House of Assembly: Vol7 - THURSDAY 20 FEBRUARY 1986
announced that in terms of Joint Rule 23(4) he had referred the following draft Bill which had been submitted to him, together with the memorandum thereon, to the Standing Committee on Private Members’ Draft Bills:
Mr Chairman, I move:
It is an exceptional privilege for me to introduce this Part Appropriation of the Administration: House of Assembly.
First of all I want to convey my gratitude and appreciation, and pay tribute, to a deceased friend and colleague, the late Dr Nak van der Merwe, who officiated as the first Chairman of the Ministers’ Council of the House of Assembly. His unselfish service and zeal, even under extremely difficult conditions, serve as an example of dedication and persistence. During the short period of time he officiated as Chairman of the Ministers’ Council, he established significant conventions and laid down guidelines which are still being followed today.
I should also like to convey my gratitude to my colleague, the hon Minister for Administration and Economic Advisory Services in the Office of the State President for the work which he did as Minister of the Budget during the difficult first year of the Administration: House of Assembly. He, too, under difficult circumstances, laid down certain sound foundations on which we can continue to build with confidence. I should like to wish him every success with the interesting and stimulating task now resting on his shoulders.
To my colleagues on the Ministers’ Council, the Director-General and departmental heads, as well as all officials, I similarly address a word of thanks and appreciation. Since my appointment as Chairman and Minister of the Budget, I have received only loyalty and competent support from them. Without it, I would not have been able to stand here.
The third session of the eighth Parliament of the Republic of South Africa is the second financial year in which we are dealing with the new constitutional dispensation in the Republic of South Africa. Although it is still in its infancy, the Administration: House of Assembly, is nevertheless finding its feet and assuming a more tangible form. The year which lies ahead will be of decisive importance in the further development of this administration to full adulthood.
This Part Appropriation Bill seeks to appropriate an amount of R1 947 million to finance the expenditure of the departments which fall under the Administration: House of Assembly. Included in this is an amount of R867 million with regard to the education components which are going to be taken over from the provincial administrations with effect from 1 April 1986.
To obtain a comparable picture of the part appropriation amount requested for the 1985-86 financial year, and the amount being requested in the Appropriation Bill under discussion, the amount which is now being provided for the newly added education components must be deducted from the total amount of R1 947 million. That leaves us with a balance of R1 080 million—a decrease of R56 million compared with the part appropriation of R1 136 million for the 1985-86 financial year. This decrease can be attributed to refinement of financial planning.
The incorporation of the education components of the provincial administrations into the Department of Education and Culture of the Administration: House of Assembly is in itself an historic event. These education services have been entrusted to the respective provincial administrations since Union in 1910. The divided control which has therefore applied since that time as far as White education is concerned is now being terminated at the end of March 1986.
In this respect the Administration: House of Assembly will therefore, as from 1 April 1986, be placed on an equal basis with the Administration: House of Representatives and the Administration: House of Delegates as regards the provision of education to their specific population groups. Undoubtedly this must be regarded as an important milestone in the implementation of the 1983 Constitution.
†My colleague the hon the Minister of Education and Culture will expand on this in greater detail when the main Budget for the Administration: House of Assembly is moved. Although the decision has now been taken to transfer the provincial educational functions, lots of details concerning matters such as the allocation of office space, auxiliary services etc, still need to be negotiated. The administrative structures of the administration, and in particular those of the Department of Education and Culture, will also have to be adjusted in order to handle these added responsibilities.
Every endeavour will be made to organise the transfer of these functions with as little hardship as possible to the teaching profession. To this end this administration will for some time have to rely heavily upon the goodwill of all concerned but in particular on that of the provincial administrations. Contact with the various provincial administrations has resulted in a clear indication being obtained that they will assist in every possible way.
As far as the monthly rate of expenditure is concerned I should like to point out that the tendency in respect of the Department of Health Services and Welfare, the Department of Local Government, Housing and Works and the Department of Budgetary and Auxiliary Services is estimated to follow a fixed pattern. This situation may change when further own affairs functions are transferred from the provincial administrations during the course of the year.
The estimates for the Department of Agriculture and Water Supply and the Department of Education and Culture will, however, fluctuate. In the case of the former, this is mainly owing to the fact that subsidies in respect of interest on carry-over debts and Land and Agriculture Bank loans to farmers in designated areas are payable at half-yearly intervals, viz in the months of January and July.
As far as the payments to universities and technikons which fall under the control of the Department of Education and Culture are concerned, the bulk of the subsidies are payable at the beginning of each new financial year due to the fact that these institutions operate from the beginning of a calendar year as against the fiscal year of the State which begins on 1 April.
It is estimated that the educational components taken over from the provincial administrations will follow a fixed pattern of monthly expenditure, except for April and July when certain payments in respect of the service bonuses and bursaries will become due. The effect of this is that larger amounts are paid out in these months on a monthly basis in comparison with the rest of the financial year.
*As hon members are aware, the amounts which are appropriated in terms of the Part Appropriation Act under section 4 of the Exchequer and Audit Act, 1975, are regarded as advances and the authorisation therefore ceases to have effect upon the commencement of the Appropriation Act for the financial year concerned. Payments already made at that stage in terms of the Part Appropriation Act are then deemed to be payments made in terms of the Appropriation Act.
On the other hand, it is also important to point out that the moneys which are now being requested under the various votes of the Administration: House of Assembly, must be regarded as minimum amounts which are required during this interim phase to allow the rendering of existing services to continue. With the exception of the new education functions, the amounts at this stage do not include any new services and are purely a continuation of existing services already rendered during the 1985-86 financial year in the Administration: House of Assembly.
For the information of hon members I should now like to deal with a number of more technical aspects, before I proceed to make a few general remarks.
It is important to point out at this early stage how the financing of the Revenue Account of the Administration: House of Assembly will operate in 1986-87.
To give effect to section 84(a) of the Constitution, 1983, the Revenue Accounts Financing Act was passed by Parliament in 1984 to make provision for the so-called formula amount. This Act, however, under section 84(a) of the Constitution, only made provision for the 1985-86 financial year. Since we are now dealing with the 1986-87 financial year, the provisions of the Act have lapsed.
Amounts for the 1986-87 financial year are therefore not being made available in terms of section 84(a), (b) and (c) of the Constitution, but only in terms of section 84(b) and (c). Since funds are statutorily guaranteed according to a specified formula in terms of section 84(a), it means that in the absence of a formula act, funds are negotiated in the normal way in terms of section 84(b) and (c).
Since the Revenue Accounts Financing Act was placed on the Statute Book as a temporary measure in 1984, a considerable amount of hard work has already been done to give expression to the statutory formula allocations. Until such time as arrangements for these formula allocations have been accepted as law, however, there will be no guaranteed section 84(a) allocations. I should be able to say more about this matter at a later stage of this session.
I also wanted to inform hon members that the Ministers’ Council has, up to this stage, not yet adopted any resolutions on the use of the power vested in the Minister of the Budget in item 11(3) of Schedule 1 to the Constitution, read in conjunction with section 3 of the Revenue Accounts Financing Act, 1984; in other words, the whole question of levies has not yet been taken further by the Ministers’ Council. Hon members may accept that it will stand over until all possible own affairs functions have been allocated to the Ministers’ Councils, together with the funds, personnel and buildings available for those purposes. At that stage a comprehensive picture of the needs for additional funds ought to have emerged. If necessary the House of Assembly will then be approached in terms of the provision of section 3 of the Act concerned.
On this first occasion that I am acting in my capacity of Minister of the Budget, I want to give a succinct summary of my views concerning my role in this capacity and of my mandate.
A few things are clear from the structure and provisions of our Constitution: The Minister of the Budget is not a second Minister of Finance. Nor is his department a second fiscal and monetary authority. Overall financial policy and the handling of matters such as inflation, taxes, interest rates, exchange control and so on, are not my direct responsibility, but rest as a direct responsibility upon the shoulders of the hon the Minister of Finance.
My task is mainly of a three-fold nature: Firstly I have to bargain for the maximum compliance with the fair demands and needs of the voters of the House of Assembly, the Whites, in respect of their own affairs. I shall do this taking into full account the general interests of the country and with a comprehensive understanding for any claims by and needs of other population groups.
I am able to do this through my membership of the following Cabinet Committees: The State President’s Committee on National Priorities; the Cabinet Committee on Economic Matters; as well as the Cabinet Committee on Appropriation Matters.
†Secondly, I am charged with responsibility for the proper overall financial and personnel management within the Administration: House of Assembly. This I will do with due regard to the need for maximum management autonomy of the various departments forming part of our administration.
Thirdly it is my duty to present and to motivate to this House the budget of the administration and to report on its implementation. This I will do with frankness and to the best of my ability.
In previous debates there was a tendency to belittle the Administration: House of Assembly and to ridicule the concept of own affairs. I am prepared to join issue on this if necessary. It would, however, be in the best interests of everybody concerned to move beyond the stagnation of refighting the referendum, and to address the real issues involved. The real issues are education, health, welfare, agriculture, local government, culture, housing …
… in regard to all of which matters self-determination plays a central role.
Each one of these subjects has a direct bearing on the wellbeing, security and expectations of those we want to serve. I hope that this debate will show that we all want to serve the interests of the people whom we represent here.
*In conclusion, with a view to meaningful debate, just the following: There are still quite a number of factors on which decisions have to be taken. There are still quite a number of powers which have to be transferred from elsewhere before this administration has been fully established.
Only when the relevant functions in respect of local government, health and a considerable number of other matters have been fully transferred from the provinces; only when the matter of political substructures for the Ministers’ Council has been cleared up; only when the administrative model has been so adapted that specific problem areas have been eliminated; only when financial agreements or formulas in fields such as housing and welfare have been finalised, only then will the full extent and amplitude of the sphere of competence of this House over own affairs have become fully discernible.
I can give the assurance that very hard work is in progress on all the matters I have just mentioned. I hope to be able to make important announcements in respect of some of them during the main Budget. Before the end of this session there will be greater clarity on all the others.
The members of the Ministers’ Council of the House of Assembly, all hon members on this side of the House and I are determined to give effect to the spirit and the provisions of the Constitution.
I invite the Opposition Parties to apply their constructive co-operation as well towards attaining this objective.
Mr Chairman, on behalf of the Official Opposition, I should like to start by conveying our best wishes to the hon the Minister on his appointment to his new post. This is the second budget of this nature and he is the second hon Minister to present it. In addition to his role as Minister of the Budget the hon the Minister also holds the post of Chairman of the Ministers’ Council.
I believe each Minister stamps his own style and personality on his portfolio. The hon the Minister today outlined his own views as regards the role he has to play. He said the following:
This hon the Minister is very much an own affairs Minister and I think this became apparent during the no-confidence debate when he made it clear that separate schools, separate residential areas, separate voters’ rolls and the tricameral system would remain. So whilst the State President’s Address at the opening of Parliament was pregnant with possibilities, the birth of the reform baby was just not on. It makes one wonder about the “Rubicon One” speech on August 15 in Durban. Was this hon Minister, together with his colleagues from the Departments of Law and Order, Defence and Transport Affairs, responsible for the turnabout and for the withdrawal of the original speech for which 18 000 million listeners were waiting throughout the world.
This hon Minister was also a party to the State President’s rapping the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs over the knuckles for his statement regarding a Black State President in South Africa. Was he very far wrong, though? When one looks at section 8 of the Constitution, one sees that the State President is elected by an electoral college comprising Coloured, Asian and White members of this Parliament. Any Coloured, Asian or White member can, in terms of the Constitution, become the State President of South Africa. Therefore, I would imagine that the reference to “Black” in fact only related to a Bantu and nothing else. If we can vote together as an electoral college, why cannot we all sit together and hold discussions in this House?
It appears, therefore, that we are confined at the moment to the own affairs budget and to the R1,947 billion that is being allocated here today. This is a portion of the R10,1 billion partly appropriated by the hon the Minister of Finance in this House recently. Last year the figure was R1,36 billion out of R7 billion. However, in view of the changes taking place in education to the time of approximately R867 million, we cannot really compare this year’s percentages with those of last year, and I accept what the hon the Minister said in that regard.
I have been looking through last year’s Hansard and in particular at column 1185 of 20 February, which records the fact that we tackled that hon Minister to give us the formula in terms of section 84(a). The hon the Minister has just dealt with that issue and although there is no finalised formula in respect of 84(a)—we are now considering 84(b) and 84(c)—the hon the Minister did indicate in his speech here today that he hoped to give us clarity on this issue during the course of time session. We therefore abide in the hope that he will soon be in a position to tell us when the exact formula will be available regarding the manner in which the money is being allocated to the various departments under his control.
Surely, in view of the current economic climate, now is the time for us to demand less public spending, less bureaucracy and fewer departments. Surely the five departments to which the hon the Minister referred, are a duplication and extension of existing bureaucracies. Last year we were told that this administration had an establishment of 20 000 posts, 17 000 of which were filled. Of the 17 000 posts, 2 700 were external posts. Less than 12% were additional posts and at that stage the figure was put at 2 700. I should like to ask the hon the Minister whether he can tell us what the position is today. How many of the 20 000 posts are filled and how many are additional posts?
Our attitude in the PFP is clear. We do not agree with the concept of own affairs. We believe in freedom of choice in the very matters dealt with in this appropriation, namely local government, education, health and agriculture.
In the circumstances, I wish to move an amendment, which reads as follows:
- (1) to improve efficiency in its administration in order to uplift the standard and quality of life of all concerned;
- (2) to review sources of revenue for local authorities;
- (3) to remove all racial restrictions on admission to educational institutions; and
- (4) to ensure the provision of adequate housing and the protection of those in need.”.
My colleagues on this side of the House will deal with the various aspects of this amendment. [Interjections.]
I want to deal in more detail with local government, which is referred to in the second leg of the proposed amendment. Local authorities have been struggling for a long time to obtain additional sources of revenue. The sources which are available to them at the moment are very limited and include, for example, assessment rates and the resale of electricity and of water.
Local authorities have been obliged to provide transport but this is done at a great loss because they have to pursue the policy of apartheid by having separate buses for the various race groups. They have to provide amenities like libraries, museums, recreation centres and swimming pools, and such amenities can only be run at a loss. There is no way in which they can be viable and, therefore, they have to be heavily subsidised because they simply cannot manage on their own. Local authorities have to build roads, and there is no return on roads. They are, in fact, borrowing money to the extent that the interest that they are paying on their loans now exceeds, in some cases, the assessment rates which they receive. That is a very unhealthy situation for local authorities.
Does the hon the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works want to see them go broke? They have been looking for sources of revenue for years. Borckenhagen came up with nothing after 12 years. He was followed consecutively by Driessen, Niemand, Browne and Croeser. Croeser stopped because of the recent moves to establish regional services councils. However, as I said the other day, the revenue from the payroll tax and from the turnover tax will not give the local authorities any direct finance at all if all that money is going towards the establishment of the regional services councils. The local authorities will only benefit indirectly if they are relieved to some degree of the responsibility of providing the services which they are running at a loss.
I want to know from this hon Minister what will be done about the local authorities which fall outside the ambit of the regional services councils. Who will look after their interests and what will their sources of revenue be? Can the hon the Minister say whether Mr. Justice Margo is looking at possible sources of revenue for local authorities and, if not, why not? When can one expect some news?
Some local authorities actually considered value-added tax as a possible source of revenue. I am not suggesting this but I think the possibility should be investigated.
I want to ask the hon the Minister whether he would consider establishing a municipal bank, financed by the Government, from which all the local authorities can borrow money at a very low interest rate. The interest can be reinvested in the bank and the local authorities’ capital projects can be monitored by the controllers of the municipal bank. Money will thus be readily available to local authorities, especially to the poorer local authorities who cannot afford to incur overseas loans in order to obtain finances so as to provide essential services.
Furthermore, I feel that there is too much autocracy in this sphere—I think the hon member for Parow also mentioned this. In the Transvaal, for example, there are 96 provisions in the local government ordinance seeking to control local authorities. I believe that large cities such as Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Germiston and Johannesburg should be given a charter which will give them more autonomy to administer their own affairs, with very few checks and balances by a higher department.
Where provincial administrations are now to be relieved of their local government functions, the control will be vested in the hon the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works. I see a hiatus in the control, and a possible clash between the two departments which respectively fall under the hon the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works and the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning who controls the regional services councils. How is it possible to have control over councils forming part of the regional services councils but not over the councils individually when they do not form part of the regional services councils themselves? There may be a total clash of authority and I believe the hon the Minister should spell out where his jurisdiction lies in both instances.
An improvement in local government is the establishment of central business districts. Two years ago section 19 of the Group Areas Act was amended to provide for the establishment of CBDs which can be a large source of revenue to local authorities. However, to date not one CBD has been established in any of the regions which fall under the control of the local authorities in South Africa. What are the hon the Minister of the Budget and the hon the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works doing in that regard? [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, in conclusion, let me say that for as long as this Government persists in its group identity, group control and continuance of own affairs, duplication of finances and problems will continue to grow, and we on this side of the House will oppose it.
It is only when there is freedom of choice in all these aspects that we will begin to see the light and South Africa will once again prosper. One citizenship for one South Africa!
Mr Chairman, we have again heard the usual story from the hon member for Hillbrow as we have recently from the previous Leader of the Official Opposition who absconded because he could not accept the Government’s group approach. The Official Opposition plus its newspapers attempted to besmirch our name overseas because we accept the concept of groups and own affairs as one of the basic pillars of our policy. It is always interesting to listen to our friends on that side as I often obtain the impression they are far removed from reality. They are occupied somewhere in a library with information perhaps researched by my old friend, the hon member Prof Olivier.
I should like to refer to a very interesting leader in The Economist of 26 October 1985 under the headline “When Countries Die”. In this there is reference to Lebanon and Lebanonisation and also the fact that the Western world does not know how to deal with countries with minority groups today. The Economist says the old and the fine ideas we once held do not work. Nevertheless the Official Opposition still pursues them.
I came across a very interesting article on Switzerland. Dr F Leutwiler who is currently concerned in very important discussions will understand. On looking at Switzerland, one finds the interesting point about the cantonal system that they also have own affairs. They are very proud of this and say they feel very emotional about it. Of further interest is that the division is along language lines; 18 of the cantons have only one language. [Interjections.]
Sir, allow me to read to that hon member what appears under “The Jura Problem: Ethnic Conflict” on what comprises own affairs in a canton:
Those are own affairs—affairs personally affecting group communities. It would be interesting to hear the Official Opposition’s proposal regarding Lebanon, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Nigeria—and various other countries of that ilk. Partition is mentioned but into how many countries should one divide Nigeria or Lebanon? It is very easy to talk of partition but The Economist says by coincidence it will also fail.
This Government has created a policy of own and general affairs by means of which we may again provide the world with direction in the sphere of dealing with a country with minority groups. [Interjections.]
Order! Is the hon member prepared to reply to a question?
Mr Chairman, can the hon member explain why it is necessary to force people into groups and why one cannot deal with it as is the case in Switzerland where people may decide for themselves to which group they wish to belong? [Interjections.]
I want to ask the hon member just to try buying himself a plot or a flat in Switzerland. He will then discover it is actually much more difficult to do this as fairly close control is exercised on who is permitted to do so and who not. There is also the concept of free association. Free association does not only mean that I may associate with whom I wish; it also means other people may choose whether they wish to associate with me.
I wish to get to a very important matter as regards own affairs. Privatisation is one of the most important pillars of the Government’s policy and the hon the Minister for Administration and Economic Advisory Services has been instructed to give this special attention. As we are currently in the process of deciding which own affairs should be referred to this House and which to the different local authorities, it is very important for us to consider privatisation as it is one of the first priorities of the Western world today. We often ask what privatisation is. Basically it comes down to the fact that the extent of state intervention is decreased to assist the private sector. It goes hand in hand with deregulation which makes it possible for the private sector to compete with the State.
Why is privatisation so important to us? We can look at what the previous Director-General of Finance had to say about this. He said that, if we were to provide for all our needs in education, housing and health services, we would require an annual real growth of 8% for the next 20 years. Over the past few years we have grown by between 3% and 6%; we simply do not have the money. This enormous Government expenditure and its increase is naturally linked to regulation—in other words, every regulation and every law we pass here costs us money.
I have frequently heard the Official Opposition make the interesting statement that its system of one-man-one-vote in a unitary state—with qualifications—will decrease the costs attached to homelands, to the national states. I can point out to it, however, that all studies so far conducted indicate that the more one democratises, the higher one’s government expenditure is. This means that, if its policy were followed, there would be more people demanding a share of the cake. This poses a great problem for us as we are in the process of democratisation. We are going to find increasing demands made upon our Budget.
Our Whites are also making increasing demands. I may perhaps just say something to the hon member for Sasolburg; I think the hon the Minister of Finance has already mentioned it to him. Almost 80% of the total taxation of our people—sales tax, excise duty and income tax included—does not cover the subsidy they receive on education, health services, housing and transport. [Interjections.] Figures of two years ago indicate that the total taxation of any group with an annual income of R20 000 does not cover the subsidies it receives from the State.
Just tell this House who pays most tax.
The hon member for Sasolburg does not pay his own expenses; he is protected by the gold mines. [Interjections.] If I think of all the demands made upon the State, I recall this quotation of Pres Ford’s:
Greater government expenditure also leads to inflation—one hears this regularly from our colleagues of the private sector. All the economists tell us the hon the Minister of Finance should prune his expenditure; this leads to inflation and poorer service—we know the story very well.
We have a number of ideas on how to decrease our expenditure. The Americans have fine terms such as “zero-based budgeting” and “sunset laws”. Nevertheless they do not arrive at the point of how to decrease their expenditure.
There is a pillar in which this Government believes and which it is extending—privatisation. Privatisation has many advantages: It creates competition; it creates efficiency; it creates prosperity and the taxpayer also derives benefits from it. The dwindling Government sector causes him to have less tax to pay. Fine, but he also receives fewer subsidies.
It is not the case that one wants to run amuck with privatisation as one always has to ask oneself whether there are not some instances in which the State is more effective than the private sector. I can quote a number of cases which bear this out. As an example there is the report of the Browne Commission as regards health services. This report is not yet available to the House but in the course of the inquiry we found a considerable number of cases in which certain services could not be removed from the State. If one privatises, one has to ask oneself how one knows whether this really benefits the consumer.
If one looks at the United Kingdom, one finds the State describes it like this: By decreasing the share of the State in the economy, the latter will function more effectively because government expenditure does not fall under the discipline of the market place.
How does one privatise? We are now dealing with own affairs. The most important method is to call for tenders in respect of services; in other words, to contract out. There are many possibilities of which I shall mention a few.
One example is provided by England which is currently privatising under Mrs Thatcher. The bus service of Hereford in Worcestershire has been privatised; this costs the State a third less in subsidies. They estimate in Britain that within two years the accommodation of the aged will be dealt with entirely by the private sector.
An interesting example in the USA is the administration of justice. There is a company called “Judicate” which even has courts. In the event of civil cases, the two parties attend these and say they abide by the decision of the court. Last year they dealt with 140 cases. In the town of La Mirada in California we find, for instance, that the parks have been given to the private sector for maintenance. One can go on in this way; in the case of the sanitation of New York, for example, one finds that whereas it cost the city council $40 per ton to clean its city, it now costs $17 per ton after privatisation. Los Angeles saved $320 million on 450 contracts. As regards the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the following comparisons may be drawn between local authorities which had privatised and those which had not. Those which had not privatised spent 96% more on their roads, 43% more on the cleaning of their streets and 73% more on their supervision. Pres Reagan calculated that the USA could save $28,4 billion over the next three years through privatisation. That is what has already been done overseas.
We need not be ashamed; the Government has already made great progress. Here I am thinking of hospitals. The firm Smith, Mitchell and Co began as early as 1955 with tuberculosis patients and in 1961 with psychiatric patients. At the moment there are 2 000 tuberculosis patients and 5 000 psychiatric patients; they even train their own nurses—this is efficiency. They are even rendering a great service in the Black states. In the case of health services—I hope to get to this later as soon as the Brown Report is available—we can do a great deal in privatising our services more effectively.
Nevertheless we do not wish to be found wanting in our obligations to welfare; there will always be people with problems which require subsidising.
In the case of schools we are inclined to look exclusively at government schools but private schools are receiving an increasing degree of financial assistance from the Government. This is an important development in South Africa as more freedom is being created for people. This system is going to be more effective as regards finance. In the case of institutions falling under own affairs, we find too much State intervention, surplus capacity, beds, buses and empty classrooms.
Privatisation incites fears among people, however, one of which is the fear of unemployment but privatisation offers the private sector more possibilities for development. It is Government policy to support small business undertakings. Many of the institutions which are to be privatised will actually favour such undertakings.
In addition, people fear that the service to outlying areas will be skimped and that privatisation will prove too expensive.
Nevertheless the Government has to accept an important principle which is to cease perpetually subsidising institutions. It is the individual who should be subsidised in preference. The Government has developed a procedure to encourage privatisation. The hon the Minister for Administration and Economic Advisory Services and the Cabinet Committee are paying attention to this and Dr Wim de Villiers has also recently joined the team. Neither should we fear involving other institutions in the private sector to be of assistance to us in privatisation.
In conclusion I wish to welcome the new Minister of the Budget as I forgot to do so at the beginning of my speech. We are looking forward to working with him. We also wish to thank the hon the Minister of Administration and Economic Advisory Services who was the Minister of the Budget during the first year for his contribution in getting the wagon over the river.
Mr Chairman, it must be customary to welcome the hon the Minister to his new post. I want to wish him everything of the best as this will be the first time the hon the Minister comes face to face with the hard facts of finance.
I am not going to make a political speech.
Are you going to talk about the Post Office?
The Post Office is not under discussion now.
I am going to deal very gently with the hon the Minister today. [Interjections.] I am going to give him a little rope but we will pounce upon him in the coming budget! [Interjections.]
Be gentle with him, Oom Jan.
Before replying to the speeches of the hon the Minister and the hon member for Waterkloof, however, I move as a further amendment:
- (1) that the sovereignty of the White Parliament will be restored; and
- (2) that adequate measures will be taken—
- (a) to combat inflation;
- (b) to combat unemployment among the Whites; and
- (c) to protect the White farmer.”.
What do you know about the farmer?
The hon member can come to me for instruction on farming.
I wish to ask the hon member for Waterkloof whether they are reverting to apartheid or not. He mentioned Switzerland as an example in his argument; I have also read a little about it. Is the hon member aware that all in Switzerland are Whites? Four official languages are recognised in Switzerland but the Swiss situation does not nearly approximate that in South Africa in which Whites, Coloured, Indians and ten different Black peoples live. There are other factors which complicate our situation further.
The hon member said own affairs were one of the pillars on which NP policy rested. Is it possible to believe this? Then the hon the Minister of the Budget comes and says we should not argue about the referendum again! He becomes too frightened. He is escaping from that referendum. [Interjections.] That referendum is past but the Government is too frightened to hold a second.
Let us leave the thought of the referendum at that and speak about the Constitution. I have the Constitution, No. 110 of 1983, with me. Section 14 defines own affairs and schedule 1 determines what they are. Schedule 1 has 14 sections. All 14 sections, with a few exceptions in respect of boreholes and agricultural financing, are subject to general legislation. This applies, for example, to the first section, social welfare, and all subsequent ones. I ask the hon the Minister whether the House of Assembly can approve this Part Appropriation Bill today without the approval of the other two Houses. It is a farce to state that the House of Assembly alone can approve this Bill. The system of own affairs is the greatest fraud and chicanery one could find. It is an effort to lead the White voters of South Africa to believe that these matters are own affairs and that the House of Assembly decides on White own affairs. On 12 of the sections there can only …
There are still 13.
There are 14 in all and we can decide on two of them in the House of Assembly without the necessity for the approval of the other two Houses. The hon the Minister of Law and Order knows this.
The hon member for Waterkloof spoke of privatisation. Up to the present the Government has intervened in the economy to provide the country with infrastructures. The Government had to launch Sasol, Iscor and similar undertakings because private institutions were incapable of this. The Government has now sold some Sasol shares. When a government sells some of its assets, it should reinvest the proceeds of the transaction in new projects for the creation of employment. What did the Government do with the Sasol money? It was used to cover current Government expenditure. [Interjections.]
That will be the day!
It is! Part of the money was used to cover current expenditure; I can attack the hon the Minister about this later. The manner in which the Government has applied privatisation up to the present reminds one of a person taking a bond on his house in order to pay his liquor bill with the proceeds.
I do not know how long the hon the Minister of the Budget is going to last in his current portfolio; his predecessor lasted less than a year. They remind me of a seesaw or of the House of Delegates where people are hired and fired one after the other. I hope the hon the Minister lasts at least a year, however, so that we may talk to him again next year. I do not know whether the hon the Minister has had his speech passed by the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Is the hon the Minister declaring official Government policy or his own personal opinion here?
Last year’s revised Budget was R2 350,324 million. The hon the Minister is requesting a further R1 947 million today. If one compares the two amounts—which should not actually be done—one may observe a certain tendency or trend. This amount represents 82,8% of that of last year. Now I wish to ask the hon the Minister whether I may deduce from this that the 1986-87 budget which he will introduce will greatly exceed that of last year.
Naturally; it is to include education.
Now I wish to ask whether it is going to be much higher. Is the amount budgeted for this year going to exceed the amount budgeted for the previous time added to amounts to be spent on education? Will it perhaps be less? If own affairs are important to the Government, the amount should be much greater. If this is not so, we shall really take the hon the Minister to task on the day the Budget is introduced.
The hon the Minister’s portfolio differs from that of the hon the Minister of Finance because only the hon the Minister of Finance furnishes information on revenue and expenditure so that we may see over the year to what degree there has possibly been overspending. I should like to ask the hon the Minister of the Budget to what extent last year’s Budget had been exceeded as at 31 December 1985? I should be grateful if he would provide the information in his reply. By 31 December 1985 Government expenditure had already exceeded the hon the Minister of Finance’s budgeting by 21,5% and he had predicted that it would be exceeded by only 11,5%. We emphasised these facts a few days ago in the House. The hon the Minister of the Budget owes me a reply in this respect. I want to put yet another point to the hon the Minister. He is serving on the State President’s Priorities Committee now and I want him to tell us how many times this committee met under the chairmanship of the State President over the past year. Last year we were left with the impression that this committee would meet every fortnight. [Interjections.]
Who said that?
Oh yes, we were certainly given the impression that that committee would meet every fortnight. [Interjections.] If it did not meet every fortnight, I want to know how many times it actually met. Did it perhaps meet once a month? All right, let us assume it met once every second month so there was an interval of two months between meetings. I wished to assist the hon the Minister. If the committee had met every fortnight, we could have thanked it because we would at least have known that this Priorities Committee was interested in the finances of the country. If the committee met once every second month, however, surely it means the committee does not care a fig for the finances and economy of this country. I therefore want the hon the Minister to tell me how many times this committee met; I have the feeling this committee has not done its work. The hon member for Waterkloof said every Bill piloted through this House cost a large amount of money. If that is the case, this country has wasted money on that committee as well.
Yes, and money was wasted on the Act which instituted that committee.
Yes, and money was wasted on that Act. [Interjections.]
Let us examine last year’s Budget. Last year the hon the Minister of the Budget obtained approval to spend an amount of R622 083 000 on the promotion of welfare and R87 366 000 on child care. Those were the amounts budgeted for the promotion of welfare and child care yet 12 000 White children had to go to school this year without having had breakfast and without food for the day.
Where did you count them? [Interjections.]
This hon Minister does not count anything.
He takes no interest at all. [Interjections.] They can go hungry.
Now we ask the hon the Minister of the Budget what he and his department and his predecessor did to provide for those children’s needs. [Interjections.] Only later did the hon the Minister arrive there and say he had allocated R20 million. By that time, however, farmers of the Western Transvaal, Northern Transvaal and Eastern Transvaal—farmers who had suffered the devastating drought—as well as welfare organisations and churches had intervened. If they had not done this, all those children would have died of hunger because the hon the Minister woke up only later and said R20 million would be allocated. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister talks but he does not do anything. I am grateful, on behalf of those who suffered hunger, that something was actually done but one should not wait until the person is stone dead.
Although money has been approved to assist the unemployed and others, what is the actual position? The hon the Minister is implicated in this and he is the Transvaal leader of the NP but he has not taken any steps about this in this Transvaal. A gesture here and a gesture there but he should have taken positive steps; he should have done something! The NP Government should not have sat back until the economy of the country had retrogressed, until unemployment had increased so greatly and until insolvencies had escalated before it did something. It was sliding all the time and in so doing permitted poverty and price rises to go so far that these people had to go hungry.
Let us look at taxes in this country. We all know South Africa is one of the countries in which most tax is paid. It is comparable with that of other countries and I shall return to the hon the Minister of Finance when it comes to the Budget in case he thinks South Africa is not one of the countries where most tax is paid. In any case the Margo Commission is conducting an inquiry to find out how the tax platform may be broadened, what can be done about it and how it can be changed. I have also made an indirect contribution and we will all help if we can. I say to the hon the Minister of Finance we have a tax scale in this country which is enormous and the Whites pay 92% of all direct personal tax—the hon the Minister is aware of that—but what do they get out of this? [Interjections.]
And sales tax?
They pay sales tax as well. Everyone pays sales tax.
And excise duty? [Interjections.]
My question is: What proportion of what is paid goes to those others? I ask the hon the Minister what else he is going to do about this. Is he going to impoverish Whites even further or is he going to assist them to keep their heads above water and not tax them additionally? The hon the Minister has already been speaking of levies but we cannot believe or trust the NP for a single second. Tonight its members say something but tomorrow they reverse it. For this reason they fence so much and do not wish to discuss the referendum. When are these levies to be instituted? What do they actually comprise? The hon the Minister is starting to talk about them already but before we know where we are we shall have to pay for them as is the case regarding regional services councils which will come now.
We do not know yet where the money is to come from for them.
We request the hon the Minister to clarify this point when he addresses us.
I now wish to refer to the care of the aged. A grand sum of R349 851 000 was voted for the aged and a further R3 909 000 for old age homes. These old people are our predecessors; they were largely responsible for bringing this country where it is today for us. If it had not been for our forefathers, where would we have been today? Now the hon the Minister speaks of the enormous cost of living, high interest rates and so on while my constituency and Pretoria Central jointly have quite a few thousand old people. Previously they paid R90 per month for a small flat; now it costs R270 to R280. People have to move and live in a small room because they cannot afford the rent. The hon the Minister knows the price of medicine has gone sky high and he knows exactly how those people struggle. In speaking of own affairs, I wish to say that we should also spare a thought for these old people. The hon the Minister and I know the Ten Commandments: “Honour your father and your mother that your days may be increased in the land the Lord your God has given you”. This is your country but first you should honour your father and your mother. We should also care for our older people in all respects.
Mr Chairman, I should like to comment on the hon member for Hillbrow’s proposed amendment and the hon member for Sunnyside’s speech but I first have to say something on the announcement of the date for the transfer of the provincial education departments to the Department of Education and Culture. This is a most important and historic date, not only in the history of South Africa, but also, I believe, for the respective provincial departments. Over the years these departments have impressed their own stamp on education and I think it is fitting on this occasion to thank them for what they have done for education. We shall probably have the opportunity later of discussing the respective education departments thoroughly. Later in my speech I shall return to education as such.
I wish to refer to the question put by the hon member for Durban Central to the hon member for Waterkloof as regards the choice which may be exercised when one wishes to join a community. If one is to conduct a discussion on the concept of voluntary association, it should first be accepted that association can take place only if all the contracting parties have agreed to such an action, especially if association is to have a free and voluntary basis of negotiation. The need to associate may be present in one group but full association can take place only if there is a great measure of reciprocal willingness on the side of the other group or groups. The hon member for Durban Central and the PFP are advocating the concept of forced association. According to them the need of one group to associate is adequate to accomplish such association; then it simply has to happen. This is a method of association to create conflict. Historically community life has been built on division. Traditionally it has developed that groups have arranged themselves as such regarding residential areas and schools.
Let us concede that this historical division should not be seen as a voluntary one from all sides; measures caused such division. The NP does not apologise for that ordered arrangement of the community; it used to be essential for such an arrangement to take place in South African society. South Africa with its variety of minority groups has largely succeeded in giving such groups social security here in South Africa.
The question we now have to answer is to what degree the respective groups can co-operate, speak to one another, consult with one another and decide together on the demands of a future South Africa. I think the White shows a greater degree of willingness to co-operate, decide together and think together about solutions for the South Africa of the future. If this were not so, we Whites have acknowledged here to one another today that we still see ourselves in an endangered situation. Then we have to tell one another here today that, in spite of the achievement lead we have built up over the years, we as Whites do not yet have adequate self-confidence to assert ourselves here in South Africa as a White minority group.
That is the mistake the CP makes. I do not think it is true; the majority of Whites today no longer seeks the entrenched laager from which to work. Most Whites are aware of the intrinsic power which is present to assert themselves in the future South Africa.
If we therefore say we are satisfied with what we have attained, that we find ourselves in a privileged position and that we renounce that position, we say so with very great gratitude.
We as Whites have achieved this position in the South African framework in consequence of specific initiatives developed over decades. If we then acknowledge this lead with great gratitude and accept it as a fact, we as Whites should tell one another that we should not begrudge the same privileges to other groups.
If the White has attained certain standards, for example in education, superior to those of other groups, we acknowledge this with great gratitude. Simultaneously we do not begrudge them to other groups. If we as Whites tell one another we are proud and grateful for the high quality of education we receive, we are also saying we should very much like to see all other groups in South Africa attaining the same standards.
We as Whites could be a spoke in the wheel to other groups in developing to that level if we were to institute total partition or division in South Africa. The hon member for Sunnyside said a general Department of Education for the creation of equal norms and standards was a monster, as he put it. If we want to argue like that, we are creating a platform of self-glorification for ourselves where we have to maintain ourselves as inviolable and forget there are other groups in this country as well which would also like to get to the top. On the other hand it is also wrong to want to argue like the PFP that a position attained by the White has to be relinquished to bring about equal education summarily and immediately. Own education of each group is consequently a necessity for this very reason. The White has reached certain milestones in his education—milestones for which he has worked hard. Consequently he is not prepared to sacrifice those milestones already attained but the White is prepared to reach out his hand to the other groups to assist them also to reach the top ultimately.
To reach the top it is necessary, however, for certain actions to take place. The surest manner to reach the top is to climb up. Mr Chairman, it demands exertion and effort to climb; it demands exertion and definite trouble and sacrifices. No helicopter or front-end loader should be used to reach the top although at present this looks like the easiest and the quickest way of doing so. If one reaches the top in that way, the enjoyment of the climbing process will never be experienced.
Own affairs or group education is an essential requirement from the point of view of the educationist. Once again the HSRC has come to an exceptionally important conclusion in a recent report, which is that the greatest dilemma in Black education—the so-called high failure and drop-out figure—may be chiefly ascribed to the language medium of instruction. Afrikaans or English remains a second language to those Black pupils and Black teachers in which instruction is provided and received. I judge this to be educationally unsound. Probably we shall be able to discuss this with one another in future.
An own community life and own education are not selfish demands on the side of the White. They demand understanding of the variety of groups in South Africa; they demand recognition of the fact that certain privileges have been acquired over the years; they demand understanding from the side of those of colour; they call for acknowledgement that the White is not demanding a privileged position for himself alone; they demand the search for solutions to enable all to live happily and peacefully in South Africa.
I believe this may be achieved by extending own affairs to the Blacks in South Africa as well. I believe the expansion of such group interests will enable communities in South Africa to deliberate personally on their own affairs—but ultimately to decide as a group on what is of a general nature as well.
Mr Chairman, in conclusion I wish to refer very briefly to the method of budgeting in respect of own affairs. It is clear a specific formula is to be used to effect the availability of finance from the central Treasury. The Administration: House of Assembly does not have its own source of income. I believe the CP illusion that revenue from White taxation should be applied for Whites only and the proceeds from Black taxation for Blacks is a wild dream which very nearly approaches a Frankenstein nightmare. There is one central Treasury from which funding has to come; it is only logical that such funding of the own affairs administrations will take place according to a formula. I should like to enquire of the hon the Minister—I note that in his Appropriation Speech there is mention of work being done on this formula—whether the elements cannot be built into such a formula as to enable the benefits of a blooming economy to be channelled to own affairs as well.
Mr Chairman, in introducing this Bill, the hon the Minister gave us a description of what he had been charged with. He is charged with overall financial and personnel management, maximum management autonomy and, among other things, a duty to motivate to this House the budget of this administration.
I should just like to mention the fact that last year the total budget of this particular administration amounted to R2,350 billion. This year, the amount provided for in the Part Appropriation is R1,947 billion—near enough to R2 billion as to make very little difference. Presumably this Part Appropriation is to cover the first few months of operation. However, this amount is to all intents and purposes almost as large as the total budget for last year.
Nowhere in the hon the Minister’s speech to this House in introducing this Bill did he give any motivation or reason for this massive difference.
Has the hon member been asleep?
No, I have not been asleep. This amount was not properly motivated—nowhere near properly motivated.
There is another function that the hon the Minister has in my opinion and that is to look to the practicality and efficiency of the department, although he does not seem to consider this as being among his responsibilities.
I am mentioning these points because, in addition to what I have already said, the hon the Minister stated in his speech that we did not want to refight the referendum. As the hon the Minister will remember, at the time of the referendum I was on the same side as he was in respect of the constitution that came into being and, in this regard, I am still on the side of the Constitution. I make no bones about that. While accepting the fact that in the referendum we voted for own affairs and general affairs, we voted for them in the first instance as proposed by the Government and as they were included on the basis of trial and error to a very large extent because this was something that had not previously been tried. However, we believe that certain of these matters in terms of practicalities are not going to work. I will like to mention a few points in this regard.
In respect of local government, it is an own affair. However, how can local government be an own affair entirely when in most of our major local authorities there is a mixture of various people? In a city like Durban, for example, which has a White local authority council and Indian and Coloured LACs, there are three to four times as many Indians as there are Whites. There is also a large Coloured population and a fairly substantial Black population. Therefore, how can this be an own affair for Whites? The same thing applies to a large number of local authorities.
I am perfectly well aware of the fact that it is intended, if possible, to establish separate local authorities—to break them down into Indian and Coloured local authorities, for example, where practicable, and where they will be acceptable. However, I am afraid we have a problem here because the various groups have indicated, particularly as I know in Natal, that they are not going to hive themselves off as separate local authorities. I therefore feel that the hardline aspect of own affairs, while idealistically possibly a worthwhile concept—is, in its practical application, not going to work; just like so many of these theoretical ideals.
I want to mention the question of hospitals. Hospitals and curative medicine are an own affair. I spent last weekend with the MEC in charge of hospitals in Natal. Among other things we discussed the situation there. So far as I can remember from past experience there and the discussion we had over the weekend, there is only one hospital in Natal which is not multiracial, and that is the R K Kahn Hospital. Even Addington Hospital, which is preponderantly a White hospital, has a very large section for Coloured people while certain of the specialist areas are handled on a multiracial basis.
When one goes to the King Edward VIII Hospital—this is probably one of the biggest hospitals in terms of population in South Africa—one finds that people of three race groups are using it. The super speciality hospital at Wentworth is also used by people of three race groups. The hospitals in the smaller towns outside are also used by different race groups. This is the situation which we have.
If one should try to make these hospitals solely and totally a matter of own affairs, one would have only two results. I accept that it might be very nice to say that a particular hospital is wholly White. It may suit some people to say that just as it may suit others to say that a particular hospital is a wholly Indian or a wholly Coloured hospital. Although it may suit some people, it just cannot work because when it comes to the transfer of staff, for example, if there is only one hospital which is totally Indian with no other race group, where is that hospital going to get staff? I know that staff can be transferred on an agency basis, but that is not a very satisfactory way of doing things because when that is done, the staff work under different Ministers.
I now want to deal with the aspect of medicine. It is no use the hon the Minister of Health Services and Welfare shaking his head, because I was in charge of the hospitals in Natal for nearly five years and therefore I know roughly how they work. Since we have a central medicine department in one establishment, we have saved millions on medicine alone. We save millions by having it under one heading under the Natal Provincial Administration. Who is going to be responsible for that particular service? Are we going to have a separate department for the administration of schools, in particular the administration of medical schools? It just is not totally practical.
While I accept the fact that it may well be that the Government has a bias for home affairs control for one or other hospital, it cannot be totally so. This is something which I believe ought to be borne in mind.
While we in this party may be small in numbers, I think that we are fairly well up in terms of experience of what goes on. I believe that the philosophy which we have followed and the philosophy which we advocate in this regard of a little local option is very, very sound.
The hon member for Gezina made a fairly substantial issue of education. I think the remarks he made were roughly to the effect that we as Whites appreciate the standard of education we have and that we want to ensure that all others have the same opportunity. I fully concur with his thinking in this regard. However, I have some reservations as to whether this is a practical possibility if one is going to have enforced total separation. I believe one will find that in many instances schools will be exclusively Black, White, Brown or whatever, due to natural selection.
I also believe that there could well be certain areas—perhaps the constituency of the hon member for Sasolburg and those of certain other hon members present—where under no circumstances would the inhabitants favour the presence of members of other communities in their schools. However, there are certain other areas where I believe the inhabitants would be quite prepared to allow a few members of another community to come in, particularly where it is a matter of convenience.
There are many instances in which this is a convenience, because often the children concerned have to travel too far in order to attend an appropriate school. They need to have the quality of education that the hon member for Gezina spoke about. Under those circumstances, we believe that the application of local option does make sense. As far as we are concerned, further consideration should be given to this matter.
The question of central business districts has been raised and I want to appeal to this hon Minister, just as I appealed to the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning, to get cracking and open these central business districts. They are of considerable importance to trade. Of significantly greater importance than trade, however, is the question of our reputation. We say we are going to do something—and I associate myself with the Government in this regard because in Parliament we are all part of Government one way or another—we say we are going to open these central business districts—and two years ago, as the hon member for Hillbrow indicated, we made it clear that that was to happen—and it is still not happening. It is basically at least within the hon the Minister’s scope of discussion, if not within the bounds of his authority, to press the issue.
Just watch the newspapers.
Watch the newspapers? Do you mean they are going to be opened? Well, that is very, very good news indeed.
I am going blind reading newspapers!
In conclusion I should just like to deal with the amendments put forward by certain other hon members of the opposition parties. In this regard, I regret that we will be unable to support the hon member for Sunnyside because, whilst we believe in the sovereignty of Parliament, we do support the concept of power-sharing. We do agree with his other points, however.
Insofar as the hon member for Hillbrow is concerned, we have a problem in supporting him because he calls for a review of the sources of revenue for local authorities. Whilst I concede that they may well merit consideration, it is a fact that some fairly substantial enquiries on this issue have already been held. Of particular importance in this regard are the Browne and Croeser enquiries. Consequently, I fail to see what purpose a further investigation would serve.
As to the removal of all racial restrictions on admission to educational institutions, we feel it would be undesirable to make this compulsory, although we agree with the exercise of local option in this regard. We do of course support the concept of ensuring the provision of adequate housing, although to hold this budget over until that condition is met would be a little difficult because it is going to take an awfully long time to do.
We will not be able to support this Bill, primarily because we do not feel that it has been properly motivated.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Umbilo devoted a large part of his speech to dealing with the problems of the untangling of some of our departments of which some parts are now being separated. He also dealt very expertly with the problem of the Department of Health and Welfare in particular with specific emphasis on the health aspect. The hon member should remember, however, that the system of provincial administration lasted 75 years as we knew it. In these 75 years the system must surely have undergone changes and developed—especially as there were no government bodies making it possible for the other population groups to devote attention to those matters which were in reality their own affairs. Until the new dispensation became operative, it was the case that the Whites—this Parliament and the provincial councils—were also responsible for the control and administration for instance of the education and hospitalisation of communities of colour.
Consequently I can freely tell the hon member that he is obviously right. There are problems as regards inter alia these matters concerning education and hospitalisation but something which developed over a period of 75 years cannot just be solved overnight. Problems affecting the new approach, namely that each population group will see to its own affairs where its own group rights are involved—this is not apartheid as the hon member for Sunnyside wishes to imply—will be solved at a reasonable and good tempo. Solutions will be found to the problems. [Interjections.]
One of the areas in which we have certainly developed in the course of the 75 years—and we now find ourselves in the period of privatisation on which the hon member for Waterkloof incidentally contributed so brilliantly—is in the sphere of socialisation. The authorities have certainly also socialised a considerable number of matters over the past years. The department dealing with hospital services—a subject on which the hon member for Umbilo spoke—for instance has taken over the control of maternity homes which in the past were run very competently by our women’s organisations. Consequently expenses had to be incurred and administrative work carried out; buildings had to be erected, staff trained, salaries paid and so on.
The education departments of the respective administrations socialised preprimary schools. These were removed from charity organisations and placed under the wing of the authority. An additional burden was placed on the tax payer in that buildings had to be erected, staff trained and salaries paid.
A further example of how the provincial administration is entering the sphere of the private sector emerges from the establishment of councils for public resorts. I do not believe it incumbent upon the government or provincial authorities to establish holiday resorts in competition with the private sector—something in which I assisted. I do not think it was right and I think the time is more than ripe for attention to be paid to returning or reselling some of these public resorts if this proves possible and if there is interest from private initiative.
The NP point of departure in the debate, as was dealt with very competently by the hon member for Gezina—was the great emphasis on group interests. The hon member for Sunnyside stressed in a less competent manner the disappearance of apartheid but there is a vast difference between apartheid and group interest.
I think one may congratulate the hon member for Durban Central on becoming the chairman of his party. I think this is the first time in the history of this Parliament in which many parties have been represented and which has a long history, that a party has chosen a back-bencher as its chairman. This is a great achievement for that hon member but I think it is less of an achievement for a party for having chosen a back bencher in the person of the hon member for Durban Central as chairman in preference to such hon members as those for Edenvale or Yeoville.
The hon member for Yeoville is an interesting phenomenon. He was the chairman of the Young Turks who brought about the end of the United Party and infused life into the old Progressive Party. The hon member for Yeoville contributed greatly in keeping the old Progressive Party alive and increasing its membership in Parliament from one up to 20 odd. Instead of bestowing upon that hon member the honour he deserved, a backbencher—competent as he must surely be—was chosen in preference to this extremely capable member for Yeoville.
It was not only the hon member for Yeoville who was overlooked but also the very senior hon member for Parktown and the hon members for Berea and Bryanston. [Interjections.] It appears to me the Young Turks have grown too old for the game we are now playing.
That hon leader from the backbenchers asked why the individual should not be left to choose to which group he wished to link himself. This is not so easy because one has no choice regarding the group to which one wishes to belong. The hon member for Kuruman said he was very proud to be an Afrikaner but he cannot be proud of that, only grateful, because he had no choice whether to be an Afrikaner or not. In the same way, his benchmate would say he was proud of being a White. He has no reason for such pride, however, because he did not accomplish this; he did nothing towards it. He is a White and had no control over that. [Interjections.]
Groups have rights just as individuals have. As regards association or disassociation, it is the individual’s right to associate with whom he wishes. With whom does he associate? His choice is influenced by language, descent—I am now referring specifically to the hon member for Kuruman and his benchmate—culture, income, etc. Whereas the individual therefore has the right to decide with whom he wishes to associate, he also has the right to decide with whom he does not wish to associate. A certain club in Newlands is a fine example of this. The members of that club are a group of people of the same descent, with the same interests and the same language and they decided that other people, who did not share these interests or did not belong to this cultural group, could not become members of this club. The fact that I cannot become a member of the Kelvin Grove Club nevertheless has nothing on earth to do with apartheid. This is the point I wish to make.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon member?
No, the hon Chairman will stump me! [Interjections.] I attended school at Rustenburg. There was a dual-medium school which also provided for children of the small English community but most pupils were Afrikaans speaking. As the town developed, the number of English-speaking pupils attending the Rustenburg high school increased until the day they urged the Administrator of the Transvaal to give them their own high school. In asking for their own high school, did the English-speaking citizens of Rustenburg exercise their group right or was that apartheid? No, it was not apartheid; it was their right. They wanted their children to attend the same school because they shared the same language, culture, traditions and interests.
The same applies in a place like Manhattan or San Francisco where one finds a Chinatown in which the Chinese live; the Chinese live in Chinatown in San Francisco.
On a voluntary basis.
Oh, on a voluntary basis? [Interjections.] The point I wish to make, however, is that it constitutes a group right because they wish to be together as a group.
I agree with that.
The hon member agrees with me. If an individual in our country has the right of association or disassociation for the reasons I have put forward, surely a population group has the right to associate or not to associate.
Who took the decision?
No, who took the decision? Two thirds of the population took the decision. Naturally two thirds took the decision that the group rights of the Whites would be protected as incorporated in the Constitution of this country, as approved by two thirds of the population. If there has ever been an outstanding verdict in favour of group rights, unconnected with apartheid, it was the result of the 1983 referendum.
Mr Chairman, may I just say something to start off with. My party is not represented at the Whip meetings. This has been the case since I came to this House. I was initially promised representation, but it has not materialised. My opportunities to speak are actually being arranged by the NP Whips. Now I must say that two days ago a minor explosion could have taken place here when I was allotted a mere three minutes to make a speech and was informed by the NP Whips during the debate that to top it all the three minutes would still be taken away from me too. It is a case of “the little one has, will still be taken from one”. I was justifiably incensed. My wrath was kindled. [Interjections.] Now I want to set the matter to rights by saying that today I was given no less than four minutes more than what I would have had initially. Each time the NP Whip came walking up the aisle, I was given an extra minute. I really do not want to exaggerate, but I do want to say it is a very good thing that although one strongly disagrees on political grounds, such efforts can still be made to ensure that a Party receives just and fair treatment in this House. This is particularly so because this Party is really a very fierce enemy of the NP.
I want to spend some time on the Part Appropriation for the so-called own affairs of the Whites. In his publisised conversation with Dr Van Zyl Slabbert, which aroused enormous interest and will still continue to do so, the State President indicated what really were the minimum characteristics or requirements according to which he defined this group we are discussing here this afternoon. He said the Whites wanted to retain their languages, group areas, schools and acquired wealth.
This is the first time, as far as I know, that such a statement has been made in the highest echelons of the NP. What we are faced with here in South Africa today is a situation in which Whites are being impoverished, while at the same time the other non-White groups, particularly the Blacks, are being favoured. The non-White groups are being favoured and being enriched at the cost of the Whites.
We have repeatedly stated the case. We have provided the necessary evidence. On a number of occasions Mr Jaap Marais, our leader, has also said on television that we did not owe the non-White peoples anything. The White man did not steal his acquired wealth. He worked for it. It was not given to us over the years by foreign countries in the form of development aid. We had to fight wars. We had a long struggle and had to work hard. What the White man, the Afrikaner, achieved in this country, he worked to achieve. It was his expertise, his effort, his toiling and sweating that contributed to it. We therefore strongly object to the fact that this group, about whom we are debating today, being impoverished to such agree at this juncture that for the first time since the thirties thousands of White children are going to school hungry. To the best of my knowledge, this did not happen even during the war years, when Genl Smuts was in power. [Interjections.] After all the years the NP has been in power, White children, particularly in the Witwatersrand, are going to school on an empty stomach. [Interjections.]
The White people are growing poorer while big business is growing richer. The following statistics back up my argument: During the 1980-81 financial year, the goldmines’ contribution to State revenue amounted to 27,3%. In the 1985-86 financial year the goldmines only contributed 8,6% to State revenue. The drop in their contribution amounts to virtually 20%, yet the goldmines are flourishing as they have seldom done before! Those who have are given more!
In contrast, however, the contribution from personal income tax rose from 15,7% to 31,8% of total State revenue. It has, in fact, almost doubled!
That is prosperity!
Prosperity? The hon member is living in times of depression but talks of prosperity! [Interjections.] This sharp contrast fuels our resistance and our opposition.
What also struck me, however, was that if the White group were to retain and to guard its accumulated wealth, it would have to do so by controlling the political power. The State President, in his long discussion with Dr Van Zyl Slabbert, did not utter a single word on what he regarded as the minimum requirements for the survival of the Afrikaner and the political power of the White man. The State President added that he enjoyed the support of 80% of the Whites. In the past five by-elections the NP attracted a total of only 48,60% of the votes. More than half the electorate voted for the opposition parties. [Interjections.]
There are a few matters I shall have to leave to a later stage. I want to make the assertion this afternoon, however, that the real reason why South Africa finds itself in this depression, in this critical economic situation in which it has to combat inflation and contend with various other problems, is as follows, according to the International Currency Review to which I referred earlier:
The article continues:
There is also a very balanced statement in this extremely authoritative international journal to the effect that—hon members should really pay careful attention to this:
Our man Barend is viewed as a cork on the ocean by one of the most authoritative economic experts in the world. [Interjections.]
Have I exceeded my time limit by two minutes?
Our argument is that, apart from events over which the State has no control—such things have happened—the fundamental reason for our problems lies in the atrocious mismanagement to which the Government has subjected the South African economy. Neither the Government, the hon Minister of Finance, the hon Minister of the Budget or the hon member for Waterkloof has an overall plan to present to us outlining the four or five major steps needed to rescue this country’s economy from crisis. There is no such plan. But they ask the HNP what solution the HNP has. It would enrich their spirits to go and read Mr Jaap Marais’ book Waarheid en Werklikheid. [Interjections.] If they would only do this, they would see, apart from the analysis of the situation in South Africa at present, what guidelines can be followed to rescue South Africa from the crisis in which it finds itself at the moment.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Sasolburg must learn to be wary of the Whips of the NP. In English we have an expression, “Give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself.” I think that is what the NP Whips are planning to do with the hon member for Sasolburg. As a matter of interest I also just want to mention that this “authoritative” International Currency Review is one of the most right-wing, insignificant little newspapers there is. [Interjections.]
†I think the hon member for Hercules, the hon the Chairman of the Minister’s Council and ourselves can have a useful discussion about the meaning of “groups”. I do not know whether the hon the Minister has read Lijphart’s recent book on consociational democracy.
They would not understand it.
I do not know—he could understand it.
I said they would not understand it.
No, they would not, but the hon the Chairman of the Minister’s Council could. I recommend that he reads this book because Lijphart—he is not a politician, he is a political analyst—says:
He is talking about our constitution:
Unfortunately the hon member for Hercules seems to have absented himself. Lijphart goes on to say that there is nothing wrong with that, and I quote:
We still have these debates about “volk” and “nasie”. We ask: “What about the Coloureds? Are they a people, an emergent people or a nation? When is a group of people a nation and when are they a people?” Those are the sort of issues which make the racial classification that we have ridiculous.
The members of the PFP acknowledge that groups do exist, but we believe that members of a group themselves must recognise that they form a group and they must choose to associate voluntarily. If a person wants to change from one group to another, he can be like Eliza Doolittle. She changed her accent, she changed her manners and she became somebody quite different. If somebody wants to identify with another group he must have the right to do it. I am sure there are many people in this House who know about the McDonalds, for instance, who speak hardly a word of English because they have identified with the Afrikaner group. It is ridiculous to have groups legally defined. That is the distinction between the NP’s “group” and the PFP’s “group”.
From April this year all of us are going to start thinking about general elections. For us as politicians that concentrates the mind like the prospect of hanging because we know that at any time from April 1986 we are on borrowed time. We know that we are going to have to face a general election. The State President says that this Parliament, this whole concept of own affairs, is a beginning and that we can go forward. The hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning says nothing on this side of the grave is perfect. I could not agree more.
I would like to suggest some changes to the hon the Minister. These changes are actually unacceptable to the PFP, but they might make this Parliament less of an administrative nightmare for ourselves and the public service.
The Government refuses—in our view stupidly—to move away from legally defined racial groups and racially defined voters’ roles. The Government is threatened in certain seats by White right-wing parties. [Interjections.] I believe that if we had one House in one Parliament elected on the basis of separate voters’ rolls and on a 4:2:1 ratio, Parliament could debate and vote on general affairs as one House. If necessary for the purpose with which this Government is concerned, the House could then go into Committee on own affairs. That, would give the Government an opportunity to put the White right wing into perspective. The Government would not sacrifice any of its principles. The taxpayer would be saved a great deal of money; and the administrative burden would be greatly eased. As I see it, Sir, it is not beyond the skills of this Government’s political organisers to arrange this. In fact, the Government will probably find that the move will enjoy substantial support in the Indian and Coloured Houses. Such a move would mean that if separate racial voters’ rolls and the 4:2:1 ratio are retained the Government would still be likely to retain power, even in the face of an opposition coalition. [Interjections.] Instead of the right wing then being the great bogeyman and being played up as something very important, it would be reduced to something that is merely in its right place—and nobody denies that it has a place in South Africa, although hopefully that place will always be an unimportant one!
If this Government is serious about changing things before the next general election—and there is going to have to be a new delimitation before the next general election—and if the Government wants to get rid of the administrative nightmare which I want to deal with very briefly now, this move will usefully enable it to do that.
I have been in contact with the hon the Minister of National Health and Population Development—and I am sure he has kept his colleague the hon the Minister of Health Services and Welfare in the House of Assembly informed—about the problems that the Medical Association of South Africa is having with regard to applying this new administrative nightmare to the question of health. The hon the Minister has passed the buck to the Commission for Administration. Health cannot be divided. Germs are no respecters of race and colour. In South Africa over 94% of our health budget is taken up by curative costs. It would be a much healthier state of affairs if 70% of the budget were to be taken up by curative costs while the balance of 30% is expended on preventative health measures. This would be much cheaper for society.
If we are going to be cost-effective, we have to reduce our administrative superstructure. However, the parliamentary system we are introducing is going to increase that. In the Western Cape, for example, we are going to have divisional councils, municipalities, province, and regional services councils with all of these bodies being responsible for some aspect of health. All of these bodies will have administrators and inspectors, they will all be drawing up budgets, and they will all be buying medicines.
The concern of the Natal Provincial Administration has already been mentioned by the hon member for Umbilo and I do not want to raise the issue again. However, I also have a memorandum from the Medical Association which is very concerned about this. In Natal they have even proposed an administrative programme. I have here a copy of the programme. Does the hon the Minister not think that it looks interesting? There are five Ministers of Health on a combined board. This memorandum has been submitted to the hon the Minister of National Health and Population Development and has been passed on to the Commission for Administration.
The branch of the association in the Orange Free State, however, has suggested—and this seems to me to be a reasonable approach—that health matters be administered by the regional services councils. So in the Cape Peninsula area, for example, all the hospitals and health services falling within the jurisdiction of the regional services council should be administered by one body under the regional services council.
I notice that no Ministers are entering this debate—at least not as far as I can see. It seems to me, however, that they must do something about this matter.
Finally, I come to the question of housing and local government. Quite honestly, Sir, there is nothing much to say. The hon the Minister is a very pleasant person and so are his officials. Without meaning to seem unpleasant or disrespectful, however, I must quite honestly say that I do not know what they really have to do except administer the Rents Act. There is an oversupply of housing for Whites. No local government functions have been transferred to this department as they are still held by the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning. The only people about whom we should be concerned are the unemployed and those who cannot at present afford housing. I think the hon the Minister should tell us what he is doing about the poor who are, in fact, not all non-White. Many unemployed White people, as well as those on fixed incomes, are struggling.
We see that the Development and Housing Board has now been appointed. There are some competent people on it but it seems to me that the only reason why someone like Mr Viljoen, for example, has been appointed is because he is a Nat. He is an ex-provincial councillor and a job has to be found for him. I think that such obviously political appointments to bodies like the Development and Housing Board are a disservice.
I have much pleasure in supporting the amendment of my colleague, the hon member for Hillbrow.
Mr Chairman, I do not have much to say about the speech of the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North, excepting that I can understand why he has such an abnormal fear of any by-election that may come up at some or other stage.
I should very much like to associate myself with the words the hon the Minister of the Budget used in the conclusion to his speech. He said:
To me the principal feature of the constitution is that it makes provision for own affairs for the Whites, Coloureds and Asians. This provision is evidence of the NP’s being prepared to give practical implementation to its principles. This is the party that went to the White voters of this country and recommended they accept a system that recognises own affairs, so that every population group could exercise control over its own affairs right up to the highest level.
What is the NP policy that is being complied with?
Since the hon member for Lichtenburg has asked me, I shall read it to him.
It was not a request.
It is a standpoint that this hon member previously endorsed. This is the standpoint:
I want to allege that it has recently become fashionable amongst our opposition parties to create the impression that this side of the House has raised certain hopes, particularly amongst the Black population, that cannot be realised and consequently lead to further friction and unrest. In my opinion, the most dangerous way in which expectations can be kindled in South Africa these days is by misrepresenting the principles in terms of which the country is being governed. Expectations are thus raised amongst Black people through the misuse of statements by the State President and the hon the Minister of the Budget in this House.
And the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs as well.
Are you referring to …
I shall deal with these hon members in a moment. They must just be patient for a while. These statements are not read within the context of NP principles. I think it is a dangerous way in which to raise expectations. If this Government is in the process of removing discriminatory measures, it is a dangerous way creating expectations in hon members of the PFP and in the CP which wants to tell the world and this House that we are now on a slippery slope that will eventually drop us into the PFP’s lap.
You are already there.
Let me tell the hon members that they can forget about that. The result of this distorted impression of what we want to achieve by our process of reform is that in the course of time when these hon members have been proved wrong, frustration will develop in the ranks of the PFP. This is happening to such an extent that even their former leader resigned. [Interjections.] I want to ask the hon CP members who have so much to say at the moment, what the consequences would be for them? Whenever the passage of time proves them to have been wrong, they move back a step further in the formulation of their policy.
Where did it begin?
The hon member for Kuruman is asking me where it began. They started off with the 1977 proposals as their basic policy. [Interjections.] That is where they started off. What happened to them after the passage of time proved them wrong, namely that we were not changing our standpoint? Then they had a homeland policy, and I suspect it did not make provision for Asians. [Interjections.] They have retrogressed to that stage. What happened when time once again proved them wrong? They then favoured total partition. [Interjections.]
It is they who are moving backwards and not keeping to their own principles. I understand this because we are sticking to our principles.
You are sliding towards the Progs!
The hon member has just made that assertion, but let me explain to him, in simple language, the principles we have adhered to, are still adhering to and shall be adhering to in the future.
You stand by integration.
Our standpoint is that the individual has the right to choose whom he wants to associate with, but if we interpret this in the context of NP principles, we are saying that right is subject to the right of all groups—including the White group—to maintain their identity. Every group has the right to augment its right to self-determination.
The Progs also say so.
No, this is not what the PFP says. They say the individual has an absolute right of association. We certainly do not say this.
This endeavour to uphold group interests is not a haphazard one. I would like hon members to listen to what the leader of an NP has to say about the way in which we should uphold there group interests.
What leader are you referring to? Pik or PW? [Interjections.]
Could the hon member please be quiet for a moment. I quote:
What is wrong with that? Why are the hon CP members suddenly so quite? [Interjections.] They are too afraid to respond because they do not know which leader of the NP made the statement. They are too afraid to respond. [Interjections.] If in regard to these points of departure—which are sound ones—we undergo policy changes which take our principles into account, we do so in the interests of this country and in the interests of its survival.
Merely for the purposes of the record, Sir—since the hon members of the CP are too afraid even to attempt to ask which leader I have just quoted—it was Dr Verwoerd. [Interjections.] Yes, this is what Dr Verwoerd said 24 years ago. [Interjections.] Sir, these hon members have retrogressed to such an extent that today they could not even subscribe to this statement, this viewpoint, with a clear conscience. This is how far they have regressed into the past. [Interjections]
Sir, I should now like to direct myself to the hon member for Sasolburg. There is one thing about him on which I certainly do not agree with the hon the Minister of Finance. The hon the Minister of Finance set upon this hon member mercilessly because he—the hon member for Sasolburg—came to this House on the strength of a pamphlet riddled with lies. I think the hon the Minister made a mistake though. The hon member did not come to this House under his own steam—or should I say under his own “stof"? [Interjections.] No, Sir, the hon member for Sasolburg came to this House under CP steam. When the CP, in the political twilight in which they move, saw all cats as grey, they held one candidate to be as good as another, just as long as he was anti-National. They then elected the hon member for Sasolburg.
On the political market, however, the CP has bought a pig in a poke. [Interjections.] Yes, it is a fact. The CP has not only acquired the hon member for Sasolburg; it has acquired his pamphlet into the bargain. [Interjections.] Now they should do the honourable thing, as the hon member for Sunny-side did. He at least dissociated himself from some of the lies in that pamphlet. How did the hon members of the CP react, however, when the hon member for Sasolburg rose to speak? They did not even have the courage to try to protect him by raising points of order! The hon member complained about his lot in this House today and said he did not even have a Whip in the House. However, he is still a CP animal—the pig in the poke they bought. It is their pig in a poke sitting there ever so proud of himself. [Interjections.] They shall have to bear responsibility for him. [Interjections.]
I want to conclude by saying once again that the National Party and this Government are man enough to endure reasonable criticism. However, we would like people to always judge what our leader says against the background of our principles which we have the courage and the will to adhere to.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Fauresmith—apparently by a slip of the tongue—referred to the hon member for Odendaalsrus, when in fact he meant the hon member for Sasolburg. In one respect he of course, was quite correct. The hon member for Sasolburg has indeed laid the gentleman, Mr Odendaal, to rest, politically speaking. [Interjections.] The hon member for Fauresmith made the allegation here in the House this afternoon that the CP did not have the courage to adopt a standpoint.
Gosh, can you believe it?
I want to remind the hon member for Fauresmith, however, that there was a day—a very important day in that hon member’s life—when he, and he in particular, did not have the courage to adopt a standpoint. [Interjections.] Never mind, I shall leave it at that. The hon member for Fauresmith has tried to explain to us how they have consistently adhered to their interpretation of the constitution and how they were going to implement the spirit of the constitution. They pride themselves, of course, on having achieved a two-thirds majority in the referendum.
They may well have achieved it, yes. The hon member for Hercules, however, also made a speech here this afternoon. He also gave an interpretation of the new dispensation to his voters in Hercules during the referendum. What did the hon member say in the letters he wrote to his constituents? He said the legislation in regard to group areas, the prohibition of mixed marriages, race classification and immorality would remain and were certainly not under attack.
They were not at issue during the referendum. [Interjections.]
I could also refer to another hon member. The hon member for Fauresmith reproaches us now for having deviated from the 1977 standpoint, but the hon member for Benoni—and he is the information officer of the NP—also adopted a standpoint in this House in 1980 when he referred to the PFP. The hon member for Benoni said at the time:
This was the hon member of the NP who sits there telling us we have changed our standpoint.
I want to return to the hon the Minister.
Just tell us whether you …
Look, I do not want to be uncivil towards the hon the Minister. I do feel rather kindly disposed towards him, and I shall tell hon members why. The hon the Minister is busy fighting a desperate rearguard battle in the NP on behalf of the remaining verkramptes in that party. [Interjections.] He has gained a temporary victory over the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As far as the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs is concerned, his philosophy is apparently, as the English say “He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day” because the struggle in the NP has not yet ended; it carries on relentlessly. For the time being the standard-bearer of the verligtes, with the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning overshadowed ever so slightly at the moment, has sounded the retreat, but it is just a start.
The hon the Minister of the Budget this afternoon tried to explain in detail what his work entails. Amongst other things he said it would be his job to negotiate for the needs of the Whites. Whereas the NP tells us the right to self-determination of the White man is not in dispute, the hon the Minister tells us today it is his job to negotiate for the needs of the Whites.
With whom is he going to negotiate? He is not going to negotiate with a White legislative authority. He is not going to negotiate with a White Cabinet. He is going to negotiate with the other two groups. [Interjections.] Whether the hon the Minister will succeed in his negotiations is going to depend on them, on their goodwill and on their willingness to give the Whites a slice of the cake as well. [Interjections.]
The budget is a limited one.
Furthermore, the hon the Minister told us that the statutory formula for allocation had not yet been finalised. It is also a part of the process of negotiation. The Whites can no longer decide what should be done for them with their own means. They now have to go and negotiate, and this “negotiate” is a euphemism for “crawl”.
As far as the question of levies is concerned, according to the hon the Minister the matter has not been taken any further. He should at least determine what requirements there are going to be.
This is very probably the case and I shall tell hon members why. The reason is that the hon the Minister does not know, at the moment, what his coalition partners are prepared to give to the Whites in the negotiations. Only after they have given him the go-ahead, will he come up with the additional levies that Whites will have to pay to provide for their needs. And to top it all we are told that the Whites are retaining their self-determination.
I find it strange that since the beginning of this session of the House of Assembly, not one word about agriculture in South Africa has been mentioned in any of the debates. It was with expectation that I looked forward to the Government creating the opportunity to place a private member’s motion on the Order Paper so that we could debate the position of agriculture in South Africa. I understand it is not going to be debated. [Interjections.] So not only do I find it strange; it is also significant that since the inception of the CP, the governing party has not granted them a single opportunity to discuss the question of, and the problems surrounding agriculture by way of a private members’ motion in this House. On no occasion has the Government taken the initiative. [Interjections.] I can therefore only conclude from that that the vicissitudes of the farmers in South Africa are no longer one of the Government’s priorities.
You ought to be ashamed of yourself!
The hon the Minister says I ought to be ashamed of myself, but I am definitely not ashamed. [Interjections.]
You should be ashamed of yourself.
Not in the least. As far as I know the hon member for Fauresmith, who has just spoken, is a pragmatic farmer. He has not, however, said a word about the problems of the farmers in South Africa. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister should not get all worked up now. At present the farmers of South Africa find themselves in one of the worst ever financial crisis; it is not a crisis that has simply developed overnight, but has existed for the past few years and is becoming worse every day.
About two years ago we received a White Paper from the government, and on that paper everything looked wonderful. We have been waiting, however, for the skeleton to be fleshed out. To date it has not yet happened. [Interjections.]
Tell us what to do!
If that hon the Minister would only implement the requests of organised agriculture in South Africa, we would have made great strides. [Interjections.]
What conditions did I not comply with? [Interjections.]
The government could at least have complied with the requests of, for example, the Maize Board; requests regarding the fixing of the maize price by those representatives of the maize industry represented on the Board. The government, however, preferred to make light of the requests or to ignore them. [Interjections.]
In the north-western regions there is at present an additional crisis threatening agriculture. I am referring to the plague of locusts, and we should very much like to know what practical steps the hon the Minister is taking to combat this problem. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister knows just as well as I do that the amounts allotted to him, as Minister of so-called own affairs, and to his colleague, as Minister of Agricultural Economics and of Water Affairs, is hopelessly inadequate to get agriculture in South Africa, with assistance from the authorities, back on its feet again. The hon the Minister has the opportunity in this debate—he will in fact still have the opportunity this afternoon—to spell out to us …
I do not; I shall reply to the hon member on Monday.
Well, that really is not my problem; it is the problem of the Whips. [Interjections.] Let me just tell the hon the Minister—not that it is important—that I unfortunately cannot be present on Monday.
That is a great pity!
I shall be in my constituency on Monday. [Interjections.]
I must, however, finish off. [Interjections.] This session started with a secret plan fostered by the leader of the PFP. His secret plan was to get out. The NP came to this session without a plan, and that great announcement was made by the State President. The governing Party had almost crossed the Rubicon, but when the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs stood on the further bank of the Rubicon and turned around he saw that the hon the Minister of the Budget was still on the opposite side. [Interjections.] It then became the task of the hon the Minister of the Budget to haul the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs back across the Rubicon.
We should like to know—from this hon Minister too—where is he leading the NP? Would he spell it out for us in this debate, stating that from his point of view it would never be possible for a Black man to become the State President of South Africa?
The hon member for Fauresmith has challenged us to state our position. When the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs had the courage of his convictions, a short time ago, to state that in terms of NP policy it was possible that there could be a Black State President, he was repudiated. Not one of the Ministers, however, has yet dared to spell out to us that a Black State President is forbidden in terms of the standpoint of the NP. I would appreciate it if the hon the Minister, who has won a temporary respite, would at least adopt a standpoint as far as this is concerned.
Mr Chairman, we heard from the hon member for Barberton about the so-called secret agendas or secret plans. Perhaps at some stage he can expand on how his party has a secret army that is going to enforce the wishes of the people who support it. [Interjections.]
I am very glad, however, that he made reference to the position of the hon the Minister of the Budget because I feel that one of the things which we need to say quite clearly to that hon Minister is that there are certain subjects which, up to now, have been deemed to be non-negotiables by his party but which we in this party want to have on the table and which we want to discuss.
There are two areas of social life in South Africa which the NP Government seems determined to keep racially divided, and they are residential areas and schools. These two areas are obviously very interrelated—the opening of one would inevitably lead to the opening of the other. When one looks critically at the restrictions upon admissions to Government neighbourhood schools on the basis of skin colour alone, one remembers that the NP has constantly said that educational reasons justify the separation. That is nonsense. Culture is seen by them in terms of colour only, and in this regard we must point a finger at the hon member for Hercules and other hon members of that party who have spoken today. No allowance is ever made for cultural shifts, for acculturation ie for people moving from group to group, or for variations within colour groups. The hon member for Hercules shakes his head. How then does he justify an Afrikaans school that has Whites and an Afrikaans school that has Coloureds? [Interjections.] Another argument proposed—and we have heard it before—is that the Government can achieve a separate but equal status for all South African schools.
In the USA this argument was demolished in the Supreme Court in 1954 and I shall quote the Chief Justice then:
Sir, is the hon member aware of the fact that in the state of Florida, USA, there is a growing movement among the Hispanics to be educated in their own language?
Mr Chairman, I will react to that in a moment if the hon member for Amanzimtoti will hold his horses.
If separate educational facilities are inherently unequal, what are the alternatives? The US model which was originally followed after 1954 was one of straightjacketing all children into a single cultural norm—that is assimilation. This has given way, as it has in many countries of the world, to multi-cultural education—here one can cite Canada, Australia, the USA, Britain and Yugoslavia—where language groups are particularly catered for. I specifically cite Yugoslavia because the hon the Minister of Education and Development Aid often cites Russia in order to justify his case in this House. In Yugoslavia, a country with eight language groups, individual rights are defined in the constitution, including the right to education in one’s own language and to developing one’s national culture and cultural life. In this case group differences are positive attributes, very positive attributes. To have a different language is good. Members of ethnic minorities have the right to choose the extent to which they want to preserve their cultural identity.
In South Africa therefore we could have the provision by the State of separate schools for each language group, bilingual schools or multi-cultural schools, all with parental choice. It should also be possible for the schools of separate language groups to adopt a multi-cultural principle. This, I would say, is based on what was stated in the State President’s speech earlier, namely “the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals as well as groups” and the free choice of individuals in matters of direct interest to them.
However, what is of greatest concern in South Africa is that school separation is enforced by law on skin colour only. When one goes to Soweto one will not find Zulu schools, one will find Black schools. There is no manner of educational or moral argument that can be used to defend skin colour schools. [Interjections.] In the whole world it is only the NP, the CP and the HNP that support separate racial schools. [Interjections.] Therefore, to the vast majority of South Africans separate racial departments and separate racial schools are discriminatory. That is how they see them. It does not matter whether the Department of Education and Training pumps money into facilities at an ever-increasing rate. As long as Blacks judge that they are separate so long will they judge their schools as being inferior.
Now is not the time to comment at length on the historic announcement of the death of provincial education. However, what does need to be said is that the events leading up to the statement highlight the indecisive, the ham-handed manner we have become used to from this Government. Just ask any person involved in education at any level in the provinces, and he will tell you—of whatever political persuasion he might be, HNP, CP or Nat, it does not matter—how badly the take-over has been planned.
In this regard the hon the Minister’s reply to my question on Tuesday regarding consultation, is enlightening. There certainly have been meetings, yes, I can see that, but consultation? The NP does not know the meaning of consultation; it presents a fait accompli every time. I asked the hon the Minister on Tuesday when the date of the take-over was going to be announced, and whether it had been decided. He said: “No, it is a constitutional matter.” However, at exactly the same time he was telling me “no” the Administrator of the Cape stood up in the provincial council and said 1 April was the takeover date. [Interjections.] What functions are to go to Pretoria? I do not know what functions are going to Pretoria, the public do not know and the Directors do not know because I have asked them, and I am not sure whether even the hon the Minister knows. Let me ask the hon the Minister of the Budget directly: Is he going to take under his departmental wing some of the administrative functions of education? I know that this has not been debated publicly and I know that it has been debated in educational circles, but why do we not at least bring it out into the open?
It is one of the issues I shall discuss in the main budget.
How jealously educationists guard the administrative sector over which they have control! I really recommend to the hon the Minister of the Budget that he does not take administrative functions under his wing. [Interjections.]
What about the suggestion that schoolteachers will be transferable between provinces? Will this be possible after 1 April and has anybody been consulted about it?
To me personally it was a sad day when I heard the announcement that provincial education was going. The provincial system, especially the provision of education under the control of the provinces, was included in the Act of Union of 1910 as a concession to those at the National Convention who wanted a federation. I prophesy that having taken this step of centralising control over education, the NP will very soon be realising that they really want a federal concept. How much better would it not be if we took the bold step of regionalising all education into non-racial, regional departments! Provincial control should not be abolished. We should build on it and give the provincial councils real legislative powers and representation for all the people of the region. To persist with own racial affairs is to follow a path which will come to a dead end against the brick wall of violent rejection.
I really plead with the hon the Minister, his colleagues and the NP to re-examine own affairs. They are going nowhere.
I support the amendment of the hon member for Hillbrow.
Mr Chairman, I trust the hon member for Pinetown will excuse me if I do not react directly to his speech. I shall come back later to the standpoints of the various parties.
In the first place I wish to convey my appreciation this afternoon to the hon the Minister of the Budget, with special reference to a remark he made in his speech this afternoon. Derogatory references were made by the Opposition to the whole matter of own affairs. However the hon the Minister said in the course of his speech, and I quote:
I also wish to quote the following paragraph:
I pay tribute to the hon the Minister for that because that is the path we are following in order to realise the ideal of peace, security and prosperity for South Africa and all its people.
This afternoon I should like to discuss an own affair. I wish to express my appreciation for the fact that provision is made in the Constitution for own affairs. I also wish to express my appreciation for the fact that local government and housing constitute an own affair. I mention this because when I look at local government and housing in South Africa it appears to me that the so-called third tier of Government is the level which is the closest to our people in their daily lives. The importance of local government cannot be over-emphasised.
Local government is the most important level of government, particularly because the spiritual and material welfare of the community is furthered at this third tier of government. That is why it is important to me that it be dealt with as an own affair.
It is a pity that not a single member of the opposition parties has referred to local government this afternoon. The hon member for Hillbrow touched on the subject. The hon member for Pietermaritzburg Central referred to it in a derogatory fashion. I can state today that if we wish to realise the ideal of peaceful coexistence in South Africa, this will depend, firstly, on the progress made with regard to constitutional development in South Africa. Secondly it will depend upon the progress we make in regard to population development in South Africa.
As far as the demographic trends are concerned, for example the increase in urbanisation, the hon member for Barberton says—I am sorry he is not present in the House—that not a single spokesman on the Government side referred to the farmers. I want to put the following to him: If one looks at the process of urbanisation one notes that the demographers tell us that by the year 2050, 95% of all population groups will be living in our cities and towns.
Dare one regard local government as being of lesser importance? Dare we shrug off the communities in our towns and cities that are run by their own local authorities, as less important? I want to put this question to the opposition parties.
They are being dragged in by the regional services councils.
I shall come back to the hon member. He should be a little calm this afternoon.
I want to refer to the progress made in this sphere. Every inhabitant of the Republic of South Africa has a responsibility to create, within our towns and cities, an atmosphere in which people can coexist with one another in peace. If we do not do this there is no future for any population group in this country that we live in.
I want to refer to certain measures that have been transferred to the Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Works. Let me state this clearly. Years ago I argued in the Provincial Council and in the House of Assembly that we should have an own ministry for local government in South Africa. I am profoundly grateful that we have today a ministry which will operate in such a way that we shall at least have uniformity at the level of local government. In this way we shall be able to ensure, as far as humanly possible, that life in our cities and towns is made tolerable as far as tariffs and rates are concerned. I want to refer to only a few of the measures transferred to local government by the State President on 17 September 1984. This will make it possible to judge the extent of this for oneself. I refer in this regard to the State Land Disposal Act (Act 45 of 1961), the Community Development Act (Act 3 of 1966), the Slums Act (Act 67 of 1979) the Expropriation Act (Act 63 of 1975) and the Rent Control Act (Act 80 of 1976).
The hon member for Sasolburg referred to the regional services councils. However he is still a greenhorn here and he still has a great deal to learn. The Regional Services Councils Act is an instrument whereby to establish a council in which all population groups will enjoy representation. The PFP voted against it and the CP—I understand that on the basis of their policy they had certain good reasons for doing so—also voted against it. Even though we have separate local authorities in our country, we must never think that we can enclose them in separate cocoons. That is why we came forward with regional services councils, in which those people will have a say. These are regional services councils—councils established to render service to people in our cities and towns.
I see that the hon member for Sunnyside has now returned. He referred this afternoon to the commandment “Honour your father and your mother”. I shall come back to that later but I, too, want to begin by quoting from the Scriptures. In the old translation, Proverbs 27:10 reads as follows: “For better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” The new translation reads: A neighbour nearby can help you more than a brother who is far away.” This is the attitude we should display. The hon member for Yeoville—I shall come back to him again shortly—said to the hon Minister of Foreign Affairs the other day that he wanted to discuss a serious matter and pointed out to him that the unrest in Alexandra affected the constituencies of Sandton, Houghton and Yeoville. We must live in peace with our neighbours, irrespective of race or colour.
At this point, however, I want to refer to another aspect of the ministry, viz housing. My heart warms when I think of what the NP Government has done for our people in providing them with housing. Over the past six years, up to and including the end of 1985, the Government spent R234 million on welfare housing. Now I ask the hon member for Sunnyside whether he does not think that the Government has done its share. We honour our fathers and our mothers. Is that not true? Almost R40 million per annum has been spent over a period of six years on welfare housing alone. On a later occasion I shall be discussing expenditure on health services and social pensions. This afternoon I want to emphasise the Government’s concern about our people. However, if we do not co-operate in South Africa, if we do not recognise those groups and if we do not take one another’s hands then we cannot expect prosperity in South Africa.
I want to refer to welfare housing, which is on the programme for the new financial year. In Transvaal 7 000 housing units are to be built; in the OFS, 1 514; in Natal, 236 and in the Cape, 5 250. Therefore a total of 14 000 welfare housing units are being budgeted for. I think that we should take cognisance of these things with profound gratitude and appreciation.
There is one final aspect to which I should like to refer. In the first place I wish to thank the hon the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works for establishing a Development and Housing Board. I find it a pity that the hon member for Pietermaritzburg North made derogatory reference here this afternoon to one of these people. Here I refer to the chairman of the Development and Housing Board, Mr W J Marais of Pretoria, who is at present also chairman of the National Housing Commission. I should like to thank the hon the Minister for the fact that the choice fell upon Mr Marais because he possesses the necessary expertise in regard to housing in our country. Let us look at the vice-chairman, Mr Boet van Straaten of Johannesburg. He is an attorney by profession and an executive member of the Estate Agents’ Board, a member of SAPOA and of the Institute of Valuers of South Africa. Where could one find more expert people to serve on such a board? The third member is Mr J N Swart of Pretoria, who is at present deputy chairman of the Community Development Board. Then, too, there is Mr S B Myers of Cape Town, a civil engineer and registered city and regional planner and retired general manager of Garden Cities Housing Utility Company. What utility company in South Africa has done more for housing than Garden Cities? It is a company with the necessary experience. It is people of this calibre that serve on the Housing and Development Board.
The hon member for Pietermaritzburg North also referred to Mr Van Zyl, a retired town clerk. I think it is necessary for a man like Mr van Zyl, too, to serve on this board. Ninety percent of our local authorities, such as city councils, become involved, as agents of the Government, in the provision of accommodation. Therefore Mr van Zyl possesses the necessary knowledge.
I have great expectations of this board and at this stage I wish every member of this board everything of the best on behalf of the NP. If our people are satisfied with their accommodation then there is happiness within the marriage, in the family context and within the community context. If one is happy with one’s accommodation, then one is a contented and productive worker capable of making a positive contribution to a sound economy in South Africa. Local government and housing can never be overestimated.
Mr Chairman, I will not deal with the same issues as the hon member for Witbank because I want to raise a slightly different point.
I want to say to the hon the Minister that, without re-fighting the referendum issue again, I think it is important to realise that the very structure of own and general affairs has an impact on the South African economy. I have listened to this debate and other debates to see if the Government has any awareness of what this political structure is doing to our economy. I must admit that I have listened in vain. I have come to the conclusion that what we have in the Cabinet is not an economic management team but a bookkeeping team, and that they are not particularly good bookkeepers at that. When we ran out of cash they did not tell us and, after we had run out of cash, they did not consider it necessary to come to Parliament to tell us.
Because of this inability to adjust our political system to economic realities, South Africa is not adjusting to the changing world economic environment in which it finds itself. We are still—when I came to this House I think the hon the Minister was in fact the Minister of Mineral Affairs—today as much a mining country, as much an exporter of primary products as we were 20 years ago. Today we rely as much on gold to pay for our imports as we did 20 years ago. [Interjections.] That figure is actually correct if we look at the revenue from gold as a percentage of our import bill. Today all we can hope for is some sort of economic disaster to befall the world. If it does not we are in trouble. It seems to me that the overseas countries, certainly the industrialised countries, have learned to live with moderate economic growth and low inflation, which is somewhat different to what this Government has achieved, namely no growth with high inflation. In the industrialised world they are working more smartly and they are doing more with less. This has an impact on us.
I want to give just two examples, examples in which, I am sure, the hon the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs will be interested. I said that we were essentially a primary exporting country, that is, a country that exports primary products. In 1974 Congress in the USA passed a Bill which laid down very stringent requirements for fuel consumption in American motor cars. The result of that is that each motor car being manufactured there now is 1 000 1bs to 2 000 lbs lighter. This means that in a decade the American motor industry will use 250 million tons less of raw materials like iron and steel. The hon the Minister will know that in a country like South Africa this will have a tremendous impact.
I can give another simple example to illustrate the point about people learning to do more with less overseas. In the USA Toshiba, a Japanese company, developed a refrigerator that uses only 70% of the electricity used by the normal type of refrigerator. One may well ask what impact such a development will make in South Africa. If all the refrigerators in the USA were of that model, 40 nuclear energy plants would be closed down. Considering the importance of uranium, one could well imagine what the impact of something like that would be on a country like South Africa.
The trend in the industrialised world is towards greater efficiency; and while the industrialised world was learning to do more with the same, we were doing exactly the opposite. We were doing the same with more because of our political structure. We were creating more governments, more houses of parliament, more MPs, more cabinet ministers, more government departments, and more government employees. As a result of this, the role of the public sector in our economy grew bigger and bigger—from 22% in the early 70s to almost 30% now. I am looking at the GDP figures.
This is very interesting, Mr Chairman. People often say that South Africa should not be compared with the industrialised world but with the Third World. Recently a comparative study was made of a number of Third World countries. The comparative figures in respect of two of these countries, namely South Korea and Ghana, are particularly interesting. In 1962 these two countries had more or less the same GDP per capita—there was a difference of one dollar per capita. They both had the same number of people, the same percentage of the work force in agriculture; and they both relied on the export of primary products. Twenty years later the GDP per capita of South Korea was five times that of Ghana. One of the interesting findings was that in Ghana credit to the public sector was equal to 49% of its GDP, while in South Korea it was 2%. Today in South Africa the public sector accounts for 48% of the gross domestic fixed investment.
Somebody has to pay for this multiplicity of structures that we are creating. And who pays?
The public pays.
Yes, it is the taxpayers who actually pay. This is very interesting, Mr Chairman, because studies have also been made of those countries that have a high average rate of tax and those countries with a low average rate of tax. It has been found that it is the countries with the low average rate of tax that have grown.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 68A(1).
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Edenvale evades the basic issue when he complains about the multiplicity of structures. He must make a choice: Does he want to have one structure like Zimbabwe or Ghana, or does he accept the need for a multiplicity of structures to accommodate the multicultural character of our society? [Interjections.] It is in that respect that we differ. I do not think I can convince the hon member, but I do know that the convictions of the vast majority of the electorate favour the approach of this side of the House and not his theory. [Interjections.] It is as simple as that in White politics. [Interjections.]
*I should like to deviate from the normal pattern by reacting first to hon members on this side, whose constructive speeches justify a reaction in some respects. I want to thank the hon members for Waterkloof, Gezina, Hercules, Fauresmith and Witbank for their positive contributions. Conviction in respect of a matter in which they believed radiated from them. I cannot say the same of hon members on the opposite side of the House who spoke. Not one really constructive, positive sound came from any opposition member on the matters we are now discussing. As far as this side is concerned, we had an enjoyable political debate, but every hon member tried to get to the heart of the problems we are struggling with. I want to thank them very sincerely for that.
In their speeches the hon members for Waterkloof and Hercules placed quite a lot of emphasis on the question of privatisation. In this connection I should like to say that besides the general steps with which they are already acquainted, that is to say the special privatisation strategies which are taking place under the guidance of the hon the Minister for Administration and Economic Advisory Services in particular, an investigation is at present in progress in every department to see what can be done to really get privatisation off the ground. As far as own affairs in the House of Assembly are concerned, we are conducting an investigation, in consultation with the Commission for Administration, into what functions can be privatised. I want to assure this House that this investigation is being conducted with a view to promoting the efficiency of the government sector further, as well as to realise the financial benefits which this can entail for the State to the maximum extent, without detracting from the effective rendering of services. We must accept that the privatisation of government functions is an accomplished fact which will be carried out on all levels, for own affairs as well as general affairs, but that it is a programme which cannot be completed within a short space of time. It must be tackled and planned thoroughly to ensure that in this process, too, we do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The hon member for Gezina pleaded for the formulas to contain an element which would ensure that, in the lavish economic years, a slice of that larger cake that was baked would then be passed on to own affairs. In reply to that I want to refer to section 84 of the Constitution. In paragraph (a) fixed minimums from the Exechequer are guaranteed. When we have finalised these formulae or agreed formulae and amounts, we are assured of a minimum. But paragraph (b) is in fact intended to ensure that in those prosperous years, by way of bargaining, to which I shall return in a moment, that this discipline, too, this important pillar of government in South Africa, will receive its full share in that additional prosperity.
I want to thank the other hon members on this side of the House for their defence of a system which is essential for the security of the various population groups in South Africa.
†I would like to turn now to the main speakers of the various parties.
The hon member for Hillbrow referred to my speech in the no-confidence debate. He tried to make some petty political gain by referring to the speech the State President made in Durban. I just want to tell him that I was not involved, and I have already stated that at a public meeting. He must have taken note of it, so why does he use the argument here?
The whole public thinks so. We all think so.
I just want to put on record that they are wrong. Let us stop mauling people and attacking them personally. The PFP and its newspapers have been trying to put me into a particular category since I made my speech here. [Interjections.] I want to come back to that because I cannot recognise the speech I made from the representations of it by hon members of the PFP and the PFP Press.
We would like to hear it from you.
They all omitted to mention a few very important things. They omitted inter alia to quote that I stated the following very emphatically in my speech (Hansard: House of Assembly, 1986, vol 1, col 142):
That I did not read anywhere, and that side of the House never admitted that this was said. In their presentation of the State President’s Opening Address, they omitted to convey its full equilibrium. They tried, on the basis of selective quotes and the use of certain passages from that speech, to suppress and stifle other statements that were also present in that Opening Address. In that way they were able to give a substance and a direction to that speech that was never intended to be in it. [Interjections.] What I did was to point this out and to put the entire speech in perspective. That was also the reason why the State President felt himself completely at liberty to state that he could find no fault with my speech. [Interjections.] In the course of what I am now going to say I shall return to certain aspects of that speech.
†The hon member asked many questions. I would like to assure him that I will react to them in the main Budget debate. In regard to certain other questions he asked, I will definitely return to them in the Additional Appropriation Bill debate.
He referred to local authorities and their sources of revenue. He pleaded for a municipal bank which must apparently make money available at subsidised low interest rates. Who has to subsidise the interest rates? Must it be the general taxpayer?
A subsidy has to come from somebody’s pocket. There is a fund for small municipalities. It is not very big and the help it gives does not amount to very much but such a fund does exist. However, the moment we start helping municipalities across the board by means of subsidies in a bigger way than we do already, the taxpayers will have to pay for it. Will the hon member support an increase in taxation to finance this?
It depends on the type of taxation.
No, he will not support it. We have all the sympathy in the world with local authorities, and the hon member can be assured that we will go out of our way to make certain that local authorities remain viable. We will ensure that viability for all local authorities will not only be possible but that it will be enhanced as far as is possible. However, this will happen in a balanced way that will not have a negative effect on other interests which also have a claim to support.
*When the State borrows money it must do so at market-related rates. Money which it has borrowed at market-related rates, it cannot in turn lend at lower or subsidised interest rates. It is then that one really begins to strangle the economy.
†The hon member for Umbilo’s main complaint was that I did not motivate the large increase in the Part Appropriation.
I would like to compare the hon member to a boxer. He sometimes has a good punch but he does have one major fault—he often leaves his chin wide open for a knock-out. I do not want to give the hon member a knock-out. [Interjections.]
That will be quite difficult for you to do! [Interjections.]
The hon member has a copy of my speech in front of him. Would he please turn to page 3?
I have page 3 in front of me. The only thing the hon the Minister marked was Education.
No, I said:
Then I said that if a person really wished to draw comparisons, this year’s Part Appropriation, without the education component, was R56 million less than that of last year. [Interjections.] I honestly get the impression that the hon member for Umbilo wrote his speech before he heard or read mine. Of course he then forgot to delete that specific portion in his speech before he delivered it. [Interjections.]
†The hon member for Umbilo referred to the question of local authorities and argued that they could not entirely be an own affair.
Not in toto.
I agree with that. The hon member for Witbank dealt with that when he said there was also an area of common concern between adjacent municipalities and that for that reason regional services councils were to be established. That is a structure in terms of which municipalities conduct negotiations, make arrangements and come to agreements in relation to matters of common concern. The hon member also referred to the fact that there was a certain measure of resistance to own municipalities among certain population groups. That is of course quite correct. In fact, however, own municipalities for various Black communities are already in existence right now. So we already have the existing municipalities in our constituencies and also Black municipalities, while—I sincerely believe—the day will also come when we will have more Coloured and even Indian municipalities too.
This process of defining the framework within which their municipalities can become viable forms part and parcel of the process of negotiation which is under way at the moment.
Furthermore, the hon member made reference to hospitals. I want to point out that this is right now the subject of an in-depth investigation. We hope too that it will be possible for us to announce as soon as possible—preferably still during the current session of Parliament—what has been accomplished. To a certain extent the matter is sub judice at the moment. Therefore we do not want to enter into a discussion on what is possible and what not. I can only tell the hon member that we hope to achieve a meaningful formula in relation to the execution of the terms of the Constitution as they have been ratified by this Parliament.
*The hon member for Sunnyside complained that everything in the Constitution is ostensibly subject to a general law. Of course there are points of contact. Because we are the way we are, because the interests of our communities have become interwoven, there are of necessity certain points of contact. The hon member for Sunnyside and his party will never be able to change that, Sir. That is why there are certain points of contact. In the sphere of what may be distinguished from one another as own affairs, however, there are still elements of common interest, and own affairs must be dealt with in such a way that it cannot cause chaos, in the implementation and the exercise of the rights created in that way, and an agreement is necessary which finds expression in general legislation which creates a framework within which it can be ensured that what the one group does on its power-base, cannot distort everything for all the groups and cause mutual tension and friction.
General legislation, however, does not in any way mean the inferiority of own affairs. Let us take education as an example. Education in its own right very clearly stands firm as an own affair, but as far as certain facets are concerned, there must be co-ordination, and these are what are in fact defined as being of a general nature, for example the norms and standards of financing, as well as certification, so that matriculation certificates issued by separate departments, have the same academic value, thus enabling an employer to know with certainty that a job applicant has really passed his matric, regardless of which department issued him with his certificate. In this way an equilibrium is being built into the entire system. In a country in which the interests of groups have become closely interwoven, one cannot place every group separately into its own watertight compartment, and one must therefore properly arrange and maintain the equilibrium between the communality and the own group interest which exists.
This, then, is what distinguishes the National Party from both the Conservative Party and the PFP. Those two parties suffer from a lack of that equilibrium. Each absolutises its own aspect of the reality, and the truth, the full reality, is that all facets of the total spectrum should receive recognition and should find expression in the final system.
The hon member suggested that we were not doing enough for our own people who were having a hard time. We are only too well aware of what a hard time they are having. [Interjections.] Therefore, besides all the normal help from pensions and assistance in regard to housing, old-age homes, and so on—the hon member knows the extent of the auxiliary services just as well as I do—special schemes have also been launched in these difficult times. I want to tell the hon member that the latest figures I have indicate that at present, in respect of special assistance to unemployed persons—over and above unemployment insurance—there are 1 804 White adults who are receiving such assistance. That figure also includes 1 786 children.
Special assistance, over and above normal bridging loans and all other assistance given to farmers by the Department of Agriculture, is also at present being given to farmers in the drought-stricken areas. In this case such additional assistance is being given to 520 adults, as well as 448 children.
Extraordinary social emergency aid is at present being provided to 18 220 White adults and to 7 878 children. I am not saying that this is sufficient, in the sense that one would always wish to render more assistance to people who are suffering hardships. However, we must not allow petty party-political gain to be made here out of the distress of other people. That is why I am denouncing the hon member. I am denouncing him because he is making a mockery of Parliament and because he is in that way neglecting to maintain the standards of democracy properly.
In my opinion the nickname of the hon member for Sasolburg has become played out today. Someone else gave him the appelation of rara avis. I had a translation made of the two-tailed issue, and now it should be, rara avis duabus caudis. The hon member complained about his time. This reminds me of the joke about the dominee who, on the morning before he was to deliver his sermon, had something to say to the old woman with whom he was boarding and who offered him breakfast. He said: “Tannie, before an important sermon which I want to deliver well, I prefer not to eat”. When the family returned home after the church service the woman asked her husband what the service had been like. He replied: “No, what, the dominee may as well have had breakfast”. [Interjections.] I think we should allocate more time to that hon member. I should like to give him more time so that his career in this House can end sooner. [Interjections.]
In all seriousness, what is the gist of his complaint, apart from the bitter personal attack he made on the hon the Minister of Finance, without any scientific grounds? He supported his argument with an obscure publication from somewhere in America—so typical of the source which S E D Brown and these people always make use of.
He comes from an obscure little party!
The gist of his complaint is this: The Whites are being impoverished. I listened carefully to his argument. In times of hardship, we all become a little poorer. The Whites, he said however, were being impoverished, as if there is a force somewhere which took a deliberate decision to impoverish the Whites. That force, he insinuated, was those of us on the Government side. After all, he said that we were spending too much money on the development of Blacks and Coloureds. They are saying this throughout the country. Now I want to ask them, are they in earnest, when they put forward the theory that every people in this country should come into its own, about helping other peoples to develop to the full, or is it their standpoint that such people should simply go away and become impoverished? If that is not the case, are they going to make the prosperity and the expertise we have available to allow the development process of the other population groups to succeed? [Interjections.]
I want to put a second question to the hon member. Can the Whites ever have security in this country if hope and growing prosperity is not also available for the other population groups in this country? [Interjections.] They go about the country leading people astray with their propaganda. However, it is short-sighted suicidal propagande, if one analyses it in depth.
The hon member for Barberton distorts the concept of bargaining. He should ask the hon member for Lichtenburg how he had to bargain in respect of appropriation matters when he was still a member of the Cabinet. [Interjections.] He should ask him how he had to bargain when priorities were determined and the cake was divided up, and he had to ensure how much was appropriated for consolidation, for example, how much for defence, and how much for education. That is what bargaining is all about, because there is only one source of revenue, and everyone gets together in one place, where the Ministers must then bargain and negotiated among themselves. We do not negotiate with other population groups, and they do not negotiate with us to acquire money on a population group basis. We negotiate in the executive authority, because every Minister has an area that has been entrusted to him in order to promote development in that area. In the end we strike a balance which is in the best interests of the country and of all its people. [Interjections.]
A part of that balance that has to be struck is that the White community and every other community must receive a fair share of what the country is able to offer its people by means of the Budget. When I talk about bargaining, that is what I am bargaining for. Bargaining, as I meant it, does not take place in the distorted way in which the hon member for Barberton presented it.
In regard to the question of farmers, my hon colleague will reply to the hon member for Barberton on Monday. I just want to say that the Ministers’ Council and the Government are sympathetically disposed to the problems with which our farmers are struggling. We went out of our way, as far as it was within the means of the country, to render the maximum degree of assistance by means of fair schemes. The hon member will be astonished if he knew how many ardent CP supporters do not support his argument concerning the farmers’ attitude to the assistance rendered to them. I can send him a list of names of those who are ashamed of the fact that the CP policians are politicising this matter, assistance to the farmers, because they know that the Government did what was humanly possible to do in order to assist the farmers. [Interjections.]
In the few minutes that are left, I want to deal briefly with the one theme which could in fact be regarded as central theme in this debate, namely the question of free choice and free association. I should like to put a few questions to the hon member for Durban Central, who now occupies a position of authority in that party during the absence of his leader. Firstly: Can a group have an opinion?
He says yes, a group can have an opinion. I want to ask him a second question: Is the essential meaning of association not that at least more than one person must have consensus, for otherwise he is not associating with anyone? The hon member is nodding his head in the affirmative; he agrees. The third question is this: If it is the opinion of the majority in a group that they do not wish to associate in regard to a specific matter or in respect of a specific area, and there is an individual who says that he wishes to become part of a specific group or wishes, for example, to associate in a school, there can be no question of meaningful association, because it then creates friction.
It is not a question of an individual…
No, if the majority in a group feel that they would prefer for the sake of positive aspects—such as the maintenance of their own character and their own identity and not for humiliating reasons—not to associate in a specific area, does that individual then have the right to say no within the framework of free association? [Interjections.]
The reverse is true.
They are saying yes, Sir. Now I want to ask them what, in their opinion, the sentiments of the majority of the Whites are on the fundamental matters in regard to schools and residential areas? There is no doubt about what the sentiments of the majority of the White electorate is.
You are driving everybody into your laager! [Interjections.]
There is no doubt about it! I am relying on the sentiments of the majority of my people. The reason why we have the representation we have in this House and why there are such a small number of members over there is that the PFP does not take the opinion of the majority of Whites on these fundamental matters into consideration.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon the Minister?
No, I cannot reply now, because I only have two minutes at my disposal.
I want to make one last point on this matter, because my time is expiring. We on this side are not opposed to association between people from different population groups.
The hon member for Wynberg should go and read the speech made by his new leader when he reacted to this in the No-Confidence Debate. His hon leader enumerated a long list of areas in which association does in fact take place without hindrance. He demonstrated in his speech that, under this Government, there is in fact free association in almost every sphere of life. [Interjections.] There is free association in sport and there is also free association in respect of hotels under the new Liquor Act.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon the Minister?
No, I am sorry; my time is too limited.
There is free association in respect of that long list of things the hon leader enumerated, and surely this is taking place under the regime of the NP. This side of the House is not opposed to association. We do not want to cut people off from one another and say that they may not talk to one another, and keep on telling them they may not do this or they may not do that. [Interjections.]
There is a difference, however. As soon as the existence of a group as a group and its security as a group is jeopardised …
Who decides that?
The group itself decides at every general election; it decided on this matter at the referendum. Sir, let us discuss the referendum. The standpoint of those hon members is that we should all have been elected to one House and on one voters’ roll. Is that not their standpoint? [Interjections.] Is that not correct? It was their main argument against the new Constitution during the referendum. Did their standpoint win? What did the group, our group, say? They said: No, we want differentiation, we wish to draw a distinction and we wish to have our own House, but we are prepared to associate in one Parliament, we are prepared to co-operate on common interests, and we are now sitting in the same Cabinet. The group’s security, however, is adequately safeguarded by this system and for that reason there was an overwhelming yes.
For that reason that other party’s motivation as to why people should not vote yes did not succeed. They said one was gambling too much if one accepted this new dispensation; one had to isolate oneself completely. To that the White voters also said no. The White voters said—this is an integral part of the Constitution and of the concept of own affairs—we are prepared to accept a wide area of voluntary association as long as we are certain that we shall continue to retain control, on our own power base, of what is fundamental to our group existence; that we shall bring up our children as we wish within their own tradition and character and can establish ourselves in our own community life and in our own residential areas. [Interjections.]
That is why these matters are different to those in the other wide sphere in respect of which association is in fact voluntary in South Africa and in respect of which there are no hindrances. I want to say here today that we will critically examine possible further areas in which there are unnecessary hindrances which stand in the way of people who wish to do things together and who wish to co-operate.
Will you throw sex open to all races.
In conclusion, the group definition …
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 68a(2).
Question put: That all the words after “That” stand part of the Question,
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—95: Alant, T G; Bartlett, G S; Botha, C J v R; Botha, J C G; Botma, M C; Breytenbach, W N; Clase, P J; Coetzer, H S; Coetzer, P W; Conradie, F D; Cunningham, J H; De Jager, A M v A; De Klerk, F W; Du Plessis, B J; Du Plessis, G C; Durr, K D S; Farrell, P G; Fick, L H; Fouché, A F; Geldenhuys, B L; Golden, S G A; Grobler, J P; Hayward, S A S; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heyns, J H; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kriel, H J; Landman, W J; Le Grange, L; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Malherbe, G J; Marais, G; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, R P; Meyer, W D; Morrison, G de V; Munnik, L A P A; Niemann, J J; Nothnagel, A E; Odendaal, W A; Olivier, P J S; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, N J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Rencken, C R E; Scheepers, J H L; Schoeman, R S; Schoeman, S J; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Steyn, D W; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Terblanche, A J W P S; Thompson, A G; Van Breda, A; Van den Berg, J C; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, A I; 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, A A; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Vilonel, J J; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wentzel, J J G; Wessels, L; Wiley, J W E; Wilkens, B H.
Tellers: J P I Blanché, W J Cuyler, A Geldenhuys, W T Kritzinger, C J Ligthelm and L van der Watt.
Noes—35: Bamford, B R; Barnard, M S; Burrows, R; Cronjé, P C; Eglin, C W; Gastrow, P H P; Goodall, B B; Hardingham, R W; Hartzenberg, F; Hoon, J H; Hulley, R R; Le Roux, F J; 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; Scholtz, E M; Sive, R; Snyman, W J; Soal, P G; Stofberg, L F; Swart, R A F; Tarr, M A; Theunissen, L M; Uys, C; Van Heerden, R F; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H; Watterson, D W.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and A B Widman.
Question affirmed and amendments dropped.
Bill read a second time.
Mr Chairman, I move:
Mr Chairman, I move the amendment printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:
The purpose of the amendment is very simply to make provision for current expenditure on the estimates of the Post Office being exceeded. It also relates to expenditure which takes place for which no provision has been made. Particulars relating to this expenditure are to be placed before Parliament in the next financial year when the estimates are tabled for consideration. It has been suggested by the Department of Communications that this is not very practical and that they may not be able to do it within the first year. They are using the words “as soon as practicable” instead of “the next financial year”.
We discussed this matter at considerable length, as the hon members of the standing committee will remember. It was suggested in the first place that it should be done in the second financial year. We then discussed it further. The officials took note of our discussions and the law advisers were consulted. Then we were advised that we should do this in the third financial year, which would be an attempt to satisfy all concerned.
The purpose and wording of my amendment are therefore in keeping with the discussions and recommendations on the standing committee and the advice we received.
Mr Chairman, the idea underlying the amendment moved by the hon member for Hillbrow is not at all original. In the standing committee I myself mentioned that the time of postponement should be limited and toyed with the idea that we should receive the relative report within two years. After we had listened in the standing committee to the standpoint of the departmental officials I was won over to their standpoint on the basis of two points.
In the first place it is quite possible that an incorrect transferred entry may not come to light within the first two years, but may only be discovered after a few years. If one places a restriction of two years on the period within which such an incorrect transferred entry must be reported, one creates the possibility that ad hoc rectifications will have to be made from time to time.
The second consideration, which is more important, is the fact that the Auditor-General keeps an eagle eye on the accounts of the Post Office in any case. After all the Auditor-General reports annually to a standing committee of this Parliament, on which the hon member for Hillbrow also serves.
I think that the hon member for Hillbrow will agree with me that in his reports the Auditor-General has always been full of praise for the way in which the officials of the Post Office handle the money matters and report on their accounts. As a matter of fact, in the latest report of the Auditor-General on the accounts of the Post Office he certified that it was a true and reasonable reflection of the money matters of the department. At the end of the report he also expressed his thanks to the officials of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications for their cooperation.
The hon member for Hillbrow will agree with me that there is not the slightest criticism anywhere in the report of the Auditor-General regarding the way in which the Post Office handles its money matters. If the hon member for Hillbrow is of the opinion that this is inadequate he also has every opportunity to ascertain that there can be absolutely no suggestion of malpractices in the accounts of the Post Office.
To acquaint myself with the very active role which the hon member for Hillbrow plays in this regard, I consulted last year’s report of the Standing Committee on the Accounts of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications. From this report it is apparent that the hon member for Hillbrow is the member of that standing committee who asks the most questions about the accounts of the Post Office. Last year he asked the Auditor-General no fewer than 37 questions.
Is that good or bad?
I have no objection to that. When the hon member for Pinetown asks whether that is a good or a bad thing, I want to assure him that I have no objection to it. But the hon member for Hillbrow had every opportunity to acquaint himself with any possible abuse which may exist in the money matters of the Post Office.
In actual fact to move an amendment which is so limiting merely casts a reflection on the excellent officials who have always done their work with regard to the accounts of the Post Office with great efficiency and dedication.
On a previous occasion I said that the moving of an amendment here in this House was an admission of failure on the part of the members of the Official Opposition. [Interjections.] It is nothing less than a reflection on himself.
When I say that this is an admission of failure, I am saying so for the simple reason that an opposition party’s chances of getting an amendment to a Bill passed are far better in the standing committee than in the House. If the members of the PFP saw the slightest possibility of getting their amendment passed, they could have moved it in the standing committee and they could have tried to convince the representatives of even one of the Houses of the validity of their standpoint. They could not even succeed in doing that.
Because they knew that they could not succeed in doing so, they did not move the amendment in the standing committee, knowing full well that they could not move an amendment in this House if it had already been moved in the standing committee. Consequently they waited until they got here to waste our time in the same way that they wasted the time of the standing committee. I am afraid that we cannot accept this amendment.
Mr Chairman, I am a little surprised at the attitude of the chairman of the standing committee. He is usually such an indulgent man, he usually allows questions to be put and he usually allows full discussions. I am very surprised that he is trying to turn this into a political argument in case the Official Opposition should actually succeed with an amendment that this House would agree with. That is what his argument is all about. Let me demolish his argument very simply. His whole argument firstly is that all expenditure is subject to audit by the Auditor-General and that the Auditor-General will pick it up.
The Auditor-General has been looking at these accounts ever since the Post Office has had estimates. Up to now such expenditure has had to be submitted to Parliament during the next financial year. So in spite of the Auditor-General we still have today to submit it during the next financial year. The new legislation will be a concession to the Minister because he will only have to submit it “as soon as practicable”. Parliament and the public are entitled to see that the money is properly spent. If expenditure which is excessive or which has not been authorised is not placed before Parliament as soon as possible, we in Parliament will be failing in our duty. If the hon member for Umlazi thinks that there is really no reason for this amendment and that it is a reflection upon the officials, I take great exception to that and I am sure the officials would also take great exception to it because the clause that we are amending has a retrospective provision to cover expenditure already incurred. With great respect, that demolishes his argument and there is no reason why the amendment should not be accepted.
Mr Chairman, I think that the hon member for Umlazi who was chairman of the standing committee has already disposed of some of the questions pertaining to the amendment of the hon member for Hill-brow. The hon member did have the opportunity to move it in the standing committee. He did not. He has, however, followed the right procedure. He has moved his amendment here and I have no quarrel with him about that. That is why I also did not oppose his motion. It could have been opposed but I would not because he followed the correct procedure. I let the hon member know that I would not oppose it so that he could put his case and we could discuss it here.
I have one particular difficulty. In terms of the principal Act particulars of amounts spent have to be submitted to Parliament within a year. The department found it very difficult to furnish these particulars within a year because this could take longer than a year. To now lay down within three years, I think the member said …
In the third financial year.
The third financial year. It just means that one may again run into problems. All we are asking is that the wording be changed to “as soon as practicable”. The hon member must remember that we are not talking about unauthorised expenditure. This is expenditure that has been authorised by the Minister in terms of section 5. It is therefore actually casting a reflection upon the Minister to say that this sort of thing cannot be picked up. It is expenditure that has been authorised but it has just not been possible to itemise it in time and submit it to Parliament. [Interjections.] The officials find it administratively impossible to stick to the one year time limit. To change it to three years will also not work. At some time in the future I might have to come back to Parliament again to amend the Act with retrospective effect. That is the only reason why we are doing this. There is no question of misappropriating these funds or of sweeping something under the carpet. This is not money that can be taken by somebody. The Minister has already agreed to the money’s being spent for a particular purpose. If the hon member will look at section 12F of the principal Act—the Post Office Act, Act 44 of 1958—he will see that in terms of subsection (5) the Minister may grant such authority. Moreover, subsection (6) provides that—
So it is not just a case of the amount being spent without authority by an official or by anybody else. The Minister has actually granted the necessary authority. The Act also stipulates how the Minister may grant such authority; but I do not wish to drag out the argument.
Still, we feel that it is simply a matter of submitting to Parliament “as soon as practicable” the purposes for which the amounts have been spent. The officials of the Post Office are keen to keep their books in order and are not really interested in stretching out a matter for a long time, thinking that it may be to their benefit to do so. In fact, I do not know to whose benefit it can be. After all, the Minister has granted authority for the money to be spent—as he may under certain circumstances do in terms of the provisions of the Act.
I therefore do not see my way clear to accepting the amendment. Moreover, the amended Bill has already been passed by the other two Houses where it did not give rise to any problems.
That is not my problem; and I do not think one may say that. As I said, that is not my problem.
What happens if we agree to the amendment here?
It does not really matter what happens here. The Bill would then be referred back to the standing committee. In any case, there are a lot of rules in this connection. The hon member can find out what he wants to know from the Chief Whip. The point, however, is that two Houses have already agreed to the Bill. Why, then, does the hon member want to impose his will—the amendment—upon the other two Houses? [Interjections.]
That is not an argument.
Yes, that is not an argument.
Of course it is! The hon member does not mind imposing his will upon other people … [Interjections.]
That is just showing disrespect for this House.
If the hon members on the opposite side of the House have completed their debate, I shall proceed with my argument. [Interjections.]
Surely the hon member for Wynberg has plenty of other work. There is the Defence Group, for example, in which he can speak. He is the spokesman on Defence. Why does he not let the hon member for Hillbrow argue with me? [Interjections.] Or is he not yet the spokesman for the Defence Group? I am not sure.
In any event, Mr Chairman, I have explained to the hon member that I am not prepared to accept the amendment as it stands.
Mr Chairman, the cat is now out of the bag. What the hon the Minister is saying, in other words, Sir, is that because the other two Houses have agreed, a procedural difficulty could arise if the amendment were agreed to in this House. The Bill would have to be referred back to the standing committee, and that could mean a delay. So the legislation will have to stay as it is and the word “practicable” will remain. Really, Mr Chairman, if it ever comes to litigation, it will be almost impossible to prove that there has been non-compliance with this “as soon as practicable” provision. The phrase is meaningless because it makes the period indefinite. Still, if I were the hon the Minister I would want legislation like that.
Mr Chairman, I cannot let that remark go unanswered.
The hon member says the cat is now out of the bag because the legislation has been passed in the other two Houses. I mentioned that here only to acclaim the fact that the Bill had been passed in the other two Houses. That is not the reason for my not accepting this amendment.
Well, why did you mention it?
I mentioned it here merely to tell the hon member for Hillbrow that the Bill had already been passed there and that there had been no objections. Certainly, as Minister I am entitled to tell the House of an important event like that. Now the hon member for Groote Schuur seems to be very sad or a bit sour about it. [Interjections.]
*Mr Chairman, I just want to reiterate that I cannot accept the amendment. However, there is one point that I wish to rectify. The hon member for Hillbrow is completely wrong in his allegation as regards the motive for my refusal.
Amendment negatived (Official Opposition dissenting).
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Introductory Speech as delivered in House of Representatives on 10 February, and tabled in House of Assembly
Mr Chairman, I move:
In terms of section 12 of the South African Tourism Board Act, No 100 of 1983, the assets, liabilities, rights and obligations of the former South African Tourist Corporation established under the South African Tourist Corporation Act of 1947, Act No 54 of 1947, were transferred to the South African Tourism Board.
The objects of the board in terms of section 8 of Act 54 of 1947 are to stimulate the South African tourist industry and to develop and improve travel facilities to and within the Republic. In order to achieve its objectives it is essential that the board bases its policies on reliable, updated statistics and information.
Section 4(l)(f) of the Hotel Act, 1965, No 70 of 1965, empowers the board to call for information and to obtain statistics in respect of hotels, but as far as the other sectors of the tourist industry are concerned, the board possesses no such power. The proposed amendment of the Act, if carried, will enable the board to collect, collate and publish these essential statistics.
*Mr Chairman, a Tourism Liaison Committee, which is representative of the tourist industry, as well as commerce and industry in general, has been established on a voluntary basis in order to create a forum for disciplined consultations and negotiations with the South African Tourism Board on matters of common interest.
The Committee has been requested by the board to identify research needs within the industry. During a discussion of the identified researched projects, it became apparent that representative statistical information was essential for authoritative, scientific recommendations and findings.
Statistical information furnished on a voluntary basis will not be sufficiently representative. Consequently it was decided that statistics ought to be compulsory, and hence the proposed amendment, as contained in the relevant Bill.
†The statistics will be applied exclusively for research purposes in the interests of the marketing and promotion of tourism. I can assure hon members that the collection, collation, application and dissemination of the information will be done in close co-operation with the particular sectors of the tourist industry to which it relates.
Second Reading resumed
Mr Chairman, it is common cause that statistical information is of critical importance as a basis for sensible marketing in any industry, and this is no less valid in respect of the South African Tourist Corporation which is, in fact, responsible for promoting an industry valued at over R1 billion per annum. We therefore support the principle of this Bill at Second Reading, but I would like to take the opportunity of making some comments on the matter.
Firstly, we accept that the motivation for the Bill arises from the fact that the statistics upon which decision-making in the tourist industry in South Africa has been based have been less than reliable. I mean no disrespect to the Department of Statistics when I say that the usefulness of the figures which have been produced for the benefit of the tourist industry has, in the past, been limited. It is not enough, for example, to know how many foreigners are entering our country during a given period. It is, on the other hand, of extreme relevance to know what percentage of travellers to the Republic are here for business reasons as opposed to family or tourist reasons.
The industry should be able reliably to establish the strength of those and other categories, and accurately to categorise and assess how they spend their money when they are here, the priorities of the various categories, the problems they have encountered, how the enjoyment of their visits could have been enhanced, what package-deal schemes need to be made available to encourage more to come here and so forth. If this cannot be done, the industry will simply not be in the position to make appropriate, marketing and promotional plans. In short, as any businessman knows, before one can invest money in marketing and promotion, one must properly have researched the market.
Operators in the industry have pointed out the unfortunate fact that certain promotions sponsored by the South African Tourist Corporation have, to a greater or lesser degree, been either misdirected or ineffective, partly because they were not based on scientifically accumulated information. It has to be said that among the reasons for this is the fact that some tourist industry operators themselves have provided inaccurate information. Considerable distortion has developed in the past as a result of certain hotel operators providing, for marketing reasons, inaccurate claims to the effect that they were for example half-empty. These claims are made to give the impression of spare capacity and to encourage more bookings.
On the other hand, certain hotels have falsely claimed to be full, in order to favour their own marketing objectives. The net result of this and other problems has been that the South African Tourist Corporation has had to operate for a number of years on a basis of statistical information which has been much less than reliable.
Our tourist industry is growing at a rate of about 15% to 20% per annum. In 1983 it was worth R750 million, and rose in 1984 to R1 000 million. It is a very important industry. Although it had a setback in 1985 because of the unrest, it is a major force in the economy and life of our country. It plays a crucial role in the creation of an international climate of goodwill towards South Africa and ranks among our foremost earners of foreign exchange.
In spite of the desirability to develop this industry, on tourism industry is actually growing at a slower rate than in other parts of the world. Australasia and the USA for example have a growth rate of 25% to 30%. Apart from the actual growth rate, the number of genuine tourists who come to this country can be numbered at fewer than is attracted to Disneyland in only one or two days. This is a very significant problem which we must face and to which we must give attention.
Against that background it must also be said that it is most unfortunate that the industry has not been able to provide accurate information on a voluntary basis such as is the case with the motor industry manufacturers and marketers, the members of the Naamsa organisation. Naamsa has established a reputation for providing statistical information on a very sound and accurate basis. The tourist industry has simply not been able to produce a similar base.
Although we are uncomfortable with the idea of the Government interfering in a particular industry with a compulsion as is envisaged in this Bill, we recognise the importance of the industry, the problems that have arisen in the past and the importance of ensuring that they have a statistical base. We therefore agree that compulsion is unavoidable in this case. In reluctantly accepting the need for compulsion we do welcome the fact that the regulations for collecting, collating, applying and disseminating the information to be collected in terms of this Bill will be developed in consultation with the industry. I feel that in this way compulsion can be introduced with the minimum of disruption and alienation between the industry and the South African Tourist Corporation. We therefore support this Bill.
Mr Chairman, for one who supports these amendments the hon member for Constantia made many negative noises, although I do agree with him on certain matters which he raised. The statistics which we have had in the past have obviously been unreliable. However, I feel it is more important that the data should be timeous and this is what we are attempting to achieve with this Bill.
*This side of the House supports the amending Bill and considers it—as did the standing committee—desirable to stimulate the South African tourist industry and to encourage the development and improvement of travel facilities to and in South Africa.
Initially I was a little hesitant about the principle of inserting a penal provision here. Initially it seemed to me as if there is or can be a possibility here that the public is going to be further irritated by the collecting of unnecessary and superfluous information. But our minds were put at rest in the standing committee that there was in fact a need to acquire adequate statistics timeously for use in scientific studies.
The hon the Minister has already indicated in his speech that the collection of statistics on a voluntary basis will not be sufficiently representative and that is the reason for this amendment. According to all indications the information is needed particularly for domestic tourism. This is a part of the industry which in the past perhaps did not get the attention it deserved. This amendment will definitely help to supply this deficiency. We on this side of the House therefore support this amending Bill.
Mr Chairman, please allow me to congratulate the hon member for Uitenhage on his appointment as chairman of the Standing Committee on Environment Affairs and Tourism. He succeeded Mr S V Naicker as chairman of that standing committee. Mr Naicker in his turn became the first Indian member appointed by the Government as a Deputy Minister to assist the hon the Minister of Environment Affairs and Tourism. Our congratulations to the hon member for Uitenhage.
You are being as sly as a fox!
Mr Chairman, the hon the Minister of Law and Order says I am being as sly as a fox. [Interjections.] I challenge him to send the police to arrest me. It seems to me he is even too useless to catch the criminals outside. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member may not say that the hon the Minister is too useless. He must withdraw that remark.
Sir, I withdraw it. Will you please order the hon the Minister to withdraw his remark that I am sly as well?
Order! I do not know whether the hon the Minister passed that remark in jest or whether he was serious when he said it. Will the hon the Minister please indicate precisely what his intention was?
Oh well, Mr Chairman, if the hon member wants me to be serious about this then I will be serious, too, just to satisfy him. I will therefore withdraw the remark.
Order! The hon member for Kuruman may proceed with his speech.
Mr Chairman, the State President quite rightly described the portfolio of Environment Affairs and Tourism as a very important portfolio. This is indeed the case. Because tourism is also considered to be a very important industry by the State President, someone was appointed to assist this hon Minister—someone in the person of Mr S V Naicker, a member of the House of Delegates.
We in the Conservative Party believe that it is essential for the Hotel Board constantly to have the necessary relevant information at its disposal to enable it to undertake the necessary planning with regard to the tourist industry. Consequently we have no problem in pledging our support to the legislation under discussion.
But I believe that the hon the Minister and his Deputy Minister must also get other bodies to collect information for them regarding what is happening on the beaches in the constituency of Simonstown and elsewhere in the Cape Peninsula. My information is that there is great dissatisfaction among the people of Muizenberg and elsewhere regarding the fact that Whites are being crowded out by people of colour on the beaches. [Interjections.] White tourists from the rural areas who come here on holiday are being crowded out by people of colour. This even happens right next to notice boards which clearly state: “Whites only”. [Interjections.] Even in the nature reserve at Cape Point—everywhere throughout the Cape Peninsula—the Whites are being crowded out by people of colour. [Interjections.] I think it is necessary for the hon the Minister to appoint a few CP supporters to bring him information in connection with this matter. [Interjections.]
Be that as it may, we take pleasure in supporting the Bill under discussion.
Mr Chairman, I would like to associate my party with the remarks made by the hon member for Kuruman in congratulating the hon member for Uitenhage on his appointment as chairman of the standing committee. We have had one meeting under his chairmanship, and I can assure the hon the Minister that he acted in a responsible and efficient manner.
I want to state clearly at the outset, Mr Chairman, that we will be supporting this Bill, although I also want to make a few comments.
One appreciates the need for information to be gathered over as wide a field as possible. I believe it is important though that one should utter a word of caution. The process of collecting information from various quarters will obviously result in the publication of a lot of reports, and it is essential that the activities of the board should not become submerged in a sea of documentation at the possible expense of new and imaginative policies being adopted. One must always respect the fact that information can rapidly become outdated and that it is essential that marketing tactics should be of a positive and up-to-date nature.
The tourist industry in this country, as we know, finds itself in the doldrums at the moment, and while South Africa is blessed with a diversity of tourist attractions, I believe that one of the activities of the board should be to encourage local bodies to pay more attention to tourism when regional development assessments are being drawn up for their areas. When one looks at the difficulties that are being experienced in attracting tourists to the Republic of South Africa, I believe that one must also bear in mind the highly competitive nature of the tourist industry which is offered from abroad. Package deals, cheap fares and the wide variety of countries that can be visited are among the features offered to tourists from Europe. Perhaps we should be looking in this regard—particularly in relation to tourism in South Africa—at something of the nature of a wider package deal.
In accordance with Standing Order No 19, the House adjourned at