply it as we say we shall, our time has run out, because it is already a few minutes before midnight. As to the question whether it is acceptable or not, apart from the arguments already advanced, viz. that there were only a small percentage of people involved in the riots, I want to put the following to the Opposition as a fact. In all the homelands except one, elections are held regularly. It is not our fault that an election has not yet taken place in the remaining homeland. Perhaps an election will be held there shortly. Whatever the case may be, the elections which were held in the other homelands were free elections. It was not only the Blacks who live in the homelands who participated in the elections. An effort was made to involve the urban Bantu who live in our cities, but who originally come from the homelands, in the elections and the urban Bantu did indeed participate in these elections in large numbers, in significant numbers. It was not a case of only a single party in every homeland launching an election campaign; there were opposition parties as well. Many of the opposition parties adopted the standpoint: “Reject separate development completely. Reject all co-operation with the Government which adopted it as their policy, ignore it, rebel against it.” The parties that won, however, adopted the standpoint that although they did not agree with everything and although they expressed criticism from time to time, they were prepared to co-operate within the framework of Government policy and accept the opportunities afforded them. I can therefore on a scientific basis make the statement that the urban Bantu have been consulted and that they have also expressed themselves as being in favour of co-operation within the framework of separate development. However, as far as their standpoint is concerned, the hon. members on the other side concentrate on certain loud-mouthed activists whom they think are the true spokesmen for urban Black opinion. In a democracy it is ultimately the ballot-box which decides and the ballot-box spoke against them in respect of the urban Bantu, but in favour of co-operation with the NP within the framework of its policy.
Separate development is not a static policy. As we progress, we are already experiencing growing acceptance. There are many Blacks and Coloureds who were previously active opponents and even haters of the policy of separate development, but who now, to the extent that it has developed and they see that we are bona fide, have come to the fore and occupy responsible positions in homeland governments and other bodies like universities and corporations.
You do not have the necessary time.
I now come to the time aspect. I believe that as the activists and terrorists here and elsewhere show their true colours, irrespective of the degree to which they now oppose our policy, the Blacks will become disillusioned and will see the fearful example of places like Angola, where anarchy has taken over. Then he will accept the peaceful solution which the White population offers him through the NP. I believe that as the Government proves its good faith by stimulating development, by creating opportunities, by improving training, by expanding education and eliminating discrimination, the Blacks and Coloureds will realize more and more that the differentiation which remains, is essential for the peace and progress of all and that it is not hurtful. The establishment of meaningful separate freedoms and their own worthwhile political structures, coupled with full political self-determination not only constitutes the ideal of this Government, but is what it is going to do and will bring about. The settlement thereof will ultimately prove the propaganda which is constantly being disseminated by our enemies to be false. Bringing about the involvement, with growing content and meaning of the urban Bantu with his fatherland in the political sphere, will prove that it offers them meaningful political self realization.
That hon. member said by way of interjection that even if we did all this, even if he accepted my arguments thus far, there was simply no longer any time left. I admit that time is running out. We are living in serious times and no one wants to deny this. No one on this side has ever tried to deny this, but it is just as true that over-hasty and panicky 14 point plans will very quickly put us just where our enemies want us. If we like the UP, were to act in so panic-stricken a fashion, we would end up in the same tattered confused conditions as they are in now as a result of their panic. If time is the essence of the problem, the time has come for us to discuss the time crisis. The NP realizes that the time factor is important and therefore it is taking rapid action, that is why it is trying to follow its policy through to its logical conclusions as quickly as possible, to implement it and to make it succeed; that is why it is still searching for ways and means to enable it to implement its policy as quickly as possible. We all know, and I can testify to this, how hard we have been working at this and how quickly things have moved over the past three, four years. Understanding on the part of the Opposition and the Blacks, Coloureds and Indians is, however, just as essential as the haste of the NP. They must understand that the only safe plan for all, namely separate development, needs time. It needs time, because it costs money, money which is not always so readily available. It needs time, because the Marxist onslaught on South Africa, which threatens us and aims to subject all of us, White, Brown and Black, to domination and terror, because that onslaught has a retarding effect on implementation of the policy, because it drains our labour resources and to a certain extent consumes our capital, which we could otherwise put to positive use. The policy needs time because there are certain priorities, because there are things which must take place in a certain order, for the sake of lasting success and order. Development of infrastructures, training and matters of this nature are not things which can be brought about in a day or a month or a year. Therefore, while we all have to make haste, it remains just as essential that those of us who are sitting here, and who want to give serious consideration to the future of South Africa, and the Press, which participates in a serious spirit in the debate on the future of South Africa, will also see that, while haste is necessary, we shall also have to retain our patience. Both are equally important. We need the balance of the Latin idiom: Festina Lente; make haste slowly.
This debate ultimately comes back once again to the fundamental difference between us and the Opposition. We say to them again today: It is easy to identify bottlenecks in separate development and to make long drawn-out speeches about them. They are fully entitled to do so and I do not reproach them for it, but when you have all finished doing so and have voiced all the problems, then all of you, particularly those of you who are considering forming a new movement, must look just as critically at the alternative of power sharing in a unitary state, whether or not you call it a federation.
Then we must consider the question whether we can find a peaceful solution to South Africa’s political problems in one central body, elected on a basis of “one man, one vote”, which is the ruling structure of a federation. The alternative does not hold out much hope for anyone; it holds out no hope for the White man and I shall explain to hon. members why not. In this 14 point plan, in the appeal made by the hon. member for Bezuidenhout and the hon. member for Sea Point, we are asked to hold a conference and to sit round a table with all the people in South Africa. Before those hon. members can do so, they ask that we abandon our constitution and that we renounce all rights which we earned at great cost, in a long and difficult process. Should the hon. members go to such a conference, with our constitution under his arm and the power of Parliament as it is at present, such a conference like this will not be acceptable to anyone but themselves.
The hon. member for Mooi River must sleep on this this evening, because he is living in a dream world if he thinks that the conference means anything to him other than that he would have to renounce all rights and would have to consider afresh how we were to reach a new solution together. The 14 point plan does not hold out any advantage for the Coloureds, because they, and many Black peoples, will find that their identity would stand to be threatened by a majority of one tribe. It has already been proved in other countries that a “Bill of Rights” is not worth the paper it is written on, unless all show a spirit and attitude of wishing to uphold such a Bill of Rights. Nigeria, which massacred an entire people, has a fine-sounding “Bill of Rights”. For this reason hon. members must not pin their hopes on point 9 or point 14, point 11 or point 12. Hon. members must know that if they forgo their power base, it will be Ichabod. If hon. members think that I am conjuring up spectres, I should like to know where, in a country with a heterogeneous population, with such far-reaching and deep-seated differences as we have, has sharing of power worked? Yesterday, the hon. member for Pretoria Central clearly indicated that it simply does not work.
The Opposition spoke of strategy. I just want to say that we in the National Party are also aware of the value of strategy. This is why we have a strategy, a strategy which has been refined by years of thinking and self-criticism. It is based on practical experience, and has been shaped by years of debate in this House over many years. Our strategy is and remains the only reasonable and justifiable solution which ensures a safe future for the White man on the one hand, and full, true and meaningful freedom and citizenship for Blacks, Coloureds and Indians on the other. This strategy is based on the foundations which some hon. members still want to retain, but which do not appear in their 14 point plan. I have in mind, for example, the maintenance of identity, self-determination for all, the maintenance of law and order, fairness and balance.
Mr. Speaker, I take it that the hon. member for Vereeniging will pardon me if I do not reply to what he had to say here this afternoon. Unfortunately, my time is very limited but, should my time permit of it, I should like to reply to a few of his arguments.
If at the end of the session of last year someone had told me that at the beginning of the next session I would have been expelled from the UP, I would have found it difficult to believe. However, if someone had told me then that I would be expelled from my party because I wanted to safeguard it against those who wished to destroy it, I would have said: Impossible! In my humble opinion a position of this nature is unique in the entire political history of South Africa. I wish to say nothing further in regard to this matter except that my hon. friends in the UP itself will have to ask themselves how such an impossible position was allowed to develop in a party that seeks to accept the responsibility of being the official Opposition. It was of course not easy for us to arrive at a decision that could lead to our expulsion from the party. Nevertheless, we took the decision because we had no faith in the viability of the new party envisaged by the leader of the UP. We did not believe that that party would be viable because it is totally impossible to reconcile the reconcilable with the irreconcilable. Mr. Speaker, I regard the UP with its philosophy as I have known it over the years, to be totally irreconcilable with the philosophy of the PRP, which I understand fairly well, within the political spectrum of South Africa. As I have known the UP—and my friends can criticize me if I am wrong—it has stood for the right of the retention of group identity. That is what my party stands for. On the other hand the PRP is poles apart because that party stands for a unitary community, a unitary state. They will say that that is not true but I say that that will be the logical consequence of their policy. That is why I make this statement. I say therefore that it is impossible to unite people who are in favour of the retention of group identity and people who are in favour of the establishment of a unitary community. Those who try to do so are not only wasting their time; they are also guilty of a colossal political blunder, and that is why we could not go along with that effort. We could not go along because it is also clear to us that the mere attempt to achieve something of this nature has been sufficient indication that there are people in the UP today who are at least sympathetically disposed towards the idea of a unitary community. We felt that if there were such people we did not want to stand in their way. Let them establish a new party if they want but heaven only knows why they forbade me to retain my old party.
The hon. member for Rondebosch and I had a little chat the other day. He is an honourable man and I have a great respect for him as a person. I said to him: “Van Zyl, you know that you and I cannot be in the same party.” He then said to me: “Tony, you are right.” He agreed with me and I agreed with him. He is honest and I am also trying to be honest towards myself. I ask myself, Mr. Speaker, what he and I would achieve if we tried to give the people of South Africa the impression that he and I could belong to the same party. We should then be carrying on a bluff, something I cannot justify to myself. I do not care who it is who can justify this to himself, but I cannot, and for that reason I said: “I cannot go along.”
The hon. member for Durban Point gave an interesting reply. He was asked: “Are you prepared to co-operate with the PRP?”, and he said: “I am prepared to co-operate with anybody, including the devil, provided he believes in the same sort of South Africa as that in which I believe.” That is the key: “Provided he believes in the same sort of South Africa.” I put it to the hon. member for Durban Point that he knows that he and the PRP do not believe in the same sort of South Africa.
Since when has there been any mention of parties as such? A new party will be established.
Now the hon. member asks since when there has been any mention of this. My submission to the hon. member is this: He should not have tried to avoid the issue. He should have said: “I cannot co-operate with that party because the PRP and I believe in completely different fundamental principles.” We need not try to avoid the issue. All we are trying to do is to be honest.
Who says that we want to co-operate with the Progressives? [Interjections.]
The hon. member for Bezuidenhout launched another attack. He tried to create the impression—I do not want to interpret him incorrectly—that we did not want to go along with the effort because we were in favour of White leadership. I have already indicated that this is of course totally wrong as far as the true state of affairs is concerned. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout said to us: “Thank you and good-bye!” I also want to say “thank you” to him today because he has taught us a great deal. He taught us a great deal about tricks. However, he also taught us that tricks do not pay. I am also grateful for that. He must know this afternoon that I do not want to beat about the bush.
I do not want to try to avoid the issue of “White leadership”. I want rather to put this aspect honestly as I see it. If as a result I have to lose my political platform, then so be it. That is how I feel about the matter. What do I understand by “White leadership”? Let me first look at the word “mastery” (baasskap). I need not discuss the question of mastery. We all know what “mastery” is. If I am a master then someone else has to do as I say or he is out. A leader, however, has other characteristics. A leader has leadership characteristics. One may in fact find this in mastery as well, but not necessarily so. However, if a leader does not have the characteristics of leadership he will never be able to lead. If he does not have the quality of leadership he will never lead. A leader leads only because he has the ability to lead. That is what leadership means to me. In terms of the principles of my party, White leadership has never to my mind meant … physical force. To my mind it has always been a spiritual force in the population set-up of South Africa.
It is often asked whether White leadership is an end in itself. If it is an end in itself it may be an ugly thing. However, I say no. White leadership is not an end in itself. It is a means to a twofold end. The first step that I want to achieve by means of my White leadership—and, as it happens, this is what the Government is doing at the moment—is to bring about a new constitutional set-up in South Africa. They are busy with separate freedoms. If, for the sake of argument, I was in power, I would be busy with my federal system, but this would have to take place under White leadership, in the closest consultation, of course, with those people whom I hope to bring into the system. That is the first aspect—to establish a new constitutional dispensation for South Africa. One cannot simply just go along and remove White leadership. Secondly, my friends and I believe— and we stand firmly by this—that civilized standards and norms must be maintained in this homeland of ours for as long as possible, if not for all time. We believe that at this stage the White man is the bearer of those norms and we also believe that we would be doing ourselves a gross injustice if we did not succeed, not in ramming them down the throats of other people but at least offering them to people so that, with our way of life as an example, we could also encourage these people to accept those norms. That is what I understand by “White leadership”—not physical force but a spiritual force which in my humble opinion is of inestimable value for the survival of order in South Africa.
Let me now, however, return to the hon. member for Bezuidenhout. Not only did he try to give the impression that this was the reason why we were not part of the new initiative but he actually dissociated himself and his colleagues completely from the idea of “White leadership”. He was not only speaking for himself. The hon. member for Bezuidenhout is the leader of the UP in the Transvaal. He sits here as a frontbencher on the Opposition side. He said that this was not a principle of the party. He wanted, as it were, to have nothing to do with it. Neither did I hear any objection from that side.
Let me look at the facts as I see them—if I am wrong, I am sure that somebody will assist me. In my hand I have a document with the heading: “Die doelstellings en beginsels van die VP soos in November 1973 eenparig deur die Sentrale Kongres van die party aangeneem is.” This is not a dead document that has a number of hollow points which can be interpreted in many ways. It is a living document, full of idealism, of the party in which I believe. What does this document say? I quote—
The purpose which is referred to here is the establishment of a specific constitutional system.
Let us see what the fourth basic principle has to say. Although I know that principle off by heart, I want to read it out because I do not want to make any mistakes:
It goes on to say:
Please note, “committed”—it is therefore not an empty promise. We find there: “We are committed.” I read further—
That is precisely what I said—
This is a spiritual force. If the hon. member for Bezuidenhout disagrees with me, I want to tell him: “My friend, disagree with me if you must.” If he speaks on behalf of the UP and his colleagues, I want to ask him: Where was he in 1973? In 1975 we held a large national congress at which one could move any motion and get people to support it. The hon. member was not there in order to reject this resolution. That resolution still stands today. That is why I am not ashamed to say where I stand in regard to this matter. I just want to tell the hon. member for Bezuidenhout that if he wishes to create the impression that this is the reason why we have left the party, he is making a fatal mistake and should look once again at his own principles. Enough of that.
The hon. member for Mooi River told us that the old dispensation was antiquated and obsolete and that we had to seek a new one. As yet I am unable to offer him a new dispensation but I want to tell him that if he has listened carefully he will already have heard a brand new note sounded on this side of the House, a note to the effect that we expect the Government of South Africa to govern responsibly and that we promise the people of South Africa that we will oppose responsibly. That is what we are prepared to do. We shall test the Government and the Government can test us. I want to say here today that when it comes to internal security, the Government can rely upon this group to stand by law and order. When it comes to defence the Government can rely on the fact that we will stand by South Africa and her interests and that we shall not exploit the matter for petty political gain. When it comes to a question of external security we shall stand by South Africa and we shall never exploit it for political gain. What is more, when it comes to a question of faith in my homeland, South Africa, we shall try to breathe a spirit of realistic optimism because we believe that lack of confidence is the root cause of all our problems. We shall try to inspire those prophets of doom who may perhaps really believe that we have problems that are insurmountable, but I want to say right away that the prophets of doom who condemn South Africa, not because they believe what they say but because they are seeking to break South Africa, will receive no mercy from this side of the House. We shall try to instil confidence in South Africa. In spite of her thousands of shortcomings she remains, in my humble opinion, one of the best countries in the world.
Whenever this party has to oppose something it will oppose responsibly, and we say to the Government that we also expect them to govern responsibly.
The first point to which I want to return is the fact mentioned by the hon. member for Vereeniging. For some years now we have been warning the Government in regard to the time factor because time for South Africa is marching on. We shall watch the Government in the future; we shall attack it unmercifully if, as in the past, it continues to overlook the time factor in South Africa. We shall attack the Government mercilessly in regard to malpractices, and just as mercilessly in regard to mismanagement and incompetence. We shall attack the Government mercilessly in regard to the shortcomings that exist in the policy of the Government in regard to racial matters, economic matters, and so forth. We shall attack them mercilessly. There will be no mercy because we expect them to govern responsibly.
I should like to say one final thing in regard to racial problems. I despair sometimes when I think of the racial position in South Africa, particularly when I listen to the debates here. For years now we have been denigrating one another, White against White. For years now we have been at one another’s throats in regard to the non-White in South Africa. For years now we have been building up a conflict situation, a confrontation, White against White, in regard to the non-White in South Africa. I want in all earnestness to ask this House today: In the light of the fact that our colour position has been internationalized and is therefore no longer a local problem as it was in the year dot, can South Africa afford to continue in this way? I think the time has come for us to take the interests of our fatherland to heart, for the party political leaders in South Africa to come together and say: Thusfar and no further; we must find one another. We shall have to work out a basis to remove the colour problem from party politics or else I say to hon. members: This will lead to the end of the country. I do not know how it can be done. The efforts of the past failed. But those were other times, other things, other days. In the light of the seriousness of the position today I honestly believe that every hon. member in this House has to do his level best not only to speak responsibly on matters of colour but also to do his level best to remove the burning problem, which so divides us Whites, from the party political sphere so that we can make of it a national problem instead of a party political one.
Mr. Speaker, circumstances might have stripped the hon. member for Maitland of his party, of his supporters and of his colleagues, but in no way did this diminish his oratorical powers. He still delivers his speech in the way he used to. It was, however, a sad moment for us to see this hon. member wash his dirty linen in public in this House. Surely this was not necessary. We would have been justified in expecting him to conduct this conversation somewhere else with the people concerned.
Don’t be petty!
I think the hon. member passed up an opportunity to make a really positive contribution here. We did learn something about, inter alia, a special matter from the speech of the hon. member for Maitland. That was about the concept of leadership. The difference between the National Party and hon. members on the opposite side of this House as regards the concept of leadership is this. In the National Party leadership is crystallized in the actual leader. The fact that the leader is the head, but not the brain; that the leader is the inspiration, but not the soul, is interwoven in the leadership of the NP. Because the leader of the National Party emerged from the nation, the National Party will never be able to do what the United Party has been doing in recent times. The National Party is interwoven and integrated with the nation, with the electorate and with people. For that reason the policy of the National Party is directly aimed at, and integrated with, the people outside. That is why the National Party has no doubts. Unfortunately those people on the opposite side of this House are experiencing definite doubt.
I should like to read a quotation from a paper which has just come off the press, and I want to read it to the hon. member for Durban Point. It states explicitly—
Hon. members of the Opposition should feel very anxious in those benches in which they are sitting.
Yes, it wont help to pull such a sour face, Vause! It is true!
Mr. Speaker, as a backbencher I should now like to address myself to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. Of that hon. the Leader of the Opposition was written in his first years, “He is born to rule”. I should like to tell him, however, that in the constituency of Standerton—a famous old constituency—in which predecessors in the United Party served in the forefront—I almost said in the previous century—there is at this moment a Frisian bull called Dr. Robert XII. That animal is from the pens of De Grendel. It is a fine animal. However, today I can tell the hon. the Leader of the Opposition that in my opinion that bull is doing better than his policy. [Interjections.]
He is looking for the “Heifers”! [Interjections.]
The philosophy of the National Party is the acknowledgment of the fundamental right of every person, of every individual, in his totality as a human being in this country. It sounds so simple, but that is the gospel truth, because the people of this country are intimately bound up with their history, with the history of the nation to which they belong. It upsets us that members of the PRP want to run away from the concept of their being members of the White race. They want to get away from this concept. My contention is that we are an integral part of a nation with a history. We belong to a party with a history and a specific line of development Our party is not hidebound and verkramp, but it lives and grows and adjusts. We had architects who put the structure of our party on firm foundations. So there is no need for us to interfere with these foundations every day to see whether they are still firm. Those structures are solid and firm. The United Party, however, removes bricks from their basic structures. Therefore their building cannot remain intact. The history of our nation is part of our existence and we cannot escape that. We cannot and do not want to undo that, because that is our salvation and we must cherish it. A writer once said:
These are components which contribute to the basic nature and deep-rooted character of a nation. Therefore we do not view the past of our nation and the events of the Anglo-Boer War with bitter reproach, with the hatred which emenates at times from conversations from the opposite side. We are faithfully convinced that those were events which enriched our nation with great examples of people who did not lose courage. I believe we can learn a lesson from this. Those people who want to flee from this small band of Whites in South Africa today and who want to join the ranks of the non-Whites to seek their security there, are selling their good right of existence.
In essence the National Party is intent on serving the nation, and to be able to do this, its objectives seek to achieve the following: Firstly—this is quite simple—the development of peoples in this country; secondly, the granting, the maintenance and the protection of sovereignty; thirdly, the economic development of these peoples; and, fourthly, the participation of these peoples in internal and external spheres, government and talks within the framework of good order. When we make a further analysis of each of these components and we look at the development of a people, the question arises: What else is involved in this? For one thing, the education of its youth is involved. Let us look at the Blacks only. In 1948, shortly after this Government came to power, there were 723 000 Black pupils. In 1975 there were 3 700 000 Blacks attending school. This progress, percentage-wise, is astronomical. Health services must be regarded as one of the components which ensures the growth of a people. It must be remembered that there were 6½ million Blacks in South Africa in 1935, but that the number has grown to 17½ million at the end of 1976. An increase from 6½ million to 17½ million is enormous, but this was accompanied by the improvement of health services and care as regards, inter alia, the birth of Black children. Good health services are available. There are doctors in this House who will get up in the middle of the night to assist at the confinement of a Black child. Farmers of Standerton will not allow one more baby to be born in the “daub-and-wattle” huts on their farms. They will rather take the Black woman to the maternity home where she will receive excellent medical care. The mortality rate of non-White babies has decreased to a minimum. Further attention is being given to economic prosperity. I want to stress one matter only; in 1966 the per capita income of the economically active Bantu in this country, domestic servants and agricultural workers excluded, was R372 per year. In 1976, 10 years later, it was R1 300 per year. This means an increase of 250% in 10 years. This is a splendid achievement.
I want to mention only two examples with regard to housing facilities for the various population groups. In the immediate vicinity of Cape Town there is the city of Atlantis, currently under construction, which will house approximately 80 000 people in the year 2000. We can also mention the Black town which is being built in the local area at Secunda, on Langverwacht. This will be the most modern town for the other population groups in the Republic of South Africa.
Every Black who is going to live there has already applied for electricity in his house. That is part of the purpose of our nation, of the aspiration of our Government, to elevate the strata of our various population groups. The costs of that Black town will be 10 million rand, but it is borne by our economy. As regards further development of our economy, we only have to think of the Black entrepreneurs entering commerce, the Indian trade which has a proud record today. There are big Indian businessmen, Coloureds in industry, and estimates that 75% of the building industry in the Cape is in the hands of Coloureds has been given to us.
Where do the Indians live in Standerton?
Please go and have a look at where the Indians live in Standerton. They have one of the most beautiful residential areas, with their own high school which cost R450 000. Please go and have a look.
Where are their shops now?
The issue is the maintenance and the protection of the sovereignty of our various population groups. Here we have clear examples of the sovereignty of the Transkei, acknowledged in its own right.
The Ambassador of the Transkei attended the opening ceremony of our Parliament in this Chamber. But not only that, the action of this country’s White sons on the border of Angola is a proof of their endeavour to safeguard this country for all its population groups. We cannot get any better proof.
The economic development of our country and all its people is accompanied by pain, because our country as a whole, being part of the free Western world, experiences the difficulties of a shortage of capital. This country really does not intend to make a gift of R35 million only to have it on the scrap heap in two years’ time as is now the case in Zambia. The papers were full of that. That is not the object and the task of this Government; we must turn every cent over and spend it profitably. We want to develop a sense of responsibility in our people for the task with which we entrust them. I should like to quote one of our great industrialists, Dr. Anton Rupert, a level-headed businessman whose investment portfolios are selected in such a way that there is development and vitality in the different areas. He told a group in New York, as he would have told young people: “Young man, go south!” instead of “Young man, go west!” He said, because of these reasons, that, in the first place, there was a positive growth in the population of the Republic of South Africa, while population growth in Europe was flattening out. Apart from that there is the enormous potential of this country, which will support approximately 54 500 000 Blacks and 18 000 000 Whites in the year 2020. We have the manpower, and apart from the fact that South Africa has the greater part of all the gold in the world, this country also has 90% of the platinum in the Free World, 70% of its chromite, 100% of the amosite in the world, 100% of the world’s asbestos reserves and also the biggest known reserves of radium in the world. Apart from the aforementioned South Africa also has considerable reserves of iron ore, manganese, phosphates, titanium, antimony, coal, copper and uranium. The whole sub-continent of Africa offers tremendous possibilities for the further development of its natural resources. That is important for the progress of all its inhabitants and for good relations. I wonder what those hon. members will say if they know that one can stand on a certain spot in the Eastern Transvaal where according to a geologist, the coal-seam is 500 feet thick. One feels insignificant when one contemplates what the Almighty has given our people as their responsibility. We can prosper from such riches and apply them to the benefit of all our people.
Another component of our Government’s objective is to bring our people to a point where they can participate in the international sphere. They must reach maturity to be able to participate internationally. I think we have achieved that objective because on occasion we bring our peoples to the various spheres and we guide them to that maturity. That is the task of our hon. Minister when he liaises with other countries. The contingents which go overseas include people of various peoples. Whatever we achieve in future will only depend on ourselves.
This Government can tolerate criticism and opposition. The Government may expect opposition, terrorism and encroachment on the border. We must take cognizance of these incidents because they are realities. The Government has the right, however, not to expect a lot of hands-uppers in our midst. The hands-uppers are those people who do not want to go along with us as regards the full concept of what the work of this country entails. If we make a study of our history, we find that we have always had hands-uppers in our midst. They maintain that they also communicate with the other parties, the Blacks, but they do that as refugees. They cannot conceive of the character of a person who can stand firm and who can say: “These are my borders and from here I will not move.” We trust in the future of this nation and we want to connect this trust to the following three simple bases. In the first place the possibilities of our development are in our land which the Almighty God has given to us. In the second place we rely on the quality of our people. We are experiencing difficult years but it is in circumstances like these that the strength of a human being emerges. The difficult times in the history of our nation has always brought the best in the nation to the fore. This quality in our people is a great support to us. In the third instance we may have confidence in our development, because we have confidence in the leader of the National Party, our highly esteemed Prime Minister.
Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to react to the statement of the hon. member for Standerton, that we have no right to exist. What worries me is the way in which this Government is acting with regard to the existence of all the people in South Africa. The hon. member praised Government expenditure, but I hope he will listen when I come to the question of Government expenditure in Soweto. We are in very grave trouble and it is necessary to summarize it before I come to the main point of my speech. The Government has brought us to the point where we have had two years of dangerously low growth. We are likely to have a third, and the further outlook does not look any better. We have had inflation at an unacceptable level and it still remains above 10%. The Government’s voluntary collective programme to fight inflation is simply a farce and it is perceived by the public to be simply not worth the paper it is written on. This arises from a string of price increases which the Government introduced. In the last couple of months the price of steel, electricity and petrol has gone up, all of which will cause a chain of further increases as they work their way through the system.
We have unemployment on a massive scale. At the end of December we had something like 19 000 Coloured, White and Asian people unemployed. When we come to the Black people of this country—and the figures for the Coloureds, Whites and Asians are sad enough in themselves—their position is nothing short of a disaster. The figures for their unemployment, we have heard, range from something like 600 000 to 2 million. What cannot be disputed, whichever estimate you take, is that the red light is already flashing, and far from dropping, the figures are continuing to rise.
The fourth problem to which the Government has brought us is that we have massive short-term debt obligations and a very dangerously low level of foreign exchange reserves. On the 20th of this month our gross foreign exchange reserves stood at some R689,5 million. Within that figure the gold element has of course not been revalued. The latest figure that we have been given by the Government for the foreign loans raised by the Government and by the Reserve Bank, which must be subtracted from the gross reserves, was R657 million.
It is a dark and forbidding scene, and let us be quite clear about this, whatever the Cabinet speakers may say to the contrary, it is going to get worse. The question we really want to ask, Mr. Speaker, is: How can our country, a land of enormous potential wealth, come to such a pass? The answer needs to be learnt, not only by the people who sit on the benches opposite, but indeed by every South African, and it needs to be digested because for all of us South Africans the day of reckoning is close at hand if this Government does not change its ways. Those words are chosen with care for our choice is now quite stark.
Mr. Speaker, the answer quite simply lies in the objectives of this Government. These are, as we have heard over and over again in this House, growth, full employment, an acceptable level of inflation, a strong balance of payments, private enterprise for Whites and apartheid or separate but equal development. The first five objectives are common to most of the economies of the Free Western World except for the qualification placed on the fifth, namely the deliberate decision of this Government to restrict the benefits of and participation in the private enterprise system in our country simply on a basis of colour, a subject to which I shall return. The other countries of the Western world have had enough trouble trying to achieve those five objectives, but our Government has chosen to add the sixth, apartheid development, which simply makes its task impossible. Those six objectives cannot be achieved. It cannot be done. It is as simple as that, and therefore the choice which the whole of South Africa is looking for is either to abandon apartheid and the colour restriction on private enterprise or simply to take us willy-nilly into the laager. The choice is as stark as that. It is whether this Government is going to solve the problems of Soweto or whether it is going into the laager. To put it into economic terms, Mr. Speaker, it is whether they want to go into a vicious or a virtuous cycle.
We heard on Friday that every responsible person is alive to the fact that in this age of mass communication and interdependence no country or people can exist in isolation. That is indeed true. The fact, the reality, remains that we as a country can only move ahead at the pace we should, and indeed, to put it bluntly, we can only maintain a chance of peaceful co-existence here if we can attract capital from overseas. This is where the fictions and the illusions fall away, for this is where the crunch is. The present message is quite clear. If one looks at the figures for 1976, they are quite illuminating; they ram home the message. The total capital movement for the first three quarters of 1976 is as follows—and I am now talking about South Africa: In the first quarter there was an inflow of R483 million; the inflow during the second quarter was R89 million and, significantly, during the third quarter there was an outflow of R12 million. Those figures understate the case because during that time this Government withdrew R157 million from the IMF, so the figures cannot be compared too easily with those of previous years.
If we are to show a growth rate of 4% during 1977 or in 1978, without assuming any improvement in our balance of payments, we will need something of the order of R800 million from overseas. If we were to aim at a growth rate of 5%, which is not an unreasonable figure for a country of South Africa’s potential—and in fact it is on the low side—we would need R2 800 million from overseas. The writing is on the wall for all South Africans to see because if we are going to get that capital from overseas, then either this Government must change or the Government itself must be changed.
In the past there used to be an attitude amongst some people overseas—and the Government had no control over this because they have no control over the attitude of foreign investors—that money should not be lent to us in this country on the grounds that we should be punished or reformed. Although that, in itself, was a cause for worry, the situation is now much graver because now overseas investors in general, individuals, banks and other financial institutions, are refusing to lend money to South Africa simply because they no longer think our country is a safe place to lend to or to invest in. That adds a quite different and a quite new dimension to our inability to attract capital from overseas in the future. It is no use saying that other countries are in the same position, because the international capital market at this point in time is flush with money to lend. What happens when one goes to borrow for South Africa? People overseas simply say “no way!” when it comes to a South African borrower who wants to use the money within South Africa. Whatever the hon. the Prime Minister may say, one cannot separate business from politics. There is nothing wrong with the potential of South Africa to create wealth within our land. Indeed, we are the envy of the rest of the world, and the human, mineral and agricultural potential which the hon. member for Standerton referred to is vast. On those grounds, we should be in a position, right at the top of the list, to attract funds. The message, however, is that it is the policy of this Government which must change. This is where the rules of the game have changed. It is no use hoping that the price of gold is going to increase continuously and sufficiently to remove the necessity for overseas capital.
The choice, as I have said, is Soweto or the laager, and let us make no mistake, life in the laager will be highly and increasingly unpleasant for all. It will become a self-justifying and a self-destructive cul-de-sac just as Rhodesia has found it to be. No burnt earth policy of this Government can actually affect our land’s matrix or potentially great wealth, but what this Government can do, and appears to be doing, is to negate and destroy the chances of Whites to participate, when the river of troubles is over, as full and welcome partners in the future prosperity of our land.
Let me give an example. The Government has struck no balance at all between defence expenditure and Soweto, and this despite the fact that the two are interdependent and quite inseparable. Does this Government really believe that the quality of life in Soweto is unimportant? It apparently does, though those in charge of the Defence Force know differently. The evidence shows, as hon. members may recall, that the defence budget for this year is R1 350 million, and that it is likely to increase next year. For 1976-’77 the deficit between the revenue, which is all raised from the inhabitants of Soweto, and the expenditure in Soweto—and this is for the West Rand Bantu Administration Board, carrying out its responsibilities for the whole area, which includes Soweto—is anticipated to be of the order of between R2 million and R5 million. That is one-seventh to one-third of 1% of what we spend on defence. That is the total expenditure on Soweto which is not earned from the citizens of Soweto. That in itself is beyond belief, but it lays bare one facet of the death wish of this Government in the sense that one can hardly construe how it is possible to build up a united South Africa or how one can convince people overseas that they should invest their money here.
There are only those two choices. We must either solve the problems of Soweto or go into the laager. However, that can only constitute a choice to those Afrikaner Nationalists, including the Cabinet, who are prepared to put their own interests ahead of that of the country as a whole. Let me put it plainly. This country can never afford another three years without growth, but the situation is actually much graver than that. We not only need foreign capital, because one cannot have growth without that; we have first to repay the debt we presently owe to our overseas creditors. There is a maxim in business which one ignores at one’s peril, i.e. “never borrow short to invest long”. That is the way to bankruptcy. We are in that position, if indeed we can borrow at all at the present time. Let those members who sit in the frontbench opposite say what they will. Unless a change comes and unless we solve the problem of Soweto, we are not going to get the money, and every South African should contemplate the implications of that, both for themselves as individuals and for all of us as a whole.
Mr. Speaker, I stand up to be counted amongst those South Africans who are very concerned about the situation in our country as it is being managed by the Government opposite. Other speakers on this side of the House have, during the course of this debate, identified the problematic areas causing us concern. They have identified the international situation, the racial situation and the economic situation. I propose, in the time available to me, to devote myself to comments on the economic situation, and I am glad that the hon. the Minister of Economic Affairs is in his seat, although I am sorry that the hon. the Minister of Finance is not present. I am very concerned about the economic situation in South Africa, not only in that it presents a problem in itself, but also—as other speakers have said, and particularly as it was so ably put by my hon. leader—because the interaction between the economic problem and the other problems facing us is a real interaction. Unless we have a strong economy, we do not have the basis for solving our other problems, particularly our racial problems.
I should like to say at this early juncture that to my mind there is no doubt whatsoever that the reasons for the poor state of our economy lie primarily in mismanagement by the Government. In the course of what I have to say I shall give examples of what I mean by mismanagement. Secondly, there is the slavish following of apartheid policies which has lowered the productivity of our country, in terms of which we have failed to use the resources which we have available in our country, which has been the cause of racial friction in our country, which has certainly been the cause of the world-wide unpopularity of our country, which has affected our trade, our financial standing and our ability to borrow abroad and, more important, which has been a big contributory factor to the third reason for the poor state of our economy. Here I am referring to the profligacy of spending which has taken place under this Government over the past years.
I should like to ask hon. members on the other side how one can describe the economy as being in anything but a poor shape when, in the first place, inflation continues well into double figures, a level at which it has been now for more than three years. I can remember the time when members on that side of the House—inflation was then at a much lower level—used to say that it was an imported commodity. We now number among the nations who have the highest rate of inflation in the world. We are now exporting our inflation. Inflation is causing immense hardship to the lower income groups, the pensioners and people on fixed income. The hardship they are experiencing is becoming increasingly intense. Inflation is causing our whole economic structure to become distorted. It is causing loss of confidence on the part of businessmen. It is also discouraging savings—people do not have the incentive or ability to save. Furthermore it is changing our whole investment pattern so that, instead of investment money going where it should go to increase our productive capacity, it is going into other channels. This is becoming more and more a cumulative state of affairs.
We have had an anti-inflation manifesto in operation now for more than 15 months. That manifesto contains many of the correct ingredients for fighting inflation, but what hope of success has it when the Government comes along first of all with a huge devaluation of the rand—that was in September 1975— which pushed up the price of our imports by more than 20% and, secondly, when it comes along with a long series of increases in administered prices, prices of important commodities. When those prices go up, it does not merely have a rippling effect throughout the economy, but it acts almost like a tidal wave.
Are you suggesting that the prices of administered commodities should not be increased?
I shall get to that. I am referring to commodities such as coal, steel, electricity, sugar, bread and milk. We are again threatened with the ridiculous situation of an increase in the price of butter and cheese while we have a surplus of those commodities. I simply fail to understand how one can contemplate putting prices up to get rid of surplus stocks. More recently still we have had a vicious increase in the price of petrol, an increase which is estimated to affect the cost of living by a full 1%. I maintain that the Government should be doing everything in its power to keep prices down, not to push prices up.
Yet, the Government puts an impost of two cents per litre on the price of petrol to finance Sasol II. It was not forced to do this. It did so voluntarily, thus making today’s hard-pressed consumers of petrol subsidize tomorrow’s consumers. It gives a substantial increase in the gross profit margin to petrol stations. I do not begrudge petrol stations that increased margin for one minute. What I do criticize is that the Government continues to smother competition between petrol stations by preventing them from cutting prices. I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that, if price cutting of petrol were allowed it would take place and would go quite a long way to counteract the harsh effect of the recent increase in the price of petrol.
Then, Sir, how can one describe the economy as being in anything but a poor shape when the balance of payments continues to cause concern, and how can it be otherwise when our reserves of foreign exchange are insufficient to cover five weeks’ imports and net invisible payments? Even if the gold content of our foreign exchange reserves were to be valued in relation to the present market value of gold, those reserves would barely cover two months’ imports and invisibles. How can it be otherwise when we are still heavily dependent on a capital inflow to pay for our imports, a capital inflow which, as the hon. member for Johannesburg North has just pointed out, is becoming more and more difficult to obtain and is even then only being obtained on a shorter and shorter term basis and at a higher and higher cost?
Most serious of all, how can one describe our economy as being in anything but a poor shape when it continues to slow down, when it continues to shrink? The South African Reserve Bank in its latest quarterly bulletin anticipates that 1976 will be the second consecutive year in which the economy, as measured by the gross national product, has shrunk. I maintain that the gross national product is the measure one should use in determining the growth or shrinkage of one’s economy because it is the measure of what is available to sustain standards of living. To me this represents a critical situation.
We are getting further and further away from the economic development programme growth rate of 5,75% for 1977 which was estimated as being the growth rate required to absorb our growing labour forces. In fact, we are accumulating a sizeable backlog as far as our growth is concerned. A rate of very much more than 5,75% will be necessary if we are to catch up, and that, to my way of thinking, makes a complete mockery of the economic development programme because under present circumstances it is unthinkable that in the foreseeable future we will be able to improve on the rate of 5,75% in order to catch up that growth. Put in other words, this means that unemployment is increasing and is doing so in a cumulative way. This is already reflected in such figures as are available for unemployment, figures which, as the House knows, cover only Whites, Coloureds and Asiatics. Those are the only figures which are available from the Department of Statistics. Those figures have trebled since 1974. Although there are no figures available for Black unemployment, all the evidence, all the surveys that have been made on the subject of Black unemployment at present, point to a serious situation: Unemployment under the Blacks is numbered not in tens of thousands but at least in hundreds of thousands and possibly in seven figures. All this leads to a situation of lower living standards for the average South African, a smaller per capita real income. It leads to a position where many, and a growing number, are experiencing real poverty. When one has a situation of growing poverty, of growing unemployment, of unfulfilled expectations, one inevitably also has a situation of unrest and one has all the ingredients present for social and political disorder.
I find it quite tragic that in a country such as ours, a country which is so richly endowed with natural resources and the resources of production, and with skilled or potentially skilled people, we should find ourselves in this plight of deliberately having to underutilize the majority of those resources. Take for instance the position of housing. In the urban areas there is still the need for considerably more housing than we have at present, particularly for the Coloureds and the Blacks. We have available the labour, much of which is unemployed; we have the cement, the bricks, the sand, the stone, the timber, the hardware, the roofing—in fact, we have all the components to build houses readily available, but we are not doing so because of the Government’s past excesses and the need to slow down the economy. We have to do without this badly needed housing and in the process of going without it, we are exacerbating our social, political and racial problems. That is not the way to wealth; it is not the way to happiness. But that is the position which exists and, as I have said before, it has been brought about by mismanagement by the Government, by the extravagant waste of resources entailed in apartheid and by the extreme profligacy of Government spending and its use of scarce resources.
I do not question for one minute that South Africa could have avoided some degree of recession. Cyclical forces have been at work and the trade cycle is in a downward swing. We have an open economy and cannot insulate ourselves completely from what has been happening in the economies of our trading partners who have also been suffering recession. I do believe, however, and I believe very, very sincerely, that the intensity and the length of our recession have been and are still being greatly increased, firstly because, over a long period, the Government has allowed State expenditure to rise much more rapidly than the production of the country as measured by the gross domestic product. This particularly happened during the three years from June 1973 to June 1976 when Exchequer issues nearly doubled while the GDP went up by only 50%, and there was a real spending orgy. It is only recently that cutbacks in expenditure have been introduced.
In accordance with Standing Order No. 22, the House adjourned at