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UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA.
The figure 2,336 appearing in paragraphs 126 and 154
(a) (2) should be changed to 3,336.
Commission of Inquiry
into European Occupancy
of the Rural
THE GOVERNMENT PRINTER, PRETORIA.
3 1262 07020 3616
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
TERMS OF REFERENCE..................................... v
PREFACE................... .............................................. vi
PART I: BACKGROUND.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF WHITE LANDOWNERSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA.... 1
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LANDOWNERSHIP IN OUR NATIONAL LIFE....... 2
THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE...................................... 3
(1) C ULTURAL........................................ .............. .. ......... 3
(2) SOCIAL.................................. ..................... ........... 4
Differences between countryman and townsman............................. 4
(3) ECONOMIC..................................... ... ........... ............ 5
Development of agriculture.................. ............................. 5
Improved financial position of agriculture..... . ................ . 7
Investment in agriculture................................. ............ 7
Labour in agriculture...................... ... .............. ......... 7
Agriculture as supplier of food for the population ........................ ... 7
Agriculture as supplier of raw materials for the secondary industries........... 7
Agriculture as consumer of raw materials and services ....................... 8
Agriculture's role in export . ............ ............................... 8
(4) SUM M ARY .................................................. ............. 8
PART If: RURAL OCCUPANCY.
THE RACIAL PATTERN........... ....................................... 9
INTRODUCTION ...... ............. .. ... ............................ ........... 9
W HITE POPULATION TRENDS IN RURAL AREAS.................................... 9
Definition of the Platteland (rural areas) ............................... 10
The growth of the rural W hite population ................................. 10
Geographical distribution............................................ 11
THE COUNTRY POPULATION............ ....................................... 11
DEMOGRAPHIC FEATURES OF THE PLATTELAND......................... 12
(a) AGE AND SEX COMPOSITION................................................ 12
(b) M ARITAL STATE............................................. .. ............ .. 13
(c) D EATH RATE................................................ ............ 13
(d) FERTILITY................................................................. 13
EMIGRATION TO THE URBAN AREAS........................ 14
Grouping according to language......................... ..................... 15
ACTIVITIES OF THE RURAL POPULATION .................................. 16
The farming population............ .................................... 16
POSSIBLE FUTURE POPULATION TRENDS........... ...................... 17
POPULATION TRENDS IN OVERSEAS COUNTRIES ................................... 17
FUTURE POSSIBILITIES IN SOUTH AFRICA ....................................... 17
(a) W hites in the rural areas .............................................. 17
(b) N on-W hites.......................................................... 18
THE INCREASING PREPONDERANCE OF BANTU ON THE PLATTELAND. ................ 18
ALLEGED REASONS FOR RURAL DEPOPULATION................. ........ 20
Physical causes................................................. ........ 20
Personal factors................. ............................ ........ 20
Social causes.................. . ..... ....... ................ ........ 21
Agricultural factors .......................................................... 21
Economic factors.......... ................. ................ ........... 21
Educational reasons .......................................................... 22
Population factors........................................ .. ........... 22
The labour question ............................................ ......... 22
The Non-W hite problem ............................. ........ ........ 22
W ars....................... ........... .......... ...... 22
PART III: LAND TENURE.
CHANGES IN THE SIZE OF FARMS......................................... 23
THE DIMINUTION OF FARMS .............................................. ... 23
EXPANSION OF FARMS................................................ 2d
RESULTS OF CHANGES IN FARM SIZES................................... 25
CONSEQUENCES OF THE DIMINUTION OF FARMS .................................. 26
(1) Economic consequences .................. ............................. 26
(2) Agricultural consequences............................................. 26
(3) Social consequences.............................................. ..... 27
CONSEQUENCES OF THE EXPANSION OF FARMS......... ... ................... 27
(1) Economic consequences.................. ......................... ... 27
(2) Agricultural consequences .................. ........................... 28
(3) Social consequences ...................... ....................... 28
SUMMARY ........................................................... ..... 29
PART IV: THE SETTLING OF FARMERS.
FARMS IN THE AGRO-ECONOMIC AREAS.................................. 30
DEFINITION OF TERMS ....................... .......................... 30
FARM SIZES IN THE AGRO-ECONOMIC AREAS ................. ............. .... 30
Principal Area 1.-The Irrigation Area.......... .................. .... 30
Principal Area 2.-The Inland Plateau Dryland Area....................... 31
Principal Area 3.-The Transition Farming Areas .......................... 31
Principal Area 4.-Mountain Grazing Area.............................. 31
Principal Area 5.-Diversified Farming Areas East of the Mountain Range .... 31
Principal Area 6.-Thornveld Area .......... . ........................ 32
Principal Area 7.- Coastal Area................. .... ................ 32
Principal Area 8.-Crop-area of the Winter-rainfall Belt..................... 32
Principal Area 9.-Cattle Grazing Areas.................................... 33
Principal Area 10.-Sheep Grazing Area............ .... .................. 33
Principal Area 11.-Fruit Area....................................... 34
SUMMARY.................. .................. ...................... 34
THE EXISTING FARMING POPULATION................................... 35
CLASSIFICATION .......................................................... ... 35
AGE DISTRIBUTION ........................................................... 35
POSSIBILITIES OF INCREASING FARMING UNITS.......................... 36
(1) Increase of total area...................................................... 36
(2) Extension of area under dryland cultivation...................... ......... 36
(3) Extension of irrigation . . ............... ............................... 36
(4) Subdivision of large units .................. .............................. 37
(5) Technological development............. .. ............... ........ .. 37
NEW ENTRANTS INTO THE FARMING PROFESSION........................ 37
ANNUAL NUMBER OF ENTRANTS.................................. ............... 37
SONS AS SUCCESSORS TO FARMERS............................................. 37
PERSONS ENTERING AGRICULTURE AS NON-LANDOWNERS........................... 38
CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS IN FARMING.................................... 38
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM PARENTS................................... 39
Dangers of the bequest system..... ................. .................... 40
SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE TO THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY......... 40
(1) PROVISION OF LAND ......................................................... 41
(a) Irrigation settlem ents................ ............. ............... 41
The idea of rehabilitation........ ........... ................... 41
(b) Purchase of farms...................... ......................... 42
(2) PROVISION OF CREDIT....................... ........................... 43
Needs and shortcomings in regard to agricultural credit.................... 43
(3) A SSISTANCE SCHEMES ...................................................... 44
(4) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS ........................................ 44
Research services ................. .................................... 44
Extension services ................ ..................................... 44
The publicity services ................. ................................ 45
Home economics services ......... ... ............................ 45
Agricultural training ................................ ............. 45
Inspection and control services . . ........... ........................... 45
Econom ic services ................. .................................... 45
SELECTION OF PROSPECTIVE FARMERS.................................... 46
PART V: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
DEPOPULATION OF THE PLATTELAND..................................... 47
CONCLUSIONS......................................... ...................... 47
Extent of depopulation.............. ........................ . 47
Advantages and disadvantages of depopulation ..... ...................... 47
Causes of depopulation.................. ........................... 48
(1) Econom ic............ .............. ............ ......... .. 48
(2) Agricultural.................... . .......................... 49
(3) Social.............. .................................... 49
The future racial pattern ... . . . . . . ................... 50
RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................... 50
EXPANSION AND DIMINUTION OF FARMS.............................. 51
C ONCLUSIONS................................................................ 51
(1) The dim inution of farm s ............................................... 51
Extent .............. ........................... ........... 51
Causes of diminution .................. ............................ 52
Consequences of diminution ................ ........................ 52
(i) Economic ................... ........................ 52
(ii) Agricultural................. ........................ 53
(iii) Social....... ................ ....................... 53
(2) The expansion of farms............. ............................. 53
Extent ...... ........................ ......... ........... 53
Causes.................. ... .............................. 53
Consequences of expansion ................ ......................... 53
(i) Economic......................... ............. ........... 53
(ii) Agricultural ............................................... 54
(iii) Social....................................... ............. ... 54
(3) Similarity in consequences of expansion and diminution of farms ........... 54
RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................................... 54
(1) Diminution ................. ... ............................ 54
(2) Expansion........ .......... .................................. 55
CHAPTER 22. Page.
THE SETTLING OF WHITES ON THE PLATTELAND.... .......... ........ 55
CONCLUSIONS.............. .............................................. 55
(a) Share-croppers and share-workers..... . . . . ........... . . 55
(b) Farm foremen.................... ................... ....... 55
(c) Farm m anagers............ ............... .............. ....... 56
(d) L essees................. ............................... ..... ...... 56
(e) Independent farmers ................. ........................ ....... 56
RECOMMENDATIONS................................................... ........... 57
(1) Share-croppers, lessees and foremen .................................... 57
(2) Farm managers............ ............................... ...... 57
(3) Independent farmers ...................... ...................... 57
(a) Selection....................... ......................... 57
(b) The Land Settlement system ............ ......................... 57
(c) Credit system ........................ ........... .......... 57
(d) Agricultural training ............... ....................... 57
(e) Technical services................... ...................... 58
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS..................... 58
Sum m ary............. ............................................. ....... 58
Conclusion................. .............................. ........ 59
Acknowledgm ents ........................................................... 59
ANNEXURE A................. ............................. ........ 60
ANNEXURE B ...................................................... ........ 60
ANNEXURE C ..................................................... ...... .. 61
ANNEXURE D........................................................... 62
AN N EXU RE E ..... ..................................................... 62
ANNEXURE F ................................................... .......... 63
BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE HONOURABLE ERNEST GEORGE JANSEN, DOCTOR OF
LAWS, GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA.
DR. FRANCOIS JACOBUS Du TOIT,
DR. JAN HENDRIK MOOLMAN,
WILLEM HENDRIK NEETHLING, ESQ.,
DR. PETER WILLEM VORSTER,
JACOBUS JOHANNES VAN DEN BERG, ESQ.,
NICOLAAS JOHAN JANSE VAN RENSBURG, ESQ., AND
DR. CORNELIS CHRISTIAN NEPGEN.
WHEREAS I deem it expedient to appoint a Commission to inquire into, report upon and make
recommendations concerning the matter hereinafter mentioned;
Now, therefore, reposing great trust and confidence in your knowledge and ability, I hereby
authorise and appoint, and I do hereby make known that I appoint you-
Francois Jacobus du Toit, as chairman,
Jan Hendrik Moolman,
Willem Hendrik Neethling,
Pieter Willem Vorster,
Jacobus Johannes van den Berg,
Nicolaas Johan Janse van Rensburg, and
Cornelis Christian Nepgen,
to be members of the said Commission to inquire into and report upon European occupancy of the
rural areas, with special reference to-
(1) the causes of the depopulation of certain rural parts;
(2) the extent to which farms, as farming units, become larger or smaller, and the
economic, social and agricultural consequences of such increase or decrease in size;
(3) the prospects for young farmers of acquiring land for agricultural purposes on an
economic basis, orof being absorbed in agriculture as share croppers, share workers,
farm managers and farm foremen;
and to make recommendations as to how and where conditions can be improved and, if deemed
advisable, the manner in which the occupation of rural areas by more Europeans can be effected;
And I hereby direct that you do, as soon as can conveniently be done, report to me the results
of your inquiries, and any recommendations you may wish to make, and that you are free to report to
me, from time to time, on your various activities as and when they are partly or wholly completed;
And I further direct that this Commission shall continue in force until you have finally reported
upon the matters aforesaid, or otherwise until this Commission shall by me be revoked;
And I do further hereby grant you, and any one of you, authority to call before you, or any one
of you, all persons as you may deem necessary, by whom you shall be better informed on the subjects
herein submitted for your consideration, or whom, in your judgment, should be summoned for the
purpose of obtaining information on the subjects of this inquiry, and any matter connected therewith,
and I grant you power of authority to call and to have access to all official books, papers, documents and
things which you may think proper to obtain.
GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.
Given under my Hand and the Great Seal of the Union of South Africa at Cape Town this
sixth day of February, One Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifty-six.
E. G. JANSEN,
By Command of His Excellency
S. P. LE ROUX.
UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA.
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO EUROPEAN OCCUPANCY OF THE
TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE HONOURABLE ERNEST GEORGE JANSEN, DOCTOR
OF LAWS, GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY:-
We the undersigned, appointed in terms of a commission issued by Your Excellency on 6th
February, 1956, have the honour hereby to submit our report.
In the execution of its task the Commission employed the following methods:-
(a) By means of press statements and written invitations, Government Departments,
Provincial Administrations, the Land Bank, Agricultural Control Boards, Churches,
Universities, Agricultural Unions and Regional Development Associations, as well as
other public bodies and individuals, were invited to submit memoranda. (Annexure A
contains a list of persons and bodies who submitted memoranda.)
(b) Observation tours were undertaken to practically all White areas of the Union, and at a
great many centres informal talks were held with the representatives of farmers' associa-
tions, churches, education and business concerns, with a view to obtaining an overall
picture of rural conditions.
During the nine extensive tours, in the course of which the Commission travelled
some 17,000 miles, 225 informal discussions were held, involving a total of 1,291
persons. (The comprehensive nature of the tours is evident from the accompanying
map No. 1).
(c) Surveys, in some instances by way of personal questioning of groups of employees,
were undertaken in respect of such organizations as the S.A. Railways, the Police,
Iscor, the Department of Labour and the Department of Lands in order to determine
what percentage of persons applying to those organizations for employment or some
means of livelihood, consisted of ex-farmers. The data obtained from these surveys
are reflected in the Report.
(d) In collaboration with the Bureau of Census and Statistics, a special questionnaire on
family conditions was compiled by the Commission and included in t he 1956 Agricul-
tural Census Form.
(e) Reports of previous relevant investigations in the Union were studied. A summary
of the main findings is given in Annexure B.
(f) A study was also made of a series of scientific papers and reports, clf both local and
foreign origin, which could perhaps serve to elucidate the terms of reference. A
list of literature consulted is given in Annexure C.
(g) Comprehensive formal evidence by Government Departments, various bodies and
individuals was heard in Pretoria. The list of formal witnesses is contained in Annexure
(h) With a view to testing scientifically the collected data on rural occupancy, a number of
samples were taken by way of intensive surveys in certain selected districts or areas, with
the assistance of economists in the Department of Agriculture. The findings are
discussed in the Report.
(i) An expert demographic analysis of current and anticipated rural population patterns
was specially undertaken for the Commission by Prof. Dr. J. L. Sadie of the Universisy
of Stellenbosch. The data are incorporated mainly in Part 11 of the Report.
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Kommissie van Ondersoekna BlankeBewoning van die Plafteland.
Commission of Enquiry into European occupancy of the Rural Areas.
lj* 1 150 17D
19* 210 2 3* 25' 27'
31- 3 3' 35*
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO
EUROPEAN OCCUPANCY OF THE RURAL AREAS.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF WHITE LANDOWNER-
SHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA.
1. The concept of permanent land tenure by indivi-
duals only came to South Africa with the advent of
White civilisation. This idea was completely foreign
to the aborigines who, in those far-off days, depended
for their livelihood on a nomadic, pastoral existence.
without being tied down to any particular tract of land.
In the year 1657 the first demarcated land, consisting
of small farms some 13 morgen in extent, was allotted
to nine carefully picked men. Initially these Free
Burghers, as they were called, did not enjoy too much
freedom after all, being instructed by the Dutch East
India Company as to what they were to sow and
plant, while their crops could only be sold to the
Company at fixed prices.
2. The process of land occupancy received further
impetus following the appointment in 1679 of Simon
van der Stel as Commander of the Cape of Good Hope.
Not only did settlement take place in the Drakenstein
area with the arrival of the French Huguenots (1688-
1691), but this period also witnessed the increasing
migration of farmers into the interior, first in a north-
westerly direction and subsequently eastward along the
coastal area. This migration led to the development
of the trek farmer, who was almost exclusively a stock
farmer. Eventually these farmers trekked across the
mountains to the Karoo regions, mainly in the direction
of the Eastern Cape Province. The practice of trek
farming gave rise to a system of self-supporting rural
economy which persisted until the discovery of
diamonds and later of gold in the latter half of the
19th century led to the establishment of inland
markets, thereby laying the foundation of commercial
3. About the year 1717, the system of loan farms
came into existence, whereby land was allotted to
farmers against payment of a recognition fee of 24
rixdollar per annum. By the year 1812 five-sixths of
the land of the then Cape Colony had already been
allotted as loan farms. Children could not, however.
inherit these farms from their parents.
4. In 1813 Sir John Cradock proclaimed the system of
perpetual quitrent frams (request farms) which replaced
the system of loan farms, thereby introducing a new
stage in the development of land tenure. The farms
could now be subdivided, bequeathed to children, or
sold. Under the new system, the farms had to be
properly surveyed by a surveyor and allotted by a
Government Commission. This resulted in better
control regarding the allotment of government-owned
land, and the old custom of demarcation by riding on
horseback in four directions for half an hour dis-
appeared from the Cape.
5. The arrival of the British Settlers in 1820
facilitated the permanent occupation of the Eastern
Cape border area. Incidentally, with the settling of
these immigrants it so happened that some of the
original allotments of land were of an uneconomic size.
6. According to Dr. P. J. van der Merwe* there had
already been a great demand for land at the time
immediately preceding the Great Trek. He is of the
opinion that even in those days stock farming districts
near the then northern boundary were overpopulated.
Furthermore, the life of the trek farmer had a hamper-
ing effect on land tenure and intensification of farming.
as so aptly described by Prof. W. M. MacMillant:
" In these circumstances the life of our pioneers was
one of real endurance and constant danger, and far
from such as to induce the sinking of large capital in
works of development when there was some risk and a
real fear that they might not be able to hold their
ground long enough to reap the fruits of such enter-
7. Origin of the Bywoner ".-It is interesting to
note, incidentally, that at the beginning of the 18th
century it frequently happened that owners of land
invited families to settle on their outlying farms, mainly
for reasons of safety. In the course of time these
families became known as bywoners ". Initially there
was but little difference between the status of the owner
and that of the bywoner ", but gradually this relation-
ship changed. During the 19th century bywoners were
commonly found on farms.
8. Land Occupation in the Voortrekker States.-The
Great Trek (1835-1838), and the subsequent occupa-
tion of land in the Orange Free State, Transvaal and
Natal inaugurated a new era in the process of White
settlement. The lure of the vast expanses constantly
led farmers to explore new country and occupy new
land, partly with a view to providing for the future of
their children.t Decisions regarding land tenure in all
the Voortrekker States vested in the "Volksvergade-
ring or Volksraad ". The original manner of allot-
ment was but a continuation of the system in vogue
in the Cape Colony,. namely, the old custom of riding
on horseback for half an hour in four directions. The
same custom prevailed in those parts of Natal which
were later proclaimed a colony of Britain.
9. In 1858 the Transvaal Volksraad adopted a resolu-
tion to the effect that all unallotted land would in future
be government property, Part of this land was sub-
sequently allotted as loan farms. At first any person
could acquire more than one farm, but shortly after-
wards it was decided to limit the number to two per
person. In 1870 the first Surveyor-General and Sur-
veyors were appointed in the Transvaal. In 1871 it
was resolved to issue title deeds in the Transvaal. A
fixed recognition was payable in respect of each farm
and the size was fixed at approximately 3,000 morgen.
In 1874, after the war against Mapoch, the so-called
Die Noordwaartse Beweging van die Boere voor die Groot Trek-1770-1842.
t The South African Agrarian Problem and its Historical Development, p. 35.
Dr. P. Naude: Boerdery in die S.A. Republiek, p. 61: It is undoubtedly true that the prospect of obtaining good and sufficient
land was one of the main reasons for the Great Trek." (Translation.)
,. Mapochs Gronden were allotted to farmers who
had served on commando. Most of the holdings were
only eight morgen in extent with additional communal
grazing. In the Soutpansberg district land measuring
only 500 morgen was allocated at a later stage.
10. As with the allotment of land to the Free
Burghers and the 1820 Settlers, the two instances
quoted above also indicate that small and frequently
uneconomic units could not always be blamed solely
on the bequest system with its customary subdivision,
but that this evil also occurred in the case of original
11. From about 1880 the number of trek farmers
dwindled rapidly with the gradual surveying and allot-
ment of government-owned land. In some parts.
especially in the border area between Natal and the
Free State, as well as in the Transvaal Highveld, it was
still customary to have two farms on either side of the
mountains for alternate summer and winter grazing.*
12. The economic revolution which followed in the
wake of the South African War (1899-1902) brought
an abrupt end to the pioneering era. Land soon
became expensive and valuable, and large tracts were
purchased by companies for speculative purposes.
Farmers who went in for commercial agriculture on an
extensive scale also increased the size of their farms.
with the result that there was no longer room on the
platteiand for the poor man without land of his own.t
!3. At the beginning of the 20th century the process
of settlement was almost complete, with the exception
of certain areas which with the aid of science could
only be opened up for White occupancy or more inten-
sive farming at a later stage, e.g., with the successful
control of malaria and nagana, mainly in the Lowveld
of the Transvaal and Natal. Actually the latter develop-
ment only set in after World War II, with a resultant
shift of large numbers of the Union's farming popula-
tion to the Lowveld where the previously extensive
cattle ranches and unoccupied land passed through a
new process of intensification and sub-division. Simil-
arly the Kalahari and parts of the Northern Cape
Province were occupied only during the past two
14. From the preceding facts it is evident that, as a
result of the process of occupation, land tenure in
South Africa developed according to a pattern quite
different from that of the older countries in Europe
where, under the feudal system, the tillers of the soil
were mainly labourers, share workers or tenants, with
no prospect of eventual ownership. In South Africa
every farmer was allotted his own ground, and this
led to a tradition and urge to farm independently. It is
noteworthly, however, that as far back as the year 1657,
Ryklof van Goens during his visit to the Cape laid
down certain conditions for persons who wanted to
become independent farmers (or landed gentry): Want
wij connen hier geen Edellieden werden voordat wij
eerst goede boeren gcwecst sijn." *1
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LANDOWNERSHIP IN
OUR NATIONAL LIFE.
15. Since the allotment of the first land to the Free
Burghers in the year 1657, South Africans gradually
developed their own national tradition in respect of
land tenure, as well as an urge to farm independently.
With the passing of the years many of these freehold
allotments became ancestral farms which were proudly
passed on from generation t,' generation.
16. In the beginning, however, some of the pioneers
who trekked into the inter or as stock farmers and
hunters, were somewhat indifferent to land tenure.
More often than not a sense of attachment to any
particular land was lacking, and there was a tendency
to farm extensively, coupled with an insatiable hanker-
ing after new land.
17. Furthermore, after the settling of farmers in the
Transvaal, there was an ancmoly of, on the one hand,
an indifference to ownership and, on the other, a
clinging to the confines of u economic irrigable plots. ;
As regards the indifference towards ownership, J. F.
W. Grcsskopf writes: "It .vas repeatedly stated that
in the early days it was al nost an advantage not to
own land. You had no quitrent to pay, you had fewer
cares, you were not chained to one spot."<
18. As more and more people settled in the country
and permanent occupancy gradually replaced nomadic
life, the cheerful indifference to ownership also dis-
appeared. To the present generation, such an attitude
is almost incomprehensible: considering the strong
urge-both imaginary and r-zal-to own land that is so
common today. In their -,idence before the Com-
mission, various persons whoc could speak with authority
stressed the importance of landownership in the life
of the people, as so aptly described by one person in
the following words: As soon as a landless person
becomes an independent landowner, his outlook on life
changes completely and he becomes a new person. His
sense of inferiority disappears: he is able to hold his
own in social circles and hc has something to give him
stability. He becomes a ,crducer and employer, as
well as a creator of capital where previously he was
only a consumer. The most powerful weapon against
Communism is to make landowners of the people".
The sociologists Sorokin and Zimmerman put it this
way: "It seems that farmnner-owners have a greater
sense of ownership and possess a more developed
initiative and sense of personal responsibility."**
19. Many a townsman who hails from the country,
still cherishes nostalgic m tmories of the farm life of
bygone days. With the passage of time, memories of
the days of privation and hardship grow dim, but the
recollections of the glory and romanticism of life on
the farm linger on.
20. Consequently, although many city dwellers still
entertain hopes of being able to return to the platteland
as farmers one day, this \earning should not always
be interpreted as a real ( esire to brave the ups and
downs of agriculture. Tiue. in some townsfolk this
longing finds expression in the acquisition and occupa-
tion of peri-urban small h 'dings; but the real motive
is seldom to find an independent and economic existence
there; employment in the city remains the principal
means of livelihood.
21. On the other hand, i cannot be denied that there
exists in the hearts of countless landless persons a
deep love of the soil-people who have a fervent desire
and also the ability to become independent farmers.
These people, who could have been a real asset to the
agricultural industry, are cither forced by circumstances
to find a livelihood else here, where they experience
great difficulty in adapting themselves, or to eke out a
precarious existence as te ants or share workers. On
the Ghaapseberg a well-built young man, with hands
* Dr. J. F. W. Grosskopf: Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus, p. 40.
t Dr. S. Pauw: Die Beroepsarbeid van die Afrikaner in die Stad, p. 60.
t Dr. S. F. N. Gie: Geskiedenis van Suid-Afrika, Deel I, p. 70.
Dr. P. J. van der Merwe: Trek, p. 52.
iI J. F. W. Grosskopf: Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus, p. 37.
J. F. W. Grosskopf: Ibid, p. 39.
** Sorokin and Zimmerman: Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology, p. 518.
calloused from hard work, gave a moving account of
the diligent and industrious way in which he had gradu-
ally built up his own herd: but because he did not own
any land, he was compelled to divide up his stock and
to hire land from various farmers for grazing, in the
hope of some day being able to buy land of his own.
Such determination and tenacity of purpose are ample
proof of that deep-seated desire in many of our people
to become farmers. In fact, the Commission encoun-
tered several touching examples of a similar kind.
22. To sum up: The possession of land brings with
it spiritual stability and deep roots, an abiding love of
one's own country and all the other conservative
characteristics. The landowner attaches deep senti-
mental value to his home and environment: he has
emotional ties with his native soil. In a memorandum
submitted on behalf of the Federale Armsorgraad
(Federal Council for Poor Relief) of the Dutch Refor-
med Churches, it is stated: "The thousands of well-
known ancestral farms, for which their owners had a
deep attachment, constituted the basic unit of our
very existence as a nation: These farms were indeed a
symbol of the genuine, unspoilt way of life of the
THE IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE.
23. The Commission holds the view that agriculture
plays a unique role in the development of every nation.
The Commission's terms of reference clearly imply
that it is not sufficient merely to approach its task
from the viewpoint of the material welfare of the
farming community or of the country as a whole. The
farmers of South Africa should not only supply the
population with food and the factories with basic raw
materials, but should also constitute a source from
which the nation as a whole may draw part of its
spiritual power. In this connection Dr. S. Pauw states:
"There is, however, another side to life than the
material: there are values other than money and tangible
comforts. A common characteristic of the rural dweller
is his conservative outlook, particularly in respect of
spiritual and moral values."* (Translation.)
24. In fact. if the Christian civilisation of the White
man is to survive in South Africa, an economically in-
dependent farming community of sterling character
and fully alive to its task. emiains an essential ideal.
Such a community could develop only if it were united
on a cultural, social and economic basis. Before dis-
cussing other aspects. it is necessary that these three
essential factors contributing towards the happiness
and welfare of the rural population should be reviewed
(1) C LII'URALI. !
25. Adam, the name of the first man, is derived from
the Hebrew word. Adamah, actually meaning man of
the soil ": in other words, "tiller of the soil or
" farmer ". Thus man's organic link with the soil can
be explained by his origin and creation. The Garden
of Eden, in which Adam was installed, may be regarded
as his farm. Hence a farm comprises the original and
natural home or residence of man. This explains the
strong ties that binds man to both nature and soil.
26. The love for the soil manifested by man down the
centuries in all countries, and referred to by sociologists
as the agrarian tradition of the human race, can be
traced to the dim and distant past. This profound
attachment to the soil has always been one of the most
outstanding characteristics of the South African farmer.
In the past, and even to this day, many an owner
regards the ancestral farm as a sanctuary having so
much sentimental value that money cannot buy it.
27. Because a garden or farm was man's original
domicile, it stands to reason that it is also the place
where man is happiest. The formative and beneficial
influence of a rural environment on the character of
man is a well-known fact borne out by history. The
traditional virtues of farm people, such as their reli-
giousness, diligence, thrift, perseverance, independence,
a strongly developed love of liberty, patriotism, hospi-
tality and respect for tradition, etc., are well-known in
all countries. Conditions prevailing on farms are
beneficial not only to man's health, but also to his
28. Since the farmer lives so close to nature and
comes into daily contact with the wonders and mys-
teries of the processes of life, it stands to reason that
his approach, in fact his whole outlook on life. will
be different to that of the townsman. A wholesome and
closely knit family life coupled with profound respect
for moral and spiritual values, have always charac-
terised the farming community. These outstanding
qualities of spirit and character, the traditional virtues
of the farming community, are universally regarded as
being of great significance and value in the life of all
nations. In fact, a healthy and prosperous farmer
class is one of the greatest assets of any country.
29. The South African soil and climate, in their turn,
have left their mark on the farming community that
developed here. Our country, with its rigorous and
precarious climate, with its numerous droughts, pests
and diseases, has taught our farmers from early youth
to persevere and to keep courage with the result that
they have developed an indestructible and rare opti-
mism. The harsh climate has brought forth hardy sons
of the soil, who not only opened up the interior for
Christian civilisation, but also developed a vigorous
agricultural industry under difficult natural and
30. The general cultural task imposed upon man
by his creator was to subject the earth to his wishes and
to rule over the animals, birds and fishes. When Adam
was installed in the Garden of Eden, the Almighty
instructed him to "dress and to keep it". Here, in
principle, the agricultural task was allotted to man.
In the first place he had to subject, rule and cultivate
the earth, in order that the potentialities with which it
was endowed during creation, might be brought to full
exploitation. Secondly, he had to guard and protect
the Garden entrusted to his care against all harmful
influences and evil forces-the principle of nature and
soil conservation and the protection and care of plants
31. Scientific technique has furnished man with his
most powerful and effective weapons to subject and
control the earth, thereby giving effect to his cultural
mission. Scientific and cultural pursuits therefore con-
stitute the duty and vocation of man, thereby enabling
him to carry out the task imposed on him by his
Creator. Scientific progress has contributed immea-
surably to higher food and fibre production, thus
making possible the development and progress of
modern civilisation. The employment of science in
agriculture enables fewer farmers to produce food for
an increasing number of people.
32. The Commission has purposely endeavoured to
emphasise this Christian and cultural viewpoint as
strongly as possible. Should agricultural technique
and science develop still further, it may well happen
that there will be a far greater depopulation of the
rural areas than at present. From the material point
* Die Beroepsarbeid van die Afrikaner in die Stad ", p. 28.
t Parts of this chapter are based on a speech by Dr. P. W. Vorster, as reported in The Primary Producer of 4th March, 1955.
of view, it may eventuate that the remaining farmers
will be able to amass considerable wealth. The
emigres may perhaps find a fairly good living in the
cities. The question the Commission must then ask
itself, particularly in view of the presence of the non-
Whites residing mainly in the rural districts-in the
reserves and in the White rural areas--is whether the
country can afford to do without the cultural forces
that are lost as a result of this depopulation. Could it
not lead to the ultimate deterioration or even the dis-
appearance of White civilisation in South Africa? The
strong cultural influence of a comparatively large
White population in the rural areas constitutes a tower
of strength, not only to the White but also to the non-
White population of South Africa.
33. The Commission has endeavoured to sketch the
cultural importance of a relatively strong farming
population. From a sociological viewpoint, it is
possible that the rural populace may contribute an
even larger share to the solution of the manifold pro-
blems besetting our country.
34. Where a parallel is drawn between platteland
and city, it is essential that the term ,, platteland be
explained first. According to the Bureau of Census
and Statistics, it means that part of our country
which does not fall within the urban areas. The
Bureau described urban as "only those towns and
villages which had some form of urban local govern-
ment constituted under any law, such as municipal
councils, village management boards, health commit-
tees, etc.". This definition divides the country into two
clearly defined parts: urban and rural areas. (Vide
paragraphs 92-95 for a more detailed description.)
35. From a practical and statistical viewpoint there
is a great deal to be said for this division. From the
sociological point of view, particularly in an attempt
to determine clearly the function of the platteland, it
would, however, be desirable to include the country
villages, especially those situated in remote and purely
agricultural areas, and with a chiefly rural character,
in the platteland rather than in the urban areas. It is
accepted by sociologists that the rural non-farming
population, culturally and demographically, occupies a
position closer to the farming community than to the
city dweller. In the rest of the discussion on the
social influence of the country districts, all rural
inhabitants and persons residing in small towns will
therefore be included.
36. Differences between countryman and towns-
man.-In order to obtain a better idea of the contri-
bution the platteland can make to the sociological
character of our country as a whole, certain differences
between countryman and townsman are discussed
37. (a) The platteland is the workshop of the far-
mer, the primary producer who has to provide for the
basic needs-food and fibre-of the people. The city
dweller is associated with the secondary and tertiary
industries. The latter services may be essential
towards maintaining a high standard of living but are
not, like agriculture, indispensable and fundamental to
the existence of man. Without agriculture society
cannot possibly survive.
38. (b) The farmer has to contend with natural
phenomena such as climate, the weather, the rainfall,
the seasons of the year. the character of the soil, etc.
He is dependent on natural conditions over which he
has little or no control. The farmer has to deal with
living things, animals and plants, with biological pro-
cesses which always fill him with a sense of wonder.
The industrialist and labourer in the city, on the other
hand, are virtually independent of the vagaries of
nature. Their work and life are organised according
to a fixed routine; they are increasingly dominated by
machines; and they are surrounded on all sides by an
artificial man-made environment.
39. (c) Agriculture requires extensive areas. The
larger the farm. the further apart the families. In the
cities, space is limited and frequently city dwellers arc
herded together in cramped areas.
40. (d) In the rural areas people know one another,
and often the relationships are close and intimate; in
the city, particularly in flats. most of the inhabitants
remain strangers and the relationship remains imper-
41. (e) The country population is largely homo-
geneous. This applies in many important respects:
race, language, religion, moral ideas, customs, political
attitudes, occupation and social status. Conversely,
the urban population displays; various differences and
contrasts: the city is the home of heterogeneous
42. (f) The migration between the platteland and the
city usually follows a fixed pattern. The country dis-
tricts usually have a surplus population which cannot
be taken up economically: ihe city usually has a
shortage of workers, resulting in a steady one-way
migration from the platteland to the cities. The com-
position of the rural population assumes a particular
demographic pattern, as a result of this emigration.
Ruralites emigrating to the cities are comprised main-
ly of young people between the ages of 15 and 34
years. For this reason the rural areas have propor-
tionally more children and older people, whereas the
city has comparatively more people in the productive
stages of life. (This aspect is discussed in greater
detail in paragraphs 110-111.)
43. (g) The rural populaiio1 is far less mobile than
the urban. The city dweller is ever on the move; in
the city there is seldom pea-e or quiet. Moreover,
many city people are cont nuously changing their
domicile and occupation. In fact, some city dwellers
actually have no fixed abode, no real home, their
living quarters being merely a parking spot. The rural
dweller who farms, often continues living in the house
in which he was born or else still resides on the farm
where he spent his childhood. For the most part he
retains the ties with his environment. The farmer
continues farming unless drivn out by economic con-
ditions or old age. To him agriculture is not merely
an occupation or a profession: it is a calling. The city
dweller, on the other hand, has mainly a materialistic
outlook. To him the economic aspect is generally the
44. (h) Other differences arise from those discussed
above. Some are direct. whilst others follow only in-
directly. Of these differences, the following are
important, although it should be stressed that they
are changing materially with ihe increasing urbanisa-
tion of the rural areas: -
(i) As in practically all o her countries, the birth
rate in the rural areas .f South Africa is higher
than in the cities. Despite better medical
services in the urban ai eas, the mortality rate is
also lower on the platteland. Hence the
natural increase in population is generally
higher than in the cities.
(ii) Thus far there have been important differences
between family life in tie rural areas and in the
cities. It is universally accepted that the family
comprises the most fundamental and integrated
group in society: what the family is today, the
community, the nation, will be tomorrow.
(a) The rural family is more stable than the
urban. Present-day statistics prove con-
clusively that in all countries the divorce
rate for urban aicas is higher than for
(b) The rural family functions to a larger
degree as a social and economic unit. As
a rule, farm parents and children keep
closer contact with one another. In the
absence of a densely populated environ-
ment, they are dependent on one another's
company. Also, the household duties and
the farming activities serve to keep the
family together. In view of these con-
siderations, it is generally accepted that
the farm family remains to a greater
extent, and for a longer period, a factor
that shapes and moulds the character than
is the case with the urban family. "The
rural family generally develops the stabi-
lity, integrity and responsibility in the
personality of its children more success-
fully than the urban family ".*
(c) As regards its biological functions, the
family on the farm is more prolific than
the urban. Farm families are bigger and
there are fewer childless homes. This
aspect will be enlarged upon in the demo-
graphic discussion. (See paragraphs 120-
(iii) Crime is less prevalent in the rural areas than
in the city. Juvenile delinquency, particularly in
its modern form, is almost exclusively an urban
phenomenon. Naturally, this difference is not due
to inherent moral differences between rural and
city people, but to environmental conditions,
greater mobility in the city, more contact with
undesirable characters and the weaker ties of
the urban family.
45. If all the above differences continue to exist, it
stresses not only the desirability, but to an even greater
extent the necessity for a strong and stable rural
population. Historically as well as sociologically, it
is true that every nation derived its original national
culture from the rural areas. The platteland has always
been the cradle of both culture and national character.
In this country, at least as far as the Afrikaans-speaking
section is concerned, this statement is undoubtedly true;
hence the Afrikaners are still known as the Boer
nation (Nation of farmers).
46. The rural areas, more than any other part of a
country, act as the preserver and conserver of the
traditional national culture. The urban culture also
includes a large proportion of foreign elements. In
this regard, Sorokin and Zimmerman state: "The city
plays predominantly the role of an innovator, while
the country plays that of a preserver of existing national
culture. . The soul of the city is the modern '.
'fashion' and 'the newest sensation'; the soul of the
country is tradition and customs of our fore-
47. From the very nature of farming, which is inti-
mately connected with the soil, and also on account of
the fact that the farming section of the people com-
prises the biggest group of owners of immovable
property, there should be more love towards one's own
land in rural areas. In the homogeneous population of
the platteland is found the most profound patriotism.
" With a considerable degree of probability it seems
possible to contend that the agricultural classes have
a more developed attitude of nationalism, in the sense
of a love of their own country or region, than the bulk
of urban population."t
48. As to religion and general attitude towards life,
the country has always served as a wholesome conser-
vative factor. In spite of all the advantages which the
city offers and which enrich the spirit, the city is also
the breeding ground of foreign schools of thought such
as atheism, international liberalism, materialism, etc.
49. Although it cannot be contended that the rural
dweller is normally superior to the city dweller, there
is no gainsaying that the platteland disposes of many
more factors conducive to sound moral standards than
50. Even though rural dwellers are not always land-
owners, they can usually be classed as owners. Some-
times they possess only a few implements, several head
of cattle or a saddle-horse, but these are things they
can call their own. Such an owner is not likely to
develop leftist tendencies. A city dweller who owns
no property will more readily listen to the propa-
gandist who contends that all possessions should be
51. Also from a sociological point of view therefore,
it is imperative that there should be a relatively sub-
stantial White population in the rural areas. At any
rate, the number should be large enough for the plat-
teland to exercise a beneficial influence on the people
as a whole.
52. Development of Agriculture.-Since the days of
the settlement at the Cape in 1652, agriculture has
played a dominant r6le in the history as well as the
economic life of South Africa. It was only after the
discovery of diamonds, and later of gold, and particu-
larly after the South African War (1899-1902), that
the mining industry, commerce and other industries
gradually superseded agriculture in the economic
activities of the country. True, the importance of
agriculture as an occupation and as a field of employ-
ment has declined rapidly during the past fifty years, as
is evident from Table 1, but nevertheless more than
half of the total population of South Africa are still
dependent on agriculture for their living.
TABLE 1.-Percentage of the population of the Union
residing in the rural areas (1904-1958).
53. Although everyone residing in the rural areas
is not necessarily engaged in agriculture as a livelihood,
the large majority are nevertheless dependent upon it,
and for this reason the above particulars may be used
as a criterion in determining the importance of agricul-
54. As far as the Whites are concerned, there has
been a rapid decline in the population. In 1904, forty-
seven per cent were still living in the rural areas,
whereas in 1958 the estimated figures dropped to only
18 per cent. A rapid decrease is also evident in the
relative numbers of the Non-whites on the platteland.
If the Bantu areas are included, it is found that 90 per
cent of the Non-whites were residing in the rural areas
in 1904, while it is estimated that in 1958 only 63 per
cent still lived there. Of the total population of the
Union, 75 per cent lived in the rural areas in 1904.
whereas in 1958 the figure had dropped to only 53-7
per cent. It is patent, therefore, that although agricul-
ture is still playing an exceedingly important r6le in the
economic life of South Africa-also as a way of life
and as field of employment-these has been a rapid
decline in numbers.
* Sorokin and Zimmerman: Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology, p. 369.
t Sorokin and Zimmerman: Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology, p. 405.
1 Sorokin and Zimmerman: Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology, p. 407.
55. A fact that is not readily appreciated. is that
agriculture in South Africa has only recently
developed into an industry of real commercial impor-
tance. Until shortly before the outbreak of the South
African War, farming was based mainly on self-
sufficiency, and to this day it is still the case in most
of the Bantu areas. With the discovery of diamonds,
and later of gold, attention was directed towards
mining and related branches of industry, while
agriculture existed as a less developed industry. The
little progress made by agriculture as a commercial
industry in the 19th century, was largely nullified by
the South African War, particularly in the Northern
provinces. What capital assets had existed were for
the most part destroyed during the war, and had to
he built up from the very foundation.
56. The recovery after the war was particularly
rapid, however. Up to the outbreak of World War I
the demand for agricultural products still exceeded the
supply, but as a result of the war, production was
encouraged and new areas were opened up. Soon
South Africa developed into an exporting country as
far as agricultural products were concerned. The wool
clip increased and the quality improved; the produc-
tion of beef and dairy products rose; citrus and
deciduous fruit developed from unimportant branches
of agriculture into large and efficient industries. In
nearly all the branches of the agricultural industry the
production of crops increased, and even vegetable
production emerged as an important industry.
57. The first great setback followed in the wake of
the depression of 1930/33. Production exceeded the
local demand, and as a result of the world-wide
depression, prices dropped to such a low level that a
great many farmers were forced to quit their farms.
and the Government was compelled to introduce a
moratorium in terms of the Farmers' Assistance Act.
Furthermore, the cities offered no refuge for the sur-
plus farmers, and poverty was rife. The stream of
those leaving the farms to find other employment, but
mostly without the requisite training, has in the course
of time become so large that they could not be
58. The following will serve as an example: In
1917/18 about one-third of the White population were
engaged in agriculture and they provided some 18 per
cent of the geographical national income. In 1931,
according to estimates, 26-9 per cent of the Whites
were engaged in agriculture, and although the indu-
strial development of South Africa was still in the
initial stages-at that time Iscor was not yet in pro-
duction-agriculture contributed only 12-9 per cent of
the geographical national income.
59. The outbreak of World War II1 heralded a new
era in our agricultural development. During and
immediately after the war, industrial development in
the Union made rapid strides. Secondary industries
made tremendous progress, from 1945 new mining
areas in the Western Transvaal and the Free State
were developed, and the whole economic structure
expanded, with a consequent increase in wages and
buying power of the people as a whole. The local
demands for agricultural produce rose appreciably
and in some instances surpluses disappeared alto-
gether. The prices for agricultural produce also
increased. As a result of 'var conditions, various pro-
blems arose in connection with the cultivation of
agricultural products. There was a shortage of instru-
ments of production, such as tractors and farm
machinery, imported fertiliser and other raw materials.
Moreover, a few bad crop years followed as a result
of climatic conditions, and in some agricultural circles
it was even feared that the farmers would not be able
to feed the population in the foreseeable future.
60. The rural White popu nation declined rapidly to
only 25 per cent by 1946, and it is estimated that at
that time only 18-5 per cent of the Whites were still
engaged in agriculture. This year also saw a markedly
low level in the industry's contribution to the geogra-
phical national income, foi in 1946 agriculture's con-
tribution came to only 11 ; per cent.
61. Then came the turn ng point, however, and for
the second time in the past fifty years there was a
considerable increase in agricultural production. This
may be ascribed to various factors. Instruments of
production such as fertilise r. tractors, fuel, etc., were
freely available once more. Mechanisation on a large
scale took place, as may b- deduced merely from the
increase in the number of tractors. In 1937, for
example, there were 6,000 tractors on farms, in 1946
the number had risen to `0,000 and today there are
more than 100,000 tractors rn use on farms.
62. Moreover, a considerable improvement took
place in respect of farming methods. As a result of
research and extension services, as well as technical
and financial assistance under the Soil Conservation
Act, there was an increase in the production per unit
in respect of various agricultural products. Thus in
the most important m;:;ze area-Agro-economic
Region B 1-6-- there was an increase from approxi-
mately 6-5 bags to over II hags of maize per morgen.
(See Map No. 2.)
63. Thanks to the provisions of the Marketing Act,
prices were maintained at a fairly stable level, and
although the prices have not risen so rapidly or to so
high a level as producers had always wished for, far-
mers felt more secure and were therefore encouraged
to produce more. They invested more capital in im-
provements, mechanisation, fertilizer and other
instruments of production.
64. The result was that, in a comparatively short
time, the Union could pro luce a number of agricul-
tural products for export. In the relatively short
period from 1946 to 1951, agricultural production in-
creased to such an extent that, in spite of extensive
expansion in respect of mining, commerce and indu-
stry, the contribution of the agricultural industry to
the geographical national income rose to 16-3 per cent.
This contribution increased, despite the fact that there
was both an actual and a r lative decrease in the rural
population numbers, and that in 1951, according to
estimates, only 14-3 per cent of the White population
were directly dependent on agriculture.
65. With a view to indicating the relative importance
of agriculture in the economic structure of the country,
the contribution of the three important sectors to the
geographical income is given in Table 2.
TABLE 2.--The mean contribution of three main sectors to the geographical national income.
AGRICULTURE. INDUSTRIES. MINING. Total Net
.. .. ... geographical
million. Percentage. million. Percentage. i million. Percentage. ( million).
* J. F. W. Grosskopf: Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus, p. xxii.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
- DIVISION OF ECONOMICS AND MARKETS
Karib"b',di a\- -
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WINDHOK* G obabs PROTECTORATE
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SRhoo C Dikgio
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nv e 4 A oae
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CROP PRODUCTION PortNolloth .
OTHER DIVEFERSIIED AREAS O prSprb! 7 l/p/ m T
1 GRAZING AREAS OF THE EASTERN hiow
MOUNTAIN RANGE H ;an yCM A .-i. .... "
DIVERSIFIED FARMING AREASer rg
EAST OF THE MOUNTAIN RANGE Al*y e v ( nTIa n--J vco ichmond Grool lo Se1li Mf eort r ,ar
THORNVELD AREAS OF NATAL OIkfanIs .-,* e\ FrLeebr- -- H hn G r S4 r
AND TRANSKE AUMIDy ra 4 To a Fr obb
\Cape ofGood H 5 Aidorp .
RAIN-FALL BELT -SaldnaL Ba K b fheV a Pri abr lwm G
[0 ke A S7 andR10EAAle
SHEEP GRAZING AREA S S pri g i /1\ M,
WESTERN PROVINCE FRUIT AREA S.
A E Oli____V___ CapeAgulhas___
( S. RHODESIA
Pbatrop e. A
O -enaarsRv L 6ur
ioinm Ve Ai B n 1 Erme Bremcr,, s0/ a
Y Ili l der onI
I J er Piet Rer Kolua
oSVrede .Jcl, /r
d A G uR ErCO N boMiC M
urg snDl e b he m1d.
*" i ugela
BA TOA D dS IE RITZBURG I
Mll 10 50020k Mles/
.E2 Ma .isle Scotiburgh
I El dp p
II-rLoN AGRO-ECONOMIC MAP
ed SOUTH AFRICA
Miles 100 50 0 100 200 Miles
.l I I I l. I I . .
110 130 150 17* 190 21" 23" 25' 27* 29* 31 33* 350
Drawn in the Office of the Director of Irrigation, Pretoria, 1941.
Trigonometrical Survey Office, Pretoria, 1951.
Printed in the Union of South Africa by the Government Printer, Pretoria.
66. The total national income rose from 379 mil-
lion to 1,661 -2 million, or by 338 per cent in less than
20 years. At the same time the value of agricultural
products increased from 45 million to 240 million,
i.e., by 432 per cent. Whereas in 1936/39 agriculture
occupied third place after mining and industries, in
1953/56 it took second place after the industries. It
is certainly no mean achievement that agriculture was
able to hold its own against the other sectors at a time
of great expansion, and could even outstrip mining.
67. From the history of the progress in respect of
agriculture, which culminated in this achievement, it
is clear that during the first period, between 1936 and
1946, it was mainly pastoral products that increased in
value. During that period the value of crops rose but
little, whereas that of pastoral products increased by
12 per cent. From 1945/46 to 1955/56, however,
crops rose by 73 per cent in value, as against the 34
per cent increase in respect of pastoral products, without
there being any marked increase in the numbers of
stock. The increase in the gross value of agricultural
products is attributable to both the expansion of the
physical quantity and the increase in producer prices.
The combined price level of producer prices rose by
309 per cent, to which the increase in wool prices con-
tributed considerably from the end of the war to 1951.
68. Improved Financial Position of Agriculture.-
The world-wide depression of 1930-33 affected agricul-
ture far more than any other sector, particularly in
South Africa where it was followed by an unprecedented
drought in 1933. Although conditions improved during
the second half of the thirties, agriculture was still far
behind the other sectors at the outbreak of World
War II. Taking into account the backlog of agriculture
in 1939, the improvement indicated in Table 3 is indeed
FABLE 3.--Net farming income.
1936/37-1938/39...... 27-4 27-4
1946/47-1948/49...... 74-9 46-4
1953/54-1955/56...... 179-1 75-2
Calculated on the basis of changed money values since 1936/38.
69. In order to calculate the net contribution of
agriculture to the geographical income, all hired labour
in agriculture is deducted. Out of the balance, items
such as cost-of-living, interest on borrowed money,
tax, premiums on life policies, etc., are paid. From
Table 3 it appears that the net income rose from 27 4
million to 179-1 million. If the correct number of
farming enterprises for the two periods could be deter-
mined, it would have been possible to calculate the
extent of the improvement, but it is extremely difficult
to calculate the number of farming enterprises in the
70. In 1937, according to estimates, some 199,000
Whites were directly engaged in agriculture, while in
1955 the number of people who worked on farms was
estimated at 177,369. Although the per capital income
of persons engaged in agriculture cannot be determined
accurately from these figures, they do at least indicate
a certain trend. According to these data, the net
farming income per capital of less than 150 rose to
more than 1,000 a year. Even if the pre-war money
values are taken so as to eliminate the subsequent in-
fluence of inflation, it will be observed that the
real or corrected value rose from 27.400,000 to
75,200,000. If calculated according to the above per
capital basis, it has risen from approximately 138 to
about 425 per capital per annum. Even if the farmer
has to pay higher tax and higher interest on borrowed
money than was previously the case, it cannot but be
accepted that the purchasing power of the farming com-
munity has shown a marked improvement.
71. Investment in Agriculture.-The annual invest-
ment in agriculture rose from an average of 5,000,000
a year in 1936/39 to 30,400,000 in 1955. It was only
during the war years that the increase was negligible-
approximately 1,000,000 a year. This took place
mainly in respect of fixed improvements, which rose
from 1-6 million in 1936/39 to 13-6 million in 1955,
and in power-driven machinery, vehicles and imple-
ments, which rose from 1-5 million in 1936/39 to
14-5 million in 1955. In 1956 there was a decrease
in respect of the total capital investment, but it still
amounted to 23,600,000 for that year. From now on
these large investments will not only make replacement
costs imperative, but will also result in an increase in
respect of these costs.
72. Labour in Agriculture.-Thus far the importance
has been discussed of agriculture as an industry,
particularly for persons who are directly concerned.
It is, however, also necessary to study a few other
aspects. In the first place, agriculture serves as an
important provider of employment to persons who are
not farmers themselves. At present there are some
750,000 Non-white labourers on farms owned by
Whites. The annual cash wages to Non-whites amount
to about 32 million in the case of regular labourers
and some 12 million to seasonal and other casual
labourers. In addition to the cash wages referred to
above, farm labourers receive numerous other benefits
such as rations, housing, water and fuel, clothes,
medicine and grazing rights, as well as in many cases
a few morgen of land to cultivate for their own use.
These benefits also amount to several million pounds
when converted into money. (Wages paid to White
labourers also run into some 3-5 million per annum.)
The wages referred to above, are a direct contribution
to some 750,000 employees, but in the majority of
cases the employers also have their families with them,
so that on White farms alone some 2,500,000 Non-
whites are dependent on agricultural production.
73. Agriculture as Supplier of Food for the Popula-
tion.-Shortly before the outbreak of World War II, the
population of the Union consumed an average of 2,300
calories and 68 grammes of protein per capital daily.
At that time the Union's supplies had to be augmented
by imports, of which wheat and rice were the most
important. Today the per capital consumption has
risen to 2,600 calories and 73 grammes of protein.
Wheat and rice are still imported to some extent,
despite the fact that wheat production has almost
doubled and rice is grown locally on a small scale.
Practically no other foodstuffs, with the possible ex-
ception of luxuries, are imported. The appreciable
improvement in the nutritional level of the Union, as
compared with prewar conditions, is even more
remarkable if it is taken into account that the total
population increase from that time up to the present
amounts to 4,000,000. In addition, the adjoining
territories came to rely increasingly on the food pro-
duced in the Union.
74. The present full-scale employment, coupled with
the rising trend in income, has brought about a con-
siderable change in the eating habits of the population.
There is an increasing tendency to substitute more ex-
pensive protective and protein food for energy-giving
food. In this respect, too, the agricultural industry of
the Union has been able to meet all the needs of the
75. Agriculture as Supplier of Raw Materials for
the Secondary Industries.-The almost simultaneous
progress in respect of agriculture and secondary indu-
stries during the past 15 years has benefited both
industries. More and more agricultural products are
being processed locally. At present agriculture sup-
plies products to the value of approximately 125
million to secondary industries, from all products
marketed to the total value of 298 million. This
means that in terms of value, 42 per cent of the total
commercial agricultural production is processed
locally. The importance of this interdependence ot
the agricultural industry and the secondary industries
is evident from a few examples enumerated in the
76. According to estimates 10 per cent of our wool
clip is processed locally, while more than 1,000,000
hides, 700,000 skins and 60,000 tons of wattle bark are
being processed in local factories. An exceptional
increase has also taken place in respect of the food-
processing industry. Before the war the industry
processed only 17,000 tons of fresh fruit and
vegetables, as against some 230,000 tons to-day. The
development of the dairy industry coincided with the
establishment of creameries and cheese, condensed
milk and milk powder factories, which now number
130. The grain mills have made good progress, and
in 1956 some 9 million bags of wheat and 22 million
bags of maize were milled locally, as against 4-7 mil-
lion and 10 million, respectively, in 1938. The sugar
mills also made satisfactory progress, so that 7-5 mil-
lion tons of sugar cane were processed in 1956, as
against 4-8 million tons before the Second World
War. Yet another branch of agriculture which has
made considerable progress, is oilseed production. In
1938 some 25,000 tons of oilseed were expressed
(almost exclusively groundnuts), while in 1956 some
76,000 tons of groundnuts and 67.000 tons of sun-
flower seed were processed locally.
77. Agriculture us Consumer of Raw Materials anmi
services.-Apart from all the food provided by agricul-
ture, also to farmers and labourers on farms, farmers
at the same time are large buyers of commodities sup
plied by commerce. The annual expenditure incurred
by farmers in respect of farming requisites and food
is estimated at 90,000,000. It can truly be said,
therefore, that the welfare of the country as a whole
is largely dependent upon the welfare of agriculture.
This is particularly true of country towns and villages,
where nearly all the economic activities have a direct
relation to agriculture.
78. As far as services ire concerned, only one as-
pect need be mentioned, namely the Railways, which
transport an estimated 13 million tons of goods for
agriculture each year.
79. Agriculture's R6le in Export.-The origination of
surpluses for export has already been touched upon.
During the past two years the free on board value of
agricultural exports was approximately 150 million,
which means that the agricultural industry has contri-
buted 40 per cent of the Union's total exports (inclu-
ding gold). Hence agriculture is responsible for a
large proportion of the Union's earnings in foreign
80. Some 20 per cent of the physical production of
agriculture is exported. The following were the main
exports in 1956: grease wool, 140,000 tons; fruit-
fresh and processed-400,('00 tons; wattle bark and
wattle extract, 170,000 tons: maize and maize pro-
ducts, 1,000,000 tons; suga,l 200,000 tons; and oilseeds
and oil, 90,000 tons.
81. In summarising, it may rightly be stated that
agriculture, both from the socio-cultural and economic
points of view, constitutes a cornerstone-probably the
most important one-of South African society.
82. The vital r6le played by the White rural popula-
tion in so many fields in South Africa with its
heterogeneous population structure, has in the past
resulted in numerous investigations by the State as
well as the churches, into conditions obtaining on the
platteland. The subject 1 as also been discussed
repeatedly at various national congresses.
83. From all the surveys, investigations, congress
discussions and writings (see Annexure B), one cen-
tral idea clearly emerges: the nation is deeply con-
scious of the interdependence of all sectors and of the
vital part played by a sound rural population in this
Bevolking in Miljoene
Population in Millions
r C o oo 0 V e O
I1 I I I
< aa 0 0-----I
THE RACIAL PATTERN.
84. In a study of the White occupancy of the rural
areas in South Africa, it is essential to take cognisance
of the racial pattern as a whole. It should be realized
from the outset that the presence of both the Bantu
and other Non-white population groups play an im-
portant r6le in the complicated economic and social
structure of our country.
85. It can be generally accepted that a positive cor-
relation exists between the economic backlog of a
country and the percentage of its population engaged
in agriculture videe paragraph 152). Taking into account
the total population of the Union-White as well as
Non-white, including inhabitants of the reserves-more
than 50 per cent are still engaged in agriculture. In
this connection the Tomlinson Commission says:
" While at the time of the census of 1904, fewer than
one-quarter of the total population of the Union lived
in the urban areas, the proportion in 1951 was 42-6
per cent."* In the U.S.A. and other advanced Western
countries, approximately 10 per cent of the population
and even less are engaged in agriculture. It is clear
therefore, that with further industrial development in
South Africa, there must and will be a greater propor-
tional decrease in the population engaged in agricul-
ture. The question now arises: Should the decrease
envisaged here (a) be limited to the Non-whites (the
most backward group of the population); (b) be divided
proportionally among all racial groups; or (c) show a
greater proportion of Whites as against Non-whites?
86. As regards the White population only it appears
that approximately 18 per cent reside on the platteland
and that about 15 per cent are directly engaged in
agriculture. Some people, also economists, argue that
it does not matter if more Whites leave the rural areas.
According to them there is no danger that the remaining
numbers would not be able to meet the country's food
and raw material requirements. From a purely
economic point of view, this argument may be correct,
but it has already been pointed out that the rural
dweller is not only required to provide the nation with
food and clothing; he also has a cultural as well as a
87. The Commission has therefore aimed at first of
all giving a brief over-all picture of the racial pattern
and then to study the trends, in order to determine
whether the Whites would in the long run be able to
hold their own in the rural areas. In Figure 1 the
composition of the population of the Union is reflected.
It shows the Coloureds, the Whites, all Non-whites and
the total for all races. From this figure the trends of
increase for the various racial groups can be determined.
88. In 1905 the total population was between 5 and 6
million, of which more than one million were Whites.
In 1951 the total population of the Union amounted
to more than 12 million, and of this more than 2-5
million were Whites. Over the whole period of
approximately fifty years, the numerical ratio of Whites
to Non-whites deteriorated somewhat-the gap is
widening gradually. The increase in the White popula-
tion from 1905 to 1951 was 125 per cent, while that
for all Non-whites amounted to 147 per cent. In
Table 4 the racial composition is set out.
TABLE 4.-Racial composition of the population at succes-
sive censuses* and an estimate for 1958f. Percentages.
1946 .....* .... .
Bantu. Colour- Asiatic. Total.
67-5 8-6 2-3 100-0
67-3 8-8 2-5 100-0
67-8 7-9 2-3 100-0
68-8 8-0 2-3 100-0
68-6 8-1 2-5 100-0
67-5 8-7 2-9 100-0
66-6 9-4 3-1 100-0
Official Yearbook No. 28, p. 680 (1954/55).
t Estimates according to the Monthly Bulletin of Statistics
Vol. XXXVIII, No. 3, March, 1958, p. 2.
89. The data clearly show that although the percen-
tage ratio of Whites to Non-whites for the period under
review has deteriorated slightly the Whites have since
1936 maintained their position vis-a-vis the Non-whites.
This ratio is in respect of the total population of the
Union. The picture is less encouraging when only the
White areas of the platteland are taken into account.
In order to compare the increase of the White and
Non-white population on the platteland, as is done in
Table 5, it is necessary to limit the comparisons to the
TABLE 5.-Whites and Non-whites in the platteland
according to population censuses. (Bantu areas excluded.)
1946.. . . .
1951.. . . .
white. per 100
White Rest of
90. The figures as contained in Table 5 indicate that
while the Whites in the White areas of the platteland
decreased by about 8-5 per cent, the number of Non-
whites increased from 1- 8 million to 3-4 million, i.e. by
84 per cent during the period 1921 to 1951. Conse-
quently the number of Non-whites per 100 Whites rose
from 296 to 595. This phenomenon is to a large extent
connected with the emigration of the Bantu from their
own areas to White farms. The emigration of the
Bantu, coupled with their natural increase resulted in a
rise in their numbers on the platteland from 1-5 mil-
lion in 1921 to 2-9 million in 1951. On White farms
also their numbers have nearly doubled in the three
decades and at present total 2-4 million.
WHITE POPULATION TRENDS IN RURAL AREAS.
91. Before examining further the implications of the
above-mentioned data, the Commission first wants to
make a closer investigation of population trends in the
rural areas as a whole.
Summary of the report of the Commission for the Socio-Economic Development of the Bantu Areas within the Union of South
Africa, p. 27.
Definition of the Platteland (rural areas).
92. It is necessary that clarity should be obtained at
the outset on what is meant by platteland (rural areas).
An attempt at defining the term is facilitated by con-
trasting it with the concept urban, which amounts to
the rural areas being determined by a process of
elimination of those areas defined as urban. This is
actually the method followed by the Bureau of Census
and Statistics. Broadly speaking, the following criteria
can serve as premises for the definition of the term
93. (a) The Administrative.-Between 1918 and 1946
this criterion formed the basis of classification by the
Bureau of Census and Statistics. On this basis all
areas where some statutory local authority existed,
were regarded as urban. Population concentrations
under the control of a city council, municipality, vil-
lage management board, village council, health com-
mittee, local authority, etc., were therefore regarded as
urban populations, and all other as rural populations.
Since the classification of such areas may. however.
change overnight as a result of administrative decisions,
it is obvious that the population figures classified as
urban and rural in the censuses of 1911, 1918, 1921.
1926. 1931, 1936, 1941 and 1946 are therefore not
94. (b) The Concentration of Population.-To over-
come the problem referred to above, the Bureau of
of population density anc an estimate of the size of the
population which will serve as a line of division
between urban and rural concentrations. It is obvious
that this line of division would be fairly arbitrary, and
that it should only be used in conjunction with other
norms. In this connection the Commission therefore
also wishes to suggest that a large number of towns with
2,500 and fewer White inhabitantss in 1951, formerly
classified by the Bureau as urban, be placed in a
category to be referred lo as country which can then
be a form of classification between urban and rural.
96. There are still two other norms which can be
taken into account when defining platteland ", namely
the economic and the sociological factors; a detailed
discussion of these norms is, however, unnecessary for
the purposes of the Commission.
97. On the above-mentioned basis, and with due
regard to the economic and sociological norms, the
Commission caused calculations to be made of the
number of persons resident in those country towns or
centres regarded as urban by the Bureau, and which
had fewer than 2,500 White inhabitants in 1951,
and which were not largely dependent on factories,
mines, tourism or educational institutions. The size
and growth of the population of these centres are
therefore largely the result of the development and
needs of their agricultural environments. These towns
are rural in character.
THE GROWTH OF THE RURAL WHITE POPULATION.
TABLE 6.-White occupancy of rural and urban areas.
rate of increase
Total. I years.
1911 ............. ........ ......
1921 ............. ..............
1951 ..................... ......
* Provisional. Based on the assumption that the 1946/51 rate of decrease would be continued aft( r 1951.
Census and Statistics decided, for purposes of the
population census of 1951, to place in the same category
not only the areas regarded as urban up to 1946, but
also the adjoining suburbs of larger cities (the so-
called sub-urban areas) and larger towns (referred to
as quasi-urban towns). With few exceptions, the den-
sity of population is thus actually taken as criterion. As
a result of this approach, the 1951 and future censuses
in respect of the city-platteland distribution will to a
very large extent be comparable. But this also means
that the results of the 1951 census in this connection
can in no way be compared with those of previous cen-
suses. The Bureau has to some extent compensated
for this by taking the total numbers of Whites shown
by the censuses of 1921, 1926, 1931, 1936 and 1946
and reclassifying these as urban and rural according
to the definition of 1951. In this way we now have a
population classification on an equal area basis".
This new approach by the Bureau serves as a basis for
the greater part of the analysis following.
95. (c) The Numnerical.-The numerical factor in-
cludes both the previous criterion as regards the degree
Unless otherwise stated, the term population in this analysis
98. The urban and rural areas between which the
population figures in Table 6 have been divided, have
by approximation been applied to the same respective
areas during all the census years since 1911. Accor-
ding to these figures the rural population increase
described a cycle with an initial level of 605,000
inhabitants in 1911. an increase and a maximum of
673,000 at the census of 1931, and a decrease there-
after to a low level of 571, 100 in 1951; and of possibly
552,000 persons at present (1958). The reverse in the
increase curve apparently look place between 1930 and
1934. Before the turning point, the rural population
had already increased at a much slower rate than the
total population,* namely by 1-25 per cent per annum
between the years 1921 and 1926, as against a total
increase of 2 per cent per annum, and by 0-30 per
cent per annum during 1926/31 as against 1-74 per
cent per annum. When the totals started to decrease,
the rate of decrease was e\en as high as 0-94 per cent
per annum between 1936 and 1946. Since 1946 the
population has been decreasing at a slower rate.
namely 0-47 per cent per annum. During the same
period the total population increased at rates varying
always refers to Whites.
663,000 1,014,300 1,677,300
between 1 6 and 2 2 per cent per annum in various
periods between censuses. It is therefore evident thaL
the urban population increased even more rapidly.
99. As a result of the decrease in its population,
the share of the platteland in establishing the popu-
lation became progressively smaller. In 1911 its share
was probably not much less than half. In 1958 it was
barely 18 per cent. More than four-fifths of the South
African Whites are therefore resident in urban areas.
100. As a result of these population trends, the
Commission will in future refer to the "depopulation
of the platteland ", without thereby assigning any
emotional connotation to the expression depopula-
tion ", and without implying that the actual numbers
will necessarily show a further decrease in future. It
merely indicates that the population has decreased
during the past number of decades, in absolute as well
as relative numbers, and that the process is probably
101. As regards the geographical distribution of the
rural population changes, it may be pointed out that
the decrease first started in the Orange Free State
where a peak was reached in 1926, and was then
followed by that in the Cape Province and Transvaal.
Natal shows the interesting trend that although the
highest figures for the platteland were recorded in
1921, the numbers between 1926 and 1936 remained
more or less constant, while a subsequent decrease was
again followed by an increase between 1946 and 1951.
Of the four provinces the Orange Free State, com-
paratively speaking, still has the largest rural popula-
tion, namely 35 per cent of the total for the province.
Natal, on the other hand, has the most urbanised
population in so far that only 14 per cent of its
population are still resident on the platteland.
102. Provincial boundaries are, however, not
necessarily representative of factors influencing the
increase in population. Although it does not mean
that the rural population should by such a procedure
be identified with the farming population, a classifi-
cation of the population according to agro-economic
regions could be informative. Such a sub-division has
been attempted. The results as shown in Tabel 7 are
103. From the data in table 7 the following deduc-
tions can be made: Of the 11 agro-economic regions,
the Thornveld Area of Natal and Transkei (F) did not
really show either an increase or decrease in their rural
population figures between 1921 and 1951, although
the numbers did in fact show a slight increase between
1921 and 1936. There are six regions of which the
population decreased. The Sheep-grazing Areas (S),
with a decrease of 43-6 per cent have, comparatively
speaking, and also in absolute figures, lost the largest
number of inhabitants to the rest of the country. The
second largest decrease took place in the Grazing
Areas of the Eastern Mountain Range, namely 31-3
per cent. We then have the Cropping Area of the
Winter-rainfall Belt, the Inland Plateau Dry-land
Cropping Areas, other Diversified Areas and Diver-
sified Farming Areas East of the Mountain Range.
The remaining three agro-economic regions gained in
population: the Coastal Areas 4-2 per cent, the
Cattle-grazing Areas 24-7 per cent and the Irrigation
Areas 26-2 per cent. Their share in the establishment
of the platteland population increased accordingly; so
also that of the W.P. Fruit Area. Whereas the share of
the Irrigation Areas increased from 13 -7 to 25-1 per
cent, that of the Sheep-grazing Areas decreased from
17-7 to 10-9 per cent. These tendencies are
104. Where people work in the urban areas but
reside in rural areas, they could apparently exercise an
influence on the numbers of the rural population. In
at least seventeen Transvaal magisterial districts, most
or all of which are situated around the nucleus of an
industrial town or city, the rural population increased
fairly rapidly, especially since 1936. These districts
include, inter alia, Pretoria, Witbank, Vereeniging,
Roodepoort, Potgietersrus, Krugersdorp, Groblersdal,
etc. The rural inhabitants of the said 17 districts
increased from 57.400 in 1936 to 83,400 in 1957. In
the Orange Free State we find the same tendency in the
vicinity of the goldfields. In the Cape Province, this
tendency is strongly accentuated in magisterial dis-
tricts such as East London, Port Elizabeth, Wynberg,
Worcester, Paarl, Somerset West and Stellenbosch.
105. In view of these trends, it can therefore be
assumed that the true" rural population has
decreased to a far greater extent than is reflected by
the figures in Table 7.
TABLE 7.-Rural White population according to agro-economic region. (See also Map No. 2.)
A Irrigation Areas ............................. 1
B. Inland Plateau............ ....
C. Other Diversified Areas.......................
D. Grazing Areas of the Eastern Mountain Range..
E. Diversified Farming Areas east of the Mountain
F. Thornveld Areas of Natal and Transkei........
H. Coastal Area...... ...................
K. Crop Area of the Winter-Rainfall Belt .........
M. Cattle-grazing Areas....................
S. Sheep-grazing Areas... ................ 1
V. Western Province Fruit Area..... ...........
by approximation only, since a large number of dis-
tricts extend over more than one agro-economic region
and since data as regards population are not suffi-
ciently detailed to enable an exact allocation to be
made. Where a measure of uncertainly existed, the
Commission simply assumed that the rural population
figures for a district were evenly distributed among the
THE COUNTRY POPULATION.
106. Apart from the metropolitan areas and the
centres or towns with a truly urban character, there
are also those country towns which on a basis of
numerical, economic and sociological norms, really
belong to the platteland, and could be described as
country population concentrations. Data in connection
with the latter are summarised in Table 8.
TABLE 8.-Country towns with 2,500 White inhabitants and fewer ini 1951.
NUMBER OF PERSONS.
Cape Province ... ....................... . . .
Orange Free State ...............................
N atal.............. ...........................
Country Total........ ..................... .
Total: Platteland and country towns..............
Percentage of Union population..................
W hite Union population..................... . ..
159,800 196,500 221,500 235,600
782,800 839,400 806,200 806,600
51-5 41-9 34-0 3(-.5
1,519,500 2,003,900 2,372,700 2,64 ,700
107. The Whites residing in country towns, in-
creased from approximately 160,000 in 1921 to
196,500 in 1936 and to 235,600 in 1951; an increase of
23 per cent during the first fifteen-year period and of
20 per cent during the second period. This increase
was therefore at a slower rate than that of the total
Union population. which increased in both periods by
32 per cent. The country towns, as in the case of
the platteland, therefore carry a decreasing portion of
the white population.
108. Slightly more than 50 per cent of these country
villagers reside in the Cape Province. The Orange
Free State has the second largest number, while Natal
shows the smallest number in this respect. When
adding the inhabitants of the country towns to those
of the platteland, we find that a small increase in the
total was actually recorded between 1921 and 1936,
namely from 782,800 to 839,400: but as a result of the
rapid subsequent decrease in the purely platteland
part, this increase was eventually neutralised and the
figure remained at 806,000 since 1946. The inhabitants
of the platteland and the country towns represented
slightly more than half of the Union total in 1921: in
1936 they represented 41 -9 per cent and by 1951 only
30-5 per cent.
TABLE 9.-Rural Whites accordingg to three age-groups.
65+ ........... 8,640
65 ............. 6,42<0
DEMOGRAPHIC FEATURES OF THE
(a) AGE AND SEX COMPOSITION.
109. Although, as already remarked, the available
data do not always apply to comparable areas at
successive censuses, the Commission with the aid of
fragmentary information determined that the relative
age and sex composition of the platteland inhabitants
need not be changed materially as a result.
110. Table 9 shows that, according to the latest in-
formation, approximately 60 per cent of the rural
Whites fall in the so-called productive age-group, i.e.
from 15 to 64, whereas 33 per cent are children under
15, and 7 per cent are elderly people over the age of
65. There are, therefore, relatively more children and
slightly more elderly people on the platteland than in
the Union as a whole or in the urban areas, so that its
dependence ratio comes to 67 as against 62 for the
whole of the Union, and 60 for urban areas. This
ratio still reflects an under-estimate of the actual
position on the platteland, in so far as young children
who are still the financial responsibility of their
parents and who study in urban areas, have not been
included. The composition of the population on the
platteland is therefore economically not as favourable
as that of other areas.
r of person
Perce iage of persons (age groups).
.......... 40-5 40-6 34-5 33-1
.......... 57-0 56-2 60-6 59"9
......... 2-5 3-2 4-9 7-0
TOTAL... 100-0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Percentage persons (age groups) for the
.......... 36-5 37-2 31-2 31-7
.......... 61-1 59-6 63-8 61-8
......... 2-4 3-2 5-0 6-5
TOTAL... 100-0 100-0 100'0 100-0
111. This population Itas aged demographically
during the years 1911 to 1951. as can be seen from the
decrease in the relative strength of the 0-14 group
and the increase in the 6 -and-older group, and has
aged even somewhat movie rapidly than the urban
population; but its average age remains slightly lower
than that of the latter. Of the three age groups, the
middle group appears to be the most stable element.
The absolute number of children started to decrease
long before that of persons in the productive age
group, and in 1951 there vere 64,000 fewer children
than in 1921. On the other hand, the number between
the ages of 15 and 65 wa: still somewhat higher in
1936 than in 1921 and by 1951 was approximately
9,000 lower than in 1921. The lower level in the latter
case should be ascribed to 1he decrease in the number
of males, since the females in 1951 were about 1,300
more than in 1921. The total number of persons in
the highest age-group increased progressively and has
more than doubled itself, so that their proportion has
increased from 2-5 per cen' in 1911 to 7-0 per cent
TOTAL RATE OF INCREASE
1951. 1921-36. 1936-51.
112. Table 9 also shows that there is a large
preponderance of males on the platteland. At the
1951 census the males outnumbered the females by
30,000, of whom 18,000 were in the age group 15-64.
At the time of the previous censuses the males were
about 40,000 more than the females. The male ratio
(the number of males to every 100 females) revealed
the following changes since 1911:--
113. In 1911 the male ratio of the platteland
equalled that of the urban areas and of the Union.
Thereafter the ratio dropped. While there were
approximately the same number of females and males
throughout the Union by 1951. there were still 111
males for every 100 females on the platteland. In the
urban areas, on the other hand, there were 2-5 males
fewer for every 100 females.
114. (b) MARITAL STATE.
TABLE 10.-Percentage of population married, platteland
as well as urban areas, 1951.
116. The platteland male, on the other hand, marries
at a somewhat later age than his city or town counter-
part. In the age group 25-29, for example, the per-
centage married on the platteland is 61-0 per cent,
which is 6-5 per cent lower than in the case of the
city or town dweller. It is only from the age of 40
that the ratio of married males on the platteland
exceeds that for urban areas, and also remains higher
up to the age of 80-84.
117. To determine the death-rate--conversely the
condition of health--of a population, we have to
depend on vital statistics, that is to say the annual
registered number of deaths. Unfortunately, the official
allocation of deaths as between city and platteland ie
unreliable in some respects.
118. Analysing the death-rate for males and females,
one finds that the average expected life at birth, also
the standardised death-rate, is the same for city and
platteland. The greatest difference, and one which has
the greatest influence on the picture as a whole, we
find in the case of the infant mortality rate, that is to
say the number of deaths in the case of children under
the age of one for every 1,000 births, as shown in
TABLE I I.-Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 births).
Platte- Urban. Platte- Urban.
Per cent. Per cent. Per cent. Per cent.
15-19................ 13-3 8-4 0-4 0-4
20-.................. 69-5 55-8 18-0 22-9
25-..................... 90-0 82 4 61-0 67-5
30-..... ............. 93-0 86-8 81-2 84-2
35-.................. 93-2 85-4 87-7 87-9
40-..................... 91-3 81-8 89-8 89-1
45-..................... 88-9 76-5 89.7 89.3
50-......... .......... 85-2 69-7 89-2 88-3
55-..................... 80-9 62-1 89-6 87 3
60 ..................... 71.7 53 1 87'5 85"0
65 ...................... 60-5 43-1 84-0 80 5
70-................... 45-6 33'8 77-2 74-8
75-.................. 31-2 24-6 68-5 66-8
80-..................... 18-2 14-7 57-7 56-0
85-..................... 8-4 8"3 43-9 46-7
90+ ................... 6-2 5"3 31 3 33'6
AVERAGE...... 76-4 62-1 69-5 64-5
115. A larger proportion of platteland females and
males over the age of 15 years are married than is the
case with city dwellers. At the same time it is clear
from Table 10 that the difference in the case of females
(76-4 per cent as against 62-1 per cent) is much
greater than in the case of males (69-5 per cent as
against 64-5 per cent). At each age from 15 years
upwards, the percentage of married rural females is
higher than in the case of urban females. They also
marry earlier in life. In the age group 15-19, 13-3
per cent are already married as against 8-4 per cent
in the case of city dwellers, in the age group 25-29
the figure is 90 per cent as against 82-4 per cent. On
the strength of the 1951 census data it is calculated
that the average age at marriage is 23-45 years for
platteland and 24.35 for urban females. The diffe-
rence, although small in absolute figures, is statistically
significant at the one per cent limits, and also demo-
graphically significant. It is calculated that the chances
of marriage before reaching the age of 50 can be fixed
at 99 per cent for platteland females and 98-2 per cent
for urban females. Because a larger percentage of
platteland females therefore marry before they reach
the age of 50, and as has already been pointed out,
also marry at an earlier age than the urban female, it
is obvious that the potential of the platteland female
to bear more children, is also higher.
Platte- Urban. Platte- Urban.
61-4 85-1 50-9 72-0
57-1 71-4 45-1 57-8
37-1 42-3 27-7 34-4
32-6 39-9 27-5 31-0
119. From Table 11 it is evident that the rural infant
has always been subject to a smaller death risk than
the city infant. This difference has however declined
sharply since 1925, and is now only 7-3 per 1,000 as
against 23-7 per 1,000 in 1925-27 in respect of boys,
and 3-5 as against 21 -1 in the case of girls. In making
a detailed analysis of this mortality rate, it appears
that a big difference is recorded during the first month
after birth, and that the risks during the next 11
months are practically equal. Judging from this, it
would appear that the platteland infant is born to a
mother who is healthier or biologically superior, but
that after the first month the chances of survival of the
city infant are equal to those of the platteland infant,
mainly because of the availability of better medical
services. Owing to the last-mentioned factor, the fatal
consequences of diseases of children to which the city
child is exposed during his second, third, fourth and
fifth years, can also be more easily controlled.
120. As in the case of the mortality rate, the ordinary
birth-rate in the form of the number of births per
1,000 of the population, is of very little or no value at
all for purposes of comparing the platteland and other
areas. The Commission therefore applies the gross
increase figure (G.I.F.) as an accurate indication of
fertility.* This represents the average number of
female children that can be brought into the world by
a female between her fifteenth and fiftieth birthdays,
that is to say, before her period of fertility has passed.
121. The conclusion drawn from the data in Table 12
is that rural females are most definitely more fertile
than urban females. According to the latest data,
1,000 rural females give birth to an average of 2,120
* See calculation methods of Sadie and Franzsen: Inleiding tot die Bevolkingsvraagstuk.
female children during their period of fertility (G.I.F.
=2-12), as against only 1,520 female children born to
every 1,000 females in the urban areas (G.I.F. =1-52).
TABLE 12.-Gross increase figures.
Period. Platteland. Urban.
1924-28.......................... 2-11 1-51
1929-33 .......................... 1-88 1-41
1934-38 .......................... 1-83 1-31
1944-48 ........................... 1.96 1-57
1950-52 .......................... 2-12 1-52
122. Furthermore, it will be noted that the G.I.F. of
the platteland and urban areas showed a parallel move-
ment since 1924. From the twenties until the middle
thirties there was a decline in fertility. It increased
during the Second World War. Whereas the figure for
the urban districts showed a decrease since 1948, the
increase on the platteland continued. In both cases the
birth renaissance brought about a higher fertility level
in the early fifties than was the case a quarter of a
century ago. The fertility differential was the same
at the beginning (2-11 as against 1-51) as at the end
(2- 12 as against 1-52) of the period. In the intervening
years the fertility differential increased and decreased
123. The population of the platteland can be sub-
divided into farmer-families and other inhabitants,
whereas the urban areas can be divided according to
the size of the populations of the urban portion of each
magisterial district. A sub-division according to the
size of town and city was not possible for the purpose
under discussion because the classification according
to age and sex-necessary for purposes of deduction of
the births and specific fertility figures-are only avail-
able on a basis of magisterial districts.* The results of
the manipulations are as follows (Table 13): -
TABLE 13.-Gross increase figure for sub-divisions of
city and platteland 1950-52.
Farmer population of platteland.......................
Rest of platteland population ...........................
Urban districts with 0-999 inhabitants..................
Urban districts with 1,000-1,999 inhabitants..............
Urban districts with 2,000-4,999 inhabitants ............
Urban districts with 5,000-9,999 inhabitants ..............
Urban districts with 10,000+ inhabitants.................
124. These results show that the farmer population,
with an increase figure of 2-39, is appreciably more
fertile than the rest of the platteland population with
a figure of 1-77 for the years- 1950-52. The latter
figure is however still somewhat higher than that for
the urban areas of the smallest magisterial districts.
125. There is very little difference in the fertility as
regards the three groups of urban districts with less
than 1,000 inhabitants, 1,000 to 1,999 inhabitants and
2,000 to 4,999 inhabitants, respectively. At a level of
1-68 the G.I.F. of the smallest group is somewhat
lower than the figure for the two other groups. In
the size group 2,000-4,999 and upwards, there is
however a negative correlation between the size of the
communities and the fertility level. In the largest
population concentrations the smallest number of
children per female are born.
126. According to the fertility and marriage condi-
tions of 1950-52, it would appear that 1.000 married
rural females between the ages of fifteen and fifty give
birth to an average of 4,368 children (female and
male), whereas to 1,000 married urban females only
/2,336 children would be born. This most fertile
portion of the population is becoming a progressively
decreasing percentage of the population. On the other
hand, the population of ihe largest cities and towns
with the lowest fertility level form an ever-increasing
portion of the total White population. All things being
equal, the average birth-rate for the Whites must
EMIGRATION TO THE URBAN AREAS.
127. In view of the fact that the rural areas are
more prolific than the urbin, and that rural mortality
is either on the same leve or lower than that of city
dwellers, the slow increase in the rural population at
the time of the establishment of Union, as well as the
subsequent decrease, can be attributed solely to
emigration. The difference between the actual increase
and the natural increase represents the net emigration.
Data are given in Table 1,;.
TABLE 14.-Net emigration from the rural areas.
1921-1926....... 11,600 17,070 28,670
1926-1931....... 25,880 28,700 54,580
1931-1936....... 39,490 43,780 83,270
1936-1941....... 45,810 47,140 92,950
1941-1946....... 37,810 39,170 76,980
1946-1951 ....... 34,060 34,740 68,800
TOTAL...... 194,650 210,600 405,250
128. Over a period of 30 years, between 1921 and
1951, the platteland lost a .otal of 405,250 persons to
the rest of the country, or an average number of 13,500
a year. The flow increase from 5,730 a year during
1921-1926 to a high level of 18,590 a year during
1936-1941, and then declined. Up to 1931 the platte-
land lost a smaller number than its total natural
increase, and since 1931 moc than its natural increase.
This is clear from the positive and negative numbers
in the last column of Table 14. As the absolute
number of persons in tile rural population had
decreased, there was a decline in the natural increase
after 1936 and fewer persors could be supplied to the
cities from this source. Furthermore, quite apart from
the growth in population, a smallerr number of the basic
population now leave the platteland than was formerly
the case. (As already indicated, there is also a slight
movement in the opposite direction, namely that of
people from the urban to The rural areas. Here the
rural area serves as a residential area bordering on the
urban labour market.)
129. Emigration from th, platteland is also of a
sex-selective nature, a greater number of females than
males taking part. During ihe three decades between
1921 and 1951, the difference was more than 500 a
year on an average.
130. The figures reflected n Table 15 are indicative
of an exodus of juveniles. The vast majority of emi-
grants are younger than 20 years. On comparing the
earlier periods with the recent, it appears that in the
twenties and thirties more adults left the rural areas
than is the case today. Tie following is a possible
Previously, people who had already taken up some
rural occupation, particularly in the field of agriculture,
were forced to leave the land as a result of financial
It can be accepted that on an average the size of the population of the urban portion of the magist rial district represents the size
of towns and cities. There are, of course, more than one population centre in some magisterial districts.
difficulties, or enticed away from the land by better
opportunities in urban areas. More children on leaving
school today, have already decided on other careers.
Moreover, those who choose rural employment are
not forced from the rural area to the same extent as
in the twenties or thirties, owing to more favourable
rural economic conditions at present.
TABLE 15.-Net emigration*fromn the rural areas according
Persons.1 Persons.! Males. Females. Persons.
0-4. .. .......
70- .... ........
A plus sign indicates immigration (or net addition) in the
rural areas. The absence of a sign indicates emigration.
131. From about their sixth year, children are sent
to schools in urban areas. Although these children
are listed as emigrants in Table 15, they should be
regarded as only temporarily absent and as forming
part of the de jure rural population. Technically speak-
ing, the actual age of permanent emigration of emi-
grants in the 5-9 and 10-14 groups could for the
most part be estimated at 15-19 years. Naturally,
this makes no difference to the total volume of the
flow of emigrants. After completion of their studies
in the towns and cities, some of the children return to
settle in the country.
132. From the age of fifteen, the emigration trends
among males and females are widely divergent. Girls
leave home at an earlier age than boys. Those who
do not get married while still residing on the platte-
land, leave before reaching the age of twenty. Some
rural males intending to get married have to seek their
brides among the eligible females in the towns and
cities. Hence there is a small net immigration of
females in the age group 25-29 into the country.
133. Boys from rural areas study longer than their
female counterparts or, at all events, remain dependent
on their parents for a longer time before eventually
leaving the platteland. Thus the number of male
emigrants in the age group 20-24 is equal to half the
number in the 15-19 group, as against a ratio of one-
tenth among females, according to the figures for
1946-51. It would appear, too, that during this period
several hundred males between the ages of 60 and 70
migrated from' the urban to the rural areas. From the
figures it is clear that there has always been a tendency
on the part of some males and females in the higher
age groups (for example those older than 75 years),
who have lived in urban areas, to spend their last years
in a rural environment.
134. The Commission caused a survey to be made
in the case of the Employment Bureaux of the
Department of Labour, Iscor, the South African Rail-
ways and the South African Police, and from this it
appears that some 9,000 applicants who seek employ-
ment with these institutions annually, hail from the
platteland. Although the data are not comparable in
every respect, it is nonetheless possible to obtain a
general idea from which the following particulars
(1) Of employees at the various places of employ-
ment, the following percentages came from the
(a) Police recruits ........... 64-6%
(b) Iscor (Pretoria and Vander-
bijipark)................. 40.0% out of a total of 6,764
(c) South African Railways..... 15-6% out of 4,804 (recruit-
ments, December.. 1956 to
(d) Labour Bureaux........... 7-7% out of 70,000 per an-
(2) Of the rural dwellers from the above groups of
jobseekers, 67 per cent were 30 years or younger.
The majority were more or less 30 years of age. The
under-30 group did not cause great problems as far
as labour was concerned, being young enough to
specialise in a particular direction. In addition, they
were mostly people who had at least completed their
primary education, many of them having passed
Standard VIII. They were not actually established as
farmers at the time of their departure from the platte-
land, and were generally taken on by employers such
as groups (a) to (c) above.
(3) Of the rural dwellers who from 1952 had been
seeking employment at the Labour Bureaux, only 15
per cent were older than 45. Of the group who, after
their 45th year, were compelled by circumstances to
look for work in the cities, 90 per cent had to be
assisted by the Labour Bureaux to find employment,
and of these 25 per cent had not progressed beyond
Standard V at school. For the most part, they could
be employed only in lower-paid positions, with the
result that they had to eke out a precarious existence
in the cities.
135. Grouping according to language of the persons
migrating to the cities emerges from the following
TABLE 16.-Home languages of Whites in the rural areas,
according to population censuses.
Afrikaans. Other. Afrikaans. Other.
136. From Table 16 it is evident that Afrikaans-
speaking persons comprised the major group of people
who took part in this urbanisation process. In fact,
the group of Afrikaans-speaking people on the platte-
land who could possibly emigrate, was six times the
total of all the other language groups. Moreover, the
other language groups showed a tendency either to lose
fewer of their natural increase to urban areas, or to
move from the latter to rural areas, or both. Their
numbers increased by 11,700 between the years 1936
and 1951, whereas those in respect of the Afrikaans-
speaking section decreased by 83,600. Accordingly,
the proportion of the latter in the rural population
declined from 86 to 82 per cent.
137. Conversely, the Afrikaans-speaking section is
gradually changing into a predominantly urban people.
Two-thirds are living in towns and cities, and at
present comprise 51 per cent of the urban population,
as compared with 44 per cent in 1936. However,
slightly less than half the urban Afrikaans-speaking
population are still concentrated in the smaller popula-
tion centres, many of which are country towns. On
the other hand, the majority of English-speaking
people are predominantly metropolitan inhabitants.
ACTIVITIES OF THE RURAL POPULATION.
138. From Table 17 it appears that the economic
activities of the rural population is distributed over
all the sectors which are also found in the urban areas.
TABLE 17.-Industrial distribution of rural economically
in the fact that most city workers are employees and
generally have to retire at some stage or other between
the ages of 60 and 65. It the rural areas more than
half of the economically active section-namely the
majority of those engaged in agriculture-are in fact
entrepreneurs or employer; who can retain their own
services as long as they wish. In fact, most of them
only retire when they d e.
THE FARMING POPULATION.
Agriculture and animal husbandry...
Other primary industries...........
M inning ...........................
139. According to the 1951 Census two-th
rural males in employment and one-fifth of t
in employment were engaged in agriculture.
of the female labour force were, for the
employed in tertiary or service industries (
transport, Government service, education, e
sector was also responsible for the largest
male workers outside agriculture; but the
industries (manufacturing, construction a:
employed nearly 20,000 of the workers.
TABLE 18.-Rural males employed in agricu
1951 (according to census data).
1936 ..................... 161,800
1946 ..................... 139,700
143. It has already beei pointed out that the rural
ION CENSUS. population as a whole should not be identified with
agriculture. There is, however, a case to be made out
Females. for the opposite procedure, namely that of identifying
the population on the fa m (or farming population)
with the rural areas. At the time of the 1951 census,
3,200 only 15,300 of the 136,800 males engaged in agriculture,
10 were enumerated as living in urban areas. This figure
180 could have included a nt]mber of agriculturists who
1,0230 only resided in the towns cr were on a temporary visit.
10- Furthermore, according to estimates, the urban figure
15,720 never exceeded the 14,000 and 17,000 margins since
1911. In passing, it may b; stated that the Commission
actually found instances where a number of farmers
irds of the were living in towns, managing their farms from there.
The rest 144. In the further analysis, only the male agricul-
most part, tourists will be dealt wit t. because although large
commerce, numbers of wives assist tl eir husbands on the farms,
etc.). This very few of them are a iually independent entre-
number of preneurs and agricultural v workers.
nd utility) TABLE 19.-Males engaged ii agriculture. Total for Union.
Iture 1911- OCCUPA IONS. Part played by
Year. industry in
rcentage of Entrepreneurs. Employees. (Percentage.)
1911........ 134,550 29,480 37-9
76-4 1921........ 147,220 15,060 37-6
70-4 1926........ 145,250 24,780 34-1
66-2 1936........ 158,850 17,250 28-8
66-1 1946 ..... 129,560 26,520 22-2
1951........ 125,020 12,000 17-8
140. With the passing of the years, agriculture
gradually became less important as a means of employ-
ment in the economic life of the rural population. The
fragmentary data in Table 18 clearly illustrate the
declining part played by agriculture in the composition
of the rural labour force. From more than three-
quarters in 1911, it dropped to only two-thirds in 1951.
It should be realized that it would be wrong to
identify the rural population with the farmer-popula-
141. Statistics also show that the rural rate of
participation in the labour market at all ages is higher
than that of the urban males. In other words, a
proportionately larger number of them are economically
active. In the first place, they enter the labour market
at an earlier age. The arithmetical mean age at which
these persons start working, is 17-22 years on the
platteland and 17-59 in urban areas. At the age of
21 already 90 per cent of the boys born of the rural
population are wage-earners, as against less than 84- 5
per cent in the case of urban males.
142. Rural males not only start earning their own
living at an earlier age, but they also keep on working
for a longer time. For this reason the mean anticipated
number of years they remain economically active,
exceed those of city males. Thus the city male retires
sooner. As a result of this, and despite the fact that
the life expectancy of the rural male is higher, the city
male spends more years as a retired, or economically
inactive, person. The reason for this should be sought
145. The men engaged in agriculture may be divided
into entrepreneurs and employees. Farmers and
farmers' sons fall unde- the first category. For
historical comparisons, th< inclusion of farmers' sons
in the first category is essential, for in successive
censuses large numbers of them are alternately
described as farmer and firmer's son, despite the fact
that their functions have not changed. For one and
the same census some described themselves as farmers,
while others called themst ves farmers' sons. In the
second instance they are actually much closer to the
entrepreneur than to the employee.
146. As indicated in T, ble 19, these entrepreneurs
until 1936 showed a tend ncy to increase, in spite of
fluctuations. On the basi; of indirect evidence, the
Commission estimates that the peak, and thus also the
turning point, had already been reached between 1930
and 1934. Thereafter the i umber dropped from nearly
159,000 to 125.000 in 195 At a level of 12,000 by
the year 1951, the number of employees is lower than
in any other census year, and less than half the number
147. While there was al first a slight increase and
then a decrease in the course of years in the number
of men engaged in agriculture, there was a consider-
able increase in the labour force of the other economic
sectors in the Union. This is especially true of the
secondary industries which in 1911 had taken up some
98,150 and in 1951 already 215,600 male labourers.
In other words, at the time of the establishment of the
Union of South Africa, 62,000 more males over the
age of 15 years were engaged in agriculture than in
the secondary industries; forty years later the number
of males in the secondary industries exceeded those
engaged in farming by 79,000.
148. Not only was the exodus from the agricultural
industry the direct outcome of industrial development,
but also a condition for such development. The
remaining participants in agriculture obtained a larger
income per capital than would otherwise have been the
case; those who migrated to the cities, earned a larger
income than they would have received on the platte-
land. In fact, the census data for 1951 clearly show
that the average income of the rural earner was 150
higher than that of the city dweller. For an accurate
interpretation of the difference, it should be remem-
bered that the rural income to a great extent represents
the income of entrepreneurs (independent farmers),
whereas the urban income is mainly representative of
wages and salaries and, according to the normal
economic ratios, could be expected to be lower.
POSSIBLE FUTURE POPULATION TRENDS.
POPULATION TRENDS IN OVERSEAS COUNTRIES.
149. Depopulation of rural areas is not limited to
the Whites of South Africa only. For this reason the
Commission considers it essential to sketch briefly the
conditions obtaining in other countries. International
comparisons of the city-rural distribution of popula-
tion suffers from a lack of uniformity in respect of
the definition of the terms "urban" and "rural ".
For purposes of comparison, however, the Com-
mission chose a number of Western countries where
the definition does not differ greatly from the South
African one. The countries appearing in Table 20,
include among urban areas either all population con-
centrations, or centres having more than 250 or 2,000
or 2,500 inhabitants, or centres with a legally con-
stituted administrative control, or which meets more
than one of these requirements. By elimination, the
remaining portion is regarded as constituting the rural
area. This designation agrees with the combined rural
and country areas of the Union as explained in para-
graph 92. From the data in Table 20 it is clear that
the urbanisation process took place analogically in the
principal Western countries.
TABLE 20.-International comparisons: Percentage oj
population in rural areas.*
U.S.A... ...... .....
West Germany ............
England and Wales........
New Zealand.............. .
R ural ................
Rural and country....
1911. 1921. 1936. 1946. 1951.
Sources: United Nations Demographic Yearbooks 1952 and
150. Everywhere there was evidence of the decline
in the percentage of the population residing in the
rural areas The South African percentages for the
Denmark and New Zealand, except that the process
in the Union was more rapid, at any rate since 1931.
The journal of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnea-
polis states: "The persistent decline in the number of
farm people in relation to our growing total population
is significant. Even if the number of farmers had
remained constant over the years, their percentage
decline would still have been significant as the total
population continued to rise. But our farm population
has thinned in absolute numbers as well as in percentage
151. This phenomenon is not confined to the Western
World, and it is found in all countries where a certain
amount of industrial development has taken place, that
increasing numbers of the population settle in urban
areas. The Statistics Division of the U.N.O. Secre-
tariate reports as follows: The rates (of urbanization)
indicate that in general the pace of urbanization has
been faster in countries of relatively low levels of
urbanization. From one point of view this is perhaps
only to be expected, since a given absolute change in
the proportion urban yields a higher rate where the
base percentage is low than would the same change
where the base percentage is higher. Furthermore, the
highly urbanized countries may be said to be approach-
ing something like saturation point. . In only two
countries was there a decrease in the proportion urban
in any of the periods for which data are available."'t
152. The available international data, although not
always fully comparable, still show after provision
has been made for all possible defects, that a definite
correlation exists between economic development and
urbanisation. In this connection, so far as South
Africa is concerned, research workers have come to the
conclusion that it can be safely stated that industrial
development was mainly responsible for the changes
in the Union's White population pattern between 1946
and 1951 ".t
153. Although it has been pointed out that rural
depopulation is coupled with industrial development
and in many Western countries takes place un-
obtrusively, the process gave rise to such concern in
some European countries that the matter was discussed
at special congresses. This problem was also con-
sidered at a congress of the International League of
European Cities and Communities, held during
June, 1957, in Scheveningen, in the Netherlands. From
the press reports that came to the Commission's notice
it appears that, when rural depopulaion progresses too
far, it gives rise to other problems with which we in
South Africa have not yet had to contend on any large
scale. At this Congress the dangers of over-populated
cities was stressed, as well as the desirability of keep-
ing the people in the rural areas by the creation of
more facilities. It was contended that the European
cities expanded to such an extent as to become con-
gested ", thus giving rise to problems of development
and the creation of mass beings ". The rural areas
were losing particularly their younger and most com-
petent people to the cities, with dire consequences to
the country as a whole
FUTURE POSSIBILITIES IN SOUTH AFRICA.
154. (a) Whites in the rural areas.-Naturally the
future size of the platteland population cannot be
predicted with any amount of accuracy, but certain
possibilities may be deduced from the facts already
mentioned. First and foremost, attention has to be
directed towards the following facts:-
(1) Rural females marry at an earlier age than their
rural and country White population, as well as its city counterparts-the average age is 23-45
trends, do not differ greatly from those of the U.S.A., years, compared with 24-35 in the case of the
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: Farm News ".
t United Nations: Demographic Year Book, 1952, p. 12.
WinkI6 & Van der Merwe: Economic expansion of the Union as reflected by the shift of the While population (1936-1951), Finance
and Trade Review, Oct., Nov., 1956, p. 101.
city females. Of the rural females 99 per cent
and of the urban females 98-2 per cent marry
before their fiftieth birthday.
(2) Because rural females marry at an earlier age,
there is a tendency for their families to be larger
than those of city females. On an average
4,368 children per 1,000 married females are
born in rural areas, as against only \,336 per
1,000 in the cities.
(3) The mortality rate for urban children during the
first year of life is higher than in the rural areas.
In the cities, for example, 39-3 boys and 31
girls per 1,000 births of each sex die at birth,
compared with 32-6 boys and 27-5 girls,
respectively, in the rural areas.
(4) The rural population, which is normally the
most prolific, is becoming a progressively
smaller part of the country's total population.
In the past, the rural areas lost its surplus
population to the cities but from 1931 more
than its natural population increase found their
way to the cities.
155. This emigration from the platteland is a
dominant factor introducing a large element of uncer-
tainty in calculations of any kind. If the statistical
calculation is correct the rural population numbers
could be estimated at between 515,000 and 519,000 in
1971. But if the trends obtaining between 1946 and
1951 continue, it may well happen that the rural popula-
tion (531,000 in 1956) will drop to 420,000 by 1971.
The Commission has noticed however, that the rate of
depopulation has decreased somewhat since 1951, and
for this reason it feels inclined to accept a possible
figure of slightly more than 500,000 rural inhabitants
156. At all events, it is reasonable to assume that
there will be a decline in the rural population, but that
the absolute extent of the decline and possibly later also
the relative rate of decline will in due course become
smaller; and there can be no doubt that, if the present
trends continue, the rural areas will, in years to come,
play an increasingly smaller part in the establishment
of a White population in South Africa.
157. (b) Non-Whites.--Since everything points to a
decline in the rural White population, relative as well
as absolute, during the next two decades there is every
reason to believe, on the basis of present trends, that
there will be an increase in the number of Bantu in
158. The Socio-Economic Commission is of the
opinion that: Although it cannot be stated with
certainty, especially in consequence of their contact
with the habits and customs of the European, every-
thing indicates that the potential growth of the Bantu,
as well as that of the other two non-European groups.
is much greater than that of the Europeans . .
Nevertheless, the excess of Bantu over Europeans in
absolute numbers increases from 5.459,000 in 1946 to
10,187,000 at the close of the century ".*
occupied by larger numbers of Bantu. As
indeed a material risk, it is essential that
attitudes, and their consequences, are set out
160. (1) The first attitude is that the Bantu has but
one function in the rural areas, particularly on farms
owned by Whites, name) that of labourer. The
Tomlinson Report states that the Bantu are the
preponderant source of manpower in the Union's
agriculture . ."f This attitude gives rise to the
general assumption that no only is the Bantu the
only labourer that can be employed on farms, but that
all manual and semi-skilled labour such as the driving
of tractors and lorries on the farm should be done by
him. This means that the White is gradually coming
to rely on the Non-white to such an extent that he
regards it impossible to run his farm without the help
161. (2) Secondly, it is generally accepted that the
Bantu provides an inexpensive source of labour.
Because such labour is supposed to be cheap, it
frequently happens that a far greater number of
labourers are kept than is strictly necessary; too little
attention is paid to efficiency, and it has been authori-
tatively calculated that he (the Bantu) often does only
half of what would be accomplished by a White man
who is paid five times as much. Often cheap labour
is found to be very expensive labour in the long run
(as is evident from the high costs of repair resulting
from bad handling of tractors and farm implements)
but owing to the present attitude, it is far more likely
that in future years there will be an increase rather
than a decrease in Native l.bour as far as agriculture
162. (3) Complaints about a shortage of labour are
voiced annually at congresses of agricultural unions.
Witnesses appearing before the Commission quoted
the labour shortage as one of the causes of rural
depopulation. The Commission feels inclined,
however, to agree with officials of the Department of
Bantu Administration and Development that it is most
unlikely that a farmer will quit farming simply
because he does not have sufficient Bantu labour.
Because they firmly believe in the labour shortage,
farmers tend to offer more favourable labour condi-
tions than are actually in their own interest. So, for
example, they permit not oniy the Bantu labourers and
their families, but frequently also other relatives, to
reside on the farm. In addition, the farmer allows his
labourers to keep horses and donkeys-which ruin the
veld-as well as cattle and other animals. The Com-
mission encountered the (ase of a farmer who,
convinced that he needed 12 labourers to cultivate a
farm measuring 600 morgkn, provided grazing to
between 50 and 100 head of large stock belonging to
163. Some 600,000 Bantu are employed on farms.
yet a total of 2,400,000 Bantu are living on White
farms. Thus it may be assumed that under the present
system of employment ever) labourer is representative
of 4 persons. If farmers were to introduce a system
of cash wages and hire strong young labourers at a
higher monthly wage, the number of Bantu in the rural
White areas would greatly diminish.
1 4 A it i; 1,h i d1 1Ii
1,. 's I 1a, tL, Oat Lu e utLI nedIIU above is already
leading to an increase in the number of Bantu in rural
THE INCREASING PREPONDERANCE OF BANTU ON THEi areas. There is, however. a further development
PLATTELAND. which has been brought to :he notice of the Commis-
sion, and which is sure to promote greater Bantu
159. The present attitude of farmers towards the preponderance on the platteland. The Bantu is not
Non-white, particularly the Bantu, is conducive to an always employed solely as a labourer. He is also em-
evergrowing Bantu population on farms owned by played as foreman and semi-skilled artisan. By
Whites and even on the platteland as a whole. The employing the Non-white as foreman, White men and
Commission fears that unless there is a change in out- their families are ousted from the farms and replaced
look, the White rural areas will slowly but surely be by Non-whites and their families. Legislation relating
Summary of the Report of the Commission for the Socio-Economic Development of the Bantu Areas within the Union of South
Africa, p. 28, 29.
t Ibid, p. 35.
to the colour bar, and applicable to mines and indu-
stries, does not apply to the agricultural industry. The
majority of the older Whites who from 1936 onwards
have emigrated to the cities, consisted of foremen,
" bywoners and share-croppers who were often also
employed as supervisors or foremen. The Non-white
foremen now do the work previously entrusted to
those Whites. According to census data the number
of White labourers on farms declined as follows:-
TABLE 21.-Number of hired White labourers, including
domestic servants, 1946-1955.
NUMBER OF LABOURERS, INCLUDING
Male. Female. Total.
1947 ................ I
1952 ......... .......
165. The number of hired Whites dropped from
15,460 in 1946 to 8,040 in 1955-a decrease of 7,420
persons or 48 per cent over a period of ten years.
166. Previously the Non-white foremen was simply
a leading labourer in charge of a labour gang, but the
Commission has obtained considerable evidence that in
numerous cases such foremen can be regarded as farm
managers rather than mere leading labourers. Wit-
nesses stated that many farms previously occupied by
Whites were now managed by Non-white foremen.
The homesteads of the White farmers, managers and
share-croppers are now either uninhabited, abandoned
and neglected, or else are occupied by the Non-white
and his family.
167. Evidence of this development is particularly
strong in the southern and southwestern parts of the
Free State and certain parts of Natal. For this reason
the Division of Economics and Markets was requested
to conduct a brief survey in certain districts in order
to ascertain whether there was any scientific proof to
substantiate this evidence. Map No. 3 provides a clear
picture of conditions as encountered in certain districts
in the Free State. The farms marked by diagonal lines
were vacated by Whites and are either unoccupied or
else occupied by Bantu only. Those coloured black
have long been occupied exclusively by Bantu.
168. In order to reflect the actual extent of the
position, a summary is given in Table 22 of the
various types of farm occupation in the magisterial
districts of Dewetsdorp, Smithfield, Bethulie, Phillip-
polis, Trompsburg, Reddersburg and Edenburg.
TABLE 22.-Various types of Jarm occupation in seven
Magisterial Districts of the Orange Free State.
Types of farm occupation.
By owner himself ........
By White foreman........
By lessee or share-cropper.
By Bantu foreman........
Previously White, now
Bantu or unoccupied...
Always unoccupied or
TOTAL AREA .........
Squar Morgen. of
4,182-5 1,264,711-6 70-6
277-2 83,820-5 4-7
32-1 9,706-4 0-5
778-5 235,404-0 13-1
625-5 189,140-2 10-6
26-9 8,134-3 0-5
5,922-7 1,790,917-0 100.0
and 4-7 per cent by White foremen. Thus only 75
per cent of the farms are still occupied by Whites at
this stage. Of the total area, 13' -1 per cent is already
occupied by Non-whites who may be termed leading
labourers but who in actual fact are entrusted with such
a high degree of supervision that they act as foremen.
A further 10-6 per cent of farms previously occupied
by Whites were vacated by their White occupants as
far back as 1946, and today are either completely
unoccupied or else are inhabited by Non-whites only.
A small percentage of farms (0-5 per cent) have never
had White occupants. It appears that nearly a quar-
ter of the farms in the region surveyed are no longer
occupied by Whites.
170. The eastern part of the Free State and the
western part of Natal were combined in the second
sample, as shown in Map No. 4. The results, however,
are reflected in two parts.
171. (a) Harrismith and vicinity.-In this part, the
total area surveyed came to 500,000 morgen, of which
67-9 per cent, 5-6 per cent and 4-9 per cent were
occupied by owners, White foremen and tenants res-
pectively. Thus 78-4 per cent of the total area is
occupied by Whites, but more than one-fifth of the
area has only Bantu occupants. Of the 21-6 per cent
occupied by Bantu, 12-5 per cent has been inhabited
by them for a long time, but in 1945 Whites still
occupied 9-1 per cent, and they were therefore
replaced by non-Whites during the past 13 years.
172. (b) Four Natal Magisterial Districts.-In Natal,
nearly 13 per cent of the total area which is still
regarded as White, was included in the sample. Of
nearly 800,000 morgen covered by the survey, only
58-5 per cent is still occupied by Whites, whereas 41 -5
per cent is already being occupied by Bantu. The
highest degree of Bantu preponderance in White areas
occurs in the Weenen district, where 83 per cent of the
farms and 71 -5 per cent of the area are already being
occupied by Bantu, but even in the Bergville district
as much as two-thirds of the area of the district (ex-
cluding the Bantu reserves) is occupied by Bantu.
173. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Squatter
Laws, there were instances on farms where Bantu
squatters were being hired out by farmers in exchange
for the work they have to do for the farmer without
remuneration for certain periods. The owner then
receives the labourers' wages for that period. An
example was quoted of one farm where nothing
whatever was produced, yet giving the owner an
income of 3,400 a year from the hiring out of his
Bantu squatters. According to information at the
Commission's disposal, some of these farms have at
no time been occupied by Whites. In addition, some
of these farms have been neglected to such an extent
that their reclamation will take many years.
174. Quite apart from what the Commission has
been told by witnesses in various parts of the country
and which is borne out by samples taken in the dis-
tricts concerned, the South African Police furnished
one of the members of the Commission with the
following data in 1954:-
175. Table 23 shows that 14,703 farms in the White
areas are exclusively occupied by 924,424 Non-whites.
In the Transvaal particularly, there is a large concen-
tration of Bantu living as squatters on individual
White farms. If there were any indications of a
decrease or even stabilisation of the present number
of Non-white occupants, this would not be a matter
for such very grave concern, but it is obvious that the
process is continuing. In the Union, according to a
survey by the S.A. Police, 5,419 farms which in 1945
were still occupied by Whites, have since been vacated
and are at present being occupied solely by Non-
whites. In the Orange Free State, where there are
practically no Bantu reserves. 2.074 farms occupied by
169. The total area covered by this sample came to
nearly 6,000 square miles or 1,790,917 morgen. Of the
total area 70-6 per cent was occupied by the owners
Whites prior to 1945 are now solely occupied by Non-
whites. The Commission gained the impression that
the Squatter Laws were not being strictly enforced.
TABLE 23. -Number offarms (in White areas) occupied by
Western Cape Province
Eastern Cape Province
Transkei......... . .
residing on the
Transvaal............ 2,947 670,646*
Witwatersrand........ 150 4,240
Orange Free State..... 4,718 44,038
Natal ................ 1 3,123 162,093
TOTAL....... 14,703 924,422
Further inquiries into the high figure for the Transvaal revealed
that the Police had also included several farms subsequently
acquired for the Native Trust.
176. Finally, it should be pointed out that, apart
from the occurrence of non-European foremen, there
is a far more serious development in the cropping
areas. Several witnesses have stated that many far-
mers, notwithstanding the fact that it is illegal, allow
share-cropping by Bantu. In such cases the Bantu
may be regarded as a farmer or entrepreneur on the
177. Dr. S. P. Viljoen of Pretoria has estimated that
by the year 2,000 only some 12 per cent of the
economically active White men will still be engaged in
agriculture, forestry and the fishery industry. Such a
development will, according to Dr. Viljoen, have
serious consequences for the White community, not
only from an economic point of view, but also as
regards general political and strategic considerations.
178. The preceding paragraphs certainly create a
sombre picture. If the present trend is to continue,
it is to be doubted whether the White platteland will
be able to fulfil its indispensable demographic and
social functions. The Commission took cognisance
of the fact that Chapter IV of the Native Legislation
of 1936 would be enforced, but if the application of
this measure does not have the desired effect, more
drastic steps will be necessary.
ALLEGED REASONS FOR RURAL
179. The Commission will later outline the reasons
which, in its view, are responsible for the rural exodus
and quitting of farms, but at this stage wishes to
enumerate all the alleged reasons advanced by various
witnesses and writers of memoranda. Altogether nearly
one hundred such reasons were mentioned, and for
convenience sake they will be classified as follows, but
the Commission wishes to make it clear, however,
that they do not necessarily reflect the views held by
the Commission: -
180. Physical Causes.-(I) South Africa is not pre-
eminently suited to agriculture. In the first place, the
soil is for the most part shallow and poor; the exten-
sive areas of deep, fertile soil found in the Argentine,
the Ukraine and the Middle West of the United
States of America, rendering possible large-scale inten-
sive cultivation, are not found in this country. Second-
ly, 63 per cent of the White farm area is situated in
regions with an annual rainfall of less than 500 milli-
metre (20 inches) which is generally regarded as the
minimum precipitation for the cultivation of dryland
crops. Finally there are regions where the rainfall is
adequate for the growing of crops, but where this is
impossible because of the -nountainous topography.
Because of all these factors, 10 per cent at most of the
farm area can be cultivated under present conditions.
(2) Owing to the poor and precarious rainfall large,
perennial rivers and other water sources are lacking in
(3) Extensive areas whicin had previously been
available for agricultural purposes, were and are still
being withdrawn from farming, by the development of
mining, various other industries, towns, small holdings,
holiday resorts, etc.
(4) There is a real physical scarcity of land. The
stage of full occupation of South Africa's agricultural
land has been reached and the rural areas are no
longer able to absorb the annual increase in the
181. Personal Factors.-(1, There are many malad-
justed persons in farming-people who have no great
aptitude or love for farming but who have landed
there by force of circumstances. These people are
finding it difficult to adapt themselves to the increasing
demands of present-day farming.
(2) Unwillingness to do manual labour which is
necessary on a farm.
(3) A lack of general development and intelligence.
(4) A lack of managing ability and business acumen.
(5) Unwillingness on the p;,rt of farmers to persevere
and endure hardship.
(6) Unwillingness on the part of many young
beginners to start at the bot om of the ladder and to
be satisfied with a small initial income until such time
as they have made good.
(7) A tendency with somr farmers to complain in
the presence of their children i and to enlarge only on
the gloomy aspects of farmir g. One farmer who gave
evidence before the Commission put it tersely: "We
are grousing our children away from the farms".
(8) The traditional systent of bequeathing land is
indicative of the wish inher nt in many farmers to
leave some land to each anci every child. In practice
the effect of this deep-seated desire on the part of our
farming community has four different aspects,
(a) A farmer with several children may buy up a
number of other farn s in his area, retaining
them until such tin e as he can leave an
economic unit to each child.
(b) In cases where the above extensive possessions
do not occur and there is only one farm in the
estate, it is common practice for the farmer to
stipulate that the farm should be equally
divided among all his heirs. The process of
repeated subdivision subsequently led to a con-
dition of over-subdiv sion into too small sec-
tions on which the numerous heirs found it
impossible to make a living.
(c) Yet another custom is for the farm to be
bequeathed to one ciiild, on condition that he
pays to the other heirs in cash their share of the
market value of the land. In order to meet this
obligation, the child who inherits the farm, is
compelled to mortgage his land heavily, often
beyond its actual agricultural value, particular-
ly during times of inflation. This accounts for
the saying: Many a farmer's son becomes
insolvent because of iis inheritance ".
(d) The system of hereditary tenure (" erfpag ") is yet
another manifestation of the earnest desire that
the land should remain in the possession of a
particular family. Under this system the
testator for many generations imposes limita-
tions on ownership, ir order to prevent the land
becoming alienated or mortgaged. Since the
heirs do not have full ownership they find it
impossible to obtain credit for the necessary
capital improvements so vital to successful
farming. This leads to their neglecting and
leaving the farms, while the land is leased to a
182. Social Causes.-(1) The social attractions
offered by the cities with their recreational facilities
and social intercourse.
(2) The close proximity of facilities such as hospitals,
doctors, schools, shops, churches, etc., in the cities and
(3) The security offered by urban employment with
a regular income as against the struggle and uncertain
existence on the farm.
(4) The decline of the rural town, for example in the
commercial and educational fields, leading to the dis-
appearance of social life in rural areas.
(5) The development of a luxurious and competitive
mode of life in the case of some farmers, resulting in
numerous debts and neglect of the farm.
(6) The development of social barriers between rich
and poor farmers, as a result of which in the rural
areas the poor man's child develops a feeling of
inferiority, compelling him to seek a livelihood else-
(7) A spirit of materialism which destroyed the idea
of love and aid for their fellow-men. One witness who
approached a well-to-do farmer for employment was
told: I am not farming with poor Afrikaners but with
183. Agricultural factors.--(1) Natural factors such
as a precarious climate and rainfall, droughts, floods,
hail as well as severe heat and cold.
(2) Pests (such as gerbilles. birds, locusts, lice, etc.).
(3) Plant and animal diseases.
(4) Declining fertility of the soil.
(5) Wrong farming practices.
(6) Inadequate guidance and instruction to farmers.
(7) Lack of a sound agricultural policy.
(8) The fencing system renders possible the manage-
ment of larger areas by one person, resulting in the
disappearance of the trek farmer.
(9) Mechanisation of agriculture has reduced the
necessity of White labour.
(10) Conservation practices and other improved
methods eliminate White labour.
(11) Soil conservation programmes which have be-
come essential to the continued existence of farming
cannot readily be undertaken by the small farmer:
often his land is too small for carrying out such pro-
grammes and he also does not dispose of the necessary
184. Economic Factors.--By far the greater majority
of factors mentioned to the Commission as the causes
of rural depopulation, are of an economic nature:--
(1) High and uneconomic market prices of agricul-
tural land which not only make it well-nigh impossible
for young beginners to enter the industry but also
tempt established farmers to sell out to other well-to-
do farmers and to migrate to towns or cities.
(2) High and uneconomic rentals of land which go
hand in hand with inflated land prices. Only the
farmer who is in a strong financial position is able to
pay the high rentals (the rented land serving only to
supplement his own farming enterprise), while the
ordinary tenant who is entirely dependent on rented
land for his living, is not able to compete.
(3) High capital requirements to start a farming
enterprise, quite apart from the price of land. It has
been maintained that the total capital requirements for
a beginner in most agricultural regions vary from
15,000 to 25,000 according to the district and the
type of farming.
(4) Large landownership, in other words a tendency
on the part of certain individuals and companies to
acquire extensive areas of land, be it for purposes of
investment, speculation or evasion of income tax,
was regarded by many a witness as one of the main
causes of the inflated land prices and resultant
(5) Over-capitalisation of farming, such as the
injudicious buying of implements, as well as un-
productive capital expenditure.
(6) Marketing problems, amongst others-
(a) maldistribution and sporadic supply to the
(h) great price fluctuations which make an advance
calculation of the farmer's income most un-
certain, particularly as regards products such as
vegetables and certain types of fruit; and
(c) malpractices by market agents and buyers on
(7) Bad roads and other poor transport facilities
which further increase the cost of production and
(8) Uneconomic small farm units. In a time of
inflation and a higher standard of living it is hardly
to be wondered that many witnesses regarded this
factor as one of the main causes of the exodus from
farms. The small farmer, who for many years has led
a hand-to-mouth existence because his land was not an
economic unit, availed himself of the high prices of
land to sell his holding at a fairly good price to a
financially stronger farmer.
(9) High costs of production, brought about by the
high prices of means of production such as implements
and spare parts, fertilisers, fuel, etc. Witnesses main-
tained that the State allowed too high profit margins
on such means of production. In addition, production
costs are increased by fertilizer and oil companies who
employ trained agriculturists at high salaries. They
also employ large numbers of salesmen who travel all
over the country and so serve to increase the entire
(10) Small profit margins and unremunerative prices
(11) The low average income from agriculture as a
field of investment compared with other industries.
(12) The unprecedented industrial development
experienced by the Union since the second World War,
coupled with a disproportionate concentration of those
industries. In the first place, fairly good wages and
attractive conditions of service such as shorter working
hours, sick-funds and holidays enticed away from the
agricultural industry many a struggling small farmer
and landless employee; and secondly the unequable
industrial concentration in certain metropolitan areas
also detrimentally affected the rural towns as a result
of the loss of schoolchildren, local trade and dis-
appearance of social life.
(13) Rural areas have not received the same attention
and State aid in their development as the urban areas.
(14) Depressions, as well as lesser economic reces-
sions of a local nature, as those at present being
experienced in certain cropping areas as a result of
(15) Share-cropping, which previously provided a
means of livelihood to many ruralites, has become un-
remunerative, except perhaps in cases where an
independent farmer cultivates for a share of the crop
additional land with his existing implements and labour.
(16) With the advent of mechanisation in agriculture
many smaller farmers found it impossible to continue
farming, not only because of the considerable expen-
diture involved in buying and repairing farm
machinery, but also because labourers have become
unwilling to handle draught animals.
(17) The high wool prices which prevailed from
1950 to 1956 and which were even described by some
witnesses as a catastrophe have led to the accumu-
lation of surplus capital by wool farmers, and those
surplusses were again invested in land sometimes
situated in the cropping and cattle regions, with an
inflation of land prices as the inevitable outcome. One
farmer in a mixed-farming region stated with bitter-
ness: The wool farmers have now withdrawn from
our region, but the high prices of land have remained."
(18) Professional and business men from the cities
buy farms for recreational or investment purposes,
thus keeping prospective bona fide farmers from enter-
ing the industry.
(19) Bywoners" have almost completely dis-
appeared from the platteland and have looked for other
employment, because they and their children have no
future or security on the farm.
(20) Inadequate salaries and conditions of employ-
ment for farm foremen, as contrasted with better
opportunities for employment in the cities. Land-
owners often prefer taking on Non-white supervisors
who are willing to work for a smaller salary.
(21) The establishment of company farms, parti-
cularly in the wattle and sugarcane regions.
(22) A lack of sufficient agricultural credit for the
young beginner as well as for the man who is already
engaged in farming. Settlers on Government land,
and other persons who do not have full owernship, are
also experiencing great difficulty in obtaining short-
term production credit.
(23) To-day the young man who is keen to farm has
but little opportunity of becoming independent, unless
he "inherits or marries land ", as one witness put it.
(24) Government pensions and allowances afford
the aged and physically disabled persons an opportunity
to migrate to towns and cities.
(a) Estate duty- sometimes the heir is compelled to
sell his farm or part of it in order to pay the
(b) Income tax hampers expansion, and prevents
the young farmer from building up an economic
(c) Tax on donations prevents a father from giving
sufficient financial aid to his sons.
185. Educational Reasons.--(1) Centralisation of
education and the disappearance of farm schools as a
result of which the child becomes a stranger to life
on the farm and loses his love of farming. (Various
authorities maintain, however, that this factor, far from
being a cause, is actually the result of the exodus from
(2) Inadequate educational facilities at rural schools.
in consequence of which parents prefer sending their
children to bigger town or city schools. A certain
degree of snobbery is not altogether absent here. Fre-
quently the children concerned become estranged
from farm life.
(3) School syllabuses are far too academic, tending
to lure the child away from an agricultural career.
(4) The generally low educational level of many
farmers, as a result of which they fail to keep pace
with modern systems of farming.
(5) Inadequate agricultural training for farmers.
It is estimated that barely 10 per cent of the new
entrants who join the farming ranks each year, receive
any formal agricultural training.
(6) Improved educational and technical training
facilities opened the way to other careers, whereas in
the past the farm child had only one prospect, namely,
helping his father on the farm.
(7) Farmers often settle in town for the sake of
their children who are still attending school; the farm
is then managed, from the town.
(8) Generally speaking, there are numerous facilities
for drawing children away from the farm, for example
bursaries, training, etc., btut there are no similar
facilities to bring them back !o the farm.
186. Population Factors.- (I) Smaller families on
(2) Landless persons su ch as "bywoners" and
White employees, with thtir large families, have
virtually left en masse for th:, cities.
(3) Too small a number of White immigrants enter
the country to take up employment in the cities and
for this reason people have to be drawn from the rural
187. The Labour Question.--(I) Scarce and expen-
sive labour has a crippling effect on farming.
(2) The Non-white labour on which the farmer has
to depend, is inefficient and poorly trained.
(3) The Non-white labourer is quick to take offence
and leaves his employer's service when reprimanded.
(4) Some Non-white labourers are inherently un-
188. The Non-white Problemn.--This group of causes
is related to the labour qu.2stion mentioned above,
since it emanates from the presence of Non-whites
in the rural areas.
(1) From time to time the Native Trust buys land
previously occupied by White; in order to supplement
the quota of land for Native reserves as laid down by
Parliament in 1936.
(2) Illegal share-cropping by Bantu on White
farms further closes the door lor White share-croppers,
since the Non-white is usuIlly willing to accept a
smaller share of the crop.
(3) The fact that there are fairly large numbers of
Non-whites who are prepared to work for low wages
have resulted in landowners employing them as
supervisors and foremen ii preference to more
expensive White foremen.
(4) Squatter or labour farms exclusively occupied
by Bantu, either on payment or for the rendering of
services to the White owner for part of the year, makes
life on adjacent farms unattractive; these conditions
give rise to labour and soil conservation problems and
lead to theft.
189. Wars.-(1) During World War II (1939-1945)
large numbers of ruralites joined the armed forces.
After spending years in cities and military camps some
had no desire to return to the farms. Many of them
received technical training in the army which equipped
them for other employment.
(2) The families of these soldiers settled in cities and
towns during the absence of the father and became
strangers to farm life.
190. The above-mentioned causes of rural depopu-
lation as submitted to the Conimisson in oral evidence
or in memoranda, are all enumerated here so as to
indicate the extent of the problems with which the
agricultural industry has to contend. Some of the
causes may even be regarded :s contradictory or over-
lapping, but serve to prove the divergence of opinion
among farmers and other witnesses, depending on the
particular region or type of farming a witness had in
mind when stating his views.
191. Some of these factors the Commission cannot
actually regard as cogent reasons for the exodus from
farms. In paragraphs 429-458 the Commission sets
out its own views on the reasons for rural depopula-
TABLE 25.-Percentage of total number of cases for size
groups according to extent of farm, Agricultural census
1927 to 1954.
CHANGES IN THE SIZE OF FARMS.
192. The extent to which farms become larger or
smaller, is of course closely related to the general
position of the agricultural industry in any given
region, and exerts its influence on the prosperity and
stability of the farming community. For this reason it
is desirable to determine to what extent the size of
farms has changed in the course of years.
193. Table 24 indicates the percentage of total areas
according to size groups, from 1927 up to 1954.
TABLE 24.-Percentage of total farming area of White
arms in size groups according to farm area, Agricultural
Census 1927 to 1954.
Less than 100 ........... .
100 to 500 ............
501 to 1,000..............
1,001 to 2,000 ........ . .
2,001 to 3,000............
3,001 to 5,000............
5,001 to 10,000...........
10,000 and more..........
1927. 1937. 1946. 1950. 1954.
100.0 100-0 100-0 100"0 il00-0
NOTE: Figures for the agricultural census for 1956 are not given
on the same basis and hence are not comparable here.
194. At a first glance it would appear as if the per-
centage of the total farming area for the various farm
size groups has not changed much. An accurate
analysis, however, clearly shows that for 1954 a larger
percentage of the area falls in the smaller groups,
namely those of less than 100 and from 101 to 500
morgen, than was the case in 1927, and also that the
largest farms of 5,001 morgen and more cover a
larger portion of the area. The size groups between
501 and 5.000 morgen lost some of their areas.
195. During this period the area of farm land was
ever on the increase, and for purposes of comparison
we therefore have to work with relative values. Al-
though the relative changes may seem to be of very
little significance, it is well to bear in mind that a
change of 0 1 per cent represents 100.000 morgen. The
area of farm land owned by Whites in 1954 totalled
102,183,749 morgen. The increase in the total area of
farms less than 100 morgen in extent was from 563,000
morgen in 1927 to 951,000 morgen in 1954. Hence
it must be clear that the changes appear to be more
imposing when absolute values are taken into account.
In amplification of the foregoing, the percentages of
the total number of farmers for the various farm size
groups is indicated in Table 25.
Size group (morgen).
5 and less ................
6 to 20 ...................
21 to 100.................
101 to 500.................
501 to 1,000 ..............
1,001 to 2,000..........
2,001 to 3,000............
3,001 to 5,000...... ....
5,001 to 10,000.......
10,000 and more......
1927. 1937. 1946. 1950. 1954.
Percentage of farmers in each
4-3 3-7 7-2 8-4 8-9
8-3 9-5 8-8 9-4 9-6
9-1 10-0 11-1 11-9 12-6
30-8 33-4 32-5 32-1 31-1
20-6 19-9 18-3 17-5 16-8
14-5 12-8 11-6 11-0 10-8
5-0 4-4 4-2 3-8 3-8
4-1 3-4 3-3 3-1 3-3
2-4 2-1 2-2 2-1 2-3
0-9 0-8 0-8 0-7 0-8
100.0 100I0 100-0 100-0 100-0
THE DIMINUTION OF FARMS.
196. The increase in the percentage of cases
occupying 500 morgen of land and less is really
significant. Thus it will be noticed that 52-5 per cent
of the cases occupied 500 morgen or less in 1927, and
that successive cencuses indicated more cases in this
group, until in 1954 as much as 62-2 per cent of cases
occupied land 500 morgen in extent or less. The lar-
gest decrease occurred in the number of cases of 500
to 2,000 morgen in extent. These decreased from 35 1
to 27-6 per cent of the total. The large farms
decreased from 12-4 per cent to 10-2 per cent of the
197. If the data of Tables 24 and 25 are considered
jointly, interesting facts emerge. There is definitely
an increase in the number of smaller farmers and the
land owned by them. In 1927, for instance, 52-5 per
cent of the cases occupied 500 morgen or less, and
they represented 9-3 per cent of land in White areas.
This group rose to 62-2 per cent in 1954 and they
represented 11-2 per cent of that land. These figures
undoubtedly point to an increase in the number of
198. In many cases, farms have become so small
that a number of farmers will be forced off their land
in certain areas. Should their farms become the
property of other small farmers, resulting in a consoli-
dation of uneconomic units, it would be a sound
development; but usually the farmer who is finan-
cially strong and who already owns one or more
economic units, buys these small farms. Unless a
method is found by which small farmers could be
assisted in extending their uneconomic farms, and by
which large landowners would be discouraged from
acquiring still more land, there can be no doubt
whatsoever that further depopulation would follow,
particularly in certain areas.
199. Owing to this phenomenon encountered in so
many parts of the country where farm areas are
steadily shrinking, the Commission thought it advis-
able to undertake an intensive sample survey with the
assistance of economists of the Department of Agricul-
ture, with a view to further elucidation. A certain
area in the Marico district was decided upon for this
purpose, since according to several witnesses this area
provided a most striking example of unsound and
200. The area surveyed lies astride the main road
between Swartruggens and Zeerust. Information was
obtained in respect of 38 original farms, sub-divided
into 373 farming units of which 344 were occupied by
White farmers. Moreover, these farms have 170 joint
owners residing elsewhere. Ultimately the survey was
concentrated on 17 farms where the problem of over-
subdivision was most clearly visible.
201. These 17 farms, of which the original average
size was 2,590 morgen per farm, are now sub-divided
into holdings averaging 13-3 morgen. This does not
mean that each of these small holdings belong to one
owner only. In several instances such a holding has
various shareholders, the land already being too small
to sub-divide further. In other cases the original farms
are not sub-divided (surveyed) at all, but still belong
to a large number of shareholders. One farm of 4,967
morgen, for instance, has 60 shareholders although it
is altogether a dry farm. The following analysis in
Table 26 is in respect of a sample of 6 original farms.
TABLE 26.-Sub-division of six farms in the Marico district
according to size groups.
Number! Total Average Number Percent-
Size group of morgen morgen of age of
(morgen). farming for in owners, farms
units. group. group, in each
0-25 ........... 13 188 14 5 24 12.4
26-50 .......... 22 828 37.6 41 20.9
51-75 .......... 10 627 62-7 14 9.5
76-100 ......... 14 1,156 82-6 16 13.3
101-200 ........ 23 3,455 150.2 27 21-9
201-300........ 15 3,744 249-6 31 14-4
301 andmore... 8 4,375 546-8 30 7-6
105 14,373 136-9 183 100-0
It appears that 59 out of 105 holdings, or 56 1 per
cent, are less than 100 morgen in extent. These 59
holdings have 95 owners. Of a total of 373 little
farms, 18 were totally unoccupied, i. e. 4-8 per cent.
Further depopulation can be expected.
202. Incidentally, it is an interesting fact that the
average age of farmers in this area is at least 60 years.
There are virtually no young people and very few
children. For two reasons elderly people still remain
on the farmlets, namely (a) because they can supple-
ment their meagre income by old age pensions, and
(b) because their love for the soil is so strong that they
prefer to face poverty on the farmlets rather than
moving to unknown surroundings at an advanced age.
203. Information obtained from 234 farmers in res-
pect of the source of income showed that 136 (or 58
per cent) had a supplementary source of income. It
was found on one farm with 28 farmers, that all of
them were in receipt of old age pensions. The price
of land is abnormally high in relation to its economic
value. Ordinary grazing land is offered at from 15 to
25 per morgen, while irrigation land varies from 200
to 300 per morgen.
204. Since it would be difficult to describe these con-
ditions adequately, the actual position as regards the
sub-division of one farm is shown on Map No. 5. All
these farmlets have a river frontage varying from less
than 50 yards up to slightly more than 100 yards.
With curves and corners these narrow farmlets stretch
for more than a mile away from the river. It should
be clear that it is practically impossible to carry on
proper farming activities on such a strip of land. In
the case of bequests this process of sub-division is still
continuing, as well as the practice of selling shares in
a farm in the event of financial difficulties.
205. The next map--Map No. 6-gives an illustra-
tion of an undivided farm with 60 joint owners. The
homesteads and small cult vated lands are clustered
together on approximately 400 morgen, while the
remaining 3,600 morgen virtually lie idle and unused.
Since nobody can claim anty specific portion of the
communal outer veld, no camps or cultivated lands are
laid out on that portion.
206. Though this area may be the most striking
example of sub-division encountered by the Commis-
sion, it is not the only case Af its kind. Similar cases
were encountered in Potchefstroom and other districts.
207. This type of sub-division is often the result of
the bequest system, but good farms could also be over-
subdivided into uneconomic units for speculative pur-
poses. An owner may wish to dispose of his farm at
a much higher price than the actual market value. In
this case the farm is divided into so-called agricultural
holdings of 10 to 25 morgen Ind handed over to agents
for sale. To the unsuspecting townsman possessed of
land hunger, such a rosy picture is painted that he
makes a bad bargain. The Commission saw an
example of this type on thi small holdings of La
Gratitude, near Tzaneen, a 'ull description of which
is contained in Annexure E.
208. The Conunission is of the opinion that sub-
division in certain parts of the country has already
been carried too far and that depopulation in these
areas will definitely be to the good. Instances such as
those in the district of Marico, as well as those at La
Gratitude and elsewhere, stores the necessity for steps
to be taken-
(1) to prevent farms from being further sub-divided
into uneconomic units in future, either as a
result of bequests or of the creation of so-called
(2) to effect consolidation ol unduly small patches of
(3) to undertake farm planning, initially for the
entire area and then for the over-subdivided
farms, whereupon pr vision for superfluous
owners could be made.
209. The Commission is convinced that such chronic
malconditions cannot be solved within the ambit of
normal economic laws. It is impossible to rehabilitate
all the farmers concerned under an economic agricul-
tural programme, and it would probably be better to
move some of them, as a welfare measure, to other
EXPANSION OF FARMS.
210. It appears further from Tables 24 and 25 that
large landowners are definitely/ increasing their total
ownership of land. Thus it c: n be seen that 3-3 per
cent of cases in 1927 occupied more than 5,000 morgen
and that they represented 29- per cent of all land.
In 1954 the group exceeding :;,000 morgen was only
3-1 per cent of the number, but they owned 32-1 per
cent of the farm area of the Ut ion.
211. In 1954 it was estimated that at that time at
least 2,400 owners possessed five or more economic
units. According to the Agrictultural Census of 1956,
the Sheep-Grazing Area alone had 255 cases of more
than 15,000 morgen. Since these data, however, do
not furnish a complete picture of the large possessions,
surveys in the Deeds Offices were used to obtain further
Commission of Enquiry into European occupancy of the Rural Areas.
KAART Nr. 3.
MAP No. 3.
PLAASBESETTING IN SEKERE VRYSTAATSE DISTRIKTE.
FARM OCCUPANCY IN CERTAIN FREE STATE DISTRICTS.
Plase deur naturelle bewoon.
Farms occupied by natives.
 Verlate en lee olase.
Abandoned and unoccupied farms.
S Plase deur voorman of deelsaaier bewoon.
Farms occupied by foreman or share-cropper.
(/00 CEBIEOE Blanke besette plase.
'PE AREAIFarms occupied by Europeans.
Grense, Magistraatsdistriks -
Kommissie van Ondersoek na Blanke Bewoning van die Plafteland.
KomsiIa nese n lneBwnn a diPate In ComsinoInur it uoenocpnc fteRrlAes
Kaart Nr. 4.
Map No. 4.
PLAASBESETTING IN HARRISMITH EN SEKERE NATALSE DISTRIKTE.
FARM OCCUPANCY IN HARRISMITH AND CERTAIN NATAL DISTRICTS.
GOOPGIESTEI DE GESIECE
* Plase deur naturelle bewoon. \
Farms occupied by natives. ,
SVerlate en le polase.
Abandoned and unoccupied farms.
Wr Plase deur voorman of deelsaaier bewoon.
Farms occupied by foreman or share-cropper.
(OOP GEBEDE\ Blanke besette plase.
1o 1"S, Farms occupied by Europeans.
Commission of Enquiry into European occupancv of the Rural Areas.
Kommissle van Ondersoek na Blanke Bewoning' van die Platteland
Kommissie van Ondersoek na Blanke Bewoning.,van die Platteland.
MAP No. 5.
fOORBEELD VAN KLEIN GRONDBESIT
AS GEVOLG VAN ONDERVERDELING
IN DIE DISTRIK MARICO.
EXAMPLE OF SMALL LAND TENURE
RESULTING FROM SUB-DIVISION
IN THE MARICO DISTRICT.
Kaapse Roede. 100 0 100 200 300 400 500 Cape Roods.
I I I I I I I
Government Printer, 1959.
Commission of Enquiry into European occupancy of the Rural Areas.
Kommissie van Ondersoek na Blanke Bewoningvan die Platteland
VOORBEELD VAN ONVERDEELDE AANDEELSTELSEL OP PLAAS IN MARICO
EXAMPLE OF UNDIVIDED SHARE-HOLDING ON MARICO FARM.
Commission of Enquiry into European occupancy of the Rural Areas.
KAART Nr. 6.
MAP No. 6.
Kaapse Roede 100
II -I I I
200 Cape Roods
M E E N
C O/M M U N A L
G R A Z 1 N G
Government Printer, 1959.
212. The only scientific method of defining large
ownership of land is in terms of economic units. For
this purpose the Commission applies as unit an adapted
mean size of farms as computed for every separate
district. This criterion is not altogether satisfactory,
yet provides a basis for determining ownership of land
to some consistent degree. It also appears that this
computed unit more or less agreed with that which
Soil Conservation Committees and practical farmers
regarded as an economic unit.
213. If it be accepted that owners of at least five
such units could be regarded as large owners of land,
the data obtained from the Deeds Offices do reflect
with a great measure of certainty the number of owners
of such land and the extent of the land owned by
them in each province as well as in the Union. The
results of the surveys in the Deeds Offices are indicated
in Table 27.
TABLE 27.-Number and extent of land of owners posses-
sing five or more mean units in individual districts, indi-
cated for each province.
Province. Number. land
Percentage Extent of
of area land per
Cape......... .. 865 11,474,442 19-2 13,264
Transvaal....... 999 4,332,160 24-1 4,336
O.F.S........... 423 1,586,533 11-5 3,750
Natal .......... 128 604,916 12-3 4,726
TOTAL....... 2,415 17,998,051 18-6* 7,452*
214. Some of these owners, in addition, possess
land in other districts, not included in the land owned
by them as indicated in Table 27. There are also
owners who somewhere have four or less units, like-
wise not included in this Table. More detailed sur-
veys have been made of such ownership to determine
the net number of owners possessing five or more
units. A number of these have to be added and others
again subtracted since they have been counted twice.
The details are furnished in Table 28.
TABLE 28.-Net number of owners (taken provincially)
possessing five or more mean units.
I Cape. Trans-
N et ........ ..
O.F.S. Natal. Total.
865 999 423 128 2,415
454 ; 125
more units, represent 3-36 per cent of the total. Hence
approximately 3-4 per cent of landowners possess 21-4
per cent of the 96,600,833 morgen included in the
217. Of particular interest is the measure of agree-
ment between the data obtained from the Deeds Office
and those from the Agricultural censuses. In paragraph
210 the conclusion was made that in 1954 farmers with
more than 5,000 morgen owned as much as 32-1 per
cent of the farming areas in the Union. In elaborating
the data from the Deeds Office, the owners with 8,500
morgen have been taken as basis, and it appears that
they own 21-4 per cent of the farming area in the
218. The Commission, however, is of the opinion
that the actual extent of the land owned by the super
large landowners should be illustrated more clearly
still, and in Table 29 a further classification has been
made in respect of the number of units owned by
them. From this table it appears that 73 per cent of
these large owners possess from 6 to 10 units, and
that approximately 8-5 per cent of the farming area
of the Union belongs to them. There are 76 owners
with more than 20 units in the group covered by the
survey in the Deeds Office and they own more than
3-2 million morgen of the farmland in the Union.
219. It is clear therefore that two extreme groups of
farmers exist in the Union. The first is the large group
carrying on a precarious existence on uneconomic
small units. This group creates a serious economic
and sociological problem. The second group consists
of those who have possessed themselves of too much
TABLE 29.-Extent of land owned by persons with six or more mean units in the four provinces and in the Union as a whole.
According to data obtained from the Deeds Offices.
TRANSVAAL. i ORANGE FREE STATE.
No. IPercent- MorgenI No. Percent- Morgen No. Percent- Morgen No.
of age of per of age of per of age of per of
cases, total. owner. cases, total. owner. cases, total. owner, cases.
Percent- Morgen No. Percent- Morgen
age of per of age of per
tolal owner, cases, total, owner
6 to 10 ........... 395 77-3 14,213 418 69-8 4,345 209 76-0 3,684 147 68-1 4,217 1.169 73-0 7,545
11 to 15 ......... .. 71 13-9 23,983 104 17-4 7,507 41 14-9 6,623 37 17-1 7,611 253 15-8 12,003
16to 20 ........... 22 43 33,267 42 7-0 9,397 19 6-9 8,981 20 9-3 10,627 103 6-4 14,658
21 and more....... 23 45 92,279 35 5-8 31,957 6 2-2 18,317 12 5-5 i 19,525 76 4-8 42,127
TOTAL ..... 511 100-0 19,904 599 100-0 6,221 i 275 100-0 4,807 216 100-0 6,241 1.601 100-0 10,348
215. The numbers of these particular owners per
province are as follows: Cape 909; Transvaal 1,009;
Orange Free State 454; and Natal 125; totalling 2,497.
Of these 2,497 owners, 47 possess 5 and more mean
units in more than one province, hence the net number
of owners possessing this area of land is 2,450. In
total they possess 20,717,929 morgen. This represents
21-4 per cent of the area covered by the survey. Each
owner possesses an average of 8,456 morgen.
216. Certain calculations can be made to illustrate
the practical implications of these data. The Com-
mission estimated the number of farm owners in the
Union at 73,000. The 2.450 owners possessing 5 and
land. They are few in number but since large areas
are involved, they also constitute an economic and
sociological problem which merits attention.
RESULTS OF CHANGES IN FARM SIZES.
220. At the outset it should be clearly stated that
the diminution of farms, as far as the mere division of
land into economic units is concerned, is not relevant
here, but rather the process of over-subdivision result-
ing in uneconomic farming units. Ordinary reduction
in the size of farms is a sound and desirable process
The surveys from which these data were obtained, were undertaken by Dr. C. C. Nepgen on behalf of the Federal Council for Poor
Relief of the Dutch Reformed Churches, prior to his appointment as member of this Commission. Under these circumstances the data are
not complete, but suffice to show trends.
Groups of mean
and creates no problems, provided the units remain of
an economic size. Only when the extent of ownership
tends towards the extremes of being either too small
or too large, certain consequences arise. In accordance
with the terms of reference of the Commission, these
consequences are described under economic, agricul-
tural and social categories.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE DIMINUTION OF FARMS.
1. Economic Consequences.
221. (a) With land becoming smaller, more prospec-
tive farmers with limited capital are placed in a
position to buy land (indeed sometimes to their dis-
illusionment); in this way a greater demand for land is
created, unavoidably resulting in a rise of land prices.
It is common knowledge that land of equal quality
divided into smaller units nets a higher price per
morgen than land divided into large units. The follow-
ing corroborative data in Table 30 are derived from a
recent survey of the Division of Economics and
Markets in three districts in the South-Eastern Free
where the farmer exploit the soil instead of conser-
ving the general productivity of the unit and at the
same time maintaining a fair standard of living. Owing
to this low income not ensuring a fair standard of
living, the entrepreneur \ery often has to seek other
employment to supplement his income. This absence
......... encourages further inefficiency on the part of
225. In summarising it can be said that a poverty-
stricken type of farmer, unable to exploit fully the
agricultural potential, at d continually dependent on
Government aid, could develop on the platteland
under these circumstances. Such a condition would in
any case offer little justification for the combating of
2. Agricultural Consequences.
226. (a) As soon as farms become smaller there is a
tendency to change over to more intensive farming
practices where circumstances permit; in other words,
a metamorphosis of the whole farming system could
TABLE 30.-Fixed investment and total debt per morgen of farmers in groups according to farming system and farm size,
in the South-Eastern Free State, April, 1958.
GROUPS ACCORDING TO FARMING SYSTEM.
Groups according to farm area.
Crops and ivest(ck.
Total Fixed Tctal
debt investment de bt
per morgen. per morgen. per morgen.
I per morgen. per morgen.
Less than 200................................... 41 41-6 52 10 9 37 14-9
200 to 599 ...................................... 33 12-4 31 9-4 27 4-2
600 to 999.................................... 32 7-7 30 5 4 28 2-6
1,000 and more ............................... I 22 7-3 28 4-1 22 I 2-4
AVERAGE ....................... 31 10-3 30 ( 3 1 25 3-4
222. The farms taken as samples represent three 227. (b) This intensification entails the production of
different farming systems, namely (i) crops, (ii) diversi- types of agricultural products entirely different to
fied and (iii) exclusively livestock. It appears that in those previously produced. For instance, intensifica-
all three systems farmers with the smallest land-un- tion in Zululand resulted in cattle farming and exten-
economic units-have by far paid the highest price sive cotton cultivation being replaced by more inten-
per morgen. Moreover, it appears that farmers with sively cultivated crops such as sugar cane, pineapples,
the smallest land by far also carry the heaviest debt etc. In this way the winole production pattern of
per morgen. The Commission is of the opinion that agriculture was changed ir this area.
the widespread tendency to divide land into small
holdings and so-called agricultural holdings, is an 228. (c) Because the n:t profit of the small farmer
important factor contributing towards inflationary owning less than an economic unit is insufficient for a
prices of land in certain regions of the country. reasonable existence, he s compelled to apply pirate
cropping and monocultur.; in a attempt to meet his
223 (b) Where land is reduced to an uneconomic immediate financial needs This results in the destruc-
size, the ordinary economic maxim obtains, namely tion of the soil structure and fertility. In this regard
that small-scale production results in a higher produc- it was stated at a certain place in the Free State crop-
tion cost per unit. The problems created in this way ping areas that there are small farms where the plough
are more obvious in some of the inland crop-farming furrows reach up to the very walls of the homestead,
regions, where rising production costs on such small leaving no space for even a vegetable or flower garden.
lands are now threatening to catch up with the fixed
prices for crops. These small farmers are not in a 229. (d) The lack of pace on uneconomic units
position to make full economic use of their machinery makes the integration of the animal factor in the
and implements. makes the integration of the animal factor in the
farming system well-nigh impossible, with the accent
224. (c) Where too small farms are a common occur- falling more and more on the cultivation of cash crops.
rence, the whole economic structure of the agricultural Not only is the animal factor important for the im-
industry is being jeopardised. In this connection the provement of soil fertility, but it also gives the farmer
President of the South African Agricultural Union in that financial stability (bv way of additional income
giving evidence stated: "A farmer on an uneconomic from meat, hides, wool and dairy products) which
holding is a danger to the stability of the platteland." vulnerable crop farming as a single factor cannot
The Director of the Transvaal Region of the Depart- provide.
ment of Agriculture in his memorandum states: The
uneconomic small farming unit yields too low an in- 230. (e) The very sma 1 farmer cannot afford to
come, resulting in a lack of progressive investment in apply soil conservation and farm planning, because he
the land as such. On the contrary, a situation arises cannot afford to withdraw his plough lands or grazing
from production, for systematic periods of rest. He
cannot concentrate on long-term development yielding
an income at a later stage only; his needs are of an
231. (f) In stock-farming areas, too small farms
result in overgrazing and destruction of pastures, a
direct cause of soil erosion: or otherwise these small
holdings give rise to wrong farming systems such as
the removal of natural fodder shrubs and the plough-
ing of grazing land to make room for crop sowing as
an additional source of each income. Several examples
of the latter malpractice have been encountered in the
northwestern bushveld areas of the Transvaal and also
in the Molopo areas. Local farmers in giving evidence
before the Commission, as well as the President of the
Transvaal Agricultural Union, stated that a better
cattle area than these parts could hardly be found, but
that owing to many farms being absolutely too small
for cattle farming, farmers were compelled to put in the
plough in an effort to raise cash crops such as mealies,
groundnuts and kaffir-corn.
3. Social Consequences.
232. (a) Under normal circumstances the diminution
of farms would imply an increase in the white popula-
tion, because more farms mean more farmer families.
This can be accepted as fact, provided the sub-division
takes place on a basis of economic sizes. The Trans-
vaal Lowveld with its large influx of White farmers
during the past 10 to 15 years, serves as an example of
this type of development.
233. (b) As soon as land becomes too small, im-
poverishment sets in, followed in turn by a lower
standard of living, social retrogression and concomi-
tant evils, as well as cultural and educational decline.
There are several examples of these conditions in the
Union. In this connection the Director of the Transvaal
Region of the Department of Agriculture states:
"Owing to the relatively low income on the unecono-
mic small farming unit the investment in the human
factor is too low and the possibilities of cultural
retrogession are therefore very strong. The fact that an
employer is at home during week-ends only, because
an additional income has to be earned elsewhere, can
also be considered as undesirable on sociological
grounds." It is the standpoint and firm conviction of
the Commission that the farmer and his family, in the
same way as any other citizen, are entitled to share in
the essential amenities of civilisation: basic domestic
comforts, the availability of proper education for his
children, etc. Where these attributes of civilisation are
lacking, an inferiority complex and an attitude of
indifference very readily develop.
234. (c) Where impoverishment sets in on small
farms, children leave the farm in search of other em-
ployment at an early age (very often without an
adequate educational background), knowing that there
remains no scope or future for them on the farm.
Some of these juveniles arrive in the city with a grudge
against a platteland which failed to offer them a decent
living. During its investigation the Commission per-
sonally came across several such cases in the cities.
235. (d) Owing to emigration of the young people,
there is a considerable rise in the average age of
farmers on uneconomic units. The community loses
its vitality and such parts are referred to as old age
homes ". In paragraph 202 mention has already been
made of a part in the Marico district where the
average age of farmers is at least 60 years.
236. (e) Once the farming community becomes im-
poverished and aged, schools disappear; the rural
village its commercial activities and its social life also
237. (f) One of the witnesses alleged, inter alia, that
the decline of the small farmer encourages the large
ownership of land. It stands to reason that the large
farmer who desires to extend his possessions, will
make use of the opportunity offered by the emigration
of small farmers.
238. (g) The traditional and proud idea of the
"family farm ", which has always formed a conser-
vative and binding link in our national life, cannot be
kept alive on a small farm which fails to offer its
occupant a decent existence. No heir is desirous of
assuming the "hereditas damnosa" of a precarious
existence on such a farm.
239. (h) When the uneconomic holding is ultimately
vacated, it is either left to the care of Non-whites or
is sold to another farmer who puts Non-whites there
as supervisors, since the land is too small to warrant
the services of a White foreman or manager. Un-
economic small farms therefore inevitably result in
increased preponderance of Bantu on the platteland;
that is, a gradual disappearance of Whites accom-
panied by a gradual increase of Non-whites.
240. (i) The disappearance of Whites from unecono-
mic small farms, and their replacement by Non-whites,
reduce the voting power and political influence of the
platteland. Hence it is in no way surprising that some
politicians, realising the political and social implica-
tions of the depopulation trend, are insisting on these
grounds (if not on economic grounds) that it should be
made possible for the smaller family farm to remain in
existence. An article The Agricultural Dilemma ",
which recently appeared in the U.S.A., states: Poli-
tical pressure will continue to be on the side of main-
taining small family farms, even though modern
technology dictates strongly that family farms become
CONSEQUENCES OF THE EXPANSION OF FARMS.
241. For purposes of this discussion, expansion of
farms refers to those possessions which have become
exceedingly large, probably comprising more than 4 to
6 economic units.
1. Economic Consequences.
242. (a) Where moneyed persons concentrate on the
acquisition of various farms, inflationary land prices
and rentals, which in most cases are far above the real
agricultural value of the land, must result. The finan-
cially strong farmer can afford these uneconomic
prices and high rentals and still show a profit on his
farming activities, since the average investment in all
of his land, a large portion of which has probably
been acquired in cheaper times, still remains
reasonably low; in other words, the old farm already
in his possession for a long time and hence already
paid for or at least acquired at a low price, is utilised
to carry the expensive, newly-acquired farm.
243. (b) Such expensive land and high rentals make
it well-nigh impossible for young prospective farmers
to make a start with the prospect of eventually paying
off their farms. On all its tours through the country,
the Commission heard evidence to the effect that at
present no more agricultural land was available on an
economic basis, and that no young man could start in
this industry with any hope of success unless he
received some assistance from his father. If he has to
borrow all the required capital and pay interest
thereon, his prospects of success are very poor indeed.
The position of the person who depends on hired land
is also made impossible.
244. (c) Economists assert that in any industry a
certain stage is reached where optimum production is
possible, in other words that stage at which the
industry attains its most efficient level of maximum
* Agricultural Leaders' Digest -June, 1958.
production at the lowest cost per unit. As soon as the
industry passes that optimum stage, wastage factors
and operational problems come to the fore; and in the
agricultural industry, as in other industries, this
results in a decrease in production per unit. To illu-
strate this contention, the following example sub-
mitted by a witness from the sheep farming areas of
the Karoo, is quoted (income figures for 1956):-
Size offarm. Gross income per morgen.
2,900 morgen.................... 1 5 5
3,500 morgen.................... 2 0 0
6,000 morgen .................... 1 3 2
11,000 morgen.................... 1 9 0
18,000 morgen.................... 1 0 0
20,000 morgen.................... 0 15 0
22,000 morgen.................... 0 19 0
23,000 morgen.................... 0 18 2
The Agro-economic survey *, though undertaken as
far back as the year 1948 and consequently in a time
of lower price levels, confirms this trend reflected by
the above figures, as illustrated by the two following
(i) Eastern Karoo-
Average size of farm. Gross income per 100 morgen.
1,497 morgen 71-1
2,756 morgen 79-2
4,117 morgen 70
5,732 morgen 60
(ii) North-western Karoo-
245. Thus it is evident from all the examples quoted
that the very large landowner fails to produce to the
maximum; and that as farms expand, income per mor-
gen decreases correspondingly. What applies to the
extensive livestock areas, is equally true for other
branches of farming. Corroborative evidence was
given by the Meat Control Board and the Directors of
the Karoo and Highveld Regions of the Department of
Agriculture. Members of the Mealie Industry Control
Board also gave evidence to the effect that when a
maize farming project becomes too extensive, it is
rendered uneconomic and uncontrollable, with the
result that such a farmer cultivates less of his land.
In an article "How big a farm? appearing in a
British magazine, it is stated: "The assumption that
really big productivity is attainable only on the large
farm, and is almost impossible of attainment on a unit
of family size, is open to question." The Director of
the Transvaal Region of the Department of Agricul-
ture states: "The harmful results of the uneconomic
large farming unit are to be found mainly in the in-
efficient utilisation of means of production, resulting
in potential food resources being left untapped."
246. (d) The really large farmer is often inclined to
specialise only in the cultivation of one or more
products, whereas the smaller farmer concentrates on
a more diversified range of products. An authoritative
Free State farmer testified that large farmers in his
area (North-western Free State) as a rule concentrated
on the production of maize and wheat only, thereby
contributing towards the creation of surpluses, whereas
the efficient smaller farmers also produced other lines
such as groundnuts, poultry and dairy products. More
farmers operating on a large scale would consequently
aggravate surplus conditions.
247. (e) An overwhelming amount of evidence
indicates that the very large landowner does not sup-
port the business undertakings and schools of his local
town. He buys in the cities or larger towns and also
sends his children to those places for their schooling.
Consequently small-town business undertakings are
struggling to exist. The Coi mission had occasion to
observe the rather neglected appearance of some
villages in prosperous farming districts.
248. (f) Several witnesses stated that large-scale
buyers of farms operated on a system of "hire
purchase in the early fifties, enabling them to deduct
the instalments shown as rental" for income tax
249. (g) Since the large-scale acquisition of land by
some persons tends to infla e land prices, the whole
agricultural industry consequently becomes vulnerable.
In his memorandum the Director of the Karoo Region
states: "The extremely high prices paid for sheep
farms in many cases by financially strong farmers,
has placed a burden on the industry which must of
necessity render it more sensitive to possible future
2. Agricultural Consequences.
250. (a) Generally the vei v large landowner is not
inclined to co-operate with se Il conservation committees
in respect of farm planning, and conservation. He
shows little interest in this direction and follows his
own ideas. Evidence by several Regional Directors
and officials of the Department of Agriculture con-
firmed this contention. The Director of the Karoo
Region states: Experience has shown that the large
landowner is not prepared to have his farming projects
planned in terms of the Soil Conservation Act . .
To him subsidy is no encouragement . These
extremely large farming ente-prises are commercialised
to such an extent that the ownerss do not show much
interest . in longterm improvement of the land
but rather in measures offering immediate benefits.
Since farm planning is aimed at the gradual increase
of production, delay in planning these large properties
must of necessity adversely effect future production."
251. (b) Moreover, the Director states that large
wool farmers are not in need of the cash income from
side-lines such as poultry, egetables and dairy pro-
ducts, with the result that these products have dis-
appeared from the large farms.
252. (c) Indirectly the lar e landowner, in not fully
utilising his lands, renders a service to the country in
that unused land is afforded an opportunity to recover
or to serve as a reserve for the future. On the other
hand, according to the evidence of a Senior Extension
Officer, it is a fact that once a farmer concentrates on
the improvement of his farm, he loses all interest in
acquiring more land.
253. (d) The large farmer specialising only in crop
farming, for instance, without. striking a proper balance
with the animal factor, cat ses great damage to the
fertility of arable lands.
254. (e) A Free State farnier in his evidence pointed
out that often the larger farmer is a benefactor and
an example to his area, since he has the capital to
experiment in new directions and with new products.
In this way the neighbourhood profits from these
255. (f) Another witness, himself a large landowner,
pointed out that his capital enabled him to highly
develop land previously neglected, by constructing
several dams, fences, silos, etc.
3. Social Cotnequences.
256. (a) Where farms tond to become larger,
depopulation of Whites occIrs, since the small farmer,
share-cropper and tenant disappear from these farms.
Simultaneously the country schools and social life
disappear from the platteland.
* Agro-economic Survey of the Union (VII), Bulletin No. 344, pp. 67 and 146.
" The Agricultural Review, May, 1958.
257. (b) Since the large owner is often inclined to
place his newly-acquired land under the supervision of
Non-whites, there is a simultaneous increase of Non-
whites, leading to increased preponderance of Bantu
on the platteland. The facts concerning such a
development have already been described in Part II of
this Report. (Vide paragraphs 159-178.)
258. (c) Politically, depopulation spells a decrease
in the number of platteland constituencies, with the
result that the conservative elements of the population
lose their political influence in the determination of
important policies by the legislative bodies of the
259. (d) As a result of the decrease in the number
of farmer-families, the country loses the most prolific
section of its population to the cities; in other words,
the source which always had to supplement the city
populations from its surplus numbers, is lost. More-
over, the nation is deprived of some of its most valued
qualities pre-eminently cultivated on the platteland.
260. (e) Large ownership of land results in a
tendency towards unsound class distinctions on the
261. Although the Commission arrived at the con-
clusion that the existence of too many small and un-
economic units presents a more difficult problem to
solve than the existence of unduly large farming units,
there can be no doubt that both these phenomena are
fraught with real dangers demanding serious attention
in future. From the preceding paragraphs it should be
clear that economic considerations alone cannot be the
decisive factor in this regard, but rather the problem of
perpetuating White civilisation in this country. Adam
Smith, an economist of the eighteenth century, even
at that time stated that political considerations deserve
priority over economic considerations.
262. In his brochure Die Afrikaner in die Lands-
ekonomie ", Prof. J. L. Sadie summarises the problem
of large ownership of land as follows: The deep-
seated landhunger of the Afrikaner often results in
farmers expanding their possessions by acquiring farms
at inflationary prices. Generally these prices are
determined by current market conditions instead of
possible production prices over a long period, with a
possible drop in prices, serving as basis. Conse-
quently it often happens that farms acquired in pros-
perous times fail to assure their owners of a reasonable
livelihood when the market for agricultural produce
weakens. This also results in the so-called phenomenon
of "land barons ", the extent of which has probably
been exaggerated in the popular mind. Economic
disadvantages of this development are, amongst others,
the inefficient utilisation of savings and the creation
of out-size farms which can no longer be operated by
one entrepreneur in the most productive way. Probably
these economic disadvantages are not the major con-
sideration. The social consequences can, however, be
dangerous. Contemporary history provides several
instances where the concentration of large tracts of
land in the hands of a small section of the population
was one of the primary causes of social unrest,
revolutionary ideas, action and changes." (Translation.)
263. In conclusion it should be pointed out that
according to the preceding analysis, there is in certain
important respects a rather significant similarity
between the consequences of both too small and too
large lands, namely: -
(a) Both phenomena result in inflationary prices of
land and rentals.
(b) Depopulation of the White platteland is being
encouraged by both too large and too small
(c) Increased Bantu preponderance results in both
(d) Rural towns and schools dwindle.
(e) The political and cultural influence of the platte-
land is reduced.
THE SETTLING OF FARMERS.
FARMS IN THE AGRO-ECONOMIC AREAS.
264. Since the size of farms, and more particularly
the two extremes of too large and too small units, is
so intimately connected with the prosperity of farming
and of the platteland as a whole, it is necessary to
submit by way of introduction a comprehensive survey
of farms in the agro-economic areas. According to
this agro-economic classification, the Union is delimited
into eleven principal areas, which in turn are divided
into 77 sub-areas. This discussion, however, will be
limited mainly to the principal areas. (Vide map No. 2.)
DEFINITION OF TERMS.
265. At the outset certain terms used in this part
call for an explanation:-
(1) Farms are taken to mean not those lands
described in title deeds, but rather farming units.
(2) A farming unit comprises all land on which
farming operations are conducted by one person,
operating with the same implements, labour and live-
stock. It does not matter whether there is more than
one title deed for such a farm or farming unit.
Generally such a unit, or farm, may consist of one
piece of land, but in some cases it could comprise
farm-lands situated a few miles apart. Should such
lands be situated too far apart, it may not be practicable
to operate them with the same implements and labour
as a unit, and then one of these farms should be
regarded as a second unit.
(3) An economic farming unit is a farm offering the
necessary possibilities for a farmer to earn an income
which will ensure a decent living for him and his
family. This income should not only be sufficient for
food and clothing for the farmer and his family, but
should also enable him to give his children the neces-
sary schooling and, if desired, university education as
well. In addition, the farmer should derive such in-
come from the farm as to enable him to afford the
usual modern amenities, and to provide for his old age
when he has to retire and hand over the farm to his
(4) Without at this stage taking into account farms
exceeding 100 morgen and still constituting uneconomic
units, it should be stressed here that a farmer and his
family can only earn a decent livelihood on a farm of
less than 100 morgen under the following conditions:-
(a) where intensive farming is possible in areas with
a high rainfall or under irrigation, as in the
Western Province Fruit Area, the closer settle-
ments or private irrigation schemes;
(b) where subtropical fruit and vegetables or sugar
can be produced, as in the Lowveld areas of
Natal and the Transvaal; and
(c) with specialised farming in the vicinity of large
cities and towns, such as the Cape Flats and
areas bordering on the Rand or Durban, where
dairy, poultry, fruit, vegetable and flower farm-
ing are successfully undertaken by some persons.
(5) According to the definition of the Division of
Economics and Markets, a commercial farmer denotes
a person occupying five morgen of land or more, and
earning a gross cash income of not less than 300 per
annum from such land.
266. The following discussion is based on data
obtained from the Agricultur il Census of 1956. In the
course of this census 108.6 16 forms were completed
by farmers, inter alia by 9.012 smallholders occupying
5 morgen or less. The lattc r group has already been
dealt with by the Commissi n on Small Holdings and
the further discussion will therefore be devoted to the
approximately 100,000 remaining cases.
FARM SIZES IN THE AcRO-ECONOMIC AREAS.
Principal Area I.-The lrigation Area (marked
A. on Mal Ao. 2).
267. Water, in whatever f.wrm, plays a decisive r6le
here. All in all there are 16( A sub-areas. In 9 out
of 16 sub-areas Governmen' Irrigation Schemes pre-
dominate. In A.I alone the re are 8 irrigation dams.
Farming in these 9 areas fall either in toto or partially
under the control of the Department of Lands, but in
the remaining seven sub-areas it is chiefly in the hands
of individual farmers. In t h,; case of a few sub-areas,
such as A.2, A.3, A.5, A.8 ai d A.10, fairly large farms
may occur, but generally speaking there are few farms
exceeding 1,000 morgen in :xtent. As far as closer
settlements are concerned, the majority of witnesses
estimated an economic unit, under present conditions,
at 30 morgen of irrigable land. The Commission
realises that there may be exceptions, but is of the
opinion that it would be a sound basis to assume that
20 morgen or less can only offer a precarious liveli-
hood to the farmer. This means that, excepting the
2,198 peri-urban smallholdings in this area, there still
remain 5,875 small farming units of from 6 to 20
morgen, which can be regarded as uneconomic units.
Consequently, together with these small holdings, 29-7
per cent of the 27,000 farms n the irrigation areas, for
which census forms have been completed, are
established on uneconomic units.
268. Those farms not falling under the various
irrigation schemes can be placed in two classes, namely
(a) those being irrigated from rivers, dams, springs and
boreholes; and (b) those cultivated under dryland con-
269. The first group of farn s is normally 100 to 300
morgen in extent. An irrigation farmer with more than
300 morgen is seldom found It also rarely happens
that a person in the Irrigationi Area occupies a dry-
land farm less than 300 morgen in extent. For this
reason the Commission assumes that all farms from 21
to 300 morgen will be irrigation farms, consequently
qualifying as economic units. This would mean that
12,264 farms, or 45 per cent of the total number of
census cases, are large enough and possibly capable of
providing an additional 2,000 farming units, provided
a proper redistribution of land were possible. A further
8,000 farms having the smallest area, probably are too
small and could at the utmost be re-divided into 3,000
270. As far as the second group is concerned, it is
a well-known fact that the (ry outer veld in the A
areas is extremely poor and that any farm of 2,000
morgen and less could offer very little prospect of
success. There are 5,844 such cases, or 21-5 per cent
of the total. Some of the 3 8 per cent of farms of
more than 2,000 morgen pr )bably would constitute
more than one economic unit, out it is doubtful whether
sub-division would be practicable in order to make
economic units of all farms in the Irrigation Area.
Principal Area 2.-The Inland Plateau Dryland
Area (marked B. on Map No. 2).
271. For the sake of brevity this area is referred to
as the Highveld Area and is also known as the Maize
Triangle. It comprises 6 sub-areas. This area is
situated on a plateau of 5,000 feet above sea-level in
the east and drops to nearly 3.000 feet in the west. It
falls in the summer-rainfall area, and 80 per cent of
its precipitation occurs from October to March. The
precipitation drops from 650 millimetres (26 inches) in
the eastern section to approximately 500 millimetres
(20 inches) in the west. Very little opportunity for
irrigation exists, except possibly from boreholes and
along rivers, which, however, does not occur on such
a scale as to be of any economic importance. For this
reason practically all farms of less than 50 morgen can
be left out of account from an economic point of view.
Generally they consist of smallholdings bordering on
the Rand towns. Only in exceptional cases can farms
of 51 to 200 morgen maintain a successful farming
272. As much as 19-5 per cent of the 17,800 census
cases in the Highveld Area comprise small farms of less
than 100 morgen, approximately half of which are
smallholdings of less than 5 morgen. This group need
not be taken into account. Nearly three-quarters of
all Highveld farms consist of 100 to 1,000 morgen.
The average size is from 400 to 500 morgen and one-
third of all these farms are from 251 to 500 morgen in
extent. The Highveld farmers who appeared before the
Commission, estimated an economic unit at 300 to 500
morgen. It can therefore be assumed that a large per-
centage of farms in the Highveld, generally speaking,
is of a reasonable size. Farms of up to 1.000 morgen
comprise 91 -6 per cent of all Highveld farms. Actually
there are really very few extremely large units; seven
per cent of these farms comprise 1,001 to 2,000 morgen
and only 281 farms or 1-4 per cent of all these 17,800
farms are larger than 2,000 morgen. Only 17 of all
these farms exceed 5,000 morgen.
273. The total size of the B area comprises approxi-
mately 10,000.000 morgen. Consequently, if it be
assumed that 500 morgen, of which a large portion is
arable, constitute a good economic unit, this area could
then be divided into approximately 20,000 farms.
According to the 1956 Agricultural Census 17,857
farmers completed forms and of these about 2,000 were
smallholders, who need not be taken into account both
in respect of their numbers and the total area occupied
by them. This means that there are approximately
15,000 economic farms in this area. It would therefore
appear that there is room for more farmers in the High-
veld Area, provided good planning and intensive mixed
farming could he achieved. It is generally accepted
that the Highveld still has a large potential. Several
authoritative persons emphasised that this area could,
with good planning and efficient farming methods, still
carry a much larger farmer population than at present.
Principal Area 3.-The Transition Farming Areas
(marked C. on Map No. 2).
274. The Transition Areas also comprise 6 sub-areas,
two in the Transvaal, two in the Orange Free State,
one in the Cape. and one partly in the Cape and partly
in the Transvaal. Since they are so scattered, conditions
in these sub-areas vary considerably and it would be
somewhat risky to generalise. As the name indicates,
these sub-areas fall between areas where field-husbandry
is the main source of income and areas where stock-
farming predominates. The rainfall is lower than that
of the Highveld Area and varies on an average from
approximately 550 millimetres (22 inches) to 475 milli-
metres (19 inches). Since the rainfall is lower here than
on the Highveld, the crops are more uncertain. Some
of these sub-areas, however, have a light sandy to sandy
loam soil, being cooler and capable of managing with
less rain than the heavier Highveld soils. In these sub-
areas, however, there is a danger of injudicious plough-
ing leading to serious wind erosion. If farms become
too small, farmers often are compelled to attempt
making a livelihood from crop farming instead of from
livestock. For this reason it is imperative to fix the
economic unit in these areas rather higher than on the
Highveld-say about 1,000 to 1,500 morgen.
275. Of the 11,919 farmers who completed census
forms, 10,279 or 86-2 per cent farmed on 1,250 morgen
or less. There were even more than 8,000 who farmed
on 750 morgen or less, and approximately 2,600 on
100 morgen or less. Only 669 farmers occupied more
than 2,000 morgen and there were only 68 farms exceed-
ing 5,000 morgen. Since there are so many farmers in
these transition areas, whose land is so small that they
are obliged to follow wrong farming methods, the
Commission is convinced that very little possibility
exists for more farmers to settle here.
Principal Area 4.-Mountain Grazing Area (marked
D. on Map No. 2).
276. This area comprising three sub-areas, runs in an
oblong strip along the eastern ranges of the Drakens-
berg, from Pilgrim's Rest in the Northern Transvaal to
the Winterberg south of Seymour in the Eastern Cape.
This is a mountainous area, as is indicated by its name,
comprising limited arable sections. In addition, some
parts of this area is subject to snow and heavy colds
lasting from as early as April up to as late as October.
The vegetation period in some parts is even of shorter
duration. These factors restrict the cultivation of crops
and as a rule only fodder crops are cultivated in this
area, except where farms have become so small that
farmers are compelled to try to make a living from crop
farming. This is a grassveld area and cattle is essential
in the mixed farming system applied in the area.
During summer, for approximately 6 months, the area
has an exceptionally high carrying capacity, but after
the first frost the veld is of very little value. As a result
farmers with the necessary means acquire winter farms
in Natal, Swaziland and the Transvaal Bushveld, to
which they trek with their livestock. Farmers not
possessing any winter farms are obliged to provide for
winter fodder. If farmers have to farm all the year
round in this area, an economic unit could not be less
than from 1,000 to 1,500 morgen.
277. In spite of the fact that small farms in this area
can hardly offer any livelihood, such plots and even
small farms do exist and 9 per cent of the census
returns were obtained from persons with farms of less
than 100 morgen. It is astonishing, moreover, that
nearly half of the 6,157 farms reflected in the census
returns, are 500 morgen and less, whereas three-quar-
ters are 1,000 morgen and less. About 87 per cent of
these cases comprise 1,500 morgen and less. If farms
of 5,000 morgen are considered as large, they only
amount to 38, or less than one per cent, in this
category and only three of them comprise more than
278. If 1,000 morgen were to be considered as a
reasonable economic unit, then the sub-division of
farms in the Mountain Grazing Area has reached
alarming dimensions. It is impossible, however, to
determine the number of farmers who have winter
farms in addition to those already occupied, but it
appears that there is room for very few more farmers
in this area.
Principal Area 5.-Diversified Farming Areas East
of the Mountain Range (marked E. on Map No. 2).
279. This area also comprises six sub-areas and,
generally speaking, consists of mountainous or broken
veld. It includes the foothills of the Drakensberg
mountain range. Numerous rivers flowing from the
mountains have carved out deep valleys in this area.
This broken nature of the country restricts the arable
parts, except for the flat country surrounding Vryheid
and Newcastle and again at the Unga Flats near Ugie.
Generally speaking this area has a high rainfall
varying from 625 millimetres (25 inches) on the Unga
Flats to 875 millimetres (35 inches) in the Natal Sour-
veld. For the most part it is sourveld with a high
carrying capacity in summer, but with very poor
feeding in winter. The main source of income is
cattle, supplemented by sheep. Only in some parts
does crop farming make any contribution as a source
of cash income. Since these six sub-areas differ so
much from one another, it is very difficult to determine
one general criterion for an economic unit. It can,
however, be stated that 500 morgen should be the
smallest unit in some parts, whereas in other places
an economic unit should cover over 2,000 morgen.
280. In this area we also find smallholdings and
farmlets bordering on towns and mines. As much as
18-7 per cent of these farmlets are 100 morgen and
less. Nearly two-thirds comprise from 101 to 1,000
morgen, resulting in 81 per cent of all farms in this
area probably being on the small side. Only 5-4 per
cent of these farms comprise more than 2,000 morgen.
Six farms are from 10,000 to 15,000 morgen and three
exceed 15,000 morgen. The total morgenage of this
area is 7,700,000, of which Bantu reserves comprise 56
per cent, so that 4,400,000 morgen are available for
occupation by Whites. Large parts of this area fall in
the mist belt and are consequently suited for wattle
cultivation. Hence there are large wattle farms,
operated either by private farmers or wattle compa-
nies. By subtracting the land under wattle plantations.
approximately 4,000,000 morgen remain for other
branches of farming.
281. Except for the 1,350 small farms and plots, -
there are 6,000 farming enterprises in this area accor-
ding to the Agricultural census of 1956. This means
that 6,000 enterprises each cover only 680 morgen on
an average. One has to conclude, therefore, that there
is probably not much room for more farmers in this
Principal Area 6.-Thornveld Area (marked F,
on Map No. 2).
282. The Thornveld comprises four sub-areas. This
area extends southwards from the Swaziland border to
the Fish River and runs parallel to the Coastal Area,
with its eastern boundary at approximately 1.000 feet
and its western boundary at approximately 3,000 feet
above sea-level. It is a tall-grass area with sweetgrass
predominating, and consequently a very good cattle-
grazing area. The rainfall varies from 500 to 600
millimetres per annum and to some extent crop far-
ming is possible; but generally speaking this region is
more suited to cattle than to crops. Of the total
morgenage of this principal area (F) 63 per cent con-
sists of Bantu territory. This means that only 1,618,000
morgen out of 4,400,000 morgen in this area belong to
White farmers. Of the sub-area F.3 (the Transkei) as
much as 75 per cent falls in Bantu areas.
283. It has already been indicated that this area is
more suited to livestock farming than to crops, and
therefore a good economic unit should comprise ap-
proximately 2,000 morgen. Since it is possible,
however, to cultivate certain crops such as cotton,
sisal, pineapples and sugar-cane successfully under
irrigation in the northern sub-areas, farming on smal-
ler units may probably prove successful here. As a
basis 750, but preferably 1,000 morgen, is suggested.
As much as 13-7 per cent of the census cases in this
area qualify as smallholdings of less than five morgen.
A further 27-2 per cent are small farms from 6 to 100
morgen. For the greater part these smallholdings and
farmlets are found in the area between Durban and
Pietermaritzburg and again in the vicinity of King
William's Town. Taken as a whole, there would be
very few farmlets of 100 morgen and less providing a
decent livelihood to their owners. A further 37 per
cent of these farms vary from 101 to 750 morgen. In
the aggregate 78 per ceni of all farms in this region
are therefore either too small or hardly qualify as
economic units. About 91 per cent of all these farms
comprise 1,500 morgen and less. There are 128 farms
of from 2,001 to 5,000 morgen, which should be
capable of providing an ample income to their owners,
whereas 26 comprise 5,0( 0 and more morgen, quali-
fying as large farms.
284. The Commission is of the opinion that this
area more or less carries the maximum number of
farmers, and that sub-division would only be possible
in the case of the very laige units, provided this were
Principal Area 7.-CcasMal Area (marked H.
on Map No. 2).
285. This area, comprising seven sub-areas, lies
along the South African (oast from Portuguese East
Africa up to Alexander B.y. where the Orange River
flows into the Atlantic. Three sub-areas, H.1, H.2
and H.3, fall in the sumnier-rainfall area and have a
relatively high rainfall. 1 wo sub-areas, H.4 and H.
6, lie in the transition arce. between the summer and
winter-rainfall areas; and t he two remaining areas fall
in the winter-rainfall area. The precipitation in the
H.5 sub-area, extending along the Atlantic coast, is
less than 125 millimetres Ier annum, and of virtually
no agricultural significance It forms the largest sub-
area (nearly 2,000,000 moigen) and there were only
218 farmers, mainly trek-farmers, who completed
census forms. It is doubtful whether more farmers
could make a living in this sub-area. Except for H.5,
the entire H area comprises 5,398,000 morgen, of
which 1,741,000 morgen fall in Bantu area's, leaving
approximately 3,657,000 morgen available for White
farmers. Since this area his a coastal strip, the four
largest coastal cities, Cape Fown, Port Elizabeth. East
London and Durban, fall in the area. In addition,
numerous holiday resorts occupy potential farm land.
286. Hence it is nothing strange to encounter a large
number of smallholdings ii this area. One-fifth of
all farms comprise five morgen and less. As much as
54 per cent are 50 morgen and less. Although the
small pineapple and banana farms in Zululand and
along the Natal Coast, and the vegetable farms on the
Cape Flats are included in tiis area, it is probable that
the large majority of all these farmlets of less than 50
morgen provide only a meagre existence to their
occupants. It is even possible that, except for sugar
farming, the majority of farris of less than 500 morgen
should not be regarded as economic units. This means
that a large number of the :,55-6 per cent of the farms
of 500 morgen and less in the H area are not economic,
units. As in all areas, the H area also has a small
number of large farms-in ihis case 2 per cent being
larger than 2,000 morgen. There are 19 farms, except
for those in the H 5 sub-airea, between 5,000 and
10,000 morgen in extent anc even 3 farms larger than
287. By dividing the total number of morgen in
White areas by the number of farms, it is found that
the average size per farm co nes to approximately 400
morgen. Consequently it would appear that there is
no room for more farms, if each farm had to be an
economic unit. Moreover, an extension of coastal cities
and holiday resorts is still taking place, which means
a further decrease in the land suitable for agriculture,
except in the case of Zululand (H 1).
Principal Area 8.-Crop-Ar,'a of the Winter-rainfall
Belt (marked K. on Map No. 2).
288. There are five sub-a-eas in this area. Two,
namely K.2 and K.5, could liave been included in the
Coastal Areas, but because w heat production plays an
important r6le in their farming system, it was decided
to include them in the cropping areas. Some sub-
areas, such as the Swartland and RIens, lend them-
selves to a very intensive di versified farming system,
with close integration of the animal factor. The three
remaining regions, however, are more suited to live-
stock farming, crops being purely supplementary.
Where farms in the first-mentioned sub-areas could
possibly be restricted to approximately 300-500 mor-
gen, the three other sub-areas could hardly provide a
good livelihood on farms of less than 1,500 morgen.
289. In this area, only 1-9 per cent (72 cases) fall
under the very small plots-5 morgen and less-and
459 cases from 6 to 100 morgen. There are cases
both in sub-areas K.1 and K.3. where it so happens
that suitable small fruit farms do fall in these areas,
and that economic units of less than 100 morgen are
therefore found. Consequently only the 72 cases of
less than 5 morgen will be discarded for purposes of
further calculation. The majority of farms fall in the
251-500 morgen group. In the Swartland (K.I) 31-6
per cent and in the ROens (K.3) 25-4 per cent of all
farms are from 251 to 500 morgen in extent. For
these five areas as a whole, 750 morgen could be
regarded as a good economic unit. It will then be
found that 68-8 per cent of all farms are less than 750
morgen. Up to a size of 1,500 morgen it appears that
89-1 per cent of all farms fall in this category. In the
Swartland (K.1) and Rfens (K.3), respectively, 95-4
and 91-2 per cent of all farms are 1,500 morgen and
less. The very large farms fall mainly in the
remaining three sub-areas. For instance, 16 of the 17
farms of 2,000 to 5,000 morgen, the 9 farms of
between 7,501 and 10,000 morgen, and two of the
three cases exceeding 10,000 morgen, are all situated
in subareas K.2, K.4 and K.5. In the Rfens (K.3)
there are 3 cases of farms of 10,000 to 15,000 morgen.
290. It would therefore appear that the K area has
no room for more farmers at this stage. The sub-areas
differ greatly from one, another and the above generali-
sation may not be correct for every separate sub-area.
" There is, however, every reason to doubt whether,, on
the whole, room could be made for more farms.
Principal Area 9.-Cattle Grazing Areas (marked
M. on Map No. 2).
291. The M area comprises 8 sub-areas, four being
situated in the Northern Cape and four in the Trans-
vaal. There are three Transvaal sub-areas having an
annual rainfall of approximately 550 millimetres (22
inches), but rainfall in the other sub-areas varies from
375 millimetres to 150 millimetres (5-8 inches). In
those sub-areas with a precipitation of more than 500
imillimetres it is possible to have reasonable crops
during some years. It should, however, be borne in
mind that rain in these areas generally occurs by way
of thunderstorms, resulting in perhaps a few inches of
rain in an hour or so, subsequently followed by
drought for a fortnight or longer. Secondly, these
areas lie far to the north-one of them is situated in
the Tropic of Capricorn-and summer temperatures
sometimes rise to about 380 C. causing high evapora-
tion and a low effective precipitation. With such a
variable rainfall field-husbandily is most uncertain and
farmers relying on cash crops make a precarious
292. Consequently it can be stated that cattle far-
ming is the obvious farming system for the M area as
a whole. Although grazing consists mainly of sweet-
veld and edible shrubs and trees, the carrying capacity
of this area is, nevertheless, not exceptionally high.
Probably owing to a low or uncertain rainfall, the veld
cover is sparse. In any case, it is generally accepted
that the carrying capacity at its best is 5 morgen and
in some sub-areas 12 morgen and even more per head
of cattle. Seven morgen per head of cattle can be
taken as the average carrying capacity of the M area.
Of a unit of 300 head of cattle, approximately 75
could be marketed annually, which should yield a
gross income of about 1,500, or approximately 750
net. Consequently 2,000 morgen can be regarded as
the minimum economic unit. Fortunately there are
only a few smallholdings and farmlets in this area.
Along the Crocodile River (Limpopo) there are a num-
ber of irrigation farms, but according to evidence
obtained at Makoppa these farmers are making a
293. A disappointing aspect of this case is that
nearly 30 per cent of the farms are from 101 to 1,000
morgen in extent, the majority of these being 500 mor-
gen or less. This means that farmers on such small
farms perforce have to try to make a living from cash
crops, or otherwise from milk production as on the
Ghaapseberg. Not only is their income so precarious
as to hamper progress, but the vulnerable sandy and
sandy loam soils are also seriously damaged. Even
those farms of 1.001-2,000 morgen, comprising 1,507
or 27-4 per cent of the total, can still be regarded as
small farms. This implies that 60 per cent of farms
in the M area can hardly be regarded as economic
units. Even farms of 2,001 to 5,000 morgen cannot
be regarded as being too large in all cases. There are
51 farms exceeding 15,000 morgen, of which only 3
fall in M 6, the sub-area with the highest carrying
capacity. In the Kalahari sub-area, M.4, where water
is either very deep or not obtainable at all, there are
28 farms exceeding 15,000 morgen.
294. The M area has a total morgenage of
26,026,000, of which approximately one-third or about
8,784,000 morgen is situated in Bantu Reserves. The
White areas therefore cover 17,000,000 morgen. It
may be assumed that altogether 7,000 farmers would
be able to make a good living in the M area provided
farms are uniformly divided. At present there are
5,300 farms in this area and it would therefore appear
that there is room for more farms in this region
provided the necessary wateringpoints are provided.
Principal Area 10.-Sheep Grazing Area (marked S.
on Map No. 2).
295. This is by far the largest area, and is divided
into 15 sub-areas. The total morgenage of this area
is more or less 46,000,000 or 30 per cent of the total
area of the Union of South Africa. It is therefore
conceivable that considerable differences would occur
from place to place in this area. Thus there is one
sub-area which does not really fit in with the rest,
namely S.15, where the rainfall exceeds 500 milli-
metres (20 inches); and also another, S.2, with a rain-
fall of 450 millimetres (16-75 inches). Of the
remaining ones. 6 sub-areas have a rainfall of 250 to
350 millimetres and the others from 125 to 250 milli-
metres. Eleven sub-areas fall in the summer-rainfall
area and the others in the winter-rainfall area. Since
the rainfall varies so considerably from one sub-area
to the other, there are also big differences in the
carrying capacity of the veld. Thus it is found, accor-
ding to calculations by farmers in these sub-areas, that
in the Tanqua Karoo (S.12) only 11-4 head of sheep
can be kept on 109 morgen, whereas the carrying
capacity in the Eastern Karoo (S.3) is 87-6 head per
100 morgen. In the Sourveld (S.15), which is actually
not Karoo, the carrying capacity is 132-6 sheep per
296. It is rather difficult, therefore, to work out a
mean economic unit for the whole Sheep Grazing-
Area. The following formula has been used: In
accordance with the evidence of the National Wool
Grower's Association and the Meat Control Board,
a flock of 1,200 sheep was taken as an economic unit.
The carrying capacity for each sub-area, as calculated
by farmers during the Agro-economic survey, was
accepted as basis and the number of units in that
particular sub-area was calculated accordingly. Thus
it has been determined that the Mountain Karoo
(S.4) could be divided into 1.692 economic units
whereas there could be only 131 farms in the Kners-
vlakte (S.10). In the Southern Free State (S.2) an
economic unit comprises 1,400 morgen, whereas
10,500 morgen are required for a decent living in the
Tanqua Karoo. According to this method it has been
calculated that the whole Sheep Grazing Area could
be divided into 12,652 farms qualifying as economic
297. There are approximately 1,000 small farms of
100 morgen or less which should probably be included
in the adjoining irrigation areas along the Orange
River. Except for these, approximately 11,800 returns
were received in the course of the Census. What is
really astonishing is the fact that nearly a quarter of
these 11,800 farms in the Karoo are from 101 to
1,000 morgen in extent. Even with wool prices as
high as in 1951, farms of 1,000 morgen or less could
not yield a very big income to their owners. Accor-
ding to evidence submitted, some farmers had made a
living on 300-400 morgen, but one of these witnesses
stated that he lived very frugally and even travelled by
bicycle to do his business in town. It may be accep-
ted that the majority of approximately 50 per cent of
the cases farming on 2,000 morgen or less, either live
frugally or in some cases find it difficult to make a
living. Up to 5,000 morgen, and this represents 80
per cent of all cases, the size, generally speaking,
cannot be regarded as being above normal for the
Sheep Grazing Area.
298. Of the 1,866 farming enterprises between 5,001
and 10,000 morgen, 1,016 cases were in the S.7 to
S.13 sub-areas, where the carrying capacity is so low
that an economic unit may be anything from 4,600 to
10,500 morgen. Of the 686 cases of more than 10,000
morgen, 433 are in these sub-areas. Taking the Sheep
Grazing Area as a whole, it has been calculated above
that it could be divided into approximately 12,600
economic units. It is therefore interesting to observe
that, except for the 1,000 cases on smallholdings,
11,800 returns were received by the Bureau of Census
and Statistics during the Agricultural Census of 1956.
299. Unless soil conservation practices, in addition
to the supply of fodder during droughts, could con-
siderably increase the carrying capacity of the Karoo,
it would probably only be possible to establish more
than the existing farms in this area, if a redistribution
of land were to take place. According to present
indications, however, it can be expected that a num-
ber of farmers will still be forced from their farms by
Principal Area. 11. Fruit Area (Marked V. on Map
300 This area is situated in a very mountainous
region and extends from Clanwilliam to Ladismith.
The whole Fruit Area, which is sub-divided into 11
sub-areas, covers 2,707,000 morgen. Owing to the
fact that the area is largely situated in valleys between
high mountain ranges, probably not much more than
half of this area is suitable for farming. Although it is
calculated that 50 per cent of this area could be utilised
for farming, that portion suited to agriculture-either
fruit trees or crops-does in all probability not exceed
10 per cent of this area.
301. Fruit produced in this area varies from sub-
area to sub-area. Thus one finds that export grapes
are the main source of income on some small farms,
whereas apples, nears and peaches again are the more
important branches in other sub-areas. With an in-
tensive product such as table graces, a living can he
made on a smaller piece of land than would be the
case with any other tyne of fruit, provided a profitable
export market is available. As it is impossible to
determine the number of cases of every branch of the
fruit industry from the available data. it will be assumed
that all cases as indicated could be economic units, at
ruling fruit prices.
302. On the whole the Fruit Area consists of com-
paratively small farms. Except for 352 of 5 morgen
or less, 1,207 or 30-1 per cent of all farms are less
than 50 morgen. As much as 79-4 per cent of all
farms comprise 500 morgen or less, whereas 88-4 per
cent of all farms are 1,000 morgen and less. Only
5-4 per cent of these farm,; exceed 2.000 morgen. Of
the very largest there are 42 farms from 5,001 to 10,000
morgen, 9 from 10,000 to 15,000 and 9 larger than
15,000 morgen. Since this ;trea is so mountainous that
large portions of these farns are inaccessible even to
animals, it cannot be determined whether those farms
exceeding 5,000 morgen could actually be considered
303. If approximately 10' per cent of this area were
suited to agriculture, their, would be about 300,000
morgen of arable land. Those 4,000 farmers who have
completed census forms in 1956 would therefore
possess 75 morgen of arable land and about 270
morgen of veld. The mean total farm size, excluding
mountains either densely wooded or inaccessible, is
approximately 350 morgen a good 80 per cent of the
total number of cases fall in the size group of 500
morgen or less. Certain witnesses are of the opinion
that the fruit area of the Cold Bokkeveld could still
absorb more farmers. It s difficult to determine the
exact number of farmers '>ho could still be absorbed
in this way, but it is improbable that this number
would be large.
304. An analysis of the 108,000 persons who com-
pleted agricultural census forms in 1956, shows that
9,000 farmed on plots or !-mall farms of 5 morgen or
less, and 19,000 on small farms of 6 to 100 morgen.
If all small farming enterpi ises yielding a gross income
of less than 300 per annum are eliminated, approxi-
mately 90,000 cases remain. An analysis of this
particular agricultural census shows that although in
every principal area farm; of extraordinary size are
found, virtually all areas also have a large number of
small farms which are un.'conomically small, offering
only a precarious living to heir occupants. If some way
existed to make possible ;t reshuffle in order to con-
solidate such uneconomic units into economic units,
it would be ideal. What is going to happen now. how-
ever, is that many thousands of farmers still making a
living on these uneconomic units will either be forced
off the land or continue to eke out a precarious exist-
ence until such time as they pass away. The children,
who have already migrated to the cities, will not return
to these uneconomic units.
305. In countries who also have to contend with
the problem of too small lands, such as the Nether-
lands, the Government has already taken steps to con-
solidate uneconomic units A special State organisa-
tion has been created witl a view to buying up land
so as to extend these small farms to economic size.
306. The Commission i; of the opinion that under
present economic condition s and the system of owner-
shin and control of land now in vogue, not many more
White economic farming units than the present number
could be formed. The omissionn also holds the
view, however, that more White farmers could still
be settled on farms, provided it were possible to-
(a) bring about a more even distribution of land-
ownership resulting, on the one hand. in the
sub-division of exceptionally large units and,
on the other, in the consolidation of uneconomic
(h) make available to White farmers and managers
all the farms at present exclusively occupied or
controlled by Non-'hites:
(c) further extend an( economically utilise the
present technical development (only beginning
to show results now):
(d) make White farmers less dependent on Non-
white labour and teach them to make greater
use of White skilled labour, foremen and
(e) develop a better and more stable market for farm
THE EXISTING FARMING POPULATION.
307. The Commission deemed it necessary to obtain
a sound knowledge of the composition of the existing
farming population, and therefore arranged for a
special questionnaire to be included in the Agricultural
309. In terms of occupation of land, the total number
of forms was divided as follows:-
(a) From landowners: 65,914 or 78 per cent.
(b) From lessees: 8,108 or 9 per cent.
(c) From others (share-croppers, managers, etc.)
10,734 or 13 per cent.
310. From this it can be deduced that approximately
73,000 or 78 per cent of all commercial farmers in the
Union are landowners, and more or less 20,000 are
lessees, share-croppers and foremen. It is remarkable
that as much as 9 per cent are farmers hiring land.
Probably they are people who possess a certain amount
of working capital-machinery, livestock. etc.-and who
could be assisted to obtain their own land. Various
authoritative witnesses recommended that assistance in
acquiring land should be given primarily to those
persons who have already saved something, and not
to those who possess nothing at all.
311. Figure 2 indicates the age distribution of farmers.
29 years 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70 years
and under and over
census of 1956. More than 100,000 forms were com-
pleted, but only 84,763 were suitable for further ana-
308. According to several methods of calculation,
the Division of Economics and Markets estimates the
number of commercial farmers at approximately
90,000. Hence the sample used here represents about
90 per cent of these commercial farmers. Statistically
this can be considered a perfect sample, and any con-
clusions derived from it would probably apply to all
312. The largest age group amongst these farmers,
namely 29 per cent, is between the age of 40 and 49,
in other words in the prime of life. The group under
the age of 30, having an average age of 26, represents
6 per cent of all farmers. Farmers of 70 years and
over represent 7 per cent of all farmers.
313. For the Union as a whole, the above age distri-
bution is fairly satisfactory. The question arises,
however, as to whether it is equally satisfactory in all
parts. In elaborating the data for the various Agro-
economic areas, it appears that the ratio between the
youngest and oldest farmers is most favourable on the
settlements and in the Fruit Area, where 6 per cent
are under the age of 30 and only 5 per cent over the
age of 70. In the principal areas K (Crop Area of the
Winter-rainfall Belt), M (Cattle Grazing Area) and
S (Karoo), 6 per cent are under the age of 30 and 6
per cent over the age of 70. The most unfavourable
ratio is found in the Irrigation areas outside the
settlements-Waterberg (A.5), Rooimoot (A.3), Little
Karoo (A.10), etc.-and in the coastal areas, inter alia
the Cape Flats, where 5 per cent of the farmers are
under the age of 30 and 8 per cent over the age of 70.
In the E. area (east of the Drakensberg) 6 per cent are
under the age of 30 and 9 per cent over 70. In the
last-mentioned areas there is a distinct danger of far-
mers aging and of an eventual decrease in their
314. Also of interest is the fact that the average age
of all landowners is 51 years, whereas the average age
of lessees and others is only 44 years. Those persons
who hire land are therefore mainly young men anxious
to start farming. The fact that landowners have an
average of 3-1 children per family, whereas lessees
have 2-8 and others 2-7 children per family, shows that
the lessee, foreman and manager are generally the
POSSIBILITIES OF INCREASING
315. It has been indicated in Chapter 13 that there
are at present some 90,000 farming enterprises in the
Union. It has also been pointed out that there are
probably thousands of farmers making a precarious
living on uneconomic units, whereas on the other hand
there are quite a few thousand farmers owning ex-
tremely large tracts of land. The Commission has
already expressed the opinion that unless certain
requirements were complied with videe par. 306), and
taking into account present economic conditions and
technological development, few more commercial
farms than the existing 90,000 would in any case be
convertible into ideal economic units.
316. The Commission has considered the following
methods, by which the total available number of
economic units could possibly be increased.
1. Increase of total area.
317. At the present moment the White farmers of
the Union own approximately 102 million morgen.*
The Bantu reserves and scheduled areas cover nearly
20 million morgen. Moreover, approximately 5 million
morgen are taken up by National and Provincial Parks
and Game Reserves, as well as 2 million morgen
reserved for Government Forestry plantations. Hence
the gross moreenage of these lands amounts to more
or less 129 million, whereas the total area of the Union
is iust over 142 million morgen. The remaining 13
million morgen are largely taken up by big cities,
towns and holiday resorts, mine lands, waste-land,
roads, railroads, rivers and other unserviceable land.
It would be difficult to determine accurately the actual
number of morgen taken up in this way. In any case,
it would amount to so much that very little further
extension could take place on the existing 102 million
morgen of agricultural land. If any unoccupied
Government land were still available, that land would
have been included in the 13 million morgen already
referred to. Enquiries were therefore made at the
Department of Lands with a view to ascertaining
how much unallocated land, if any, was still in
the hands of the Department, but it would appear
that there is relatively little unoccupied Govern-
ment land. The land noi. yet allocated to probationary
lessees with the option to buy, is leased temporarily
to farmers and is consequently included in the 102
morgen incorporated in the Census surveys already
mentioned. On its tours the Commission actually
found two areas only where such an expansion of new
land is possible, name) Zululand-more particularly
on the Makatini Flats-:ind in the Transvaal Lowveld.
2. Extension of Area under Dryland Cultivation.
318. A further possibility could be the extension of
the number of morgen available for intensive cultiva-
tion, thereby enabling more farmers to farm on the
same acreage. By means of an exhaustive survey and
scientific calculation, the Division of Economics and
Markets has estimated that at the utmost 10 per cent
of the area of the White farms of the Union are arable.
This means that there aie only 10-5 million morgen in
the Union having suffici6 nt rain, suitable soil and which
are topographically so s.tuated as to be cultivable. The
complete census now shows that if the area under all
field-husbandry product,, including sugar, fruit, vege-
tables as well as that inder private afforestation, be
added together, the gross total already approximates
10-5 million morgen; ii other words, there is hardly
any possibility of further extending crop cultivation
under dryland conditions. In this connection it would
appear that extension of certain branches could only
take place at the expense of others, since they would
compete for the same irable land. For example, an
increase in wheat, evei, summer wheat, could occur,
provided maize lands w,;re reduced. By the cultivation
of pastures and grass kys the livestock industry could
be extended, but in that case the area under cash crops
-maize, groundnuts, kaffircorn, etc.-would have to
3. Exten ion of Irrigation.
319. The Commission approached the Director of
Water Affairs with a view to determining the possibility
of further extension )f irrigation schemes. In his
evidence the Director s ated that, including land to be
put under irrigation under new schemes and extensions
now under construction, there would be approximately
750,000 morgen under irrigation in the Union-includ-
ing State settlements and land irrigated by private
individuals. As regards the larger schemes in the more
important river system, of the country, the following
further extensions would be possible:-
Cape Province (e.g. Orange e, Breede and Berg Rivers).. 145,000
Orange Free State (e.g. 0 ange, Caledon, Vet and Sand
Rivers)............ .... .................... 65,000
Transvaal (e.g. Vaal, Crocodile and Olifants Rivers).. 100,000
Natal (e.g. Pongola, Uml olosi and Tugela Rivers).... 90,000
320. Apart from the 400,000 morgen mentioned
above, it has been estimated that along the smaller
rivers a further 15 per cent of the figure quoted could
still be irrigated, in other words, a gross total of
460,000 or even 500,0( 0 morgen. At 25 to 30 morgen
per plot, this can mean between 15,000 and 20,000
additional settlers. An extension of this nature could
result in a total area of approximately 1,250,000 morgen
coming under irrigation in the Union.
321. The Director, however, also brought the follow-
ing facts to the notice )f the Commission: the cheapest
places for dams and 'or irrigation sites have already
been utilised, and the schemes now under construc-
tion or contemplated for the near future, would cost
approximately 500 per irrigated morgen-on the
Leeuw River scheme in the Free State the unit cost
already amounts to nearly 750 per morgen. In his
opinion, provided funds were made available, from
6,000 to 7,000 morger could be brought under irriga-
tion annually with the aid of current techniques. On
* Agricultural censuses Nos. 29 and 30.-Summary reports 1954-55 and 1955-56.
this basis of extension it would take about 75 years
to complete these possible further extensions. Even if
it were possible to increase the number of White
farmers on the platteland in this way by 15,000 to
20,000, it could only be done over a long period-
and at very high cost. An extension of this kind could
not take place overnight.
4. Subdivision of Large Units.
322. If it were at all possible to effect subdivision of
large lands and to settle only Whites on all units created
in this way, there would possibly be room for more
White farmers. Evidence strongly advocating that a
farmer already owning a farm of optimum size should
be debarred from buying another iarm or even from
inheriting such a farm, was submitted. The Commis-
sion, however, wishes to point out that even if such
drastic measures were to be adopted, it would have to
be accompanied by a simultaneous expansion of all
small uneconomic units to an economic size. Hence
the Commission can see no possibility of a consider-
able increase of the White population of the platteland
in this direction.
5. Technological Development.
323. Provided scientific and technical progress could
significantly increase the production per unit, and pro-
vided the required remunerative markets could be
established, a farmer could probably be enabled to
make a good living on a smaller area than at present.
Great progress has already been made in this direction
during the past ten years. Not only has an increase of
mechanical aids resulted in great improvement of cul-
tivation methods, but crops with a higher yield, greater
knowledge of soil types accompanied by more efficient
fertilisation as well as chemical weed killers and in-
secticides, have all contributed towards increased pro-
duction of field-husbandry products. The control of
livestock diseases and more scientific grazing and
feeding programmes, together with the application of
improved breeding practices and artificial insemination,
also hold out the prospect of increased livestock pro-
duction. Soil conservation methods, farm planning
and even economic planning of the farming enterprise
may result in an improved utilisation of the agricultural
potential and even in more efficient production
methods, thereby reducing costs and increasing profit
324. According to the Directors of the Transvaal, the
Karoo and the Eastern Cape Regions, farm planning
with resultant improved veld management has increased
the carrying capacity of stock farms. In the Northern
Transvaal the case of a cattle farm near Alldays was
mentioned, where the present carrying capacity of the
veld was generally accepted as being 10 morgen per
head of cattle. After planning, this farm was sub-
divided into camps and the required water laid on. It
was found that the carrying capacity immediately im-
proved to 7 morgen per head and it is anticipated that,
after further planning, the carrying capacity would
ultimately increase to 5 morgen per head. In the
Beaufort West district the Commission inspected a
farm, previously hardly able to carry 2,000 sheep.
As a result of improved veld management and the
resultant recovery of veld grasses, 5,000 sheep graze
on the same farm to-day.
325. Incidentally, these favourable results in the live-
stock regions were substantiated by various witnesses:
but it is striking that up to now no similar significant
results have been achieved in the cropping areas. Never-
theless, there is every hope that in the last mentioned
areas a favourable reaction would also result from
planning. All in all this would mean that an economic
living could be made on a smaller unit-in this way
more farmers could be settled on the platteland.
326. It would be difficult to estimate precisely how
many more farmers would, as a result of the above
developments, be able to make a good living from
agriculture; but with irrigation schemes extending to a
maximum and with scientific and technological farming
methods still developing, it seems possible that in the
course of time some 15,000 to 20,000 more farmers
than at present could make a living from agriculture.
It should, however, be stressed that an extension of
this nature could only take place gradually.
NEW ENTRANTS INTO THE FARMING
ANNUAL NUMBER OF ENTRANTS.
327. Taking the basis of replacement as one genera-
tion, or thirty years, approximately 3,000 young farmers
would normally be required every year to replace those
older farmers who retire. (By retiring farmers we do
not mean only those who retire due to old age, but also
those who stop farming owing to ill-health, death or
other reasons). Moreover, if ample allowance is made
for the possible future increase of farming units,
another 1,000 persons could perhaps be added to the
above figure. Some 4,000 new farmers may therefore
perhaps be required every year to enter into the field
SONS AS SUCCESSORS TO FARMERS.
328. Further information obtained from the Com-
mission's special census of 1956, indicates the size of
families as well as the number of children who may
possibly succeed farmers.
329. The number of children per family in the
various age groups are given in Table 31.
TABLE 31.-Particulars of children according to age
groups of farmers. These figures are according to the
1956 special census.
Age groups Average Number Number age sons
(years). age of of of dependent
farmers, children. sons. on
29 and under....
30 to 39 .........
40 to 49.........
50 to 59 .........
60 to 69........
70 and over ....
26 0-8 0-4 100
35 2-3 1-2 97
45 3-0 1-6 90
54 3-3 1-7 60
64 3-7 1-9 29
75 4-1 2-1 14
49 3-0 1-5 63
330. It will be found that for the Union as a whole
there is an average of 3 children per farmer. The group
with an average age of 26 do not all have children as
yet-an average of 0-8 child per farmer-whereas the
farmers with an average age of 75 have 4-1 children
331. Since it is found in exceptional cases only that
daughters become independent farmers, further analysis
will only be in respect of the sons. It may be mentioned
in passing that 12 per cent of the daughters are engaged
in farming. According to Table 31 there are 1-5 sons
per farmer or 127,000 sons for the 84,700 farmers. It
will now be necessary to follow every stage in the
history of the sons in order to determine to what extent
the present farmers will have successors. An analysis
of the data shows that 63 per cent of the sons are still
dependent on their parents. In the farmer age groups
up to 40-49, we find that 90 per cent and more of their
children are still dependent on them. The percentage
then drops rapidly, so that 60 per cent are dependent
on farmers between the ages of 50 and 60, and 14 per
cent are dependent on farmers over the age of 70.
Expressed in figures, nearly 83,000 sons are still
dependent on their parents. Of these dependent sons
the numbers in the various age groups were as
Sons under 12 years......... 43,000 or 51 8 per cent.
Sons 12 to 17 years.. ....... 22,000 or 26-5 per cent.
Sons 18 years and over...... 18,000 or 21-7 per cent.
TOTAL ................. 83,000 or 100-0 per cent.
332. One of the questions dealt with the number of
sons still dependent on the farmer and already over the
age of 12 years, who intended to go farming. From
the replies it appears that 51 per cent of approximately
40,000 sons over the age of 12 years but still dependent
on the farmer, expressed the wish to go farming. This
means that there are approximately 20,000 dependent
sons who wish to farm. Taking all farmers over the
age of 60 years, we find that there are approximately
20,000 of whom 6,000 are over the age of 70 but still
active farmers. It is doubtful whether more than 25 per
cent of the 20,000 farmers falling in the higher age
group will make room for the young ones annually.
This means that normally 4,000 to 5,000 at the utmost
can annually be taken up in the farming profession.
333. The data of the census also show that it is
mostly the sons of settlers and small farmers in the
coastal areas who show little interest in farming, because
in these cases only 34 per cent and 42 per cent,
respectively, of the sons over the age of twelve are
interested in farming. Of the sons of sheep farmers 71
per cent, and in the case of wheat farmers of the winter-
rainfall area 68 per cent, expressed the wish to enter
the farming profession.
PERSONS ENTERING AGRICULTURE AS NON-LANDOWNERS.
334. In a discussion of new farmers entering the
profession one has in mind mainly independent farmers
with their own land. It is, however, necessary to bear
in mind that in the agricultural industry one also finds
a group of persons who are not landowners, such as
farm managers, farm foremen, lessees and share-
croppers. It is necessary to consider whether the
White occupancy of the platteland could be per-
manently strengthened by encouraging persons to enter
the farming profession in those capacities.
335. (a) As regards farm managers, it appeared from
evidence before the Commission in some parts of the
country that there are indeed prospects of employment
at good salaries in this direction, especially in larger
farming enterprises and on farms owned by companies.
Some witnesses, however, emphasised that the number
of possible vacancies is very limited at this stage, and
that the situation will only improve when farmers have
come to realise that they would profit by employing
more thoroughly trained managers. On the other hand,
there were farmers who stated in their evidence that
they did indeed require the services of such persons,
but that it was extremely difficult to obtain reliable and
efficient managers, since their numbers were limited in
336. (b) For farm foremen the prospects, according
to all available evidence, seem to be less hopeful,
especially when it is borne in mind that this group
usually have no formal agricultural training or a high
standard of education. Many farmers actually regard
them as White labourers and it stands to reason that
their remuneration would be so meagre as to hold out
very little prospect of further advancement. And yet
the White foreman on many farms plays an important
r6le, since he replaces to some extent the Non-white
labourer and has to supervise the latter. Some wit-
nesses who could speak with authority, expressed them-
selves very strongly in favour of the immigration of
White labourers from Europe, to serve as foremen and
also to replace Non-white labourers where possible.
This aspect is discussed in more detail in paragraph 533.
337. (c) The position of tenant farmers has become
practically untenable during the past years, owing to
high rentals. In addition they have to compete with
financially strong person, who already own land and
also hire additional land. In the past, however, tenants
could make a reasonable living and were practically
regarded as a transition stage on the way to complete
independence as farmers, but as a result of high land
prices it would appear as if this road has now been
closed. Land for hire is ilso becoming scarcer.
338. (d) The share-crcpper to some extent finds
himself in the same position as the tenant. His great
problem is the increasing costs of mechanisation, which
reduce his profit margin Io such an extent that he can
barely afford to give part of his crop to the owner. He
also has to compete with landowners who cultivate
additional land on a share basis. According to evidence
the share-croppers who are not landowners, have to a
large extent disappeared from the crop farming areas.
339. From the data obtained from the special census
it appears that 8,000 farmers still hire land. They
would surely be only too willing to buy their own land
if given the opportunity to do so. Many of them have
no knowledge of any other trades and would find it
difficult to make a living it the cities. In addition there
are 10,000 managers, foremen and share-croppers, some
of whom have a portion ol or could obtain the required
capital. This group has at least a knowledge of farm-
ing, although they may in most cases not have sufficient
capital to make a success of farming as such. Apart
from these there are, as has already been indicated,
20,000 sons of independent farmers who wish to farm
and the majority could to a greater or lesser extent,
be assisted by their parents. Assuming that one-tenth
of the group could annually enter the farming profes-
sion, it would mean that 2,000 of them, together with
a portion of the 8,000 tenants and some of the 10,000
others, would satisfy any possible demand for some
4,000 new farmers. In addition to all these possible
prospective farmers, the Commission in a personal
interview with large groups of city workers, found that
there were thousands of persons amongst these workers
who would only be too willing to go farming if given
the opportunity to do so. It can therefore be stated
that there can be no question that there are sufficient
prospective farmers to fill all vacancies which may
occur in the ranks of comn ercial farmers.
CAPITAL REQUIREMENTS IN FARMING.
340. Next to love for the soil and a thorough
agricultural training, one of the most important
requirements for the establishing of young farmers, is
the provision of sufficient capital to start their enter-
prise on a sound economic basis. In short, the young
beginner needs capital to esquire land of an economic
size, machinery, implements and livestock, as well as
cash to cover current farming expenses and cost of
living until such time as his farm yields an income.
Naturally, land and permanent improvements require
a long-term investment; machinery, implements and
livestock have to be provided from mid-term capital;
running costs have to be met from short-term funds.
341. Throughout the country the Commission
endeavoured to determine the amount required for
getting started in farming, bat it should be made clear
at the outset that this amount varies considerably, not
only from one region to the next, but also according
to the particular farming system aimed at.
342. According to evidence, the smallest capital is
required in regions with intensive farming systems,
such as deciduous and subtropical fruit, vegetables,
sugar-cane and dairying, under irrigation. It is
estimated that the capital requirements in this case will
be from 6,000 to 10,000.
343. In the semi-intensive grain areas of the Winter-
Rainfall Area and the Highveld Region capital re-
quirements are considerably higher, ranging from
15,000 to 25,000 for an economic unit.
344. As regards stock-farming, extending from the
Karoo with its sheep farms to the cattle areas of the
Northern Cape and Northern Transvaal, farming is,
for the most part, successful only on extensive land.
Here much more capital is required to start farming.
It was stated in 1957 that, according to the ruling
prices for that year, anything from 20,000 to 40,000
was required to start a successful stock-farming
345. In order to obtain a form of control regarding
the capital requirements referred to, those regions
where economic studies were conducted in 1954/57 by
the Division of Economics and Markets, were taken as
basis. The economic size for the regions was then
multiplied by the average price of land per morgen.
To this amount was added the capital required for
livestock and implements and subsequently reduced to
a capital per morgen. On the other hand the capital
figures as derived from the studies of the Division,
was likewise reduced to a per-morgen figure. The
results are given in Table 32.
work his way up, he will be making a far more worth-
while contribution to the farming industry in this
country. Moreover, he will be able to look back with
pride on his achievements. In all parts of the country
the Commission encountered well-to-do farmers who
could pride themselves on the fact that despite their
humble beginnings they had gradually built up a
flourishing farming enterprise. That the young farmer
of today need not take second place to his predeces-
sors, is the firm conviction of the Commission. It is,
however, realized that with the high land prices of to-
day, a beginner will experience greater difficulty in
acquiring the necessary capital and land.
349. In view of the above data, the Commission is of
the opinion that the initial capital required need not
be put as high as suggested by the witnesses. In the
first place, no beginner should incur debts beyond his
means by buying land at the ruling uneconomic and
financially unsound prices. At reasonable prices which
are probably from 25 to 33 per cent lower than those
already paid in some cases, many a young farmer
should be able to get off to a good start. It certainly
is not necessary to pay immediately the total purchase
price required. The Land Bank for example, is willing
to advance two-thirds of the price at which the land is
valued. What is more, the beginner is not always
required to own a completely equipped unit of stock
or new farming implements at the very beginning.
With one-third of the capital, as estimated by witnesses
(already a liberal estimate) a diligent, thrifty beginner,
particularly if he has received the necessary training,
TABLE 32.-Capital required by beginners, according to witnesses, compared with data furnished by the Division ofEconomies
Molopo.. .................... ......
Transvaal Highveld ........ ............
Free State Highveld...... ..............
Estimated Capital Capital
economic Capital per
unit. required, moren.
DATA FURNISHED BY THE DIVISION OF
ECONOMICS AND MARKETS.
Average I Capital
346. Before discussing the results the following facts
should be stressed:-
(a) The data of the Division are representative of
the average in respect of some 100 farmers in
(b) These figures do not represent the capital origin-
ally required but that invested over a long
period in land, improvements, stock and imple-
ments. Of the above capital, two-thirds is
representative of land and improvements.
(c) Admittedly the implements are not new, but
indicate the present depreciated value, while
the land prices are not the original purchase
prices, but represent current economic values.
347. From the data it is clear that the witnesses
estimated the required capital from 10 to 30 per cent
higher than that at which farmers engaged in farming
in the same region, estimate their total assets. It
would appear, therefore, that all witnesses showed a
tendency to estimate the capital required by the
beginner too high-possibly, on an average, as much
as 20 per cent too high.
348. Furthermore, the Commission does not deem it
necessary for the beginner to start where his father has
left off. If he is prepared to start at the bottom and
should stand an excellent chance of ultimate success.
According to the particular area it means that with a
cash amount of about 3,000 in the intensive regions
to 10,000 at most in the extensive farming regions, the
hardworking young farmer should be able to make
good, provided he is able to acquire the balance under
a sound credit system.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM PARENTS.
350. In a discussion on the part played by financial
assistance from parents in establishing young farmers,
it is necessary to determine, first of all, the percentage
of young farmers assisted in the past by their parents,
and, secondly, the number who could expect such help
from their parents in years to come.
351. Before discussing the data of the special census
survey concerning the number of young men who had
received financial aid from their parents, it is essential
to know what percentage of the sons who are already
independent, indeed entered the farming profession. It
appears that an average of 34 per cent of them have
again turned to farming, while 66 per cent are
following other professions. A farmer and his son
cannot always exist on the same farm, at the same
time, and for this reason the sons of young farmers
generally first find a means of livelihood elsewhere.
The only exception was found in the sheep-grazing
areas, the Eastern Karoo in particular. Probably as a
result of the fairly good years experienced by sheep
farmers, they were in a position to bring back their
sons to the farms at an earlier age. So, for example,
it has been found that 47 per cent of the independent
sons of Karoo farmers between the ages of 40 and 49
are already farming on their own. It would appear
that the irrigation areas offer the least opportunity for
children to become farmers for, of the independent
children who hailed from settlements as well as the
other irrigation areas, more than 75 per cent have
other careers. On the Highveld and in the Karoo, the
Eastern Karoo in particular, farming holds out the best
prospects, 44 per cent of the independent sons being
352. Of the independent sons already engaged in
farming, 78 per cent were aided by their parents.
During the Commission's travels through the Union
and the questioning of hundreds of farmers it was
stated, almost without exception, that farming offered
no future to the beginner unless he received financial
assistance from his father. It has been found that the
majority of boys from the settlements enter other
professions. Of the 21 per cent who did go farming,
approximately one half were assisted by their fathers.
Of the Karoo farmers' sons, 44 per cent went farming,
and of those who do farm, 88 per cent received finan-
cial assistance from their fathers. In the fruit-growing
areas only 31 per cent go back to the farm, and of
those who did return, 90 per cent did so with the help
of their fathers. In all likelihood fruit farms are so
small as to render subdivision impossible, with the
result that only one child can succeed his father. The
other children have to receive training for other
careers. This is indeed a healthy trend.
353. It has been pointed out that some 20,000 boys
over the age of 12 have expressed a wish to go far-
ming. Nearly two-thirds of this number could he
assisted to a greater or lesser degree by their fathers
to find their feet. Unfortunately it has not been
possible to determine the extent of the aid, but all the
same some measure of assistance from the father will
be forthcoming. Yet another remarkable phenomenon
is that only 34 per cent of the children of settlers are
keen to farm; and of them less than half can be
assisted by their fathers to get started. During the
special census survey from 60 to 70 per cent of the
sons of Karoo farmers expressed a desire to return to
the farms; in this instance parents can give assistance
to more than 75 per cent.
354. The parents of prospective farmers can help
their sons in various ways. namely through bequest,
(which is the most general practice) or by the provision
of capital, or both.
Dangers of the Bequest System.
355. The system of bequest is most commonly prac-
tised, being a method which affords parents a great
deal of pleasure. It is a commendable practice, pro-
vided, of course, that parents guard against certain
evils arising from it. Here it is perhaps desirable to
emphasise certain malpractices resulting from bequest.
Not only may such conditions be to the detriment of
the heirs of a well-intended but wholly impracticable
and even disastrous will, but may ultimately have a
deleterious effect on farming conditions in the
Union as a whole.
356. Frequently a will is drawn up in such a way
that the heir is compelled to take on an impossible
financial burden by having to pay out the other bene-
ficiaries under the will. Consequently, the unfortunate
heir is forced to mortgage his farm and possibly to
assume other liabilities in order to obtain the required
working and development capital. In many cases this
results in such a high mortgage to the heir that he is
forced to sell a portion o' the farm in order to raise
the money-this, in turn, giving rise to the creation of
357. On the other hand, a will may require the farm
to be left to all the child en of the deceased, so that
every child gets a portion of the farm. The inevitable
result is that farms actually comprising an economic
unit to one person only, is, by virtue of the will, sub-
jected to such excessive suJbdivision that not a single
heir is able to wrest a liv ng from his portion. An
extreme example of this practice has been observed
in the Marico-Zeerust area where subdivision did in
fact give rise to chaos, land having been subdivided to
the extent of heirs getting 1 /72nd portion of 34 mor-
gen! Examples of such malconditions arising from
the bequest system were al;o found in other parts such
as Langkloof where the share of one heir consisted of
two rows of fruit trees in an orchard!
358. At the turn of the century a group of farmers
in the northern Karoo feared that their old ancestral
farms might eventually fall into the hands of stran-
gers. To prevent this a total area of no less than
70,000 morgen was placed under "erfpacht" for
periods varying from the seventh to the thirty-third
generations. These farms may not be sold, alienated
or mortgaged, and the heir, cannot obtain loans or any
form of credit on such land. A further problem is
the difficulty of applying soil conservation measures
which entail mortgaging ot the land. Heirs who wish
to have the "erfpacht" waived can only do so at
359. Uneconomic units, -nalpractices in farming and
deterioration of grazing may therefore result from our
system of succession. The right to have a will drawn
up in which he can leave his possessions as he sees
fit, is so deeply ingrained i i the South African farmer,
that great tact and wisdon will be required from any
government to adjust these malconditions by way of
SERVICES AND ASSISTANCE TO THE
AGRICULTURE AL INDUSTRY.
360. In Chapter 15 the opinion is voiced that as
regards the necessary human material, there are
sufficient numbers of youi g prospective farmers who
are keen to take the place of those who die or retire
from farming each year. Witnesses made it clear,
however, that the days when a young man could start
his farming enterprise with very few earthly possessions
and yet build up a successful venture, belonged to the
past. The technique as well as the economic structure
of farming has changed to such an extent that even a
modest beginning requires a considerable capital out-
lay, as already indicated.
361. The State has in the past always furnished ample
proof that it considers the agricultural industry and
White occupancy of the platteland as being of such
great public importance, that various forms of service
and aid were introduced, rnot only to encourage pros-
pective farmers to take up 1 arming, but also to stabilise
the position of those already engaged in farming.
Broadly speaking, the main forms of direct Government
aid may be classified as fo lows:-
(1) The provision of land--either ordinary farms or
on irrigation settlements-which is the task of
the Department of I ands.
(2) Credit facilities for purchasing land, effecting
improvements or for short-term production-
undertaken by the Land and Agricultural Bank.
(3) Assistance schemes introduced from time to time
by the Department of Agriculture in regions
ravaged by natural catastrophes.
(4) Technical aid, by means of research, training as
well as extension, inspection and protection
(5) Indirect aid and subsidy schemes in various
In order to get a clear picture of the existing forms
of direct Government aid. it is necessary to discuss the
first four categories referred to above.
1. PROVISION OF LAND.
362. The Department of Lands employs three different
methods to assist farmers in acquiring land, namely-
(a) by the allotment of holdings on irrigation settle-
ments falling under the Department;
(b) in terms of section twenty of Act No. 21, 1956.
in accordance with which the applicant may
purchase private land under the one-tenth con-
tributory system; and
(c) in terms of section twenty-three of Act No. 21,
1956, in accordance with which Government-
owned land is allocated following an adver-
tisement in the Government Gazette-payment
to take place over a period of 65 years (no cash
contribution being required in this case).
363. (a) Irrigation settlements were regarded in the
past as one of the principal ways of placing landless
prospective farmers on the land. This is proved by
the following total amounts voted by the Government
for this purpose from 1912 to 1957. (Expenditure in-
curred by the Department of Water Affairs in connec-
tion with the construction of dams and canals is not
included in these figures):-
Cape Province ...........................
N atal ..................................
O range Free State .......................
Naturally, this form of aid is primarily intended for
needy and deserving persons for whom, owing to their
lack of capital, it would practically be impossible to
obtain financial assistance elsewhere. In other words
the underlying policy is not solely concerned with
economic agricultural development, but is also aimed
at the rehabilitation of the underprivileged group. This
idea of rehabilitation will be discussed in greater detail
364. As is known, the first irrigation settlements
developed along the Orange River, as far back as the
year 1898, at the instance of religious denominations
which were concerned over the number of so-called
Poor Whites who had no refuge at the time. For the
very reason that (i) the authorities were at first in-
clined to leave the development and management of
irrigation settlements to the churches (who did not
possess large capital); and (ii) because originally it was
the intention to provide indigent persons with a
"parking spot where they could be kept alive, it so
happened that the allotted plots were far too small to
make an economic living. So, for example, it was cus-
tomary to make holdings of 5 to 7 morgen available to
the settlers. Nevertheless the Church, by giving the lead
in this direction, rendered an invaluable service to
South Africa. In this way many indigent Whites were
saved from total ruin and given a chance to remain
on the settlements until better conditions enabled them
to find a living elsewhere. Many other settlers stayed
there, extended their farming, and in time became
365. As the State subsequently took over the esta-
blishment and control of irrigation settlements, a trend
in the direction of larger holdings gradually set in:
The emphasis began to shift from a mere shelter or
existence to an economic farming enterprise on every
holding. It is true that the Commission during its
visits, particularly to the older settlements, heard
evidence that in the past the State had divided the
holdings into portions that were too small, but that
was in the days when Poor Whites without a livelihood
were many and irrigation lands limited and, moreover,
before the advent of scientific farming. This defect is
realized today, and the Department of Lands is
endeavouring, by means of redivision and extension, to
consolidate these small holdings into economic units.
Accordingly, the Secretary for Lands in his evidence
indicated that there would be closer co-operation with
the Department of Agriculture in the establishment of
future settlements in order to eliminate the short-
comings of the past.
366. As regards the planning of settlements, the
Commission heard most interesting evidence from the
Director of the Free State Region. He stated, following
his recent visit to the irrigation areas of the United
States of America, that research in connection with the
most suitable crops and methods of farming were
undertaken years before constructing the dam and
planning the settlement. Water was pumped onto the
land of the proposed scheme and a pilot scheme in-
troduced, so that the settlers know exactly what to
plant and what methods to apply the day they arrive
there. The Commission considers this policy a com-
mendable practice which can be applied to good ad-
vantage in the Union's future irrigation areas.
367. As already stated, there can be little doubt that
in the past irrigation settlements were one of the most
important ways of settling indigent prospective farmers
on the land. The role wnich can be played by future
settlements in the White occupancy of the platteland
is equally important. But, as has been explained, the
potential irrigation land that can still be developed is
getting scarcer and scarcer every year. Added to this
is the fact that, as stated by the Director of Water
Affairs, future schemes will be far more costly under-
takings and will saddle the country with a great
368. The idea of rehabilitation.-Expert witnesses
are now posing the question whether the State should
continue its policy of settling on this valuable land
persons who do not possess the highest degree of
ability, initiative and training. A prominent economist
stated in this connection: In the past it was the policy
to rehabilitate Whites on the platteland, but now a
change has set in, and there are other fields for
rehabilitation, for example the mines, industries, etc. It
is, therefore, no longer necessary to rehabilitate people
on irrigation land. Our irrigation land is now becoming
scarce and should be utilised to the full by settling the
best type of people. The future policy in respect of
this land should be changed and the stress should not
fall on rehabilitation only."
369. As against this opinion members of the Land
Board pointed out that persons who apply for holdings,
are comprised for the most part of fairly young men,
who are too weak financially to be assisted in other
ways. Although many of them are not so well trained,
the majority nevertheless has some agricultural back-
ground and, what is more, during their first years as
probationary lessees they are subject to strict, super-
vision-this serves as a form of apprenticeship. Further-
more, the Secretary for Lands stressed the fact that
the large majority of settlers nonetheless make a success
of farming, thereby rehabilitating themselves as in-
dependent citizens; they could even be trained further
to make the best use of the land. It should be borne
in mind, that a great many people are forced to abandon
farming by circumstances beyond their control, and
these settlements are their only hope of returning to
370. From data submitted to the Commission by the
Department of Lands, it appeared that the number of
unsuccessful farmers on the closer settlements was
negligible (barely 2 to 3 per cent), except in one parti-
cular instance where a large number of ex-soldiers
were placed after the Second World War, and failures
constituted 22 per cent. From this may be deduced
that, on the whole, the Department was successful in
placing people on the closer settlements. Incidentally,
it is interesting to note that 37-5 per cent of the total
number of holdings allotted on various settlements
during the past 5 years, were allocated to bywoners ".
371. While the Commission is convinced that, in view
of the limited potential irrigation land, the available
land will in future have to be put to the best possible
use, it cannot deny the great social value of the
rehabilitation work performed in the past on closer
settlements. It is, of course, realized that that land
may not have been worked and utilised to the full but,
what the country had lost in economic and agricultural
values it has gained in human material and social
values. Not only were thousands of people who could
have been a burden to the State, transformed into
independent and stable citizens, but they also made a
considerable contribution to the permanent establish-
ment of a White platteland and, above all, frequently
they were enabled to bring up large families who were
an asset to their country. The long-term value of these
families, many of whom have achieved considerable
prominence and success, probably surpasses by far the
immediate economic and agricultural losses. In stating
this view, the Commission calls to mind its visits to
the Vaalharts Settlement, where it encountered a model
community of people who are independent and hard-
working, infused with a communal sense and pride in
their own. To the Commission this visit was a revela-
tion as well as a source of inspiration.
372. Finally there is one point of criticism mentioned
by witnesses as to the present policy regarding settle-
ments: In responsible circles concern was expressed
over the fact that a settler allotted a plot at a nominal
price and under very favourable conditions by the State
could obtain ownership of the land after ten years and
could then sell the land (often at a great profit) to a
well-to-do person. It is maintained-
(i) that it is wrong in principle to allow a person
who has been assisted to get land out of funds
contributed by the taxpayer, to make a large and
undeserved speculative profit out of such a
(ii) that such settlements laid out at great cost to
public funds, do not achieve their purpose if
used for only ten years as rehabilitation centres,
thereafter to be permanently lost for that
(iii) that it is quite possible that such valuable settle-
ments, after the first inhabitants have made their
profits, may fall into the hands of wealthy
persons for whom these schemes had never been
373. A prominent agricultural leader in his evidence
gave it as his personal view that, if a settler wants
to sell his holding, he should only have it transferred
to a person who does not own land already. Naturally
such a transaction should take place only through the
Department of Lands. The Commission is of the
opinion that these arguments contain a great deal of
truth. It may be said, however, that in the past,
certain servitudes or restrictions had been imposed on
the sale of the plots, but that they were removed in
1949 at the instance of the settlers. In the past these
restrictions were a source of great discontent among
settlers, with the result that in 1947 the Land Settle-
ment Act Servitudes Commission was appointed.
374. (b) Purchase of Farms.-The allotment of
Government-owned farms inder section twenty-three' of
Act 21/1956 (without ca,,h contribution) as well as
financial assistance with the: purchase of private land in
terms of section 20 of the same Act (the one-tenth
contributory system) likewise enabled a great many
landless farmers to acquire farms of their own as is
evident from the appropriations from 1912 to 1957 (in
respect of section twenty): --
Cape Province......... ..............
N atal.................... .............
Transvaal................ .. ............
Orange Free State......... .............
This type of assistance is largely intended for the
lessee or share cropper wlho has already accumulated
certain possessions in the lorm of capital, implements
375. The main flaw in this system, according to
evidence of farmers in ma y parts of the country, is
that often farms were alloc ned that were too small to
qualify as economic units. I'hus it frequently happened
that the occupants were forced to leave the farms or to
eke out a precarious existence from the small plots of
land. The Commission encountered similar cases in
various parts of the country
376. When during the hearing of evidence the Central
Land Board was questioned on this aspect, it was
pointed out that if larger farms were allocated-
(a) it would place too hea ,y a financial burden on the
settler if loans were o exceed the maximum of
(h) the State would be able to help a far smaller
number of people, oving to the limited funds at
its disposal; at any event, farms will have to
be smaller and mor: intensively cultivated in
The Commission is of the opinion, however, that the
applicant would benefit mor if granted a loan exceed-
ing 5,150 so as to enable him to acquire a proper
economic unit, than when assisted to purchase land
that is too small.
377. The Secretary for Lands pointed out that it is
nevertheless the policy to settle farmers on a stable
basis and that some 95 per .'ent of the farmers placed
in terms of the provisions of section 20, did in fact
make a success of farming. Failures were mostly due
to personal factors. Since 1912 already 15 million
have been spent on the purchase of land in terms of
section twenty, as against 1! million for closer settle-
378. As to a suggestion ty another witness to the
effect that the State should gradually buy up by private
treaty large tracts of land offered for sale, and sub-
sequently allot this land to prospective farmers, after
reduction to an uneconomic price, the Secretary for
Lands pointed out that ai present the Treasure
allocated only limited funds for the purchase of land.
379. Such an attitude is understandable under the
present inflationary conditions, since it has already been
stated that at present land prices are exorbitant.
and that the State will merely cause those prices
to rise even higher by t entering the field as a
large-scale buyer of land at this stage. The Commis-
sion is nevertheless of the opinion that this hint is
worth keeping in mind until such time as the prices of
land have attained a more reasonable level and when
large blocks of land are offered for sale. Such land
may also be utilised to enlarge existing uneconomic
380. Other constructive suggestions were added by
(i) where the State reduces the price of land prior
to allotment, it should safeguard itself by regis-
tering servitudes on that land to the effect that
the buyer may only transfer the land to one of
his children, or else to the State itself, at the
purchase price plus improvements. Only then
can such reduction in price be advocated. A
similar restriction has been recommended for
(ii) The present maximum amount of 5,150 under
the one-tenth system (Section twenty) is inade-
quate in the stock-farming areas, and should be
increased to say 10,000. In this case the buyer
must contribute two-tenths, and for a farm of
15,000 he should contribute three-tenths. At
any rate, the amount should be limited to an
economic unit for every region.
381. Yet another plea by farmers occupying land in
terms of sections twenty and twenty-three, is that they
should be accorded the same degree of Government
aid as farmers on closer settlements. It is maintained
that the latter class not only enjoys the security of
permanent water provision rendering them less vulner-
able to drought, but initially they also receive far more
assistance in respect of housing. the preparation of
land and the planting of crops. Although the Commis-
sion is in symphaty with these requests, it nevertheless
realises that it would hardly be feasible to render all
the assistance required on larger farms spread all over
the country, and where the intensive supervision and
guidance possible on the closer settlements, would not
be practicable. Perhaps it would be better to assist
these farmers by putting development credit at their
2. PROVISION OF CREDIT.
382. The most important instrument of the State in
the provision of credit to the agricultural industry is
the Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa. Since
the Land Bank, however, is only meeting 15 to 20 per
cent of the long-term requirements of individual
farmers, they still have to depend largely on other
financial institutions and private investors for their
383. The Land Bank provides credit mainly for three
(a) long-term advances to individual farmers for the
purchase of land, stock and implements, as well
as for effecting certain improvements and the
redemption of existing debts;
(b) short-term cash credit loans to farmers, for the
production and harvesting of particular crops;
(c) the financing of agricultural co-operative societies
and control boards.
384. The most common points of criticism voiced
against the Bank by farmer witnesses is that the Bank's
valuation of land is so far below the market price, that
the mortgage the farmer can obtain from that institu-
tion is wholly inadequate for financing the purchase of
a farm. In times of inflation such criticism is to be
expected, but the Commission realises only too well
that if the Bank should depart from its conservative
assessment of the real agricultural value of a farm and
were to incline more and more in the direction of
ruling market prices, such a policy would only give
rise to further unsound increases in the price of land.
385. Yet another objection to the policy of the Land
Bank is that it is too commercial in its outlook, parti-
cularly as regards its demands in respect of security, in
considering applications of co-operative societies and
individual farmers. This policy would be detrimental
to the long-term development of the industry.
386. Because the Commission is convinced that a
sound credit system constitutes one of the cornerstones
of the agricultural industry and for this reason must
also play a major r6le in the future White occupancy
of the platteland, it welcomes the fact that a Study
Group was appointed by the Government some time
ago to conduct an investigation into the entire agricul-
tural credit structure. The Commission wishes to
confine itself to a brief discussion of the shortcomings
and needs in this connection, and wishes to express the
hope that this Study Group will devise a system of
credit that will not only guarantee the stability of the
agricultural industry, but will also enable the young
beginner to join the farming ranks on a sound basis.
Needs and shortcomings in regard to agricultural
387. (1) The farmer needs at least three types of
(a) long-term credit for buying land and effecting
permanent improvements that will raise the
productivity of the farm:
(b) interim credit that should be available for a
period of 5 to 10 years, for the purchase of
farming implements and livestock; and
(c) short-term credit for operational purposes, such
as for the purchase of fertilizer, fuel, fodder.
It would appear to the Commission from the available
data that the greatest need at the moment is that for
(2) In prosperous times credit institutions and money-
lenders are only too willing to offer credit and grant
even higher mortgages than justified by the economic
value of the land, but as soon as crop failures and other
setbacks are experienced, the farmer finds that his loan
is cancelled or that it is impossible to obtain other
assistance-and that precisely when his need for credit
is greatest! Now the farmer has no alternative but to
sell some of his breeding stock, dairy cows, etc., in
order to obtain the necessary cash. Thus he is forced
to liquidate some of his farming capital, which makes
his position even worse.
(3) During favourable years, farmers made large-
scale use of short-term credit to undertake long-term
financing, in other words they availed themselves of
the wrong type of credit.
(4) If farmers had been able to secure the right kind
of credit, suited to the specific demands of agriculture,
these conditions would not have arisen.
(5) The specific credit requirements of the farmer can
be provided only by certain institutions specially
established for this purpose. It is doubtful whether
co-operative societies should be used for this purpose,
their chief function being to undertake particular com-
mercial activities. The Commission is of the opinion
that the Land Bank is the obvious institution, but that
it should be developed still further in order to meet
all the credit requirements of agriculture.
(6) An even more important requirement than credit,
is the need among farmers for the right scientific guid-
ance concerning the most economic use of credit. The
institution to be established for this purpose will also
have to meet this need. It stands to reason that the
injudicious acceptance of credit holds out considerable
danger to the farmer.
* Vide article Beter kredietfasiliteite vir die landbou noodsaaklik ", by Prof. C. v. H. du Plessis-Merino, August, 1958.
3. ASSISTANCE SCHEMES.
388. That the State is assisting agriculture in various
ways, is also apparent from the large number of assist-
ance schemes and subsidies rendering direct and in-
(a) The Department of Agriculture has introduced
subsidies and other aid in terms of the Soil Conserva-
tion Act in respect of stock watering points, soil con-
servation works, silos, fencing, etc. The amount paid
out in subsidies and rebate on loans since the intro-
duction of the Act in 1946 already totals 34 million,
while approximately 1 million has been expended on
In addition, there is the grass ley scheme, in terms
of which the establishment of pastures and restorative
crops is subsidized and livestock loans to the amount
of 300 are made available.
In the past temporary relief schemes under which
leans for seed, fuel, fertilizer, stock feed, flood damage
and pest control are granted, were introduced from
time to time in affected areas. At present these
schemes are included in a comprehensive programme
administered by the Farmers' Assistance Board.
Vaccines and stock remedies are supplied at cost
price to farmers and the constituents of these remedies
are imported duty free.
Weed control in river beds, as well as the control of
jointed cactus and prickly pear is undertaken partly at
The subsidy on fertilizer and railway rebates thereon
come to more than 2 million a year.
(b) The Department of Water Affairs subsidies bore-
holes, pump installations and irrigation schemes.
(c) The Farmers' Assistance Board in the past
arranged moratoriums with creditors on behalf of
farmers who were in financial straits. In future the
Board will administer a comprehensive new assistance
(d) The Department of Forestry supplies seedlings
and seed at specially reduced prices to bona fide
389. It appears that from 1948 to 1957 the Govern-
ment allocated the following increasing amounts to the
agricultural industry (Agriculture, Lands, Water Affairs,
Forestry and Land Bank):-
1950/51 . ... ........................
1955/56 ............ .................
4. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO FARMERS.
390. The technical assistance rendered by the
Department of Agriculture to farmers covers a wide
field. It comprises, inter alia, research, extension,
training, regulatory, inspection, plant and livestock
protection services. With the reorganisation of the
Department's technical services in 1953, the Union was
divided into six farming regions, namely the Trans-
vaal, Highveld, Natal, Free State, Karoo and the
Winter-Rainfall regions. At the head of each region
there is a Regional Director, assisted by two Assistant
Directors-one of whom is in control of research and
agricultural education, while the other is responsible
for soil conservation and extension. In addition, there
are in Pretoria 13 National Divisions, each responsible
for specific national services (research, inspection and
control), as well as for the :o-ordination of all research
work and services undertal en in the regions.
391. Research Services.- Each region has a chief
research institution with various research stations and
experimental farms. Apar from the research work
conducted on a regional b isis, there are also special-
ised research institutions such as the W.P. Fruit
Research Station (Stellenb(sch), the Viticultural In-
stitute (Stellenbosch), the Citrus and Subtropical
Research Station (Nelspruit and the Tobacco Research
Station (Rustenburg), each of which has one or more
experiment stations. At th: various research stations
spread throughout the country, solutions are sought to
the various farming problem ns besetting our country.
At the moment some 1, 00 research projects are
carried out at the various research stations. The con-
tribution made by the research institutions to the
progress of the agricultural industry in South Africa
cannot easily be overestirmated. To quote just one
example: If there had been no Onderstepoort, it would
have been impossible to go in for stockfarming in
various parts of this cot ntry. Since farmers are
becoming increasingly awar" of the value of research,
the need for more research stations was stressed to the
Commission at various places. Apart from its research
institutions, the Departmen, is also conducting co-
operative experiments in p.,rts where there are no
experimental farms, and it is understood that a start
has also been made with the introduction of mobile
laboratories. The Commis: jon trusts that it will be
possible to extend this servi c.
392. While the Commission is aware of the fact that
agricultural research is a c( itly undertaking and that
sufficient well-trained scienti ts are not available, it is
nevertheless convinced that t will only be possible to
place the farming industry )n a sound foundation if
backed by adequate research,. It is gratifying to note
that the farmers are visiting heir nearest experimental
farms in increasing numbers, but they should neverthe-
less be encouraged to avail themselves to an even
greater extent of these service 5s.
393. Extension Services. -The real purpose of
agricultural research is to f nd solutions to farming
problems. The findings and results of research should
then be made known to fai mers and the necessary
technical guidance provided This service is under-
taken by the Extension and Publicity Services of the
Department. The extension officers, by and large a
group of keenly enthusiastic and able young men
stationed in various districts throughout the country,
give the necessary guidance o individual farmers. At
present 800 to 1,030 farmers on an average are served
by one extension officer. Az's soon as more officers
become available, they will )e posted to districts not
yet served. Farmers now appreciate the value of ex-
tension services, and throughout the country the need
for more extension officers )as stressed to the Com-
mission. In terms of the S( l Conservation Act, soil
conservation districts may be proclaimed, and it is the
task of the extension officers to plan farms in the dis-
tricts, in collaboration with t ie soil conservation com-
mittees, in order that the farmers may apply soil
conservation methods and p aictices. At 31 March.
1958, already 89 per cent of the Union's White areas
had been proclaimed soil conservationn districts. In
carrying out the soil conservilion measures, the exten-
sion officers are assisted by engineers and technical
394. Farmers' days are hell annually at the various
experimental stations and colleges of agriculture, as
well as in the districts. On tl ese occasions farmers are
informed of the latest result, in the field of research.
Apart from the farmers' days, the Department also
conducts a large number of short courses at the col-
leges of agriculture and even on farms in certain
districts. The Commission has been pleased to learn
that the Department is also contemplating guidance in
the field of economic operation and mechanisation, for
which there is still great need.
395. The Publicity Services comprise press, radio
and film services, whereby mass information is dis-
seminated to the people. The Department publishes a
monthly journal, Farming in South Africa ", in
which technical information is brought to the farmer
in a popular way. In addition, various bulletins are
published each year, and the Department also supplies
a handbook, Handbook for Farmers in South
Africa which is obtainable in three volumes.
396. Home Economics Services.-The Home Econo-
mics Officers provide the housewives on the platteland
with information regarding home economics. Owing
to the shortage of home economics officers, this service
cannot as yet meet all the requirements. The Com-
mission considers this an essential service to the rural
areas. Not only should prospective housewives
receive the necessary training for their task, but
everything possible should bc done to provide then:
with the necessary assistance and information in order
to make farm life more attractive to them and their
397. Agricultural training.-To ply some trade or
follow some calling such as medicine, teaching, law or
building contractor, a person should receive the
necessary training. Farming has become such a com-
plex enterprise, that high demands are made on the
knowledge of the farmer. Not only should he be
familiar with the various branches of this particular
science, but he should, above all, have a knowledge of
economics, managing ability as well as business
acumen. The Commission cannot sufficiently stress
the necessity of training for our prospective farmers.
It has found that in the districts where a large num-
ber of farmers received agricultural training, farming
also stood at a higher level.
398. Professional training is a prerequisite to a
stable and progressive agricultural community. This
fact was stressed by the majority of farmer witnesses,
who also advocated better school training adjusted
to agriculture, as well as more training facilities at
colleges of agriculture. According to authoritative
documents submitted to the Commission, the matter
was stressed equally strongly, as is evident from the
(1) The Department of Sociology of the Potchef-
stroom University:- "Of some 5,000 young
men (who enter farming each year) it is
estimated that 54 per cent have had only
primary school education-which should be
regarded as totally inadequate."
(2) The Ermelo and District Development Commit-
tee writes as follows: "Until such time as
either through colleges of agriculture or
through special training courses for particular
areas, persons who intend farming are given
special training to farm according to a certain
pattern, it is undesirable to think of pros-
pects for young farmers under the present
patternless and unplanned system of farming."
(3) At Stellenbosch the Director of the Winter-
Rainfall Region stated: As far as training is
concerned, it is clear that more farmers will
have to be trained in future."
399. In this connection it is interesting to note the
State's contribution in this field: By means of a two-
year diploma course at its colleges of agriculture, the
Department of Agricultural Technical Services
provides training for farmers' sons. In every region,
with the exception of the Transvaal Region, there is a
college of agriculture (as regards the latter region it
has already been decided to establish such a college).
In 1958 altogether 573 students, 310 of whom were
first year students, were enrolled at the colleges of
agriculture. With the extension at present taking place
at the existing colleges, it will be possible to enrol a
total of 700 students.
400. The Department is aware of the fact that the
number of students trained each year will not be able
to meet the country's requirements, and that only
about 15-17 per cent of the total number of new
farmers receive formal agricultural training. The Com-
mission has also learnt that a departmental committee
has been appointed to investigate the whole matter of
vocational training for farmers and to co-ordinate the
agricultural training provided in provincial schools
with that of the Department. For this reason the Com-
mission does not propose to discuss the matter further.
401. Apart from the colleges of agriculture, each
provincial department of education also has its special
agricultural high schools. Moreover, agriculture is
also taught as an alternative subject in some ordinary
402. Academic agricultural training is given at the
agricultural faculties of three universities, while the
University of the Orange Free State recently also
established an agricultural faculty. Students studying
at these faculties can obtain university degrees in
agriculture. It is gratifying to note that many farmers'
sons attend the agricultural faculties in order to obtain
a degree in agriculture before they go farming. This
practice should be encouraged, since the agricultural
graduates are the future leaders of the farming com-
munity. The agricultural faculties are financed by the
Department of Agricultural Technical Services, and
the teaching staff are officers of the Department. In
1958 altogether 1,043 students were enrolled at the
403. Inspection and Control Services.--The Depart-
ment is also responsible for a large number of inspec-
tion, regulatory and control services aimed at protec-
ting the agricultural industry--such as plant control
and quarantine, weed control, stock, seed, fertilizer,
stock remedy and stock feed inspection services etc.
Since standardisation and grading are a prerequisite to
the marketing of agricultural produce, an extensive
commodity inspection service has also been introduced
at the local markets as well as for export products.
404. Economic Services.-The economic services
undertaken by the Department of Agricultural
Economics and Marketing also cover a wide field, for
example, agro-economic surveys, production cost
studies for the various agricultural products, the
statistical and market news service, etc.
405. The technical services rendered by the Depart-
ment of Agriculture to the farming community and
agriculture as a whole are therefore most comprehen-
sive. In order to carry out this extensive service, the
Departments at present have more than 1,559 profes-
sional and 1,248 technical posts on their establish-
ments, apart from 485 clerical and administra-
tive posts. In certain divisions there are still a large
number of vacancies but, on account of better service
conditions and an extensive bursary scheme, larger
numbers of professional officers join the Departments
406. Since it became evident that the agricultural
industry had expanded to an extent where it could not
be administered effectively by one minister only, the
Prime Minister recently decided to divide the Depart-
ment of Agriculture into two departments, namely a
Department of Agricultural Technical Services and a
Department of Agricultural Economics and Marketing.
SELECTION OF PROSPECTIVE FARMERS.
407. In the previous chapter the Commission dealt
in detail with all the services and assistance rendered
to the agricultural industry. These services are not
merely intended to give stability to present farmers,
but are also aimed at offering the young farmer enter-
ing into the industry, every possible prospect of
408. Since the Government maintains a large staff
and numerous institutions for this purpose, and since
large amounts of public money are involved, it is also
necessary to devote some attention to three questions
in this connection, namely:-
(a) What type of person could, to the greatest
advantage of the country, be assisted to
establish himself in this industry;
(b) how should the selection take place in order to
ensure that the most suitable type of person is
attracted to the farming industry; and
(c) how should the Government exercise control to
ensure the most efficient utilisation of all the
facilities offered by it?
409. The Commission is convinced that it is most
essential to place some of the country's best men in
an industry which plays such a vital part, not only in
the national economy, but also in the much more
important task of perpetuating White civilisation for
the far distant future, by establishing a stable core on
the platteland. For this reason the above questions
are of cardinal importance and are briefly dealt with
410. (a) From personal observation as well as from
authoritative evidence, it appears that there is a
particular group -of people who probably have a first
claim to land if further. closer settlements, other Govern-
ment land or credit facilities for beginners were to be
made available. This group consists of share-croppers,
lessees and foremen or managers already residing on
the platteland and who have definitely given proof of
their desire to go farming. They are mostly persons
with some measure of practical farming experience
and who have already succeeded in accumulating some
possessions of their own, either in the form of savings,
livestock or implements. Amongst them there should
be quite a number of persons who would be able to
adapt themselves to. the industry immediately, and to
get into their stride with the least possible delay pro..
vided they own the necessary land.
411. A further urgent reason why this group should
receive preference, is because their numbers are
dwindling rapidly; for economic reasons many of them
are compelled to seek other employment, where their
aptitude and experience in the field of agriculture are
lost to the industry. A prominent farmer, amongst
others, agreed that this category should receive pre-
ference. He stated: It is difficult to assist the man
who owns absolutely nothing. The share-cropper who
owns implements and a few head of stock is the man
who should be assisted to obtain land, so as to enable
him to become an owner . these persons can be
settled more cheaply and more efficiently than those
who own nothing." A member of the Land Board
stated that the beginner in agriculture, who owns
nothing, experiences man,, difficulties during the first
412. A second group with a claim to high priority.
are the young sons of farn ers who have grown up on
farms and who have perhaps in addition received some
training at an agricultural high school or agricultural
college. It often happens :hat the father of such a son
does indeed own one econ, mic unit, but that the farm
is not large enough to carry an additional farmer. The
necessity of a thorough agricultural training has
already been emphasised and requires no further
argument. A representative who gave evidence on
behalf of the Nederduitsc i Hervormde Kerk stated:
"The land is the most important asset of the nation.
If the Government does rnot do something to protect
this asset, things are bound to go wrong. For instance,
we allow the young sons v'ho wish to farm, to receive
aid without their having! any knowledge of the
fundamentals of farming."
413. The remarks above do not, however, imply that
when prospective farmers ire selected, priority should
be given only to the above ,-mentioned two groups. In
our cities and towns there are many deserving persons
with a real desire and aptitude to make a success of
farming, but who do not h; ve the necessary experience,
capital or training. Expe -ience has already proved.
especially on the closer settlements, that some of these
persons, with the necessary guidance and supervision,
can indeed become successful farmers. In this case
the selection would, however, have to be made most
carefully, and, if necessary, even with the aid of
psychological aptitude tests
414. (b) The methods of selection at present applied
by the Land Board could serve as a basis, provided
some of the present defects of those methods could be
eliminated. One of the defects emphasised by various
witnesses, is that applicant, are not always assisted to
obtain land or credit according to merit. The bodies
selecting farmers in the future would have to be so
constituted that only personal merit of the applicant
would be the decisive factor.
415. (c) It was emphasis,.d everywhere by witnesses,
and the Commission concurs in this view, that there
should be an effective. form of supervision in respect
of farmers who are assisted to obtain Government land
or Government capital. Tucre should be expert tech-
nical and economic guidance as well as a measure of
compulsion as regards the farming methods and the
branches of farming practised. In this way the Govern-
ment can ensure that the money it spends on the settle-
ment of Whites in agriculture, will be utilised in the
best interests of both the farming industry and the
community as a whole. Fhe proper authorities to
exercise such supervision would be the Extension
Services of the Departmewn of Agricultural Technical
Services, in collaboration vith the Inspectors of the
Department of Lands and the Land Bank, as well as
Organised Agriculture and soil conservation commit-
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.
416. The Commission will now proceed to give its
conclusions and recommendations in the same sequence
as that of its terms of reference.
DEPOPULATION OF THE PLATTELAND.
417. The Commnission, after a profound and searching
investigation into all the aspects of the White occupancy
of the platteland, and after a thorough study of all the
problems relating thereto, came to the firm conviction
that it is in the best future interests of South Africa
to maintain on the platteland the maximum number of
Whites, who are assured of a worthy and safe existence.
There is definitely no way of arresting the exodus from
the platteland, unless those engaged in agriculture are
assured of a sound economic existence. Only a pros-
perous, well-established and vocation-conscious farm-
ing population can make a positive and essential
contribution to the continued existence and security of
White civilisation. The recommendations which fol-
low. are based on this fundamental conclusion.
Extent of Depopulation.
418. In discussing the numerical extent of the rural
depopulation, the subject should be treated under three
(1) The platteland, including all country towns with
fewer than 2,500 inhabitants. In this case it was found
that there was an increase of 782,800 in 1921 to 839,400
Whites in 1936. followed by a decline to 806,000 in
1946. Since then there has been no marked decrease
in the population. (Vide paragraphs 106 to 108.)
(2) The platteland, excluding towns.-If the smaller
towns referred to are excluded, it appears that at first
there was a small increase in the population from
623,000 in 1921 to 673,000 in 1931, followed by a sharp
decrease to 571,000 in 1951 and, according to esti-
mates, to 552.000 in 1958; in other words, a total
decline of 121,000 in the past three decades.
(3) The actual number of farmers on farms.-Per-
sons engaged in agriculture can in turn be divided into
two categories, namely (a) entrepreneurs and (b) em-
(a) As far as entrepreneurs are concerned, there was
an initial increase from 135,000 in 1921 to
159,000 in 1936, and thereafter a sharp drop to
125,000 in 1951. It should be emphasised that
the latter number is not comprised only of
commercial farmers who are exclusively depen-
dent on agriculture for their livelihood.
(b) The number of White employees fluctuated con-
siderably and, at 26,500 in 1946 were nearly on
the same level as the 29,500 of 1911, but in 1951
there were only 12,000-mostly managers and
foremen. According to estimates in 1958 only
some 8,000 of them still remained on farms.
419. As to the age of those who leave the farms, it
appears that since World War II the vast majority
(approximately 75 per cent) of them have been under
20 years of age. Another interesting feature is that
more women than men leave the platteland.
420. From all the data it is clear that there has been
a fairly sharp decline in both the rural and the farming
population during the past two or three decades.
421. Although there has been a decrease in the total
rural population, it does not necessarily follow that a
decline has set in in all parts of the Union. If the
population numbers are viewed according to agro-
economic areas, it will be found that there actually has
been an increase in population in four areas. In the
Irrigation Areas (A) the population increased by 31,000
between 1921 and 1951, or by 26-2 per cent: in the
Cattle-Grazing Areas (M) the increase for the same
period was 10,600 or 24-7 per cent. In the Coastal
Areas (H) the increase came to 3,000 or 4-2 per cent,
and in the Fruit Area (V) it was 300 or I per cent.
(Vide paragraphs 102 and 103, as well as Map No. 2.)
422. In the Thornveld Area (F) the population
numbers have remained constant, while there was a
decline in 6 areas. The greatest decline in population
occurred in the Sheep-Grazing Areas (S) where the
numbers dropped by nearly 50,000 or 43-6 per cent;
and in the Drakensberg Grazing Areas (D) where the
decrease came to about 13.000 or 31-3 per cent. Of
the 6 areas that showed a decline in population, the
Diversified Farming Areas east of the Drakensberg
Range showed the smallest decrease and lost only 3,000
or 10 per cent of its population.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Depopulation.
423. The Commission holds the view that the mere
decline of the rural population should not necessarily
be regarded as having an adverse effect. In the thirties,
when more than one-third of the White population
resided on the platteland-mostly on farms-there were
close on 300,000 so-called Poor Whites in South Africa
and poverty was rife in many parts. From a purely
economic point of view, there is nothing seriously
wrong with the decline in the rural population. In
fact, from international data it appears that there is a
definite correlation between economic development and
urbanisation; the greater the industrial development, the
smaller the relative farming population. (Vide para-
424. The industrial revolution in South Africa did
not, however, remain confined to the industries in the
cities, but farming methods were also revolutionised,
with the result that a smaller number of agriculturists
today produce more than before the outbreak of the
Second World War. According to the latest estimate,
between 14 and 15 per cent of the productive White
labour force is engaged in agriculture, and in physical
volume these farmers produce 76 per cent more than
20 years ago. Thus the remaining participants in the
agricultural industry have a higher per capital income
than they would have had if their income had to be
shared by a larger number of farmers. As against this,
those who migrated to the cities, earn more than they
would have earned on the farms. It should also be
borne in mind that those who left the land, have largely
supplied the manpower required for industrial develop-
ment, commerce, the Railways and the Public
425. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that
distinct disadvantages are attached to depopulation.
The Commission has already pointed out in paragraph
23 that farmers should not only meet the nation's food
requirements and provide the factories with basic raw
materials, but that they should also serve as the source
from which the nation could draw manpower as well
as spiritual strength. While the plattelard was only
giving up its surplus population to the cities, the posi-
tion was not serious, but since 1931 the platteland has
been losing more than its annual natural increase to
the cities. The rural dwellers, who are the most
prolific, are now becoming a progressively shrinking
section of the population.
426. While everything points to a decline in the
White rural population, both in relative and in absolute
numbers, there is, on the other hand, every reason to
expect an increase in the number of Non-whites.
mainly Bantu, in the White areas. True, the total
rural population (all races) is declining in proportion
to the total population in all areas of the Union, but
in the White areas of the platteland the Bantu have
doubled their numbers during the past three decades.
(Vide paragraphs 89 and 90.)
427. Taking the Whites alone, 14-5 per cent are still
agriculturists, but taking the Whites on the platteland
in relation to the total population, they constitute only
4 per cent of the total. Even if the population of the
Bantu Reserves is not taken into account, the Whites
on the platteland still do not comprise more than 6 per
cent of the total population of the White areas. It is
clear, therefore, that the preponderance of Bantu on
the White platteland is progressing apace. In para-
graphs 167 to 173 the results of the samples taken in
the southern Free State and Natal are discussed.
From these data it appears that in some districts of
the Free State and Natal as much as 25 and 83 per
cent respectively of the farms are already heing
occupied by Non-whites.
428. The Commission agrees that the land will
eventually be owned by him that cultivates it in the
sweat of his brow; and the Commission is convinced
that, if the tide does not turn and the growth of non-
White preponderance on the White platteland con-
tinues, this state of affairs will in the end hold out
a serious threat to White civilisation in this country.
Causes of depopulation.
429. In the opinion of the Commission the following
are the primary reasons for the depopulation of the
430. (1) Economic.-From personal observation and
after weighing all the evidence at its disposal, the
Commission has come to the conclusion that the
main reasons for rural depopulation and exodus fro;n
the farms are of economic origin. (For purposes of
this discussion, the normal emigration of the surplus
increase is excluded):-
431. (a) The existence of farm units that are too
small for the owners or occupiers to earn a good living
is probably one of the main reasons. The Commis-
sion has found that a number of these uneconomic
units are in existence in all districts and in all branches
of farming. More often than not some of these
owners find themselves in a stranglehold from which
they can only escape by eventually selling their small
farms to richer farmers or by leasing the land profit-
ably, or when financial pressure compels them to quit
their farms and seek a living elsewhere. These far-
mers are also the first to land in difficulty when
catastrophes such as droughts occur, because they
can never achieve stability by building up reserve
capital for lean years. They are forced to live from
hand to mouth.
432. (h) Large landownership, i.e. the large-scale
acquisition of land by moneyed persons, gives rise to a
considerable degree of depopulation, particularly in
the extensive stock farming areas. Because they buy,
all the land offered for sale, the small farmer who
owns an uneconomic unit, is never afforded an oppor-
tunity of extending his land to an economic-sized unit.
What is more, the large o vner is inclined to place his
newly acquired land under the inexpensive super-
vision of Non-whites. Consequently, the White family
vacating that land is not replaced by other Whites.
The Commission has foiu d that although the num-
hers of the really large landowners are confined to
only 3 per cent of the 'Vhite farmers, they never-
theless own at least one-tl ird of the Union's 102 mil-
lion morgen of farmland. Vide paragraph 210.)
433. (c) The exorbitant land prices that have
prevailed since World War II have a twofold effect:
In the first place, these prices tempt the smaller farmer
to sell his farm at a good price; and in most cases
that land unfortunately do's not become the property
of another small farmer w shing to consolidate it with
his own land to form an economic unit, but, on the
contrary, falls into the hands of the large landowner.
Secondly, the high price! of land prevent a young
beginner from entering th< farming industry, unless
he inherits or marries land. The excessive land
prices have also caused arm rentals to soar, with
the result that lessees c:ni no longer make a good
living and are thus compe led to leave the farms. In
addition, some large landowners started hiring
additional land and are, of course, able to offer a
price against which the si iall tenant cannot possibly
compete. The high land prices mainly arose from a
large increase in the price of practically all agricul-
tural produce since 1945 inter alia the high wool
prices during the early fifties. Yet another contribu-
tory factor was the rapid expansion of the mining
industry in the Western Transvaal and in the Free
State since the War. Farmers who sold their farms at
high prices to the mining companies, bought land in
other parts of the country, without worrying much
about the prices they paid. Farmers, professional and
businessmen with surplus capital sometimes also
bought land for investment or recreational purposes.
or even with a view to income tax evasion.
434. (d) The high work, :, capital required, deterred
people from entering the f, rming profession, or made
it difficult for them to coi tunue. Mechanisation and
good breeding stock in particular, are expensive-and
a single mistake as a result of unjudicious buying may
result in over-capitalisation of an entire farming enter-
435. (e) There is a lack ( t, sound credit system for
the agricultural industry. This does not mean,
however, that there is a la k of credit as such, for in
the past few years there ha. practically been an excess
of credit available and it h, s even been offered to far-
mers who did not ask f )r it. It was the wrong
type of credit, however, bt ing mainly on short term,
employed by farmers to fiir.ince long-term needs, but
which was terminated at th: first signs of crop failure.
Moneylenders also granted to farmers mortgages in
excess of the economic val je of land, and these were
later cancelled when condi ons deteriorated.
436. (f) The unpreceden ed industrial development
experienced by South Afric;i since 1945, has created a
great demand for labour. Permanent employment,
with regular hours and attr active conditions of service.
became plentiful and the rLralite who could not make
a decent living out of agriculture, readily found em-
ployment in the industries. Apart from that, he did
not need the considerable capital required by the
beginner in the agricultural industry.
437. (g) The bywoners' cnd share-croppers prac-
tially disappeared en mass from the rural areas, as
the farms offered but little security and hardly any
future to them or their children. For this reason they
availed themselves of the tbter employment facilities
in the towns and cities. On account of the high
working capital required, share-cropping became un-
438. (h) The inadequate salaries generally paid to
managers and foremen led to a large-scale migration
of this group to other fields of employment, particu-
larly in view of the favourable labour market of the
past few years. Some landowners either would not
or could not pay higher salaries to White foremen
with the result that these owners put Non-whites in
439. (i) Depressions and su sequent lesser economic
recessions likewise played their part in the depopula-
tion of the platteland.
440. (j) The bequest system is a factor of no mean
significance, particularly in its various manifestations
such as unsound "erfpacht", uneconomic subdivision
and placing a heavy burden on the heir who has to
compensate his brothers and sisters at the market
value of the farm.
441. (k) A certain amount of false prosperity arose
from the present inflationary conditions, and this led
farmers to believe that they were indeed extremely
wealthy. They were not accustomed to the higher
aross income and yielded to a life of luxury. One
witness stated: it is rather hard to be a poor rich
442. (1) Apart from the main causes in the economic
field, referred to above, there are several minor causes
worth mentioning, such as poor transport facilities;
marketing problems (particularly in respect of vegeta-
bles and certain kinds of fruit); the fact that the small
farmer who is not able to mechanise, finds that his
labourers are unwilling to handle draught animals; and
finally the establishment of company farms (to a
443. (a) The Union of South Africa has an
unfavourable rainfall, particularly for crop-farming.
As indicated in paragraph 180, more than two-thirds
of the country has a mean arnual precipitation of 500
mm. (20") and less. The lower the rainfall the greater
the deviation from the mean. And although it may be
possible to grow crops in cool sand and sandy loan
soils with a rainfall of 500 mm., the precipitation in
some years is so low or the distribution so poor that
crop prospects are extremely precarious. This already
excludes nearly two-thirds of the Union for crop pro-
duction. Apart from the low rainfall, many parts
have such a high temperature and rate of evaporation
that even regions having a precipitation of between
500 and 700 mm. cannot always be certain of a crop.
Some regions, again, have very short growing periods
on account of low temperatures and prolonged cold
weather. Furthermore, large areas of the country's
high-rainfall areas are mountainous, thereby limiting
the arable portion. All these facts clearly indicate that
the parts most suited to the planting of field crops, are
indeed very limited, and it is estimated that 10, at
most of the Union is suitable for the growing of crops
under dryland conditions.
444. (b) Natural causes arising from climatic con-
ditions-droughts, floods, cold or heat, hail, wind-
storms etc.-are of a temporary nature and affect
localised regions only. These conditions of a passing
nature may have disastrous effects in the case of the
less well-to-do farmer in particular. Where a whole
region is sometimes affected, the farmer is frequently
afforded temporary aid under Government Assistance
Schemes, or else he finds other employment for six
months or a year until his next crop is ready, but is
seldom forced to leave his land permanently. It is
true that in the past prolonged droughts led to
depopulation, but the Commission has found proof
that the application of conservation measures have in
recent years greatly allayed the effects of droughts.
445. (c) Soil fertility declined as a result of wrong
farming practices, resulting in poorer crops and higher
production costs, so that some farmers could no longer
make a living on the land.
446. (d) Modern techniques such as communication,
mechanisation and fencing eliminate the necessity of
more White help. since farmers can more easily con-
trol larger units.
447. (e) Plant diseases, animal diseases and pests
are also factors of a temporary nature, although ad-
mittedly they sometimes cause a severe blow to far-
ming. The warm climate favours the development of
these diseases and pests.
448. (f) The farmlands of South Africa, with the
exception of limited regions where future intensifica-
tion by means of irrigation and new methods is possi-
ble, have almost reached al stage of full occupation and
can only take up a certain percentage of the further
increase in the rural population. What is more, the
area of this land also tends to shrink as a result of
the expansion of towns and cities, industries, mining,
holiday resorts and the purchase of land by the Native
449. (a) The social lure of the city with its various
forms of entertainment, social intercourse and facilities
such as hospitals, schools, shops and churches, is one
of the main causes of depopulation.
450. (b) Elderly people often move to the cities in
order to be near their children already working there.
Moreover, the existence of Government allowances
such as old age pensions and disability allowance
451. (c) Often working conditions are more attrac-
tive in the city: shorter hours, sick funds, holidays
and a regular salary entice away from the platteland
the person who is not prepared to struggle and to be
satisfied with a small initial income.
452. (d) Educational causes in the Commission's view
also play their part in depopulation. Because farm
schools are disappearing, children are forced to board
in the towns and so become estranged from farm life.
The farm school used to be a social and cultural
centre for the adults of the vicinity and with its dis-
appearance the platteland has lost a great deal of its
attraction. A certain degree of snobbery is not alto-
gether absent, for it sometimes happens that well-to-do
parents do not support the farm schools and send
their children to large urban schools. Sometimes the
parents move to the towns with their schoolgoing
453. In this connection there was conflicting evi-
dence in so far as some educationists alleged that
actually the disappearance of farm schools was a
result and not a cause of rural depopulation.
454. The Commission heard a great deal of criticism
of the educational policies but, although there is no
denying that the child in centralised country schools
receives a broader education, the Commission never-
theless regards this as a grave evil as a result of which
rural towns are dwindling. Although the authorities
concerned stated that they still tried in various ways to
make the child retain his ties with rural life, the Com-
mission is not convinced that the present systems do
maintain the required ties.
455. Yet another educational factor is the develop-
ment of better and more facilities for ordinary and
technical education which opened the way to em-
ployment outside agriculture. It is also partly true
that school syllabuses tend in directions which lead
the child away from agriculture. Farmers have no lack
of intelligence, as alleged by some witnesses, but it
would appear that the educational system results in
the platteland being robbed of its more gifted chil-
dren. To a limited extent it also happens that some
farmers fail because they have had too little (or no)
agricultural training. Eventually they land in the
urban labour market.
456. (e) The increasing preponderance of Non-
whites, as a result of which some farms are occupied
exclusively by Non-whites, makes life untenable for
the Whites on neighouring farms. In certain areas
there are White farmers who have no White neigh-
457. (f) The decline and dwindling of the rural
town, particularly in the stock-farming areas of the
Union, made occupancy of the platteland even less
attractive and encouraged migration to the cities.
Commerce and the schools as well as church and cul-
tural life show signs of disappearing in many of these
458. (g) Social barriers between rich and poor on
farms cause the children of the less well-to-do farmer
to feel inferior so that they rather move to the cities.
THE FUTURE RACIAL PATTERN.
459. The Commission came to the conclusion that
the progressively declining rural population holds out
serious dangers for the future. If emigration should
continue at the rate that prevailed between the years
1946 and 1951, only 420,000 Whites would be living
on the platteland by 1970. If the Bantu were to in-
crease at the same rate as during the past two decades,
there would already be more than 4,000,000 Bantu
living in the White rural areas by 1970, in other words
only 1 out of 11 of the population on the White
platteland would then still be White-unless the in-
creasing Non-white preponderance is checked by
the stringent application of the Squatter Laws as well
as by other factors.
460. From 1951, however, there has been a consider-
able decrease in the rate of rural depopulation, and
although the rural population may be expected to
decrease even further, the numbers will probably not
drop to less than 515,000 by 1970. If the develop-
ment of irrigation schemes continues and technological
development proceeds, it may even be possible to
check the rate of net emigration.
461. If the labour practices of the platteland are not
changed fundamentally, the numerical ratio of White
to Bantu will definitely turn further in favour of the
Bantu, even if White depopulation is arrested. The
Commission can hardly predict the future in this
respect. As the economic position of the Bantu im-
proves and his wages increase, there is yet a possibility
that this may force the farmer to devote more time
to organising his labour, thus effecting a saving in
labour. Such a saving would naturally mean a
decrease in the number of labourers per farm, and
thus a more favourable numerical ratio of White to
Non-white on the platteland. In this connection it is
not impossible that the immigration of White farm
labourers from Europe may result in an increase of
the number of Whites on the platteland.
462. According to present trends it would appear
that the further preponderance of Non-whites on the
platteland is a foregone conclusion. If the implica-
tions of such a contingency are realized in time, it
can still be prevented; and even though there may be
a further decline in the number of Whites engaged in
agriculture, there could still remain a sound core that
would be able to maintain White civilisation on the
platteland. It is not inappropriate to call to mind what
Dr. Grosskopf wrote in 1932: "It would be fatal for
our agriculture if white capitalists and native labourers
were practically to form the agricultural producers of
the country." *
463. In view of its finding that a numerically strong,
yet economically sound r iral population is a pre-
requisite to the maintenan ce of White civilisation in
South Africa, the Commiss on deems it in the national
interest that measures be adopted to--
(a) ensure the highest possible degree of economic,
agricultural and social stability for the existing
rural population; ani
(b) to slacken the rate of depopulation to a point
where a further numerical decline in the number
of Whites may be checked.
464. To achieve the alove-mentioned objects the
Commission wishes to re :ommend, firstly, that the
Platteland be made more attractive for White occu-
pancy. The following measures may, inter alia, contri-
bute to this:-
465. (a) Amenities for social and cultural inter-
course should be encouraged. In this connection the
Commission has in mind not only the farmers' days
and shows which have ahleady become a permanent
feature in many areas, but :specially the establishment
of farmer centres which riay take the place of the
farm schools which have nc w disappeared. The Com-
mission came across outs ending examples of such
centres, where there are ol portunities for social inter-
course and recreational f cilities. It is not at all
necessary that State funds be made available for this
purpose, but Ministers, senior officials, the churches
and organised agriculture may assist in propagating
this idea, and the departments concerned could also
do their share by arranging for lectures by extension
and home economics office rs at those centres. The
Library Services, Film Div sons, and the Division of
Adult Education could all do their share to turn these
proposed farmer centres into social and cultural
generating forces that could compete with the attrac-
tions of the cities.
466. (b) If it is not possible to restore the farm
schools, the country and rural town schools should be
saved from further retrogression by some or other system
of preference in respect of staff provision, a lower quota
for the required number of pupils for both primary and
high schools as well as by extension of the number of
optional subjects, so that parents are not forced to
send their children to fEr distant urban schools.
Financial considerations should not be the deciding
467. (c) It is necessary to make special provision for
the woman and girl on the platteland, so as to arouse
their interest in active participation in farming. It is
recommended that the Home Economics Extension
Service of the Department of Agricultural Technical
Services be further extended to establish wider con-
tact with rural women. It is further recommended
that more facilities be created for girls to prepare
themselves for their future task as farmers' wives.
In this connection, the Commission has in mind
particular subjects such as gardening, poultry, dairying,
the home preservation of food, dressmaking, mother-
craft, first-aid and bookkeeping. The housewife who
has some knowledge of these subjects, can make a
valuable economic and social contribution to the com-
fort and happiness of life cn the farm.
468. (d) A rural electrification programme can
make for a more pleasant ; nd comfortable farm life.
The Commission realises that at this stage electricity
is still uneconomical for th( majority of farmers and
that, in any event, it will nmt be possible to supply it
in the near future to farms in the extensive stock-
farming areas. However, ir the more densely popu-
lated farming areas and n the vicinity of rural
industries, electrification on farms should in course of
time become feasible.
* J. F. W. Grosskopf: Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus ", pp. 13 and 14.
469. (e) Means of communication such as telephone
services and better roads can make an important con-
tribution, so that the farmer need not be under the
impression that he is isolated from the outside world.
470. Secondly, the rural village which should play
such an important part in country life, should be
afforded an opportunity of maintaining its status and
developing further. Here the local, provincial and
Union authorities, as well as agricultural organizations
could make an important contribution by-
,a) developing educational amenities (See also para-
(b) encouraging and supporting local commercial
undertakings, and particularly by farmers;
(c) encouraging the establishment of light industries
suited to the environment;
(d) establishing regional development associations
which can contribute to the propagation and
development of the potential of nearby towns.
471. If the towns could regain their place as the
social, cultural and business centres of the past, they
would be able to make a considerable contribution to
the revival of the platteland.
472. Thirdly: In order to maintain White civilisation
on the platteland, it is most essential that a sound
numerical ratio should exist between White and Non-
white. Attention has already been drawn to the in-
creasing preponderance of Non-whites on White farms,
and the results to be expected if these trends were to
continue. The farmer should bear in mind that every
Non-white he employs, means an average increase of
four Non-whites on his farm.
473. For this reason the policy should be to organise
farm labour in such a way that only the absolutely
essential number of units are employed, and parti-
cularly to limit large Non-white families on farms to
the absolute minimum.
474. In this connection the Commission recommends
the following steps:-
(a) An intensive propaganda campaign on the part
of the Government, Organised Agriculture as
well as church and cultural leaders to make
farmers realise that effective organisation of
labour not only has economic implications but
also affects the future of their children.
(b) The stringent enforcement of Chapter IV of the
Native legislation of 1936, whereby the concen-
tration of surplus Bantu on farms will be
(c) Strict police action against illegal share-cropping
by Bantu on White farms.
475. In conclusion: in order to facilitate the achieve-
ment of the above-mentioned aims, it is recommended
that a permanent study of rural-sociological and demo-
graphic trends be undertaken. For this purpose it will
be necessary to appoint in the Department of Agricul-
tural Economics and Marketing, one or more rural
sociologists whose duty it will be to make a continuous
study and analysis of changing conditions and trends.
476. There are, of course, other measures which can
also assist in staying or delaying the depopulation of
the platteland, especially by placing agriculture on a
sound footing, but these measures are dealt with in
the chapters following.
EXPANSION AND DIMINUTION OF FARMS.
1. The Diminution of Farms.
477. The Commission studied all the Agricultural
censuses since 1927 with a view to ascertaining whether
farms were becoming smaller. From these it appears
very definitely that the number of farmers owning less
than 500 morgen is on the increase. In 1927 those
owning less than 500 morgen were 52-5 per cent,
whereas in 1954 as much as 62-5 per cent of all
farmers owned farms of 500 morgen or less. It
appears further that the percentage of the total farm
area in the Union comprising units of 500 morgen or
less, has increased from 9-3 per cent in 1927 to 11-2
per cent in 1954, signifying an increase of nearly 2
million morgen. Consequently there is a definite
increase in the number of smaller farmers; and the
area owned by them at present represents a larger
percentage of agricultural land than thirty years ago.
In certain areas the cutting up of farms has assumed
such proportions that drastic control of this develop-
ment, has now become essential.
478. In the Irrigation Areas (A on Map No. 2) it
has been estimated that approximately 30 per cent of
farms under irrigation are already uneconomically
small, and that a further 21-5 per cent of dryland
farms in the A areas have already become too small.
Hence in toto approximately 50 per cent of all farms
in this area have been divided into uneconomic units.
479. In the Highveld Area (B on Map No. 2),
having a relatively high production potential, more
than 20 per cent of all farmers own 100 morgen or
480. In the Transition Area (C on Map No. 2) there
are so many farms which have become too small for
the application of a proper farming system, that
agricultural malpractices resulted. In these areas 55-.5
per cent of the farmers have farms of 500 morgen or
less-23-5 per cent of farms being even smaller than
481. An area with a surprising number of too small
units is the Drakensberg Grazing Area (D on Map
No. 2). As indicated by its name, this is a mountainous
area more suited to livestock than to crop farming;
hence farms could be expected to be fairly large. It
is, however, found that 50 per cent of all farms are
already smaller than 500 morgen, whereas three-
quarters of the farms comprise 1,000 morgen or less.
482. The areas East of the Drakensberg (E) also
have nearly 20 per cent of farmlets of 100 morgen or
less, being definitely uneconomic. As much as 80 per
cent of all farms already cover 1,000 morgen or less.
483. In the Thornveld Area (F) 40 per cent of the
farms are smaller than 100 morgen. Where sub-
tropical fruit and vegetables could be raised in-
tensively, a good living could perhaps be made on
such a small farm.
484. Some of the Coastal Areas (H on Map No. 2)
are not suitable for permanent habitation, since a rain-
fall of 126 mm. or less well-nigh excludes the possi-
bility of successful farming in that region. Up to 85-6
per cent of all farms comprise 500 morgen or less,
whereas 61 per cent are already 100 morgen or less.
485. There are few uneconomic farmlets in the Crop
Areas of the Winter-rainfall Belt (K). Approximately
only 14 per cent are smaller than 100 morgen, but the
majority are not unduly large either, since more than
half of all farms are 500 morgen or less.
486. In the Cattle Grazing Areas (M) a solid 30 per
cent of farms are from 101 to 1,000 morgen in extent
and half of this group is even less than 500 morgen.
Farmers on such small farms are obliged to try to
make a living from cash crops.
487. It is surprising to find that in the Sheep Grazing
Areas (S) nearly one-quarter of the 12,000 Karoo
farmers still operate on farms from 101 to 1,000 mor-
gen in extent. Even with wool prices as high as those
in 1951, farms of 1,000 morgen or less could hardly
yield a remunerative income to their owners.
488. As regards the Fruit Area (V), success with
deciduous fruit farming on small units is possible
provided profitable markets exist. The Commission,
therefore, is not alarmed at the fact that one third of
all farms are less than 50 morgen. As much as 88-4
per cent of all farms are 1,000 morgen or less.
489. In view of the facts mentioned above and ihe
data furnished in paragraphs 192-198, it is therefore
clear that, in general, farms in the Union are definitely
becoming smaller. Under normal circumstances this
could have spelled an increase in the number of White
farmers on the platteland. Such an increase, however,
cannot be regarded as permanent since the diminution
is not economically sound in all cases. Moreover,
throughout the Union there are farms which are cut up
to such an extent that they offer no decent living to
the farmer and his family.
Causes of Diminution.
490. In the opinion of the Commission the follow-
ing are the main causes of the dimunition of farms:--
491. (i) Government policy.--Since the early days,
for some reason or other, the Government has awarded
land to its citizens. In this way, for instance, farms
in the Eastern Cape were allocated to the 1820
Settlers. Since they were accustomed to farming on
small farms, they received 100 morgen each, in many
cases too small from an agricultural point of view.
President Kruger also rewarded the burghers, who had
participated in the war against Mapog, with donations
of land 8 morgen in extent in the Middelburg district:
and in the Soutpansberg, farms of 500 morgen were
allocated to other burghers. This policy paved the
way for the creation of uneconomic units.
492. These examples date from the previous century.
and were isolated cases, since ordinarily the original
occupiers, particularly in the two Republics, received
farms of approximately 3,000 morgen. Since the begin-
ning of this century, and more particularly since Union.
all Crown lands came under the control of the Depart-
ment of Lands, and a more definite policy was then
determined. Land was allocated to citizens by legisla-
tion. Of the various types of allocation, the majority
of individuals were granted dryland farms in terms of
Act No. 12 of 1912 (as amended by Act No. 21 of
1956). Farms allocated in this way were often on the
small side. Initially the Department of Lands
attempted to allocate Crown lands to as many farmers
as possible. if larger units were allocated, naturally
less people would have received assistance. Since
prospective farmers usually only had a limited amount
of cash, they often bought too small farms. Sometimes
the buyer intended to use a portion of his money for
the purchase of livestock and implements, and was
therefore forced to save by buying still less land.
Many farmers in the Cattle Grazing Areas, assisted by
the Land Board, bought farms of 1,000 morgen or
less-even 500 morgen. (Here an economic unit is
estimated as being nearer to 2,000 morgen). Dryland
holdings, even as small as 200 morgen, were
established and many of the original settlers could not
continue on these small lands.
493. Since 1902, and c ven as late as the thirties,
there was great poverty a nong Whites in many parts
of the country, as an insufficient number of factories
existed to employ the surplus population. The Govern-
ment had to resort to v.trious expedients merely to
keep those indigent person s alive. The idea was con-
ceived to place those individuals, who had no other
livelihood, on Governmr at irrigation schemes, but
land on these schemes w is limited, and there was a
large number of indigent persons. For obvious reasons
it therefore became polk y to divide these holdings
into small portions, thus providing a parking spot
(" sitplek ") rather than economic units. These small-
holdings fulfilled their ii immediate purpose of relief,
thanks to a very low stai dard of living in those days
before World War 11. i'oday such a smallholding.
which at that time provic ed its owner with some sort
of livelihood, would be ; absolutely too small to offer
its present owner a decen; giving.
494. The Land Bani. established in 1912, is
prepared to advance two thirds of its valuation of a
farm. In view of the cur ert high prices of land, it is
obvious that only in exceptional cases economic units
could be acquired with ihe assistance of the Land
495. (ii) Price of land. --As already appeared from
the foregoing discussion, farmers who intended to
acquire land were often forced to buy less land since
they did not possess sufficient money for a larger
farm. Furthermore, she uld the price of land be
higher than its economic value, as has been mostly
the case since 1948, buye s would be apt to economise
on the number of morg in. Consequently the buyer
with little cash was cor spelled not only to procure
an uneconomic unit, bt t also to pay an even more
uneconomic price per m )rgen for that land.
496. Nowadays a farw.;r, who owns a good econo-
mic unit and who under normal circumstances would
never have thought of sc ling a portion of his farm, is
being tempted by unprec dented high offers. In this
way also uneconomic un ts are often created.
497. (iii) Bequest.- Th :re is no doubt as to the im-
portant r6le played by -equests in giving rise to un-
economic units. (Vide paragraphs 201-206.) This
role is not confined to ce -tain parts of the Union only.
498. (iv) Speculaiion.- Owing to the possibility of
obtaining a better price for land when cut up and
sold as small holdings, landowners have created an
enormously large number, of farmlets of 5, 10 and 25
morgen in the Union. Fhcse plots are advertised in
glowing terms, often wit I disastrous consequences to
the buyers, as described i. paragraph 207.
499. (v) Produce Price..--The temporary and extra-
ordinary high prices fc:' certain products such as
bananas, pineapples, rice, coffee, etc., have led to the
creation of small units, which were bought by unin-
formed individuals-to .neir subsequent disillusion-
Consequences of Diminni',7.
500. The Commissio wishes to repeat that in
dealing with the evils c diminution, it does not in-
clude economic subdivis on in that category. Diminu-
tion is a sound and d:,sirable process and would
sooner contribute towards a larger population on the
platteland than toward: its depopulation, provided
units remain of an econc nic size.
501. (i) Economic.-S division of farms primarily
results in a rise in price 's of land, and since these
prices in the opinion o' nearly all witnesses are al-
ready uneconomically h gh, a further increase would
only aggravate the unsoiundl price structure. On these
small units it is ofter difficult to utilise labour,
machinery and impleme its economically and produc-
tion is achieved at a high cost: this in turn endangers
the entire economic structure of agriculture. Since
farmers on uneconomic units are compelled to live
from hand to mouth, they find it impossible to give
any attention to sound farming practices at the same
time. Sometimes the farmer has to undertake other
employment away from his farm with a view to sup-
plementing his income. This results in greater
inefficiency on the farm.
502. All these problems give rise to an inefficient
farmer class, and in some cases to poverty-stricken
persons, who are not capable of proper exploitation
of the agricultural potential. They are highly vulner-
able to natural set-backs. wi.-h the result that the
Government often has to introduce measures for aid--
which, in any case, fail to rehabilitate such farmers
permanently. Not only is this detrimental from an
economic point of view, but it could also be sociologi-
cally unsound, because child-en growing up under
such conditions could develop an inferiority complex
or even a grudge against society.
503. (ii) Agricultural.--If a farmer owns an un-
economic unit, he tries anything to increase his in-
come. He is compelled to adopt farming systems
resulting in pirate cropping and depletion of the soil.
His needs are of an immediate nature and he does not
possess the capital to apply planned and balanced
farming systems or to effect improvements which
would only show results at a later stage.
504. (iii) Social.-When the size of land becomes
too small, impoverishment sets in, resulting in a lower
standard of living. Economic impoverishment in turn
could result in spiritual impoverishment accompanied
by cultural, educational and sociological problems. In
many cases children of the poor small farmer leave
their parental home at an early age for the towns and
the cities-at an age where he or she is not capable of
coping with the dangers and temptations of city life.
505. Some time or other, the uneconomic unit forces
its owner off the land, and ir this way contributes
towards the drift of the White country-dweller to the
city. Ultimately, it often happens that only a Bantu
supervisor remains on such a smallholding; or the
holding is sold to a large farmer, who leaves it in
charge of a Non-white, since it is too small to justify
the employment of a White manager. Both in a direct
and indirect way, therefore, thesee uneconomic units
result in increased preponderance of Bantu on the
2. The expansion of Farms.
506. While it has been proved that the number of
small units of 500 morgen or less has increased, it has
also been found that the number of farmers owning
larger land has decreased. This applies particularly
to farmers owning from 501 up to 5,000 morgen. The
group with more than 5,000 mcrgen has only decreased
by 0-2 per cent, but here another and more serious
development is taking place. The total morgenage
onwed by this group has increased. Whereas 3-3 per
cent of the farmers owned 29-9 per cent of all agricul-
tural land in 1927, 3- 1 per cent of the farmers in 1954
owned more than 32 per cent or 30 million morgen of
agricultural land in the Union. This clearly proves,
therefore, that a class of large land-owners is in the
process of developing. In numbers these large
land-owners are few, but their land covers a
large area. If all farmers in this group owning
an average of more than 12,000 morgen were
added together, they would total 432; and those
owning an average of more than 15,000 morgen would
only number 76. Nevertheless, the occurrence and in-
crease of large ownership of land could have serious
consequences for the future of the country. The Com-
mission wishes to emphasise: the occurrence of small
uneconomic units presents, in numbers and extent, a
serious problem, but the influence of the small num-
ber of large landowners on the political structure of
the Union could be much more serious. In this con-
nection Dr. G. D. Scholtz states *: "Whereas large
ownership of land is becoming something of the past
practically all over the world, it is at present found in
increasing measure among the Afrikaans-speaking
people . The process, whereby a single indivi-
vual is allowed to obtain possession of quite a number
of farms, is fraught with real and serious dangers for
the Afrikaans-speaking people." (Translation.)
507. The main causes of the expansion of farms can
be summarised by the statement that agriculture in
post-war years suddenly experienced great prosperity
which yielded considerable surplus capital to many
farmers. The following are contributory factors:-
508. (i) Rise in prices of produce.-Since the
Second World War a relatively rapid increase in prices
of produce occurred. Along with this-as a result of
improved agricultural methods, increased fertilizer sup-
plies and the rapid expansion of rmechanisation-a
rapid increase in the quantity of agricultural produce
followed. This was to the benefit of all farmers, but
the large farmer, in particular, suddenly had more
money at his disposal. After 1950 a phenomenal
increase in wool prices occurred, with the result that
especially the wool farmer suddenly found himself in
possession of large sums of money for which he had
to find a field of investment.
509. (ii) Expansion of gold mines.--Almost simul-
taneously with the increase in prices of produce, the
expansion of the gold mines to the Free State and
Western Transvaal yielded large sums from option
fees, and eventually from the sale of farms, to a group
of farmers in these areas. This unexpected tide of
prosperity also furnished a group of farmers with
money available for investment. By nature farmers
are conservative and they view the purchase of land
as a safe form of investment for their surplus money.
In some cases this resulted in excessive buying of
510. (iii) Income Tax.-Certain large farmers did
not buy land solely for the purpose of investing their
surplus capital, but they also sunk their higher profits
into the newly acquired farms, inter alia, with a view
to reducing income tax.
511. (iv) Outsiders entering farming.-In addition to
the large farmer, the business and professional man
with a large income also started purchasing land on
a large scale. As a result of the competition between
all these individuals, land prices suddenly soared to
great heights attended by a spirit of unsound specula-
tion, which tempted poor small farmers to sell their
Consequences of expansion.
512. The Commission wishes to repeat that the
persons concerned in this large scale purchasing of
land are not numerous, but the over-appropriation of
land as such constitutes a danger which can briefly
be described as follows:-
513. (i) Economic.-The purchase of various farms
by moneyed persons results in inflationary land prices
and rentals, generally far exceeding the actual
agricultural value of the land. These expensive lands
debar young farmers from entering agriculture and
renders the whole industry vulnerable in various ways.
It is detrimental to the efficiency of farming because
serious wastage factors and management problems
arise. Numerous -witnesses have submitted data to
* Dr. G. D. Scholtz: Het die Afrikaansc Volk 'njToekoms ?, pp. 111 to 112.
the Commission proving that there is a marked
negative correlation between total production and the
size of farms. The larger the area per owner, the
smaller the yield per morgen. The very large land-
owner is not capable of producing to the maximum
in all cases.
514. Furthermore, it was found that the large land-
owner very often does not support the commercial
undertakings and schools of his local town. He goes
to the big cities where he buys all his requirements
at wholesale prices, or even obtains a retail licence
for himself with a view to supplying his employees,
to the detriment of local trade which is already finding
it difficult to make ends meet. Very often his
children are sent to big urban schools. This practice
which, unfortunately, is not only confined to large
landowners, encourages both depopulation of the
farms and the dwindling of the platteland town.
Though the large landowners are indeed few in
number, their influence in the economic field is far-
515. ((ii) Agricultural.-In the stock-farming areas
evidence was submitted to the effect that in many cases
the large farmer does not show interest in soil con-
servation. Very often he also shows no interest in
subsidiary branches of agriculture, and monoculture
or single-system stock farming is sometimes practised
on extremely large farms. The large crop farmer very
often depletes the fertility of his soil.
516. (iii) Sociological.-Where farms become larger,
depopulation of Whites takes place since the share-
cropper, lessee and small farmer disappear. Very
often these persons are replaced by Non-white fore-
men and labourers. This results in increased Bantu
preponderance on the platteland. A further con-
sequence lies in the retrogression of church and
social activity on the platteland, as well as the decline
and dwindling of schools, hospitals and other public
institutions. With the disappearance of the small
farmers, and their families, the country is deprived of
the most prolific as well as the most dependable part
of its population. With a major part of the popula-
tion becoming landless persons in the cities, there is
increasing danger of estrangement between city and
platteland. In this way the political and cultural
influence of the platteland on our national life is
3. Similarity in consequences of Expansion and
Diminution of Farms.
517. The occurrence of both uneconomic small units
and too large units creates serious problems and both
factors are fraught with grave dangers for the future;
hence both problems call for attention. In the effects
of both extreme forms of landownership there is a
rather striking similarity in various respects. Both
result in inflationary land prices and rentals, in depo-
pulation of the platteland, dwindling of platteland
towns and schools, but above all both encourage
increased preponderance of Bantu on the White platte-
land. In one particular aspect both phenomena
could have serious consequences for South Africa if
world ideologies should clash: A feeling of resentment
is sometimes aroused by the snobbish attitude of some
large farmers, and more particularly on the part of
their children. The dangers incidental to all these
conditions and particularly to the r6le of the large
landower, moved public opinion as represented by
political, agricultural and church leaders to urge that
an enquiry be instituted into this problem.
518. (i) Government policy.-It is gratifying to note
that Provincial Administrations have already taken
action against the over-subdivision of land. Thus in
the Cape, the Free State and recently also in the Trans-
vaal, no subdivision under 25 morgen is permitted
except in particular circumstances, whereas in Natal
also certain restrictions ot tain. Though this is a step
in the right direction, it is ;s yet not sufficiently effective
since it applies mainly to the lay-out of peri-urban
smallholdings. The Natural Resources Development
Council was also authorised to prohibit subdivision in
certain proclaimed areas. All these laws and regula-
tions may assist in the desired direction, but the Com-
mission is of the opinion that all subdivisions of farms
should be subject to the recommendation and approval
of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services,
with a view to applying sound and economic farming
519. Both the Land Bank and the Department of
Lands should be required so to adapt their policy as
to prevent the creation of uneconomic units as far as
practicable. In this may the prospective farmer should
be discouraged from acquiring uneconomic units. The
Commission was pleased lo note that it is the policy
of the Land Bank and tlie Department of Lands to
assist farmers in consolidate ng small units up to a point
where they form economy c units. The Commission
trusts that this policy will be applied in practice. By
a policy of systematic consolidation on the older
settlements and other holdings, the Land Board could
in time settle all settlers oi economic units.
520. (ii) Land Prices.--The abnormal increase in
produce prices, especially wool, during the past 8 to
10 years, surplus money obtained from options on
gold and the sale of land for mining purposes, as well
as the optional cash basis for income tax purposes in
the case of stock farmers, all contributed towards the
soaring of land prices far in excess of the production
potential. Moreover, inflationary prices were promo-
ted by credit which was readily obtainable and which
was being encouraged by financial institutions, who in
the same way as producers regarded land as a safe
financial investment. This unprecedented prosperity,
which in many cases proved to be merely a false
prosperity, created a spirit of optimism which in no
way made allowance for possible setbacks such as
crop failures and a drop ir, produce prices, and which
was anything but conduci ie to a sound agricultural
economy. With the slightst indication of a down-
ward trend in produce prices, land prices dropped
correspondingly, with the '-esult that producers who
have invested large amounts of capital in expensive
land or who have saddled themselves with heavy
mortgage burdens, at this stage already find them-
selves in a very difficult position, with credit facilities
for working capital practically out of reach.
521. The Commission is of the opinion that these
fluctuations in land prices are not in the interests of
agriculture. In this connec ion it should be mentioned
that the South African Agricultural Union during its
evidence proposed that a Bureau for Land Evaluation
be established with a view to exercising a stabilising
influence on land prices. Since it is expected that the
Study Group on Agricultural Credit will give this
matter the necessary attention, the Commission does not
propose to voice an opinion on this question, but it
nevertheless feels that it is desirable to establish some
system whereby a more realistic approach to land
values could be achieved.
522. (iii) Bequest.-The Commission considers it
most essential to bring thi dangers attaching to the
subdivision of land to the attention of all farmers.
Hence it wishes to recommend-
(a) that farmers throughout the country be guided
and advised by lawyers, banks, boards of execu-
tors and other persons drawing up wills with a
view to warning their clients against the division
of land into uneconomic units; and
(b) that a similar campaign be launched by Or-
ganised Agriculture with a view to educating the
public on this matter.
523. Moreover, farmers should be discouraged from
bequeathing land to one child only, on condition that
the other beneficiaries be compensated at market prices.
This child should compensate the other beneficiaries
at a conservative economic value, or else the farm
should be sold, since it is unreasonable to burden one
beneficiary in favour of the others.
524. The practice of erfpacht" of land for an uw-
reasonable number of generations should be prohibited.
In those cases where existing erfpacht" has a retard-
ing effect on the application of progressive farming
systems, facilities should be created for some relief in
respect of such restrictions.
525. Where farms are over-subdivided to such an
extent as appeared from the examples submitted to the
Commission, drastic steps are called for. Hence the
Commission wishes to recommend that active steps be
taken to consolidate uneconomic units and to prohibit
the subsequent occurrence of such units. These con-
solidated units could again be sold to prospective
526. In conclusion the Commission wishes to state
clearly that the consolidation of uneconomic small farm
lands could only have the desired effect, if by such means
not merely the economic stability of the farming com-
munity could be achieved, but particularly the occup-
ancy of the platteland by Whites could be promoted by
the settling of White owners, lessees, managers or fore-
men on such consolidated lands. Should this aim not
be achieved, agricultural development would clash with
the apartheid development and would not check further
Bantu preponderance on the platteland.
527. The expansion of farms cannot be stayed
without affecting the initiative of the individual and his
democratic rights; and yet the Commission heard
strong representations in many parts of the country,
even from large farmers, requesting that the concentra-
tion of large tracts of land in the hands of a limited
number of individuals be discouraged, particularly by
a system of progressive land taxation. Since the Com-
mission is convinced that extremely large ownership of
land results in just as many dangers for the future
White occupancy of the platteland as the occurrence
of small uneconomic farms, it considers that steps
should be taken to control large ownership of land, as
is done in South West Africa, for instance. Hence it is
recommended that the introduction of a progressive
land tax be seriously considered.
528. Considerable evidence was also submitted to
the effect that business and professional men some-
times acquire several farms, very often with a view to
setting off losses on such projects against their other
income and in this way to evade income tax. The
Commission is not in a position to estimate the extent
of this practice, but it appears to be unsound especially
when only Non-whites are kept on such farms. Hence
it is recommended that losses sustained on such farms
may only be set-off against income tax, if proof is sub-
mitted that each such farm is occupied by a White
manager or foreman,
THE SETTLING OF WHITES ON THE
529. Before stating its conclusions in connection
with the settling of Whites on the platteland, the Com-
mission wishes to mention briefly those areas where
there is still a possibility of such settlement in the
future. In the first instance it should be emphasised
that there are two areas in particular which are al-
ready over-populated, namely, the Irrigation Areas
(A) and the Transition Area (C). Areas which could,
with proper planning aand redistribution of the land,
carry a larger population, are the Highveld Area (B),
the Cattle Grazing Areas (M), and to some extent also
the Sheep Grazing Areas (S) and the Western Province
Fruit Area (V). In limited parts of the other agro-
economic areas there may also be more room for
farmers, such as the Zululand Coastal Area (H-area)
and the Transvaal Lowveld (A-8) as well as under
new development schemes where irrigation can be
530. The third part of the Commission's terms of
reference deals with the prospects of young farmers
of obtaining land for farming purposes on an econo-
mic basis, or to be taken up in the agricultural
industry as share-croppers, share-workers, farm
managers or foremen". In this connection the Com-
mission's findings are as follows:--
531. (a) Share-croppers and share-workers.--
Various witnesses alleged that share-cropping and
share-farming under the present system, where the
share-cropper has to give part of his crop to the
owner, is not remunerative. The share-cropper who
is dependent on this type of employment only, is not
a financially strong person, and the modern mecha-
nised farming methods already involve consider-
able expenses. The best proof of this contention is
the fact that the share-croppers and share-workers as
a group have practically disappeared entirely from the
farming industry in some parts. The Commission
is therefore of the opinion that there are no prospects
for the successful settling of new farmers in this
532. (b) Farm foremen.-For the most part this
group has had no high degree of school or agricultural
training and are mostly employed as foreman-
labourers receiving their daily orders from the owner.
Moreover, under present conditions they often also
have to compete with the Non-whites, but without the
privilege of free grazing for their stock. The Com-
mission therefore finds that for farm foremen the
prospects of becoming independent are generally
diminishing, especially as a result of the large capital
requirements. Persons who could be taken up in
these positions, could as a result of the present
industrial development and other opportunities for
employment find a better source of living elsewhere,
and at cash wages.
533. It is generally accepted today that immigra-
tion from Western Europe could contribute much to
increase the number of Whites in South Africa. Up
to the present, however, attempts were mainly direc-
ted at supplementing by means of trained immigrants
the shortage of artisans and technicians in mining.
industries, etc. Some witnesses expressed the
opinion that the White occupancy of the platteland
could also be strengthened by the immigration of
farm labourers from Western Europe. The Commis-
sion is of the opinion that this matter should receive
attention. In the more specialised and intensive bran-
ches of farming where skilled labour is a prerequisite.
there may be room for suitable immigrants as skilled
labourers and foremen. Perhaps the demand for such
immigrants is at present limited, but may gradually
show a considerable increase. In order to safeguard
the future of the Whites in South Africa it is essen-
tial that active steps be taken in the field of agricul-
ture to make the industry less dependent on Non-
white labour. If necessary, consideration could be
given to the possibility of some form of Government
aid for farmers so as to enable them to employ more
534. (c) Farm Managers.-According to available
evidence the Commission finds that although the
number may be limited, positions carrying reasonably
good salaries do indeed exist for farm managers who
are able to fill executive posts and who in addition
possess a thorough agricultural training, knowledge of
mechanisation and a love for farming. Such positions
are found mainly with large farming enterprises or
companies where the owners are not always able to
handle all the work themselves or where they do not
possess the necessary knowledge of agriculture. The
Commission is of the opinion that this type of work
does indeed offer opportunities for young men in
the field of agriculture, with the possibility of even-
tually becoming independent farmers through dili-
gence and thrift-particularly if they could receive
aid from the Land Board or Land Bank to buy the
535. This method of entering into the farming pro-
fession is particularly suitable for young men who
have studied at agricultural colleges or universities,
but whose fathers are not in a position to assist them
in buying land or who could only return to the
parental farms after the retirement of their fathers.
Until such time as farmers have come to a more
general appreciation of the value of trained managers
in the industry, the number of managerial posts car-
rying good salaries will unfortunately be limited.
536. (d) Lessees.-The position of lessees is
regarded as a transition stage on the way to ultimate
independence. The lessee is usually a person who has
accumulated some property in the form of working
capital, machinery, implements and livestock. Nor-
mally this group would be regarded as admirably
suited to develop into independent farmers in the
course of time, but with the present high rentals their
position is constantly becoming more difficult and
their numbers are dwindling. The phenomenon that
moneyed farmers who already own land, hire additio-
nal land and thus contribute to a further increase of
rentals which are already high, brings competition to
the ordinary lessee which he can hardly cope with.
Under the present circumstances it would therefore
appear that there is not much prospect of absorbing
young farmers in the industry in this way. Land for
hire has also become very scarce and in many dis-
tricts virtually no such land is available.
537. Because deserving persons falling in this group
are forced out of the industry due to unavoidable
circumstances. the Commission is of the opinion that
they deserve most sympathetic consideration should
the Government decide to make land available to
prospective farmers: they have already given tangible
proof of their desire to be farmers, and have accumu-
lated some assets. Moreover, their average age is
some 44 years, so that they could hardly be expected
to make a new start in any other profession.
538. (e) Independent farmers.- The Commission
is convinced that if the White occupancy of the platte-
land is to be strengthened permanently, the obvious
method would be to absorb Whites as independent
farmers with their own land. In paragraph 18 it has
already been pointed out that ownership results in
stability, traditions and a sense of responsibility. The
landowner who has a real love for the soil, will not
be an easy prey to foreign ideologies.
539. The Commission does not wish to suggest that
all persons who apply should be assisted to obtain
land. There should be strict selection, with due
regard to agricultural knowledge and training. The
system applied by the Department of Lands, whereby
settlers are subject to supervision and restrictions in
the initial stages, is therefore sound. But it is im-
portant that there should b, a prospect of indepen-
dence within reasonable time.--that would be the best
encouragement for the youn beginner.
540. In this respect li re are also numerous
obstacles. Unoccupied land scarce and prices exorbi-
tantly high. At a first glance it would appear that the
Commission would have t( give a negative reply as
regards its terms of referer ce bearing on the pros-
pects of young farmers to obtain land on an econo-
mic basis", since according to evidence it really does
alppear as if agricultural land cannot be obtained at
an economic price anywhei e in South Africa during
these inflationary times. Notwithstanding this
apparently gloomy position. the Commission considers
that ways and means coukl still be devised whereby
it would be possible to ma ,e room for the right type
of prospective farmer. In paragraphs 317 to 325 it
was pointed out that there w ,s not much prospect of
effecting this by way of the -xtension of the total area
of farm land or the area of arable dryland, but rather
by means of-
(a) The purchase and d vision of large tracts of
land offered for sale [rom time to time.
(b) The establishment of further irrigation land, for
which purpose a possiblee 460,000 morgen
could still be utilis d. At 25 to 30 morgen
per plot this could trean 15.000 to 20.000
additional farmers: but it would involve an
expensive and slow process which could only
be implemented in ,tages of not more than
6.000 to 7,000 morgen per annum. In this way
an average of slight]! more than 200 new far-
mers could be absorbed in the industry annu-
(c) Technological develop )nent by means of which
the yield per more i could be increased and
farms could become smaller. During the past
decade considerable progress has already been
made in this respect and in the stock farming
areas farm planning ind veld management have
already increased the carrying capacity of farms.
Moreover. various -ciintific discoveries have
stimulated agriculture I production. Modernised
farming methods, su,' as greater intensification
and better pest con -ol, could also result in
making smaller farn s feasible and therefore
make it possible to s hsorb more farmers on the
platteland. Research in connection with
mechanisation and 1he standardisation of im-
plements could mak: a further contribution in
(d) The creation of mn re profitable and stable
541. If all the abovemi crioned possibilities could
eventually come to fruitiv".', it would probably be
possible to absorb 10% rn ore new farmers annually
than is the case at present. As regards the replace-
ment of the existing farmne ; who cither retire or die.
it has been estimated in paragraph 327 that some
4,000 new entrants would cit necessary annually to fill
the vacancies caused in th s way. The Commission
is of the opinion that thern is no shortage of persons
who are keen to enter th profession, provided the
necessary opportunities are :rated.
542. The Commission mi si, however, point out that
it heard strong qualifying evidence as regards the
conditions under which prcpective farmers should be
assisted to obtain Crown lands in future. Not only was
strict supervision advocate, but also the elimination
of the speculative element by which a person who
obtains land at a nominal purchase price from the
Government, is enabled to dispose of such land at an
exorbitant profit after obtaining his title deed. In this
way the whole purpose of t -c system is defeated.
1. Share-croppers, lessees and foremen.
543. In its preceding findings the Commission already
intimated that it could not under present circumstances
see much prospect of persons being absorbed in the
agricultural industry as share-croppers, share-workers,
lessees or foremen. Although it realises the importance
of the work which is still being done today by many
of these persons in the farming industry, it can there-
fore only recommend that young men be assisted or
encouraged to enter the industry in this way, as part
of a transition stage on the may to becoming farm
managers or settlers.
544. The Commission further recommends that the
possibility of placing suitable immigrants as foremen
and labourers in specialised farming industries, be in-
vestigated. In this possibility the Commission per-
ceives a method of further strengthening the White
occupancy of the platteland.
545. It is obvious that such Whites could not be
placed on the platteland without proper housing
facilities. It is therefore recommended that considera-
tion be given to the possibility of taking steps which
would encourage the provision of housing facilities for
White employees on farms, provided the malpractices
which occurred under the previous housing subsidy
schemes, could be eliminated.
2. Farm Managers.
546. Since there are a limited number of positions
with good salaries for thoroughly trained farm
managers, the Commission is of the opinion that a
small number of these persons could indeed be ab-
sorbed in the agricultural industry on a sound basis,
with the prospect of ultimate independence. The
Commission welcomes the fact that existing facilities
for the training of farmers are also made fully avail-
able to prospective farm managers, and that they are
thus enabled to prepare themselves for their task.
For this reason it is recommended that the employment
of trained farm managers by farmers who can afford to
do so, be propagated by reason of the fact that it is
to the advantage of the farming enterprise from an
economic point of view, apart from the fact tht it
would strenghten the position of the Whites on the
platteland. In their evidence before the Commission
some farmers stated that the appointment of a well-
trained farm manager proved to be so profitable, that
even a second manager was later employed. Farmers
should, however, be made to realise that the best type
of farm manager can only be recruited by offering a
decent living wage, together with security and the
prospect of ultimately becoming independent-the
ideal of every farm manager worthy of his salt.
3. Independent Farmers.
547. It is recommended that the Government create
special facilities for the settling in an independent
capacity of young men, as well as share-croppers, lessees,
farm managers, etc., and that the facilities already made
available in this connection by the Department of
Lands and the Land Bank be extended and co-ordinated
in consultation with the Department of Agricultural
Technical Services. For the success of such a policy
the following factors are of importance:-
548. (a) Selection.-Prospective farmers who apply
for assistance should be selected with the utmost care,
if necessary with the aid of psychological aptitude
tests, in order to make sure that the aid given by the
Government is applied with the greatest possible
chance of success. The selection should be done by
bodies in which all the interested parties concerned
are represented, and which will not be subject to out-
549. The category of applicants who should receive
the highest priority, should consist of those who
already own something, namely lessees and share-
croppers. They are well-equipped to get the farming
enterprise going immediately, and, moreover, the
settling of this group-an urgent matter as already
pointed out in paragraph 537-will require less
expenditure by the State than applicants who own
nothing at all.
550. A second group of prospective farmers who
deserve high priority, are persons who have received
a formal agricultural training, including farm managers
and the sons of farmers who do not possess addi-
tional land to take up their sons in their own farming
551. The Commission cannot, however, recommend
that only these groups be considered for Government
aid, since there are many other deserving persons
who are in employment outside the field of agriculture,
but who also have the necessary initiative, capacity
for work, aptitude and love for the soil to become
successful farmers. They should at least be given the
chance to be selected, provided provision is made for
training and supervision.
552. (b) The Land Settlement System.-The Commis-
sion recommends that close co-ordination be established
between the Department of Lands and the Department
of Agricultural Technical Services in the allocation of
land under the Land Settlement system, in order to
ensure that every young farmer be placed on an
economic unit, as well as with a view to the extension
services to be made available to such settlers,
553. Owing to the fact that land is limited, it is
(i) that the Government undertake a systematic
development of possible irrigation schemes;
(ii) that the Government in times of depression buy
up tracts of land offered for sale, and divide
such land into economic units for subsequent
allocation at a price commensurate with the
agricultural value of such land;
(iii) that section 20 of Act No. 21 of 1956 be so
amended as to allow a higher amount than the
present maximum (5,150), in order to give an
applicant the opportunity of buying an economic
(iv) that in view of the problems with which farmers
have to battle on uneconomic units, the Depart-
ment of Lands consider the possibility of
enabling such farmers to extend their farms to
an economic size.
554. (c) Credit System.-Since a special investigation
into the agricultural credit system is at present being
conducted, the Commission limits itself to the recom-
mendation that a central credit system for the provision
of all agricultural credit be established, with due
regard to the particular needs of agriculture in respect
of short term, medium term and long term credit.
There should be strict control of the utilisation of
555. (d) Agricultural training.-Since an interdepart-
mental committee is already busy investigating this
important subject, the Commission wishes to confine
itself to the recommendation that the existing facilities
for agricultural training be considerably extended with
a view to the future needs of the industry, in order to
achieve the ideal of having a trained farmer on every
farm in the very near future. It is further recom-
mended that special courses for girls be provided in
order to train them as farmers' wives and to inculcate
in them a love of farm life.
556. (e) Technical Services.-The Commission is
deeply impressed by the quality of the technical ser-
vices rendered to farmers at present and wishes to
record its appreciation in this respect. The main short-
coming is that, owing mainly to a shortage of trained
staff and limited funds, more research and extension
services in each particular deviating area cannot be
undertaken. It is therefore recommended that-
(i) agricultural research facilities be extended,
particularly by means of mobile units and co-
operative experiments, to provide in the needs
of all parts of the country;
(ii) all possible steps be taken to train and appoint
more extension officers, so that all farmers could
be served on an intensive basis;
(iii) the economic and mechanical extension services
envisaged by the Department, be instituted soon
and on a wide scale;
(iv) the domestic science extension service to farmers'
wives and daughters be extended; and
(v) all agricultural guidance should emphasise that
the idea of better farming also entails the
efficient organisation of labour so that it would
be possible to economise on Non-white labour
and that further preponderance of Bantu in
farming could be checked.
557. The Commission wishes to stress very strongly
that where Government aid is granted to farmers in
one form or other (even in the form of subsidies) it
always be done in such a manner that the feeling of
independence, the sense of responsibility and self-
respect of the farmer-so vital to the continued exist-
ence of a sound, energetic and independent farmer-class
-will not be undermined by such aid. Various witnes-
ses expressed their concern at the effect of too many
subsidies on the morale of a section of the farming
community. The danger that our farming population
may ultimately become entirely dependent on the
State and so promote State-socialism, is not imaginary
at all. The aim of all Government aid should be to
enable the farmer to carry on with his enterprise and
its development as an independent and self-supporting
person. It should always be regarded merely as a
temporary expedient. It is therefore also necessary
that Government aid should be applied most judiciously.
After all, technical aid and guidance remain the most
effective means by which the Government can assist
farmers in the performance of their task. The Commis-
sion is convinced that the statement by Dr. Grosskopf
in the early thirties, is today equally true, namely:
" The rural population in particular, including even
landowning farmers, is being increasingly demoralized
by help. This does not refer so much to emergency
measures . as to the more or less normal measures
of the preceding period." *
558. A last but important recommendation is that
all persons and bodies-the State, Churches, agricultural
organizations, women's organizations, etc.-should
propagate very strongly the idea that each economic
unit should be occupied by a White family, either as
owner, lessee or employee; and that employment of
Non-white foremen and supervisors in White areas be
strongly deprecated. The pressure of public opinion
should be enlisted in this respect-it indeed concerns
the continued existence of White civilisation in
South Africa. Should such a campaign fail to have
the desired effect, the Commission recommends that
special preventive taxation be imposed in respect of
each economic unit which is not occupied by a White
family for two or three successive years.
CHAP FER 23.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND ACKNOW-
559. Although it is practically impossible to sum-
marise the conclusions which emerged from the
investigation, the following few remarks will, in the
main, indicate the most important trends:-
560. (1) Although the platteland became depopu-
lated most rapidly in the years immediately after the
end of the last World War, there are signs that this
process has slowed down during the past six or seven
561. (2) The depopulation is not to be condemned
generally, because many of the "depopulated" per-
sons could not earn a decent living on the platteland
and therefore made full use of the opportunities
offered by way of more remunerative positions in
industry. This migration in most cases brought about
an improvement in their standard of living.
562. (3) The Whites who remain on the platteland
can with the aid of modern techniques still provide
in the food requirements of the country.
563. (4) The phenomenon of a constantly decreas-
ing number of Whites in ihe rural areas-the most
prolific group of the White population of the Union-
brings in its wake serious problems in respect of the
future replenishment of the city population, the loss
of certain conservative characteristics mainly culti-
vated on the platteland and, above all, the danger that
Bantu preponderance on tIle White platteland could
extend to such a degree that even the whole Western
civilization in this country nay suffer as a result. If
the platteland could retain the number of Whites at
present residing there and ii they could be assisted to
establish themselves on a fir n basis, this danger could
be averted to some extent, provided the number of
Non-whites on farms own-'d by Whites could be
564. (5) Although many fi rms are becoming smaller
and the phenomenon of ui economic small farms is
creating a problem much greater than the problem of
too large farms, there is a small group of farmers who
are still extending their extremely large possessions.
Both these phenomena are neither in the interests of
the agricultural industry nr in the interests of the
continued existence of Wtile civlilisation, because
they are fraught with certain dangers in respect of
economic, agricultural, social and strategic considera-
tions. and because both promote increased Bantu
preponderance on the platteland.
565. (6) There is not much prospect of an immediate
increase in the number of available economic units
and consequently of more farmers, except in a few
areas and then only on a loag-term basis. The most
sound and desirable way in which new farmers could
enter the field of agriculture, would be as independent
566. (7) If the Government wishes to assist young
men to make a start in farming, the existing schemes
for aid would have to be reviewed and co-ordinated,
with careful selection, training and guidance as further
requirements. Moreover, su Ih aid would have to be
subject to strict supervision and temporary restrictions.
567. (8) Drastic measures are necessary to check
both uneconomic subdivision i as well as extremely
568. (9) The platteland will in various respects
have to be made more attractive for White occupancy.
* Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus, p. 226.
569. During its tours the Commission either directly
or indirectly gained the impression that the main
problems with which the farming population of our
country have to cope today, resulted from a hitherto
unknown prosperity rather than from poverty. In
other words, the platteland is faced with a number of
prosperity problems, as contrasted with the problems
of indigency which had to be contended with in the
past. It would appear that these prosperity problems
have caught some farmers somewhat unawares. Times
of prosperity cultivate an attitude of mind demanding
a totally new orientation and resulting in entirely new
farming systems and techniques. These times of
prosperity were also marked by a spirit of materialism
with a consequent over-emphasis of material values
and a declining love of the farm amongst many young
570. The Commission believes that it is of the
utmost importance to the people of South Africa to
strengthen the White occupancy of the platteland,
particularly in the economic, agricultural and social
spheres. An economically independent, morally strong
and vocation conscious farming community is a
prerequisite to the continued existence of Christian
civilisation in our country. It should be emphasised
that the country can, above all, ill afford the loss of
the cultural influence and power caused by an un-
balanced depopulation of the platteland.
571. In a country with a homogeneous population
the depopulation of rural areas would not carry serious
dangers, but in this country with its heterogeneous
elements the White platteland is largely the pivot of
Western civilisation. Should this pivot collapse,
White civilisation in the cities, too, would not be able
to hold its own in the long run.
572. It has been found that while the number of
Whites in certain parts of the platteland are con-
tinually decreasing, there is an enormous increase in
Non-whites on farms. The question arises whether
White civilisation would not eventually be ousted from
its cradle, the farms of South Africa.
573. A second serious question with far-reaching
implications for the future, is whether the country's
basic material need-its food production-would
ultimately be in the hands of Non-whites. If this
were to become a reality, civilisation would auto-
matically have to capitulate, because those who pro-
duce the food of the nation, automatically exercise
great influence on the course of events in any country.
When this question was recently put at an agricultural
congress by a certain speaker, a daily newspaper
described it as one of the most serious questions raised
of late with regard to the future of White civilisation.*
574. The economic and social processes which
cause people to migrate to the cities cannot be undone.
It is indeed an accepted rule that the platteland with
its higher vitality must feed the urban population
numbers. But then it is essential that enough people
should remain on the platteland to be able to perform
that function. The whole matter hinges on the ques-
tion of a sound city/platteland population ratio.
575. In its approach to these problems the Commis-
sion set itself the task of not only taking into account
current needs and those of the immediate future, but
also of making some modest contribution towards the
continued existence of White civilisation in centuries
to come. May this earnest desire be realized.
576. In the first place the Commission wishes to offer
humble thanks to Almighty God for the guidance,
strength and health granted all members to fulfil their
577. The Commission further wishes to express its
appreciation and sincere thanks to the following
(1) Dr. J. C. Neethling, Assistant Chief of the
Division of Economics and Markets, acted as Tech-
nical Adviser to the Commission. His wide knowledge
and experience of economic conditions obtaining in the
agricultural industry has been of great value, especially
with regard to the technical aspect of the investigation,
and has been applied to advantage in drafting the
Report, a task in which he had a major share.
(2) Mr. D. P. Coetzee, Principal Administrative
Officer in the Department of Agricultural Economics
and Marketing, was a diligent and most efficient
secretary of the Commission. In this capacity he was
not only responsible for the onerous task of all
arrangements and the organisation of the tours as well
as the general administrative work connected with the
activities of such a Commission, but particularly in
drafting the Report he rendered outstanding service in
collaboration with the Technical Adviser.
(3) Prof. Dr J. L. Sadie of the University of Stellen-
bosch assisted the Commission in drafting the
chapters dealing with the demographic aspects. His
outstanding professional knowledge of population
problems was of great value to the Commission.
(4) Dr. L. J. C. Cloete (formerly of the Department
of Labour and at present at Iscor) performed a
valuable task with his surveys in connection with the
place of origin of workseekers at the Employment
Bureaux of the Department of Labour, as well as of
employees at various large industries and Government
(5) Mnr. N. P. Miller, Senior Technical Officer in
the Department of Agricultural Technical Services, was
responsible for the compilation of the maps included
in this Report and also rendered other valuable
(6) Miss H. S. Herbert and Mrs. H. M. Benadie
deserve a special word of praise and thanks for the
large amount of typing done by them.
578. In conclusion the Commission wishes to
express its appreciation to those officials of Govern-
ment Departments who co-operated so willingly and
furnished information, as well as to all bodies and
persons who gave evidence and submitted memoranda.
F. J. DU TOIT, Chairman.
W. H. NEETHLING.
P. W. VORSTER.
J. J. V. D. BERG.
N. J. J. VAN RENSBURG.
C. C. NEPGEN.
J. C. NEETHLING, Technical Adviser.
D. P. COETZEE, Secretary.
Cape Town, 13th April, 1959.
Die Transvaler, October 10th. 1958.
NOTE.-Dr. J. H. Moolman left for a prolonged overseas study tour during September, 1958, and was not present when the Report was
drafted and signed. Since the investigation stage of the Commission's work was practically completed on his departure, the Com-
mission did not deem it necessary to recommend that a substitute be appointed.
LIST OF PERSONS AND BODIES WHO SUBMITTED FORMAL MEM(ORANDA.
(In chronological order.)
District Agricultural Union, Bethal.
Prof. C. G. W. Schumann, University of Stellenbosch.
South Eastern Areas Public Bodies Associationr, Grahamstown.
Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education-Depal t-
ment of Sociology.
South African Road Federation.
Mr. D. P. van der Merwe, P.O. Brondal.
North Western Cape Development Association, Calvinia.
Orange Free State Women's Agricultural Union.
Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk van Afrika.
North Western Free State Regional Development Association,
Cape Province Women's Agricultural Union.
Prof. C. v. H. du Plessis, University of the Orange Free State.
Transvaal Women's Agricultural Union.
Ermelo and District Development Committec.
Umvoti River Catchment Association.
Brcedc River Development Association, RPob's:ton.
Prof. J. L. Sadie. University of Stellenbosch.
Mfolozi Regional Development Association.
Division of Economics and Markets.
Regional Directors, Department of Agricultural Technical Services.
Provincial Administration of the Cape Province.
South African Agricultural Unih n.
Education Department of the C: ic Province.
Lowveld Regional Development Organisation, Malelane.
Transvaal Education Departmer L.
Federal Council for Poor Relief I) the Dutch Reformed Churches.
Dr. A. le R. van der Merwe, Poi aola.
Mr. F. Swanepoel, Inspector an( Vocational Psychologist, Kroon-
Pharmaceutical Society of S.A.
Transvaal Agricultural Union.
Dr. W. T. H. Beukes, Gumtree, i,-ange Free State.
Mr. J. J. du Preez, Agricultural I light School, Brits.
Mr. A. C. Bothma, Barberspan.
Mr. F. J. Prinsloo, Roedtan.
Dr. B. van Deventer, Free State ( o-operative Society, Reitz.
Electricity Supply Commission.
Mr. J. J. Loots, Prieska.
Mr. .1. N. Swart, E. T. Co-operat ve Society. Bethal.
MNr. R. L. Barry, Robertson.
P'RIVIOUS RELEVANT INVESTIGATIONS AND DELIBERATION!.
(1) Whilst on a journey in 1892 the then Minister of Agriculture
of the Cape Colony, J. X. Merriman, was struck by the prevailing
poverty in the Eastern Cape. After discussing the matter with the
Rev. Andrew Murray a conference was held at Stellenbosch in
February 1893, which resulted in the establishment of the Church
Labour Colony at Kakamas in 1898*. In this case therefore the
Government loaded its responsibility on the shoulders of the church.
(2) In 1897 the session of the Volksraad of the young South
African Republic was virtually dominated by the problem of
" poor burghers ", since the poverty-stricken condition of the
rural population, particularly those without land, was beginning to
make itself seriously felt.
(3) Impoverishment and the drift from the farms assumed
serious dimensions after the termination of the South African
War (1899-1902). The Transvaal authorities therefore appointed
the Indigency Commission in 1906. Some of its findings were:-
(a) Some Whites had no love for manual labour.
(b) The tradition of owning land, however small, sometimes
resulted in impoverishment amongst farmers.
(c) Education facilities were to be improved.
(d) Impoverishment was' mainly due to the war.
(e) Farmers who had already made a failure of farming, wcr.:
not to be given unqualified assistance to return to the land;
in the past such steps had often proved unsuccessful.
(f) Subdivision of holdings whirh were !oo small were to be
(4) In 1906 a similar investigation was conducted in the Orange
Free State. In a report, Poor Whites in the O.R C., virtually the
same findings are quoted as in the Transvaal report already
mentioned, with the following additions:-
(a) Mainly landless people trekked to the towns.
(b) Irrigation settlements were to be established as soon as
(c) More Whites were to be employed on farms instead of
(d) Credit was to be given to farmers on good security.
The extension of the Kopjes Irrigation Scheme was a result of this
(5) In 1906 the Cape Parliament appointed a select committee
with a view to investigating the problem of impoverishment amongst
Whites. Its main recommendations and findings were:-
(a) The majority of the poor Whites in towns hailed from the
platteland and they were desirous of returning there.
(b) Impoverishment was largely due to poor education in the
past; hence training was to be improved and indostiial
(c) More irrigation settlements under the supervision of the
church were to be established.
(6) The Unemploymeent Conunission in its final report in 1922
stated inter alia:-
(a) An agricultural survey by the Government v.as to be
undertaken as soon as possible.
(b) Cheaper transport facilities and better markets for agri-
cultural produce were to be provided.
(7) The Drought hInvestigation Commission of 1923 can be
considered as one of the most ii tportant enquiries into farming
matters. The Commission found inter alia, that veld and soil
had suffered extremely due to m. practicess in farming, and that
the population of the Cape MidI: nd; had decreased by 12-4 per
cent during a period of 17 years.
The recommendations of the Commission were briefly as
(a) The Government were to encourage farmers to apply
soil and water conservation measures, together with
methods for the supply of! odder.
(b) Increased agricultural guid. nee and training were necessary
(c) Irrigation schemes had to be undertaken.
(d) The Government should ur dertake metereological research
(e) Better transport and mark ting facilities should be created
and cold storage be erecte t.
(8) A number of the findings of the Economic and Wage Com-
mission (1925) referred to agricultui aJ problems:-
(a) Though the majority of oor Whites were failures in
agriculture, their failure it may cases was beyond their
control and were not to bc attributed to personal imper-
(b) A great need of better mai eating facilities existed.
(c) The difference in wage leve'3 between city and platteland
constituted one of the facto -. causing the trek to the cities.
(d) Development of agricultun and its secondary industries
offered the best opportunity for the youth of the country.
(e) Too much subdivision of land into smallholdings was
(f) Farmers of good repute should be assisted financially to
tide them over difficult peri -ds.
(g) There was a need for more agricultural schools.
(9) By 1929 the problem of imroverishment amongst Whites
assumed such proportions that tl Carnegie Commission was
appointed to conduct a thorough nati m-wide investigation. Part I
of this Commission's report, Run I Impoverishment and Rural
Exodus ", is of particular interest as historic and economic back-
ground to the problems discussed in the present report. For this
reason some of the findings of the C; inegie Commission in respect
of the causes of impoverishment and rural exodus are summarised
Human factors, such as lal, of ,J ,,.a., :. to variable
economic and agricultural condit oni; an inadequate standard
of education; an isolated way of life; adherence in large
numbers to uneconomic tracts f, ln.d; lack of industrious
habits, etc. Economic causes, such as the destruction of
property during the South Afr car War; better transport
facilities to the cities; industrial development and the creation
of more favourable labour con liiions; large ownership of
land and the substitution of poor White by Non-white labour;
poor economic resistance by the mall farmer in times of ad-
versity; a scarcity of suitable lai d for the increasing number
of landless persons; malpract ces in farming; economic
fluctuations; rise in land price,; injudicious agricultural
credit; and lastly, adverse climate c conditions.
* J. F. W. Grosskopf: Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus, p. 21.
i J. F. W. Grosskopf: Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus, p. 21.
Some of the more important reconvnendations were:--
(a) Centralisation of farm schools.*
(b) The landless young man should be offered the opportunity
of L il..li working himself upt to a position of inde-
(c) Repeated financial aid to those farmers who became
impoverished owing to theii adherence to obsolete and
inefficient farming methods would be of no avail. In
any case material assistance should be attended by an
equivalent service on the part of the recipient.
(d) Scientific training and guidance for farmers.
(e) Better housing in rural area,.
(f) As far as settlements were concerned, it was recommended
that a more rigid system of screening, free from political
influences, should be applied before any land was allocated.
A valuable national asset in the form of land was practically
depleted, without the nation having derived full economic
or social benefit from it. Furthermore, speculation in
settlement land should be eliminated and material assistance
to settlers should not be too meagre.
(10) Apart from the major investigations mentioned above, there
were also lesser official committees which drew attention to some
aspects at present under investigation. In this connection reference
can be made to the Desert Encroachment Committee (U.G. No.
59/1951) and the Committee on the Influence of Extensive Dairy
Farming on the Veld of the North-western Cape (1956). The report
of the first-mentioned Committee incidentally points out (p. 22)
that excessively large farms may in time become a serious social
and economic problem if depopulation of the rural areas con-
tinues ". On page 16 of its unpublished report the last-mentioned
committee finds that whereas a great part of the farms in the low
rainfall areas of the North-western Cape have become too small
for extensive farming, farmers have started to plough the land for
the cultivation of cash crops-resulting in the rapid ruination of
(11) A scientific treatise also touching on these matters is
Prof. W. M. MacMillan's The South African Agrarian Problem and
its Historical Development (1919). On page 38 he states, inter
alia: subdivision (of land) together with the consequent practice
of holding undivided shares . have become two of the most
fruitful sources of rural poverty ". Furthermore, he concluded
that the worst rural impoverishment at that time occurred in the
coastal strip of George, Knysna and Humanscorp, as well as in the
(12) In concluding this summary, the Church Conferences of
1916, 1921, 1923 and 1934 should be mentioned, together with the
National Economic Congresses of 1939 and 1950, where the same
subject, though sometimes with varying emphasis, repeatedly
came under consideration.
Summary of the Report of the Commission for the Socio-Economic
Development of the Bantu Areas within the Union of South
Africa (U.G. 61/1955).
Agro-economic Surveys of the Unicn--Department of Agriculture-
The South-Eastern Transvaal Lowwvld (Lowveld Regional Develop-
ment Association. September 1954).
Reconstruction of Agriculture (Report of the Reconstruction
Committee of the Department of Agriculture and Forestry,
The Future of Farming in South Africa (Report No. 4 of the
Social and Economic Planning Council-U.G. 10/1945).
Report of the Marketing Act Con- mission-U.G. 48/1949.
Report or the Commission on Irrigation Finance (1947).
Annual Reports of the Secretary for Agriculture (various).
Annual Reports of the Department of Lands.
Report of the Commission on Co-operation and Agricultural
Credit (U.G. 16/1934).
Report of the Land Settlement Act Servitudes Commission (U.G.
Report of the Commission on Technical and Vocational Education
Report of the Committee on Ac ult Education, 1945 (Dept. of
Report of the Committee on Agricultural Education-Transvaal
Education Department, 1953.
Sorokin and Zimmerman-Principles of Rural-Urban Sociology.
Dr. S. Pauw: Die Beroepsarbeid van die Afrikaner in die Stad.
Dr. P. J. van der Merwc: Trek.
Dr. P. J. van der Merwe: Die Noordwaartse Beweging van die
Boere voor die Groot Trek 1770-1842.
Prof. L. Fouche: Die Trekbocr.
Prof. W. M. MacMillan: The South African Agrarian Problem
and its Historical Development.
Dr. P. Naude: Boerdery in die Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek.
Proff. Sadie and Franzsen: Inleicing tot die Bevolkingsvraagstuk.
Prof. J. L. Sadie: Die Afrikaner in die Landsekonomie.
Dr. G. D. Scholtz: Het die Afrikaanse Volk "n Tockoms?
Dr. J. F. W. Grosskopf: Rural Impoverishment and Rural Exodus.
Winkle and Van der Merwe: Economic expansion of the Union
as reflected by the shift of the white population (1936-1951)-
Finance and Trade Review, October/November, 1956.
Prof. C. v. H. du Plessis: Better kredictfasiliteite vir die landbou
noodsaaklik"-Merino, August, 1958.
The Wool Grower.
The Farmers' Weekly.
Farming in South Africa.
Various daily newspapers.
U.S.A........ Agricultural Review.
Research and Farming.
U.S.D.A. Agricultural Marketing Service.
Farm Population-U.S.D. Statistical Bulletin,
Subregional Migration in the United States,
1935-40--(Scripps Foundation No. 6).
American Farm Life.
Guide to Agriculture-U.S.D.A. Information
Bulletin, No. 30.
Iowa Farm Science.
Farm News: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
United Nations Demographic Yearbook.
Journal of Farm Economics.
Agricultural Leaders' Digest.
Canada...... Province of Saskatchewan: Royal Commission
on Agriculture and Rural Life, 1955/56.
Australia..... Report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission,
New Zealand. Report of Royal Commission on the Sheep-farming
Industry in New Zealand, 1949.
Great Britain Recent Developments ini Farm Budgeting-
Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of
England, Volume 124-1953.
The Agricultural Review, May, 1958.
It is interesting to note that the policy of centralisation in education, as recommended here, was quoted a quarter of a century later
to the Commission by numerous witnesses as one of the main causes of the depopulation of farms.
LIST OF FORMAL WITNESSES.
Agriculture, Department of-
Mr. E. Adler.
Mr. C. C. Claassens,
Mr. F. A. Deale,
Mr. A. R. Havemann,
Mr. T. Mostert,
Dr. M. H. Slabber,
Dr. F. R. Tomlinson,
Mr. JP. van der Merwe,
Mr. J. A. van Rensburg.
Allwright, Dr. W. J. S.-former General Manager, South African
Co-operative Citrus Exchange.
Archer, Mr. D. P.-farmer, Graaff-Reinet.
Bantu Administration and Devejopment, Department of-
Mr. H. R. van der Bergh,
Dr. P. F. S. J. van Rensburg,
Mr. C. J. van Schalkwyk.
Barnardt, Mr. J. G.-Chairman, South Western Districts Agri-
Beukes, Dr. W. T. H., farmer, Gumtree, Orange Free State.
De Swardt, Mr. S. J.-Under-Secretary for Agricultural Economics
Du Preez, Mr. J. J.-Principal, Agricultural High School Brits.
Du Toit, Mr. A. J.-Chairman, Agricultural Union of the Cape
Fernhout, Mr. J. A.-Chairman, Deciduous Fruit Board.
Fick, Mr. P. H.-Member, National Marketing Council.
Fouche, the Hon. J. J.-Administrator of the Orange Free State.
Inland Revenue, Department of--
Mr. M. J. Wells (Commissioner),
Mr. W. J. C. Wessels,
Mr. M. J. Uys.
Jacobsz, Mr. J. H., M.P.C.-Farmer, Ermelo.
Keyter, Prof. J. de W.-University of the Orange Free State.
Land and Agricultural Bank of S.A.-
Mr. F. G. van Heerden (Cha rman),
Mr. R. Brugman,
Col. C. L. Engelbrecht,
Mr. E. Hess,
Mr. W. H. Rood.
Mr. J. J. P. C. L. Steyn (Chairman),
Mr. J. P. S. du Toit.
Lands, Department of-
Mr. D. Spies (Secretary for Lands),
Dr. W. R. Thompson.
Loock, Mr. J. J.-farmer, Graa T-Reinet.
Loots, Mr. J. J.-farmer, Priesk a.
Malan, Mr. P. C.-former Chie' Inspector of Lands.
Mealie Control Board-
Mr. H. J. Keyter, M.P. (Chairman),
Mr. J. S. Labuschagne, M.P. (Vice-Chairman),
Mr. J. J. M. Tromp (Manager).
Meat Control Board-
Mr. C. H. Visser (Chairmai,
Mr. S. P. Malan (Member).
Mr. J. Coetsee (Manager).
Meiring, Dr. J. G.-Superintendent-General of Education in the
National Wool Growers' Association-
Dr. J. G. van der Wath (Vi< e-President).
Naud&, Mr. S. D.-farmer, Hanover, C.P.
Nederduitse Gereformeerde Ker--Dr. J. R. Albertyn.
Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk an Afrika-
Col. C. L. Engelbrecht,
Mr. J. C. Steenekamp.
Neveling, Dr. C. H.-former Secretary for Agriculture.
Postma, Rev. M.-Gereformeerd Gemeente, De Aar.
Pretorius, Prof. W. J.-General Manager, K.W.V., Paarl.
Prinsloo, Mr. A. L.-Manager, Noordwestelike Kooperatiewe
Senekal, Mr. S. I., M.E.C.-farmer, Viljoenskroon.
South African Agricultural Unio --
Mr. J. G. Grobler (President..
Mr. de la Harpe de Villiers,
Mr. A. J. du Toit,
Dr. J. C. Fick,
Dr. P. G. le Clus,
Mr. N. J. Deacon.
State Advances Recoveries Office- -
Mr. F. H. Sevenster (Secretai y).
Van der Merwe, Dr. C.-Chairm; n, National Marketing Council.
Van der Walt, Mr. P. J.-Assistant-Accountant, Price Control
Van Rensburg, Mr. S. J.-Goneral Manager, Vleissentraal,
Van Wyk, Dr. A. H. du P.-DireL tot of Education for Transvaal.
Water Affairs, Departement of-
Mr. P. K. Goosen (Director).
BEGINNERS GO BANKRUPT.
(Translation of an article in Die Landbouweekblad ", 14 October, 1958.)
During the past few years numerous beginners in farming
in one of the most prosperous parts of the Transvaal went bankrupt.
The longing for a self-owned piece of land has been exploited
and people acquired land on which they could not make a living.
Because in recent years so much agricultural progress has been
made in the vicinity of Letsitele that it is developing into one of
the most important citrus-producing areas in the Lowveld, people
anxious to start farming were readily led to acquire farms which
cannot be regarded as economic units. This area has great
possibilities for the future and many progressive farmers have
made a success of farming in a relatively short time. However,
the amount of capital and the size of land required for successful
farming and the fact that some parts had too little rain for dryland
farming were never realized by all these prospective farmers.
During the past year numerous farmers in the Letsitele area
were compelled to abandon their farms not long after the com-
mencement of their operations. The majority consisted of city
dwellers who had saved for many years with a view to buying their
own land. Many were not in a position to pay the full purchase
price. They deposited a few hundred pounds and were to redeem
the balance by monthly payments.
Farmers, who have already resided in that area for a long time
state that there has been no lack of diligence on the part of the new
settlers. After having dreamt for years of their own piece of land,
they set about their tasks with commendable zeal. Every member
of the family assists with the fencing and deforestation of the I and
and after much toil and moil the great day dawns when the first
citrus, pawpaw and banana trees are to be planted.
But what happens if the trees hi.ve been planted and the water
supply on which they have relied, is no longer available? This is
exactly what has happened at th e La Gratitude holdings near
Letsitele. About 15 beginners havi bought 25 morgen each. All
had a promise of water from a large brick dam. In connection
with this water supply Mr. Jannie Rossouw, the only owner still
residing there, expressed himself to Die Landbouweekblad "
as follows: I have bought the land without any improvements.
The deposit was 300 with monthly instalments of 17. 10s. Od.
In the beginning I had no water, but later according to agreement
all of us received turns to use watcr from a common dam. Then
it happened that the pumping equipment in the Letaba River
from where the water had to be pumped to the dam, broke down.';
Mr. Rossouw has had to do without water for almost a year.
Nearly all 400 citrus trees and 2,)00 pawpaw trees planted by
him are dying through lack of wate and some have already died.
He is powerless to do anything to ivert this calamity and he has
but to see his handiwork of many months destroyed. In order to
keep himself alive he repairs the implements of other farmers.
Inspired by high ideals he trekked all the way to the Lowveld from
Vryburg by tractor and trailer; he did not mind working hard and
regularly paid the instalments on his land.
Today, one sees no sign of the oTher farmers who started there
at the same time as he did. They spent all their savings in making
the land productive. They left thcir land as ruined persons to
find some livelihood elsewhere in tl e cities. Many tried hard to
continue, but daily they had to watch one tree after another dying,
and the hope of collecting any sort
One can still see the signs of their enterprise on these deserted
holdings. With difficulty they deforested many morgen of land
and laid out their orchards in neat rows, from which they were
never destined to pick any fruit. For many a day they looked in
vain to the clouds, hoping that rain would compensate for the lack
of irrigation water. Today the little homesteads, in most cases
built by their own hand, stand deserted on the land on which they
fixed all their hope for the future.
As a result of the fate experienced by these and other enthusiastic
beginners in recent years, the Great Letaba Central Farmers
Association has recently formed an advisory committee with a
view to advising prospective buyers of land in the vicinity of
Letsitele. This committee will be in a position to draw the attention
of buyers to certain dangers and in this way will help to ensure that
farmers coming to this area would know what to expect and would
not fail on account of too little land or a lack of capital.
Die Landbouweekblad recently interviewed various farmers
at Letsitele with a view to ascertaining why some beginners,
except for unforeseen circumstances such as difficulty with water,
could not achieve success. The reasons may be summarised as
follows: lack of capital, acquisition of land too small to make a
living and, in addition, without water, and lack of knowledge
resulting in crops being cultivated on land not suitable for such
Mr. A. A. van Rooyen, chairman of the Farmer's Association,
states that it is particularly the poor man, risking his last penny,
who is very often ruined. Such people consider that irrigation
water is not essential, whereas the rainfall in some parts is not high
enough for profitable crops.
The secretary, Mr. P. W. van Niekerk, states that it is a pity
that the city-dweller's desire to own land should very often be
exploited. Prospective buyers are readily impressed by what they
see on farms without realising the amount of capital required for
the laying-on of water on uncultivated land, and for other pre-
Mr. W. J. van Dyk, who has resided near Letsitele for many years,
and who as Land Bank appraiser commands a sound knowledge
of land prices, states that as a rule land prices are excessively high.
Buyers also fail to realise the fact that they need quite an amount
of capital for implements. In this connection he suggests a common
tractor for owners of small farms.
Many farms are not economic units. He considers 50 morgen
as being sufficient to provide a good living, provided the soil is
fairly good. Prospective buyers often do not realise that up to five
different types of soil could occur on a small piece of land and
that some parts have an impermeable stone sublayer. If the soil
is poor, irrigation water is of little help.
He states that it would be to the advantage of prospective
buyers if they interviewed older inhabitants before buying land.
Very often those persons who buy blindly cannot brave it for long
on the farm. They have heard casually that one could make a
living on a small piece of land in the Lowveld without ascertaining
the prerequisities for remunerative farming. In some cases farmers
from other provinces have bought land without ever having seen
Mr. Van Dyk states that there should be an official body to
sanction the subdivision of land. This would prevent land where
no reasonable livelihood could be made, from being offered for
He considers the very fact that city-dwellers, yearning for farm-
life, are enabled to acquire land by means of a small deposit and
monthly instalments, as an evil. As a result of this practice the
buyer with too little capital to start farming, is tempted to buy land
although he does not even possess sufficient money to make a
reasonable beginning. Generally the buyer is of the opinion that
" the farm will pay for itself ", but in most cases he is disillusioned
once he realises how much capital is required to reach the production
SURVEY OF LAND TENURE IN THE DEEDS OFFICES OF THE UNION.
(by Dr. C. C. Nepgen.)
(a) The data in this annexure arc the result of a survey made in
the Deeds Offices of the Union during 1953 and 1954. This survey
covered 96,600,883 morgen, or 94-03 % of all the agricultural land
in the White areas of the Union. In Table 1 the particulars are
given for the Provinces.
(c) Assuming that in that part of the Union not covered by this
survey, the same number of owners with two or more units are
to be found, a rough estimate of the actual figure is possible.
This estimate is given in Table 3.
N atal....... ..... .
U nion........... . .
No. of Area of
owners. land owned.
Area of Per-
all farms. centage.
Union.......... 12,553 53,489,259 102,741,213 52-06
(d) The number of and the land owned by landowners, who have
five or more units in separate districts, are given in Table 4. (The
land owned by them in other districts and which is less than five
units, has not been added to the data in Table 4, but is reflected
in Table 6.)
(b) In this survey an index of land ownership was used. The
index is the adjusted mean size of farms calculated for each
district. (The common mean sizes were adjusted by eliminating
the very small and the very large farms.) In Table 2 details are
furnished in connection with the land owned by owners with two or
Province. Number. (morgen).
of area by each
Province. No. of Ai ea of
Province. owners. land owned.
O .F.S........ . .
*NOTE.-Of these owners 266 owned land in two or more Provinces.
The actual number of owners who owned two or more
units, is therefore 12,069 less 266, i.e. 11,803.
Cape ........... 865 11,474,442 1 19-2 13,365
Transvaal ....... 999 4,332,160 24-1 4,336
O.F.S........... 423 1,586,533 11-5 3,750
Natal ........... 128 604,916 12-3 4,724
TOTAL.. 2,415 17,998,051 18-6 7,452
Some of these owners still own land in other districts, but because
this land comprises less than five units, it has not been included
in the data in Table 4. There are also owners who do not own
five units in one district, but who do own a total of five or more
units in various districts. Some owners also own five or more
units in more than one province. The figures in Table 4 therefore
have to be amended or supplemented. This is done in Tables 5 and
6. Table 5 shows the net number of owners, taken per province,
who own five or more average units.
Cape Trans- O.F.S.
Province.! vaal. -
Land centage Average
owned. of size.
865 999 I 423 128 2,415
Of these 2,497 owners with five or more units, 47 owned such
land in more than one province, so that the actual number of owners
in this connection totalled 2,450. (Owners who have five or more
units in more than one province, were counted in the province
where they own the most land.)
Table 6 shows the total morgenage owned by owners with five
or more units.
province. No. of owned
e owners. (morgen).
units .. ...
3. All owners
2,843 19-55 20,045,016
11,697 80-4: 10,667,783
14,540 100 30,712,799
(g) According to the Comrr mission's special census it would
appear that there were approxir )atly 73,000 landowners in 1956.
In 1954, when the survey was ma 1c in the Deeds Offices, there were
probably not many more. If th ; figure is used and collated with
the data furnished in the previot s tables in this annexure, Table 8
could serve to give a general tel tative idea of the land owned by
owners with two or more units, ,s well as of those who own less
than two units in the Union.
TABI ; .
Land centage Average
owned, of size.
(e) The land owned by landowners with six or more units, in
groups for each province and for the Union, is indicated in Table 29
of the Report. That table is therefore not repeated here.
(f) It was not possible to obtain the number of owners for
the various districts. For 37 districts in the Cape Province
it was, however, possible to obtain from Divisional Councils
the number of owners concerned. In Table 7 details are given
in connection with the land owned by owners who have two or
more units, as well as of those who own less than two units.
3. TOTAL ....
12,533 17-2 53,489,259 52-06 4,261
60,447 82-8 49,261,954 47-94 811
73,000 100 102,741,213 100 1,407
owners.... . .