House of Assembly: Vol1 - TUESDAY 6 JUNE 1961
For oral reply:
asked the Prime Minister:
Whether any changes have been or are to be made in
- (a) the Official Table of Precedence and
- (b) forms of address; and, if so, what changes.
- (a) A general revision of the Official Table of Precedence is necessary and will receive attention in due course. For the present only the following essential changes are made:
- (i) The substitution for the words “Governor-General” and “Officer Administering the Government”, wherever they appear, of the words “State President” and “acting State President”, respectively;
- (ii) the amendment of rubrics 5 and 10 to provide for the new designations of the diplomatic representatives of the Commonwealth countries concerned; and
- (iii) the substitution in rubric 23 for the words “Clerk of the Senate” and “Clerk of the House of Assembly” of the words “Secretary to the Senate” and “Secretary to the House of Assembly” respectively.
- (b) The form of address “State President” or “Mr. State President” is used with regard to the Head of the State, whilst the title or form of address “Excellency” falls away.
No other changes are contemplated at this stage.
asked the Minister of Agricultural Technical Services:
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Natal Mercury of 3 May 1961, of a statement made by the Deputy-Director of Veterinary Services for Natal that outbreaks of anthrax had been reported in the Melmoth and Nqutu districts and that the Bantu in the area had refused to inoculate their cattle against the disease;
- (a) how many outbreaks have been reported,
- (b) in what areas have they been reported and
- (c) in how many areas have the Bantu refused to allow their cattle to be inoculated; and
- (3) whether he will take immediate steps, in consultation with the Department of Health, to restrict the danger of further outbreaks and of the disease spreading to human beings.
- (1) Yes; the matter was also raised by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg District in the course of the debate on my Department’s Votes on 3 May 1961, to which I replied on the next day (Hansard, Col. 5872).
- (a) Two.
- (b) The Entonjaneni and Nqutu districts.
- (c) Initially in both districts.
- (3) The Bantu in Nqutu district have since agreed to have their cattle vaccinated and this was done on 30 May 1961. In the Entonjaneni district they contended that vaccination would kill their stock, but the State Veterinarian has demonstrated the safety of the vaccine on 271 head of cattle and will have further discussions with the Bantu in this week. The local district surgeons were notified of the outbreaks and the Division of Veterinary Services took all possible steps to have infective material destroyed.
asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:
- (1) Whether the owners of any farms in the Harding district, Natal, have offered their properties to the South African Native Trust; if so, (a) when and (b) what farms; if not,
- (2) whether the Native Trust has approached any owners in this district with a request to sell their farms; if so, (a) when and (b) what farms; and
- (3) whether the local farmers’ association has been advised or consulted about any intention of the Native Trust to purchase any farms in the district; if so, (a) when and (b) what farms.
- (1) Yes.
- (a) Since 1939.
- (b) The Thistles, Lovedale, Fairview, Westlands, Hudson, Glenalvon, Highgreen, Winterhoek, The Dongas, Riversides, Itemba, Ingabeni, The Braes and Bedford.
- (2) Yes.
- (a) Recently with a view to eliminating Black spots and rounding off the Bantu area.
- (b) Riversides, portions of Itemba and portions of Ingabeni.
- (3) The local farmers’ association has been asked for an expression of its views.
- (a) Recently.
- (b) The same as under 2 (b) above.
asked the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development:
- (1) How many Bantu live (a) within and (b) outside scheduled Bantu areas in the area of the Pongola irrigation scheme;
- (2) what provision has been made for these Bantu when the irrigation scheme is developed; and
- (3) what is the status of the land at present occupied by the Bantu in this area who live outside scheduled Bantu areas.
- (1) It has not yet been decided what land will fall within the area of the proposed Pongola irrigation scheme.
- (2) and (3) Fall away. The hon. member may, however, rest assured that adequate provision will be made for Bantu who have to be moved as a result of the proposed scheme.
Will the Bantu have to be moved?
It is quite possible.
asked the Minister of the Interior:
Whether an appeal has been lodged against the banning of the film “Inherit the Wind and, if so, (a) by whom, (b) on what grounds, (c) what was the outcome of the appeal and (d) what were the grounds for the decision.
- (a) United Artists Corporation (S.A.) (Pty.), Ltd., Johannesburg.
- (b) It was stated that the film does not give offence to the religious feelings of the population of the Republic.
- (c) The appeal was dismissed.
- (d) There is no reason why fault should be found with the decision of the Board of Censors to disallow the film in view of Section 5 (2) (1) of the Entertainments (Censorship) Act, 1931.
asked the Minister of the Interior:
Whether the Board of Censors bans all (a) scientific works, (b) popular books, (c) periodicals and (d) films which deal mainly with the theory of evolution; and, if so, why.
The Board of Censors has as yet not recommended the prohibition of the importation into and the distribution in the Republic of any publication on the grounds only that it deals with the theory of evolution or for that reason only disallowed a film.
asked the Minister of Economic Affairs:
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in Digest of South African Affairs of 12 May 1961 that, as a step towards producing an all-South African national car, the Government proposed to impose protective duties and to limit local production to six makes of cars;
- (2) whether the local production mentioned referred only to makes of cars assembled locally from mainly imported parts;
- (3) whether the proposed limitation has been or will be introduced; if so, (a) when and (b) to which makes will production be limited;
- (4) whether he has had consultations with the motor trade in regard to the matter;
- (5) whether he will make a statement on the way in which the system will apply; and
- (6) whether he will reconsider his decision in order to avoid unemployment and hardship in the motor industry.
- (1) Yes, but the report is presumably based on a misunderstanding, as no decision of this nature has been taken by the Government; and
- (2) to (6) fall away.
—Reply standing over.
asked the Minister of Finance:
Whether the Government is a shareholder of the South African Reserve Bank; and, if so, how many shares does it hold.
The MINISTER OF JUSTICE replied to Question No. *II, by Mr. Oldfield, standing over from 26 May.
- (1) Whether his attention has been drawn to a report in the Sunday Times of 21 May 1961 that two Durban men were put on an aircraft to Lourenço Marques by members of the Police Force; and
- (2) whether he will make a statement in regard to the matter; if not, why not.
- (1) Yes.
- (2) The two persons concerned are Portuguese subjects who were illegally in the Union and who were removed in terms of a removal order issued by the Department of Immigration.
The MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT replied to Question No. *VII, by Mr. Moore, standing over from 26 May.
How many (a) professors, (b) senior lecturers, (c) junior lecturers and (d) other staff members were employed at the University College at (i) Ngoya, (ii) Turfloop and (iii) Fort Hare at 30 April 1961.
(i) University College of Zululand.
(ii) University College of the North.
(iii) University College of Fort Hare.
(b) Senior lecturers
(c) Junior lecturers
(d) Other staff members
The MINISTER OF BANTU ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT replied to Question No. *VIII by Mrs. Zuzman, standing over from 26 May.
- (1) Whether his Department has employed any Bantu teachers, trained at Pius XII College, Roma, Basutoland, for Bantu schools in the Union; if so, how many; and, if not,
- (2) whether his Department recognizes the qualifications of Bantu teachers trained at this College; if not, why not.
- (1) No. It is seldom if ever that a graduate from the Pius XII College applies for an appointment in a Bantu school under my Department, but if it should happen preference would be given to locally trained applicants.
- (2) The Pius XII College prepares candidates for the examinations of the University of South Africa, my Department therefore recognizes qualifications obtained at this College.
Before asking the Secretary to read the first Order of the Day, I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to the words of enactment appearing in the various bills on the Order Paper. These bills were introduced before the change-over to the Republican form of government and, consequently, the following words of enactment which correctly state the present constitutional position, viz.: “Be it enacted by the State President, the Senate and the House of Assembly of the Republic of South Africa, as follows”, should be substituted for the formula now appearing in these bills.
These words of enactment are merely part of the framework of a bill and, in terms of Standing Order No. 169, are not put to the Committee of the Whole House on a bill. They will therefore be replaced by the above new formula in all the bills in the possession of this House as soon as such bills are reprinted, or printed in Act form.
First Order read: Third Reading,—Interpretation Amendment Bill.
Bill read a third time.
Second Order read: Third reading,—Defence Further Amendment Bill.
Mr. Speaker, the Bill now before us has been pretty thoroughly discussed at previous readings and I do not propose taking up a lot of the time of the House by going over what has already been discussed. With your permission, Sir, I would like to go outside the scope of the third reading very briefly and to extend from this side of the House our best wishes to the hon. the Minister of Defence on what I understand is his birthday. I wish him the best of good luck and many more of them.
I understand also that the hon. the Minister is rather anxious that not only this Bill but matters dealing with defence in general should be dealt with as quickly as possible as he has certain important duties to fulfil overseas, and I may say that this side of the House, on the assumption that that statement is correct—probably the Minister would like to make a statement on it this afternoon —do not propose to unduly delay him. In that sense we are prepared to co-operate.
With regard to the Bill itself, it introduces what might be termed national conscription and will in its present form have a very wide impact on a number of important phases of the national life of this country. That impact will be felt both from the financial point of view and the personal point of view. It is essential in a Bill of this nature, particularly some of the clauses we have before us, that it will carry the confidence of the public because they are so closely affected in so many ways by the Bill. When I talk about its carrying the confidence of the public, I mean the confidence of all the members of the public of the Union, and not only the people particularly affected by the service clauses. Therefore it calls for the most careful administration not only by the Minister but by his professional people on whom much of the responsibility will devolve. I commend that facet to the Minister because so much of the success or otherwise of this important extension of the defence of the country must stand or fall by the extent to which the public can be induced to go along with it. The Minister mentioned a number of private enterprises with which it had been discussed and it appears that the discussion has covered a fairly wide range, but I would like to leave with the Minister again the point dealt with earlier, and that is the impact of the sections of the Bill dealing with the training and the compulsory period of nine months’ service, the impact these will have financially on many of these youngsters, as well as on more mature married people who will be affected by the Bill. We gave our views to the Minister very clearly in the second reading, and I will not repeat them, but I ask that he give most serious consideration to this financial aspect, as the rates of pay for the Citizen Force certainly were never intended to apply to the conditions which will now come into operation as the result of this Bill. Hardships will be created and it is our duty as an Opposition to point them out and to ask the Minister to see that they are alleviated as far as possible. Section 8 of this Bill, which was the original Section 7 before the Bill was amended, is probably the key to the whole Bill. It is the one which hands over the control of the deferment boards to the Department of Labour and lays down the procedure to be adopted in dealing with applications for deferment. Applications for deferment comprise a very important part of the structure of the defence administration as it is now envisaged, much more important than it was under the old system, and here again it is essential that the Minister should be able to carry with him the confidence of the public that the deferments are dealt with fairly, so that the public can feel that they have had a square deal from the Board. In the earlier discussions we pointed out to the Minister that we felt that one National Board would certainly not be able to cope with the work entailed by the increasing number of trainees being called up, and I would again urge that consideration be given as soon as possible to see that the interests of particular districts should be considered through an expansion of the system of having, wherever necessary, local or divisional boards, under proper management. There our view is that a magistrate or an ex-magistrate should be the chairman of these smaller boards, where the local interests can be considered, as these comprise a very important factor in the wider interests of national defence as a whole. The Minister has not been able to meet us in all respects here, but I commend that point to him again because it is one of the most important features of the Bill in which the Minister has to carry the public with him. Apart from that, the Bill as it is before us now is going to impose responsibilities on a very large number of young South Africans. Training ages are being changed and the fact that these young men will have to do nine months’ continuous service in military camps, and that it will often be the first time that they will leave home, will impose grave additional responsibilities on the Minister and those under him. Responsibilities not so much connected with the Defence side of the Bill as with the general impact it has on the lives of these young people. I want to urge again that the Minister should be keenly alive to the fact that nothing can create disorder and break down morale sooner amongst these young people than idleness. One does not anticipate them being idle in terms of this Bill—the object is to keep them fully engaged—but there must be some leisure, and it is a lesson which has been learnt bitterly in defence over and over again that you have to provide for the leisure of these people whom you put together in camps. There must be recreation, entertainment and sport, and money spent on those things must be regarded as being just as much a part of the defence costs of the country as the actual military training. Under this Bill the Minister will stand in the position of being step-father to some 10,000 young men, growing in number as the years go on, and it will be his job to see that they get all the consideration and attention which are necessary at that stage of a young man’s life to see that his citizenship and his general outlook upon life itself are improved and not impaired as they can so easily be if there is any slip-up. From personal experience in this type of work I would say that it is equally as important as the actual training in the use of weapons. We leave the Bill to the Government to implement. The Government has asked for these powers in the interests of the defence of the country. It is responsible for the defence of the country, and as a responsible Opposition we are satisfied that the powers they ask for are necessary under present conditions. Therefore we leave them with those powers and we also leave them with the responsibility of seeing that the very wide powers given in terms of the Bill are not abused but are used to the best effect, are put into practical effect, not like so many other pieces of legislation we have previously authorized but which resulted in nothing definite being done. We believe that this Bill is the product partly of the world conditions which make it necessary, and also partly as the result of South Africa’s new position as a republic having to stand on its own feet with regard to defence. Therefore we now pass the Bill over to the Government to administer, and we will watch with interest to see that all the high hopes held by the Minister and his senior officers with regard to the powers granted to them by this Bill are translated into practical action.
I wish to thank the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) for having told me that they are all very glad that I am growing older. I first of all want to thank the hon. member and the Opposition for the way they supported me during the discussions on this Bill. The hon. member said that we would have to be very careful in the way we apply the new law. I can assure him that we realize only too well that there will be growing-pains, but we will do our best to apply the law as humanely as possible. The hon. member also said that the Bill would have a very wide impact, and it depends on how much the public are satisfied with its administration. I agree that the public should be taken along with us all the way in matters of defence and I will do my best in that direction. The hon. member also spoke about the financial responsibilities towards these young men and those who have dependants. As I said, we are going into it already, and I am especially concerned about those who have dependants. The hon. member once again expressed his concern about the Boards. I can only say again that I really think that as they are now instituted these boards will answer the purpose. But I am considering whether it is not necessary to have a Central Board in time of war, and if I find that it is necessary I will come along with a suitable amendment next year.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a third time.
Third Order read: House to resume in Committee of Supply.
House in Committee:
[Progress reported on 18 May, when Votes Nos. 2 to 34, 36 to 46 and the Estimates of Expenditure from Bantu Education Account had been agreed to.]
Precedence given to Vote No. 47 (Defence).
On Vote No. 47.—“Defence”, R61,550,000,
Mr. Chairman, it had been my intention to ask the Minister, as was done when his policy was debated in the Other Place, to arrange for a secret session of the two House in order that matters of importance dealing with Defence could be more effectively discussed. But in view of the fact that there has already been a very wide discussion on the Bill which was before us and that there have been drastic changes in the Union’s position since the Senate motion was moved, and the fact that we are now coming directly to the Vote with very limited time, as the result of the time limits which apply to these Votes, we do not intend to proceed with that request. As I said earlier, we also understand that the Minister has to go overseas for national reasons and we would therefore like to expedite the Vote. But at the same time it is the task of the Opposition to watch very carefully both the finances and the organization of defence. In this the Opposition is somewhat restricted due to the lack of information which would be necessary fully to discuss these matters constructively—information which is available to the Minister but, of necessity, not to the House or to the Opposition. I would suggest that a greater measure of consultation between the Minister and his side of the House and the Opposition on these vital matters of defence would probably both expedite the work from the parliamentary point of view and would certainly result in more co-operation than it is possible to get under the present system.
The Defence Vote now before the House can be regarded as the first instalment of the hard cash cost the taxpayer will increasingly have to pay over the years as the result of our isolation as an independent republic where we have to a very large extent depend entirely on our own resources for our defence, both internal and external. From that angle it is perhaps a rather unpleasant factor that the first Defence Vote presented to Parliament within a week of our becoming a republic is the largest peace-time Defence Budget ever to be placed before this Parliament. Even since the original Budget was tabled, the Minister of Finance has had to draw attention to the big increase in defence spending. A supplementary Vote of R10,500,000 has already been tabled and there can be no doubt that in order to build up an efficient Defence Force it will be necessary to have further increased expenditure. I think we will have to face that position. In this Budget the total amount asked for from revenue only is R61,500,000, plus a further R10,000,000 for the Defence Equipment Fund, and another R5,500,000 which has already been approved of. There is a total of about R77,000,000, with further considerable amounts to be provided from loan funds. That is a lot of money to spend on defence. It is well over R33,000,000 more than was provided for in the last Budget, when as a member of the Commonwealth we could depend on certain of our defence needs being met from other sources. In giving these figures I am not criticizing the necessity for expenditure to provide for our security in the present world conditions. It is a responsibility which has devolved upon every country and we also have to face up to it, but unfortunately we have to do so very largely alone. It includes, in our own particular case, the conditions prevailing in Africa close to our own borders, which naturally have to be taken into account in assessing the cost of defence. Subject to reasonable and practical use being made of the money we are now providing, and taking into account our very limited resource in manpower and the equipment and material available in the country, and the Union’s financial resources, we do not oppose this increased expenditure of R33,000,000, but we believe it is only fair that the public should be aware of the cost of their defence responsibilities which is part of the cost of our present independence. I therefore feel fully justified in asking the Minister to give Parliament and the country a realistic account of what South Africa has received in return for the relatively heavy defence expenditure which has been incurred in this country over the past ten years. I know that in asking that I am referring to an era which largely fell outside the control of this Minister, but he has taken over not only the benefits of Defence but also the liabilities. We would like some concrete information on that matter, because since 1950, including this year’s Budget, South Africa has spent, from revenue alone, approximately R550,000,000 on its defence resources and organization, or something like £275,000,000. Combined with that there is another R25,500,000 to which we are committed already to pay for naval ships which have still to be delivered. It is not a very big sum when compared with what some countries overseas have to accept in the interests of defence, but it is a heavy commitment for a small country such as ours, especially when it is realized that it has to be paid by approximately 20 per cent of our total population. They are the people who have to foot the bill in the long run. It can also be regarded as fairly heavy expenditure when measured against the practical return that South Africa has received in what we can regard as effective defence organization and equipment as a result of that expenditure.
Sir, we accept that national defence in all its phases is the major responsibility of the Government of the day and as official Opposition we have supported the Government as far as can be reasonably expected in some very far-reaching defence legislation—witness the two Bills that were dealt with just recently. There is indisputable evidence that much of the R500,000,000-odd that has been provided for defence has been largely wasted due in the main to the Government’s complete lack hitherto of any practical and comprehensive defence plan or policy, coupled with the disastrous political interference with defence organization at ministerial level. I think these are facts that we have to face, and the damage that they have done has been made more clear by the very nature of the defence Bills that we have been called upon to pass this Session in order to try and repair the damage caused by that lack of policy. Sir, we have a new Minister and we expect that this new Minister will not follow those lines. He has certainly given evidence of his earnest intention to put defence on a proper footing. Sir, I am not attempting to be destructively critical; I am merely stating cold facts. Even if they are unpalatable it is just as well that they be stated because they are facts about which we have warned this Government without avail time and time again over the last ten years, until the hard and dangerous warnings of national isolation have suddenly caused a wave of alarm to sweep through the Cabinet. Including the present Budget and the Supplementary Vote which is before us, the position is that since 1950 we have also provided approximately R160,000,000 for a Defence Special Equipment Fund, set up by Parliament originally to provide the equipment for the armoured divisions which were at that time part of a Mediterranean defence force. That commitment no longer exists and it would be fair therefore to ask for information as to what the Union has received in return for the heavy expenditure incurred by the Special Fund and also whether the time has not arrived when parliamentary expenditure should follow the ordinary system, that is to say, brought before the House and dealt with in the ordinary manner and provided for in the current Estimates. I want to ask what amount of the Fund was expended on equipment for the Middle East armoured divisions and what is happening to the equipment that was purchased but never used for that purpose. Sir, there is some legitimate cause for concern in regard to the recent sale of a quantity of that particular equipment and material, when we sold, amongst other things, as we were told quite recently in reply to a question, 100 Centurion tanks, ten armoured reconnaissance vehicles and other equipment which cost the Government approximately R10,000,000 to land in this country and which was sold at exactly half that price, at a loss of R5,000,000.
During the second reading debate on the Defence Further Amendment Bill I put certain specific questions to the hon. the Minister in connection with better facilities for the skiet commandos. When the hon. the Minister replied to the debate he confined himself more specifically to matters of principle. I just want to repeat the questions briefly in order to refresh his memory. I asked for allowances for the building of rifle ranges: I asked for better training of officers: I asked for better allowances for officers while undergoing training, and I asked for administrative assistance, and I also asked that a certain measure of co-operation be obtained with employers in order that officers who are prepared to go for training should be released so that they will not have to use their own leave for that purpose. I just want to draw the hon. the Minister’s attention to the fact that I have not yet had answers to these questions. I want to point out that in the case of urban skiet commandos in particular the building of rifle ranges is a tremendously expensive item. In my own town it cost £2,000 to build a proper rifle range and no help was received from the Department. As far as the question of better facilities for the training of officers and better allowances are concerned, I pointed out that the officers of the skiet commandos receive a mere R1.80 per day while they often have to forfeit their salaries in their ordinary professions. I also asked for administrative assistance for the commandant. I recently had an experience which I want to bring to the attention of the hon. the Minister. Headquarters sent a certain circular letter to the commandant which he had to bring to the attention of his soldiers in writing and obtain their signatures for it. It concerns the safe keeping of rifles. They sent five copies and the commandant must duplicate, print or type the necessary forms for approximately 300 men so that he can obtain the signatures of the soldiers. I feel it is very unreasonable to expect that a person who serves as commandant in a district must in this way make stationery available and have typing done at his own expense. In connection with the question of employers I pointed out that officers serving in the commandos sacrifice their own time; they virtually attend courses at their own expense and then it oftens happens that their employers refuse to release them. I asked the hon. the Minister whether it was not possible for his Department to obtain some measure of co-operation with employers to enable the officers to attend courses once or twice a year. I feel that with untrained officers members of skiet commandos will be in a very difficult position if they have to go and fight. I just want to remind the hon. the Minister about this and I will be glad to receive answers to these questions.
When I was interrupted by the time limit I was dealing with a couple of examples showing the need for caution in the handling of this fairly large amount of defence expenditure, taking steps to see that the country gets value in return for the money spent, and I had quoted the position with regard to the sale of certain defence equipment purchased for the armoured divisions. I want to say clearly that probably it was quite a good trade transaction to get back 50 per cent of the expenditure, seeing that the commitment had fallen away, but it is that type of thing that we do not want to have repeated, if at all possible, in the spending of the money that we are now budgeting for, including the Special Equipment Fund. There are two other cases that I want to quote which also point to the need for caution. One is in regard to what I might call “unnecessary” expenditure—or may be it was in a sense necessary expenditure—on ships which are no longer effective units of the South African Navy. As far as the South African Navy is concerned, it is, as I have said previously, one of the bright spots in defence, because it is an example of the way in which a small but really good navy is being built up, and one can give full credit and full praise for the work that has been done. But we have the two destroyers, the Van Riebeeck and the Simon van der Stel. In the case of the Van der Stel it has not been in commission for five and a half years and the Van Riebeeck has not been in commission in eight and a half years. They have been tied up to the buoy and swinging at their moorings during those respective periods, but they have had to be maintained and they have cost the country over the past five and a half and eight and a half years respectively something like £50,000 for maintenance work, largely just to keep them afloat. That maintenance work, it is true, has been cut down to a minimum just to keep them afloat. They are now being advertised for sale but we still have to spend fairly large amounts on those ships until we are able to dispose of them in some manner. This is expenditure which is bringing no beneficial return to Defence in any shape or form. It is true that one of the responsibilities of having a navy is that you have unwanted ships and you cannot just allow them to sink, but this is one of the cases where there should be a little bit of prodding of the people who are trying to dispose of these ships so that we can get rid of this liability as soon as possible, if they are a liability and are no longer wanted. The same thing is happening with regard to the old Protea, the old survey ship. There we have spent just over £9,000 in the past five years in keeping her swinging at her moorings, while we have been trying to find a buyer. No commercial buyer other than perhaps an ex-Senator could afford to keep ships idle for that length of time! There again there is a need for caution in expenditure, and there are ether similar needs with regard to the South African Navy. In spite of all the efficient handling and all the improvements that are taking place, those who know could find many ways of economizing, of cutting down on unnecessary expenditure. However, there is not sufficient time available to go into that now. I want to touch on a third example and that is the question of the three new frigates that are coming out. Here I would like to refer to the discrepancy between the figures of cost given to the House on 10 April 1959 and the figures given recently, and here again I refer to this with the full knowledge of how the cost of shipbuilding is steadily increasing. I realize that one cannot be tied down to any definite figure, but between 10 April 1959 and a matter of a couple of weeks ago, the cost of these three frigates has increased by something like R7,250,000. Where the cost was given previously at about R6,000,000 each, they are now in the region of R8,200,000 each. As I say, I know that the cost of warship construction is going up by leaps and bounds. Here again it is a question of ensuring that by the time the ships arrive we have the trained personnel to take them over. Skilled manpower, as the hon. the Minister will agree, has been one of the drawbacks of the navy up to now. These three ships are going to place a far bigger load on the Naval Administration because they are of such a highly technical nature that the majority of the complement of those ships have to be very highly qualified technical people, in many cases people with university degrees. They are also ships packed with electronic equipment which cannot be laid up, otherwise they deteriorate too rapidly, just as a battery of one’s car deteriorates if it is laid up. They have to be kept active and I would ask that fact be recognized in advance because when we get these ships we are going to need something like 600 ratings and 30 officers to handle and man them, and I am quite sure that the Minister will agree with me that it is not a light responsibility to look forward to under present-day conditions.
With regard to the rest of the Estimates, the figures asked for there show a considerable increase over the figures for previous years. They reflect to some extent the cost of the recent emergency operations during which we have had to call up large numbers of troops for periods that were not anticipated, and they reflect the cost of the endeavour to reequip the Defence Force to meet modern conditions; to deal with the greater number of people that we propose to train and all the necessary things that go with them. I do not propose to deal with them in detail, therefore; there are other members who will do that, but I want to point out these major facts to the Minister, so that we can get an assurance from the Minister that unnecessary expenditure will be avoided and curtailed. I know that it is not always possible to guard against all these things but with wise administration and a proper picking of experienced officers, much unnecessary expenditure can be avoided and curtailed, and I would ask the hon. the Minister to give serious consideration to that matter.
One likes listening to the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) because of his objective approach to defence matters. Let me say at once that when we come to defence matters in South Africa it is not a question of this side of the House or that side of the House; it is a matter that concerns South Africa, and that being so, where the hon. member drew attention to the necessity of a secret session of both Houses to discuss defence in South Africa, I want to say that I personally would have welcomed such a session. Unfortunately, as the hon. member has pointed out, the necessary time is not available and for this Session at any rate it will not be practical politics. However, let me say immediately that it is high time we came together in this country and discussed this matter at summit level. The defence of our country, to my mind, certainly leaves much to be desired in some instances. I represent to a very large extent the Air Force in South Africa. It falls in my constituency. Representing the air arm of our Defence Force I am not happy with what we have in South Africa in the event of a future war, when it is being openly stated to the north of us that by 1963 all Africa must be free. Sir, that means the elimination of the White man in this country. That being so, we must begin to realize what is facing us in the future, and we must begin to think how we are going to defend ourselves. To my mind the most important phase of our defence will be the air arm. I am not satisfied that we have enough pilots; I am not satisfied that we have enough bombs; I am not satisfied that we have sufficient navigational engineers. As a matter of fact I heard the figures only last night; I am not going to quote them in this House but I am unhappy about those figures. I think every effort should be made by this House to see that the defence of South Africa is brought up to the highest possible pitch of efficiency. That being so, I ask myself: Where and how will we have to defend ourselves in the future. When we look at our northern boundary, from the West Coast from the Cunene along the Limpopo to the East, it occurs to me immediately that we have not got the manpower to defend our northern boundary, and that being so I ask myself whether the time has not arrived for us to think again of the old traditional policy in this country, the policy of one section of the population only bearing arms and one section only to defend this country in time of war. That brings me to a point that I have already raised with the hon. the Minister, and I put it forward here again this afternoon as a South African who is very seriously perturbed not only about the defence of this country but about the defence of Africa as a whole, and I ask myself, as every man must have asked himself so often in the last year, what hope has the 5,000,000 Whites in Africa of maintaining themselves …
Every hope if we stand together.
… of maintaining themselves in the face of an Eastern attack or a Central African attack. [Interjections.] Sir, this is a very serious matter and I am very much in earnest. I as a White man am seriously perturbed, and it ill behoves some members to try to ridicule a member who puts forward his views in all seriousness. As I say. I have already spoken to the Minister about this matter. When we think of the long stretch from the Cunene, of the Caprivi Strip and the long boundary to the East of Africa. I say that we have not got the men to defend our country, and once the enemy enters our country, it will be a most difficult matter to put up a fight then. My plea this afternoon is this—and I think it has been mooted in this House before: The time has come for us to re-arrange our thinking, to forget what has happened in the past and to bring in all sections of the community to defend our country. When I think of the part that was played by the non-Whites in this country in the immediate past when difficulties arose, then I think the time has come for us to bring them into our defence thinking, to bring them into our Defence Force, not only as lorry drivers or as cooks. They form the majority of the people in this country. It therefore behoves us, as other countries in Africa have done with good effect, to bring these people into our Defence Force and to give them military training of the highest order. I am satisfied that it is possible for us in our defence units of to-day to bring in the Coloured and the Bantu with very great advantage for the defence of South Africa. Sir, I cannot agree with what the hon. member for Simonstown stated in connection with expense. This is not the time to think of expense. Our expenditure on defence in this country is, I think, practically the lowest in the civilized world, bearing in mind our national income. We are spending a trifling portion of our national income on defence in comparison with the proportion of their national income spent by Russia and America on defence. If we sit down and seriously consider what type of attack we can expect in the future, what type of defence we will have to build up, how best we will be able to defend South Africa, then I come back to what I mentioned just now, namely the air arm of our Defence Force in South Africa. [Time limit.]
A good speech.
I hope the hon. member for Pretoria (District) (Mr. Schoonbee) will forgive me if I do not pursue his line of argument, except to say that I have considerable sympathy, as I am sure the Minister has, for the very constructive views put forward by him in dealing with the defence issues of our country. In the limited time available, I wish to put certain matters to the hon. the Minister in regard to his portfolio. I wish to raise a number of points by way of questions, to which I hope the Minister will be able to give a reply when he replies to this debate. The first matter upon which I would like some information from the Minister is Item S on page 281, where we are being asked to vote R3,341,000 for “Special Projects”. This is an increase of about R3,000,000 over the previous year’s estimate of some R348,000, which included some R200,000 for the maintenance of the Ordinance Workshops in Pretoria. I shall be glad if the hon. the Minister could give us the reason for this almost eight-fold increase under this sub-head. Then I wish to ask the Minister what his policy is in regard to the training of Active Citizen Force personnel under the new proposed scheme where such personnel in the A.C.F. will be given satisfactory training to hold the higher commanding positions within the A.C.F. itself. Formerly it has always been the policy of the Government and of previous governments to place the Staff Corps work entirely in the hands of the Permanent Force. But as we are now to have a standing citizen army of some 10,000 men, it is quite clear that this function cannot be entrusted entirely to the Parmanent Force, because the A.C.F. men who will form the core of any army in time of war or in time of emergency must surely have some responsibility in this regard as well. We have the experience of the last war when the staff positions were held largely by A.C.F. men. I would like to know whether that aspect has been taken into consideration in the programme of training laid down for this new army, and whether A.C.F. personnel are going to be given this form of training and that this work is not going to be entrusted entirely to Permanent Force personnel.
Then I want to ask the hon. the Minister what overall training policy is to be followed. We have had statements from the hon. the Minister that we are going to have a much larger Permanent Force and that we are going to have a standing army of 10,000 men, which means that the gross number of men under arms in our country every year is going to be in excess of 20,000—10,000 from the A.C.F. together with the establishment of the Permanent Force, which is approximately 10,000 under these estimates. It is obvious that we cannot maintain 20,000 men under arms without having a training objective; without asking ourselves for what purpose we are training our army. Is our army going to be trained with the emphasis entirely on maintaining internal order or is our army going to be trained to play its part in the event of communist aggression against the African Continent as a whole? Is our Defence Force going to play its part with other forces in Africa? Are we going to form the nucleus of the West as a whole in any defence plan that the West may have for the defence of Africa against possible communist aggression in the future? Those are important aspects because it is no good saying that we are buying tanks or automatic rifles and equipment of some sort or other, unless that equipment falls in with the overall plans of the West in regard to the defence of the southern part at least of the African Continent. I would be glad if the hon. the Minister could give the House some information in regard to that aspect. It is important for the reason that over the years we have been regaled with conferences in Nairobi, defence conferences there and elsewhere, the purchase of equipment for participation in the Middle East and all these broader issues, but all we know now is that we are going to have a standing army of 20,000 men, but we do not know what the training objectives of that army will be.
Flowing from that, if it is not going to be entirely for the maintenance of internal order, what is going to be the role of the Commandos? Because the hon. member for Klerksdorp (Mr. Pelser) to-day asked some very specific questions, but if the hon. member had taken the trouble to look at the Estimates, he would have found that while we are doubling expenditure for the training of the Active Citizen Force, we are doing nothing of the sort as far as the Commandos are concerned, and the hon. the Minister has made public statements that it is still his policy to maintain the Commandos for the maintenance of internal order. But if we are going to train thousands of new young men for the defence of our country in the A.C.F., what about the internal order aspect? Are we not going to take steps to place the Commandos on a far better organized basis than they are at the moment? They are a loose bunch of men with no adequate discipline, with no real officers who are trained and have a military appreciation—it is only in this year that the hon. Minister has brought in a Bill to bring these men under the Military Discipline Code.
They are now.
Yes, that is the first step. But what I ask myself is: Are these men going to be properly trained? Is the Commando system really going to be organized on an effective basis in order to maintain internal order in our country in the event of possible internal disorder? Are the Commandos going to be placed on a properly organized basis, even of a limited nature—we know it has to be limited by the amount of money that is voted for the purpose? If that amount were quadrupled, I can well appreciate the Commandos becoming a very fine guerrilla striking force in our country, but the funds are very limited and the amount is a minor amount. Of the whole defence expenditure of millions, it is a small amount, and it is no use kidding ourselves that we have got a wonderful force to meet any emergency in time of internal disorder, because it is not a properly organized force.
Do you want to say that the Commandos are not fit to deal with internal disorders?
I am not saying that the Commandos are not fit, but I believe that they are not a well-organized force, and I have sufficient evidence to that effect. Because as long as the present principles are applied, when it is entirely voluntary and no proper military discipline is being applied and as long as there are no properly trained officers placed in command, we must not delude ourselves in thinking that we have a properly trained force. The hon. member for Klerksdorp knows it. Otherwise he would not make the appeal to the hon. the Minister that he is making. He is well aware of the position, and all I am asking the Minister is that even if it has to be a small commando force, let it be a very effective force, let it be placed on a properly organized military basis, even under the present system. Let it be done efficiently in terms of the amount of money we are called upon to vote to-day.
There is one other question I wish to put to the hon. the Minister. In past years we have been told a great deal about the measure of co-operation that we are prepared to give to other states of Africa in the defence of Africa. We know that the other agreements of the past that we had entered into, of which the Minister is aware, have been with the Metropolitan Powers in Africa, with France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, all these countries which had influence in Africa, and it is with those powers, who are part of the NATO group, that we formed our plans as an African state to play our full part in the defence of the African Continent. But the position in Africa has changed since those days. The influence of the Metropolitan Powers has dispersed. These agreements, which might have been binding on us, are of very little force and effect to-day, because these other territories where we entered into agreements with the Metropolitan Powers, have now become independent and self-governing states, with their own independent armies. I should like to ask the hon. the Minister, apart from our normal diplomatic relations that we may be trying to establish with states in Africa, has the hon. the Minister taken any steps to enter into any military arrangement with any of the other states in Africa? [Time limit.]
I do not want to follow the hon. member who has just sat down in his whole argument but want to come to only one point, namely that it has become a habit of the hon. member to speak derogatively about the commando system. He has never had a word of appreciation for the commando system, and now he wants to know whether the commando system can function efficiently. One can only deduce that the hon. member is not acquainted with conditions in South Africa as we have known them for the past 60 years. Never in the past has it appeared that the commando system is not efficient. It could always act efficiently. From 1899 to 1902 the commando system appeared to be exceptionally efficient and every time the commandos were called upon in the past they were exceptionally efficient—and so it will also be in the future—especially in regard to internal defence. It is inexplicable why the hon. member has to say something humiliating about the commando system in every speech he makes.
I wish to congratulate the hon. the Minister for having been able to come to this House in time of peace with a budget of R61,000,000 for the defence of the country. Never before in the history of South Africa has an hon. Minister of Defence been able to present such a budget in time of peace. What is the purpose thereof? It can have only one purpose, namely to place the defence of the country on as sound a basis as is at all possible. The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) said he would not mind if the budget was four times as big. It is so easy to make such an idle statement. Let him say that this is the policy which must be followed. I allege that the hon. member does not know what he is talking about. I wish that more hon. members opposite would have availed themselves of the opportunity in Pretoria on 30 May to see what is being done. I wish they could have seen the medal parade held at Voortrekkerhoogte. Anyone who has the welfare of the country at heart must have been tremendously impressed with what is being done in the Republic of South Africa in connection with the defence of the country. Anyone who had the privilege of seeing that display cannot but feel extremely proud that a small country with a small population could present anything such as was presented there on 30 May. I am sure that the hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst) will not blame me if I say that he was tremendously impressed when he saw how well trained those young Afrikaners are. One can only be filled with pride to think that we have young people of that calibre to guard over the future safety of the country. In the recent past we have had various opportunities of seeing what the South African can achieve in the field of defence. The aircraft carrier Victorious was here recently and one of our ships joined her in manoeuvres. Who is there who did not feel proud to think that a small country like South Africa could compete in the naval sphere as that small warship of South Africa did? I understand that the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) is a little concerned about the manning of ships in the future, but I want to point out that since the establishment of the gymnasiums, and particularly the Naval Gymnasium, the South African population has become more and more sea-faring conscious. When the gymnasium was established there were not many cadets to be trained and I remember how those gymnasiums were ridiculed. To-day the position is entirely different. The gymnasiums receive more applications than they can accommodate and the Naval Gymnasium has far more applicants than it can accept for training. This is clear proof that the Afrikaner is becoming more sea conscious and I predict that it will not be long before we will have more men than will be required to man the fleet. Also here one can only talk with praise of the fact that South Africa has succeeded in building up in peace time the navy which she has to-day.
Exactly, we built up the navy we have to-day in 13 years. I know the hon. member for Simonstown means it well but with the training we have to-day and with the applications being received from Afrikaner youths to undergo naval training he need not fear that there will be a serious shortage in future. We will have sufficient men for the Navy.
If one thinks of the Air Force and the amount which the hon. the Minister has made available for aircraft, equipment, etc., one must again be amazed. Recently I had the opportunity of contacting some of the young pilots who have just returned from overseas where they received training in the most modern combat aircraft. What was the verdict of the countries where they were trained? That the South African pilots are more efficient than any other pilots in the world. Here we have young men who are also recently still referred to derogatively and it is said that the aircraft they use are outmoded. But to-day we have young men who handle with great skill aircraft which fly at a speed of 1,600 miles per hour and they have proved that they are exceptionally capable pilots and the outside world has a very high regard for South Africa’s pilots. But now there are people in this very House who want to talk derogatively about the soldiers we have to-day. [Time limit.]
The hon. member who has just sat down referred to the parade at Voortrekkerhoogte on 30 May which I attended. I have seen many mass parades in my time and I can say in all sincerity that I cannot recall ever having seen a better mass parade. I think that parade was remarkable because of the fact that a great section of the men who participated were gymnasium cadets who have had perhaps only four months’ training; then there were also men of the Active Citizen Force who have had even less training; and then there were also men from the Commandos who have had practically no training at all. I can really gladden the hon. the Minister’s heart on his birthday by saying that I personally was very proud of that parade and I am sure that all of us who saw it were glad to be able to watch it. But what was more significant to me than the parade itself was the spirit among the spectators during and after the parade. It was obvious to me that the period of retrogression which was experienced in the Defence Force is past. I want to associate myself with the hon. member for Pretoria (District) (Mr. Schoonbee) when he says that the question of defence should be placed above politics.
I want to say to the hon. the Minister on behalf of this side of the House that we are very glad that it was not necessary for the Defence Force to take action during the very recent past in order to maintain law and order. We are glad that everything went off so well. It must have been a trying period for the hon. the Minister. We are glad that it was not found necessary to fire a single shot.
The hon. member who just sat down said that this budget, without exception, asks for the greatest sum of money ever asked for in peace time in the history of South Africa. It is R32,000,000 more than last year and added to that is R1,500,000 on Loan Account which is being put aside for buildings and installations. We of course all feel very sorry that it is necessary to spend this large sum of money on defence but at the same time we realize that it is very essential. We are living in difficult times and on a very dangerous continent and I personally do not doubt that the hon. the Minister is asking for this large sum as a result of an appreciation of the problems South Africa has to contend with. It is a pity that we have not got the information in connection with such an appreciation and in the absence of that information it is virtually impossible for us to criticize or discuss this budget intelligently. I just want to say that I agree with the hon. member for Pretoria (District) that we would like more information. We would like to be better informed about what the problems are and what is happening, but because of the facts of the matter we cannot expect the hon. Minister to rise in this House and tell us much about these matters. For that reason it would be a very good thing to have a secret session. But under the circumstances it is not possible to get the information. I would like, however, to tell the hon. the Minister what sort of information we would like which would enable us to make intelligent observations about the amounts he is requesting.
We all have our own ideas, but we would like to know what threats the Government sees at the present moment. I think we can accept that the Defence Force is quite capable of maintaining the internal security of the country. But the question arises, what other obligations are there which have to be taken into consideration? It is common knowledge that in the event of a world war South Africa will side with the West. The question is what is expected of South Africa in such an event? What can South Africa do, what assistance can she give and what help must she obtain from the bigger powers? We want to know whether the matter has been discussed by the hon. the Minister and whether any task has been delegated to South Africa in such an event. But I want to repeat that the hon. the Minister can unfortunately not tell us much about these matters. If a task has been assigned to us in the event of such a world war we cannot wait until that world war breaks out. We must make preparations and negotiate now so that when it happens South Africa will be ready to take up her task.
We would like to know whether the armament we have is sufficient and whether that which we can acquire is of such a nature that South Africa can in fact assist her allies. Is the training of such a nature that South Africa can take part in the different kinds of operations in which she may have to participate? If South Africa, for example, has to participate in an operation in the afforested Northern Transvaal then it will require entirely different weapons than if she were to participate in a battle in the Kalahari. We want to know whether the equipment available is of such a nature that South Africa will be able to deal with such tasks. The hon. member for Pretoria (District) spoke about South Africa’s exceptionally long boundaries. We have a tremendously long coast for which a large number of ships and aircraft will be required. South Africa also has a very long and very difficult northern border which must be guarded.
Here the question of manpower arises. Can those duties be fulfilled with the small number of Whites? We would like to hear from the hon. the Minister what the Government’s outlook is towards this matter. We would like to know what South Africa’s relations are with her neighbouring territories immediately to the north, the Rhodesias, Moçambique and Angola. We know it is absolutely imperative for the security of South Africa that those states should remain in the hands of governments which are well disposed towards South Africa.
Another question I would like to put to the hon. the Minister is in connection with the sources of information. We know that in the past we obtained information from other countries. South Africa is to-day on a continent which is full of independent states where she has practically no diplomatic representation. The diplomatic representatives are after all one of the main sources of information for a country. [Time limit.]
I do not want to add much to the debate but just want to put a few questions to the hon. the Minister. Before putting the questions, however, I want to say that the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) has again come with the cry that South Africa is now paying for her isolation. In the course of the second reading debate on the Bill the hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) said that the Oppositition has for years been pleading for an extension of the period of training given to the Active Citizen Force. In other words, if they pleaded for an extension of that period then they pleaded for big additional expenditure. But now that we are incurring that additional expenditure in order to provide a longer period of training we are being accused of its being as the result of our isolation. Permit me to repeat that as far as South Africa’s defence is concerned she will be no more isolated under the Republic of South Africa than she was as a member of the Commonwealth. I want to explain it again. In the event of a world war we, as the Republic of South Africa, will be in the same position as we would have been under the Commonwealth. We will take our place with the West. In other words, we will not be isolated, and we now also have the acknowledgment of a person like Mr. Kennedy, the President of the United States, of the importance of South Africa to the West. There is also the new development of America having opened a command station for her fleet in the South Atlantic Ocean, which proves how much interest they have in this southern part of the globe. In the event of a world war we will be no more isolated than in the past. As far as it concerns a local war, say with any African state which attacks South Africa, this is the position. We hope it will not happen because we want to live in friendship with those states, but assuming one of them attacks South Africa then it is doubtful whether the position in the Commonwealth would have been such that anyone would help South Africa, because it is very clear that the large Metropolitan Western countries do not wish to take sides against the non-White states in Africa. They want to buy the friendship of the African states with enormous amounts, and they are even in some sense prepared to sacrifice the Whites of South Africa in that struggle. What hope was there that South Africa would not have been isolated in a local war, even if she was still a member of the Commonwealth? And as far as internal defence is concerned we regard it as a domestic affair and do not want to invite overseas intervention, and would prefer to be isolated.
I now come to the two questions I wish to ask. The first is in connection with South Africa’s position in South West Africa. We notice that in Angola on the northern border of South West Africa there are all sorts of groups which have come from the Belgian Congo to interfere in matters there and the danger exists that they may even try and penetrate into our own area. I do not know if this is so, but it is something which one can expect. Russian fishing vessels also operated along the northern coast of South West Africa, and therefore we would like to know what the position is in this regard. We realise that we have a very difficult northern border in South West Africa and I do not know whether the hon. the Minister can tell us anything in connection with his plans there.
A final matter is in connection with the additional training for the Active Citizen Force and the additional staff which will be required in this connection. We appreciate that we will require a very much bigger Permanent Force, a nucleus from which the necessary instructors can be obtained. Many more instructors will be required for the training of the larger Active Citizen Force. Therefore I want to know what is being done about providing the necessary officers for the larger Active Citizen Force.
Mr. Chairman, there are certain groups which do not belong to fighting units, which only do administrative and other work, such as technical work. I feel that where we are busy developing a larger army and because we have only a small White population from which to build up that army, we must make better use of our manpower. I therefore again plead that we must investigate whether we cannot raise the retiring age of certain categories of staff in the Permanent Force. To-day they can go to the maximum age of 55. Some retire before the age of 50, and I feel that we are wasting manpower which we cannot afford to waste.
Mr. Chairman, I first want to reply to the question put to me by the hon. member for Pretoria (West) (Mr. van der Walt). It is a very important matter and something on which one almost hesitates to reply. I want to make a statement in that regard. It is the question as to what we should do in South West Africa and what our position is there. I want to say that it is the duty and the responsibility of the South African Government to protect the territory of South West Africa. As hon. members know, the Government has consistently through its representatives at UN stated that it wants to administer South West Africa in the spirit of the old mandate, and it did so to the best of its ability. The mandate provides that no naval bases and military strongholds may be established in the territory. This provision refers to permanent bases and strongholds. The spirit of those provisions was honoured in peace-time. The South African Government, however, has a responsibility in regard to the defence of the territory. That is admitted in the mandate by implication. In view of what is happening in South West Africa and in the adjoining territory, arrangements are being made at present to protect South West Africa against any threat from beyond its borders. The Government would be neglecting its duty if it did not take the necessary military steps to enable it to take immediate action in case of any such threat. These measures will not continue for longer than is regarded as essential for the defence of the territory. The Government is taking immediate steps to provide the necessary military force in Walvis Bay, an area which, although it is being administered as part of South West, is republican territory where the Government is entitled to take any steps consistent with its own sovereignty. Furthermore, the South African Navy pays periodical visits there to enable us to keep the necessary supervision over the territorial waters and the coastline of South West Africa. Arrangements have also been made for flights along the coastline and for observations to be made along the northern border of the territory, by aircraft of the South African Air Force.
There are, of course, people overseas who would like to see us taking no steps to protect the safety of South West Africa, which would enable them to derive benefit from the territory’s long, open border and its extensive coastline. However, the White as well as the non-White population of South West Africa can rest assured that we shall not allow that.
Mr. Chairman, as has been said here, we have had reports of military activities and riots in a state bordering on South West Africa. It would therefore be the grossest negligence if the Union at this stage does not ensure being thoroughly aware of what is going on beyond the northern borders of South West Africa. At the moment I am having intensive investigation made there and we are entitled to know what is going on along the borders of the territory whose protection has been entrusted to us.
The hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) has again adopted a very reasonable attitude in connection with this Vote and referred to the fact that I have to go overseas. He also hoped that I would say something more about it. I think the hon. member merely said that without expecting me really to say anything about it. At all events, it is not a pleasure trip. I am going on a business trip in connection with our defence.
Then the hon. member said that we are really spending a huge sum of money in the Union on our defence. I do not think that is so. I think that if there is any complaint at all, and if I were a private member, my complaint would have been that the Union of South Africa two years ago spent only 7 per cent of its Budget on defence annually. At this stage, if my Vote is approved of, we will be spending only 10 per cent of the Budget on defence this year. Even though we are a small country, I really do not think that we are spending a too great proportion of our national expenditure on defence, particularly when we remember that New Zealand spends almost 12 per cent, and also Australia. When we remember that we were organized on a completely peace-time basis and in 1959 spent only 7 per cent of our Budget on defence, it is clear that where we now ask for extra expenditure on defence it does not mean at all that we are exceeding the normal expenditure on defence. No civilized country in the world can maintain its defence on a peace-time basis by spending only 7 per cent of its budget on defence. That is my contention, and where we now increase it to 10 per cent it does not mean that we envisaged anything special. It is still very low. But I realize that we are a young and developing country and that we require capital for all kinds of other development. Therefore I think that we can be satisfied with this expansion to 10 per cent, but I would like to emphasize here that this expansion should not be regarded as an extraordinary attempt to make South Africa very strong militarily. That cannot be done by spending an extra 3 per cent.
The hon. member for Simonstown further asked what we had attained with all the money spent on defence during the last ten years. Out of the total of £222,580,000 which has appeared on the Estimates for the Defence Vote over the past ten years, salaries, subsistence and travelling allowances, postal services, and printing and stationery accounted for £80,300,000. That is more than a third of the total amount voted. If we add to that the items for rations, uniforms, miscellaneous expenses, camps, medical services, subsidies for rifle ranges and technical education, the total expenditure amounts to £94,500,000. Special equipment, projects, reserve equipment for the Army, Air Force and Navy amount to £57,987,000, whereas the amount for ordinary equipment and supplies comes to £56,100,000. In other words, £114,703,000, or more than half the total amount, was spent on equipment and supplies. Therefore 6,000,000 remains over. This remaining amount of £6,000,000 was used to defray the expenses incurred in connection with the Union’s participation in the Korean War. I can understand that over the period of ten years and on a Vote like Defence many millions of pounds could have got lost, and about which we know nothing. The hon. member asked me to be very careful not to purchase equipment which would become obsolete within a few years, and then he pointed to the expenditure incurred in connection with the task force which was built up in connection with the Middle East Agreement. That is true. We were then busy entering into an agreement for which a task force had to be built up. For that purpose tanks and aircraft were purchased. Those aircraft are some of the best we have in the Union today for our defence. They are therefore not obsolete. We did in fact sell about half the tanks, in view of the fact that we no longer had to perform that task in the Middle East, and the rest is regarded as being enough for South Africa’s defence.
The hon. member for Klerksdorp (Mr. Pelser) once again pointed to the necessity, as he said, of paying a subsidy for the building of rifle ranges. He also asked for better training for officers and for better allowances. He asked further that officers and men should receive training in their employers’ time. I may just say that I have the greatest respect for our Commandos. The hon. member for Turffontein (Mr. Durrant) said that we should enable the Commandos to maintain our internal safety. I want to assure the hon. member that my fear is not that the Commandos will not be able to preserve our internal safety when instructed to do so, but God knows I am afraid that they will do so too eagerly. That is my fear. My fear is that if the Commandos are given orders to preserve our internal safety, we shall have to rule them with an iron hand, because I believe that no more punishment should be meted out than is demanded in the circumstances. The Commandos in South Africa, particularly with their “Brandwag” platoons, are quite able to maintain our internal safety. But, Mr. Chairman, in this country we need many things in the military sphere, and because that is so we must make the very best use of the funds available to us. Now I believe that seeing that the Commandos are a voluntary system and in view of the fact that in the past we had great success with that voluntary system, it is at this stage my task to use the funds at my disposal for other purposes than to provide rifle ranges, etc. We know that there is an appreciable subsidy for the maintenance of rifle ranges. We also build certain central ranges. But at this stage we cannot completely take over the rifle ranges. There the people of South Africa will still have to be prepared to help.
In regard to the training of officers, I have already said that, for example, I no longer appoint the commandant of a Commando on a permanent basis without his having received the necessary training. Any commandant who is appointed to-day and who has not had training is appointed for a year, and if in that year he does not see to it that he receives training, he is not appointed again the next year. I am rather hesitant in replying to the next query put by the hon. member, viz. whether we cannot persuade the employers, to agree to the men being trained in their employers’ time. There are some employers who are prepared to do so. But at this stage I cannot go so far as to make it compulsory on the employers, because I am really afraid that the members of the Commandos will then be discriminated against. I cannot accept that suggestion at this stage.
The hon. member for Simonstown in his second speech referred to the special equipment about which I have already spoken. He also referred to the three new warships which are being built. He said that we should see to it that we have the crews. I can understand that a ship without a crew is not worth anything and the two of us will not be able to run it. They will have to be thoroughly trained men. For that reason the state has already agreed that 1,000 extra men should be recruited for the Navy. I myself—not the Government—for special reasons, because I needed the money urgently, asked that this recruiting should be postponed for a few months. But we are already recruiting again. The recruiting is in full swing. If this Vote is passed, hon. members will see that the expenditure has increased and that we now have more men overseas. We are continually sending men overseas for training. The hon. member also said that he realized that the cost of ship-building had increased. But additional expenses were incurred for modern equipment, for which provision was not made right in the beginning. The equipment for such warships has improved in the meantime and we want to have the very best.
The hon. member for Pretoria (District) (Mr. Schoonbee) said that it was high time that we should get together and discuss Defence matters at the highest possible level. One of the other hon. members also referred to it. Mr. Chairman, if after my second year in this House I still do not have enough confidence in the Opposition in connection with defence matters to discuss it with them intimately, I shall never be convinced. I am quite prepared—and I also said so in the Other Place—to convene a committee consisting of members of the Opposition and members of this side of the House and to discuss defence matters with them very, very intimately. But I cannot come to this House to ask for a secret sitting to discuss defence matters. That will give the country the impression that something very serious is going on. But throughout my period of office I shall always be prepared to discuss the more intimate defence matters with members of the Opposition and members of the defence group on this side of the House. I firmly believe that defence belongs to both sides of the House.
The hon. member for Pretoria (District) also said that he felt unhappy about the Air Force branch of our Defence Force. At this very moment we are actually busy greatly expanding the Air Force. Just think of the helicopter squadron we are establishing. Quite a few have been purchased. There are large sums on the Estimates for the purchase of more helicopters. Our officers have just been overseas to investigate larger types. We also intend expanding in other respects. Hon. members will note from the Estimates that quite a few additional posts are being provided in the Air Force. We are busy training more people as pilots. We are also going to make better use in future of the trainees in our Air Force Gymnasium. We are therefore expanding the Air Force in every possible way.
The hon. member for Turffontein asked what our task was; what are we training people for? Are we training them for internal defence, or are we training them to help the African states fight against Communism?
They are all communistic.
Not all of them, we hope. My reply to that is that our trained soldiers will be available for the maintenance of internal security, in the same way that our untrained men are also available for it. It is obvious that when these men have been trained they will always be available. I said the other day that in my opinion internal security is an important function of any army, because one cannot expect these men to go and fight on the borders or even, if necessary, beyond our borders if their minds are not at rest and they believe that the safety of their own country cannot be preserved. The preservation of internal safety is therefore a very important function of our state. But, Sir, we are not training soldiers for the specific object of assisting the Black states of Africa to fight. We are training men and expanding our Defence Force so that when we have to fight on the side of the West against Communism we will have something decent to offer the West. Here we now have our new republic. Our republic must be defended, whether we are a member of the Commonwealth or not. We must defend this country, and no country in the world can hope to enter into military agreements or alliances unless it has something to offer. Will we enter into a military alliance to-morrow with a country which has nothing at all to offer us and which just wants something from us? We are not simply going to shoulder a burden through making military agreements. No other country in the world will want to do that. We must be able to offer something. I may be wrong there. It is my policy to build up the defence forces of South Africa to such an extent that we can effectively preserve our internal safety, and also to such an extent that, within our limits, we will be able to cope with any invasion from outside and so that when we want to enter into agreements or military alliances or gentlemen’s agreements with other countries we shall have something to offer them. And, fourthly, I want to build up the defence of South Africa to such an extent that no insignificant little state can believe that it can invade South Africa. We shall have to build up our defence to such an extent that we can offer strong resistance if we are attacked. We do not know what threatens us. We know the circumstances in our neighbouring states. We know what goes on along the coasts; we hear what other experts say. Anything might happen, and South Africa must prepare herself for it as fast as possible. One sometimes has to smile, even in these difficult days, when people say that we are now building up our defence for the maintenance of internal security! Really, it is not necessary to reply to that. Our defence in South Africa is quite strong enough to preserve our internal safety. Our internal defence is so strong that, if we should lose our sense of values, we could take devastating action. But that is not the only task of the Defence Force. The task of a defence force is infinitely greater than that, hence these plans for expansion.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to thank the Committee for the constructive manner in which this Vote was discussed.
Vote put and agreed to.
Progress reported and leave asked to sit again.
Fourth Order read: Second reading,—Diamond Export Duty Amendment Bill.
Mr. Speaker, when I submitted my Budget on 15 March this year to the House, I mentioned the fact that cases had come to my notice where diamond mines would be forced to close down unless they were exempted from the 10 per cent diamond export tax levied in terms of the Diamond Export Tax Act of 1957.
There are some of our older diamond mines which are nearing the end of their economic lives—not necessarily because their diamond reserves have been completely exhausted, but because the diamondiferous quality of the remaining soil is diminishing and expenditure increases to the extent that they have to go down deeper and the operations therefore become uneconomic.
At some of these mines there are towns, the inhabitants of which are almost completely dependent on these mines. As an example, I might mention the case of the town of Jagersfontein, in the Fauresmith district, where more than half the White inhabitants and a large non-White population are directly dependent on the neighbouring Jagersfontein Mine, and the rest of the community are also largely indirectly dependent on the mine for their livelihood. The mine supplies the town with water and electricity and spends locally about R580,000 every year. From an investigation made it is clear that the town of Jagersfontein, as we know it to-day, will not be able to exist if the Jagersfontein Mine were to close down.
It is clearly in the national interest that in bona fide cases like this the necessary assistance should be granted by way of exemption from the export tax on diamonds produced by such a mine. For example, in the case of the Jagersfontein Mine it is estimated that such exemption can prolong the economic life of the mine by at least four years and probably even for longer.
The proceeds of this export tax is credited to the Loan Account, but in view of the fact that the mines concerned would in any case have to close down shortly unless they are exempted, this concession will not really amount to a loss of revenue.
Clause 1 of the Bill therefore provides that exemption from export duty can be granted in the cases and under the circumstances I have sketched. A condition is of course that the diamonds in respect of which exemption is granted will be exported by or on behalf of the producer to whom the exemption is granted, because it will not help them if the diamonds first change hands locally and the middle man derives the benefit instead of the producer. The necessary provision is also made where the diamonds of such a mine are marketed through the Diamond Producers’ Association. Clause 2 is simply a consequential amendment, whilst Clause 3 provides for the repayment of the export duty collected during the period 1 January this year to date, in order to make the concession granted to the Jagersfontein Mine retrospective to 31 December. I think I also put the matter in that light in my Budget speech. Mr. Speaker, this briefly is the content of this Bill, and I move.
The hon. the Minister has pointed out that this Bill is really in fulfilment of certain proposals contained in his Budget speech, to which in principle we took no exception. From what he said this afternoon, as far as this retrospective part of Clause 3 is concerned, it applies only to the Jagersfontein Mine.
No, that is only an example I gave. It applies to any mine in similar circumstances.
Surely the Minister must know, with regard to the retrospective effect to 1 January, how many mines there are. The Minister mentioned the Jagersfontein Mine, but he was the member for Fauresmith in which that mine is situated and if I remember correctly that mine was closed down at one stage.
Yes, it was closed down.
Therefore the Minister is qualified to speak as an authority on the subject of the Jagersfontein Mine.
In Clause 1 the provision is that all that has to happen is that the Minister has to inform the Commissioner that in his opinion, etc. Of course we are being asked to give very wide powers indeed to the Minister in this respect, and as far as Parliament is concerned we are simply asked to agree that if in his opinion it is justified he can then proceed to exempt from the 10 per cent export duty all diamonds produced by that mine which are sold through the Diamond Producers’ Association. I think the hon. the Minister might at least make it clear to us on what his opinion is going to be based. It is not only a question of the quality of the diamonds produced. Presumably the Minister will have to depend on Government valuers or the valuers of the Diamond Producers’ Association as to what is really the value of the diamonds produced, because the Minister said that one of the reasons for this was that in some of these mines there may be a reduction in the quality of the diamonds produced.
No, a reduction in the diamond-bearing soil.
Oh, I see, fewer diamonds. But nevertheless, in forming his opinion the Minister has to do two things. He first of all has to know how many diamonds are produced and what their value is, and secondly, what it cost to produce those diamonds. I have not any idea at all what mines are or may be involved in this particular Act, but it is quite obvious that it could be quite easily shown in the balance sheet of a mine that the cost of production was so high that they are entitled to be exempt from the 10 per cent export duty. Therefore it is not sufficient for the Minister to look at the balance sheet of the mine, because the auditor will simply and quite rightly certify that the books are correctly kept and that the figures in the balance sheet are correct. But there is clearly a loophole in the case of a diamond mine which wished to do so, to so pile up their overhead expenses in the way of payments to their directors or salaries to their workers that they may show a substantial loss on the balance sheet, whereas actually if the mine was being economically run they would not be showing a loss and therefore would not be justified in claiming exemption. I think the House would like to be assured by the Minister just what he will do to form his opinion. Presumably a mine will apply for exemption to him on the ground that it is not working economically and I would like the Minister to tell us what steps he will take to satisfy himself that the opinion he forms is an accurate one which justifies his actions.
I can assure the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) that I shall not look merely at the balance sheet of the company which makes the application. If I am not mistaken, one has already a certain amount of experience in regard to gold mines which propose to close down.
Yes, but different machinery is provided there.
It is a different procedure but the machinery can and will probably be used, or machinery of the same kind. The question of whether a mine can qualify for this exemption is a two-fold one. On the one hand it is a financial question, and on the other hand it is a technical question. I shall certainly make use of the services of my colleague the Minister of Mines and his Department to help me as far as the technical side is concerned, and I think I can rely on my own Department to see that we do not give away any revenue unless there is a very good reason for it. I do not think I need call in the services of any particular cost accountant. I think hon. members will know my Department, and particularly the Commissioner for Inland Revenue and his Department, and they will realize that they will not give away revenue unless for a very good reason. So I can assure hon. members that they need have no qualms on this point. It will only be given if a good case is made out for relief on broad economic grounds. In this one instance which came to my attention it would mean a grave national loss which is out of all proportion to the small amount of revenue which we will have to concede. But it is certainly not there merely for the asking. Whoever applies for this relief will have to make out a very good case indeed before they can get past the Department of Inland Revenue, apart from the technical side.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Fifth Order read: Second reading,—Universities Amendment Bill.
This amending Bill is intended to amend the Universities Act of 1955 in certain respects. The principal Act of 1955, as amended by Act No. 82 of 1959, provides for the continued existence of the Joint Matriculation Board as established in 1916 and provides that it consists of representatives of every university, the Departments of Education, Arts and Science and of Native Affairs, the Education Department of every Province and the territory of South West Africa, etc. Now the Committee of Principals of Universities has, however, requested that they should also be allowed to appoint representatives, and the Matriculation Board has no objection to it. Provision is therefore being made in Clause 1 (a) to comply with that request.
The Matriculation Board defrays the expenditure incurred by it in carrying out its duties from two sources, from examination fees prescribed by it, and where there is a deficit Parliament votes the money. Now there is a little administrative difficulty. The Act does not provide in detail what examination fees are, and it is now considered advisable clearly to define what examination fees are. So, e.g., it is now being defined that examination fees include fees for a certificate which is issued, for information given in respect to an examination for the result of it. That is now being specifically mentioned. This amendment is contained in Clause 1 (b). Then also provision has to be made for the examinations of the recognition boards, like the Joint Committee for Professional Examinations before the establishment of the recognition boards. Provision is being made for the payment by Candidates of examination fees, fees for a diploma or certificate or for information given in respect of such an examination or the result thereof. That is contained in Clause 2. Therefore before a candidate can sit for the examination of the recognition board, in terms of Clause 4 he is required to pay the prescribed examination fee. The examinations set by the recognition boards are of a temporary nature, because the intention is that in the course of time the universities only will perform this function. In the meantime, however, the universities cannot, as was expected, fulfil this function in respect of examinations for patent agents. There is no provision at the universities for the taking of such examinations, and for that purpose it is therefore necessary that the Law Examinations Recognition Board should continue holding those examinations until such time as such provision can be made, and then this provision can be repealed by way of regulation. That is contained in Clause 3.
These are more or less the details. We must now provide for a deficiency which has arisen because the universities still cannot set all these examinations. The object of the recognition boards was just to grant recognition when the examination was set by the university.
The Universities Act of 1955, as amended, requires the particulars of guarantees granted by the Minister in respect of private loans to universities to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament. That is now regularly being done, but a complete list of financial guarantees by the Union Government, also in respect of university loans, is published every year just as completely in the report of the Controller and Auditor-General, which is also tabled. It is unnecessary to submit it to Parliament twice in the same form, and therefore Clause 5 contains an amendment to eliminate this unnecessary duplication of work. As hon. members will see, it is mostly just a question of administrative adaptation, and I hope the House will regard it as such.
I want to thank the Minister at the outset for his explanation in connection with the amendments to the Universities Act of 1955. It is clear, on reading through this Bill, that it refers to the administrative side of examinations more than anything else. I think we can congratulate the Minister on these changes because this will make the examination machinery function more smoothly; generally it is an improvement on what we have had in the past.
There is something, however, that I cannot understand and it is this. The Minister says, if I understand him correctly, that in future another item will be classified as examination money, and that is that candidates will have to pay for the issue of their certificate. I think I understood the Minister correctly, and I think that will be a mistake.
No, not necessarily.
That will not necessarily happen when certificates are issued, but it may be added to the examination money. I merely want clarity on that point.
I was slightly worried about Clause 5, which deletes Section 23 of the principal Act. After the Minister had explained it, however, it was clear to me that seeing that the Auditor-General submitted his report to this House every year, this part of the law was practically redundant. All the changes are improvements on the old Act and for that reason this side of the House want to give the Minister the assurance that we support this Bill and that we welcome it.
Motion put and agreed to.
Bill read a second time.
Sixth Order read: House to resume in Committee on Water Amendment Bill.
House in Committee:
[Progress reported on 5 June, when the further consideration of Clause 4 was standing over and Clause 7 was under consideration.]
On a point of order, the Minister is not here and we cannot continue without him. I therefore move—
That the Chairman report progress.
Upon which the Committee divided:
Ayes—47: Barnett, C.; Basson, J. A. L.; Bloomberg, A.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Connan, J. M.; Cope. J. P.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; Horak, J. L.; le Roux, G. S. P.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Mitchell, D. E.; Oldfield, G. N.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; van der Byl, P.; van Niekerk, S. M.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and T. G. Hughes.
Noes—88: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, B.; Coetzee, P. J.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Villiers, J. D.; de Wet, C.; Diederichs, N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Faurie, W. H.: Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Fouché, J. J. (Jr.); Froneman, G. F. van L.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Hiemstra. E. C. A.; Jonker, A. H.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; le Riche, R.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Louw, E. H.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, A. I.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E.; Mentz, F. E.; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Serfontein, J. J.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Niekerk, M. C.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: D. J. Potgieter and J. von S. Moltke.
Motion accordingly negatived.
On Clause 7,
I want to come to a practical issue in relation to the application of this clause. Last night I mentioned the effect of these exemptions or these further extensions of exemption, on the pollution question. To-day we received a telegram which I think is a very pertinent one and which has come at exactly the right minute because it applies to just such a case as we quoted to the Minister, and it applies to an industry which must obviously be working under the very exemptions provided by this clause. I would like to read this telegram to the Minister. It is from the Municipality of Kingsborough and it says—
This is, as the Minister knows, a factory situated on the South Coast of Natal, at Umgababa, which produces titanium or ilmenite ore and has for many years polluted the sea on the Natal south coast, to such an extent that when you fly in an aircraft you can trace the dirty water for some 30 to 40 miles down the coast. It has polluted it to such an extent that the lifesaving associations have made it quite clear that it is almost impossible to conduct a rescue in the waters because a drowning person cannot be located.
Order! I do not think that is relevant to the clause. Clause 7 only provides for the limitation of the period.
On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, may I address you on that point. This clause deals with the extension of time in which the Minister must lay down standards of purification. The Act provided that he had three years in which he could grant exemptions and a further two years in which Parliament could grant exemptions.
Not in regard to the sea.
Yes, in regard to the sea. The hon. the Minister of Transport does not understand the position. That period is up and the Minister is trying to double the period in which he is to have the right to grant exemption from compelling industries to adopt standards of purification of their effluent. Now, we are opposing that intention of the Minister’s, and I submit that it is entirely in order for an hon. member from this side of the House to give examples of the necessity of giving no further extension of time, because the failure of the Minister to set up those standards of purification are leading to the dire consequences represented in the telegram we have just received.
If the hon. member puts forward reasons why the period should not be extended then he will be in order, but I cannot permit a general discussion.
On a point of order, the point which the hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) (Mr. H. Lewis) is now raising, he should have raised under Clause 6, but Clause 6 has already been agreed to. Clause 7 is simply consequential. In other words, the hon. member can merely talk about the period; he cannot again raise the question of pollution.
With due respect, this particular clause extends the period by which the hon. the Minister can give exemption from the provisions of Section 21.
Yes, but the hon. member cannot now discuss the provisions of Section 21.
With due respect, I am not attempting to do that. What I am trying to do is to show that this House cannot possibly extend the period as the Minister is requesting us to do.
That will be in order. I will permit the hon. member to argue that.
I want to give the reasons why we say that this period cannot be extended. This particular telegram applies to this industry of which I have spoken. The hon. the Minister of Transport who interjected a moment ago, knows this position very well because it affects his holiday camp to a very large extent, and I think he has had lots of complaints.
I am not arguing with you.
The Minister should know a lot about it. This particular industry can only operate under exemption from the Minister because it has been in existence for so long that it could not possibly have been allowed to continue to pollute the sea to the extent that it is doing now, unless it is operating under an exemption from the Minister, under this very clause which he seeks to amend, under Section 24 of the original Act. The effect is such that this side of the House could not possibly agree to the extension of this period from five to ten years. If we give the Minister this power which he seeks in this clause, it will mean that the Minister will be able to allow the existing position to continue for another five years and we are very much opposed to that. We will not be prepared to agree to it under any circumstances. I would like to mention at the same time that this particular industry is not the only one; there is another one very near which we know pollutes the sea at Umkomaas to such an extent that it has attracted sharks to the South Coast of Natal and that members of the Police Force have been given permission to shoot them from the birdge at Umkomaas because they are there in such numbers. An extension of the period to permit the Minister to keep on granting these exemptions from the provisions of Section 21, would do untold harm to the South Coast of Natal and to many other areas of South Africa. It is evident that in the five years which the Minister was given under the original measure, little or nothing has been done, and we are not prepared to give him a further period of five years in which to do nothing. This problem has become so serious that the time factor is most important. It is probably the most important factor in the whole of the pollution control measures under this Act, and here the Minister treats it so lightly that whereas in the original Act he was given the power to grant exemptions for three years and Parliament could then extend that by a further two years to five years, he has doubled the period for which Parliament may grant exemptions to ten years but he has more than doubled the period for which he can grant exemptions. In other words, he has extended his own right not by twice three years to six, but he has extended it to eight, so he has nearly trebled the time that he was originally given, because he still wants the right to grant exemptions without coming to Parliament. That is why he has extended the period not to six years but to eight years, because if he does that—the period of five years is now expiring—it will give him another three years in which, under his own hand, he can grant exemptions from the provisions of Section 21 to any person who is polluting the sea or the rivers. We are not agreeable to that either. We are not agreeable to his period of eight years for himself or to the period of ten years for Parliament. I want to repeat what I said last night: Let him come to this House and put his problems before the House; let us get down to it together and see what is being done and what is not being done. I want to repeat too that we are as interested as the Minister is in getting these problems of industry solved. I should imagine that we are perhaps more interested. I would like to tell the Minister too that we appreciate that these are problems; that you cannot switch them on and off. We have all got to get down to them together if we are to have any reasonable chance at all of solving them. I sincerely hope that the hon. the Minister of Transport will back us in this plea because, as I mentioned earlier, he has a holiday camp in the vicinity of this particular industry and I know exactly how the people who go to his camp feel about the very problems that I have mentioned here. I am sure that the Minister himself will be pleased to hear us making these representations to his colleague to do something along these lines. I sincerely hope that as this is to be left to a free vote the Minister of Transport will help us here to get something done.
I wonder whether the hon. member who has just sat down spoke on behalf of all the industries in South Africa. This is a matter which has received a great deal of attention in the past and now Natal comes forward, because it suits them in a certain instance, and they object to the extension of time. In view of the fact that many representations have been made to the Minister and in view of the fact that he did not have the personnel to find the necessary solution, it is only reasonable that he should ask for an extension of time. I can see no reason why all the industries in South Africa should now be treated alike simply because certain interested parties have made representations by means of a telegram. The factories have informed the Minister that it was not possible for them to take the necessary steps immediately and all the Minister is doing is to ask for the right to extend the exemption period. There are cases where big industries are concerned and I do not think it is right to expect the Minister to neglect all the industries in South Africa for the sake of one or two small concerns.
I am surprised at the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker). He was a member of the Select Committee. He was one who insisted most strongly on this limitation of the Minister’s powers. He was one of those who supported this proposal most strongly on the Select Committee. The hon. member now comes and asks whether these representations come from these particular industries. Sir, I cannot go into that matter now. The hon. the Minister knows that we tried to get this Bill referred to a Select Committee before the second reading so that we could go to the industries and to these people and get the evidence, which we are not getting here, so we: have to take the evidence that comes to us in the form of telegrams. The hon. member for Cradock had better look at his own history in regard to the Select Committee before becomes here and criticizes this side of the House on a non-party measure. This is the position that we are faced with: We have said that we cannot accept the Minister’s request that he be given another five years in which to get the necessary standards of purification for publication in the Gazette in terms of Section 21 The Minister has had five years, and in his own words, he says, “I have to go behind the law and I have been going behind the law; I have been side-stepping the law so as to deal with this matter”. We say that the Minister had no reason and he has no legal right to side-step the law. All he had to do was to do his duty and to do his job in terms of the law, and the fact that he is coming with a Bill which has been amended four times already since it was published in the Gazette at the beginning of this year and the fact that he comes with it before us in bits and pieces, with two pages of the Order Paper already covered with further amendments, show that the Minister does not understand his job; that he does not know what he is doing here. This is a Bill which is being altered and changed the whole time.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Clause.
I am saying that the Minister does not understand his job either in terms of Section 24 or any other portion of the Bill, and to give him another five years in which he will allow noxious effluent from industries to be discharged into our rivers, polluting our rivers and polluting the sea itself when it is in contravention of the Act is absolutely wrong in principle. Sir, let us see for a moment what will happen if this Clause is not passed. The position at the moment is that the Minister has laid down no standards. He cannot give a legal exemption from compliance with the standards; he can only give a legal exemption when he has the standards in respect of which he can say to industries, “this permit will allow you to carry on without complying with those standards or with some lesser standards”, but he must first have the standards. He has not got the standards and he cannot give a legal exemption. That is the position to-day and has been the position for five years. Now the Minister says that he wants another five years like that. The hon. member for Somerset East (Mr. Vosloo) made exactly the same point last night that I made yesterday afternoon. The Minister is not asking for time in which to allow the industries to put their house in order. He is asking for five years in which he himself can be enabled to do his job and to put his own house in order and to find the standards. The White Paper says this in regard to this clause—
That is to say time has run out and no standards have been produced—
But, Sir, the original intention of Section 24 was that the Minister was to lay down the standards of purification in consultation with the Bureau of Standards. The Minister has not done his job; he says he is by-passing the law and he wants to continue to by-pass it for another five years. Sir, Section 24 has been simply ignored in so far as its enforcement is concerned, and if Clause 7 is not passed how will the position in the next five years differ from the present position? There are no standards; there is nothing in this Bill to compel the Minister to do his duty. A duty is placed here on the industrialists to conform to the standards laid down by the Minister. Sir, if you look at Section 170 you will see that the Select Committee put teeth into this Bill. There is a £500 fine and a £250 minimum fine for every succeeding infringement of this particular clause. That is how serious Parliament felt this matter of pollution was. But there is nothing here to make the Minister do his job. This is not a question of giving industrialists another five years; it is a case of giving the Minister another five years. What has the Minister done during the past five years that gives him the right to come before Parliament now and ask for a further five years in which to do what he should have done in the three years that were first allotted for the purpose? This is why we are objecting to it. We say that there are teeth in this Bill for everybody except the Minister, and because there is no compulsion on the Minister he has apparently done nothing and we refuse to give him this extra time. Let him go on without Section 24; let the pressure of public opinion compel the Minister to find those standards and to publish them in the Gazette and to start coping with the noxious effluents that are polluting our rivers, our streams, killing our countryside, polluting our underground water supplies and polluting the sea coast. All that stems from the failure of the Minister to carry out his job or, as he puts it, to by-pass the law. It was time the Minister had to conform to the law and was not permitted to by-pass it any longer.
I think the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) is the last person in this House who should vent his spleen the way he has done. If the hon. member really had the interests of the south coast of Natal at heart, he would not have been the stumbling block that prevented the passage of this amending legislation last year. The hon. member was a member of a Select Committee who considered the Water Act for three years or more.
And he does not know it yet.
With the best intentions in the world, in their wisdom or otherwise, they approved of Section 21, and Parliament approved of it. We were, therefore, all party to it that the period was laid down in 1956. Provisions are very often inserted in legislation which are subsequently found to be impracticable of application and this particular clause is a typical example of that. The section provides that Union-wide standards should be laid down for the purification of effluent, and the Angel Gabriel cannot apply Union-wide standards in practice, and that is why we are asking for this amendment so that standards may be laid down in respect of rivers, specific areas and industries so that it can be carried out in practice. Consequently standards could not be laid down unless they were laid down on a Union-wide basis. Because Section 21 (1), which provides for standards could not be applied, only Section 21 (5) could be applied in practice and that section was applied. Section 21, which provides for the standards, could not be applied because the Bureau of Standards, which has the technical personnel and which I have to consult in terms of the law, found that it was absolutely impossible to apply them on a Union-wide basis and to make them workable as well. If you want to lay down a purification standard on a Union-wide basis you have to take the highest standard, because you have to take the purest rivers into consideration. If you take a lower standard it will mean that the water in certain rivers will not become polluted but the purest rivers in the country will all be subject to pollution. Consequently Section 24 never came into operation. Provision was actually made for exemption for a period of three years to enable industries, after the standards had been laid down, to get their own affairs in order and to conform to those standards. If they could not conform to them they could obtain exemption subject to the approval of both Houses of Parliament. But that could not be applied and it was realized last year already that it would take time to lay down standards. Before last year, more or less when I took over as Minister of Water Affairs, it was realized that it would be impossible to lay down standards on a Union-wide basis. The first amendment which I proposed last year in respect of this legislation contained this provision and the hon. member for South Coast was apparently too occupied with playing at politics and he did not have the interests of the south coast so much at heart as he would wish us to believe he has today …
What right have you to say that?
I have as much right to say that as the hon. member for South Coast had the right to say that I did not do my duty …
Very well, in that case I have the right to reply in similar vein.
The hon. member for South Coast is accustomed to marching and shouting and making a noise but his shouting will not knock the ground from under my feet.
Tell us what you have done.
Seeing that Section 21 could not be applied and seeing that Clause 6 has now been accepted by the Committee, you will have the very position which the hon. member for South Coast and others want to avoid, if this consequential clause is not accepted, namely, that I will continually have to come to Parliament because the Minister will not have the right to grant any exemption without the approval of both Houses. In that event we shall not be acting in accordance with the spirit of the original Act which provided that a period should be granted to interested parties to conform to the standards laid down. Since early last night I have been trying to explain that, but there is a saying that there are none so blind as those who will not see, that there are none so deaf as those who will not hear and that there are none so stupid as those who will not understand. And I am referring specifically to the hon. member for South Coast. I am therefore not going to rise again to reply. Hon. members may take up the time of the House the whole afternoon but I shall not again try to explain the position to people who refuse to understand it.
Sir, we want to get the record straight. The Minister has tried to make out in his reply that it is the Natal South Coast—the actual coast itself—that we are dealing with which is not the case. We are dealing with the Union as a whole. Let us go into the history of this matter. The Minister has not replied to any of our charges. This Water Act was dealt with on non-party lines. It was a Government measure and the provisions of the Water Act were agreed to by a Select Committee and the measure was carried unanimously.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the clause.
I am just answering the hon. the Minister who says that we are trying to make party politics out of this, and I think it is only right that we should put the record right. He tries to make out that we are only making this noise because of industries on the Natal South Coast, but what about the sewage pollution around this coast right here? Has the Minister given any exemption in respect of sewage pollution of the coast anywhere in the country? We asked the Minister that question and we had no reply from him.
I said “no
Why has the Minister not dealt with that problem here where no industrial effluent goes through the local authority sewerage into the sea? This is no party political matter. In dealing with the original Act we played no party politics. That Act went through this House after three years of searching research, questioning of experts, evidence from the Bureau of Standards and from representatives of the C.S.I.R. These periods were laid down on their advice as pollution was such an essential thing to clear up. The Minister had the right to come to the House from year to year to get a further extension for any industry in respect of which he could not lay down standards. Now he comes along and asks for this blanket extension for all industries. Sir, we are dealing with this as a national matter and above politics, and I am astounded that the Minister should come along with the argument which he has just advanced here, without answering the charge that has been made that over the last five years nothing has been done. He has not told us what he has done; we have asked him time and time again. We know that standards can be laid down for certain types of sewage disposal which is polluting our sea and our rivers in certain areas, because there is no industrial or chemical pollution in those particular sewers. And what has the Minister done in that connection? Sir, one does not have to go far from this House to find sewage pollution which is leading to a serious nuisance. As I pointed out earlier medical opinion is that there could be a very serious outbreak of typhoid. And what was the Minister’s answer? He did not say a word about it. Section 24 was considered most carefully, with the assistance of experts, and under that section the Minister was given three years to lay down standards and to give exemption, and now he wants eight years, without giving us valid reasons. I think the facts show that this position has not been handled in a way it should have been handled. We want to deal with this as a national matter, because pollution is a serious matter. The hon. member for Durban (Umlazi) (Mr. H. Lewis) gave direct evidence of two areas which are being polluted by two specific industries, and the Minister tries to hit back by saying, “it is only the members from that area who are making this noise”. Sir, where are the other hon. members who were on the Select Committee and who at the time thought it was so important to put in these particular provisions in the original Act? Why are they not supporting us, because this is a most important matter for the whole of the country. The expansion of our industries can be limited because there is pollution of our rivers or streams. Irrigators and local authorities have to draw water to-day from those polluted streams. I am most surprised at the Minister taking this line when we are trying to deal with this problem in an objective manner. We have dealt right through from the begining with the Water Bill, the Water Act and this amending Bill in an objective manner, and if hon. members on the other side have been told that this is left to the free vote of the Committee, then I cannot see how those members who were on the Select Committee can vote for the provisions of this amending Bill when the original sections of the Act were supported unanimously by them, backed by the opinion of all the experts in the Union. I think it is essential that we should deal with this question of pollution at the earliest possible moment and not allow party politics to enter into it as they have been brought into this debate by the hon. the Minister.
Section 24 of the Act which is now being amended by Clause 7 of this Bill, gives the Minister the right to grant exemptions for a period of three years to industries and other concerns which may possibly pollute the water. After that he may grant a further two years’ extension with the approval of both Houses of Parliament and that is the end. Section 24 emphasizes very clearly how very necessary the Select Committee regarded it at the time that our water should be purified and how necessary it was to prevent water pollution in this country, not only as far as river water was concerned, but also sea water. Section 24 emphasizes very clearly in what serious light the Select Committee regarded this question of river pollution and water pollution in general. In saying that I come to the next point, namely that I very seriously doubt whether the Select Committee realized at the time what a tremendous task it was placing on the shoulders of the Department in expecting them to carry out the provisions of Sections 21 to 24. I do not think anyone of us realized the extent of the work that would be involved, and where the accusation is now levelled at the Minister that he has neglected his duty and that he has not done anything, that no standards have been drawn up, I think hon. members are very unreasonable. In any event it is not the task of the Minister to draw up those standards, neither is that the task of his Department.
Who is responsible for that?
If the hon. member would read the report of the Select Committee he would see what the departmental official said when he appeared before that Select Committee. He stated it very clearly and the hon. member agreed with it that it was not the function of the Department of Water Affairs to draw up the standards. The suggestion was made after the hon. member and the rest of us had listened to the evidence of the representatives of the C.S.I.R. and the representatives of the Bureau of Standards and the representatives of the Institute of Water Purification, namely that it was not the task of the Department of Water Affairs to draw up the standards and to prescribe the processes for the purification, but that a special committee should be established to do that work. The law says that the approval of the Bureau of Standards should be obtained, but as was stated very clearly by the representative of the C.S.I.R., all research work would have to be done in the first instance by the C.S.I.R. itself which is actually the body which does all the research work in that connection throughout South Africa. That advisory committee was established. An advisory committee was established on which not only the C.S.I.R. and the Bureau of Standards and the Institute of Water Research were represented, but also the provincial authorities and the Department of Agricultural Technical Services and the Department of Health, and it is the function of that committee to prescribe the processes for purification and it rests with the Bureau of Standards ultimately to lay down the standard specifications. That work has been going on for years. I repeat that hon. members fail to realize the extent of that work. The hon. member should once again read the evidence of the representative of the C.S.I.R. and he will realize what a tremendous task it is to prevent water pollution. We are all anxious that steps should be taken as soon as possible to prevent river and sea pollution but we also realize what a tremendous task it is. It is not merely a question of testing the industrial effluent but it entails a survey of all our rivers and streams in order to determine the extent of the natural pollution that takes place and the extent of the pollution that takes place as a result of cities, towns, native townships and industries. The hon. member himself told us yesterday what the position was, what the joint effect was of industrial effluent, purified to some extent, but nonetheless still containing some noxious elements, and the noxious elements which were subsequently added by another industry further down. He pointed out that the joint effect was on the water of a series of industries. All those aspects have to be considered and that is a tremendously big task and the committee concerned, together with the C.S.I.R. the Bureau of Standards, which is the body which is ultimately responsible, are doing everything in their power to carry out this instruction to draw up the necessary standards. Of what avail will it be to say that we do not want the three years or the five years when we know for a fact that the body charged with this task cannot do the work? Be reasonable and say that the work should be done as quickly as possible. The Minister has told us that every possible step is being taken to prevent pollution, but he is asking for time because as the law stands at the moment it cannot be carried out in practice. The Select Committee itself did not appreciate the extent of the work. Let us be reasonable and say that we expect every possible step to be taken to prevent pollution as quickly as possible and the necessary standards to be laid down as soon as possible.
The hon. member for Nelspruit (Mr. Faurie) was a member of the Select Committee and he now comes with an apology on behalf of the hon. the Minister. I will deal with him in a minute, but I want first to come to the Minister who now has taken refuge to that old stratagem that if you have not got a good case, then attack the person who is your opponent.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the clause under discussion. I cannot allow a general debate.
Mr. Chairman, I want to appeal to you. You have permitted the hon. the Minister to make those remarks about me. Am I not now to be allowed to reply to him in kind? If the hon. the Minister is allowed by you to make those remarks, then I must be given the opportunity to defend myself.
I must ask the hon. member to confine his remarks to the clause.
Sir, do you rule that I cannot reply to the remarks of the hon. the Minister?
The hon. the member can reply to the remarks of the hon. the Minister in so far as they concern the clause.
And the personal remarks that the hon. the Minister directed against me?
I am not aware of personal remarks made by the hon. the Minister.
Sir, are you not aware of the personal remarks that the Minister finished up by saying that nobody is so stupid as those who do not want to understand—directing these remarks to me?
The hon. member may refer to that in passing, but he must discuss the clause.
There were other things the hon. the Minister said. That is where he ended.
The hon. member cannot argue the matter with the Chair. He must confine himself to the clause.
May I then reply to the hon. the Minister in the same words he referred to me? I want to say that so far as stupidity is concerned and lack of understanding, there is nobody on this side of the House who does not agree entirely with the hon. the Minister that nobody is so stupid as those who do not want to understand, and when a man in the Minister’s position finishes up by saying, “I am not going to reply to the debate any longer”, then he shows that he has reached the end of his capacity.
The apologia of the hon. member for Nelspruit and the excuse that the hon. the Minister is trying to make are very flimsy. Let us look at those excuses. The hon. member for Nelspruit now says that the Committee which was recommended in the addendum No. 2 of the Select Committee’s Report has been appointed, that is to say this advisory committee, but the hon. member is completely wrong. The addendum asked that the Minister should establish what was called an enforcement agency with authority to enforce the law dealing with these particular provisions because we realized that his department could not be put in that position. His department was in a position to get the evidence of pollution and to see in the first instance the effects of pollution when they take place, but it was the enforcement agency that was necessary, and as late as last year the Minister in reply to a question he said that he had not established the enforcement agency. The hon. the Minister is not now listening to the debate, he is paying no attention. We are going to press our side of this debate, whether the Minister listens or not, whether he has the capacity to understand what is being said or whether he has not.
Order! The hon. member must now come back to the clause.
Yes, Sir, and through you I am trying to address the Minister who is taking no notice of the debate whatever. Sir, the Minister has not appointed the enforcement agency that was recommended by the committee five years ago. The Minister comes now and says, “This position has virtually crept upon me unawares. I find the five years are up. I have to do something in a hurry. I have got to ask for another five years”. Sir, it has not crept on him unawares. He had a Bill before Parliament last year with a similar provision to this, but with this difference that in his Bill last year he suggested that the periods of eight and ten years should be seven and nine years. In other words, he knew a year ago that he was going to have difficulty in dividing South Africa into areas, into river systems, and so on, for the purpose of divising the necessary formulae for purification. But although he has had a further year to think about it and to deal with it, he comes now and add another year onto what he felt was adequate last year. In other words he is not attempting to cope with the problem, he is letting the thing go forward and forward year by year. The driving force behind the whole of this issue must be the Minister and anybody else. It is no good the hon. member for Nelspruit or anybody else trying to blame this department or that department, these officials or those officials.
I am blaming nobody.
It is no good blaming the Bureau of Standards for having failed to do the job before to-day. The Minister from 1956 onwards was aware of the fact that there was a fixed date. He was working against a target in time and he knew it, and he knew that on that target in time he would be called upon to have those standards, and it was up to him to come to Parliament, if necessary, before to-day to deal adequately with the situation. But now at the end of the period of five years, he comes along and says it has been found impossible by the Bureau of Standards to devise standards of purification which can be applied to the whole of the Union of South Africa. He says that he now has to come with a Bill to break up South Africa into river systems, areas, and so forth, so that each of these areas, or each river can be dealt with on a separate basis and separate standards, if necessary, can be applied to separate areas. I want to ask the hon. the Minister when this came to his notice? When did the Bureau of Standards tell him that they could not provide standards for the whole of the Union and that it was necessary to break South Africa up into portions so that separate standards could be applied to separate areas? When was that brought to his notice? I want to suggest that it was brought to his notice in 1957. And 1958. 1959, 1960 and 1961 went by and now the Minister comes along and says, “I can’t apply standards throughout the whole of the Union; it is necessary to break the Union up into areas”. But he has known that for four years. Last year when he came with his Bill he knew all about it. But still no attempt was made to deal with this matter. Sir, the only thing to do is. not to proceed with Clause 7, to withdraw Clause 7 from the Bill. No valid permits are being given at the present time for exemption from non-existing standards. If the Minister of his department are through persuasion trying to get factories to carry out the purification of certain effluents, then let them continue by persuasion to do so, and when the Minister is in the position to give some assurances to Parliament as to effectiveness of the measures which he is going to take to stop the pollution of our rivers and our sea coasts by industrial effluents, then let him come to Parliament with those assurances and ask Parliament to legislate in respect of that time and that date for the purpose of dealing with those effluents. But until that time comes, the Minister is playing with Parliament and trifling with the issue. He is not making any honest effort to grapple with the problem and he is simply asking for a closed season for another five years for himself so that he cannot be shot. We refuse to give him that additional time.
I am sorry that the debate has taken this turn. We devoted three years to that Water Act and there is not an Act in the world that cannot be adapted to the times in which you are living. At the time we dealt with that Water Bill we thought we were doing the right thing but we did not say that that was the end of it and that we would not bring about any further improvements to the Bill.
Order! The hon. member must confine himself to the Clause.
Mr. Chairman, I am merely replying to my friend over there. We had the evidence before us at the time, and now the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) says that we should not accept the Clause. If we do that we shall be putting an end to everything because according to him not much has been done during the five years. It seems ridiculous to me for a person to come here and while the work is in progress to say: We are not going to give him a chance; he should have done it during the past five years. That is being destructive. I have never yet heard of anybody destroying what he himself has helped to build up. I think it is nothing else than stubbornness and spitefulness …
Order! The hon. member must not be so personal.
The hon. member was a member of the Select Committee himself and he says it should have been done within the five years. The Minister is asking for the opportunity to do his work and he says that he could not finish it within the prescribed period. I do not see anything wrong with that. If the Minister says that circumstances were such that he really could not carry it out, must we tell him that he must not carry it out at all? The Minister tells us that he has done his utmost but it was impossible to complete the task. What is wrong with it if he asks for an extension of time? I cannot understand what the hon member wants. If we were to leave the law as it stands at the moment, what will the position of the Minister be? In that case the Minister will not be able to do anything. And the reason for that position will simply be personal reasons which the hon. member has against the Minister. I do not think this House will allow such a thing to happen. I think the time has arrived for us to vote on this issue, because the attitude of the Opposition is just impossible. I want to appeal to them to give the Minister a further chance to carry out his task. But according to them he should repeal the entire Act and nothing further should be done.
I am sorry that both the hon. member for Nelspruit (Mr. Faurie) and the hon. member for Cradock (Mr. G. F. H. Bekker are taking the line that the whole of the Act will be destroyed if this amending clause is not passed. Of course that is not quite correct. The hon. member for Nelspruit has said that the Minister was not in a position to lay down standards. The hon. member sat on the Select Committee, I only had an opportunity to read the report. But the Bureau of Standards in giving evidence, according to the 1957 Report, said that they were in a position then to lay down standards for the purification of effluents in respect of certain streams. The hon. Minister knew in 1955, before the Act was promulgated that it was possible in 1955 to lay down standards of purification of these effluents. Therefore when the Act was promulgated in 1957, obviously it was still possible to lay down such standards. It was also brought out in the evidence that it was possible to lay down individual standards in the case of industries. It was there for the hon. the Minister to read it. It is printed in the report. The argument brought up by the two hon. members of course does not count for anything at all. They come with a whole lot of excuses because the Minister has not done anything about getting the Bureau to actually give him a set of standards to enable him to carry out this portion of the Act. The whole issue can be reduced to terms as simple as that. There is no excuse whatsoever, and the hon. the Minister has not given us any valid reason as to why he did not ask for such standards and why he has not seen to it that the standards were enforced. It has become obvious to me that the whole approach to this problem is rather to help industry to avoid complying with the requirements of the section rather than in fact to make them comply with the requirements of the section concerned, Section 21. I believe it is because it is approached in that spirit that the hon. the Minister is faced with the problem he is faced with to-day. Had he approached the Act in the spirit in which these clauses were embodied in the Act, of course he would have done something to make industries comply with the requirements of the Act. Now the Minister finds himself in this position and is asking for an extension of the period in which he can give exemption. If this is refused, the bottom does not fall out of the Act, as the hon. member for Cradock seems to imply. The Act can still be carried out, but the Minister must come and show this House what he has done and what he has not done. That is what we are asking for. We do not want to stop the actual working of the Act, but we want to know what is happening because we know what has happened during the last five years—exactly nothing. We are trying to ensure that in the coming five years something will in fact be done about implementing this Bill.
It must be quite clear to the hon. the Minister that the action of this side of the House in opposing this clause, is the result of the attitude of the hon. the Minister, the manner in which he has introduced the discussion on this clause and his refusal to reply further to the debate. Now he sits there sulking.
Order! That argument has been used.
Sir, I was not aware that the argument of sulking had been used. I want to remind the hon. the Minister of what happened last night when this clause was discussed. The Minister then pretended that he had taken some action. It is quite clear from the discussions and from what the Minister subsequently admitted, that he has taken no action.
Order! That argument has also been used.
Upon which the Committee divided:
Ayes—84: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker. G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, B.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Villiers, J. D.; de Wet, C.; Diederichs, N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Faure, W. H.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Froneman, G. F. van L.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; le Riche, R.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins. H. E.; Mentz. F. E.; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: J. J. Fouché and J. von S. von Moltke.
Noes—47: Basson, J. A. L.; Bloomberg, A.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Connan, J. M.; Cope, J. P.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland, M. W.; Horak, J. L.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Oldfield, G. N.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; van der Byl, P.; van Niekerk, S. M.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and T. G. Hughes.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
Clause 7 put and the Committee divided:
Ayes—85: Badenhorst, F. H.; Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, B.; de Villiers, C. V.; de Villiers, J. D.; Diederichs, N.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Faurie, W. H.; Fouché, J. J. (Sr.); Froneman, G. F. van L.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; le Riche, R.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, W. C.; Marais, J. A.; Martins, H. E.; Mentz, F. E.; Meyer, T.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Nel, M. D. C. de W.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, B. J.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Schoonbee, J. F.; Serfontein, J. J.; Smit, H. H.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, F. S.; Steyn, J. H.; Strydom, G. H. F.; Treurnicht. N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van der Ahee, H H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Merwe, P. S.; van der Walt. B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, M. J. de la R.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Viljoen, M.; Visse, J. H.; Vorster, B. J.; Vosloo, A. H.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: J. J. Fouché and J. von S. von Moltke.
Noes—49: Basson, J. A. L.; Bloomberg, A.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Connan. J. M.; Cope, J. P.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Beer, Z. J.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Durrant, R. B.; Eglin, C. W.; Fisher, E. L.; Fourie, I. S.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Graaff, de V.; Henwood. B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Holland. M. W.; Horak, J. L.; Lewis, H.; Lewis, J.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steenkamp, L. S.; Steyn, S. J. M.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; Swart, H. G.; Swart, R. A. F.; van der Byl, P.; van Niekerk, S. M.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and T. G. Hughes.
Clause accordingly agreed to.
On Clause 8,
According to this amendment the hon. the Minister may in future prescribe the regulations for areas which he may proclaim underground water control areas. These regulations relate to the digging of wells, the sinking of boreholes and the amount of water that may be extracted. I can understand why it is necessary for the Minister to bring about this change. It is to enable him to make those regulations applicable to certain areas only.
Order! The clause only refers to a portion of an area.
Yes, or to any portion of an area. The question of specific areas is dealt with in the original Section 30. The Minister now wishes to be able to limit it to certain portions of an area.
I am afraid the hon. member is wrong. It merely deals with the addition of the words “or to any portion”.
Yes, or to any portion of such a specific area. The specific areas to which the Minister wishes to apply certain regulations are certain underground water control areas. I can understand why the hon. the Minister wants this amendment, because hitherto it has been impossible for him to carry out the provisions of the original Section 30 of the Act and to apply specific regulations in regard to the sinking of certain boreholes. However, I want to ask the Minister this question: We know he has this power in terms of the original Section 30 to promulgate regulations, but the thing that worries the ordinary farmer outside, especially the irrigators who use boreholes, is this. We hear from time to time that it is the intention to control the quantity of water that is abstracted from underground. My question to the Minister is this: Is it definitely his intention to introduce that control in the near future? In the meantime the farmers are still sinking boreholes and erecting windmills centrifugal pumps and turbines. Every month hundreds and hundreds of boreholes are sunk throughout South Africa. The question which this side of the House wishes to put to the Minister is this: If control is to be exercised over the abstraction of underground water, that control should be instituted as soon as possible. We cannot bring about a change in that respect because that is provided for in Section 30.
You are completely out of order.
The hon. member says I am out of order, but the hon. the Minister now has the opportunity of telling the people outside what he intends doing. This is exactly the same position as we had in the case of the previous clause where we also had difficulty. The people know that this sword is hanging over their heads and that at some time or other control will be introduced, and in terms of this amendment it will be easier for the Minister to introduce that control. Our question is this: When will he commence with this control? If control is to be exercised it should be done as soon as possible, because the people should like to know where they stand and they do not want to spend thousands and thousands of pounds on sinking further boreholes and erecting machinery to extract the water. We find that the people outside say that control will be exercised. I understand that in certain parts of the country the Department is already investigating the position as to our underground water supplies and water tables. Those water tables are sinking further and further as a result of the boreholes that are being sunk. If the hon. the Minister were to introduce control those people should be informed what their position is, whether they can continue or not. If I am wrong the hon. the Minister can tell me so. But according to this amendment it will be easier for him to exercise control over the abstraction of underground water. The hon. the Minister knows that he has that power in terms of Section 30 of the principal Act. I can understand why he does not wish to exercise that power now. The reason is because the area throughout the country is so very vast. That is why he wishes to limit it to certain areas. In the part of the country where I live and in all the extensive areas of South Africa, there are great areas where underground water can be extracted. In terms of Section 28 of the Act practically all those areas are artesian areas from a geological point of view, the so-called dolomite areas. The Minister may proclaim those portions of the country underground water control areas. I imagine that that is one of the objects of this amendment. The hon. the Minister should therefore avail himself of this opportunity and tell the country what his intentions are in respect of the sinking of further boreholes and the extraction of more underground water.
The hon. member for Port Elizabeth (West) (Mr. Streicher) has really created an impression that may create a complete misunderstanding outside. The hon. member knows that certain areas have been proclaimed dolomite areas. As a result of geological surveys that were carried out in 1912 those areas were proclaimed as such. It is only in those areas that the Minister has this power. All the Minister is now asking for is that those areas that were proclaimed as far back as 1912, should be divided so that better control may be exercised. The impression which the hon. member has created is that the entire country will be subject to this sub-division for which the Minister is asking in respect of the geologically dolomite areas which were already proclaimed in those days. It is only in respect of those areas that the Minister has the power under the Act. In view of the fact that those are very vast areas, he now seeks power to sub-divide those areas. The hon. member is now creating the impression that the Minister will divide the whole country into areas and that he will exercise control over boreholes in general—which is not correct.
Mr. Chairman, I merely wish to ask the hon. the Minister how many such areas there are and whether he still exercises control over a large number of them; and what steps he is taking. I think the Minister is merely providing that a person in such an area should apply for permission before he sinks a borehole. I want to know from the Minister whether he will lay down a certain limit and on what basis boreholes are sunk in those proclaimed areas and what steps he has already taken in order to exercise control in those areas.
Order! That is not really under discussion at the moment.
Clause put and agreed to.
On Clause 9,
Objection was raised during the second reading debate to the proposed Clause 9 and, as a result of those objections the hon. the Minister proposes an amendment. Perhaps the hon. the Minister would like to propose his amendment before I go any further on the matter.
To add the following as a sub-section (2) to the proposed new Section 42bis—
We appreciate that the hon. the Minister has attempted to meet the objections that were raised but we do not believe that he has done so satisfactorily. Where previously he intended that the matter should be dealt with administratively, he later decided that there should be a provision in the Bill to make sure that the Department, if it wished to bring evidence before the court, should give notice to the parties as soon as possible. The terms of the provision he now proposes do not, however, take the matter very much further. He proposes that, as soon as possible after it has been decided to give evidence, the Minister shall cause to be sent to each of the parties to the suit, whose addresses can be ascertained from the documents of record, a notice in writing informing them of the intention to give evidence and indicating the nature of that evidence. Well, the matter is left very vague indeed.
Firstly, the decision to present evidence could still be left to a very late stage in the proceedings. That, as we have said from the outset, is most undesirable. Secondly, what is “as soon as possible” is obviously a matter of opinion. They do not bind the Department to giving notice to the parties at an early stage of the proceedings, and thereby saving them costs. There is no reason why the Department should not give notice to the parties at an early stage in the proceedings. I believe that the stage before which this should be done should be laid down in the Act, and that if it is not done before that stage then the evidence should not be able to be given by the Department. As was shown during the second reading debate, this can cause very serious prejudice to a party who has gone to court believing that he has a good case. At a late stage he is surprised by the evidence given by the Department, and he may be involved in very substantial costs. Although the Department may regard it as undesirable that the case should be heard and decided with certain evidence being available to the Department which is not available to the court, nevertheless we believe it is more undesirable that the Department should, at a very late stage of the case, be able to come to court and give evidence which takes the parties by surprise.
I should, therefore, like to propose an amendment which lays down a stage in the course of any proceedings, beyond which the Department will not have the right to give evidence before the court. I would like to hear the hon. the Minister’s comments on this because I have two particular stages in mind. I believe that either of these would be an improvement on the clause as it is. I prefer the earlier of the two stages, but if the hon. the Minister feels that that is quite impossible, I should like him to consider the other proposal which I have. The procedure is that, where an applicant is going to court, he not only has to serve notice of his case on the respondent, he also has to publish a notice in the Gazette giving at least 30 days’ notice to any person who considers he may be affected by the application. I believe that that 30-day period after publication in the Gazette gives the Department ample time to decide whether they wish to bring evidence before the court or not. They know the case which is to be made out by the applicant, and they should know by then whether they have evidence in their possession which should be laid before the court. I should, therefore, like it to be laid down in the Act that, within that period of 30 days or longer, before which interested parties may file exceptions or pleas or counter-claims, the Department, if it wishes to present evidence should also give notice of its intention to do so. I hope the hon. the Minister will give that matter serious consideration. I now formally propose as an amendment to the amendment proposed by the Minister of Water Affairs—
That shall be the last date before which the Department may come and intervene in a case in the sense of giving notice that it intends to lead evidence, and indicating the nature of the evidence it intends to lead.
There is another minor amendment which I believe should be incorporated. The Minister’s further amendment at present proposes that notice shall be given to each of the parties to the dispute, or to their representatives. I believe that a copy of the notice should also be given to the Registrar of the Court.
That is obvious.
Yes, that is obvious. It is not only for the use of the Judge, but also for the use of other parties who may consider themselves interested but are not parties to the suit at that stage. For instance, the applicant cites certain persons as respondents. He serves his papers upon them. But there may also be other persons who consider themselves interested by the application and, as a result of the notice in the Gazette, filed exceptions, pleas or counter-claims. Those people should also know of the intention of the Department to lead evidence if it wishes to do so, and for that reason a copy of the notice should be sent to the Registrar of the Court. I, therefore, also propose as a further amendment to the Minister’s amendment—
May I say, briefly, that at the second reading stage I also indicated that there were complaints that the Department was not making available to persons interested in apportionment, all the evidence which it had at its disposal. I believe that another speaker will comment on this fact, that it is in fact difficult to get all the information from the Department which it has at its disposal. If one were to accept an amendment such as I have proposed, limiting the time within which the Department can indicate to the parties that it intends to lead evidence, the effect will be that the Department will, at an early stage of the proceedings, make as much of the evidence available as it can. That, I think, is desirable It might even be desirable to go further and make special provision in the Act enabling the parties to demand evidence from the Department. However, I do not wish to speak on that subject at this stage. I feel that the amendment that I have proposed will encourage the Department to make available to the parties at the earliest possible stage all the evidence which it has at its disposal.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
Mr. Chairman, I just want to recapitulate on what we are discussing. The Department feels that it can submit information which it has available to a water court when any suit involving water comes before such a court. Clause 9 envisages that the Minister can submit that information to the water court on his own authority and of his own accord by way of evidence. Various objections have been raised to this provision, for example, the applicant would not have instituted proceedings if he had known of that information. The Minister has now introduced a second amendment which provides that he can submit that evidence after notice has been given to the parties. The hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld) has moved yet a further amendment providing that this notice should be given before the respondent lodges his exception or his plea or applies for further particulars. I have material objections to this provision. It will still not help the applicant in this instance because he will still only be given the information after he has already issued summons and that is unfair to the applicant. He would probably never have instituted the proceedings if he had had that information. But it is of tremendous assistance to the respondent because the State will now be providing a great deal of information which it makes available to the parties and on that information the respondent can build up a defence after the applicant has already incurred costs. I want to repeat what I said in this regard at the second reading. I wonder whether the whole problem cannot be solved by administrative arrangement? Can all this information not be made available to the parties without having any provision of this nature whatsoever? If that cannot be done, I think we should not go any further than the Minister envisages in his two amendments, namely, that he will make the information available to the court of his own accord and that it will be done as soon as possible and, furthermore, that he will impose upon himself the rule that he will make the information available to the parties as soon as they apply for it. I want to suggest that we should perhaps introduce an amendment to the effect that the Minister will make all this information available to a party who applies for it. If the Department is parsimonious with its information—and that has been the experience of many people in the past—I know from experience that when one approaches the Department it is very tardy about providing such information. If that tardiness is removed and the Department wants to help and wants to make the information available, any man who wants to further his case can submit all possible information to the court and if the Department wants to co-operate, I believe that both these provisions will not even be necessary.
A great deal has already been said about this clause at the second reading and on that occasion the objection was raised that the parties to the suit would not have the necessary information at their disposal and would perhaps be caught unawares by information made available by the Department. To meet these problems the hon. the Minister has now given notice—the amendment appears on page 699—of an amendment supplementing this clause. It provides that “as soon as possible after it has been decided to present evidence in terms of sub-section (1)…”. I shall not read any further because I want to direct the attention of the Committee to this portion. As soon as possible after it has been decided; in other words, as soon as possible after it has been decided by the Minister or the Department to present evidence. In other words, the time limit rests in the hands of the Department and not in the hands of the parties. I should like to submit one or two of our practical problems to the Minister and I do so in the realization that this concession of which the Minister has given notice already meets our problem to a very large extent, but in the light of my practical experience I am afraid that it will not meet all our problems completely. I want to say at the outset that we must bear in mind that this evidence which the Department can present to a court only relates to apportionment suits and not to any suit which may come before a water court. I do not know whether this Committee is aware of what stage is reached and to what extent costs are incurred before one eventually comes before the court in the case of an apportionment suit. The process is more or less the following.
If a riparian owner decides that he wants to apply to the courts for an apportionment of the water of a stream, he must necessarily determine in advance what the normal flow of the stream is or in any case what the flow of that river is over a long period. In the past the courts have asked that gaugings should be taken for a period of at least one year or more in order to determine the flow of such a stream; that is to say, for more than a year before the time work must be carried out and costs incurred in order to prepare for such an apportionment suit. Thereafter all the irrigable areas which the applicant wishes to include in that apportionment—it rests in the hands of the applicant to decide for himself which portion of the stream he wishes to bring into the suit; all the irrigable areas within such an area must then be surveyed. For that purpose engineers are needed in order to draw up a plan and to carry out the surveys. It is then imperative that soil experts should be obtained to give evidence as to which land is good irrigable land and which is not and which is not irrigable at all. It must then be determined how high up the canals must be so that one can decide on that basis what area can fall under the canals and can be brought in to compete for the purposes of the apportionment of the water. When all these preparations have been made, an advocate is appointed to draw up the application to the court. It is printed and submitted to the court. I have submitted these details to show to what a great extent heavy costs are incurred before an applicant reaches the stage of submitting his application to the court. He then, as the hon. member for East London (North) has said, is given 30 days in which to advertise in the newspapers and to serve the necessary documents to all the interested parties. The respondents then file their pleas. Then there is a further delay, perhaps for some months, before the suit comes on the roll and eventually the suit comes before the court.
Now as this provision stands, it will be in the hands of the Minister or his Department to decide at which stage the evidence will be presented to the court or rather, it is in their hands to decide at any stage before the hearing of the suit whether they are going to present evidence to the court or not. It may be that they only decide a week before the hearing of the case to submit such evidence to the court and at that stage all the facts which the Department has at its disposal are made available to the parties. It may be that when those facts are made available to the applicant, he may say that if he had known of those facts, he would never have gone to the courts or he would have prepared his case differently. That is the only objection we have. Our objection is not based on the fact that the Department will present evidence to the courts. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that that is a sound provision. We want it, because we have had the experience in the past that it was very difficult to obtain information from the Department for presentation to the courts. But the only objection we can see is that heavy costs can be incurred before the information which the Department has available is made available to the parties. At the second reading I suggested that it should be laid down that when anyone goes to the courts to apply for the apportionment of the water of a stream he should first be able to go to the Department before he commences his preparatory work and incurs costs and should be able to ask the Department if it intends presenting evidence. If the Department says that it does not intend presenting evidence, that person can proceed and there will be no further difficulties. But if the Department should decide to present evidence, it should at that stage already make available the information which it possesses to the parties. I see no objection to that because the information which the Department has available will after all merely serve to further the public interest if it is used correctly and it is after all not the intention to misuse that information. If that is done we are quite satisfied and we welcome the provision as a whole. But on the other hand, it is my duty to say that we are thankful for the concession which the Minister has already made.
I want to commence by saying that the Department’s aim is not to involve the parties to a suit in additional costs, nor to make matters more difficult for them, but the Department’s aim is in fact to make the information which it possesses available to them in order to make matters easier for them. Consequently I believe that the Department should not be secretive about the information it has available except perhaps in specific instances and for sound reasons. I am thinking for example of the case which the hon. member for Ceres (Mr. Muller) has mentioned. I am not a lawyer and fortunately I have not yet been involved in a court case, but I know that it costs a great deal. He has said, inter alia, that before one commences proceedings and asks for an apportionment, there is basic work which must be done so that one can determine whether one can ask for an apportionment. He has mentioned, inter alia, gaugings which must be undertaken for a period of at least a year. I cannot imagine an organization or a body which is more concerned with the task of taking in the public interest such comprehensive gaugings and setting up installations for the purpose of doing so over a period of many years than the Department of Water Affairs. Consequently I would assume that before anyone incurs the cost of taking such gaugings, the sensible thing would be to approach the Department and to ask it whether it has any gaugings over a period relating to the river concerned. If the Department does not have such information, the parties will have to ensure for themselves that the gaugings are taken, but if the Department has that information it will surely not say that it does not have it; and if they ask what the findings were, I cannot see why the Department would not make the information available. In any case, as the position is today— I believe this should be the basic premise of the Department—the Department must have particularly sound reasons why it considers that the information which it has available should be regarded as confidential, but in general it is the policy of the Department to make information relating to a public stream or water source available to anyone who wants it. I am also thinking for example of the irrigable areas. We draw up topographical maps and we take aerial photographs. Our planning is far in advance of the thoughts of the ordinary public because the Department must plan in advance and to do so and even to give priority to certain schemes which we want to undertake, it is necessary that the Department should be fully informed as to the flow of streams, irrigable areas and soil surveys. These are things which if one has the staff one should do in advance because it is on the basis of that information that one weighs the priority of one scheme as against that of another. I believe that in many cases the Department does not have sufficient information available but in the case of most of the important water resources of the country the Department has valuable information which should be available to people who are interested in it.
I have listened to the hon. member for East London (North) (Mr. van Ryneveld). I personally considered that this amendment went far enough, that is to say by leaving it to the Department to present certain evidence as soon as possible after it learns that proceedings are to be instituted, bearing in mind that the Department is not a party to the suit but merely wishes in the interests of all the parties and of the country to enable the court to reach a fair decision by supplying information which will not be in the favour of one or other party, but merely represents the basic facts. However, now that the hon. member has explained to me what happens in the case of such a suit, i.e. that notice has to be given in the Government Gazette and that a period of 30 days then elapses during which anyone can object, I feel that I am inclined to accept his amendment. After listening to the hon. members for Ceres (Mr. Muller) and Heilbron (Mr. Froneman) it seems as if it will help to meet the doubts which exist regarding this amendment. In other words, I think the Department does not need longer than 30 days to decide whether it considers it necessary in such a case to submit information. And if it decides to provide information to both the parties—because by that time it will know their names—I can also not see why it should also not supply the same information as it wishes to give to the parties to the registrar of the court—because if it wishes to make that information available to the court it should after all do so through the registrar. And if the court has that information I cannot see why this information cannot be given to any interested person because it should be public knowledge. I am mentioning this so that there will be no misunderstanding. We in the Department do not wish to make it difficult for irrigators and interested parties to gain what is their due. Water court proceedings are expensive and because water determines to such a large extent the prosperity of such people, we feel that we would prefer to help eliminate or curtail court proceedings if we can, and it is for that reason that the Department is introducing this amendment. I hope that I shall satisfy the Committee by accepting these two amendments as moved by the hon. member for East London (North.).
I am very grateful to the Minister for accepting the amendments. I feel that all people who had misgivings about the clause as it stood will be reassured, not only by his acceptance of the amendments, but also by his statement that the policy of the Department is to help the litigating parties by making available information. I think with that guarantee the clause is entirely satisfactory and we support it.
Amendments proposed by Mr. van Ryneveld put and agreed to.
Amendment proposed by the Minister of Water Affairs, as amended, put and agreed to.
Clause, as amended, put and agreed to.
On Clause 10,
Mr. Chairman, during the second reading I raised the question of the Minister’s responsibility under Section 59, as amended by this clause, in regard to the control of catchment areas and of streams which fall wholly or in part in our Native reserves. I refer particularly to the catchment area of the Buffalo River, which is densely populated by human beings and their stock and upon which East London and King William’s Town depend for their water supplies. I also refer to the rivers in Natal which pass through the Native reserves and which are suffering serious deterioration from erosion and other causes as a result of the large populations living there. I shall appreciate it very much if the Minister will make a statement in regard to the matter, indicating what steps he intends taking in collaboration with the Minister of Bantu Administration in regard to this matter. The Minister was courteous enough to promise me that he would make a statement, and I should appreciate it if he will do so.
The amending Bill substitutes sub-sec. (b) of sub-sec. (1) of Section 59, and when I raised the matter in the second reading the Minister said he had all these powers already. When I pointed out that he did not have the powers given to him under Clause 10 to take away the rights of riparian owners, he said he had full power to do so under the present Act, and I challenged him, and now I come back to the point in relation to this clause. The sub-section which the Minister wishes to substitute in the original Act reads—
The whole crux of the matter is this word “entitled”. The Minister can re-apportion that water if anybody does not use it beneficially. If a farmer is utilizing water as a riparian owner, and he turns it on to the veld and it is not being used beneficially, as it may be further down by one of the others who is not getting sufficient water, if that person applies to the Minister for a further apportionment the Minister can re-apportion all the water. This is the point. When I discussed the Blyde River scheme, the Minister said he had re-apportioned the water but he could not take it and put it on land which did not have riparian rights. In other words, he could not take water from those entitled to use it, the riparian owners, and give it to others who had no riparian rights. He could only re-apportion it amongst those people. But we know it has been done and by this substitution in Clause 10 the Department is trying to put itself in the right by using this particular wording. But this new paragraph (b) says that Section 59 of the principal Act is hereby amended by the substitution for paragraph (b) of sub-sec. (1) of the following paragraph—
And that is the crux of the matter—
When I stated in the second reading that in this clause the Minister was taking to himself the right to remove the rights of riparian owners and hand them over to non-riparian owners, he told me I was wrong and that he had the right to deal with the riparian owners, but he would not admit that the non-riparian owners could be given that water. He has not that right to-day, but the Act says specifically that if the Minister feels that the water is not being used beneficially he can re-apportion it amongst the persons entitled to use such water. The amending clause leaves that out, and that is the crux of the whole thing. He is taking power unto himself to re-apportion the water and to give water rights to people who own non-riparian land. In other words, I buy a farm and pay a big price because I know I have riparian rights. I know I can use not only the normal flow but also the surplus water for the whole of my holding. But just let us say that I have water rights, for which I pay, but John Jones comes and buys land at half the price or even at a quarter of the price further away because there are no riparian rights and he is not entitled to any water from that stream. But under the new clause the Minister comes along and proclaims the river and the area, where the Government has not spent a penny, and the Minister says he has already warned him that he will cut down the amount of water he will allow, and he now re-apportions all the water and gives some of it to people who bought cheap land because it had no riparian rights, and the man who has paid for his rights and has vested interests is harmed. The Minister also interrupted me to ask what vested interests are. It is a vested interest when you pay for something which is endorsed on your title deeds. Riparian rights are endorsed on your title deeds and it gives you a right to water from that stream, and that is a vested interest and a valuable asset, and that land is worth from four to ten times more than land further away from that stream because they have no riparian rights. But here the Minister steps in and under the new clause he can say he will re-apportion the water in a controlled area, and whereas you used so much water before you will get less and the rest he will re-apportion to land outside the riparian land. I say that is unfair. If the Minister builds works he has that right under another clause and I find no fault with that. If the Minister takes a proclaimed area and builds a dam or puts in water works so that the surplus water will not run away, he has a case and no one can find fault with him. We spent days on this clause before the Select Committee and hon. members opposite voted unanimously with us that this right should not be taken away from the riparian owners. It was agreed that the riparian owner was entitled to his rights and that if the Minister wanted to give water from that stream to anybody else he should provide water works to provide extra water, or save the surplus water which was going to waste, and give that to these people. That is for the Minister to decide, but to take away rights which are endorsed on the title deeds and for which the farmers have paid high prices is most unfair. [Time limit.]
The hon. member who has just sat down is perhaps justified in his fears if he is arguing on the basis that an injustice can be done. If the hon. member is arguing on the basis that if a certain quantity of water were to be available and this water were to be apportioned in a way which would be unfair to certain people who had established rights, by giving part of this water to persons who did not have such established rights, he has perhaps got a point. But there is another side to the matter which I should like to mention. The fact that the hon. the Minister has introduced this clause is also due to the fact that in recent times the Department has had experience of this other side to the matter. It is as follows: It is possible that one can have a stream which cannot meet the normal requirements of riparian owners. In other words, a stream which if its water was to be apportioned would not even be able to supply the needs of the riparian owners. But the position can also be the reverse. One can have a large stream which runs through an area where the persons who live along the stream cannot use all its water, with the result that part of its water runs to waste. I say that there are two possible examples, the one where there is too little water and the other where there is too much water. Now if the Minister adopts the principle of dominus fluminis, in other words that the State has absolute control over the water of the country, he must adopt as his basic premise that in this Bill he is also taking the power to deal with the second case to which I have referred, that is to say, when there is surplus water, to control such water in the general interests of the country. It is true, Mr. Chairman, that there are examples in the case of one of the Government water control areas where the Minister has already had to use his powers in order to take water from a stream where there was surplus water and to use it outside the riparian area. I now want to go further and to tell the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) that there is also a safety-valve. There is a safety-valve in the Act which provides that the Minister cannot simply use water on an unfair basis and harm established rights in favour of the rights of people outside the riparian areas. This safety-valve is contained in Section 68. Section 68 empowers the Minister to appoint an advisory committee in such a water control area and such an advisory committee will consist of persons representing the interests of the riparian owners as well as the Department itself. These advisory committees will have to find a formula in the future—and I hope the Minister will appoint them in the near future —on the basis of which this water must be apportioned. I cannot imagine an advisory committee with a majority of representatives of riparian owners together with the Department reaching a decision which will be unfair towards established interests. I now want to tell the hon. member that although the hon. member argues that an injustice can be done, I do not think that it is possible as a result of the appointment of advisory committees under Section 68 for such a power to be abused. I therefore mention these two points: The one is that there is a safety-valve and the other is that there are in fact streams where the Minister must in the national interest be able to exercise control over the surplus water which he can in fact take outside the riparian area itself. I think that is the underlying principle of the section and I think that if we leave the clause as the Minister has worded it, it can only result in the Minister being able to exercise better control in the general national interest over the water which is available for irrigation than he would be able to do without this particular provision.
My colleague, the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) has asked the Minister for an explanation of this Clause 10 in so far as it applies to certain scheduled Native areas. I would like to ask the Minister that when he replies to that question, to give us a statement in regard to the words in brackets, “which may include non-riparian land”. My hon. friend from Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) is quite right when he says that this clause is replacing a clause in which that language does not appear. In fact that is the material difference. What is the precise status of this amending clause? Section 59 of the existing Act, sub-sections 1 (a) and (b) provide for areas to be proclaimed by the Minister as water control areas. Once an area has been proclaimed a water control area then all sorts of other provisions of the Act apply, provisions which do not apply until such time as that area has been proclaimed a water control area. It is only when an area has been proclaimed a water control area do those other provisions come into operation. So that when this amendment is worded in this form and sub-section 59 (b) is deleted from the Act—and that section placed no such power in the hands of the Minister specifically in that form although it may have been there impliedly (I am prepared to admit that)—that power is now explicitly provided for. We naturally view with concern the right of the Minister to proclaim a water control area where all the other provisions of the Act will apply and make all those sections of the Act applicable to non-riparian land. The man with riparian rights will naturally view that with concern. The White Paper does not help us Sir. The White Paper merely says—
From that it would appear that there is no doubt that land can be included which is a scheduled Native area and that non-riparian land can be included. The water control area having been established even in terms of the present Section 59, non-riparian land can be included although it does not say so specifically, if the language in Section 59 means what it says, because it does not differentiate between riparian land and non-riparian land.
What objection have you got against our stating it clearer?
It is precisely the reason why the Minister wants to make it clearer that we are interested in. Why does he want to make it specific now, why does he want to make it specifically clear that he can incorporate in a water control area non-riparian land? I leave it at that, Sir. and I hope the Minister will give us an explanation when he replies to my hon. friend the member for East London (City).
It seems to me that there is unnecessary uncertainty in respect of this matter. The point raised by the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg District (Capt. Henwood) is the following: He maintains that the Minister cannot declare an area in which a person already has rights of riparian ownership. Mr. Chairman, that is incorrect. If his contention were to be correct, this Bill should first have gone to a Select Committee because those persons’ rights were being affected. But that is not the position because he has conveniently forgotten to read the whole section. Section 59 (1) (b) which is now being substituted, reads as follows at present—
That includes any area. It does not only refer to riparian owners; nor does it refer to riparian areas; it refers to all areas which he regards as being such in the public interest. The Minister does not need to take riparian ownership or non-riparian ownership into account at all. But the section then goes further and says—
The hon. member has only concentrated on that alternative. That is wrong. The first portion is the important portion; the second is merely an alternative. In terms of the first portion the Minister can declare any area if he considers it in the public interest. The second section says that he can also declare particular areas in which the water is for example not being properly utilized or in which there is more water than the people concerned can use but in respect of which the water has already been apportioned. Then the second alternative is applicable. The hon. member for Pietermaritzburg District must not forget the first portion. It is to amalgamate these two alternatives that this amendment has now been moved and it reads as follows—
It now includes both these alternatives. That is why the White Paper says that this is only a clarification. Another section deals with the apportionment of public water by the Minister, namely Section 62. If the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg District will consult Section 62, he will see that there are two types of riparian land. There is the riparian land which the riparian owner has not developed. The apportionment of water between these two types of riparian owners is dealt with in Section 62. That has nothing to do with Section 59. Section 59 only lays down how the Governor-General must act in order to declare an area to be a Government water control area.
The hon. member for Zoutpansberg (Mr. P. S. Botha) has tried to set up an ideal case for this particular clause. But the case he set up is one which, of course, only deals with surplus water but this clause does not say that it applies only in the case of surplus water. This is a clause that worries me very much indeed because the hon. the Minister has not replied to the questions by the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit). If he had replied we might have known a little more where we stood in regard to this clause. You will remember. Sir, that during the second reading I indicated that I thought if you took Clause 10 in conjunction with Clause 12 it came very close to being a hybrid Bill. I believe that if the hon. the Minister would answer the hon. member for East London (City) it might in fact be so, because if it is the intention to take certain water in certain areas and distribute that for example in a scheduled Native area, then I think this Bill would probably become a hybrid Bill. I think the hon. the Minister should give us reply so that we can see what the picture is.
And that area is non-riparian.
As my hon. friend says, a scheduled Native area which is non-riparian. That is the crux of the matter. The Minister can now take water which belongs to certain riparian owners and he can vest that water in himself and take it to areas which are non-riparian. Clause 12 provides him with the power to sub-divide that.
The other point in this particular Clause which makes it very much more difficult for the riparian owner who is going to lose his rights to the Minister, is that the Minister can do this “in his opinion”. He is not doing it according to any specified system; it is not laid down how he is to determine whether that is surplus water. He can go into any area whatsoever where existing owners have riparian rights and irrigate, say, 40 morgen. The Minister can now take certain of their water and perhaps cut down their irrigable land to 20 morgen. Those people do not know what is to happen to them. The argument of the hon. member for Zoutpansberg is that this power will only be exercised by the Minister in the case of excess water. Where existing riparian owners use the full flow of that stream there can only be excess water at a time of flood. So if the Minister takes that excess flood water and diverts that portion somewhere else what happens when the stream goes back to normal? Does the hon. the Minister then divide the whole stream between the previous riparian owners and the owners to whom he has taken the excess water or does he cut their water off entirely? You see there are many questions to be answered here, Sir. If only the hon. the Minister would tell us what the position is in regard to scheduled Native areas that are non-riparian, we would know where we were and we could possibly proceed with this clause in a different direction. I sincerely ask the Minister to answer that question so that we will know where we are.
I find it interesting to listen to the doubts and thoughts of hon. members relating to a very important matter, namely the rights of riparian owners. In reply I just want to tell the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) the following: What we must not forget is that, just as the Republic has now introduced a new form of Government, this Consolidated Water Act of 1956 …
That is not a very good comparison.
I am using it as an example and I think it is a very good example….
Are you going to amend the Republican Constitution as often as you amend this Water Act?
Just as the Republic has opened a new era in the constitutional history of South Africa, so the 1956 consolidated Water Act introduced a completely new principle and a new approach into the water history of the Union of South Africa. We have returned to the principle of dominus fluminis which was the principle in accordance with which water was apportioned before the British took over, before the year 1800. The principle was that all the water in the country, including normal flow, belonged to the State and not to the riparian owners. That was done by hon. members opposite as well as by hon. members on these benches who served on the Select Committee and who voted in the House for the legislation. I now find it extremely strange that hon. members would like to run away from a principle which they accepted. As a result of the acceptance of that principle the legal principle as we knew it, namely that of the claims of riparian owners on normal flow, disappeared. It disappeared in so far as the original legislation laid down that it should be taken into account. I should like the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) to listen. He does not follow Afrikaans very well and I want to put this slowly so that it can sink in and so that he can follow it. I shall tell him what happened. The legislation provides that all rights which have been exercised or claims—claims by riparian owners on water—only became rights when the owner exercised that right.
In other words, every riparian owner only achieved a right of extraction when he had exercised that right by using the water and developing his land and irrigating it along the banks of the river. Therefore the original Act lays down that when the Minister proclaims a certain area a water control area, he should pay due regard to the rights of riparian owners. But which rights? Those rights which have been exercised. Therefore in terms of Section 62 the only riparian owners who have the right of appeal to a Water court under the original Act, will be those riparian owners who have exercised their rights but not the riparian owners who have not exercised their rights to water from a certain source. Those were the people to whom the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) was referring, namely those people who had it in the back of their mind that being riparian owners, having bought riparian land, they had a right to extract water. I dare the hon member to show me in which section in the original Act that is provided for.
They have the right.
Is that the English Act?
No. It was the Union of South Africa Water Act, now the Republican Water Act. I am referring to the 1956 Water Act. Nowhere in the original Act is it laid down what rights riparian owners have who have never exercised extraction rights, who have never made use of the water beneficially or not. Nowhere is it stated that they are entitled to be given water where an area is declared a water control area and where the Minister apportions that water. Nowhere is that laid down. That having been the case over so many years, all people took it for granted that those who had riparian rights should of course also have extraction rights. We are respecting the feeling of those people in applying the Act.
Where do you get that right from? Is that Common law?
*I have now tried to speak in English but the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) does not follow me when I speak in English. I shall therefore speak Afrikaans to see whether he will follow me any better. This is a complicated Act and it is a far-reaching Act. The simple fact, as I have said, is that only riparian owners who exercised their rights and who irrigated certain land along streams in water controlled areas and who were dissatisfied with the apportionment of the Minister had the right to appeal to the court. They had proof to submit to the court; they could prove that they had irrigated so many morgen. They could say: “The Minister has given us less than we had or less than we require or less than we are entitled to.” But nowhere in the Act are the non-riparian owners allotted a quantity of water because Section 62 of the Act says that I must apportion the water as a water court would have done. We recognize servitudes, we recognize development. In other words, these are rights of abstraction which have been used. We now have the position that as a result of development which has taken place, of comparatively uncontrolled development which has taken place along the various streams and particularly along large streams, there are people who think that they have the right to use water at a certain place. In other words, they have used water unlawfully believing that they owned riparian land. Inter alia, farms were developed (not since 1956 but prior to that period) along the Blyde River and at Grovedale (approximately 100 at Grovedale)—I do not know whether the hon. member knows that area—where the owners considered that they were entitled to the normal flow of the stream. It is situated below a canal; the water is not pumped there. There are other areas where this has happened. This is development which has been undertaken in good faith. Just think of the disruption it would cause in the country if the legislation should be so applied that the livelihood of these people on which they are dependent should be taken away from them. There is therefore some justification for the fear at the back of people’s minds that, because he is including non-riparian land in a declared control area, the Minister is doing so because he wants to take water which belonged to riparian owners prior to 1956—who have, however, not yet developed their land—but which did not belong to them after 1956, and to give that water to people outside the riparian areas. But we do all this in accordance with a formula. It may interest hon. members to know that to implement this Water Act one must reach a reasonable and fair formula. The basic principles of the only formula which we have been able to find, the fairness of which no one has hitherto been able to dispute—I still say that if anyone can suggest a better formula I am prepared to accept it—are briefly as follows: All servitudes and all registered water rights are recognized. Once the normal flow of the river has been determined provision is first made for those rights. The normal flow of a river is difficult to determine. It is a vague term. It does not necessarily only include constant running water, on the surface or below, but it can also include part of the water which many people regard as surplus water. What we do is this: We take the average flow of a river. We determine its maximum flow and we also determine what is its weakest flow over a period of so many months in the year, and we then apportion the water in the river on such a basis as to give a guaranteed flow.
A guaranteed flow of 40 per cent or 50 per cent and that will be regarded as the normal flow. The lower the percentage of guaranteed flow the more you take from the surplus water. The higher the guarantee the less do you take from the surplus water and the more from the normal flow in the true sense of the word. That is the formula on which we work. You get the number of cusecs and you take the amount of irrigable land, (the developed lands get priority), and you give each enough water. In the case of undeveloped land we do not give the water to the land but we give it to the owner. That was Government policy as laid down by my predecessor, the first Minister of the Nationalist Party Government, Mr. Strijdom. Mr. Strijdom thought that it was in the interest of the future development of the country not to attach the extraction rights to certain land but to attach it to the owners of land, so that these valuable water resources would not fall into the hands of a few rich people, such as syndicates, or companies or whatever it may be. So it is a very complicated business, but in application of the Act, in all water control areas, I can give hon. members the assurance that we are giving all people a square deal. Those who have already developed are getting a better deal, especially those who have developed their irrigation projects fully. Those who have not developed any irrigation works but are riparian owners and have so much land that can be irrigated that it can at least develop to an economic unit (and an economic unit is determined not only by the Department of Water Affairs but by the Department of Water Affairs in conjunction with experts from the Department of Agricultural Technical Services so that the economic units differ from area to area, it depends on the productivity of the land and climatic conditions, what can be produced on that land etc.) are also getting their square deal. The water that cannot be utilized except by damming it up, conserving it and by building State projects or dams, is regarded as surplus water. Only after that water has been so conserved so that it can be utilized the Government is in a position really to give those riparian owners who have more irrigation potential than they have extraction rights for, some of that water. If they have developed to the full extent of their extraction rights from the normal flow, we give them temporary permits to extract if they can without damming it from the surplus water so as not to mar development in the country. I think. Mr. Chairman. that I have made the position clear as far as the riparian owners are concerned. Now I come to the other question, namely, why do I want to include non-riparian land within the control areas. It is not only because I want to give that non-riparian land water extraction rights but mostly to protect the interests of the riparian owners. [Laughter.] Hon. members may laugh. I will tell them what I mean; they should not be so impatient.
*I shall tell the House how. Look, every river has a catchment area. Hon. members will appreciate that it would be useless, for example, merely to declare the riparian land in a catchment area to be a controlled area. One needs the whole catchment area and there can be land far from the banks of the river on which people or companies have undertaken development; they may have built dams or stored flood water which might have a tremendous effect on that water control area or on the area on which the riparian owners are dependent. So that we can also say in those cases: “No, but you cannot do so, because it is not in the public interest”, it is necessary that this provision should be retained. Our country is still developing and people are becoming ever more aware of the value of utilizing water and it is necessary that in certain areas which supply a certain source of water we should prevent uncontrolled practices which might eventually be detrimental to these already developed areas, but always bearing in mind the interests of the person who is above or outside the riparian area but who may be within the catchment area. We must always bear in mind his right to public or private water flowing through his land. That is the reason. If we were not to have the right, for example, to include areas outside the riparian areas in water control areas, then the plea of the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) would fall on deaf ears and I should not be able to do anything for him because not all Native areas are riparian areas. Many of these Native areas which are, for example, responsible for the pollution of water are situated outside the riparian areas but they may be situated in a catchment area. This legislation gives me the power—and I have this power under the existing legislation—to declare those areas to be control areas when I consider that they may affect such an area. I can also declare areas in the Native trust areas to be control areas and then in co-operation with the Department of Bantu Administration and Development I can take certain steps and ensure that they come under this legislation so that we can ensure that it will not have a detrimental effect on the people within such an area. I can also tell the hon. member for East London (City) that as far as we possibly can, the tendency on the part of the State is not so much to buy up White land which is situated on the banks of a source of water and to give it to the non-Whites, but rather, if there is land which borders on the riparian areas or on State lands which belong to the Trust, when we can do so, for reasons I think the whole House will accept and in the interests of the non-Whites as well as the Whites, but without depriving them of their water rights, to move the area back and to have it occupied by Whites. But whenever land is taken from the non-Whites, we must ensure that we do not give them land of less value than that which they had. I think it is in the interests of the country and of all groups that we should be very careful in this respect and we shall do so wherever we can.
The hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) has drawn attention to the need to protect the catchments of the Buffalo River and its tributaries feeding the Maden, Rooikrantz and Laign Dams. I want to inform him that instructions have been given to the Superintending and Hydrological Divisions of the Department of Water Affairs to pay special attention to the Buffalo Catchment; to keep a watch for any activity in the catchment area which may have a detrimental effect on the run-off and to discuss with officers of the Department of Bantu Administration any proposals that may exist for converting European-owned land to Native tenure in the well-watered portions of the catchment. Instructions have also been given for regular hydrographic observations to be carried out at all strategic points. It is proposed to devote a paragraph to catchment control measures in future director’s annual reports. If circumstances make it necessary, consideration will be given to declare the Buffalo catchment a catchment control area in terms of the Water Act.
The hen. member has also drawn attention to the proposed establishment of the Township and the Master Development Plan for the Cape Eastern region and plan to house 120,000 Bantu, which he considers may constitute a threat to the water catchments of the region. He was also surprised that the Department of Water Affairs was not represented on the technical committee concerned with the planning. It is correct that the Department of Water Affairs was not represented on the Technical Committee. The department had not been invited to be so represented. The department is, however, represented on the Natural Resources Development Council and first learned of the existence of the technical committee at a meeting of a sub-committee of the Natural Resources Development Council, held on 18 November 1960. The Department of Bantu Administration and Development was also represented at that meeting. It appears that the Technical Committee of Engineers and Town Planners operates under the auspices of the Natural Resources Development Council and has planned the Border Region, in which it is proposed to set up 70 Bantu township areas of 12,000 inhabitants each. Drainage of water from the area is towards the Nahoon River.
The Department of Water Affairs will now seek direct representation on the Technical Committee, in view of the effect that these plans may have on the rivers of the region, and I am greatly indebted to the hon. member for East London (City) to have brought this matter to my attention. On the question of protection of river catchments in Bantu areas in general, I have given instructions to the Director of Water Affairs to hold discussions with the Secretary for Bantu Administration and Development, with a view to exploring ways and means whereby close collaboration and co-ordination between the two Departments can be achieved in these matters.
I am sure that the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) appreciates the statement which the hon. the Minister has just presented to the House in answer to certain fears which he had expressed. But one must regard the fears of the hon. member for Pietermaritzburg (District) (Capt. Henwood) as very real fears and I think that he is not only justified, but I think he has served the farmers and the riparian owners of this country very faithfully, in drawing the attention of this House to what I think is a dangerous interference with established rights in this country. It is quite clear, Mr. Chairman, that there must have been a purpose in amending this clause, because this clause has been amended by the introduction of the specific words “which may include non-riparian land”. In other words it is perfectly clear that although the hon. the Minister protests that he had the power under the existing Act, there was obviously some doubt as to whether those powers were sufficiently wide to enable him to interfere in any way with the rights of riparian owners and to make use of their waters on a much wider distribution than perhaps he was permitted to do. Mr. Chairman, it is well over 100 years that this doctrine of the rights of the riparian owner has become firmly established in the law of our country. The principle of dominus fluminis has almost been abrogated by disuse in this country and if the hon. the Minister would care to read a very interesting paper which was read by Professor J. C. de Wet, Professor of Law at the University of Stellenbosch, he would find that he makes this statement—
One would regard it almost as heresy to have a statement made by the hon. the Minister that the principle of dominus fluminis must now prevail in this country. It is a very bold step indeed for any department to take without providing some safeguards to which riparian owners are entitled because of what obviously has become a real right by usage, by custom and by application of the courts over the last 100 years or more. That is the reason why the hon. member is fully justified in warning the hon. the Minister and the House and the farmers of South Africa and the owners of riparian rights in this country of what they may face as a result of the introduction of this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, this particular principle has been upheld with the utmost care in this country. In fact these rights have been regarded as sacrosanct, and if he reads this article of the professor who has gone into the law very deeply and very carefully, he will realize how difficult it is to take away from people something which has become almost their heritage over the years. In fact I agree with the hon. the Minister that the Act of 1956 has gone quite a fair way in giving the state greater control over the use of water in public streams. But it is also clear that where any difficulties have arisen with regard to the loss of rights by riparian owners and these matters have come before the water courts, the water courts have been very careful to ensure that adequate compensation was paid in the event of any interference with the rights of riparian owners.
It is a question of control over catchment areas.
The question of control over catchment areas has only arisen since 1956.
That is why we protected the rights.
There is a great deal which I am sure the Minister would find of interest in this paper because it deals particularly with Section 59 which provides that the Governor-General may by proclamation declare an area defined in the proclamation to be a Government water control area. Then he says—
But he goes on to say that the courts will in the public interest watch the rights of riparian owners very carefully and ensure that adequate compensation is paid. Mr. Chairman, the very definition of the term “riparian owner” says that land belonging to riparian owners in relation to a public stream is “land held under original grant or deed of transfer or under certificate of title”. The reason for that definition is to entrench in the law the fact that the riparian owner has a certain definite right which he has acquired, which has a value and which he is entitled to regard as a real right and which should be very jealously protected, not only by himself but by the State as well, and the fact that the hon. the Minister now wants to go back over 100 years and say that under the principle of dominus fluminis he is entitled as the representative of the State to control all the water in the public interest is a very big jump, unless he is prepared at the same time to include in such an amendment some form of material protection …
I did so in Section 62.
No. I am not satisfied that that helps. There are further implications. The Advisory Committee does not protect the situation under Section 62. It is necessary to entrench the rights of the individual in law.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the clause now.
Sir, the hon. the Minister, as well as the hon. member for Soutpansberg (Mr. S. P. Botha) said that this clause was perfectly satisfactory to the riparian owners because there is an advisory board provided for in Section 62 of the Act which would give the riparian owner the necessary protection. My point is that there is no such protection. The Advisory Board is no protection. Protection entrenched in the statute is protection for the riparian owner, and that is what the hon. the Minister should do. It is all very well to give us a considerable volume of words and tell us the whole story about the use of normal and surplus water and the erection of dams, but I would like to challenge the hon. the Minister to satisfy the country that those who owned these rights and have had them entrenched over such a long period of time will receive full and adequate compensation from the state for whatever they lose. [Time limit.]
The fear of hon. members opposite regarding this clause is quite unfounded and I think the arguments which they have put forward are unfounded as well. Throughout his speech the hon. member who has just sat down discussed the rights of riparian owners, but this particular provision which he was discussing has absolutely nothing to do with riparian owners. I should like to explain the position very briefly to hon. members. We are in Committee and we should really confine our discussions to the clause before us. The amendment proposed here is a substitution of the present Section 59 (1) (b). Section 59 (1) (b) says—
I am only dealing with that portion of the section concerned, and if hon. members will read this portion, they will see which areas are defined as being areas which the Governor-General can declare a Government water control area. Is there anything in that provision protecting the rights of the riparian owner?
Then why are the other words being inserted?
That has absolutely nothing to do with the riparian owners. The Governor-General can lay down which areas should in the public interest be declared Government water control areas. This provision merely deals with that area. i.e. only the area which the Governor-General can declare a Government water control area, and has absolutely nothing to do with the rights of owners.
We then come to the second portion. In terms of the first portion only, the Governor-General can declare such an area to be a Government water control area and after all no limitation has been introduced to the effect that non-riparian land cannot be included. In other words, on the basis of that first portion of the section which I have read out, such an area can include riparian as well as non-riparian land. Hon. members are now raising strong objections to that portion of the clause which reads “entitled to use that water”. In other words, because the second portion of the existing section refers to people who are entitled to the use of the water, they are now raising objections and are interpreting the provision to mean that the existing section merely provides for the inclusion of riparian land in such an area. That is not the position. Hon. members know after all that that is not so.
Who has the right to use the water?
These words “entitled to use that water” relate to the second paragraph of the particular provision, but on the basis of the first portion which I have read out, on that basis only the Governor-General can declare such an area without taking into account at all the latter portion which relates to the claim on the water. That is to say, as the position stands to-day it is indisputably clear that a Government water control area can include riparian land as well as non-riparian land, and that is what hon. members are opposing, namely that non-riparian land can be included. They say that such land should not be included in a Government water control area, because if such land were to be included it would infringe the rights of private owners. I think that I have proved more than adequately during the discussion of this Bill that I should like to safeguard and assure the rights of private individuals and that I should like to ensure that they are protected as far as it is possible, bearing in mind the public interest. But in this case there is no infringement whatsoever on the rights of the private individual.
I want to deal with the words which have been put in brackets in this Clause 10, in respect of which I ask the hon. the Minister for an explanation. The material difference between the new clause (1) (b) and the section which is being deleted is to be found in the inclusion of those words “which may include non-riparian land
There is no material difference whatsoever.
The hon member will have an opportunity to make his speech. I asked the hon. the Minister to give us a statement, which he kindly did, and I listened to it with great attention. Now I want to deal with it from the point of view of the hon. the Minister’s statement. He said that the inclusion of these words was necessary for two or three reasons. I hope I am not misstating what the hon. the Minister said, but the main reason really was that in respect of land which was in the catchment area of the river, protection should be afforded, and here it overlapped with the explanation he gave to the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) in regard to the protection of those catchment areas. The hon. the Minister said then in regard to the land which was non-riparian but which was in the catchment area, that it was necessary to protect such area and that was probably the main reason why it was necessary to take this power. I want to point out that Section 59 of the Act has got three separate sub-sections and sub-section (1) (b) is the part we are dealing with. Subsection (2) of Section 59 deals with the protection of the catchment areas. The very point which the hon. the Minister says is the reason for the insertion of this language into the clause, is already catered for because he can protect it under sub-section (2) of Section 59, where the Governor-General by proclamation in the Gazette can—
The next sub-section (3) deals with a flood control area. So the whole main basis of the hon. Minister’s reason for the protection of water by the insertion of these words falls away because provision has already been made in sub-section (2) of Section 59. His argument is groundless. This is the puzzle as far as we are concerned. Let us leave alone for a moment all discussion about the rights of landowners who are riparian; we cannot discuss that because in any case we have not got to Clause 12 where that is going to be discussed. So we can leave all that aside, and we merely come to the essential difference between the section that is being taken out of the Act, is being repealed or withdrawn, and the new section which is to be substituted and on the Minister‘s own showing he has already got the protection that he wants for that land in the catchment area in that precise section. That being so, if we look at the catchment area then from the point of view of the Minister’s explanation in regard to the scheduled Native areas (and I was very glad to hear the explanation of the hon. the Minister in regard to the cooperation between the two departments) the crux of the matter is that in that catchment area which falls within the scheduled Native area, that scheduled Native area is riparian to that river. The Department of Native Affairs may not be able to use that land for irrigation purposes, and it may be entirely unsuitable, it may be covered with bush, may be mountainous country, etc., but the Native people in that area are entitled to some compensation. There can be no doubt whatever about that. But then again they are not helped by this particular provision. It is not necessary to help them. This particular provision, as the hon. member for Ceres (Mr. Muller) said is in the clause which is dealing with one thing and one thing only and that is the conditions attaching to an area of ground which the Minister through the Governor-General can have proclaimed as a water control area. Therefore I submit the insertion of those words is completely unjustified on the Minister’s own showing. I appeal to him to withdraw those words. Why create unnecessary suspicion and make unnecessary difficulties, when on his own showing the powers that he wants to control a catchment area, is already there under sub-section (2) of Section 59 of the Act?
By way of reply, I want to put this question to the hon. member for Natal (South Coast) (Mr. Mitchell). Take the case of a riparian owner who has no suitable irrigable land within a certain space limit, say for instance an altitude of 150 ft. above the level of the river and say for instance one mile away from the river itself, which is ordinarily taken as the furthest economic distance at which you can irrigate from a water resource.
Yes. So to apply the Act correctly and realistically and in a practical way, that is taken as the boundary within a water control area, as being the strip of land in which the riparian ownership can be applied. Say for instance he has a strip of land there but he has no irrigation possibility or potential worthwhile. He may have third-grade land or very poor irrigable land, but beyond that border which is now being laid down as the border for riparian ownership he has first-class land. Then because I do not include that strip of land outside that area, does the hon. member now think that he can be permitted as a result of these powers to irrigate there? He is a riparian owner but he has much better land outside that area. Does the hon. member think that I can give him a permit for extraction and irrigation of land outside that area? That is one reason, because so many private individual farmers are to-day already utilizing the productivity of land outside and beyond those borders, and you must have a limit. You cannot say that the sky is the limit when you declare an area or where you determine riparian and extraction rights. There must be a certain limit. That is one of the reasons why I must have these powers. Secondly, as I have mentioned already, people not knowing that they went outside the borders of riparian ownership have over the years, and may be generations, developed and cultivated land and extracted water from the river. Does the hon. member now want to undo that development? And if the state had not been given the powers under the 1956 Act and this clause were only inserted and those words, “including non-riparian land” were included, then that development if it existed in a water control area would have been nullified. That would be detrimental not only to the interest of the people concerned, but to the country as a whole. Now I cannot for the life of me see why hon. members do think that I want more powers. My objection to the 1956 Act is that I and my Department, and through me the State, were given too wide powers to my liking. I wish we had been given less rights.
Why then are you taking more rights now?
I am not taking more. If the hon. member wants to differ from me on that point, let us differ and still remain friends, but I am not taking more rights. I am entrenching rights especially in respect of that group of riparian owners to which I have referred, namely those who have not used their riparian rights, who have not developed yet. I am giving them rights now they never had under the 1956 Act. If I want to get more rights for myself why should I do such a foolish thing on the other hand? That is all I can say to the hon. member.
The hon. Minister asked me a question, and surely as he poses the question, the answer presents itself. I hope the hon. the Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand the problem which he posed it was this: There is a farmer who is riparian to a river but he has got poor land adjacent to the river and a mile away he has fertile land. For the purpose of the proclamation the water control area boundary cuts through the property of the man, the farm of that man and it brings within the boundary of the water control area the poor land which is hardly worth irrigating and it excises and leaves outside the boundary of the water control area the rich piece of land which would well pay under irrigation. Now the hon. the Minister says: What would you do in a case like that? But surely the answer is obvious, namely that you do not put the boundary of the water control area through the man’s farm. If he is riparian (that is how the Minister starts) then the rich land and the poor land alike fall within the boundaries of the water control area, and then there is no need for this clause.
What is the definition of a “riparian owner”?
I cannot pursue that too far, but let me put it this way: As this insertion here says it may include non-riparian land. That means that it is owned by a man in respect of whom that land is not part of the riparian land. In other words, that piece of land, or farm, or farms farmed as one holding is not furnished with water from that public stream by reason of the fact that it is touching its boundary and he thereby acquires riparian rights, but that fertile land is excised from it. But this is an artificial excision by the Minister who, when he proclaims the water control area puts that land which is riparian land but not within the water control area, beyond reach of the water. It is not land within the water controlled area, it is outside of that by virtue of the proclamation, but it is nevertheless still riparian land, because the one man owns that farm with the rich land outside of the water control area and the poor piece inside the proclaimed area. There is no difficulty about it as far as I can see, it is merely a matter of where you are going to draw the line. The answer surely must be that you draw the line to include all those farms that are riparian. When you move outside of that you obviously move into difficulties of the kind that the hon. the Minister has foreseen. But those are artificial difficulties, why create them? If the hon. the Minister wants to keep this in then let him add after the words “which may include non-riparian land” the words “owned by a riparian owner within the water control area”. Let him say that the non-riparian land is owned by a riparian owner in the area, and then I am with him. But as it stands to-day he can go to an owner who is not riparian and who has not riparian land at all in that water control area. That is where the danger lies. That water can go to someone who is not riparian and has no riparian lands in that water control area. He is completely divorced from it and has no interest in it whatever. Then arises the case as put forward by the hon. member for Pietermaritzberg (District) (Capt. Henwood).
If he had developed his land and irrigated it, it would be well and good. But the rights of people who have utilized their extraction rights from the river and developed irrigation will not be forfeited. Nobody wants to take those away and they will not be taken away. We do respect all of those rights.
I am sorry Mr. Chairman, but that has nothing at all to do with this clause.
Well then, let us vote on it and get it over with.
The question of whether the owner of the riparian rights has developed them or not is dealt with in Clause 12, which we will come to later. That has nothing to do with this clause. This is simply a clause which says that the Minister can determine and recommend to the President, who will, by proclamation, proclaim an area to be a water control area. And when he is applying his mind to the boundaries of the water control area for the purpose of the proclamation, he must take certain things into account. And when he applies his mind to this matter he can include non-riparian land. But the hon. the Minister has not justified that. He has given two reasons, neither of which are justified.
One reason was the protection of the catchment areas, but that has already been provided for in a subsequent clause. The question of putting the boundary of a water control area through a man’s farm stands, I think, self-condemned. He should not do it. If that farm is riparian then the whole of that farm should be brought within the water control area, and land which is fertile, which is less fertile and even arid should all fall within their proper place in that boundary. And what land is developed or not developed will be dealt with in Clause 12. We think it is wrong in principle to include non-riparian land.
Upon which the Committee divided:
Ayes—71: Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, B.; de Villiers, J. D.; de Wet, C.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Froneman, G. F. van L.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, W. C.; Martins, H. E.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, D. J.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Smit, H. H.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, J. H.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Visse, J. H.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A.; Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. von S. von Moltke.
Noes—34: Basson, J. A. L.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Fisher, E. L.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Horak, J. L.; Lewis, H.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and T. G. Hughes.
Motion accordingly agreed to.
Clause 10 put and the Committee divided:
Ayes—71: Bekker, G. F. H.; Bekker, H. T. van G.; Bootha, L. J. C.; Botha, M. C.; Botha, P. W.; Botha, S. P.; Coertze, L. I.; Coetzee, B.; de Villiers, J. D.; de Wet, C.; Dönges, T. E.; du Pisanie, J.; du Plessis, H. R. H.; du Plessis, P. W.; Erasmus, F. C.; Froneman, G. F. van L.; Grobler, M. S. F.; Haak, J. F. W.; Hertzog, A.; Heystek, J.; Jonker, A. H.; Jurgens, J. C.; Keyter, H. C. A.; Knobel, G. J.; Kotze, G. P.; Kotzé, S. F.; Labuschagne, J. S.; le Roux, P. M. K.; Luttig, H. G.; Malan, W. C.; Martins, H. E.; Mostert, D. J. J.; Mulder, C. P.; Muller, S. L.; Nel, J. A. F.; Niemand, F. J.; Otto, J. C.; Pelser, P. C.; Potgieter, D. J.; Potgieter, J. E.; Rall, J. J.; Rall, J. W.; Sadie, N. C. van R.; Sauer, P. O.; Schlebusch, J. A.; Schoeman, J. C. B.; Smit, H. H.; Stander, A. H.; Steyn, J. H.; Treurnicht, N. F.; Uys, D. C. H.; van den Berg, G. P.; van den Berg, M. J.; van der Ahee, H. H.; van der Merwe, J. A.; van der Walt, B. J.; van der Wath, J. G. H.; van Niekerk, G. L. H.; van Nierop, P. J.; van Rensburg, M. C. G. J.; van Staden, J. W.; van Wyk, G. H.; van Wyk, H. J.; Venter, W. L. D. M.; Verwoerd, H. F.; Visse, J. H.; Vosloo, A. H.; Webster, A. Wentzel, J. J.
Tellers: W. H. Faurie and J. von S. von Moltke.
Noes—34: Basson, J. A. L.; Bowker, T. B.; Bronkhorst, H. J.; Butcher, R. R.; Cope, J. P.; Cronje, F. J. C.; de Kock, H. C.; Dodds, P. R.; Fisher, E. L.; Frielinghaus, H. O.; Gay, L. C.; Henwood, B. H.; Higgerty, J. W.; Horak, J. L.; Lewis, H.; Malan, E. G.; Miller, H.; Mitchell, D. E.; Moore, P. A.; Oldfield, G. N.; Radford, A.; Raw, W. V.; Ross, D. G.; Shearer, O. L.; Smit, D. L.; Steytler, J. van A.; Streicher, D. M.; Suzman, H.; van Ryneveld, C. B.; Warren, C. M.; Waterson, S. F.; Williams, T. O.
Tellers: N. G. Eaton and T. G. Hughes.
Clause accordingly agreed to.
On Clause 11,
In line 26, to omit “and and to insert the following new paragraph to follow paragraph (a):
(b) by the insertion after sub-section (4) of the following sub-section:
“(4)bis (a) Interest at a rate determined from time to time by the Minister in consultation with the Minister of Finance shall, subject to the provisions of paragraphs (b) and (c), be paid on any outstanding amount payable by way of compensation in terms of this section.
(b) The said interest shall be paid together with the amount of compensation and shall be payable in respect of the period from the date on which the department entered upon and took possession of or commenced to use the land, water work, substance or material in question or commenced to exercise the right in question to the date of payment thereof.
(c) Where the owner of land which has been entered upon and taken possession of is permitted to occupy that land or any portion thereof no interest shall be payable on so much of the outstanding amount as is in the opinion of the Minister outstanding in respect of the land occupied by that owner”; and.
I want to appeal to the hon. the Minister to withdraw this clause. It is quite unnecessary, it is not in the interests of irrigation or water affairs and it should be withdrawn. In this clause the hon. the Minister seeks to appropriate certain rights which are at the moment invested in the Provincial Councils.
In terms of Clause 11 the Minister has the rights to expropriate roadways to irrigation works, in the interest of its construction and maintenance. And now, by this simple amendment, the Minister has included the right to proclaim such roadways as public roads. In the explanatory memorandum the hon. the Minister says that the purpose of this is to allow people to go fishing, picnicking and other forms of recreation by virtue of the fact that the public pays part of the costs of these water works. I submit that that is a silly argument. After all, the public pays for the cars that the hon. the Minister uses, the residence the Minister has is partly maintained by public funds and so we could go on. That is really no argument at all. This is a Bill that should be designed in the interests of water affairs and the development of irrigation. It is quite wrong for the hon. the Minister to come along now and appropriate these powers which are vested in the Provincial Councils as regards the declaration of public roads.
The hon. the Minister is himself a farmer and he knows what it means to have a public road passing through a property or a camp where roads have never been before. I maintain that the compensation that a farmer will be entitled to as a result of this expropriation is not at all in conformity with the rest of the provisions of this particular Bill. This clause lays down the compensation to which a farmer would be entitled under the original Act, but now the Minister wants to declare a right of way as a public road. That could alter the entire value of that particular property. That is absolutely wrong in principle. If the Minister has the right of way to a dam, which his staff are entitled to use for the construction or maintenance of that dam, and if it is afterwards felt by the public that that should be a public road, they have their remedy through the Provincial Councils who, in turn, can define by Ordinance what a public road is, what the standard should be and what distance on each side of the road is public property in terms of the standard of that particular road. If the Minister wanted to declare a road as a public road he himself could apply to the Provincial Council to take the necessary steps to have it declared a public road. But it is unreasonable for the hon. the Minister to introduce a clause of this nature; it is autocratic, unfair and unjust and, what is more, it is more than I can understand.
I appeal to the hon. the Minister to withdraw this clause. This amendment has nothing at all to do with the interests of irrigation or water affairs. The Minister should not encroach on the rights of Provincial Councils. If public roads are to be created on any particular scheme designed by the Minister, he should do it through the authority provided in our Constitution for this particular work.
As far as this clause is concerned, the hon. member is making a mistake, because the clause has two paragraphs, namely (a) and (b). Allow me in the first instance to say a few words about (b). Here the Minister is asking for the right to allow people with his written permission to visit certain areas for the purpose of exercising certain water rights. We know what difficulty has been caused by the fact that the Minister does not have this right. I think it is essential. All I want to ask the hon. the Minister in this regard is that the person whom he gives written authority to visit areas, should do so after notice has been given to the owner. We should like to know whether he cannot just insert these words, viz.: “after notice to the owner”. I think that to a large extent that will meet the difficulty. But the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker) is making a great mistake. Those of us particularly who serve on the Select Committee on State-owned land know how difficult it is for the Department to obtain access, and I think it is necessary that the Minister should be given this power and that when land is bought compensation should be paid. The hon. member has also discussed paragraph (a). I can understand that there are certain essential points which have a great influence on the establishment of water works and that there are certain areas where the Minister probably requires these powers. But I think that he should apply these powers very carefully. It can cause unpleasantness and difficulties when it becomes an access road for the public. I want to ask whether this is essential and necessary for the sound functioning of the legislation as it now stands.
I want to support the hon. member for Albany (Mr. Bowker). The right of the hon. the Minister to provide a right of way and to make a road for the purpose of constructing Government water works is already enshrined in the Act. That question does not arise. The Minister’s power to get to the site of the water works under construction is already provided for. What we are now dealing with here is a new development altogether. The White Paper shows the reason for this insertion to be that the public shall have right of access to water conservation works for the purpose of picnicking, recreation and so forth.
I want to go a little bit further than the hon. member for Albany. Under the Provincial Ordinances which obtain in the various provinces, provision is made for the taking of land for public roads. Compensation is payable in terms of those Ordinances, and people who lose their land where it is taken for public road purposes, are paid out on the same basis. There is equality of treatment. But here that is not the case. The hon. the Minister may take land for a public road in terms of this clause and, quite close by there may be a public road which has been acquired in terms of a Provincial Ordinance for which the compensation paid is totally different. I go further. This Bill makes no provision whatever for fencing or for limitation. It does not say how wide the road is going to be. It simply says that the Minister can take land for a public road. It does not say how wide that has to be, it does not say there are to be any fences.
The White Paper on this subject says that the purpose is to allow the public to picnic on the banks of the dams or the water works, but who is going to control that? That is another Provincial function and that has nothing whatever to do with Parliament as we sit now. We can usurp that authority, but as the law stands to-day that is a matter entirely for the Provinces to deal with. Where the question of public health arises, if we are going to have large numbers of visitors flocking to the edges of a dam to picnic, who is going to control the public health aspect? The Minister has no power there. He has the power to make a road. He can take the public to the dam and leave them there, and from there on it falls to the Provinces to look after them. They have the necessary inspectors and the officials to deal with the question of conveniences and so forth, but the hon. the Minister has no such facilities or powers.
The hon. member for Albany is quite right when he says that this issue is entirely foreign to the parent Act. It is not a part of the fabric of this Act, it has nothing in common with it. It has nothing to do with water conservation. This is a matter of picnic spots and recreation for the public. The reason given in the White Paper for this step is that there is a certain group of farmers who have said they are not going to allow the public free right of way over their farms to go to some or other dam. All I can say is that in ordinary circumstances that alone should have been a reason for making this a hybrid Bill. Those people should have been given the right to come before a Select Committee and state why they have reacted in that manner. They would not have taken up that attitude unless they had good reason for so doing. And I for one entirely agree with them. I have the strongest objection to the public ranging all over my farm. If the Water Affairs Department is serious in stating that they believe that is an attitude which is to be deprecated and that farmers ought to allow the public to traipse all over their farms to go to Government erected water works, then I say that is a most extraordinary state of affairs. The inclusion in this Bill of this clause is not only foreign to the nature of the Bill itself but it is a principle to be completely condemned. It is utterly wrong. I think the results that can flow from this may well be a public scandal. I do not know why the hon. the Minister has allowed himself to be drawn into dealing with a matter of this kind.
In regard to the second portion of the clause referred to by the hon. member for Christiana (Mr. Wentzel), I want to say that I dealt with this matter at the second reading. I do hope that the hon. the Minister is going to give notice to farmers before he sends his officials in, in the same way as he does when they go to measure or survey a water works site. When a road is to be surveyed under sub-clause (a), does the hon. the Minister simply allow his secretary to give a note of hand to an official and let him proceed forthwith to go on to that farm? The hon. the Minister must know the sort of trouble that is going to create. In matters of this kind the Government must co-operate with the farming community, particularly those farmers who have their farms round the area where the dam is to be constructed. There is always a certain amount of difficulty that arises. In any event, surely common courtesy demands that the farmers be given notice that men are going to be sent to survey the road or to see where stone can be obtained or any other related matter? I think the hon. the Minister has allowed himself to be over-persuaded and I appeal to him to drop this clause. It does not belong here and it will do nothing but create a great deal of trouble and discord.
Mr. Chairman, I want to deal briefly with the further amendment moved by the hon. the Minister, which was designed to meet a point raised in the second reading debate. We are grateful to the hon. the Minister for introducing this amendment to Clause 11. However, there is one small point I would like to make. Sub-paragraph (c) of the proposed (4)bis, reads as follows—
the Minister may decree that a certain portion of the outstanding interest shall not be paid. May I ask the hon. the Minister to insert the words “and agrees” after the words “is submitted”.
The point is this: If a person has notice of expropriation served upon him, the Department thereafter comes on to the land but may be prepared to let him use portion of that land. The proposal of the Minister is that in relation to the portion of the land which he is permitted to use he shall not be paid interest between the date of expropriation and the date of compensation.
That is for all the land.
It may be all the land. If a farmer has been served with notice of expropriation which is to take effect within a short time, he may choose to leave that land and to develop other land.
Not necessarily. He may choose to leave that area in order to develop some other land. Here, if the hon. the Minister permits him to occupy that land and he does not wish to do so, the Minister has the right to refuse him interest.
It is where he wishes to stay on the land and makes application so to do.
But I am taking the case where he is served with notice of expropriation and he knows that sooner or later he has to get off the land and wants to pull out at once. Nevertheless, for the time being, while the Department is working on only portion of the land, the Minister is prepared to let him occupy the rest. The Minister is taking the power to say that because he is occupying portion of the land he shall not get interest on the amount of compensation in respect of that portion. I agree that that is fair if he is actually occupying. But take the case where it is impossible for him to go on occupying the land; he has had notice that the land is going to be taken away from him and he wants to devote his energies to other land; he wants to pull out altogether. He therefore does not agree to go on occupying the portion of land that the Department is prepared to let him occupy. In that case, surely, his interest should not be taken from him. That is the point I wish to make. If there is agreement to go on occupying the whole or portion of it then, by all means, the Minister need not pay interest on the compensation which is outstanding. But if the farmer finds it is impossible for him to use the land, even though the Department is prepared to let him use it for a period, I do not think he should lose his interest.
He cannot occupy the land after having been offered a sum of money for its expropriation, unless he applies to the Department for occupation for the time being.
That is certainly not made clear by this proposed sub-paragraph (c).
It is up to him, he cannot be forced to occupy the land.
Why do you not get up and make a full speech?
Radio South Africa! [Interjections.]
It is quite true that he cannot be forced to occupy, but the Department may offer it to him. I wish to move this amendment to the hon. the Minister’s amendment—
I want to put this to the hon. the Minister quite clearly: The terms of (c) really mean that if the Department offers the farmer the opportunity of continuing to occupy the land then the Minister has the right to deny him interest on the amount of compensation which is outstanding whether or not the farmer is able or wants to occupy that land. I want to make sure that he shall only be denied the interest if he agrees to occupy the land. If the Minister is quite satisfied that that cannot arise then he would be justified in refusing this amendment.
At 10.25 p.m. the Chairman stated that, in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (1), he would report progress and ask leave to sit again.
Progress reported and leave asked to sit again.
The House adjourned at