House of Assembly: Vol7 - THURSDAY 13 FEBRUARY 1986
announced that Mr Speaker had called a joint sitting of the three Houses of Parliament for Wednesday, 19 February, at 15h30 for the delivering of Second Reading speeches on certain bills.
Mr Speaker, on behalf the Minister of Transport Affairs I move:
Clause 3 negatived.
Mr Chairman, on behalf of the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs I move:
New Clause agreed to.
Mr Chairman, on behalf of the Minister of Transport Affairs I move:
- 1. In the Afrikaans text, on page 6, in the second line of article I (e), to omit “afgelaai” and to substitute “ontskeep”.
- 2. In the Afrikaans text, on page 6, in the second line of the proviso to item 3 of article III, to omit “na”.
- 3. In the Afrikaans text, on page 6, in the fourth line of item 6 of article III, to omit “binne drie dae sigbaar is nie” and to substitute “sigbaar is nie, binne drie dae”.
- 4. In the English text, on page 9, in item 2(b) of article IV, to omit “substantial” and to substitute “actual”.
- 5. In the Afrikaans text, on page 8, in the third line of item 5(b) of article IV, to omit “gelaai word of aldus gelaai” and to substitute “ontskeep word of aldus ontskeep”.
Mr Chairman, since the hon the Minister has accepted my amendment in the sense that he has incorporated it into his own amendment, I am quite satisfied. As a result I will not be moving the amendment appearing in my name on the Order Paper. I support the hon the Minister’s amendment.
Amendments agreed to.
Schedule, as amended, agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Bill read a third time.
Mr Chairman, permit me, in the first place, to say that it is an exceptional privilege and honour to occupy this portfolio. I want to add, too, that it is an exceptional honour and privilege to serve under the State President in this party for the sake of everyone in South Africa.
I have the utmost appreciation for my predecessors in this portfolio and this afternoon I have in mind in particular my immediate predecessor, the late Dr Nak van der Merwe who, as hon members know, was a remarkable person. At the time of his death he was a senior member of this House and of the Cabinet. He was known as a person with a broad general knowledge and in addition, he possessed the rare quality of wisdom. His sense of humour and his ability to get along with people made him an exceptionally respected and well-loved man among both friends and enemies. Accordingly I take this opportunity to pay tribute to his memory.
Mr Chairman, the future of South Africa is related to two very important aspects in regard to which progress will have to be made. One is constitutional development and the other is population development.
Population development is a decisive factor in ensuring a decent life for all the inhabitants of this country. The growth rate of the population of South Africa is 2,3%. It appears that the growth rate of the White population is 1,55%, while that of the Asian population is 1,76%, that of the Coloured population, 1,8% and that of the Black population, 2,8%. If the present growth rate were to continue, the South African population, which at present is 28 million will total 47 million by the end of the century, and no less than 80 million by the year 2020. By the year 2040 it will be 138 million. Hon members will note, therefore, that there will be almost a doubling of the population within the next 20 years and that within the next 15 years 19 million more people will be living in South Africa—an increase of more than one million per annum.
At present South Africa does not possess the socio-economic wealth—nor, in the longer term, the necessary resources—to provide a decent living for a growing population of 2,3% per annum. The resources of South Africa, and its water resources in particular, cannot, with the research available today, permit of a decent living for more than 80 million people. I want to point out that at present there are approximately ten million children under the age of 15 years in South Africa. These ten million under the age of 15 years will enter the labour market within the next few years and will enter the productive phase. The implications of these realities are far-reaching, and it is clear that the consequences of this rapid population growth for the broader social, economic and constitutional spheres may be catastrophic for South Africa and may, of course, pose a serious threat to stability and progress. It is of crucial importance to the orderly survival of the South African community that a balance be struck between socio-economic growth on the one hand, and resources and the population size on the other.
It is clear, then, that if South Africa wishes to succeed in dealing successfully with this issue, a purposeful, dynamic and co-ordinated campaign is essential, with the cooperation of all population groups and communities. Permit me, therefore, to emphasise a few perspectives in this regard and put forward policies and objectives, and to report briefly on progress made.
The causes of a rapid population growth are multidimensional. However, it is very important that the lower the socio-economic situation of a population, the higher the fertility. The higher and better the socio-economic conditions, the fewer children. That is the reason for the strong emphasis on socioeconomic development by the State President in his historic opening address in this House a few days ago. Therefore the problem of a rapid population growth can only be dealt with by way of socio-economic development and family planning on an integrated basis. In South Africa the highest population growth rate at present is in the self-governing national states, in the rural areas and among the workers on our farms.
There are two important standpoints on principle held by the Government with regard to the population development programme, and I should like to mention them.
The individual, and every couple, has the right and the freedom to decide on the number of children they desire, but they also have the responsibility of looking after those children. On the other hand, the State has the responsibility and the right, in the interests of all the people in the country, to take steps and implement programmes to ensure a balance between resources and the size of the population.
When we consider the objectives of this population development programme we find that it is a demographic growth rate of 80 million people, not by the year 2020, as is the case with the present growth rate, but by the end of the next century. A very important objective is 2,1 children per family, which we should like to achieve by the year 2010. What is also very important is accelerated social and economic development of all population groups to achieve parity in development opportunities as soon as possible in the next century and the improvement of the basic level of health of all groups in order to achieve parity with regard to indices of mortality at the level prevailing in Western countries no later than the year 2010.
†The key to achieving these objectives lies in the vigorous implementation of community development and self-help programmes to improve the quality of life of each individual in South Africa. Primary health care, education and adult literacy programmes are of the utmost importance. I daresay too that the status of women in a particular society does have a profound effect on the numbers of children in families in that particular society. It is a well-known fact that smaller families correlate with the better education and training of women as well as the greater involvement of women in the labour force. It is furthermore important to realise that research has shown that a threshold value in personal per capita income should be surpassed before fertility rates decline. This threshold value in personal per capita income in South Africa has been calculated to be in the neighbourhood of R800 per annum.
*We see, therefore, that the quality of life of man must be improved. The question now arises: How do we measure it? It has already been monitored in all the districts of South Africa. We measure it by way of the following indicators: The number of children per woman, the infant mortality rate, teenage pregnancies, the economic dependence rate, personal per capita income, the literacy rate, educational qualifications, the teacher-pupil ratio and classroom occupation rate.
I referred to the farm workers of South Africa as the group with the most rapid growth rate. At present there are 70 000 farmers in South Africa, and they provide accommodation to between 5 and 6 million farm workers. The growth rate among this group is among the highest in the world.
I am pleased to be able to say that the SA Agricultural Union adopts a very positive attitude towards the population development programme, and the Foundation for Rural Development has been established by the union. My department subsidises the foundation to the tune of R3,27 million per annum. The foundation has already reached 1 000 farmers and 80 000 people have been affected hereby.
It is very encouraging to be able to say this afternoon that the fertility of the workers on these farms has declined, while the quality of life of these workers employed by these wise farmers has improved remarkably. Therefore we find that where the quality of life of the workers improves, the number of children declines.
As regards family planning as an integral part of population development I want to say that as far as counselling is concerned we are spending the amount of R12,580 million on that aspect. We have 160 population development committees in South Africa with no fewer than 67 graduate population development officers.
As far as family planning is concerned, there are 840 advisers. What is particularly gratifying is that in the private sector there are no fewer than 12 800 industries and business enterprises that arrange family planning on the premises or have sent their people to be trained in family planning services.
From a small beginning in 1970 we now have 55 000 clinics—fixed points or mobile clinics in South Africa—that provide family planning services. There are more than 2 000 nurses working in family planning services at this moment. I think that this is truly a remarkable achievement within a very short period.
What is particularly important is that in the time that lies ahead we shall be looking at sterilisation services. It is very clear from the surveys carried out by the HSRC that our Black population would like to qualify for this. We must do more in this regard.
The HSRC carried out a survey the results of which were very positive. Of all women in South Africa of childbearing age, the percentage among the White population using contraceptives is 84%; among the Coloured population, 73%; among the Asian population, 78%; and among the Black population group, no less than 57%. This represents a remarkable improvement.
When we consider the number of children and compare this with the figures for 1960 we see that the number of children among the White population group has indeed dwindled to fewer than two per family. We find a decline of 42% among the Asian population, 30% among the Coloured population and 21% among the Black population.
I am pleased to be able to say that the cooperation with the self-governing national states is making very good progress and that in the course of the year we shall be training some of their officials. The same applies to the TBVC countries.
What I have now put before the House is important, because I wish to point out that the best field of investment for State funds is still the Population Development Programme, since we all know what expenses are entailed by the creation of employment, the creation of job opportunities and the provision of health services. This requires a major effort but it is crucial for the future of South Africa.
I am very proud of the members of the department, and in particular the hon the Deputy Minister of Population Development, who is very active in this regard.
The future of South Africa depends on whether we have the resources to provide a livelihood for our people. We cannot accommodate more than 80 million in South Africa. I say that this Population Development Programme and family planning will have to succeed. Through grace and hard work it can succeed. I venture to say that it will succeed.
Mr Chairman, it is a privilege for me to congratulate the hon the Minister on his particularly impressive debut in this House. He spoke on a particularly important subject and it was abundantly clear that he possesses a thorough knowledge of the subject. It was also clear that this subject lies close to his heart.
The hon the Minister came to this House with impressive qualifications in the medical and academic fields. His political initiation took place in ordinary politics, when he held the office of AG in South West Africa—a difficult and sensitive office—with great competence.
I hope the hon the Minister’s expert knowledge as well as his wide-ranging abilities will not be limited to the NP, but will also be of importance to the South African community at large.
†Normally, Mr Chairman, the part appropriation debate tends to concentrate on relatively small yet important financial matters. After the events of last week, it is inevitable that this debate should have a broader political ring. I therefore make no apology for continuing along those lines because the one thing that has become obvious is that politics and the economic welfare of the people are totally interwoven. Whatever the Government does or says in the political field is going to have an impact on the lives and the standard of living of all South Africans.
This is the first time in quite a long while that I speak from this bench. [Interjections.] I believe it is appropriate that I record the appreciation of hon members in these benches toward my predecessor for the contribution he made to the debates in this House, and indeed to the wider political debate in South Africa, during the years he was a member of this House and served as Leader of the Official Opposition. We recall in particular his efforts to make the debates in this House relevant to the realities of a South Africa comprising 30 million people.
The State President will know that political leadership is both a public and at the same time a uniquely personal experience. I know this. I was too close to Dr Slabbert over many months in his anguish over the role he was playing as the Leader of the Official Opposition, to join in any public recriminations over the step he took last Friday.
It may well be that his action has hurt many of his friends. It may well be that it will do temporary damage to the party he served. Let me say however that I for one would not mind enduring the hurt to me or my party or the harm that has been done if by his dramatic move he could in some way drive home to this stubborn and shortsighted Government the desperate seriousness of the situation that is developing in South Africa. [Interjections.]
Hon members may gloat and my party may be experiencing a temporary setback. I want to assure the State President that I do not have the names of 35 members of my party who want to cross the floor to the other side. [Interjections.] We may have a temporary setback but I want to tell hon members of this House to enjoy their petty politics. It is not this party that is in deep, deep trouble, but the Government and consequently the South African public as well. In this respect, I am not talking about party politics. I am talking about trouble in respect of a Government that can lead South Africa out of a crisis situation.
Once again the leader of that party, the head of the Government, has blown it. That was what happened last Friday. That was the most significant event in the real history of South Africa. Once again the State President took the people of South Africa halfway across his Rubicon of sharing of power. Then, tragically, he hesitated. He looked over his shoulder at the rightwingers in his own party and those sitting over here, and he turned back to the old apartheid side. That is in fact what happened, Sir.
In the brief 10 minutes in this House last Friday the State President not only backed the verkrampte interpretations of the new-look National Party policy, he not only publically humiliated his Minister of Foreign Affairs, but he also ripped off the wrappings and the tinsel that his public relations professional had provided in an attempt to sell his new policy. [Interjections.] In a brief 10 minutes the State President dashed the desperate hopes of millions of people that this Government’s policy had really changed. That was what he did. In a brief 10 minutes last Friday the State President dealt a crushing blow to the prospect and the process of negotiation in South Africa.
Sir, just look what has happened to the State President’s proposal for a national statutory council, and bear in mind that only last year he proposed a forum which never met, let alone got off the ground. At first there was genuine interest in his proposal. There was mild approval from unexpected quarters. An important Black South African like Chief Buthelezi did not shoot the proposal down. He said that he would like to consider it and to see more details about it. He indicated that under certain circumstances he would consider serving on it, provided he could get a mandate from Inkatha and from the kwaZulu legislative assembly.
However, look what has happened in the past short while as a result of the State President’s intervention in the debate last week. After having indicated mild approval, Chief Buthelezi now says: “Mr Botha’s outburst has turned the clock back to his address to the NP in August of last year.” That is where we are as a result of that speech. He went on to say:
That is the impact of last week’s happening on somebody who actually meant well with the State President and his Opening Address. Chief Buthelezi now says that in order to regain confidence in the reform process, he wants an undertaking and a declaration of intent from the State President that he will, in fact, abandon both the Group Areas Act and the Population Registration Act.
More recently other Black leaders—also homeland leaders operating within the system—also reacted. Dr Cedric Phatudi, Chief Minister of Lebowa said:
The Chief Minister of Gazankulu, Hudson Ntsanwisi, said he thought that the State President had crossed his Rubicon, but the events of the past week have shown that this country was back at square one and on the wrong side of the river. He said if people are not allowed to say what they are thinking, it makes it very difficult for Black leaders to associate themselves with the planned statutory council.
If this is the reaction which the State President’s intervention last week evoked from Black leaders who are still prepared to operate from within the system in South Africa, what Black leaders with any significant supporting constituency outside of the system would touch the national statutory council even with the proverbial bargepole? None! I want to ask the State President where his sense of priorities is. Where is his perspective? For the sake of a few White schools, a few White residential areas and for the sake of a theoretical argument about the possibility that one day there could be a Black state president, the State President is prepared to stand up in this House and to wreck the whole reform process, at the same time jeopardising the South African economy. Sir, where does the hon gentleman’s priorities lie? What is his perception of what is important and not important in South Africa, or is the unity of the NP in fact more important than the welfare of the people in South Africa? [Interjections.]
In this House last Friday the State President showed, for all to see, that Government policy is not reflected in the slick phrases of a Madison Avenue-type copywriter, but in the blunt words of a constituency politician whose first priority is to keep his party intact. I am not surprised that something went wrong with the advertisement which appeared under his signature when I read that the chairman of the Grey Group, the advertising agency that handled that advertisement, had written recently about ways and means of marketing the Government’s reform policy. After an introduction he says:
He says it is “somewhat” more crucial than soap powder and fast foods! [Interjections.] Sir, does the State President share the soap powder and fast foods analogy with his reform policy? If he does, then heaven help South Africa!
Then there is another gem from an interview with the hon the Deputy Minister of Information. He appears to have been the bright guy behind it all. On 8 February 1986 The Argus reported the following after an interview:
Perhaps that may have had something in it, I do not know. However, I quote what reason he gave for this:
Sir, forget about “political commentators” from outside, but go to the third most senior Cabinet Minister, the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs, for an opinion. What more confused response and interpretation could there have been if that Minister has to be publicly reprimanded—in front of a full House and a gallery of foreign dignitaries—by the State President himself? I read—and I hope we all read—with interest that the hon the Minister has suddenly been sent off to “interpret the Government’s reform intentions” abroad. I want to put it to the State President quite frankly, I am not interested in the personalities of this thing, but can South Africa afford to have a Foreign Minister who has twice been proved wrong in his interpretation of Government policy and, on the second occasion, publicly humiliated by the State President for stepping out of line? Can South Africa afford that situation when it concerns a man who himself is constantly required to interpret the subtleties of Government policy behind closed doors to important people abroad?
The advertisement—I think we have all seen it and keep it in our files for future reference—which appears to have been masterminded by the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the hon the Deputy Minister of Information and the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, stresses the word “reality” and I think we should read it again. It says “reality, reality, reality”! I quote:
There are no qualifications to that; in fact the rest of it goes on to emphasise that we are getting rid of racial provisions. I want to say that any ordinary person who reads that and understands the English language, anywhere in the world, must say that is a moving away from any form of racialism—“equal opportunity for all, equal treatment, equal justice”. Then it goes on to say:
I see in that no qualifications whatsoever; I see no reservations; I see no escape hatches and I see no limitations in what that means. However, the State President’s speech last Friday afternoon showed that this advertisement was a mammoth confidence trick trying to create a reality that simply was not true. [Interjections.] I believe the Government owes the public of South Africa an apology for using taxpayers’ money to pay for a completely misleading advertisement. [Interjections.] What this advertisement says is not what the hon the Minister said and it is not what the State President said on Friday.
What is the reality of the Government’s policy? I am glad the State President is here because I think he will confirm this part of my speech. Let us look at the reality of its constitutional policy. Its policy is basically this—that whatever is added in the future, the foundation is separate racial and ethnic structures based on compulsory group membership. That is the foundation on which it is built. The independent states, the former Bantustans, are to stay out of South Africa and their inhabitants will not get back their South African citizenship. That is the reality! Ethnically based Black homelands are to be given more separate powers and autonomy. That is the reality!
Outside the homelands local government will be based on separate structures and separate systems for each defined racial group. That is the reality! The tricameral system will remain with its racially segregated departments of own affairs and with effective control over general affairs in the hands of the majority party in this White House. That is the reality! Negotiations are to take place on Black participation in Government and the vote will be extended to all, but in such a way that voting will be for separate racial structures arranged in such a way that a Black South African could not become the State President of South Africa in the future. That is what the State President said. That is a reality! The Population Registration Act through which people are classified on a racial basis will remain; so will the principle of the Group Areas Act and so will the principle of racially segregated schools. That is the reality!
When I put all of this together, and having listened to the State President last Friday, it becomes clear that the reality is not what that advertisement says it is. The reality is that the Government plan is not to scrap the outdated concept of apartheid—it is to modernise apartheid and to build it into the very structure of the South African society.
Mr Speaker, let me say this: The PFP will have no part at all in assisting the State President to modernise apartheid in South Africa. We believe that it is in the interests of all groups and all individuals, and of our nation as a whole that apartheid—whether in its outdated or modernised form—should be eliminated lock, stock and barrel as quickly as we can. [Interjections.]
Civilised values, individual freedoms, civil liberties, minorities protection and real democracy cannot survive in an apartheid society based on compulsory group membership. However, these concepts can survive and flourish in an open society based on freedom of choice. So, we in the PFP will continue to fight for a free and open South African society. We will continue to fight here in Parliament where the apartheid laws eventually have to be scrapped and where, one day, we will enact a new non-racial constitution.
Mr Speaker, may I repeat what I said the other day—seeing that the State President is here. We believe—and I put it to him very, very earnestly indeed—that the present tricameral constitutional system which has caused so much anger and division in our South African society has to be scrapped. He must scrap it before the next election. He dare not go to the country again with this system of government to get the mandate from the people. He must scrap it before the next election and see to it that there is a new constitutional system in which all South Africans can participate the next time around.
We will take our message from Parliament to the millions of South Africans outside of this House. It is my conviction that for any party in this House to play a meaningful and constructive role in the politics of tomorrow, it must not only be relevant to the White voters but also in the wider and bigger non-racial political arena where so much of the politics of tomorrow is going to take place. Wherever and whenever we can, we will build bridges of goodwill and trust so that the waning prospects for negotiation in our deeply divided society can be strengthened before it is too late. We will mobilise the voters of this country until one day they compel this stubborn Government to abandon the policies which are leading all of us in this country to economic ruin and racial conflict.
I am appalled at the cavalier way in which members of the Government have responded to the desperately urgent problems of South Africa. Government members behave as though nothing happened in South Africa during 1985. Do hon members opposite not realise that the events of last year—the bannings, the beatings, the Government’s repressive response, the burnings, the Black protest and the Rubicon speech of August—have changed the very nature of our society and reduced the time that is available to us in which to resolve our problems? Quite frankly, I detect no sense of urgency on the other side. Is this because hon members do not know, or because they do not understand or because they do not care? Alternatively, is it because they are anaesthetised by party discipline or is it simply because they are afraid of “PW”? What is the reason that hon members sit there in the way they do?
As we debate in this House the clocks which will determine the fate of South Africa are ticking away. There is a whole range of clocks ticking away. I want to ask the State President and the hon members on the other side of the House: Is the Government going to continue with the stop-start operations that we have had all this time? Is this Government really going to come to terms with the realities of power-sharing or is it going to sit back until it is too late?
May I quote a distinguished American, Martin Luther King, who at the height of the civil rights campaign said this:
Mr Speaker, I put it to the State President through you: Do not let it be said that “over the bleached bones, the jumbled residues of numerous civilisations are written the pathetic words ‘too late’” should ever apply to us in South Africa.
Mr Chairman, I can understand the hon Acting Leader of the Official Opposition being so nervous here this afternoon. He and his party have been orphans since their leader absconded. The hon acting leader conveniently avoided telling us why his leader had so suddenly absconded from his party. It is unique that a leader should be kicked out by a party and then later replaced in that position. One can therefore understand his nervousness here this afternoon. He tried to draw attention away from the emotional tension and division within his own party. There are people behind him breathing down his neck, people who are not happy with his being there.
All we had from the hon new leader this afternoon was political hair-splitting. I want to say to him that it seemed to me he was more rusty than he had been when he retired.
The hon new leader did not indicate to us this afternoon where he and his party were going. He tried to disparage the State President’s reforms. That will avail him nothing. We are carrying on along that road. We know where we want to go. We shall guide South Africa along the right road.
I shall leave him at that so that he can come to rest for a time in his party. Since the State President made the statement that South Africa had outgrown the outdated concept of apartheid, a lively debate has developed and apartheid is once again being focused on.
Let us take a look at the origin of this contentious word “apartheid”. In its day apartheid has been many things; It was a word, a philosophy, a policy, a slogan—and today it is a swearword for many people. Let me say here and now, however, that those who contend that apartheid was discovered by the NP or that it is the handiwork of the NP, are making a big mistake. [Interjections.]
Apartheid, segregation, separation of the races or whatever it may be called has roots that lie far back in our country’s history. [Interjections.] It is true that in 1948 and subsequently apartheid played a very major role in the politics of the NP, but that was not the beginning of apartheid.
The cornerstone of the segregation policy in this country was laid by the British colonial governments. Many aspects of apartheid, which may be regarded largely as segregation, came into being long before the creation of the state of South Africa and before the creation of the NP. The Dutch and the British were the true fathers of segregation in South Africa.
If we take a look at history we see that several pass laws to restrict the movement of Blacks have been promulgated in the Cape Colony since 1817. The old Cape constitution was supposedly colourblind but it did not prevent the electoral qualifications being made more stringent in 1887 and again in 1892 so that “blanket kaffirs” could not flood the ballot boxes. We are also aware that the principal of territorial separation was implemented in a drastic fashion at the time of union when the large, Black-dominated territories of Basutoland, Swaziland and Bechuanaland were excised from the body of the then “British South Africa”. In Natal, after annexation, Sir Theophilus Shepstone introduced “the location and reserve system” for Blacks, after even having considered moving 100 000 Zulus to Pondoland. [Interjections.] Those hon members would do well to listen to this; they might also learn something.
According to historians even the archliberal Cecil John Rhodes was nothing but a segregationist. In his book A Reply to Lord Selbourne’s Questions, H E V Pickstone, a good friend of Rhodes, wrote the following about him:
According to P A Silburn Rhodes was at one stage strongly convinced that “segregation and parallel development was a solution to the Native question”. [Interjections.] Silburn went on to say:
I use these quotations to indicate that apartheid, for which we are being attacked so violently, was not invented by this Government. Two years before his death General Botha said the following in this Parliament:
Let us take a look at what General Smuts had to say about this. [Interjections.]
Order! There are hon members who are giving a running commentary. Hon members must refrain from doing so.
After the 1948 election General Smuts declared in Parliament:
In reply to a question from Advocate C R Swart as to whether he was moving closer to apartheid, General Smuts gave this very significant reply:
General Smuts was a supporter of apartheid. I should like to know whether the international community would have attacked General Botha and General Smuts about apartheid to the extent that they are attacking us today.
Probably the most blatant example of apartheid in the history of our country is to be found in the report of the Commission appointed in 1903 by the British High Commissioner to work out a native policy for the country. This was the South African Native Affairs Commission, an inter-colonial commission that represented the Governments of six colonies and protectorates. All but two of the members were British. The Chairman was Sir Godfrey Lagden.
From beginning to end the recommendations of this commission were nothing but apartheid. The commission found that it would create an untenable and dangerous situation if political power and undisputed supremacy were to be handed over to the Natives. The commission went on to recommend that locations and reserves for Natives be demarcated and reserved; that final decisions in that regard be taken and—please note!—that subsequently no further land should be given them. They recommended further that electoral districts be created in which Natives alone should have the franchise. They said that there should be separate voters’ rolls and separate candidates. The recommendations of the commission amount, briefly, to the following: Geographic apartheid, political apartheid, race apartheid, separate travelling facilities, social apartheid, university apartheid and even separate churches for Blacks. The report of this commission is truly a document to make the mouths of the CP members water. [Interjections.]
That, briefly, is the history of apartheid in South Africa. Hon members may infer from this that apartheid was born long before the NP appeared on the scene.
Now one can also see how extremely unfair and unjust it is of the international community to blame everything which in their opinion is bad or wrong in South Africa on the NP and its apartheid policy.
It is a fact that apartheid, as implemented by the NP, did a great deal to create an orderly community in South Africa and do justice to the various communities in our society. When the NP came to power in 1948 it inherited from General Smuts a scrambled egg. Separate development contributed a great deal to bringing order to this confusion. Even the old apartheid, with the negative connotation that was attached to it, was not, therefore, without merit.
Unfortunately, however, we cannot overlook the fact that the word “apartheid”, and particularly its negative connotations, have made us the polecat of the world. [Interjections.] The statement by the State President that South Africa has outgrown the outdated concept of apartheid is therefore timely and correct. It certainly does not mean that we want to throw overboard all group and community interests and rescramble that egg. However, we in South Africa must now get away from apartheid in the old, negative sense of the word.
If we want to improve our international image we must refrain from using the word apartheid. We shall have to drop the word apartheid from our vocabulary, in South Africa’s interest. There is no other word which has become such a football in political and world politics. [Interjections.] There is hardly any other country in the world where the word “apartheid” is not condemned or where resolutions against apartheid have not been adopted. In the highest debating chambers of the world, apartheid has for years been, and still remains today, the major weapon with which to attack South Africa. [Interjections.] Nothing has harmed South Africa as much as the word apartheid. [Interjections.] To our enemies this word has become a handy stick with which to beat us. For the communists, in their sustained onslaught on South Africa, this word has been manna from heaven. If apartheid were to disappear it would be a major setback for them. Our foreign representatives tell us …
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
Order! Is the hon member prepared to take a question?
Sir, I am sorry, but I do not answer meaningless questions. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member may proceed.
Yes, but we have to listen to meaningless speeches.
Order! Certain members are under the mistaken impression that they can interrupt another hon member to their hearts’ content. That is not permissible in accordance with the rules of this House. From now on I shall begin to mention hon members by name. The hon member may proceed.
Mr Chairman, our foreign representatives tell us that apartheid is the cause of virtually all our difficulties abroad. Dozens of anti-apartheid committees have been established throughout the world and they are actively working against us. The UN has accepted literally hundreds of resolutions condemning the RSA on apartheid. Moreover, innumerable measures have been adopted by countries in the field of trade, for example the withholding of investment capital, to punish South Africa because of apartheid.
We are being threatened by sanctions. Sports tours to South Africa have been abandoned and visas to sportsmen, scientists and others have been refused. The reasons that are advanced always amount to “apartheid”.
The continuation of our diplomatic relations with various countries has been jeopardised as a result of apartheid. Some of our neighbouring states—our natural markets—refuse to maintain normal relations with South Africa. The harmful reports on apartheid incidents and on alleged colour discrimination has given South Africa a bad image. All this has created a wall of prejudice against our country which is difficult to penetrate.
The outdated concept of apartheid is doing incalculable harm to South Africa. We shall have to get away from that old concept as quickly as possible.
Mr Chairman, as the representative of a fine constituency that has left its stamp on the history of South Africa, it is a privilege for me to be able to follow in the footsteps of a respected predecessor who represented Vryburg in this House with dignity and distinction for a period of almost 20 years. You are aware of his exceptional contribution, Sir, and of the fact that he occupied the high office of Speaker. However, the voters of Vryburg are particularly appreciative of the way in which he looked after their interests. To be able to serve for such a long period means, in the first instance, that such a person put his people’s interests first. With him this responsibility went hand in hand with an attitude of humility, service and goodwill. He erected many beacons that will always remind us of Hannes du Toit, the man. Not only do we appreciate what he did for his constituency; we also appreciate the attitude with which he served.
To take a seat in this House as an elected member is not only the result of the democratic process; it is also the result of firm ties with one’s voters and the constituency. Because I fully appreciate this I wish to provide this House with some facts.
The constituency I represent comprises an agricultural surface area of 3,1 million ha which may be classified into four farming areas, viz crop and mixed farming as well as mixed cattle and extensive cattle farming. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the gross geographic product amounts to almost 50%. Therefore any change in the growth rate of this sector has a substantial effect on the economy of the area as a whole. Approximately 60% of the economically active population are involved in agriculture. The contribution of the agricultural sector to economic growth is achieved, in the first place, by the purchase of means of production from other sectors and, in the second place, by the sale of agricultural produce to pay for the means of agricultural production and to purchase consumer goods from other sectors.
It is foreseen that the contribution of the primary sector will increase due to mining activities in the vicinity of Reivilo, and we trust that the secondary sector, particularly manufacturing, will in future acquire a larger share in the economy of the region. The tertiary sector, on the other hand, is a derivative industry which is dependant on the demand for goods and services by the population and other industries, and it is influenced in its growth by external factors.
The Vryburg constituency is facing abnormal agricultural conditions, caused largely by the low rainfall of the past number of years. The fact that the farming community is still on its feet is a result of the aid provided by the Government, for which I should like to express my thanks today.
The history of the origin of the old Boer Republic of Stellaland, which resulted in the founding of Vryburg, is important to us in more than one respect. Stellaland, or “land of stars”, has nothing in common with Halley’s Comet. It derives its name from the phenomenon of an unknown comet one night, during the war between Massouw and Mankoroane. The fight between these two figures revolved around the fact that the Batlapin tribe was not prepared to accept the leadership of Mankoroane. Mankoroane sought assistance from the British Government and Massouw sought refuge in the Transvaal.
On 21 January 1881 Massouw issued a notice in terms of which he recruited a few hundred White volunteers. In return, each received 3 000 morgen and part of the booty. He subsequently won the fight and, through the mediation of Colonel Ferreira, an armistice agreement was entered into. It was agreed inter alia that in future disputes, the South African Republic would be accepted as the only arbiter. Both applied to the Transvaal for protection and made over their territory to the Transvaal. However, the British Government refused to grant its permission for this alienation because this would have represented an infringement of the Pretoria Convention.
Out of the almost 400 volunteers, Massouw appointed his council of war which provided the military leadership; the civil administration was run by an administration commission. On 2 May 1882 the commission drew up its own standing orders “tot bestuur van Het Vrijwilligers Lager”. Gert Jacobus van Niekerk was elected as chairman of this commission which, as the highest body of authority, possessed legislative, executive and judicial powers. Although the peace agreement between Massouw and Mankoroane resulted in the volunteers dispersing and the council of war falling away, the administration commission continued to exist with extended powers because Massouw authorised them “om voortaan in onsz namen te handelen en te regeren tot het einde”. Soon the chairman was being referred to as “administrateur”, the management as “goewerment” and the secretary as “goewerment-sekretaris”. During September 1882 it was decided to found a town, and eventually land for the town was measured out: 120 minutes long and 60 minutes broad. This town was laid out next to a water pan that the Batlapin called “Huhudi”, which means “place of the water birds”. Initially the town was called Endvogelfontein, but on 15 November 1882 the town was given the name of Vryburg. This reflected the inhabitants’ striving for freedom.
Early in 1883 the administration commission ceased to exist and a government based on the constitution of the South African Republic was put in its place. In this way the Republic of Stellaland came into being, with Vryburg as its capital.
Due to the actions of the British Government this republic existed for only 20 months. The area north of the Molopo River was declared a British Protectorate while the area to the south, in which Stellaland was situated, was proclaimed a British Crown Colony. I can assure this House that we have no desire to declare another autonomous republic.
The history of the origin of Vryburg constitutes a wonderful piece of history which is important to us, and accordingly we decided in 1966 to take the coat of arms of Stellaland as the municipal coat of arms of the town of Vryburg. This coat of arms depicts the alliance with Massouw and the upliftment of the Black man, and the intent to uphold justice vis-à-vis all the inhabitants of the region. We form part of a common fatherland and are prepared to play our part in preserving our beautiful country for posterity.
To be successful in this, we realise that we must succeed in the field of human relations. The people of Vryburg and I would like to contribute in this regard. We regard it as important, not only that the various population groups of South Africa should display goodwill towards one another, but also that they should work together to build a common future with justice for all. In this way the total onslaught on our country may be soberly assessed and it will be possible to stand together for the sake of South Africa and all its people.
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to congratulate the hon member for Vryburg most sincerely on his maiden speech. It was a very interesting speech that bore testimony to thoroughness. The hon member has already served as a public representative in another body and will therefore probably find it much easier than other hon members coming to this House. I want to wish him and his wife everything of the best for their period as representatives of the Vryburg constituency.
Anyone visiting Parliament the past few days and listening to the debates would definitely, if he had listened to the PFP on the one hand and the CP on the other, have wondered whether the two parties were speaking about the same Government or the same country’s problems. I should like to present to the House as an example the two amendments on which we shall have to vote at the end of this debate. The amendment of the hon member for Yeoville states, amongst other things, that the House declines to pass the Second Reading until the Cabinet undertakes to initiate meaningful steps to bring about genuine power-sharing. That is the criticism on the one hand.
Then along comes the other party, the CP, in the person of the hon member for Sunny-side, and says precisely the opposite, ie that they are not prepared to pass the Second Reading as long as the Government continues with its policy of power-sharing with the Black peoples of South Africa. [Interjections.] One can clearly see what idiocies one is dealing with. Then the hon member for Yeoville comes along and speaks about confusion in the ranks of the NP. Is that not strange! [Interjections.]
The electorate is apparently not confused. [Interjections.]
Order! If the hon member for Kuruman wants to put a question, he must rise to his feet and ask permission to do so. There is a certain procedure involved. The hon member may proceed.
Mr Chairman … [Interjections.] I am not prepared to answer questions now. The past few days we have listened to several maiden speeches by hon members of the NP sent here by the electorate. [Interjections.] All we hear from the PFP, however, is one swan song after another. I understand that we shall be hearing another one this afternoon. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Yeoville sarcastically referred to the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs as “sitting on the cold Alps considering his future”. To me that sounds like a hollow laugh when one reads what the Business Day said in its leading article yesterday about the PFP. I quote:
That is the criticism we get from people on that side of the House who say there is confusion in Government ranks; who say the Government does not know where it is heading.
Then he also subtly made some propaganda for the leadership of the hon member for Sea Point and also just gave a quick sideswipe at the hon member for Pinelands. [Interjections.] That just sets one wondering, by the way, about the following question: If the hon member for Pinelands were to be elected leader of that party, “Where would the hon member for Yeoville then be sitting considering his future”?
In the CP! [Interjections.]
I do want to warn the hon member for Sea Point, Sir. Yesterday the hon member for Yeoville summarily gave his support here to the hon member for Sea Point. I want to warn the hon member for Sea Point. There is an old addage that states: “Beware of the Greeks bearing gifts.” The hon member for Sea Point will know very well what I mean by that, Sir. [Interjections.]
†The hon member for Sea Point, in his speech this afternoon, said the National Party was not moving away from apartheid. Of course, Mr Chairman, those hon members have to keep apartheid alive otherwise they will have no platform from which to speak and nothing to say in the political arena in South Africa. [Interjections.] They cannot afford the disappearance of apartheid from the ranks of the PFP. They and those critics of South Africa overseas who have been thriving since 1948 on apartheid as an issue on the political scene in South Africa have no choice but to continue to stir distrust in the efforts and in the bona fides of the State President of South Africa. [Interjections.]
Let me come now to the hon member for Pinelands who was a contender for the leadership of that party. Rumours have it, Mr Chairman, that he is due to follow Dr Van Zyl Slabbert out of Parliament soon. It is amazing that I have to speak in this debate this afternoon just before he is due to announce his resignation. I should like, however, to tell hon members that in 1974 I was involved in a parliamentary election. I acted as one of the election agents for the old United Party candidate, and we lost the election in Pinelands against that hon member by about 32 votes. [Interjections.] Nevertheless, I can remember well that we went for a drink at the Civil Service Club here in Cape Town, where we also met the hon member for Sea Point and a few others, together with the hon member for Pinelands. I can remember, as though it were yesterday, the serious difficulties we were then having in the old United Party. We had the hon member for Yeoville with us. [Interjections.] My old friend, Boet van den Heever, said to the hon member for Sea Point: “We are going to export Harry Schwarz to the Progressive Party.” Sir, do you know what the reply of the hon member for Sea Point was to that? He said: “That is the last guy I want to join me in the same party.” [Interjections.]
As for the hon member for Pinelands—he is also on the way out, Sir. He is going to take up his extra-parliamentary duties alongside the UDF and the Tutu’s of this world. [Interjections.] Of course, Sir, he cannot afford to stay here. He cannot afford to stay in Parliament because his ex-leader, the former member for Claremont, Dr Van Zyl Slabbert, has left after saying there is nothing to be done in this Parliament. That is why the hon member for Pinelands is in trouble and also has to go. One simply wonders how many more hon members of that party are going to follow. What about the hon member for Constantia, the hon member for Cape Town Gardens, the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central and the hon member for Walmer who complained so vehemently that the business world had let them down? [Interjections.]
*Sir, I can tell you what the difficulty there is. This place is getting too cramped for them. Parliament is becoming too cramped for them. There is no place in South Africa for radical solutions. So the fewer radical standpoints there are, the more easily will moderates in South Africa be able to solve our problems.
I now first want to come back to the hon member for Sunnyside’s amendment. In his amendment the hon member for Sunnyside says his party cannot support the second reading of this Bill because the Government is now supposedly continuing with a policy of power-sharing with Black people. Let me put something to the hon member for Sunnyside. I believe that this House and the general public should at least accept the bona fides of the State President.
Why? Tell us!
I shall tell hon members why, Mr Chairman. When the Government announced a new dispensation for Coloureds, Indians and Whites, that dispensation was not summarily forced on South Africa. The State President formulated that policy of his. He presented it to his congress. He consulted the highest authority, the electorate itself, by way of a referendum, and only then did he put the new system into operation. [Interjections.] Where on earth does the hon member for Sunnyside get his allegation that the Government does not have a mandate to continue with a policy of power-sharing? On 7 February of this year the Government said very clearly, in the person of the State President, and I quote him verbatim:
So let us first give the Government a chance to formulate the content of its power-sharing approach in regard to the Black people too. After all, the Government has given the undertaking that it will take the matter to the electorate. That is why I am asking hon members of the Conservative Party not to take the wagon in tow and go haring off in some direction without knowing where they are heading. [Interjections.]
I think the State President’s bona fides is above suspicion.
P W Botha has no mandate to proceed with power-sharing! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, we do not, of course, wish to wrangle about the State President’s bona fides. Let us be clear about this, too, as far as hon members of the Conservative Party are concerned. The Government is in the process of negotiation in regard to participation without domination—call it power-sharing if you will—with all the communities living in this country. Power-Sharing, however, certainly does not mean the take-over of power by either the White or Black communities in South Africa. The Government has committed itself to creating structures within a new constitution with a view to adjusting to the unique composition of South African society which is comprised of many cultures. They will be structures, the State President says, which will be unique to South Africa’s situation.
Surely there is consensus about one matter in this House, and that is the recognition of South Africa’s plurality, its multicultural composition. We do not argue with each other about that.
Gosh, you do use big words!
Do you yourself really understand what you are saying?
Just listen to that, Sir. That is an hon professor who does not even understand what one is saying. [Interjections.]
The question is how we approach this problem and how we accommodate such a multicultural set-up in South Africa. The CP comes along with its Utopia, the absolutising of this diversity of people into compartments on the basis of their policy of partition. That is a pipe-dream that we all know has nothing in it for South Africa because it is no solution.
Let us evaluate the PFP which makes such a sanctimonious fuss, saying “Apartheid must go.” They say so glibly: “The system must be scrapped.” The hon member for Sea Point, the new leader of that party, said again this afternoon: “Scrap the system before the next election, not after the next election.” That must now be done, of course, without a mandate from the electorate.
Let me ask the hon members of the PFP whether they acknowledge the realities in South Africa. Do they acknowledge the existence of a tricameral parliamentary system which did not come about merely because the NP wished it to come about, but because the highest authority in South Africa approved it? Do they acknowledge that or do they not? They did, after all, participate in that referendum. The hon member for Sea Point nevertheless says: “Scrap the system.” Do hon members of the PFP acknowledge the existence of the TBVC countries as a reality in South Africa? Do they acknowledge the existence of six self-governing States here in South Africa? Do they acknowledge the existence of Black local authorities in South Africa?
No, every formal structure aimed at accommodating South Africa’s multicultural diversity is dismissed by both the PFP and countries abroad as apartheid. [Interjections.] They simply do not accept any such thing as differentiation in dealing with the problems of South Africa.
In this little booklet of theirs they themselves come along with pronouncements. In reading it one notices that the booklet is shot through with the recognition of ethnicity, the recognition of groups, the recognition of various communities, but when it comes to the formulation of a solution to the problem, they have nothing to offer South Africa.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon member?
Unfortunately I do not have enough time at my disposal.
I want to conclude with the last question. Let me ask the hon member Prof Olivier to go and read point No 12 in this little booklet. I am referring to the Kowie Marais principles on which the small party, the NRP, was also established. They have the same principles, yet they are two parties. Both adhere to Kowie Marais’ principles and each interprets these principles as he sees fit.
If kwaNdebele were to ask for its independence from South Africa, what I am asking the hon member is whether the Government should grant this or refuse it. The PFP must reply to this, because if one reads point No 12, it is logical that independence should be granted to them.
Mr Chairman, I think it is appropriate that I speak in this debate after the hon member for Turffontein because he was quite right when he said that in 1974 he was the campaign manager. He suffered a reverse on that occasion and he has been going backwards ever since. That is why he finds himself where he is.
He said that apartheid should be kept alive so that the PFP could have something to talk about. I believe that if the Government was serious and apartheid really and truly died in South Africa, this party that has been fighting apartheid for so long would be the first to congratulate the Government. The tragedy is that the Government does not ever give us the opportunity to do that because one moment it says one thing and the next moment it says another. So long as that hon member sits there he will make sure that apartheid is alive and well because he stands for that policy.
I hope I can crave the indulgence of the House. It is quite correct that I wrote to Mr Speaker today tendering my resignation, and I should like to take this opportunity of taking my leave of the House. I want to say a word of thanks to the hon member for Yeoville and to the Whips for enabling me to speak very briefly because I had no intention of participating in this debate.
When I came into this House the late Mr Vorster was the Prime Minister and the now State President was the Minister of Defence. What a Minister of Defence he was! 1 recall that when I finally got here and was sitting way back in the back benches there, he promised to get my blood. Well, he certainly was after it; he still seems to be after it but he does not seem to have succeeded and now I am going to move out. Who knows, he may still pursue me there. Actually, I hope he does not. [Interjections.]
I should like to place on record my appreciation to you, Sir, to the officials and to my colleagues on this of the House and indeed to all in this House. I have enjoyed being in Parliament very much. It has been extremely interesting. I have certainly no regrets that I ever came here, and I am very excited at the prospect of carrying on beyond these walls the work that I tried to do here. [Interjections.] The moment one suggests that, there is the spurious argument that if anybody leaves Parliament, it suggests that he is rejecting the constitutional process.
I want to say immediately that I believe in the constitutional process. I believe it is important for this Parliament to exist. I believe in particular that is very important that there be an opposition, not only now but also when whatever government comes into being in the future in South Africa. Therefore it must be kept alive and I have no doubt that hon members on this side of the House and in this party will do just that. It does not mean that every single person has to be in Parliament; there are other ways and means of seeking to bring about change.
In the end one has to make a personal decision about one’s own future. Twelve years is a long time—it is a nice round dozen—and who knows how much longer one has got? I want to say that what does do a disservice to constitutional reform and the constitutional process, is not one particular member leaving, because a party is far, far bigger than Van Zyl Slabbert, Alec Boraine, Colin Eglin, Helen Suzman or anyone else. [Interjections.] The party is based on its principles, its policies and its performance. I have no doubt whatsoever that the party is far, far greater than anyone who decides to move beyond this particular House.
I believe the new constitution has done a grave disservice to the constitutional process. My opinion is based on the reaction of many hundreds of thousands of people outside this House. There was a time when even Coloured and Indian people looked to this House as a place where opposition could be offered, where debate could take place. When it comes to the tricameral Parliament, however, hon members know as well as I do what their reaction to it is. When one has an even more racially entrenched tricameral system of Parliament, one can only do disservice to true constitutional reform and development.
I want to say something else. What took place last week during the no-confidence debate, was a signal disservice to constitutional development, order and reform. We in this House should not imagine that we have forever to go on discussing, speaking, debating and arguing. Every time one does a double somersault, every time one turns one’s back on real reform and real negotiation, one makes it more and more impossible for outsiders to follow the constitutional process.
As the hon acting leader of this party said a moment ago, if the homeland leaders are critical, can we imagine what is being said in the streets of the townships in South Africa about what happened here last week when the State President said one thing and two or three of his Ministers appeared to say something entirely different and when that despicable performance took place in which a senior Cabinet Minister was humiliated as I have never before seen anyone humiliated in my life?
Why do you not stick to the truth?
That is the truth. [Interjections.] I want to say that there are those who are quick to argue, and they have a right to do so. I support that. One has to make use of constitutional means of change. Well then, in God’s name use it! [Interjections.] I am talking about the responsibility of the Government that is in power. It is this Government that is wasting time that it does not have. The warning, therefore, is simply this: Yes, press on towards constitutional reform, but remember that we do not have unlimited time. Accelerate the process and really make a corpse of apartheid.
Finally, I want to say that Parliament is an important institution. It is a place, as I have said, that I have enjoyed enormously. More importantly, I have found it worthwhile and I believe that it continues to be worthwhile. Let us be clear about the fact that there are individuals and organisations that wish to follow the constitutional process but are not allowed to do so. They are denied the opportunity to sit in this House. They cannot participate in the debates or ask questions here. Others have to do so on their behalf. Until such time as they are permitted to be here themselves and that kind of negotiation takes place, this Government will remain in serious trouble and in grave danger.
I believe there is a new stirring in South Africa. I believe it may be the new beginnings of enlightened change and development. Only the Government can decide whether this is so. I believe there are hon members within the ranks of the Government who believe, as I do, that one has to negotiate across the board in every constituency, and I ask them to have the courage of their convictions. I ask them to stand up and be counted—not necessarily to join this party—and to take a stand against the doubletalk which we witnessed only last week again.
Sir, I have been privileged to be part of this House, and I thank you for that. I go out not to sit back and to go fishing or to play golf but I hope to participate in the wider world out there in a small, small way—backed, I believe, by the performance of the people in these benches.
Mr Chairman, all I want to say in connection with the speech of the hon member for Pinelands, and in connection with the announcement that has just been made about his resignation as a member of this Parliament, is that in this Parliament in which we find ourselves there will always be room for those who want to oppose the Government within the democratic, constitutional structures of the day. Those who do not however, for whatever reason, have the courage or the desire to carry on, cannot expect any praise in this House.
If one looks at the preamble to the Constitution and closely analyses the aims contained in that Constitution, one can rightly ask whether it is humanly possible to achieve, in practice, what is written there in black and white. I think the answer could be in the affirmative if there were a will to succeed, but there should be no confusion about who the “we” are to whom reference is made in the preamble when it is stated that we are conscious and we are convinced—and then all that comes after that. The “we” do not comprise a select and privileged portion of the South African nation. They include everyone who has made a home for himself on South Africa soil.
Let me say it once that there are certain prerequisites for the achievement of our fine national goals. No half-hearted effort will be crowned with success. On the contrary, we shall have to aim even higher than our common sense dictates, because otherwise we shall go on shooting ourselves in the foot. Our decisions must be based on an active will, not to try to succeed but, in fact, to succeed.
What is more, in an effort to achieve those goals, we shall have to draw on the total pool of manpower. I shall be saying a little more about this at a later stage. Naturally funds will have to be available for the implementation of these plans. Financing resources are limited; that is a fact. That is why sound judgement will have to govern decisions on priorities. At the same time, however, we shall have to guard against doing one thing and completely neglecting to do another.
In his opening address the State President specifically highlighted and emphasised one of these priorities. I should like to quote the following from his speech:
That is a mouthful, but no one in the House doubts the necessity of giving this matter the very urgent attention it deserves.
One can talk a great deal about this, but I just want to focus on a problem area and express a few ideas about this. What I have in mind here are the so-called Black spots or poorly situated spots, whatever one wants to call them. In this country there are not a mere one or two spots where the living conditions for people are anything but good and the soil has irreversibly been destroyed. It has become an urgent necessity to give very serious and positive attention to this matter. We shall have to do what is necessary and we shall have to do it this very day. By the action we take, we shall have to convince the people concerned that we have their interests at heart. They want to experience, in practical terms, that something good is happening to them, because if we reform in the true sense of the word, this will necessarily have to go hand in hand with improvement to the living standards of the people in those areas I am referring to. Reform and improvement are irrevocably linked. One does not reform if one is not improving. We shall also have to decide quickly what is practicable and what we can afford. We shall also, however, have to go further.
The more I listen to Black people, for example in the opportunities we get when the Commission for Co-operation and Development has Black people giving evidence before us in connection with consolidation proposals affecting them, the more am I also convinced of the fact that we must restate, in even clearer terms, what we have already stated—that in future we do not want to, will not or cannot move Black people around. I am increasingly becoming aware of the ravaging effects that the possibility of being moved has on the minds and hearts of people.
It is so often said that consolidation hangs like a sword over the heads of White farmers. That is true. Those of us who represent constituencies in which that sword has been hanging for a long time over peoples heads, surely know what the effects are. This sword, however, does not only hang over the heads of White people; it also hangs over the heads of the Black people. It may sound paradoxical, but I am of the opinion that whilst this uncertainty activates people on the one hand, figuratively speaking it paralyses them on the other. It activates them to revolt against a so-called unjust dispensation, but on the other hand it paralyses them, figuratively speaking, in the sense that they no longer see their way clear to wanting to lift the finger to raise themselves out of that position.
I believe that the depopulation of the rural areas and the underutilisation of the soil, which may go hand in hand with that, and even the infiltration of enemies into those areas, hold fewer dangers for us than overpopulation and the destruction of the soil when a situation is created which is a breeding ground for subversive elements and when people are dying of wretchedness and can never experience any happiness.
What are we to do? We shall have to act quickly. I am telling the hon the Minister that we shall have to find additional funds, because the State alone does not have the necessary funds to tackle this. In some way we shall have to make it attractive to people in the private sector to make funds available to do this work to uplift and upgrade people. We shall have to identify and motivate all interested parties to participate in this. Who are they? They are heads of government and cabinets; they include all subjects, White, Coloured, Asian and Black; they include industrialists and farmers; they include teachers; they include the agricultural unions and farmers’ associations, etc. Everyone is involved in a certain sense. We shall speedily have to identify our priority areas and try to construct success models so that the people whose interests are involved and whose interests we are now discussing will, as quickly as possible, see the benefits of this action we are taking.
This is but a single sphere of operations in which we can give proof of the fact that we are serious in our efforts at getting out of the dilemma in which we find ourselves at the moment. It must be realised that we are in the process of creating a balance between those who have and want to keep everything and those who do not have and want to acquire everything. There is nothing wrong with someone having something and wanting to keep it, but there is a great deal wrong with someone wanting to keep everything at someone else’s expense. Nor is there anything wrong with wanting to get something, but there is a great deal wrong with wanting to get everything at someone else’s expense. That is the dilemma we are struggling with at the moment. We shall not be able to extricate ourselves from this dilemma if there is not a component of reform or transformation in people’s attitudes as well. This includes everyone, White and Coloured. There must be a transformation in the thoughts and endeavours of people. There must be a transformation in their hearts and minds. Then it will not only be the individuals who triumph in the long run, but the whole of South Africa too.
Mr Chairman, it surely will not be held against me if on this occasion I do not respond to the previous speaker. In fact, every hon member in this House would probably understand that it is not at all easy to listen attentively to the speaker whose speech precedes one’s first speech in this House.
The constituency that I have the privilege of representing in this House is one with an interesting history that one could deal with at length. However, I should like to focus on one aspect only of the history of Springs, namely that it is a distinguishing feature of Springs that success has time and again been achieved in making structural changes and adjustments to the economic activities of the town in order to guarantee continued development and growth. The most dramatic adjustment was the shift from being primarily a mining economy to that of an advanced industrial complex. In this connection the local authority, in particular, has discharged its duty so effectively that Springs has come to be regarded by experts as a model for other mining towns.
Springs has recently, however, experienced certain economic bottle-necks. Some of these are cyclic in nature and relief would be in sight if there were to be a general upswing in the economy. The gravity of these cyclical problems are clearly illustrated by the fact that registered unemployment in the Springs/Benoni complex increased by not less than 85,5% between December 1984 and December 1985. The rest of the East Rand is at present also, like the greater part of the country, experiencing serious cyclical problems. Yet it is interesting that in the case of Germiston unemployment over the same period increased by a mere 38,4% and in the case of Kempton Park by only 45,2% in comparison to the 85,5% increase in Springs/Benoni. Due to a lack of time I cannot enlarge on this matter but the socio-political implications of this state of affairs, in particular, should not be underestimated.
Of interest to me at the moment is the clear indication that the Far East Rand, apart from the cyclical recession, is also experiencing serious structural problems that are having an aggravating effect on the flagging economy. We are obviously dealing here with a complex situation which cannot be addressed fully, or even fundamentally, in the space of 10 minutes. At the risk of oversimplifying I want to argue, however, that inadequate feeder and connecting roads are one of the most serious economic bottlenecks as far as the Far East Rand is concerned.
†At this stage the Witwatersrand road system needs an east-west road most urgently. The existing east-west roads such as the R22, Main Reef Road, the R77, Commissioner Street and the M2 are a disintegrated and at times a most congested network of roads serving the nub of industry in this country. There is a crying need for the South-Rand road, also known as the proposed toll road from Springs to Krugersdorp, to serve firstly as an east and west feeder road to Johannesburg; secondly, as a through road in this corridor; and thirdly as a major link between the Witwatersrand, Secunda and Richards Bay. I understand it is viable as a toll-financed project, and that this has been looked into by the Transvaal provincial authorities as well as, more recently, the Department of Transport.
The question of funding the project to the tune of R500 million has therefore been solved. I am advised by the Department of Transport that the feasibility study reveals that the provision of a South Rand road would give enormous monetary benefit to the motoring public. At the same time, the return on the investment for the building of the road would also be of an attractive order.
Furthermore, as a toll road, the project is capable of supporting a loan for an amount which is far in excess of the construction cost. It needs minimum bridging finance in the early years for its operation as a toll road. In view of the excellent feasibility indications and the pressing need of the whole area for this road, I want to plead strongly with the hon the Minister to get this road underway. I have read that private contractors are very interested in providing the South Rand road as a private toll road. This would, in effect, mean raising the money needed for construction, the building of the road and recovering the outlay, while undoubtedly making a profit by running it as a toll road. Provided this is done at a reasonable cost to the public, I would be very pleased to see them proceed with this project as soon as possible.
Therefore I trust that the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs is pressing this proposal. I also trust that the privatisation committee will see its way clear to approve the project under acceptable conditions. This will mean that my constituents will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of this essential and vital road.
*The fact is that Springs, due to the absence of adequate connecting routes to Johannesburg and to its natural markets further to the east, is being strangled economically. Besides the road network I also trust that other structural problems of the Far East Rand will receive urgent attention. The stability of that part of the Witwatersrand is being seriously threatened, in the long-term, by factors that are much more economic than political in nature. One matter which I think deserves urgent attention in this regard, is the seemingly unfair favouring of the decentralised areas to the disadvantage of areas such as Springs which are situated on the periphery of the metropolitan area. When established and job-creating industries are lured from places like Springs by relocation and other decentralisation benefits—with resulting high unemployment—it does not help to solve problems, but simply causes them to shift from one area to another. The only difference is possibly that the problems in the more densely populated metropolitan area are more difficult to deal with.
Against this condensed background let me express the opinion that the position of marginal areas on the borders of existing metropolitan areas at least deserves to be investigated within the context of the decentralisation policy.
Mr Chairman, I should like to congratulate the hon member for Springs on a very well-considered speech. He showed that he knew what he was talking about. He was a correspondent for and political editor of Die Transvaler for a long time. He was involved with the UN. He was involved with South West Africa. He has a very keen knowledge, and on what he said here today concerning Springs we can only congratulate him. We have no doubt that he will be a valuable acquisition to this House. We wish him and his constituency everything of the best.
He did very well, in spite of the unemployment he referred to and in spite of the economic pressures and so forth. He won more than 5 000 votes in Springs. The once mighty PFP could not even get 2 000 votes, after receiving 3 000 votes in the previous time. We wish the hon member for Springs everything of the best.
Today we really saw the hon member for Pinelands making a spectacle of himself in this House. He has now disappeared from here without a trace, in much the same way as his arrival here went unnoticed. What he said this week is that the PFP will radically have to reconsider what it means to be an opposition party. Now those hon members of the PFP must tell us whether they stand by these words of the hon member for Pine-lands. They are now going to elect a new leader on Saturday and will have to take an unequivocal stand. The hon member for Pinelands stated that in no way would the PFP be travelling the same road it has travelled in the past. According to him that party is now at the crossroads.
The hon member for Pinelands has stated very clearly today that he is very excited about continuing his activities outside Parliament. He says we cannot always merely continue with discussions and debates. He himself said, however, that Blacks should come and sit in this House so that we can talk to each other face to face.
My question to the hon members of the PFP is the following: Where does the power-base of that party lie? Are they opportunists or are they boycotters?
The attitude they adopted on Monday towards the President’s Council, and also displayed at times towards the State President, makes us wonder about this. They must give us a clear reply to this. They must—all of them sitting there now—tell us now whether they regard Parliament as the ultimate legislative and decision-making body for everyone. They must go further than the hon member for Houghton who once said: “Parliament is still a façade of sorts but it still keeps issues alive”, and they must tell us very clearly whether they really regard Parliament merely as a sham, an empty shell. Was their boycotting of the President’s Council the beginning of an attempt at discrediting the entire parliamentary system? Who are those extra-parliamentary persons and organisations that want to gain control of this country? Let them tell us this clearly now so that we can know where we stand.
I want to thank the hon member for Yeoville, who said on a previous occasion—in fact he repeated it yesterday—that the Official Opposition should decide whether it has a White political base or not.
I also want to remind hon members of what an earlier hon member, the late Mr Harry Pitman, said in Natal in 1976. He said he could foresee a situation in which the events would become so dangerous that White and Black opposition would say they were no longer prepared to accept this Government. He pointed out that the Coloureds had done so twice in the CRC and that this had brought matters to a virtual halt. On a widely diverse basis, he said, it would be much more effective. He went on to say that he foresaw the possibility that in the not too distant future Whites would work outside the present structure. The late Mr Harry Pitman was therefore already predicting this in 1976.
What I found interesting, however, was that the former leader of the PFP, when he introduced a motion of no confidence in the Government for the first time on 4 February 1980 here in the House, said, and I quote (Hansard, Vol 85, col 21):
He then went on, however, to say something very important. He predicted—and it has now come true, by the way—that the NP Government would do everything it possibly could to destroy the opposition. And how have we not destroyed the opposition! How have we not had to listen to their panic-stricken cries for mercy! [Interjections.]
Something else I found interesting—and I went and did a bit of background reading on it—is that in the 75 years from 1910 to 1986 only 13 Leaders of the Official Opposition have sat in this House. The fourteenth leader is on the point of being elected—apparently the same man who was also the twelfth leader.
However, the fact is that the history of South Africa clearly bears witness to constitutional reform. This Parliament alone can bring about that reform. Without the NP Government, which for many years spearheaded a variety of investigations—10 years just in regard to the Coloureds—there would certainly not have been such a degree of progress. How many years have not merely passed in the formulation of investigations? How difficult has the process of negotiation not been at times? How many stumbling blocks were there not on the road to the realisation of our goal?
The Official Opposition creates a particular image, of course. The image I find it conjuring up in my mind is that of a man who one day went for a drive in his car with his whole family. They were driving along on a national road, blissfully unaware of the fact that their car was the thousandth one to take that route. They would not, by the way, even draw as many votes in all the by-elections that are coming up now. The man also had his in-laws with him and his family in the car.
Suddenly he just saw flickering blue lights and from a distance a traffic officer came speeding along. What offence had he now committed, the man wondered. Were there too many people in the car? Had he perhaps exceeded the speed limit? Was his car perhaps not roadworthy? The traffic officer, however, informed him that he had received a prize because his car was the thousandth one to come along that road. Then the man got such a fright that he just simply blurted out: “Hey, do you know, I do not have a licence! And so it really is wonderful for me to receive this prize.” His wife got an even bigger fright and told the traffic officer: “Sir, I have to tell you that he is even drunker than usual; he does not know what he is saying.” His mother-in-law got an even bigger fright than the man and his wife put together and said from the back of the car: “Yes, I did tell you, that we would not get very far in a stolen car.” [Interjections.] Well now, Sir, this story, in its entirety, is really applicable to the Official Opposition too.
We can apply this little anecdote to the PFP, because they have so many drivers who have not, administratively, yet learnt how to steer this country properly. They must learn how to conduct themselves within the framework of democracy and not allow themselves to be influenced by strangers. They should also get enough votes at the polling booths to pay a deposit on their own car! They should not flit around here in strange cars. This was evidenced by the number of votes they received in the by-elections last year. The NP, for example, got three times the amount of votes they did in the previous election in Port Natal. Support for the NP has therefore grown. The former leader of the PFP quite rightly said that his party had increasingly started slipping. Proof of this is that the PFP only received 35,5% of the votes in Newton Park, as opposed to the 44,1% of the previous election.
What happened in Springs?
We won in Springs! Oh, yes! We win everywhere! Even if one wins only by one vote, one still wins. We defeated the CP. The CP could not make it headway in any of the other constituencies—only in Sasolburg could they help the hon member of the HNP to win the election. I therefore say the PFP is on a slippery slope.
The NP is on a slippery slope.
Oh no, we are not on a slippery slope! We are on the right road. The hon members of the CP will yet see us eventually, due to the negotiation politics of the State President, coming out on top. [Interjections.]
There are those who think that we should throw in the towel because the Blacks will engulf the entire continent like a tidal wave. We do not agree with them. They do not believe in the NP which wants to make progress; they are the defeatests. There is a second group that refuses to see the development potential of the Blacks. We do not agree with them. There is a third group that has adopted a laissez-faire attitude. The fourth group wants to use violence to oppose all non-White progress. The fifth is a multiracial group that wants a utopia based on liberal ideas about race relations, as well as a multiracial heaven on earth. We are the group that supports friendship and friendly co-operation with independent states. We want to preserve a healthy government structure in which the principle of the protection of minority groups would be recognised. The policies of the defeatests, the ultra conservatives, the laissez-faire group, the reactionaries and the liberals mean the destruction of White civilisation in Africa.
South Africa is not an isolated planet following its own orbit round the sun. We form an integral part of the world and this the hon Minister of Finance will confirm.
Finally I should like to point out to the hon members of the House that when I was in the USA, and had to in my capacity as a member of Parliament five years ago, thank an ambassador of the Netherlands on one occasion, I could explain to him the origin of the word apartheid. I told them that the word also originated when the NG Kerk instituted separate churches with the idea of eventually advancing the development of people of colour. Hon members would never guess who came to tell me afterwards that I was correct! The former leader of the PFP came and told me my explanation was correct. Prof Hanekom of Stellenbosch’s theological seminary and others gave the same explanation of the origin of the word apartheid. Apartheid does not, therefore, simply have its origins in the NP. This must be accepted today.
Mr Chairman, today is surely one of those days that all of us in this House will remember for a long time. For a long time we shall be reflecting on the events that have taken place here today. This Parliament is certainly a reflection of what goes on in the hearts and minds of the people here; and whether the hon member sitting opposite one is laughing, smiling or pulling faces, one nevertheless knows what his feelings are if one is a politician. As a politician one knows what is going on inside him.
Although we as parties differ with each other, we cannot avoid the fact that this Parliament is the poorer for losing a leader of Dr Van Zyl Slabbert’s calibre. This Parliament is the poorer for losing Dr Slabbert, although he prescribes to a philosophy that is totally unacceptable as far as we in the CP are concerned. Dr Boraine, too, displayed outstanding talents here. One will always remember what fine debaters these men were.
Something else which has also become manifest, as far as I am concerned, is the fact that the direction the Government is now trying to follow that of the PFP, is no longer acceptable even to the former leader of the PFP. Therefore the old NP, the NP of which I was a member, must think again.
There is nothing wrong with admitting that one has struck out in the wrong direction, that one has temporarily sought something in that direction but has came to the realisation that it was not the correct course for oneself and one’s people. [Interjections]
That is why—and I watched him closely in the House today—I felt very sorry for the State President. I am the kind of person who fights a man when he is on top. When I see, however, that the old lion—to use an expression used by people who know the veld—is being attacked by other lions and by jackals, I take pity on him. [Interjections.] The man who is at present the lion of the Nats has had the jackals, the hyenas and the young lions in his party lying in wait for him. He is being brought down in his tracks. [Interjections.] It is very hard for me to see someone who, in his time was such an incorrigible campaigner for his party’s policy and for his people, being torn apart by his own people in this manner. [Interjections.]
Sir, today I do not want to talk to people like the man from Bloemfontein North.
Order! He is an hon member.
Yes, the hon member for Bloemfontein North. Thank you, Sir. Please correct me if I do not accord this man the respect due to him. [Interjections.] I merely want to inform hon members that in America that hon member said: “You Americans must dismantle disinvestment like we dismantle apartheid in South Africa”. [Interjections.] Why does he not say that here? [Interjections.] I do not want to harp on petty trifles, but let us adopt a manly approach to this. Let us stand by the principles. Let us show South Africa what we really stand for. We must not cover up. This country is facing its most serious crisis, but its people still have confidence. What, in the final analysis, is confidence? Confidence is money. One of the finest experts on the English language once said: “Money is only an idea backed by confidence”. “Money”, I repeat, “is only an idea backed by confidence”. [Interjections.] “Money is only a symbol or medium with which people believe they can buy goods”.
If one compares the American dollar and the rand, one realises that the rand, in the heyday of apartheid, was equivalent to $1,30—and that was when the value of the dollar and not that of the rand fluctuated.
Then the latest idea arose that South Africa had to be brought into line with the rest of the world. It had to accept the untenable African concept of giving when it was not deserved, particularly in its economic policy. It had to continue on that road, but the leaders in world banking have rejected South Africa. They have rejected South Africa for the simple reason that a banker tells one: “I do not look to see if a man is White or Black; I check whether he is going to pay me on the due date of payment and I check whether there is confidence in a country.”
I found it disconcerting recently to see in what a changeable way a once mighty party adapts itself from day to day, and in a most obsequious fashion tries to persuade the rest of the world to accept it, before it has completely cast off the guise which the party itself says makes it unacceptable. This is, to put it differently, a people, a party that is experiencing an internal conflict. I ask that my hon friends on the other side of the House disassociates themselves from ideas they do not agree with, and adopt a certain course. The victorious majority would then lead this House.
To back up what I am now going to tell the hon the Minister of Finance, I want to quote from a letter written by a fairly important man, Till Weber, in Dortmund, West Germany. It was published in The Argus of 12 February 1986. I quote:
It is an economic fact that a banker takes into account who can pay him.
It is important to have confidence in a country, because confidence results in bankers over the years developing respect for such a country. Once the South African ambassador in London and I had a meal with two Swiss bankers. At the table he told one banker that within a certain period we would be entering on “a sort of power-sharing”. Around the coffee table shortly afterwards the banker asked me whether this was the opinion of the entire NP. I told him that I was not one of the brighter lights of the party but that I did not think so. He then said they had lent R10 million to the Cape Town Municipality and they could definitely not do this if we changed over to a mixed situation in which conflict would arise. This is something we have to take note of. If the Government wants to move in a direction of reform it must not think that it would stimulate the economy of the country by doing so. It would not manage to do this.
Dr de Kock made certain statements which I hope were reported incorrectly. He supposedly said that South Africa was having such a hard time economically because reform in the country was not taking place quickly enough. I would not have expected such a statement from a banker of his standing. What he was really saying was that South Africa was not going to emerge from its economic trouble for the next 10 years. One could possibly solve these economic problems within two years, if one did not couple them to reform. One cannot solve the political problems that have developed in South Africa within the next 10 years. There cannot be complete peace and stability in all the sectors of this country within that period. We therefore hope bankers will preferably discuss these issues with bankers, and politicians with politicians.
At present we have serious economic problems in this country that have to be dealt with by the hon the Minister of Finance. Many people blame this hon Minister for the way in which he is handling matters, but he has an extremely difficult portfolio and he has inherited massive problems. It is not easy to step into someone else’s shoes. I am not referring to the former Minister of Finance, but to the Government as a whole. It is often difficult to dance to someone else’s tune.
The hon the Minister of Finance in many respects showed, in my opinion, that he was in fact not spineless. Many of the large business undertakings in our country try to force the hon the Minister to take a particular course. They do not do this because they think he is wrong, but because they specifically want him to move in that direction. Up to the present the hon the Minister has not yet given in to this pressure, and I think one must recognise this.
The hon member for Waterkloof stated here yesterday that the hon member for Sunnyside had given incorrect figures in regard to excess expenditure.
I did not say that.
Oh, the hon member did not say that. I shall now merely give the right figures. [Interjections.] I have with me the Government Gazette No 56 of 17 February in which the first nine months of this financial year was compared to the first nine months of the previous financial year. We find there was an increase of 22,7% in Government expenditure.
I think this is too high and the hon the Minister of Finance would agree with this. To reverse this increase is not the simplest task in the world but I think an effort should be made to succeed in achieving this.
Last year the hon the Minister of Finance announced a number of objectives in his Budget Speech including amongst other things the curbing of inflation, reducing unemployment and Government expenditure. It is now apparent that the hon the Minister did not succeed in these objectives. The hon the Minister also dealt with our foreign debt in his Budget Speech.
Let me emphasise that I am not launching a personal attack against the hon the Minister but am simply spelling out the economic problems of our country. I want to quote from his speech (Hansard, 1985: House of Assembly, nr 10, col 2972):
In that same debate I said, based on the knowledge I had gained abroad on loans taken up by our banks and other institutions, for example those of Government, that I expected we would have to reschedule our loans. I used the word “roll over”.
It is not the same thing.
Yes, to a certain extent it is.
I also said I did not think we could pay our debt. On that particular day I gained the impression that the hon the Minister was not fully informed at that stage on our actual short and long-term foreign debt. This lack of information was not his fault. I said that if a moratorium had to be instituted it could cause the value of the rand to drop to 20c or less. This was more or less the line of my argument—I did not say that in as many words. Quite a number of people, however, smiled at my statement.
Now I should like to hear from the hon the Minister who called for the moratorium and on whose advice it was instituted. The time allotted to me has almost expired but I want to point out to hon members that we have reached the stage where someone in the financial world has come to us and told us we have to pay our debt, but for various reasons this has proved impossible. I do not want to outline the reasons right now. The hon the Minister should, however, take a firm stand now and forget about Dr Leutwiler and the examples he wanted to hold up to us. He wanted to examine our economic arteries to find the pressure points. As a consequence the hon the Minister must forget about all the ideas they are presenting to South Africa. We shall pay our debt when we are in a position to do so. This we have always done. They will not be able to use the problems certain banks have created for us to garrotte us. I shall enlarge upon this at a later stage.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Langlaagte has once again made the stereotyped speech we have been hearing from the Opposition and particularly from the CP. He levelled a lot of criticism and made personal attacks, but suggested no solutions to the real problems of South Afri ca. Those people who are sitting there broke away from the NP in 1982 …
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member refer to us as “those people”?
No, you are not people.
Order! Was the hon member for Parys referring to hon members of the CP in the House?
Yes, Mr Chairman.
Will the hon member please use the term “hon members” in future?
Mr Chairman, I shall use the word “honourable” gladly because it befits this House. I did not mean to offend them.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member Dr Vilonel say we are not people?
Order! There is no disputing the fact that the hon members are people. The hon member will have to withdraw that.
I withdraw it, Mr Chairman.
Order! I want to point out that the Chair is prepared to treat everyone according to the letter of the rule in future. The hon member may proceed.
The hon members who pretend to be so honourable, must now start to outline to us what they are doing in the political context in South Africa.
We are winning.
Order! The hon member for Jeppe must behave himself and not speak so loudly.
The hon members must tell us whether they are merely expressing criticism or whether they do not want to address the true problems of South Africa. Are they capable of debating a solution to South Africa’s important problems across the floor of the House? Not one of the hon members sitting there has ever made an effort to do so.
At the time of the recent by-elections there was an alliance between the CP and the HNP in Sasolburg. [Interjections.] Yes, and the AWB as well, and all their little tails which kick up dust wherever they go. In Vryburg, however, they fought like cat and dog. I find that amusing. Together they published a pamphlet containing pictures of Mr Pienaar, the candidate in Bethlehem, as well as a picture of the hon member for Sasolburg. I now want to know from the hon member for Sasolburg whether he stands and falls together with the CP by everything the pamphlet says.
Is it our pamphlet?
But the hon member published it. Does he not know it?
Then we stand by it. [Interjections.]
Then the hon member must tell me what they are going to do if the CP and the HNP form an alliance and take over the government in this country. What are they going to do in connection with development in this country? What are they going to do in connection with the creation of work, because here they express criticism and say that the large companies are given an unfair advantage over other organisations in this country.
But that is true.
Very well, it is true if the hon member wants to interpret it as it is being interpreted here. What is the reality? It is said here that an undertaking such as Pick ’n Pay Holdings has paid no taxes over a period of three years, but the pamphlet does not say that all the development work these people do and all the initiative they display are tax-deductible. The pamphlet does not say that this results in job creation and the creation of job opportunities. Will the hon member’s party, when they come into power together with the CP, prevent bodies who do development work in this country from deducting the expenses involved from their taxes.
The position is that that pamphlet was never used by anyone during the by-elections.
But the pamphlet was not repudiated and it was not thought necessary to do so, for the hon member was not challenged about it. Here in the House of Assembly one has to account for deeds dene in public, for the misrepresentations presented to the voters by the CP and the HNP. The hon member must account for that now and he must tell me whether or not they are going to allow companies to deduct development work done by them from their taxes. [Interjections.] The hon member does not want to reply because he knows that cannot happen.
Mr Chairman, do I have the opportunity to reply to that now?
No, the hon member has already had a turn to speak. The hon member for Parys may proceed.
The mining companies are also criticised, but they also did development work and as a result paid less in tax. Job opportunities were created by these companies because under the NP Government they are allowed to deduct capital development from tax.
But why did you not say so during the by-election?
If we had to go back to all those stories that were told, we would still be repudiating them.
But now you are telling tales in the House of Assembly.
No, I am not telling tales in the House of Assembly; I am calling the hon member to account here where he has to admit before the people what he has done in public. I put it to the hon member that he and the CP have misled the voters of Sasolburg. [Interjections.]
The pamphlet says that the Government and the State President in particular enrich themselves because he received a gratification when he retired as Prime Minister, but nowhere in the pamphlet does it say that the leader of the CP also got it when he resigned his post as Minister. [Interjections.] It also states that the State President received an amount of R303 000. That hon member must tell me now whether he is going to belong to a pension scheme while he is a member of this House.
I belong to a pension scheme.
Well then. In that case the hon member must tell the voters that he is going to get the same benefits when he retires as the State President did when he retired as Prime Minister. [Interjections.] That hon member must be honest towards the voters in Sasolburg. He must tell them that he told them a blatant half-truth, because he belongs to a pension scheme himself and will also get this kind of benefit. [Interjections.]
If a pension scheme deducts only R70 per month from an hon member’s salary and if those funds accumulate over a period of 30 years, the eventual amount, together with the interest payments, amounts to R320 000 after 30 years. All that for only R70 per month. He does not tell that to the voters. He misleads the voters.
I now want to tell the hon member for Sasolburg that for a considerable period he has moved across the plains of this country like a little cloud of dust. Now he has become a hurricane in Sasolburg. He is bedevilling the real problems of this country because he has become a hurricane. [Interjections.] Yes, he has become a hurricane and a hurricane bedevils everything that exists in this country. [Interjections.]
Let us take a look at the hon members of the CP. The policy of partition that they extol…
Tell us about the Black president! [Interjections.]
That is typical. If people are hurt, they whine. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for Langlaagte need not like what the hon member for Parys is saying. That hon member is entitled, however, to freedom of speech in this House and the hon member will give him the opportunity to make use of his right of free speech. The hon member for Parys may proceed.
Mr Chairman, I want to tell the hon members … [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: You ruled that we should not make interjections. The hon member for Parys is speaking to hon members across the floor of the House. He is putting specific questions across the floor of the House.
Order! The hon member for Parys does not have unlimited time. I am aware of that. I am also aware of the point of order of the hon member for Langlaagte. I am also aware that the Chair rules what is fair and what is not. The Chair has ruled. The hon member has heard my ruling. The hon member for Parys may proceed.
Mr Chairman, advocate Hans Strijdom said the following on 17 January 1956:
In this he says that territorial apartheid can never be applied in South Africa.
Now the hon members of the CP must tell me how they are going to address the following problems. They have given notice of private motions in which they can spell these things out to us. What are they going to do about job creation in South Africa? How is their policy adapting in respect of job creation in South Africa? What economic steps are they going to take to increase the standard of living of the people in South Africa? What are they going to do in respect of the economic interdependence that exists among the various population groups? What are they going to do to create good foreign relations? Those hon members must spell out these few essential things here in the House, and they must stop misleading the voters with half-truths.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon member for Parys say that hon members on this side of the House are misleading people?
Yes, the hon member may. He is expressing an opinion. The hon member may proceed.
Sir, that attitude is typical. If the voters at large could see how these hon members act here in the House, and how they waste the House’s time and the voters’ money by their unrealistic conduct and their unrealistic statement of policy, they will be disillusioned when they realise who they are supporting.
South Africa has many problems, but the CP members spin a cocoon around them. [Interjections.]
Order! I should like to ask the hon members to curb their interjections and comments. The hon member may proceed.
These hon members are spinning themselves into a cocoon, and they do not have the courage of their conviction to address the problems of South Africa and spell out clearly to the voters how they are going to implement their policy and principles in a system such as we have in South Africa.
Mr Chairman, I want to ask the hon member for Langlaagte, when he makes grandiose statements, and at the same time advises the hon the Minister of Finance on how international transactions should be dealt with, and how our country’s affairs should be handled in his opinion …
Is that Balaam or his ass speaking?
No, it is only his ass, who has more sense than the hon member for Langlaagte. [Interjections.]
The appeal I want to make to the hon member is merely that he acquaint himself with the factual situation before he makes statements such as the one he made today which may possibly embarrass our country and our financial authorities.
My friend, tell us what we must do.
No, the hon member knows exactly what it is all about.
This debate is nearing its end. After fighting the by-election in Sasolburg once again, I want to draw the attention of the hon the Minister and hon members to a report which appeared in Die Transvaler last night, on 12 February. The report reads:
If the consumer sees these figures, naturally he will be very uneasy. When one hears from month to month how the inflation rate is rising—for example to 18% at present—one can understand that the consumer wants the State to apply price administration. This is happening already, although representations of this nature have not yet assumed very great proportions. I should like to air a few ideas about this price administration. In the first instance I want to appeal to the hon the Minister not to give in to pressure to establish price control of whatever nature—however small it may be now, I want to predict that it will become considerably greater as time goes on. What is more, Sir, I shall demonstrate that it is justified to do away with as many administered prices as possible, because how is a controlled price determined? How is an administered price determined?
The production costs are a factor. Other costs, such as selling costs and administration costs are factors. In addition, profit is a factor before one gets to the price. This determination of a controlled price, an administered price, does not have much to do with the normal market, with supply and demand, in which the price is determined by supply and demand. So it happens that the production costs and other costs in connection with the production and the selling of the product of the least effective producer also have to be taken into account in the determination of the administered price. What is the result of this? The result is that the controlled price becomes completely disproportionate to the price as would be determined by the supply and demand. That is why uneconomic producers now become economic producers, but if supply and demand were to determine the price, the uneconomic producer would disappear from the trade; he would no longer be able to produce. Because he gets a price which he does not deserve, for his product, however, he stays in the trade. The economic producer’s profits become ever greater, because the price he earns is not determined by the demand, but by the production costs and other costs—also those of the inefficient producer.
Another thing that happens, another disadvantage of an administered price, is that new producers are forced to produce this product at the administered price, because to produce at a guaranteed price can only benefit every producer. In this way overproduction is effected because of a constant influx of new producers of a product at an administered price. Overproduction should result in low prices, because if there is overproduction, the price should decrease, as production exceeds the demand so that the price should drop. The prices of products which are subject to administered prices do not drop, however; they remain constant. The increased production and overproduction are paid for at that administered price.
This results in State subsidies coming into the picture later. Once we reach the stage at which subsidies have to be paid, we are on quite the wrong track and have even greater proof that administered prices are an absurdity. Subsidies per se are detrimental to the country because they are taxes which are merely given back to the producer in another way. As a result of the overproduction and the constant price increases which take place because production costs rise, one finds, in our country in particular, this classic example of an increase in the prices of products of which there is an overproduction. At a glance it seems pretty unintelligible to the consumer, as he does not understand it and builds up a resistance to the Government which in his opinion is constantly increasing prices. This does happen, but it is not the Government that is increasing prices. It is the controlling body which controls prices to the detriment of the consumer. Statistics of price increases over any five-year period during the past 15 years prove that prices of price-controlled products have risen by an average of 30% more than the prices of products which are not price-controlled. I think that is the best proof that administered prices are not to the consumers’ benefit.
That is why I confidently ask the hon the Minister please not to accede to any future pressure to administer more prices, and to do away with those prices administered at present as far as is possible.
Mr Speaker, we agree with the hon member for Hercules that we must move away from administered prices. However, I want to refer to the speeches made by the hon members for Sasolburg and Turffontein. Both of them tried to cast doubt on the future of this party, the PFP.
I just want to make two points in this regard. Firstly, there could possibly be a slight swing to the right among certain sectors of the White voters …
It is a big swing!
That is what the hon member maintains, but we in this House must take account of the hard facts that the biggest movement among the overwhelming majority of people in the country as a whole is against apartheid, and against the obsolete principles of the right-wing parties.
†Secondly, anyone who believes that the PFP should now be written off as a party undergoing growth as a result of a change in leadership, or because of the departure of Dr Boraine, is making a serious mistake. I say unequivocally that our cause is greater than any single man or group of men. This party stands for the timeless principles of democracy, individual freedom and the rule of law. These principles have been served by legions of men for centuries. There will be no shortage of standard-bearers for them in the future. The PFP has suffered serious setbacks in the past. We have survived these and other setbacks under a variety of leaders and we have continued to grow. I say that we will also overcome the present leadership transition in the same way as other parties overcome such transitions at various times. We will pass through this one, and we will continue to grow once we have done so. We will continue to grow because we stand for an idea whose time is soon to come in South Africa.
Speaking for myself as the member of Parliament for Constantia—since I was challenged to do so by the hon member for Turffontein—and also in my capacity as chairman of the PFP in the Cape Province, I remain convinced of the utmost relevance and importance of constitutional politics. I remain committed to the achievement of peaceful change through Parliament even though there is absolutely no doubt that it is a long, tough and unglamorous road.
Personally, I intend to stay the course as long as my voters want me to. However, I do not believe that the role of parliamentary politics means that an MP must spend all his time physically in this House. There is vital political work to be done both inside and outside the precincts of this Parliament.
*However, what I want to contend is that the party whose long-term future is seriously in doubt is in fact the NP. [Interjections.] The NP is a party that tries, just like King Canute, to hold back the tide. The NP is the party that has led South Africa into the greatest confusion in the history of the country—the epic confusion of apartheid. What future is there for a party which, after decades of an obsolete policy—which they created themselves and implemented over the years—now persists with the same obsolete principles, presented as a new direction? The NP’s arrogance is amazing. They ask the voters’ support for a policy which has plunged South Africa into an unrest crisis, an international crisis, a financial crisis, a constitutional crisis and an economic crisis.
The message the PFP is going to convey to the voters and to the outside world, as well as to all who are prepared to listen, is that the NP is not a reform party. The NP must be written off. The NP’s basic policy has been obsolete for a long time. Now the direct logical conclusion is that the party behind that policy and the men and the Cabinet behind that outdated policy are also completely obsolete. I maintain that the leaders of that party are far too “verkramp” to be able to lead South Africa in a new direction. The only solution is that South Africa should get rid of this Government. [Interjections.]
†It is high time that the public and the world realized that it is pointless trying to persuade this Government to adopt better ways and to scrap apartheid through the use of sweet, reasonable arguments. Our former leader dedicated years of his life to the promotion of reasonable arguments in an attempt to persuade this Government to change direction. We could hardly have had a more effective leader for that task. By his own admission, however, he was beating his head against a brick wall. The time has come for a new direction. This country must break out of the “Catch 22” situation in which the NP has trapped the country. It talks of reform on the one hand and buys time for itself with attractive rhetoric. At the same time, however, it absolutely refuses to share control or to reform its own principles.
It is simply not good enough. South Africa must have bold renewal at this time and the only way to achieve that renewal, is to get rid of this Government. The elements that have given support to the Government in the past will have to withdraw their support and put more pressure on the Government. We are going to take that message out among the people of South Africa as widely and as vigorously as possible, with all the resources at our command. [Interjections.]
There is a new nation being forged in the South Africa which lies beyond the boundary of this Parliament. It is a new nation of which this Government, cocooned and isolated as it is in a web of carefully filtered intelligent information, seems to be totally unaware. Maybe that is so because there are none so blind as those who will not see. I should like to issue a challenge to the hon the Minister of National Education or to the hon the Minister of Communications and of Public Works, my old opponent in the provincial council, to come with me on an exploration of their own country. Let them come with me into the streets of Athlone and talk to the young people as I have done. Let them come into the Black townships and talk to the people there. Let us go to the schools and the universities and talk to the young people. Let us go to the political detainees in their cells and talk to them. Let us go into the shops and offices and factories. Let us go to the clubs and sports fields and rock concerts where young people are reaching out to one another across the barriers erected by that Government. Let us attend an unrest funeral.
In short, I challenge the hon the Minister of Communications and of Public Works and the hon the Minister of National Education to spend time exploring and talking to a cross-section of all the people in their own country. After that the hon the Minister of National Education would not dare to stand up in this Parliament and talk the way he did last week about the maintenance of separate racial identities. He would no longer dare to talk about structuring a society on the basis of forced group identities. If he were to tell the people I have referred to now, the vast overwhelming majority of the people of this country, eyeball to eyeball, that their future depends on his Government’s concept of separating them into a forced group membership based on the colour of their skins, I say to him that he would need a very strong bodyguard to protect him.
To those younger individuals in the NP who do understand something of the truth of what I am saying about the reality of the new South Africa which is arising around us, I say that until they can show the courage to set out in new directions, show the courage of their forefathers who were prepared to set out in new directions, they will be counted as political eunuchs like their leader—the hon Minister of Foreign Affairs—who has now been reduced to the status of a political eunuch after last week’s events.
Mr Speaker, this debate is rapidly reaching a close. So far this year’s debate can definitely not be stamped as boring; interesting matters have transpired which have taken quite a dramatic turn.
I wish to refer briefly to the hon member for Constantia’s speech. I gained the impression that in future hon members of the Official Opposition were going to cultivate the habit first to declare officially while participating in a debate that they were not going to resign. The hon member devoted the introduction to his speech to saying he would stay here to continue his work. It seems the Official Opposition will provide a little further drama in future—we do not know what to expect from hon members on that side of the House.
The hon member used the ordinary argument again of accusing the Government of action contrary to the interests of the country; he also complained about the economy. I wish to ask the hon member for Constantia and his colleagues, however, whether they have not played a special part in certain problems we are experiencing in the economic sphere? Are they not contributing to this by their dissemination abroad of rumours and propaganda about South Africa and the alleged action of the Government? The question merely occurs to me.
I think we do not always appreciate CP humour. The hon member for Rissik and some of his colleagues also stated during this debate that the CP would be taking over the Government of our country in the near future. I think this statement is reasonably ludicrous. [Interjections.]
If one had listened to the various statements made during this debate, one would once again have retained the impression that the hon the Minister and his department have an exceptionally difficult task. Not only hon members of this House but also important members from the business community sometimes direct criticism at the Government’s financial policy and its handling of the economy. In spite of this criticism I wish to say we may be grateful for the way in which the hon the Minister deals with his portfolio in very difficult circumstances. I wish to go further by saying I think a large part of the advice proffered him by the opposition parties would help us from the frying pan into the fire if we were to follow it. What struck me further, especially during the political speeches, was the tendency to quote what leaders and other eminent figures had said over the years and the statements they had made. I say with respect it could possibly be interesting to quote what a leader said thirty, forty or a hundred years ago; it is interesting perhaps to learn what their view of matters was in the light of the times and circumstances in which they lived. Nevertheless in many respects it is a futile exercise; it is of no avail to make a decision under current conditions based on the views held by leaders on a specific matter many years ago. I do not think statements made years ago are always relevant to the challenges facing us today and the circumstances in which our people find themselves.
Principles cannot be dated.
Principles always remain true. The hon member is very fond of equating principles with policy but we should also consider the realities of the day and act in the best interests of all the people in this country. It is no use elevating statements made years ago, and which no longer bear any value, to the status of principles.
I should like to touch briefly upon a matter related to the economy. Under current economic conditions there is an increasing number of purchasers unable to meet their financial obligations; this applies particularly to those who acquire goods under rights of hire-purchase. Consequently it is important that these people are not put at a disadvantage through undesirable practices which sometimes occur in this regard although they are practices permissible in terms of the Hire-Purchase Act. They are often adversely affected by such circumstances.
We are all aware that under present economic conditions the owner of a motor vehicle finds himself in a very difficult position. He is taxed in many ways; his capital outlay on motor vehicles is exceptionally high today; interest rates in particular are abnormally high although they are now indicating a declining tendency. Nevertheless these are factors which make it very difficult or almost impossible for the middle-income group to look after themselves in respect of this important and one of the most expensive articles they have to possess.
It is the duty of the legislator to indemnify the private buyer against these malpractices as far as possible. Deficiencies in the legislative provisions regarding the rights and duties of purchasers and sellers can, in fact, be met to eliminate these undesirable practices.
Goods are sold in this way on condition that the right of ownership does not pass to the purchaser; in default of payment by the purchaser, the seller can repossess the goods but there are certain regulations on how this should be done. The problem arises, however, in determining the value of the repossessed goods as the purchaser is held responsible for the remainder of the purchase price. The proceeds of the sale of these goods are paid to the purchaser or they are taken into account in determining the debt. If the repossessed goods have been undervalued or sold out of hand, the purchaser is the loser. Further, it is general knowledge that an individual cannot enter into litigation with a large organisation. We are aware of this and especially the people concerned are aware of it.
It should be emphasised that it is usually not to the enrichment of the financing house but officials who benefit through institutions which acquire these goods at excessively reasonable prices. These practices may well be curbed if the goods are sold by way of public auction by a bailiff as in other cases where goods are seized.
In conclusion I wish to state I am aware this is a difficult matter. If one sees in practice how people are cheated through the actions of officials of large financing houses or other institutions where funds are acquired, the necessity becomes clear for following another procedure so that people are not exploited in this way. It is certainly the case today that the valuation of the property concerned and the price at which it is sold often falls far short of the actual value of the property bought by the person under hire-purchase. Consequently, when the goods are repossessed, this person actually receives far less credit than the actual value of the repossessed goods.
Unfortunately my time has expired but I hope this problem may be obviated in future especially under present circumstances where it happens all too often that people land in trouble as a result of obligations which they cannot honour because of the monetary conditions in the country.
Mr Speaker, in the course of this debate I, as a member of the Government, have been asked to take a stand on Government policy apropos the State President’s speech on 31 January 1986, and his subsequent remarks in Parliament. The real issue in South Africa today is whether a group of radicals, greatly influenced by the South African Communist Party, should be allowed to seize power, or whether all communities in this country should work together for a constitutional dispensation which will equitably meet their reasonable aspirations.
You are reading Magnus’s speech.
The State President himself stated in his advertisement, and I quote:
There are two kinds of people who are telling the world that apartheid is alive and well, and that nothing is really changing in this country.
The Nats, who else?
Firstly, as the State President said, there are those who want to seize power instead of sharing it. Secondly, there are those who do so because they have been blinded by their own prejudice against this Government to such an extent that they do not want its reform programme to succeed, even if failure would harm their own country.
On the other hand, however, there are more and more reasonable people who accept that apartheid is an outmoded concept, and that South Africa’s constitutional future must be negotiated on the basis of the protection of minority rights and the sharing of power up to the highest level.
With forced membership!
I side with those people who want to bring about a constitutional dispensation in which there will be no political domination by any one group of another; with those people who do not want any community to be excluded from the decisionmaking process. I side with those people who want to create equal opportunities for each and every person in this country …
In separate communities!
… and who firmly reject injustice and unequal treatment. I side with those people who are prepared to work with the Government for the removal of racial discrimination and any possible encroachment upon human dignity.
How many years must we wait?
I therefore believe, as does the State President, in positive, constructive reform, but I also believe that for fundamental reform to be meaningful, peaceful and long-lasting, it must, of necessity, be evolutionary.
Last Friday the State President addressed the issue of a possible future Black president for South Africa when he referred to a remark made to journalists by my colleague, the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The State President said:
The State President then went on to say that the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs agreed with this, and so do I. [Interjections.]
I want, in all fairness, to ask the hon member for Yeoville a question because I noticed that his Whip was tugging at his jacket towards the end of the hon member’s speech yesterday.
Towards the end of his speech. Whips have that nasty tendency sometimes. [Interjections.]
It is only fair that I should ask the hon member if I understood his remarks on the abolition of foreign exchange control on non-residents correctly. He implied that as a result of the abolition of foreign exchange control on non-residents at the beginning of 1983, South Africa landed itself in a debt problem. Was that the hon member’s argument?
No, what I …
I have come to that conclusion after reading his speech.
No. The hon the Minister’s hon colleague asked me to give examples of his incompetence and I gave a series of examples.
The hon member is obviously not in the mood for reasonable debate. I will quote him. He said:
I also want to go back to the start of the speech of the hon member for Yeoville. He referred specifically to exchange control for non-residents and the question of the financial rand.
I now want to ask the hon the member—I beg his courtesy for this—whether he does not link the abolition of foreign exchange control to our debt problem. Does he not link it?
No, I say it is one of the errors of judgment that the hon the Minister made.
The hon member then says that as a result of the abolition of foreign exchange control on non-residents money flowed out of the country.
Let us look at the facts. Foreign exchange control on non-residents was abolished in February 1983. In the calendar year 1983 capital to the value of R1,3 billion left the country.
Because of the abolition of the financial rand it became possible for non-resident South Africans to sell their shares and take their money back home.
And they did it.
I just want to remind the hon member for Yeoville of a very important principle in international investment: One gains if one does not have a mousetrap country. If an investor enters such a country the system works like a mousetrap and he cannot get his investment out again. The hon member certainly cannot dispute the advantage of not having a mousetrap system to keep investors in one’s country against their will.
At that time there was a handsome surplus on the current account of the balance of payments and the country could afford the loss of R1,3 billion that year.
However, what happened the next year? During 1983/1984 and up to the first quarter of 1985—that is a period of just over two years—a net capital inflow of R1,2 billion was registered. [Interjections.]
How much was borrowed money?
We can examine that analysis as well. However, most of that money—according to the information given to me—returned to the country as a result of investments on the Stock Exchange. [Interjections.] Following the line of argument of the hon member for Yeoville there is the idea that if we had retained the financial rand this debt crisis would have been different. The hon member links the reintroduction of the financial rand to the standstill period and he calls it “to eat humble pie,”; in other words to rectify our debt situation.
Let us however look at the facts. What brought about the standstill period? It was the result of the withdrawal of credit lines by American banks in particular.
This was credit that they had given through the banking system in South Africa.
It is their free right to do so. This type of international financial transaction never had anything whatsoever to do with the financial rand. All these transactions were carried out on the basis of the commercial rand. The only reason why the financial rand had to be reintroduced in September last year was because of the fancy footwork that could have been done by way of taking a loan which had been put under the net of the standstill agreement and converting that loan into equity on the Stock Exchange and then taking the loan out of the country via the Stock Exchange.
That is not the only reason.
My goodness! I was involved in all the negotiations. Now the hon member tells me what my advisors told me. [Interjections.] I think that is an example of gross impertinence. That avenue of syphoning money out of South Africa was blocked. The only reason was that credit amounts could leave the country in that way. There was no other reason.
We will again abolish the financial rand the moment that this country can afford it. The financial rand is not supposed to be a permanent feature of the financial situation of South Africa. When we reach the stage where absolute stability is restored in South Africa and we can be sure of the confidence of foreign investors it will certainly be time to abolish the financial rand again. In the meantime the financial rand was not reintroduced on the same basis on which it had operated before, merely on account of the fact that we did not want to make it as elaborate an aid as it had been before. I sincerely trust. Sir …
Mr Speaker, may I put a question to the hon the Minister?
Just give me an opportunity of finishing what I want to say. I have quite a lot of material with which I must deal.
Allow me, Mr Speaker, to say something in connection with the standstill period too.
*I think the hon member for Sunnyside also said we had borrowed hopelessly too much money. I just wonder how often one has to repeat a basic truth in this House before some hon members would be prepared to accept it. When one furnishes figures which are true and correct, why are they not accepted by some hon members? Surely we have no quarrel in associating with the truth. Or do we? When figures reflect the truth, surely we should accept them. I shall repeat this for the sake of the hon member for Sunnyside in particular and also for the sake of hon members of the PFP. Measured in accordance with all recognised international standards, South Africa has not borrowed money beyond its means. The hon member for Sasolburg also had something to say about this. He spoke of our enormous short-term debt. [Interjections.] The fact is that bank credit to South Africa via the domestic banking sector represented too great a percentage of the total burden of debt. Nevertheless I challenge every hon member in this House to request the figures—and I shall supply them with pleasure—and then to criticise us on the basis of the facts and to contend there was no competent planning of the foreign debt of the authorities—Government and semi-Government organisations.
And the banks?
I have already dealt with them; the hon member should merely listen to what I am saying. As regards the public sector, I can assure hon members that our spacing of repayment dates complies with the closest requirements of good management. Our rates, the interest rate and conditions are all matters which are absolutely gone over with a fine-tooth comb. Surely it is true, Sir, that we amended the Banks Act in this House last year. Why did we amend this Act? Because it came to our attention that there were certain irregular practices in banking. There is no way, Sir—no matter how much one would wish to do so—of exercising absolute control and knowing exactly from day to day the stand of the foreign debt position as regards the banking sector and the non-banking sector—and here I am in absolute agreement with the hon member for Yeoville. It is really not practicable at all. In spite of the fact that it is difficult and that no country on earth succeeds in this, especially as seen against the extreme refinement which international money transactions have undergone in recent times, the first figure I was provided with—which was relatively accurate—which represented our total foreign debt was that of almost $24 billion. It was within $1 billion of the correct figure, however, which we obtained after we had been obliged to have more than 50 000 forms despatched and processed by the standstill co-ordination committee.
The Reserve Bank therefore, in fact, had a very good idea of the exact state of affairs. I have to concede readily, however, that certain practices did take place—transactions not reflected in the balance sheets; foreign transactions—which were really not executed in a responsible manner. In consequence we amended the Banks Act accordingly last year. We shall have to continue amending the Banks Act in order to ensure the effectiveness of that part of the control. It is naturally an everyday fact that what occurred as regards those short-term transactions carried out by banks in South Africa actually comes down to maladjustment—money was borrowed short and in turn lent in the longer term.
That is the truth. They also …
What did your predecessors do?
I am not prepared to criticise my predecessors.
No, but your immediate predecessor made a promise which was never fulfilled.
Order! I regret having to interrupt the hon the Minister. I have given hon members a fair opportunity for comment. I do not wish to do anything which will restrict debate in this House but I believe the hon the Minister now has the floor and therefore he is the person entitled to be heard. I therefore request hon members to refrain from interspersing any further comments. The hon the Minister may proceed.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
It remains a fact that we amended the Banks Act to such an extent that certain of those gaps were blocked so that those transactions could no longer take place in the way they had done previously. The irony of this whole matter, however, is that there are so many people in the private sector—in banking as well—who say our economy should have more freedom, be an economy with fewer regulations, whereas it often appears that it would be better for one to take the opposite steps and lay down more regulations. I often have great difficulty in reconciling those two aspects. Nevertheless the fact is that as matters stand now we have come a long way in dealing with this case properly. I wish to ask the hon member for Langlaagte to see me privately if he is really interested in what has happened. We did not deal with the entire matter of the renegotiation of our foreign debt position in such a way that it was factually discernible in the daily papers. This was done with very good reason. At this moment we are even more cautious than ever before as there are tremendous efforts afoot to scuttle next week’s meeting. I should prefer to request the hon member to temper his comment on this but he is welcome nevertheless to speak to me.
†Mr Speaker, the hon member for Yeoville accused me of holding the Standing Committee on Finance in contempt in that I did not involve it in the process of negotiating the formulae to which I referred during my Second Reading speech. I just want to tell the hon member that I cannot blame him for that, as he is not involved with this matter on a day-to-day basis. These formulae, however, relate to education, pensions and housing—in other words a multiplicity of disciplines—and certainly not only the Standing Committee on Finance is involved here.
Moreover, we are doing our homework. We are getting all the relevant officials, and from time to time political functionaries, involved in our efforts to formulate a system whereby it will be possible to use these formulae as guidelines when it comes to the division of the resources. I cannot for the life of me see how it can be reasonably expected of us to submit it to the Standing Committee on Finance at this stage. We will submit it to the Standing Committee on Finance, but only after the technicians, the experts and the political functionaries have had an opportunity to make their input.
Even then it is not a question of rubber-stamping the measure. I think that events in this House this week have demonstrated that I do not regard the Standing Committee on Finance as a rubber stamp. I accepted every one of its recommendations and therefore it certainly cannot be said that we regard that body as a rubber stamp. Neither can it be reasonably expected that the only task which the Standing Committee on Finance will have to perform in respect of these formulae should be the rubber-stamping thereof. Other standing committees will also be involved in discussions in this regard and when the time comes—hopefully in the near future—we will certainly bring them in.
I cannot understand that hon member’s logic in making statements like the following: “One cannot expect people to scale down their salary expectations if Government allows inflation to rise the way it did.” What kind of inflation do we have at the moment? We have killed demand inflation in this country. What are we left with? We now have cost-push inflation in South Africa, occasioned by the drop in the value of the rand and supported by the fact that people are still being overpaid in relation to their productivity. This is a cost-push factor in our economy. It remains a fact that our productivity rises are totally inadequate, measured against the real income rises in individual incomes.
I had a long conversation with the Israeli Minister of Finance on the occasion of the IMF meeting in his country. One of the first things they did to combat their galloping inflation rate, was to arrest people’s salaries. When one is combating cost-push inflation then one reduces the influence of salary increases on that factor. I therefore cannot understand the hon member’s logic. I know he is a social democrat and that he champions the cause of the man in the street but, even taking that into account, I fail to understand his reasoning that it is unfair to fight inflation by asking for reasonable attitudes when it comes to wage negotiations. I would like him to explain that particular line of reasoning at some stage.
I must say that all hon members on this side of the House responded very favourably when the hon member gave us his undertaking. I have made a note of it and want to quote it because I believe it carries a message which is very applicable on this specific day. He said that he would stay in Parliament on the strength of the mandate of his constituency, Yeoville. He said that he would support the leader of his party and that that leader had to lead them inside and outside of Parliament but not out of Parliament. I see that as a significant statement coming from the hon member for Yeoville, particularly while he is sitting in those benches.
The hon member also accused this side of the House of not having informed the public properly. Did the State President not expose himself to ridicule in public on account of the fact that he warned us a long time ago of a total onslaught on South Africa—in other words, a multi-faceted onslaught on the country, also manifesting itself in the financial sphere? [Interjections.] Therefore, that hon member cannot accuse us of not having adequately warned the people of South Africa in advance that there was an onslaught on the country. This onslaught also precipitated a great deal of pressure on South Africa’s banking contacts both here and overseas. Fact is that it is rather uncomfortable for a bank to have to replace its windows every week or two by reason of having granted a small loan in South Africa.
I want now to refer to another matter which the hon member mentioned—and to which other hon members also referred—namely the question of insolvencies.
*I directed thorough investigation to be conducted into this and the hon member for Sunnyside also referred to it. I merely wish to ask him whether he perhaps discovered on examining the figures that voluntary liquidations had strangely run dry somewhere in the first quarter of last year. Did he discover this? [Interjections.] I ask this because the Companies’ Act was amended last year. That caused many people to defer voluntary liquidations in anticipation of the inception of that change. Consequently there was an accumulation which created a distortion in the figures of the past year.
Nevertheless I had an extract made of figures and I also have a graph here illustrating the correlation between previous downswing periods and this one. It is true that at this stage there is a greater percentage of insolvencies than before but let us examine how this developed on a year-to-year basis. In 1974 there was an increase of 45% in insolvencies compared with the previous year. Against this there were 7,22% fewer insolvencies in the following year and then they rose again by 33,8%. Subsequently the figure decreased again and then became altogether low. Ultimately the figure was 17,58% in 1984. Our figures extend only to July but they have been extrapolated and may possibly be in the region of 10%.
Whereas I concede that these figures are too high, I wish to argue that in the light of the incredible problems we have had in the economy over the past three to four years they are no extraordinary phenomenon. They can therefore not necessarily be used as a criterion against which to gauge the condition of the economy.
I wish to thank the hon member for Smithfield and other colleagues on our side of the House for their contributions. I shall probably not have the opportunity to respond to all the speeches. If I omit reference to something important, we can discuss it in our group. This is the opportunity, however, of talking to the Opposition.
The hon member for Sunnyside told us of an increase of 21,5% in Government expenditure. I do not wish to quibble over this figure; let us wait until we deal with the Additional Appropriation and then we will know exactly what has happened. I merely wish to say that anyone examining the figures of the past year analytically will draw two conclusions.
Firstly, as regards Government debt, the Treasury took up loans early in the cycle of the financial year for reasons of cash flow and for those concerning control of the money supply, after which the interest rate pattern declined drastically. If we want to control inflation through proper regulation of the money supply as well, we simply have to accept that the account rendered to the Treasury for Government debt is going to exceed normal expectations. In other words the execution of monetary policy provides an injection into the interest which one pays. In addition, as I have said, we are at an early stage of the cycle which perhaps makes it higher than the average for the year.
A second principal point to be borne in mind by our critics is that we saw in September or October that our policy measures had functioned adequately, which I dealt with in detail in the Second Reading speech. At that stage it made no sense whatsoever to exercise a further restrictive policy. Consequently we permitted Government spending to rise—we deliberately permitted it to rise by R500 million—in the first place as a measure to combat unemployment. The hon member awarded me a zero for unemployment; the hon member for Umbilo, who has tendered apologies for his absence, also said we had done nothing about unemployment. I invite them to a discussion with our hon colleague the Minister of Manpower. He will show them the albums received from people who were unemployed and became suited. Gratitude emanates from them. It is a touching experience to handle that album—and then hon members say we have done nothing about unemployment.
This is deliberate overspending and it will be held against us as a percentage increase which we supposedly could not control. We should just retain that perspective. Then we went on to say we could not continue with that overspending. Basically it represented current expenditure which cannot be financed only from loans. We then placed a 10% surcharge on imports as a source of income to finance this, which simultaneously had a dampening effect on certain further imports. This is not a painless procedure but in the Department of Finance we are still seeking a method of bringing about these drastic adjustments to our economy painlessly. There is no such method and, if it were as easy as that and politics as acceptable as made to sound from superficial debating, many more countries in the world would have had the courage to do this.
It required courage to carry this out; politics. It was unpopular but we persevered and today we are very much more strongly placed than at this time last year. I wish to ask hon members on the opposite side of the House; What would have happened to us if we had not instituted those restrictive measures last year or the year before and not introduced a restrictive Budget either? Later we applied a little deliberate relaxation and fiscal stimulation. That produced the fruit we could pluck, namely the incline or the about-turn in our current account from minus R1,4 billion to R7 billion. If we had been unable to do this, what would our experience have been around that negotiating table as regards our foreign debt?
It is easy for anyone to be callous about our foreign debt and to say they can go to hell, we shall not repay them. Not only the hon member for Langlaagte made such statements; many people outside say that too. The truth is …
Barend, you can.
Oh yes, we can. The point is we can, but we cannot repay everything simultaneously just as no one can repay his bond in a lump sum. We have to restore the balance between our current and capital accounts as soon as possible in the future. We have to return to normality otherwise we shall have a short growth cycle again which will be meaningless. When our current account begins moving into negative figures in consequence of a growth period and we do not have the facilities to approach overseas countries and say, “Look, what about financing that deficit?” then we shall be facing adversity in this country. Then we shall have to curtail our graphs illustrating growth long beforehand. That is an absolute verity and hon members on our side of the House referred to it. How does one finance a reform programme? How does one finance the necessary upliftment programmes which go hand in hand with constitutional reform?
By overspending? How does one finance overspending? I should like to conduct an argument with the hon member for Sasolburg on this. [Interjections.] I ask the hon member for Sunnyside, however, to bear these matters in mind when he debates on them inside and outside the House.
The hon member for Vasco put a question on the Customs Union. A thorough study was conducted on this. It is a matter of deep concern to us at present because that formula is definitely not favourable to the Republic of South Africa in the long term. We also believe the financial redistribution which takes place there, or rather the application of this, does not serve the purpose it was intended for originally, which was to stimulate development. At the moment it is under continuous scrutiny, however, and the study conducted ought to enable us to negotiate meaningfully with our partners later this year. As regards his question on the marketing of gold through Nymex, I wish to say it is not the right place for us for the simple reason that the transactions conducted there are very seldom converted into cash. According to my information, approximately only 1% of those transactions are converted into cash. Sometimes there is also the question of no transactions, etc. We have longstanding, fixed arrangements as regards our gold sales which have held great benefit for us in the past. We shall not easily jettison these arrangements but we have taken note of the hon member’s standpoint.
As regards Kruger rands, we have an agreement with the Chamber of Mines to market its product worldwide. I wish to submit respectfully that the hon member as chairman of the study group on trade and industry, as well as of the standing committee, discuss the matter in co-operation with the hon Deputy Minister and the hon the Minister with a view to the Competition Board. Something may come of this.
†The hon member for Umbilo apologised for his absence, as I have said. He talked about our foreign debt. If he was referring to South Africa’s foreign debt, I accept that term as an all-embracing one. However, if he was referring to the State when he said “our debt” and criticised it, I do not think that we should accept it. It relates to my earlier invitation: Let us look at the figures which will become available soon and then we shall see that the State’s hands are clean in this respect.
The hon member also said it was misleading to say that inflation had been contained. I wonder what would have happened if our other restrictive measures in order to counteract the effects of inflation, had not been in place as they were and we had suffered that degree of devaluation? I have of late had the advantage of a number of in-depth discussions with leading economists in this country on a one-on-one basis. What came out of that? One person in particular made an expert study of the effects that similar devaluations had had on similar countries in terms of inflation. His properly substantiated viewpoint is that our inflation, considering the dramatic drop in the value of the rand last year, should really have been much higher than it is now. I am grateful that it is not. However, we have the right to say that our other measures helped to restrict an inordinate further growth of inflation. Now we can say that we are hopeful that it will come down—unless we expand to such an extent that we create another demand—pull force in our inflation equation.
The hon member also referred to the petrol price. My hon colleague here gave me the figures. The hon member for Umbilo said words to the effect that the moment the exchange rate drops the petrol price is increased but that the converse does not happen that quickly. Over the past two years I have seen my hon colleague come to the Cabinet and pump a R1,4 billion subsidy into the petrol price in order to keep it low. Towards the end of last year he had exhausted virtually all his funds and it was extremely dangerous in a way, to put his hand into the kitty and to take out the last R300 million for the purpose of stabilising the petrol price for a little while longer in anticipation of a possible improvement in the exchange rate. I would not say that it was a gamble but whichever way one looks at it, it paid off. The exchange rate did respond and today things are improving.
It would also be grossly irresponsible to think that one could at the first indication of an improvement decrease the price of petrol without stabilising the structure of the various funds which support the petrol price. He could also not do this without considering other factors which he will deal with adequately when the topic comes up for discussion later on.
As far as extending the advantage to the public is concerned, I can say that as recently as yesterday morning we again held an in-depth discussion. He had discussions himself with other parties in order to see how soon this could, under certain conditions, be brought about. The situation is monitored continuously. We have no vested interest in a higher petrol price but it remains to be seen whether any advantage will in fact be passed down to the public.
*I should like to thank the hon member for Waterkloof for a very sound speech. The hon member made a few very telling points on which I do not wish to comment now. I thank him for the knowledge he infused into the debate in that respect.
†I also want to refer to the remarks of the hon member for Gardens. I would like to say to him that taken in the short-term context, I cannot fault his conclusions on the figures. I cannot fault them. He knows, however, as well as I do, that more than 85% of the cost of an education department goes into salaries. Inherently in an education department one has certain variables which respond to a salary increase, for instance. If one has generally a much higher level of training in the White education department, when a salary increase is granted then obviously the bulk of the money will be spent in that way.
On behalf of the Government, I want to reiterate what has been said so often which is substantiated by figures that I have here. There is a commitment by this Government to uplift people—particularly in the Black communities—through education. That hon member knows as well as I do, that it is not only a question of bricks and mortar; there is also a people problem. We need to train an increased number of people. I want to say that we should look at the situation in the long-term as far as the channelling of resources is concerned rather than to look at the situation merely on a short-term basis. This is especially the case with the last R900 million increase.
I take it amiss that the hon member again mentioned a truth without giving its perspective. It is true that six times the amount of money that is spent on a Black child is spent on a White child.
*This is obviously bad news to the hon member for Sasolburg. The figures contained in this foolish pamphlet of his which I shall deal with presently are precisely the opposite. This is bad news to him but it is the truth. At some time or other the balance will be restored.
†There are forces working towards an equalisation process as far as expenditure in education is concerned. He knows what percentage of those teachers are underqualified. One cannot achieve quality in per capita expenditure if the profile of training of Black teachers does not more or less keep up with the profile of training of White teachers. It is a simple fact. There are also other backlogs in terms of the amount spent on certain buildings—that is true. However, I do take it amiss of that hon member—because he is far better informed—for having those facts taken up in Hansard in that form without any perspective so that it sounds like a stark accusation. That is certainly not our attitude as far as this is concerned, and the hon member is aware of that.
In the short term it is true that that is the situation. The hon member is right; the latest figures do not support our ideal for parity, but one should view the situation over the longer term and take into consideration the growth in the expenditure on Black education.
Mr Speaker, may I ask the hon the Minister specifically to comment on the fact that there are empty and half-empty White teacher-training colleges that could be used? What are his views in this regard?
Certainly that is an underutilisation of existing capital.
What does the hon the Minister plan to do about it?
I have no power to do anything about it—it is not my line function. If the Government decides it is so high a priority to use that facility, it is free to do so, but it is certainly not my line function. The hon member should take that up with my colleague whose line function it is.
Does the hon the Minister then expect the Blacks to believe that the Government is setting a high priority on their education?
Mr Speaker, I now wish to discuss the hon member for Sasolburg’s speech. In this pamphlet of his he says Whites have paid R4,367 000 million in personal income tax, but only a quarter of that, R1,17 million, has been devoted to their education. That is patently untrue. If that hon member has come to this House to deal honourably with truth, he should tell us so. [Interjections.] If one appears on a platform with that hon member and members of his party, one is overwhelmed with lies because there is no discipline or integrity on such a political platform.
You have never been at such a meeting with me and do not know what you are talking about!
I know exactly what I am talking about—surely I can see it in this pamphlet.
According to this pamphlet this Government extracted R1 107 on average from every White taxpayer during this financial year to pay for non-White education and this goes on year after year. [Interjections.] That is a downright lie.
I wish to know of the hon member whether he is aware that a married man with three children has to earn R30 525 before paying R6 000 in income tax? There is only a small percentage of Whites earning such a high salary. Further, if one has a child at university, another at high school and the third at a primary school, the State grants one at least R6 000 for one’s children’s education. Then we are not even dealing with the amount representing interest on loans offered by universities which runs into some thousands of rands a person. Nevertheless this hon member comes and says the Whites of South Africa who have schoolgoing children not only pay for their own education but also for that of Black children. That is a downright lie. Younger people who have children at school are those falling into the lower income group. [Interjections.] It takes the average Afrikaner family decades to pay enough tax to cover their children’s education-disregarding the fact that they travel on roads, that there is a Defence Force and a Police Force and that various other facilities have been created for them. Why does this party lie when it puts its hand to paper?
Why did you not come up with that during the election campaign?
I am saying it now because in Parliament the discipline of truth prevails.
Louis, yet another chap having to tell you are lying!
My hon colleague has come to my aid here. The hon member should wait for someone to tell him what truth is.
Now you are the big shot!
The hon member would do well to come to my constituency and stand against me in an election. The hon member puts his hand to paper and there are actually people who believe the falsehood he writes! But he requires someone to tell him it is untrue.
Order! The hon member for Sasolburg must withdraw that remark.
I withdraw it, Sir.
Let us look at the rest of this page; this lying pamphlet! In it one finds: “Kyk hoe bevoordeel die Regering die groot geldmag.” I should now like to call the hon member for Sunnyside as a witness in this argument because he promised in the House last year that he would never again say the present Government favoured big business as regards taxation. [Interjections.] Yes, I hope he has not forgotten about that. He made the same mistake as the HNP is making here. I told him at the time he was a professional accountant and should know something about taxation. He then remembered he had omitted certain points earlier in his speech. I told him at the time I would inform everyone who used the same argument that I would call upon Mr Jan van Zyl, MP for Sunnyside, to witness that the other man was lying. Now this has happened because this pamphlet is lying and I call the hon member for Sunnyside to witness. The hon member speaks of Pick ’n Pay Holdings in this pamphlet. Does he know anything about the application of tax rebate practices of the past? Does he know anything about them?
You are going to get an answer which is going to take your breath away! [Interjections.]
The hon member should aim not to take my breath away but to learn to speak the truth. [Interjections.]
I now ask the hon member … [Interjections.] Hon members should be quiet for a bit and listen. It is because they listen with their mouths that they do not learn anything. I wish to request the hon member to rise in the House and explain what they mean when they say in the pamphlet the Government favours Pick ’n Pay by special arrangement. He must rise because these allegations worry our people.
I now wish to put a further point and I once again call upon the hon member for Sunnyside to witness. Does the hon member for Sasolburg know that, if a company’s income consists entirely of dividends, it will pay not tax?
No, he does not know that. [Interjections.]
No, he does not know that, yet he writes about it. How many more matters on which he is ignorant does he write about? [Interjections.] The hon member is actually sitting and writing at the moment. I hope he knows what he is writing about. Let us look at companies like Anglo American and Gold Investment Trust—just listen to the name: Investment Trust. I do not have the facts before me but I suspect a company like that spends only 1,25% of its profits on taxation, that by far the lion’s share of its profit is drawn from dividends—which are not taxable—and that the small profit on which it pays 1,25% in taxation is probably income from interest or income of another nature, which is also taxable. In terms of the ancient Income Tax Act of our country, taxation is not payable on income from dividends. Why does the hon member therefore write about matters on which he is ignorant? We deal respectfully with the truth in this House. [Interjections.] We like to reveal the truth and we may be held liable if we do not do so. [Interjections.] This pamphlet appeared from that hon member’s hand. [Interjections.] He is honour bound to rise and speak the truth as regards this pamphlet.
I wish to make a last point concerning this. The hon member talks here about the State President’s pension benefits. The hon member for Parys has already dealt with him on that score. If one pays R70 per month for 30 years, one’s benefit is R300 000 and the State President has surely been a member of this Parliament for a very long time. Now I say to that hon member that, if he deals honourably with morality and uses it against the Government in this pamphlet as regards pensions, he has no right to share in those same pensions. [Interjections.] He does not have the moral right to accept the benefits of this pension fund and he should now rise in this House and tell us in advance who the beneficiary is to be when he retires one day. He is morally obliged to do so or he should apologise to the State President. [Interjections.] We can no longer permit South African politics to be operated in such a lying way as has been done in this pamphlet by that party. Let that suffice.
Question put: That all the words after “That” stand part of the Question,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—88: Alant, TG; Badenhorst, P J; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Clase, P J; Coetzer, H S; Coetzer, P W; De Beer, S J; De Jager, A M v A; De Pontes, P; Du Plessis, B J; Durr, K D S; Fick, L H; Fourie, A; Golden, S G A; Hefer, W J; Heyns, J H; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kriel, H J; Kritzinger, W T; Landman, W J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Louw, E v d M; Louw, I; Louw, M H; Malan, W C; Malherbe, G J; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, W D; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Rencken, C R E; Scheepers, J H L; Schoeman, R S; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Steyn, D W; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Terblanche, G P D; Thompson, A G; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; Van Niekerk, W A; Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Staden, J W; Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Wyk, J A; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E; Wright, A P.
Tellers: J P I Blanché, C J Ligthelm, R P Meyer, J J Niemann, D P A Schutte and L van der Watt.
Noes—36: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Barnard, M S; Barnard, S P; Dalling, D J; Eglin, C W; Hardingham, R W; Hoon, J H; Hulley, R R; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Myburgh, P A; Olivier, N J J; Page, B W B; Raw, W V; Rogers, P R C; Savage, A; Schoeman, J C B; Schwarz, H H; Sive, R; Snyman, W J; Soal, P G; Stofberg, L F; Suzman, H; Tarr, M A; Theunissen, L M; Treurnicht, A P; Van der Merwe, H D K; Van der Merwe, J H; Van der Merwe, S S; Van der Merwe, W L; Van Rensburg, H E J; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and A B Widman.
Question affirmed and amendments dropped.
Bill read a second time.
Introductory speech delivered at Joint Sitting on 10 February
Mr Speaker, I move:
Hon members will recall that with the rationalisation of the Public Service in 1980 a large-scale shift in functions and staff took place between departments. As was expected, the shift in functions also resulted in the State President entrusting, to other Ministers, legislation that had granted specific powers to certain Ministers.
Since the relevant legislation could grant powers to an officer with a particular official designation or attached to a particular department, the Regulation of Functions of Officers in the Public Service Act, 1980, was placed on the Statute Book so that the State President could provide that such powers be granted to an officer with another official designation or attached to another department.
Since the relative Act has not been implemented during the past five years, it has come to be regarded as superfluous and its repeal is being proposed in clause 1 of the Bill.
Specifically as a result of the introduction of this Bill it has come to light that departments do, in fact, need to have the Regulation of Functions of Officers in the Public Service Act, 1980, implemented, thus necessitating its continued existence. Consequently, after the Second Reading of the Bill I want to move amendments to delete clause 1 and to amend the long and short titles accordingly.
As hon members are aware, section 6 of the Public Service Act, 1984, only makes provision at present for the existence of departments as organisational entities, complete in themselves, in which officers and employees can be appointed and in respect of which the department head is invested with specific powers.
A need has arisen, however, for the creation of organisational entities detached from departments but, in all respects, functioning like departments, although not enjoying full departmental status. The amendments proposed in clauses 2 and 6 make provision for this.
Since 1971 provision has been made, in legislation, for the fact that an officer or employee in the Public Service, with his concurrence and on the recommendation of the commission, can be transferred to a Black authority with a view to eventual employment by such authority. Departments whose officers or employees can thus be transferred were identified in a schedule to the relevant legislation. At present section 14(5) of schedule 2 of the Public Service Act, 1984, applies in this context.
The transfer of an officer or employee to a Black authority is no longer as marked an event as it was in 1971. What is more, schedule 2 of the Act at present designates all departments established in terms of the Act.
The continued existence of schedule 2 of the Act is consequently superfluous. It is therefore proposed in clause 3 that reference to it in section 14(5) be deleted. Such transfer will nevertheless still have to take place on the recommendation of the commission and with the concurrence of the officer or employee concerned.
It is also proposed in clause 6 that the schedule be substituted by a new schedule in which the organisational components, for which clause 2 makes provision, shall be designated.
†In terms of section 16(2)(g) of the Act an officer may be discharged from the Public Service on account of misrepresentation of his position with regard to a condition for permanent appointment as determined in section 9.
In considering section 16(2)(g) during the Committee Stage of the Public Service Bill, the hon member for Bezuidenhout on 4 July 1984 expressed his doubts concerning the importance of this section. This induced the commission to review the particular section and to identify the deficiencies thereof.
It was realised that misrepresentation may also occur in regard to conditions for appointment concerning marital status, qualifications, experience, age, etc. To accommodate all these, it is proposed in clause 4 that the limitations, which the reference to section 9 place on the grounds for discharge in this regard, be removed. The hon member for Bezuidenhout is thanked for his contribution in this respect.
Currently a person, when he utilises Government transport for unofficial purposes, has to sign an indemnity form which indemnifies the State against any liability for damage, loss of life or physical injuries which might result from such transport.
It is further required that the spouse and adult dependants of such a person also indemnify the State against any claims which might result from such transport of the person. On the one hand it is almost impossible to keep the indemnity forms sufficiently up to date to ensure that all dependants are always included, while, on the other hand, minor dependants cannot sign such an indemnity form.
To bridge these problems it was decided to include a provision in the Act similar to section 49bis of the Defence Act, 1957—Act No 44 of 1957—and section 32bis of the Police Act—Act No 7 of 1958. This is proposed in clause 5.
Mr Speaker, the Bill was referred to the Public Service Joint Advisory Council for its advice. Barring a few technical amendments the council was also of the opinion that the regulation of functions of officers in the Public Service Act, 1980, should not be repealed. Although the council was in principle against the inclusion of clause 5, the commission could not accept the objection. The clause is only intended to regulate by law the way in which the liability of the State in cases of unofficial transport is limited in order to eliminate administrative red tape.
The standing committee of Parliament which considered the Bill supported it. I trust that Parliament will support the Bill in the same way.
Second Reading resumed
Mr Chairman, this is a straightforward Bill and we will support it. However, there are a number of questions that we would like to ask.
With regard to clause 1, the hon the-Minister says he does not wish to repeal the Regulation of Functions of Officers in the Public Service Act, 1980. I take it that after the Second Reading the hon the Minister will refer it back to the standing committee. We will support that.
I now come to clause 2 of the Bill. Section 6 of the Public Service Act, 1984, is amended to facilitate organisation in the Public Service. As I see it, it allows greater flexibility for small, highly specialised units to be developed within the Public Service. With the ever-increasing complexity within the Government and the Public Service that has to administer the laws, it will be more and more necessary to create the small organisational components to handle new problems that will arise from time to time. It will certainly lead to a lessening of bureaucracy by having this flexibility. Within private enterprise we handle this by creating special task forces to meet new exigencies.
Clause 3 of the Bill is completely understandable under the prevailing circumstances. With regard to clause 4, I wish to thank the hon the Minister and the commission for the personal compliment they paid me by introducing this amendment. This is happening almost two years after I first pleaded for it but at that time it was not accepted.
I want to tell this House that it shows how important a role the Official Opposition has to play in Parliament. It means that as hon members of the Official Opposition we not only have to read the Bills and interpret them but also often to read between the lines and see what the implications of the clauses are. It often happens that the Government for reasons of its own does not accept our amendments immediately. However, it is comforting to know that in at least one portfolio, consideration is given to proposed amendments long after the speeches in the Second Reading are forgotten by the hon members themselves. I am reminded of that magnificent line in Milton’s poem on his blindness: “They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Clause 5 is necessary to bring all branches of the Public Service and other services into line with regard to the use of transport. Clause 6 of the Bill is merely organisational. I repeat that we will support this Bill.
Mr Chairman, in spite of his youthfulness I think the hon member for Bezuidenhout is one of the hon members in this House who always does his homework. As people who represent public servants on a large scale, we can honestly say that the hon member for Bezuidenhout makes his contribution and does his homework.
On this occasion we also want to thank the hon the Minister of Administration and Economic Advisory Services in the Office of the State President in his new capacity for what he has already done. His opening address to the Public Servants’ Association and several other statements of his have indicated to us with what degree of compassion he regards the position of public servant.
With the debate on his Vote at a later stage, we should like to discuss with him certain matters which, at this stage, are creating a fair amount of uncertainty in the ranks of public servants in Pretoria. I am now referring to matters such as privatisation and rationalisation.
We want to thank the hon the Minister for this amending Bill. With these few words we on this side of the House also support the bill.
Mr Chairman, I should just perhaps point out that the hon member for Bezuidenhout is someone who always comes to this House very well-prepared. I have listened to him before and that has always struck me. Particularly when it comes to the electoral laws, the hon member normally makes a very good contribution here. I therefore always enjoy listening to the hon member for Bezuidenhout very much. That is something I just want to get off my chest; that is why I am now saying it here.
Yes, he must just not resign! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, we in the Conservative Party support the measure under discussion. Although we support the legislation, Sir, I nevertheless want to put it to the hon the Minister that as far as South African politics are concerned, the Conservative Party differs in principle with the National Party. So wherever and whenever the National Party seeks to misuse the Public Service in its pursuit of the whole new concept of nationhood in South Africa, we shall definitely not support the Government. I also want to make it very clear today that the …
Where is that in the Bill?
Now, never mind! Do allow me also to have my say. Time is, in any case, running out. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister in the Office of the State President—and I am now speaking to him, not to the hon the Minister of Communications—must take note of the fact that we in the Conservative Party keep a very close watch on the interests of the Public Service. Nor shall we allow the Public Service to be subject to integration in the way in which the hon the Minister and his Government are not only trying to integrate South Africa politically, but are also wanting to reduce the country to a Third World African State. [Interjections.] Oh, yes, I just want the hon the Minister and his Government to understand that very clearly. We shall not allow it. We shall, moreover, ensure that the Public Service—the entire machine of State—is brought into line with the multi-ethnic approach that we have to South Africa. We nevertheless support the Bill under discussion.
Mr Chairman, I had better not say more than that we support this measure.
Mr Chairman, I should like to express my sincere thanks to hon members who participated in this debate. To the hon member for Innesdal I want to express my sincere thanks for the words of congratulation he addressed to me.
†The hon member for Bezuidenhout referred to the merit of flexibility built into this piece of legislation, and I want to remind him of what I said in my Second Reading speech when I referred with appreciation to the suggestions he had made earlier. I thank him for his contribution.
*Mr Chairman, in my second reading speech I mentioned that a need still existed for the retention of the Regulation of Functions of Officers in the Public Service Act, 1980. I shall therefore, after completion of the second reading stage of this Bill, move a motion to that effect.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Motion for recommittal of Bill to Standing Committee
Mr Chairman, as I have already indicated, I therefore now move:
In accordance with Standing Order No 19, the House adjourned at