House of Assembly: Vol9 - TUESDAY 27 MAY 1986
Order! Since I gave the hon member for Cape Town Gardens leave to move the motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No 21, an interdict was granted by the Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division of the Supreme Court, restraining the Police and the Defence Force from taking certain action in the KTC squatter camp.
The notice of motion on the Order Paper deals with the Crossroads squatter camp and the interdict with the KTC squatter camp. However, after examining the affidavits submitted in support of the interdict, I found that continual reference was made in them to conditions at Crossroads and to the steps taken there by the Police and the Defence Force.
I have considered the matter carefully and have come to the conclusion that the notice on the Order Paper for today under the Half-hour Adjournment Rule deals with a matter which is sub judice until the court gives final judgement. I therefore have to rule that the motion cannot be moved.
laid upon the Table:
as Chairman, presented the Eighth Report of the Standing Select Committee on Communications and Public Works, dated 19 May 1986, as follows:
Bill to be read a second time.
as Chairman, presented the Third Report of the Standing Select Committee on Mineral and Energy Affairs, dated 22 May 1986, as follows:
Bill to be read a second time.
Vote No 14—“Manpower”:
Mr Chairman, I request the privilege of the half-hour.
I had occasion during an earlier debate during this session, to compliment the Director-General and staff of the Department of Manpower on the valuable work which they perform. This department handles some of South Africa’s most sensitive areas affecting the economy and politics as a whole. At a time when pressure from all sides is growing one hopes that the Director-General, his staff and the hon the Minister will not lose their cool in handling their responsibilities under this department. I hope that the hon the Minister’s experience in Pietersburg and his frustrations in that regard will not spoil a manpower debate, because they are irrelevant to manpower matters.
A study of the annual report—which is once again a fine report, submitted timeously—indicates that it contains many interesting statistics which are worth analysing. A study of the report also reveals that the staff position of the department improved marginally in 1985 compared with 1984. Resignations dropped during the year under review from 500 to 387. Despite the small increase in the number of posts provided—an increase from 2 764 in 1984 to 2 767 in 1985— it is clear that there are still some areas in the department which are short-staffed. This was evident during last year’s handling of the increased number of applications for unemployment benefits. This was dealt with in the Press. They were dealt with by the department, but it was patently clear that that area was not sufficiently staffed, and I hope that the hon the Minister and his department have looked at that aspect because there will once again be an increase in applications for unemployment benefits during the course of this year.
Another area in which it was clear that there was a shortage of staff relates to applications for the establishment of conciliation boards. The department has been responsible for some unjustifiable delays which it has blamed on a shortage of staff in that particular area. The South African Chemical Workers’ Union has, for example, claimed that the department is not complying with the Labour Relations Act because of a failure to respond timeously to their applications. Three applications for conciliation boards were made—on 28 August 1985, on 13 September 1985 and on 18 September 1985—and by the end of October 1985 there had still been no response from the department. These applications related to disputes at Karbochem, Fedmis and Air-products. According to a newspaper report in Business Day of 31 October 1985, the Director-General had undertaken to discuss this matter with his officials. I should like the hon the Minister to tell us whether that aspect has been discussed. Are the delays going to be cut out of that particular area of the hon the Minister’s department?
As a final point in relation to staff matters I wish to refer to paragraph 1.8 of the report which deals with the employment ratio of men compared to women. I believe I should warn the hon the Minister at once that once the feminists in this country begin to flex their muscles, this department will certainly have to begin to rephase their sections on staff which deal with women.
The relevant paragraph in the report, Mr Chairman, reads as follows:
The report states further:
Mr Chairman, I am afraid that even the Department of Manpower will have to rely more and more on womanpower in future if it wants to get on with its task. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, looking at what the report states in regard to labour relations, it is encouraging to note that there has been a marked increase in the number of trade unions making use of the dispute-settling machinery provided for in the Labour Relations Act. The Industrial Court has become a vital instrument in handling disputes. In 1985 its workload doubled compared with 1984. Altogether 801 cases were referred to it during 1985, compared with 399 cases in 1984. Despite this phenomenal increase the Industrial Court continues to consist only of four full-time members and some ad hoc members. Since the beginning of this year, I am told, the workload has increased almost threefold, and unless drastic steps are taken to increase the number of members of the Industrial Court, there is every chance of that court collapsing in the second half of this year. The Industrial Court finds itself in a crisis and, unless urgent steps are taken by the department to redress the problem, this situation will seriously affect the standing of that court and the important role it plays. Cases set down for hearing have had to be postponed or removed from the roll because of a lack of members to handle them. In the sensitive field of labour relations this drags out disputes, costs money, and provides for a great deal of uncertainty which we cannot afford.
There are not enough suitably qualified ad hoc members, and it often proves to be impossible to get them together in order to deal with a case. I am told that there are some advocates who act as ad hoc members who will on some occasions handle a case and on other occasions appear before the court. This is a very unhealthy situation and the department needs to look into it.
During the debate on the Budget Vote— “Manpower” last year, the hon the Minister stated that the entire remuneration package of the court had been improved and that fringe benefits granted to public servants had been made available to its ad hoc members. I understand that this is not quite correct as far as pensions, medical aid and cars are concerned. The department should look at that again because unless an attractive pay and benefits package is offered, the court is not going to attract sufficient members to handle the load. The overall package needs to be improved, and the department has done little to alleviate the position.
I would also appreciate it if the hon the Minister could tell us whether his department intends to provide permanent staff for the court in centres other than the Transvaal, for example, Cape Town and Durban, so that matters can be dealt with in all the respective centres at the same time.
When one looks at the labour union scene, it is clear to one that since 1979 both the unions and the workers have displayed increasing confidence in the role of the Industrial Court—even unions that will not have anything to do with other statutory labour relations institutions. It is rare for any Government institution to enjoy such trust on the part of a broad mass of workers. Urgent steps need to be taken, therefore, to ensure that the status of the court is enhanced and not reduced.
I now want to raise an issue that has been raised year after year in this House, namely that relating to the National Manpower Commission’s investigation of the working conditions of farm and domestic workers. I understand that a report has been submitted to the department and that consultations with various interested parties and individuals have been held. Could the hon the Minister tell us where and why there is a delay in this regard? When will the report be published? Can he tell us with whom his department has been consulting during the past few months since they received the report? What progress has been made? Can we expect a White Paper? More information would be useful.
I turn now to the unemployment situation in the country. This was discussed in some detail during an earlier debate this session, and I do not intend to go into any detail as far as that is concerned. It is clear, however, that there is a direct link between large-scale unemployment and the present instability. That has also been stressed on many occasions during this session by hon members on this side of the House.
I also do not intend to deal with the aspect of job creation as that was also dealt with earlier on during this year. One aspect, however, which I would hope the department and the National Manpower Commission would look at, is the question of unemployment statistics. At present there are three official sources of unemployment statistics in South Africa, namely the population census—which is only used occasionally—the Current Population Survey—CPS—and statistics on registered unemployment. None of these statistics can be regarded as realistic or as reliable. Except perhaps for White unemployment, the statistics on registered unemployment are not in close proximity to what the reality is. The Current Population Survey which is regarded as the most reliable indicator is based on a survey of households of various population groups throughout the country but it again does not cover the independent Black states. There are many academics, institutions and individuals who provide different statistics. Cosatu believes that the number of people unemployed at present is more than 3 million. Prof Keenan of the Witwatersrand University is of the view that the figure exceeds 4 million. Some more conservative estimates put the rate at 1,5 million people. Which figures does the Department of Manpower rely on? It must be impossible to assess the traumatic impact of large-scale unemployment if official statistics are unreliable or unrealistic. The Manpower Commission, I believe, should look at this aspect again. Obviously there are many practical problems in the way of obtaining such realistic statistics but a formula should be devised by means of which credible and realistic unemployment statistics are made available.
The past six months saw the creation of two labour movements which in one way or another are going to make an impact in the labour field. I refer to Cosatu and Uwusa. Both were born amidst controversy and the activities of both will have political spin-offs. Clearly these and other labour movements are not going to confine their interests and activities to conflicts of interest between management and labour.
Consumer boycotts and stayaways are here to stay for as long as freedom of political association is restricted and for as long as Blacks have no effective say in Government. It is to the credit of the collective bargaining machinery that against this background an increasing number of industrial disputes are being resolved by institutional methods. Today the labour arena is one of the few genuine negotiating forums where Blacks and Whites can negotiate and bargain from approximately equal power bases. There is, however, a real danger that the evolutionary development of the collective bargaining process will start to disintegrate unless significant political and constitutional changes are brought about soon. The department also has a responsibility to achieve that goal in order to ensure success for its own portfolio.
Mr Chairman, I request the privilege of the half-hour.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Is it customary for an hon member of the Government party to ask for the privilege of the half-hour? [Interjections.]
Order! I was just considering the matter. I do not believe it is customary for hon members of the Government party to ask for the privilege of the half-hour. [Interjections.] Order! The hon member may proceed. I will clear up the matter in the course of his address.
Mr Chairman, since this is the first time the hon member for Durban Central has acted in his official capacity as his party’s chief spokesman on manpower, I want to congratulate him. I also want to congratulate him on his performance here this afternoon; I think it was very positive. I think if he continues in this way, he will find that there is great understanding from this side of the Committee for the standpoints of the Official Opposition.
Today I should like to refer briefly to a few matters in connection with labour and manpower. I want to state as a fact that no Vote, including that of Manpower, can be discussed in isolation. I do not believe any other portfolio in the Cabinet is given as many connotations and has as many points of contact as the portfolio of the hon the Minister of Manpower. We need only think of other portfolios and disciplines such as foreign affairs, economics, finance, and so on, which are directly associated with manpower. One need not wonder why these various Votes are so interwined. This Vote is concerned with labour and if one were to refine it even further, with the service relationship.
Few of us sitting here do not have to contend with some or other aspect of the service relationship every day. Either one is in a service relationship, whether as an employer or an employee, one is subject to such a relationship, or one benefits from such a relationship.
I do not believe there is a single elected member in this Committee who is not experiencing labour or manpower problems in his constituency. The constituencies of Houghton and Hillbrow may have fewer problems than the constituency of Roodeplaat, but we are all confronted by labour problems from day to day. It is imperative, therefore, that we take an in-depth look during this debate at the positive as well as the negative aspects of the labour situation in South Africa today.
When we analyse what is happening in South Africa, we must do so calmly. We must not necessarily emphasise the various party-political views of the matter. It is no secret, after all, that we are poorer today than we were a year ago. As a result of the eroding value of the rand because of the high inflation rate, the individual simply no longer has the standard of living he had last year or the year before.
In looking at a few of the problems we are experiencing at present, one of the greatest problems is probably unemployment. I do not want to go into detail concerning unemployment, because it is discussed here and in the public Press from day to day. I want to content myself with saying that unemployment and inflation are economic problems. To a great extent unemployment is the result of economic problems. The cause of the economic problems is not within the purview of this discussion, but I can merely say it is very difficult to deal with the results of the economic problems from day to day.
In a publication of a trade union in South Africa I read the old truth that when there are economic difficulties, “the rich get richer and the poor get children”. I do not know how many warnings have been issued in this Committee and from various platforms against overpopulation and population explosions. Let me say it again: If we do not find a method of controlling the birth rate of the Blacks in South Africa and confining it within reasonable limits, we can try to combat unemployment in other ways day in and day out, but I do not believe we shall succeed.
We need only look at the report of the Scientific Committee of the President’s Council in which the dangers of overpopulation and a population explosion have been determined scientifically and spelt out in large capital letters. I see Dr Van der Horst of Old Mutual says the unbridled population growth is behind all South Africa’s problems.
Perhaps this does not fall under the jurisdiction of the hon the Minister of Manpower, but I want to plead with him today. We succeeded last year in getting R600 million for training, retraining and creation of employment. The day has come, however, when we have to spend millions of rands on counselling in South Africa to prevent and combat a population explosion. We can do this only by means of counselling. The private sector can assist too, but it will merely be a case of empty gestures, because there is no profit in this kind of counselling effort. Perhaps it can also be interpreted as political indoctrination.
That is why I believe it to be the task of the Government to do this in co-operation with the governments of the independent states in Southern Africa, and the self-governing states.
Subsequently I want to dwell on certain problems which are being experienced by employers and employers’ organisations in South Africa. Great expectations were created while the Wiehahn Commission was conducting its analysis of the labour situation in South Africa. The hon member for Brakpan will remember how employers’ and other organisations, the FCI, the AHI, Tucsa, the trade unions and the Press inter alia said they wanted to test whether or not the Government was prepared to renounce the so-called verkrampte view of labour matters which they had held since 1956. People asked whether the Government would eventually permit Black and mixed trade unions.
The employers’ organisations said a new dawn would break for South Africa and its economy if only the Government would eradicate certain problem areas.
What about Raymond Ackerman?
The South African Government has taken the bull by the horns, and even if it has made them unpopular with some of their voters, have passed new legislation.
They are still unpopular.
This question comes to mind: Has the legislation not perhaps become too advanced for a number of employers’ and employees’ organisations?
This question is a valid one because the hon the Minister, the department and members of the Standing Committee on Manpower receive representations and objections regularly. As an example I should like to quote from a document I have just received from a very large South African organisation. There is reference to trade unions:
Order! I am afraid the hon member’s time has expired.
Mr Chairman, I rise to allow the hon member to continue.
The hon member for Roodeplaat may proceed.
Mr Chairman, I thank the hon Chief Whip of the Official Opposition.
The firm which was responsible for the document from which I have just quoted, pointed out that the principles which protect the free enterprise system appeared to have been redirected to serve the ends of uncontrolled change.
*It appears that to some employers’ as well as some employees’ organisations, such as trade unions and trade union federations, this has become a wild tiger which they cannot control. This is happening despite representations from a commission in which employers and employees served and asked the Government to create new legislation.
It reminds me of my Oom Gert who farmed on a small farm. He had an old Fargo-bakkie, inter alia which gave him problems when he wanted to get it started in the morning. After a good harvest, because his neighbour Piet Mossie had bought himself an automatic car, he decided to buy himself an automatic car as well. He bought a Chev Powerglide.
This Oom Gert of mine had a way, if something was wrong at the pump-shed, of parking the bakkie there so that the lights shone on the pump-shed. Once the battery was flat, the labourers simply pushed the bakkie down the gradual slope. The bakkie would start and everything would be fine again.
It so happened that there was something wrong at the pump-shed and Oom Gert parked the “Powerglide” there. When the lights became weaker and weaker, he told his chief labourer, old Hannes Polite, that they should save this new vehicle, but when he wanted to start it, it would not start. The labourers pushed it down the slope—it was quite a distance—but this “Powerglide” simply did not want to start. Oom Gert was known for not really believing in garages. So he sent old Hannes to fetch a can of petrol, because when the Fargo bakkie did not want to start, he used to open the bonnet and old Hannes would sit in front and feed the carburettor drop by drop while the other men pushed. They carried on struggling with the “Powerglide” in this way, but it did not want to start.
After a while he decided there had to be something wrong with the spark plugs and the points. The spark plugs and the points were taken out as well. He looked at the spark plug gaps and decided they were too narrow. He widened the gaps, but the engine did not want to start. In the end they had to fetch John Barry, the mechanic, even if he hated letting him work on his car. The mechanic explained that all he needed was a new battery for the car to start again. After that my Oom Gert never fiddled with this car again.
Our employers are prepared to accept advanced technology in all spheres. Television and computers are employed, but as regards that extremely important component of production and management, viz their staff, they refuse to accept refined techniques and sophistication.
Mr Chairman, may I ask the hon member whether he will not give up some of his time to this side of the Committee to ask questions and to probe this vitally important subject?
Mr Chairman, I honestly do not think that the hon member expects me to reply to that question.
*Employers will have to learn that the legislation and the instruments we have to use today have become more refined. There is no point in complaining from day to day about what constitutes an unfair labour practice. The new problem seems to be that there must be a new definition. The expression “unfair labour practice” simply does not appear in our legislation. It appears in advanced legislation of this kind throughout the world. A perfect definition has never been found.
Employers do have real complaints to which attention must be given. One of the greatest complaints is the intimidation to which employees are subjected. A second important complaint is the almost uncontrolled demands which are made by employees and trade unions from time to time. Trade unions are compelled, today in particular, to moderate the demands of their members according to the realities of the day. If that does not happen, negotiations are not going to get us anywhere. People strike and threaten strikes too easily. I want to go so far as to say that when an illegal strike takes place, an employer should have the right, without further ado, summarily to dismiss those striking employees and to appoint others in their place. [Interjections.] We are living in a time of an over-supply of labour, and if there are illegal strikes, we must find an instrument against them.
Who decides whether or not they are illegal?
I want to talk about unfair labour practices. Employers often ask why they cannot dismiss someone as they wish. The employer says: If I buy a car, I have to pay for it, but if I do not like it, I can sell it and buy another. If I want to rent an office, I have to pay for it, but if I do not like the office, I give notice and rent another. If I like a typist, I employ her and pay her. If I see another whom I prefer, why can I not dismiss the old one and appoint the new one? [Interjections.]
That is a problem which we can solve only if we accept that the service contract is a sui generis contract with an own content for own circumstances and which, in other words, has to be approached on a different basis from a common-law contract of purchase or lease.
That is why it is imperative that we set the following as a basis. What will the attitude of the man in the street be regarding a certain decision or action? Fairness, reasonableness and humaneness must of necessity play a decisive part.
Employers also request from time to time that the Industrial Court consist only of judges, and not of members who are not judges. There are very few countries in the world in which only lawyers make up the members of an Industrial Court. Perhaps this is something which should be considered. It will ensure, however, that what was requested by the hon member for Durban Central, viz the extension of the membership of the Industrial Court, will be shelved for a very long time.
Another important aspect of the employers’ complaints is the intimidation of employees. It is maintained that the trade unions, or the members of the trade unions’ managements, are often the people responsible for this intimidation. I want to suggest that very strict action be taken against intimidation. It is a very dangerous tendency. I believe that when there is a suspicion that such a trade union or its officials are responsible for intimidation, the onus should be placed on the accused to prove that he was not guilty of intimidation. In many cases we find that witnesses are too afraid to testify about intimidation. I think one should consider whether such witnesses’ evidence cannot be taken down in camera, so that this fear of giving evidence can be eliminated. If we were to succeed in that, it would mean that many of the problems the employers envisage today in utilising the instruments as determined in the industrial legislation, can be eliminated. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I request the privilege of the second half hour.
In reply to the speech by the hon member for Roodeplaat, I want to tell him that we in the CP agree in general with the ideas expressed by him. I just want to add that we have respect for the exceptional way in which that hon member performs his work as chairman of the Standing Committee on Manpower. The reconciliatory, fair and tactful way in which he behaves, make it very pleasant to be working in that committee. Interjections.] I also want to tell him, that as far as the unemployment aspect is concerned, we also want to express our sympathy to those persons who in these very difficult circumstances are longing to have a job and cannot find one. We are aware of the misery in which these people find themselves and the fact that their self-image is suffering in the process.
In the course of my speech I shall reply to the other aspects which the hon member mentioned in his speech, for example as regards the operating of the legislation, and so on.
On behalf of this party I want to express my gratitude to the Director General, as well as the National Manpower Commission, for the two particularly comprehensive and exhaustive studies which reached us. A debating time of 230 minutes in connection with such valuable documents is totally inadequate, and consequently justice cannot be done to them.
In the report of the National Manpower Commission it is emphasised that the State plays an impartial role to ensure that labour peace is promoted and maintained to the maximum, and that the interests of the community are not prejudiced by this. The State is the silent, vigilant, impartial partner.
It appears inter alia from the report that when it was founded Cosatu indicated that it would also promote the interests of its members in the political sphere, in conflict with the Labour Relations Act. When we also read in Rapport of 18 May 1986 that Prof Carel Noffke said that one of the greatest threats to the stability and security of South Africa came from overseas trade unions, this accentuated the case of the State even more.
In the latest edition of the American Review Prof Noffke wrote that approximately 15% of the 200 trade unions in South Africa—all far left wing—received large sums of money from abroad. This is also in conflict with the provisions of manpower legislation.
In the past it has been necessary for the SAP to clamp down on ringleaders, and as the economy firms, this phenomenon will increase. In this connection there is consequently a very good relationship with the South African Police. Consequently it is not proper for the hon the Minister, who also sleeps safely at night because of police protection, to disparage the Police, as did the hon member for Brits. [Interjections.] It has now become fashionable in this Coalition Cabinet to demand the head of the hon the Minister of Law and Order from time to time. If it is not the Reverend, then it is this hon Minister, who is on a collision course with the hon the Minister of Law and Order. [Interjections.] He said the following:
These are the words of an hon Minister, who was not on the scene at all, and who preferred to follow Langenhoven’s advice. Langenhoven said the following:
[Interjections.] This actually reminds me of a short poem which the hon the Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote a year or two ago. It is a poem which he dedicated to a certain Annelie. It reads as follows:
[Interjections.] If the hon the Minister of Manpower builds up such a relationship with the South African Police, what hope does he have of maintaining labour peace in South Africa when the flood-gates are wide open? He has an obligation to this Committee to explain to us what his relationship is with the hon the Minister of Law and Order and the South African Police. [Interjections.]
I want to say a few words about the reports. In the first place they stand in the sign of an economic recession and of rising unemployment. Only this morning we read in the newspaper that during the past year bad debts totalling R1 billion were written off in South Africa. A total of 6 278 people and organisations were declared bankrupt—the most in history, and approximately 2 000 more than last year. We can imagine how this money, which was lost in this way, could have been used for the job creation programme.
The CP has always had doubts about the training courses held in this connection, and which only last for one to three weeks. Our doubts have not yet been allayed.
The hon the Minister himself said in his introductory speech in the House of Representatives on 16 May that approximately 25% of the people who received training, found work immediately after that training. That is surely not an encouraging figure! We agree that the worker’s self-image must be built up, but how is that self-image not destroyed again if three out of every four workers do not find work immediately after their training? The skill they learned in that short period is then also lost.
The second thing I want to say is that I associate myself with the hon member for Durban Central. There is an alarming shortage of staff in this vitally important department. There are 360 vacant posts, 832 posts are not suitably filled and 59,32% of the posts are filled by women. I took cognisance of what the hon member said about women. We have the greatest respect for their skill and expertise, but this is a very high percentage in such an important department. The result is that 35 667 hours of paid overtime were worked, to the great credit of the officials of this department, and a further 58 659 hours of voluntary overtime. The Commission for Administration must investigate this alarming trend.
It also appears that one of the consequences of this shortage of staff is that only 47,41% of the total of 9 384 unsafe incidents were investigated. The department cannot allow this state of affairs to continue any longer. Just imagine the consequences for the department once the after-effect of the lifting of influx control have completely inundated the handling capacity of the department. Imagine the circumstances then?
The third thing I want to say is that in spite of the recession, the strike figures are alarmingly high. It is not so much owing to the number of strikes; it is alarming owing to the number of workers involved. In 1983, 12,1 workers per 1 000 of the economically active population were involved in strikes; in 1984 32,5 workers per 1 000; and in 1985, 42,8 workers per 1 000. The loss of man days also increased from 1,93 in 1983 to 2,8 in 1985. [Interjections.]
Sir, my attention has just been drawn to the fact that at this stage there is not a single hon Minister in the Committee, and this while such an important Vote is being discussed! Even the hon the Minister who handles this Vote is not in the Committee! [Interjections.] This is an alarming phenomenon; this is something we cannot tolerate in the democratic set-up in South Africa! [Interjections.] Then they want us to sit on Monday evenings as well! Can we allow something like this to happen in South Africa?
Can we conduct politics in South Africa in this way? Can we practice democracy in South Africa in this way? [Interjections.] It is an absolute disgrace!
Under these circumstances I wonder whether I should continue my speech?
Should the House not adjourn? [Interjections.]
Yes, I also wonder about that.
Fortunately we are dealing with very capable officials. I hope they will convey the contents of my speech to the hon the Minister, who does not come and listen when members of the opposition participate in the debate. It is a crying shame! [Interjections.] I wonder whether he did not want to go and make peace with the Police; or did he want to continue his quarrel with them?
It is to be welcomed … [Interjections.] Oh, I am glad the hon the Minister at least had the decency to come back and listen! I wonder whether he thought that the AWB was on its way here, and that he fled as a result? [Interjections.]
I repeat that it is to be welcomed that the National Manpower Commission is investigating strikes, and particularly the matter of sympathy strikes. The fact that the majority of Blacks, namely 93,8%, were involved in the strikes, indisputably and irrefutably indicates a political undercurrent. In paragraph 4.4.8 on page 38 of the NMC report it is predicted that strikes will probably increase in intensity in the case of an economic revival. But Dr Wiehahn maintains that if the trade unions had not been reformed, South Africa’s Black people would have become a far easier target for those persons who want to convert them to communism. Can this learned professor not see what is happening in South Africa at the moment, in spite of the so-called modernisation of the trade union legislation?
Hon members can just look at the report of the National Parks Board, for example. On page 8 of the report it is stated:
There are no problems. For that reason I want to tell the hon member for Durban Central that he must be extremely careful if he wants to interfere with farms and households with regard to this kind of trade union legislation, which applies to the general industrial sphere.
I want to refer to certain court judgements as dealt with on page 37 of the NMC report. In this regard I want to associate myself with the hon member for Roodeplaat. The fact that the legal discharge for a worker can be considered an unfair trade practice, results in our having to guard against the pendulum not swinging unfairly in the favour of either the employer or the employee. At the moment it is somewhat in the favour of the employee.
I should like to say a few words about the Industrial Court. We feel that the chairman should be a full-time official, as the hon member for Durban Central said. An advocate who is chairman of the court one moment and appears on behalf of one of the parties the next, does not inspire confidence. We are also asking that judges or former judges be used.
In the second place, as regards Industrial Courts we are asking that section 17(19)(a) be investigated so that the president of the court may not decide for himself whether assessors can be appointed, but that either of the two parties should have the right to ask for assessors, and then the president must appoint them. We are also asking that the Act be amended in such a way that conciliation boards must be agreed to or rejected by the Minister within 14 days.
In conclusion a few words about productivity, which is dealt with on page 68 of the NMC report. Indications are that labour productivity dropped by approximately 3% in 1985. On page 71 of the report figures are given in this connection for a number of countries for 1984, on the basis of an index figure set at 100 for 1980. In the United Kingdom it rose from 100 in 1980 to 128 in 1984; in Sweden and the Netherlands to 124; in Canada and the USA to 125; and in the Republic of South Africa to 101. The answer lies in the fact that South Africa in particular with its smaller White component simply cannot afford to work only five days a week. We must investigate the possibility of re-introducing a six-day working week. I shall content myself with this and continue at a later stage. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, this side of the Committee would like to express its thanks and appreciation to the Director-General of Manpower and his department for an extremely interesting annual report. I can assure hon members that this side of the Committee appreciates the efforts of that department to promote healthy labour relations in South Africa.
You should apologise to the White workers.
Our thanks and appreciation also go to the members and staff of the National Manpower Commission. [Interjections.] I believe that the NMC and the Department of Manpower have a demanding task in ensuring that labour relations in South Africa are sound. [Interjections.]
I do not think that the hon members of the CP realise the delicate nature of labour relations in South Africa.
In that case you are insulting South Africa.
Mr Chairman, the hon member for Rissik reminds me of someone strumming a one-stringed guitar. The only old tune he can sing is: “Insult the Whites! Insult the Whites!” Then, suddenly, someone shouts: “What about the chorus?” Immediately the hon member for Rissik starts again with “Apartheid is dead! Apartheid is dead!” [Interjections.] Before I proceed, I think I should say something to the hon member for Rissik and his party.
Boy George and his party!
I put it to him and his party that I also represent a workers’ constituency …
Workers whom you are insulting!
I represent a workers’ constituency. In my constituency there are 12 500 workers from Iscor inter alia— mainly operators.
When are you fleeing?
Keep quiet, Oom Jan! [Interjections.]
Those people are not only my voters; they are also my friends! [Interjections.]
You insulted them!
Since I am a member of the National Party, and am representing the Overvaal constituency here, I say unequivocally today that my party and I will never abandon the White voters and the White workers in South Africa. [Interjections.] We believe that our first priority, also in the light of this Manpower debate, is the White worker of South Africa. [Interjections.]
You do not have a mandate to speak on their behalf! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, let us … [Interjections.]
Order! I wish to appeal to hon members not to interrupt the hon member for Overvaal with constant interjections.
Thank you, Mr Chairman. At least I have had my say with regard to the hon members of the Conservative Party. Nonetheless, thank you for your protection, Sir.
I hope the hon members of the Conservative Party will convey the truth concerning this matter to the voters of South Africa— not distorted truths and flagrant falsehoods. [Interjections.] Last year I was attacked in a bitter and vicious way in the Press, and also by anonymous telephone calls and anonymous letters. Why did these people who telephoned me and wrote to me, not have the courage to say who they were? Each one that telephoned me as a result of what I had said in this House, received a letter from me containing a copy of my speech, exactly as it had appeared in Hansard. The Conservative Party’s own supporters agreed with me that I had not abandoned or insulted the White workers of South Africa.
That is not true!
I am telling the hon member for Rissik he must merely open his eyes and ears. What I am saying now is true.
Will you hold a meeting with me in Overvaal?
Oh, be quiet, Daan! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I believe in the freedom of association in the sphere of labour in South Africa. I believe a worker should have the right to belong to the trade union of his choice. I also believe a trade union should have the right to recruit members. Trade unions should be in the position in which they can negotiate on behalf of their members regarding matters which affect the labour sphere, and which-are related to the mutual relationship between employer and employee, at all times. This relationship between employer and employee is becoming more and more specialised. The question I want to put to hon members today is whether our employers are responsible enough to accept this task, the task of negotiating with a trade union on behalf of their workers. By way of an alternative one can put the question as to whether the members of a trade union are sufficiently able really to negotiate in the field of labour relations, of employment opportunities and employment conditions in the factories or industries, or wherever people are working.
I believe, Mr Chairman, that at the moment a tendency is developing in South Africa, a tendency which, I believe, is wrong and dangerous.
That tendency is to insult the White workers!
The tendency in trade unions and the labour sphere today is to conduct politics.
Oh, come on!
Yes, the hon member for Durban Central is welcome to sit and laugh about this.
Rather give them political rights!
I want to tell the trade unions of South Africa they must not…
Give them political rights!
Yes, Mr Chairman. That is quite another topic for debate. I agree with the hon member for Durban Central.
Then why do you not do so?
The workers of South Africa must not use the trade unions as a political instrument to conduct politics.
It is somewhat late to realise that!
I say that because this can become a dangerous thing.
Fanie Botha must take the blame for that!
It can become dangerous for the trade unions as well as their members, and eventually it can also pose a threat to the relationship between the employer and the employee. Warnings have already been issued as a result of this dangerous tendency. I have quite a few examples here with me to substantiate this assertion. I wish to refer to only one of them, however. It is a lecture which was given by Dr F J du Plessis at the Potchefstroomse Universiteit vir CHO on Tuesday, 25 March 1986. It was about the free market ideology and perspective. On page 10 of his lecture Dr Du Plessis said exactly what we should guard against. I quote him as follows:
The question now is not whether minimum wages are socially and politically justifiable, but merely whether such a system leads to a higher wage level and therefore to greater unemployment in the South African situation unlike the way in which it would have come about via the free market mechanism. In addition to this, the new Black trade unions are introducing an important element of uncertainty as regards the availability and remuneration for labour these days.
It is clear, therefore, that entrepreneurs will be inclined rather to opt for capital-intensive investment, which can give the unemployment problem a chronic dimension, in future. Already there is a feeling among the employers to make their enterprises capital-intensive rather than labour-intensive. Here I am not speaking so much about the big industrialists, but about the middle-of-the-road man, the man who really creates job opportunities for the people of South Africa. They reason that they do not have the problems with a machine which they have with people in trade unions.
The trade unions and the people of South Africa must guard against enterprises becoming capital-intensive. After all, we have a growing economy and a population which is developing, a population which will be screaming for work within the next 10 to 15 years. We must ensure that the job opportunities for the future are being created now. [Interjections.]
The hon members of the CP, who ostensibly champion the workers of South Africa on public platforms …
Yes, for the White workers.
Yes, for the White workers. These hon members try to shout one down in the Committee, even if one stands for the White workers.
I want to refer these people who shout at one so, to what someone said abroad. I wish the hon members of the CP would pluck up the courage one day to go and shout abroad what they shout here in the House. Then they will see how far they get. One asks oneself: Do these people realise what they are doing? Have they any concept of where we will be if the disinvestment campaign were to succeed? Fortunately we have someone who has the courage to put South Africa’s case abroad.
Who is it?
The hon member will hear in a moment. It is Mr D E Cooper, Executive Director of Barlow Rand, who attended a large conference in the United Kingdom in March 1986. I want to suggest that the hon members of the CP acquire a copy of this speech and study it. Then they will realise what an English-speaking person is prepared to say abroad about South Africa and its workers. [Interjections.] He is a man who is prepared to say that Barlow Rand and the White workers and the workers of colour in South Africa accept the challenge of the future. He does not get up and shout about insignificant things in an attempt to get votes which he will never get in any event. [Interjections.]
With reference to the warnings I issued here this afternoon, I wish to quote from page 11 of Mr Cooper’s speech:
Mr Chairman, I find myself somewhat at a disadvantage in that I have 10 minutes to discuss a portfolio that is arguably one of the most important in South Africa at this stage, with the situation as it is in our increasingly turbulent society. Perhaps it is because there has been so little legislation on this portfolio and that one has not, therefore, had the opportunity to debate certain matters, that one feels one has to debate these matters now.
I must say, however, that in view of what we have heard in the debate concerning the relative inactivity of the standing committee, it seems to me that it would be a very good thing if we invited experienced and successful negotiators in the labour field to address the standing committee in an attempt to sharpen the awareness of members of the committee as to just what is going on between themselves and the labour organisations. I think we can, in that way, better equip ourselves for the role we have to play in deciding on manpower matters in this Parliament.
I too would like to commend the Director-General and his departmental personnel for a very good report and for their extremely commendable efforts in the past year particularly in respect of dealing with the unemployment question and, of course, the training schemes they have introduced. I believe as far as those strategies are concerned that what we are really looking at is to perhaps maintain those on an ongoing basis. We have had a jolt trying to cope with an impossible situation and I have no doubt that a lot of imagination and initiative has gone into what was implemented. It has in fact coped with a very small percentage of the total problem. I would say that those efforts, maintained beyond the trough that we are now in economically, would probably just about serve the purpose in extending our activities into the unemployment and training fields under normal circumstances as well. I would be very sorry to see those particular schemes being done away with.
The debate this afternoon leaves one feeling a little that perhaps one is cocooned away from so many of South Africa’s workers. One sits and asks oneself whether we really have the ability to see ourselves in the situations and the circumstances in which the larger portion of our labour force—I am of course referring to the Black workers—find themselves. A Black worker has incredibly difficult social circumstances and poor transport on many occasions. He leaves home in darkness in the morning and comes home in darkness again at night. When one adds to this things like intimidation, burnings and consumer boycotts, the fact that there are still loyal and conscientious workers attending to their duties I think is a marvel in itself in many cases. They must have an incredible task in trying to meet up with the requirements of an organised employer who expects them to be there on time, do a day’s work, go back and still manage to keep it up under the circumstances under which they live.
I believe that some of their attitudes in relation to strikes are not quite as they seem to be to us—employers must show tremendous understanding of their circumstances and the situations in which they find themselves in order to be able to handle strike situations when they occur. I think that we need a very understanding attitude in these years during which we have taken a leap out of almost the dark ages in South African labour relations. In the past five years a host of legislation has come forward and we are feeling our way because a complete turnaround in attitude towards organised trade unions has taken place. Of course in this respect the department itself together with the employer has been right at the sharp end as regards negotiating and dealing with circumstances which hitherto have not had to be dealt with. They are therefore breaking entirely new ground. Under those circumstances one should be very cautious when making statements regarding how one should treat situations which appear to be extremely threatening but which might in fact be a manifestation of the inability of the workers themselves to cope with their new-found freedoms and the organised labour situation in which they find themselves. I believe one should hasten very slowly as regards an overly heavy-handed attitude as far as those matters are concerned.
I would particularly like to make mention of the situation in the rural areas. I do not believe by any means that we are not trying to do our best—I have no doubt that our problem is the lack of funds. However, as far as the rural areas are concerned we are not as yet anywhere near the stage where we are doing everything that we could be doing to soak up the unemployment there in such a way that it will not add to the burden of urbanisation which is proceeding apace. For that reason I believe that the department must have another look at the Manpower Training Act. One does not want centralised training institutions so much as one wants decentralised schemes where, if humanly possible, the department should be encouraging every rural community through organised agriculture to participate in local training schemes. There are cases in point and I refer particularly to one in Natal where long before the department did anything to establish a training centre, the Midlands Training Centre for Further Education commenced with their own most functional and effective training centre which in terms of the Act cannot be subsidised. It would virtually have to be taken over to the point where it loses its autonomy and its staff would largely have to be appointed by Boskop. The view of Boskop is that it is somewhat of a large bureaucratic organisation with a little bit of an empire-building image.
Have you been there?
No, I have not been there but we do have mobile units coming to our areas. It is not serving its function. One should mobilise and motivate each community in the rural areas to participate in training schemes. The more decentralised training bases that are involved, the better it will be for the department. I think the department must rethink its attitude to the rural areas insofar as employment and training are concerned and operate on a far more decentralised basis. The Manpower Training Act should also be changed to give those organisations the financial support which I believe is due to them. I think the rural sector in this country has an incredibly large part still to play although, up to the present all concentration—be it decentralisation or concessions such as training concessions—has largely been directed towards the more urban areas.
On page 88 of the report mention is made of short-term job creation by the private sector and the amounts paid to people in those concession areas. The rural employer finds himself at a complete disadvantage in this regard because such action by the Government acts as an attraction and a magnet to pull people away from the rural areas. This simply exacerbates the situation that already exists. If one could get those communities to participate by lending some sort of financial support then I believe that one would have a better spread. If one divides a problem into digestible chunks one can deal with the circumstances far better.
I would like to make a last point. I want to ask the hon the Minister in his reply to indicate whether those participating in the sheltered employment scheme have received the 10% increase accorded to public servants and whether it was received in April—the same time as the other public servants. Normally these people find themselves three months in arrears if and when they receive an increase.
Mr Chairman, I could find no fault with what the hon member for King William’s Town said; on the contrary, I think he made a very good and balanced speech on which I wish to congratulate him. I agree with him that the particulars which we are discussing in this debate, are matters which deserve the serious attention of this Committee.
Another point on which I wish to agree with the hon member, is that hon members of Parliament should surely all acquaint themselves with circumstances of the trade unions, because whether we want to know it or not, trade unions and everything associated with them, are going to play a determining role in the future of this country.
The hon member made another very important point, namely that we are obsessed by the strikes, the unrest situation and people who stay away from work—we are made aware of this every day—but, as he emphasised, there are hundreds of thousands of people who do, conscientiously, turn up at their job every day. We are grateful that there are such people who earn their daily bread in this way. In a White Paper on Part V of the Wiehahn Report the Government again recognised the rights of the workers. It went even further and in the early ’eighties gave recognition in legislation to the philosophy and practical foundations of those rights. It is part of history.
It is interesting that there is only one hon member who was not a witness to it nor participated in it. All other hon members who are sitting here today, the Official Opposition included, were satisfied and helped to pass that legislation.
It seems to the hon member for Sasolburg is not interested in the workers of this country in any case, and that is probably why he does not even attend this important debate. [Interjections.]
Why is the hon the Minister not in the Committee? [Interjections.]
It seems to me the hon member for Sunnyside has also woken up. I wish to welcome him here in the Committee; it has been a long time since he opened his mouth. [Interjections.]
Except to yawn!
I wish to refer to one of the basic rights of the worker, namely the right to the protection of his security and health. Why is it necessary for us to refer to this on this occasion, and repeatedly—also in these debates? I wish to mention two reasons.
The first reason is that the worker, wherever he works, is continually exposed to health risks and dangers to his physical safety. Later I shall refer to the heightened risk situation in the modern world.
The second reason is that healthy and safe working conditions are an absolute prerequisite for satisfactory productivity.
Now I wish to return to the question of high risk conditions. Each worker is exposed to danger in every situation, sometimes hidden, and sometimes more obvious and conspicuous. We live in an exciting world, characterised by breathtaking technological development. It is a world and a life full of progress.
We are paying a price for it, though, because the worker has never been so exposed to dangers on the factory floor as is at present the case in this time of further developing technology. It is no wonder that experts who confer from time to time on the dangers threatening modern man, have come to the conclusion that mankind of today and tomorrow is exposed to three serious and awe-inspiring dangers in particular. The one is terrorism, of which we are well aware. Another danger is the pollution of the environment and the human spirit.
Incidentally, while I am on this subject, I wish to say about that those hon members of the CP and the members of the AWB and other groups are polluting the human spirit with the kind of things they are guilty of today.
The third danger is the irresponsible and uncontrolled use of the nuclear technology.
These dangers are not far away, on the other side of the oceans. They are in our midst. They apply in fact to the factory floor of today. That is why we should discuss them in this debate.
Improving the workers’ environment presents an ever-increasing challenge which must not only be accorded the highest priority, but which must be accepted and dealt with by the State, the employer and the employee as part of a team effort.
When the State lays down minimum standards in respect of the safety of workers, a balance must be struck, because we cannot on the one hand prescribe a diluted standard, which places the health, safety and general well-being of the worker in danger, and on the other hand standards may also not be too high, since that can lead to serious cost implications.
Furthermore I wish to pay tribute to the work force in the departmental context. The Department of Manpower has a proud achievement in respect of the evaluation and handling of human relations in the labour situation. The reason for this is that the department has mastered the art of managing labour matters with good judgment and with the respect that they deserve because they know that they are sensitive matters. Furthermore it is always borne in mind that the rights of the worker may not be ignored. That is why I am convinced that all deregulating initiatives which are to be undertaken in future concerning labour matters, must be carried out by the department with the know-how. That is all I want to say about the role played by the State.
As far as the role of the employer and the employee is concerned, I wish to express a few ideas. Throughout the labour sphere we see the success of the safety programmes which have now become an integral part of each decent management. The reason for this success is that the employer and the employee are planning and collaborating as a team. Who knows the circumstances on the factory floor better than the worker himself? Who can determine the safety of the work situation better, and make the corresponding suggestions to improve circumstances further, than the worker himself? Who can see to it that better standards are maintained in the interests of the entire labour pyramid, than an effective and purposeful management structure? I believe that this healthy interaction is not only in the interests of the worker’s health, but also contributes to sound relations on the factory floor, which in turn contributed and have contributed to the relative labour peace which we are experiencing. We hope that it will remain so for a very long time to come.
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to follow the hon member for Rustenburg, and I agree wholeheartedly with him concerning the basic rights to security and health which the South African worker has. It has already been pointed out, but I think it would be as well to emphasise it once again, that we on this side of the House are also concerned about the great increase in unemployment, which is possibly making a significant contribution to the unrest situations in our country. We also wish to express our sympathy to everyone who has lost his job, and has had to suffer hardship and grief.
The Government is not unsympathetic towards this problem, and has therefore made R600 million available for special job creation programmes. From the start the Department of Manpower involved the private sector in the training of unemployed. For this purpose, contracts were entered into between the Department of Manpower and registered training centres. Without going into detail, it is possibly of interest to state that the following aspects were discussed: Job creation projects for the unemployed, feeding schemes to unemployed, programmes for the small business sector by the Development Bank and the SBDC, as well as the support from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
If we take a brief look at the success which has been attained, we find that more than 560 000 unemployed are accommodated by the job creation programmes. At that time there were still almost 300 000 of these people in service. Up to and including the end of March more than 250 000 people were trained. A few hundred instructors, mostly artisans, who are at present providing the training, would have been unemployed. More than R110 million has been made available by the Development Bank and the SBDC, and job opportunities have been created for almost 30 000 people. An amount of R75 million has also been made available to strengthen the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
The Government supports the basic premise that the strategy for the creation of job opportunities must be developed within the framework of a market-orientated economic system. It is for this reason that the role which the private sector plays in this role must be supported as much as possible. The Economic Advisory Council also supports this premise. They put it as follows:
On 1 May 1979 the first Wiehahn Report was tabled in Parliament. The commentary in the media ranged from “the Government is selling out the White man” to “the pass laws are being retained”.
The Wiehahn Commission made six essential recommendations which have been accepted in principle by the Government. One of the essential recommendations which has been accepted and to which I want refer briefly, was the abolition of statutory job reservation. Statutory job reservation was introduced in 1956 by legislation as a preventive measure against interracial competition. Its purpose was to reserve certain categories of work in an undertaking, an industry or a profession for the workers belonging to a specified race group, but the expansion which occurred in the economic and industrial spheres, caused an acute shortage of trained manpower, mainly White, to occur. Employers circumvented these job reservation determinations in all kinds of ways, either by rearranging or renaming job categories, to supplement the White manpower shortage with non-Whites.
An inquiry which was made by the Industrial Court in 1977, led to 23 of the 28 original industrial determinations having to be repealed and the remaining five were by no means watertight any more. At that stage there were only 21 out of 1 055 White workers involved, in other words less than 1 out of 500.
Another example of statutory job reservation that did not succeed, was here in the Western Cape which was identified as a preferential Coloured labour area.
Every breadwinner, including the White breadwinner, needs to feel secure in his job. Every worker also has a permanent right to job security. The strongest weapon in securing security for the workers, lies in the hands of the worker himself. With the change that has been brought about in the labour legislation since 1977, the worker and so too the White worker, was protected in his work place, rather than having the work place as such protected. The concept of unfair labour practice therefore took the place of job reservation in the RSA. The key to success of the labour dispensation which was accepted was that the State no longer interfered in relations between employer and employee.
We now find that the rights and freedoms of all workers in South Africa, and by the nature of things also those of the White workers, are recognised and protected by the Government. The right to be allowed to work; to reasonable remuneration and conditions of service; to access to training and re-training; to organise and belong to a workers organisation; to negotiate and compete collectively; to the protection of security and health; to security of existence; worker security and protection against unreasonable labour practices are also included in this.
We on this side of the Committee wish to thank the hon the Minister and the Department of Manpower for the successful way in which they are making a contribution to protecting and recognising the rights of all workers, as well as White workers in the RSA.
Mr Chairman, I follow on the hon member for Newcastle, and I must say that as far as I see the situation, the issue of worker protection is vital, irrespective of his colour or race or the nature of the work of the individual concerned. One of the mistakes which I think is made very often in South Africa is that the worker and the trade union are not regarded as being part of the free-enterprise system as such. The trade union is as much part of the free enterprise system as is the employer, and the two factors have to operate together in order to deal with their situation.
I propose, in the very short time that I have, to deal with two issues very briefly. The first issue is that of job creation. It is said in the report—and I would like to use this as a starting point—that “the money which is being spent must really be seen as a temporary and special measure”. I would agree, if the problems we are experiencing are purely cyclical. Certainly then that money must be seen as “temporary and special”. I would also agree if there were other means of creating long-term employment. The reality is, however, that if that is not so we have to look at the situation as to how we are going to create jobs on a longterm basis for the people of South Africa, bearing in mind the high level of population growth in South Africa, as well as the ever-increasing number of economically active people who enter the market each year.
What we need to have is an overall strategy in South Africa for the creation of jobs in the long term, because the problems which we are facing are not purely cyclical. It is true that there are certain cyclical factors that are adversely affecting us but the real problem is that we have a long-term structural unemployment problem in South Africa, which is aggravated by a high level of population growth. To my mind, the only way we can deal with this, is either by creating demand for locally produced products or by increasing exports. We can only create local demand if there is an increase in purchasing power and we can only have an increase in purchasing power if we actually create the jobs so that people can earn. The world cannot work on handouts; it can only work on the basis of pride in labour, with people earning their own money in payment for what they produce.
What we need to look at, therefore, is a situation in which we will create that structure and to my mind there are two fundamental aspects in this regard. The first, I believe, is that we have to look at incentives for labour-intensive export oriented activities because in that way we can deal with two problems at the same time. We can deal with the question of unemployment and with the problem of our balance of payments, which is an extremely serious one.
We therefore have to make a new appraisal as to whether general stimulation of the economy in South Africa as opposed to selective stimulation, is desirable in order to ensure that we achieve the social objectives that we have in mind. We must look at this selective stimulation. In this regard, we must create more business and more activity, and more money needs to be sunk into the Small Business Development Corporation. More money should be ploughed not only into training people to become workers but also into training people to become workers but also into training people to become entrepreneurs because the two go together. If people are not trained to be entrepreneurs and if we do not have enough entrepreneurs, then there will not be enough activity for workers to be employed in.
As I see it, there is a fundamental issue that we have to face. It is a fundamental issue in South Africa. Are we going to look purely at the efficiency of production in South Africa or are we going to look at the social implications of what we are doing without ignoring efficiency and productivity? As a matter of survival we need to look at the social implications of where the incentives are given and of what we seek to encourage.
I should like to conclude this point by saying that as I see it, it is laudable and praiseworthy to train and to educate, but it is disastrous to train and educate and then leave the trained and educated person unemployed. We therefore have to look at this and at the incentives which we give in South Africa in a completely new light.
The second matter I want to touch on, is one which the hon the Minister and his department know is very close to my heart, and that is the question of industrial councils. Industrial councils have existed in South Africa since the 1924 Act. They were based on an English system which, whereas it has survived in South Africa, has failed in England. We have managed to keep it going.
What is to some extent a tragedy, is that looking back to 1930, we find that we have only virtually doubled the number of industrial councils in South Africa since that time. When one looks too at the number of people who are subject to industrial council agreements, one finds that just over a million people are involved, whereas the total number of registered workers in union activity is virtually double that.
The question I want to direct to the hon the Minister in the matter of minutes at my disposal, is whether we cannot look at the whole industrial council system in a more constructive manner to ensure that we market it correctly and not, as is suggested in the report, allow it to be marketed by the councils. If we believe in the system, we, as the legislature, have to market it, and the hon the Minister, as the executive, has to market it. We have to show what its advantages are. At one stage the Black man was excluded from the system and, therefore, he treated it with some suspicion. However, a proper, workable system is a most important attribute to the whole issue.
The last point I want to make is that I wish the hon the Minister would be more careful in regard to the exemptions which he grants. One of the questions he answered today demonstrated the need for that very clearly. If one grants exemptions to people anywhere, irrespective of the geographic area and whether it is a development area or not—there may even be only five employees—what is one going to find? One will find what is happening in the distributive trade right in the middle of Johannesburg. One may find a situation where an employer in one of those thriving businesses in the centre of Johannesburg who, for example, knows that he is going to be exempted, can take advantage of the situation of high unemployment either to get rid of the workers he has, employ others at a lower wage and have no minimum wage. In fact, in those circumstances, he can pay what he likes.
That is not at all what exemptions were intended for! They were intended for the informal sector, new businesses and matters which did not form part of the existing structure. When one applies exemptions in this way, one will really destroy something which is fundamental to the interests of the worker because the worker has to have a situation in which he can be sure that there is not unfair competition as a result of the unemployment situation which exists in South Africa.
Mr Chairman, I shall associate myself to a certain extent with the hon member for Yeoville’s reference to the industrial council system.
Firstly I wish to draw the hon members’ attention to two rather contradictory statements concerning trade unions, with specific reference to the super trade union federations which have developed. The first statement to which I wish to refer, appeared in Die Afrikaner of 5 February this year. In that publication the Black trade unions, and specifically Cosatu, are referred to as being a political monster. According to a report in Beeld of 27 February, Prof Nie Wiehahn referred to Cosatu as a big dog with small teeth. These are two rather divergent views of the situation.
We know the history of the development of the trade unions. Federations are formed, and now super federations are coming into existence as well. The first to be established was Cosatu, in November 1985. Upon its foundation the goal which it had in view for themselves was the co-ordination of strategy and policy of the trade unions, in order to establish a united approach and solidarity.
However, it was almost immediately apparent that it was a political forum, and would not really be able to achieve the abovementioned goal. In a certain sense it was a circumvention of the ban on political participation by trade unions. Statements of Mr Jay Naidoo, the General Secretary, and John Dhlamini, the President, immediately showed that they were operating in the political sphere.
From this the initiative concerning stay-away campaign and other things followed. I am referring specifically to May Day. There is also the planned stay-away campaign of 16 June. In their attitude throughout there was an alignment regarding the solidarity of the Black trade unions. It is interesting that on May Day itself when Uwusa, which is sponsored by Inkatha, was established, a contradiction arose with regard to their philosophy and policy. These ideas of solidarity were immediately questioned by the very strong display of a large group of Black workers in Natal. Clearly a dual philosophy is developing.
Hon members who watched the TV coverage of both groups’ foundation meetings, could clearly see the differences which emerged. The first one is that Uwusa obviously has a Black base. It is mainly regionally orientated, but also has an influence beyond its regional boundaries. Its claim is none the less to a Black base, while Cosatu represents all colours. Hon members will remember what a variety of faces was displayed on the television.
A second striking difference is Uwusa’s discipline, and I almost wish to add its regimentation—the running in formation, etc. Cosatu, I could almost say, was running around hysterically. I am not saying it in a negative sense, but it does indicate quite a different culture.
A third very striking difference is that the leadership of Uwusa is limited to Black people, while the leadership in the case of Cosatu spans a wider field and specifically includes a large number of clergymen. We could see this from the collars of the people appearing in the picture.
The essential difference actually lies, as far as I am concerned, in the fourth point, namely the difference between the cultural-political impact of Uwusa as opposed to the material-political impact of Cosatu. Uwusa has a longer-term view while clearly there is a philosophical difference in Cosatu, which is searching for short-term satisfaction of political-material demands.
I wish to state that there is also a third stream developing. If we take a look at Cusa, which initially affiliated itself with Cosatu, we see more of its members are trade unions which have disaffiliated themselves and broken away. Cusa also came into being in Natal and is based there, with Phiroshaw Camay as its main leader, who has also defined Black on a wider basis, and he had to appeal to the Inkatha base by virtue of his regional connections. I think they have done a lot in the sphere of training and upliftment. What I am trying to say, however, is that a new dimension is emerging here, from which a third faction is likely to develop, one which is going to be geared to upliftment and training.
If one examines these three movements— the existing two with the third in the process of developing—there is one geographical area in the country which is lying fallow. That is the Western Cape. The others are all based in Natal, the Transvaal and to a more limited extent, the Eastern Cape. I think that an involvement is going to develop in the Western Province as well. It is going to develop on a group, but also on a regional and cultural basis, which distinguishes it from the others. I think that we can expect a fourth main stream. We should take note of it.
It is often said that these developments create problems for the whole system. The super federations are indeed circumventing the industrial councils and moving straight to the factory floor. Since 1981 the standpoint of the Black trade unions, especially the larger groups, has consistently been that the industrial council system is a White system and that they are not going to associate themselves with it. The official standpoint was that Black people could not function at all in this system, but unofficially I think that something else lies behind it. It is the need which exists in this community for personal attention, the emphasis on what is distinctive and on individual rights and privileges. I think that in the centralisation process of the industrial council system the individual as such can disappear very easily, while there is a need for visibility in order to arrive at power base and preserve it. The super federations do to a large extent become super trade unions.
There is a second thought I wish to associate myself with. Some hon members also referred to it and expressed certain opinions about it. It is concerned with demands and in fact a new spirit which is emerging and developing in connection with the Industrial Court, in that employers are requesting the State to take action. I wish to warn against this. My earnest request to the hon the Minister and the department is that they do not give in to this pressure. I get the impression that the employers wish to be freed from a responsibility which, I believe, should primarily be theirs. They protest that they are being deprived of what they call their fundamental managerial rights. They also protest in particular, as far as the Industrial Court itself is concerned, about the definition of an unfair labour practice. They ask that a clearer definition be found, in which their so-called managerial rights would in fact be restored. I wish to make the statement, however, that many of those people are only interested in being able to hire and fire. Many of them also have a history of poor labour relations.
Mr Chairman, I also wish to express the thought that they should display the responsibility, created within the framework of the State—which is an accommodating framework—of genuinely discharging their obligations. They will have to learn that this system has not been instituted to make life difficult for them. Once they have accepted it, there are three important things they must do.
The first one is to deal with these trade unions on an industry basis—the federations as well as the super federations, and not to politicise themselves. Furthermore they should also accept that labour relations are part of the industry; part of management as such, which ought to be dealt with accordingly. Finally, they should also develop the knowledge and skills to handle these and deal with them within the industry context. Fortunately there seems to be an understanding developing, especially on the part of so-called “big business”, for the system as well as for its positive utilisation, though it is rather ironic that it should be happening there. It is usually the smaller employers who experience a problem with this. They would therefore do well to inquire whether they cannot organise themselves collectively in order to acquire this expertise and these skills.
Mr Chairman, it is a great privilege to be speaking after the hon member for Randburg. I also wish to congratulate him on his very thorough analysis of the trade union picture in this country. He will forgive me, however, if I do not react to his speech any further, since I wish to make a prepared speech on quite another topic.
Mr Chairman, I should very much like to react to a part of the speech of another hon member in this House, however. I am referring to the hon member who represents a constituency that is the direct neighbour of mine—the hon member for Brakpan. The two of us share a common area on the Witwatersrand, and I referred to the particular problems regarding unemployment experienced by that part of the Witwatersrand in my maiden speech. At the time I also mentioned the dramatic increase in unemployment in that area.
While people in that part of our country are in dire need, the hon member for Brakpan is pursuing petty politics here this afternoon, which has absolutely nothing to do with the Manpower Vote. He even dragged the Police into this debate. He involved the Police politically in a debate which has nothing on earth to do with them. [Interjections.] He says the hon the Minister of Manpower owes this House an explanation to explain his relationship with the hon the Minister of Law and Order. The hon member for Brakpan and his party owe this House an explanation concerning their relationship with the AWB and Eugene Terre’Blanche, however. [Interjections.] This is in fact the case, Mr Chairman, because to an increasing degree, the Conservative Party members are appearing to be the lackeys of radical extra-parliamentary powers, which are merely intent upon destabilising the South African society, and who are becoming the agents of the communist onslaught against South Africa. [Interjections.] They are becoming the followers of those people. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I should prefer to speak about the distress of the people in my constituency. Unemployment, and the accompanying problems, is the most comprehensive single voters’ problem which I have had to deal with since my election to this House. The one overwhelming impression I have retained in this regard, is the multidimensional nature of this specific problem. This is especially the case for those who have become victim to unemployment. Anyone who becomes unemployed, who is dismissed from his job, is affected to the very depths of his being. It is not only economically that that man is in distress; his whole spirit is broken down as well. He loses his own self-image, and all his self-confidence is threatened. His relationships with the members of his family and the people around him start to crumble. I can tell hon members numerous heart-rending stories of voters in the Springs constituency who have fallen victim to unemployment. One of the most poignant tales is the one about the father who had to ask his son, who was doing national service, not to come home on weekends because he could not afford to feed him as well, and who asked the son rather to go and stay with friends or stay in the camp.
That is the NP’s fault.
The question, Sir, is whether we as an entire community are doing enough to help these people to solve all their problems. I wish to make an urgent appeal to churches and all other relevant bodies to attempt to co-ordinate their assistance to the unemployed, and to deal with it in a multi-disciplinary manner. I wonder whether the hon the Minister and his department cannot perhaps find a way in which they can inform other bodies—socially orientated bodies—when people become unemployed. In that way the unemployed will be brought to the attention of these bodies. As a result of his self-confidence problem, the unemployed person often tends to wait until it is almost too late before he approaches other places at which he may possibly receive assistance.
I should now like to discuss another matter, viz the serious delays which have been experienced in the handling of unemployment insurance claims until recently due to administrative problems. The claims of Springs’ voters are dealt with by the regional office in Johannesburg. Their claims are handled with cases from the rest of the most important heartland of economic activities in South Africa. Johannesburg serves the whole of the Southern Transvaal south of Pretoria, from the western border right up to the border of Swaziland, plus another four magisterial districts in the Orange Free State, including the Sasol-Parys complex. In some cases this area, depending on the industry under discussion, represents between 45% and 50% of the economic activities in the country. Of necessity this situation is also reflected in the unemployment statistics. In February this year 22% of all unemployed men and 38% of all unemployed White men were in that area. As far as women are concerned, the total was 25% of women in general, and 33% of all White unemployed women.
This office dealt with 126 000 applications for unemployment benefits last year. This represents an amount of approximately R107 million. At one stage the number of new applicants increased to 13 000 in one month.
One can expand upon this example in order to illustrate what an immense number of workers had to be dealt with by this office. The dramatic rise necessarily had to lead to delays. At this stage, however, I wish to pay tribute to Mr Beyers and his personnel in the Johannesburg regional office as well as the branch offices. They grasped the opportunities that came their way to train additional personnel and to streamline things, and recently the situation has improved dramatically. The ideal of making a payment within four weeks after submitting the first claim has not quite been reached. In some cases it can be done within four to five weeks, but the average waiting period has been shortened to six weeks. I also wish to thank the department and the officials concerned for this improved situation, on behalf of my voters. I also wish to express my concern about what may happen after 1 July this year, however. The development boards will disappear on 1 July this year. Hitherto the development boards have acted as agents for the department in dealing with Blacks. Of necessity, therefore, there will be a dramatic increase in the workload of the department and its regional offices after 1 July, and new application points will probably have to be created for unemployment insurance benefits inter alia. I am afraid the danger exists that we may once again lapse into a spiral of delay. In conjunction with the hon members for Roodeplaat and Newcastle I merely want to say that if it were to happen, we should realise that it also has serious implications for the social and even the political stability in our country. These implications must in no way be underestimated. Against this background I should like to know from the hon the Minister whether, and if so, which preventative measures have been taken and what contingency planning has been done to ensure that it will be possible to cope with the situation after 1 July and that unnecessary delays will not occur again. The extent of the matter is very clearly illustrated by the fact that there were 52 600 registered unemployed Black men and 29 800 registered unemployed Black women in February this year. Those were only the registered people. I would be grateful if the hon the Minister could reassure us in this regard that they are ready to deal with the situation.
Mr Chairman, I take pleasure in following on after the hon member for Springs, and I want to link up with him on something said by the hon member for Brakpan. The hon member for Brakpan said we should consider additional working hours per week. Now this sounds very strange to me, if one takes into account that a few days ago they were not prepared to vote on a motion to work for only two hours longer in Parliament.
Where is your Cabinet when we sit only in the afternoons.
Excepting for that, everything that is negative in the field of manpower is being laid at the door of the Government. Not one member has yet stood up and referred to this report of the Department of Manpower, or focussed on all the positive things that the Government has done in the field of manpower. We could refer to many more positive than negative aspects.
Today I once again want to concentrate on a much more pleasant facet in the field of manpower. I am referring to our woman-power—that part of our workers which in my opinion does not receive the necessary attention, deference and respect. But then I also want to add very quickly that our ladies sometimes also come up with very interesting views. I am thinking of a lady who I know, who was married to her husband for 20 years and tried to change him, merely to say after 20 years: “Oh, you are no longer the man I married in those days”. [Interjections.]
Order! Hon members may not stand and chat in the aisle.
And one does not always know if the ladies are playing the fool with one or whether they are serious. A few years ago a very attractive young lady was visiting a friend of mine—not me—and she walked into the room and admired a trophy in the display cabinet. When she inquired about it my friend merely said: “That was for the best golf shot that day”. A few months later she walked into the same room, saw two additional trophies and said: “I see you have shot two more golfs”.
I should now like to turn to the Manpower Survey which we had in the department recently—Manpower Survey No 16 of 26 April 1985. I really do think we should congratulate the department on an excellent manpower survey. It really is a revelation to analyse the statistics particularly with regard to the number of women who are employed. Very interesting information is evident from this survey.
Firstly, there are 625 women who act as managing directors of companies. There are also 458 who serve as general managers. It is indeed only 1 083 out of 21 611 posts, or 5,01% of the total mentioned in the survey. But it does show us that we are slowly but surely starting to accept the role of the women now, particularly in the business world.
Something else which is interesting is that in the category of management, executive and administrative employees we see that women make up almost 12% of the total. In the category of professional, semi-professional and technical employees a total of 34,69% of the Whites, 59,15% of the Coloureds, 36,48% of the Asians and 61,45% of the Blacks are female employees. That is a very large percentage. It adds up to 43,63% of a total workers’ corps of 541 957 workers. The percentage of women amongst them is therefore very large.
While immediately conceding that there is a very large number of women in the teaching and nursing professions, it is nonetheless gratifying to see that women appear in every category, excepting in certain mining professions. But this is cancelled out if one takes into account that there are no men in the category of midwifery. [Interjections.]
In the table of the total number of people who, on 26 April 1985, were employed, it is noteworthy that there are 1,381 million women employees. That is a labour contingent that we men will not easily be able to fill or replace. Incidentally, a very interesting fact is that there is a total of 2,95 million Blacks who fall within the ambit of this survey. All I want to say about this, is the following: The proponents of the idea that we should send all Blacks to their homelands, and that the Whites themselves will have to do the work, must wake up.
Who are they?
And if anyone thinks that we can bring so many people from the homelands to South Africa every day, and send them back again in the evenings, they will have to forget about it and return to reality. [Interjections.]
I am concerned by the fact that women are so easily discriminated against when it comes to promotion posts. Many companies which follow advanced, progressive labour practices, still have problems with promoting women. I really think the time has come for us to stop looking at women as being suitable only for certain professions. I am now referring particularly to professions of which it is often said that it is not a women’s job or that a woman is not suitable to take the lead in a big organisation. It is particularly in the business world that our women can play a much greater role. Their natural business acumen—one only has to look how most of us here are manipulated by them—is something which could be of great value to businessmen. Yet we find that prejudice still exists. In spite of the fact that the top people in companies are women in some cases, the prejudices still remain.
It reminds me of the case of a man who said to his wife: “Look what a bad driver that woman over there in the street is!” When she told him: “That is not a woman; it’s a man”, he said: “Yes, but he is driving like a woman!” Such prejudices do still exist.
I have referred to the name of this department before in the House. I once again want to ask that consideration be given to the possibility of changing the name of the Department of Manpower. There are a whole number of possibilities. To me the Department of Labour or Labour Utilisation is very descriptive. The Department of Manpower is in my view a little one-sided, not a very good description, and on top of it it still discriminates against our women. Let us simply ask the question: How would we men feel if most of our active people were women, and if we had to change this department’s name to the Department of Womenpower? I do not think we would be very happy about that. [Interjections.]
In spite of the fact that we discriminate against women, I do want to pay tribute today to the women of our country. Without women our economy would not be able to get along. To all women who make their contribution, whether they are White, Coloured, Asian or Black, and regardless of whether they fill the highest post or do the most elementary work, I want to express our thanks and appreciation for what these women are doing for our country. They are our right hands; we appreciate that, and we realise that the country would not be able to continue without that right hand.
Mr Chairman, I listened very carefully to the hon member for Stilfontein and I would like to ask him whether it was his wife who wrote the speech he has just delivered. Perhaps he will answer me later.
His mother-in-law wrote it.
If the hon the Minister is looking for a new name for his department, I wonder if he would consider the “Department of Personpower”. Perhaps he does not like that name.
He has burnt his bra!
I am going to deal with the job-creation aspects of the hon the Minister’s portfolio. I will make particular reference to chapter 8 of the department’s annual report and to certain aspects of chapter 3 of the annual report of the National Manpower Commission.
The PFP has always supported the job-creation programme that the department has implemented. We have every reason to believe that it is being run efficiently.
My home town has received some benefits from this programme, for which we are thankful, and there is a strong possibility that we will be approaching the hon the Minister for some more.
One aspect which we consider to be very important is that some R85 million of the R600 million which has been allocated to job-creation has been put into training, which is of vital importance in our opinion. Many hon members will remember the television programme on the department’s training programme which was broadcast about a month ago. I would like to compliment the hon the Minister on this very impressive television programme. I think that such programmes, which enable the taxpayer to see how his money is being spent, are very important.
The annual report indicates how the balance of the R600 million was spent, and I would like to devote some of my time to the question of housing and the development of infrastructures in Black areas.
Some R70 million was set aside for a loan scheme whereby those earning less than R350 per month could borrow R3 500. This was paid to them in kind, that is in materials and labour. The labour used was administered by the boards, and of course they used unemployed persons for this.
I think this was a very good programme, but I understand that this source of funds has since dried up. I would like to ask if it has been topped up and if there are any plans to continue with this particular scheme. My limited experience of the scheme suggested to me that it worked very well.
Hon members will readily appreciate that this scheme could only apply in the case of very low-income workers earning less than R350 per month. The question I wish to address is whether there is any way in which higher-income groups can be brought into the scheme.
Hon members will know that the three most important problems facing the country at the moment are those of high unemployment, the housing backlog and the lack of high-level skills among a large proportion of our population. Is there any way in which we can address all three of these problems by utilising some of the money which the hon the Minister has made available for job-creation and other aid to the unemployed?
I believe that this is already being done to a large extent. The scheme I have just mentioned and the upgrading of Black townships are examples, and there are also other job-creation programmes. Since these measures were implemented, however, there has been another very important development in this House. I am referring to the tabling of the White Paper on Urbanisation. I wonder whether the job-creation programme could not be operated hand in hand with the Government’s urbanisation programme in order to assist in the implementation of that programme.
There are many thousands of employed Black persons who are waiting to purchase homes. The key I believe is to start with the employed workers because they can release and generate the potential for growth in the economy. For example, the money that has been made available …
Order! Hon members must lower their voices.
The first point is that we can continue to provide the infrastructure, create jobs and make plots and land available to people who are able to buy. Secondly, we should explore the possibilities of channelling some of the money which the hon the Minister has to attract private sector money into the process as well. For example, R200 million—I just pick the figure— will in fact be sufficient deposit to attract some R800 million of private sector funds into the housing market as well. I am not saying that this money is available now; but if R200 million could somehow be made available by the department it would provide a base or security to channel additional private sector money in. What we have to explore are ways and means of making that R200 million somehow available to act as a deposit for those people who are in work, who do want houses and who are earning salaries because many of them do not have the deposits.
Now, I must tell the hon the Minister that I do not actually have the solution to this problem but I can suggest a few possibilities. We can, for example, make a direct grant to those people involved. The hon the Minister may say that making a direct grant to people who are already employed is a funny way of helping with unemployment, but the principle has been established with the one third housing subsidy. In fact, many people already receive much more than that per annum, but by making a direct grant those people can at least get a piece of land, go to the building society, get the money required for, say, a R10 000 house and so create jobs indirectly.
Alternatively, the hon the Minister can channel that money to the building societies free of interest or at a low interest rate to act as security for 100% loans and thereby, indirectly again, create employment in order to do something about the housing backlog as well as the unemployment problem. I believe there is plenty of scope to look at imaginative schemes and to make use of some of the money which the hon the Minister has set aside. By looking at it imaginatively, we can attack the problem of unemployment, the housing backlog and the training programmes we need.
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure to follow on after the hon member for Pietermaritzburg South. I think he has made positive suggestions. I agree with some of them. He mentioned important aspects of the employment creation programme. Just now we were listening to the hon member for Springs when he described what one experiences when one is unemployed. I think we assisted many people when we began with this job-creation project.
When the man in the street thinks of the Department of Manpower, he usually thinks of it as the department that administers the Unemployment Insurance Fund, where he can go and apply when he is unemployed, firstly to benefit from that fund and possibly to be employed again. If one pages through the annual report of the department and one reads it, however, one notices that this department has something to contribute to virtually every sphere of our lives. I should like to congratulate the department on the annual report and on the tremendous job which the hon the Minister and his department is doing for the welfare of our country.
What I found extremely interesting in the annual report, is the important role that this department plays in liaising; not only between employer and employee, but also between the RSA and the self-governing states, the TBVC-countries, other neighbouring states and even in the international sphere. If we bear all of this in mind, the Department of Manpower must be regarded as one of the most important liaison departments today. If we look at the various labour committees which are liaising between the RSA, the TBVC-countries and the self-governing states and at the work which is done at the ministerial level as well—where matters unique to each state are identified—we start realising what a tremendous job rests on the department’s shoulders. We can imagine how these states can now profit from the experience that our department has gained over the years in connection with labour legislation, labour relations, training and so forth. If we go a little further north and we look at Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland, we find more or less the same pattern, where the department gives assistance and continually remains in contact with these countries.
When we look at the labour field, we realise how dependent these neighbouring states really are on South Africa. If it should happened that these states could no longer sell labour to South Africa, how would their economies fare? There are at present 371 000 registered workers from the northern states working in South Africa. There are possibly even another few thousand, who have crossed the borders without registering. Of that number, 140 000 come from Lesotho. Let us suppose a miner’s average monthly wage is R600 today. That would mean that Lesotho receives more than R1 billion from South Africa per annum. If we take into account that on average every worker feeds a family of five on the money which he earns here, 700 000 of Lesotho’s inhabitants—and perhaps even more—are fed on money which comes from South Africa. Let me ask whether Lesotho’s economy would remain standing without South Africa. There are 69 000 registered Mozambican workers in South Africa. What would Mozambique do without this revenue? The registered number of workers from Botswana is 28 000; from Malawi 30 000; and from Swaziland 22 000. If we look at these figures theoretically, the employment problem of South Africa’s people should be smaller, and we should be able to keep millions of rand in this country, if the position were reversed.
Does the Western world realise that South Africa makes a very major contribution to keeping a large part of Africa alive? And then we are not even talking about railway lines and harbours yet. I think it is time that all the western Ambassadors in this country do a slightly better job of informing their governments about this. I wonder what would happen if South Africa also started talking about disinvestment.
All the workers who come into this country, still remain the responsibility of the Department of Manpower. This Department still has to liaise with all the governments involved. I commend the department for its liaison work. It is so essential that we discuss all matters of importance with each other today.
Many newspapers in my opinion could learn from this department what liaison work really is about. Unfortunately there are some newspapers who air their opinions without having the necessary facts before them. That makes positive liaising impossible. The Port Elizabeth area is one of the regions which is a victim of Press reports which do not reflect the facts completely. If we had read the newspapers this weekend, we would have come to the conclusion that Port Elizabeth is caught up in a tremendous struggle for survival, that virtually every second person is unemployed, that children are going hungry, that a large number of houses and flats are standing empty and that Port Elizabeth generally is in a most desparate situation.
I must immediately acknowledge that the slump in the economy has possibly hit Port Elizabeth harder than other areas in South Africa because it coincided with the moving of the second largest motor vehicle assembly plant in South Africa. The industrial base in Port Elizabeth is not broad enough to absorb the people who have lost their work as a result of the relocation of the motor vehicle assembly plant. This move also had an influence on component manufacturers, which caused more unemployment. We also had the Black boycott of White business undertakings, which had a depressing affect on the economy of the area. I do not want to say that things are going well in Port Elizabeth; on the contrary, the NP representatives have made numerous representations to the Government to alleviate the position in Port Elizabeth. The hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning has made certain announcements by now and we hope to relieve the unemployment situation there shortly.
I want to ask the hon the Minister, however, if it is not possible for one of his top task groups from the department to go and do a little liaison work in the Port Elizabeth area, to establish what the actual unemployment situation is there. He could then possibly liaise with the departments which fall under the hon the Minister of Health Services and Welfare, the hon the Minister of Local Government, Housing and Works, the hon the Minister of Constitutional Development and Planning and the hon the Minister of Education and Culture—in other words, with all the departments that are involved in his job creation programme, so that the entire action can be co-ordinated. We could also liaise with the local city council.
The Department of Manpower can play a tremendous role in tackling permanent projects over there, which would at least keep people occupied for long periods.
Things are not going well in Port Elizabeth. There is unemployment, and flats are standing empty there, as is the case in the rest of the country. [Interjections.] We ask the Government to assist us to make Port Elizabeth a very prosperous city once again. The people of Port Elizabeth have the initiative and the drive to assure prosperity. But newspapers must not publish stories which do tremendous damage to the city and present the people of Port Elizabeth as being beggars. We object strongly to that, and challenge the newspaper involved to make sure of its facts before publishing them.
Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure to speak after the hon member for Algoa. I wholeheartedly endorse the problems which he brought to light and also with the solutions he made.
This year is the Year of the Disabled, and as sight is often lost of the fact that injuries sustained in the workplace, can also result in serious disability, I should like to show hon members what the Department of Manpower is doing to combat the problem. According to the annual report of the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner, 271 659 accidents were reported last year. Of these 24 891 were cases of permanent disablement as a result of injuries sustained in the workplace. Two thousand three hundred and thirty-four fatal accidents were reported. On 28 February 1985, 13 941 people received pensions from the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner as a result of permanent disablement, and the Workmen’s Compensation Fund contributed to the medical costs of 346 532 workers, the amount involved being approximately R33 million during the relevant financial year.
Approximately R14 million in pensions was paid out to workers who suffer a permanent disability. The loss of manhours in 1981 as a result of compensatable accidents was just more than 3,3 million; and if the man-days which were lost as a result of permanent disablement and deaths are added in, the loss was approximately 24 million man-days. And so during the year under discussion there was a total loss of more than 27,5 million mandays due to injuries in the workplace.
Let us take a look to see what the Department of Manpower does to protect workers in their workplace. Let us start by first looking at what the department’s policy is in regard to the protection of the workers of the country. These workers not only include those working in factories and those engaged in construction work, but also people who are employed in all sectors of the economy, including agriculture and even private homes. On 26 April 1985 an estimated 3,9 million men were working in the RSA, and approximately 1,3 million women. Of this number approximately 1 million were White men and approximately 2,4 million were Black men. As a matter of interest. I want to mention that approximately 581 000 White women and approximately 497 000 Black women were economically active in the country on this date.
The Department of Manpower subscribes to the principle that every employee is entitled to the protection of his physical safety and health in his workplace. This protection is assured by the co-operation of employer and employee. The employer should take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and health of the employee in the work situation on the one hand, and on the other, it is the employee’s duty not to expose himself and his fellow-workers to unnecessary dangers.
This right of the South African worker is inalienable and is one of the Department of Manpower’s most important responsibilities. For this purpose the department has extended powers as embodied in the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act of 1983. To implement this Act, inspectors who have the local expertise, have been appointed at 10 centres in the Republic.
Some of the most important points of departure of the Act is that when secondary legislation is drawn up the three parties involved—the State, the employee and the employer—must give it their joint consideration, and that safety conditions in the workplace is not ensured exclusively by legislation, but that it is to a great extent a selfregulating action which should be left to the employer in co-operation with his employees.
Provision is made for an advisory council for occupational safety on which employers and employees have representation to advise the hon the Minister on relevant matters. In terms of the Act employers must designate a number of their employees as safety representatives and institute safety committees which have to identify dangers in the workplace and bring them to the attention of the employer.
Occupational safety is seen as freedom from a threat which could cause physical disfigurement, sickness or death within the work situation. Accident prevention is the joint responsibility of employee and employer.
To give substance to this philosophy, the National Occupational Safety Association was called into being. This association is a non-profit making undertaking which receives support from the Accident Fund in terms of section 14(2) of the Workmen’s Compensation Act. The annual subsidy of the National Occupational Safety Association, or Nosa as it is generally known, has been increased to R2 867 856 and the Federated Insurance Company has supported Nosa with a further amount of R85 000 during the financial year.
Nosa has paid attention to the prevention of accidents and the training of workers in accident prevention techniques in more than one field, which has equipped the workers to act as safety officials. This has enjoyed priority. In spite of the unfavourable economic climate, employers reacted more favourably than expected to the training of their workers and 20 871 candidates were trained by Nosa’s staff.
Nosa also provides training to candidates from groups of workers, training which is specifically aimed at making safety representatives available, as envisaged in the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act. Nosa also involves the radio and television services very successfully in their training programme. The training staff of Nosa have trained 600 students at 10 universities, technikons and colleges in safety management during the year. Nosa has compiled and distributed a safety manual for farmers.
Besides the intensive training offered by Nosa, the association has also carried out 4 000 safety surveys and a further 4 000 audits amongst employers. The success achieved with follow up visits to employers, is reflected in the decrease in the injury frequency figure. It dropped from 9 to 8,56.
The Accident Fund has allocated an amount of R200 000 to the National Centre for Occupational Health for ongoing research during the year. Rehabilitation will of course be a very important facet of the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner’s activities and for this purpose there are also two rehabilitation centres for injured workmen in operation. The one is in Johannesburg and the other in Durban. In Johannesburg labour therapy and physiotherapy services were provided to 1 258 White patients and to 1 606 Non-White patients during the year. In Durban 1 829 patients were treated at the rehabilitation centre, and a further 240 at Clairwood Hospital.
The Accident Fund’s income is derived from the annual premiums paid by the 187 129 employers. The report of the Accident Fund’s actuary mentions that the wage limit for the compulsory inclusion of a workman in the fund, has been increased from R9 600 to R12 000 per year in accordance with the act, with the maximum monthly pension being increased from R300 to R600. The lump sum of 30% for compensation for disablement has also been increased to 12 times the monthly earnings up to and including R500.
To get an idea of the sectors of the economy in which most accidents occur, and to identify the employers who institute unacceptable percentage claims against the Accident Fund, use was made during the year of computor programmes which took into consideration the annual number of employees and the number of claims for occupational injuries or diseases.
In terms of the amended regulations a user of machinery must appoint a responsible person to be in charge of the machinery, and if the combined power output of all machinery is more than 800 kw the person must be a diploma engineer. Because the limit, which is applied to the combined power output before a diploma engineer has to be appointed, is now considerably higher than before, I want to ask that the position of the diploma engineer in the industry be looked at again and that he not be disadvantaged in any respect, since obtaining such a qualification was always an encouragement to artisans who studied at technikons and could be appointed to an executive position along these lines. [Time expired.]
Mr Chairman, I listened attentively to the speech made by the hon member for Maraisburg. I think he made a very constructive contribution as regards his approach to security and the prevention of injuries during working hours. One could benefit a great deal by heeding what he said.
It is a pity the hon the Minister has not yet been given the opportunity to reply to the debate, so that one could engage in further debate with him after his reply. [Interjections.] It serves no purpose to reply to the debate at the end if there is no opportunity for further debate on the matters the hon the Minister may broach. I think the Government party must consider this kind of procedure, since it is not effective debating, nor is it productive. [Interjections.] The fact that there is so much noise in the chicken coop clearly indicates that I have broached a sore point here.
Order! The hon member must withdraw those words.
Sir, I withdraw them.
The hon member for Overvaal said today that the NP looks after the interests of the White worker …
That is true.
The hon member for Randburg has just said the same thing.
Only this afternoon, however, we received a reply from the hon the Minister of National Health and Population Development concerning the Nieuwenhuizen Report. Does the hon member know that? The hon members for Overvaal and Randfontein know how important that report is to the White worker. Do hon members know that that report has been in the hands of the Government since approximately 1981? After representations had been made, a White Paper was issued. It was decided that the Department of Health and the Departments of Manpower and Mining as well as other departments would consider the matter, and with the pneumoconiosis legislation as a guideline, the interests of the worker, in whatever respect, would be made to correspond with the privileged position of the miners. We are still waiting for that legislation and it is 1986 already. The reply we got to our inquiry this afternoon, was that legislation was being prepared. That is simply not good enough. [Interjections.] This is not a Government which has the interests of the White worker at heart. No one will make me believe that.
The hon member for Roodeplaat referred this afternoon to the question of unfair practices. I agree with him to a great extent that in certain circumstances the employer should have the right to dismiss the worker and that people should not hide behind the screen of “unfair practices” time after time.
Arising from this is the question of May Day. In many cases people who stayed away from work on 1 May were paid as if they had gone to work. There was no question of their being dismissed. The employers were given no choice.
Let us inquire into the question of May Day. America has a workers’ day which was declared a public holiday. In the present circumstances I think it is desirable to consider the possibility of a public holiday reserved for the worker. It can never fall on 1 May, however. [Interjections.] The date 1 May has a communist-socialist connotation. [Interjections.] The Americans do not have it on 1 May. [Interjections.] Why must it be on 1 May, when a Soviet parade is held on Red Square and that day is used to promote the communist ideology in all the socialist countries? [Interjections.]
We are in favour of a holiday for the sake of the workers, but not to the detriment of the existing holidays. [Interjections.] No, I have no time for questions. My time has expired.
Mr Chairman … [Interjections.] I have always been aware of the silent admiration those hon members of the CP have for me, but I did not think they would express it so vociferously in public. [Interjections.] The hon member for Brakpan objected to my not listening to him. It was out of contempt for him, because of his scurrilous personal attack on me, that I walked out of this Chamber when he spoke.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: May the hon the Minister say in this Committee that he walked out in contempt of the House? [Interjections.]
No, that is not what he said.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: The hon member for Brakpan told the hon the Minister he was a protester (betoger). Has he the right to do so? As far as I am concerned, that is unparliamentary.
Order! Who told the hon the Minister he was a protester?
Mr Chairman, I said he was a protester, because he walked out of the House while I was speaking, and now he says he walked out in contempt of what I said about him. He was a protester, therefore. [Interjections.]
Order! The word “protester (betoger)”, with reference to an hon member, was declared unparliamentary on a prior occasion. I therefore ask the hon member to withdraw it.
I withdraw it, Sir, and I say he was a demonstrator. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a further point of order: I should like to ask for your ruling. We are debating the hon the Minister’s Vote in this Committee. The hon the Minister said, however, that he had walked out as a result of contempt for the hon member for Brakpan—if not for this House. I therefore want to ask for your ruling in respect of the way in which the hon the Minister is treating this Committee.
Order! That is not contrary to the rules of the House. [Interjections.] The hon the Minister of Manpower may proceed.
It is contrary to good manners! [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: I have been in this Parliament for 25 years, and never has a Minister not been present in the House during the discussion of his Vote. If a Minister walks out when his Vote is being discussed, it indicates contempt for this Parliament. I maintain that this hon Minister showed contempt for Parliament today. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon the Minister of Manpower may proceed. [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, on a point of order … [Interjections.]
Order! No, I have listened to quite a few opinions which were not points of order. The hon the Minister of Manpower may proceed.
Mr Chairman, on a point of order: I ask you to listen to whether or not this is a point of order. While my colleague the hon member for Brakpan was speaking, one of the hon members on that side of the Committee said in an interjection: “You were a protester yesterday.” I think that was also unparliamentary.
Order! Who said that? [Interjections.]
Mr Chairman, I do not know whether the hon member for Soutpansberg is referring to me. I did not say he was a protester yesterday; I said he was a coward yesterday.
The hon member for Rustenburg must withdraw that remark. [Interjections.]
I withdraw it, Sir.
Mr Chairman, I said he was a protester yesterday.
Order! I ask the hon member for Vryheid to withdraw that.
I withdraw it, Sir. [Interjections.]
Order! The hon the Minister of Manpower may proceed.
The hon member for Brakpan asked us piously to listen to him. He demanded that he be listened to, while he and his party make it their task to prevent the public of South Africa from listening to NP Ministers and MPs. They are the ones who impugn the basic, democratic rights in South Africa, because they are scared the NP will convey its message to the voters. They are scared because the NP hurts them.
Listen to your little sister crying.
What is more, apart from the hon members for Waterberg and Soutpansberg, not one of them has a mandate, moral or otherwise, to sit in this Parliament today. [Interjections.] Not one of them has a mandate to sit here; they came to this Parliament under the banner of the NP and did not have the integrity to resign when they left this party. [Interjections.]
You should be ashamed of yourselves!
Let us talk a little about mandates and morality. Here they are on the backs of the NP and under the banner of P W Botha. [Interjections.]
Sit down, man!
You do not know where you are.
Order! I have to interrupt proceedings to report progress and ask leave to sit again.
Business interrupted in accordance with Standing Order No 19.
The House adjourned at