House of Assembly: Vol7 - THURSDAY 27 FEBRUARY 1986
announced that he had called a joint sitting of the three Houses of Parliament for Monday, 3 March, at 14h15 for the delivering of Second Reading speeches on certain bills.
Mr Speaker, before the House adjourned last night I was pointing out that many employees of of the SA Transport Services were living below the breadline; and not only these but many other workers in South Africa. Consequently we urge the hon the Minister that this 10% rise be increased. I know it is difficult for him to decide on this on his own as he has already said such a matter requires a Cabinet decision so I know his decision in this case would not be the only factor bearing weight—I understand this full well. I wonder, however, whether members of this House representing constituencies in which Transport Services officials live have any idea what difficulties those people contend with.
During a recent by-election I was canvassing in Elandsfontein where I saw how many of those SATS workers had to live below the breadline. I not only heard this but witnessed it myself; I saw for myself how hard their lives were.
The officials are drawing various comparisons. I know, for instance, that certain artisan personnel recently compared their salaries with those of artisans over a past ten-year period. The salaries involved were those of apprentices, technicians, technical assistants and technical supervisors and the period covered was from the beginning of 1976 to the beginning of 1986. They also compared prices of essentials foodstuffs and consumer goods and how they had risen since 1976. When the figures of relevance here are correlated, the results are simply frightening so one can only wonder how people are to live today. In spite of all these factors, they receive a meagre increase of 10%.
Mr Speaker, those people are no fools. They do their own calculations; in fact, they have to calculate every day to establish exactly how to manage on their salaries. They are also aware that billions of rands are simply being pumped into a bottomless pit.
According to the hon the Minister’s Second Reading speech there was a reduction in the number of rail services during the period of April to November 1985 compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. Commuter journeys decreased by approximately 2% and off-peak passenger journeys by 15%. The hon the Minister also said regional rail passenger services had been curtailed by approximately 40%. It is encouraging, however, that the hon the Minister’s statistics on the conveyance of goods by rail indicate an increase which also applies to road transport; we are grateful for this and wish to express our gratitude.
As far as SA Airways is concerned, however, according to the hon the Minister himself the picture is not so rosy by far. The hon the Minister more or less said that passenger numbers had been seriously affected by economic pressure and internal unrest. The decrease in the number of domestic flights amounted to 4% whereas the decline in the number of international flights was 10%. In this respect I am troubled by the Government of the day because many of the prevailing economic problems and adverse conditions may be laid directly at its door. Has this Government become afraid to govern? [Interjections.] Two days ago, Mr Speaker, the hon the Deputy Minister of Constitutional Planning and Development said in this House that, if regional development councils took steps against those Blacks who could not pay their rental and service debt, serious problems could crop up. Have we come to such a pass that we are just going to throw in the towel, Sir? Who has to pay for the fads and fancies of all those people? [Interjections.] Who has to bear the brunt yet again? The Whites and the Whites alone! Let a White SATS worker attempt evading his rental, his rates and taxes or service fees owing and see what will happen! According to circumstances, he will either be ejected from his house or the provision of services suspended. If he omits to settle his rates and taxes, his house will be sold. [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, the fact is that many of our people are struggling desperately today because they are White.
Yes, that is right!
One cannot but obtain the impression that what counts against White artisans and other workers in the SATS and other State departments is the fact that they are White. [Interjections.] The letters read here by the hon member for De Aar yesterday indicated that people transferred from one department to another were treated quite differently in the case of Whites as in that of those of colour.
The Government discriminates against Whites!
It comes down to absolute discrimination! I should like to ask the hon the Minisiter whether he gave instructions for those letters to be written. If he did not do so, who gave those instructions? [Interjections.] The hon the Minister also said there was a decline in the number of air travellers owing to the disturbances which leads us to ask who causes the disturbances. It is very clearly stated in the Citizen and I quote:
Why are steps not taken against these hypocrites who travel the world under cover of religion to besmirch this country overseas? [Interjections.] If action were taken against them, I say today to this House that the chances for calm and peace in South Africa would be far better than we perhaps surmise. [Interjections.]
Order! It should definitely not be necessary for an hon member to shout in this House to make himself audible. If hon members do not see their way clear to speaking in a more subdued tone here, they had better pursue their conversations outside. The hon member for Nigel may proceed.
Mr Speaker, I have only one more point for the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs. He is not to think that we on this side of the House cherish any personal hard feelings against him; this is not the case at all. We are fighting only for our own people. We are also attempting to expand the SA Transport Services as this is in the interest of South Africa. We are also trying to prevent the privatisation of the SA Transport Services and their resultant seizure out of the hands of South Africa.
Mr Speaker, now that I have had the opportunity of listening to one of the racist speeches of the hon members of the CP again, it has made me realise that we in this country do not have a cat in hell’s chance of solving our problems if we continue delivering tirades such as that of the hon member.
Last night the hon member for Nigel began by expressing his opposition to any effort at privatisation in the SATS. Although I had difficulty in hearing the hon member properly across the floor of the House, I was shocked when I realised what was actually behind his speech. I wish to ask the hon member whether he does not appreciate the fact that the SAA, for instance, could not possibly provide a lucrative service say from Jan Smuts to Pietersburg. It would not and could not pay. If that service could be privatised to advantage, however, such a service could then be handed over to the private sector and this sector could furnish such a service on a profitable basis. [Interjections.] I do not believe the hon member quite grasped what was meant by it.
In the second place the hon member also expounded on the construction of certain train sets. I do not believe the hon member is altogether aware how matters are made to tally in this respect. I cannot recall whether the hon member was present but we were invited together to view imported train sets. Some of the sets were from Japan and others from Western Germany and we saw what they looked like and how efficient they were. These train sets are here for testing purposes so that possible problems may be solved so that in the event of their being constructed in South Africa, they could comply with our circumstances. I do not know what the hon member envisaged in this regard; I suspect he was implying that the concern in his own constituency had not been awarded that contract. I do not know who has received it or who will receive it but they will be constructed as prototypes here in South Africa.
I am also tempted to refer briefly to the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central. Within the extent of about 30 minutes the hon member succeeded in showing up the PFP as a party totally unsympathetic toward and wanting nothing to do with the SATS personnel. With that speech the hon member sounded the death knell of the PFP as regards the SATS personnel in South Africa. I shall leave those two gentlemen there although one is tempted to devote one’s whole speech to a discussion on the specious arguments contained in the hon members’ speeches.
Any appropriation drawn up in 1985-86 would be a difficult one. Economic conditions, the great disinvestment campaign overseas, riots which are exploited and the state of emergency which had to be declared here all contributed to our vulnerability overseas.
And what was the cause of all that?
To this list add drought conditions, high interest rates, the low rand value prevailing over the past year and one may say all these factors and others contributed to making it a very difficult year.
In addition, enemies of the RSA were not idle. Communists, with their front organisations like the ANC and others, went over to large-scale violence and unrest. This violence and disturbance was used by the media here and overseas to portray our country as an unsafe one to frighten off tourists and discourage investment in South Africa. We know they achieved great success in these efforts at disinvestment—even if only temporarily.
This appropriation had to be compiled amid such negative situations and, taking all into consideration, one has to congratulate the hon the Minister and the general manager and his capable team of deputies and assistant general managers on their achievement. This side of the House wishes to thank them for their loyalty and dedication and the selfless service they render in the interest of South Africa.
It is heartening that the SA Transport Services did not mutely accept these negative influences but strove vigorously to combat their consequences. In this way the SA Transport Services reduced its establishment dramatically without sacrificing productivity. It is a remarkable achievement that, in spite of a reduction of 19%, service to users did not suffer. It is equally important that people were not retrenched—they did not lose their work.
It is also a noteworthy fact that productivity was not sacrificed. The number of claims, as the hon the Minister informed us, declined by 11%; the punctuality of intercity trains increased by 6%; management succeeded in activating personnel involvement and they were rewarded for practical suggestions to improve productivity. I should like to revert to this aspect later.
I should like to associate myself with the hon the Minister’s Second Reading speech in which he spoke of the stabilising role played by the SA Transport Services. I take pleasure in quoting him:
This is a modest indication of the role played by the SA Transport Services in Southern Africa. I can illustrate it even further.
With more than a quarter of a million employees the SA Transport Services is not only the largest employer in the Republic of South Africa but those people have to buy, they have to eat and they have to have somewhere to live. In spite of what the hon member for Nigel said, it is definitely SATS policy to encourage local industries by which it saves appreciably on currency.
In the case of the wagon-building industry, all wheels were imported until the sixties, for instance. At present all wagon wheels are cast in the country. Then there is also the switch to electric traction with attendant advantages to the industry concerned. The majority of electric locomotives are currently manufactured in the Republic whereas they were all imported previously. The same development has also taken place in other fields such as signalling.
The extent of such purchases runs into millions of rands, the lion’s share of which is spent on domestically manufactured goods.
Indubitably the SATS has also played a great part in the industrial development of our country as well as in the economic sphere; the extent of this appropriation emphasises this. In addition the railways have also influenced industrial development by furnishing cheap and efficient transport.
What applies to industrial development, applies equally to the development of our mining. The export of ore could certainly not take place if it were not for the Sishen-Saldanha ore line. The export of coal to Richards Bay, which is one of our most important assets today and contributes to currency earnings in these difficult times, is one of the feathers in the SATS’s cap. In past years we played the same part as regards agriculture; in fact, we are still playing that part today. Consequently it is not only in these respects but one could devote an entire speech to the work done by the SATS as regards fostering good relations with our neighbouring states.
The SA Transport Services also realises that its weal and woe go hand in hand with that of the private sector. In consequence the organisation always acts responsibly in its purchases and investments as well as its rates policy.
I could give many other examples to emphasise the indispensability of the SA Transport Services. No other organisation does more for the housing of its people than the SA Transport Services. The extent of the departmental housing schemes is a subject justifying a separate speech and I believe other members will speak on this.
When the standing committee recently visited Richards Bay to see the coal line, it struck me what an appreciable role the SATS plays as regards a single item and that is the development of the concrete industry in South Africa. Yesterday we were privileged to meet a few representatives of that industry and if one thinks of all the concrete sleepers laid throughout the length and breadth of South Africa, one realises this is actually an industry which arose and is flourishing through work provided by the SATS.
Large civil engineering firms are actually dependent on and their existence is linked to the work they obtain from the SATS. Everywhere throughout the length and breadth of the country one can see the hand of the SATS in the development of South Africa, in the building of bridges and tunnels and in excavations and filling.
I wish to pause for a moment at a further aspect. It has become clear to me that the SATS plays a very important role in training and motivating its people who deal with the public to keep this relationship sound. This morning on the way to Parliament I once again heard the advertisement over the radio: “Ons maak die verskil—We make the difference”. This beautiful slogan of the SAA is not only idle and frivolous verbiage; a great deal of hard work went into making this slogan a reality.
“We make the difference” is the theme of a programme tackled by the SAA to train its personnel by means of seminars—to mould them as it were—in order to act correctly towards the public. These courses were most successful. SAA personnel succeed in satisfying passengers’ personal needs in a highly technological and competitive working environment. This could only be accomplished by a human approach to the needs of people.
The SAA believes that the expansion and development of such a client awareness is of fundamental importance in order to achieve its marketing objective. One of the best ways of doing so it so have the principle as a point of departure that we all “make the difference” at one stage or another.
Yet another objective was furthered by means of communications and courses. These courses were presented by consultants and they achieved their purpose, I think everyone using the services of the SAA today definitely becomes aware of the manner in which the personnel act—from the friendly treatment one receives the moment one enters the airways office until one leaves the plane one is in good hands throughout. The same applies to cabin crew and all who share in executing the programme with the slogan: “We make the difference”.
My time appears to be running out rapidly. I should have liked to speak on a few other aspects in order to bring important matters related to the SATS to hon members’ attention. I wish to close by once again pointing out—the hon the Minister mentioned this in his Second Reading speech as well—the ways in which the SAA succeeds in saving but simultaneously rendering improved services. Various methods are adopted to reduce SAA costs. Whether the take-off of an aircraft is involved, the course it has to set, the landing procedure to be followed, the type of engine used in our aeroplanes or whether the training of pilots is involved—all these factors are taken into consideration in pruning SAA costs, reducing its expenditure and increasing its profits.
Various methods have been adopted to persuade people to support the SAA. For example, there are week-end excursions, excursions for senior citizens, discount, late-night flights, flexi-flight and the “See South Africa” travelling plan by which one pays R400 and can fly of 4 000 kilometres. In addition there are family travelling plans and a special rate for young people and delegates to conferences. A business class and other schemes have been introduced to encourage people to use the SAA service and to promote tourism—locally and, in conjunction with the SA Tourism Board, overseas as well. Very good relations exist between the SAA and the SA Tourism Board.
In conclusion, in the few minutes at my disposal I should very much like to thank the hon the Minister for the recent tours he arranged for us so successfully. It was a revelation to us to be able to visits the central marshalling yards at Bapsfontein. It was an experience to follow the Broodsnyersplaas line to Richards Bay and to see an old track lifted and removed mechanically and a new one laid in its stead in a single action. I should not have believed it had I not seen it myself. [Interjections.]
We visited the harbour at Richards Bay, we saw developments there and I wish to thank the hon the Minister and those who assisted him again for these tours and for others which were arranged. We are looking forward to the next.
Mr Speaker, after all the “hear, hears” on that side have subsided, I shall tell the hon member that I agree with him that there are many areas where it would be beneficial to consider privatisation. However, I fear that the hon Minister and his management do not share that idea every day since they have to balanced their books I shall come back to this topic. It is also a pity that the hon member for Kempton Park says that the hon member for Port Elizabeth is ostensibly opposed to the employees. All he said was that they were not all that far behind the private sector and that by means of structuring and adjustments to scales they were fare better off than they were in 1983. I would say that it is really not disgraceful to have said such a thing.
†The people of the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape and also Natal can count themselves fortunate that the war effort is far removed from their doorsteps. The war is waged on the northern border and the bulk of the SA Defence force training and backup facilities are centred in the Transvaal.
I praise the SAA for the concessions that they do give to national servicemen, but I suggest that national servicemen from Natal and the Cape are being unfairly discriminated against because they happen to live further from the centre of the war effort. I therefore ask that the SAA introduce a standard fare ticket from Windhoek to any home destination, irrespective of distance, and that fares on standby be further reduced from an airport near their base camp to any home destination. [Interjections.]
Regarding the fare increases, now that the hon the Minister has had 24 hours to calculate the true effects of the decrease in the fuel price, is he prepared to announce decreases in at least some of the fares?
I suggest that the third class commuters should be first to stand in line, because firstly they are the ones who have suffered most under the inflation caused mainly and in no small degree by the boneheaded policies of this Government. Secondly, as a category of passenger they are subsidised also by the smallest amount per single trip, eg 47c on average on a suburban trip whereas White first class is sponsored by about R1,75 per trip. I think those people should be first in line.
Yesterday the hon member for De Kuilen took exception to the second leg of our amendment, namely that we should do away with apartheid within the SATS. He was very keen to point out that it was in fact disappearing and when the CP taxed him he suddenly became a “groot verligte.” He told the CP that it was in fact disappearing under their very eyes. The hon member for De Kuilen and his hon benchmate there seem to read these documents like people who are going to enter “Flink Dink” competitions. They come here and recite to us all sorts of silly little facts such as: “There are more sleepers in Sentra Rand than millionaires in Ethiopia.” [Interjections.] If that hon member wants to turn to page 48 of the main report, I shall now show him that apartheid is alive and very well in the SATS. [Interjections.] There may be this five-phase programme to achieve equality in service conditions—of which we take note—but the SATS has no programme whatsoever to bring its staff situation into line with the overall manpower supply in South Africa.
You know about the five-phase programme.
Let me tell the hon member that the SATS is no more sophisticated an operation than any other in the industrial service, or commercial sector, yet it is lily-white in comparison. For the edification of that hon member—if he cares to read his documents well—in 1984 there was one White worker for every 1,27 non-White workers, and in March 1985 that figure had been reduced to one White per 1,25 non-Whites. So it is in fact getting worse. [Interjections.] That should be proof enough to that hon member and the hon member for Kempton Park that the private sector has in fact given up trying to compete with this hon the Minister for the White labour force.
I do not think the economy can any longer afford a situation where the SATS corner for themselves the lion’s share of the White work force, which is still the best qualified as a result of their privileged access to the best educational facilities. The question today is not whether a Black man could be president—we see what happens to a Minister when he says that! It is quite simply: Can a Black man be a permanent worker on the SATS in any category and with the same benefits and conditions as any White person? Quite frankly—the hon the Minister of Home Affairs is correct again—the answer is “no.”
It is just not good enough for the SATS to say that its personnel philosophy is to have a smaller, more efficient and better qualified work force. In an economy that is crying out for better skills on the one hand and job creation on the other such a philosophy is extremely selfish. Through job division and the much more sophisticated management techniques that are available today, a more appropriate philosophy, I think, would be to have a larger but more efficient work force. A reduction in the total salary bill can equally be achieved through the use of more less well-trained staff than through the use of fewer better-trained staff. The private sector had to do it and the SATS should not be so out of step with what is happening in South Africa.
*I should also like to say something about the first and third legs of our amendment namely privatisation and subsidies. The biggest problem that the hon Minister and his management have in balancing the books is the question of passenger traffic as well as the question of both internal as well as State subsidies which are necessary in order to make good the so-called losses. This burden which the hon Minister and his management carry, I believe, greatly contributes to the semblance the Transport Services bears to a real Mafia. They have good contacts in high places and a lot of muscle power which they use in order to take over sections of the market in which they do not presently operate.
Hendrik for Godfather!
Furthermore SATS even tries to disrupt attempts which the private sector makes to enter certain sectors of the transport industry such as inter-city passenger transport of a higher standard. Attempts have been made to introduce an inter-city bus service. It provides a far higher standard of transport. Such a transport system can be operated at a lower cost than the hon the Minister is able to do with his first and second-class transport. But what does the hon the Minister do? He should be only too glad to let those passengers go. I should like to ask him whether the SATS opposes such applications. Secondly, is he himself acquiring such licences, which is, after all, contrary to the whole idea of privatisation? Thirdly, has the SATS, without a licence, started competing with bus companies which are geared to the transportation of people back to their homelands? Fourthly, what did the court have to say about that? Fifthly, is the hon Minister perhaps embarrassed by what the judge said in such judgments? I do not think it becomes the hon the Minister and his department to act in such a manner.
The transport system must be considered as a whole. It is one, all-embracing system. The SATS must not then ask itself whether it is possible to compete in all these areas. I think the question that the management must ask itself is: What can the SATS do best and what is there which cannot, at the same time, be done equally well by the private sector? That should be the question. What is it SATS does best? It is essentially the transport of goods by rail over a long distance. This includes the provision and the operation of elements in the transport system which require heavy expenditure on infrastructure as in the case of harbours, airports and special railway lines.
Strangely enough, the third area in which the hon Minister of Transport Affairs is more effective than anyone else, is in the field of the mass transportation of people in the urban context. This is what SATS can do better than anybody else. Unfortunately this area in which he is so successful has become a millstone round his neck because of the accompanying losses and the fact that the Minister is expected to balance his books. If we look at the general economic and transport situation then those losses on urban transport are not a loss to the economy as a whole nor to the people of South Africa.
Yesterday the hon member for De Kuilen tried to demonstrate once again how well the Soweto traffic compared with private motor transportation, using figures which he seemed to think were wonderful. He quoted the figures but never drew a conclusion. He did not indicate clearly whether he wanted tariffs to be increased to an economic level or whether the subsidy should disappear, but that was the typical “UP fence sitter” type of speech … [Interjections.] … which he always makes.
The hon member for De Aar was, however, more outspoken. He said that the subsidies should disappear and that the employers should make good the loss because the ordinary man in the street was no longer able to do this by means of taxation. Do those people that say that not understand that there is only one economy? There are not three economies. There is not one economy for the State, one for the businessman and one for the ordinary man. Eventually the ordinary man pays, either through tax or through the products and services he buys.
If we look at these figures, which the hon member for De Kuilen found so attractive, in a different perspective, then we see that in that very same inter-city traffic system in Johannesburg 214 million third-class journeys are undertaken annually.
Does the hon member for De Kuilen want to know exactly what the situation would be if that service were not provided? If we compare this with two-people travelling by car it would be roughly the equivalent of 120 000 cars be let loose in the streets of Johannesburg during peak hour. In other words for a 20 kilometre journey, which the hon member for De Kuilen mentioned, 24 six-lane highways all of them 20 kilometres long would be required to handle this additional traffic. One therefore accepts the fact that SATS is providing an essential service as well as it can in order to convey these people. We can approach the matter from another angle and calculate the capital which would be necessary in order to install another mode of transport. Other problems, which are being eliminated thanks to the service provided by SATS, are pollution, land utilisation, noise and the loss of foreign currency for South Africa.
Bearing all these facts in mind, the loss or the so-called subsidisation of R100 million for passenger transport in Johannesburg, appears small when compared to what it would otherwise have cost us. That loss is therefore not a millstone round the necks of the people of South Africa. Subsidisation of that form of transport is in fact a sensible investment. The sooner the hon the Minister can explain that in the Cabinet and the sooner other hon members can explain that to the general public, the sooner SATS will be rid of the albatross of so-called “loss” or subsidies. And the sooner SATS will be able to rid itself of cross-subsidisation which will result in the hon Minister being able to compete on a larger scale in areas where SATS performs best. He will also be able to leave other aspects of the transport service to private companies which in turn will mean that he will not have to carry on like the “Godfather”.
Mr Speaker, the hon member for Greytown put a number of very vague questions. I think he should approach the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central for a course on how to handle the subject. The standing committee sat for three days. They talked and talked to those wonderful officials, Dr Moolman, Mr Holst, Dr Grové and all the find people sitting there. They answered all those questions put by the hon member for Greytown. I did not even have the opportunity of putting a few more questions as I should have like to do. [Interjections.] I did actually put a few questions but I could not get to all I wished to ask. The hon member for Greytown can ask the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central how we struggled through three full days of his questions and all of them were answered. Now he is using them in an attack on the hon the Minister.
Something which struck me while I was present in the standing committee was that, in spite of political differences, we had progressed to such an extent that we had achieved a unity under the capable chairmanship of the hon member for De Kuilen. [Interjections.] Ultimately we received fine answers to our questions from those people in a very meaningful way.
I noticed the day before yesterday that the SATS had the support of all three Houses when I ultimately attended a debate in the House of Representatives. There are many of them who do not serve on that committee and who did not participate in the debate but the hon members of the House of Representatives acted responsibly.
The hon member for Bishop Lavis, for example, offered his congratulations on the report and congratulated the SATS on what was being done for non-Whites. It struck me that the people serving on the standing committee knew what they were talking about. We shall proceed with this in future.
There is continual talk of privatisation; that is the watchword and the wonderful magic word which is in constant use now. [Interjections.] I challenge hon members to indicate what their attitude will be when there is new legislation in terms of which the property of the SATS will be alienated and able to be sold or let to the private sector. Are those hon members going to support us or are they looking for further reasons to oppose it? How many times has it been postponed already? Each time it is postponed at the request of hon members of the other side because they want more and more information. I hope when we meet on 7 March or whenever it is they will ultimately give us very clear answers to these matters.
We are outgrowing the phase in which any constructive criticism delivered was politicised. I also disagree with people in many cases; just the other day I told the hon the Minister there were certain matters on which I disagreed with him—I am not afraid of doing this. I can do it in the House as well because I know they lend a sympathetic ear there. The new style, however, is to provide constructive criticism without politicising it.
The other day, for example, I expressed criticism to the hon the Minister on the chaotic condition created at the Johannesburg station owing to the accumulation of motorcars. I have also discussed the matter time and again with Mr Braam le Roux, the regional manager. I know a solution has now been found to it. It is not pleasant if one cannot get to platform 16 with one’s car because a long queue of vehicles is waiting and one has to take one’s luggage and walk a long way to put it on the train. I saw how chaotic conditions were there one day but who is responsible for this? Not the SATS—it is the public. If one talks to them, one finds people are going to Durban for four days but their cars remain on platform 16 the whole time! Whose fault is that? Not that of the SATS! Ultimately there will be a turn-style system at Johannesburg station—I know the matter is now in the hands of the right people. Surely we cannot permit is that passengers who want to make use of rail transport cannot reach the station.
I also wish to draw attention to another point of criticism which I raised. I know it will be received in the spirit in which I am mentioning it to hon members of the House today. I travel by train a great deal; I travel by train more than by plane as there is too much apartheid on planes. There is the first class, the special class, the economy class—one cannot even get together to hold a decent caucus but one can do this on a train. The hon the Minister also travels by train with me and in this way we can progress.
I wish to mention yet another point of criticism. Railway people have told me time and again: “Oh, ‘Oom’ Sporie, won’t you do something to rid us of these brown uniforms?” They say they have lost their pride. The other day a controller told me: “I am going to take out the old blue uniform I packed away. Truly, give us something to be proud of again in life in ridding us of these brown uniforms.” I am not afraid to mention this today as I am saying it in a good spirit. [Interjections.]
I also wish to say to hon members of the House that we make too little use of the train. Do hon members know that the catering staff who do such excellent work in Parliament and on whose behalf the hon the Minister and his management have our highest respect and whose work really deserves a mention tell me: “Really, ‘Oom’ Sporie, we see so few members of Parliament on trains.” But if one boards a train, one is treated like a president. [Interjections.] If hon members ever want to know what it feels like to be a president, they should merely travel by train.
Which president—a Black president or a White president? [Interjections.]
No, no, wait a bit.
I wish to tell hon members that we should take to the train again. Officials told me that they had not seen the hon member for Durban Point on a train for a long time. When is he going to travel by train again? [Interjections.] They are aware of our tricks in the House and know how we behave but I lift my hat to the catering staff of the SATS. They also asked me: “Oh, ‘Oom’ Sporie, can’t we have a menu again to use for meals on the train?” They do not want the typed list but something standardised because they said they still had a feeling of pride. They asked whether we could not have something attractive again such as a plate of soup, a luncheon and ultimately a sweet with it.
What about pudding?
Yes, a dessert! [Interjections.] They had to write the little thing out each time. This is a la carte or that is a la carte—they do not like this list of cards. They want something simpler coming in an attractive cover. I have seen such presentations before and I hope it will be carried out there.
Now I wish to direct a few words to the hon member for Greytown. In this respect I also wish to associate myself with what the hon member for Primrose said yesterday. There are doors open to personnel of the SA Transport Services. I know the personnel of the SA Transport Services and I also know its present general management; I know the general management in conjunction with the hon the Minister and the commissioners will solve the existing problems successfully in time.
Mr Speaker, I can so well recall the days when the late Mr Charlie Malan was the Minister of Railways and Harbours; this was during the years of depression when people also suffered badly. At the time, however, a fine charitable spirit prevailed amongst them. One day “Oom” Charlie Malan said to the people: “Now you will have to choose between higher salaries or the dismissal of certain of your fellow workers.” Sir, those railwaymen stood together as one man and said they preferred earning less money as long as they could continue working side by side with their fellows; they were unwilling to permit the dismissal of their colleagues. That, Sir, is the spirit I believe should take root afresh in the ranks of SA Transport Services personnel.
I believe the SA Transport Services forms part and parcel of our national heritage; it is such an integral part of us that it cannot be alienated in any way. For this reason I wish to appeal earnestly to the hon the Minister today. I know the Metroblitz has been cancelled; certain passenger trains are being cancelled, one of which, I believe, is the Trans-Karoo of 7 March. Now the controller tells me: “Oom Sporie, that is the train carrying most passengers.” I do not know whether this is actually so. Now certain weekend trains are also being pulled in. I shall do everything to ensure that passengers start using SATS services again. Surely it is not only goods which have to be conveyed; surely we cannot work only according to foreign patterns. The SA Transport Services has its own character and it should build on that unique character.
In speaking of the unique character of this organisation, which we are just accustomed to calling the Railways, I cannot omit pointing out that this very institution even forms the theme of quite a number of well-known songs. Think of songs such as Die trein na Matjiesfontein, Die Kimberleyse Trein, Trans-Karoo and, last but not least, Een aand op die trein na Pretoria. In view of this one can really say it is wonderful how the Railways have become part and parcel of our cultural heritage.
Most of us saw the film Trans-Karoo. I wonder whether hon members know that when Trans-Karoo was televised it drew the highest number of viewers of all television programmes at the time. I learnt this from the SABC itself. Each episode of that film drew 2 million viewers on average. The televising of Trans-Karoo enabled the SABC to be of great assistance to Daan Retief and Constantia Films, but not a word is mentioned about this in the annual report. I should have liked to see a reference to this; that was certainly a laudable film effort. I have also been told that not only the Trans-Karoo itself but ordinary passenger trains have benefited from this.
Now I should like to tell hon members something about Daan Retief; it is something which may interest them. He was a boy from Durbanville who matriculated at the Jan van Riebeeck High School in 1943. In 1944 he started work as an ordinary messenger in the Parliamentary building—a messenger who ultimately climbed to such heights! By the way, his father was a steward with the SA Transport Services.
Consequently Daan Retief was part of the Transport Services of South Africa. I spent a long time talking to Daan Retief by telephone yesterday. I devote a great deal of time to speaking to all kinds of people by telephone—people far away in Johannesburg; in that wonderful city! [Interjections.] He said to me: “Oom Sporie, a very high percentage of viewers was not Afrikaans speaking. They watched Trans-Karoo because they like light entertainment and clean humour, two aspects which alternate in a priceless way in that film.” He said an English-speaking viewer told him: “I love those guys as much as I love the Trans-Karoo.”
Koos Strauss took the role of Kolonie Coetzee, after which he was invited to Hartenbos as the guest of honour of the ATKV. Daan Retief takes pleasure in relating one story which is how he struggled with his brand new BMW because its speed could not hold a candle to that of the Trans-Karoo. [Interjections.] Gosh, Sir, that Trans-Karoo can go! I have never in my life seen its like! [Interjections.] Do you know, Mr Speaker, the other day that Trans-Karoo departed from Johannesburg—it even had to wait for passengers from Durban because the Trans-Natal was late again … [Interjections.] Yes, that is right. And what happened then, Mr Speaker? Do you know what happened ultimately? It pulled out but was travelling at its usual speed and at Potchefstroom it stopped even longer. Eventually we arrived at Klerksdorp—75 minutes late. Even that diesel could not make it—could do nothing—when the train had to proceed to De Aar. I want to say this: A diesel is not as wonderful as one thinks. Give me steam every time! Do you know what happened next? The two electric units which had to tow the train from Beaufort West made up the 75 minutes. It drew into the station at Touws River sixteen minutes early. I take my hat off to that train.
I hope there is a follow-up film to Trans-Karoo. When I asked Daan Retief where he had found the hit theme song, he said it had come from Herman Holtzhauzen. I asked him how he had ultimately come upon it. He then explained how Herman Holtzhauzen had been thinking of a chap sitting on a train while his darling girl was far away. The turning wheels of the train were bringing him nearer and nearer to that beautiful girl so he finally decided to write a song about it.
That baboon, “Oom” Sporie!
Yes, I know. We shall get to the baboon; I shall talk about him later.
Sometimes one feels so odd as I did when I read something from the book by the previous leader of the PFP. I shall read it now in all modesty. He was describing his relations with the State President who was the Prime Minister at the time. This took place on the evening of 10 March 1982 and runs as follows:
I am mentioning this in all modesty because what was my speech about that night? It was about the steam locomotive; that it was part of our culture-historical back ground. The title of my speech was ’n Trajek vir Stoomtreine. I said the steam locomotive had captured a place in the hearts of our people here and abroad. Because I did it there, I knew again that the Afrikaans language lent itself to that.
Now hon members want me to talk about the matter of the baboon.
Yes, please, “Oom” Sporie!
I don’t know whether I have extra time to talk about that.
Give him the time, Mr Speaker!
Ask the hon the Minister for time. We must hear about the baboon.
The hon the Minister of Finance said here that the baboon often singed its tail and each time I thought this was a dig at the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs. He was nipped each time the baboon’s tail touched the fire. [Interjections.] So I went searching and I honestly found a baboon in the service of the railways. I shall show members a picture of him. In this photo he is throwing the signals at Uitenhage station so I went and did a little research on this because there is nothing about it in this book. Sir, imagine yourself at Uitenhage station where in 1884 passengers came to see a baboon in the service of the South African Railways. James Wide, the signalman, had lost both his legs in the Kleinpoort neighbourhood. He had taught a large baboon to help him with his duties as a signalman. It was an exceptional baboon.
What did he pay him? [Interjections.]
He placed a trolley on the line in a skilful manner and harnessed a large collie because ultimately the collie had to draw him along on that trolley. The baboon helped to push the trolley with the signalman steering.
In this way they travelled by trolley on the line to reach home at last. That dog and that baboon later became national treasures of the railways of the time. The baboon was so intelligent that he threw those signals with the greatest exactitude. It was ludicrous but it was done in such a human way that it excited admiration.
When he threw the lever—here is a picture of him doing this—he peeped from his baboon eyes to ensure he was throwing the right lever then walked straight outside and waited for the train. The passengers used to throw snacks from their windows. The baboon was so well versed in the “home” and “distant” signals that he never made a mistake; he did not have to be told more than once what to do. He was so intelligent that he always did the right thing. Jacko—that was his name—was one of the sights of the place.
It is a pity the tale actually has to end on a tragic note because the dog and the baboon were both killed in a violent manner. I have not been able to establish how this happened but we shall get to that.
The story of this baboon appeared even in overseas magazines—complete with photos. He was referred to as a “famous baboon” and one report opened as follows: “We have of course heard of railwaymen getting up to monkey tricks but never before of the converse.” In 1904 on the occasion of its centenary, the Municipality of the Eastern Areas placed this in a commemoration programme of Uitenhage.
Even if a baboon sometimes singes its tail in the fire, it can still do sterling service. It should just not show its teeth at the hon the Minister and the fine management of the SATS.
With such an engine driver on the Trans-Karoo, the Japanese Bullet express would be left standing. [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, I think it is a tragic day for the railway officials and for White South Africa on which the hon member could tell a baboon story like that. [Interjections.] The hon member for Rosettenville and I have known each other for years. He argued today that the brown uniform should fall away, as the people want to be proud of their uniforms. He said we should not take the people’s pride away. He also said the plate of soup should be a meal which could be eaten with pride.
I now want to ask the hon member where he was on 2 November 1983 when he voted away the pride of the Afrikaner people. [Interjections.] That was when sovereign power of the Afrikaner people was given away. Where was the hon member then? Who are the hon member’s people? He said Charlie Malan had said: “I worked side by side with my neighbour.” Who is the hon member’s neighbour? Who are his people? [Interjections.] His leader-in-chief said we, together with the Coloureds, are all one nation. [Interjections.]
The hon member must think back to the days when he still lead the Voortrekkers and the Drawwertjies; when he was still proud of being an Afrikaner and he served his people. I now say to him: “Come back, old friend.”
I am with my own people.
The hon member must return to this side of the House.
The hon member for Kempton Park kicked off by saying our member had made a racist speech.
What are you doing now?
I am dealing with Kempton Park. [Interjections.]
When we stand up for the White people and say we refuse to give the White people’s sovereign power away, we are accused of racism. The hon member for Kempton Park has even less feeling for his people than the hon member for Rosettenville has. If he were to get into trouble, would he say: “Please I am Black, I am Black”? He would no longer be proud of being White. [Interjections.] I am not ashamed of the hon member but he should be ashamed of himself. They are pleading for the White railway workers to be downgraded and paid off, while the Coloureds and Indians have to be given other jobs. Apparently that is not racist. The hon member therefore agrees that the Whites should be treated in the manner indicated by the hon member for De Aar yesterday. He rejoices about it. He is pleased; he enjoys it. The CP will enjoy the support of the voters at large, yes. I should therefore like the hon member to appear on a platform in Kempton Park with me. [Interjections.] This hon member, with his terribly high level of intelligence, says I am stupid and I understand nothing; but even with my humility and my stupidity I shall leave the hon member in his tracks.
Before I go further, I merely want to thank the general management and all the officials of the SATS for the annual report. I think it is a fine piece of work which was compiled thoroughly. We thank them sincerely for it.
As far as the hon the Minister is concerned—he and I have known each other for years—I shall address the last part of my speech directly to him, and I hope we shall be able to speak man to man across the floor of the House this afternoon.
Sir, all that hon member knows is “aitsa”. He must go and “aitsa” outside.
Last year the hon the Minister said he expected a real economic growth of 1,5%. I quote what he said the other day:
Surely the hon the Minister should have known last year that there will not be a growth rate of 1,5%. In the same way the public was told this year—and I shall come to that later—that the turning point has been reached and that we are growing. The hon the Minister must please not bluff the country. If the hon the Minister had not tried to bluff the public during the past 18 months, we should have been in this position of bankruptcy and we should not have needed anyone from abroad to administer our affairs. I am telling the hon the Minister his predictions for this year are not as rosy as he pretends. I want to tell the hon the Minister very clearly that I have nothing against him as a person, or against his character, integrity or capability. I am going to criticise him today, however.
We thank the SATS for the efficiency they have displayed. The hon the Minister put it very well when he said his operating efficiency had improved by almost 17%. One cannot go only on profits, however. A good criterion—and the hon the Minister said this—is the gross ton/km per train in which this efficiency is expressed. We thank them very much for that. May things proceed in that spirit. Now I ask myself, however: How long will it last?
It is not we who are sitting here nor the hon the Minister who has brought about this progress, but the staff members themselves. They are working against the diabolical policy of this Government, however. I say that without this policy of the Government, we should really have seen how splendid the SATS is. The SATS would have performed splendidly; much better even than now.
Now I want to confine my attention to the financial aspects. I am referring to the finance cost in particular. The Estimate of Expenditure for 1986-87 includes the following: Railways—R1 446,5 million; harbours R156 million; airways R134,4 million; pipelines R21,7 million. That adds up to a total of R1 758,6 million; which comprises 18,6% of the total expenditure. It is much too high! I say we are placing a burden on posterity. No matter how much we may be suffering now, we shall have to look into this. We cannot get away from it.
The hon the Minister also said the free market mechanism must triumph now. In connection with the transport of goods by rail, the hon the Minister says they are not satisfied with handling only 42% of South Africa’s total transportation. I should like the hon the Minister to tell us which section of the transportation in South Africa he wants. The Government is already handling 42%. Must the rest of the private sector get more or less? Does the hon the Minister want 50% or 60% or 70%? He must tell us. Sir, I am speaking now also as a representative of businessmen. The businessmen are complaining terribly. They have given the Government thousands of rands on the occasion of elections etc, and now they want to know what piece of that cake they are going to get.
The Government is pursuing a policy of privatisation. I want to know to what extent the SATS is going to be privatised. Privatisation also means that one must not take the whole market for oneself, because there is no point in everyone’s having motor trucks when there is no load to convey. I want to ask the hon the Minister whether he is going to relax the rules and regulations so that the private sector can compete with the SATS, or are they going to be handicapped before they will be allowed to compete?
I also want to refer to the estimates in respect of revenue and expenditure. I want to tell the hon the Minister the picture is not nearly as rosy as he has painted it for us, and I shall tell him later why I say this. Revenue is estimated at an amount of R9 322 million as against the amount of R8 084 million for the previous year. This means an increase of 15,3%. It is a terrible increase. How is the hon the Minister going to get that revenue and where will he get it from? The hon the Minister himself said there will be little growth.
Goods services are responsible for the greatest income, and as a result of the depreciation of the rand the SATS has earned good revenue on the export of mineral products. Although the value of the rand has risen now, it is a fact that the upswing in countries abroad will only be experienced in South Africa’s economy over a period of several months. If our export does not rise, therefore, and if the disinvestment and boycott campaign is applied successfully, how does the hon the Minister plan to obtain the additional amount of 15,3%?
Concerning expenditure, the estimated expenditure for the current financial year is R9 417 million, which represents an increase of 11,09%. Why is it that the expenditure shows a lower percentage rise than this revenue? Although the hon the Minister has budgeted now for a certain percentage loss, experience has proved over a number of years that where one has budgeted for a certain percentage loss, the State’s real overspending is much higher in the end.
As far as that is concerned, I want to tell the hon the Minister that in this connection he is not going to make the grade. The hon the Minister has had a little windfall in the decrease in fuel prices, and I want to ask him whether he was informed of it, because at the beginning of January, when there was an increase of 2 cents, the hon the Minister said nothing. He had to consult the hon the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs to find out what the position was. The hon the Minister does sit in the Cabinet, but he does not always know what is going on. It is not that he does not know, but he is not told. [Interjections.]
The hon the Minister must not laugh, for the same thing happened last year when the state of emergency was announced. This House adjourned on 20 June last year and on 31 July the Cabinet met for the first time, whereas the State President had announced the state of emergency on the evening of Saturday, 20 July. Only a few members of the Cabinet knew about it then, although the BBC, Boesak and Tutu had already known it on the Friday night. Not all the members of the Cabinet knew, however.
I can understand that there is a curtailment of services, because the SATS is also experiencing a crisis, and they have to keep their heads above water. They have to try to economise. The hon the Minister said railway passenger journeys have decreased as a result of current economic conditions. That is true, but I also want to tell the hon the Minister the position is going to deteriorate further. The hon the Minister is a maize farmer himself. Recently it was estimated that the maize harvest would be superlative, but now we are experiencing a drought. I tell the hon the Minister we are in a predicament.
The number of commuter journeys decreased by 2% from April to November; the number of intercity passenger services by 15%; and the number of regional passenger services was reduced by 40%. These reductions are not going to disappear overnight; this is a pattern which will be followed throughout.
Let us look at the Airways. I quote the hon the Minister in his Budget speech:
Nevertheless the tariffs for both domestic and international flights have increased. The hon the Minister must realise he is pricing himself out of the market. He is doing so in an effort to get money so that the wheels can keep rolling. The sale of domestic airline tickets decreased by 4% and that of international airline tickets by 10%. If a greater number of people go bankrupt and more companies are liquidated every day, where is the revenue going to come from? We must look at South Africa’s unsatisfactory situation, the situation we want to bluff the public into believing is much better.
The hon the Minister also spoke about the capital expenditure. Only R1 046,5 million is being spent this year and it represents a decrease of R453,5 million or 30,2%. It is a great pity that this is so, because in a time of economic recession in particular one must spend on capital works, one must invest to establish the infrastructure in order to assist in putting the country in the position of having the necessary facilities at its disposal when there is an economic upswing.
What are we going to do if we suddenly have a boom but do not have the necessary facilities? Perhaps one can obtain the money immediately—one can even borrow it—but the problem is that a factory cannot be erected overnight.
When I speak about the staff strength, I turn to the hon member for Kempton Park immediately. The hon member said those people had not lost their jobs at all—they were not dismissed—but the hon the Minister himself says the staff has been cut by 8 000 during the past year.
But they were not dismissed.
Between 1982 and the present, the establishment has decreased by 53 360. Where are those people now? Where are they earning money now? What are they living on? Are their children not among the 12 000 who go to school without food daily?
I want to point out to the hon member for Kempton Park that it is true that people in certain categories—I think these are people in the lower categories—have to retire on attaining the age of 60. If it is true that they have to retire at that age, the hon member for Kempton Park should have retired almost a decade ago.
What about you?
Yes, me too. Nevertheless I want to say that if someone is 60 years old, it does not necessarily mean he can no longer work. Dr Malan was 80 years old and still South Africa’s Prime Minister.
Provision is being made for an increase of R429 million in the salary structure. I want to know whether the levies of the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning concerning regional services councils are included in that amount. All I want to say is that if that hon Minister gets away with his nonsense, it will lead to a crisis in this country. The hon the Minister of Transport Affairs should know that when the regional services councils levies become a reality, he will have to pay as far as the SATS’s wages, turnover and so forth are concerned. These things are not spelt out to us. We can get no details. I understand that certain regulations are to be issued, but I cannot obtain closer details before they have gone through certain channels. Nevertheless I make deductions from what we have heard and seen here, and on that basis I say South Africa will get a big shock when those regulations are issued.
Now I want to speak frankly to the hon the Minister.
Look how he is trembling!
No, the hon the Minister need not tremble; I shall not hurt him. We have come a long way together. He himself is a man who worked for the Afrikaner people. He worked for the continued existence of the Whites. He did it with pride, with his head held high. Now he has been caught up in this new dispensation. That is something he liked no more than I did. He is caught up in that position. Now he, as the hon the Minister, is suffering with all his officials in these miserable conditions our country is experiencing.
This is his last Railways budget.
The hon the Minister did what he could for the Railway workers. Nevertheless the representatives of 170 000 of those Railway workers have introduced a motion of no confidence in him, as it were. This House consists of 176 members.
After 31 May we shall take over.
Imagine if all those people were Members of Parliament who had to be housed in chambers such as this one, 1 000 buildings of this kind would have to be built, probably stretching from Adder-ley Street to Paarl.
As a result of his new dispensation, the whole world no longer has esteem and respect for us. This dispensation is creating expectations in the Blacks. Create those expectations in the Blacks and what are you going to find? Murder, violence and rebellion. [Interjections.] That is the truth.
We have that already.
We experience it every day. Those hon members laughed last year at that man who committed suicide because of his poverty. [Interjections.] I want to tell the hon the Minister he has always loved the Whites. I thought his love had merely waned, but it seems he is beginning to hate the Whites. I want to tell the hon the Minister: Discontinue this new dispensation.
I want to tell the hon the Minister, South Africa has been affected by one plague after another since this new dispensation was implemented. [Interjections.] What happened? As a result of conditions which arose after the implementation of the new dispensation, we have experienced a recession, as well as terrible drought, unrest, arson, etc. There were also bankruptcies. The outside world has pursued us with a consuming hatred since this dispensation was implemented. We have unemployment … [Interjections.] Those hon members are laughing. It does not matter; we can even be murdered. They rejoice about that. [Interjections.] That hon member for Rustenburg is the man who hounds the teachers in an effort to determine whether they are pro-CP. That is what that hon member does.
At present we are experiencing the highest level of unemployment we have ever had in this country. Now the locusts are consuming the country too. [Interjections.] the NP, and especially the hon member for Vryheid, are rejoicing about it. He finds it a joke. It is lovely! He is enjoying it; he finds it very pleasant. He and the hon member for Rustenburg are enjoying it. [Interjections.] I want to tell the hon the Minister: Today is Majuba Day and we in the CP will ensure that the NP gets their Majuba Day. I want to associate myself with what the hon member for Rosettenville said, in requesting the hon the Minister to prove his pride as an Afrikaner by forgetting about the new dispensation. He can take his place here. I shall make room for him.
Mr Chairman, my parents taught me to respect my elders, regardless of whether they are White or Coloured or Black. They also gave me good hidings if I did not do so. Today I have a problem, therefore, for I have listened to two hon members of the CP and, with due respect, I must say I am struggling—it is a painful, difficult thing for me—to show respect towards the hon member for Sunnyside and the hon member for Nigel. [Interjections.]
You need not bother!
When, in reference to the hon member for Rosettenville and his speech, the hon member for Sunnyside spoke of a tragic day, all I want to say is thank heaven for people like Sporie van Rensburg. Sporie van Rensburg—the hon member for Rosettenville—is the type of man who represents the conscience of the NP and of the railworker. We are not going to make use of scolding and of wild statements, such as were made across this floor today, to try to influence the Government or the NP in any way concerning the railworkers. [Interjections.] The trouble with those hon members is that they are trying to score off the hon member for Sasolburg. They want to be more conservative than the conservative element in South Africa. Those hon member must forget about that. They are not going to compete with the hon member for Sasolburg. They cannot, even if they want to. They must forget about that. They must not even try. It does not work. [Interjections.] The hon member for Nigel says he sees the suffering of the railworkers.
We see it; we see it every day …
That is quite correct. Who else sees it?
I see it every day! [Interjections.]
That is the difference, Sir. They see it. Both those hon members—the hon member for Langlaagte and the hon member for Kuruman—only see it.
You do nothing about it…
If it is true that the railmen are suffering so, I merely wanted to say we are experiencing …
You must resign! [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member for Langlaagte and the hon member for Kuruman will now curb their interjections. The hon member may proceed.
If it is true that the railworkers are suffering as much as the hon members see is the case, I say we are experiencing this suffering with the railworkers, for we live with them. We share in their joy and sorrow; we share in the railworkers’ dilemma and their problems. [Interjections.]
In the ten minutes I have been granted to say something in this House, I should like to speak about something much finer and nobler than the CP. In the few minutes at my disposal I want to highlight the problem of the physically handicapped person in respect of public transport. I want to begin by making the statement that public transport—no matter how sophisticated it is, and whether it is in South Africa or elsewhere in the world—does not make provision for the physically handicapped; it cannot accommodate them. The access of the physically handicapped person who wants to make use of welfare and health services or to take part in social activities, is restricted by one or more of the following factors or problems: In the first place they cannot afford cars because their disability pension is the lowest … [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: In the past the hon member for Heilbron has told me “Hok toe” (get back to your kennel!), and has done so again now, with the clear insinuation that I am a dog. [Interjections.] I now ask you, in view of rulings Mr Speaker has made, to ask that hon member, who is sitting there laughing like a hyena, to stop making this kind of personal remark.
Order! The hon member objects when people say “hok toe” to him, but then says other hon members are laughing like hyenas. It is very difficult to draw a distinction. Did the hon member for Heilbron say that, and what did he mean by it?
Mr Chairman, I did indeed say “hok toe”, but that does not mean the hon member is a dog. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Kimberley South may proceed. [Interjections.]
Physically handicapped people cannot afford cars nor can they even drive. That is one of the problems. Nor can they afford to make use of public transport. They live in areas which do not have good public transport services. The service aspects of the public transport system …
Jan, you must …
Order! I do not know who is making the hon member for Jeppe so very angry, but we cannot act that way in this House. The hon member must please control the tone of his voice.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Brits, an acknowledged falsifier, is making remarks here about me … [Interjections.]
Order! The hon member will withdraw what he said.
Mr Chairman, may I address you about this?
No, you may not. You must withdraw what you said.
I am not prepared to withdraw it; he falsified …
Then you will have to withdraw from the Chamber.
I shall withdraw from the Chamber, but he is a falsifier!
Order! If the hon member displays such contempt for the House and for the ruling of the Chair I have to take much stricter action against him. I therefore order the hon member for Jeppe, having disregarded the authority of the Chair, to withdraw from the Chamber for the remainder of the day’s sitting.
[Whereupon the hon member withdrew.]
[Interjections.] Order! The hon member for Kimberley South may proceed.
I am pleased I am not in your seat, Sir, because to maintain the dignity of this House with that party must be very difficult. [Interjections.]
Order! It is the function of the Chairman to maintain order, and I am satisfied that, within limits, order is being maintained by all the parties.
I was merely sympathising with you.
The design of the service aspects of the public transport system causes great problems in respect of health, movement and/or orientation of handicapped people. The available transport such as taxis, buses, trains and aeroplanes, is not accessible to them for one or more of the following reasons.
There is the cost aspect, by which I mean the fare for the user of the public transport service. These factors influence the travelling habits of people who find fares too high to afford. Deficiencies in design affects people who find it difficult to ascend or descend the public conveyance or to feel comfortable while using a given public conveyance. Operational deficiencies of the public transport system influence people who have insufficient knowledge of the system and find it difficult to reach the system as a result of their movement problems and a route which does not cover a certain area sufficiently. Physically handicapped people want to live independently and self-sufficiently.
Public transport is seen as a means to fulfil an end. If public transport was made more accessible to them, more opportunities would be within their grasp. Just like any normal person, handicapped people want to be productive in society. If public transport is not suitable, they become increasingly dependent on family and friends and it becomes much more difficult for them to make a productive contribution to society.
According to the population census of 1980, there are approximately 284 820 physically handicapped people in South Africa, making up 1,14% of the total population. Public transport in South Africa is not geared to the transport of physically handicapped people at all. The French interdepartmental work group for the transport of handicapped people made a recommendation for example that 500 million francs be spent on measures which would considerably increase urban mobility of the handicapped. In the United Kingdom the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act of 1968 requires that all public transport be made accessible to the handicapped where it is practically possible and reasonable. In addition, the French Government instructed that every public facility be made accessible to individuals with diminished mobility as from 1 March 1979. In the USA the BAGGI amendment requires that the public transport system be designed in such a way that it is accessible to the aged and to handicapped people. The rules and regulations of the BAGGI amendment deal with a variety of methods of making vehicles more accessible to handicapped people. Aspects such as steps, handles and lighting, for example, were investigated. Little or nothing is done by the public transport services in South Africa to ease the fate of handicapped people.
Local authorities are also guilty of this. It is very difficult for a handicapped person who is dependent upon a wheelchair to get down from or up onto a pavement without someone else’s help. There is no legislation in South Africa to force or even encourage suppliers of transport to make their vehicles and services accessible to handicapped people. In our country it is physically impossible for a person confined to a wheelchair to make use of public transport such as a bus, an ordinary taxi or a train.
The SA Airways is the only component of the total infrastructure which assists handicapped people to some extent. It is impossible to make all conventional public transport facilities accessible to all classes of physically handicapped people. It would simply be too expensive. The transport of handicapped people is normally undertaken in a specialised way by service organisations and organisations such as the Cripple Care Association.
I want to plead with the hon the Minister, however, for an air travel concession. I made this same plea a few years ago for a certain class of handicapped person. The hon the Minister’s reply was that he could not make exceptions, because if he makes one exception, he has to do the same for all handicapped people, and, as I said earlier, there are more than 80 000 physically handicapped people in South Africa. Today, however, I want to bemoan the fate of a specific type of handicapped person.
There are 27 children—nine of them are pupils of the Elizabeth Conradie School in Kimberley, ten of them are at the Durban Open Air School, six of them are at Meerhof in Pretoria and two are pupils at the Hope School in Johannesburg—who can make use of no transport other than air transport. The reason for this is that they suffer from incontinence of the bladder as well as other pathological bladder conditions which necessitate their reaching their destination as soon as possible. The devices these children are equipped with, are programmed for four hours at best. In addition, some of the 27 children are paralysed to such an extent that they are incapable of handling the devices themselves or of helping themselves in any other way.
As a result of these children’s specific problems, they cannot go home or to friends during off-weekends as the other handicapped scholars can. Some of these children cannot even go home for holidays, simply because their parents cannot afford it. If we can accommodate national servicemen by giving them a discount on flights and we can accommodate the aged in the same way, it is my plea that we accommodate these children as well. There are only 27 of them and they cannot travel in any way but by aeroplane. They are not healthy and strong, and cannot even travel alone. That is why I want to request the hon the Minister—it is the year of the Handicapped in South Africa—despite our difficult economic conditions, despite the loss the SAA is suffering and despite the SATS’s financial problems, to help these 27 children. It will not make such a difference to our fate.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Kimberley South pleaded the case of handicapped people, and he did it in an impressive fashion. He started by talking about “die arme Spoorwerkers wat so swaar kry in hierdie moeilike tye” and there was a bit of an argument between him and the CP as to exactly how unfortunate these people were and whether the parties concerned appreciated these people’s unfortunate position.
This has underlined a responsibility which this Government has, and which it has not been living up to, namely to maintain the economic situation in as healthy a state as possible. The rest of the world is very materialistic. It has lost the understanding of how powerful an idea is. We have no excuse for losing that understanding because we have been governed by an evil idea for a long time and this should have taught us how impossible it is to run the economy and to do anything for that matter, when an evil idea governs our lives. In 1975-76, R24 million was paid for the first time by the central Government as compensation for the transport of passengers on a commuter service “in respect of people who had been put into resettlement areas.” That was the start. That small beginning became a monster that grew year by year and has caused us incalculable problems. In 1979, only four years later, the amount paid as a subsidy in this way accounted for approximately 14% of the relevant cost. The balance however was already being provided by cross-subsidisation. The SATS was now involved in the biggest growth industry that it had ever been involved in namely losses on passenger transport. In 1979 it was calculated that the passenger fare would have had to be doubled in order to wipe out all losses in this sector of the market. Six years later, the loss on commuter and interstate services as a result of the Group Areas Act had grown to over R600 million. The amount paid in compensation by the State was well in excess of R400 million. The balance had to be made up from cross-subsidisation. By 1979 a situation had already been reached where the amount required for cross-subsidisation accounted for an 18% rise in the tariff for goods services. This trend has continued with the result that losses in regard to passenger services this year, I gather, exceed R1 billion.
Formidable as these losses might be, they represent the smaller proportion of the total loss which the political economy has suffered in consequence of the pursuit of ideological castles in the air.
The real cost has been in the distortion to our economy that has resulted from this cross-subsidisation. The interim report on phase 1 of the National Policy Study estimated cross-subsidisation for all purposes, namely passengers and goods carried below cost, to be over R1 billion in 1981. It also points out that this amount was equivalent to 7% of the budget for that year. It exceeded the combined total of all other subsidies paid.
These statistics should indicate to anybody that we are dealing with figures of which magnitude that they must have a profound on the economy according to the way the money is raised and being used. By way of comparison, it is interesting to note the excitement over a movement in the deficit before borrowing when it moves either up or down by 1%. These huge cross-subsidisations have some very unsatisfactory characteristics. For example they are to a large degree covert. That is why this Government has liked them. As illustrated previously they are to a large extent apartheid’s child. The Government has preferred to raise money for its ideological aberration in a manner which sidesteps debate in this House. They depend on cost allocations and tariffs which are made by executives and which are really very arbitrary and cannot be checked. Rates are loaded for the purpose of generating surpluses which are used in cross-subsidisation.
If those two hon members want to continue their conversation they are welcome to do so outside. The hon member may continue.
This represents quite arbitrary tax. It is a tax which is imposed by people with no knowledge of taxation. They have no awareness of the goals that should be achieved when a tax is levied. They do not understand the effect that a particular tax has on the economy. There is only one thought in the mind of the official who decides that he can load a certain rate. That thought is: “What can that particular traffic bear?” It follows that to raise a billion rand in this manner to subsidise passenger transport might seem the easy way round an administrative responsibility, but it can have an unpredictable economic leverage capable of doing the economy incredible damage. To illustrate my point I shall give just two examples in which cross-subsidisation has worked against the Government’s own particular policies.
Firstly, the Kleu Committee deliberated for six years to produce an industrial strategy for South Africa. They came to the conclusion that the factor of production most likely to inhibit economic growth in South Africa was a shortage of overseas capital. This committee pinpointed the export of manufactured goods as the way to overcome this and to create work at the same time. One of its most important conclusions was that this shortage could best be overcome by exporting, in the same way as had been successfully accomplished by the newly industrialised countries in the Far East.
Our tariff structure pushed up the cost of transporting manufactured goods in some cases to 300% of cost. Similarly the cost of fuel, which was already high, was exaggerated, because it went through a pipeline which was better than an oil well. This led to revenue being pumped out for cross-subsidisation which was at one stage at 400% of cost. As if this were not enough, that other strong monopoly, the harbours, the Khyber Pass through which exporters have to send all their products to the outside world, were exacting a toll of R982 million against the costs of R565 million in the 1984-85 financial year. This has inhibited the export of manufactured goods. The FCI is on record as saying the other day that we must view the export of manufactured goods as a lost opportunity to a large extent. In the light of the Kleu report it is no exaggeration to say that this is an extremely serious situation.
Secondly, if there is one grand strategy which the Government has committed itself to, it is that of regional development and specifically industrial decentralisation. It has implemented this policy without proper analysis, planning or control. It has largely nullified some of the benefits that could have been achieved. But one cannot deny that the Government has pursued a decentralisation policy with the avidity of a compulsive gambler. In the meantime the subsidisation of commuter transport on the one hand and the necessity of raising funds for the cross-subsidisation of socio-economic services on the other, have made it difficult for industries to establish themselves anywhere but in the PWV area, and view few other areas. It is certainly very difficult to establish an industry on the coast.
The General Manager of the SATS says the following:
Just imagine the distortion and the effect that has on the economy before one talks about the poor railwaymen who are having a tough time. I do feel sorry for these poor railwaymen, but in Port Elizabeth I see tens of thousands of people out of work with no safety net to catch them. They have been dismissed because their employers in the private sector cannot employ them any longer. It is not a case of their having received a raise in salary of only 10%. In certain respects the railway workers are more privileged than people in the private sector.
A further unsatisfactory characteristic of this type of cross-subsidisation and the loading and unloading of rates is that it leads to serious distortion in the allocation of our resources. Investment decisions are repeatedly made on the wrong basis, with the result that one ends up with a misallocation of resources, resulting in an economy in trouble like we have now. Exactly the same thing would have happened if the SATS had been a private company and the same type of misallocation of resources had then made on a smaller scale.
One of the things that really gets me about this Government, is the way it promotes crazy, impractical, ideological objectives and then a vast army of dedicated public servants busts a gut to try to get them out of trouble. If the hon members think that I exaggerate, they must read page 8 of the interim report on phase 1 of the National Transport Policy Study:
These are their words, not mine. It goes on to talk of the problems of transporting through such countries, and this cannot be avoided. Despite this analysis, we do not learn. We are now relying on regional services councils to play a major part in the subsidisation of commuter transport in their areas.
These are certainly going to be the wonder work of the century. They have been tarred with the same brush as the repudiated, and largely inoperative, Black local authorities, yet the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning superimposes the one on the other. The building has apparently got to keep the foundations intact now! Regional services councils are to finance SATS socio-economic services to the extent of millions of rand, in between taking over the supply of water, power and other services from local authorities and probably assuming the responsibility for development boards as well in the management of Black urban areas. At this stage, I do not believe they have one single employee, but within months they have got to be functioning. The hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning must have the heart of a lion. However, it is significant that he has roared very few times this session.
Surely this is not the time to implement a major tariff increase. The consumer price increase for the period June 1985 to January 1986 is approximately 20% and the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs decides to implement compounding increases within a few months of each other! Why? It is not necessary. Is it an attempt to build up the resources of the SATS and give them a bit of a start before the new system comes into being?
For the first time we stand on the threshold of a major, comprehensive reconstruction of the total South African transport industry. I welcome this move and believe it is being well done. Two important Bills are to be put before Parliament this session. The whole objective is to create free competition where SATS and other operators operate from an exactly equal level and they have equality of opportunity. Cross-subsidisation will be phased out. Subsidies will be visible and approved by vote. The hon the Minister should control himself now and delay the implementation of any increase at such a critical time in the history of our economy. There are reasons why he can afford to do so. We have R600 million as a special reserve, a depreciation reserve, against the purchase of replacement equipment at higher values. There is no private company that can do that. A private company would have to put R300 million back into the exchequer as tax. They would be taxed on that R600 million.
The hon the Minister should tell the House what steps are being taken to implement the recommendations of the National Transport Policy Study that subsidies should be paid in “an open and accountable way”. He must also tell the House what steps are being taken to move the SATS to a cost-oriented tariff structure and do away with the permit regulating system.
We would also like to know when the pipeline and harbour monopolies will establish a scale of charges in line with costs, because these monopolies are going to remain after the restructuring of the whole transport industry.
He must tell us what was the breakdown in 1985-86 for the losses on the three areas of passenger transport and what is the estimated figure for the coming year.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Walmer, just like other hon members in the Opposition, is criticising the Government because the SATS is running at a loss. They also criticise the Government if it wants to raise tariffs. Moreover, they criticise the Government because, in their opinion, the salary adjustments are not adequate. It is actually very easy to be a member of the Opposition and simply to criticise or to make negative noises. Those of us who find ourselves on the side of the Government, however, have to deal only with the realities. We have to solve the problems. Consequently, it is our duty to consider these matters in a responsible way.
I want to sound a positive note this afternoon. I want to tell the hon member for Walmer that when he criticises the Government on the policy of decentralisation, he will hear before long how this department played a functional role in launching a de-concentration area, which was a resounding success.
From January to December 1985 our South African harbours handled a record of 95,5 million tons. This volume was handled by a smaller staff than in the previous year. This indicates a significant increase in productivity. We should like to take this opportunity to express our thanks, our appreciation and our congratulations towards the top management, the other staff members, and also the staff associations for the initiative they have taken in the various branches at the SATS in order to make this possible. [Interjections.]
The record tonnage handled can be ascribed, inter alia, to the recent lower value of the rand against foreign currency. This placed our exports in a very favourable, competitive position. The record tonnage was achieved mainly by the export of steel, sugar, coal and minerals. The cargo handled by our harbours from January to December 1985 was approximately 9% higher than the previous record, which was established during the corresponding period in 1984.
Imports, however, declined from a record total of 16,4 million tons in 1984 to 12,3 million in 1985. This is mainly because the maize import programme was stopped. Bulk cargo, which is low-rated traffic, is responsible for the increase.
Although record tonnages are being handled at present, the dramatic swing in the proportion of imports to exports has not increased revenue accordingly. In 1976, exports represented 71% of the total cargo, and in 1985 it represented 87%. In other words, since 1986 exports have risen by more than 300%, but the revenue has not increased proportionally.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that while tonnage more than doubled form 1976 to 1985, marine traffic has decreased because containerisation is now being used to an increasing extent, and also because bulk cargo is now being handled at Richards Bay and Saldanha. The number of ships decreased from 7 198 in 1976, to 5 580 in 1985.
If one looks at the situation as regards our South African harbours, measured against the present trends and the cargo that is being handled, it appears that Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London and Saldanha have adequate capacity at their disposal to suffice for future requirements for several years. This means that they have more than enough capacity to fulfill requirements until the year 2000, or even thereafter.
However, because of their strategic geographical position, Durban and Richards Bay will remain the two most important harbours—owing in particular to their position in relation to the industrial areas and the mineral resources, and of course the fast-developing industrial growth-point in Richards Bay.
Durban has limited space for further development, whereas the possibility for this at Richards Bay is practically unlimited. Richards Bay is the showpiece of South Africa’s harbours and will be ten years old this year. With its modern harbour and urban area, its industrial areas and beautiful residential areas, it is an outstanding success story of an industrial de-concentration growth-point launched by the Department of Transport Services. If one looks back over the past ten years, there have been a number of remarkable milestones and achievements. In its first year, only 4 million tons of cargo was handled by this harbour. At the moment almost 4 million tons per month are handled. The harbour was built at a cost of more than R500 million and, in spite of the tremendous capital amount and the high finance costs, it has already, during 1985, almost reached break-even point. This is indeed a remarkable achievement for a project of this enormous magnitude. In its ten years, Richards Bay harbour has earned more than R14 billion in foreign exchange and exports. One can hardly imagine in what position we would now have been if this had not been the case. More than 5 900 ships have called at Richards Bay over the past ten years. At the end of 1985, 270 million tons of cargo had been handled by this harbour.
As far as Richards Bay as a growth-point is concerned, job opportunities are at present being provided to approximately 28 000 people, while in 1969-70 fewer than 100 people were resident there. The small former fishing village has developed into a model growth point. Modem Black towns have developed in nearby kwaZulu. Group areas for Indians and Coloureds have been proclaimed and are at present being developed. We are privileged that the SATS staff at that growth-point, as well as the inhabitants in general—White, non-White, Indians and Coloureds—get on very well with one another, and that we, during this time of unrest, are experiencing peace, calm and stability in this area. I also want to take this opportunity to appeal to everyone in that area to continue in this manner, because if there is calm, peace and stability in that area, it will attract investors. In this way it will be possible for further job opportunities to be created for a fast-growing population.
As far as the harbour is concerned, the tremendous increase in exports has meant that ships destined for the bulk installation have sometimes been somewhat delayed as a result of congestion at certain quays. In order to counter this situation in the short term, six new front-end loaders, each with a capacity of 5,4 cubic metres, were obtained during 1985.
Further developments at the Richards Bay harbour in the longer term include a lighter with a handling rate of 600 tons per hour, which will be commissioned in the course of the year, mainly for the landing of aluminium oxide. Thirty-two storage bins with a total storage space of 108 640 cubic metres will be constructed; they are expected to be completed early next year. Tenders have been called for the second lighter, which is also expected to be completed next year. A start has already been made on the construction of three additional berths, and the expected date of completion is December of this year. The erection of infrastructure behind the quays has been postponed and will be started during April 1987.
Further development that is essential at this stage is the 24-hour marine service and the extension of the facilities of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal Company Limited in order to provide for a total export capacity of 70 million tons by the beginning of the next decade.
As far as the coal line is concerned, work to increase the carrying capacity is progressing satisfactorily. The track’s total length of 570 kilometres must be upgraded in order to handle the additional cargo. Considerable progress has already been made with reinforcement of the whole line, while the doubling of 230 kilometres ought to be completed before the end of the year. The regarding of the railway in 13 places to level the gradients is also going very well. The total length involved is approximately 133 kilometres.
We should like to take this opportunity to ask the hon the Minister what is being planned and what has been decided to meet the demands of the small exporter of coal. There are many people that want to export small consignments of coal through the harbour, and we should like to know what is going to be done in this respect.
That goes through Durban.
Since the hon member for Langlaagte is so talkative I just want to tell him one thing: If his party were to come to power one day—thank God it will never happen—we would not need these harbours anyway because we would not be able to export anything. We would not be able to trade with any country in the world because we would have total sanctions against us. [Interjections.]
We would simply export you through Swaziland!
Earlier today the hon member for Sunnyside said that we ought to export more, but if that party came to power we would not be able to export anything and we would not be able to trade with any country in the word. [Interjections.]
We shall pack you into a bag of coal and export you!
In conclusion I should like to thank the hon the Minister and the manager of the SATS sincerely for the sympathy and help we receive from them when we approach them with representations. We are impressed by the sympathetic manner in which they deal with, and are concerned about, the problems of the SATS staff. We should like to take this opportunity to thank them sincerely for this. I find it very pleasant to pay tribute to the staff of the SATS—from the highest to the lowest official—for the loyal way they serve not only the department, but our country as well.
Mr Chairman, I am sure the hon member for Umfolozi will forgive me if I do not follow his line of debate. Before I start on my topic I would like to say that it is a delight to listen to the hon member for Rosettenville during the Transport Services Appropriation debate. [Interjections.] His contribution is always laced with humour and that is after all the medicine for the illness called seriousness.
It is unfortunate that he was subjected to such an unprovoked attack by the hon member for Sunnyside. There is a saying that the hon member for Sunnyside may well give a little thought to. It goes along these lines: “It is better to be blind than to see things from one side only.” I think the hon member should give that a bit of thought.
He does not understand English!
I would also like to associate myself with the remarks of the hon member for Rosettenville about train travel. Having the privilege of a free pass I endeavour to use it as often as possible. When I did so on quite a few occasions last year I received only courtesy and good service from the intercity servicemen.
When it comes to the question of the brown uniform I venture to suggest that with the expertise of the staff of the SATS I am sure they can be a little bit more innovative than is the case with the present uniform.
I come now to my main topic. I do not think there can be any doubt that the SATS are not committed to the free enterprise system, notwithstanding what the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central said during his speech yesterday.
Having said that, however, due cognisance must be taken of what was expected by the State, and in fact achieved by the old SA Railways and Harbours in respect of providing a sound rail infrastructure for the Republic of South Africa. We can also be grateful to them for this achievement because if one takes into consideration one of the very vacuous remarks made by the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central in his speech yesterday it appears that he does not appreciate this at all. That is why he could state here in the House that the railways were no longer as vital to the economic welfare of the land as they once were.
With respect, Sir, I would say that because of the very infrastructure our present rail system and the SATS are now in fact playing a pivotal role in the transport of goods when looked at within the framework of the entire South African region. It is certainly far more vital than what the Official Opposition’s chief spokesman on Transport Affairs would have us believe. The State’s requirement for a rail infrastructure for the Republic has to all intents and purposes been largely fulfilled. With the modern tendency towards road haulage there are indeed certain branch lines and other rail services that are no longer viable, and are basically loss leaders. Because of various reasons these services have to be maintained, creating a loss situation—something to which I will refer later.
National policy today dictates that a new emphasis must be placed on a more market-related economic policy with a minimum of Government involvement, and this stated objective applies equally to the SA Transport Services. I also believe it is common cause that the main objective of the SATS is to have a safe and reliable transport service for the country, with a need to maximise user choice and to bring satisfaction. To that, however, we must also add effective and equitable competition.
In this regard the SA Transport Services’ business approach has been manifested by virtue of its commitment to quality of service, its negotiable rates system by way of contracts, and its greater consultation with representative bodies such as Assocom, the Federated Chamber of Industries and the Afrikaanse Handelsinstituut.
This is, however, not just a recent innovation. The commitment by the SATS to freer competition dates back to the 1960s when the Schumann Committee investigated aspects of the rating policy of the old South African Railways and Harbours. The more pertinent findings were that at that stage there was a need for tariff differentiation based on what the traffic could bear rather than on the actual cost of conveyance. It was also recommended that a number of tariff classes be reduced by affording the cost principle a more prominent role in rate determination without, however, disregarding other value principles.
The recommendations of that committee were that a sound rating policy be introduced, based on the elimination of uneconomic transport from a national point of view, and also that account should also be taken of the relative competitive position of various modes. Now, some 20 years later, Sir, what do we have? As I said earlier, the SATS have fulfilled their commitment to the infrastructure development of the Republic. This also implies, however, that the South African Transport Services are forced to compete in an open market in order to maintain their position whilst still having to bear the burden of socioeconomic services such as passenger services, uneconomic branch lines and the conveyance of certain agricultural products.
The cost of these lastmentioned services has led to an average over the past five years of cross-subsidisation and State subsidisation of approximately R900 million annually. To reinforce what I have just said one just has to look at the cost of train fares say on the Johannesburg-Soweto line. This was referred to by the hon member for De Kuilen yesterday, and today again by the hon member for Greytown. I do think, however, we have to go on hammering this point home because I believe it is the only way we are going to get it to penetrate to the average member of the public what the costs are that are involved.
A third class ticket works out at a rate of 1,5 per km over approximately 920 km. When we look at the figures supplied by the AA of South Africa we see that on a medium-sized car of 1 800 cc doing 16 000 km per annum, working on the same basis as the 920 km per month, taking everything into account including depreciation and the rest, the cost works out at 53,4 cents per km per passenger or, if there are two passengers, 26,7 cents. We can even go a little further. If we disallow wear and tear and depreciation and only take into account the running costs, we are still looking at 16,6 cents per km. If two passengers are involved, the cost is 8,3 cents per km.
And 4 cents if there are four passengers.
Not quite. This is still way ahead of the 1,5 cents but let us look at the percentages. On a percentage basis, in train travel as compared to motor travel the cost factor in the first instance is 2,8% of the motor vehicle cost and in the second instance only 9% of the motor vehicle cost. However, we still find that there is an ever-decreasing number of commuters using the suburban services. This indicates that the commuters are making a wrong economic decision in regard to their method of transportation, and it is costing our national economy as well as the SATS large sums of money to finance this particular service.
On the other hand, if we come back to the Schuman Commission’s report, we must ask ourselves whether the time is not ripe for the SATS to be relieved of the financial burden in this regard either by way of direct compensation by the State for the full amount of the loss incurred or, alternatively, for the SATS to start phasing in a cost-related fare. I am afraid that in South Africa we have created our own problem. Like the rest of Africa we have been very paternalistic. People have become accustomed to and, in fact, now demand subsidised services. This is part of the socialistic milieu that we have created but in reality can now no longer afford. The sooner we reach the situation where the concept is adopted of the user paying a cost-related price for the service provided, the better it will be for everyone.
Precisely the same yardstick applies to the intercity service although far more pertinently because there is no socio or economic reason why intercity services should be subsidised; on the contrary, the provision of intercity services should be based on maximum supply and demand, but at a cost-related fare. When one looks at the branch line situation one finds that the branch lines are losing individually between R6 and R9 million per annum. The main reasons for this are rising operating costs and diminishing traffic, in fact, drastic reductions in traffic because of more convenient modes of transport such as door-to-door service by road haulage. While the SATS is looking into the position of branch lines one also finds that there is a tendency on the part of the public to resist the closing down of branch lines even when it is proved to them that the branch lines are not receiving their support and are losing vast sums of money.
In this regard I should like to highlight a particular example. A meeting was held in Highflats last year to discuss the possible closure of the Umzinto/Ixopo-Madenella and Ixopo-Donnybrook line. The line was losing R7,5 million per annum, and what brought the whole matter to a head was a washaway in regard to which it would have cost R1,25 million to restore the line. The result of that meeting was that it was agreed that the Umzinto-Ixopo line should close but that the two remaining sections, namely Ixopo-Donnybrook and Ixopo-Madenella should be investigated further with a view to keeping them open. In my opinion this was an unpractical solution and merely a delaying tactic. I say it was impractical because the maintenance of the rolling stock and locomotives is made almost impossible in that they have to come down to the base station of Umzinto for maintenance. During these discussions I may add that the SATS team was outstanding, as is always the case, with their helpful approach. Practical solutions were offered by the SATS to replace the loss of the narrow-gauge line, inter alia, by the use of road motor haulage at existing rail tariffs for a two-year period, as well as a commitment to quote against any competition for any contract on a door-to-door basis. In this regard, I believe that the SATS is going to have to take a firm stance in respect of branch lines. The biggest problem they will have to overcome, however, is opposition from MPs in the area because those MPs are afraid of losing their popularity. Nevertheless, if pure economics are to prevail, then the magnitude of the losses being experienced on these narrow-gauge lines cannot be allowed to continue.
One only has to look at the Port Elizabeth-Avontuur line. If I am not mistaken, that line is losing approximately R9 million per annum. The hon member for Port Elizabeth Central made a lot of noise yesterday and I wonder whether, in view of the fact that the line is losing R9 million per year, he would in fact support the closing of that line. Alternatively, would he like to keep it open?
I will answer at the Committee Stage.
That is an interesting situation. The SATS has on numerous occasions stated in very clear, unambiguous terms that it is prepared to enter into even freer competition in the interests of both transport users and the country as a whole. However, having said that, reasonable conditions from the SATS’ point of view must be met. Among these conditions are the following: The SATS must be relieved of the financial burden of providing uneconomic transport services; they must be allowed to introduce cost-related rail freight rates; private road hauliers must be required to contribute their relative proportion towards the maintenance of roads; the SATS must also be allowed to remain autonomous and must be relieved of other obligations imposed on it, and, finally, the SATS must also be given the right to refuse traffic on certain lines and to suspend certain services.
Appropriate and sufficient infrastructure for on the ground enforcement of road quality matters, must be introduced. Moreover, one will have to consider some of the economic issues. Take the permit system, for example. This has to be abolished.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, Sir, my time is limited and in any event we let the hon member have free rein yesterday.
Public safety is of paramount importance. Operator quality must therefore be promoted. Just to elaborate on some of the aspects I have raised and to highlight some of the abnormalities, I should like to refer to one or two further points which I consider to be abnormal.
For instance, because the SATS is a State carrier, it is compelled to publish its tariff of rates. This is obviously an open invitation to undercutting by competitors. This is in fact what happens on a daily basis. It is equally true to say that the SATS would like to follow market trends. However, being subject to Parliamentary accountability, in many instances it does not have the freedom to make the commercial decisions that it should be making.
With reference to more numerous and improved ground facilities, we have to look at vehicle testing centres. In this regard, I am not referring to the municipal or provincial motor testing centres. When one looks at those centres, one always relates them to a Government operation. There is no reason, however, why new testing centres should not be privatised. In this way, they would be more efficient and less costly to run than those run by governmental authorities. It is equally true to say that driver training and testing could be privatised. I doubt whether there is anyone in the country who would disagree with me that this is one area in which we are very sadly lacking. Whether we like it or not, we must demand a better and more efficient driver training and testing system.
Another important aspect is an independent study by the CSIR into the length of time a driver may safely drive a heavy duty vehicle over a continuous period. This is a very important aspect because I do not believe that 10 to 15 hours can be considerd a safe driving shift for any driver. I believe that should be cut back drastically. Moreover, I feel that the Association of Public Carriers should provide rest facilities for their drivers on all major routes throughout the country. This, after all, is in their members’ own interest as well as in the interests of public safety. In this regard, we could take a leaf out of the book of some European countries, where some of the limitations imposed are as follows: Drivers are forced to take rest periods outside the vehicle cab. There is no such thing as a driver sleeping inside the cab whilst another driver takes over the wheel. Moreover, not only are limits placed on the axle load but also on the time that heavy vehicles are permitted to be on the road; in other words, no travelling is permitted after sunset. The same rule applies to Saturday afternoons and Sundays.
Another aspect to the matter is that both shipper and receiver have to sign their consignments both out and in. If the vehicle has been travelling outside the specified time laid down, they are also liable to prosecution. Furthermore, infrastructure costs have to be borne by the users of that infrastructure. I think the time has come for us to realise that the cost of an infrastructure represents a certain sum of money. That sum of money has to be redeemed with interest over the life of that infrastructure. Road users will have to take it or leave it, but they are going to have to pay to redeem the cost of that infrastructure. I think the application of the economic principle of costs and redemption can only be met by fuel levies and licences. In my opinion that is the only way in which that infrastructure cost can be redeemed.
Control is another important aspect. We can only gain control by having an efficient, well-motivated, well-paid and competently trained staff. We do not want the old adage that if one pays peanuts, one can only get monkeys. There must be mobile checkpoints—weighing-in points—to ensure the safety aspect. The owner of the vehicle as well as the driver should be liable to prosecution if the vehicle is found to be faulty. The implications of what I have just pointed out may well be that many high rated commodities will come down in price but the cost of the lower rated commodities will have to be increased to cover greater proportion of costs.
The Government, with respect, has embarked upon a system of social change in this country. I believe that the SATS are meeting that challenge. Their improved track record over the past couple of years has shown that they are capable of improving their image by way of a better service. The question to ask is: If the SATS are given the opportunity to compete on an equitable basis, how will it affect the private sector? Most businessmen in the private sector are trying to persuade John Citizen to spend his rand on their service or product. The private sector, in my opinion, does not welcome competition. They prefer agreements and they spend much time and energy in promoting or defending a protected market. While the concepts of free market and free enterprise are popular, I submit that the private sector does not like free access or free entry into the market. They do not like competition of any sort—let alone free competition. They prefer cartels, monopolies, arrangements or associations that limit competition. The more people they can restrict, the better. This is nothing new or unique. It is the same the whole world over.
As I said earlier, the Government has embarked on a new social order which is not an easy one to implement. Is the private sector going to play its part? I accept the fact that the private sector has its own vested interests to pursue but, equally so, it also has its own social responsibilities. In short, the SATS punchline has become: “We do not just talk about it; we do it”. Therein lies the challenge to the private sector, as I see it.
Mr Chairman, at the beginning of his speech the hon member for South Coast referred briefly to the role of the Railways in South Africa, in other words referring to the Railways on a sub-continental basis. I was somewhat disappointed that he did not elaborate on that aspect, because that is what I want to cross swords with the hon Minister about this afternoon.
Noticing the way in which the SATS functions on a sub-continent basis, I want to ask the hon the Minister, and the Government as a whole, on whose side they really are. Are they on South Africa’s side or on the side of the Frontline States, from which the terrorists operate against us?
It was not all that long ago that an NP newspaper, Oggendblad, which appears in Pretoria, reported that this was a highly emotional issue, the reference being to the activities of the SATS in the Frontline States. One gains the impression that the Hendrik Schoemans and Pik Bothas do not always want to know this. The reporter stated that Zambia was not simply just another African State. To the man in the street Zambia and Kenneth Kaunda are arch-enemies, abominations. They harbour terrorists, train terrorists and feed them. What is more—with their stomachs full of our maize—with AK47s they help to shoot our boys on the border. [Interjections.] It is an NP newspaper which said so, which emphasised the point. And that was a few years ago! Shortly after that Prof Arnheim of the University of the Witwatersrand whom a person certainly cannot accuse of being a member of the HNP or the CP, told the Government in a report, of which I have a photocopy in my hand:
That is where the base, the ANC headquarters, is which has been waging war against us for the past 16 or 17 years. Then Prof Arnheim goes on to say:
Here Prof Arnheim is referring to the shooting of farmers on the borders by terrorists operating from the Frontline States—those being helped by the hon the Minister and this Government, on a gigantic scale, with their economies intact. It is an abomination. That was a few years ago, but since then … [Interjections.] Hon members should really stop making a noise. I am still going to put that in their pipes and let them smoke it. Thereafter The Star wrote in a front-page article: “Frontline six call for more pressure.” This Government is breaking a leg and the SA Transport Services running its wheels off to be well disposed and of assistance to these Frontline States. The Star’s front-page report reads as follows:
So grateful are they for assistance granted by this obsequious South African Government that they ask for sanctions. We and our Transport Services offer them economic assistance and they call upon the world to impose sanctions. I quote further:
That is the whole point. They sweep this whole “reform movement” aside. They are not interested in it. This Government is under the impression that it is winning them round. They kick the Government in the teeth. The Star goes on to say:
They know about everything this Government wants to do to oblige them. Through the SA Transport Services this Government is doing on enormous amount to help those people and to carry them. What do they do, however? They enjoy it so much, and have already realised how spineless this Government is, but the following report appeared in Beeld of 15 May 1985:
That was in June last year. There in the world of the ANC! The report goes on to state:
Just note how thick-skinned and presumptuous they are! That is how things went on—I am speaking of the way in which this Government employs the SATS on a sub-continental basis—until matters reached a crescendo at the end of last year. There was no slacking off. In spite of the fact that our boys are being shot dead on our borders and that bombs are exploding in our midst, particularly in our farming communities in the North, this Government has increasingly rushed to the assistance of these so-called Frontline states.
The Sunday Star of 27 October 1985 has the following report:
They know that our transport system is a trump card, but we do not use it—not the Government, particularly not that hon Minister! [Interjections.]
Now my hon friends in the NP must listen carefully. They do not read this stuff.
Mr Chairman, may I put a question to the hon member?
No, if the NP gives me more time, I shall answer all their questions. [Interjections] I want to continue with my quote:
Not one! Two thousand of our trucks are there, but not a single truck of theirs is here. That is a hopelessly one-sided situation. It is also stated:
South Africa is in a position to to put a stranglehold on these frontline states, and that hon Minister can do it, but he does not want to, in spite of the bombs exploding everywhere, in spite of their contempt for his policy and in spite of the fact that they have been waging continuous war against us over a period of 17 years.
We could have put a stranglehold on them long ago, but that poor hon Minister does not see his way clear to doing so. In December of last year, when the bombs exploded in the North and our people were killed, according to Beeld the hon the Minister of Defence said the following:
I now want to ask the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs why the hon the Minister of Defence has to go on risking lives to get the terrorists out of these neighbouring States when he can get a stranglehold on them by depriving them of transport services or by threatening to do so. He does not have to do so at once; he merely has to display the courage to stand up and say he is going to suspend railway services throughout Southern Africa if they do not stop waging the war that they have been waging against South Africa for 17 years now. He and his Government are in a stronger position to do so than Genl Magnus Malan, the hon Minister of Defence, is when it comes to conducting military campaigns that could result in further loss of life. On occasion the Government has done so. It is not a question of my asking them to do something they have never done before, or of South Africa asking them to do it. This NP Government did, after all, put a stranglehold on Rhodesia. To these communistic Black African States, however, which have been waging war against us for 17 years now, they do not see their way clear to doing what they, including the hon the Minister of Transport Affairs, did to White Rhodesia. [Interjections.]
There are people here saying “oh, oh”. Let me quote a passage to them. In the authoritative The Elite about the Rhodesian Special Air Services there is the following comment:
This refers to the pressure South Africa started to apply to Rhodesia:
An amount of money is mentioned:
Why does that hon Minister not go for the jugular of the Black African States that wage war against us? Why do they go for the jugular of White Rhodesia, of the English-speaking people of White Rhodesia, for whom the HNP fought at a time. They do not have the courage to go for the jugular of the Black African States. That is all they have to do. They did it against a White people. They did it against our flesh and blood, our blood brothers, people who share our civilisation and our values. They did so against people who acted as a buffer on South Africa’s borders against the rest of Southern Africa. What did this hon Minister do then? He put a stranglehold on them.
Why does he not first cut the oil supplies to the north. He would thereby prove to the farmers of the Northern Transvaal that he placed their interests above those of the ANC and those of Kaunda across the Limpopo. He does not, however, do so. This hon Minister and his Government—one probably may not use the expression in this House, but if it were permissible, there is only one term, and that is that they are committing treason against South Africa. If that were permissible …
Order! Since the hon member knows that it is not permissible, he must now withdraw it.
Very well, Sir, I shall withdraw it. Let me, however, put it this way: What their actions boil down to is that time and again they place the interests of South Africa, which is engaged in a war with these people, second to those of the enemy. White South Africa will not forgive them for that. If the run of the mill Nationalists were to hear that, they would not forgive them. The fanners in the Northern Transvaal, the Western Transvaal and Northern Natal will not forgive them. I demand from this hon Minister, in this debate, a full policy statement on this matter.
Well, I never!
It has been a long time now, it has been 17 years now, that this situation has existed. So the hon the Minister must tell us whether he is going to continue with this or whether it is now coming to an end. Is the hon the Minister going to persist with this policy or is he going to put an end to it? I am asking this question because he referred to it in the speech he made here. That is where the root cause of the problem lies, because he says the following:
It is an “asset of South Africa”. We paid for it, we constructed it and we maintain it. It is our capital that is being used. The Railways belongs to the ordinary Afrikaner, about whom the hon member for Rosettenville waxed so lyrical. Surely one can use the weapon one has against one’s enemy in order to protect one’s own interests.
What is the definition of a nationalist? It is someone who puts the interests of his own people and the interests of his country first. This hon Minister has so much to say, in his speech, about this mighty weapon, and that is why he is no nationalist. He no longer has even a rudimentary knowledge of what nationalism is. The hon the Minister speaks of this mighty weapon that was eulogised by the hon member for South Coast, whose bloodbrothers in Rhodesia were stabbed in the back by the Railways. Others waxed lyrical about this. [Interjections.] Here I, as an Afrikaner and an ex-Broederbonder, must today point out how the Afrikaners of the NP stabbed the Rhodesians in the back. At the time it was only the HNP who took up the struggle for the English-speaking Rhodesians. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, let me conclude. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister stands accused and condemned in the eyes of White South Africa for having, in the midst of war, placed the enemy’s interests above those of his own people and his own fatherland.
Mr Chairman, the last time I listened to the hon member for Sasolburg, he launched into a long lament about not being allowed enough time to address the House. The Whips were very lenient with him then and they are giving him more time for his speech today.
One would think that the hon member, after an absence of 16 years from this House, would have utilised this time to make a meaningful and constructive contribution here. However, the noise that we listened to, confirmed something that I doubted deep down. I was never sure whether the hon member for Sasolburg usually wrote the hon member for Jeppe’s speeches, or the other way around. After the departure of the hon member for Jeppe we had relative calm and peace here in the House until the hon member for Sasolburg stood up and in the same vein …
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: In terms of your ruling the hon member for Jeppe had to leave the House. Is that correct?
Yes, that is correct.
May I address you, if the hon the Minister does not want to say anything first?
Order! I do not understand the hon member’s point of order.
The hon member for Kroonstad is referring to particular events in the absence of the hon member for Jeppe. I merely want to know whether you are going to allow this.
Order! The hon member for Kroonstad made a factual statement that the hon member for Jeppe left the House. It is factually correct and there is therefore nothing wrong with it. The hon member for Kroonstad may proceed.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. We have come to know the hon member for Rissik as one whose skin is so thin he cannot tolerate anything.
The hon member for Sasolburg proved today that he speaks in the same idiom as the hon member for Jeppe.
There is another matter I always wondered about when I saw the political cartoonists drawing the members of the HNP wearing those small dark glasses—actually black ones. I wondered why they did this, but today I understood their reason because the members of the HNP have tunnel vision and they cannot see. They are blinded by the newspapers they continually read. The hon member for Sasolburg did not say one word of his own here this afternoon. Throughout his speech the hon member quoted from newspapers as if he was afraid newsprint was going to become used up.
In all seriousness, the hon member levelled harsh accusations at the hon the Minister and the SATS here today. These accusations will cause the electorate to reject the HNP as they deserve to be rejected. It is the Government’s duty, as a regional power in Southern Africa, to strive for peace and stability in its neighbouring states, too. The hon member for Sasolburg said this afternoon, and proved to us, that they do not seek peace. They seek only confrontation. They want only to kill. They want only to challenge. They want only to shoot and to chase into the sea.
We are being paid for this.
What is more, every cent owed is paid to us for the rolling stock, services, or whatever, that the SATS renders to the countries mentioned by the hon member. The hon member was out of Parliament for 16 years. It is now high time he woke up and realised that he is here now and ought at least to try to make a meaningful contribution when he opens his mouth, otherwise we must earnestly request the whips not to allow him to speak for so long, because he does not deserve it.
You will not win again in Kroonstad.
The hon member should rather leave Kroonstad alone. I challenge the hon so-called leader of the CP in the Free State to come and stand against me in a future election. I am waiting for him. [Interjections.]
I want to return to the subject under discussion.
I shall give you R10 000.
I shall participate in an election when the State President calls one. In such a case I should be very happy to have the hon member for Rissik as my opponent.
I have no reason to resign because I represent the NP…
Order! I am not certain whether hon members are talking about “banke” (benches) of the Railways or about “bedank” (resigning), or whether the R10 000 is actually going to be given to someone, but the hon member must proceed. Hon members must give him an opportunity to do so.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. These things happen, under extreme provocation.
It is an indisputable fact that the SATS is, from the nature of the industry in which it finds itself, one of those institutions that is most vulnerable to any changes in the economic climate prevailing in our country. In other words, we can say that the industrial results of the SATS can be regarded as a good indication of the prevailing economic conditions. I realise this can be seen as a generalisation and that many people will differ with me on this point. However, if we were to draw a graph of the growth rate of our country, that graph would correlate closely with a graph of the working results of the SATS.
What I mean by this is that, to put it mildly, one is quite amazed at the way the hon members on the other side of the House—we saw this very often here today—create a song and dance. What astounds one even more is the content of their arguments and the amendments moved by the chief spokesmen of the opposition parties. By this I am not saying that the Budget should not be looked at critically and that the Budget as a whole should not be debated. It strikes me, however, that the criticism from that side of the House thus far is once again aimed only at politicking, and content-wise it has not yet contributed anything that could be regarded as meaningful or constructive.
In this connection the CP, through their spokesman, the hon members for Sunnyside and Nigel, presented the officials of the SATS as a group of poor Whites in the House this afternoon. On behalf of the NP I want to apologise to the employees of the SATS in my constituency for the fact that, in this House …
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member a question?
No, Sir. I am not going to answer questions now.
I want to apologise to them for the fact that here in the highest council chamber in the country they are being discussed the way the hon members of the CP discussed them this afternoon. It is a disgrace! [Interjections.] It is true that the revenue of the SATS, as a result of the accumulation of several factors, as explained by the hon the Minister in his Budget Speech, did not fulfil expectations. That is true. The other side of the coin, however, is that the management has not simply accepted this state of affairs; on the contrary, we notice from the Appropriation that a group of far-reaching measures has been drawn up. For example, a stepped-up marketing campaign has been launched and various economy campaigns have restricted expenditure to a minimum. Increased productivity has certainly also been promoted. Furthermore, in the midst of all these difficult circumstances, it was also possible to make provision for the absolutely essential increases in salaries and pensions.
The hon member for Port Elizabeth Central, however, does not see his way clear to uttering a single word of thanks to the general manager, the officialdom and the rest of the SATS personnel.
That is not true.
He went further, Sir, and stated quite clearly and straightforwardly that the officials of the SATS were being overpaid—the hon member actually said this—and did not need an increase at all—and he actually said this, too. [Interjections.]
No, I did not say that. I said they were being well rewarded.
We on this side of the House take cognisance of the arrogant behaviour of the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central and his party. We also take cognisance of the disparaging and underserved criticism that he, on behalf of his party, directed at the officials of the SATS, and we on this side of the House want it placed on record that these remarks by the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central and his party are regarded as reprehensible and unacceptable.
Oh, nonsense. Do not go too far now.
Come on, Wynand. That is not the truth.
The hon member did say this. [Interjections.] I am grateful that in spite of difficult conditions it was possible to announce an increase in salaries and pensions. Our officials deserve it and I hope that when the economic climate has improved sufficiently, it will be possible to make further adjustments.
We are informed that there is dissatisfaction in certain quarters regarding the scope of the increases. In the light of the high cost of living I sympathise with that dissatisfaction, too. Nevertheless, I want to appeal to our officials to be, as in the past, reasonable and also to show understanding of the difficult economic conditions prevailing everywhere. Perhaps they will take this into account and scale down their demands accordingly to suit the resources of the country. I have no doubt that our officials in the SATS will indeed do this. [Interjections.]
In his Budget Speech the hon the Minister reports that the backlog the SATS is suffering as a result of unequal competition will soon receive attention. Various hon members have already referred to this backlog—a backlog that has developed on account of the heavy burden the SATS has to bear—in respect of certain socio-economic services. Some hon members, such as the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central, have of course taken this matter completely out of context because, in terms of his party’s policy, he has no clear perspective on this matter.
The SATS is a business enterprise and it is quite prepared, in accordance with normal business principles, to compete for its market share on an equal footing, provided it can be adequately recompensed for the essential socio-economic services it is, in the nature of the matter, obliged to render. I do not have the answer; I say this frankly. This matter is at present also the subject of various inquiries that are being carried out. One has been hearing all sorts of noises in this connection recently, inter alia that it will to a certain extent be shifted onto the regional services councils. I am therefore very grateful that the hon member for Primrose discussed this particular subject yesterday. He then also received the assurance of the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning that this would not be the case. I said I did not have the answer, but it is clear to me that the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central does not have it either. He simply want to privatise indiscriminately and let the angels look after the rest.
In the time that remains to me I want briefly to make a plea to the hon the Minister that an investigation be instituted to find out whether the SAA serves any uneconomic routes. I am sorry that I do not have the time to deal with this subject further but perhaps I shall discuss it further in the Third Reading debate. I simply want to draw attention to it now so that we may also give a reasonable market share to the private air carrier in this country, not at the expense of the SAA, but also to rescue fourth-tier civil aviation in this country. This is a subject regarding which we must not delay; we must look at it as soon as possible. I hope the hon the Minister accepts this in the spirit in which I am mentioning it. I shall deal with this subject further on another occasion. I am very happy to support the proposals of the hon the Minister.
Mr Chairman, during the course of my remarks I shall respond to some of the matters raised by the hon member for Kroonstad. Firstly, he was at pains to say that the officials of the SATS should note that the chief Official Opposition spokesman on Transport Affairs said not one word of thanks to them. That is patently untrue. If the hon member maintains that it is true, let me remind him of the words used by the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central yesterday as recorded in Hansard. I ask the hon member for Kroonstad to give me the courtesy of his attention while I am replying to him. I hope his Whip will allow him to do that. He made the statement that the spokesman on this side of the House said not one word of thanks to the officials.
He did not.
The hon member says that our spokesman did not. I am now quoting verbatim from his Hansard:
Now what does the hon member for Kroonstad have to say? [Interjections.]
He should be ashamed of himself!
The hon member stood up here today and talked in a vacuum. He did not listen to the speech of the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central or, if he did, he put his own interpretation on it. He owes the hon member and this side of the House an apology. [Interjections.]
Order! I should like to assure the hon members of the Official Opposition that the hon member for Berea is quite able to deal with this matter by himself.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. We are nearing the end of this debate, so I would like to sum up some of the speeches which have come as a reaction to the approach of this side of the House. Very few Government speakers have come even close to answering the attack which has been launched from these benches. Very few of them have given any convincing answer to the question we raised concerning the need for the privatisation in the SATS. There has been very little comment on racial discrimination in the SATS and its employment practices in this regard. Very little has been said in response to our allegations concerning excessive cross-subsidisation and overregulation. Instead of this, the Government members who have in fact referred to the criticisms levelled by the Official Opposition have made a series of puerile attempts to gain political capital and score political points. I want to tell Government members and the hon the Minister that the SATS is not the property of the NP. It is not the plaything of politicians on that side of the House. The SATS belong to the people of South Africa; it is the property of all the people of this country. Whether it is run efficiently or not, whether it expands or limits the scope of its activities and how it acts as a major employer of people on the one hand and a servant of the general public on the other, are matters of concern to all the people of South Africa. If there are weaknesses and abuses in its approach to these matters it is our duty to highlight them and this we will continue to do.
Let us look at some of the responses that have come from Government benches during this debate. The hon the Minister in his speech this year—as was the case last year—was at pains to tell us how the number of personnel had been reduced. Last year the personnel was reduced by 6 000 and this year by another 8 000. The hon the Minister estimates that since 1982 the number of personnel has been reduced by 53 000 in all or 19%. The hon the Minister says this is in the name of “’n kleiner, effektiewer en beter besoldigde arbeidsmag”.
We welcome that and we do not criticise the hon the Minister for doing it. We also do not fail to give credit to the personnel of the SATS who despite reductions in staff numbers maintained or increased their productivity, we are entitled to ask, however—as the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central did—why it took the difficult circumstances of the economic recession to bring home to the SATS management that there was a significant overemployment in the administration. Why did it take all that time to prune the personnel by 19% or 53 000? Surely the facts cry out that this was necessary and that there was overemployment. This also gives support to the contention of the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central that there has been sheltered employment within the administration in the past.
The hon member for De Kuilen was indignant yesterday that this had been said. He said that we had attacked the staff of the SATS because we had said that by comparison with many people in the private sector and taking into account the benefits and privileges they enjoy they were well paid. The hon member for De Kuilen took exception to that.
I see the hon member is sitting here this afternoon. I now want to ask him if he agrees that the staff of the SATS are well paid. Does he agree with that or does he claim that they are not being well paid? He cannot have it both ways. He cannot attack us simply for saying that the personnel of the SATS are well paid. What does the hon the Minister say? Does he want us to say he is exploiting his staff by not paying them well or does he want us to say he is looking after them when we say they are well paid? They cannot have it both ways. They cannot use it to attack us when we say we believe that in the present circumstances the staff of the SATS are well paid. That is not a criticism of the staff or the administration. [Interjections.]
We belive that the SATS must be run on sound business lines. The hon the Minister must look at the number of people he employs and at the remuneration they receive in the same way as any successful businessman would do.
I want now to come back to the hon the Minister in respect of one of the main schemes in his Budget Speech. He explained away his difficulties in this very dreary and depressing Budget by referring to the current economic climate, economic pressure, internal unrest and the threat of trade boycotts, sanctions and the like. He is right in doing this. These factors obviously affected the finances of the SATS.
He told us that because of this growth rate of 1,5% which had been anticipated last year had turned out to be a negative growth rate of 0,5%. The hon the Minister has projected in this Budget that he relies on a growth rate of 2,5% for the tax year 1986-87. Again, however, he warns that there are growing threats of boycotts which could adversely affect the situation.
The hon the Minister should ask himself why these factors of unrest and boycotts and sanction threats are a reality. I agree that these are factors which affect the situation. However, the hon the Minister must look further and deeper than that and ask himself why this is the case.
I think one of the main reasons for this is the racial policies of this Government. One of the reasons why we are under attack overseas is because of the apartheid policy of this Government. One of the reasons why there is unrest in South Africa is because of the apartheid policy of the Government.
The hon the Minister must ask himself in regard to his responsibilities in this administration where he is going. He must look at discriminatory practices within the SATS. He must look at the employment practices. He must look at the discrimination which exists in the services which the SATS provides to the public of South Africa. Even in this day and age, when we are being told that apartheid has become an obsolete and out-moded concept, we are still faced with the situation that as far as the public are concerned there is segregation in the SA Transport Services. There is still segregation on trains, Sir. I want to ask the hon the Minister what he is doing to get that sort of discrimination out of the way in South Africa because that is the main contributory factor to the very problems that are worrying the hon the Minister and which are causing great economic difficulties for the SATS, and throughout the country in every sphere.
I want to go even further and I want to put it to the hon the Minister that some of his colleagues are much more outspoken than he is. The hon the Deputy Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning is on record as having said yesterday in the House of Representatives that he believes the Separate Amenities Act must go; that there must no longer be separate amenities. I have it here in front of me as reported in the Cape Times of this morning. He believes that that Act must go, and that it must go quickly. I want to ask this hon Minister, Sir, whether he agrees with his colleague. Does he agree with his colleague that separate amenities in South Africa should be scrapped, and particularly I should like to ask him whether he agrees with his colleagues that separate amenities and apartheid signs and segregation on the trains of South Africa and at the railway stations of South Africa should be abolished. I believe the country is entitled to know this because, as I have said earlier, the SA Transport Services is an organisation which belongs to the whole country irrespective of whether people are White, Black, Brown or Asian.
There is no place whatsoever in South Africa at the present time for discrimination to be practised by the SA Transport Services. I believe this is an issue with which the hon the Minister has come to terms. I know he has responded to this in previous debates by stating he was not a racialist but that the Government always had to look at the question of so-called “verdringing”, and this and that and the other thing. He has often told us of letters he receives from little old ladies and all that sort of stuff.
Mr Speaker, that is not what is needed in South Africa at the present time. If we are indeed embarked upon a programme of reform in South Africa, and if we really believe that apartheid is an outmoded concept, then this hon Minister must set an example in the administration in respect of which he bears the responsibility. Until he does so, Sir, we on this side of the House will obviously support the amendment moved by the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central.
Mr Speaker, I am not going to react directly to what the hon member for Berea said. I first want to exchange a few words with hon members of the Conservative Party. I feel it is a real pity that the Conservative Party, which professes to be the party acting here on behalf of the workers of the SA Transport Services, is so poorly represented when an important debate such as this one is in progress in the House. For most of the afternoon, Mr Speaker, only two hon members of the Conservative Party sat in those seats. I believe that the House, the electorate and the workers of the SATS outside should take cognisance of the fact that the Conservative Party is not interested in the transport services debate or in debates in which the affairs and the interests of the workers of the SA Transport Services are discussed here. [Interjections.] Only two hon members out of a total of eighteen were present here the whole afternoon, Mr Speaker. [Interjections.]
There were only one and a half. Oom Jan van Zyl counts for only half an hon member. [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, in the course of this debate we had to hear various hon Opposition members singing their strange tunes in the Opposition chorus that we were treated to here. From all comers of the other side of the House came noises that were often very disturbing to the ear and that, for the most part, were clearly irreconcilable with the interests of the SA Transport Services, with its objectives and also with the interests of this country. From the PFP benches we had to listen to the shrill and discordant notes of the protagonists of pure capitalism. [Interjections.] From the benches of the Conservative Party we were treated to a chorus of base and falsetto notes coming from the advocates of national socialism. [Interjections.] When we put all those notes together it appears that we have to sit here and listen to a bizarre and confusing cacophony of discords. [Interjections.] The nadir of the whole afternoon was definitely the speech by the hon member for Sunnyside. Do you know, Sir, I really expected that hon member to maintain a higher level in his speeches.
Oom Jan, listen to the way he is praising you! [Interjections.]
Mr Speaker, that comment is so eloquent; I shall simply leave the hon member for Sunnyside at that.
Mr Speaker, when we listen to the callous and unapproachable attitude of the capitalists from the benches of the PFP, and when we look at their approach and their philosophy we wonder what the philosophy of those hon members actually is towards an organisation such as the transport services.
To sum up, the following appears to be the case. Firstly, pure profit-seeking; secondly, the interests of the transport services; thirdly, the interests of the country’s economy; and fourthly, the interests of the human material employed by the SATS.
In contrast to that, we can sum up the CP’s approach and philosophy in the following way: The worker comes first. Second come the interests of the SATS. The country’s economy comes third. There are, therefore, two divergent philosophies here. I concede that there are certain intermediate shades of opinion. However, two totally divergent philosophies are being presented here, sometimes with a disturbing recklessness. Ironically enough, both philosophies very often have the same goal, namely to bypass the NP. It is ironic that the vehicle used to bridge the distance between them is the SATS.
The hon members opposite are making two basic mistakes in their approach to this Appropriation. The mistake made by the CP is to regard the Transport Services Budget in isolation from the country’s interests and economy, as well as from the prevailing economic climate. This simply cannot be done.
On the other hand, the PFP seeks to deny the fact that the transport services has the mandate to be the national carrier of the country. Now, the hon the Minister is on the horns of a dilemma because, while the transport services has the mandate to be the national carrier, it has also been instructed to run its activities according to business principles. The hon the Minister therefore has to try to reconcile the two extreme poles, as we heard them expressed today in the House. I also want to add that, after all, the hon the Minister is known to be an expert in the area of bringing about reconciliation between irreconcilables. I know the hon the Minister has sharp ears. Probably, therefore, he heard what I have just told him.
I notice that my time is getting very short. The affair of the hon the Minister and the management is further complicated in that matters have to be managed in such a way that we shall be ready to meet an upswing in the economy, when it comes. I believe that it will come soon. It is not easy to bring about adjustments in the planning of the transport services accounts in the short term. In drawing up this Budget the hon the Minister therefore has to seek ways of economising. In this connection I just want to refer briefly to the cuts being effected in our capital and expenditure programme.
Business interrupted in accordance with Rule 47.
Mr Speaker, I should like to begin with what the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central said. Before I give my full reply, I want to say that I cannot reply to all the questions and request which hon members put to me in the time I have at my disposal. There will probably be a division as well. Every hon member will receive a written reply, though, and I shall also give attention to them during the Committee Stage, because many important matters were raised.
†I now want to refer to the amendment moved by the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central. In terms of his amendment, the PFP will vote against the passing of the Second Reading of the Bill until such time as, among other things, the following condition has been met:
How many of our services must be privatised? It is a very general statement. Should it be the pipeline?
Yes, why not?
Do you see, Sir? The pipeline must be privatised. Can one believe that! There is no competition; there is only one pipeline and one cannot have two pipelines but it must be privatised. [Interjections.] Personally, I will be willing to pay millions for that pipeline. I shall form a company and we shall pay millions! We can then establish a price for the transportation of fuel. I thought the hon member was more intelligent than. [Interjections.]
Furthermore, the hon member said that only Whites can become permanent staff. That is not true.
On your own definition.
There are Blacks on the permanent staff, the only difference is that they are called “regular” instead of permanent staff. [Interjections.]
And they have fewer privileges.
No. They have the same security, and also a pension scheme. These are all new things which we have implemented since we started with the parity system. I told the hon member that if we implemented the parity system immediately it would cost R400 million. This year our Budget allows for an additional amount of R70 million towards the ideal of parity and, within the next three phases, the aims of the parity system will have been met.
The hon member said that it costs more to take a load from Kimberley to Cape Town than to ship the same load from Cape Town to New Orleans. But who built the road to New Orleans?
Yes. In that case the load is shipped. One simply cannot compare the two methods of transport. Nobody is prepared to listen to that kind of comparison.
Furthermore, the hon member for Port Elizabeth Central said that 200 vehicles had been impounded.
All right, 295 vehicles. It is actually fewer if one takes the figure over 12 months. However, 98% of the road load in South Africa is transported by private enterprise while 2% of the road load is carried by the railways. The SATS will only transport 48% of South Africa’s load this year.
We are going to implement the proposals of the study group on general transport policy. We are going to abolish the permit system. The principle will be “Free for all”, but who is going to cry? I shall introduce a Bill to that effect next year but some people will be crying because if one wants to privatise one should not forget that SATS can provide the same service. So it will be on the basis of “free for all”. When permits are abolished, what will happen to certain of these companies? We are going to pay the same price for fuel; everything will be equal, but then the lorry-owner will have to pay for the upkeep of the road on which it travels. At the moment the competition is unfair because private companies are not paying to the same extent that SATS themselves are paying for the upkeep of their railroads.
The hon member also said: “Privatise the South African Airways.” Those were his words. We could privatise the SAA but we cannot have two airlines in South Africa. At one stage the USA had 19 airlines. They now have seven and eventually there will only be four. However, there are 245 million people there who can travel by air, while our population in South Africa is 26 million.
And there is no apartheid.
There is no apartheid. [Interjections.] In any case, the hon member also said—he is not such a bad member; in fact, actually I really like him, even though he is difficult at times!—that the flights to Upington were reduced and the MP’s complained because CP members in the area wanted to have a service to Upington. Some of the hon members on this side replied to that. We reduced the flights because of a lack of passengers, but if a private company—say Comair or Magnum—comes along with a proposal to cut out Upington, then we can always discuss that.
But they did!
They are doing it. There are feeder services to Upington, but they are not prepared to fly direct and I do not think they will be supported if they do fly direct, because there is a flight from Windhoek via Upington to Jan Smuts. Those are matters we can investigate, but it is true that we are being assisted by private enterprise feeder services.
The Hex River Tunnel was mentioned. The supervision concerning quality control in order to ensure compliance with the conditions of contract has led to increased costs. The total estimated cost is R128 million. The original estimated cost in 1947-48 has increased owing to an escalation in cost by approximately 60 per cent. Some of the reasons for this are increased quantities or fault zone material and alterations to the ground work necessitated by severe earth slips occurring after the Laingsburg floods. Those are the quotations given to us. [Interjections.]
*We are now working on the tunnel. Test holes have been drilled, but suddenly we have slush streaming out. People farming in the vicinity can tell you what is happening to that tunnel. [Interjections.] The hon member who serves on the select committee, went on to refer to the reserve fund.
†There are no hidden reserves in the Transport Services. He referred to hidden reserves, but all the reserves are approved by the standing committee and Parliament and are openly reflected in the annual accounts. Where are those hidden reserves the hon member referred to? The hon member also referred to the fact that we only have two chartered accountants. That is correct. Although this is true the financial section alone has more than 60 highly qualified financial experts with qualifications ranging from bachelors’ and masters’ degrees to doctorates. It may interest the hon member to know that last year the Transport Services was commended by the Sunday Times and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants for having achieved the highest standard of annual reporting in South Africa. I will send the hon member this; he can frame it and put it in his office. It is the Chartered Accountant Business Times award for annual reports, and it states:
It is signed by Tertius Myburgh and the President of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Mr Bartel. I am proud of our business.
I did not know that and I congratulate you.
Let me also refer to the question of the soya bean milk-powder.
*This soya-bean milk-powder business is a fine thing that happened to the SA Transport Services. [Interjections.] I am proud of it. The World Food Organisation feeds hungry people in Africa, and over a period of 13 months they sent 65 000 tons of soya-bear milk-powder to Africa. Within six months it goes rancid. There is a mountain of the stuff in America, and a large surplus of milk-powder in the rest of the world. We transported 65 000 tons to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. It arrives at the harbours, from where it is transported by train. Over a period of 13 months, 65 000 tons were transported. Now it so happens that a truck-load arrives, say, in Gaborone, and three bags get left behind. Scattered all over the Republic are depot’s at which unclaimed goods are auctioned—there are empty boxes, bottles and bicycles, there are even old men’s suits and new men’s suits—everything that was left behind on trains.
Old CPs as well.
All that rummage, yes! [Interjections.] These things are auctioned. Among all that stuff were 22 tons of broken and torn bags of that product which had accumulated over a period of 13 months, out of the total freight of 65 000 tons which we transported. Not one of the railway officials stole one of those bags; they are all sent to the depot, where they have to be auctioned because they are unclaimed.
An incredible controversy is in progress now, and the hon member spoke about the “unchristian way in which we are taking food—food for famine relief—to make money for the SATS”. I have spent enough time on this matter.
How could it be sold when it was clearly marked “not for sale”?
That is a question in regard to which we are engaged in replying to the people concerned.
What is the answer? [Interjections.]
All right! There may be a sale at Kimberley. All these things are in a shed and they are marked “not for sale”, but they have not been claimed. [Interjections.] Why make a fuss when South Africa transported 65 000 tons over a period of 13 months and only 22 tons were involved?
But it is the sale that I worry about.
*The hon member for De Kuilen said that we were going through difficult economic times and that we had to reduce the staff as a result of the load shortage. I got to know this hon member in this Parliament 20 years ago, and he has always impressed me. Once upon a time he sat on the opposite side as the main speaker on agricultural matters of the former opposition. I want to congratulate him because he is always well prepared and never becomes angry. The officials tell me that it is nice to have a chairman who does his work so well. I want to congratulate him sincerely.
The hon member for De Aar is not present in the House at the moment, but he sent me a letter saying that he had to go somewhere, and I accepted his apology. Nevertheless the hon member moved an amendment and asked a number of questions. Among other things he asked—I shall reply in writing to his other questions—how we were going to finance the deficit. The answer is on the capital market. Industrialists should not be subsidised by the State in order to transport their workers. We are doing this at the moment, and it is a mistake. I agree that industrialists should also make a contribution. He also asked whether the transportation of coal was profitable. Contracts were drawn up when the line was built, but with effect from April 1987 the contracts will be revised in such a way that everything will be fully profitable.
The hon member also had two letters alleging that we were discriminating against Whites. I should like to get those letters from him because management says they are not aware of them. We made telephone calls today to establish where it was stated in writing that we had told a White person that he was being paid off, but that we told a Black person that we had no work for him, but that we could transfer him to another job at the same wage. I want to get hold of those letters, because that is definitely not our policy. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Primrose said we should deregulate before we privatised. That is quite correct. We are deregulating. He also expressed his concern at the accumulated loss, and asked us to submit our reserve policy to the select committee. Here I have torn out the minutes of the select committee, which read:
This is a printed report of the select committee.
The hon member was correct in saying that the loss on passengers could not be allowed to continue. I agree with that, but if we increase tariffs, we lose passengers. However, I shall refer again to the losses on passengers at a later stage.
†The hon member for Durban Point described this as a “disastrous budget”. He said that the Budget was based on an exchange rate of 40 US cents. The fuel price is lower now and he wants to know what I am going to do about it. I shall reply to the member’s questions and some of them I shall reply to in writing because there is not enough time to do so now.
However, I want to point out that the combined effect of the exchange rate and the lower fuel price will have a positive effect of R106 million. This will however only enable the SATS to break even. As the hon member will remember, I said that we had budgeted for a R98 million deficit. Cognisance must however be taken of the fact that SATS’s accumulated loss will be R630 million on March 31 this year. This loss must be eliminated as soon as possible. The large reduction in the fuel price was made possible by the fact that I had decided not to increase fuel tariffs. As can be seen in the Budget we did not increase fuel tariffs. The hon the Minister of Mineral and Energy Affairs is very grateful for that. I trust that other suppliers will also take similar steps and pass on the full benefit to the consumer. That is in reply to the question as to what we are going to do about the fuel price.
How do you expect the private sector to reduct its prices?
The private sector is showing a profit. If we were showing a profit today I would immediately have reduced the price.
In private sector terms you do show a profit.
No, that is another reference …
… to the question of replacement.
No, that is not correct. The hon member also referred to the fact that the Railway Police will now fall under the Department of Law and Order. However, we are not going to get this service for nothing. They are going to charge us for it. One cannot expect the full amount of R120 million to be saved.
The hon member also referred to South West Africa. The previous annual loss of R80 million in South West Africa was recorded before the transition of the assets. Since these assets were transferred free of charge, the decrease is, inter alia, due to the fact that no interest was payable. They are not paying any interest. This resulted in a smaller loss of R41 million, of which 30% will be borne by the SATS. The SATS is still operating the whole service in South West Africa. We are running the service for them while they are learning under our guidance to take over the whole operation.
The hon member for Durban Point said that the administration had increased by 15%. The hon member had many questions in this regard. The ratio of senior officers to other staff employees in the catering department is 1:99. This is well within acceptable norms in the industry. The increase of 15,4% in the administrative and general charges is mainly attributable to the increase in data-processing services and the Railway Police. The General Manager’s Office, which represents the top structure of the SATS, only increased by 9,5%. This percentage is lower than the salary adjustment, which therefore indicates a decrease in staff.
Why did I not get that answer before the debate?
We checked this. The hon member received precisely the same answers I have just given. If we answer them today, we shall still be in time. We checked it.
The hon member said the 4 700 members of the SATS staff earn more than a member of Parliament. Those were his words.
That is 1 000.
That is only a part of it.
The allowance of R16 000 given to an MP is not included. It is only the basic salary that is affected.
Only the basic salary of both.
That is correct.
I was referring to the basic salaries as indicated in the estimates.
Can I help it if the hon member is underpaid? [Interjections.]
Is he underpaid? [Interjections.]
Yes he is. [Interjections.] He is a fine chap. One cannot draw that kind of comparison. One cannot say that 4 700 employees of SATS earn more than MPs. [Interjections.]
But you say that it is a fact.
I thought the hon member did not want us to pay these people a living wage.
Read my Hansard. I welcome the fact.
I am glad to hear that because I want our people to be paid a good living wage. I think, Mr Speaker, you should take note of what the hon member has said about our salaries. [Interjections.]
*The hon member for Bloemfontein East spoke about safe and efficient service. He sketched the history of the branch lines of the Railways, against the background of the development of South Africa. It is interesting if one recalls the story which the hon member for Rosettenville told one day about the Makadas railway line. There is also the line to Hofmeyr, which the hon member for Queenstown is worried about. That railway line was built by manual labour during the depression when there was a need for it, and steel was cheap. Then farmers began buying trucks, the rural areas became depopulated, and now there is only one train to Hofmeyr on Fridays. When this service is withdrawn, the station is closed down, and the station master, with his five children, goes elsewhere. The result is that the local school also closes down. This is all very sad. For that reason the branch lines are the major problem for us, and it is not an easy thing to close down branch lines.
Except in my constituency. There you simply go ahead and close them down. [Interjections.]
Yes, we are going to close down the whole constituency. [Interjections.]
It was pleasant to listen to the hon member for Bloemfontein East, who reminded us of the history of the branch lines and who is so proud of SATS. I want to thank the hon member for his contribution.
The hon member for Parktown discussed cigarette advertisements at airports. He made a very good speech. I want to tell the hon member that I want to stop smoking. [Interjections.] But he must also be reasonable. Those advertisements along the railway lines earn us between R3 and R4 million a year. We are still not making a profit. As one of South Africa’s best known medical practitioners the hon member must explain to me, if we abolish cigarette advertisements, what about wine advertisements? Surely we cannot ban all the sins.
The same applies!
Surely one cannot do that. Surely there is a South African industry that has to be borne in mind. Yesterday the hon member spoke about people who did not smoke in church. However, I still believe that one cannot remove all temptations. Temptation is there to help people keep themselves under control. [Interjections.]
We are investigating the problem of smoking on aircrafts. However, we have other passengers who must also be satisfied. If someone says he wants a small place somewhere on the aircraft where he can smoke, we cannot make provision for the non-smokers only. I give the problem sympathetic consideration, however. The hon member for Parktown must not expect us to remove even the wine advertisements. Where can one find a worse temptation than the advertisement which says: “Drink Castle Lager, the sportsman choice”? If a little boy wants to become a Springbok one day, sees that advertisement, the little boy’s father must educate him well and tell him: “My boy, those temptations are there, but you must use such things in moderation.” But if one were to do away with every kind of sin, one would not need a church. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon the Minister whether he is aware that the Department of National Health has calculated that smoking costs South Africa R3 million per day? Does that small amount of money, that R4 million the Department of Transport Affairs earns from cigarette advertisements, compensate for the expenses the Department of National Health has to bear every day?
Mr Chairman, it is quite right, we should be able to argue about these matters. The hon member must remember, however, that the excise duty which the State collects on tobacco, amounts to more than R700 million. But I do want to assure the hon member that we are considering his suggestion. He put it very well. We are sympathetically disposed to it. Not a single member of the Department’s management is a smoker. They urged me to consider this motion thoroughly, and I assured them that we would do something about the matter. But we must also be reasonable and consistent in our actions, and adopt the same attitude to liquor advertisements. I do want to point out to the hon member that if we begin to abolish things, he should not lie on a bed, because my grandfather died on a bed, and so a bed is also dangerous, is it not? [Interjections.] In any event, we are giving thorough consideration to his proposal.
The hon member for Wellington referred to the losses suffered by SATS on the conveyance of agricultural produce. I agree with him. At present the maize crop is at the cobbing stage and it has not rained for the past 21 days. Previously I spoke about a crop of 10 million tons and I looked forward to conveying 5 million tons of maize per train, but now it seems to me the crop will already be less than 9 million tons. South Africa is like that. I thank the hon member for Wellington for his contribution. SATS is, and must continue to be, the national conveyor.
The hon member for Nigel said privatisation was typical of the Government. He said the Government wanted to privitise, and in that way give everything to the big moneyed interests. In this connection he also spoke about the Afrikaner. Where could one hope to find a bigger private entrepeneur than the Afrikaans farmer, who says he wants to be “heer van my hoewe en baas van my plaas”? To have one’s own farm is the best example of privatisation. The communal system of farming has not worked anywhere in Africa. But give a man title to his own farm—and privatise in that way—and you have a completely different kettle of fish. The Government is therefore taking steps to promote privatisation. The hon member said, however, that our slogan was “privatise! privatise!” in order to play in the hands of the big moneyed interests. I think he is making a mistake: But I am not going to quarrel with him.
We must not privatise.
I know, the hon member said we must not privatise. That is what the argument is all about.
Hendrik, you will do better than Harry Oppenheimer.
The hon member also said I had taken too long to reply to him. I want to apologise to him, because it did take too long before we replied to two of his questions. However, we first had to get hold of some particulars.
The hon member for Nigel spoke about the diminishing job opportunities in Nigel. Another hon member—I think it was the hon member for Sunnyside—said we should take a look at capital expenditure. We have cut back on the capital programme because we did not have enough goods to convey. Union Carriages, in the constituency of the hon member for Nigel, had orders for wagons, and when those orders had been delivered, we did not order any more wagons. That is why some people lost their jobs.
The hon member also referred to our inability to collect third-class fares. We are working on a system which will enable us to make ticket collecting more effective.
The hon member also said that some of our workers were having a hard time because they were White. He said the Government only looked after the Blacks. Surely that is not the kind of statement a person should make. But I am not angry with the hon member. He must just not say that I am ruining the Whites when I say I do not want to discriminate. When I say I do not want to discriminate, he immediately jumps to the conclusion that I want to trample on the Whites. That is not my intention. Nor is it our object. The PFP, on the other hand, criticise us because we are allegedly doing too much for the Whites.
I want to thank the hon member for Kempton Park, who gave us a survey of the activities of SATS, for his contribution. He referred to all those who were contributing to the development of this vast organisation. It is a pleasure for me to co-operate with the hon member for Kempton Park—he is the vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee on Transport Affairs.
The hon member for Greytown asked us to reduce the price of airline tickets to Windhoek for the sake of national servicemen. We shall go into the matter and get back to the hon member on this. We shall have to see what the financial implications of such a step would be.
He also asked us why we were competing with private buses that wanted to transport passengers; surely it was our purpose to privitise. But one cannot, after all, say that one is privatizing if there is only one company that conveys people and one may not compete with that company. We give them a permit so that they can operate, but then they must be prepared to compete with us under the same conditions to which we are subject. The hon member’s speech in regard to passengers was very good.
I want to assure the hon member for Rosettenville that we will definitely give attention to the matter of parking on platform 16. He knows we are working on this. I personally do not like the brown uniforms, and I said this to management a year ago already. However, we do not have the money at the moment to replace these brown uniforms. I do not find the brown uniforms attractive, but the present uniforms can still be used for some time before they have to be replaced. We must also remember that taste differs. I think the hon member was able to see that we were prepared to react to his request.
When I was a young boy there were not many Afrikaans songs, but I still remember one called: “Een aand op die trein na Pretoria”, one of the songs we often sang. Today, children laugh at these songs, but I liked the hon member’s speech. I went to visit that “baboon” station and I saw the picture of the baboon there. Even the signal switch which the baboon operated, is being preserved. I am pleased about that.
Were you visiting relations?
Yes, they are relations of mine. As I once said, the higher a baboon climbs, the more one sees of his backside. [Interjections.] That was when they gave me freedom of the town.
The hon member for Sunnyside referred to the expected growth rate of 1,5%. He said it was too optimistic. It was indeed too optimistic. Now he says I am bluffing the public by being optimistic again. I cannot be a pessimist, but I am a realist. This Budget was only prepared after we have held talks with all the organisations that could possibly be involved—the AHI, Assocom, the Agricultural Union, and so on. We asked them all for their opinions. Hon members can mention any organisation and I will be able to say for sure that a representative of that organisation discussed the prospects with me in my office. [Interjections.] The hon member said that capital expenditure was far too high. We dare not cut down any further on capital expenditure. For example, the General Electric factory in Germiston recently informed me that they would not be able to remain in operation and that they would have to close down the factory if we did not give them certain orders. There are all kinds of factors involved which one must always take into consideration. [Interjections.] the hon member for Sunnyside said that 170 000 workers had moved a motion of no confidence in me. He said that I was beginning to hate the Whites. Firstly, I want to inform him that so far it is only the artisan staff associations in Durban, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Kimberley that have held meetings. They comprise only a small part of the total railway staff. I do not want to tell him what staff associations sent me telegrammes to thank me for their 10% increase, because they are part of the Federal Council of Staff Associations of SATS. I do not want to mention their names, for then I would be embarrassing them. The people to whom the hon member for Sunnyside referred, are only a small percentage of the total number of staff members. I am sorry for those people, Sir, because they are having a hard time. I wish I could have given them a 15% increase, but we simply do not have the money.
This is not the first time that a motion of no confidence has been moved in a Minister of Transport Affairs. We have all the records, and I went through them. My predecessor, ex-Minister Ben Schoeman, had a motion of no confidence moved in him five or six times. I understand, however, that the Minister who had the most motions of no confidence moved in him, was Mr Louwrens Muller. [Interjections.] They were good Ministers, but that just goes to show how unhappy people can become about their salaries. They are coming to see me next week. [Interjections.]
The hon member for Kimberley South made a very good contribution. Those of us who are sound in mind and body must bear in mind the 27 handicapped children who cannot do anything but travel by air. I told the hon member that the General Managers and he and I would have a discussion. At present those children can get a 50% discount by taking the late night flight. They can also use the Flexi-rate flight at a 40% discount. If they cannot fit into these schemes, we shall devise some other plan. I thank the hon member for his contribution.
†The hon member for Walmer referred to “the monster of commuter losses because of group areas.”
Those were not my words.
The hon member spoke about “the monster of commuter losses because of group areas.”
Those were not my words; I was quoting.
All right, but do you agree with them?
In regard to industry, yes.
All right. The hon member says that the distances the White people have to travel to work today are a result of group areas. The average distance which White people travel to their job of work is 18km per day.
And the Blacks?
On average, the Blacks travel 1km less. These figures are based on the distance from Soweto to Johannesburg and on the distance from the residential section of Mid-Rand to the industrial section of Johannesburg. I know a chap who went to London and who looked for a house there. The nearest house he could get to his job of work in Central London was 45 miles away. He did not want to stay in a flat.
*Sir, with a growing population, believe me, all of us cannot live right next to the factory. [Interjections.]
Nor can we say that this is because of the Group Areas Act.
†The hon member also said that the transport costs of manufactured goods increased severely. I must point out to him that no furniture and very few motor-cars are being transported by rail. They are being transported by road. The costs increased because of the private sector’s price increases. The private sector’s prices increased together with those of SATS. As far as the implementation of the National Transport Policy Study is concerned, we are going to introduce a Bill this year, and implement the whole thing next year.
*I find it enjoyable when the hon member for Umfolozi talks about Richards Bay. He is a good MP. In ten years Richards Bay brought in R14 billion as a result of what the Government did. Show me another government that has done anything like that. Some hon members forget all these things. As examples I could mention Koeberg, Saldanha, Richards Bay, the Sasols and the Phoskors. Surely it is a top-notch government that initiates all these things. [Interjections.]
What has the coalition government accomplished by now?
The hon member for South Coast gave an overall view of SATS as a business undertaking, mentioning cost-related fares for commuters and suggested that driver training and testing services should be privatised. His was a good contribution to the debate. We shall pay attention to these matters and try to implement some of his recommendations. I fully agree that driver testing and training services can be privatised.
*I shall now refer to the hon member for Sasolburg. I want to ask him whether his party is on the side of South Africa or of the front-line states. The hon member referred to a Press report which read: “Daardie mense het hulle dik gevreet aan ons mielies.” Last year the farmers who serve on the Maize Board decided to buy 200 000 tons of maize in Zimbabwe; it had nothing to do with the Government. Is the hon member satisfied with that? Should they or should they not have done that? [Interjections.]
Very well. The hon member said I was committing treason—those were his words—by supplying the front-line states with railway trucks, railway lines and diesel locomotives. How must the 200 000 tons of maize, which the farmers want in order to see us through until we start harvesting the first crops in May, get here? Must they carry it on their heads, or can they transport it by train? [Interjections.]
That kind of HNP talk, really! it is the most wonderful thing if one can hold such a meeting. You get applause and stir people up. But there must be some realism too. [Interjections.] We are breaking our backs to help the front-line states. During the period to which the hon member was referring, Mr Louwrens Muller was the Minister concerned. That contract was entered into at the time, and today he is participating in HNP meetings. He was not a bad Minister. Now it is being said: “Let us strangle those people to death.”
Last week, when we opened the railway line in Swaziland, I referred to the figure of 7 million tons coming to this country from African countries, and also how many tons were going from South Africa to those countries. Some of their tobacco, chromium, copper and cotton is being exported through our harbours.
Now we know that you are supporting the entire economy of those Black states.
I know that the hon member for Langlaagte and the hon member for Sasolburg, the CP and the HNP, are hand in glove, and the AWB as well.
You are a jingo.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon Minister why he does not stop, or threaten to stop, the commercial traffic between those states and our country.
There are factories in South Africa in which Whites are employed—a few of them are HNP and CP members—who are manufacturing ploughs and other machinery for the African states. It has to get there. I do not want to take away their livelihood. The day is coming, but I hope it will never be necessary. What happened in Lesotho? One does not shout these things from the rooftops, but problems can crop up which necessitate our doing this. I say that we must make them dependent on us. That is my whole object.
But they are already dependent.
They are not dependent enough. There is not one railway truck, diesel or steam locomotive operating in those countries on which we do not make a profit. Hon members must not suggest that we are spoon-feeding them. Every month they must pay every account in cash, or we take the things back. We are also making a profit on this. If it should become necessary, we could throttle them, but then we, too, would get hurt.
You gave Fanie Botha credit.
If that hon member’s party ever came into power, we would be a little island unable to export a single product.
You gave credit to Fanie alone, and not to the others. [Interjections.]
It is a pity that the time of the hon member for Kroonstad was cut short. He is a man who take a great interest in SATS. I shall discuss civil aviation with him. If South Africa wants to be a healthy country, we must maintain the operation of private aircraft. Recently the industry has been hurt as a result of increased fuel prices, and many aircraft have been taken out of the country. We are giving this matter very sympathetic consideration, and we have these people’s interests at heart.
Mr Chairman, bearing in mind that the hon the Minister has said that they will not refuce tariffs because of the fuel price, I would like to ask him if this also applies to the SA Airways, where they themselves say that 40% of their costs are fuel-related.
We are going into the whole matter. At this stage I can only say that we must first wipe out the losses. Then we can take it from there. The SA Airways show a loss of R53 million. If we can make a profit we can have another look at the tariffs and draw more passengers. I fully agree that one should make the tickets less expensive and so get more passengers.
The hon member for Berea asked me why it took so long since 1982 to reduce the staff by 53 000. A depression does not strike overnight. First the process of containerisation was introduced and we all agreed to it.
*There was a time when there were 14 or 15 ships lying in Table Bay harbour. It then took seven days to offload cargo. A start was then made with the containerisation process. It was an ironic development for South Africa, because this country is looking for labour opportunities.
In such a container one may find a little of anything, from bicycles and gramophones to spare parts for motor vehicles. To offload the same quantity of cargo which previously took seven days, now takes only seven hours. The ship is ready to depart the next day. In this way labour is saved and far fewer people are now working in the harbours than before. At present there is even a container depot at City Deep; a harbour building in the interior, where the customs people are standing by to open the containers.
†The hon member referred to “unrest because of apartheid” and “unrest because of segregation on trains”. I must cater for my customers. I went to the Coloured people and asked them if they wanted to travel mixed. They answered “yes”. I also went to the Indians and the Blacks and they said the same thing. The Progs also said they wanted to travel mixed.
*From a survey among the Whites, however, it appeared that they would prefer to travel separately, and we then decided on that. We then decided that there would be first, second and third class coaches which would be open to all the groups on inter-city trains, and also first and second class coaches for Whites. I find it interesting that there is not one hon PFP member who travels on the mixed coach. [Interjections.]
I travel on it from Rondebosch to Cape Town every day.
The hon member is correct, but I am now referring to sleeper trains, that travel through the night as well. The hon member has no experience of that. The fat cats all drive around in Mercedes Benz’s. I am now talking about my train clients. [Interjections.] I do not want to anger people, but they must not come and tell me there is unrest because of segregation.
The hon member for False Bay said that we should not look at SATS outside the context of the national interest. I want to thank the member for those words. One cannot look at this vast organisation outside the context of South Africa; it is part of South Africa. The hon member is perfectly right. It is not the South African Transport Services of the Government, but of everybody. We are proud of it and we are proud of its Minister. [Interjections.]
Question put: That all the words after “That” stand part of the question.
Upon which the House divided:
Ayes—81: Alant, T G; Ballot, G C; Bartlett, G S; Botha, J C G; Breytenbach, W N; Clase, P J; Coetzer, H S; Coetzer, P W; Conradie, F D; Cunningham, J H; De Jager, A M v A; Du Plessis, G C; Durr, K D S; Farrel, P G; Fick. L H; Fouché, A F; Grobler, J P; Hefer, W J; Heine, W J; Heunis, J C; Hugo, P B B; Jordaan, A L; Kleynhans, J W; Kriel, H J; Lemmer, W A; Le Roux, D E T; Ligthelm, N W; Lloyd, J J; Louw, E v d M; Louw, I; Louw, M H; Marais, G; Marais, P G; Maré, P L; Maree, M D; Meiring, J W H; Mentz, J H W; Meyer, W D; Morrison, G de V; Nothnagel, A E; Poggenpoel, D J; Pretorius, P H; Rabie, J; Scheepers, J H L; Schoeman, H; Schoeman, R S; Schoeman, S J; Schoeman, W J; Scott, D B; Simkin, C H W; Smit, H A; Steyn, D W; Streicher, D M; Swanepoel, K D; Terblanche, G P D; Thompson, A G; Van Breda, A; Van der Linde, G J; Van der Merwe, C J; Van der Walt, A T; Van Eeden, D S; Van Niekerk, W A; Van Rensburg, H M J (Mossel Bay); Van Rensburg, H M J (Rosettenville); Van Vuuren, L M J; Van Zyl, J G; Veldman, M H; Venter, E H; Vermeulen, J A J; Viljoen, G v N; Volker, V A; Weeber, A; Welgemoed, P J; Wessels, L; Wright, A P.
Tellers: W J Cuyler, A Geldenhuys, C J Ligthelm, J J Niemann, D P A Schutte and L van der Watt.
Noes—27: Andrew, K M; Bamford, B R; Barnard, M S; Barnard, S P; Burrows, R; Cronjé, P C; Goodall, B B; Hardingham, R W; Hoon, J H; Hulley, R R; Malcomess, D J N; Moorcroft, E K; Olivier, N J J; Page, B W B; Raw, W V; Savage, A; Soal, P G; Stofberg, L F; Swart, R A F; Van der Merwe, S S; Van der Merwe, W L; Van Rensburg, H E J; Van Zyl, J J B; Visagie, J H; Watterson, D W.
Tellers: G B D McIntosh and P A Myburgh.
Question affirmed and amendments dropped.
Bill read a second time.
In accordance with Standing Order No 19, the House adjourned at